Monday, July 1, 2013

Florida With the Grand-kids - Getting There - 6/7/2013

Sigrid really wanted to take the grand-kids to Disney World while they were at the perfect age to enjoy and remember the vacation.  At 11 and 13 for Petra and Tyler, it doesn't get much better age-wise.

We had to decide whether to fly down or drive to Orlando.  The cost was close to a toss-up.  It takes several days longer to drive, but Sigrid and I enjoy the driving and seeing different parts of the country.  While we have been on other driving trips to this part of the US, we didn't travel exactly the same roads so it was still fresh for us.

A big part of our decision to drive as based on the educational aspects of the trip for the kids.  Driving was  a great chance to see the eight states that we drove through...the geography, vegetation, and the history...we talked about all that as we drove.  The kids had never seen the ocean before so that was also a big treat.  They have now swam in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

We spent three days on the road driving down with stops in the Nashville and Atlanta areas before getting to Orlando.  We stayed in Orlando for five days before returning home.  During the five days, we visited the Magic Kingdom, the Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, Sea World, and a day at the beach at Cocoa Beach, FL.  The three days returning, we overnighted at Fort Walton Beach, FL where we got one last chance to swim in the ocean, and then Memphis before getting back home to Lee's Summit (Kansas City suburb).  The trip is a little grueling for an older guy like me with four days of walking in the hot humid parks and 3,000+ miles of driving, but still enjoyable.

We stayed in Byron, Georgia on the second evening of the trip.  We stopped by a local vendor selling fruit.  Sigrid bought a few peaches that were still rock hard.  The plan was to leave them in the car to ripen before trying to eat them.  Long story short, we waited too long and they went bad before we got to eat any.

Our 2006 Honda Odyssey continues to be the perfect vehicle for driving trips like this.  We have 140,000 miles on it now and when the time comes to trade it in, we will get another one.  Most of the miles have come from driving trips.  Our Odyssey has been to all but a few Northeastern states and may still make it there if it continues to perform perfectly.

Petra enjoyed the driving, when she was awake.

We stopped in Ocala, FL for lunch before getting to Orlando.  We really lucked out when we found Harry's.  The food was great.  Tyler, who hates all seafood, discovered he actually likes Mahi Mahi.  I was stunned that we even got him to try it.

Mickey greeted us as we arrive at our hotel.  We will be staying six nights at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel in the Disney resort area.

Our room was on the 21st floor and facing Disney's Downtown Market.  Here, you can see an adjacent hotel and our pools....the kids will spend a lot of time at the every night.

Disney Downtown Market.

Ready for the first swim.

After swimming, we walked over to Disney Downtown to get our entrance passes for the parks tomorrow.  While the lines were still long here, they were much shorter than if we waited until we got to the park.  We got four day passes with the "Park Hopper" feature which means we could go to as many parks as we wanted each day and during the duration of the four days.  The hotel and park passes were all a part of a package we purchased from Costco.  I think we got a really good price for the package.  Going to Disney isn't cheap.

A view form our hotel room after dark.

This post is the first in a series covering our trip on a day by day basis.  All the posts will appear in the Archive List on the right column of the blog.  Click on the one you want to see.  Enjoy.

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