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  • Writer's pictureKeef Hellinger

Blog 165 USA 1997 Florida (recreated 2021 a retrospective) Family Holiday, 25th Disney Anniversary

Updated: Oct 14, 2023

By keef and annie Hellinger, Dec 2 2021 14.21 pm



We holidayed at The Villas of Somerset, Kissimmee, Florida, USA, 34746 between 26 July and the 09 August 1997 and then toured a bit of Florida for 7 days before flying back from Orlando to the UK.

If you would like to read the full diary please click HERE or to listen to our adventures as an Audio book if you would prefer , please click HERE , thanks or if you would like to see the full 1997 Florida trip site entry please click HERE

In this blog you can see the full Slideshow of recovered images from that trip accompanied by the Audiobook Diary, thanks for looking x

We visited again for Disney World Resorts 50th anniversary with now 3 generations of our family and make comparisons between the Disney Parks 25 years apart, indeed some such as Animal Kingdom were not build in 1997. Read more on Blog 183 HERE

image of family in front of disney entrance for 25th anniversary by KHWD
Grumpy in front of Walt and Mickey tee-hee 25th Anniversary

As Moonfruit died on 7th December 2021 my previous HOLIDAY2010 site which contained our trips to Florida in 1997 and our trip to British Columbia in 1997 (plus briefly visiting pals David & Cathy & family in 1999 in Edmonton, Alberta) was migrated by Yell to WIX. I have decided to incorporate it here into my motorhome-travels blog site as an insurance against Yell increasing site charges quite substantially once a year is up, it will then be easy to remove the migrated site.

In January 2022 I decided to work on the HOLIDAY 2010 site that had been very badly migrated i.e. it did not work but after quite some effort I am happy to keep it in its new guise, click HERE to see the new version of Florida USA 1997, enjoy or just carry on with the blog here

Note this is intrinsically linked to Blog 62 & Blog 80, see the 3 associated blogs at end of post, thanks

We returned again to Key West on our cruise in 2018 Blog 125

Family Time Clearwater Beach, Tampa and West Palm Beach plus of course Disney & Miss Piggy #sigh
Family Time Clearwater Beach, Tampa and West Palm Beach plus of course Disney & Miss Piggy #sigh
picture of father and children at the kennedy space station, florida in 1997
the final frontier

One of our heroes, his business card which is what this is obviously worked, ha-ha

walt disney's 1921 business card
His 1921 Biz Card

We visited amongst others Florida (FL) USA with the boys, including Kissimmee, Tampa, the Keys, Everglades, Cape Kennedy Space Station, clearwater, Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and all the parks.... Disney, Universal and Busch gardens. We are hoping to return in 2022 for Craig's 40th and be with the grand children this time, cant wait, COVID-19 allowing. Return to MENU


The counter of visitors to our old HOLIDAY 2010 site has been retained under the BIG TRIPs page (along with all the others) so we can possibly keep them going for as long as possible and realise the full visitor numbers although Google Analytics tells us a lot of that nowadays, just not the complete count since day 1 launch of the old sites.

DIARY: Florida USA 1997 3 Weeks July & August

Summary: We spent 21 Days in Florida, USA between 26th July and the 16th August 1997

We took 227 Photos, all of which are included in the summary slideshows, many of which were scanned from old fashioned Kodak prints.

So we spent 15 days in Kissimmee, Orlando Florida on holiday between 26 July - 9 August 1997, it was a fun Family Time we stayed at apartment 126, The Villas of Somerset, Kissimmee, Florida, USA, 34746, we also visited for a further 7 days Clearwater Beach, Tampa and West Palm Beach in our hired car which was a huge Chevrolet with not surprisingly 3 seats across the front and multiple coffee and soda cup holders ha-ha, plus of course we visited Disney & Miss Piggy #sigh, the whole logic of this holiday was that the boys were now old enough to appreciate Disney in its entirety so this was a special family break, especially it was Disney World’s 25th celebrations and here's a summary.

We initially stayed in Kissimmee for 2 weeks and visited ALL the theme parks & water parks. Going back into Universal after 7pm is a good call as it saved the queues. Saw central Orlando including taking the boys to the Orlando Magic basketball stadium, they were both keen at the time and indeed Doug played for the Ilkeston Outlaws basketball team back at home, we played a bit of tennis at the Villas as well. We then travelled across to the west, Tampa, Busch Gardens park, clearwater, International Drive, Sanibel, Sarasota, Venice , Naples, then back to the east via the Everglades and down the Keys: Largo, Marathon, Bahia Honda NP, Key West then back up via Fort Lauderdale, Miami (although didn't go in here in 97 but did in 2018) to Orlando plus Kennedy Space Station with its NASA centre replication and the newly installed Apollo, Saturn 5 centre, just mesmerising , Cocoa beach its jetty and lovely sandy beach, River Country, Cracker Barrel, Visiting my hero Dali’s exhibition, Naples jetty pier, St Pete’s Beach, West Palm Beach with all its posh locked up homes and posh yacht moored outside, ESPN where maybe Craig & I got our love of Grid Iron or American Football from, come on 49ers & Eagles, Busch Gardens run by Anheuser Busch the beer people, we remember Montu in the Egypt area and the scary Kumba which I must have gone on at least 3 times in a row with the boys until I felt sick, the Edge of Africa area which you went over in a skyride monorail cable car, also standing on the bridge getting soaked by the huge water chute ride, can’t remember what it was called, but as hot and humid we loved it, so cooling, Busch characters to rival Disney , OK maybe not, T J Tiger and the Hippo, 25th Disney World (now Resorts) Anniversary, Typhoon Lagoon, Sea World (and sadly Shamu which we feel very guilty about), Sports World, River Country, EPCOT was sponsored by the then Eastern Kodak Company, sadly no more to my knowledge, digital is here to stay, it included Illuminations 25 accompanied by the Disney-Grammy All American College Orchestra, ta-rah , Universal Studios and the Tower of Terror, The fab Honey I Shrunk the Kids experience with the height of technology at the time, shaking seats sprayed by water, tee-hee, Water World, MGM Studios, Magic Kingdom, we had the guide for between 28th July and 3rd August, Discovery & Pleasure Island where we went one evening very strict licensing laws meant I couldn’t even buy a drink for Annie you had to buy your own and proof your age, flattering if the truth be known that they thought we were younger than 21, ha-ha, Blizzard Beach, River Country, Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex with beach volleyball, Annie wouldn’t let me attend the ladies one, ha-ha, Terminator 2 experience, Ride of the Movies, Back to The Future Ride, Kongfrontation, Jaws ride, Earthquake, ET ride, Our Universal Tickets were from the 5th to 7th august, we saw the Twilight zone featuring the Tower of Terror, Indiana Jones , Toy Story, Backlot tours , Watched Disney animators at work on the new to be Mulan (now ancient history) but fascinating experience, Twister and King Gators Fundango rides were on their way and being constructed, Baywatch at Sea World, giant heavy video cameras & animation tours , Shuttle launch at Cape Canaveral (just missed it by one day), Our Underwater camera, Steaks the size of a large plate, you wuss keef, Having to have your salad separately, Melbourne Beach, Rodeo Drive, Boca Raton, Ron Johns “one of a Kind” Surf shop at Cocoa Beach, we returned to this in 2018 on our US and Caribbean 40th Wedding Anniversary cruise, buying my 1st genuine pair of Levi’s since my 20s, we also remember Mummy Mummification (i.e. Annie in an Egyptian Sarcophagus), Key Wests 30’s Hotel and lots of Fish around the jetty, Board Walks, Hard Rock Café, Key Lime Pie, Hemingway Express and Conch Train trip plus seeing Sloppy Joe’s Earnest hang out local, Everglades and Hover trip out to Alligator Island, Stay on the Island of Marathon, Swimming, Planes, and Bahai Honda National Park, After staying at Cocoa beach on the last night we returned to Orlando, dropped off the fab hire car, flew back to Manchester & home, Our car was in the long stay car park there so we drove back through the Peaks to Home.

We even have a memorabilia PDF which sadly is 27 megabytes long so cannot feature on the website but happy to share on request.

Pleased to say we are returning in 2022 with Craig’s family as grandparents for his 40th Birthday, will I enjoy the white-knuckle rides quite the same as I did in 1997, who knows but I will certainly give it a go. It is a special year at Disney as it’s the 50th anniversary so we are expecting spectacular fireworks and parades. Its now called collectively Walt Disney World Resorts. I so remember steamboat willie, which I believe was the first animation Walt Disney did.

Here's a bit of a write up on the man.

Walter Elias Disney December 5, 1901, to December 15, 1966, was an American entrepreneur, animator, writer, voice actor, and film producer. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, he holds the record for most academy awards earned and nominations by an individual, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations. He was presented with two Golden Globe Special Achievement Awards and an Emmy, among other honours. As of 2022, Disney became the first, and later one of the three people been nominated for Academy Awards in six different categories, a record he shares with Alfonso Cuaron and George Clooney, until was surpassed by Kenneth Branagh with seven.

Born in Chicago in 1901, Disney developed an early interest in drawing. He took art classes as a boy and got a job as a commercial illustrator at the age of 18. He moved to California in the early 1920s and set up the Disney Brothers Studio with his brother Roy. With Ubbe Ert Iwwerks, he developed the character Mickey Mouse in 1928, his first highly popular success; he also provided the voice for his creation in the early years. As the studio grew, he became more adventurous, introducing synchronized sound, full-colour three-strip Technicolor, feature-length cartoons, and technical developments in cameras. The results, seen in features such as and who doesn’t know these from their childhood and indeed adulthood, all classics, Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio & Fantasia (both 1940), Dumbo (1941), and Bambi (1942), furthered the development of animated film. New animated and live-action films followed World War II, including the critically successful Cinderella (1950) and Mary Poppins (1964), the latter of which received five Academy Awards.

In the 1950s, Disney expanded into the amusement park industry, and in July 1955 he opened Disneyland in Anaheim California. To fund the project, he diversified into television programs, such as Walt’s Disneyland and The Mickey Mouse Club. He was also involved in planning the 1959 Moscow Fair, the 1960 Winter Olympics, and the 1964 New York World Fair. In 1965, he began development of another theme park, Disney World, the heart of which was to be a new type of city, the "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow" (EPCOT). Disney was a heavy smoker throughout his life and sadly died of lung cancer in December 1966 before either the park or the EPCOT project was completed.



The following sets of videos were recreated by KeefH Web Designs in October 2023 as Google search engines changed their checking on embedded videos and slideshows to check for a viewport error, as the originals were created using photosnack software back in the day and are antiquated KHWD recreated them using more modern software Clipchamp. They are also in the full site HOLIDAY 2010 Enjoy The first slideshow is a combination one showing all slides. The next are duplicates of the originals above.


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Keef Hellinger
Keef Hellinger
08 de mar. de 2022

8/3/22 added the You Tube vid with all 227 images (recovered) plus they are accompanied by the Dairy read as an Audiobook, maybe give it a whirl, that completes also the reworking of the Old HOLIDAY2010 website relocated from Moonfruit to WIX via Yell, Yippee!!!

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