Sunday, April 11, 2010

Time to finish packing and go home but not before one last day of shopping, swimming and sunshine. Decided to try and get an iPad today since they will not be available in Canada for a few more weeks. Headed down to the Apple Store at Millenia Mall to be there for the opening only to find out they were sold out. Jumped in the car and headed over to Florida Mall fully expecting the same result but was pleasantly surprised. They had a handful still in stock. Grabbed one of the final few and headed back to Reunion. Most of the packing had been done by the time I got back - thanks Catherine! We ate lunch on our patio one last time and then walked over to the waterpark for two hours of sun and water fun. When the park closed, we headed back to our condo, grabbed our bags and reluctantly headed to the airport. The plane left on time and we should be in Calgary just before midnight. What a great vacation! Reunion is a very special place for us. We’ll be back!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Another laid back day as we get ready to go home tomorrow. Last minute shopping for golf and tennis clothing. Bought some US cell phones to avoid the outrageous Canadian charges when we travel to the US. Pizza from Pizza Hut for lunch. Swimming for Catherine and Devon. Golf for Logan and Mike. This time, nine holes on the Nicklaus designed Tradition course. Wonderful course but you have to hit your targets. Small greens. Lots of bunkers. Had a great time even though we ran into two stubborn birds that would not get off the bridge we were trying to cross. Dinner out at the neighbouring Omni Resort, Champions Gate and then back home to start the dreaded packing process.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A relaxing day today following the manic theme park action of yesterday. Logan and Mike went golfing while Catherine and Devon went to the pool. The two golfers played 18 holes on the Reunion Independence course designed by Tom Watson where Logan recorded his very first par on the par 3 third hole. Well done, Logan! Following golf, the boys wanted a quiet night at home so the adults went over to the Grande for dinner at Eleven - the rooftop restaurant and pool. The springrolls were fantastic as were the beef skewers with brown rice. Better yet, the creme brulee shooter was out of this world!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Today was theme park day. Our two favourite theme parks of all time - Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Two parks, thirteen hours, front of the line passes, preferred parking and sunshine! We started off at Universal Studios where our favourite rides were the “Revenge of the Mummy”, “Jaws” and “ET”. We then headed over to Islands of Adventure with a stop at the Hard Rock Cafe shop on the way. Here we learned all about Hard Rock Cafe pins! Our favourite rides at the Islands of Adventure were the “Jurassic Park River Adventure”, the “Bilge Rat Barges”, the “Dudley Do-Right Ripsaw Falls” and “Doctor Doom’s Fearfall”. At the end of the day, we ran into Mariah Carey as we were leaving. She was doing a photo shoot of some sort. A long, action-packed day but lots of fun!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Following yesterday’s road trip, we did not wake up until about noon today. We decided to take it real easy and opted for a visit to the pool for some sunshine and relaxation. Following that we played nine holes of golf on Watson’s Independence Course. It was fun, including the snake that watched us tee off on the 7th hole! After golf, we headed over to Forte in the Grande for dinner. It was excellent! They did a great job of the rack of lamb and the chef masterfully whipped up some garlic fries for us that were not on the menu. A relaxing and very enjoyable day! We love this place!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Another early alarm day. This time at 3.50 am! Needed to get to Fort Lauderdale by 8.45 am to catch the Discovery Sun cruise ship to Freeport in the Bahamas. We made it with 10 minutes to spare. After clearing customs and checking in, we boarded the ship. Not quite the cruise ship we expected. It was only 50 years behind its time! Thankfully, Catherine booked us a cabin. This was our respite from the crowds. 50 square feet of bliss. Two single beds, a chair and a washroom! Once we had finished laughing, the ship left port and we were quickly in open waters for the four hour cruise to Freeport. We headed to the dining room for breakfast. After being seated next to the garbage container, we successfully relocated to a magnificent window view - too bad the windows hadn’t been cleaned since 1968! The breakfast was entertaining as well as being about four hours old! After breakfast, we explored the ship. Tacky night club lounge? Check. Smokey casino? Check. Miniature sized outdoor pool with no empty sun chairs? Check. Duty free shop with great prices on Citizen watches? Check. Following our exploration expedition, Devon and Logan found some Wii machines and were content for most of the trip to the Bahamas. We arrived at about noon and booked an excursion to Taino Beach with a stop for shopping afterwards. After much hilarity getting the tour group organized, we left the ship and made our way on to the tour bus. Devon and Logan were horrified that the bus had no door. We explained that this type of air conditioning was good for the environment! We arrived at the Taino Beach Resort and were greeted with Bahama Mama rum drinks before we headed to the beach to secure our spot and soak up some sun. After a few swims in the ocean, we signed up for a banana boat ride. This was great fun until Devon fell off and until the banana boat flipped over at the end of the ride! We were all fine and agreed the extra shot of adrenalin made it worthwhile. We left the beach and took a water taxi to the shops. We bought some souvenirs and then headed to a restaurant for some tea and cakes. The carrot cake was surprisingly good. After we finished our snacks, it was time to re-board the ship for the cruise back to Florida. The trip back was five hours instead of the expected four. We visited the casino to spend some time and money, and then went for dinner where our waitress, Ayu, from Bali, Indonesia was particularly engaging. Following dinner, we headed back to our palatial cabin, where we had a nap to get ready for the long drive back to Orlando. The shipped docked at 11.30 pm, we finally cleared US immigration at about 12.30 am and arrived back at Reunion at 4.00 am. We all went straight to bed! This was one of the highlight days of our trip. Devon summed it up best: “It was so much fun insulting the boat!”

Monday, April 5, 2010

The alarm went off at 5.55 am and we rushed to Eleven in the Grande to watch the launch of the space shuttle Discovery from the rooftop at 6.21 am. The launch was a spectacular ball of fire in the early dawn and we watched as the shuttle gained altitude and jettisoned its fuel tank. Five minutes after lift off we heard the sound of the launch as it finally made its way to Reunion from the Kennedy Space Centre about 60 miles away! Turns out we didn’t need to go to the rooftop of the Grande as Catherine had just as good a view from the luxury of the balcony of our condo! We headed back to bed for a few hours and then it was off to Busch Gardens in Tampa for a day of wild animals and rides. We had a good time and really enjoyed the setting of the animal park along with the most spectacular roller coaster rides we have been on yet. The SheiKra ride was completely awesome as you plummet 200 feet straight down at about 70 mph! Logan loved the Tanganyika Tidal Wave, the Stanley Falls Flume log ride and the Gwazi wooden roller coaster, Devon loved the Montu roller coaster while Catherine was all over the Serengeti Express! Another fabulous, hot, blue sky day! We also learned how to enter a Canadian postal code at a US gas station - remove all the letters from your postal code, add 00 and you are good to go!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday in Orlando. Sun shining and easter eggs melting! Logan recovered well from an ear ache all night and the Easter egg hunt was on. Looks like he dropped lots of chocolate at our place! We went over to the Grande for Easter brunch. Good selection. Seems like the marshmallows and the chocolate fountain were the biggest hit. Following brunch, we walked back to our place to get ready for another lazy afternoon at the waterpark. Hottest day so far. Absolutely gorgeous. After some relaxing time in the sun, Catherine and I headed off for dinner at Emeril’s Orlando. It is one of our favourite restaurants. This time we discovered the mushroom, truffle flatbread. Outstanding! The corn bread muffins are to die for as is the caramelized white chocolate toffee crunch cheesecake with hazelnut shortbread and butterscotch sauce. We’ll be back!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Another beautiful day in Florida. Off to Boggy Creek Air Rides for an air boat ride on Lake Tohopekaliga to see alligators in the wild. Great day out. Boat ride was fun. Saw three alligators. Devon was our master alligator spotter. Then back to Reunion Resort for some sun and swimming. Catherine (the lionness) and Logan walked over to Pizza Hut to pick up personal pan pizzas for dinner. Yummy!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Arrived at the resort late last night for spring break. Decided to take it easy today and relax at the waterpark. Really great day! Nice and hot! Couple of tube rides around the lazy river and through the waterfalls. This is the life!