Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December 25, 26, 27, 28, & 29, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010: We weren’t in a real rush to get up today. Once we finally did, we ate a little breakfast in the room and then headed out to the beach to take some pictures. The ocean was water was COLD but we still got our feet wet and had fun! We spent maybe 45 minutes out there just walking around, etc. and taking pictures. We then walked down the beach a little ways and spent some time and money in an arcade. We had 1:00 reservations to eat in the Hilton Hotel South Tower Grand Ballroom. The meal was fantastic! We were slightly underdressed compared to everyone else but oh well! It was really yummy – buffet with just about everything – cheeses, carving station, salad, breakfast omelet station, all kinds of breads, and a huge display of desserts. We left there very full! Once we got back to the room, everyone but Mom got dressed in swimming attire and headed to the beach and pool. Although the temp reached 76 today, the water was still too cold to swim (at least that’s what I thought despite the fact that B1 and B2 got in!). We all got in the hot tub, which felt wonderful! We came back to the room and then the guys (Dad, Bruce, and Darren) went for a ride down the strip while we girls watched a movie, got cleaned up, played some euchre, and played on the computer. B2 and I fed some pigeons on our balcony and at one point there were about 30 birds out there! It was fun! We went to a movie (“Little Fockers”) at 7:35 about a block away from our condo. It was OK but not great. Then we came back here and ended up ordering pizza at about 10:30! It is now time for bed.

Sunday, December 26, 2010: Today we got up and moving by a little after 9:00am. We headed to a place called Mt. Dora where my dad had heard of a huge flea market. It is COLD today! I mean like in the 30's.....not much different than back at home! I am thankful it was so warm yesterday for Christmas. Anyway, we got to the flea market and found it to not be quite as big as expected, but big enough anyway. We all found a few little things we "needed" there. We also ate lunch at the snack bar there, which was actually pretty good. When we got back to our condo, we decided to go look in a few souvenir stores around the area. I got a purple sweatshirt and each of the girls got a T-shirt. Dinner was at another restaurant right near our hotel; this one is called the Wing House and is very similar to Hooter’s, except the girls are even more scantily clad! The food was great though so whatever! We came back to the room and I went to bed just after 10:00 in preparation for the next 2 days!

Monday, December 27, 2010: We were up and out the door this morning by 5:30am on our way to Orlando and Walt Disney World. We parked at the Transportation and Ticket center and rode the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. The weather was cold! We were all dressed in several layers with our winter coats, hats, scarves, and gloves! We were inside the park by 8:00am and the crowd was thin at that time, which really worked in our favor. We rode Space Mountain right away, then went to the Carousel of Progress, then Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, and finally Stitch’s Great Escape all in Tomorrowland. We then headed around to Fantasyland and rode Snow White’s Scary Adventures while getting fastpasses for Peter Pan’s Flight and Mickey’s Philharmagic (both which we rode after lunch). We went to Small World and then ate lunch at Pinocchio’s Village Haus. After leaving Fantasyland, we went around to Liberty Square and did Haunted Mansion and the Hall of Presidents (which always tears me up!). Next up was Frontierland and the Country Bear Jamboree. We got fastpasses for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to ride later. Then we went to Adventureland and rode Pirates of the Caribbean and saw the Tiki Bird show. We then headed back to Main Street USA and watched the afternoon Christmas parade. It was now 5:00 and we split from Mom, Dad, and Darren. We decided to go back to Tomorrowland to use some Space Mountain fastpasses that we had gotten in the morning but the ride was down at that time. So we walked to Mickey’s Toontown Fair and got on the train, which we rode around to Frontierland. We then used our Big Thunder Mountain fastpasses. Finally, we headed back to Main Street USA to do some shopping! We met Mom, Dad, and Darren to go to dinner at Tony’s Town Square. Our reservation was for 7:35 but we did not get seated until almost 8:15! This played into our favor later though as we all got free desserts and also something which would help us the following day. The girls and I went to the confectionary and bought some sweet treats (for later) while we were waiting to get seated. We watched the parade (Main Street Electrical Parade) from the restaurant because we had a table right next to a window. We left the park after dinner with very tired feet. The park definitely got more crowded by later in the day! We had our group picture taken several times during the day and the castle looks absolutely beautiful at Christmastime…..almost like it is covered with icicles! Mom, Dad, and Darren then headed back to Daytona Beach while Bruce, the girls, and I went to our motel in Celebration, FL. It was a Ramada Inn and was absolutely terrible! We were only charged $39.95 (thank God!) but they didn’t even have enough rooms clean when we checked in at almost 10:30pm! Wow! Once we go into our room, we pretty much fell into bed and went to sleep!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010: The 4 of us got up this morning at 7:30 and got ready for day #2 at Disney World. We grabbed some breakfast at a Chic-Fil-A. We decided to park at Downtown Disney and rode the bus to Animal Kingdom. We first went to guest relations where we had a set of fastpasses waiting for us (also a reward for the bad service at last night’s dinner). We used these to ride Expedition Everest. The line was relatively short so the girls wanted to ride it again. They went in the single rider line but ended up sitting right in front of / behind each other! I walked back a little ways and grabbed an egg roll for a snack while Bruce waited for them. Once we were all back together, we headed to Camp Minnie Mickey and saw the Festival of the Lion King show. It was really good! We ate lunch at Flame Tree BBQ and then left the park. We took the bus over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios where we again picked up some fastpasses. This time, however, we were given 8 cards which were good for up to 5 people each to use as fastpasses! Cha-ching! This really spoiled us and now when we come back in July and actually have to wait in lines, we won’t be happy! Haha! Anyway, we headed down Sunset Blvd and rode the Tower of Terror and Rockin Roller Coaster first. B2 did not ride Tower and neither of the girls rode RNR. We then went to the Great Movie Ride and after that to Lights Motors Action! We then tried to check-in for our 5:40 dinner reservation (but it was only 5:10) and they told us to come back at our actual time. So we decided to go across the park and ride Tower and RNR again. B2 got up enough courage to ride RNR with us for the first time. She loved it! B1 has still not rode it (maybe in July!). Once we finally go back to the restaurant (Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano), it was 6:10 so we got seated right away! The food was much better than last night’s and the service was 10 times better! After dinner, we walked through the Streets of America and saw the Osborne Spectacle of Lights, which was really cool! We then headed to Toy Story Midway Mania and rode it twice. We all love that ride! By now, it was about 9:30 and we were getting tired and knew we had a long drive ahead of us so we left the park. We took a bus and eventually got back to Downtown Disney. We shopped just a little while in the World of Disney store but actually didn’t buy anything. We left DTD, stopped at a gas station for a soda, and then headed back to Daytona Beach. We got here at about 12:15am and went to bed right away.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010: Today we got up at 8:30, got showered and ready, and headed to Kennedy Space Center. Mom and Dad didn’t come with us; instead they drove to Melbourne, FL and visited Mom’s cousin Sharon and her husband. The 5 of us took the tour at the space center, which was interesting. I am not sure the girls were super impressed with it but I am glad we went there. Hopefully one day when they see something from KSC on TV, they will remember seeing some part of it in person. We got back to the condo around 5:15pm and met back up with Mom and Dad. We had dinner reservations at the Daytona Kennel Club at 6:45. We ate in a dining room right next to windows where we could watch the dog races. Most of us had prime rib for dinner and it was really good. We all put some $$$ in a big pot and took turns picking dogs to bet on for each race. When the night ended, we were down in $$$ but not too much. We had fun. B1 and B2 went outside for just about every race and then came back in to our table to help us pick the dogs. The most we won on one race was $27. We left there at about 10:15pm, came back to the condo and went to bed pretty quickly.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

December 24, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010: We got up today at 2:45am in order to be ready to leave the house by 3:45. Mom and Dad picked us up and then we went to pick up Darren. We were on the road to Lambert Airport by 4:00. Following the suggestion of Debbie, we parked at Skypark, right across from the airport. They took our luggage and shuttled us to the airport. While in the shuttle, I discovered that I did not bring the cash along that I had planned to bring! Thank goodness for ATM machines! Gees! So we went through the whole check-in process and of all the people in our group, my mom had to be “patted down.” The pin in her arm from when she broke it a few years back made the detectors go off. LOL! Why does it always seem like your gate is the one at the very end of the concourse? Once we made it to the gate, the airline (Airtran) was asking people to check their carry-on luggage because the flight was full and they didn’t think there would be enough room in the overhead bins. Since it was $20 for each bag we checked originally, we took advantage of this so we wouldn’t have to lug our luggage through the Atlanta airport (for our 1 hour layover). The flights were both pretty uneventful except Bailey’s ears hurting as we landed in Atlanta. We landed in Orlando just before 12:00 local time, got our luggage, and got our rental cars. We were on the road heading towards Daytona by 2:00. We found our condo unit easily and the check-in process was smooth as well. Our room is really nice… has a fully equipped kitchen, 3 beds in 2 bedrooms, 2 large bathrooms (1 with Jacuzzi tub), 3 TVs, and a pull-out couch in the living room. We got acquainted with the building and our room, checked out the building and the beach a little, and then went grocery shopping for snacks and breakfast items. We brought all the things back to the room and then walked down a block to a Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. It was good but not as good as I remember it being the last time (at Universal Studios Orlando in 2008). Bruce and I went to Walgreen’s to get a few things and then came back to the room. All of us but Darren played some cards before we went to bed. Brittany and Bailey watched a movie for awhile while lying on the pull-out couch.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Few Recent Pictures

Here is B2 before her Christmas program at school last week. We are lucky that our school still puts one of these programs on because most in our area don't do it anymore. This was the last one for her since she will be in middle school next year.

Our entire family on Thanksgiving. Edna is on the couch in the middle and her 2 sons and daughter are standing behind the couch with their spouses (light blue shirt, red striped shirt, black shirt). Then there are the children-in-laws, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren! We make a pretty good-looking group if I do say so myself!

B1 during a recent game.....

B2 during a recent game.....

We have our first snow day tomorrow! I am not really sure it is necessary but I'll take it either way!