Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Spring Break 2017 Day 2

I think I was running on excitement because when my alarm went off that morning at 6:30 I jumped out of bed and started getting ready. Today was Universal Studios! My youngest sister, Hayley, works for Disney AND Universal and offered to get us passes for the day.  I can't tell you what a huge savings that is! Once we got to the park and saw the prices at the gate I was mystified.  How do people afford to pay for these parks?!  And then add on food and all the extras? Just wow.

Our hotel offered "continental breakfast" with the room fee. We quickly found out that that meant waffles, fruit, and yogurt....not a completely filling breakfast and very low protein. Luckily I had brought along protein powder, precooked meat and turkey jerky from home. Our hotel room had a nice view of the Four Points Hotel (which my sister later told me she had stayed in and it's not as great as it looks).
 photo 21F80561-BAF8-408A-91B3-04EE41791CF5_zpsspxxqcnz.jpg

La Quinta offered a free shuttle to the theme parks so we waited outside for it to appear.
 photo 49280332-7ABD-4E89-9F21-0398DDE75F45_zpsppprg4eh.jpg

The drive was short and soon we were entering the line of people heading towards City Walk.
 photo 3D737D4C-0B9B-48ED-A34B-E66ED1CE922F_zpsssl7so6p.jpg

I spied the will call kiosks and quickly got our tickets printed. Hayley had reserved them online for us. 
 photo 74562202-A050-4BF2-B879-F068AD4E32F2_zpsfyu2wrn2.jpg

What did we choose as our first ride? Dr. Seuss of course....I wanted to get a view of the park
 photo 7D15E84A-195F-4CEF-8147-DD3B0A6EA137_zpslnvglbth.jpg

We started making our way through Islands of Adventure and quickly found the castle in which Hayley works:
 photo B1C589E7-FC8F-4F50-8665-2781A39368F9_zpsak4zxwrn.jpg

Hayley ended up meeting us around 11:30 and spent a few hours with us until she had to be at work.  Some of our favorite rides were Jurassic Park, Kong, and Transformers.
 photo 77735908-8A26-4F4E-B638-C19D1750812E_zpsjcqqhoru.jpg

I think Jessica's favorite ride was the Mummy....she eventually talked me into going on it, insisting that there were no "drops" and no loops...Ha! Lesson learned...do not listen to 13 year olds...they are trying to trick you.

Around 4:15/30 we started heading to dinner...Hayley had suggested a place in City Walk, the Chocolate Emporium.  You don't have to mention chocolate to me twice! Sign me up!
 photo 1739A1A2-E3D2-4634-B0E7-D41CB228EEF5_zpscbhguzxh.jpg
 photo 6694FCB5-9F9F-44B1-A54B-4FDBF24DD4D4_zpsmho7u293.jpg
 photo BF3DCE1B-A534-41A0-8BBA-2D309AA5A5FB_zpsjuy5a4vc.jpg

The chocolate bread with caramel butter had been recommended and lived up to its reputation:
 photo 7BB387DC-C89D-4DAF-9450-D4BDBF4A5654_zps163lmzus.jpg
  photo 32ED5ABE-BBD2-4EA6-8E1C-9E4F24064424_zpsqwbq8kr3.jpg

and lest we not forget the best dessert of my life, behold the Brookies Cookies & Cream:
 photo A2BAB523-8A16-4F6A-BAA6-EB5DFC9AF7FF_zpsurl44kpz.jpg

We were full and exhausted after that and made our way to the shuttle pick up.
 photo 951D9DA6-49AF-4EC2-BE60-9833876101D3_zpsn4bsqksv.jpg

Sunset that night was beautiful.  I found a gym half a mile away and tried to work off as many of those dinner calories as possible but it was oh so worth it!
 photo BCDE141E-992B-40D6-9AF5-743B0B6AC85A_zpsrmcn2ik4.jpg


Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring Break 2017 Day 1

Wow! It has been quite a while since I have posted here. The vacations I've been on since Ireland have all been cruises and I have documented them on Cruise Critic instead of this blog.  I just returned back from a week in Florida visiting family in both Orlando and Tampa and wanted to document my trip for my own memory's sake.  

The week after my Ireland trip in 2014 I moved to Colorado to live with my boyfriend.  We then immediately followed that with a cruise to the Caribbean. 2015 was another cruise to a different part of the Caribbean and 2016 was a cruise to Mexico. Later this fall we will cruise to yet another part of the Caribbean!

This spring break trip 2017 I was joined by my boyfriend's daughter and his mother. Our flight out of Colorado Springs departed at 5pm MST so we arrived at the airport, parked my car in long term parking, and headed inside to check the bags. I had pre-purchased everything on Frontier as it saves quite a few dollars.

 photo 0424F1A5-2693-4ED2-A978-1C1943200518_zpsbr3cucyf.jpg

We got inside to the long bag check line and I started to panic...did I lock the car?  I left the gals behind and literally ran all the way through the lot to the back where I had packed the car....of course I had locked it...but if I hadn't checked I would have obsessed over it all day.

We got through security relatively quickly since it's a fairly small airport and made it to the gate with a 30 minute wait time before boarding.  A family sat across from us in the waiting area and I noticed the dad was wearing a sweatshirt with my work logo on it. Turned out that his wife works at my hospital and they were headed to Disney for their annual trip.  He said "see honey I told you someone would ask if I worked there". LOL.

Typical 13 year old activity:
 photo ED82EF03-715D-4484-8C48-C25821B6CFCB_zps5yfjzobq.jpg

My seat on-board was separate since I had purchased my ticket independently.  I pulled out my kindle and luckily got a window seat.  That rarely happens for me!
 photo E103C94C-7B3A-40D7-B65C-987616DBE416_zps6u9ebhud.jpg

 photo D00B2F71-321F-4C56-A629-572C316DC791_zpss4zikrx7.jpg

We landed in Orlando at 11pm and safe to say we were exhausted and starving.  I don't know what happened, but there was a huge delay with luggage in Orlando.  We waited for our bags for an hour.  People in the waiting area started singing the old classic "99 bottles of beer on the wall" to pass time and when the bags finally started coming out on the carousel everyone shouted Hoorah!
 photo 3B14417E-B8B5-4C91-82F0-DDFA23512299_zpscigqshrr.jpg

With bags in hand we headed outside to the slot our car rental shuttle was to pick us up. The 13 year old's first MUST DO in Florida? Hug a palm tree. Soon we were on our way to Ace Rent A Car. The pick up process did not take long at all and guess what was right next door?  Good ole MickeyD's.  After getting food we made the 20 minute drive to our hotel, La Quinta on International Blvd, checked in, and passed out pretty quickly. It was 1am and we were set to wake up at 7am for a day at Universal Studios.