6 more days until Spring and since it snowed here today AGAIN, I can say I’m truly ready for Spring!
Snow is so beautiful, but dang if it doesn’t put a damper on doing things.
However, it didn’t keep us from our much needed SPRING BREAK!!!
The night before we left for our trip, I told Ben, “No, I don’t want to go to Florida.”
I’d had a long day with Benny, hadn’t been sleeping well and I was not in the mood to do ANYTHING. I just wanted to rest. I didn’t want to be in a car for hours on end and Florida is a DRIVE.
I went to bed that night and when I woke up, I finally felt rested. Ben said he had the rest of the week off so I said, “Ok, well….let’s go to Florida.”
We packed and got ready in about an hour. We’re pros at getting ready for trips. I conveniently had all the laundry washed and the turtle tanks were clean enough so all that was needed to do was pack and set up the turtle feeders and go!
We made it to Pigeon Forge in the evening and ate dinner, went back to the hotel and swam in the pool. Oh man, Benny LOVES swimming. He’s become so much more confident and independent. He doesn’t mind his floaties being put on and his favorite thing to do is spin around and around, haha!
As we were going back up to the room, there were leftover cookies from the hotel’s snack time and we took a few and went up. I decided to give Benny a bath and rinse off the pool chemicals and second to the pool for him is the tub. That kid just lays back and relaxes. I thought it would be funny to give him a cookie while he was relaxing, boy, he has the life! Haha!
The next day we got up and drove, it was a rainy ol’ day. It seemed like we couldn’t get a break away from it. We stopped in South Carolina for lunch, which was the same place we stopped a few years ago when we took our first family trip to Florida. We love going to Fuddruckers for a bite. After we filled our bellies up, we got back in the rain and drove the rest of the way to Florida. I think we got there around 9:30 and man, I know we were all ready to get out of the car.
It was nice to feel the air, it was so much warmer than home. We ordered a pizza and had it delivered to the room (another tradition) and settled in for the evening. We did go out to the beach just for a minute to see the ocean. I could tell Benny was ready to go play, but it was time to get ready for bed.
When we woke up the next day, there was a low tide warning. The ocean was engulfing the entire beach! We ate breakfast outside and just enjoyed the air, even if it was super breezy, it was nice to feel some warmth.
We played and swam and let Benny get reconnected with the ocean. That little boy loves water so much. Floaties became almost a second skin for him when we were out. I was so glad that he held both Ben and I’s hand when we were near water. He’s getting more and more curious and brave these days and it was nice to have him hold our hands for safety. Heck, I felt safer holding his hand!
The low tide subsided and we got to stroll on the beach with our car. It’s always neat to check out the beach and see people, though it wasn’t very busy. We got lucky that it was the week before most Spring Breaks and Bike Week! While it’s cool to see people and stuff, it becomes almost unbearable when that stuff is going on.
Saturday, we thought we would try to go to Gatorland, but it was so busy we decided to take a rain check and come back. We opted for going to Old Town in Kissimmee which is another favorite stop for us. It’s got an amusement park and lots of little shops along to pop in and check out. We ate lunch there and of course had to have pizza at Flippers!
After a nice nap (mommy and Benny both), we got up and went down to have our dinner at the Drury. The 5:30 kickback is always awesome. It’s not really suppose to be a dinner, but I know we make it one! It was packed with a dance team and I was so glad we were just doing our own thing. We had a special evening planned for Benny and really for all of us! Ben and I grew up in the 80’s where animatronics ruled. Showbiz Pizza was a special place to go to for fun and to see The Rock-afire Explosion Band play. To see all of these characters play songs was so neat and then just in a blink it seemed it was gone and came to be Chuck E. Cheese.
Of course Chuck E. Cheese is great, Benny loves both and aside from Daniel Tiger he will literally watch nothing else. He loves animatronics and for that, I’m so grateful.
Ben had set us up a special tour with the creator of Rock-afire Explosion in downtown Orlando that Saturday night. We drove and listened to Rock-afire songs on the way. It was hard to believe that we actually were doing this. We met Aaron, the creator and his dog Athena and we got to see all of the defunct animatronics that he’d created along the way. If you don’t know what anything is that I’m talking about, just know, he’s the guy that created probably your favorite arcade game...WHACK-A-MOLE.
The tour took 2 hours and it finished with getting to watch Rock-afire preform. He played songs just for Benny that were his favorites and it was just hard to not choke up seeing my little boy watch this. I don’t know if he knew just how special and rare it was, but I know he enjoyed himself.
When we got back to the room, we were all exhausted but it felt so good to have that moment that we really hadn’t expected to have ever.
The next day we went to Gatorland and it wasn’t nearly as busy. We had a good time walking around and seeing not only gators, but turtle and all sorts of different birds. Benny really took in a lot more than he did the last time we were there and it was great to see him actually LOOK at the animals and get excited.
After Gatorland and lunch, we went to a special spot. The Art Of Animation Resort! We checked in and holy cow, was it neat. We had The Little Mermaid Room and it couldn’t have been more perfect! Ben and I figured since Benny really seemed to be enjoying the water and the beach, he’d love this room….AND HE DID!
He got a nap, which took forever to get because he was so wound up and then we went off to Disney Springs. We took the bus from the resort to there and while it was nice, I just don’t think we’re bus people, hah! It was so busy that we decided to go right back to the resort and eat dinner. I didn’t realize how busy everything EVERYWHERE would be, but we got to sit down and enjoy dinner and each others company. I even got to have hot chocolate as we strolled around the resort and checked out all the different characters that were around. I really liked the Cars area.
The next morning was DISNEY! Benny’s first trip! I was so pumped and hoped it wouldn’t be too busy, but man, was I wrong. We went to my favorite ride first, The Carousel Of Progress. We sat right up front, I didn’t want Benny to be distracted by other people and he really liked it! I was so happy. I’ve watched that ride on YouTube I don’t know how many times, haha!
It was so busy, we decided that we would just knock out our favorite “had to do” rides and then head out. I ended up getting us a Fast Pass for It’s A Small World and I’d never done that before, but it worked! It took us about 3 minutes from the time I got the fast passes to when we got on the ride. We sat up front again and I’m telling you guys, I’ve never seen Benny react to a ride like this. It was amazing. He was squealing and clapping and he was just filled with so much joy. THAT is what is amazing about being a parent. If I could hold that feeling forever, I would.
We had a little lunch and went to The Country Bears Jamboree as the last thing we did. We wanted to do Pirates Of The Caribbean, but it was down for remodeling. I guess that’s for another time!
Ben and I weren’t sure what to do the next day or so, we initially wanted to do Epcot or Universal and after The Magic Kingdom and how busy it was, we thought it best to not do any more theme parks.
I mean, Benny loved the beach and we were wanting to make our way toward home so, let’s go back to the beach!
The next morning we woke up and went back to the beach and stayed another night. It was just so relaxing and we ate at what became our favorite place on the trip. It was an Italian restaurant called Port-Fino. It was dated as could be, but it was charming. Benny did a bit of charming himself while he was there. The ladies couldn’t believe how well behaved and cute he was! They also were thrilled he ate so well, haha! It was really one of the best moments on the trip and there are so many great moments it’s hard to pick the best one.
I’m just so glad that Benny enjoyed himself. He of course had a few toddler moments where he just was so tired or hungry that he couldn’t help himself. Overall though, I don’t know of another kid that would have been as good as he was and I’m not just bragging, I’ve never seen another kid quite like him.
Everywhere we went, I could see the wheels turning for him. I could tell he was getting something out of what we were doing and when you’re on a trip, you get to see new things come out of someone, which we did with him.
If you’ve made it to the end, thanks! I know this one (like all of my posts) are lengthy. If you haven’t made it to Benny’s World Facebook, head on over for all the Spring Break photos!
In other Benny related news, he has a speech therapy evaluation at his doctor’s office downstairs at the end of the month and the day before his evaluation is his meeting with his cardiologist.
We’re hoping to take another trip in April to go out West for some more adventures, but we’ll see!
Until next time!