Universal Orlando Travel Diary

     If you follow my Instagram, @apocketfuloffaith, you might have noticed that I spent a long weekend in Orlando last week.  I flew to Orlando for a school trip to Universal Studios last Thursday night with my choir!  The trip was only a few days long, scheduled over a weekend to maximize time in Orlando while missing the least possible amount of school.  One of my best friends, Maddie, is in choir with me so we went together and it was so much fun!  (In case you were wondering, we didn’t go to perform.  My school’s choir takes a “just for fun” trip every year, usually to a theme park in Orlando or a big city, last year I went with the choir to Chicago!)  I take my camera with me practically everywhere so it obviously followed me into the parks.  While I was there I took a ton of little clips to piece together into a video!  Today I’m sharing my Universal video as well as daily recaps and a few of my favorite pictures from the trip.  I recommend watching the video in HD (enable by clicking the HD button in the bottom right corner).  I hope you enjoy!

This video was created using iMovie and all of the clips were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and a EF-S 18-55mm lens.  The background song is “All Night” by The Vamps & Matoma.

Thursday

     Thursday evening my choir group met up in the school parking lot at 6:00PM to load a bus and drive to the nearest airport.  We were required to get to the airport a couple hours early, since we were a group of approximately fifty, so once we got there we all talked, played cards, FaceTimed, etc.  Finally, we boarded our flight around 8:30PM and landed in Orlando around 11:00 p.m.  The flight was the first for many of our choir members, so it was fun to see their reactions and how the flight actually compared to their frightened expectations.  Once we claimed our baggage we loaded onto a charter bus.  Before getting to the hotel, we stopped by Walmart to buy forgotten toiletries, snacks for the long park days ahead, sunscreen, etc.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites – Waterpark, and in comparison to the ordinary, average rooms we stayed in when we visited Chicago last year, the suites were incredible.  Quickly upon getting into our hotel rooms around 12:00 a.m., we showered and went to sleep.

Friday

     We woke up to get ready for the day ahead around 8:00 a.m., then we met our group for breakfast at the hotel’s buffet at 9:00 a.m.  The hotel’s buffet was so good.  At 9:45 a.m., we all loaded onto the charter bus and headed to Universal.  We arrived around 10:00 a.m., then we were told where to meet with our chaperones at 4:00 p.m. before they set us loose.  When we split up, Maddie and I chose to go alone together, because we knew we wanted to do all the same things.  The first thing we did upon entrance was purchase Thing 1 and Thing 2 tee shirts in the first gift shop we saw because we had been talking about buying them together in Universal for months.  I wish I could tell you that we went to one section to ride all the rides, then the next, then the next, you know, in a logical manner, but we honestly just hopped from area to area depending on what sounded fun or what snack we wanted to try.  On Friday we tried the famous frozen butter beer in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which tasted like a Starbucks drink (I’m super picky and I was scared I wouldn’t like it, but I absolutely loved it!), met Scooby Doo and the gang (minus Daphne, she unfortunately wasn’t there), met Spongebob and Patrick, and rode about five rollercoasters including a couple in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Rip Ride Rockit, and the Hulk to name a few.  Meeting these characters was so fun, Patrick gave the best hugs!  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was so cool, all of the employees seemed so in character and the area was so incredibly detailed, it wouldn’t be hard to convince me I was in one of the books.  We ate dinner at Mel’s Drive-In, which offered chicken tenders (or a cheeseburger for a slightly higher price), fries, and a shake for $13.99 (if my memory is correct), which is not a terrible deal for theme park food.  We loaded the bus to return to the hotel around 9:00 p.m. and we fell asleep quickly after showering upon our return to our suites.

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Saturday

     Saturday morning we woke up a little late and joined our group for an earlier breakfast around 8:00 a.m.  We loaded the bus at 9:00 a.m. and got to Universal around 9:30 a.m.  The same discussion of when and where to meet the chaperones took place before we separated again. As soon as we got into the park, Maddie and I got in line for the Despicable Me ride, Minion Mayhem.  The ride’s line is set up to go through a room that looks identical to Gru’s home in the movies, which we thought was so cool!  The ride is really just a 3D simulator, but we still found it to be really fun because we love Despicable Me so much.  After you exit the simulator room, we were presented with the opportunity to meet/take pictures with a couple minions.  Maddie and I got in the line as soon as we saw it and after meeting them we continued into the Despicable Me gift shop where we purchased our “it’s so fluffy” scene inspired unicorns.  Once we payed for the unicorns, we decided that since it was short we’d go through the minion meeting line again to meet them with unicorns in hand.  Yes, I know it seems silly, but it was totally worth it.  After we left the gift shop, we tracked down the Despicable Me parade and met and got pictures with the girls (Agnes, Edith, and Margot), Gru, and Vector when their dance routine was over.  I just want to mention that if you’re looking to meet characters in Universal Studios, the employees in the green polos are in charge of the character meet and greets and are definitely the best people to ask about when and where!  After the parade we pretty much just randomly walked from section to section like we did on Friday.  We also met the Cat in the Hat, Thing 1, and Thing 2 that afternoon.  Maddie and I agreed that Suess Landing, the Dr. Suess based section, was our favorite.  The rides were all pastel and the area had a few adorable little book and souvenir shops that looked like they were straight out of one of Suess’ picture books.  We went back to the “Spongebob Storepants” store when we saw through the window that Patrick was in the store again.  That night we ate at Mel’s Drive-In again just because it was such a good deal.  We loaded the bus and left around 9:45 p.m. and again, we showered and fell asleep almost immediately upon our return to the hotel.

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Sunday

     Sunday was our last day in Orlando.  We ate breakfast around 9:00 a.m. again and then hung around the hotel for a few hours, enjoying the mini golf and packing.  We left the hotel around 12:00 p.m. and went to I-Drive 360.  I-Drive 360 is a small shopping center that consist of a few tourist shops, restaurants, the Orlando Eye, a Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, and a Sea Life Aquarium.  Maddie and I went on the Orlando Eye, got Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, walked through the wax museum and took pictures with our favorite celebrities, and looked through the aquarium before we left around 4:00 p.m.  We arrived at the airport around 5:00 p.m. then bought food and worked on our make up work while we waited to board the plane.  We got back home around 9:30 p.m.

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I had a great time in Orlando last weekend with my friends.  I hope you enjoyed this little recap of my trip, thank you for reading!  Be sure to check out my Instagram hashtag, #farawaywithfaith, for more pictures from my travels!

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Savannah, GA Travel Diary

     If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen a few posts about my trip to Savannah, Georgia this week.  Savannah is such a pretty city and I had a great time there with my family and grandparents.  Today I’m sharing a recap of my trip!  While I was there I did some shopping, ate amazing food, and saw a few landmarks as well.  To view my past travels and keep track of my travels in the future be sure to check my travel hashtag #farawaywithfaith.  I linked all of the restaurants/shops mentioned if they have a website, so you can virtually check them out for yourself!  This is the first travel diary I have done since my Windy Gap trip back in 2015, so I’m super excited to finally be sharing another one.  Enjoy!

Tuesday

     We decided to fly to Savannah to avoid a long car trip so we could maximize our time.  For the plane ride, I wore my super soft new Jadelynn Brooke sweatshirt and used my Jadelynn Brooke backpack as the perfect carry on (the backpack isn’t available online right now but if you’d like to purchase this sweatshirt or anything else from Jadelynn Brooke you can use my code FLHS for 15% off!)  The flight was only about half an hour long, and once we arrived we checked into our hotel before walking to Moon River Brewing Company Restaurant for lunch.  There I had amazing sausage ravioli with a few shrimp on top!  After lunch, my parents took my siblings and I on a walk down River Street because our hotel was located right in the middle so we had super easy access!  River Street faces the river and is lined with tons of shops and restaurants.  After a short walk we returned to the hotel to freshen up for dinner.  We met a few of my grandparents’ friends at a restaurant called B. Matthew’s Eatery.  The atmosphere of the restaurant was wonderful and there I had a delicious chicken sandwich and a snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich for dessert.  After dinner we walked back to the hotel and went to bed to rest up for the next day.

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Wednesday

     Wednesday morning we walked to the Andaz Hotel to take advantage of their amazing brunch options, and boy was it a good brunch!  I had waffles with a side of scrambled eggs and they were delicious!  After brunch we walked to Broughton Street to do some shopping.  While there I picked up a few things from GAP and Banana Republic.  When we finished shopping we went into Savannah Seafood Shack to get some ice cream in the little section of the restaurant called Below Zero (read their article on the Foodie Feature here!)  The ice cream there was rolled, yes, rolled, and it was soo good.  I split the s’mores ice cream with my little brother and it was incredible, incomparable to any other ice cream I’ve ever had, really.  After ice cream we walked to Chippewa Square, the park where the bench scenes of Forrest Gump were filmed!  Sadly, the bench Tom Hanks actually sat on was just a prop and is now in a museum, but my sister and I got a picture where the bench was (I made a collage of one of the bench scenes in the movie and our picture below).  Once we got our picture and walked around Chippewa Square a bit we headed back to the hotel to rest a bit for dinner.  My parents went out on a date so my grandparents took my siblings and I to dinner on River Street.  On the way to dinner I convinced them to stop in front of the river with a perfect view of the bridge in the background for a few pictures (I even took some shots for an outfit post, be on the look out for it in the next couple weeks!).  We ended up eating great pizza at a place called Spanky’s.  On the walk back to the hotel we stopped in a t-shirt shop (because I always purchase a tee with the destination on it while traveling) and an ice cream shop for dessert.  When we got back to the hotel we just showered and went to bed.

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Thursday

     We began Thursday by walking to a breakfast diner called Goose Feathers Cafe, where we waited in line for about twenty minutes before ordering and finally sitting down at a table. There I had an apple filled croissant and it was delicious!  When we left the cafe we walked back to the hotel to grab jackets and retrieve the car to drive to Forsyth Park.  I have to say, Forsyth Park is absolutely gorgeous.  There are a few wide open fields, a playground for children, a big statue (I didn’t actually read the plaque, oops, but I assume it was some kind of monument), tons of gorgeous trees, and a pretty white fountain.  After my little brother got his fair amount of play time, I got more than enough of pictures, and my grandparents read a couple chapters of their books on a park bench, we left for the Georgia State Railroad Museum that was joint with the Savannah Children’s Museum.  My siblings and parents visited the children’s museum and my grandparents and I visited the railroad museum.  After the museum we drove to Betty Bombers, a WWII inspired diner, for lunch.  There I ate a cheeseburger, fries, and a chocolate shake (I know what you’re thinking by now… I eat a lot of sweets.  Trust me, I know).  After lunch we drove back to the hotel and my stepmother took my sister and I on a walk to The Coffee Fox on Broughton Street to get some mochas and do a little more shopping.  I then bought a couple sweaters at H&M and we looked in a few other stores.  We walked back to the hotel around 5:00 p.m. to freshen up for my little brother’s birthday dinner at The Pirates’ House.  The Pirates’ House had a ton of great seafood options and the house itself holds a ton of history regarding pirates.  I got a shrimp pasta with a nice lemony sauce.  My little brother loved it and the waiters brought him strawberry shortcake to help him celebrate his birthday!  Once he finished his shortcake we walked back to the hotel to pack to leave Friday morning.

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I took a picture of this sign outside of the dressing rooms at H&M, don’t you just love this phrase?

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That’s it!  If you’re interested in seeing more pictures I take while traveling (or just in general), I’d love it if you checked out my VSCO (linked here) where I post a ton of pictures of food, tourist attractions, and random pretty things.  I hope you enjoyed this recap, thanks for reading!

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Windy Gap Travel Diary 2015

     First of all, I would really like to apologize for my extreme lack in posts lately.  I’ve had a ton of tests and extracurricular activities.  I’ve spent the past week working on my grade’s homecoming float from 3:30 to 5:30 everyday and I went to Windy Gap with my YoungLife group last weekend, so today I thought I would tell you all about that!

     Last Friday, September 18th, we all piled onto a bus and drove to Windy Gap for fall weekend.  If you don’t know what/where Windy Gap is, it’s a YoungLife camp located in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.  Windy Gap is absolutely gorgeous; it has a small lake and is encircled in mountains.  When we were about fifteen minutes from Windy Gap, our cell phones were taken up, so all of the pictures/videos you’re about to see were either taken on my friend’s GoPro or by the camp photographer.  I had the best weekend of my life, and now, I’ll tell you why.

Friday

     When we got to Windy Gap late Friday night, it was absolutely stunning.  Even in the dark, you could see the outline of all the mountains among the stars.  The buildings’ lights reflected on the lake and it was just gorgeous.  After exploring the area and settling into our cabin, we went to club.  Club at camp is a lot like our weekly YoungLife club at home, only ten times more fun and exciting.  In club, we sing and dance to lots of songs (both Christian and current), watch skits performed by YoungLife leaders from the different groups that attended, play games, and listen to a talk.  After club, we went back to our cabin and had cabin time, a time that the girls in our cabin talked about what we got out of the talk and what it meant to us.  After cabin time, we showered and went to bed.

Saturday

     Saturday morning, we got up early, took a few pictures and went to breakfast in the dining hall with the rest of the camp.  The food at Windy Gap is amazing.  During breakfast, we watched more skits and played double tap at our table.  After breakfast, we had cabin competition.  We were given a small slip of paper that had a list of things to do, like sliding into the lake or burying our cabin leader in the sand on the volleyball court, and their point values, then we had to go do as many as we could in a set amount of time!  Once time was called on the cabin competition, we went to club again.  As always, after club we walked back to our cabin and had cabin time.

     When the bell rang, we all ran down to the dining hall excitedly for lunch.  After lunch, we had about six hours of free time.  Windy Gap has so much to do, including a zip line, giant metal slide that goes into the lake, volleyball court, pool, basketball court, and a giant swing that goes through the forest that I just don’t know how to explain without showing you (watch the video below).  Closer to the end of our free time, we went into the Windy Gap store to pick up a few tee shirts and stickers before taking a shower and getting ready for dinner.  Shortly after we finished cleaning up from our adventures, the dinner bell rang.  While we were waiting to get into the dining hall, we took a few more pictures on Scout’s GoPro.  After dinner, we ran to the club room where we had club again.

     All of the messages over the weekend were so good, but this one was special.  The preacher described all of the things that Christ endured for us all during the crucifixion in such great detail, I was close to tears.  At the end of the message, everybody at Windy Gap walked outside and found a place to sit and pray.  As soon as everyone found a spot, all of the electricity in Windy Gap was turned off.  It was so nice to have that time to just look up at all of the beautiful stars with no distractions and talk to God.  At the end of this time to pray, a bell rang and we all walked back to our cabins for cabin time.  During this particular cabin time, we talked not only about what we got from the message, but what we prayed about as well.

     A bell rang at the end of cabin time and we walked back to the club room where we played a ton of games before we were directed to the gym.  Once we walked into the gym, we were handed glow sticks and directed into a giant tarp tunnel.  Inside the tunnel, loud dance music was played and black light shined.  Up until this moment, we had no idea we had walked into a YoungLife rave.  This tunnel put all of those elementary P.E. class parachute games to shame, it was so much fun.  After the rave, we went back to our cabins and went to bed.

Sunday

     Sunday morning, we got up early again to attend breakfast.  Before we left for breakfast, we were given our group shirts (hence everyone in the picture below matching).  After breakfast, we went to one last club.  At the end of club, we went back to our cabins to have cabin time and finish packing to leave.  Once we finished packing, we took a few more pictures in Windy Gap before packing the bus and leaving.

     Windy Gap was without a doubt one of the best weekends of my life.  I feel so much closer to God and all of the girls in my cabin!  I am so glad I went and I would highly suggest going too if you ever get the chance.  YoungLife is the most fun Christian youth program I have ever been a part of.  I can’t wait for my next YoungLife fall weekend!

Thank you so much for reading!  I hope you enjoyed hearing about my adventures in Windy Gap!

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Texas Travel Diary 2015

     Friday afternoon I got off a plane and drove home from my seven-day trip to Texas.  I had a fabulous time and I’ve been super excited to share my adventures with you all!  In case you were wondering, “Why Texas, of all places?” – I travel back to Texas yearly because my family moved from Texas when I was four and all of my extended family still lives there.  I always have a great time while in Texas, and this time was no exception!  I got to go to quite a few landmarks in San Antonio and drive down to the coast for a few days with my family.

Saturday

     Saturday morning I got on a plane and flew to the San Antonio International Airport.  Then, my family got a rental car and drove to my grandmother’s house to get ready for my uncle’s wedding.  My uncle’s wedding was a ton of fun!  It had a classic Texas theme and the service was adorable.  The reception was outside with live music, tons of dancing, incredible food, and a lot of visiting with people we hadn’t seen in a while.  After the reception, I went to my cousins’ house to spend the night and help them pack for our trip to the coast.

Sunday

     Sunday morning I had breakfast at my cousins’ house, then drove over to my grandmother’s house to get ready for our two-and-a-half hour drive to Rockport.  After completing all of our packing, we got in the car and drove down to the coast.  Once we got the keys to the beach house we rented, we settled in and explored the house.  We went swimming in the house’s pool that overlooked the canal for a few hours before getting ready for dinner.  We went to eat our traditional dinner at this great seafood restaurant that overlooks the ocean called Charlotte Plummer’s.  My mom’s side of the family has been traveling to Rockport since she was little and they’ve always eaten at this restaurant.  Some of the waitresses even remember my grandmother’s name!  After we finished eating, my cousins and I went down to the shrimp boats next to the restaurant to take some pictures.

Monday

     The next morning my cousins, sister, and I got up early and swam in the pool until our parents were ready to go to the beach.  While at the beach, we swam, tanned, and purchased snow cones from a cute little truck parked in the beach’s parking lot.  After a couple of hours, we drove back home for lunch and swam some more in the house’s pool.  That afternoon, I took some pictures on the dock with my cousin and then we had a great dinner that my aunt prepared for us.

 

Tuesday

     We spent most of Tuesday stunting in the beach house’s pool and fishing in the canal (fun fact about me – I’m absolutely awful at fishing and the fish took more of my bait than I got of them.)  That afternoon we went shopping at this adorable boutique called The Bay Window.  While there, I purchased an adorable and really unique necklace along with my first Southern Tide tee-shirt.  Then, since we don’t have one where I currently live and my little sister didn’t even remember what it was, we stopped by Whataburger for dinner.  After dinner, my cousins, sister, and I watched the newest Pretty Little Liars episode and swam a little more before packing our things to prepare for the drive back to San Antonio the next day.

Wednesday

     We woke up bright and early Wednesday morning to finish packing, return the keys to the rental house, and do a little extra shopping before we drove back to San Antonio.  We took a few pictures by the marina, went to a lot of little shell shops, and made a return trip to the Bay Window where I couldn’t resist buying a gold pearl ring.  Once we got back to San Antonio, we ate at the Alamo Café, aka one of my favorite restaurants ever.

Thursday

     On our last full day in Texas, my grandmother took my youngest cousin, little sister, and I to tour the Alamo, eat at the Rainforest Café, and walk along the Riverwalk.  Once we were all too hot to function any longer, we went home and showered before meeting one of my mom’s high school friends for dinner at an authentic Mexican restaurant called Mi Tierra.  After dinner, we walked through El Marcado (the Mexican Markets) and took a few pictures with all of the festive Mexican decorations before heading back to my grandmother’s house.

Friday

     Friday morning we woke up early and ate bagels as a family before my mom, stepfather, sister, and I turned in our rental car and drove to the airport.  The flight was great and the plane had outlets and touchscreen TVs with free shows on the back of each seat (I know it might be strange that I got that excited about that, but I thought it was pretty great)!

That’s it!  I hope you enjoyed reading about my travels!  You can see all the pictures I’ve posted on Instagram while traveling under the hashtag #farawaywithfaith on Instagram!

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