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Don't Worry, Be Hoppy! {Busch Gardens & Gatorland}



With Mike working at SeaWorld, our passes allow us to go to Busch Gardens in Tampa, as well. We had been planning a trip to visit New Orleans, however, the weather was suppose to be terrible during our visit, so we ended up rescheduling for later in the Summer. With the time off, we instead made the journey over to Busch Gardens, before the Summer heat kicked fully into swing.

Busch Gardens just a few days prior had opened their new ride, Tigris, which is totally not for the faint of heart.

Most of Busch Gardens coasters in fact are pretty intense, with a lot of "world's tallest" or "world's first" yada yada attached to them (like Griffon pictured below).

I personally feel like I have done enough roller coasters in my time to be a little selective about which to go on now, so I don't wear myself out for the rest of the day, so needless to say, we did not do the massive ones. We started our day at Cobra's Curse and Cheetah Hunt coasters, which were the perfect level of intensity for me.

Some of my other favorite chill rides of the day were the cable cars and train ride through the savannah, where you get great views of the animals.






Seeing the animals at Busch Gardens was one of my favorite things we did all day. We happened to be in the right place at the right time for a lot of interesting experiences. The first, and my most favorite, was while visiting the flamingos in the morning, the trainers were coming out for feeding time, and let us hand feed the flamingos. 






The trainers were also out with the elephants doing some enrichment, so we watched them do some fun tricks.


Another fun encounter happened while visiting the orangoutang. It decided to put it's tree branch snack on like a necklace and walk around, amusing everyone. 

promise I am laughing and not scared

The penguins were great listeners, and went for a swim with Mike. (Rumor has it, if you move your hand around, they will 'swim with you', and they sure did).



Mike also got up close and personal with the tigers (as did my precious little Chanu Tiger purse from Tokyo Disney).



The lemurs also really loved my Chandu tiger purse, and came up for a close up look.


And the baby gorilla's were playing together before lunchtime, while mom and dad watched. 


One of my favorite things, however, was visiting the kangaroo petting zoo! I have never really seen a kangaroo up close and personal (possibly ever?), but here, you can feed, and even pet one!


It was such an enjoyable day. Another favorite moment of the day, was going to eat lunch at the Dragon Fire Grill, and happening to get there right on time for the Doo Wop show starting as we began to eat. They played a lot of our favorite oldies, including our song we danced to at our wedding.





Busch Gardens was such a fun place to visit, and I am more than sure we will be back to use our passes soon.



Since we planned on being gone to New Orleans for a few days, we also used another day of vacation to go visit Gatorland here in Orlando. 



I am going to be super honest here and say I never had really any interest before in coming to this park, but we had an absolute blast! To say there were a million alligators here would be an understatement. There were so many of them everywhere, divided into sections by age, location, or how they were rescued. 



The shows were a little campy, but they are a great way for tourists to safely see these Florida animals, and also, educate the locals on living near them safely and peacefully.



Gatorland is also home to unique alligator species like the albino gators. 


There are also Florida panthers, flamingos/other birds, and snakes. 

(not quite as fun as hand feeding them at Busch Gardens but still neat!)
don't worry, this was not a real one (;

but while walking along the boardwalk, this one was real
We had a great time at Gatorland, and I was sorry to have written off as I did. The only thing I would have changed if we did it again, would be to bring our own food, because there was nothing too exciting at the park itself (unless you want to eat gator nuggets, in front of a gator). 

Our final vacation day was used to watch Avengers End Game, and (appropriately) cry hysterically the rest of the day. 




watching in style, of course, on the movie theater day bed in 3-D
In other Florida news, we recently had a few visitors, including Mike's parents, my sister, Hilary (and baby boy in tow!), Jana, and Molly!

We took Molly to visit Cocoa Beach, and loved getting to spend time playing in the water, and catching up with her.



We also loved catching up with Jana at the water park, Orlando Eye, & Aquatica!




On Hilary's visit, we were able to sprinkle our little nephew with a surprise, Italian themed baby shower, and cuddle that little bump before he comes at the end of June!


With Mike's parents visiting, we stayed on Disney property at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside hotel, where we feasted like royalty on Mickey beignets (and the best Disney food I have ever eaten, the beignet burger!) constantly.




Mike even got to play a round of golf on the Disney course with his dad, after a little practice at the driving range.



One of my favorite things we did during their visit was pick blueberries and wildflowers/sunflowers at Southern Hill Farms. I cannot encourage you enough to visit here if you can, because it is beyond cute.





and it reminded us of when we first visited the sunflowers up north in 2015...


Another favorite, was eating at Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' dinner at Disney Springs. Mike and I had been waiting months for this reservation, and it did not disappoint. I cannot recommend the mac and cheese and chicken and biscuit sliders enough.



cornbread hush puppies

deviled eggs


On that note, super quickly, we also recently went to The Metro Diner in Kissimmee and had the Monte Cristo and Pulled Pork Mac Stack with cornbread waffles, and it was so incredibly good. I highly recommend it.



Our final few days with Mike's parents, we visited Disney's Grand Floridan hotel to dine with royalty at 1900 Park Fare, and visit the chocolate Easter Eggs.







if you go, be sure to try the strawberry soup! 






On actual Easter day, my mom and I spent the (very early) morning at SeaWorld's Easter sunrise service before some family time eating and swimming.



Happy (late) Easter and now Mother's Day! Sorry for the delay in posting. I genuinely do not have an excuse other than I am currently working hard on Orlando Fringe Festival (come check out 7n7 if you're around!, especially on May 18 performance, where I get to swing in for another role!). 



Be sure to check out all our favorite Orlando recommendations here before your next trip! 

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