Saturday, March 5, 2011

Weekend Whimsy: Life in Florida -- Theme Parks and Tourist Attractions

One of the major perks of living in Florida is being so near the plethora of theme parks Orlando has to offer.  The theme parks routinely offer Florida residents great deals during the off season as well as discounted annual passes.  We have purchased annual passes for both Disney World and Universal Studios in the past.

Disney World is the natural favorite when your kids are younger.  The Magic Kingdom looses some of its appeal by the time they get into middle school.  When I turned 40, I knew my family was going to do everything in their power to embarrass me in some way.  So I didn't tell anyone and escaped to Disney World with my children for a few days!   I rode the Tower of  Terror at MGM Studios on my 40th's a six story, free fall drop.
One of my favorite memories from Disney World is the first time we took Matthew.  He was only about 2 years old.  We had him so hyped up to see Mickey Mouse!  We looked and looked for Mickey but couldn't find him.  Finally, when Matthew fell asleep in his stroller, guess who shows up?  Yup - Mickey!  He was very accommodating when we explained the situation and we got this marvelous photo.
Once the kids were in middle and high school, Universal Studios was the theme park of choice.  We especially love Islands of Adventure.  The Spiderman Ride is top notch and they have awesome roller coasters like the Hulk and Dueling Dragons.  Here is a GREAT video of the Hulk:

Other fun places we've been include the Old Jail in St. Augustine and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm.

Clearly even Floridians love hamming it up with the cheesy tourist photo opps!

We have been to the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral to witness three different shuttle launches.  What an amazing experience that is!  The first two launches we experienced were prior to 9/11 so we were able to get up close and personal and drive out on the causeway.  Since 9/11, sadly the visitors vantage point is much farther away.

Megan and Mum at Kennedy Space Center

A few years ago, during Christmas break, Mum and I took my nieces to Cross Creek and Micanopy.  Cross Creek is the home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park.  You might recall that Marjorie K. Rawlings wrote the book "The Yearling".
Marjorie K. Rawlings house at Cross Creek

Jennifer, Katherine, Megan and Mum with Marjorie K. Rawling's car

Now Micanopy may not be a tourist hot spot, in fact, I'll bet you've never even heard of it!  But Micanopy, in addition to being a quaint, little, sleepy, North Florida town, is the location for two movies:  "Doc Hollywood" and "Cross Creek".

It's a fun afternoon just strolling Micanopy's main street and visiting all the little gift and antique shops.  Most every shop has some memorabilia about the movies.
Jennifer, Megan and Katherine on in front of a Micanopy Antique Shop

 I could go on all day about things to do in Florida!  I've lived here since 1969 and it still amazes me how different our state is from the panhandle to the central springs area to Orlando to the Gulf coast and of course South Florida and the Keys.  I hope you enjoyed this little piece of the Sunshine State I've shared with you.

Have a great weekend!


  1. I loveeeeeeeeeeee the Hollywood Tower Hotel!!! That ride is AWESOME!! And loving the Mickey photo and that video of the Hulk ride is WOW!!!! I loveeeeeeeeeeeee visiting all those places in FL!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  2. I love the Mickey photo! So neat. Thanks for a fun look at more of life in Florida!

  3. I love the Hulk ride!! The first vacation Brian and I took together was to Orlando -- we loved Islands of Adventure and Disneyworld. Have you eaten at Emeril's by Islands of Adventure -- so fantastic!! At least it was when we were there in 2002! ;)


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