Orlando Fun

Posted by Roneil Icatar On 1/12/2010 09:19:00 PM
Between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, our family took a trip down to Orlando, Florida for a nice vacation.  We were hoping to get away from the cold and snow that was hammering the Northeast.  It was a relatively short 5-night, 4-day vacation, but so that we wouldn’t be completely exhausted at the end of it, we decided to do theme parks for two days and relax by the pool the other two days. (You can view the slideshow below or click on Read More to continue with the rest of the story.)

We flew out of New York on Sunday afternoon.  Just so that we didn’t have to deal with the issues with luggage, we decided that we would carry everything on and we packed light.  We got to the airport well ahead of time and the lines for security actually weren’t that bad.  We must have looked like crazy people as we prepped everything to go through the security line, but since we were well organized, we had all liquids separated and the kids shoes off and we were able to breeze through with hardly a wait.  This was P1010159Nathaniel’s first flight ever, and it’s been a  couple years since Isabella and Annalise flew, so we were curious, er, nervous to see how everyone would behave, but everyone did great.  They were all quite excited to be flying and very well behaved.

Our flight down had a stopover in Washington DC and we got some real nice looks of the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument as we landed.  With our layover in DC being a couple hours, we were able to grab some dinner in the terminal.  We finally landed in Orlando in the evening, where we headed for the car P1010165rental place to pick up our car.  I must be really spoiled with the frequent renter programs of other places where we could just pick a car from the lot then leave.   We weren’t so fortunate this time and I must have waited in line for an hour to get the car and we already had the reservations.  Thankfully, the agent must have felt bad for us because by the time I got to the counter, the kids were out of patience and running all over the place, so she graciously upgraded us from a dinky mid-sized car to a nice, roomy mini-van (a Volkswagen Routan!) at no charge.  The kids absolutely loved the car and now want a mini-van, but that’s another conversation.  We finally made it out of the airport and headed to our hotel, the Nickelodeon Suites Hotel.

By the time we got to the hotel and checked in, it was extremely late and we struggled to get everyone settled in.P1010166   Everyone was both excited and exhausted from the trip and we decided to sleep in the next day and hang out by the pool.  Fortunately, the pool was right outside our door. 

The Nick Suites hotel, as you can imagine, is an entire hotel with a theme from all the cartoon characters from the Nickelodeon channel – which happen to be the kids favorite shows.  The suites have a living area with a kitchenette and separate P1010169bedrooms for the kids and parents. The kids’ room was decorated with SpongeBob wallpaper, and Nickelodeon characters greeted you everywhere you went on the grounds.  There were two giant heated pools, complete with massive water slides  and other assorted activities.P1010427

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t as warm as we would have liked, but it was still much warmer than it was back home.  On our first day, since we decided to stay close to home and relax, we checked out the rest of the hotel grounds, then settled by the pool.  It was in the low 60s, but since the pool was heated to a very comfortable 80 degrees, we had no problems getting in.  Unfortunately, at some point, we had to get out!  You could tell all the families who were from up North, because we were all in the pool having a great time – while the locals (including the lifeguards) were all bundled up.

The rest of the week warmed up pretty nicely and ended up being in the mid 70s.  We spent the next day at Animal Kingdom and the following day at Magic Kingdom, but I will have a separate post on that.

On Day 4, Thursday, which also happened to be New Years Eve, we decided to relax and stay at the hotel again, since we P1010433were pretty much wiped out from the two days at the theme parks.  We also had a 7am flight home on New Years Day, so we knew we couldn’t go too crazy on Thursday. We swam for a few hours, then went to a Chinese buffet for dinner.  After that, we spent the remaining hours of 2009 at Downtown Disney where we visited the T-Rex restaurant and the  Lego store.  We also scored some free chocolate at the Ghirardelli store.  As midnight approached, everyone congregated near a concert stage where a local band was playing some pretty good music.  It was pretty amazing how many other P1010449kids were running around and how many people in general were up and about, but I guess it shouldn’t be surprising since it was New Years Eve.  Finally, the group announced that it was close to midnight and began the countdown.  When midnight finally struck, we all joined in a group hug and exchanged kisses and happy new year’s.  I wrote about it briefly in the Happy New Years post, but for those few seconds, we all were very appreciative and thankful for where we were considering what had happened over the last year.

At approximately 12:01am, we started heading back to our car knowing that we had  a flight 7 hours later.  By the time we got back to the hotel, it was really late and Julianne and the kids went to bed for a couple hours.  Knowing that we would have to be on the way to the airport P1010452by 4:30am, I decided to stay up, which is when I posted the Happy New Year post.  Surprisingly, the whole process of getting on the plane went amazingly smooth – everything from packing the kids into the car, bringing the car back to going through security to the actual boarding was pretty flawless.  We were all asleep on the plane by the time the plane took off and we didn’t wake up until we landed in New York.  We were immediately met with the brisk cold air and some light snow, but we were home well before noon.

All in all, this was a pretty perfect vacation for us, as we weren’t too tired when we got back. Sometimes, after a long vacation, you feel like you need a vacation from the vacation, but this time, we didn’t feel it.  We also had a couple more days to unwind and prepare before we had to go back to work and school.

Below is a quick slideshow of additional pictures from our vacation.  Check back soon when I will have pictures from our days at Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom!

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