Category Archives: Florida Vacation 2013

Our Trip to Florida during Spring Break 2013.

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Antique Archaeology

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Antique Archaeology

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Antique Archaeology

One of the TV shows that we enjoy watching is “American Pickers“.  I knew that the guys had a new Antique Archaeology store  in Nashville, TN and that it would be a short 5 minute detour off of our route to get home from Spring Break – so we stopped by.  While we had a great time, and it was fun to see some things that we had seen on the show (See the pigs head above), it was not at all what we expected.

It was more like a gift shop that an antique shop.  They didn’t have that many antiques, and the ones that they did were way out of my price range.  They did have a lot of new books, t-shirts, and other souvenirs.  We had to stand in line for about 30 minutes before they would let us in.

I did purchase an old print block with an advertisement on it, and it was fun to see the guys purchase the lot on a show that we saw after we had visited the store.

We walked around behind some of the other buildings and found one of their trucks and got our picture with that which was fun – we were hoping to see the ones that the guys ride in – but it was nowhere to be found.

This was a spread that was a challenge to create.  I only had these four photographs, and did not have enough ephemera to fill two pages. It was also the end of our vacation, and I didn’t want to start a new event on the right hand side.  So instead, I chose background paper that fit the antique theme that was very busy to fill the space and represent the theme.  I then centered the four pictures on the full spread, rather than on each page, and the result turned out well.



2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Hard Rock and Ron Jon

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Hard Rock and Ron Jon

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Hard Rock and Ron Jon

Live Well SportsDuring our day at Universal Studios we decided to leave the park for an early supper since the park was so crowded, and go to Universal City Walk, which was within walking distance.  We had supper at the Hard Rock Cafe and enjoyed being able to sit down for a while.  The Hard Rock logo on the page is from the shopping bag for the Hard Rock pin that I bought (which is also one of my hobbies – collecting pins from all of the places that we go).

The right hand page showcases our last day in Florida, during which we decided to skip the parks and head to the beach.  We drove about an hour to get to Cocoa Beach early in the morning – which was a great idea since the parking lots and beaches packed out about 1 hour after we arrived.  After spending some time on the beach we walk along the strip and spent some time in Ron Jon’s which is a famous surf shop.  This page includes a brochure from the store, and a surfboard sticker which I carefully stuck right to the page.

Don’t feel that you always have to create a full double page spread for every event.  Sometimes I find that I only have enough pictures and ephemera for one page, and it is ok to create a two page spread with two different events or locations.  For this spread I chose similar color backgrounds, but different styles to tie them together, while also showing the differences in the two events that were about 15 hours apart.

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Universal Studios

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Universal Studios

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Universal Studios

The next adventure in our Spring Break trip was going to Universal Studios.  Unfortunately for us the Universal Studios website printed an incorrect opening time of 8am so we were there bright and early at 7:30am!  When we got there no one else was around and we found out that the park opened at 9am.  But, fortunately for us, they opened the gates at 8:35am and we rode 4 rides in the first hour!  I would do it this way in a second, because by 11am lines were an hour long and by 2pm they were 2 to 3 hours long.

The left hand side of this spread includes a Universal Studios laser cut that I purchased on Ebay, and a picture in front of the world famous Universal Globe taken early in the morning trying to spend time from getting their two early.  The black background behind the photograph fits with the edgy design of the page, but is actually the left over cut from the laurel wreaths that I cut for the Abraham Lincoln tomb page.  Look carefully at the inside of the wreaths that are on the right and left hand side of the pages and you will notice the reverse pattern.  I very rarely through any pieces away like this, because I figure that there may be a use for them sometime.

Since the park opened early and hardly anyone was there, the boys rode the Rockit two times in a row – I skipped the ride because I knew that it would make me sick.  The right hand page show cases the photograph taken during the ride, as well as the DVD, in a plastic case, that you can have made of your experience on the ride.  Cameras on the roller coaster, as well as those along the track, take photographs and video of you, and then combine it with the music that you chose to listen to while on the ride, and cool animations, to create a video of your experience.  After we downloaded the video to our computer I put the DVD in the scrapbook to keep it with the memories in case we ever had to find it again.  Also, due to the cool graphic on the DVD it fits in color scheme as a cool piece of ephemera.

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Universal Studios 2

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Universal Studios 2

Our exchange student was mesmerized by “Despicable Me” and loved the Minions and the “Its so fluffy” unicorn, so I knew that I needed to dedicate at least one page to the Minions.  I chose the yellow background page color to pay homage to the minions, but it also worked well with the “Fear Factor” theme colors.  By the way, we stood in line for three hours to ride the new “Despicable Me” ride and it was not worth the wait.  It wasn’t that great of a ride.  

The Universal Studios logo that is in the middle of the Minions is actually a patch that I bought in the souvenir store and glued on to the page.

Our exchange student wanted to get on to “Fear Factor” – an audience participation stunt show at Universal.  He auditioned and out of 20 guys (no women tried out) he was selected to be one of four in the show.  Unfortunately he got knocked out in the first round – but he (and we) had a great time participating anyway.

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Epcot

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Epcot

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Epcot

Our next day of our vacation was spent at EPCOT.  We usually do EPCOT in two days, but we did not have the time this year to do this, so we got up early and spent the entire day at the park.

We asked our exchange student which part of the park he was more interested in seeing – the World Showcase or Innovations.  I was surprised when he shared that he was more interested in the World Showcase.  So – we arrived early and went on Test Track, Soarin’ and a couple of the other rides on the Innovations side, and then spent the rest of the day in the World Showcase.

Disney Tip: Get to the Park early and go the most popular rides firstthat way you won’t have to spend a lot of time later waiting in line.

On the left hand page is a laser cut that I put together painstakingly.  I really like finding these laser cuts and putting them together.  I found this EPCOT laser cut on Ebay.   Beneath that is a World Showcase passport that I bought at a gift store at EPCOT.  I put all the stickers in it and then placed it on the outside of the plastic protector sheet so that it could be opened and viewed.

Notice that on the right hand page I created a block of 4 photographs, and that I only corner cut the corners of the photographs that made up the larger block.

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Epcot - World Showcase

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Epcot – World Showcase

The second spread from our EPCOT day includes the reservation card from Marrakesh, a Moroccan Restaurant in the World Showcase that is a favorite of ours, as well as a purple envelope that I purchased in the China gift shop.

As you can see from the right hand page, our exchange student was very eager to get character pictures – I guess we looked a little crazy as a 3 person male family with 2 teenagers standing in line with all the little kids – but we had a fun time doing it.

The paper egg in the middle of the right hand page was an Easter card given to the boys from the Easter Bunny and his wife.

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Magic Kingdom

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Magic Kingdom

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Magic Kingdom

Our third day in Florida was spent at Walt Disney World.  If you haven’t figured out from my blog yet, when I am on vacation I don’t like to sleep in and sit by the pool – for me it is all about experiencing new things!  So we were at the park from when it opened until when it closed on this day!

Disney Tip: Free Maps The envelope that I set on the right page is actually a free set of very classy maps that you can order from Disney before your trip.  I never take them on the trip because I don’t want for them to get destroyed.  I ordered and received these ahead of time and actually gave them to my son at Christmas time as a gift as my way of revealing to him that we were going to go.  You can order your own maps at

I wish that I could say that the Disney Title on the left hand page was something that I created, but I bought it on Ebay.  I usually try and search Ebay for items like this even before I take a trip so that I know what my options are (and prices), so that I can compare to items that I might be able to purchase in the location.

Other Ephemera on the page include the 3 day ticket card, and a pair of 3D glasses from one of the shows.

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Magic Kingdom - Night Time

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Magic Kingdom – Night Time

As I mentioned earlier we stayed until the Park closed, so we had a great opportunity to see the electric light parade and the closing firework display.  If you haven’t had opportunity to see what the closing shows entails, it is definitely worth staying for to intake all of the special effects.

Disney Tip: Electric Parade and Fireworks Show:  About an hour ahead of time we sat on the edge of the road on the castle side of the circle drive.  We had great seats for the electric light parade, and then we just swiveled around and waited another hour and a half in the same spot for the fireworks and castle display.  While we did a lot of sitting, we had great seats and had closeup views of both events.

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Sea World

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Sea World

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Sea World

Our Exchange Student, Jonathan, had as his top priority for the week to be splashed by Shamu, so we had to make a trip to Sea World.  For the spread above I used the Park Map to create the background.  Doing this allows us to look back at an event in a single glance and tie memories to the places that we see on the map.

The black “Sea World” laser cut in the top left hand corner was purchased on Ebay.  You will also notice on all of these spreads that there are little shamu brads which I also purchased on Ebay.  Many times when I have multiple pages celebrating one day I will use something small like this on all of the pages to tie them together.

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Sea World - Shamu

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Sea World – Shamu. CLICK for a larger version

We arrived at the Shamu show early so that we could get in first and get a great seat in the wet zone.  I told Jonathan that we would get wet (see our rain gear) but I don’t think he believed me because the first time we got hit by water I looked over and he was soaking wet!  He looked over at me and smiled and shouted “This is the best day ever!”.  So I think that we helped to make his dream come true.

After the show, the Dine with Shamu restaurant was running a Spring Break Buffet special, and we were able to eat next to the holding pools and watch the whales for less than what it would have cost to eat fast food in the park.  What a relaxing experience that we will cherish for a long time.

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Sea World - Rides

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Sea World – Rides

I think that most people think that Sea World is like a zoo, but they have an amazing compliment of world class roller coasters as well. This last spread showcases some of the pictures of us on those rides, as well as some pictures from our other adventures on that day.  If you look carefully at the “Sharks” you will notice that it is ephemera, a napkin from the “Sharks” restaurant that I cut to fit on the page.

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Islands of Adventure

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Islands of Adventure 2 - Harry Potter

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Islands of Adventure 2 – Harry Potter

My son and I have been to the Disney Resorts in Florida twice already, and so when taking this trip to show Florida to our exchange student, my son and I knew that we wanted to visit Universal Studio’s Island of Adventure Theme Park so that we could visit Harry Potter World.  We are both Harry Potter fans, and wanted to experience this section of the park.  The spread above highlights our time in Harry Potter World.

Harry Potter World Tip:  Get to the Park early, and wait for the gates to open – then make a beeline for Harry Potter World to ride the Forbidden Journey.  The lines for this ride will get extremely long later in the day, and it is better to wait an hour in the morning, instead of 3 hours in the afternoon.

I followed my own advice and we went straight to the Forbidden Journey and waited about 45 minutes to ride it.  Most of the wait was inside the building where there are all kinds of interesting things to look at while you are waiting, and even several cool special effects.  This ride is one of the most incredible rides that I have ever ridden and it is easily in my top five ride list.  We road all the Potter rides, and even enjoyed Butter Beer – which tasted much better than I thought it was going to.

I purchased the “Harry Potter” words on for about $2.00.  I am not sure if the person I bought this from designed them selves or if it is part of a Cricut cartridge, but I didn’t mind spending the money to add this bit of fun to my page.  I cut the other design using my Cricut machine as it reminded us of the ornate metal work that was part of Hogwarts “greenhouse” that formed part of the waiting line for the Forbidden Journey.

The red seal in the middle of the pictures on the right hand side is from a scrapbook kit that I purchased in the gift store.

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Islands of Adventure 1

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Islands of Adventure 1

This second spread highlights events from other activities during the day at Islands of Adventure.  After Forbidden Journey, the biggest excitement of the day was a lightning strike about 15 yards from where we were standing followed by a heavy storm for an hour, and a tornado sighted about 5 miles away.  Needless to say we were locked down in Jurassic Park for about an hour while the storm passed by.

2013: Florida Spring Break Trip 2013: Getting There

2013: Orlando Spring Break Trip: Getting there

2013: Orlando Spring Break Trip: Getting there

For Spring Break 2013 we went to Florida to visit the Amusement Parks and the Beach.  Since we wanted to go to Sea World, Disney, and Universal the ticket prices were pricey (you get discounts for multiple days at the same parks, but not across the different parks).  So, instead of flying we decided to drive.  We started out after school ended on Friday and drove until I was too tired to drive and then I found a hotel that we stayed at.

We purposely took a longer route to Florida so that we could add to the number of States that my son and our exchange student had been to.  I used this page to highlight the routes that we took there and back.  Although it was crazy we drove all the way back in one day!

The background to this page is a real map that I cut to fit onto the pages.  BTW – it is expensive to do this – I had no idea that maps were so expensive!  I used a highlighter to mark the “there” and “back” routes.

The pictures on the left hand side of the spread are pictures at the Welcome Centers to each State as we crossed the borders.  Unfortunately we couldn’t get some of them since I was driving in rain and the dark and many of them on the way down there were closed.

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