Spoiler free Inside Out movie review, a day trip to Clearwater Beach from Walt Disney World, and the weekly distraction on this episode of the DIStracted Life podcast.

Here on Shutterfly are some pictures from our day at the beach.  Link.

Inside Out

Inside Out, the Pixar animated feature film released this weekend.  We went to see this Saturday afternoon.  I was super excited because all I have been hearing this week leading into it from people who had seen early releases was how awesome it was.  So expectations were high.

The movie features an eleven-year-old girl, Riley, with the emotions inside her head.  Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust.   Inside Out takes you through a significant event in Riley’s life and you can see how her emotions help her through the process.

My family thought the movie was good.  I think I had been hyped up by all the media and was expecting something more than what was delivered.  At the time of writing this, I checked around at some reviews.  Rotten Tomatoes has it at 98% with 182 reviews.  Roger Ebert has it a 5 out of 5.  NY Times also raves about the movie stating it is “an absolute delight – funny, charming, fast-moving, and full of surprises.”

I liked it.  I think this may be a movie that I personally need to see a couple of times to fully appreciate.

 Clearwater Beach

If you listen back to Episode 27 of the DIStracted Life Podcast, my guests had gone over to Clearwater primarily to see the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  One of the things they regretted on their vacation was not spending more time at the beach.   Our boys love going to Lake Michigan, so we thought they would enjoy this day trip in our vacation away from the theme parks.

The drive to Clearwater is about 2.5 hours with traffic.  When you read the distance on Mapquest, it says it is about 1 hour 45 minutes, but you need to plan on traffic. We have friends who live in the area and they say Tampa is always backed up and takes extra time to get through.  The drive itself, however, is nice and without a ton of turns to potentially get you lost.  There were tons of signs too that made getting to the beach very easy.

We decided to park near Pier 60 which is the main tourist area along Clearwater Beach.  We decided to go to this location for a couple of reason.  First, we wanted to make certain we were near amenities like restrooms and a place to grab a quick snack if we needed.  Second, we didn’t want to have to worry about where to park.  Third, we wanted to walk out on the pier.

The parking near the Pier is ample, right next to the beach, and costs $3 per hour.  You can pay by cash or credit card.  Across the street was the area where the boat tours were located and a couple of restaurants and shops that you could easily walk to.

The beach was the very fine powdery sand that was very nice to walk on.  The beach is nice and wide and also has a gradual slope in the water which was nice for our boys who are not great swimmers.

We arrived at 10am and it was not crowded.  There was definitely people around but we didn’t feel crowded.  In the morning there was a great deal of seaweed washing up on the shore, but it didn’t bother us.  We spent about 2 hours swimming and then went up and walked out on the pier.

There are clamshell rentals right there already set up on the beach with 2 chairs.  The rental is $30 if you arrive before 2pm and $20 if you arrive after 2pm.  They clean up the clamshells at 5pm.  You can pay by cash or credit card.

Ryan did all our beach safety before vacation and learned about the different flags that they use to communicate the beach conditions.  Here is a website.  Green is normal conditions, red is avoid the water, double red is closed, and purple was out concern as it is the sea pests are present.  We had seen some news reports on stingrays potentially being a problem our time of year because stingrays come up in the warmer shallow water.  To keep yourself safe you can do the Stingray shuffle.  Here is some information from ABC in Tampa.  Link.  We saw some videos with some adult men who were in pretty intense pain from stings.  We were wanting to keep our boys safe.

We enjoyed our day at the beach.  We learned that our boys do not like salt water.  They much prefer our cold Lake Michigan beach water.  We spend the time on the way stopping at fruit markets.  If you listened to the Polynesian episode from a couple of weeks ago, you may remember me saying my son is obsessed with passion fruit.  We were hoping that we might find some in Florida even though it wasn’t quite its season.  We did not find passion fruit.

Weekly DIStraction

My DIStraction for this week is the new Zuri’s Sweets shop at Animal Kingdom park.  Check out this article over at Disney Food Blog.   What is all the buzz and what I think is quite awesome is the animal poop themed treats.   There is Elephant, giraffe, cotton-top tamarin, and hippo poop.  These treats are $3.99 or one snack credit.   Very creative and I am certain they are going to sell a ton of them.  Especially to little boys who want to gross out their moms.

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