Christmas 2012 Florida

Many thoughts about this trip, but in all we had a great time.

We have always had a very high opinion of Disney, but this trip I would have to say that Universal was a hands down winner. We spent 5 days total in the parks with 1.5 days at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, 1 Day in The Magic Kingdom and 1 day in Disney’s Hollywood Studio.

Universal really impressed me. I felt that the tickets were reasonably priced for the experience they provided.

  • $49.23 Average Daily Price Per Person – There was a deal to buy 2 days and get the third free.
  • Photo Connect Program – Allows you to collect your park photos in digital format. For $40 we were able to download all of the photos taken of us in the park, at the gates, with the characters and on the rides (Harry Potter was the only exception).  These were edited for us at no additional charge each night.  The images were available almost instantly on our cell phones to be posted to Facebook or emailed.  We loved this Program and had about 65 images for the money.
  • Crowds were managed well with employees directing traffic in congested areas.
  • Reasonably priced food. – Mythos was a wonderful sit down meal for $10-$18 per person.


I don’t want to down Disney.  We did have a good time, but I felt that the experience was not worth the price that we paid.

  • $91.66 Average Daily Price Per Person
  • Disney PhotoPass is comparable to the PhotoConnect, but the price is more than 4 times as much @ $169.
  • The crowds were horrible.  We were told that they were at capacity, but that must have been the # of people allowed by the Fire Marshal not what they could service well.  The other travelers were extremely rude.
  • At the Magic Kingdom – The Buzz Lightyear ride was closed for most of the morning and the lines in the new Fantasyland were multiple hours.
  • At Hollywood Studios – Toy Story Midway Mania was an awesome ride, but the wait was over 3 hours.  We got a fastpass early that morning and were able to ride it once around 10pm.  We were also disappointed to find that multiple attractions in the park close at 5pm.
  • We did dine at Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios and the food was great.  We did have to wait an hour to be seated and the average cost was $35 per person.  I also felt that we were being rushed out to free the table for the next group.



To end on a fun note watch Jessie and Bailey on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket.  I will say that he had been on this ride before and multiple times after this video.  Fear was not an issue, but you couldn’t tell that from his expression.

DC Shoes and Ken Block

I wish that I had known that this was a career option early in life.  I practiced everyday in high school, but didn’t know you could make a living with it.

Bahamas 18th Anniversary 2011

It has been a while since we have had a real break.  This short trip seemed to be exactly what we needed.

From Bahamas 18th Anniversary 2011

We stepped from the gangplank and onto the ship around 1:30 Friday afternoon.  We were ready for 2 1/2 fun days at sea as well as a day in Grand Bahamas and a day in Nassau.  We took a very unconventional approach to this trip.  The port was chosen for convenience and price, but we do have a history with this ship.  Carnival’s Fantasy was the ship that we spent our honeymoon on 18 years earlier. We are a family of 6 with children ranging from 5 – 16 years old and this would be the first vacation without the kids in over 8 years.  The purpose of this vacation was relaxation.  We did very little planning, no excursions were booked.  We planned to simply do as much or as little as we wanted at any given moment.  We were simply looking for a chance to be away and carefree.

Our first stop after boarding the ship was with our Maitre d.  We were able to switch from a table for 8 to a table for 2.  The meals and service were unbelievable each evening.

The days at sea were enjoyed on the Serenity Deck.  This is the child free, adult retreat on the back of the ship. It provided sun or shade, plenty of chairs, two hot tubs and very little noise. It was most enjoyable during the rain on the day we departed.

We booked no excursions.  As we disembarked in the Bahamas we would look for transportation.  Each day that turned out to be scooters/mopeds.  After returning to the boat in Freeport we discovered that Carnival does not recommend using mopeds because “they are very dangerous”, but we are rebels and did it again the next day.  The mopeds combined with the geocaches that I had printed before we left home provided a great adventure.  The caches had been placed on the paths less traveled.  In most cases these locations were both deserted and breathtaking.

I would recommend taking a look at CruiseCritics Secret Tips to cruising. There was a lot of good information though some of it has changed over the years.  On this ship they no longer provide free playing cards at the pursers desk.

Necessity Breeds Innovation

I am constantly amazed at how simple ideas can make huge changes in our daily lives.  I feel that we really don’t take time to think and problem solve any more.

2011 MS Breakaway to the Beach

From 2011 Breakaway to the Beach

The Mid Atlantic Chapter of the National MS Society has done it again.  This is my third year participating in this event and as always it was a pleasure. The route was great and the support provided by the staff and volunteers was second to none. I was only able to ride on Sunday this year, but I did manage the 100 mile route.

Jackson Bluff Trail System

First time on Jackson Bluff Trail System this weekend and it was great. In 43 minutes I made 2 loops taking a few minutes to stop and look at the Cox Ferry Lake Recreational Area.  It was a great workout compared to riding on the road.

I’m not sure about cycling through this area with the little ones, but I am looking forward to walking the trails with them.

For more information, check the following links.

Waccamaw Trail Blazers




Summer Events in the Area

Hello everyone. I hope to make a great list of happenings in the local area. So, if you know about something, please email me so that I can get it added here.


VBS at First United Methodist in downtown Conway

Shake It Up Cafe!
July 10 – July 14 … in the evening … not sure of the time
This is going to be the most exciting VBS ever! I hope that you have plans to join us and bring a friend! This year’s VBS is sure to be over the top! For the first time ever, we will be using a live band for all of the music, skits, and adventures that will be going on with VBS! It will be held in the evenings, and we still need volunteers, if you’re interested in helping out, we need it! Please let me know, and go ahead and mark your calendars for some great summer fun!

VBS at Trinity United Methodist

Around July 17 … still getting the dates and times but … it’s in the evening


VBS at NewSong in Conway

July 11th to 15th *** 9:00 till noon *** Ages 3yrs to 5th Grade


Wacky Wednesdays – Pirate Style

Wednesdays this summer from 10:00 till 2:00 at NewSong Church in Conway

Conway Summer Reading Program

KICKOFF is Monday, June 6th at 10:00 am
Mondays – June 13 at 1:00 PM, June 13th at 10 AM,  June 27th  10 AM (Awards Ceremony)


$1 Summer Movies at Rivertown Theater in Conway

8 weeks of $1 movies for kids *** 10:00am on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Click this link for the movie schedule:


Abiding Village

Lots of free classes this summer for Art, Dance, Percussion ~ Check out their site:


Myrtle Beach State Park Summer Program

May 31 to September 3rd …. many Free programs … 9:30 to 3:00 on Tuesdays through Saturdays

Click here for more info and a printable schedule.


Island Inspired Summer Surfing

Surf Clinics on Saturday Mornings – FREE Lessons – Bring your own board or rent one for $10 – must preregister

Click here for  Island Inspired Girls Only Surf Club on Facebook – dues TBA but minimal
Click here for Island Inspired Boys Only Surf Club on Face book – dues TBA but minimal

For more info: or 843-236-2841