Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Orlando Girl's Trip

We left Wednesday night about 10:30 from the Salt Lake Airport.  I traveled via Delta, and Mom and Erika went by Jet Blue.  I sat by a couple of brothers (9 and 13 I would guess), who fidgeted and fought (slugging) while their parents slept peacefully across the aisle.  It was miserable, and I got no sleep at all........... We arrived at Orlando airport about 4:30 am, picked up the rental car, dropped off our luggage at the Condo,  and ate breakfast as Perkins.
Thursday morning 9am, we were at the Epcot Center (one part of Disney World) gates.  It was the Flower festival, and all of the characters were done in "topiary" amongst the blossoms.  It was beautiful. 
We had a wonderful day there, even with the sleep deprivation.  The weather was just right.  We stayed until about 9pm, and watched the fireworks over the lake.  My camera died, so I don't have too many pics, but some of the fun things we did were: 

Spaceship Earth (Presented by Siemens AG) is a ride through an eighteen-story-tall geodesic sphere, located at the front entrance of Epcot. The ride tells the history of communication, with a focus on the development of cultures and the future of technologies.

Ellen's Energy Adventure is a show about energy and how people generate and harvest it. The show is named for its star, Ellen DeGeneres.

Test Track (Presented by Chevrolet) is a high-speed ride that allows guest to design their own concept vehicles then test them on the "Sim Track" as they ride along in a "Sim-Car"

(This was one of the first rides we did, and I sat it out as I wasn't feeling too well.  I slept on a park bench, and then got a Coke afterwards and perked up quite a bit)

Journey into Imagination with Figment is a ride that encourages guests to use their senses and their imagination.

Living with the Land (Presented by Chiquita Brands International) takes visitors on a boat tour through a working greenhouse.

  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends is a ride chronicling Nemo's epic journey, featuring projection technology that makes it appear as though Nemo, Dory, and Marlin are swimming with the live fishes.
  • Turtle Talk with Crush is an interactive show starring Crush, the Sea Turtle, from Disney/Pixar's film Finding Nemo.

  • Mission: Space (Presented by Hewlett-Packard) is a centrifuge-based ride that simulates the training required to be a member of the space program.
    (It's a good thing we did this towards the end, because Mom got sick on this one !)

    We also traveled through the different lands that were represented, including, Mexico, Norway, China, Germany (where we had delicious Apple Strudel) Italy, Japan, Morroco, Franco, United Kingdom, and Canada.

    We listened to: 
  • American Vybe*, contemporary a cappella group performing American R&B, Jazz, and Swing

  • Friday morning we were up bright and early, and were at the Orlando Temple by 8am.
    It is beautiful, as are all of the temples. 
    Then on to Kennedy Space Center !!
    Standing in front of the "Rocket Garden"
    This is the big "transporter" that moves the rockets from the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) to the launch pads.
    It goes along this crawlerway at about 2-3 miles per hour.  We were able to see one moving, so so so slow.......
    This is the VAB - it is the fourth largest structure in the entire world.  When it was built in 1965, it was the largest in the world.  See that blue rectangle on the flag?  It is the size of an NBA basketball court.  The flag itself it 27 stories high.
    So many amazing sights to see !
    This Rocket was laid out end to end, and separated  so that you could see the different parts.
    This is one of the parts of the TRACK that is on the transporter (see above) - each of these weigh a ton !
    This is the capsule that splashed back down - you should see the intricate mechanisms inside that door (click to enlarge) - incredible.
    Touching the moon - what an accomplishment for mankind, to be able to do this.  Watched a great presentation on this !
    Outside, near the bleachers where all of the families and special invited guests sit to watch the launches (across the water)
    Inside the space shuttle Atlantis -
    Erika, navigating/maneuvering (virtually) space shuttle controls
    The underside of the space shuttle Atlantis - it was there in all of it's glory for all to see.  Pretty impressive !
    After the Kennedy Space Center, we traveled North to Playa Linda (beach).  This was my first time seeing the Atlantic Ocean in person !  It was breezy, but not too cold. 
    If you can believe it, we met people with ties to Morgan !!  Erika asked this man to take our picture, noticing that he had a "Y" on his ball cap.  In talking with him, he was a widower, and his deceased wife was ________Francis, who went to school with my mom and dad !  He was visiting his daughter (in picture) and her husband, who were serving a mission in the Orlando Mission. 
    Dipping my toes in the Atlantic !
    Me and Kuk
    The beach was beyond the tree covered dunes, and this is the boardwalk we used to go up and over them.
    Friday night we ordered Papa Murphy's pizza, and also went to a grocery store near our condo to get breakfast/snack supplies. 
    Saturday Morning we went to Universal Studios.  We only went to the one part, and not the Island of Adventure part.  Mom is always up for a picture, and she did so awesome on this trip !  We have decided we need to make this Girl's vacation a yearly event !!  We'll have to pick a fun different spot every year.  We had SUCH a good time. 
    Me and Jimmy!
    Mom and Kuk
    Relaxing on the streets of New York
    And here it is - DIAGON ALLEY !!!
    AWESOME !!!!!!!!!!
    This is where the owls roost.
    Notice the poop
    Gringott's Bank - protected by a dragon who were occasionally roar and spew flame !
    Mom and I
    Erika trying out BUTTER BEER
    She made sure it was non-alcoholic first ;)
    Mom got one, but I didn't  - didn't appeal to me, although I did take a sip, and was glad I didn't get one for myself.  Too sweet !
    This is the umbrella light fixture I've been telling everyone about.  They had wands for sale, $40.00 for a  non-magical wand, and $48.00 for a magical "interactive" wand.  They had these "spots" on the ground, noted with brass plates, that you could stand on, wave your wand, and something would happen.  In this particular spot, a young boy was waving his wand, and the umbrella began to drip streams of water down upon unsuspecting tourists.  One of whom was MOM !!  She let out a YELP, and we all got a kick out of it.  I saw one family with 5 kids, and they each had a magical wand.  Boy, their parents just dropped $250.00 on wands!?!?!   I told the boys they better get saving their money :)
    Another view of the Dragon on top of Gringotts
    Some of the different sights. 
    Simpson character and Kuk
    Jaws is dead.
    Update:  I forgot to mention that it DOWNPOURED on us, and we had to get some rain ponchos.  It didn't spoil our day though, and cleared up after awhile.
    Here is the Knight Bus, parked outside of Diagon Alley.  You can't see it, but that "head" is there in the window, and the bus driver and whoever wanted to, could have a conversation with it.

    Some of the fun things we did at Universal:

    Harry Potter, and the Escape from Gringotts
    Animal Actors Show
    Despicable Me Attraction  (4 D motion ride)
    ET Adventure
    Fear Factor Live show
    Men in Black interactive ride
    Shrek 4D ride
    Terminator 2 attraction
    Horror Make Up Show - this was super entertaining !


    We took this picture on the way out, after a fun filled day !
    One last picture, at the Orlando Airport on our way home on Sunday.
    What a wonderful trip !!

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