I know I’ve already shared a few tidbits about our trip to Orlando but for the sake of documenting our entire little vacation I decided to give you the run down with 10 Orlando vacation highlights!
We are actually closer to Houston but it is almost always easier and cheaper to fly out of Austin. We flew Jet blue and I love this airline. The planes have always been clean and comfortable and the staff so friendly and professional.
2. Caribe Royale
After researching a few hotels and reading reviews online, I picked the Caribe Royale and it was perfect. We had plenty of space in our room and the pool was heated.
I think Carly would have been content at the pool our entire vacation had she had some friends to hang with.
There was even a water slide! It is a conference hotel but there were quite few families. Every staff member I encountered was super helpful and friendly. There was also a shuttle to Disney World throughout the day.
3. Cocoa Beach
On our first day we took a drive down to Cocoa Beach about an hour away from Orlando.
We toasted to our first official day of vacation at Pelican’s Bar and Grill
Chowed down on fried seafood and gator because when in Florida!
And dipped our toes into the cold Atlantic ocean. Had the weather been warmer the beach was nice and clean and rental was available for both chairs and umbrellas.
4. Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center was our next stop. There is quite a bit to see on site and we also watched an Imax film which Carly was super pumped about. A bus then takes you for a tour about 15 minutes away at the actual launch site. This is really an outing you would probably need a minimum of four hours for in order to experience it all.
This was pretty cool just to see the actual size of the building required to house a space shuttle or rocket. I knew I totally remembered this from watching Armageddon. Ha!
This is the actual tractor which transports the rocket to the launch site. Each “foot” on the tractor weighs one ton. That is crazy to me!
The site where the magic happens! See that water tower? Well I didn’t realize the smoke during a launch is actually steam. Evidently the water is used to create the steam at liftoff to reduce the sound to a manageable level. Had no idea. I love vacations that include a little bit of learning!
We tried to schedule a fishing trip for all four of us but the guides would not allow anyone under 12 so Carly was out. The boys scheduled with Fin and Fly Charters and as you can see they had a successful day in the Indian River Lagoon. Giving the boys a day to do their favorite thing meant they would be so happy and relaxed the rest of the trip!
6. Disney World Park Hop
While the boys were fishing Carly and I headed to Disney World for our first visit! We arrived before the park opened and immediately headed left to Adventureland and were the 2nd to hop on Pirates of the Caribbean.
We walked right up for Splash Mountain (her favorite!) before entering Frontierland and riding Big Thunder Railroad. Then it was the Mad Hatter, the speedway and Buzz Lightyear and back for one more ride on Pirates of the Caribbean all before 11:30! It pays to be early friends…and to head left!
I registered our Fast Passes ahead of time for 3 rides at Animal Kingdom so we hopped a shuttle and headed on over. We road Dinosaur which was so awesome and then we rode Everest and it may have been my favorite roller coaster! Our only complaint was it was too short. The Kilamanjaro Safari was just okay to me. We saw lots of animals out in a natural habitat but there just didn’t seem to be that many different kinds of animals. The line at the time was over an hour long and I’m just saying I’m glad we had a Fast Pass. We headed back to ride the Dinosaur ride one more time and we wrapped it all up by 5:30!
7. Disney Magic Kingdom
We headed back to Magic Kingdom with the boys again arriving before the park opened. This time we headed straight for Big Thunder Railroad then over to Buzz Lightyear, the Speedway and Mad Hatter.
I used on of our Fast Passes for Splash Mountain at 11:00am and the boys were impressed because the line was already over an hour long and we just breezed on through right to the front! They loved it as much as we did.
We had to rush off by noon to pick up Riley’s girlfriend and stop to see him at the field before getting her to the airport. We came back to Disney to use the Fast Pass for Space Mountain. I could not quit laughing because the entire time Keith just kept saying “holy smokes, holy smokes”. It was hilarious! This ride rocks! We also had a Fast Pass for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train which I thought was awesome but the boys were unimpressed. People were still waiting up to 2 hours to ride this sucker! Back to Buzz Lightyear again and then a run through Haunted Mansion. I screwed up big time and had the wrong time for the fireworks and we walked out of Haunted Mansion just as the finale was going on. Super bummed about that!
For real you can just see alligators in the ditches up and down the highway! Dillon thought this was the greatest thing.
And the beach was covered with these Man O War Jellyfish. So pretty….but glad we were aware not to get to close.
9. Spring Training
Of course the real reason for our whirlwind trip was Spring Training. We did have a chance to see Riley in his uniform which was so exciting!
And we were able to catch a big league game against the Nationals. I obviously have not been around because I had no clue how many people actually go to Spring Training games! It was so much fun.
10. Random Fun
Souvenirs are the best and Carly was insistent that she needed some mouse ears! She was so excited.
But not nearly as excited as finding Pasghetti on the menu with white cheese sauce! She always called it pasghetti and she always orders white cheese sauce instead of alfredo. Giordinos had both!
So, full disclosure, this is not really how I would recommend doing Orlando to just anyone on vacation. You could easily spend 4 or 5 days at various Disney parks and have plenty of time at the hotel pool as well. We were squeezing in every single thing possible in a very limited time and working around Riley’s schedule which was not very concrete. All in all we had a super whirlwind trip and really did so much! It is possible to have a blast at Disney in a day or two with some good planning.
If you are looking for some Disney Dos and Don’ts be sure to come back tomorrow as I’ll be sharing mine!
Linking up today with Karli at September Farm for Ten on Tuesday!