We started our trip to Orlando with a round of miniature golf. The weather was beautiful (cooler than we expected which is always good for Mike when journeying to FL)!!
Right next door was Cafe Tu Tu Tango so we headed there for dinner.
What a unique place full of visual delights!! All of the decorations in the restaurant were created by local artists so there were tons of paintings to gaze at while we were dining in so many different styles. It was a museum unto itself!!
Local artists are even there selling their wares and there was a painter doing live painting right there!! SO srtinkin' cool!
The pizzas are even served on platters that look like painters palettes. The food was good too!! I had a winter squash pizza that so yummy that I was more than happy to have leftovers the next night. Getting a suite is the only way to go as far as I'm concerned when you're traveling with kids.
We stayed off-site at Floridays Resort (which didn't feel like a resort but more like a timeshare. When I think resort I think of decadence and feeling pampered and I didn't feel either, though I did feel like we got a good value. This was an incredibly affordable option (especially when you consider the on-site Disney properties that we looked at - yikes!! Thousands of dollars for 4 people to be sleeping within arms reach of each other. Ummm, no.). Two bedrooms, a kitchen, seperate bathrooms, a living room, and terrace were where it's at for us. Floridays was about 15-20 minutes away from the Orlando theme parks that we wanted to go to. The only exception to this was Legoland. Legoland is 45-50 minutes away from Orlando, which we didn't know about until we got there (we didn't check) but it was all good. Just know that if you're planning on visiting Legoland that you need to figure in 90-120 minutes of travel time depending on traffic. It was much quicker to get to the park in the morning. It was in the evening that we hit some traffic going back to Orlando.
I discovered (or confirmed) on this trip that bright colors and whimsical designs make me so happy. They really lift my spirits and I can't help but smile when I'm around the wonderful zaniness that is Dr. Suess and all those whirls and swirls, and TRUFFALA TREES!
How much fun is this?!
The frosty cold butterbeer in Hogmeade's was REALLY good!! You can get frosty/icee or regular and I highly recommend the icee one.
The Harry Potter area of Islands of Adventure was the most disappointing to me of the 5 theme parks that we visited (full disclosure though, I am a non ride-loving person who was also with one child that is also of that same variety - oh we like simple, calm rides like the Suess ride through the Dr. Seuss area but rollercoaster and vomit-inducing spinning things are not our thing). I wanted Hogsmeade to be more built up and have all of the stores be actual stores that you could go into rather than be merely storefronts. I would have liked to have the castle be more interactive so that you could see what the various rooms looked like that you hear so much about in the books. The castle ride may have shown some more of that but there was no way I was going on that and Ryan concurred. Mike and Jessica went on the castle ride and enjoyed it. We went through the castle tour part and then split off and exited before the ride part started
I think this is the only photo that we have at Hollywood Studios which was much more fun than we expected. I thought I would like this park the least so maybe it has something to do with having no expectations. Jessi absolutely had to go see the American Idol Experience, something we would not have thought to do if she wasn't so insistent and it so enjoyable and well-done! We are so happy that we did this. She wanted to audition but you need to be older to be able to do so. The three contestants all had such great voices. The one in particular that we all voted for ended up winning. He not only had a great voice but he had stage presence, a great song, and seemed to be enjoying himself up there! One girl up there was only 16! What courage it takes to do that! I don't think I would be able to (but that may be because I know what voice I have! LOL!)
Updated to add: It helps if I include the one photo from Hollywood Studios that I just referred to, no?
I had left our camera in the backpack in the lockers and so we had another family take this with one of our iPhones.
More photos to come!