Orlando, FL

After being home long enough to unpack the motor-home, we took off for Florida for a week of fun in the sun in Orlando! Quite a change from being snowbound in PA! We had a use-or-lose week in a cabin at Thousand Trails, which is located about 10 miles from Disney World. Aaron sent us a park-hopper day pass, so that also really helped out, giving us a week of relaxation.

We spent the first day at downtown Disney, part of Disney World.

We wanted to get a feel of what to do and when….. this truly is a world of its own, and you are totally immersed in all things Disney. One of the “cast members“ told us she thought Disneyland in CA was a “cute, quaint, little park” compared to Disney World! I think she is right! 750,000 acres does make this attraction a little larger!

Downtown Disney is a really unique mall.

Lego has a huge store there, (very impressive) with several large sculptures

Once a year they have masters build a new sculpture

You can even buy legos by the piece

Tinker-toys are what Paul remembers as a child.

Chalk artists were doing their artwork along the sidewalks.

Lots of restaurants to choose from!

West end of downtown had lots of entertainment

While there, we decided we needed a rest mid-afternoon, so took in a movie at the theatre, and saw Tower Heist…. a good suspenseful movie.

There are four parks, all at least the size of Disneyland. Since Fantasyland looks like Disneyland, and the Animal Kingdom was third on our list, we decided to start at Epcot….. you all recognize the “golfball”! It is a futuristic world.

It is actually a futuristic ride…. recognize anyone?

As part of the Food and Wine Festival, we enjoyed a presentation by Emily Henderson, one of HGTV Design Stars, whose new series, Secrets from a Stylist, is starting this month.

and took a journey into space (I was assigned Commander of our mission!)

Epcot also has a World Showcase, comprised of international buildings, cultural centers and shops to depict the various countries. Among them,

Norway,

China,

with a model of an unearthed 2,000 year old tomb, still being explored.

Discovered accidently in 1974 when farmers digging a well unearthed this 22 square mile tomb, they found an army of thousands 6-foot tall sculptures, which is reproduced here on a smaller scale. It was quite interesting!

Germany,

Italy,

Morroco

Japan,

and United Kingdom

We went on the last day of the food and wine festival, so we literally ate our way through, stopping at kiosks from the different countries to buy samplings of their food. Out of 29 marketplaces, we tried five. I don’t know how a person could do more, without being uncomfortable! We tried Nuernberger sausage and apple strudel (with Werther’s Original Karamel and Vanilla Sauce) from Germany, Golabki (pork stuffed cabbage roll) from Poland, lobster roll from Hops and Barley (I think USA), Ravioli di formaggio all’Emiliana (Baked Cheese Ravioli with Creamy Beef Bolognese, Parmesan and Mazzarella ) from Italy and Creme Brulee au Chocolat au Lait (Chocolate Milk Creme Brulee topped with caramelized sugar) from France. We split each item so we could sample more! Good thing we did a lot of walking!

After six hours at Epcot, we got in a water taxi to Hollywood studios, the fourth park. Along the way we passed Disney resorts

At Hollywood studios

we watch how they did some of the special effects of Indiana Jones,

This picture is for you, Aaron…..

We rode a simulator into space on new ride called Star Tours

and watched a 3D Muppet show.

When we came out, we were surprised when we found ourselves in the middle of the Osbourne Spectacular(click for Utube video) lighting, 4 million lights turning on at once, then a fabulous dancing light show timed to music! It truly was spectacular!! And in the Disney tradition, there was even snowflakes! No better way to get in the mood for Christmas…..

During the week we also saw Bok Tower Gardens

with a wonderful bell tower, which played every half hour, then a 40 minute concert twice a day, which we sat and enjoyed.

The door on the tower depicts creation

Another day, we stopped at Wycliffe Translators Discovery Center, which was very interesting and informative. There are 7000 languages in the world. The Bible still needs to be translated into over 2,000 languages.

Some of the challenge is to get the correct word and intonation to translate a word correctly. For example, one word in the English language, carry, can be interpreted in many ways….. as shown in this presentation.

At the campsite, we had a very comfortable park model cabin with our own private jacuzzi;

there is a beautiful lake, with a sign not to feed the alligators!

and wild life!

So now we are back in Tennessee for the holidays, and awaiting the arrival of our newest grandson, David Jakob, due on New Years Eve!