Robinson Family Vacation: Florida

Last month the Robinsons drove down to Florida for a week-long vacation at Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee. David’s parents picked us up from our apartment, we drove to David’s sister’s place (Laura) and tucked in for the night before getting an early start on Saturday. Things seemed to be going well. It was a clear, sunny day in Burlington. We were hopeful. We got across the border with no trouble and continued into Pennsylvania.

And that’s when the storm hit.

An interesting atmosphere considering we were listening Chapter Three of Harry Potter and the Philisopher’s Stone. You know, the chapter where the Dursleys and Harry flee number 4 Privet Drive to escape the innumerable letters and end up rowing in a boat, in the pouring rain, to a hut on a small island. In the middle of nowhere.

We were, similarly, in the middle of nowhere in a storm.

The snow was thick and heavy and the wind whipped against our car. Then, suddenly, someone pulled into the left lane in front of us. We slammed on the brakes but nothing seemed to happen

There were a few seconds of simple understanding: “Well shit. We’re going to hit that car.” Then… BANG!

Bits of car flew in the air, and we all sat glued to our seats, stunned. We ended up sitting at the side of the road on an interstate in Pennsylvania. Several state troopers showed up, as well as a rather quirky tow truck driver. He had a distinct beer gut, a long white and curly beard, a few missing teeth, and was fitted in a large winter jacket. He took his jacket off immediately (in the middle of a snow storm, I might add) to reveal a pair of overalls.

The parents got a ride with the tow truck driver, Laura and I went with a rather handsome state trooper *cough*, while David hitched a ride with another state trooper.  We said we were cold, so he blasted the heat and soon enough I was sweating uncomfortably (though my feet were still numb). I decided to ask him about all the gadgets in his car. There was a rifle sitting upright next to him, encased in thick plastic so those sitting in the back couldn’t touch it.

A few minutes later we ended up at an EconoLodge in Meadsville, PA. The woman at the front desk was not encouraging: “The last time Canadians got in an accident around here, they were stuck here for a week!” Thanks for that.

We didn’t get stuck for a week, though. David’s parents managed to find a van the next day after a 45 minute taxi drive. The driver, I should add, did not wear a seatbelt, answered several calls, and smoked. He also kept the windows down (which later got stuck) so poor Mom, who sat in the back, had snow blowing in her face. And THEN, when they got to the car rental location they were promptly told that there was not, in fact, any vehicle available for them.

Don’t worry. Things worked out. The car rental place sort of lied because they did have a van available, it just wasn’t cleaned and we would have to wait.

After this unfortunate adventure, we were all on our way again and I’m happy to say we made it to Florida safe and sound! We even finished listening to Harry Potter and I can’t wait to read the second book with David (right now we’re reading The Silmarillion together).

Once we actually arrived in Florida, things were great! 

We spent a lot of time at the pool (cowabunga baby!), we visited Disney Springs, Epcot, and Wild Florida.

First, the resort!

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This is where we stayed, top-left section.

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The lazy river!

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First sibling trip to the pool!

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David’s Aunt Faith and cousin Destiny came and visited, so we trapped Destiny in a bunch of tubes. Always crazy with the Robinsons!

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Left to right: Myself, Laura, Sarah, and Destiny. Hanging out on the hammock! I ended up jumping off the hammock and helping David flip the rest of the girls into the sand… hehe.

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A group picture! Dad was at a conference so didn’t join us until the evening.

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Hanging out at the pool! It was not chlorinated!

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Another pool picture!

We also went to Disney World’s Epcot, which was super busy, but fun. Essentially the park is divided into different countries, many of which have a Disney character from that country. So, for example, Norway was one of the countries with Disney’s Frozen being the focal point. My favourite was Morocco (Disney’s Aladdin). David and I also had lunch at one of the restaurants “in Morocco” and it was great!

Here are some pictures from our day at Epcot!

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My sister-in-law, Sarah, took this picture. Isn’t it beautiful! Loved all the beautiful flowers. That train track connects all of the Disney parks.

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The Canadian section of Epcot.

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This was also in the Canadian section. I just loved their performance – they’re from Quebec! They’re members of TradNation! It was a real pleasure to sit and listen to them play.

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David, Sarah, and Laura with Woody!

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Elsa and Anna in the Norway section!

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Just a random couple selfie :).

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David’s always such a good sport, haha.

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At the end of the night there were spectacular fireworks, and then Sarah caught this picture on our way out. It was a long day, but good.

One of my favourite parts of the day was actually the Mission Space ride. David, Laura, Sarah, and myself all went on it together as a space team. Here’s what the site says about the ride:

Fulfill your fantasy of being an astronaut as you dodge meteors, navigate nebulae and slingshot around the moon.

Before you board, actor Gary Sinise briefs you as you prepare for your mission to Mars on the X-2 Deep Space Shuttle at the International Space Training Center (ISTC). Each member of your 4-cadet crew will assume an important role: navigator, pilot, commander or engineer. During your flight, each cadet will be instructed to initiate a mission-critical sequence, so be prepared!

Board your vessel, lower your harness and brace yourself for the incredible force of lift-off. Get goose bumps as you arc around the moon and then hold on tight as you attempt a precarious precision landing on the Red Planet’s alien surface.

Your crew is counting on you to do your part to ensure a successful mission and a safe trip back to Earth!

Laura was the commander, Sarah the pilot, David the navigator, and I was the engineer. Needless to say, it was awesome. Loved every second of it!

However, my favourite part of the trip, by far, was Wild Florida. I highly recommend it if you visit. The wild park was amazing, and the boat ride was AWESOME! 

Unless otherwise specified, all of these pictures were taken by the photographer at Wild Florida. We all got to pose with the alligator, Fluffy, and in addition to the pictures of the family, we also got pictures of the entire park! These ones are my favourite :). Lots of wildlife at the park!

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The pathway leading to the airboat ride!

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Scarlet Marcaw with Blue and Gold Macaw sitting besideRed Ruffed Lemur 2

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Two-toed Sloth 3

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And then we got to pose with Fluffy the alligator!

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This picture ^ cracks me up every time I see it, haha.

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This picture was taken on the airboat tour by Sarah.

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This one was taken while we explored the Wild Park, another one by Sarah.

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David, myself, and Dad all tried gator. It actually did taste like chicken, but the texture was like fish. Interesting, right? I really liked it.

If you visit Florida in the future, I highly recommend visiting Wild Florida. You can get an airboat ride, try eating some fried gator, and explore their wild park. A whole day of family fun!

Here are a few more random and silly pictures from the trip!

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And so, after a rocky start, we had a great time in Florida! Lots of adventures, swimming, and alligators.

By the end of the trip, though, David and I were ready to get back home to Canada. I never thought I’d say this, but I actually missed the snow and cold. I think it’d be hard to leave winter behind forever!

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