Tuesday, January 21, 2014

9-weeks to the Rome Marathon and a trip to Legoland Florida

So, the Rome marathon is right around the corner.

Training is going fine. We're having our "winter" this week in Miami. It's been cool and windy and a little rainy as the cold fronts move through. So I lost one workout last week to rain and poor planning but otherwise training is progressing nicely.

Saturday brought a 16 mile run which was pretty good. It was nice and cool out so that was a welcome change. I wore pants! Pants! We saw a beautiful sunrise over the key and that's awesome.
This is a memorial for Meg. #megsmiles She was a runner who was hit by a drunk driver this past week while out on her run. She was a mom. Many people even me dedicated their weekend runs to her. Possibly my impromptu trip idea came from thinking about making a special memory for my kids. Who knows. I did not tell my kids about Meg - they don't need to worry about stuff like that yet.

After my run I came home and we surprised the kids with an impromptu trip to Legoland. My kids have been working really hard on some individual things and with this long weekend I had this idea to surprise them. It was really fun. We brought them to the table and told them we wanted to reward them with a trip to Legoland. We asked them when we should go and they said how about tomorrow but they were kidding. Then we said how about right now, go get in the car. They didn't believe us at first but then they were very excited. It was a fun surprise and even now that it's over they both said the surprise was the best part of the weekend.

During the drive my husband - let's call him Mario for this story - decided to go above the speed limit. His name is not Mario. He did get pulled over by the State Trooper. He did get a ticket and we did get a flat tire at the same time.
It is hard for people who don't know us to understand how hysterical this whole traffic ticket, flat tire story is. It was a classic family moment. State trooper to the left, tow truck to the right.

My husband is able to change a tire but the truck is huge, the tires are huge and sadly the jack provided just doesn't quite cut the mustard. At it's full extension there wasn't clearance to put the spare tire on. Enter AAA to the rescue. I had called them at the start. And at each moment of challenge my husband had me call to check on them. They arrived about an hour after I called. I promise you it took them 3 minutes to finish the job.
Legoland opens at 10. We're up at 6:30 so there was plenty of time between breakfast at iHop and opening time to get the tire replaced which made me feel better about the drive home.

This is my 3rd flat tire in about 18 months. Borrring.

Back on the road we made it to our hotel. My husband likes to be adventurous and choose charming local hotels. This hardly ever works out in a good way. We stayed at the Lake Roy Beach Inn. This hotel could best be described as ... old. It did have a beautiful lake that it overlooked and if the weather is warmer that would have been great fun.
Nice pool, nice lake. Sadly I couldn't sleep outside on a lounge chair because it was 38 degrees at night. I swear my pillow was made from sawdust. Let's just not talk about the shower.

Legoland itself is a fun time. It's not nearly as popular as the other parks and so the lines were basically nonexistent which is great. My least favorite thing about Disney and Universal is the 30-45 minute lines. Seriously, in my opinion almost nothing is worth waiting that long.

Legoland is geared to a younger crowd. 5-12 years old. At first my kids said some attractions were too babyish. But after a bit they got over it. There are no huge roller coasters but the coasters are still fun.

My son was really into trading his little mini figurines with the staff members. The staff members were all super nice and helpful. He really wanted to find a mini-Emmet which is the main character from the upcoming movie. Two separate staffers felt through about 100 little bags of $3 mini figurines to find him one to buy. It was sweet.

My second least favorite thing about Disney/Universal is that each and every ride ends in a gift shop which forces a parent to say "no" about 1000 extra times per visit. Thankfully Legoland has not gone this way. Also the gift shop sells lego sets. They are super expensive but at least we left with 2 toys rather than a shirt or another stuffed animal.

This is driving school. My son loved it. They are little electric carts that look like they are made of legos. They put the kids through driving school first and then they drive around on a cityscape with real stop lights and stop signs and stuff. It's very cute because the kids take the driving rules very seriously and they sit calmly at the stoplights. Driving in the lanes was clearly a little beyond their grasp. The older kids were pretending to talk and text while driving. Funny stuff. The carts go about 1 mile per hour my daughter was bored silly.
I thought the food options were better than other theme parks. Nothing fancy and still mightily overpriced but I felt the options were okay. We didn't plan enough ahead but they are very open to guests bringing in their own sandwiches and stuff. There were lots of families having picnic lunches.

Mini land where they have built several attractions at 1/20th scale out of legos (like the NY skyline and Vegas strip and Golden Gate bridge) is a lot of fun to walk through. Also the huge lego sculptures around the park are lots of fun.
This is a full-size Ford Explorer built of legos. It was right outside driving school and I thought it was very impressive.

Legoland was built where the old Cypress Gardens attraction was. It was actually a theme park before Disney and has a botanical garden. As our last 2 activities we watched a lego themed waterski show which was great and walked through the botanical gardens. It was a good trip. Then we headed home.

My cypress gardens image was photobombed by someone else's kid. Harumph! :-)
Things to know if you go to Legoland. Bring a few mini figurines to trade with staffers. We didn't know about this so I bought the kids mini figurines to trade on the first day. Staffers will always trade with the kids - it's fun. Also about 1/2 the park is water rides which were closed (of course) when we visited. If we went again we'd go when the water park was open. On weekdays they have classes on lego mindstorm robotics. This is a very cool thing and you have to plan ahead to do it. My daughter was actually super sad that we didn't do this- but we just didn't know how it worked in advance. You spend 45 minutes with a teacher programming a lego mindstorm robot. It's in the build and test area.

The annual pass seems like a good investment but because my kids are actually mostly interested in big coasters we didn't spring for it. 

Lastly - stay in the Holiday Inn or Hampton Inn. About a 5 minute drive from the entrance to the park. There is a hotel literally at the entrance but it looks as dated as where we stayed and honestly it's just not worth it.

While visiting central Florida - I did not workout. I did indeed overeat. Now it's time to get back on track.

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