When I was 16 years old, my aunt and uncle took me on my first trip to Disney. It was a magical journey, and we created memories that have stuck with me for my entire life. Now, years later, Jay and I had the wonderful opportunity to give our teenaged niece, AJ, a similar experience. We took a few weeks off from candle making to have some fun!
Exploring the Surroundings
AJ, who lives in Oklahoma, had never been to Florida before, so we were thrilled to show her the wonders of our little slice of paradise. Our adventure began with an exciting airboat tour, where we ventured through the river and surrounding swamps, searching for alligators. The thrill of spotting these majestic creatures in their natural habitat was an experience that left us in awe. The airboat tour provided a unique and immersive perspective of Florida's diverse ecosystem. And the airboat ride was a blast!
Diving into the Deep: The Mote Aquarium and Research Center
We ventured North to Sarasota to visit the Mote Aquarium and research center. AJ's favorite attraction? The sharks! Watching her face light up as she encountered these magnificent creatures was a sight to behold. The Mote Aquarium provided a mesmerizing educational experience, and we left with newfound respect for marine life and conservation efforts.
Blind Pass Beach: The Hunt for Fossilized Shark Teeth
Our trip to the Gulf beaches of Florida with AJ was nothing short of magical. Watching her experience the ocean for the first time was a joy to behold as she splashed and swam in the crystal-clear waters with unbridled excitement. The beach became our playground, and AJ, alongside her cousins, took the lead in a spirited contest of football against the waves! But the real highlight was the scavenger hunt for pretty shells and elusive shark teeth. With each new discovery, her face lit up with wonder, and her collection grew. She was able to return to Oklahoma with several shark teeth and a variety of shells. I'm pondering adding shark teeth into my candle making.
Downtime in Paradise: Swimming, Candle Making and Games
Even the days we stayed home were filled with fun. Night swimming was one of AJ's favorite activities, and we spent hours playing pool volleyball. We played an assortment of games from Yahtzee and Spoons to card games. I taught her about candle making. We introduced AJ to Jackbox, a series of fun party games that can be played on the TV. It was a blast! Laughter filled the room as we competed in various interactive games, creating memories that will hopefully last. If you're looking for a fun and engaging activity to enjoy with friends and family, I highly recommend checking out jackboxgames.com.
Hollywood Studios Orlando: A Day of Magic
With only one day to spend in Orlando, we let AJ choose which park she wanted to visit, and she excitedly chose Hollywood Studios specifically for the Tower of Terror. As someone who had always favored Universal Studios over Hollywood, I was eager to embrace this new experience. Little did I know that it would become one of my most cherished memories.
Tower of Terror: A Thrilling Adventure
AJ's eyes grew wide with excitement as we approached the iconic Tower of Terror. The anticipation was palpable as we stepped into the eerie atmosphere of the haunted Hollywood Tower Hotel. The ride itself was an adrenaline-pumping experience, taking us on a heart-stopping drop sequence that left us breathless. It was a true testament to the magic of Disney's storytelling and immersive attractions. Rides that drop are far from the top of my list, but I loved this one. I would definitely ride it again.
Other Must-See Attractions in Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios Orlando offers a plethora of captivating attractions beyond the Tower of Terror. From the thrilling Rock 'n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith to the mesmerizing Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, there's something for everyone. Don't miss the opportunity to stroll down Hollywood Boulevard, where you can catch live performances, enjoy delicious treats, and even meet your favorite Disney characters. We found Donald and Daisy Duck playing in the grass, had a wonderful conversation with the Little Mermaid, and I got to give Chewbacca a great big hug. The Rise of the Resistance is one you must experience, and I suggest buying the lightening pass as early as possible.
Of course, while AJ was here, we experimented with different scents and created special room sprays just for her. She had the opportunity to create any label she wanted, but chose to stick with the Moose and Marsha label. She loved seeing the candle making studio and sniffing all of the different scents. As I watched AJ's eyes light up and a wide smile spread across her face, I realized the true joy of sharing these moments. We enjoyed having her visit us, and hope that she will come back next summer. Maybe she will be my candle making apprentice!