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Olna, Steve and Matthew
Spend Christmas in Florida!
December 22nd through 29th, 2007
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Let us know that you're along for the ride... All of our "usual" e-mail addresses will work (well, except for ones ending in balloonideas.com or hillcountryannie.com -- we refuse to check our work e-mail!) We'll try to answer your questions between shopping, Disney-ing, Epcot-ing and Sea World-ing!
  
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Our photos will be available in daily "Photo Albums" shown below. Check 'em all out...that is, if we can upload them!
 
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We'll try to update our Kissimmee Blog with random thoughts, experiences, dining delicacies, daily activities, etc. each day, as well!
  
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We're staying at the Magic Tree Resort in Kissimmee, Florida...about 5 minutes from Mickey Mouse's front gate.
  
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Click on the images shown on our site for a "Close-Up" view!

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Live Picture from Universal Studios in Orlando

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bullet Great flights on a busy, busy travel day! The security line at San Antonio took us almost an hour and mom had her Titanium appendages approved by the TSA and we were on our way!

bullet The Southwest Airlines new boarding procedure is as easy as ABC - 123 and we loved grabbing those peanuts when they passed down the aisle. What is it about those peanuts...everyone on the plane gets sooo excited when they see the flight attendants coming down with their wicker baskets overflowing with 'em! Don't these folks know you can get a jar full of 'em at the Walgreens for about $1.99 (and you get more than the 10 nuts that are in the SWA bags!)

bullet We got settled into our abode and headed out to do our grocery shopping for the week... Laundry Soap, butter, cereal, milk and coffee... We're all set!

bullet Mom treated us to Giordano's...and one of their World Famous Stuffed Crust pizzas...just unbeatable! It was so good, and we weren't the only ones who thought that way, it was voted the Best Pizza in America by the Today Show!

bullet Planned, planned and re-planned the week (which will all change, naturally)...but we have Sea World on tap for tomorrow!


bullet Sea World was Fun, Fun, Fun!

bullet We saw lots of dolphins, whales, birds, manatees, polar bears (photos to follow, only video so far!), just lots of fun things!

bullet Mom and Steve dined on a kiddie's lunch box... too funny, but honestly they had a great meal of Chicken Strips, French Fries, Raisins and Fruit Juice. All in a lunch box with Shamu on the side for $6.99!

bullet I just remembered the Pet Tales show, we saw dogs, cats, a skunk, a big pig and more... all trained to perform as well as the whales! They were all from the local humane shelters and just such good actors and actresses! And to think, we can't even get Alika and Cleo to stay off the furniture! Of course, no photos, we were just using the show as a "rest", but it turned out to be just great!

bullet Here are mom's thoughts on Sea World: SEA WORLD is great. I loved seeing all the animals. Most especially the almost extinct Manatees... I was amazed at how large they are. The crowds were enormous, the baby strollers were everywhere as families toured the park. The cats were so smart at the pet show, they were the smartest ones I've ever seen. The ones I always had were so lazy and these walked on high wires, and jumped across the stage. Another thing I liked was the Christmas show at Shamu's house because I could not believe the size of these beautiful whales and how smart they were.


bullet This morning, Steve went golfing at Falcon's Fire golf course. He said it was very nice and he enjoyed it.

bullet Matthew and Olna held down the fort and returned e-mails, sent e-mails and waited for Steve to return. Once he got back, he hopped into the pool and we headed in search of lunch: The Catfish Place in St. Cloud... We steered clear of the swamp specialties -- soft-shelled turtle, frogs' legs and gator tail, fried to perfection and decided to stick with catfish for the two mud-bug connoisseurs and fried shrimp for Matt. It was all Deeee-lish (as it had been the last time the three of us were in Orlando - Thxgiving 2006) The order of Fried Green Tomatoes were pretty tasty, too!

bullet Then it was time to shop. We found Annie a new sexy bikini that words just can't describe...she really fills it out (literally!) No photos, as we don't want to get as many "hits" as Brittney & Paris, our web host couldn't handle the traffic. We also shopped for ingredients for Turtle Pumpkin Pie, but couldn't find any pumpkin (could've used the turtle from the catfish place)...so that plan was scrapped!

bullet We headed back for a little relaxing by the pool (and in the heated pool, which is improperly set to about 98 degrees -- it's like swimming in a bathtub!) After a nice dinner of homemade bread and Pollo en Coco (a Honduran Chicken & Coconut dish that Matt picked-up during our Last Visit to Roatan) It was great -- but, the oven seems to only go to about 200 degrees when the burners are on, so the preparation of the Christmas ham and dressing should be FUN tomorrow!

bullet Time for football...and plans on what time we should put things into the oven tomorrow! Lord, this Christmas Dinner may really need some help!


bullet Merry Christmas!!!

bullet Well, as traditional on the holiest of holidays, we started our Christmas Day in the heated swimming pool and bubbled away in the hot tub. The oven wiring is cooperating and the dressing is being prepared, the ham is cooking and the potatoes are peeled and ready to be smashed...and of course we're all ready to eat!! (Or, was it...The ham is dressing, we're ready to get smashed and the oven wiring has been peeled...) I'm so hungry, I'm confused! We were going to have turkey, too, but forgot that turkeys cannot fly, so it couldn't come on the Southwest flight with us!

bullet Our Dinner was GREAT, was yours? Mom just about wet herself when she saw her 3-selections on a plate -- we laughed and laughed...thinking we might have to head "elsewhere" to eat. However, Mom's homemade dressing, Matt's mashed potatoes...and Steve's iced water servings were the hit of the party. Oh, and the ham was good, too!

bullet Disney's Hollywood Studios (until this week, known as Disney's MGM Studios) was lots of fun. We went there to see the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Over 5 Million lights decorating the New York City movie set danced to the music...amazing and so beautiful. We also visited the Muppets 3-D movie (which was hilarious) and the Backstage Tour, where we were caught in an Earthquake, Flash Flood and Fires. Crazy Day, huh? We bought the only MGM-Studio pins we could find, since the park is changing it's name soon...and "They'll Be Worth Money One Day" (along with Hallmark, Dept 56, etc!!!)

bullet Mom thought she felt like we might be in danger when the flood and earthquake hit, explosions all in about two minutes. She thought the Christmas lights were Fabulous all synchronized to the Siberian Orchestra music and Feliz Navidad -- plus it was snowing all through the New York streets!

bullet We got to the Magic Kingdom and snagged a great place at the Mainstreet Station for the nighttime parade, SpectraMagic. It was beautiful, but we got a lot of pictures of people's cell-phones. Steve wants to know why these people don't just by a digital camera?!? They are the same size as a cell phone and you don't have to hold them in the air..and the pictures are actually clearer with a camera instead of a phone! Who would've thought?! After the parade, we made our way down Mainstreet Disney (which was also experiencing that freak Florida snow -- foamy consistency!) and were awestruck by the beauty of the color-changing Cinderella's Castle.

bullet Mom says her favorite part was the decorated castle and watching the colors change. Oh, and the enormous crowds!

bullet Then we headed via Monorail to the Contemporary Resort to look for a sparkly keychain for Sharon (Sorry, SE, no luck!) While we were there, the fireworks began at the Magic Kingdom. We tossed aside our potential purchases and rushed out on the balcony to see a wonderful view (although a bit obstructed!) of the display. It was so loud..and bright..just wonderful.

bullet Gosh, we're tired from our day... but, the photos are up so check 'em out. Another amazing trip! What Fun!

 


bullet ICE! at the Gaylord Palms Resort was on tap for today... This place was A-W-E-S-O-M-E! It's an entire attraction made from ice and chilled to 9 degrees at the Gaylord Palms Resort. This Resort/Convention Center is Orlando’s holiday headquarters, and presents this amazing holiday spectacle, hand carved from nearly two million pounds of ice! Just check out the photos...and the webcams above...and remember: Everything is made from ICE!

bullet Oh, and we had a wonderful lunch at the Kissimmee Steak House. Escargot, Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail, Crabcakes, 2" thick Filets, etc., it was a great way to top off a perfect day (P.S. the Key Lime Pie Martini wasn't half bad either!) They let you watch as they cook your steaks -- and we were shocked when we saw them throw ours onto the 1000-degree fire! Today was really a "Fire and Ice" kind of day...and both extremes were GREAT!


bullet Steve headed bright-and-early to the golf courses on Disney property...in search of one he hadn't played before! He settled on Lake Buena Vista, very near the Disney Marketplace. When he returned to Magic Tree from the golf course, he was a little blue! He said he had a horrible golf day -- and threw his back out on the 14th hole! But, like a trooper, he made plans for Friday for one final redeeming day of golf!

bullet Later in the afternoon, we headed toward DisneyWorld. Epcot was lots of fun, we took a bunch of photos of everything...and loved a front row seat for the fireworks! Man, were they ever LOUD!!! Plus, we had our pictures taken by the Disney Professionals! You can look at them, by clicking here (link good until Jan 25, 2007!)

bullet We got to preview the "new and improved" Spaceship Earth (the big golf ball), which actually has a ride inside. When Epcot was built 25 years ago, this ride demonstrated the history of communications from cave writings to the present...and the future of communications. Needless to say, what they thought was the future of communication was met-and-surpassed about 5 years after it was built! Who would've thought each of us would have a computer, cell phone, etc. So, the attraction has been in "rehab-mode" for the past few months. It has been in previews for only a few days and is scheduled to officially open in February! The funniest "new" thing: they take your photo as you first enter the ride. At the end, they put your face on an animated cartoon figure (unique to each car via a flat screen in the car) and you zip around "your" future (which is based on a series of touch-screen questions asked during the ride). Steve has some photos posted above!

bullet We also went to "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience" (cute 3-D interactive movie) and the "Club Cool", a favorite where you sample sodas from around the globe! We all loved the His-kua melon-flavored soda from China, the Kolita from Costa Rica and the Lychee Mello from Thailand. We drank so many cups of so many different types that it makes me want to burp just thinking about it.

bullet As with EVERY trip to Epcot, Steve insisted that we eat Fish-and-Chips at the Rose and Crown in the United Kingdom. They were our favorite and we were able to get a table right on the street...and loved the people watching as much as the food!

bullet We headed to the U.S.A. to catch a little of the Candlelight Processional narrated by Rita Moreno (it was beautiful!). We also went to an updated American Adventure, starring Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, Will Rogers, and more! It took mom 30 minutes to figure out they were all animatronics, instead of real actors!

bullet We made our way around the World Showcase: Canada, United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Japan, U.S.A., Italy, Germany, China, Norway and Mexico! We found a nice table at the Outpost section and waited for the fireworks. What a perfect location... Chairs, nobody in front of us...and LOTS of fireworks, and Noise!


bullet This morning, Steve was the first-off at Osprey Ridge, another Disney course. He reports that it was "worser" than yesterday! But, he did have time to take some beautiful photos to remember this Worser Day of Golf...which, I'm sure, is not "worser" than a day at the office! He has now officially played EVERY one of the golf courses on Disney property!

bullet Random Shots and other albums have been updated...Click on Photo for close up!

bullet We did LOTS of shopping today... and enjoyed a Day in the Florida Sunshine, Plus Shopping at Disney's Marketplace and the Disney Character Outlet stores! Fun, Fun, Fun and mom stocked up on Pins to trade during the next trip!


bullet We had.a great Brunch at the Crown Colony, which overlooks the Serengeti Plains at Busch Gardens - Africa in Tampa! Plus had time to see some of the beautiful giraffes, lions, elephants, zebras and more up-close!

bullet Tracking Information on our Flight back to San Antonio (boo!) can be obtained by clicking on the small yellow arrow in the info-box to the right!

bullet A direct link for the "Live-View" map of our flight (will show up once we take off): Click Here

bullet Home Again... Just added a bunch of new Busch Gardens photos, some taken from our table at brunch.

Return Flight Status
TPA to SAT
Tampa to San Antonio
Southwest Airlines
Flight WN 998
Depart 5:20pm
Arrive 7:15pm

 


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