The Abraham Family’s Journey to Russia to Bring Home Their Daughter

May 23, 2008

Vacation is where I want to be ...

... dancing on the beach where the fun in free. Don't need a holiday to celebrate, repeat after me, I need a vacation...

This is the song all four of my boys were singing last week, loudly, over and over again. (That, and another very annoying song about a banana phone.) We did have a nice vacation and we packed a ton of fun into three days.

We arrived in Orlando Tuesday night and on Wednesday morning we were cruising down Universal's City Walk before the parks opened. We had free tickets that were six years old, but Universal honored them anyway. They upgraded them to day passes for both parks for a small fee. Sweet! It was a beautiful day and not too hot, but best of all, there were no lines for anything! We did practically everything in both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and still made it back to our resort in time for the Dive-in Theatre (movie by the pool) which was playing "Enchanted" that night. My sister, brother-in-law and one neice joined us. They live in nearby Lakeland, FL.

For Thursday, I was initially pulling for Kennedy Space Center. But it was very hot that day and Sea World's new water park, Aquatica, was calling our name. Our resort is located across the street from Sea World and every time we drove past Aquatica, the boys would ooh and awe over the giant water slides. So we just HAD to check it out. I must say, Aquatica is our new FAVORITE water park! It just opened two months ago. We enjoyed it way better than Disney's Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon. It was beautiful, clean, had great (healthy) food, and was very, very family friendly. I think we could have stayed in the kids play area or just floated around the river rapids for the whole day and the kids would have been happy, but we managed to take in all the water slides too. The only down side is that I didn't keep re-applying sunscreen and we all got too much sun. I am usually so careful about that and I felt like a horrible mom every time I looked at the boys reddish-pink shoulders.

Thursday night we went to dinner at Medieval Times. This was an awesome experience! The boys are fascinated with knights, jousting and sword fighting. The story was about a peaceful Kingdom until the Prince was captured by bad guys and a mean knight wanted to start a war. The Princess was sad waiting for her Prince to return, so her father, the King, held a jousting tournament with all the Knights. After the jousting tournament, the mean knight challenged all the good knights in a hand to hand combat. The good Knights all lost, but alas ... the Prince escaped from his captors and returned just in time to defeat the bad Knight and reunite with the Princess and King, restoring peace to the Kingdom.

It was fun cheering on our Knight and I loved watching the amazingly beautiful horses. Our seats were front row center so we felt like we were right smack in the middle of the battles. During the sword fights, sparks were flying when metal hit metal. Cool! Oh, by the way, there are no utensils with the meal, so you have to drink your soup and eat your food (chicken, ribs, and roasted potatoes) with your fingers. We knew Nolan would LOVE this! Finally, he got to eat a meal without Martin and I nagging him to use his fork. :0)

Friday was our rest day and we just hung out by the pool. My sister's family joined us in the afternoon. We absolutely love our resort in Orlando because there is so much for the kids to do (3 heated pools, shaded playground, fountain play area, walking trail, shuffle board, life-size chess board, ping-pong, tennis and basketball -- not to mention the activities they have planned for kids), the rooms are incredible and the little restaurant by the pool is so nice. Best of all, it didn't cost us anything. We used points that were about to expire anyway. If you like to travel, Hilton Grand Vacation Club is a great program.

Friday night we went to Disney World's Magic Kingdom for the Pirate and Princess Party. We took my two nieces with us and it just confirmed that there is not a big difference in having six kids versus 4 kids. We were constantly doing head counts (which we already do with just our 4) and actually my nieces were a big help in keeping up with everyone. Once again, there were no lines for any of the rides at Disney. We are so spoiled that I don't think we can ever do a theme park during peak season again. Every single ride was walk right on -- even Space Mountain. As a general rule, our family will only wait a maximum of 15 (maybe 20) minutes for any theme park ride.

The Pirate and Princess Party is a special event at Disney. On selected days, the park closes early (7:00 pm) and only those with a wrist band for the party can be in the park. The party is supposed to be from 7:00 pm to midnight, but they always let you in early so we arrived about 6:00 pm. The tickets cost about $20 less per person than a general day admission and since they only sell a limited number of tickets, you are virtually guaranteed no lines. Plus, everyone gets pirate loot bags and there were stations set up around the park with special goodies (mostly beads, jewels, and ring pops). Characters are literally everywhere, but we tend to focus on the rides. Liam especially got excited about the rides this year. His favorite was Dumbo the Flying Elephants and Pirates of the Caribbean. We watched the fireworks explode right over our heads.

Kids can have tea with all the Princesses, but I'll have to wait for our little girl to experience that I guess. What the boys loved most was getting sword fighting lessons from Captain Jack Sparrow himself. Nolan was picked to be a part of Captain Jack's crew and he kept saying "I can't believe he chose ME!" Before going to sleep that night, he told me he knew it was just the actor, but what a magical experience it was for him anyway.

We closed the park down at midnight and it was almost 1:00 am before everyone was in bed. Somehow, by the grace of God, we made it to the Orlando airport the next morning with plenty of time to spare. In fact, we made it back home in time for Garrett to play his baseball game. He changed into his uniform in the car on the way home from the Nashville airport and we arrived at his game ten minutes before it started. Whew!

Well, that was our adventurous vacation! No, we didn't get THE CALL while at Disney, but we stayed so busy that I only had time to think about it one or two times. It was great family fun and I'm so glad the boys got to hang out with cousins again. For me, it was more than a vacation, it was a much needed mental break from FRUA, blogs, and obsessively checking e-mail. And, the best part is that none of our boys whined, complained, or argued during the ENTIRE trip! Bet you'd love to know my secret for that, huh?

Here are photos and videos:

Garrett with Southwest Pilot Wings as Eyebrows


Life is good with Cotton Candy! Liam at Aquatica under a huge blue umbrella.

Playing Chess by the pool

Magic Kingdom fireworks!

My beautiful Florida Neices

The King and his court at Medieval Times!

Our Knight's colors were Black and White. You can see the metal plates, cups and soup bowls with handles. Sorry, no knives, spoons or forks.

The Jester!

Preston and cousin Blake at the Disney Dance Party! That's Garrett sneaking up to do bunny ears behind them before he gets whacked by Blake. All in good fun!

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