Next time you are dreaming of taking that perfect Florida Spring break. THINK AGAIN!

My family and I just got back from a glorious week in Sunny Florida. The weather was beautiful, the people were friendly and the last preseason spring training baseball game between Detroit and the NY Yankees was a blast (did you see me on ESPN? ) but the CROWDS?


I think we spent about 4 extra hours in the car on the way back and forth each way. The stop and go traffic made my son Jeremy, 5, sick in the car. Twice! We witnessed several accidents and even a bus that completely burned to a crisp on the side of the road with all of the people standing nearby watching all of their possessions being burned up.

Okay, so we planned it like everyone else on the east coast. We left on the Friday before Easter and came back the following Saturday. We took a detour to Atlanta to see friends on the way home and went through miles and miles of two lane stretches of highway that made the crowds worse. The one good thing was that the Florida tolls let us fly by without paying since the crowds were so horrible. I guess you’d NEVER see that in NY or NJ. They’d make you wait for the 3-4 hours that it’d take to pay your toll.

We did visit Sea World one day. We got there by 11am and the crowds were starting to stream in. By the time we left, approx. 5PM, the wait for all of the attractions were over an hour. The lines to buy food were not much shorter and just walking from showcase to showcase was a very deliberate act. Shamu was in rare form though and the seals were spectacular. We had a wonderful time and it’s worth the trip. I could watch those animals every day and always get a smile on my face. They are beautiful and I sometimes think I missed my calling of working with animals for a living!

Sea World also has a great hospitality tent sponsored by Amheiser Busch. Each person over the age of 18 gets to try 2 different beers of their choice. That makes the waiting a little bit more tolerable even in the Florida sun. And of course, it puts everyone in a good mood!

Besides going to my favorite theme park, Sea World, we did enjoy seeing the baseball spring training with all of the Yankees. I mean, there were TONS of Yankees. Not only from NY either! Because all of the teams were playing, there were people from every state and as far away as Canada who camped out for the whole event. We had great seats on the grass behind the third base foul line. Jeremy got to throw his baseball around with tons of other kids and Sway and I hung out with our friends Rob and Joy and eat hot dogs and drink beer. Everyone at the game was in a great mood and even sang “Take me out to the Ball game” together. Then everyone in the stands roared and cheered when the announcer said that the weather in both cities represented (Detroit and NY) were in the 40’s, but we were all enjoying 82 degree Sunny Florida Weather!

At one point at the game when I learned we were on ESPN I called my mom and had her turn on the TV to see the game. Literally, within 2 minutes, the ball was hit RIGHT in my direction and landed about 1 foot in front of where I was sitting. I ran to the ball and waved to my mom who was watching me at that very moment on live TV. I got to shout: HI MOM and I knew she was watching. It all happened so fast but it was perfect timing!

Ahhhhhhh! Spring Training! Sea World! They were worth doing every year.

But lets please not forget, if you ARE going to go to Florida during Spring Break, to see Mickey, Shamu, or any of the other many theme parks or Spring Training, Get YOUR TIMING RIGHT.

Travel before or after the time everyone else does. Remember that if you DO have to travel during those times because of school vacation schedules, then take frequent breaks, bring a DVD player and GREAT movies. Also, don’t forget the healthy food in the car and sandwiches for the ride too.

If you do want to hit the theme parks, then plan on standing in line.. A LOT. Bring LOTS of sun tan screen and bring everyone a hat to wear. (You have NO idea how many people were buying hats to protect themselves from the sun!) Bring a lot of water and keep a cooler in the car full of ice and drinks at all times. You’ll go broke buying water at the theme parks!

And most of all, if you want to visit Florida during spring break; BRING YOUR MANNERS… and DRIVE SAFELY. No amount of traffic is enough to make a person get careless on the road and if you can’t be PATIENT and take the crowds all in stride, then STAY HOME!