Generation Z. Cruising in an RV.: Being Closer to Family, an Orlando Reunion OLA

Monday, January 9, 2012

Being Closer to Family, an Orlando Reunion OLA


an enchanting Loch Ness monster on Pleasure Island in Downtown Disney
New Year's Eve dinner at Giordano's, our treat! 
"A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it". Such is family. Just as 2011 was ending, the Aberions  from Seattle, Washington (eldest daughter Trisha, her husband DJ and grandkids Yeye and Kenji) and  the Vidallos from Calgary, Alberta, Canada  (second daughter Claudine and her husband Arnold and grandkids Ashton, Andre, and Enzo) arrived to help us be true to one of our resolutions.

fireworks at the hotel parking lot!
Orlando is not a nice place to be if you are on a diet. New Years’ Eve Dinner was at Giordano’s (famous for their deep dish pizzas and pastas) near their hotel, the Maingate Lakeside Resort. Then, as is the Philippine custom, we greeted the New Year with some legal (not lethal) fireworks at the hotel.  The frenzied exchange of delayed Christmas gifts ensued and the toasts of champagne completed the night!

New Year's Day pandemonium at the RV!
On New Year’s Day we brought a hearty Filipino brunch to wake them up. That was when we also distributed our gifts to everyone. Kenji so loved his 5 gifts (he turned five on Dec. 16) that he danced Happy Feet for us! At 5PM, after an afternoon of swimming, mini-golf and a round of horseshoes at the Orlando Thousand Trails’ clubhouse complex, we had New Years’ Day dinner at our ‘patio’.

lunch at Ichiban, Trisha and DJ's treat, on that cold Florida day!
The following day the Vidallos were off to a fun day at Sea World and the Aberions to Disney’s Magic Kingdom!  Unfortunately, the following day turned out to be a record cold day in Florida, highs of 40s and lows of 30s (an arctic blast came quickly…but also left as quickly!). We all just went shopping at Downtown Disney, sandwiched by a Japanese /Chinese buffet at Ichiban for lunch and a Hibachi dinner cum chef show at Kobe Steakhouse.  Kenji said it best, “Happiness is eating too much!” But for Yeye, it was shopping too much!

dinner at the Kobe Steak House, Claudine and Arnold's treat 
The following day still started out cold but the sun raged and the day ended with high 60s so the two families enjoyed the first of their 2 Universal Studios sprees. It was fortunate that the next day was even warmer, inching up to the low 70s! In the tradition of eating too much, both couples opted to pay for the $20 for adults and $10 for kids all-day eat-all-you-can meals (with a lot more taken out for midnight snacks back at the hotel)!

right at the entrance of LegoLand, a fave dinosaur!
at the entrance to Legoland
Then the couples had their day of rest as Bill and I took the four little boys on a visit to Orlando’s newest theme park, LegoLand!  Designed for kids under 9, the boys had a blast! Between the flying, driving, and boating schools and the build and test race cars at Imagination the little boys all voted Legoland the best theme park of their visit! They were all amazed at the millions of Lego bricks used to build Miniland and delighted at the safari, the Island in the Sky, etc.

mesmerized at Miniland's millions of bricks
The Aberions had to leave early. It may have been a short trip but we were definitely thrilled to be able to hold Kenji and Yeye in our arms and to behold Trisha and DJ’s animated faces as we talked. The Vidallos had an extra four days which they used well to scour every inch and corner of Disney World and its 4 parks. We had a final dinner on the evening of the 8th, , very glad to have nice talks with Claudine and Arnold first hand and to squeeze the little boys in tight hugs.  Enzo must have posed for me a hundred times with his Harry Potter smile, complete with glasses!

the little boys having fun with Arnold at their hotel room
It is definitely a wonderful start.  But to be closer, despite the time and distance, will require much more than annual visits. Constant communication throughout the year will be necessary. Technology will certainly help. But fervent caring will always be the key. When the Aberions and Vidallos left to go back home, we felt like saying, ‘We will hold you in our hearts til we can hold you again in our arms’.