Monday, November 6, 2017

Two Weeks of Playing

If it seems like I've been missing in action, I have!

Beginning October 21 with preparations for having company, we've had two wonderful back-to-back visits with friends and family, in that order.

First, our longtime friends Patty and Greg from Texas flew to spend four nights with us. We helped celebrate his 66th birthday by taking them to Universal Studios' City Walk in Orlando...

.... where we ate dinner at Margaritaville, and saw the Blue Man Group. It was the third time for me to see that show, and it still makes me laugh.
Greg and Patty
This was their third visit with us here in The Villages. It's always fun because we find plenty to do - Patty and I get pedicures, go shopping, and hang out. If we're ever at a loss for something to do, we play some pretty intense Mexican Train Dominoes.

After that great visit with Patty and Greg we had two days to catch our breath before two grandsons flew in from Kansas City for seven nights. This is what my sewing room has looked like since October 28. How 'bout that colorful design wall "headboard" over a double air mattress?!

Our daughter Jill has an annual business conference in Orlando, so we picked up the three of them at the airport, delivered Jill to her hotel, and took the boys home with us.

It's always high energy time with those two - Tay is 8 years old; Aesa is 7 years old today! - and we were on the go nearly all the time. With them, if going to the swimming pool isn't enough, we go on a golf cart ride.

We carted to a house decorated for Halloween. 

Tay the vampire is the only one who wanted to go "trunk or treating" at a local church, so that's what he and I did.

We played miniature golf. Bapa won.

We wandered around the boardwalk at Lake Sumter Landing... 

... noting how high the water remains since Hurricane Irma who dumped 11" in our area on September 10-11.

The Florida Soft-shell Turtles were hovering in the vegetation.

We played boccé ball a couple times, and Aesa figured out how to set up the perfect score. 

The boys watched BattleBots on TV. Bapa explained that team MIT had "glasses power," and taught them the "glasses power" hand sign.

Animal Kingdom
On Tuesday, Tay, Aesa and I returned to Orlando to meet-up with Jill, spend the night, and head to Animal Kingdom. It was a first-time visit for all four of us.

This is the 145 foot-tall Tree of Life which is pretty amazing. It has carvings of 325 different animals.

By far, we had the most fun visiting the Africa section. The boys got Wilderness Explorer Guides and we made sure to stop at Troop Leader Stations throughout the park (there are 31 of them), so the boys could learn about animals and countries, and earn badges for their guidebooks.

Jill and Tay

The biggest mistake I made was agreeing to go with the family on the Expedition Everest Yeti Rollercoaster. OMGosh. It was awful! It's one thing to travel forward at 50 miles an hour, but it's completely another to roll backward in the dark, at that speed! It was the longest, most terrifying 2 minute, 50 seconds of my life. I'll never do that again! Aesa didn't like it either.

In the late afternoon we headed over to the new area (opened May 27), Pandora, thinking the crowds would be down. Nope. It was pretty crowded for a Wednesday.

The scenery is definitely amazing. 

The magnitude of these floating mountains isn't captured in my photos, but they're magnificent! I think they're especially remarkable because our structural engineer son, Brent, helped create them. He works for the company responsible for designing and engineering the support system.


This picture was taken pointing skyward. Weatherize, we had a gloriously beautiful day with perfect temps and low humidity. 

After wandering around, we decided to tough out the long line for Na'Vi River Ride - a 3 minute 30 second boat ride. We were told the wait was 80 minutes.

This is how long we actually waited in line. 

In fact, we're certain that to get the people through faster the ride itself was rushed. We spent about 2 minutes 45 seconds in that boat. Sheesh. Another "never again."

I will say that the prettiest part of the boat ride was seeing the oversized Neytiri character who sang along with hand motions.  

As we left the park toward 8 pm, the Tree of Life was lit-up. Quite impressive.

This day was an especially long one. We didn't get back to The Villages until 9:30 pm. But it's definitely a day for the memory book (blog book!). Linda


  1. Wow! After all that I'd guess you're ready to put your feet up and relax, but I'm sure you're itching to get back to sewing too.

  2. What a fun post! That Animal Kingdom sounds like great fun!

  3. Looks like fun was had by all! I especially like their colorful headboard and the beautiful quilt they will be sleeping under!:)

  4. A whirlwind of a visit, I'm sure! I've heard the Pandora area of Animal Kingdom is so impressive, and your photos show it so. That was a long day, packed with walking. Like you, I'm not a big fan of roller coaster rides. I do like the water rapids rids though. Glad the weather was so perfect for the day.

  5. I want you to be my Florida tour guide!



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