Family Vacation, the very term conjures up images of the Griswolds driving cross country, singing songs and wreaking havoc all while narrowly escaping death. This was sort of what our trip was like. Only it was a much needed and soul replenishing vacation in Orlando, Florida that began in an amazing hotel ans ended in Disney world. I can’t believe how much vacationing we fit into our 10 day road trip. Oh yeah, that’s right, I did it again. I swore I never would but I did and what a difference a few years makes. The difference between traveling with a 5 and 7 year and a 2 and 4 year old is the difference between strolling through the park on a sunny Sunday afternoon and being chased through the park during the middle of the night by an axe murderer with Mommy issues. World of difference. Vacation road trip was a huge success, if you don’t take into account the fact that I developed a raging case of shark week on the return trip home. Oye vey, my poor family.
Honestly,there is so much to tell you and so many great places and things to do in Orlando that I want to share with you that I am going to write this as a series over the next few weeks, every Friday will be Florida vacationing tips, tricks and honest reviews of some of the places we visited. Unfortunately, all were not great experiences.
As you can see from some of the photos above, there is a LOT to do in Florida and so many places to choose to spend your time and money so I feel it’s my duty to share what I learned; good, bad and ugly. Here are a few general tips to keep in mind while road tripping with small children:
- Invest in a DVD player for the car. It will save your sanity and their little lives.
- Bring snacks because small children and husbands get the munchies when they are on the road and the only thing that is worse than “are we there yet?” is a screamed chorus of “I’m hungry!”
- Bring water because apparently in places where the humidity is 200% and you might die of dehydration, they feel it’s okay to charge $5 for a bottle of water. Hint: You can buy an entire case of bottled water for $5 in most cities, including Orlando, at the grocery store. Publix is your friend.
- Never buy hotel rooms or tickets through a third party, there are hidden charges. Believe me we learned this lesson twice on this vacation to a total of about $300. Not a whole lot of money but it could have been spent on something better than what it was wasted on. Just say no to third party sales.
- Always make sure to have children’s ibuprofen, adult ibuprofen, a thermometer, Neosporin, band-aids, hydrocortizone and pepto bismol in your bag at all times.
- Bring a water proof back pack to carry your camera, passes, keys, extra clothes and bottles of water in while sight seeing.
- When staying in a hotel, if you are watching your money, it may be worth it to consider going off grounds to purchase dinner. Case in point: Dinner for 4 at one of the hotel restaurants was $45 for sandwiches and drinks. Off grounds, the same meal would have cost about $20. Just something to think about.
- ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS take a rain poncho with you when visiting Florida. I know that no one wears those damn ugly things unless they are going to a sporting event in the rain or an amusement park in the rain. We never buy these things until we are being rained on and then it will cost you an arm and a leg for essentially the cheapest Glad trash bag you will ever encounter. Know this now. It rains in Orlando, a lot. I’ve been several times and in every season and it ALWAYS rains. Somehow, I forgot and left the $1000 rain ponchos that I bought on my last trip at home and had to buy more. 6 more! There are only 4 of us but 2 of them ripped. There I was in the middle of the happiest place on earth getting water logged and extremely pissed off and then I laughed at myself, grabbed my 7 year old and started dancing and singing in the rain. Fuck it. Life’s too short! But if you melt and rain annoys you, BUY A RAIN PONCHO!
- Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen and Aloe. It is hot as hell in Florida and I’m not entirely sure that it is not the gateway to the underworld but it is beautiful and after awhile of looking into the sun and cooking yourself to 165 degrees, you get used to it. You may even stop sweating in 110 degree weather. Not me, I was sweating like a whore in church the entire time I was there but you may be a cooler cat than I on vacation. Once your eyes adjust and you get used to looking directly into the sun, don’t forget that you are probably being burnt to a crisp. Reapply sunscreen, SPF 50+ every 80 minutes and don’t forget the SPF lip balm. Believe me when I tell you, I forgot to reapply to myself. I thought I was safe because of my olive Latina skin. No one is safe. Florida chews up Latinos for breakfast every day and spits them out for lunch. Currently, I am no longer red but I am the damn freckliest Mexibilly you ever did see. But what about the children? I reapplied sunscreen to them every hour and they STILL got red.Please don’t let your babies burn. Nothing ruins a family vacation faster than a kid in pain from sunburn.
So much to say and do in Florida, there’s definitely more than just face eating zombies to keep you entertained. Our Griswold family vacation to Florida was pretty much awesome, with the exception of a few minor shark week induced over reactions, being water logged while alternately sweating our asses off and being burnt to a crisp and the incident with public relations at the place I will hence to forth refer to as Florida Throat Punch Recipient #1 (Universal). We loved our vacation and still think Florida is the happiest place on earth. I’m already planning next year’s trip. I’ve got loads of info about all the hottest things to do with children on your family vacation to Florida and will be giving you the down low on Fridays.