As most of you know, Jacob and I love to travel. It’s a funny story, we actually planned this trip at the end of our honeymoon. Weird and random, I know. We were finishing up our honeymoon and thinking about where we wanted to visit next. We both thought Florida would be a nice trip and Jacobs uncle as well as his uncle’s friend live down there! Jacob’s uncle’s friend Enrique was nice enough to offer us a place to stay, so all we had to do was buy our plane tickets! We looked online just to price out plane tickets, and they were only $100 a piece…so we spontaneously bought them! We couldn’t pass up such a great deal! Since we had a place to stay in Orlando, we decided to rent a car and take a road trip to visit the places we wanted to see.
Siesta Key Beach
The first stop on our trip was Siesta Key Beach. The beach was absolutely beautiful. The sand was super white and fine, and the water was really warm. However there was a storm out in the sea and the weather on the beach was cloudy with slight showers. We didn’t let the rain ruin a beautiful day on the beach. We walked the shoreline for miles, and collected some pretty cool shells along the way. Normally you can’t find many shells at Siesta Key, but the storm was stirring up some awesome finds! We even found 5 whole sand dollars! What?! It’s crazy hard to find one whole sand dollar during an entire week long vacation, let alone finding 5 in one day! We were pretty pumped to say the least. It became a competition to see who could find the most, haha. There were also a ton of birds on the beach which was surprising! I mean, there were hundreds. Although we wished the weather was a little more cooperative, our day at Siesta Key was great!
St. Petersburg Beach
Jacob and I actually didn’t plan on visiting St. Pete’s Beach, but it just kind of happened! The second day of our vacation we had planned on going back to Siesta Key. We stayed at a local Airbnb and everything (which was great by the way, you should for sure try one out). We woke up on Sunday and weren’t really feeling the beach again. The weather was still rainy and dreary, so we just decided to move on! Jacob was then going to take me to the Manatee Viewing Center outside of Tampa, but when we arrived we realized it was CLOSED! Oops. Well, at this point the sun was coming out and we were only an hour and a half from St. Pete’s Beach…so we decided to make the trip! We enjoyed having a hot, and sunny day on the beach. The sand at St. Pete’s was a lot more shelly than Siesta Key! Not very fine, but still beautiful! The waves were huge, and Jacob had a blast body surfing! There was a rip current, so I didn’t venture out too far…I was fine waist deep filming with our GoPro, haha. It was challenging enough to be able to hold my ground where I was, let alone going out where Jacob was! We went on a walk searching for shells, but we really couldn’t find any worth keeping! I could’ve stayed here all day, but Jacob started to get burnt and was ready to head back to Orlando! Always pack sunscreen, even if it’s cloudy (or seems to be)!
Disney’s Magic Kingdom
The next stop on our list was D I S N E Y! We had both been to Disney before, but not together. I also hadn’t been there for about 11 years, so it was nice to be back! People aren’t lying when they say Disney is the happiest place on earth. It’s crazy how everyone is super happy and just all around having a great time. I’m pretty sure we rode every ride there was, and it was so convenient to use our fast passes! Each person gets 3 free per day, and you reserve your spot on the Disney app! We strategically booked our fast passes on the rides with the longest wait and it was awesome to be able to show up and get on the ride without waiting! Unfortunately Splash Mountain was closed, but Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain were open so that was great! Jacob and I’s favorite ride was definitely Space Mountain! We also loved going to the Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor (twice, oops). It was nice to sit in some air conditioning and just be light-hearted and laugh along! It’s really nice because the shows are different each time! We also ate at the Lady and the Tramp restaurant which was AMAZING! I got their chicken alfredo (yum) and Jacob decided to really get into the movie and ordered spaghetti and meatballs, haha. We got the classic Lady and the Tramp photo of slurping each end of the noodle, followed by a kiss. We thought we were being creative, but our waitress was a trained professional at taking that exact photo. The whole day was awesome, but the end of the night was by far the best. We stayed to watch the fireworks show, and we are SO glad we did. They had a projection screen giving life to the entire castle! The show featured all of our favorite characters, movies, and songs! We still don’t know how they did it. The show was phenomenal. I have no words, we seriously just felt like little kids watching our favorite cartoon. Definitely a must see for anyone’s bucket list!
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
Jacob and I knew we wanted to hit up a water park, but we weren’t sure if we wanted to go to Disney’s, or Universal’s. After a lot of research, we decided to visit Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon! The water park was incredible. There were so many awesome slides, but I think our favorite was their “Crush N’ Gusher”. This slide is one of their newer creations and is referred to as a “water coaster”. Yes, it was as fun as it sounds. Jacob and I were literally screaming and laughing after every drop. We seriously felt like we were going to fly off of the slide. There is a conveyor belt under the tube that speed you up like a roller coaster does! It was crazy awesome! We were also super impressed with their wave pool. It’s actually one of the largest wave pools in the world. It’s about 2.5 acres filled with 3 million gallons of water (80,000 gallons are used for each wave). The “Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool” uses a machine to create about a 6-foot tall wave every 90 seconds, with periods of calm between the waves. As soon as the wave sets off, you hear the shrieks of everyone around you. Jacob and I kept wondering how it was legal, haha! You’d think that someone would die, but its safe (or so they say). It’s pretty epic. You should definitely check it out.
The Holy Land Experience
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from the Holy Land Experience. If I had to describe our day in one word, it’d be – WOW. It was truly amazing. You start the day by worshipping outside with other Christians led by the amazingly talented worship leaders/actors. Then you follow the story to a set where Jesus was being falsely accused by the high priests. The actor for Jesus did such a good job that it really felt like we were watching Jesus! After the skit, Jesus came down by everyone watching and just started praying for people. Not just a short prayer either. I mean an intense, powerful prayer. He really believed God was going to do something right then and there. It was amazing to watch. Then we spent the afternoon learning about Jesus how He lived life. We watched quite a few more skits, visited the temple, participated in the last supper, saw the betrayal, witnessed the crucifixion and so much more! It was a very powerful performance to be able to see. God was really moving through those people and it was amazing to be a part of! My words could never do this place justice, so you will just have to visit it sometime!
Universal Studio’s Adventure Island
Universal was the last stop on our list. The rides are pretty crazy. There aren’t too many legit rollercoasters, but the ones that are really beat Disney’s. The Hulk was definitely the best rollercoaster. The only bad thing is that for any rollercoaster, you have to put your bag, wallet, cell phone, literally anything you have on you into a rental locker (for free though, thankfully). I mean, it makes sense but it’s definitely an inconvenience. There’s no sneaking either, you go through a metal detector to get in. The good thing is that for most of the 4d rides, they don’t make you put your stuff in a locker. The 4d rides are super crazy and definitely feel realistic! It’s honestly crazy awesome. If you get motion sickness, the 4d rides aren’t your friend. Sorry. The food is decent, but obviously overpriced. Would it really be a theme park if you didn’t pay $30 for a small burger and cold fries? Kidding…kind of. The best part of Adventure Island in our opinion is definitely the Harry Potter park! It’s super realistic and you honestly feel like you’re in the movie. It was about 100 degrees when we were there so to see the “snow” all over the castles and shops were really throwing us off. I mean, our eyes said it was supposed to be cold, but our sweaty bodies told us different. The best part was grabbing a nice glass of butter beer! Oh, you’re not 21? Don’t worry, there’s no alcohol involved. It’s just a dreamy butterscotch drink and had us literally mesmerized. We heard it was good and that we had to try it, but nobody told us that it was seriously the best drink ever. Don’t believe us? Go try it out for yourself!
All in all, our trip was more than just a getaway. We got to see the world, and let God remind us just how small we really are. I feel like traveling is definitely humbling. Sometimes we get stuck in a bubble of thinking that everything revolves around us, but when we get out of that bubble we remember that it’s all about God. Anywhere you go, things are different. The only thing that remains? Jesus. He knows every stranger we brush shoulders with and He knows them intimately. He knows the deepest parts of their heart, their triumphs and their failures. He also knows mine, and He loves me anyway. It’s always encouraging to meet new people and hear about their walk through life. I am thankful for this life, and not because of material things this world calls blessings. One day all of those things will fade away. I am thankful that God loves me, and that He gave His life up for me. I’m thankful that no matter where I go, God is always with me. Just a little reminder for you traveling spirits. God bless!