Mason is 11 and Milo is 9. These ages, coupled with the fact they had a week off in February, created the perfect storm for a Florida adventure: 1. We figured before long (possibly next year) Mason will lose interest. 2. When they have off school one of us has to take off work anyway. 3. February seems like a time for shorter lines. 4. Winter in New York was getting brutal.
So off we went. Flying to Florida late into the night. Landing at 11:00 pm to discover our rental car company had closed for the night and all the rental car companies at the airport were booked. (chalk another one up for our travel adventures!)
Two hours (and one taxi ride) later we were at our hotel, happily eating McDonald’s chicken nuggets and agreeing to switch our morning plans from amusement park to beach day.
Are you totally ready for the enchilada of pictures? Don’t worry. I’ll write between so you can pretend you care about the details too.
First day = find the magical rental car/beach day. We picked Cocoa Beach. No we didn’t see a rocket launch while there. Yes, the boys spent all day digging a giant hole in the sand. And yes, at one point I was covered with sand to look like a mermaid.
Day 2 = Magic Kingdom. Longest ride wait time was for Peter Pan. Seriously. We passed the time like any good Disney-visiting family would: we ate. And when the food was waining thin we made the boys answer trivia questions before they could have another bite.
This is me trying to prove we were in fact in the Happiest Place on Earth, with the other three at varying stages of “why are we taking a picture facing the sun?”
Leaving the park at closing time. Milo was definitely spent.
Day 3 = recovery from Magic Kingdom. It was a tough choice between digging another giant hole at the beach or visiting a water park that had a slide through a dolphin tank… But Tyler was very happy we chose the second, solely for the lazy river. Aquatica, you made our day.
Day 4 = kiddie rides. Milo was most excited for Legoland – so although we were warned not to visit, we just couldn’t say no to the kid who had been saving the coupon he cut out of his Lego magazine for months. It turns out, Legoland is not that bad (if you have coupons where the kids were completely free). It’s not a horrible place, the rides are just meant for children who are about 7 years old (there were actually multiple school field trips with children that age). The boys had fun, but they did remark that the roller coasters were, “sort of small.”
And lets not forget all the things made of Legos! Milo especially enjoyed pointing out all the flaws in the New York cityscape. (“The Empire State Building is not that close to the Chrystler Building.” True story, he said that.)
Day 5 = a real roller coaster. Since the boys seemed to like the roller coasters at Magic Kingdom the best, we decided to try out Universal Studios the last day. So, fresh off their kiddie ride experiences of Legoland, we walk into the park and straight to the biggest ride there. I’m proud to say that neither boy backed out (although I don’t think they realized what they were even getting in to). The monumental part of the ride was the end, when we learned they take actual video of you while you’re riding – and we proceeded to watch Mason’s death grip through the entire ride. (The less monumental part was where he found out he lost his much-beloved iPod during the ride, and they never found it. Lesson learned I guess.) And then we took pictures in Springfield.
Milo found his twin.
And we volunteered Tyler for this ride/movie. (He was ecstatic.)
Goodbye Day = Gatorland. Also the park Tyler was most excited to visit. And it made for the perfect half day before our flight out.
For some added fee the lady at the counter made sound amazing, we each got a bag of turkey dogs to feed “any gators that aren’t behind glass.” The weirdest thing to us were all the birds that would snatch the hot dogs bits away from the alligators – right next to their jaws!
Then after feeding time, we got to pick one out of the water and wrestle it into submission. Ok, that’s a lie. But we did get to sit on one and pretend it knew who was boss.
The verdict? Neither of the boys could pick a favorite day – which I will take as a giant, “every moment was equally amazing.” Plus we found out traveling with a 9 and 11 year old is sort of amazing. No tiring meltdowns, hangry outbursts, or complaining about walking. Thank you non-toddlers, you are becoming pleasant travel friends.
Remember that time I told you I was going to post a lot of pictures with words, and you didn’t believe I would do it? And then you kept scrolling and realized I was serious? I don’t even feel bad. Because I warned you. And I know plenty of people who post way more. Besides, it’s for the grandmas.
(And all those travel blog followers who were just dying to know what to do and not do in Florida. For you I will add this: Do eat at Jazzy’s after a day at Cocoa Beach. Do drink giant glasses of horchata at El Tenampa, and buy absurd amounts of pan dulce from the grocery store next door. Don’t settle for that chain pasta place on your last night just because you can’t decide where else to go. You will be disappointed and you regret it more than the McDonald’s on your first night.)