These past two weeks I was on vacation in the United States! My trip was primarily focused in Orlando, Florida, but I also went to Daytona Beach in Miami, and on a 2 night cruise to the Bahamas. I went with my brother, my grandparents, and my dad and his girlfriend. In total there were 6 of us. It was a bit of an unexpected holiday because I only found out it was going to happen 1 month ago.
Flying to Orlando (a.k.a. hell): 3-4 Feb
At first I was really anxious to go on this trip, and that was because of the flying. Not only do I have a fear of flying, but I had to be in charge of actually getting us on the flights. This was because it was only my brother and I flying together, as my father lives in Thailand and my grandparents were flying without us, even though they also live in Melbourne.
The flights consisted of travelling from Melbourne to Los Angeles (14 hours) and then from Los Angeles to Orlando (5 hours). Unfortunately, that’s not what happened on our journey! As the Melbourne flight was 1 hour late, we missed our flight to Orlando in Los Angeles because we only had 30 minutes to check-in. So we got some new flights that had a connecting flight in Denver, Colorado. As this Denver flight was also delayed by an hour, we missed our 2nd Orlando flight! At the Denver airport, we got some more flights, but they were not for another 9 hours. My brother and I were exhausted from our 14-hour flight plus the other 2-hour flight, and tried sleeping on the floor, but it wasn’t easy.
The next connecting flight was in Washington, Virginia (I seriously thought Washington was in the state of Washington). Thankfully, we had 3 hours to spare in Washington waiting for our Orlando flight. We finally made it to Orlando approximately 17 HOURS AFTER WE WERE SUPPOSED TO ARRIVE! In total, the trip took about 40 hours, and was not very fun at all.
Summer Bay Resort, Orlando: 4-9 Feb
I immediately took a 4-hour nap when we made it to the resort and woke up in the afternoon on Saturday. My brother went shopping without me, kindly showing my dad vegan things to buy me, but the only interesting thing we did that day was walk around the resort.
On Sunday it was the Superbowl. It was the first Superbowl I have ever watched. My dad very much enjoyed saying how boring it was compared to AFL. The half-time show and the advertisements were fun to watch, and we spent most of the game watching it at the bar with a bunch of other vacationers. During the day, we visited an outside shopping centre and looked in a few shops. I remember being very hungry because I ate little meals during the travelling. We also went to the pool and played a game of trivia, coming in last (not fair that some questions were to do with American facts).
The best day of the trip was by far going to Universal Studios. We spent the whole day there, going on rides and watching shows. My favourite ride was probably The Simpson’s ride, and there was a Hollywood costume show that was very entertaining. The Harry Potter section was amazing, and my brother and I shared a Butterbeer that was very tasty.
The next 2 days were spent around the resort, eating at American diners, and shopping. My brother found a park to go to, but we got lost because it we couldn’t find it on the GPS. We ended up in a suburb called Winter Garden that was very lovely and scenic. The park was pretty, but we didn’t stay for long because my grandma is over 80 and cannot walk for long (she still seems very healthy, though).
Grand Seas Resort, Daytona Beach: 9-12 Feb
Travelling to Daytona Beach involved a 3 1/2 hour car ride. The hotel was along the beach and had a great view, but was not as flash as Summer Bay Resort. There was a bit of damage from a previous hurricane and some of the amenities were in repair.
We did not do much in Daytona Beach. We mostly stayed in the pool and walked to the nearby shops. On the first night I had dinner with my grandparents at a buffet called Buffy’s. There was a lot of food to choose from and was quite reasonably priced. On the night after Buffy’s, all 6 of us went to Ruby Tuesday. The only thing I could eat was the salad bar, but the food was really good quality and I liked it.
On the third day, we walked along the pier and went to a crab restaurant. Everyone wore these big bibs if they ordered the crab. My brother had Taco Bell for lunch because it was the only thing he really wanted out of going to America. There was a salt water taffy shop, so we tried that and walked along the beach. We found it weird that someone advertised a website in the sand (bottom left picture).
Bahamas Cruise: 12-14 Feb
The cruise was a great way to end the holiday. It was only 2 nights, but full of many different activities. I shared a cabin with my brother and the other 2 rooms that the rest of my family were in were on the other side of the boat. I spent most of the cruise hanging out with my brother because we would always get separated from everyone else. The activities I participated in included watching live music, seeing a theatre show, and playing ‘name that tune’ trivia. The food was nice and there was a free restaurant that served 5 course meals.
In the Bahamas we went to Freeport and looked in the market. We found the Bahamas to be slightly underwhelming, so maybe it is better to actually stay in one of the resorts on the island. We went to the beach and swam for a few hours, and it was a very beautiful beach.
I really enjoyed sleeping on the boat, even though the engine was loud in the morning. The bed was really comfortable and was a nice change from sleeping on the couch with my brother.
A Normal Flight Home: 14-16 Feb
The flight home was smooth and consisted of no missed flights. Although, on the way from the boat to Miami Airport we had a seriously crazy taxi driver. He had no idea where the airport was, and put the address into the GPS as a street called Airport Drive instead of the actual address. At one point he stopped in the middle of the freeway – on those white lines that separates the lane exiting the freeway – to check his GPS on how to get there. There was clearly a car coming when he turned back onto the freeway, yet he went anyway and almost got us killed by the oncoming car. And when he got lost, he kept the meter running! Now sorry but I have no idea if you are supposed to tip taxi drivers, but we paid the full $300 fare, which was seriously outrageous. He did a horrible job of driving us there, but good thing we were still 5 hours early.
The journey from Florida to Melbourne is very long, around 1 1/2 days, so only do it if you are prepared. The last few hours of the flight is torture and I don’t ever want to do it again. I watched so many movies. Thankfully, we actually made all of the flights this time. I think I would have had a meltdown if I had to repeat what happened on the journey to the US.
I finished reading Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover and started reading The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.
- Thanks for reading! I had a good time overseas and really wanted to get my thoughts down so I could remember the experience. I hope you enjoyed this different post. My next holiday is a 10 day cruise to New Caledonia in July.