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Trip Report Making Lemonade out of Lemons Fractal Family Trip Report - Completed

I think we can all agree that so far 2020 has been one big sour lemon.

For those that did not read my Pre-Trip report; my entire family (Val-wife, Alex - oldest daughter, Sterg - son, Toni - youngest daughter) has recovered from the Covid-19 virus. Myself, Val, Sterg and Toni got it in March and Alex in April while working as a nurse. Val had it worse with a fever for a couple days and flu like symptoms for about a week. The rest of us were either asymptomatic or had minor symptoms.

Add to that the mental stress of living in a society dealing with this pandemic, Toni missing out on a big chunk of her High School Senior Year and her last dance recital (where she was going to take on a major role as Jasmine), work reductions for Sterg and high stress work conditions for Alex on the front line. Yes, 2020 has sure been one big sourpuss.

But, as the saying goes; "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!"

It just so happened that last year I made a reservation to attend the annual AHEPA convention in Walt Disney World, just as I did in 2017. We were going to stay at the Grand Destino Towers but that seemed very much in jeopardy when AHEPA (which is a charitable organization I'm involved with. Like a Greek version of the Knights of Columbus or Lions Club.) cancelled their convention. Soon after however, I received an email that Disney would honor our reservation in July. This was pretty tempting since we had convention rates and discounts on tickets. Long story short, we decided to go. We felt that having already had the virus gave us an extra level of protection and we knew that Disney would handle the health risks properly. In addition, we later found out that our rooms were moved from Grand Destino to the Contemporary in order to accommodate the LA Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks. Sterg's and my dream of playing Marco Polo with the Greek Freak and LeBron James in the pool were quickly dashed. But who could say no to staying at The Contemporary for $175 a night?

We were a go! It was frustrating however because although we had a resort reservation we did not have park tickets. We also didn't have a "park pass" which was needed during this reopening of WDW. We had to wait for all that to open and I had serious doubts it would by the time our first day at the resort (July 20th) rolled around. I decided to book flights without tickets or park passes. Southwest had roundtrip flights from Philly to Orlando for $90 plus if you had to cancel you got that credit for a future flight. No brainer. This was turning out to be the cheapest Disney trip we have taken as a family! Soon after I was open to buy tickets and book Park Passes. We had started to squeeze that lemon and add it's juice to our pitcher of cold water.

Now for the Cast of our adventure.

Myself - Chris/Fractal. A lover of Disney Parks for the many memories it has given me over the years with my family, the way it helps me completely unwind from my job, and how it taps into my creative side and challenges my skills as a photographer.

Here I am with my crazy kids at Christmas.

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Val - my beautiful wife. Not the biggest fan of Disney but in the end she was on board. I think secretly she likes it more than she lets on. I will make it up to her with a trip more to her liking.

Here she is with Alex.

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Alex - our oldest. Now a traveling nurse. Alex is like me in many ways but as she's getting older and more responsible I'm starting to see her take on a number of Val's traits. She's a good mix and always a delight to be with.

From a trip to Colorado we took last year;

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Sterg, aka Fractal Jr. One word to describe Sterg - catalyst - he just makes things happen. He creates reactions both good and bad. He graduated last year from Penn State. He was a captain on the Swim Team but not without drama. He had to miss his promising senior year of swimming when a series of concussions (all outside the water) forced him to medically retire. PSU handled it very well as he helped the team from the sidelines. He now works as a digital marketing consultant as well as helping his cousin get his music career off the ground. Never a dull moment when Sterg is around!

with our dog Prince (Charming).

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Toni - For long time readers of my reports you know that Toni and I have a special Disney connection. Many times she would be the only one up early with me to tackle the parks at opening. We have had many great adventures together in the Disney bubble. She's now technically an adult (how did that happen?) so I was going to find out this trip if the magic was still there. She's going to attend Clemson University starting next month and I couldn't be prouder.

Toni in front of the Theater her Recital was supposed to perform at.

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So Covid-19 made our family suffer in many ways, but we took that lemon, squeezed it's juice out into our water pitcher, now we just needed a little Disney sugar to make our Lemonade complete.

Coming up - Our trip begins with a WDW meet-up before our flight even leaves the ground!
 

Captain Barbossa

Well-Known Member
Nice...but what I really want to know is....
Did Toni and @Captain Barbossa have a Magical meetup at Clemson???
Lol, unfortunately I was online again this semester. In fact, I haven’t been on campus since November. Looking forward to in-person classes in the fall!

@fractal Glad to hear that Toni had a great freshman year at Clemson! Also loved all the rum pics! 😍
 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
A few more photos from our Ybor City tour...

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Al and Mike enjoying a cigar. I stopped smoking them about 15 years ago after realizing that I would get sick to my stomach every time I indulged.

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Sweet car.

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A lot of activity on the sidewalks.

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and just off...

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fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
I love love love that picture of the tunnel of moss!! That is STUNNING!! That would be amazing framed up and hanging in a gallery somewhere! Or in some fancy home...anywhere really.

Thanks @Songbird76 ! I took a number of shots of the Spanish moss and that was my favorite.

I thought of you tonight. We have this running joke in our family. My husband and I and our daughter are all very proud to be "nerds" and considered "weird" by other people, because what fun is it to be "normal". Our son is autistic, and his experience with being considered weird isn't a positive one, so he calls us "weirdo" about 50 times a day, but swears he's NOT weird. So he comes in, my husband says "Hi, weirdo!" to which he says "Are you talking to mom, dad?" So I said "who's momdad?" He clarifies "I'm asking dad if he's talking to mom!" and my husband says "Hi, asking dad if he's talking to mom! I'm dad!"

Lol! Perfect use of "Hi"!
Nice choice on the Columbia restaurant, they have great food and the mojitos are fantastic! Glad to hear that Toni's first year of college went well I'm sure you and Val are looking forward to having her home again for the summer.
Thanks @ajrwdwgirl ! She has a final in Mandarin tomorrow (virtually) and she's done! Very happy she's home!
Seems wild that this trip report was a trip before sending Toni off to Clemson and here we are after the school year. Even a pandemic can't stop time from flying by. Great pictures as always!
Thanks! Yes, the last year definitely had some low points but we also ended up creating some wonderful memories!

Nice...but what I really want to know is....
Did Toni and @Captain Barbossa have a Magical meetup at Clemson???
Lol!

Not that i know of!

Lol, unfortunately I was online again this semester. In fact, I haven’t been on campus since November. Looking forward to in-person classes in the fall!

@fractal Glad to hear that Toni had a great freshman year at Clemson! Also loved all the rum pics! 😍

Good that you're going back! Toni had a good year - and loves Clemson!

Yes, actually thought you and some others would enjoy the Pirates and rum!


She looks so grown up!!! And Dad looks very happy!

It's hard for me to imagine that's she's going to turn 20 this year!

Is it just me or does one of the ladies on the right look completely naked?

I thought the same thing when editing the photos but just a tight "nude" colored dress.
Flesh tone body suit??
confused idk GIF by Women's History Month 's History Month

Yep.
I thought the same! lol
:D
You can just see the body suit if you look at her legs under the table.

Yes -
 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
Last photo. We stopped for ice-cream while the full moon was putting on a show.

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Right now looks like a 2022 WDW trip is in the cards for us!

Until then I'll continue to read Trip Reports and post photos in the photographer forum.

Thanks to all that followed and commented!
 

DisneyJeff

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
Then decided to take some portraits.

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One of Val and I

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Our next stop was the River Walk in Tampa;

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We made our way to the Museum of Art.

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We were in Tampa, visiting my wife's sister, a week or two after you were there. It's an amazing city!! We also did the river walk, except we started in South Tampa and walked Bayshore Blvd all the way up to the river walk and then took that up to the Armature Works. We walked over 6 miles that day, but the weather was perfect!!
We did Clearwater one night, did Bush Gardens, which was a little scary during COVID, and I was able to go to a TB Lightning game. Not bad for a long weekend!!
 

fractal

Premium Member
Original Poster
We were in Tampa, visiting my wife's sister, a week or two after you were there. It's an amazing city!! We also did the river walk, except we started in South Tampa and walked Bayshore Blvd all the way up to the river walk and then took that up to the Armature Works. We walked over 6 miles that day, but the weather was perfect!!
We did Clearwater one night, did Bush Gardens, which was a little scary during COVID, and I was able to go to a TB Lightning game. Not bad for a long weekend!!

Busy weekend - Glad you enjoyed it! I really like that area of Florida.

Lots of great coasters at Busch Gardens.
 

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