Lincoln Visits Strevel…An Historical Moment

Over the summer, I have figured out that I have several categories of travel that I truly enjoy checking off.  One of them being History, but more specific, Lincoln and his travels.  Having spent some serious time in the Midwest lately, it has given me a really cool perspective of this President and his life and times.  So when I visit a city, I look up if there was anything Lincoln did or saw there to add to my digital scrapbook of travels. This was one of those places, a diamond in the rough, and unless you knew where it was, I doubt most would make it a stop. rsz_img_1070

Yes, it’s a red house on a corner, 401 Livingston Street.  But it’s the Gothic Style architecture that gives this house a very spooky vibe, on top of the fact that Lincoln himself spent time here visiting and celebrating. Built in 1854 and located in Pontiac, Illinois, sits this interesting home where Lincoln visited his good friend, Jason Strevell. Why is it so significant? Because it is here that Lincoln penned a letter to his son on the evening of January 27th, 1860, that he predicted he would be nominated for the vice-presidency of the Republican Party.  The Strevels would also host a celebration for Lincoln here after one of his speeches at the local church. It is the ONLY and LAST house standing in Livingston County in which Lincoln visited. rsz_img_1068 (2)1LincolnDwightHomersz_img_1069 (1)rsz_img_1067Anything with Lincoln gives me the goosebumps…to know the man walked the same steps I now took in 2020, the same pavement, the same view of this home.  The home wasn’t open, due to Covid, but I was able to get a shot of the inside through the front door. To see him walk down the stairs, to know he walked and thought about where his foothold in history would be. Maybe he had no idea how he would shape us, but it’s pretty incredible to see these places and feel that amazing, historical energy.  I encourage you or the family to road trip to these spots around Illinois, it’s a great learning experience and it’s important to keep the history alive. Want to see more of my Lincoln Road Trip? Check it out HERE. Enjoy!

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The 2020 Sea World All Day Dining Deal: Part Two…The What and Where Food Reviews

If you haven’t caught Part One: The Sea World 2020 All Day Dining Challenge, please check it out FIRST. If you have, well then let’s talk about this gluttonous venture that was my day yesterday. I would’ve loved to have kept this all one article, but it was just going to be too stinking long so here we are, a FRESH chapter to dig into. SW10

Alrighty, I am just going to go in chronological order of our day, that way you can follow much easier from the transition of the first chapter on this. So we began at “Seafire Grill.” This place is on the far right as you walk into the Park, and it’s located right before you hit the long bridge across the waterfront area. What I used to love about this Restaurant, was that they had a porch on it for outside dining. I would grab my Mexi-bowl of goodness and listen to the seagulls (piped in mind you) and just enjoyed the warm breeze outside. Then they made it a bar. Wah wah. So when we grabbed our very light breakfast offerings (Continental as advertised) we opted for a high table in the courtyard area outside. The inside of this Restaurant has no music, it’s quiet, it’s dark, and clearly used for dinner shows but they open it up for seating during the day. It basically feels like you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be. Hence, we ate outside. Plus, it was 60 degrees and overcast so it was somewhat pleasurable. No heat stroke today Satan! The fruit in the fruit cup was fresh, which was a light way to start our day, and the blueberry muffin we had, had a very wet consistency. Delicious but a bit mushy. I like them more fluffier.SW3

Onto “Mango Joes,” located in the back corner near Antartica. The outside porch of this one is under construction right now since they are making another rollercoaster near it. The inside is just for lining up and ordering, all dining is outside here. We had the impossible burger….and it was, ok. Strange honestly. My brain says “This should be beef” yet my taste buds don’t know what to make of it. I wouldn’t have it again, but I am glad I tried it. The side summer salad was DELICIOUS!!! They had a couple of choices of salads here, but this one had peaches, strawberries, crumbled cheese and red onions- sooo good!! SW2

Waterway Grill” is one of their largest Restaurants- also has an Annual Passholder lounge here. If you have a large group, this is a great place to sit inside and enjoy the ac! They had very limited seating outside, but we found a table that was just outside the “Infinity Falls” ride. We did have some bees….so there’s that for eating outside. Here we had the Churrasco Steak with beans and rice. The Steak was incredibly chewy, so we opted out after the first bite. The rice and beans were really good and we poured the sauce that came with the dish all over that instead of the steak. You can’t go wrong with carrot cake, it was yummy!SW5

Expedition Café” was a walk up area inside to order, and then you pay and eat either outside or in an designated air conditioned hangar they have for it. A very well themed area for the penguins, this was a fun stop to eat and look around. The Asian dish we had of Orange Chicken, Teriyaki, Fried Veggies and Rice were actually really good. The Orange Chicken had a bit more breading than bird, but otherwise I would highly recommend this dish. And of course, chocolate cake was delish…hard to mess up that one! The White Cherry Icee was really good, but oh boy did I get the cold headache from that one, take caution my amigos.SW6

Captain Pete’s Island Hot Dogs” is a hot dog stand right outside the Sting Ray petting zone. A walk up, the tables are all outside, but thankfully under coverage. By this point I couldn’t think about food anymore, so when we got this footlong chili cheese hot dog, I had to find every strength in me to take a few bites, which I did. They are the brand “Nathan’s” – well known for those dogs. I thought it was delicious, and honestly intimidating for the size of thing. Seriously. I don’t know who can eat one of these in a sitting. It came with waffle fries (because Sea World believes in waffle fries for some reason, for everything) and a bag of cookies (which I had today and they were very good- Chocolate Chip!). For $13, you do get a lot for a hot dog, and the fries, but it’s still $13.SW8

I love a good BBQ, so “Voyagers” was exciting for me. The Rib platter had 2-3 ribs, a quarter chicken, a sausage, waffle fries and a dinner roll. The ribs were chewy, and didn’t “fall of the bone” like “MoriMoto.” The Chicken was delicious and the sausage was just ok. The roll actually had some flavor to it, so that was a nice surprise – kind of like Kings Hawaiian. The Cherry Cheesecake was smooth and yummy. We sat outside, limited seating, but inside is another large restaurant with booths and large tables for big groups.

By the time we hit “Spice Mill,” I was pretty sure that if I was the fuzzy pumper from a playdoh set, people would be able to squeeze out food from every pore. We had the Bacon Cheeseburger, which was HUGE, and a side of potato salad. Both were excellent and they offered all the fixings for the burger. They have lots of seating indoors but they have a wrap around porch on the water which makes this location relaxing to enjoy.

Last but not least, we hit “Seafire Grill” again, but this time for dinner. Still quiet and dark, we found a table off to the side to enjoy our last meal of the day. We chose the grilled chicken wrap, which was tasteless, and a side of Chocolate cake (which again was delish). I would recommend ordering something hot here, the wraps were pre-made and who knows how long they were sitting out. It was a mundane way to end the day of dining, but there you go.

I hope you find this helpful and check out the YouTube vlog that accompanies this visit on my “The Relocated Tourist” YouTube channel!

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The 2020 Sea World All Day Dining Deal: Part One…The Food Choices

Living the Relocated Tourist life, you discover little ways here and there to make the most out of your money, especially since I am in them 3-4 times a week. Having been a Passholder for a while, I had been curious about this “All Day Dining Deal” that they advertise all over their site and Parks. I am usually in the Parks from open to mid-afternoon, usually because I am trying to beat rush hour on the way home, so it is rare these days to do an open to close in any of the Theme Parks. An “All Day Dining Deal” for myself never seemed worth it because I usually ate breakfast at home or on the way, grabbed my lunch at the Park and then was home well in time for dinner. That being said, I thought it would be a fun blog to challenge myself to the “All Day Dining Deal.” Meaning I would eat on the hour, every hour the Park was open, to see what kind of food options, drinks, and such I could get out of the deal. Here’s the gluttonous tale…. I hope you’re hungry….said no one ever after doing this challenge.

First, I want to start off by thanking my amazing husband, Craig, who willingly agreed to do this challenge with me. Sea World was having a great offer for Passholders for the month of January, where I could bring in a friend for free. I am the Passholder of the family, so these deals are nice for me to bring in a family member on occasion without having to pay for family passes. (A nice perk if you’re thinking of becoming an Annual Passholder). So let’s state the facts first for your reference. It was a Monday, it was in January, their hours were 10-6, and it was a quiet Park. We were pretty sure there were more employees than visitors. January is typically a slow month in the Parks, so keep that in mind. These facts are important when deciding when and if you’d like to do the dining plan. Time of year means more or less people, which means more or less lines, which means more or less time to achieve this challenge in the first place. You have to get in line, then order your food, then pay for food, and then eat your food all in a span of time before the next hour was up to eat again. You’d think this would be an easy task, it wasn’t. Had we had bigger crowds with bigger lines, not only would we not have gotten so much done, but we wouldn’t have wanted to do as much because more people usually causes more stress which leads to me in my car going home as soon as possible.

We got to the Park right away at opening, again 10 am, and immediately bought the dining plan at a kiosk just inside the entrance, right next to the “Sea World” sign photo opp. (These kiosks are located throughout the Park) Since I am a Passholder, I was able to save 15% off. So for any adult, it would be $39.99 with tax, ($19.99 for children) and for me it was $33.99 with tax. They give you a wristband with a UPC Code for them to scan every time you purchase something. It was purchased at 10:09 a.m. which now was basically the green light to start eating. What is in the Dining Deal? The one that I bought gives you ONE entrée, ONE side or dessert, and ONE beverage. You can upgrade to include alcohol for $15 more- that’s ONE drink per hour. Who knew you could get lit at Sea World? Tis true! IMPORTANT NOTE- The ONLY place serving breakfast was “Seafire Inn” which is a couple right turns off the entrance. Again, you want to get the most for your purchase, so we headed there to grab breakfast first. You could get a fruit cup($3.99), choice of bakery item ($3.99), and then a drink($3.99) (fountain drink, bottled water, or milk). The total value of breakfast was roughly $13 let’s say. We recorded our time down at 10:17 a.m. and made sure to keep track of everything we were eating. Check out the next blog post about reviews of the food and the places we ate- I would’ve added it here but it would make this post about 80 pages long, aint no one got time for that! SW11

A note here, you can ask for a receipt for each transaction, but there are no prices listed on said receipt, you will want these for the time stamp on the bottom, so you know when you can get your next meal. When they say you can eat every hour, they mean it, and not a MINUTE sooner. Now drinks? They are more relaxed on those. I was told you can get as many as you want throughout the day, but I was told by another Team Member that they allow 12 beverages per visitor which equals a normal Park day’s hours are usually 12 hours. Since they were only open 8 on the day we went, she still said the system allows 12 each. So keep that in mind if you already used your meal credit for the hour but you’re dying for a bottle of water, go ahead and get it.

Next we hit up “Mango Joes” at 11:17 a.m. which was in the back corner of the Park, next to “Wild Artic.” Now being lunch time, we could get a little more creative with our choices. I wanted to pick different items at each offered location so that I could report a variety of offerings the Park has. We all get sick of chicken nuggets and fries don’t we? Here we chose the Impossible burger (which for those who don’t know what that is, it’s a plant based, vegan option)($14.99), a side summer salad($4.99), waffle fries came included with the entrée, and a Coke Zero($3.99). A total value of $25 let’s say with tax. Now just after TWO meals, we had gotten a value of $38- already $5 over what I paid into it. SW12

At 12:17, we found ourselves at “Waterway Grill” which is a brand new Restaurant back behind the newest ride “Infinity Falls.” A cleaner menu, they offered tofu, steak, and chicken, which was a nice variety to choose from. We chose the Churrasco Steak($15.99), which came with rice and beans, a large piece of carrot cake($3.99), and another Coke Zero($3.99). By the way, all meal plans come with the regular size drink, and not the 2 Liter size. Value around $25 for that meal. SW13

After saying hello to my favorite penguin crew, we dined at “Expedition Cafe” which is just outside their ride and area. We dined at 1:20 p.m. and I was super excited that they served Asian food here. We chose the Teriyaki chicken, Orange Chicken, Fried Veggies and Fried Rice combo ($15.99) with a large piece of Chocolate cake($3.99) and mixed things up a bit with a Lemonade($3.99)this round. A total value of $25 with tax. I even snagged a White Cherry(they had three flavors here) Icee ($4.99) after dinner as part of my “unlimited beverages.”SW14

At 2:20 p.m., we headed to “Captain Pete’s Island Hot Dogs” stand where we picked up a Foot Long Chili Cheese Hot Dog ($12.99), more waffle fries included, a bottle of water ($2.99), and a bag of cookies ($3.99). Total Value was roughly $21. I was excited about the cookies being in a bag, it was the first item we had received that I could take home with me, funny thing is I just remembered they were in my bag and currently eating one as I write.SW16

3:20 p.m. came fast, so we headed to “Voyagers” which is a BBQ Smokehouse. We got the Rib Platter which was 3 Ribs, a quarter Chicken, smoked sausage, waffle fries, and a dinner roll ($18.99). Also was a piece of cherry cheesecake ($3.99) and a Sprite ($3.99). A value roughly of $28.SW17

Since there was a large line at the last one, our time was bumped to 4:30 p.m. for the next gluttonous adventure. We headed to “Spice Mill” where we got the Bacon Cheeseburger with all the fixings ($13.49), a side of Potato Salad ($3.99) and TWO bottles of water ($2.99 each) (because again I could get as many as they’d let me). Total value was $24.SW9

5:30 p.m. came and we could see the end in sight….all I could think about is how much pepto I was going to have to take to counter act the battle that was about to happen in my digestive tract. We ended where we started, “Seafire Inn” where they now were serving dinner. We chose the Grilled Chicken Wrap ($12.99), piece of Chocolate Cake ($3.99) and another Coke Zero ($3.99) to end the day. Total value of this meal, $22 with tax.SW18

So again with estimation of tax, for the $33.99 that I had spent for ONE dining, all day, plan, the TOTAL value you COULD get in one EIGHT hour day is $183!!!! Now, let’s be realistic. Who is going to eat EIGHT meals during a Park day? Between rides and shows, you can barely sit for one, maybe two meals. The point though is that if you do your research, you can find the best value for that plan, and also you can get those beverages any time you like. Bottled water any time is a HUGE commodity in the Florida heat, so that alone with your meals is well worth the dining plan. NOW if you or your family are light eaters, I would say it’s not worth it. Split some meals up and save the cash. I split every single meal with my husband all day long – ONE plan- and we were STILL stuffed to the gills!!

Check out my next post about my review on the food we ate and the places we ate for this Challenge HERE. I hope you found this informative and that it helps YOU out on your next adventure to Sea World, Orlando!

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Distracted Parent at the Parks

rsz_img_e6378Recently on a trip to the Parks, I was waiting in line at Slinky Dog with the family.  As we all know, the culmination of tired guests at the end of a long day, can make those lines seem even longer. I GET IT.  But that being said, I watched as a couple were in deep discussion over a map or kissing, whatever, as their small children of probably 5 years old, played around my family and I behind them… at first it’s cute. You tell yourself that kids will be kids and let them have their fun.  Then they step on you….they don’t mean it so you try to keep your cool and again convince yourselves that these little humans don’t realize they can be jerks.  But as I watched the parents, time and time again over the next 90 minute wait we had, my blood began to boil.  If you say something, you’re the bad guy.  PLUS you get the added bonus of waiting in line with the people you just asked to stop for however long and that’s just as uncomfortable. At one point we had moved forward a good ten feet and their kids were playing on the poles and Mom and Dad didn’t even notice they were a good 4 parties behind them. Nothing. It wasn’t until the kids ran up to join them that they even looked down.

I get it folks, people want to celebrate with their kids in this happy place.  But you know what doesn’t make it happy anymore? When I constantly have to watch your child for you because you are too distracted.  Parenting is rough, many of us have been through it or are still in the trenches. And yes, it does take a Village. Here’s an example of when I was more than happy to help. I have found that the parade environment, at Disney especially, can be a very toxic place. The reason is that EVERYONE feels entitled to see, have the perfect spot, and it doesn’t matter who around them has to deal with it.  I have sat hours beforehand to get a perfect picture or that “just right” experience and I don’t mind standing to let little ones sit or stand in front of me.  When parents ASK ME I have totally ok with it- as long as the kids are going to sit still and I am not having to babysit. But when parents decide to SHOVE their little human in front of me and yell “Its just a child, it’s just a child” I truthfully want to shout back at the parent “It’s my foot, it’s just my foot.” Read into that how you want.  I was sitting on Main Street with the family on a vacation back in the day and a stroller came behind us, parked, and the child’s ice cream dripped down my back.  Nothing like getting my spot early only to have to deal with a sticky backside and parents who didn’t care as I looked back at them with “the look.”  Or holding a place for hours on end just to be made to feel like you’re a bad human because you got there first and did the time and they can’t believe they can’t just walk up and sit in your spot. Oh and on a side not, for Pete’s sake if you need to put your child up on your shoulders to see, stand in the BACK.

What people get wrong about the Parks is that they are for EVERYONE. Not just families, not just the single rider, and certainly not just for the kids- EVERYBODY. So it just takes a little time and respect to watch your kids in line, say sorry when your kid does something to a stranger, and please don’t play it off when they do and think “It’s just my kid being a kid.”  Most people, like myself, will give the benefit of the doubt repeatedly because we don’t want to come off looking like jerks either.  We want your kids and your family to have a GREAT time, just be aware that you’re not the only one enjoying the magic.

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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What’s In a Name?

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For those who don’t know our story, back in 2009, Craig and I were on our nightly walk when we not only came up with the name “The Relocated Tourist”, but also our mantra and life statement, which is “Going from what if, to why not?” Still love that to this day. I can’t even begin to tell you how much that has applied to our lives.

When I started blogging that 9 years ago, I was thirsty to share with the World what information we had collected for our big move to Florida. There wasn’t anything out there that talked about “REAL” life here, and that concerned us both.  Thus a building of a beautiful community of friends that I have had since that launch day, oh so long ago, that I wish I had realized that I didn’t have to stay in the box that I had created for myself back then.

People will tell you if you want the numbers, stay on target. Focus on what you want to talk about and go with that subject in mind.  But I have learned that I have lots I want to talk about and share with people, and I am definitely not “normal.”  The reason I LOVED the name of my blog was for the fact that I could talk about travel, relocation, Disney, Universal, Sea World, Florida, Wisconsin, road trips, life mishaps, etc… and why I hope that when the day comes that this isn’t all about Mickey and Main Street that you STILL follow along my adventures.

I can guarantee you we will relocate again down the road…but for now, the magic of Disney, the frustrations of Florida, and all of my road trip goodness will hopefully keep you tucked in at night.  Stay tuned!

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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Thoughts on the “No Smoking” Ban and Stroller Restrictions starting Tomorrow

rsz_1img_0715When Disney announced a couple of weeks ago that they would be banning all smoking from it’s Parks and restricting it to the outside of the Park entrances only, I was THRILLED.   I am one of many that gets sick from the smell, and yes, I try to avoid the Cancer corners as much as possible. Going into effect tomorrow, this should be interesting since I have yet to meet a smoker who was happy to be asked to move or smoke elsewhere.  No, really. I have seen them, like all of you have, randomly lighting up anywhere in the Parks. Now I understand that many of our friends are from other Countries where they may be permitted to smoke anywhere they want. But that being said, I have never understood why someone’s bad habit needs to be in my lungs and affect my health. Not ok.  I bite my nails on occasion, it’s my bad habit, it doesn’t affect you. Now if I ran up and started to bite YOUR nails, you may not be to happy either.  Besides with all of the children around, we can do better and give them a healthier environment.  (Cue everything else unhealthy in the Parks comments now).

Speaking of kids…the strollers. This one I know is touchy with many tourists and I GET IT. I had babies brought to Disney World, helped friends with theirs, I KNOW that the stroller is LIFE in those Parks in which everything you need lives in.  BUT as the other side of that coin, the traveler who is by herself and is minding her own business, I have watched the strollers get bigger and bigger and bigger.  I can’t even begin to tell you what my brain tries to process when I see these large wagons getting onto a packed monorail…I actually feel bad for the parents.  They are trying to contain their little humans in an occupied and comfortable space, but when they practically take up the floor space of one Monorail cab…me thinks it may be time to downsize the limo.  I think the one that actually took me off guard was the mini Cinderella Coach model in MK one night.  All I kept thinking was “HOW IN THE WORLD DID THEY TRANSPORT THIS BACK AND FORTH TO THE HOTEL??” I know that these companies move some of them, but I am sure that Disney has wrestled with this gator for awhile.  I hear all the time “Disney was made for families” – well yes and no. It’s made for everyone, family or not.  And I know that EVERYONE should be able to enjoy it, but I feel like at the end of the day it’s more work for those parents to be pushing or pulling a larger model.  I guess we are going to find out.

I feel that I can predict a lot of “I smoked here yesterday” or “I did last trip here” conversations or even possibly angry shouting. I mean are they seriously going to make them walk from let’s say from near Norway to the front or the back entrance of Epcot? Who are these BRAVE Cast Members? Can we give them a hug or medal tomorrow? I can’t even imagine Guest Relations tomorrow…it’s going to be like the “Upside-Down” in “Stranger Things.”

Strollers? I am curious how they are going to police this one. Maybe at Security? Someone has a measuring tape? That won’t hold up the lines AT ALL…… Maybe they will get smart and have a large strollers line so that they can check them, kind of like luggage at the airport.  Resorts would be smart to stop them there first, save the parents the “What do we do now” when they are denied the stroller they brought with them.  I could see them comping people with a nice hard plastic Disney stroller- complimentary love bugs included. (Yep, they’re heeeeeeeere). Between the Studios Anniversary tomorrow and all these rules starting, should make for some interesting daytime fireworks.

Stay tuned and let me know your thoughts on this in the comments below or on the Facebook page.

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$5.00