2001: Kennedy & Seaworld

Wednesday, we woke late and decided to have breakfast in the hotel. It was a nice buffet and Katie are free, which is a nice bonus. Just as we were leaving, a super surprise. Shamu appeared. The restaurant was very quiet so we had a lovely time playing with hum.

Eventually, we set off for Kennedy Space Center far too late. We found it fine, although we had to drive through some serious bug country to get there, the front of the car was disgusting when we arrived..

As we had been warned it took ages to buy a ticket, Why? I got the impression that they salesgirl was chatting on the phone and doing her nails in between each transaction.
We started out in the rocket garden. Well, Phil toured the rocket garden and Katie & I enjoyed the play dome. It was a superb play area, with a great mock-up of a space shuttle for the kids to play in.
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After this we headed into the IMAX to see L3 – a city in space. I checked for scary bits, and we were warned that the rocket’s taking off were very load and potentially scary. Armed with this information we were able to prepare Katie and we made it through the entire film, although she had to put her fingers in her ears at some points.
The movie was supposed to be in 3-D, but we found the effects to be very poor.

After some lunch, we went on the bus tour. This was great once we got boarded, but we had to wait in line for ages to board – one of very few waits our entire fortnight
Eventually we set off, and I really enjoyed the commentary, it was very interesting both the movie portion, and also the bus driver. The bus drivers all had an obvious pride in the Space Centre and were keen to share their experiences with us.
While we were there a space shuttle landed (on the back of a 747), of course we were either eating lunch or in the loo when it happened, but the bus driver pointed out the space shuttle & 747 on it’s way to the mate-de-mate device.
On the bus, Katie fell asleep – unfortunately we were not able to bring our stroller with us, and by the time we realised and retrieved a hire stroller she had woken up, which was a shame. (NB: The hire strollers at KSC were very primitive – the worst that we saw anywhere – they didn’t recline and were very up& down, , however, they did have a different style for baby’s which was more like a car seat)

This first stop was the observation post, as we skipped the movie, the only other thing to see was the view of the launch pads. In retrospect, we should have skipped this stop, let Katie sleep a little longer, and then spend more time at the other two stops.

The next stop was the Apollo rocket. This was really amazing, and really the only place where I would have preferred not to have Katie with us. (Not that she was naughty at all, but we didn’t spend us much time here as I would have liked).
Again – we opted not to do the movies, and I think we missed out, perhaps we should have done them with a baby swap.
Nevertheless, the Apollo rocket is awe-inspiring, in particular the flags of all the missions, to think of all those men setting out on such an adventure.
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I was particularly interested in the Apollo 13, having read about it and seen the movie. And another interesting fact, is that in the first mission to the moon, they only had 30 seconds of fuel left to land, or the mission would have had to be aborted.
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We spent quite a while here, and then boarded the bus for stop 3. I have to confess that once we got to stop 3 (The international space center) we were so exhausted that we just stayed on the bus and went back to the main visitors center.

Before we left for the day, we took a look in the space shuttle (I think it’s a mock up), and I was amazed at how small it is – you really expect it to me much much bigger.

The very last thing we did was visit the memorial to lost astranoghts. This is very moving, and extremely beautiful. It looks like the little would be very impressive at night.

We headed back to Orlando, very tired – it was a long afternoon.

As we are nearing our ‘home-tel’ I spotted a Walmart. I got all excited, and demanded that we stop.
What an amazing place – I was agog. You could buy things I’ve only heard of before. We were there for ages, and only saw about ½ of the store, eventually we left with.

New Sandals for Katie
New shorts for Philip
More scrapbook stuff for me
And some lime green ribbon.

It was getting late now, so we headed straight to Perkins for tea. Katie really just wanted mashed potato and a ham sandwich. This proved really tricky, and the waitress was convinced it was impossible, but evertually we managed to convince her to order a grilled cheese sandwich with chips, and substitute ham for cheese, and mash for chips. Katie loved it, probably the best meal she ate all week, so worth a little stubbornness to get what she wanted.

During the meal I noticed that lots of the kids had balloons, so I coaxed Katie to ask for a green balloon (I thought it would be useful for the Dis meet the following day)

Katie to waitress: ‘Can I have a green balloon for my mummy please’

I wanted to disappear into the ground.
The waitress disappeared for hours, then sent someone else on the case, and it seemed to be a really big problem to get her a green balloon – which was strange as we could see plenty of green balloons in the lobby being given out to other children.
Eventually we get the balloon, and Katie hands it straight to me ‘There you go mummy – the balloon that you wanted’ The waitress looked at me like I was crackers.

As we were leaving the restaurant, the most amazing fireworks display started, and it went on for ages. We aren’t sure, but we think it came from Universal Studio’s and it made a lovely end to our day.

Installment 5

Thursday

This was supposed to be a quiet day relaxing by the pool at Wet n Wild, but we decided that we wanted to return to Seaworld.

We were at Seaworld by 9ish, and wanted to do the part of the park that we had missed the first time, but that area of the park didn’t open until 10am.

We decided to revisit the dolphins for a while, and then we went to feed the stingrays, which was pretty cool, but a little terrifying – I couldn’t hold onto that shrimp while the stingray waffled over me, I just had to drop it and let him have it.
We had a quick walk around the penguin encounter, which I found a little disappointing – we have seen plenty of penguins in Edinburgh zoo who are able to live outside, but these penguins are in a very artificial inside environment. The tank/area was large and attractive, but all the lighting etc was false to simulate different lighting conditions.

We had a look at the seals and sealions, and there was one very amusing one who was playing with the fish (again you could pay about $4 to feed the seals – Seaworld mustn’t pay for any of the animals food, as we were paying about a $1 a fish all over the place to feed them ourselves)
I really fancied the sealion show, as I had heard it was great, but Katie & Phil opted for Shamu again, so we headed over there.
The show was quite different from the one we saw on Sunday, so that was nice. I do think the ‘let’s get the audience wet’ bit get’s a bit tired through. Fair enough, a splash from a jump, but the big whale doesn’t do anything except swim around and kick water on the audience. Actually, this time he wasn’t that bothered – he did about ½ the audience and then went back for some more fish – I think he was bored with the joke himself.

After this we wanted to do one last thing, which was ‘Wild Arctic’ before we went. The sign said a 5 minute wait to walk, or 10 minutes to ride, but we actually waited longer to walk than Phil did to ride. The polar bears were ok, but again I didn’t like that they were indoors – I think animals seem happier outside (although I guess not in the heat of Florida).
Also, once you had waited to see the film, there isn’t actually all that much to see at the ‘polar station’ I think they are trying too hard – we would have been quite happy to just see the polar bears, and didn’t really need the ride, or the ‘disney’ style theming of the station.

We headed out via a gift shop to buy Shamu – as so far he was Katie’ favorite. We had seen loads of little $6 shamu’s throughout the park, but at the exit they only had the larger $10 variety – I guess we’ll take a big one!

It was about 1:30pm by now, and we were due at Beaches and Cream at 3, so we stopped off at McDonalds (Crossroads) on the way. Then into Walt Disney World, for our very first visit.
We didn’t see much, but the Yacht and Beach Club was amazing. The hotel is beautiful, and the swimming pool was fantastic.

I had forgotten to bring my ‘infamous’ sign, or my list of who was attending, so we had made a new sign using the recently purchased scrapbook materials – I even managed to find a piece of lime green card.

As we wandered through the hotel, trying to find the ice-cream shop, I was feeling quite nervous, and very self-conscious about displaying this bright green piece of card. Just as I am getting really nervous, this friendly face says ‘You must be Bev’ we had bumped into Penny and her db (who’s name I have forgotten – oops). They were off to admire the very impressive loo’s, so we continued on to Beaches and Cream, and met another couple ‘Sorcerer, and Sorcerer’s wife’ (I’m sure I should have caught their real names- maybe I should have taken attendence?)
Later on we were joined by Mick and the Dragon (nothing Dragon like about her Mick), Ann & Albert, Ceri and family, ClaireUK and family – I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone.
It was quite a crowd, and we had a really good time.
Penny and Sorcerer’s wife were comparing their pin collections – What a lot of pins they carried around – it looked pretty heavy!

Katie & I had some mickey ice-creams (v. cute) and we all chatted for ages, it was really good fun, and I would recommend you organise a meet for your trip.

We headed back, via the Florida Mall. This was a big mistake as were were all too tired, but I figured it would be my last chance to do some shopping as we are moving into ‘The World’ tomorrow.
We had dinner at Ruby Tuesday, which was very nice. I had brocolli cheese soup and the salad bar.
After dinner, we tried to shop, but Katie (and Phil) were tired and grumpy, although Katie did enjoy the Playmobil shop. I managed to get a few things, while Phil sat out in the mall with Katie (who I could hear screaming), so it was quickly time to come home. I wish I had planned this a bit better, as there were loads of lovely clothes that I would have liked to look at and probably buy, but it was a bit of a chaotic trip.

We are off to the Caribbean Beach tomorrow, and I have changed our plans so that we will rest on Saturday as we are so exhausted. We haven’t stopped all week, and even our ‘quiet’ days have been busy.
Phil’s downstair’s doing some laundry, Katie’s asleep – I guess I should pack.

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