Day 7 – SeaWorld

***26th December 13***

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And six days just zoomed by that fast! We were already in the second last day of our vacation and SeaWorld was the last stop for this Orlando adventure. We actually thought of revisiting Magic Kingdom to complete touring the entire park. However after checking the ticket price and considering the cons factors, we felt that it was not worth the cost. Hence, we decided to visit SeaWorld Orlando instead. It was a good choice after all. SeaWorld Orlando was far better than expected. 🙂

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It was already 10ish by the time we got into the park. The great thing is that the park was not as crowded as Disneyland. Nice! We felt that SeaWorld is definitely one fantastic theme park. From the animals attractions and shows to the rides and kids play area, there were plenty to do for all ages. Also, Papa Yap and I really liked the ‘sure to win’ concept at the kids fun-fair stalls. Darian went back with two stuff toys happily. Shouldn’t all theme parks be like this? Making all kids happy at all time! 🙂

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We started the day with a cartoon portrait for double Ds. Papa Yap finally had his wish fulfilled. Haha… He was really keen in having one done, after visiting Universal Studio Singapore. Apparently whenever we visit a theme park, he would stop by the stall to watch the artist doing the sketch. Perhaps we can have a family sketch in future.

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One of the hottest attraction in SeaWorld has to be the Shamu(orca) show. I supposed it was a must-do thing for people who visited SeaWorld. The show was that impressive. We enjoyed it. The shamus looked so majestic and beautiful. Judging their size, the splash zone was certainly a big no no for us. True enough, the amount of water that splashed out was totally insane. Haha.. I saw people getting real wet!

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Darian was so disappointed when the flamingo lake ride was closed for the day. But it didn’t take him long to calm down after we arrived at the kids play area. One big play area with kids rides and fun-fair stalls. How could he possibly not be happy? 🙂

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So when we thought we wouldn’t be staying too long in the park and could dine at one of a restaurant near our hotel. We were at the park the entire day. Yet another misjudgment day. Haha.. The thought of all those fast food really irked us but there’s nothing much we could do. One thing for sure was that we would not be eating fast food any time soon after this trip! We left the park after the Elmo Christmas show and photography session. An entertaining and lively show for the kiddos. Darian loved it and even Baby Dyann sashay to the music at some point of the time. Adorable! 🙂 Overall, we had a smashing great day at the park. Awesome! 🙂

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While our vacation had officially came to an end, Day 8 was breakfast at hotel and afternoon flight back to Virginia. This Orlando adventure was definitely a memorable one.  8 days of absolute wonderful family time. Love it! 🙂 Thank you Papa Yap for this marvellous vacation!

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Day 6 – Disney Magic Kingdom

***25th December 13***

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Just one word to sum up Christmas at Magic kingdom…Overwhelming! Overwhelming place, crowd and queues! I got a shock when we got into the car park at 8ish. It was already packed. From the parking lot tram to the monorail station to the entrance of Magic Kingdom took us about one and a half hour. Crazy! According to the staff, Christmas is the busiest day of the year. And our friends were telling us how big the park was and apparently it was quite impossible to complete the park within a day. It’s true! Now that it’s Christmas, we couldn’t even finish half a park. That’s just how ridiculous it was. Given that it was our first time there, it seemed rather ‘wasted’ you know.  I did wonder if we have chosen the right time to visit but it was Papa Yap’s idea for us to celebrate and soak into the Christmas atmosphere. Somehow we did despite the crowd. But I am very sure there is no way for me to visit such popular theme park during any festive seasons again. 😉

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Magic Kingdom surely lives up to its name. It is certainly one beautiful theme park! And I’m so in love with the castle. Anyway do you guys know that not all the castles worldwide are the same. The one in Orlando and Japan belongs to Cinderella while California, HongKong and France, has the Sleeping Beauty castle.

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How can you not take photographs with Mickey, Minnie and the Disney characters when you visit Disneyland. It’s like a must-do regardless of the wait right? Anyway we could tell that Dyann likes Minnie quite a bit as she was looking and touching Minie throughout the photo taking session. So adorable! And whenever we entered a gift shop, she would be looking for Minnie stuff. Hmm… seems like we will be expecting more Minnie stuff at home! heehee 😉

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We did take The Winnie the pooh ride and watch a 3D Mickey show too. It didn’t take us that long to wait for the two as we managed to grab the fast-pass tickets. So peeps if you are planning for a trip to Disneyland, do your homework and check out their fast pass stations. This can really save a lot of waiting time.

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We totally enjoyed the Disney parades and managed to catch two parades in exchange for all the other rides. Yeah we really spent A LOT of time waiting. Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime parade which is filled with Disney Characters, elves, reindeer, toys, candy, and also Santa atop a sleigh. The music is catchy and the floats are spectacular making it a parade not to be missed. Of course we were glad to have made it. The other one was the Disney electrical parade that is a night-time parade where Disney characters come alive in bright lit colourful floats, marching through the streets. Beautiful!

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The fireworks performance was absolutely stunning! We felt that it was better than the one in Japan. Having to wait for the show since 7pm when it only begin at 9.45pm. What more can I say? By then Baby Dyann was already sleeping on the double stroller while Darian was still battling with the ‘sleeping the monster’ in him. Haha.. Well he did manage to stay awake and watch the fantastic fireworks and laser show. The moment the show ended, he sat in the stroller and dozed off. That’s just how tired he was. 😉

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It was certainly one long and tiring day at Magic Kingdom. You know what… we were there until 12am yet we didn’t get a chance to finish touring the entire theme park. Seriously we got to find a way to come back again! Haha 😉 Nevertheless it was definitely a magical Christmas for us. What a splendid and wonderful Christmas! 🙂

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Day 5 – Disney Animal Kingdom

***24th December 13***

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Out of the four Disneyland theme parks, Papa Yap and I decided to visit only the Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. The Epcot and Hollywood Studio theme park seem more suitable for older kids. Like its name, Animal Kingdom, it is a Disney theme park designed based on the Animal theme. Hence, not only you will get to see Disney Characters, hop on some attraction rides, there is also a Safari where visitors can take a safari ride around the trail, watching animals freely roaming around. As well as a jungle walking trail where animals can be seen too.

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  It was Christmas Eve and obviously there would be a large crowd expected at the park. The parking style is totally similar to Universal Studio. It didn’t get us long to get a car lot but walking to the entrance is really a distance. We got into the park at 9am and began our jungle expedition first with Chip and Dale, Donald Duck and the characters from Jungle Book. Clearly my kids are not camera-shy. It wasn’t that difficult to get them looking at the camera, however, Baby Dyann always has that curious look and her eyes or hands are usually on the characters instead. 😉

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We headed for the Lion King Show and spent 45 minutes waiting in line. Seriously, it was really a worthwhile wait. The 30 minutes musical stage show was spectacular with awesome singers, dancers, acrobats and great set design. We totally enjoyed it! You know what, since then Darian has been singing the lyrics “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight.”. heehee 🙂

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The Finding Nemo musical was just that fantastic as well. A puppetry musical show, retelling the story of ‘Finding Nemo’ with stunning visual and auditory effects and beautiful giant props in about 30 minutes. Great! Darian was really attentive, watching the musical. After watching the movie for several times, he probably was familiar with the storyline and able to relate to it. Baby Dyann on the other hand, was not too enthusiastic about it. She was really trying hard to move around.

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So for the entire day we caught two shows, went to the Bugs Life attraction, Rafiki’s planet watch and the Dinoland, photo sessions with a number of characters, watch the Mickey’s Jungle parade but missed out the timing for the safari ride and the jungle trail! We were like 15 minutes late for the last ride! Boohoo! I was extremely disappointed, especially with the safari ride. I bet Darian would feel so too if I were to tell him earlier. Well Papa Yap was trying to cheer me up by telling me that it was merely looking at animals and we could do it in the Zoo. Oh come on…you know the difference is obvious alright. I think it would be better if he had suggested to bring us back again. Haha… 😉

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Nonetheless, it was absolutely a jolly wonderful Christmas eve for us. The Yappies sure have ton of fun and laughter at the Animal Kingdom. Happy day, happy us! 🙂

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Day 4 – Dinosaur World

***23rd December 13***

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Among all the places that we went to, Dinosaur World was the furthest. The journey took about 45 minutes. Upon reaching there at 11am, Darian was surprised and excited to find out about spending our day at the Dinosaur World. It was such a priceless moment to see that expression on his face. He couldn’t wait to enter the park. Papa Yap and I thought we would probably spend 2 to 3 hours there. But we were so wrong. We were there for 5 hours. There were quite a number of interesting activities for the young ones to do. It was like one big and fun learning playground for Darian. He enjoyed himself so much. So did we. 🙂

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We did some research online and realised that there wasn’t any food outlet in the park. So we brought along our lunch and had it at the sheltered picnic spot. Before lunch, double Ds were playing happily at the dinosaur themed playground that they didn’t even want to take a break.

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We started the dinosaur trail at the Assay Station where we were given a packet of soil and little gemstones mixture. We were supposed to sift the soil using the sluice and discover the hidden gems. It was such a simple yet interesting activity. Papa Yap explained and showed Darian on the procedures and he picked up fast. After a while, I joined Darian in the exploration. It was really fun! He was very happy and proud with his discovered gemstones that he still kept it with him until now. 🙂

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This activity was part of the package that we bought for Darian which include the entrance, Assay Station, Fossil Dig and a packet of Koi Feeds. At the fossil site, the kids get to experience digging ‘fossils’ and choose three favourite from their findings. The staff will then explain about the three ‘fossils’ that they have chosen. Seriously, I thought it was a fun way to learn about fossils!

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Darian has been fascinated with Dinosaurs and his favourite is the Tyrannosaur, T-rex. He is able to recognise and name dinosaurs like, Tyrannosaur, Raptor, Stegosaurus, Triceratops , Brachiosaurus, Pterandon, Allosaurus, and Spinosaurus. Apparently, kids tend to remember things that interest them more easily. Isn’t it always the case? While strolling around the trail, he kept himself busy looking around for all those dinosaurs mentioned above. Other than looking and fooling around, we got to play at the giant puzzle station and feed the koi. Along the path, we visited the Skeleton Garden, Mammoth attraction, the exploration cave where there was a guide giving a talk on the job of a Paleontologist and the boneyard where Darian engaged in some sand play. Just how fortunate kids are these days! Our last Dino adventure was at the museum which display a gallery of dinosaur fossils and facts about them. There was also a section of moving Dinosaurs near the exit. Nice!

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To be honest, we were not expecting anything great. However, it turned out to be a surprisingly good experience. It has far exceeded our expectation and we all had a truly amazing time there! We don’t know how other feel about it but for us it was absolutely money well spent. We were really glad to have had made it there 🙂

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Day 2 – Universal Studio Florida

***21st December 13***

 We decided to start off our holiday adventure at Universal Studio Florida because Darian has been asking to see the minions ever since he saw them on YouTube. Having been to the Universal Studio in Japan, Singapore and Papa Yap visited the one in California, we noticed how each park distinguishes itself with their unique attractions. Seriously, come to think about it who would want to spend so much on tickets, going to the same theme park around the world. Right?

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Weather was really hot, just like Singapore. I nearly wanted to get myself a pair of shorts. 😉 The park was not exactly very crowded. There were still plenty of breathing space wherever we walked. Going to such places with young kids only meant that we were unlikely be taking the rides. Either the rides were too intimidating for the kids or there was a minimal height requirement. For the entire day, we only took the ‘Despicable Me’ ride. I’m not sure if we should be happy that it was only 1 ride as that queue alone already took us an hour! Seriously! No joke standing in line with two young kids. I almost gave up. The bonus is that the simulation ride turned out to be really fun and Papa Yap and I enjoyed it. But I supposed Darian didn’t enjoy the ride at all. He was hugging Papa Yap tightly and crying throughout! Haha 😉 He should have taken the stationary seat with me and baby Dyann instead.

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Although we didn’t go for any ride there after, there were still plenty for the little ones to do. Darian was so happy that we managed to take a number of pictures with the costume characters, catch the Barney, Dora and Minion shows and have a great deal of fun playing in some of the play areas. He was happier when Papa Yap bought him a Minion Fart gun and water bottle. 🙂

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Because of the festive season, there was a Macy’s Christmas parade instead of the regular characters parade. Darian was really upset that he missed the parade. He dozed off while waiting for the parade to begin. I had to show him the photos yet he was feeling so sore about it. He literally blamed us for not waking him up. Actually we did try to but he was way too tired to wake up.

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As night approaches, my camera had to display the low battery signal and guess what, I had forgotten to bring along the spare battery. At the same time, I didn’t realise that my phone was dying too! Argh… I was trying to save as much power possible for the rest of the night, especially for the picture with Megatron. Papa Yap has been specifically waiting for it. Luckily by then, we have almost covered the park, except for one or two attractions. We ended our day at the Simpsons fun fair with Papa Yap and Darian playing a game and winning a prize, which made Darian so elated. I’m very sure we would be expecting  some tears if they weren’t the winner. Haha 🙂

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We left the theme park at 8pm and it was a certainly a tiring yet enjoyable day! We had such great time! 🙂

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Off to Florida Orlando we go

***20th to 27th Decemeber 13***

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Yay! Our long awaited holiday has finally arrived. There were really a lot to pack for this 8 days trip. And it took me quite a while to get it all done for the four of us. 😉 We left home about 8am thinking that there might be a jam towards Washington DC. Nope there wasn’t any jam at all. Traffic was smooth when we least expected it. So we ended up at the airport real early like 3 hours before departure time. Haha… 😉 It’s a two hour flight from Washington to Orlando. Whereas a road trip down to Orlando from Virginia would take us about 12 hours. Of course we very much preferred the expensive option as we doubted the family could withstand the car journey to and fro. And especially the thought of driving back after the holiday is insane. Papa Yap would be max tired. Road trips are just not suitable for us.

Thankfully it was only a two hours flight and Baby Dyann was really manageable. In fact, Double Ds slept through for both flights. However I’m starting to worry for the return flight back to SG as it’s a 20 hours flight and I seriously don’t think Baby Dyann will be this cooperative. She is one active little girl who cannot sit still for long! hmm…

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Papa Yap and I were actually expecting some old looking rented car but were surprised for a new looking Grey Mitsubishi Lancer from Budget Cars. It was very convenient as they have service booths at the airport. We could gain access to the car, after arriving at the airport and returning would be that easy too. We had rented a car to travel around Kissimmee as it is essential as a mode of transportation, especially with kids. There might be free shuttle services from the hotel to the theme parks but looking at the late and fixed timings, renting the car was definitely a great decision. It gave us ample time to stay in the park without having to rush for the bus schedule. More importantly, we could get around the place without constraints.

Our accommodation wasn’t of any four or five stars hotel but a budget one. Actually we were looking to stay in one of the Disneyland resort but it was way too expensive during this peak season. And so we decided to save on the hotel part. Honestly, I was quite upset when we first check in the hotel. It was not exactly what I expected to be. It looked old and run-down. The hubs reminded me that it was a budget hotel after all and to the extent, Papa Yap asked if I wanted to do a room upgrade. Seriously I was just being fussy. The room was spacious with two queen beds, a small round table and two chairs, one old school box TV and cabinet and a mini bar fridge. For the money spent, it was considerably good enough. Anyway we would be out most of the time and it was merely a place for us to bathe and rest for the night. Why should we spent more money for that? I was too busy settling down and forgotten to take a photo of the room. So I grab the pictures from the internet. Everything looks similar except for the TV.

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For this 8 days and 7 nights holiday, we went to Universal Studio Florida, Universal studio adventure Island, Hollywood golf at Universal City Walk, Dinosaur World, Orlando Premium Outlet, Disney Animal Kingdom, Disney Magic Kingdom and SeaWorld Orlando. And that’s really a lot of theme parks for this holiday. We were totally exhausted. There were a few more theme parks that we didn’t visit. Maybe when the kids are older, we might have a chance to travel there again. Papa Yap I know you will be reading this! heehee 😉

Orlando, Florida is also known as a sunshine state and weather is rather similar to Singapore. For our first three days, weather was really hot and I regretted not packing in my shorts! Subsequently weather turned chilly, especially at night. Jackets were necessary to bring along! Maybe because winter has began and that explained the sudden change of temperature. According to one of the guy at SeaWorld, there isn’t any snowfall in Orlando. Hence it’s certainly a good time to visit Orlando during this season. Good weather to walk through the parks. Anyways Orlando is really one beautiful place! Love it! 🙂

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Talking about exhaustion…We left the hotel early at 8am almost everyday and only got back after 9pm. And the day at Disney Magic Kingdom, we only reached back after 12am. Madness! Holidaying as a couple and with kids is just so different. I have to wake up early to prepare the kids, their breakfast, the bags, wake the hubs(anyway I have been his alarm clock all these while), then finally I could doll up myself. And I supposed one could imagine what I have to do after we returned back to the hotel. Okie I’m not complaining but merely stating the fact. Haha… You know it’s almost impossible for me to go anywhere without the kids. I would rather not go. So I’m still happy to be doing all these things for my family. Like the 7 rounds of laundry washing after the trip and I still love all of you alright! Well the hubs was sweet enough to ask me to take my time and not to rush. Eh hello, what are you going to wear if I don’t wash fast? Heehee 😉

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It feels great to be back home after 8 days of holiday. I couldn’t wait to cook some homemade meals for double Ds. They were literally eating junks for the past 8 days and I just hate to see my kids not eating properly. Also, Papa Yap needs more rest at home before class starts this Thursday. 🙂

To sum up, this holiday was definitely a fantastic one! We had so much fun together and I just love the Yappies so so much! Stay tune to more posts on the theme parks folks! Hey I’m still recovering from the post holiday syndrome. 🙂

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