Monday, July 27, 2015

Family Vacation

Hello beautiful people!

I just returned from a week off for vacation to Florida with my big ass family [we were rollin DEEP].  We figured that it'll probably be a lot harder to pull this off in the future being we're currently waiting on word back on my hubby's re-enlistment package.

Still waiting... [believe me when I say, the suspense is torture]

The planning put into this trip was straight up - a pain in the ass.  It's hard coordinating plans with such a big group of people. 

So we travelled to Florida super EARLY on Monday morning; which sucks for me because I am NOT a morning person nor do I like to be rushed. We got there all in good time; which was shocking since we had 5 children with us.  Once we checked into the house we were renting [which this house was disappointing compared to the one we rented last time], it got a little chaotic, but we ended up using that night to prepare for the crazy week we had planned.

This was not my first visit; more like my fourth.  It was a first for my husband and my newbie, as well as my sister & her two boys.  However, I figured I'd share my opinions/observations/recommendations from our trip.

First things first [I'm the realest lol], leave your manners at home.


Animal Kingdom - no bueno. 
If you're into walking trails then this is FOR you.  I didn't completely dislike it though.  I absolutely LOVED the Festival of the Lion King show and really enjoyed the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride.  The show was full of dancing and music; like a Broadway show.  The ride was nice to see lions/monkeys/hippos/giraffes/flamingos/zebras - you get the picture.  We stopped to have lunch [or brunch.. or linner?] at Flame Tree Barbecue and that shit was NOT cheap; which we expected, but it was pretty ridiculous.  Our total for just the four of us to eat (2 Turkey sandwiches + 1 PB&J + 1 hot dog + drinks) was $50! We left this park early on Day 1 being there wasn't much there for the kids to do.

Magic Kingdom - ok. 
We ventured this way from Animal Kingdom.  I liked the Mad Tea Party teacup ride since my newbie seemed to like it.  We didn't go crazy with spinning it since my husband can't hang and we didn't want to make our newbie dizzy.  I can't speak for the ride itself since I didn't ride it, but the wait time for Splash Mountain BLOWS; it was over an HOUR; you try waiting for over an hour with a toddler.   As for the Haunted Mansion ride I was very displeased with how unorganized it was & the wait time (50 minutes) as well.  They expected you to wait in this long ass line crowd and slowly maneuver into a room and somehow manage to minimize the crowd into a single file line...  [like are you fu*king kidding me?!]  Mind you, when you're in these kinds of places - manners do NOT exist.  I repeat - manners do NOT exist.  Then there was the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride; it was all fine and dandy up until you get to the Play Room.  Yes, you read that correctly.  You have a wait time of 30 minutes, once the line gets you inside the building there is a desk (almost like the hostess podium) where they give you a pager as you wait in the play room to be paged.  WHO in their right mind thought that was a good idea???  Once you get those kids in that play room they DON'T want to leave!  I'm sure their intentions were good, but I would of pushed that idea off the table.  Let's discuss the staff; isn't Disney World supposed to be the "Happiest Place on Earth"...?  If you met some of the staff you would disagree.  We were trying to get on a ride [drawing a blank on the name] and the line was long.  So we decided to use 1 of the 3 Fast Passes on our cards.  We ask the staffer at the entrance do we use our pass that we used to get into the park AS our Fast Pass (as she flashes the card) - she says "yes".  My sister goes to scan her card and the same staffer says "no you need a Fast Pass"...  Apparently she wasn't listening to the first question or just couldn't comprehend.  Then we move our asses to the line to get a Fast Pass and the staffer there tells the family that's at the front that there are no more Fast Passes available for that ride...  Then she waits for the next in line to step up and attempt to scan their card, etc.  I happen to overhear so I'm like let's dip.  How about ANNOUCING to the crowd of people standing there in the fu*king heat that there are NO more Fast Passes available for the ride!!??  After a majority of people grunted at her or shared their opinion, she just smirked and rolled her eyes.  I totally get it - you have to stand there for your shift and listen to a bunch of people ask you the same questions, to include people who don't speak English very well.  However, it comes with your job.  I wish I could of explored more of the park, maybe have met a few of the princesses and tried a couple of the rides.  I'm a huge Ariel & Belle fan sooo I was a little bummed.


Island of Adventures - DOPE!
Where do I even begin?  Regardless of the shitty weather, we didn't let it stop us from having a good time.  The wait times were just lovely.  We got to ride on more rides here in less time than when we were at Disney World.  I doubt this is a big deal to anyone else, but there was more options for places to sit; while waiting for people to get off rides.  The place just seemed a lot more organized.  I definitely want to give a shout out to the staff that worked in the First Aid center.  We were lost trying to find the family restroom.  All the changing tables (I'm assuming that's what it was supposed to be) in the restrooms were small tables; my newbie's feet were dangling into the trash area.  While running around trying to find this family restroom, I recommended we ask the First Aid center if they could tell us where to go and in the end they let us use the Nursery.  They were very friendly and very helpful.  The only complaints I had was there was a handful of places that smelled unpleasant (musty/trash).  At this point in our trip, I forgot to make note of all the rides we rode.  For the most part, the whole family enjoyed this park a lot.  They rode: Doctor Doom's Fearfall [I feel like a whimp, my little big man rode this one], The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges [twice!], Pteranodon Flyers, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey [I missed out trying to find the damn family bathroom!].  Since everyone was kind of doing their own thing we decided to check out Seuss Landing to find kiddy rides for our newbie.  There weren't too many options for a toddler at this park, but we did ride: Caro-Seuss-el and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish [while it rained & the ride already does get you wet].  There were several other rides that the family enjoyed: Storm Force Acceleratron, Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls, and Flight of the Hippogriff.

Universal Studios - N/A
I can't really say much for this park.  My newbie finally was napping, so I sat out for this park in some grassy area by a stage and just chilled - people watched, etc.  While sitting around I watched a short parade come through and saw Gru and his Minions, SpongeBob, and Dora & Diego.  The family rode Revenge of the Mummy [I missed out again], Transformers: The Ride-3D, and Men in Black Alien Attack.  As for the food, the churros were pretty bomb.  I wanted another, but I thought they were a little pricey; which was expected. 

SEA WORLD (Day 3):

Sea World - One of my favorites
I have a weird obsession with going to the Shamu show and sitting in the Soak Zone to be splashed by orcas...  [don't judge me]  It's odd because they're very intimidating due to their huge size.  My newbie didn't like getting splashed so much, but he was amazed at the sight of them.  There was one of them that actually floated in front of us for the most part before the show even began.  I was utterly mesmerized.  I didn't think to check, but I was also looking to see if Tilikum was present.  I had read online that after that horrifying incident (RIP DB) that he continues to perform at Sea World.  We also watched the Dolphin show.  Our first ride we hit up was Journey to Atlantis.  I liked it, but the ride gives you this false pretense that you're going to be completely drenched.  FALSE.  You get wet - BARELY.  The last time I came to Sea World I rode the Manta.  I was ter-rif-fied!  I'm pretty positive I kept eyes shut the entire time & screamed [lol]; roller coasters just aren't my thing.  We ate at Seaport Pizza, the food wasn't bad and we invested in a Sea World cup.  When you purchase one of those you get free refills throughout the park, including Icee's.  I think the kids' favorite part was Shamu's Happy Harbor.  It's a kid section with rides, games, climbing/gym, and a water play area.  Unfortunately the only ride my newbie could get on was the carousel again.  I was disappointed with the fireworks show at the end.  They changed the show from the last time we were visited.  The firework show is combined with the whale show.  I assumed there would be the whole whale show and then once it ended it would be non-stop fireworks.  WRONG.  Towards the end of the whale performances fireworks started going off; it was distracting and confusing.

Typhoon Lagoon - So fun!
This was a first for the whole family.  I'm actually glad we had a plan of attack, so to speak, on how we were going to find a good spot.  They have limited shade (umbrellas/cabanas).  If you were to reserve a cabana it was $350/day [what in thee fu*k].  Not only was the price high, it only fit 6 people and if you exceeded that limit they would make you cough up more money to pay for another cabana...  Talk about money hungry hoes.  Overall the experience was fun!  I couldn't stay away from the Crush 'N' Gusher slides (3 separate slides).  Another exciting slide was the Gangplank Falls; it's more of a family raft ride that fits 4 people.  At this part of our adventure we were all over the place.  A few times we would hit up the Castaway Creek aka Lazy River.  I thought it was nice that they have the inner tubes made for the little ones (the usual donut hole was sealed).  We grabbed food at Leaning Palms and price wise I didn't think it was too crazy.  Another exciting option is you can swim with sharks.  The advertisement is misleading - you don't get to dive into the water and swim with them, you have to swim/stay at the top of the water and swim above them.  We even got to peep Downtown Disney; that place was ridiculously busy, but damnit I wanted my Minnie Mouse ears!
- Bring plenty of water (freeze some, but bring regular cold un-frozen ones).
- Bring snacks (fruit snacks, crackers, PB & J, granola bars, pop-tarts, chips).
- Bring a towel.
- Bring a change of clothes.
- If your thighs rub [guilty] put on some damn chaffing cream [shit hurts].
- Bring deodorant.
- Wipes/Sanitizer.
- Wear *COMFORTABLE* shoes, but bring flip flops.
- Wear a hat.
- Wear sunglasses.
- If you can't stand getting wet, bring a poncho/umbrella.
- Umbrella strollers are easier to carry around.
- Waterproof makeup.
- Bring a portable spray/fan bottle.
- Batteries.
- Empty your phone's pictures/videos prior to going on vacation for more storage space.
- Wear lots of sun screen.
1.) Females strutting around in high heels - you are nuts.
2.) People wearing jeans &/or long sleeves - you are nuts.
3.) Young ladies wearing provocative clothing - you are nuts.
If you have smaller children I'd recommend sticking to Disney World.  I think they would have a better chance with getting on the rides there; they MAY BE able to get on some of the rides at Universal Studios/Island of Adventure, but definitely check the height requirements when planning your trip.  I noticed not too many rides are toddler friendly so you may just want to wait it out until they're a little bigger.  I was surprised that my little big man was actually tall enough to get on a majority of the rides.  If you want legit fireworks - stick to Disney World.  If you don't have kids or are going without them [jerks] - stick to Universal Studios/Island of Adventure, that's where the fun is at.  Be prepared for crazy traffic.  The traffic there was horrific; I don't know if people in Orlando just don't know how to drive or they drive that way because of all the tourists; either way, beware!  When comparing the last time I was there on vacation to recently, I don't remember it being THAT crowded; not only was it overcrowded I feel like it was nothing but foreigners [I'm not hating - to an EXTENT]. 
FYI, if you come to our country [the U.S.A.] please learn our customs and courtesies.  If you expect that when other people come to your countries, then apply that same way of thinking to when you come here.  You wouldn't believe how many times I was bumped into [I felt like I was at the club again] and have people all up in your space while waiting in line [shoulder width apart people!].  There were times where I felt like there was no breathing room. 
When you arrive at the park you smell a lot of sun screen and deodorant.  When you've been at the parks for a good minute - that sadly changes to B/O and sweat.  It's gross so prepare yourself!
I think it was nice to get away.  It was way more difficult having a toddler with us; whether you're referring to the long ass drive or all the walking.  We were lucky we had a lot of helpers with us to help watch our newbie while trying to head in/out the door.  Plus it was nice to have everyone [minus my big bro & his wife] together again.
Hopefully that helps :)

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