Side-tracked By A Day Trip

To avoid boring you to death, this will be my last post in a three-part series about our Disney World adventures. This isn’t actually about Disney at all, but instead I will thrill and excite you with details of a day trip away from the swirling fun that is Disney. Alright, I’m certain this isn’t thrill worthy stuff but it made for a unique day all around. In the last week or so before flying off from reality, my sister and I worked out where we would like to explore. My son had one request…go to the ocean. My kids had never been to the ocean and I was determined to grant this wish. We live on one of North America’s  Great Lakes so a large body of water is part of the daily scenery. However, nothing compares to the ocean! We verbally went back and forth between the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico. I wanted the Atlantic Ocean and my big sis wanted the Gulf. Who won the battle of debate? Keep reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Didn’t it figure that the day we had rented a car to head to the beach ended up being overcast, rainy and windy. I had also thought that it would be the perfect day to wear a dress. I’m brilliant, I know. Life goes on and so we headed off for a day of adventure!

 

 

bridges to the beach

bridges to the beach

There were brief pockets of sunshine throughout the day but the wind was a bit of a nuisance. As to be expected, the closer we got to the ocean the windier it got. While driving along this strip of highway that seemed to be mostly bridges connected by islands I couldn’t help but think how terrifying this would be should there be a hurricane. Evacuation route signs were everywhere. My sister and I came to the conclusion that neither of us would ever live in a location that needed evacuation route signage. If you live in such a place, you are braver than us. Or you simply enjoy life being peppered with severe risk. Your call.
Cruise ships

Cruise ships

There is something so odd about cruise ships along the side of the freeway.

Beach, here we come!
Beach, here we come!

Now you see who’s debate skills are superior.  Maybe it was the 3:1 that was the clincher.

Cocoa Beach from afar

Cocoa Beach from afar

After a bit of driving back and forth along the main stretch of road looking for signs to the beach, I finally rolled down my car window and leaned out to get the attention of a city worker. He was very helpful, and friendly I might add, and pointed us in the right direction  which of course we had already passed. As we walked over to the beach the sound of the pounding surf permeated all else. There is no other sound in nature that contains such a combination of force and serenity simultaneously. It instantly transports the Spirit to a happy place. THIS must be the reason people choose to live in evacuation areas!

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach

Although it looks bright and sunny in this photo, don’t be fooled. It was grey and windy which made me ponder the decision for all of these people to try to catch some sun. Humans are interesting creatures.

See the red flag on the beach?

This indicates that there were rip currents and swimming was not recommended although many people were in the water. We walked in briefly and were almost knocked over by the huge, powerful waves.

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach

Another danger on the beach was the massive amount of jellyfish. They were everywhere and I was just about to step on one coming out of the water when I was warned with a holler. Talk about freaking a person out!

My son just couldn’t get enough of the jellyfish. He spent most of his time getting up close and personal (too close for my comfort) to watch them pulsate. Moments such as these are wonderful teaching opportunities and allow children to gain a better understanding of all the incredible creatures we share this planet with. I’m certain this will be a memory that last a lifetime for him.

jellyfish

beach grasses and railing

The sound of the surf and the mysterious sea life captured our attention but it was the windblown sand that lovingly cradled the beach grasses that made me swoon for the beach.

The way the elements distress wooden structures such as these stairs was, to me, the epitome of coastal scenery that I carry in my mind’s eye.

sandy steps

sandy steps

Next stop…Cape Canaveral.

Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle

I was pretty excited to visit Cape Canaveral and the NASA museum. According to the website there are tours that shuttle visitors out to the launch pad and infiltrate your brain with all things space related.

This could have gone either way, I figured. I was hoping for new knowledge but was on guard for the nerd alert to sound. Well, upon further inspection we decided not to do the tour. At $50 U.S. per person it was a bit steep for an experience my kids were only going along with for my sake. Oh well.

 

NASA museum

NASA museum

After a day of sand, surf and shuttles we made tracks back to Disney. It was a supremely glorious day spent making memories.

“A life-long blessing for children is to fill them with warm memories of times together.

Happy memories become treasures in the heart to pull out on the tough days of adulthood.”  

– Charlotte Kasl

 

Advertisements

Inner Child Visits Disney – Part 2

Starting the day at 3 am before the sunrise, it was both a thrill and a relief to finally arrive at the hotel.  Pulling into the Disney Pop Century Resort, our home away from home for the next five nights, the exhilaration was palpable. There is great joy in finally announcing, “We’re here!” when travelling with kids as many of you know.   Everybody off the Disney Magical Express!

 

 

I have never been in the presence of so many genuinely happy people as when at Disney. There is no fake joy being tossed about here, just ear to ear grins of folks that love spreading happiness – and their jobs. I found myself constantly smiling! Yes, I do frown occasionally (I know, it’s hard to believe) even though I try to stay upbeat. I shall apologize now for the blurriness of some of these photos. The night before leaving home I decided to treat myself to a new iPhone 5  and was still trying to figure it out. You are all a nice bunch so I know you will look past the static. Moving on.

 

 

 

Home Away from Home

Home Away from Home

 

 

 

Hotel check in

Hotel check in

 

 

 

A game of Twister anyone?

A game of Twister anyone?

 

 

 

giant foosball

giant foosball

 

 

 

Pop Century Hotel

Pop Century Hotel

 

 

 

The trek through the hotel grounds included three pools, an arcade, numerous photo ops, playgrounds, and the plant and animal life to just touch the tip of the iceberg. One could stay at any Disney themed resort and never have to leave it the entire stay there is so much to do! My two kids were entranced by the geckos (or whatever type of little lizard they were) and were always on the look out for them. My daughter was very worried that they would be stepped on and tried to keep everyone abreast of the gecko crossings throughout our stay. We never did swim in the pools though, we were far too busy. So much for my entire wardrobe of bathing suits I packed. Next time.

 

 

 

We were only in our hotel room long enough to drop off our luggage and turn around so as not to miss our reservations at  Bongos Cuban restaurant in Downtown Disney. Side note: Downtown Disney is a world all of its own outside of the Disney theme parks. An incredible place to visit with so many great things to do. My only disappointment was not being able to enjoy live music at The House of Blues. I’m thinking Disney would be a great girls trip in the near future…great but dangerous I’m sure, knowing the wild and wonderful women that are my closest friends.  Sheesh, sidetracked again…Bongos Cuban restaurant as described by my teen-aged son that can eat like a locust, “That was the BEST meal I have ever eaten in my life! I wish I could eat here every day.” I have honestly never seen him consume so much food as he did that night. I’m surprised he even tasted it he inhaled everything around him! The only photo I took inside Bongos was my son sidled up to the bar while waiting to be seated. Bongos had a great atmosphere that was fun with great music that kept everyone upbeat. I highly recommend this eatery.

 

 

 

Bongos restaurant

Bongos restaurant

 

 

inner Tonga toast edit

 

no more Tonga edit

 

 

I am not a breakfast-loving girl but Tonga Toast broke me…I almost ate it all!

Honestly, I could do an entire post on the fantastic restaurants and food at Disney but I would like to move on to other things. I will say though that the level of professionalism from all restaurant staff was spectacular. The chefs are obviously highly dedicated to their craft and take great pride in their finished products. As a family with a few food allergies and special requests we were awed by the impeccable care given to our needs. A chef even came out to talk with us personally and do a rundown of each item on the menu and how it could be altered to suit our needs. Stress-free goodness  on a plate for a vegetarian that has anaphylactic allergies, let me tell you. My kids have stated on a few occasions since returning home how much they miss the awesome food at Disney. You’d think my cooking sucked…thanks guys.

 

 

The next morning, we were up early and raring to hit the pavement. We walked like we’ve never walked before over the next few days and my sister and I tuckered out the kids every single day. Interesting how we had far more stamina than teens. Every night it seemed as though the kids were nearly begging to go to bed. Ha! Music to my mommy ears.

 

 

I will not bore you with a boat load of photos but I will add a few that capture some of our favourite moments…and a couple embarrassing, yet highly entertaining photos as well. Life shouldn’t be so serious that we can’t laugh at ourselves occasionally.

 

 

 

Didgereedude

Didgereedude

 

This musician was in one of the squares in Downtown Disney and was phenomenal. He played both the electric guitar and the didgeridoo while singing. No kidding! Check out his website to hear his incredible talent and perhaps purchase some fun new tunes for yourself.

 

 

 

Epcot at Night

Epcot at Night

 

 

Epcot bridge- view of France

Epcot bridge – view of France

 

 

Fireworks at Epcot

Fireworks at Epcot – best fireworks display I’ve ever witnessed.

 

 

 

sitar and tabla duo

sitar and tabla duo

 

This duo was top-notch. My son and I sat and listened for an extended period of time (in the shade).

fun photo op

fun photo op – who could resist?

 

 

 

Disney Yeti Coaster

Expedition Everest Coaster – oh look, it’s me and my sis! Third person back from the front in the black shirt is moi. Screaming my head off…lovely.

 

 

 

Indiana Jones movie set

Indiana Jones movie set attraction. Demonstrates how the special effects were executed.

 

 

 

Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror – everything I thought it would be…and more! I wonder how many people have suffered heart attacks on this ride?

 

 

 

 Aereosmith Rock 'n' Roller coaster

Aereosmith Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster – guess who? Whoa that was FAST!

 

 

 

Sulley and I

Sulley and I – I thought meeting a character would be a bit more subdued. Not so.

 

 

 

Disney has implemented many strategies to make their parks and resorts more environmentally friendly. If you are interested in their approach there is contact info on their website.

 

 

 

In the spirit of letting our Inner Children run free, I definitely think Disney is the perfect location to just dive right in. Fast-paced or leisurely, whatever your pace it caters to every age group equally. Loving Disney as a child and returning as an adult after many years I would  have to say that I enjoyed it more this time around. Honestly, if someone has a hard time enjoying Disney they need their head examined.

 

 

 

During our visit to Florida we took a side trip. Where did we head off to? You’ll have to read my next post but I promise I won’t make you wait too long.

 

 

 

“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”  – Walt Disney