Orlando Blog - Orlando Vacation

Information and news updates on Orlando Florida and Central Florida tourism information. This blog will try and cover all thing Orlando - from the nightlife to the Orlando Magic to the theme parks.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Orlando, FL to Seattle, WA via train!

As I woke up Thursday morning i was so excited to know that this was the first day of my vacation. I raced around the house packing clothes, and packing the cooler, and trying to make sure that everything was all set. I didn't quite realize at the time what exactly i was doing! See I had came up with this wonderful idea for a affordable, but exciting vacation! Travel across the country on a train! The trip was a 5 day 4 night ride on the great American rail lines. I waited at the station with excitement running through my veins. I have never been on a train, I have never traveled alone, and i have never traveled this far west or north! I knew that i would enjoy the trip but I did not realize what i was embarking on. The trip from Florida to Washington D.C was some what boring, but this is a great time to catch up on some sleep(Trust me you will need it). My stays in D.C were short but i did get to see all that i wanted to see. The Capital Building which is a short 5 minute walk from the train station. One thing to keep in mind is D.C has lots of sights to see and many, many, many museums which will take you weeks to see. I did only the attractions around the train station. Right next door they have the National Postal Museum. This attraction is absolutely free! The D.C train station is an attraction all of its own. There is a 2 story mall, with a very large food court. there is also a Movie cinema, along with fine dining and access to the metro with will get you anywhere you need to be in D.C. One thing to keep in mind is that everyone looks important in D.C, why this is I'm not sure but i do believe that they do this for fun! I left D.C on my next leg of my trip to Chicago. This was a wonderful ride through the Appalachian Mountains. There are some beautiful little hillside towns althroughout West Virgina like; Harper's ferry,and Martins burg. Once night falls over the mountains the lounge car will offer HAPPY HOUR! Now I' m not condoning the abuse of alcohol, but if your on a train for 17 hours a little alcohol may help to pass the time. The only set back on a train is for the smokers. They have recently made all the trains NON-smoking, so if you do smoke you will have to wait for a designated smoke stop along the way. Soon as I arrived in Chicago I was in love! The architecture is astounding and very contemperary. There is just this feeling of history and human movement. Just walking around for 5 hours I have discovered that the whole city has a energy that is very apealing! The complete clash of cultures can be seen in greek town, and all around. I do recommend that you take a tour of the sears tower just to get your bearings. you will get great views of the whole city from here. After my short excursions i had to catch my train to Seattle. Going through Wisconson, Minnesota was some what hilly but mainly just farms and speratic houses. Then we stop in Fargo, ND. careful because this is not a smoke stop. I have learned this because the train just about left me there at about 3 am! So be sure to listen for the ALL ABOARD! Traveling through North Dakota and Eastern Montana is a very boring and depressing ride, but just past Shelby, MT you will venture into the Rocky Mountains! Glacier national park is fantastic duirng the fall, cold but fantastic. There is some stunning views of the glacier from the tracks. There are very few roads through that pass and the best way to see it is by rail. usually night will fall soon after you reach the mountains and when i woke up the next thing i saw was the cascade mountains. That is the most beautiful ride i have ever been on. The train will run along a river that is at the foot of the mountains. There are people kayaking down the river, others are fishing and it just seems so peaceful. Shortly after sun up you will arrive in Seattle. At this point i was just so excited to actually make it there! After 5 days 4 nights and 3000 miles behind you, I began to feel a sence of accopmlishment! People thought I was crazy for doing this, but if you are talkitive and not afraid of being alone and so far away from home than you will love every minute of it. The best feeling is that I was basiclly just starting my vacation! Seattle was so beauiful in the fall. The mountains that drape the skyline and the stunning buildings that make seattle famous. No real need to go into the Space Needle, Its like the moon: it cool to look at but there is no need to go up there. So what if the floor rotates! you can get some really amazing views from the Colombia Center building normal business hours. THE SPACE NEEDLE IS A TOURIST TRAP!!!!! But all in all i had a wonderful time. I remember the old saying; There is no place like Seattle! The coffee, the thai, oh yeah and teh fresh seafood, mainly salmon. so on my one way flight back home i had about 6 hour to recoil from my tremendous life altering experience. As my plane lands back in Orlando, FL I sort of felt a little sence of home once i arrived. Just knowing that i live in the number one tourist destination in the U.S. oh yeah........ and because its Disney World! If you have any questions about my trip and you would like a few more details that i didn't mention, or you would like to plan your own vacation you can email me at chris@ticketmomma.com I hope you enjoyed my trip.... I know i did!!!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

A GREAT DAY FISHING at Mosiquito Lagoon

Last Tuesday my friend David and I decided to do a fishing trip to Mosquito Lagoon. The reason we chose Mosquito Lagoon was because we had heard from lots of anglers that this was the hot spot for Trout and Redfish. Well we left very early in the morning so that we would be at the launch site before sunrise to get the boat in the water and get the live bait. We arrived at Titusville on hwy. 406 and went to the Max Brewer Parkway. Half way across the Max Brewer Parkway right in the middle of the river was the launch site. Well it was still dark when we got there so we took our time putting the boat in. We went over to the first island and I got out the cast net to catch some live bait. I have never tried this before so after throwing the net about 12 to 15 times I finally caught about 3 dozen bait fish and a lot of laughing from David on my casting technique. Well we got back in the boat and started for Mosquito Lagoon witch was about 5 more miles up the river. We only got about a mile up the river when we noticed 5 dolphins swimming off the right side of the boat, man they are beautiful and stayed right beside the boat for about a mile. We also saw a mother manatee and her baby swimming together up the river. We also saw some ospreys and pelicans diving into the river and catching fish. Well we finally got to Mosquito Lagoon it was beautiful (GOD’S COUNTRY). We had to be careful because Mosquito Lagoon was only one to two feet deep in places once you got off the channel. I just bought a Jack Plate (It raises the motor straight up six more inches.) for my boat so that I could get into shallow water. Well we baited up and cast in. Well it didn’t take long about 3 min. and I got a bite. Man what a fight the drag on my reel was screaming and just about all of my line was out and my pole looked like an upside down U and I thought the pole would break in half but it didn’t and when I finely got it in it was a Redfish 19 ½ inch long and let me tell you it seem to take all of 5 min. to land him. WOW that gets the adrenaline going. While I was taking my Redfish off, David’s fishing pole came close to going over board, he had a snapper. That day we caught 3 Snapper, 3 Redfish, one 10 ½ lb. Black Drum, and a lot of lady fish. Not only was this fishing trip really relaxing, the boat ride up the Indian River was beautiful. Well next week its back to Mosquito Lagoon because it’s so big it will take some time to fish all of it. So if you are stressed out from work and traffic jams I suggest you go fishing.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

DAYS AT ALLIGATORLAND SAFARI ZOO

If you live in Kissimmee/ Orlando or have ever visited the area, you’ve had to have seen the giant alligator outside of the zoo that was Jungle Land. Before it was Jungle Land it was called Alligatorland Safari Zoo. My grandparents owned the zoo and their house was actually attached to it. My dad also worked there, so my sister and I were there almost everyday.
My mom had got matching outfits for my sister and I that said “Jr. Zoo Keeper”. They were too cute! One year for Christmas we got a safari jeep. We took it to the zoo and rode that thing everywhere. The people that were walking through the zoo must have thought we were crazy……..we were!! Everyday we were there my grandma would go to I-HOP and get grilled cheese and French fries for us for lunch. We had I-HOP so much I haven’t eaten it since 1994. And that big alligator that sits out in front of the zoo……I climbed to the nose of it when I was about 5 years old. I had to do it alone because my sister was too scared. You get a big rush climbing that big alligator, I’m sure my mom got a big rush also because she didn’t want me to climb it.
On my 5th birthday I had my party at the zoo. It was great!!! Come on, how many kids do you know that have parties at zoos? Probably not very many. Anyways….. My dad dressed up in alligator costume and took everyone around on a tour of the zoo. He took out different animals for everyone to see and touch. He brought out animals such as: monkeys, alligators, different birds, baby tigers, snakes and others. My dad would do shows and wrestle alligators, so he did a little show for everyone at the party.
One year for Easter we had a huge Easter egg hunt for our family and friends. The eggs were spread through out the whole zoo. My dad took an ostrich egg and painted it gold. If you found that egg you won a big prize (I think it was a big Easter basket full of goodies). Of course I was not the one who found the gold egg.
Another year Alligatorland had a haunted zoo. Some of the workers at the zoo gave tours to the customers who wanted to go through. My mom didn’t work there but she also gave the tours and I walked around with her. There was a huge spider web that my dad had built and had to show people how to get through it. There was also a maze that people had to go through, and a grave yard that had people buried under the ground. Then it was time for the chainsaws……everyone went running when they came out! One lady was so scared she wet herself. At the very end of the tour a gun was fired and a lady screamed really loud. Everyone was in a hurry to get out of there. It was pretty scary, but it was hilarious watching all the people run and scream.
The days that my sister and I would go hang out at the zoo, we would always play with the goats. We would ride and feed them (we were little so we didn’t hurt them). When it was time to feed the animals, we would go around with a guy that worked there and help him feed them. There was a chimpanzee, named Sonny, which we used to give bubble gum to. It was funny watching him chew it. My sister and I would go in the porcupine pin and get the quills that had fallen off of them. My mom said when we got home from the zoo we smelled really bad! She said that we went right in the bath and our clothes went right in the washing machine.
I think my favorite part of being involved with the zoo was getting to be up close with the animals. It was fun getting to see the different birds hatch out of their eggs and seeing all the baby animals. Another neat thing that most kids don’t get to do is getting the chance to take home a monkey. We got to keep a baby Ring-Tailed Lemur at our house for a while. We would feed it with a baby bottle and put diapers on it. He was just the cutest thing! One day we had the monkey at the zoo and it was sitting on my grandmas head and it pooped on her. It was so funny! Also, one of the pot belly pigs had babies, so we got to take one home with us. My sister and I would play in the pig pin at the zoo with the other piggies.
In 1994 my family and I moved to Missouri and then in 1995 my grandparents sold the zoo. We ended up moving back to Florida in ’95 or ’96, and by that time the new owners of the zoo had opened up Jungle Land. My grandma took me and my sister there a few times but it just wasn’t the same. I was pretty upset when they sold the zoo because I had some fun times at that place.