Monday, June 11, 2007

I am back after 10 days of family torture!

Okay, so it wasn't complete torture. I spent 10 days with my parents, sister, niece, and my 2 girls on vacation. The 1st 2 days actually were torture between my sister, dad, and me. I wanted to leave. Luckily the air lightened and fun started happening.

Our 1st day was a 10 hour drive to Orlando from New Orleans that turned into 2 days. My mom wanted to make a stop in Panama City Beach where she and my dad honeymooned 42 years earlier. (They were celebrating their 42nd wedding anniversary.) This detour took us about 2 hours south out of our way and a day off schedule.

Finally back on the road to Orlando. From Panama City, it still took us 10 hours. I am not sure hour that was so. My mom likes to stop and look around.

We get to the hotel and it is nice, but not nice for a family of 7 staying in one room. Our hotel was the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort. Can you say cramped? It was a Kid Suite room. This entailed one king size bed (which my parents got) and 2 sets of bunk beds. Yes, my sister and I were sleeping on bunk beds that were not long enough for my legs. They even had plastic liners for all of the bed-wetting children. Talk about uncomfortable for adults. After 2 nights here, we decided to find a hotel more accommodating to all of us. We checked out several hotels and ended up at the Double Tree Hotel Suites on the Disney property. We were so happy here. It was a one bedroom suite. It had 2 double beds and a sofa bed. It was perfect. They even had a small refrigerator, sink, and microwave. We stayed here for 4 nights. I will definitely stay there again.

We spent one day at Epcot. This was probably the worst Epcot experience I have ever had. Not because of the park, but because we didn't get there until about 1pm and everyone was hungry and cranky. The next day we were celebrating my niece's 12th birthday and my parents 42nd anniversary. I made reservations at The Magic Kingdom's Crystal Palace for 8:15 AM. Of course we didn't make it there until 8:45 AM. We got to see all of the Winnie the Pooh Characters. It was a nice way to start the day at the Magic Kingdom.

Luckily it was the beginning of June. I don't think I could have endured anymore crowds, longer lines, or higher temperatures. Later that day, we had dinner reservations at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian Hotel. My niece thought this was the coolest thing. It was a princess dinner along with Prince Charming. She got a crown that stated "Happy Birthday" which she wore for the next 3 days. Then we headed back to the Magic Kingdom until closing. Thank goodness my parents took my kids back to the hotel.

The next day it rained and rained and rained. We took advantage of this time and relaxed. Yep, sunshine the next day. We had planned on getting to either Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach to cool off. My dad had this great idea to wait until the evening when it isn't so hot. It was about 4:45 PM when I called the front desk to get the park times. They close at 6 PM. We got everyone together and had 1 hour and 5 minutes to enjoy the Typhoon Lagoon. We actually made the most of it and enjoyed every single minute.

Our next destination was the beach. One our way here, we stopped in St. Petersburg to check out the Dali museum. I had the kids in the stroller, but they were talking up a storm. So much that people were snickering and forced us to leave. Dali was a bit bizarre. I sped through the exhibit and was glad I didn't have to sit through the tour.

We spent 2 nights in Ana Maria Island in a beach front hotel, Club Bamboo. Here, we had 2 full bathrooms, a kitchen, one private bedroom with a king bed and the living room with a king bed, sofa bed, and dining room table. Yes, this was the icing on the cake. I don't think you could have ended a Disney trip any better. I don't recall June being so windy or breezy in Florida. I am not complaining. I am very grateful for the constant breeze because otherwise it would have been a scorcher.

Then we ended the trip by leaving Florida at 5:30 AM and getting home only 11 hours later, record breaking time with kids. The return trip always seems shorter than the departure.

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