Hello everyone . Welcome to my 3rd trip report. A re-organization of my Photobucket account back in November pretty much eradicated the usefulness of my original two TRs, so hopefully this one will stand the test of time a little better . I decided to put this particular trip report on the Orlando Hotels & Attractions board as it encompasses a little bit of everything. This trip involved visits to SeaWorld, Aquatica, a smattering of Disney (though no parks.....just downtown Disney and some character dining), Gatorland, an airboat tour, some offsite character dining (Shrek Feast), ICE! and other Christmas events at Gaylord Palms, an Orlando Magic game, and shopping at the Premium Outlets, Florida Mall, and in Kissimmee. We stayed onsite at SeaWorld at the Residence Inn, so there will be lots of details and photos of that property as well. A good start would be a full introduction, so here goes: This is our little family . Being the only female, I bet you have already guessed which one is me. The remaining two are DH (Steve) and DS (Jake), whom I like to affectionately refer to as my boys. Steve and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary this coming May. Doesnt that just make me sound WAY older than I feel?!?! Jake, our only child, will turn 17 on January 11th. This holiday getaway was our fourth trip to Orlando, and our third trip in 2012 (the others falling in January and August). And believe it or not, it was Jakes idea to travel for Christmas. Jake got his first real job this past summer in the youth programming department at our local YMCA . It turned out to be a job that he absolutely LOVED, and he eagerly took as many hours as they would allocate to him. As a result, he made some serious money from the end of June to the first of September...........adding a substantial amount to his education savings while still being able to afford some of the luxuries he desired (read: iPhone 5). One hot and sunny day in early July, we were sitting in the gazebo in our backyard enjoying a lemonade and the warm breeze when he brought up Christmas. Now, one would possibly think this was weird (talking about Christmas in the summer?), and it would be in most places other than at our house. You see, I love, love, LOVE the holiday season and start counting down to Christmas by the end of January at the latest, so Christmas is something we talk about a lot. So perhaps the boy who looks so much like his dad actually takes after his mother a weeny teeny bit after all . So he says to us......Now that Im making so much money at the Y, what are you going to get me for Christmas this year? I mean, I have everything I want and need. Theres nothing left to ask for. We laughed and reminded him we had five months to figure it out, so it really wasnt an immediate concern. But then he said something that had both Steve and I take notice.....the magic words.... Why dont we go to Florida for Christmas instead of getting each other a bunch of gifts we dont need?. He didnt have to ask us twice! We love to travel, and lets face it.....the boy is not getting any younger. Hell soon be off to college and our opportunities will be fewer and fewer (not to mention, well be poorer and poorer!!). The planning began immediately, right there in the shade of the gazebo. Flights were secured within a week and our festive holiday getaway began to take shape. Our dates were set for December 23rd to December 30th, and we would be flying from Buffalo for the first time. These three Canucks were going to trade in our Canadian snow and traditional family dinners for sunshine, Mickey Mouse, and Shamu. And the countdown officially commenced! It was strange, really, how quickly time passed between that conversation in July and the arrival of our travel date. I guess it was the busy-ness of life, particularly during the September-October-November time period, which made the waiting seem so minimal. Between the starting of a new school year, everyones work and sports schedules, leaf-raking, driving lessons, and the normal abnormalness of parenting a busy teen, before we knew it, it was December. With just a day or two before our departure date, Mother Nature decided it was time for the world outside to turn white: This good ol Canadian girl, who should by virture of her homeland be basking in the beauty of our frozen landscape as Christmas descended upon land, cringed inside and thought happy thoughts......of sunshine and green grass and all the warmth that awaited us in Orlando. I obviously was born in the wrong hemisphere.