The Fletchers in Florida

March 23, 2013 at 11:55 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Spring break, time for Disney World! Chris, Ann and the boys drove like mad to make it down to Florida for a whirlwind Florida vacation. James and I had initially thought we’d just meet them for a couple of days while they were at Disney, but we decided to go whole hog and get as much family time (and theme park time) as we could.

We spent Monday night at Hollywood Studios. We arrived just in time for the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, and Ann had saved us front row seats. From there it was Star Tours, which the boys really loved, then we all ran around the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground. Liam was delighted to chase his cousins around again. He hadn’t seen them since Christmas. After we left, the rest of the family stayed for the Phantasm show, something James and I still haven’t done. We may have to come back and see it before we go. Ann said they projected images on a giant waterfall. Very cool!

Next up, bright and early for a full day at Magic Kingdom! We rode go carts, It’s a Small World, Peter Pan, and sat through the Mickey Philharmonic (another first for us, and very cute. I’m still astounded that after two years we still find things we haven’t done here). Then we took the kids on Pirates of the Caribbean and The Jungle Cruise. We weren’t sure how Liam would do on Pirates, but he seemed to like it despite the dark. James volunteered to take Liam and Devin to Tom Sawyer’s Island while us big kids rode Space Mountain. And Brady discovered his inner adrenaline junkie. We had a couple of extra fast passes, and Brady loved it so much, we decided to ride it again. I convinced him to try the front car…best seat on the coaster in my opinion. Brady became my little roller coaster cohort!

Devin isn’t as wild about the thrill rides, but we managed to coax him on to Big Thunder Mountain, which is relatively tame as coasters go. Check them out, all in yellow, third car back. Liam helped me spot them, very adorably, I might add. “Is that them? No, I don’t see yellow shirts. Maybe the next one.”

After the sun went down we made our way back to the Pop Century Resort for some swimming in the heated pool. Liam predictably stayed on the steps, but Brady and Devin were fun to watch horse around. It was painfully cold to get out and dry off…by then the temps had dropped down to the 60s, but by 10 PM, we thought it best to call it a night. We still had an hour to drive home. Another late night for the weary vacationers.

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Wednesday we met up in the afternoon for a rainy day at Epcot. Actually, it only sprinkled, so it wasn’t so bad. In the spring, Epcot does a Food and Garden Show, complete with topiaries of Disney characters. Here’s Liam posing with his favorite. Can you guess who that is? They also had playgrounds set up everywhere, and that’s all Liam wanted to do. We mostly stuck to the one by the Cars pavilion while the rest of the family rode Soarin’, but we’ll have to come back another day to explore the others. I was surprised and delighted to hear that Devin tried Mission Space, and he really seemed to like it. He kept pulling his hands up and letting them drop back on his chest, exclaiming, “This is cool!” And, of course, everyone was impressed by Soarin’. After dinner at the Coral Reef (another I can add to my highly recommended list), James took Liam home and the rest of us toured the countries. We had just enough time to ride Test Track before the fireworks. My little thrill ride junkie and I rode it twice! Then we met Ann and Devin for the big fireworks show.

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No rest for the weary! I thought surely James would want to accompany the boys to Universal Thursday. He’s completely addicted to Butterbeer. But I guess all of the running around got to him, so he decided to stay home with Liam. I contemplated doing the same, but I got psyched about introducing Brady to some of my favorite rides in Orlando, so I sprang for a ticket. We had a packed day, hopping both parks and getting the express pass so we could avoid the long lines. After a short ride on the Dr. Suess kiddie coaster and walking through the Posiden’s Fury show, we finally arrived at the place the boys were the most excited about. See how excited they are?

The only place we couldn’t use our Express passes was on the Hogwarts ride, and the line was 90 minutes long. Noooo! But, by some stroke of luck, while standing by the exit to the ride, one of the Universal employees approached me and asked if we wanted to ride the ride. I told her we’d love to, but the line is so long. Then she leaned in and said conspiratorially, “I can get you in.” Sure enough, after hastily stuffing our things in a locker, she brought all five of us to the front of the line. Sweet! And the boys looooved the ride.

Despite the relatively cool temperature, I convinced Brady to ride the Jurassic Park water ride with me. I told him we wouldn’t get that wet. And from past experience, that was partly true. But I guess it depends on where you sit. So, yeah, we got soaked. And the hill freaked Brady out a little. But he was a good sport about it.

The two big roller coasters were a little intimidating for Brady, so I rode Hulk with Ann and The Rip Ride Rockit by myself. I’m used to riding the latter one by myself – I still haven’t found anyone brave enough to go on it. Which is too bad. It is so awesome! The boys both rode all of the motion simulator rides – Minion, Shrek 4D, Simpsons, Spiderman, and Men in Black. But I think Harry Potter was still their favorite. Brady, Ann and I braved the Mummy roller coaster, an indoor coaster similar to space mountain except with fire. And dead things chasing you. Brady and I really liked it.

We had just enough time to go through the Hogwarts castle and ride the Harry Potter ride again. And get some Butterbeers and dinner at the Three Broomsticks. Yum!

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The only things we didn’t have time to do was the Pteradon Flyers, a ride that adults can only do when accompanied by a child that’s tall enough. We’ve never ridden it with Liam (even though now he’s technically tall enough, I doubt we could convince him to do it.) It seats one adult and one child in a hang glider that hangs down from a conveyor, and you get to fly above the whole Jurassic Park section of Universal. But our Express pass didn’t work on that, and the line was over an hour. Oh well.

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After resting up a bit Friday morning, we headed to Playalinda Beach so the boys could soak up their last bit of sunshine and warmth. They built castles, knocked them down, swam in the freezing cold surf, jumped the waves, played tag, and buried each other in the sand.

Ann took lots of photos, and Chris (in the background there), mostly rested up for the long drive home. The weathermen were predicting a big winter storm to hit Springfield Saturday night, so they decided to hit the road Friday after we got back from the beach. What an exhausting and fun-filled trip, for all of us, really! I’m so glad they made it down here before we had to move. I know it was hard to drive all the way down and all the way back in such a short time, but I think it was worth it. Memories for a lifetime.

Here are the rest of my photos. Enjoy!

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  1. There are lots of recipes online for making butter beer at home. Father’s Day treat?


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