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Thanksgiving 2009 Pictures

This year, instead of me visiting California for the holidays, my family came to Florida. I had the entire week and a half off of work so I got to spend the entire time with my parents and my nephew. It had been 8 years since their last visit, and a lot has changed since then. I moved from Tampa to Orlando, and I've been here long enough to make a life for myself here. I have a job and friends that I love and although I've not yet adjusted to the weather, I at least know what to expect and can work with it. So I was really excited to have my family see my home for the last almost-decade. I took them on a whirlwind tour of some of the tourist traps in the area (of which there are many). Everyone had a good time, in spite of the cold front that moved in just in time for our full-day at Epcot Center. Unfortunately, my sister couldn't be there, what with lack of funds and a brand new baby, but maybe next time! So here are the pictures and video from that vacation.

Click on the thumbnails below to see larger images. Please do not steal these images. If you wish to copy these images, show these images on your own website or link to mine, please ask permission first.


The first night in town was supposed to be nice and relaxed: arrive, check-in to the hotel, meet Datan0de & Femetal, jump on a giant trampoline for half an hour, then go to dinner and a show. But Trey's luggage was on another flight, and that delayed us so much that we were VERY late. Eventually we made it to Rebounderz, the giant trampoline gym, were all of us "kids" bounced, and Mom and Dad watched from the relative safety of the perimeter bumpers with my camera.

Trey bouncing through the safety intro
Me and Trey bouncing
Trey smiling for the camera
Action shot
Datan0de & Femetal in mid-bounce
Trey in mid-bounce
A very fuzzy Datan0de in mid-bounce
Trey in mid-bounce & me throwing myself against the wall
Trey in mid-bounce & me talking
Another fuzzy attempt at Datan0de
Yet another fuzzy pic of Datan0de in mid-bounce
Trey in the air
Just hanging out
Me watching Trey
Femetal in mid-bounce
Fuzzy Datan0de doing a knee-bounce
Trey in the air
Trey bouncing from one trampoline to the next
Trey bouncing off the walls
Trey in the air
Me in the air with Femetal looking on & Datan0de resting
3 of us taking a break
Hi Mom!
Trey climbing the walls
Trey wanted to learn how to do a flip...
so he asked a referee to teach him
It only took a few tries before he got it

Video of Trey's final 2 attempts. The last one was perfect!


Next was dinner at Ali Baba Restaurant, where my friend, Amira Sa'id, is one of the bellydance performers. This was my family's first experience with Persian food, and other than charging Trey full price instead of the kid's price, they thought the food was alright, but the entertainment was great!

Balancing a sword
Balancing 2 swords

Universal Studios

My family's first full day in Orlando was spent at Universal Studios. They offered some fantastic Resident and Passholder discounts, so we changed our original plan from 1 day for both of the Universal parks, to one day for EACH of the Universal parks, so the first day was all for Universal proper. We rode on the Jaws ride, Trey got to experience a "twister" tornado, and we got to see some cool movie special effects.

A tanker truck "falls" on us during an "earthquake"

More earthquake special effects

More earthquake effects

Mom and Dad reacting to the Special Effects ride

Trey poses with Jaws

Trey still poses with Jaws

A glimpse of the shark on the Jaws ride

It's hard to take pics on a moving, water ride

An explosion on the Jaws ride

Here comes the shark for the attack!

Almost here!

Luckily, our tour guide saved the day with a large gun

The Hulk skyline

Trey and the Terminator

Trey poses on the Wave photo-op

Surfin' USA!

Trey in front of the famous Universal Globe
Mom's Universal Pictures

These are the pictures Mom took with her camera at Universal Studios

Me, Trey, & Dad in front of Universal Studios

Me, Trey, & Dad in front of Universal Studios

Me & Trey in a queue line

Trey getting eaten by the Jaws shark outside of the Jaws ride

Reward sign in the Jaws queue line

The Simpsons Ride building

The Simpsons Ride building

Mom's view from the park bench waiting for us on The Simpsons Ride

The Simpsons Ride entrance

Me, Trey, & Dad after The Simpsons Ride

Me, Trey, & Dad after The Simpsons Ride

Trey posing for a picture in City Walk

Trey "riding the wave"

Islands Of Adventure

I had taken my family to Islands of Adventure on their first trip out here 8 years prior, but Trey had only vague memories of it, and his honor to defend. At the time, he LOVED the movie Jurassic Park, so when he had the chance to visit a theme park with an entire section dedicated to the movie, of course we had to ride every ride in that section. Unfortunately, one of the rides was just a little too scary for him as a toddler, so this time, we set out to find that ride again so he could vindicate himself. We also rode all the fantastic rides that makes IOA my favorite theme park. At the end of the day, we went back over to Universal Studios to ride the newest roller coaster with a 90 degree verticle climb, and then off to see Blue Man Group for an evening of percussive comedy.

Trey talks with Spiderman

Trey poses with Spiderman

Trey poses with Spiderman

A model of the vehicle in the Spiderman ride

Trey poses with Captain America

Trey feels a little self-conscious

Mom & Dad seem to be having fun

Oh no! Marmaduke takes off with Trey!

Now Dad's feeling a little self-conscious

Trey gets attacked by a T-Rex!

You gonna put down your cameras and do something?

Trey on the Jurassic Park water ride

The Jurassic Park ride

More of the Jurassic Park ride

Trey having a good time on a ride

Trey on the Cat In The Hat ride

Trey just chillin'
Mom's Islands of Adventures Pictures

These are the pictures Mom took with her camera at IOA

The Hulk Ride entrance

The Hulk Ride entrance

The Hulk Ride

The Hulk Ride

Trey chats with Spiderman

Trey poses with Spiderman

Trey poses with Captain America

"I feel like there's a cloud over my head!"

Trey poses in Toon Lagoon

Mom & Dad pose in Toon Lagoon

Trey walks Marmaduke ... or does Marmaduke walk Trey?

The entrance to Jurassic Park

A T-rex attacks Trey!

The park lake

Trey poses in front of the Universal Studios ball

Trey poses in front of the Universal Studios ball

Trey & me with a member of Blue Man Group

The Blue Man Group entrance

The Blue Man Group entrance


This was the day we were scheduled to visit Epcot Center. A friend of mine who works for Disney offered to get us in for free under his 3-Free-Guests-For-Cast-Members benefits, but it turned out that he was working night shifts in preparation for the Main Street Spectacle of Lights and completely forgot. So after waiting half an hour without reaching him, we decided to go to Kennedy, the destination scheduled for the following day.

Kennedy Space Center was a wonderful opportunity to introduce Trey to science in action. We got to tour the facilities and see space ships, real moon rocks, tools and space suits that were actually used during the Apollo missions, bald eagles, and observe real engineers working in a clean room. I took along both of my cameras, and since Trey had forgotten to pack his own camera, I lent him my snapshot camera and he took some pretty good pictures!

Space Shuttle model

Space Shuttle model

Space Shuttle model

The launch pad

The re-constructed launch pad

The Space Shuttle Main Engine

See? Says it right here

A crow sitting on the main engine

A crow on the main engine

The NASA building

A mock-up of the control room for the Apollo missions

A real shuttle

The rockets of the shuttle

The shuttle

Trey & Dad in front of a space suit

Trey looking at a real moon rock

Trey taking pics of a real moon rock

Trey reviewing his pictures

Trey taking pics of a space suit

Dad & Trey taking pictures of the shuttle

A front view of the shuttle

One of the bald eagles that make Kennedy their home

A closer view

Inside the shuttle

Inside the shuttle

Full size models of the space station

A model of the space station

The Clean Room

Preparing for the next mission

The Clean Room

Check out the NASA website for real data on the missions!

You can see your own view!

More of the Clean Room

"Inside" the shuttle

The heat shielding on the shuttle

Trey discovers the 3D "space chart"

A giant marble ball you can spin & rotate

It sits on a layer of water to enable it to move easily

Kids playing with the marble globe

The Rocket Garden

The Rocket Garden at sunset

The Rocket Garden

Trey poses

More Rocket Garden

Another shuttle

Trey tries out the shuttle

The astronauts "sit" lying down

I try it out

Trey takes a pic of me attempting to climb out

More Rocket Garden

Pretty lighting

Rocket Garden at dusk

Rocket Garden at dusk

Trey in a single pod

Fuzzy pic of Trey & Space Snoopy

Fuzzy pic of Trey & Space Snoopy

The family picture at Kennedy Space Center
Trey's Kennedy Space Center Pictures

These are the pictures Trey took with my little Canon Powershot S50 at Kennedy. There are a lot of them!

An astronaut's corvette

The shuttle

The Apollo 11 flag

A moon-buggy

A space suit

The moon rock I took a picture of Trey taking a picture of

A section of the shuttle

One of the film cameras taken into space

The scoopers used to collect moon rocks

A space glove

Plaster casts of the hands of 3 of the astronauts on the Apollo missions


One of the astronauts' watches

One of the astronauts' medals

One of the astronauts

One of the astronauts' logbooks

A space flashlight

A space medkit

The Apollo 11 40th Anniversary logo

The NASA logo

Trey's weight on the moon (12 lbs)

Trey's weight on Mars (29.5 lbs)

Dad waiting in line for the bus to the next stop

The bathroom inside the space station

The space station shower

Plant experiments on the space station

Me taking pictures

The space station is an international effort

The Clean Room

Space Station Configuration Map

Mom, me, & Dad leaving the Clean Room Observatory

Mom, me, & Dad from behind

And another of Mom, me, & Dad

Another of me taking pictures

Dad & Mom

The American Flag

A guy getting into the Clean suit

Samples of the heat shield tiles

The landing gear

Mom & Dad

The Rocket Garden at dusk

Mom's Kennedy Space Center Pictures

These are the pictures Mom took with her camera at Kennedy

Happy Holidays!

The entrance to Kennedy Space Center

The entrance to Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center

A model shuttle

Me changing camera lenses

The launch pad

All about the Ares I-X

The rocket engines

All about the shuttle engines

apparently, astronauts also like fast cars

One of my favorites - a classic Corvette

A shuttle

A moon rover

Trey & Dad posing in front of a space suit


Moon rocks

space suit


Trey playing with the giant space ball

The Rocket Graveyard



ICE at Gaylord Palms is a walk-through ice sculpture set right in the middle of the state of Florida. Several ice sculpture artists work together to create a winter wonderland in the muggy swamplands of the southern US. The room is cooled to a constant 9 degrees. Everyone is issued parkas, and even with the extra clothing, we couldn't stay inside for very long. We managed to get pictures of pretty much everything inside, but with barely enough time to look at and appreciate it. There's a giant ice Santa that you can sit on the lap and even a set of ice slides! Everything is carved from ice, except the cushions on those sculptures we're allowed to sit on. There is a combination of crystal-clear ice, cloudy/frosty ice, and colored ice!

Me, Trey, Mom, & Dad pose in our parkas in Florida

The only place where we're allowed & encouraged to touch the ice

The grand and imposing entryway into the ICE exhibit

An ice walrus & 2 ice seals

A polar bear and her cub

Another polar bear in the "water"

Ice bunnies

A bear cub

Colored ice

Eskimo kisses!

An Eskimo ice-fishing inside his igloo with his pet wolf

The "fire" ice is lit to look like fire

The ice carousel

Trey braves the cold to ride the carousel

Trey & Dad on the carousel

Trey & Dad on the carousel with the flash

A pink Eskimo

Giant ice Christmas decorations

Another view of the carousel

More giant ice Christmas decorations

Sit on the giant ice Santa's lap & tell him what you want for Christmas!

An ice tunnel to the next section

An ice angel with elaborate ice candelabras

A full-sized ice nativity scene

The Wise Men

A shepherd

A shepherd with his sheep

A colored-ice, life-sized greeting card

A family portrait at ICE

Riding the ice slide
Trey's ICE Pictures

These are the pictures Trey took with my little snapshot camera at ICE

The entrance to ICE

A close-up of the North Wind sculpture at the entrance

A pink Eskimo

A blue Eskimo getting blown by the North Wind

A close-up of the ice tunnel's roof & icicles

A close-up of the ice tunnel's lit sides

Ice crystals

A pink Eskimo

An ice walrus

The 2 ice seals

Another ice walrus

The ice bear swimming in the "water"

A bear cub

2 ice bunnies

Another view of the 2 ice bunnies

A close-up of the Eskimo kiss

Sign post "Carousel Ahead"

Eskimo ice fishing

The excited pet wolf


It's my turn to brave the cold ice carousel

Dad & me on the carousel

Pink Eskimo

A colored ice Christmas ornament

The ice angel with a lot of lens flare

A better attempt at the ice angel

Another pic of the ice angel

The nativity scene
Mom's ICE Pictures

These are the pictures Mom took with her camera at ICE

The entrance to ICE

Dad & Trey in front of ICE

Dad enters ICE

The entrance to ICE

lots of ice!

Ice seals

Ice polar bear

Ice polar bear & cub

Ice crystals

Ice polar bear from the other side


The Gaylord Palms Resort was in the holiday spirit. They had coupons for free cups of hot chocolate for people who went through the ICE exhibit, and they also had a holiday scavanger hunt featuring holiday gnomes! Trey and I wandered around the Atrium for a while, looking for all the gnomes based on clues they gave us in a little booklet, but Mom and Dad were ready to go, so we really only had time to find 3. They were sneaky little buggers, and most eluded us no matter how hard we looked!

This gnome was found in the revolving door at the front of the hotel

You can just barely make out the little gnome hiding in the "O"

This is a column outside of an elevator shaft


Mom and Dad chose to stay in a hotel near the theme parks and invited me to stay with them, but I still had to come home every day to take care of the cats. My family came with me at various times to see my house and meet my roommate, but on one of those occasions, Trey played with the cats. It was too cute not to take pictures of.

Misty & Trey & a long shoelace


Misty catches the shoelace

Trey & Onyx & a long shoelace


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