Sunday, March 5, 2023 - We travel from the Cape Canaveral area to Kissimmee, Florida near Orlando, where we will remain for five days. We have tickets for four days at the Disney World complex. Bob and Charlotte Capp are flying from Dallas, Texas with their daughter, Heidi and her husband, Kent, to Orlando to go to Disney World.
We arrived at about 1:00 pm and the Capp entourage had already arrive in Kissimmee. They could not check into their hotel room until 4:00 pm, so they visited with us at our RV while waiting for their check-in time. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and planning for our trip to Disney World tomorrow.
Please note: There is no way that I can effectively create a running account of everything that we do during our days at Disney World. I will give you the basic overview of the activities for each day. We brought our lunches for each day and then Kent had made reservations at restaurants in each of the theme parks that we visited. Buying food at the park is expensive. A soft drink is $4.25 and a container of popcorn is $13. It was a lot of fun and many of the rides and shows were simply amazing. Parking costs $25 per day. Also, to get on certain rides more quickly, you have to buy a "Genie Pass" daily. They Genie Pass costs between $18 and $25 per person per day. Also, the "Rise of the Resistance" StarWars ride cost us an extra $18 per person on top of the price you pay to get into the park.
Monday, March 6, 2023 - We meet the Capps at The Magic Kingdom in Disney World. We end up spending 14 hours at the park and walk just under nine miles in total distance. This does not take into account the mount of pure standing in lines and at various venues along the way. We were pooped out by the time were were done. The fireworks display at 8:15 in the evening was awesome and lasted for about 15 minutes. The Magic Kingdom is pretty much a replica of Disneyland in California.
Tuesday, March 7, 2023 - We meet the Capps at the Hollywood Studios theme park. I felt that Hollywood Studios is very similar to "The California Adventure" park at Disneyland in California. Lots of rides and shows to see. We arrived at 8:30 am stayed here for 13 hours before Lisa and I decided to call it a day. We ended up walking for over seven miles. Bob and their crew continued on until the park closed at 10:00. We had dinner at the Liberty Tree Tavern and this was the best meal of the entire trip. All the food that you could eat with beef, pork, turkey, potatoes, bread, mac and cheese, and much more. They brought more food until everyone was content. Then there was dessert! There was one price for the entire meal of $39. That was not bad when you consider that drinks and dessert were included in the price. The best meal of the week. We
Note: Heidi and Kent (Bob and Charlotte's daughter and son-in-law) have been to Disney World a couple times in the past. They created the itinerary for each day and helped us with the operation of the "Disney 50th" applications where you can plan out your stay. They did a great job in this endeavor and kept us on track to the next activity.
Wednesday, March 8, 2023 - We drove in separate cars to Crystal Springs, Florida where we had reservations for a three hour "Adventure Tour" where we would don wetsuits and enter the water to swim with manatees in Kings Bay. This "Adventure" is billed as a dive with the manatees in crystal clear water from the springs. On the way, we stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast and then continued along the way to Crystal Springs. Once we arrived, we met our guide for the day; a nice young lady. We saw a presentation showing the manatees in nice clear water with lots of opportunities for photos and videos. We then took a bus to the party-barge-like pontoon boat that we would use on the bay.
Now the reality! The water was not close to clear. Visibility was about three feet. Whenever you saw something in the water, is was a big blurr. As it turns out, the manatees come to the spring during the winter months because the water temperatures in the bay are colder than the 72 degree spring water and the manatees like warmer water. Unfortunately? We are in a warm weather trend and the water in the Gulf of Mexico is warmer than 72 degrees, so the manatees had all headed for the gulf except for a few stragglers. We swam with two manatees with one at each of two sites. With nine snorkelers in the water, we tended to bump into each other a lot and we seem to be harassing the manatee to some extent. The guides tried to make it as exciting as possible, but there was no way to be successful in this. Due to the low visibility, photos were impossible. Also, the bay is small and full of boats, kayaks, and tour boats. We had to watch for traffic while in the water. They did take us to the beginning of the Crystal Spring, and it was pretty disappointing. A small pool of clear water about the size of a swimming pool exists where the water comes up from the ground. Bubbling sand on the bottom and not much else to see. To briefly overview, the trip was a disappointment. Lisa and I saw more manatees and got better photos in the Cape Canaveral area.
Thursday, March 9, 2023 - We met the Capp team at EPCOT Center. This park is themed around innovation, achievement, education, and international culture. EPCOT stands for "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow." As you enter the park, you will find many exhibits and shows. Then you move to a large lake in the middle of the park that is surrounded by a series of countries that have created replicas of their key buildings or exhibits. So, as you walk around the park, you move from country to country. It is a lot of fun. We went to an Italian restaurant for dinner at EPCOT. The food was very good and the meal cost $85 for two people. After dinner, we all went to an "animatronics" history of the United States that was very nice. After that, Lisa and I decided to "call it a night." Lisa had some symptoms of a cold with sore throat and stuffy nose, and she was feeling pretty tired. We bid our "goodbyes" to the Capp team and then headed back to the RV. We missed the fireworks display at EPCOT.
Friday, March 10, 2023 - We stay at the RV and prepare for our departure tomorrow for Red Bay, Alabama. We began by cleaning the RV after breakfast and then sitting down at the computer to plot out our route to Alabama. We are heading for Tiffin factory in Red Bay, Alabama where we will try to have some repairs made on the new rig. We create an itinerary that has just one-stop between the two locations. About 14 hours of driving coming up in two days.
General Impressions of Florida - It is pretty crowded here. There are a lot of people who come to warm Florida during the winter. Our temperatures have been in the 80s during our stay. The roads are good with most of the heavy traffic in the cities. Very few places to ride bikes. The towns have bike paths, but you are competing with cars. There are a few rails-to-trails places to ride. Kayaking is available, but you are often in lakes or the ocean. We haven't found many streams to kayak yet. Also, the water that we have seen is dark and murky. Not great visibility. You just don't see many clear-water streams where we have been. There are also no mountains to look up to or down from. We rode bikes for 61 miles and had a total of 255 feet of elevation change, and that was because we started the ride and ended the ride going over a pretty high causeway overpass. The people here are very nice. We are pleased with the hospitality. Our weather has been great and warm, but we are in the winter; what will it be like in the summer? Also, most homes have enclosed porches or pools. That tells me that there are lots of bugs and critters here. You just have to adapt to dealing with these little anomalies.