Sunday, February 10, 2008

Florida Vacation

It took a while, but I have finally finished posting some of the highlights of our Florida trip. This was Tessa's first time to the parks, so it was very special. Michael Jr. joined us, and I think he had a great time, too. We shared lots of laughs and made memories that I will always cherish.

Michael and Tessa at Epcot

Saturday, February 09, 2008


When I planned our Florida vacation for January, I never even considered that the weather would be anything but pleasant. We had lived in Florida for 12 years and could hardly remember a time when a coat was needed all day. I don't even think we owned gloves.

I do know, though, that weather can be unpredictable; and since I'm not a total moron, I did check the ten-day forecast before packing. Ba
sed on the numbers, I was quite certain that I had made good clothing choices for Tessa and me. I included capris, t-shirts, and a couple of sweatshirts for evening wear. And since we were leaving from much colder temperatures in the wee hours of the morning, we each had at least one warm outfit.

Shortly after arriving in the Sunshine State, we started hearing reports of a cold front heading in. Evidently, this just popped up out of no where--at least it hadn't appeared on any weather maps pri
or to our departure. Okay, I like to think that I'm pretty flexible--not easily rattled. Instead of overreacting, I thought, okay, we'll have to do a little layering. So I called Kelly, who was arriving a day after us, and asked her to bring some long pants for us and then hesitantly requested a fleece for Tessa.

I don't know--in my mind there's something inherently wrong with wearing a fleece on a Florida vacation. I can handle a sweatshirt or light jacket, but a fleece says winter like nothing else. I fig
ure if fleeces were truly acceptable Florida wear, why have I never seen one made from fabric with palm trees on it? Snowflakes, yes, but never palm trees.

It really is quite hard to imagine how a cold front feels while the Florida sun is beating down on you just days before it arrives. I liken it to the times while living in Florida that we were warned about the possibility of an upcoming hurricane. More often than not, my preparations were limited to filling the bathtub with water and locating a flashlight. I never once grabbed for the last loaf of bread on the shelf at Publix or taped up my windows. That Florida sun really does blind you and gives you a false sense of good-weather security. Fortunately, the area we lived in never was ravaged by a severe storm, which has probably reinforced my laid back approach to weather-related preparations.

That's a lot of rambling to get to the point of this post. Let me just say that it was one time when we should have taken the weatherman seriously and thrown our vacation fashion sense to the wind--no pun intended. Temperatures in the 20's and 30's in Florida feel a whole lot colder than temperatures in the 20's and 30's in Tennessee. Perhaps it was the high winds, but I don't ever remember being any colder than I was on our first three days at the Disney parks. We layered. We shivered. We layered some more. We shivered some more. Eventually, we relented and left the Disney compound to buy very warm winter coats, gloves, scarves, and knee socks. Sometimes we still shivered while wearing the new coats over our fleeces, but they were worth every penny of the $100 it cost. Just thought I'd mention that winter duds are not that easy to find in sunny Florida.
Tessa's first attempt at layering.
Nice hat, eh?
It doesn't look very cold, does it?
It's that Florida sun trick!


Tessa took the oath to become an honorary pirate.


We purchased the Disney meal plan which proved to be worthwhile for us. Before we left, I made reservations for a character dinner each night. I figured that it was Tessa's first visit and probably the only visit at an age when it would still be considered fun to dine with the Disney characters. The first night we went to the Grand Floridian Hotel and ate with Prince Charming, Cinderella, Anastasia, Drizella, and Lady Tremaine. Characters go table to table and pose with anyone interested. The food was buffet style with lots of choices, so we all were all quite satisfied.

Tessa with Prince Charming and Cinderella

I tried to get Michael a date with one of the stepsisters, but the one above said that she wasn't interested and told the other one that surely there must be something wrong with him since I was trying to pawn him off on her. *wink* We had great fun with the two of them. Well, maybe Michael didn't!

The photo below shows the second one's feelings about Michael.



No, we didn't eat them, but it sure was fun choosing one in search of a pearl at the Japanese pavilion. The gal in the photo below was so enthusiastic that we found it fascinating to watch her assist several people choose their oysters, open them, measure them, beat on a drum announcing the sizes, and then sharing the treasures with those around the exhibit. We actually made a special trip back to Japan on our last day so that Tessa could do this. Her pearl was made into a very nice necklace to have as a remembrance of her first trip to Epcot.