I’ve got the planning bug…


While you might think that the potential pink eye, multiple ear infections, and laryngitis would scare me away from ever taking the circus crew on another national park vacation, it doesn’t.  Just call me crazy!

I’ll admit, parts of our Texas vacation wasn’t all we hoped and dreamed it would be.

But, I am glad we went and eager to visit some more national parks.

So this afternoon I sat down to map out a potential trip to Florida.

To see two incredible parks.

Nope, probably not the two your thinking of…

Everglades and Biscayne

I am so excited…we’ll get to see alligators, manatee, sea turtles, porpoises, and much more.   I think it is going to be incredible!

But, it’ll take approximately 18 hours to get there.


18 hours  of driving with a then 6, 4, and 2.5 year old.

Yea… we’ll be needing to break that up a bit. 

No problem, I’ve already started on that… there’s a national park in SC and of course Chick-Fil-A headquarters in Atlanta.  I kid you not I have been dying to visit there for YEARS!  I don’t care that is slightly out of the way.  I am going to visit the home of the original chicken sandwich!! 

We’ll also be passing through a little town called Orlando.  Ever heard of it?  We do plan to take a Disney vacation one of these years.  I think we’ll hold off a little longer though so all three kids can enjoy the rides and attractions.  We are contemplating a one day stop at Magic Kingdom.  Any advice?  Is it worth it for one day, or should we hold off and wait till we do the whole Disney experience?  Would our time be better spent at Sea World?  It sure would fit the maritime activities of the rest of the vacation.   For those that have been, I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  I’d also love your opinions on when the best ages are for Disney.  I want to go when they aren’t to bashful and shy to want to approach the characters, but yet not too old that the magic is lost on them. 

I have been known to stop for lunch in Times Square, NYC on my way to a wedding in CT.  I am not afraid of a little crazy.  I’m willing to do a one day stop at Magic Kingdom on our way home from the southern Florida national parks.

But I want it to be worth while. 

FYI… we’re way early in the planning stages… as in just started talking about it last night, but right now I am thinking spring 2010…wanna hit Florida before the humidity and mosquitoes set in.  Is spring the  best season?


  1. Sounds like a fun trip!!! No tips from me, though...we've never been so Disney or Magic Kingdom. If we're back in SC when you pass through, we'll have to plan a meet-up, though. There's only a tiny possibility that we could be back in the states by then, but wouldn't that be so cool??

  2. LOL You are off to a great, early start on the planning. But that is half of the fun, right?!
    You and your brother were 4 and 6.5 yrs our first visit to Disney. One day at MK and not expecting to see everything would be fun! Look out CFA!!! Your best fan is on her way :-)

  3. I have been to Disney once (pre kids), but we aren't ready to take the kids yet. I, too, want N and C and baby Quatro to all be old enough to fully enjoy it.

    Which also means I can't offer you much advice.

    You are by far, more well-traveled than I am. Especially with kids in tow. We haven't even tried a camping trip, but I do want to this summer so I'm sure I'll be picking your brain when we get to planning! (ps. How hard is it to sleep in a tent while pregnant?)

    And after reading this I really feel like you should have won the sweet tea...I am not nearly the hardcore fan you are! (Am I allowed to share??)

    The Everglades would be so cool...can't wait to see what you decide!

  4. Oh, Crystal! You're going to have so much fun. I did the Everglades just a few years ago. It's so cool. And, I lived in Atlanta for three years. E-mail me and we'll talk: emiller at vci dot net.

  5. Okay, so I love when I get the planning bug our family ends up in Walt Disney World. Good thing my husband and kids love it. :) Hannah was 3 and Sophee was 11 months when on our first trip. We have been fortunate enough to take a week long trip each spring for the last three years. We also have been able to take a long weekend trip each fall.

    I too was concerned about the kids ages and them being able to fully enjoy everything. My Dad wisely said Aimee this is for you too. Even if they do not remember everything the memories that you will have as a parent are priceless. I 110% agree. Hannah remembers things from her first trip at three. Sometimes it astounds me when she brings up . . . remember when I cut my finger when I met Stitch etc . . .

    Now Sophee was 2.5 last March. You have never seen a child have more fun. It was such a magical time for her. Every aspect was so real. It was amazing. The princesses, the fairies, the carousel, and the fireworks were breathtaking to her.

    I do think it is totally taking worth the kids. Disney's thing is the longer you stay the less you pay but there is a good website to get discount tickets for the day. Let me know if you need any info- email me or message me on FB. :) Aimee

  6. I love both those parks we frequented them when I lived down there they are wonderful! I know you will love it. (can I come?)

  7. OK some more thoughts
    Disney is ok but the best ages for it in my opinion is over 3 but under 12. At this point I would say its not worth it. Its pricey the parking is ridiculous the lines are worse. It would be better in the off season but still not nearly as fun as if you just spent the day canoeing. As for time I year... late February or early march. Its chilly but not bad, though not the best beach weather. If you want to wait for it to warm up some I'd shoot for early May it will be significantly warmer but you will not have any of the spring break crowds. thought if you are not doing Disney that should not be as much of an issue. Orlando does have some great Disney themed options that are not Disney itself so you can get the Kids a taste with out the headaches of the parks. If you do got to a park I'd do Epcot. Its around the world stuff is appealing from an educational stand point. Plus much less of a crowd and few rides so if the kids hate the rides (some younger kids do) you have not wasted the time or money to get in. Animal Kingdom is also a good Epcot like alternative and it has play gounds and dinosaur digs.

  8. yeah, i LOVED Disney World even when i was 15 (and that was the first time we had gone), but if you are only going to do one day, Epcot is probably the better choice!

  9. I want to hear another one of the Circus Ringmaster's quotes during reports from next year's vacation: "Are we crazy?!"

    So check out this article on mosquitoes and go b/w April and July :)

    Its hottest in July so go then!

    Leave your DEET at home, make sure the A/C on your mini-van is broken, camp in KOAs without trees, eat out at expensive restaurants every night, and I'll get back to you after I do some research on when the sea-fleas are active :)

    The mosquito-image I have of Florida is from their colonial days: the settlers would work the land but bury their wives & children up to their necks and cover their heads with baskets to protect them from mosquitoes.


    (How 'bout the Grand Canyon just up the road from Albuquerque??)

  10. Matt has family in the Palm Beach/Boca Rotan area and I know there are some good animal places to visit down there (could I be even more vague?) . I can find some info about the area if that's around where you'll be. If you're in the Atlanta area give my brother Mike a call - that's too close not to connect! As for Disney - I am looking forward to taking the girls when they can handle all the "characters". I wonder if you can play it by ear a bit? If it seems like the kids need a change of pace maybe one day would be fun - but it could also be hard to only have one day and they might feel sad leaving. I say head to the west coast of FL/Gulf and enjoy the beautiful beaches/warm water/small waves - then heading up to Atlanta won't seem so out of the way!

  11. I'm a wee bit jealous...My husband and I met and married in FL and spent three short years there before moving back to the west coast (where I'm from) and I don't forsee us getting back to FL anytime soon... I didn't love every moment of living there, but it is a great place to vacation! I did get to see a few gators while I lived there, and some giant cockroaches, too.

  12. Yay Florida!!!!!!

    Yes, I vote for South Florida!! And definitely do a one-day stop at the Magic Kingdom...so very worth it. You can get really cheap hotel rooms on Disney property (The All-Star Sports and Music hotels) Very clean and nice...perfect for when you plan to be out at a park all day long and just need a place to sleep. Plus they provide transportation to all Disney parks. We got a room there for $49 one night!

    You could easily do both the Everglades and Biscayne. At Miami Seaquarium, you can swim with the dolphins!

    Let me know if you guys do end up coming down to Florida....we should try to meet up!


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