It's been a whirlwind in the last few days. I promised myself I wouldn't get behind in our family blog. The truth is I wrote this posting before going to Universal today, and I lost the damn posting when I hit publish. There was a glitch in the software. It was and is very frustrating!
So, here we go again! On Friday, we left Madison Florida and drove to Crystal River. When we checked in to the RV Park, I asked the lady if there was anything we should be concerned or aware of since we have two small children. She asked what I meant. I said, are there alligators, snakes or any other wildlife we should be on the look out for?! She said snakes yes occasionally, but definitely no gators!
So, we pull into our site which is on a stagnant pond. Pretty place! We look out in the water, and what do we see? An alligator staring right at us! I wanted to march right back up to the office. It seems that this is what you should expect throughout Florida!
After we set up camp, we headed to a restaurant that was highly recommended called Pecks. We drove down a 2 lane highway into a swamp. It was so surreal. It felt like we were in a movie. We weren't even sure if we were on the right road, until all of a sudden we were out of the swamp and in the parking lot to a restaurant on a dock. It was really cute!
The food was pretty good at Peck's! We ordered alligator for everyone to try. I've had it on previous trips but everyone else needed to try it. Even McKinley ate the gator. It tasted like fishy chicken nuggets with a garlic butter. Devlin seems to be getting pickier and pickier. He had clam chowder and salad for dinner. Derek and I had all you can eat blue crab legs. It was good but so much work! Derek and I could have ordered 10 bowls! We ordered two each and then left. I had appointments I needed to get to, so we hustled out of there.
Marty dropped McKinley, Derek and I off at the trailer, while he ran off to Home Depot. Our pantry door fell off the hinges while we drove. Marty needed screws to hang the door back up.
Derek took McKinley to the pool so I could work. Thank God for Derek! He's been such a huge help this entire trip.
By the time I finished working, and Marty fixed the door, the whole camp ground came alive! It was a party everywhere. It was so strange. The best way to describe it is like Newport Dunes the week of 4th of July! Everyone had golf carts they were driving up and down the streets. We went out by the pond and watched the alligator for a while. It so cool to watch these predators. There eyes are so spooky when they watch you!
We went to bed fairly early because we had to get up super early to swim with the manatees. We got up at 6:00 am and I made bacon, eggs and hash browns. We wanted the kids to have a heavier meal because we knew we were going to be on the boat for a few hours.
We arrived at the dive shop at 8:00 am. We all had to suit up in wet suits, and watch a movie about how to treat the animals. After the movie we drove to the dock and got on the boat. We spent over 3 hours snorkeling and hanging out in the water. The manatees hung out in mirkier water which kind of sucked. We couldn't watch them at the bottom. In fact, as I was snorkeling a manatee came up within inches of my face, and I couldn't see it until the cute face was in mine. I squealed and the poor guy got scared and swam away. I didn't mean to scare it but you have to understand how scary and exhilarating it is. Your head is in the water and the visibility is awful! All of a sudden, a giant animal appears and you can't help but freak out.
Unfortunately, this was as close as anyone in our boat got to the animals. We saw them swimming and swam beside them but none of them were interested in interacting. Our captain said sometimes that happens. They are beautiful animals! We really enjoyed this experience.
After swimming with the manatees, we ordered pizza, ate, picked up the trailer and headed to Orlando. We arrived at Walt Disney World later than expected, so we didn't go to Hollywood Studios as planned. We settled at the Fort Wilderness Resort which is fantastic! This is a beautiful RV park! We had dinner reservations at TRex in Downtown Disney at 7 pm which we all really enjoyed!
TRex is exactly like Rainforest Cafe except there are dinosaurs. It was so cool! There was a couple fish tanks, an octopus hanging from the ceiling, cool colored lighting throughout the restaurant. The food was okay, but the atmosphere was incredibly fun!
After dinner we got the lay of the land in the Fort Wilderness Resort! We came back to the trailer and decided on a game plan.
This morning we woke up, had breakfast and headed to Universal. Derek and I are pretty big Harry Potter fans, and we wanted to explore both of the parks. When we got to Islands of Adventure, we headed straight to Hogsmeade. The books came alive! Everything was so well done! We had butter beer, got a wand from Ollivanders, went on the ride through Hogwarts. We took the Hogwarts Express to the other park and went through Diagon Alley. It was so much fun! Marty and I got to ride a big roller coaster while Derek kept the kids, we caught a SpongeBob parade. It was great!
We grabbed dinner and rested for a bit before heading back to the camp ground! We are now going to head over to the pool to play for a few hours. I need to work for a few hours tonight and we need to come up with tomorrow's game plan! So far so good in Orlando! We are having a great time and the weather has been pretty good to us!