Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Florida July 2011

The Savard Family vacation this year took us to sunny HOT Orlando Florida. Many people warned us that it would be hot. It didn't help that all of North America was going through an unusal heat wave. But that didn't stop us. We knew the outlets and malls would have air conditioning. hahhaha. To make this trip extra special, Lola and Lolo and Tita Melissa came along too. So really it was a Savard-Ortiz vacation.

On our first day, we took it easy. The heat took us aback and we decided to hit the outlets and then later on pool. The outlets were okay at this time of year, but we knew shopping with a toddler would be difficult. Olivia thankfully stayed in her stroller for a good amount of time (it must have been the snacks). After a good 45 minute nap in her stroller, she wanted out. Maman and Papa still wanted to walk around...soo that's were Lola, Lolo, and Tita Melissa come in. They gracously watched Miss Olivia through coins back and forth in the fountain (her new favourite thing to do these days). We ended the day by the pool and went out for dinner (PF CHANGS). After Olivia fell asleep for the night, Martin and I snuck out and did the outlets again. :0P till 11:00pm closing. Got to love these US shopping hours.

Next day, we decided to take advantage of the scorching heat and visit Sea World. We lathered up with sunscreen, packed our bottles of water and headed off to Olivia's favourite place in Orlando (at 2years old). We went last year in November (when she was not yet 18 months) at she was interested, but not like now. She was able to share her enthusiasm with us and was able to name all the sea creatures we meet. It was pretty cool. Maybe we have a marine biologist in the making. :0) As soon as we got there, she was squealing in excitement "What's that? What's that?"

Sea World has this special way to put people in awe of the sea. Love the underwater glass ceilings where you can see the sharks from above.

After that cool aquarium, we headed to Olivia's favourite animal - Penguins. It was a moving floor that took us from 1 end of the room to the other. We saw all kinds of penguins - swimming, eating, resting etc.

Olivia couldn't get enough, so we went back up to the observation deck, where she could just sit and watch the penguins play.

It was soooo hot that day, that Olivia didn't mind sitting in her stroller eating her ice cubes "DES GLACES". Needless to say, she was very hydrated during the day.

Of course, the best thing about these aquariums is the fact that you can go under and see the dolphins swim and get right up to the glass.

I have to say the highlight of Sea World was not the dolphins or the penguins, but was the chance to touch the manta rays in the feeding pools. At first she was afraid by these flapping sea creatures. But sure enough the curiosity took over and she was trying to grab them. The video we have is priceless because it looks like she literally tries to jump in.

A special moment with Tita Melissa.

The next day was Pool Day! We even got to eat by the pool and the food was fantastic. The first time we went into the pool Olivia was splashing like a seal all over the place. The term "NO FEAR" was our word of the day. It was pretty stressful containing her in the pool. She would leap of the ledge and dive into the water with little notice. She was sooo excited that she was running and falling all over the place in the water. Tita Melissa took one look at that and vowed she would never take Olivia swimming by herself. hahahaha. I have to say it wasn't the most relaxing day at the pool. HOWEVER, the second time we went to the big pool, she was awesome. She listened and waited for us. I guess the novelty of the pool wore off and she was swimming fabulously. Papa was soo proud. We even did some pool activities they had with the children.

Olivia participated in a hula hoop contest and won a green beaded necklace. Wish we had pictures of that. It was a great day.

We love to pour water. Back and forth. Back and forth.

After a lovely day by the pool, we had a yummy dinner at CHEESECAKE FACTORY at the Millenium Mall. We were supposed to go to City Walk at Universal and eat at Bubba Gumps but it was pouring rain. Well..with the humidity it had too.

After dinner, the downpour had stopped and it was actually very pleasant outside. Muggy yes, but a bit cooler so we decided to head down to City Walk and enjoy the night life. Aside: Every night when Martin and I stepped out after putting Miss O to bed we would see these families with their small kids at the outlets at 10pm eating at the foodcourt, walking around. I have to admit I was one of those people who shook their heads and said "Get your kids to bed at a decent hour!" - Well...ya..we were at City Walk at 9pm with Olivia. Sigh. I guess when you are on vacation and time is limited, you do what you can. Olivia had a great time, and she slept her 12 hours. :00

When we bought our Sea World tickets (which purchasing online is always cheaper and less line ups), we were able to get a second day free. So we decided that we would go back to Sea World. It was too hot the first day to do everything. Tita Melissa ended up going to Universal Studios by herself (she wanted to do the Harry Potter ride). Lola and Lolo explored International Drive and all the shopping by taking the I-Ride Trolley (which is fabulous for tourists).

The first thing we wanted to do was to see the Baluga whales. At this exhibiton, they had a giant block of Antartic Ice they transported. Of course, Olivia LOVED touching it. It was there in November, but I remember it being much bigger, but I guess it melts.

Papa and Olivia played in the polar bear dens.

Again, another hot day. Why not hit the splashpad!

While everyone was watching the Shamu show, we decided to take advantage of the children section. Papa and Olivia went on the spinning tea cups (Swirling Fishies). She actually was amused by it. I don't know if Papa was getting dizzy though.

The next ride...oh boy. There was this rid that was similar to the swinging boat. But we assumed it was at the children's section so it wouldn't go high. I knew Olivia hates going on swings (she is more a slide person), but she kept singing "Row row row your boat!" and pointing to the ride. So off Papa and Olivia went. Sure enough, while they were waiting in line. the boat not only swung back and forth but it TURNED SIDE TO SIDE too!!!!! I looked at Olivia's expression in line, and she wasn't smiling she was "observing". Papa and I took a good look at each other and didnt' think it was a good idea. But Olivia kept saying "Papa, boat, row row...". They went on...1 minute later the ride comes to and end. We had screaming Olivia trying to stand up and get out of the boat. Sigh. Thankfully, the ride was restarted for everyone again. Sheesh. WE TOLD YOU! Maybe next year.

Here was more of Olivia's thing. Sand, shade, and a slide. Perfect.

To top off our wonderful vacation. Lola and Lola treated us to an AWESOME restaurant. TEXAS DE BRAZIL. Ugh..can't even tell you how much I love this restaurant. We purposely didn't eat lots during the day so we could take advantage of this $50/person buffet of meat. Byt the end, we all had meat sweats. It was delicious. Definitely something that everyone should try at least once.

It was a great vacation. Not only because it was in Orlando (one of our favourite spots to vacation), but it was the company. Living in Ottawa and so far away from my home city, it's hard to get down and see everyone. Love my family, love my life. Blessings surround me everyday.

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