Archive for March, 2014

Orlando Recap, Conclusion

And you thought I was done with the vacation posts. This one is just observations, no photos.

  • We have an ancient Michigan saying: The grass is always greener in Florida. That is especially true in February.
  • Two paths diverged in a Knoxville, and I – I took the one less travelled by. I knew we would be on the freeway a lot, so I chose to take the back roads from Knoxville to Atlanta (129 to 411, jumping on I-75 just north of Atlanta). It was a nice drive, apart from the several miles I was stuck behind someone going 5-10 under the speed limit. That’s the downside of the back roads – one lane each way near the mountains means there are not a lot of opportunities for passing. But, more time to enjoy the scenery. Miles-wise, it was a lot shorter, but time-wise it was about the same. Only, the GPS was not happy with me. It was doing all it could to get me back to I-75 the whole time.
  • Florida must be where bottled water got its start. All the tap water there tastes like swamp. If you ever travel to Florida, be prepared to avoid the local water supply.
  • Even though you might not want to make the trip down and back and down again, take the 2YO to breakfast in his pajamas then bring him back to the room to change into his clothes for the day. Otherwise, he will end up walking around the theme park all day with oatmeal and orange juice on his clothes.
  • If you do go to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta and you are expecting Dolphin Tales to be just dolphins performing tricks and stuff, you will be surprised. Dolphin Tales is a musical – people singing and choreography and such. It just happens that some of the actors are dolphins.
  • Atlanta speed limits are confusing. The signs said 55 MPH, but everyone was going 65. Then I saw the sheriff pass everyone going 70.
  • I took 3 books on the trip but didn’t get to read at all. When you are the driver on a road trip, your options are limited to what you can listen to in the van. Other than that, you are sightseeing or sleeping.
  • I figured out how to objectively tell whether a place is fancy or not. I figured this out while surveying our condo. It is fancy if the shower uses real tile that goes all the way up to the ceiling. Average places will use a plastic shower surround thingy. A good place will use ceramic tile but only to the top of the shower. Our condo had tile all the way to the ceiling, and they were 9′ ceilings even. I’m glad we went during the off-season when the rates are lower, because we could not have afforded this place otherwise.
  • I had the chicken flatbread thingy for a meal at a Disney resort. I now know that flatbread is a culinary term that means bad pizza.

You who ride on white donkeys, You who sit on rich carpets, And you who travel on the road—sing!

Judges 5:10

Wall-Covering Invention

Remember the adage an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

image showing eraser paper, the wallpaper made out of magic eraser sponges

If you can prevent their ounce of coloring on the walls, it’ll save you a pound of cleaning.

That is the downside of those Magic Erasers, right? It makes it too easy to undo damage done to the walls by kids. You reprimand them for coloring on the walls, then they see you just wipe it right off. And they wonder “what’s the big deal? I color on the walls, and it comes right off…”

Thus I will spend My wrath on the wall and on those who have plastered it over with whitewash; and I will say to you, ‘The wall is gone and its plasterers are gone,

Ezekiel 13:15

Orlando Recap, Part 5

Day 6

We spent the morning at the rental condo, mostly playing in the pool.

I didn’t take any photos of that, because I was in the pool. Being in the pool required a delicate balance of sunlight. The water was cool enough that I didn’t want to be in the shade, but my skin was pale enough that I didn’t want to be in the sun. Finally, I borrowed some sunscreen from a friend and I could stay warm-ish.

Here is our condo. We were on the first floor, which was great because of the kids and stroller, but also because then I didn’t need to worry about all the noise the kids made bothering the people below us. On the other hand, I could tell, around 5:15 am each morning, when the people above us were getting up.

photo of the buildings at Tuscana Condominium Resort in Orlando, FL

Then we had lunch and headed out to Downtown Disney, getting there around 1:30.

Early afternoon is a much better time to arrive at Downtown Disney than is evening. If you’re thinking about going there in the evening, don’t bother unless you’re not driving. If you don’t need to park, it’s not so bad.

Orlando Recap, Part 4

Day 5

This was the reason we came to Orlando – this was the day we were going to Legoland!

Legoland opened at 10:00 that day. We left in time for the 30-minute trip and parked the van at 9:55. There were a couple hundred people already in line, but they had all the gates open and the delay wasn’t too bad.

photo of the entrance to Legoland in Orlando, FL

Our first stop was at Miniland. They had various cities re-created in Lego bricks.

Orlando Recap, Part 3

This is part 3 of a 5-part series, containing both photos and commentary. If you haven’t already, you should start with part 1 of the vacation recap.

Day 4

We drove 2 hours to the headquarters of Cru, on the east side of Orlando. We caught the 10:30 tour of the Jesus Film project. The tour tells people about the film and demonstrates how it is translated. The 2-year-old did not care for it at all, and the 4-year-old didn’t last long either. I’d say 1st grade on up for this.

They have displays of a (simulated) hut that a field worker might use:

photo of the sample hut from the Cru Jesus Film tour


Orlando Recap, Part 2

Day 2

We left Knoxville, TN and drive a few hours to Atlanta, GA. Our destination was the aquarium. We spent all afternoon there, then headed to our hotel about 30 minutes away in McDonough, GA.

At the aquarium:

photo of the picture on the outside of the Atlanta aquarium


Orlando Recap, Part 1

To get away from the land of ice and snow, we took a trip to Orlando, FL. I’d say we timed it right – it was 5 when we left (-5 with wind chill), and it was sunny and 80 in Orlando when we were there. It was very easy to adjust to the nice weather. The only problem was that we had to come back, although it had warmed to about 15 degrees when we returned. And I can’t take too much credit for timing it right – that’s just when the kids had their break from school. And the week after we left, Orlando had rain just about every day and it was in the 70s.

This is part 1 of a series.

Day 1

We drove all day.

view of a freeway from the driver's seat

Tune in tomorrow for more.

But he said to him, “My lord knows that the children are frail and that the flocks and herds which are nursing are a care to me. And if they are driven hard one day, all the flocks will die.

Genesis 33:13