(Florida Flag)


(Map of Florida)

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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2005:


My plane left Indianapolis at 7:30am on Christmas morning.
After a plane change at Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport, I arrived in sunny and warm Key West around 1:30pm.



I stayed at the Casa Marina Resort.
The hotel was in a nice location right on the beach, but was kind of run down and very over priced.



I didn't do too much the day I arrived, the lack of sleep the night before was catching up with me.



This is the Conch Tour Train that makes its way around Key West.





MONDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2005:


First thing Monday morning the friendly folks at Seaplanes of Key West flew me over to Dry Tortugas National Park.



We got a nice view of Key West as we departed the city.



The weather was perfect as we flew west leaving Key West behind us.



It took us about 40 minutes to get to the island located 70 miles west of Key West.



We got a spectacular view of Fort Jefferson just prior to our water landing.



This was my first time on a seaplane. Water landings aren't exactly smooth, but a lot of fun none the less.



FDR proclaimed it Fort Jefferson National Monument in 1935 and it was redesignated as Dry Tortugas National Park in 1992.



We arrived at 8:45am and had the island to ourselves until the ferry brought in a boat load of tourists at 11:00am.



This is me on the cake walk above the fort.



Construction of the fort began in 1846. In 1874 the army abandoned the fort after several hurricanes and a yellow fever epidemic.



I spent a little over two hours on the island before flying back to Key West around 11:00am.



We flew around the Loggerhead Key Lighthouse just north of Dry Tortugas as we began our flight back to Key West.



We arrived back at the Key West International Airport a little before noon.

DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK VIDEO
10 minute video of my seaplane flight to Dry Tortugas National Park.

Click on the player above to watch video on İYouTube.


Dry Tortugas - Visit Fort Jefferson
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Snorkel, Food, Drinks, Sun, & Get 10% off Dry Tortugas Charter.




After landing I visited The Key West Light House and Keeper's Quarters Museum.



This is the view from the top of the 86-foot light house.
I ended the day by driving north through the keys on US-1 to Key Largo.



TUESDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2005:


It was about an hours drive to Everglades National Park from Key Largo on Tuesday morning.



This is the Pa-hay-Okee overlook.



This is West Lake.



Pinelands Trail.

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK VIDEO
5 minute video of Florida's Everglades National Park.

Click on the player above to watch video on İYouTube.



After spending a couple hours in the Everglades I drove to Miami where my first stop was Parrot Jungle Island.



You get a nice view of downtown Miami from the island.



Flamingos always make a nice picture. The weather continued to be perfect for the third day in a row.



You really got up close and personal to the animals in the wild animal show.



This huge cat is a liger, half lion and half tiger.



The baby tigers were adorable.



The chimpanzees were a big hit.



As the sun began to set it was a great time for a walk along the harbor in downtown Miami.



The Miami skyline.



The Miami Daily News Tower.



The Bayside Marketplace is a popular downtown destination.



Shopping, entertainment and more can be found at Bayside.


Me at Bayside as the sun sets.



WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2005:


I left Miami Wednesday morning and drove to Orlando, stopping at Cypress Gardens enroute.



The park was nicely decorated for the holidays.



You get a nice view of the park from the park's sky ride.



Topiary Trail features a collection of colorful topiaries, including a variety of animals such as a rabbit and seal.



The highlight of any trip to Cypress Gardens is the long-running water ski show.



The Cypress Gardens Water Ski Show is the longest running live entertainment show in the country.



The water ski show brings back a historic tradition that started at the park in 1941.



Daring lifts and jumps, as well as barefoot skiing, tandem jumps and the world-famous Cypress Gardens water ski pyramid.



Native plants and exotic species combine in a magnificent display creating a horticultural masterpiece.

CYPRESS GARDENS VIDEO
10 minute video of Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven, Florida.
Click on the link to play video.
Right click on title to download.


HOLIDAY ICE SHOW VIDEO
11 minute video of Cypress Garden's Holiday Ice Show.
Click on the link to play video.
Right click on title to download.



I arrived at Disney World shortly before sunset and checked into the Swan hotel.



After getting settled in my accomodations it was a short walk over to Disney's Boardwalk.



Epcot was nicely decorated for the holidays.



The Spaceship Earth Pavilion is one of the many attractions in Epcot's Future World.



In IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, the sky erupts with pyrotechnic bursts and the Earth Globe floats across the lagoon.





THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2005:


After a quick ride on the Disney Transprotation System I was at Disney's Animal Kingdom, where I began my Thursday.



The 14-story Tree of Life was sculpted by more than a dozen artisans and is the centerpiece of Disney's Animal Kingdom.



On the Kilimanjaro Safari you ride in open-sided safari vehicles through acres of savannah, rivers and rocky hills.



One of the performers in the Africa exhibit.



Mickey and his pals in Camp Minnie-Mickey.



All the Disney parks are nicely decorated for the holidays, but they are also very crowded.



This is Disney's MGM Studios and Epcot from my Air Florida Helicopter.



Here you can see the Epcot resort area where I am staying along with Disney's Boardwalk.



Epcot's World Showcase.



Downtown Disney.



Sea World.





FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2005:


Friday began at Disney's MGM Studios.



The large crowd at MGM Studio's Hollywood and Vine.



The large crowds during the holidays made it hard to frame good pictures.

A DISNEY MGM STUDIOS CHRISTMAS VIDEO
8 minute video of Disney MGM Studios at Christmas time.

Click on the player above to watch video on İYouTube.



It was back over to Epcot Friday afternoon.



Epcot's Germany.



Epcot's China and the World Showcase Lagoon.



The Disney monorail system.



The giant Christmas tree at the entrance to World Showcase.



Mission Space is my favorite of the Future World attractions.



Epcot's United Kingdom.

EPCOT VIDEO
8 minute video of my visit to Epcot during the 2005 holiday season.

Click on the player above to watch video on İYouTube.



Disney's Yacht Club Resort.



Disney's Boardwalk as seen from the Yacht Club Resort.



Over five million lights in the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at MGM Studios.





SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2005:


On New Years Eve I drove over to St. Augustine, this is the Castillo de San Marcos.



Old City Helicopters provided an aerial view of the nation's oldest city.



The delightful historic district with its cobblestone streets and quaint cafes.



Castillo de San Marcos and St. Augustine, Florida.



The Castillo de San Marcos, built 1672-1695, served primarily as an outpost of the Spanish Empire.


Weather was perfect for the seventh day in a row.

ST. AUGUSTINE VIDEO
2 minute video of St. Augustine, Florida.

Click on the player above to watch video on İYouTube.


NEW YEAR'S EVE @ EPCOT VIDEO
10 minute video of the New Year's celebration at Disney's EPCOT.

Click on the player above to watch video on İYouTube.




SUNDAY, JANUARY 1, 2006:


After ringing in the New Year at Epcot the night before, I began Sunday at Sea World Orlando.



I thought it was rediculous that after charging $63.00 admission, you had to pay still more for the sky tower.



This is Shamu. I took a lot of video of the killer whales and didn't get a good still picture.



My favorite part of the park was where you got to pet and feed the dolphins.



The dolphin and whale show was pretty good.

SEA WORLD ORLANDO VIDEO
10 minute video of my New Years Day visit to Sea World.

Click on the player above to watch video on İYouTube.





MONDAY, JANUARY 2, 2006:


I don't have much interest in Magic Kingdom, but I had a couple hours to kill before having to leave for the airport.



I sure hated to leave Florida after eight days of perfect weather.


Main Street U.S.A.



Cinderella's Castle. Bad weather in Atlanta delayed my flights back home later in the day.

MAGIC KINGDOM VIDEO
3 minute video of Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

Click on the player above to watch video on İYouTube.



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