Final Florida Days

If you are super tired of reading about our time at Disney, I promise it’s almost done! I never intended to stretch out our recap of this trip for so long. But, then came the headaches and, finally, the glasses, so things have taken a bit longer than expected. This is our last post recapping the trip – I promise! We will do one post later on about our thoughts on Disney as a whole for those of you who may be thinking about going, but we’ll be back to regular life stuff before that.

Typhoon LagoonBecause we bought our Disney tickets in conjunction with the conference Kevin went to, we got a bonus free day at one of Disney’s smaller attractions. While we had several options to choose from, we knew from the start that we would be going to one of the water parks. After some research into what both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon had to offer, we settled on Typhoon Lagoon. I only have one picture from that day; I was not about to tote my camera or even my phone all over a water park.

The biggest selling point that got us to Typhoon Lagoon was an attraction they have called Shark Reef. Basically, you put on snorkel gear and swim across a pool containing a coral reef. In the water with you are a myriad of fish and some small sharks. The water is pretty cold for the sake of the animals, but it was a really cool experience. Nothing like being able to say you swam with sharks on your vacation…even if it was in a pool at Disney. The closest one got to me was probably about three or four feet away.

We got to the park right when it opened and so, as with all the other parks, we had a great advantage when trying to get through as much as possible. In that first hour, we flew through Shark Reef and most of the water slides. Once the lines starting getting longer, we settled in by the wave pool and soaked up some sun. We left in the early afternoon to get to our hotel and clean up before Kevin’s conference started that night.

The Gaylord Palms Resort & Conference Center is only a few minutes away from the Disney complex. It is enormous. Our room was much bigger than at the Gaylord Opryland and we were thrilled to be given an atrium room here. We were on the top floor right between two of the large atriums, so we had a great view.

On Friday and Saturday, we took turns manning the table at the conference. The Palms had a great adults-only pool that we both took advantage of in our free time. As with everything in Florida, it was nice and quiet in the morning and got pretty busy in the afternoons.

Gaylord Palms

Friday night, we popped down to Downtown Disney to walk around and grab a bite to eat. We ended up getting rained on, which dampened the evening considerably (pun intended). We ate in a very crowded Earl of Sandwich and then explored the area. Scotty McCreery was at the House of Blues that night, although we did not get tickets. Unfortunately, I had really wanted to see the Cirque du Soleil while were there, but the one week they vacation annual coincided with our trip.

On Saturday night, after we had torn down from the conference, we headed over to the coast for some seafood. We knew we couldn’t leave Florida without getting some fresh fish and we figured the coast was the only place to do it right. After a little research, I found a very small place in Cape Canaveral that seemed to be exactly what we were looking for.

Seafood Atlantic operates mainly as a fresh fish market. Outside their doors, though, they have a small patio area with tables and some bar stool seats overlooking the canal. They work with local fisherman who all have bios on their website. It doesn’t seem to be a big operation, but they have something very special. We sat at one of the small bar tables that looked out on the water. It was not the most beautiful site – no ocean waves, just fishing boats – but there is something incredible about eating seafood while looking at the boat it came in on. While we ate, the sun set over the horizon.

The food easily qualified as the best we had all week. We got some shrimp as an appetizer that Kevin is still talking about a month and a half later. For our entrées, Kevin got swordfish and I ordered crab legs. I cannot describe to you in words how awesome everything tasted. We did have to wait a while before a server got to us, but that was because of a miscommunication among the staff. Once our server realized what had happened, she was great. She even gave us a free piece of Key Lime Pie, Florida’s specialty dessert, as a thank you for our patience.

The experience was exactly what we wanted: casual, local joint serving unpretentious, fresh seafood. The meal actually ended up being the cheapest we ate all week! After all, the place has very little overhead. It felt wonderful to escape the tourist worlds we’d been living in for the past week. We even contemplated driving the hour back on Sunday afternoon just to eat there once more before our flight left. Any time we are near Cape Canaveral again, we will be going back to Seafood Atlantic. It comes with the highest recommendation possible by the Napps!

Sunday, we spent a few hours by the pool – together this time! – before packing up and heading home. We had an absolutely wonderful trip. It was a great balance of work and play. Having a trip last that long really helped us get all the way into vacation mode. Those first few days in Nashville we definitely had to work at relaxing. By the time we got to Florida and Disney, though, we were fully immersed and ready to have fun!

Plus, we got to scratch off a little more on our scratch map!

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