Punta Gorda, Disney world and Miami
14.12.2012 - 01.01.2013
It was time to meet up with the Gove family for 2 weeks in Florida, we were so excited!
From Bogota We flew to Fort Lauderdale, picked up a rental car and started our mini road trip to meet the family at Tampa airport the next day.
We drove towards Fort Myers and stayed the night midway at the travel lodge which was next door to waffell house!! The next morning we cruised along the beach front of fort Myers and then went on to punta Gorda.
The house we rented was situated in a lovely quiet neighborhood in punta Gorda. Most the houses are on canals and nearly every house has a boat. The house we stayed in was awesome, it had a heated pool and outside area and a lovely kitchen/lounge where we spent a lot of the time!
We dropped our bags off, opened the house up and then went to publix for groceries. For the first time in 7 months I was able to take a trolly and buy food that I felt like eating, I never thought I would be so excited to do a grocery shop! After packing the fridge we drove an hour and a half to fetch everyone from the airport. By the time we arrived back, everyone was exhausted and jet lagged so we had some dinner and all hit the sack.
We had a great time exploring the nearby areas in the next few days. We went to boca grande which is a small residential community on Gasparilla Island. The beach there is beautiful and secluded. boca grande It is one of the most expensive post codes in the states, the houses are beautiful.
We also had a lovely day at Engelwood beach where it is a bit busier and more sheltered. We also spent a great day out to sanibel island near fort Myers.
James had so much fun playing in the sand and coming from winter in the UK everyone else was so happy to be in the sun. We had a few delicious braais at home and went on some good walks/runs.
5 days later we drove in our huge 7 seater car/bus to Orlando to check out Disney world. we stayed at a raddison hotel for 2 nights which was 10 mins from most of the parks, it was a brilliant hotel and such luxury for us!
With 3 days to explore there we chose do see Magic Kingdom, Epcot center and sea world.
Magic kingdom was amazing... I am a chicken, Colleen is pregnant and the ques were so long so We didn't go on any scary rides but we went on Winnie the poo, dumbo, tea cups, Racing cars etc. James just loved it! After Queuing for 40 mins for Winnie we learnt that we needed to get fast passes for the rides first but they only issue a certain number of fast passes a day so you have to get them in the morning then you get given a time.
Epcot was also awesome ... We got fast passes as soon as we arrived and went on a great nemo ride which James loved and a brilliant simulator ride called soring which we all loved. The highlight of the day though was a new racing car ride called Test Track where you go from zero to 104.6 km/h making it one of the fastest Disney theme park attractions ever built.
Around a central lake you can visit a number of different countries. they have buildings and restaurants like you would get in the particular country, it's very impressive. we checked out Japan, morocco and china Then grant, cols and James had their pic taken with Santa and mrs Claus. It was entertaining watching the people Que up in their matching outfits and pose for the picture, so American and cheesy!
The fire works that night were spectacular over the lake, they really did put on a good show. It was so loud that you could feel your chest vibrate. As they finished it started to pour down with rain so everyone made a run to the exit.
The following morning we went to Sea world. We went to see shamu the killer whale which was my favorite, we saw the manatees, polor bear, a turtle 3D film, beluga whales and lots more. Once again James had the best time and so did we!
I went to Disney with my family 19 years ago and the Goves went 18 years ago so it was a different experience seeing it as an adult but it is the most impressive place and has so much to offer. It's packed all year round and so efficient and loads of fun for all.What a great few days.
In the following week it was Byron's birthday and Christmas. We spent time on the beaches, spent an afternoon at a huge outlet mall shopping for Christmas presents and went to port Charlotte shopping mall to catch the post Christmas sales.
We had a great breakfast at waffell house ( had to do the American thing) and tried gator bites at the fishermans warf. We also took a speed boat out for an afternoon which was brilliant fun. James drove the boat and all he wanted to do was go "fast".
On Byron's birthday we watched the punta Gorda boat parade where boat owners put on a great display of Christmas lights and cruise the canals.
We had a lovely Christmas dinner and everyone got very spoiled, especially me and James with all his new Disney favorites.
James driving the boat
After a brilliant holiday it was time for the others to go back to the UK and us to continue on our travels. We were spoiled so much by everyone and it was such a special time with family. Thanks to the Goves for everything!
So after a sad goodbye we rented another car and drove to west palm beach for the night. Went palm beach is unbelievable... The houses are the biggest mansions I have ever seen (puts Beverly Hills to shame). i have never seen so many bentleys and rolls royce's in my life. apparently Oprah, rod stuart and other stars own places along the famous A1A road in west palm. After driving around with our mouths open looking at the houses, We spent the afternoon walking on the lovely wide beach and pretending to be the rich and famous in the fancy shopping street called worth road.
The next morning we hit Miami for new year and our 1 year wedding anniversary. We stayed in a awesome hotel on south beach in the Art Deco area. The buildings in the Art Deco area haven't been rebuilt so you get a great 70s feel. It was a little windy but we still spent a lovely afternoon on Miami south beach people watching. We cruised the shops and had some brilliant meals and the massive cocktails they serve on the beach front. Miami is just like you see in the movies, the people are very interesting to watch and you get all types.. From the typical plastic surgery barbie dolls to the crazy people walking rabbits on a leash, it's such fun sipping cocktails in the sun and watching people go by.
Miami is a very popular destination for New Year's Eve and the streets were swarming. Out hotel was right on the main strip so we could see all the action starting from our room in the afternoon. We had champagne on the balcony and then headed into town for a lovely dinner in a bustling area. At about 11pm, along with loads of people, we headed down to the beach front to find a spot to watch the fire works. We settled in to a restaurant on the promenade for the next couple of hours and sipped yummy margaritas while getting into the vibe. The count down was great and everyone was in party mode. The fire works were amazing! They set them off at either side of the beach and we were sitting in the middle so we had the best view.
What a fun couple of days and perfect way to spend our anniversary!