Fortunately, quarterly Adam has to go back to Lake Mary, Florida for work and the kids and I get to accompany him most of the time. I lived in the Orlando are from my 5th birthday until the time I was 27. This will always be my home. My Mom, Grandma, Papa and Uncle are buried here. My Dad, brother, cousins, aunt, uncle and LONG time friends all reside in the area. Although I typically can’t fit everyone in to visit each time, home always feels like home.
Everyone’s first question when they hear we are going to Orlando is, “Are you going to Disney?” The answer is a most definite no. But, I will say, the older the kids get, the more enticing it does become.
This time, we did go to LegoLand. I bought tickets on Groupon which made it a bit more affordable. Parking was also free for the month of August. It was HOT. WE do know that our max time is with our kids out is 2.5-3 hours and we did last 6 hours! We took our time and still only saw about a quarter of the park. I guess maybe it was a good thing that the power was out in half of the park because we got rain checks to come back within the next year. The boys LOVED it and it was really fun to see their happiness.
We usually stay at the Hyatt Place but we have finally outgrown the hotel and stayed at the Residence Inn. We had a kitchen which helped with cooking our meals and a bedroom door which is amazing with the kids. The pool was large and we definitely took advantage of it. My family all came down, my cousin drove 2 hours to see me!! (and her daughter drove 4.5!) Gah! How I love them. We all had a nice BBQ by the pool. My Dad and brother came, my aunt and nephews. It was so nice to spend an afternoon with all of them.
Adam had a FULL workweek and so the kids and I took off to be mild tourists. We drove down to Lakeland and went to Dinosaur World. This is a place that I have driven by for a good 16 years and NEVER stopped. There are more than 200 dinosaurs there. You can read more about it here.
Wednesday my cousin Jonathan came with us to the Science Center, unfortunately it was closed so we headed to I-Drive…tourist center of Orlando. We went to Wonder Works.
I really was super unimpressed. There wasn’t that much to do and it was uber pricey. The kids have fun wherever we go, but we flew through it as there wasn’t that much for their age group. You can see some more pictures of our trip here. We left and drove over to the largest McDonalds I believe in the country. Unfortunately it has the arcade which means the kids would way rather play those than play in the play place. They did have pizza and pasta though which I have never seen before at a “Old McDonalds” as my kids call it.
Friday we went back to the Orlando Science Center and as usual, it blew our minds. We road the Sun Rail down to OSC so the kids could have another encounter. OSC is great. It has a reciprocal membership to many of the museums throughout the country which made it free for us…which is always a bonus. There is so much to do, I think the kids could spend a week there and never get enough. Here are some more photos. The SunRail was a great experience. I have to say, I spent a lot of time talking with Adam on how proud I was of Orlando. The city was clean, easy to get around and just has come a super long way.
After work, Adam met us downtown and we had dinner together. It was super cool to see, there was an Orlando City Soccer game and although we didn’t have tickets, the city was FULL of Orlando pride. OCS didn’t exist when we lived in Orlando, but it is definitely on my list of things to do next time we go back.
We were able to squeeze in a date night and sit on bridges across the highway and get trucks to honk!
Orlando, you will always be my home. The new portrays you with so much crime and crazy, but you aren’t. You are a fabulous city, growing with greatness and full of passion, things to do and pride!