Florida 2021 Recap

The week before the festivity's of Thanksgiving rolled around, our family got a little change of pace and a whole lot of change in scenery for seven days. It was unimaginable one of the most memorable trips we’ve made and of course it makes sense since this adventure is our first as a family of four!

Packed into those 168 hours of excitement included two successful three hour flights (praise God), five anticipated extra large Instacart orders, multiple hours of early morning swims, too much coffee, not enough zzz's, eight trips to the game room, and a very poor round of bowling on my part. There were boat rides and buses, milkshakes and cinnamon buns, and of course countless breaths of gratitude. The many thrills that filled our agenda-less calendar were more than we could have asked for. 

Our little family of four and additional family of three, boarded a nonstop flight from the brisk North East, all the way to the sunshine city of Orlando, Florida. Nothing short of warm rays were what welcomes us as the wheels of the aircraft hit the toasty tarmac landing in Sanford. Our flight, short and sweet, just as we prayed it would be. It was a hop, skip, and a 45 minute journey from the airport to the resort we would call home for the next week. 

Cabana Bay Resort is nothing short of familiar to our household. It would be my husband, Brandon and I's third time stopping in for an overextended visit with my side of the family. We left 2018 with two weeks full of memories to come home with. If one trip wasn't enough, we were certainly familiarizing ourselves with the backyard of Universal Studios. Nothing short of pure fun to find at this particular resort. 

Checking in was extensive as my father made friends with the kind front desk clerk. If you fancy any type of luxury vehicles, y'all are going to be great friends. We found our way to the fourth floor balcony and only visited long enough to drop off our belongings. After that, we roamed the property and found oursevles cozied up with pizza at the pool by 6:00 pm. Just the right way to kick off the week. 

By 9:30 am the next morning, every belly was full and we were already requesting the first person who walked by to snag a family photo of all of us, so that somewhere down the road, time could stand still a little longer to remember the precious moments that were shared. Following the mini photo session, we spent a multitude of time squishing every particle of sand that could be found into the crevices of our north eastern feet only hoping the feeling could last forever. My three year old, Karson found joy in playing with the dozens of folding sun chairs that filled the sandy lot. My six month old, Myles was overjoyed to plunge himself deeper into the sensorial experience of warmth as he developed an adoration for the outdoors early after spending every hour possible outside after being born in May.

Lunch and naps to follow, before our feet skipped down the stunning path from the resort to the complimentary water taxi that would escort us to the excitement found at City Walk. This was one of my favorite portions of the trip. I can't seem to forget the pastel pink and lavender shades that painted the sunset on our excision that night. Nothing could top the smile on Karson's face though as he joyfully snuggled the bubble blower that was gifted to him just hours before. That's another memory that won't quickly be forgotten.

By 6:00 pm we were partaking in the enjoyment of hundred of calories safely tucked into the famous Cinnabon cinnamon rolls and it was roughly 10:30 pm before anyone was tucked in for the night. Only to be found in the pits of sand by 9:00 am the following morning and discovered again hours later in the lazy river tucked quietly behind the second pool of the hotel. Every normalized thought wandering off as we floated down the quirky path. In those minutes, I remember dwelling on the importance of these moments. The point in time where we stop doing and start being. The places where we aren't distracted by the normalizes of life, but simply diverted to the reality of our present time. It's an important place to mark and partake in more commonly. Reflecting and refreshed, we scurried out of the water and off to the next experience.

Another afternoon nap for our boys and then we'd be led to the energetic filled atmosphere called Game-O-Rama, which is what they call the flashy arcade. Karson certainly wouldn't pass up any opportunity ever to spend loving amounts of time tossing a few rounds of ski-ball or pull down on a larger than life lever with anticipation to win the biggest prize. If you know Karson, you know how love language is found in the gift of a quarter that will quickly be tucked away into the coin slots of a gallery filled with games. 

The exhilaration only escalated from there. The neighboring space that sat next door was Galaxy Bowl where our 6:30 pm reservation arrived quickly. We snapped a few videos, rolled a handful of strikes, and left with hundreds of belly laughs. Thanks to all the gutter balls, we were able to burn a few calories  cheesing over the fact that our bowling balls favored one side of the lane over the other. Our toddler, Karson though was nothing short of amazing as he shuffled to the top of the lane for his very first roll. The smile that radiated on his face is one that wasn't escaping any time soon. Pure joy filled our child's heart as his widened eyes witnessed the ball topple down alley number 12. It was totally memorable.

Our third day of the trip was filled with delicious scoops of Cold Stone ice cream and more steps tracked at City Walk. Nothing sounded more pleasing than soaking in all the sunshine our bodies could hold. It wasn't long until our heads hit the fresh linens that night again before we woke to yet another bright day in Orlando. We ventured back to the sand after breakfast, competing in a few rounds of ping-pong and spending countless minutes making sure our youngest son, Myles didn't eat his calories in sand. There's something so silly about infants adoration for sensory every second of the day, am I right?

 A quick outfit change and back to the boat we went for yet another round of City Walk. This time with a game plan. We were going to visit the well known Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and eat dinner at Panda Express. This is not so secretly the venture I was shouting about looking forward to most. I was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to place my order at the restaurant. We stayed until dark, which really only means about 5:00 pm and bounced back to our bed where we would find one more sleep until Disney World the next day.

8:00 am wake up call and it was off to stop in to see Mickey. A short 20 minute ride to Magic Kingdom and we were off to celebrate 50 years alongside of thousands of people. For the first hour, we savored in the sights and only took a dozen and a half of the same picture in front of Cinderella's castle. We lounged on the grass by mid afternoon and gulped up a mid-day pick me up sponsored by Starbucks Coffee. The journey got sweeter when we gathered ourselves to one of the Disney shops and engraved our boys each a little hat. Than of course...you guessed it, back to the castle for an insta-worthy picture. It was too cute not to capture and certainly something we'll never forget.

The rest of the day concluded with rides across the park like Dumbo, Buzz Lightyear, Small Word, and Tomorowland Speedway. We invested in over priced popcorn, waved at every parade character, and dazzled under the wondrous light show of the most moving fireworks you'll ever see. Nostalgic at it's finest when your childhood is being played right in front of you under a lit up sky. Fireworks have continually been some of my favorite experiences, but there's not too many that do it like Disney. 

The remainder of our trip was spent by the poolside and back in the sand as we concluded our final 48 hours at Cabana Bay. We sipped more coffee, smiled more smiles, and probably talked until midnight about how excited we were to head home. It's still surreal that we got to make some incredible memories before we closed the chapter of another year. It was the leaning in that this trip taught me the most. Speaking about the importance of prioritizing the experience, the people, and the time to rest. It was the souvenirs etched in my heart that I'll carry back most. The ones that were made with my people that will last a lifetime. All thanks to the change of scenery and pace that we experienced when we said yes to adventure.

Tag along with us in our Florida vlog here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAiA5yTvXmU