On our way out of New Orleans we saw extensive damage from the tornado that hit a month prior, we were happy to have avoided that experience! We crossed several states over the course of the day, driving through Mississippi and encountering a very friendly security guard who refused to believe that Armand is a boy, and went so far as to inform us that he should cut all of his hair off and donate it to the Cancer Society. He’s very fond of his long locks, until he asks us to we’re not touching them! This was a response we were expecting as we traveled down south, and we were a bit surprised that it took this long to happen!
We made an impromptu stop just outside of Mobile, Alabama to view the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. One of the Dear America books we read about the Japanese Internment in Seattle (The Fences Between Us) discussed a brother in the military, stationed in Pearl Harbor. One of his letters home talked about how he was getting fat from all of the ice cream on board, and sure enough, when we toured the boat we found the ice cream dispensary! It was really interesting to get a perspective of what life would have been like for soldiers during times of conflict, it really brought the experience home to us. We’ve focused on WWII history quite a bit on this trip, touring the USS Alabama helped tie some of what we have learned together.
We had decided to boon dock at a Walmart in Tallahassee that night, and were able to find a good spot to tuck in for the night. We’ve come to really appreciate free parking spots, especially on one night stop overs. With our impromptu visit we ended up getting in later than we had expected, so we headed straight to bed for a good night’s rest before heading out early the following morning.
Our next day of driving included a stop along the way for lunch and some local (well local to Florida at least) brewed Mother Kombucha. We’ve been happy to find lots of locally brewed kombucha that is far less sweet than conventional store bought kombucha. We prefer ours on the tart side! We had a bit of a date lunch as the kids were sitting at the next table over. Traveling full time like this means we grab time together when we can.
We had planned our trip with longer driving days so that we could check in at the Thousand Trails Orlando a day early. We had a lovely visit with another full time travel family before enjoying some Korean Japchae from Thug 101 for dinner, using kelp noodles and tofu. This was one of our favorite dishes when we lived in South Korea, it was lovely being able to make it at home! Juliette did a few batches of late night laundry (three cheers for 24 hour access!) using our laundry ball, pink solution and wool dryer balls with a bit of lavender essential oil. We try to keep things as non-toxic and eco friendly as we can, even on the road.
We experienced a thunder storm our first day in Orlando, which we loved as it has been a while since we have been around one of those! We finally got our mountain bike wheel replaced (it was the casualty of our Tofino bike rack incident, only took us a few months to get it fixed!) We stopped for lunch at Ethos Vegan Kitchen, a delicious spot with an extensive, fully plant based menu. We spent the afternoon looking for a backpack with wheels for Armand for our upcoming trip to Mexico. We decided to go ahead with a four day pass to Disney World, as there was a Canadian resident promo that ended up being more cost effective than three days. That meant packing for our trip when we got home, as we were planning to leave in two day’s time. Juliette engaged in some late night food prep, to ensure that we had healthy options at Animal Kingdom the following day, including homemade gluten free bread, hummus and Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites from Oh She Glows. We try to pack food as much as possible, as it increases the health and reduces the cost of the food we are eating.
Animal Kingdom was lots of fun, bringing prepped food was definitely a healthier option but was also challenging due to temperature constraints and expensive lockers. We brought some macro bars as well, but found that our packed food did not match our appetite so we ended up picking up some snacks at the park for dinner. One of the things we find challenging about theme parks is the amount of waste involved. Everything is in throw away containers, with next to no recycling facilities or recyclable materials. It would make such a huge difference if corporations like Disney took an eco friendly step to use only compostable or recyclable materials.
One of the highlights of our day was the Wilderness Explorers program, which the kids absolutely loved. We went around to different spots, collecting stickers and learning a lot in the process. The books were recycled (a good step in the right direction) however taking that recycled theme and extending it to cups, plates and cutlery would go much further towards lessening the overall ecological impact. The parks can be stimulation overload, so we tried to fit in quiet moments here and there to lessen the possibility of getting overwhelmed (for adults as much as kids!)
We got home late, thankful that we had already packed our bags the day before! We spent a week in Mexico connecting with family (which we will talk about in our next post) and arrived back at Thousand Trails Orlando just after dark. We moved the RV from the storage facility to a spot in the park, which required a few loops around the road and some caution in the selection of our space as it is currently mating season for the alligators and some of the locations were advised against due to the fact that there are many living at the local pond. Messing with a revved up gator is definitely not on the list of things we are looking to experience on our trip!
We spent our first day back in Orlando at Magic Kingdom, bringing a picnic lunch that we stored in lockers by the front gate. We had a full on day, made all the more intense given our long travel day and time change the day before. In hindsight this definitely could have been planned better, our overall pace has been a bit crazy to be honest. Next time around we’ll slow down the pace for sure, cover less ground in more time.
Our second day back was spent at Disney Hollywood Studios, where we immersed ourselves in all things Star Wars related. We enjoyed a pho style noodle bowl at Brown Derby for dinner, it was crazy expensive but nice to have an option with lots of veggies. We spent our third day at Epcot, visiting rides and exploring all of the different country themed areas around the lake. It was interesting to visit the Canadian area, to see how we are represented! They had a berry booklet, with stamps of fruit and berries local to each country, it was fun going around and finding out where different fruits and berries come from. We found a delicious Moroccan eatery, the Spice Road Table that provided us with a delicious platter of falafels and salads for dinner, definitely the best food choice on the park as far as we were concerned! Again we found all of the throw away containers frustrating. We were not organized enough to bring our own food, so we were unfortunately participating in all of the disposable craziness. We left the park on stimulation overload, this visit with definitely do us for a very long time!
USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park - the USS Alabama is set up for tours, giving a perspective on what life was like on battleships during times of conflict.
Dear America: The Fences Between Us - a fantastic book discussing Japanese Internment during WWII.
Mother Kombucha - a fantastic kombucha company based out of Florida.
Thug 101 Cookbook - we like the quick and easy (and irreverent!) recipes in this cookbook. The food is delicious, and the language is very colorful!
Ethos Vegan Kitchen - a delicious, comfort food option for those interested in vegan cuisine.
Spice Road Table - the Vegetable Platter was the food highlight for us at Disney, varied, full of veggies and delicious to boot.