orlando – days 2 & 3

i know you’ve been on the edge of your seat to hear about the rest of our time in orlando, so here we go!

our saturday proved to be just as fun as our friday, and it all began at the winter garden farmers market.  we have these sorts of things in atlanta but never seem to make the time to go, which means we enjoyed ourselves even more.

things at the market were already pretty lively by the time we arrived, which made for excellent people watching.  there were couples of all ages, families with little ones, ladies with big sun hats and bigger bags full of fresh produce and fragrant baguettes.  it was a feast for the senses, indeed!

since we had forgone breakfast at the house, we were definitely in the mood for a little snack.  considering the heat of the already sweltering florida morning, lisa led us straight to enzo’s acai bar.  the line wasn’t long, the people were friendly, and the service was fast.  i don’t remember exactly what we had, but i do remember the cool sorbet, crunchy granola, and sweet fruit in every bite.  the perfect start to the morning!  as we munched, we moseyed from booth to booth, admiring the quality and beauty of the local craftsmen.  if we’d had any extra space in our suitcase, i’m certain i would have come home with a bundle of treasures, but i’m betting phillip is grateful that wasn’t the case.  🙂

one stand we stopped by caught lisa’s eye as she turned the corner:  the allisons’ apiaries honey stand.  lisa admitted to us that she was on a big honey kick these days and just could not resist.  the gentleman who assisted us was quite welcoming and helpful and generous with samples.  we tasted wild flower honey, blackberry honey, honey whose names i cannot recall, and they were all so scrumptious.  lisa’s honey infatuation was so darling that phillip and i insisted we treat her to some as a thank-you for hosting us that weekend.  at first she couldn’t accept but then quickly warmed up to the idea and picked out a couple jars and even a beeswax gator candle.  i’d say they were worth every penny.

we perused a bit longer and then decided we were ready for some lunch.  those acai bowls were tasty but they were little, so lisa listed off some options and we finally decided that a slice or two at winter garden pizza company would be just the ticket.  plus, the place had the a/c on full blast and chatty customers already enjoying their lunches, which is always a good sign.  it was waters all around to start, but then phillip and i couldn’t resist trying a beer from the local brewery the crooked can.  lisa had pointed it out earlier in the day, and the cloud chaser we ordered was quite tasty and the perfect paring for some pizza.

the menu at this place was pretty extensive, so when in doubt, phillip and i did what we almost always do – we ordered two different dishes and split them.  sharing is caring, right?  we both liked the pepperoni and tomato pizza slices we had just fine but loved much more the calzone.  boy, that thing was stuffed with generous gobs of ricotta and mozzarella, both of which accompanied the italian sausage nicely.  lisa also could not complain about her peppers and onions slice and tomato and ground beef slice.  i think it is safe to say we left winter garden pizza company as satisfied customers.

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it was time for us to head back to the house and meet up with kyle for our next adventure, but i couldn’t pass up a few good photo opportunities before we left.  winter garden is just as darling as it sounds like it should be, and i can see why it’s such a favorite with the locals.

all morning kyle had been very busy at the middle school getting the newest band students all ready with their instruments and equipment, and even though that probably tuckered him out, along with the first few weeks of school and the thrilling apopka football game the night prior, he rallied so that we all could together go to epcot for the afternoon.

similar to magic kingdom, i remembered nearly nothing about epcot from my childhood visit years ago, so it was like a whole new world.  kyle and lisa, though, knew exactly where to take us, and we started with the ride soarin’.  with a name like that, i was wary of fast drops and twisted turns, but kyle reassured me that the dramamine could stay packed in my purse.  🙂  the wait wasn’t long at all, and before i knew it, we were strapped into our seats, hoisted up, and soaring over some of the world’s most recognized landmarks.  there were the pyramids in egypt, the eiffel tower in paris, the plains of africa, the taj mahal.  the list goes on and on, and all i could think was “take me there and there and there!”  wind wept through our hair as we dipped through valleys and over mountains, gliding along without a care in the world.  ah, if only life could be that way always.

we planned to then head out into the rest of the park, but mother nature had other ideas as rain came pouring down.  not discouraged, we went on a few more rides so that we could wait out things.  next up was living with the land, an educational experience where we learned about the human impact on our planet and how scientists are working to make the most of our natural resources in responsible and sustainable ways.  who doesn’t like a little learning on a saturday?  then, oh boy, then there was journey to imagination.  i don’t even know if i really have words for this ride, but what i will say is that if you come to epcot and have the time for something that’s a little off the wall, treat yourself to this ride.  you might not thank me later, but you will have a funny story to tell.

the rain hadn’t let up just yet, but it couldn’t keep us down, so we donned our ponchos and headed to the world showcase to start our drinking around the world tour.  we began over in jolly old england with a couple of harps for these couple of couples and strolled through its charming streets, spinning through beautifully manicured gardens and striking poses.  it was such fun to just be in the moment and let loose with some old friends, and i am quite grateful for it all.

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next up on the tour was picturesque paris and the grand marnier slush from les vins des chefs de france.  we ordered the biggest one we could and split it among the four of us, which was probably a good idea because if i’d had one all on my own, these pictures of me in a beret would be even less attractive than they already are, lol.

after paris came morocco, which may have been my favorite.  one because we had another tasty, slushy concoction that came highly recommended by lisa.

gorgeous!

two because the buildings were the perfect backdrop for our impromptu phot shoot.  look at phillip and lisa rock those ponchos!

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we then had good fun in japan admiring their quirky style…

…and then got lisa her mickey mouse pretzel to soak up all those drinks!

om nom nom.

there were still several nations more to visit and drink in, but we’re old farts in our late twenties and early thirties and we were ready to head out for the day.  could we have wandered around another three hours for the fireworks show?  sure, but in that moment it didn’t sound as appealing as eating dinner from 4r bbq, treating ourselves to strawberry and chocolate chip mochis, and watching spirited away in the comfort of kyle and lisa’s home, which is exactly what we did.

sunday was our final day in orlando, and with an afternoon flight, we had just enough time to pack up and enjoy one more meal with our favorite florida couple.  kyle and lisa had wanted to take us out to keke’s breakfast cafe, one of their favorite spots nearby, but the wait was about an hour and a half and we just didn’t have that much time.  upon further consideration, we ended up at the big easy for their brunch buffet.  i tried to balance out my appalling vacation diet with a little fruit on my plate but eventually caved in to mac’n’cheese and boneless wings and hushpuppies and beignets and deviled eggs and cheesy grits.  i mean, if you’re going to be bad, you may as well go all the way.

after all was said and done, phillip and i hopped on our 757, tired but thankful for our great weekend with kyle and lisa.  we can only hope it isn’t too long before we are back again.

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