Thursday, January 18, 2024

Days hanging out after Christmas - 2023/12/28

Jumping around a bit, I know. This is from hanging out with family in Florida in December, after celebrating Christmas together. 

Since we're all so close to Disney World, Donald thought it would be a fun idea to head to Disney Springs, catch the boat to Port Orleans Riverside and get beignets together! Let's do it! 
Parking was a little crazy since it's still the holidays. Those of us riding in the Beast parked all the way on the other side of Disney Springs in the surface lot and walked to meet everyone. 

Apparently not just beignets today either. When Dole Whip is available I guess we all have to stop for it. Carson got the Dole Whip flight to try all the different flavors. 

The kids sharing their Dole Whip float. Yum! 

Just a giant volcano going off behind you. No big deal. 

Once you walk through Disney Springs, right along the waterway is a boat dock. Using the many waterways in the area, the Friendship boats take you to a couple nearby Disney hotels. Destination: Port Orleans French Quarter! 
The cast member working the dock suggested that since it was so busy, it would be a 2 hour wait to get back. It only took us one boat cycle to get on, so that doesn't quite seem right, but we're already here and we're going anyway. 

We were the first to board, so we filled up the last few rows. 

And enjoyed a 15 minute ride to the hotel. 

If the hum of the motor and the rocking of the boat didn't put Ian to sleep, he was doing a really good job of pretending to be asleep...

We've made it! Just a short walk from the dock over to the main hotel. 

Where we would find a small line to order some delicious beignets! 

So many choices! Hot cocoa beignets, specialty beignets, 3 dipping sauces, and more! 
Abby, who is completely Gluten Free, didn't see it on the menu, but asked offhand if they had GF beignets. Yes, they do! Prepared in a separate area? Yep! And fried in different oil? Absolutely! 
Wow! And here she thought she was just coming along for the company! 

Before you knew it, 2 dozen beignets showed up to the tables we had all pushed together. Wow! Look at those amazing Mickey shaped beignets coated with powdered sugar. We opted to try all of the dipping sauces. Strawberry was the favorite of many. 

No New Years Resolution diets yet. The beignets also came out hot and fresh. These haven't been hanging out under a heat lamp in the back. 

My one complaint would be that the beignets on the bottom of the plate were lacking in powdered sugar. They were still tasty, but I like them with sugar falling everywhere when you eat it. 

Great idea for an outing Donald! I think everyone enjoy the trip to get beignets! 

How many beignets did you eat? 
Ty arguing that Rita ate half of his beignet when she's claiming she only ate the ears. 

We spent the next half hour wandering around the grounds of the hotel. Alli showing off her gymnastic skills. Ian running around at the playground. 

When it was time to head back to Disney Springs, there was no one in line to get on the boat. We were all able to hop on the first one. 

Ian once again doing a good job of "pretending" to sleep on the 15 minute ride back. 

Donald - It feels like we were just here. 

Getting a few pictures with the cousins. 

Aww. They've been doing this pose for years and years. 

One of these days I'm going to have to try to find them all. 

And they've certainly grown up too, haven't they. 

Back at the house the next day. Earlier in the week, Ty and Ethan went bow fishing. They got a few fish, but the biggest thing they hauled in was a stingray! They cooked it up for anyone who wanted to try it. 

Must be time to go get shaved ice. 

Back at the house, the kids wanted to make cupcakes with Aubrey and Jared. 

Nice to have a kitchen! 

Both chocolate and vanilla. Fancy. 

Making a few special cupcakes, but leaving most of them plain. 

The reason behind all the cupcakes? It's Theresa's birthday celebration (just a few days early because everyone is here)!

The kids took orders for custom cupcakes. Pick your base, your frosting, and your sprinkles. 

Hanging out together at the last night at the house. After the original house reservation we had was cancelled, we could only get this one for the 4 days between Christmas and New Years. 

And so, for the last couple days of their Christmas vacation, the families moved into a nearby hotel. 

Where we hung out in the rooms and did some taste tests. 

Or made use of the play areas. Like the climbing wall!

Woo! Made it to the top! Good job Ian!

And Carson too! 

Free paddle boat rentals! 

It's a little chilly, but still fun to be out on the lake. 

Good times!

Good to see you! 

The airport was nuts like usual with all the holiday traffic. 

But eventually we made it. Safe travels back home! It was fun hanging out with everyone this Christmas! 


  1. What a wonderful time together during much packed in during those short few days. Lovely photos: 1) Those special re-creations of Alli being kissed by Aubrey & Abby, and then the ones w/ Ian and Austin & Ethan are so special, especially when you see how everyone has grown up through the years. 2) That opening group photo was GREAT...everyone all smiles (of course!)...beautiful, colorful Christmas backdrop! 3) Don, Alli, & Ian have their poses down pat :-) and 4) What a nice capture of the 3 "sisters" (Amy, Rita, & Theresa) in their own moment! GF beignets...what a surprise!...also looks like "no void of disappointment" for Alli that time :-) The lake area for the paddle boats looks beautiful...the trees and other greenery around the lake paints a relaxing picture! Quite a climbing wall...far cry from the DCA one Ian grew up on :-) Btw, what did the stingray taste like?...not sure I'm adventurous enough to try it! EOM

  2. Not being a fan of fish in general, I wasn't tempted to try it. What I heard though was "chewy" and "tough".