Monday, December 31, 2018

Traveling during the Holidays!

 I apologize in advance for the "uneven" timeline of the photos. I could spend hours doing this, but since it's NYE and I have so much to write, I will just let you read the captions.

It's been 2 1/2 months since my last posts. As I look back on the pictures, I realize that we have done so much! We visited with family members, spent Thanksgiving on a marvelous cruise ship, the kids finished the semester in early December, went home to Ohio for a few days and now we are going to be bringing in the new year right here at Reunion Resort. Life is good, friends!

So, let me start our travel adventures from the beginning.
Santa Goofy and The Andersons
 In mid-November, my sister and her family came from Houston to see us and spend some time together at the parks. We walked into one attraction sweating and came out to wind, rain and temps about 20 degrees cooler! It made for a fun adventure in the resort swimming pool later that evening, but fun was had by all. Tatum and Brady absolutely love their cousins and when anyone comes to visit us, they love being the tour guides of the parks! :) My sister and I found a "new" Photo Pass spot in Frontierland that had an amazing view of the castle. Whenever we can, we utilize the PhotoPass service, it is so nice not having to get your phone or camera out while in the parks; let someone else capture the memories for you, plus they always add in a little Disney magic!

YES! An ice skating rink on a ship!
A ten story slide. It was FUN!
YES! A carousel on a ship!
Meet and Greet with Shrek
Next up was a FANTASTIC Thanksgiving cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas. This was a seven night Western Caribbean sailing to Labadee, Jamaica and Cozumel. The ship at so much to offer, especially for the kids. With a passenger capacity of almost 6,000, we thought that it would be a lot of waiting in line, but Royal does a great job alleviating this. Dinner in the dining room each night was fantastic, the kids absolutely loved the slides, rock climbing wall and ice skating (this was complimentary - no charge to rent skates). We barely left the ship since it was a destination within itself!
An incredible "potato sack slide" aboard the ship!
Waiting for the show to begin

Family Selfie before the ice skating show

More Selfies

Kids loved the rock climbing wall

Shopping in Jamaica with our ship behind us

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a simple evening carousel ride

 After recuperating from the cruise, we were ready to "kick off" the Christmas season. Disney World they start this in early November, but here at Reunion, we wait until December! :) Our tree outside of the Reunion Grande is so beautiful. We had an official tree lighting ceremony, complete with a traditional Christmas Dinner. Brian and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary on the 4th. Decided to spend the day at the parks and a family overnight trip to Disney's Polynesian Resort.
Tree lighting ceremony at Reunion

Southwest Airlines had Santa waiting for us!

Hanging out at Great Wolf Lodge

Christmas Day at Disney's Hollywood Studios
 Right before Christmas, we flew home to Ohio to spend time with family. We didn't get to see everyone we wanted to, but the holidays always seem to be rushed. Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio (near King's Island) didn't disappoint. It was a little chilly in the indoor waterpark as the pools weren't heated for some reason, but this resort does a great job with other activities, such as glow putt-putt, arcade, mini bowling and the MagiQuest game, which the kids really like as it is more of a mystery game adventure. We are looking forward to visiting the Charlotte, North Carolina location in 2019 and there are rumors that an Orlando location is the in works!

New Year's Eve will be spent right here at Reunion Resort with our wonderful friends. There will be a huge fireworks display and hopefully we will have a view of the Disney fireworks as well. 2019 will still provide many travels for The Anderson Adventure including Galveston Island/Houston, Montego Bay, Jamaica and (fingers crossed) Copenhagen, Denmark. We have many visitors coming over the next couple of months to escape the Midwest Winter, and we look forward to providing a warm, sunny and super-fun stay. Each new year brings it's challenges and blessings. We pray for the best for each and every one of you always. My resolution is to keep this page updated more often! :)

Happy New Year,
The Anderson Adventure

Merry Christmas

Spending our Wedding Anniversary at WDW

A new Photo Pass spot! My gorgeous sister and yours truly

Monday, October 15, 2018

September Fun and Fall is Here!

The Birthday Boy!
Fun New Ride at Hollywood Studios
The warm temps were still felt in September here in Central Florida! We started the month celebrating Brady's 11th birthday at Hollywood Studios. That was one day were the temps were slightly cooler - we actually wore long sleeve shirts! :) Brady loved planning out the day, ending with a fun meal at Sci-Fi Drive-In theater. The new Slinky Dog Dash roller Coaster is always a big hit. The line for this moves relatively fast - we've never waited more than 90 minutes. September also was also Magical Dining Month in Orlando. We absolutely LOVED it. Several restaurants participate in the $35 per person three course meal, including our two sit down restaurants at Reunion Resort! A portion of each meal benefits the Best Buddies and Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida. My parents came to visit during this time and we were able to eat at Shark's Underwater Grill, located at Sea World. Our meal was delicious and after, we were able to spend some time at the park. We loved the penguin exhibit, but is was mighty chilly in there!
BooBoo loves the penguins!
It's also been a great time to explore more of our neighborhood. We love our home and are very proud of it. Tatum is currently taking a photography course, so living on a golf course/resort has provided her with a lot of beautiful backgrounds! 
Gorgeous Fountains at the Terraces Pool
Fall seems to be the time of food abundance: not only was it Magical Dining Month, but the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT is underway as well. Not only does EPCOT have an international array of foods and wines, but each evening they have an "Eat to the Beat" concert. So far, we have attended Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts and Air Supply. Later this month, we plan on seeing Kenny G and Billy Ocean. Overall, the kids are good sports about it since they have no idea who these people are. Brian and I are officially old! The good news is that we are getting a variety of pictures from places were we really haven't spent a lot of time. 
Beautiful evening in "Italy"

We found Remy!
We have lots of fun to look forward to during October. Reunion Resort has some great events planned, home school is in full swing and we have friends and family coming to visit! We also have some travels coming up as well before the holidays! If you're looking to travel to Central Florida and beyond, please feel free to contact us so we can help you plan! Wishing you all a fun and happy fall! 
The Andersons
Fall Decor in full force at Magic Kingdom

Family Time at Alien Swirling Saucers

Monday, August 20, 2018

Back to School and So Much More!

Fun times at member dinner!
Ready to begin online sessions
WOW! It's been an amazing week. Last weekend, we s-l-o-w-l-y said goodbye to summer with a fun Reunion Resort Member Dinner, complete with a s'mores bar! This was way better than camping in my opinion! :) On Monday, the kids started school and it was definitely a new experience for all, myself included! We had a few questions, some tears and confusion, but by the end of the week, it was smooth sailing, earning great grades and learning so much! Homeschooling (we are using FLVS FLEX curriculum) is not for the faint of heart; it's serious, demanding and students have responsibilities and expectations to meet. I feel just like I did in the classroom for so many years: lots of prep work, implementation and assessments. Luckily, I have two awesome students and fellow teachers to help support them.

One great thing about homeschooling is our flexible schedule. Wednesday evening was spent at EPCOT for the Disney Vacation Club Moonlight Magic Event.
Staying at the park after hours, eating dinner super-late and Mickey Ice Cream Bars at almost midnight was a huge hit! We try and visit WDW at least twice a week. Brian's Aunt Kate asked the kids, "are you tired of going to Disney yet?" Their response was a definitive, "NO!" All smiles from me! :) Speaking of Aunt Kate...we made a trip to Vero Beach yesterday to visit with Aunt Kate and Uncle Matt. They (along with Matt's dad, Bob) recently relocated from Springfield, Missouri to Vero Beach. It's so wonderful to have family near us! I see a lot more visits, especially to the beach, in the future.
Fun times at Vero Beach with Matt and Kate
I couldn't have asked for a better week: abundant sunshine, healthy, happy children, a new adventure and time with family. On the horizon is our international travels; less than 90 days now! Be on the lookout for posts about Labadee, Jamaica and Cozumel. Also, our YouTube Channel will be launching soon! Thanks for reading about our adventures! We are truly blessed!

Lots of Love,
Jess, Brian, Tatum and Brady

Monday, July 30, 2018

My Head is Spinning!

Cousins spending time together

Literally, it is! These past three weeks have been a HUGE blur! However, we only have a few more boxes to unpack, summer is winding down and we are starting the transition from tourist to resident. Our family came to Walt Disney World to visit for a few days. It was great being with them at the parks, dining at resorts and visiting some local venues. Lately, Brian and my's favorite place has been Island Grove Winery at Formosa Gardens. It is very close to our home and just a quiet place to relax and enjoy wine. We had a great time meeting the owner, George, and hearing his story.
Island Grove Winery at Formosa Gardens
L to R: Jess, George(owner), Terry (my father-in-law)

As we become residents, we have been doing more things outside of Walt Disney World. Tatum had the opportunity to meet YouTube stars Brooklyn and Bailey last week at JCPenney. Tatum also began orthodontic treatment and got braces on this afternoon. She looks forward to starting gymnastics and 7th grade.

Brady loves swimming in our pool and drawing. He is hoping to start Tae Kwon Do in August and is excited to use his laptop each day with home school. He wants to add a virtual sketchpad and software to his laptop, so stay tuned for some cool sketches uploaded to this blog!
Tatum with Brooklyn and Bailey

As for our adventures, they will begin after our home school session begins! Be on the lookout for our YouTube Channel launch, as well as detailed visits to the Walt Disney World theme parks (water parks included). We are thrilled to be here and to have this opportunity to share our adventures with you!

Looking to travel and have an adventure of your own? Please feel free to comment or send an email. I am a licensed travel agent and would love to help you plan an amazing getaway anywhere in the world (not just Florida) :).

The Andersons

Thursday, July 5, 2018

We're getting there...

Welcome to the first post of our new family blog! It's been an emotional roller coaster to start this journey: job loss, selling a business, moving our kids away from the only home they've ever known...I could go on and on. However, when Brian and I decided that Central Florida would be our new (possibly temporary) home, we decided that we will only focus on the positives and share this incredible journey with the world!

We sold our home in Ohio and drove down to Florida in a moving truck. It was an interesting adventure to say the least. Lots of traffic, a few squabbles, and some thunderstorms, but overall, we made it there safely and are now officially Florida residents. Our children (Tatum and Brady) stayed back in Ohio with family while we drove and unloaded the truck and moved everything into the house.
Finishing up packing and saying goodbye to Ohio!
The 4th of July was celebrated with family as we finish up our time in Ohio. Bright and early on Monday morning begins our "real" Anderson Adventure. Up next...a quick visit to Disney's Vero Beach Resort and then back to unpacking!