South Florida – Dec 25th, 2012 – Jan 1st, 2013

Note: this blog is about my experience, while the hyper link are my review of that business specifically on Yelp. ( I appreciate if you rate my review on Yelp 😀 )

Dec 25
We took a red-eye flight from LAX to MIA, transfer at Minneapolis. Then we got a car from Fox, whose service was horrible. We had lunch at Latin Cafe 2000 which was a great Cuban food place. Then we drove right up to Orlando and stayed at Holiday Inn Express Lake Buena Vista.

Dec 26
Disney World!
We’ve been to the one in SoCal a couple of times, so we decided to just cover the difference. Epcot is the delta, Soarin is a great ride we took, which also existed in SoCal and actually it took you to glide over California! Honestly, the one in LA is better because you can’t really find the edge of the spherical screen.

Then we spent several hours in the World Exhibition.
Pyramid in Mexico:

Norway (Viking)

See the sophisticated facial and detailed armor from ancient Chinese emperor tomb. The real things in Xi’an is more impressive you should know! I love Chinese culture.

And this the heaven tower in Beijing which was used by emperor to pray to the god. This is a good mimick but again, the real one is more magnificent!

We had lunch there, hotdog and beer. Yumyum. And this is the part which has most scent for Christmas.


The beautiful tower and its world famous animation. Chopper the reindeer always win our heart in One Piece. Kawaii~


Then it started to rain, I personally super like this shot. And then I put my camera away.

In the afternoon we hopped to Hollywood Studio. The horror tower is something I always got scared by the waiting line in SoCal. This time, I got in. The deco was great and the ride is… omg… screamin… and I almost got tears when I walked out of the elevator, but it’s a good one!

And watch out! Monkeys crossing!

At night, for sure, Magic Kingdom! Most fairy tale place! Jeeez I love this place at night!
The castle was covered by crystal snow during Christmas time.

And yes, it snows in Disney for Xmas!

And this is a super adorable decoration I saw there, how much a girl can look forward a pickup in crystal pumpkin carriage? All my girly thoughts started to surface at that night and flushed the engineer girl out of the picture completely. 😀 And so happy my friends were happy together too.

And what a shame that I never been in a tea party when I was a kid, so I fulfilled my childhood missing part in age 27… And four adults laughing, spinnining crazily and laughing… what a night.

And in the small world, there were so many cute stuffs.

Walking by the back of the castle:

The night show added more new Disney movie in it:
I laughed so happily when I saw Wreck-it-Ralph starts to knock off the castle and so touched when the lanterns started to drift up from the Hair.

Then the magic began:

And that ended our day in Disney. 😀 And stayed at the same place for the night.

Dec 27,

We drove back to Mimai that day and had lunch at Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish. Then we headed directly to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. We arrived like one hour before the museum closes and two hours before the garden closes. Good thing is, they have student ticket. Anyway, we decided to squeeze into the hour.

Honestly, as an art project, it’s not my type. For these luxurious houses, I always feel they put everything it. Walking around, the view from the room were great. But the all the different styles of collections in one place is weird. The most impressive thing was the big stone ship in the ocean, at one side of the house.

And at the other side, there’s a big garden where so many people are taking pictures for magazines, weddings.

That night we drove to South Coast, hanging out their for the night. I super love the nightlife there! Loud music all the way along the ocean, live dance, music. And giant glass of cocktail. And giant plate of food, hot waitress and happy happy people. We walked along the dark shore for a while, got waves rinsing our bare feet warmly, which surprised us that Miami is acturally warmer than LA! Then we dined and drank at Ocean’s Ten which I really recommend the drink and the seafood rice. 😀

And sorry that I didn’t have any pic for South Beach but a clear moon. Rest were all remembered with happy alcohol and endless laughter and happiness with friends. 

For the night, we stayed at a relative cheap hotel on the Ocean, which is called Beach Paradise Hotel and I gave only one star to it.

Dec 28th
We drove to Key West in the morning and hanging out along the way. We stopped at old seven mile bridge and walked around. In this pic, I was standing on the old one and looking at the new seven mile on the left.

When we continued driving, I saw the old bridge was broken here and there:

Then we reached the south of nowhere, Key West. And surprisingly, it has lots of roosters, which reminds the countryside in China.

Then we paid a visit to Ernest Hemingway’s House who spent part of his life there with a fashion designer wife, with his six-toed cat. It’s a very cute white house, with palm trees and so many trees in the yard. Living there surely can lead the relaxing and idea-popping life. Guess I need a similar place too. And btw, there’s a Julia St. on Key West, guess I can have discount to settle down there?

For all the descendants of the cat, there are 45 of them on premise now and they have tomb for the cuties. What a sweet home.

And this cattie is like a tiger rushing down the mountain!

We had our lunch + dinner at Six Toed Cat Cafe. Then we walked down to the Southernmost point of US continent and saw the funny sign of “the Conch Republic” which we wiki.ed before that Key West major got creative one time and declared the independence for a bit, funny :D. For the buoy, I didn’t try to get a clear shot, sorry and no refunds.

Then we stayed for the sunset:

And for the night we stayed at Days Inn on Key West.

Dec 29th,

Thanks to Vincent, I knew of Dry Tortugas National Park, and we decided to take a day and go there with Yankee Freedom. And the water there was just so blue.

There’s Fort Jefferson on the island for defense of the pirates, which is said. And it was built with 16 million bricks and still having canon and some armory there.

You can see the holes for guns and canons.

Then we climbed up to the top of the fort:

After the lunch, we went snorkeling in the super blue ocean. Too bad that the coral reef close to shore are all dead and grey 😦 But still got a fun swim and lying on the beach.

When going back, looking back, you  can see one side of the hexagon.

On our way back, I won the Texas Hold’em btw. 🙂
After we were ashore, we got dinner at Eaton Street Seafood Market and got some fresh jumbo stone crab legs.

We drove up to Florida City afterward and stayed at Ramada Florida City.

Dec 30th,

Everglades! We started to drive from the visitor center at Royal Palm into the one at Flamingo and stopped by at several trails. Most of them are pretty easy like 2-mile loop but can see different types of wildlife which is pretty sweet. During our first trail, we saw an alligator and an owl on our second trail. And there are a lot of animals spotted at Anhinga trail!

First the alligators:

And for the birds:

Angry bird:

And anhingas are quite common over there:  

And a turtle:

And there will be so many mosquito in NP during summer that they have a meter for that 😀

For the plantation there, most are wild plain and swamp, where the water is pumped into the NP by human now.
This is some “wrapper” plant that grows upon other trees, wraps it and sucks the nutrition which is pretty scary.

And mangroves are most common plants there with there roots dropping from the branch into water for nutrients and for support.

And we were leaving there around night coming. 

For the night we dined at Captain’s Restaurant & Seafood Market and stayed at the same Ramada.

Dec 31st,

Since the glass bottom boat is not on run due to Sandy on east coast. We decided to drive back south to Key Largo for the trip to view more colorful coral reef viewing with Key Largo Princess Glass Bottom Boat.
On our way going out into the ocean, there’re two cute sea gulls always flying with us. 

And when we stopped and view the bottom of the ocean with all nature light, it was amazing and beautiful. But the effect through camera sucked so much. But the colorful coral and different fish going across made me want to learn diving now. Also, we saw some pieces of ship wrecks lying at bottom, defeated by pirates long time ago.

Later, we drove back to Miami and had awesome lunch at Yambo Restaurant. Then we walked around Calle Ocho, Little Havanas, got a set of dominoes and saw pretty cute wall paintings.


And they have stars on the ground as we have in Hollywood 😀 And saw one that I knew and my dad is his big fan!

And some random (to me) monument :p

Then for the night, it’s the count-down day and we went to Bayside Market which was full of people came for party 😀 And there were 4 hours away to year 2013.

And there was also a super red building with lizards on it!

And Miami Heat’s AAA 😀

We did a bit shopping there a got a cute set of agates wind chimes. Then we drove back to Comfort Inn with some instant noodle and watched Big Apple countdown for the New Year 😀

Jan 1st,
Early morning, we flew back to LA. And had a AYCE hot pot at SGV for celebration of the new year. 😀


9 thoughts on “South Florida – Dec 25th, 2012 – Jan 1st, 2013

  1. I searched Julia Zhu on fb and found you in LA! Seems to me that you are more into gourmet food now :).

  2. I already did, It’s just so enjoyable to watch a girl’s subtle view of world which is rooted in a sensitive mind and passion for life. -Asan

  3. very beautiful pictures! We are going there this xmas too, so it will be very useful fo us.Thanks for sharing!

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