13 Feb 2016

Dream vacation to Orlando, USA

Our holiday to Orlando was a dream come true.  Daydreams in the supermarket, about how much fun we'd have when I won the current  M&Ms promotion  really did come true.

It's a long way to the USA, so we expanded our trip in all kinds of ways.

On arrival in Orlando, we settled into our first hotel to burn off the jetlag, and spend some time at Seaworld and Aquatica (Seaworld's water park.) It was a very comfortable room, and we loved the free breakfast. The shuttles to Seaworld were very efficient, and the quick queue passes were a great advantage of our three nights in this hotel.

Then it was off to Port Canaveral for our cruise. I'm still thrilled to think back and remember that we cruised to the Bahamas. Truly amazing. We were cosseted on the ship for our four night trip, and had a wonderful time.

On the morning the cruise ended, we walked off the ship to hustle our way back to Orlando and check into our next hotel. It's not cheap to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel, but the advantages of being in walking distance (or taking a water taxi shuttle) to the Universal Studios parks are great.  They also offer a pass which lets you skip most queues, so that was fabulous.  We spent the day at the Universal Studios park, and then the next at the US Islands of Adventure park.

After this hectic couple of days, we went and checked into our M&Ms provided hotel, the Floridays resort.  This was a very comfortable three bedroom apartment, and the kids were thrilled to have a bedroom each, along with their own tv. In fact, we were all pretty pleased to have some space to spread out and regroup.

The next day we were off to Discovery Cove, a ridiculously indulgent all inclusive day including optional dolphin swims.  Such a relaxing day (and surprisingly cost efficient, as paying entry here also gets two weeks unlimited entry to both Seaworld and Aquatica.) 

We made time for a shopping trip to a factory outlet mall and Walmart, so that was pretty exciting.

Our trip to the NASA centre at Cape Canaveral was a highlight. We got a little lost getting there, as our hire car GPS thought we were trying to get to a bank with a similar name. Once we straightened that out, it was a fabulous day. The Atlantis exhibit was just astounding.

Then it was time to leave our luxurious hotel and go to Disney World, which I'll discuss in another post.

17 Jan 2016

Actual quilting content

Don't fall over. But I've actually made something.

A quilt for my sister's 40th birthday. It's a large one, following the St Louis 16 patch pattern - each block is 14 inches square. I added in snowball blocks to lighten the look of the quilt.


We had a great time visiting the USA, and I'll be making a brief post about that shortly.

13 Sep 2015

Dreaming of Orlando

We've been to the USA twice, and both times have involved a trip to Orlando. And for us, Orlando means DisneyWorld.

In 1999, we embarked on an epic trip around the world with our best friends. Two teachers were involved, so we flew out the day after school broke up for the summer. Straight to Las Vegas, then New York for Christmas, bus touring up to Niagara via Amish country, then flying down to Orlando on New Year's Eve. This was critical, arriving early on NYE since the world was about to fall apart due to the millennium bug (hah!)  We stayed at a Days Inn about 40 minutes away, where we were amazed by the complimentary  breakfast of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  We had five days in the parks, and had a fabulous time.  We also spent a day at Seaworld, and a day at NASA, Cape Canaveral. (We continued on touring London, Egypt and South Africa's Kruger Park, and it was the biggest marathon of a holiday ever!)

In 2011, my husband had the chance of going to a conference in Orlando. It was very uncertain for a long time, and his attendance wasn't confirmed until a fortnight beforehand.  Obviously, we wanted to tack on a family holiday if at all possible, so we paid last minute airfares, and lucked into a free dining period staying Disney's Pop Century resort.

This was so much easier staying on site, and the kids were a perfect age to be still on board with the magic, and old enough to go on nearly every ride they wished.

Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to win a family trip to Orlando. We're so, so grateful and excited! The purpose of the trip was attend a spacecamp experience at NASA, which is thrilling in itself, Of course, we'll be adding on a stay at Disney, and it looks like  we'll go on a short (Disney!) cruise down to the Bahamas as well.  Adding in Discovery Cove, and Seaworld, and it's truly a trip of a lifetime.

I'm spending so much time planning. Between the Disboards, Pinterest, the Disney site, Cruise Critic and Visit Florida, my mind is buzzing with the possibilities.  Our promotional travel agent is taking care of the flights, some accommodation and car hire, but there's still so much to consider.  I'm having a wonderful time already!

7 Sep 2015

Belated exhibition roundup

The Canberra Quilters Exhibition was another great one this year, and it was lovely to see our quilts hanging.

My son's first quilt looked great;

I was very pleased with my finished quilt too;

And my daughter's quilt won a highly commended in the primary school aged children's section, and the Bernina encouragement award.

Yes, that's a Bernina as the prize.  She is so thrilled and excited -  and has even cleaned up her desk to make room for it.  Tidying doesn't come easy, so it's a true measure of excitement.