Monday, July 18, 2016

A WINTER Surprise... in the summer

On July 16, my family and I drove to San Francisco and caught a flight to Orlando, Florida.  A red eye flight, so in the morning I woke up on the airplane.  We like taking red eye flights to the east coast as it helps us acclimate easier to the time change.   I slept through the night fairly well.  I awoke to the sound of wheels screeching on the runway. The whole plane was shaking, it sounded like our convertible, which is older than me. Then we had to wait on the runway for a while. While we were waiting, I had some work to do. I begged and begged Mom to let me go to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. I am a huge Dolphin Tale fan, and Clearwater was where it took place.

"Maybe, you guys are tricking me and you actually bought the tickets a long time ago and must keep it a secret," I jeered as soon as my Dad and brother joined us. My Dad laughed at me. We collected our bags and went to Hertz car rental and got our car. Florida was super hot and SUPER humid. I was so glad that we had air conditioning in the back of the car. We loaded our bags up and got in the car.

"Hey, Ally can you hold these papers", Mom asked.  "For how long," I said rolling my eyes. "Can't you guys do it." I took the papers assuming they were for our hotel.  "You can hold them till...we get there," Mom said. My eyes traveled up the paper. Up at the top, a logo read, "Clearwater Marine Aquarium." My heart jumped, my eyes googled, my stomach did a twirl. "THANK YOU SO MUCH", I yelled, I had been wanting this ever since I learned about our trip. "Will I get to see Cozi (the actress that plays Hazel), she is coming for a QandA session you know", I asked.

We got breakfast from Mc. Cafe and Dunk'in Doughnuts. Those doughnuts were good. We had a two hour drive ahead of us. When we  saw the first sign for Clearwater I squealed in delight. When we got to the aquarium we quickly changed into some cooler clothes. I strained to walk with my family and not go rushing ahead.

We slowly walked through the sea turtle hospital. Then we went to the upper deck. A small dolphin was swimming around the pool. I knew that cutie anywhere. It was Hope. I saw another larger dolphin in the quiet corner, the dolphin had no tail, it was Winter. That dolphin is legendary, she lost her tail to a crab trap. She was made a prosthetic. I highly recommend the movie. We went to our meeting point so we could go on a behind the scenes tour. If you want to learn about the history of the aquarium, I highly recommend it. If you want to see the animals the tour might not be as enjoyable. After the tour my family hopped on the "Jolley Trolley" (how ironic), We rode to their second building in which Hazel, Sawyer, and Phoebe would be doing QandA and autographing. We took a seat and waited for a really long time an finally, the CEO walked out and.... informed us that they would start soon. Finally Hazel, Sawyer, and Phoebe. The Q and A session was very informative.

Then the CEO announced they would be doing autographs and photos. I quickly ran to the end of the line. The line wrapped all the way to the door. I sighed in disbelief and got in line. I really wanted an autograph from Cozi. Mom hopped in line with me. The boys went over to the hurricane simulator. We waited twenty minutes and the actors were not even there yet! Dad offered to take me to the hurricane simulator. I agreed and left Mom and Alec to hold my place in line. The hurricane simulator was pretty cool, there was a lot of wind. I highly recommend it for kids not to small. Mom was very tired. She ended up bribing me out of line. I sighed and walked to the gift shop. Mom bought me a shirt.

Alec was so hot and so tired, Mom and he went to the car. Dad and I looked around the aquarium a bit more. We went up to the stranding deck. A dolphin named Nicholas was about to do a demonstration. He did flips and jumps, he was so cool! Dad never buys cheesy pictures that employees edit, but we ended up buying those, they were super cute.

We left the aquarium and had dinner at Olive Garden, which I love! Then we bought groceries at Whole Foods. Finally we checked into our hotel. I was so tired, so jet-lagged, I was just ready to lay on a nice comfortable bed. It was 8PM at night and our room was not ready.  WHAT?!?!  The hotel had only been open 3 days and my parents warned us they were still working out the kinks.  It the Lowes Sapphire Falls which is on the Universal Studios resort.  It took the employees more than an hour to get our room ready.

After exploring their gift shop and Mom and Dad ordering an "adult beverage" we finally went up to the front desk   "I am Paul Jolly, is our room ready yet", my Dad asked.  "Let me see, hmmm, yep", said the concierge.  "You had our phone number, why did you not text like you said you would," I thought. Finally we got up to our room. At least it has a great view. After even more time waiting for the bellhops to deliver our bags and Dad giving up and chasing them down with pleas about how exhausted his family was they finally delivered the bags.  Showers and we were out we had a 5AM alarm for early entry to the parks (one advantage of staying on site).


Unknown said...

Love reading your blog. So descriptive. Feel like I'm with you.

Unknown said...

What a wonderful, descriptive and fun-to-read blog of your first few days of vacation. I'm excited to read the next chapter. I knew you were going to Clearwater and so glad it was a surprise. Wonderful parents you have Miss Jolly. Have a great time in Florida - drink lots of water!

Anessa Collins said...

Excellent job with the writing in this blog post. You paint a wonderful picture of your excitement regarding the surprise and did so in an easy to read, clear and concise manner. Maybe you would be willing to teach a few adults how to write just as well as the two of you! Hugs, The Collins