Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Happiest Place on Earth

I know you are all sitting on the edge of your seats and losing sleep at night wondering what it's like to travel with the Jo family.  I gave you a little teaser the other day with my entry about how I thought I hated flying but may have discovered I hate driving more.  That was Day 1 & 2 of our trip.  I will give you a quick rundown.  I promise, this will not be like going to the neighbors to watch their boring vacation video.

As you know, Day 1 and most of Day 2 were spent in our mini-van with me gripping the dashboard in between trying to ignore my husband's driving habits.  He has seen my entry from the other day and passionately denies that he speeds up when he sees brake lights.  He then laughed after he made that claim.

So, here we go (click on any picture to enlarge it):

Day 3 - Melbourne Beach, Florida.  Walking to the beach, Sous Chef gets a splinter the size of a redwood tree.  The waves were rather large and brought out all the surfers.  Great for them, but not so great for Big E, who was knocked flat on his face more than once even though he has proper training about ducking into the wave and keeping your back to the wave.  He vomited salt water two different times, but immediately went back in.  Sous Chef had a blast, mastered the waves immediately, and ended up with sandrash on parts of his body that should NOT experience sandrash.  Ouch.  I had a face plant of my own and a mouthful of water and decided resting on the beach blanket catching some rays was a much better idea.

We visited a friend of mine from high school and her family, reminisced about when she, and I and three other girlfriends went to NYC for spring break in HS. Oh, and we talked about the pros and cons of "soft" toilet paper vs. "strong" toilet paper.

Late at night on this night, we pulled into a campground and slept in our van surrounded by hundreds of other "campers" to be ready for the shuttle launch the next morning.
The Three Amigos
CJ is overcome by a wave.

Day 4 - Discovery Shuttle launch. (I will do a separate post with pictures/video.) There really is not much to say because words can't describe what this is like, except that it is spectacular. This was the 2nd launch we have seen, it was the 4th to the last launch before the space shuttle program ends. We were at Port Canaveral and literally minutes before the scheduled time for the launch, a HUGE cruise ship pulls into the canal to get to it's port. It blocked our view for several minutes and lots of people were panicing. I think I got to hear some serious cursing in a variety of languages!
We forgot our tri-pod and it's hard to get pictures when you are also trying to watch the event take place, but here is a decent one. I will load the video in another post.

Cocoa Beach, Florida. The waves had calmed down quite a bit and we all spent a lot of time playing in the ocean, except Sous Chef, who prefers the stronger waves and couldn't stand the pain of the salt water on his sandrash. He had fun building sandcastles and playing in the sand.

Day 5-8 - Disney World.  Let the financial bloodletting begin!  Seriously, I would love to see their financial statements for just one day.  Our family is not a "Disney" family. We own very few Disney movies, my kids don't love, or even care about, the characters.  We don't "plan" the trip by reading all the books and websites and mapping out our every minute in order to have the most "efficient" use of our time and activities.  All the kids care about are the rides.  And the food.  Man, this family can put away the food.  Expensive, not always good, institutional type of food.  The ice cream was good, though.  CJ and I swam with the sharks and sting rays.  I rode things that my neurosurgeon would have had a heart attack over, but I did refrain from riding some of the rides that I knew would probably undo every stitch of the two brain surgeries I have had.  We learned Big E cannot spin uncontrollably in circles and the Mad Hatter Tea Cup ride did him in for about 1/2 hour. 

I love rides, but I do get kind of freaked out on some of the more intense, "mental" type of attractions.  I actually chose not to go on the Lilo and Stitch thingy because I knew from the description all they did was give an attraction that I had ridden before a different name.  The last time I was on it, I got so freaked out I sat there the majority of the time with my eyes squeezed shut. My kids, of course, had no issues with it and could not figure out why I wouldn't join them.  On another ride where you go "into the past" to bring back a dinosaur, there is a time when the ride stops in total dark, the recorded voice was screaming "Get out, get out" and something about a problem with the "plan".  This is never good and my heart was racing with anticipation.  I managed to keep my eyes open, but once the spotlight came on, there was a dinosaur hanging above my head with heat and wind blowing like he was breathing on us.  I just sat looking straight ahead with shoulders tucked up to my ears.  I know this only because when we came out, there were pictures.  Lovely.  Everyone else in my car was looking up with either shocked faces or laughing.  I prefer the "if you can't see me, I can't see you" approach.
The Jo Family at Hollywood Studios. Sous Chef took the picture, which explains his absence.  He loves using the camera.
I spotted these at Animal Kingdom.  Really, who wears high heels to an amusement park?

Day 9 & 10 - Basically, a repeat of Day 1 & 2, which means me as a door handle holding, invisible brake pushing, grasping the dashboard passenger.  The traffic was awful.  Actually, I did better coming home because I focused on reading a book and ignoring the driver's bad habits, for the most part.

Oh, we also ate at the world's largest McDonald's, which is in Orlando (not on Disney property).  I'm not sure what day it was, so I am throwing it in here.  I guess I never thought about there being a McDonald's that could boast being the biggest, but I should have known it was out there somewhere; apparently in Orlando.  It's really much bigger than this picture looks as there is an entire back of this building that you can't see.

For some reason, this picture turns the wrong way when I import it.  Anyway, we stopped to get gas on our way home on Sunday in a little town that appears to be named after CJ.

Who wants to join us for our next trip?


  1. Okay I am so impressed by this vacation!! Especially the shuttle launch. That is awesome. Makes me want to go see one.

    You look so beautiful in that picture! I never look like that while cruising around Disneyland!But maybe you're somewhere else right then because there is NO ONE behind you. Unless you got the park to yourselves!! :-)

    Glad you had fun and can't wait to see the video!

  2. I think the vacation sounds marvelous. I'm sure once some time goes by all you'll remember are the great times!! And laugh at the not so great. The shoes make me lol.

    What a gorgeous family. You should plaster pictures of yourselves all over this blog! ;)

  3. this post made me laugh. especially the disney world days. and the vomiting saltwater and the sand rash.

    i agree with the others, you and your family are gorgeous. i am dying over that dress you are wearing.

    oh the family vacation. impressive yet exhausting and infuriating all at once.

  4. What a great vacation! One of my BILs is in Melbourne and we go every summer. We have stopped taking I-75 down through south GA and instead when you get to Macon, GA, take I-16 to Savannah area and then take I-95 down to FL. (but when leaving from Orlando then I-75 makes sense).
    Kelly Slater and his bros learned to surf in Cocoa. I love the picture of CJ and the wave crash!

  5. Nice pictures.
    Kids at their happiest best.

  6. Really a great pics i love to enjoy with kids and i used to spend my holidays on ports and parks.I like Port Canaveral Transportation
    services to go .