Our first full day in Florida started a little later than we had anticipated, almost missing the cooked-to-order breakfast downstairs because we slept that late. We didn't even bother to set an alarm because we both assumed our kids would be up very early and we were shocked to see it past 8:30 before anyone woke up! I had no idea how all of us sleeping in the same room would work, but the kids did awesome. Mila had a full-size crib we rented from Tampa Bay Baby Rentals (best money ever spent), and Cruz had a full-sized bed all to himself. We had conquered the flight AND conquered our first hotel sleep with flying colors and I was more than ready to get out and see something new.
We decided to head to Busch Gardens for the day. We really had no plans and no expectations for our week, a nice change from our Disney trip last year. We figured Busch Gardens would have enough to entertain Cruz and Mila for the day. The Florida heat was no joke this week, but we planned to go until the kids were sleepy, then head back to the hotel for naps and a dip in the pool before heading to the beach for dinner.
For those of you planning a Florida vacation in the future, don't overlook Busch Gardens. Comparable to Disney's Animal Kingdom minus the Disney characters, this place was part zoo, part amusement park, including several towering roller coasters that made Beau and I drool most of the day. It was pristine and manicured much like the Disney properties, with gorgeous tropical vegetation around every corner. But most of all, it was QUIET! We got there shortly after it opened at 10:00 and we felt like we were one of the only families there! We had zero lines for the entire morning and actually felt comfortable letting Cruz and Mila explore areas without constantly being on top of them. It was a breath of fresh air, especially since fresh air was hard to come by this day.
After swings, the roller coaster, and an ill-received greeting from Elmo and Bert and Ernie, we took a welcome break at a little splash pad in the middle of Sesame Street. Cruz was a little reserved, but Mila jumped right in and cooled off in a way that envied us all. Thankfully, I packed her another outfit because she was soaked!
After a dry diaper, some Dippin Dots, lunch with some tropical birds and a train ride through the premises, the kids were ready for naps. We called our hotel shuttle, made our way to the hotel and crashed for big naps in fresh bed sheets.
We woke up rested with a forecast for what was sure to be a perfect beach-side sunset.
To be continued...