Memories of Florida
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Memories of Florida

Today’s guest author’s blog is from Amy McGuire. Amy lives in Toronto with her husband and their young daughter.  She fell in love with English Literature in high school but was creating poems and stories almost as soon as she could pick up a pencil.  Her first published novel, Sweet Love, a young adult romance set in British Columbia, was released on Amazon and Amy's site on February 12, 2012.

As the weather becomes colder in the fall and warmer in the spring I always either look forward to a vacation in Florida or look back on the one I just experienced with my family.  As my in-laws usually go down before New Years and stay until mid-January I can often survive winter on the memory of the glittering waves, warm sand and delicious breezes alone.  Spring reminds me that the weather will indeed begin to get hot, and with that thought comes the memory of the sun beating down as I splashed in the ocean with my daughter or frolicked with her and my husband in the hotel pool.  If you’re thinking of going down south for an escape from winter I highly recommend Kissimmee.  I have been there twice; once to check out Old Town and once to spend two days at SeaWorld and the rest of the time ‘pool hopping’ in the lovely resort where we stayed. 
I have fond memories of Old Town with its small shopping strip, old car show and little amusement parks at each end.  I first fell in love with milk chocolate covered marshmallows when I discovered them in a tiny store dedicated to all things chocolate.  I began to dream of one day having my own pearl ring after browsing the locked glass case of a store where they not only find you your own personalized pearl, but they will set it into a necklace, earrings, pendant or bracelet-right there in the store.  The resort we stayed was Bare Foot’n in The Keys at Old Town and while it was close to the hustle and bustle of the quaint tourist trap the small town of Celebration was nearby as well, with a lovely walking trail at the end of one of the scenic streets.  Our resort was small but the units were comfortable and since we went in April the weather was always very nice.  The nights were balmy and the pools were heated.  What I really loved was the kiddie pool separated from the adult pool and hot tub by a fence with a gate that a child could not easily open. It was especially nice to watch my nearly three-year-old daughter thoroughly enjoying herself and knowing the water she splashed around in was less than a foot and a half deep.
SeaWorld is another place I highly recommend, especially for young children.  We travelled there in our usual time slot of New Years to mid-January.  The deal we ended up getting through CAA allowed us to return on a second day of our choosing and I’m so glad we had that option.  The first day we went was clear but very cold.  All of us wore our winter coats, boots and gloves and I was especially grateful that my sister in-law thought to bring a blanket so we could wrap her two young children and my own little one in a blanket while we watched the many shows the park offers.  Despite the cold and the fever all three had from the trip down everyone really enjoyed themselves.  The second day was even better, as the children were beginning to feel better and the weather had warmed up considerably.  It’s a surprisingly small park but there is no lack of things to see and do.  All the shows were breathtaking, from the Orca Show called One Ocean to the dolphin show where the divers rode two dolphins at a time and acrobats flew through the air surrounded by Scarlet Macaws.  My daughter and her cousins especially enjoyed the sea lion pirate show which was very well performed.  One thing that struck me most was how much the animals in all the shows seemed to be enjoying themselves.  I have never seen animals in captivity that appeared to relish every act and throw themselves-sometimes literally-into their performance.  There was just a sense that these animals were well cared for and their handlers really cared deeply about their well-being. 
I think, if I had the choice, I would go back to SeaWorld and Old Town again and again.  Kissimmee is well situated for all the parks including Disney World but for young children SeaWorld was just the right amount of space and excitement.

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