The Brannans and Their “Framily” Vacation: Part 1



The Brannan family is not one to back down from making 2020 even more complicated, thrilling, and exhausting than it already is, so we decided to hit the road! Our original pre-COVID plans were to hop on a big boat with the big Mouse and take a big ol’ Disney cruise with one of our favorite “framilies” (a whole family made up of really good friends of ours).

Of course, just like everyone else’s vacation plans this year, that all changed pretty quickly once it became apparent that cruise ships weren’t the best place to be during a viral global pandemic. So, we adjusted and chose to do a modified version of our original plans.

Instead of taking the cruise, we decided to go to Disney and Universal! Ok, I can hear you saying “YOU’RE CRAZY”. But, hear me out… we decided to add even more people to our trip! Ok, I know that sounds even more insane, but we also tamed down our plans. We decided to only go to Islands of Adventure for one day, and then one day at Epcot and Hollywood Studios, with a built-in (divinely appointed) rest day in the middle. We know our limits! Also, we’re not 20 anymore. We didn’t know how much we would appreciate that rest day until we were laying poolside tending to our theme park wounds from the days before.


Overall, the feeling I got at the parks (Disney and Universal) was that each and every employee was doing their part to make sure guests felt safe for every second of the day like their jobs depended on it (and I imagine their jobs literally do depend on it considering so many employees had been laid off recently).

Offspring’s mask was just a little loose, and it would occasionally slip down below her nose. It seems like there was someone watching at all times, because the second her mask, or any of ours, were out of place, they made sure to let us know in a gentle way. There was hand sanitizer EVERYWHERE, and the marks on the ground were spaced so that no one could be near you even if they were in the next turn of the serpentine line.

That all being said, the masks were hot. But, what can you expect in Florida? Let’s just say Elsa hasn’t helped her parent company stay any cooler than before her ice magic took over the house of mouse.


The first thing I’m going to say about Islands of Adventure is that it’s a totally underrated park for young families. My wife and I are always impressed with the accommodations at Universal Studios Florida in general, especially the amount of indoor air-conditioned space that can be found throughout the parks.

Like I mentioned before, we were on this trip with two other “framilies” and a couple of other friends, and we were miraculously able to have meals together and even go on a few rides together as a group. But one thing you have to understand on a trip like this is that you won’t always be able to do every single thing you had planned to do, so it takes some quick thinking on the fly, which is one of my wife’s many strong points!

As far as bringing kids along on the journey, we highly recommend bringing a stroller or renting one at the park. Not only will the stroller serve its traditional purpose, but it will also be a cart for all of your goodies (ice chest, bags, 2nd mortgage for all the souvenirs you’ll buy, etc.)

Overall, Islands of Adventure gets four stars on the Brannan fam scale! Watch our adventure here. I’ll review Disney trip on next post! 
Brannan family pic 4


Since my last update, we’ve had one more phone call with the adoptive mom.. and guess what?? We know the gender of our baby!!! But, I’m going to be a tease and save that for another blog! Don’t you love a cliff hanger?


Our adoption fundraiser where you get to decide what happens to my beard.