Orlando, Florida

Nov 28 - Dec 18, 2000

 Our Travel Experience

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Our Travel Experience

We met Bob and Eileen for a week of fun in Orlando, Florida. We planned to visit the theme parks and see a space shuttle launch.
Visiting the Theme Parks was fun! The big surprise of the trip was that Universal's Island's of Adventure had the best "makebelieve land" (not Disney). All four of us loved Seuss land. It was decorated for Christmas in a "Whoville/Grinchmas" theme and that improved the enjoyment. We even got to talk to a citizen of whoville who came inside to see us after Eileen was making funny faces at him in the window. 
We also very much enjoyed the Disney parks. We went to the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Epcot together. It's amazing how a week in Orlando is just not enough!
The first theme park we visited was Universal Florida. Our favorite part of Universal was actually the Islands of Adventure theme park. We especially liked WhoVille because it was all decorated for Grinchmas. The tiny soap bubbles didn't taste that great when they landed in your mouth - but they did add to the atmosphere.

We left Disneyworld's Magic Kingdom in the early afternoon so that we'd arrive in Cape Canaveral in plenty of time to find a spot from which to see the launch scheduled for 10:06pm on Thursday, November 30th.

It was thanks to Bob that we knew when the shuttle was launching. He had the idea that we meet in Disneyworld this year just after Thanksgiving. Originally the shuttle was planned for a day luaunch on Wednesday. However, a few months before, it was rescheduled for a night launch on Thursday. We were all excited to se it.

We thought we make make a day of it and explore Cape cavaveral before the launch, but we found out that morning that the whole area was closed to tourists on launch days. Therefore, we ended up just driving over towards Cape Cavaveral about six hours before the launch was scheduled and seeing where we could watch the launch from. A friendly man directed us to Titusville which is a town across the river from the shuttle launch site. It was a great idea!

We ended up finding a bench in a small public park (the William J.Manzo Memorial Park). As we sat on the bench, we were looking out over the water and could see the shuttle launch site across the way. We had five hours to wait! The boys went to food and film while Eileen and Tara stayed behind to save the bench. We were very happy when they returned with Taco Bell and Haagen Daaz ice cream. It was a bit chilly for Haagen Daaz though - especially according to Tara.

We knew the launch would be soon, but we couldn't hear a countdown since didn't have a radio, nor did anyone near us. Therefore, we kept a close watch on the launchpad across the river. All of a sudden we saw a small yellow-ish light that grew brighter and brighter and brighter. There was no sound - just a light. The ball of light at ground level started to become elongated and then in a few seconds we could see two separate balls of light. One was the shuttle lifting off to the left and trailing smoke and the other was the reflection in the water. The reflection was beautiful. Suddenly, seemingly a long time after the initial ball of light - we heard a "whooosh" sound. The sound was suprisingly delayed.

 Seeing the shuttle launch was well worth the 5 hour wait.

The wait of five hours didn't seem all that long. We enjoyed talking. About half an hour before the scheduled launch time, the park really started filling up! In the end, we wanted a front row view, so we relinquished our bench and stood up at the railing right at the end of the water. No one had a radio, so we didn't get to hear a countdown. Tara first said "something is happening" and next thing you know, there is a huge, bright yellow flash that expanded from the launch site and turned bright white. The whole area were were in was illuminated. It took some time the the bright flash to before two separate areas of light - one being the shuttle, the other being its reflextion on the water.

It was awesome to see the light lifting off. It was eerily quiet until after what seemed like an extended amount of time, we heard the sound of the shuttle taking off. We stood and watched the ball of light streak upwards and to the left before it faded enough to look just like another star.

Good job Bob for suggesting we come see the launch!

Getting home to Orlando was much less fun than getting to Titusville. The traffic was horrendous. Tara slept through most of the ride home, but would occasionall wake up to hear Seth, Bob and Eileen talking about such varied subjects including prom dates and religion.

The next day we slept in a bit late and then took the bus to Epcot. Seth was still suffering from the green chicken curry he'd eaten in Mableton, so he opted to stay home. Tara was missing him so much that she actually left Bob andEileen to enjoy Epcot while she headed back to the hotel as well. She ended up buying a magazine and a Pizza Hut pizza while she waited out by the pool for Seth to awake. Periodically, she'd go to their room, put her ear up against the door and when she heard no movement, she'd slip little notes under his door telling him that she was at the pool at such and such of a time.

Finally when he did wake up, we ordered another Pizza Hut pizza to "celebrate" our 6 year wedding anniversary. Therfore, we were treated to a special surprise when Bob and Eileen returned from Epcot and treated us to a meal in a Japanese restaurant where they prepare the food right before you. This double-dinner should have foreshadowed the fact that we gained amazing amounts of weight while we were in Orlando!

Animal Kingdom on Saturday


On our last day, we went back to WhoVille in Islands of Adventure and played Men In Black one more time. 



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Tourist Info

Radisson Resort Parkway Hotel
Universal Florida - Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure
Disneyworld - Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom