Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Epcot and Orlando

Last week our friends, Mike & Dottie, were visiting Disney World with their three kids and the rest of Mike's family. So we decided to go visit with them for a day or so. Our initial plan was to take Spirit out for a weekend, but we were surprised that the 1,000+ sites at Wilderness were filled. So much for trying to do that last minute! We decided to still go, but just get a hotel room nearby.

We spent all day on Friday in Epcot. No, I'm not exaggerating. We spent 12 hours in that one park! Mike and Dottie took the kids back in the afternoon to pack and enjoy the hotel pool one more time (they were leaving early on Sat morning), but then joined us again that night for the fireworks in Epcot. We do enjoy Epcot. I think it's even more fun with kids.

These were just some of the sights we enjoyed:
A lionfish in a tank at Living Seas. Makes us miss scuba diving! Can't wait for the water & air temps to warm up (to 80 degrees, that is! (We're becoming soft again...and quick.)

We had to go visit Canada to prepare for an upcoming trip to the great north. The 360-degree movie in Canada got us very excited about our trip, but it also made us very nauseous. Something about the dipping and swaying of the camera while you're standing still that throws you off balance.

We stopped to enjoy the different shows presented at the different countries in Epcot. Poor Andy, he got pulled up 'on-stage' in Italy to play the Municipal Mime in the play "Romeo and Edna". Good thing the Mime had no lines to say. We decided that he has a face that is too friendly, so this happens to him periodically...and he hates it! But he really enjoyed watching the Chinese Acrobats and the Moroccan Bellydancer...what a surprise.

What's fascinating about Epcot, or any of the Disney parks is how well they are managed. Lines are made bearable with entertainment along the way, or now you can even avoid the lines with FastPass (which is wonderful for those with small children who can't wait in lines...think "Andy"). The parks are impeccably clean. I understand employees get around through an underground system, which explains why you don't see service people above-ground. But you know things are magical when every time you use a restroom they are clean and there's always toilet paper and paper towels! Considering how many people visit these parks on a daily basis, it really is amazing.

But what is also fascinating about these parks is how they transform themselves at night. Tantalizing all of the visitors to stay longer and walk around the park to see it in all of its lights...and spend more money of course.

Thanks to Mike and Dottie, and Erin, Mike, and Emily, too, for sharing some of your vacation time with us. It was great to see you. And, thanks to little Mike for taking me on Mission Space...I probably wouldn't have gone on it if it wasn't for you!

After the Wynne family had to fly back to Philly into Saturday's snowstorm, we drove across town to visit some of our other friends, Gerry and Chris. We're glad Gerry and Chris moved south from Jacksonville, so now we can see them more often. From there we went to Andy's brothers house to visit with them for the night. Luckily, Nick was home from college for the weekend so the two boys (think "Andy" again) were able to rough-house and give Amy and me a break for the weekend. As always, it was a wonderful time at the Thomas home.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Problems with Pictures

I'm perplexed. I've tried several different methods to try and correct my photo problems from the end of our trip. I'm now thinking it's because they were from my film camera and were put on cd by CVS/Eckerd or someplace and that may be the reason why they are not posting correctly. I'm open to suggestions if anyone has an answer to this...

Our First Overnight Guest

My sister, Karen, came to visit for a few days. She was officially our first overnight guest! Living in Florida usually means lots of guests! We have started to take reservations for the next several months - it's starting to feel like "home" again! Ha!

We showed my sister around the area by bike tour. First, we showed her the beautiful waterways...

then continued on to the beach at the end of our street...

then we biked around some of the neighborhoods just to check out the mansions on the waterways and the cute 'old Florida' homes still sprinkled about.

On another day, we went down to Anne Kolb park and Nature Center. I hadn't been here in years and forgot how pretty it was with the boardwalks through the mangroves. We were fortunate enough to catch several ospreys in their hunt for fish.

Sometimes I just have to pinch myself - it's February and I'm in shorts and I've already been through a snowstorm months ago half-way across the country. We're glad to be home and enjoying the gorgeous weather down here...but we're already starting to get the itch to travel again! I guess some of us are terminally ill with the travel bug, huh?


Sorry for the long hiatus, but we've been busy trying to get our lives reorganized. We only had two short weeks in December to unpack the RV and get settled in the condo before we were off again to Philly. We had two weeks in Philly to be with family for the holidays. Since we weren't able to put up Christmas decorations in our own home, we tried to help out family with their trees and decorations so that we could satisfy our own personal cravings for decorating over the holidays.

January just slipped away from us. We are still trying to see old friends and become acquainted with all of our new neighbors. We've been trying to learn the new area - you know, where the post office is, which streets cut through to avoid traffic, where the local Home Depot is, where Diane can take Yoga classes, find new local doctors, etc etc etc. All of the joys of moving, right? And, we've learned that some of the furniture from the house wasn't quite fitting in the new condo, so we've been changing out furniture and bric-a-brac. Unfortunately, while we were in Philly over Christmas, our two mountain bikes were stolen from the bike racks in our building. So, added to our list of items to be purchased were new bikes. That was a real bummer. Made even worse by the negative attitude of the police officer who took our report. So the assumption is that our bikes went to the islands on a stolen-bike barge. But we are getting more and more comfortable with the size of our new home and the convenience of living in a downtown environment.

We're finally in a position where we can now function and think about our future. We'll keep you informed once we know what path we will choose. I see lots of research in our near future! In the meantime I've started to volunteer at the local Wildlife Care Center, which is the largest wildlife hospital (based on quantity of patients). I'm looking forward to learning more about our native wildlife. I've also recently purchased a new camera (to replace my broken Nikon), but now I have to learn how to use it! It's my first SLR camera. Yikes!