Your greatness is not what you have, it's what you give.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Name please.....Magroin, Pat Magroin

Last week was the first time in about three years that I decided to fly away on vacation. I may have mentioned before that because I have both hips replaced my bionic joints tend to make the metal detectors go crazy. As a result I am whisked away from the security line to be frisked and patted down like a criminal, so to see me smiling here after all that is due entirely to my knitting. Thank goodness it has that calming effect on me!
From here on in there is very little to do with knitting and lots to do with having a great time. So get a cup of coffee and hunker down for a tour through the parks of Orlando, Florida.

My son is the ultimate theme park fanatic so for him to get a parking space in "Jurassic Park", his all time favorite movie, was the most appropriate spot to be and a prediction of the fun that was yet to come. Unfortunately, the Jurassic Park ride was closed all week for it's annual maintenance. But we managed to make up for the lack with all the other rides.
The moving sidewalks were the first ride from the parking lot. Oh, by the way, keep on eye on that white hat my husband is wearing. You know that book "Where's Waldo?" Well, we're going to play that game here. Let's see how many times you can spot the white hat on our adventures through Universal Studios and Disney.
Our first stop was Islands of Adventure. We picked an ideal time to visit since the parks were not crowded and the longest we waited for a ride was about 30 minutes. Most of that was taken up by walking through the mazes that are set up for the riders to follow to get to the ride. So it didn't feel like a long wait at all. We usually waited 5 to 10 minutes though.
Andrew (in the red shirt) is trying to contain his excitement behind those sunglasses.
Since we arrived at the parks at 1PM we had to get something to eat right away so we went to Mythos and had a good meal surrounded by fountains and statues.
The molten chocolate cake for dessert was superb!
Then we were off to visit Harry Potter.
Andrew reassured me that it wasn't a scary ride and not like a roller coaster. Hmmmmm....
I think I'll pass on the butterbeer before the ride, just in case.
Does anyone need to buy a magic wand?
Snow in Orlando in May?
And suddenly! There it was! Hogswart Castle!!! The ride was fantastic! I screamed like a banshee all three times that we rode it, but I'll warn you now, if you tend to get motion sick easily, this might be one to pass up. Although, I have been known to get dizzy just riding a carousel so I thought for sure this would make me sick, but it didn't. It was hilarious and I loved it! Good recommendation, Andrew!
Pretty flowers were everywhere.
We drove over to Downtown Disney for dinner that night and while we waited for our table Andrew and I strolled over to Legoland. Here's a picture for Moose.
Can you believe these are life size Lego dogs?
The knight fighting the dragon was huge!
Then back to T-Rex Cafe for dinner.
There was quite a crowd but we finally made it inside.
The decor was amusing and very creative.
Here was our host upon arrival. He growled and bowed and nearly scared a little kid back into the womb!
Nothing like sharing your dinner with a triceratops.
The next day we arrived at Universal Studios bright and early.
I'm not sure these are in the correct order but you'll get the picture. Andrew talked me into another adventurous ride during which I got drenched even before we arrived at this terrifying plunge! Notice the white wasn't the only time I had to hold on for dear life!
After that cooling dip (it was 90 degrees and I was melting) Andrew talked us into trying the Popeye Barge ride. It's won't get too wet....NOT!!!
Here's the aftermath of that ride. It's a good thing I put my camera and cell phone in plastic zipper bags in my purse!
The Men in Black ride was lots of fun too. We wiped out a lot of aliens that time. We turned around and got right back on that one.
We stopped for an afternoon snack at Margaritaville where Andrew couldn't resist a photo with the macaws.
Now we leave Universal Studios and head on over to DisneyWorld.
Animal Kingdom was our first stop. What terrible rides could there be here?
The Tree of Life
Everyone HAS to have their photo taken in front of that tree.
See that mountain top in the distance. It's the Expedition Everest roller coaster. To answer my earlier question, that's the terrible ride! But I went on it anyway. It was similar to Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain which I rode when the kids were little. I managed to keep my breakfast down so I guess it was fun.
As I think about it, I would go on it again if I had the chance.
Come on, keep up. There's the hat again.
We went to Dinoland and visited.....
what else? Dinosaurs!
On our wait for the safari we passed some wildlife.

Once inside and riding in the jeep we saw BIGGER wildlife! Just a little left of center is a white rhino...or was it a black rhino. I don't know, as long as he stays far away.
The hippos found a way to stay cool.
And the vultures were just waiting.
more hippos
The crocodiles were ferocious looking.
The baby sister elephants were so cute!
Flamingos relaxing.
Just go ahead and see the rest of the animals at your own pace.

Lazy lion

We had a late lunch at the Rainforest Cafe, one of my favorite places to visit.
This guy is everywhere.
Our meals were deeeeeelicious!
Andrew brought home a doggy bag because there was so much.
I, on the other hand, was a glutton and ate all my Tuscan Chicken. Mmmm-good!
There is nothing like a good dinner companion....
or two.
Hey! There goes Dorie and Marlin!
Outside the cafe on our way back into the park we stopped to watch the spoonbills.
Then we headed out to Epcot Center. There were a topiary displays everywhere. I'm sure you'll recognize the characters.

We visited Mexico and took a little boat ride.
This young artisan worked intently as everyone watched.
Next stop, Norway.
And another topiary...
We made our way to China next.
The gardens were beautiful.
As was the architecture.
Inside the museum were replicas of the Terra Cotta Warriors
and their horses.
Germany was a rainy visit but the duck in the fountain didn't seem to mind.
I loved the village atmosphere.

And the wine sampling was superb.
A Reisling, a Liebfraumilch and .....I don't remember the third one. But they were all delicious.
On to France and the garden maze.
Oops! No, wait, Venice, Italy first. Are you still looking for "Waldo" in the white hat?

Lady and the Tramp had their famous spaghetti dinner.
In America we heard some familiar music.
It was Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits giving a free outdoor concert in the rain. He looks exactly the way he did forty or more years ago! And he still sings just as well!
The archway to Japan.
The rain was beginning to let up a little.
The bonsai trees ranged in age from 25 years to 50 years old.

By the time we arrived in Morroco it was time for dinner. My favorite cuisine is Middle Eastern food and I was not disappointed.
The tilework in the casbah was beautiful.
There's "Waldo" again.

And what's a visit to Morocco if there isn't a belly dancer? The music was hypnotizing! It took all my strength not to dance along with her! LOL!
The fountains of France danced happily in the gardens.
As did the characters from Beauty and The Beast.
Speaking of whom......
I guess "Waldo" got tired.
Pastry anyone?
By the time we left France it was night and those fountains were even prettier.
We made our way around the lake to find a good spot from which to view the fireworks and who do we bump into but Peter Pan and Captain Hook! Lookout Hook! The Croc is right behind you!

The moon was very hazy through the clouds but we found a good spot.

We could see all the way across the lake.

The anticipation was almost too much, but the view was so pretty we forgot we had to wait.

And then they started!

The colors and sounds were spectacular!

The finale was stupendous!
But then it was time to go and get a good night's sleep to prepare for tomorrow.
Back to Universal and Islands of Adventure.
There was a bit more of a crowd this day but it wasn't quite as hot.
Our son, the roller coaster nut, rode the Hulk at least five times!
You have to have your head examined to ride this!
Loop-de-loops that go upside down more than a few times.
Sorry! You will NEVER find me on that ride!
But I liked Spiderman and The Mummy was great!
I threw in these next two photos because I don't remember where they were taken. I think this first one was Dinoland where the three of us played a dinosaur trivia game. Andrew won, duh!
Just one of the traveling minstrel bands we passed in the park.
Sunday night we met my cousins and their families for dinner at a cute little Italian restaurant in Kissimee called "Bruno's". The food WAS delicious and I had to get a picture of their sign. LOL!
I had not seen them since 2007 because they live year round in Florida and I don't fly!
Love you guys!!!
Monday was our last day in Orlando so we took some time to visit World of Orchids. If you read my blog you know I'm crazy about orchids and my son is catching the fever as well. We were both enchanted by the surroundings of this garden.
There were only a few orchids in bloom but there were anthuriums everywhere!
Just take a quiet stroll through the gardens. I'll meet you on the other side.

Fire ants!

Back in the showroom you can purchase orchids to take home.
Some are quite exotic looking.

We had lunch at Wolfgang Puck's back at Downtown Disney. Andrew showing you his view of me most of the week. I'm sure glad cameras went digital. Imagine how much I would have to spend on film and developing?!
We passed the salon where all the little princesses go to get primped. Hey mister! Girls only!
One last picture before we head home.
You know it had to be a successful vacation if I didn't get any further on my socks than this!
And the final tally on the "Where's Waldo"......drum roll please! 13 hat sightings! Now I'm going to go finish those socks.


AlisonH said...

Wow doesn't even begin to touch it. Very cool! I'm so glad you got to go!

Karin said...

What a great trip - and wonderful report! Glad you had so much fun.