Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tripologue: Various Places in Florida (pt 2)

 On the first day of our vacation with Jan's parents, Doug and Candis, we headed far away...to a spot literally less than 10 minutes down the road. The Everglades! They're what Florida put in after the TemporaryGlades didn't work out.

We were there for an air boat tour. There are ones where it's just a 2-3 seater and there's the guy up on the top with the earmuffs on and you have a ginormous fan behind you. On our boat, it was the same thing except it was 1) covered, and 2) had 2 fans and sat about 35 people or so.

It was a nice clear day

Mads was stoked.

Still stoked with Grandpa Doug, whose head was bitten off by an alligator shortly before this was taken.

If this were at all legible you would be able to see several large vultures in those trees. 
Hey what's that thing

It appears to be...

It was a lot of fun, and definitely something that we will try to do with any subsequent visitors we get down this way. The captain was a very nice guy who told us all sorts of Everglades facts and even caught a fish for us right out of the water using a piece of popcorn for bait.

When we de-boated, we went to the 'Gator Boys' alligator show, which was on the premises. They apparently have a reality show, but we weren't aware of that. They actually do wrestle alligators, though.

We have several videos from this. I'll post some on our YouTube channel in the next few days.
 After that, we headed back up to Orlando, a short 3 1/2 hour drive (I had left my lucky pair of socks in the hotel). While there getting my socks, we decided to take 2 days and go to Walt Disney World!

Now, unlike the December trip, I didn't take many pictures there. With two kids to help wrangle, and with fairly large crowds to fight, I didn't find much time. But I did take a few pictures at Epcot.

Phineas, Ferb, Doug, Mads.

The Epcot Center's bum region

Gpa Doug, Gma Candis, Mads (apparently with headache)

Jan, Emme, me (after waiting in long lines)


She kept her arm on her bottle like that for a while.
 Next up was Captain E-O, the 3-D movie experience of 1986!

The kids were less than thrilled.
 The movie was awful and destroyed about a half hour of our lives. But we didn't think there was literally anything else to do at Epcot! We knew there was some 'row of restaurants' that we somehow thought was just a line of food tents? So we spent a lot of time on the lame 'educational' rides up in the first half of Epcot. As the night started to wind down, we headed to the 'food' part to get in place for the fireworks show...and found that the entire 2nd half of Epcot was flipping awesome.

Really cool lake. You can see the globe in the back there, and in the fireworks show that lights up with video and fireworks shoot over the lake, and large things of fire shoot up out of it.
The entire thing is like distinct 'lands' for different countries. Each thing had a really cool set of buildings. Each had a gift shop, a restaurant or two, a cultural attraction (ranging from a 'movie in the round' to duplicates of relics/artifacts, to rides!), and lots of scenery.

We felt really bad and increasingly stupid that we had missed out on all of this. So in the next 90 minutes we crammed an entire day's worth of Epcot's cool part in.
The Canada part

More Canada. The movie they had was really good.

Blurry landscape shot. We were in a hurry.

The cool Mexico pyramid, apparently filled with a boat ride and artifacts. We felt bad we missed this.
 We headed to the Norway part.

And rode on the strange boat ride, "Maelstrom." It was both really cool and incredibly stupid. It was like a combination of folk lore with trolls and wizards, and then a travel brochure of modern day Norway. It had a waterfall or two, and was really fun, but the last minute or so was odd where it sends you to a big oil rig in the middle of an ocean and you float through a Norweigan village. There were no robots or dialogue or sounds really in the last areas, and when it ends, a Viking-like voice says something like "The spirit of Norway is the spirit of fortitude" or something. It was delightfully odd.

And it had the best gift shop in the entire park.

The Italy part was cool, though it was mostly restaurants. This was a nice fountain.
The next day, we went to the Magic Kingdom. I'm not sure I have a single picture from that, but I do have a few pictures from the McDonalds we ate at that morning, which was a bizarre place that had 'the largest play place in the world' according to signage.

Instead of like a big ball room or something, though, it was just cram packed with bizarre stuff. Such as:



Yes. A raptor and an alligator stalking the McBird girl thing.
 We also went to the Orlando temple and took pictures. Except for me, apparently, because I didn't find any on my phone? Odd. I think Jan has several though and will post some on her blog.

After we were back for a week, we had one last stop: Jungle Island, in Biscayne Bay in Miami. It was my work's annual company picnic.

Jungle Island is an animal encounter zoo. So you can hold parrots and monkeys and snakes and even baby alligators.

...but it was flippin hot so we quickly went to a bird show (which was cool), ate lunch...

Not birds...
 And took some pictures in front of some flamingos.

Flamingos not pictured.
Whew! That's it! It's been a very exciting 3 weeks. For our next vacation, we will all go into comas, I think.

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