Saturday, May 13, 2017

Florida and a New Car!

Hey all y'all. (lol) So... my family decided that this year we would do our family reunion at a timeshare in Reunion, Florida.  We stayed within a 30 minute drive to Disney parks and Universal Studios.
This was the place we stayed.  Fancy shmancy.  Had a pool obviously, as well as free entry to a very family friendly water park with no pools deeper than 4.5 feet deep on the premises.  My nieces and nephew enjoyed that a lot! I went down a water slide and it was terrifying.  Brandon said I landed at the bottom with a scissor kick HAHA.  Didn't take any pictures of that.

If you look closely in the middle right hand area you can see some bushes trimmed to spell out the word, "Reunion."  I thought that was a cool touch to the resort.

So, the weather was pretty nice the whole time we were there.  It did rain a few times but the temperature didn't really drop.  A couple of the highlights of the trip were spending time with family (of course), going to Universal Studios with Brandon and my little sister, Rachel, and going to the beach.  

First I'll talk about the beach there ... Pass-a-Grille beach was amazing!  The sand was perfectly white and there were tons of seashells to collect.  Once you get past the layer of crushed seashells on the shore, you can wade out pretty far into the water and the current is not too strong.  So this time, there was no being thrown around by huge waves, unlike Hawaii, lol.  Our family went to the beach twice.  The first time was perfect, and the kids really loved making sand castles and collecting shells.  We had a blast swimming in the ocean, but Brandon got a little bit sunburned after that.  The second time, it started raining while we were swimming, and it literally felt like hail pelting down on us because it was falling so fast.  Kinda hurt!  But that didn't deter most of us. We still swam around for a while before deciding to head back to the van.  Let me take this time to point out, on the way there and back, there are these gas stations called "WaWa," which are super awesome and convenient.  I wish we had them in Washington.  They have tons of varieties of drinks, lunches, and baked goods.  Loved it!  I wish I took pictures of the beach, but didn't want to bring my phone with me, which was the only camera we had with us on that trip.

Next, spending time with family was the best.  We had a lot of down time, so we watched movies together, did puzzles, and just chatted and ate all the food our hearts desired.  There were also LOTS of card games, like speed, slap jack, etc.

We got this puzzle at the dollar store.  Can you believe it?  It is so cute!  My family did this puzzle together during some of our down time.

Ok, now, I am going to tell you about Universal Studios.  We decided not to do any Disney parks this round, because Brandon and I have been to Disneyland already, so we just wanted to try something new.  Well, let me tell you, I was super impressed with Universal Studios and took lots of pictures. We did buy passes to both parks because the Harry Potter attractions were split up (blah) but hey! Glad we did it. 

The first place we stopped was "Seuss Landing."  Me and my little sister, Rachel, were super excited because we are Dr. Seuss freaks.  Pretty sure the rides were meant for little kids but we didn't even care haha.

The Carousel was really cute, although sticky from "who knows how many hands" touching it.

In the lines, they had these cool bushes carved out with Dr. Seuss characters.  The ride I liked the most was "The Cat in the Hat," mainly because it had amazing air conditioning.

Rachel with "The Lorax."

Rachel and I went on this water ride called "One Fish Two Fish," and got soaked.  Rachel is super cute, huh?  I love her dimples!

The cat in the hat and Thing1 and Thing2.  We searched around the park for photo ops like this.  I do regret that Brandon wanted to take a picture with the Bubba Gump shrimp but I hurried him along.  LOL, super lame.  We planned to take a picture with it on the way back, but it wasn't there anymore when we did make our way back. Awww... lesson learned.  If you see the character, just snap a photo the first time.

More of cute Rachel.  And I don't know what character this is, but they were awesome at posing.

Although the lighting isn't the best in this picture, I had to give the Grinch props for being super creepy and playing with our hair during our photo.  EW LOL! Very Grinch-like.

I thought this waterfall was really cool!  In this area, we chose to have the meat skewers/gyros, but it was NOT WORTH IT!  It costed us $45 for 3 tiny skewers with not very much on them, each on a piece of pita bread,  and some Sun Chips, and some hummus with 3 sticks of celery and carrots each and an extra piece of pita bread.  Oh man, and we were ravenous afterward!  Brandon got these Korean Tacos to fill himself up a bit more, and said they were fine, but he has had better.  Don't recommend coming to this park hungry, as we did.  Too overpriced.  But that is theme park food...

Then there was Springfield!  This is the area where Brandon got the Korean Tacos.  Well, I daresay, Brandon looks nice and muscular, just like the Duff guy. Haha.

Had to pose with the cop eating his donut.

Annnnd my favorite picture from Springfield! HAHA!

Hogsmeade! Yes, that is fake snow on the buildings.  Rachel and I each got a cup of butter beer.  She got the normal kind and I got the frozen kind.  First of all, I preferred the frozen one over the regular one.  Second of all, if I were to recommend butter beer to anyone I would say share it with someone.  That 7 oz cup is just too much sugar for one sitting.  I couldn't finish it.  But the scenery here was amazing.  All the rides in this section were BEYOND impressive.  The Forbidden Journey and the Dragon Challenge were our favorites.  Then, Hogwarts express took you to the other park.  Of the two parks, this one was better for rides, but Diagon Alley was better for shopping.

Diagon Alley!  You can buy an Ollivander's wand here, and everything. And yes, I do realize we are wearing the same shirts as we were in the Hawaii post. LOL.  We like to be matchy.

This was the coolest ride in Diagon Alley... It was the Gringott's bank ride.  Oh man, this picture does not do justice how realistic the goblins look.  Their eyes were so evil! And they literally looked like old men.  One thing I can say about this particular park was that they did a good job with the animation types of rides. Like, the kind where you wear 3D glasses.  I actually got motion sick from a lot of them though.  Bleh, I actually do better on real roller coasters than on the 3d ones.

This area was the "Comic Strip," I believe.  Had lots of superhero shops and rides.  Brandon's favorite ride in the whole park was "The Incredible Hulk" roller coaster.  Rachel liked the "Rip Ride Rockit," this huge red roller coaster that she begged me to go on but I was too scared.  I personally liked "The Mummy."  Whoo it was awesome!  We all enjoyed the Jimmy Fallon ride as well.

There were lots of birds and little animals hanging around the park, including these cute baby ducklings!  They pecked Rachel LOL!  But their quacking was super cute!

I really liked Universal Studios, but wish it was more affordable, because the price for kids is only $5 less than for adults.  Sorry, but that just ain't a good deal!  Anyway, the rest of the trip was lovely.  I wish I could spend more time with my family.  

In other news, Brandon and I have officially retired our Subaru WRX after 15 years.  It was a great car, but it just died one day.  We traded it in for a new Subaru STI.  This has been both of our dream car for many years now.  We love the color, and the fact that the rims are black and gorgeous for stock rims haha.  It is fun to drive too!  Brandon wants to drive all the time now! LOL.  Sometimes late at night he is like, "Hey, want to go for a drive?" HAHA! 

Our new baby!

Side view.

Back view. We are pretty happy with it. :-)

And of course, after all this happened, there has to be some bad news.  We got a leak in our water heater, and it has leaked all over our laundry room and warped some of the wooden floors.  Sad day.  Today we are getting that fixed.  Other than that, we are doing great.  Well, I am off now! Hope you all are doing well!


~ Sincerely, Ashleigh Son

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