May 22, 2020

Florida 2019 | Danielson Family Vacation

I can’t believe I never got around to blogging our Tour de Florida in December, but what better time than a global lockdown?  A nice reminder that the world will keep turning and we will have more adventures one day.  Hard for a couple of wanderlusters like me and my husband, but these photos help.  Genevieve was 4 and Cain was 2 for this almost two week vacation.  It was particularly fun since Cain wasn’t a baby anymore for this trip.  We had two little adventure companions with us and we learned a lot about our little partners.  Cain is most definitely a homebody, and he reminded us almost every day that he wanted to go home.  He definitely had a great time, though, and Evie did her best to show him the ropes of going with the flow.  As usual with my travel posts, there will be a mix of phone photos with my “real” photography…so excuse the subpar quality for the sake of my digital scrapbooking.

Cain was so excited to fly in the plane!  This was his second trip via air, but he was too little to remember last year.  Evie was just excited to get tablet time since they are a trip only novelty.

Once we landed in Clearwater, we drove down the Gulf Coast to Naples.  We got there just in time to watch the sunset.  The ocean is where our souls are happy.  Even though it was a bit chilly, it was such a gorgeous kick off to the trip.  I love that snapshot of Evie just living her best life by the waves.

A perfect sunset on a gorgeous Naples beach.  Ended with Cain falling down in a wave…but it was very serene for a good 20 minutes!

The next morning we drove through Everglades National Park, Ryan’s must do of the trip.  I had been here back in elementary school but honestly didn’t remember much.  Ryan loves swamp landscapes, so I drove while he admired the view and pointed out every water fowl I never knew existed.  We stopped for a bike ride at Shark Valley Visitor Center, where they have bike rentals.  Unfortunately, Evie was over the weight limit so we ended up just walking.  We didn’t spend as much time as we would have liked but with two little kids, we just had to roll with it.  We did see a bunch of alligators!  Hopefully we go back in the future when we all are able to bike ride and maybe even make time for one of those air boat tours.

Evie was nervous standing by herself, convinced an alligator or snake would snatch her off the trail.

Feeling much safer with Daddy.

Evie figured since it was named Bobcat Trail, a bobcat would probably eat her.

Can you spot the gators?

This guy was RIGHT by the trail!  It wasn’t long after that we decided we couldn’t handle a long walk.  Cain wasn’t loving riding in the carrier but I was too nervous to just let him down to explore.

After a long drive up to Orlando, we spent the day at Disney World.  Evie had been asking to see the castle from the beginning of the movies in real life for such a long time so this was her reaction when she saw it for the first time.  And after that…I stowed the camera for the rest of the day so I could just enjoy the day with them.  We had so much fun!


Our first ride of the day was the teacups.  They both approved and we ended up riding them again later that morning.

We rented a double stroller for the day from Simple Stroller Rental and I cannot recommend them enough!  We chose a City Mini GT and it was so light to push around the park.  We also packed our lunch and snacks in a cooler and we had no trouble fitting it underneath.  Plus, they delivered and picked up the stroller right to the hotel so it was just waiting for us on arrival.  Save yourself any hassle on future trips and just rent a stroller from them!

Cain’s only nap of the day was while we waited in line for Peter Pan’s Flight.  He was so tired it took the ride stopping while flying over London to get him to wake up.  I’m so glad he did so he didn’t miss the whole ride.  The kid’s were really looking forward to this one!  Cain’s favorite ride was Pirates of the Caribbean, even though it was a little scary but not too scary according to them.  When we got home, they had a brief obsession with the movie.  Evie’s favorite ride was the Haunted Mansion.  That one took some convincing of the parents because we had no fast pass and the line was 50 minutes long.  To my surprise, they handled the wait like champs with zero complaint.  I’ll never forget Cain peeking through his fingers at the “too scawy” parts.

Evie got some free fairy dust from one of the gift shop attendants.

Our plan was to be there from open-fireworks.  In that time we rode the teacups twice, Under the Sea, met Ariel, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan’s Flight, the carousel, Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, Splash Mountain, watched the parade, Bear Country Jamboree and Mickey’s Philharmagic, saw a ton of different characters walking around and took plenty of rest breaks for snacks and meals.  After seeing the crowd already taking there place an hour before fireworks were going to start, we decided to ditch early to get to our car before all of them.  I’m so glad we did!  We left on a high note and Evie was still able to see the castle all lit up.  We ended our night with Happy Meals in our pjs at the hotel.  I tried not to stress out too much over the details, but I did manage to plan a pretty perfect Magic Kingdom day.  If you are limited on time for a Disney trip, just ask me for my itinerary because we accomplished so much without feeling rushed.  I can honestly say, it’s one of my favorite days we’ve had as a family.

The next day we went to Downtown Disney.  The kids were pretty excited about Rainforest Cafe and the World of Disney store was pretty awesome to them, too.  Afterwards, we visited some friends for dinner and then stayed a couple nights with my aunt, uncle and goddaughter.  We don’t get to see them very often so it was nice to have some time to unwind with family after our busy first half of the trip.

Cain was so excited about that fake alligator outside the restaurant.  Evie and Cain even got to see Santa while we were in Florida!

And now we are on to the final part of the trip, where we met up with my parents at their timeshare on North Redington Beach.  They’ve had this unit since I was in preschool, and it is still my favorite place to go for a trip.  It’s not fancy, there’s no drinks brought to you, but it’s cozy and right on the water.  It’s really fun seeing the kids get to experience it after all my childhood memories there and it’s really really fun seeing my parents share it with their grandkids.

These kids were little fish and constantly swimming.  Evie even worked up the courage to start jumping in on her own.

Thankful Ryan tries to get pictures of me every once in awhile to prove I was there, too.

This girl could swim alllll day if we let her.  She was pretty lucky to have four adults at her disposal to come swim with her at her beck and call.

Sandcastle building with Grandma.

A starfish rescue and beachside naps.

Cain NEVER lets me take his picture, so I took advantage of his good beach moods while I could.  I wish I had gotten more of Evie, but she’s more cooperative in our daily lives so I focused on this little guy while he let me.

Notice Cain’s perfected seagull scaring form.

If you’ve spent any time around Cain, you are very familiar with this ornery face.

A couple reminders of how good they played together.