Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Break - Family Vacation Part 1

Friday afternoon, my wonderful wife picked up the boys from school, picked me up from work, and we headed south to spend Spring Break in Orlando.

Having four of us in the car, the HOV-3 lanes on I-395 were nice while they lasted, but we got stuck in some pretty gnarly traffic once the HOV lanes ended. We stopped in Lumberton, NC for the night and then finished the drive to Orlando on Saturday.

On our way, we stopped to visit the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial in South Carolina. Yes, yes, there was a geocache there. This was my first geocache in South Carolina and my 500th geocache find overall.

Self portrait in front of the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial

The boys helped me find the geocache by figuring out the answer to the question on the old Army Air Corps beacon.

I'm always looking for unique local places to eat instead of national chain restaurants. Thanks to Yelp, we found Ronnie's in Savannah, Georgia. It's a small burger, fries, onion rings, and milk shakes kind of place. The lady at the counter asked in a slow Southern drawl if we wanted our burgers "all the way." We said we didn't know what that meant. She said, "Y'all aren't from the south are ya? Are y'all headin' to Disney World?" Wow... how'd you guess?

HUMONGO Onion Rings
(Aside: Why does he have a cow when there are diced onions in any other item of food placed in front of him, but he'll gobble up onion rings like there's no tomorrow???)

My wife said, "this was better than that place you dragged us to in Kansas." I can't say that I agree with that. The food was probably of the same taste and quality, but I think the ambiance was a little more unique at the Crazy R in Kansas, and the menu at the Crazy R certainly had more of a local flavor to it. :-)

Each time we have come here in the past, we have spent most of the week just enjoying the pool at the Marriott Harbour Lake resort, and we devote one day to making our token visit to Disney. We figure as the boys get older, we will eventually branch out and hit other spots like Universal Studios.

Sunday and Monday we spent here at the resort hanging out by the pool.

The pirate ship in the pool.

A fleeting glimpse of YB as he races off to
man the water cannons on the pirate ship.

A sighting of the elusive YB-fish.

Come a little bit closer Daddy.

Cue Admiral Akbar sound bite: IT'S A TRAP!

Tuesday we made our pilgrimage to Disney World.

This is the first time we've attempted
to go during Spring Break. :-$

The monorail was shut-down, so everyone
had to wait in long lines and take the ferry
across the lake to the Magic Kingdom.

Thanks to the wonders of digital photography, I find taking a quick snapshot of my watch with something in the background is a helpful log of our activities for the day. This photo is at the front entrance to the Magic Kingdom. Yeah, we left the resort about 9:15. It only took us about 10 minutes to drive to Disney. The other 80 minutes were spent riding the tram in from where we parked and then waiting for the ferry to cross the lake.

Here's a recap of our day's visit to the Magic Kingdom:

- 10:46 a.m. walked in the Main Entrance

Have fun stormin' the castle!
(This was our first sighting of the castle after entering the park.)

- Walked over to Tomorrow Land

- Picked up fast passes for 3:55 p.m. at Space Mountain

- Rode the Buzz Lightyear ride (40 minute wait)

On the Buzz Lightyear ride you actually get to control
your turret - spinning left or right, and you each get
a laser blaster to shoot at all the things marked with
Z (for Zurg) and rack up a score for everything you hit.

Self portrait with ES in the Buzz Lightyear ride

- Walked over to Fantasy Land

- Scoffed at the 120 minute wait for the Dumbo ride (YB's favorite from our last visit)

- Bought some hot dogs for lunch

- Couldn't find any place to sit down, so we ate our lunches standing by the Dumbo ride

- Walked to Frontier Land

- Time Stamp: 12:26 p.m. getting in line for Haunted Mansion

YB watches the paddle-wheel boat while
waiting in line at the Haunted Mansion.

- Rode the Haunted Mansion ride (35 minute wait). ES wanted to go again, YB was a little creeped out by it, but he later said he wanted to do it again.

- Picked up fast passes for 4:30 p.m. at Thunder Mountain

- Rode the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (45 minute wait). Boys said it was "boring."

- Walk through the Swiss Family Robinson tree house. This was cool for us since we just recently watched the movie for family movie night, but it's probably pretty boring if you aren't familiar with the book or the movie.

- Ate some Dole Pineapple Whip! This was the first time we've had Dole Pineapple Whip since we left Hawaii.

- Walked back over to Tomorrow Land - observed Main Street Parade with Mickey & Minnie Mouse dancing on a float on the way.

- My nephews insisted Space Mountain is the best ride EVER, so I went with them on Space Mountain with them while everyone else went on the People Mover.

- I got off Space Mountain feeling like someone had just pulled me out of the clothes dryer - spinning lights, spinning stomach, happy nephews.

- Walked back over to Frontier Land to ride Thunder Mountain. This was the first time for both of my boys on an honest-to-goodness roller coaster, and I was a little worried they would wig out. I was pleasantly surprised. We came off the ride with YB saying, "AGAIN! AGAIN!" and ES saying, "The only way to survive was by screaming!" Actually, both boys wanted to go again, but there was a 60 minute wait and we said no way.

- About this time, my wife and I were exhausted and the boys were clearly "done", so we agreed it was time to head back.

We got on the train to go back to the main entrance at 5:40 p.m.

We stopped for a Blunoz Family self portrait at the main entrance.

Then we crammed into the monorail like it was
the rush hour on the Metro in DC.

Unfortunately, my Garmin battery
didn't last the entire day in Disney.

Using the Buckeye Outdoors website's route planning feature, I estimate we walked about 3.4 miles. When I got back and recharged the Garmin, I was able to see that we covered 11.85 miles in 7 hours before the battery died. However, I didn't turn it off while we were on the rides, so that wasn't 11.85 miles of walking. As I analyze the data, I expect to see some 2-3 minute spikes in velocity (pace) when we were on Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain.

Using the Garmin Connect website, I found I can share this map of where we went. Yes, yes, I am a nerd / geek / dork / all of the above for sharing this with you, but isn't it COOL???

If you click on "satellite" it will show the track overlaid on top of the overhead imagery of the park. The green bubble with the play symbol at the bottom shows where I started the GPS at the main entrance. There's one odd outlyer of a data point in the lower right when we were on the Buzz Lightyear ride. You can also see two spurious bad data points when we rode Space Mountain. Other than that, it looks like a pretty accurate recording of our visit. At the red bubble with the stop symbol, you can see how the battery died in my watch as we were on the train riding around the perimeter of the park on our way back to the main entrance.

At 6:23 p.m., we were back in our car and headed for dinner.

YB was rather insistent.


divrchk said...

For Future Reference, the Verizon Disney App is amazing and well worth the money. It has accurate wait times for EVERY ride, can tell where you are in any of their parks in FL or CA, ent. info, dining info, show times, etc.

Our whole family did Space Mountain twice - my kids love roller coasters, the faster the better! Glad you had a good day at the park.

Navy Blue Cougar said...

Thanks for letting me live vicariously through your post. Not only have I felt the need for a vacation get burned right out of me, I think I am actually tired from reading about your day.

Sounds like you had a wonderful time with your family, but I don't think I would be able to keep up with you.

Anonymous said...

Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you will not have a leg to stand on.............................................

TechnoBabe said...

Great family photos. Enjoy your vacation and Happy Easter to you and your family.