4.01.2016

Five Friday Faves | Orlando Edition

So you thought that the never-ending vacation posts were over? Haha! #nope

For the Friday Five Faves, I am talking about what happened after we got off our spring break Disney cruise a couple of weeks ago. If you would like to read about the cruise portion:
     
                                   Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five

We disembarked bright and early Thursday morning, and as is tradition, took one last photo.

My love of age comparison photos is well-documented.

For the first time, instead of facing a grueling eleven hour drive back home, we stayed in Orlando for a few days before driving back that weekend. But first, we needed to head back to St. Augustine to pick up the Honda. Since we had time to kill before our condo was ready, we decided to take a tour of the town and visit the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.

1. So many alligators!


The albino white one was my favorite, natch.




Very cool and slightly terrifying place.

Several years ago, the Engineer attended a conference at the Orlando World Marriott Resort and I tagged along. We liked the resort so much that we decided to stay there again, only this time we stayed in the condo portion, the Royal Palms.

I don't know if your family is like this but for Team Skelley there is such a thing as too much togetherness. By this time, we all needed our space, especially after being together and staying in the same hotel room/stateroom for six days. So when we saw our condo, we all cheered. The Engineer and I both said that it was bigger than our first apartments.

2. Separate bedrooms! 


I cannot rave enough about the Royal Palms -- super nice place. 


The first day, we just hung out around the resort and went up to the convention center to have dinner, swim and apparently, ride up and down in the incredibly high glass elevator to scare mom. #afraidofheights



I was outvoted on what we were going to do the second day. My vote was for Disney's Animal Kingdom, since it was the only park that we did not hit during last year's Disney World trip. Little Kid voted Legoland and her brother and dad voted for Sea World.

I was hesitant about Sea World. I had read about the controversy with the killer whales and the documentary that had released a few years ago. I did not want to be a party to any mistreatment of them. But with their announcement that they were discontinuing the Shamu show and had partnered with the Humane Society, I felt like they were committed to doing what was best for the animals. Although I am not naive enough to think that their turnaround on their position was not in part money-motivated. The park was not anywhere close to full when we arrived at 11am. 


Granted I am operating on thirty year old information, as the last time I visited Sea World I was in the fourth grade, but I remember the Shamu show being different. The trainers no longer perform the tricks with whales after a trainer was killed several years ago by a killer whale. Sea World will be replacing the shows with orca encounters that focus on their natural habitats.

3. Baby dolphins


Close to the entrance was a pool of very friendly baby dolphins. Little was in love.

4. Old people rides

Yes, I like old people rides like It's a Small World at the Magic Kingdom and Sea World's Sky Tower where you can see all of Orlando from an air-conditioned, cushioned bench. For some reason my fear of heights was dormant on this, go figure. The Engineer and Big Kid did talk me into the Manta and this happened:


That's lovely.

Holy crap, that was terrifying. The roller coaster turns you to a 90 degree angle where the restraints are holding you by your chest and you feel as though you are flying through the air. They told me that it was not scary to get me on it and then about a quarter of the way in, I realized, "They lied!" I purchased the overpriced photo above just to prove I did it.

I did sit out the Journey to Atlantis to be the photographer.



The jury is still out on whether Little Kid is as much a daredevil as her brother -- that is quite a face she is making -- but she did say that she liked the ride.

5. My new BFF, this seal.


He just hung there and watched us until we left. I really wanted to take him home with me.

The lines were not bad at all considering that it was spring break and for Disney World, that is the second busiest time of the year, after Christmas. The only crazy long line was for the penguin ride and we aren't really sure why. We opted for the walking tour option so we could go chill with the penguins. Literally, because it was really cold in their habitat.



As is the case with all Orlando amusement parks, Sea World is not cheap. They will charge you an arm and leg for meals, but then give you a mountain of food that you can't finish. As we did with Universal a few years ago, we ordered three meals and then split them amongst us. We used to be able to get away with two but we have a tween boy now.

All in all, I enjoyed Sea World, it was clean, well-maintained and with this new partnership and the ending of the killer whale show, I do think that they care about their animals and are committed to their well-being. I would recommend it as an activity in Orlando, definitely. That night we headed over to Disney Springs to eat dinner and check out the changes that they had made in their remodeling since our last trip fourteen months ago. It was a wall of people. After hitting the pin store, we quickly got out of there. I do not recommend Disney Springs on a weekend night.

Happy April Fool's Day! Big Kid headed to school with two rubber snakes and fake barf. I am expecting a phone call any time now. We had some scary storms and tornadoes come through last night but thankfully all is okay here in the Rocket City and it looks to be beautiful weather this weekend. We shall be spending it at the baseball field, as is tradition in springtime. Have a great weekend!


4 comments:

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    1. Thank you, girl! I want to go back -- like right now. :D

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  2. Fun! I'm glad that everything worked out well with your car repair. We went to SeaWorld and Legoland during our spring break trip to Orlando. Legoland was the favorite for all three of us! M was tall enough to ride all but two rides there and ride she did! The child is a roller coaster junkie like us and rode several multiple times with her hands in the air and everything! Legoland is great for the 8 and under crowd -- CDS would have probably been bored. It was M's first amusement park experience so she was in "hog heaven"! H and I had a blast there too. It's on our list to do again if we have time when we return in a couple of years to "do Disney" for M. I had similar issues with SeaWorld because of the captive animals -- particularly the orcas. Thank you for addressing the issue head on. I'm not a vegetarian or PETA member, but I despise circuses and animals used as entertainment. I was literally nauseated during the entire orca "show". I'm so pleased that the breeding program has ended. That being said, M had a nice day and fun time. She really enjoyed her up close and personal dolphin encounter and that Atlantis ride with H. I sat that one out and served as the photographer too!

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    Replies
    1. Miss M. is the perfect age for Legoland! Little is a weird age where she is too small for some and too big for others. But I think she did like the rides so maybe she will be a roller coaster junkie too -- her brother definitely is. I am glad that you guys had a fun time, Orlando is my happy place. :D

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