Monday, May 27, 2013

Stoker Family Reunion Day 3&4- Miami

After our first 2 amazing days in Florida we took a 4 hour drive down to Miami. We spent the day driving around the area and visiting some of the places that Justin (Brianna's husband) served his mission. I expected Miami to be very high class and similar to Arizona, however most of the area is run down and more like Washington that Arizona. Very green with many of the houses in a jungle like paradise. I guess I should have expected that from the humidity.

 Getting in touch with my inner Forest outside Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

 Crazy trees throughout Miami.

We ate at a Nicaraguan restaurant for lunch and an Argentine cafe for breakfast. The pastries were amazing. Savory and sweet and very authentic.
We also spent Saturday night on the beach front watching all the people. It is a very vibrant place at night with restaurants all along the beach, loud music, and lots of lights. We left just before it became really dark which I think was the perfect timing because I don't think it is a place I would like to be at night (possibly dangerous).
 There is tremendous diversity in Miami and the ward we visited did not disappoint. Not only was English and Spanish spoken but there was also a Creole translator. Most of the wards in Miami have this option for the members. The spirit was so strong in the ward. There were 5 confirmations that day alone from 5 different individuals (not a family). It was a fantastic experience especially for our soon to be missionaries in the family.
Then we all piled into our 15 passenger van and headed for the BOAT!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Stoker Family Reunion Day 2- Epcot

Day 2 of our adults only vacation we visited Disney's Epcot. I've never been there and was really excited to enjoy a sunny day in the Disney resort. There is just something about Disney resorts, they are so clean and friendly, everyone will have a good time no matter how young or old you are. Epcot is different from other Disney resorts in that it is more learning centered. I really missed the kids that day because I think they would have enjoyed all the attractions and themes in the park. It is a great place to take kids, especially if you are looking for an informative adventure.
 Brandon and I in front of Phineas and Ferb

We traveled to all the countries learning about each. I especially enjoyed the 360 camera videos. We also tried Moroccan food for lunch. (YUM)

My favorite part was the space attractions. One specifically has you load a space shuttle simulator and withstand G-force training. I can only imagine it had a similar feeling to a real space shuttle but much less intense.

No rain that day which was awesome but by the end of the day we were all really hot and ready to go back to the hotel. Unfortunately we had to drive 4 hours to Miami. However along the way we did see a road kill alligator. A BIG ONE!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Stoker Family Reunion Cruise Day 1-Univeral Studios Orlando

We have been back for over a week now and I realized I haven't posted about our wonderful trip. We went on a Caribbean cruise with all the Stoker family (ADULTS ONLY). My mom and sister came to watch over the kiddos while the rest of us took off for Florida and the Allure cruise ship.

We started in Florida at Universal studios Island Adventure and Harry Potter World. It was amazing!! I loved all the lands in Universal. It was raining almost the entire time but that didn't stop us from having fun.
The first thing we did was go on THE HULK rollercoaster. It was an incredible rush and the best way I can think of to start off the trip.

Then it was on to Harry Potter world. It was brillant. Everything was so authentic I can't believe how wonderfully imaginative the creaters at Universal were. Just like the books. My favorite part was the Harry Potter ride in the castle, I really felt like I was flying over Hogwarts. And the wait was super short, I was disappointed I didn't need to stand in line longer becauase there was so much to look at. The riders travel through the entire castle complete with a green house, a wall with moving pictures all the way up to the ceiling, the headmasters office, the dark arts room, and the dorms.  We also visited Hogsmade and ate lunch at the 3 broomsticks.

I kept thinking it would have been fun to have the kids with us especially in Olivander's wand shop where a wand presentation takes place just like the first time Harry visits Hogsmade. The frozen butterbeer was especially good too.

Even after Harry Potter world there was tons more to see. The rest of the day was spent fighting off dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, meeting super heroes including an especially flirty Captain America, and watching the battle of Sinbad.

It was a fantastic day and a great way to start off our 10 day vacation.