Hello, friends! I took a short break from the blog while on a 10-day vacation to Florida. If you have read my previous posts, you know that our family goes to Florida every other summer to enjoy Disney World and one of the many beautiful beaches offered there. My in-laws are members of Disney Vacation Club and it has blessed us many times over the past twenty years!
Two of my kids and I returned home from church camp on a Friday and left the very next morning for our vacation. It was a fast and furious time of laundry and packing, but we were able to fit in a dinner visit with my family before we headed out the next morning.
Day One: On the Road
We like to split the drive up on the way so we can enjoy the sights and eat at new-to-us places. Our journey started around 8 AM and we headed to Waco for our first stop. The kids amused themselves with coloring, drawing, card-playing, and time on their devices. We stopped at a local favorite, George’s, and shared a few different things. The atmosphere was fun and the food was delicious. If you are ever in Waco, you need to try this restaurant!
After lunch, we continued our drive and made it to Houston for dinner. Pappasito’s Cantina was on our mind (I had never been) as we were craving good Mexican food. Again, we shared a couple of dishes and some queso (of course!). We left pretty stuffed, but saved room for dessert. One of our friends offered up his apartment for us that evening (he was out of town) and he left us a fresh-baked cobbler and ice cream–not kidding. Everybody was pretty tired, so we hit the sack after dessert, with plans to head out the next morning by 6.
Day Two: Road Warriors
The next morning, we were up by 5 and out of the apartment before 6. We stopped at a Buc-ee’s for some breakfast items and had our sights set on lunch in New Orleans. We made it right on time and, based on a recommendation from some friends, went to Deanie’s Seafood. We tried many of the favorites, including some gumbo and crawfish etouffee’. One of my bucket list items was eating beignets in NOLA so we had to make that happen! We went to Cafe Beignet and had our warm, sugary treats at an outside table.
Our time in New Orleans was short, but we enjoyed walking around and people-watching. I can’t imagine how crazy it is during Mardi Gras! Then…back in the car.
This was our “long” day of travel (about 9 hours on the road) and our final destination was Crestview, Florida. We used Priceline to book a hotel on the way. The place we stayed was just average, but had an outdoor pool so the kids were pleased. I did pool duty while my husband went to get us some Zaxby’s salads and chicken. The kids swam for a bit and then we ate and went to bed early.
Day Three: Finally in Orlando!
Our third and final day of driving was pretty easy. After visiting the hotel breakfast bar, we hit the road a bit after 6 and made it to Orlando around 1. Our first stop? Wal-Mart. Haha! The Wal-Mart that is closest to Disney has an amazing selection of souvenirs and our kids had money burning holes in their pockets. Each of the kids picked up a Mickey tee and I bought a few items to bring home for family. We actually didn’t get any groceries because the rest of our party already food-shopped for us earlier that day (they arrived by plane three days before we got there).
Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived at Old Key West resort, so my husband took the kids to the pool and I hung out with my sister-in-law in their room while we waited. We were able to move in to our room after 5:00. Some family members had planned a burger cookout at the pool so we joined them. The kids burned off three days worth of energy by swimming and playing at the playground next to the pool and then we went to bed to prepare for Magic Kingdom!
Day Four: A “Magic”al Day
This day actually did not start out magically. My husband woke me up around 5 to tell me he felt awful. He took some Aleve and tried to shake it. We made it to the Disney bus stop around 8 and headed to Magic Kingdom. Ropes dropped at 9 and we practically ran to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. There was a wait, but we stuck it out and the kids loved it. We spent the morning hitting most of our favorites (Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, Pirates), had lunch at Columbia Harbour House, got an ice cream bar or two, and went back for some pool time.
My husband still did not feel well, so he laid down while the kids and I spent a couple of hours swimming and snacking. We had FastPass reservations that evening so we were back on the bus by 6. After doing several rides and watching fireworks, we shut down the park at 11 and reflected on what a successful Disney day we had. Oh..and don’t worry…I got the Dole Whip Float I’ve been dreaming about for the past two years. Ha!
Day Five: Not in our plans
We were SUPPOSED to hit Universal Studios, but decided to go the following day to give my husband more rest time. My mother-in-law offered to keep the kids at the pool and my hubs and I went to an urgent care center, hoping for something to help him feel better. He got some medicine, we spent the rest of the day at the pool, and ended up at House of Blues at the Disney Springs area for dinner.
If you haven’t been to the new Disney Springs, you need to make plans to visit. The area is beautiful, with tons of restaurant and shopping options. After we ate, we walked around for awhile and found a few more souvenirs.
Day Six: It was “WAND”erful
My husband still wasn’t feeling better, but one of our main goals for this trip was Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, so the kids and I drove over to Universal for the day. I don’t want to say a whole lot about the park because I think it deserves its own post, but we really enjoyed it.
After reading all of the Harry Potter books this year, my daughter was pumped to check out Diagon Alley and get a wand at Ollivander’s. Luckily, she was chosen for the wand ceremony, which made the day extra special for her.
We met the rest of the family for lunch at Margaritaville and then went back for more park fun. I knew we were in for a night of packing when we returned, so we finished at Universal in the early evening and went back to our Disney resort. Pizza at the pool was the plan (unintentional alliteration). We enjoyed that and packed up our room in preparation for our drive to the beach!
To be continued…