In early January 2012 my family and I (wife and 2.6 kids at the time) climbed in to our internal combustion conveyance and sojourned from central Maryland to balmy Florida to visit my wife’s Grandparents and Disney. My in-laws met up with us along the road in Virgina and we caravaned the rest of the way down. We added a previously discussed, but not planned visit to the Kennedy Spaceflight center at Cape Canaveral before traveling on to Vero Beach for a couple of days and then Disney for 3 days.
First stop was Kennedy Spaceflight center. Both kids (and Dad and PaPa) greatly enjoyed seeing the rocket garden and touring some pieces of the center. Sadly our time there was limited to only about 3 hours, so there wasn’t much time to see a whole lot. Maybe on a future trip we can dedicate a full day to the visit.
After that it was Vero beach for 2 days, which I sadly don’t have any pictures of (my wife has many however).
Then it was Disney. We had planned on 3 days there, 2 in the magic kingdom and a day in the middle just to hangout around the hotel suite, pool, etc relaxing and recovering from the first day (a great suggestion from a friend). As it turns out the weather on the final day was looking like rain, so we spent Monday and Tuesday in the Magic Kingdom and Wednesday at the pool, hotel room and various indoor spots along the monorail…which is good because it was chilly (high 50’s low 60’s) with a few periodic rain showers throughout the day. The day of recuperation was much-needed before the epic 19 hour drive straight through home from Disney.
Overall it was wonderful and lots of fun (not so much the drive). One of the things that made the drive somewhat bearable was rigging up my iPad so that the kids could watch shows and movies in the back seats for the drive. I have a portable hotspot with built-in microSD card slot and network share capability (Sprint Overdrive) that I use solely for expanding my iPad’s internal storage. It was great as I was able to pack about 10 movies and roughly 15 or 20 kids shows (15-20 minutes each) on to a single 16GB microSD card and stream it to my iPad. If I had been left with just the internal storage space I might have managed only 3-4 movies and a handful of shows. The kids didn’t end up watching it all, but with around 40hrs in the car total it did provide roughly half that time with some nice entertainment for the kids (the rest was napping, sleeping, playing, etc time) and gave choices for what they could watch instead of being stuck with only a couple of choices and having to rewatch some of the same stuff over and over on the trip.
I mention all of that simply as a suggestion for anyone who either has children and is facing a long trip in the car or else personally is facing a long flight, train ride, getting driven somewhere or long boring “vacation” and is looking to be able to bring some extra entertainment. Of course Android tablet users sometimes have the option of a microSD card slot to expand their tablets storage space, or are lucky enough/wealthy enough to have gotten a larger capacity tablet to begin with. However, for the $75 it cost ($50 for the hot spot used from Ebay (I don’t use the built in 3g for internet access, so there is no data/contract fee), $20 for the 16GB microSD card and $5 for the iOS FileBrowser application which allows access to network shares in the iPad/iPhone), it was a pretty cheap storage expansion and can server multiple devices at once if you have several wireless devices and different media consumption needs for your family.