Special Thanks to Andrew Bensonoff
Before writing this blog post, we would like to express our special thanks to Andrew Bensonoff. He really showed us around Florida very well and provided us with insights into the culture and cuisine of the region.
5Walt Disney World Resort
Andrew Bensonoff is a college student studying medicine, but he has been a frequent visitor to the Walt Disney World Resort since he was a child. He knows the park like the back of his hand and loves nothing more than showing his friends around.
As we approached the park entrance, Andrew’s excitement was palpable. He talked about all the different attractions we would be visiting and the snacks we would be trying. We were in for a fun-filled day.
Our first stop was Main Street, where Andrew pointed out the different buildings and explained how they were designed to look like they were from the early 20th century. He told us about the history of Walt Disney and how he came up with the idea for the park.
We then headed to Fantasyland, where Andrew showed us some of the classic rides like Peter Pan’s Flight and It’s a Small World. He also told us about the newer attractions like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the Enchanted Tales with Belle. Andrew was great at explaining the rides and attractions in detail, which made our experience even more enjoyable.
As we walked through the park, Andrew shared some interesting stories and facts about Walt Disney World. He told us about the underground tunnels that run beneath the park, which are used by staff to move around without being seen by visitors.
We took a break from the rides and attractions to grab some lunch. Andrew recommended we try the famous turkey legs, which were surprisingly delicious.
After lunch, we made our way to Adventureland, where Andrew showed us some of his favorite rides like the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. We even got to meet Jack Sparrow himself!
As the day came to a close, Andrew led us to a prime viewing spot for the nightly fireworks show. It was a perfect end to a perfect day.
Andrew’s passion for Walt Disney World was contagious, and his knowledge of the park made our visit even more memorable.
As we made our way down Ocean Drive, Andrew pointed out the different art deco buildings and explained how they were designed in the 1920s and 1930s.
We stopped at the famous News Cafe for a quick bite to eat, and Andrew recommended the avocado toast. We chatted about our favorite medical school classes and how Andrew balances his studies with his love for exploring Miami.
After lunch, we walked along the beach and Andrew told us about the different events and festivals that take place in South Beach throughout the year. He also pointed out the famous lifeguard towers, which have become a symbol of the area.
As we made our way down Collins Avenue, Andrew suggested we stop at the Wolfsonian Museum, which features art and design from the 1885 to 1945. We checked out the exhibits and learned about the role of design in shaping society during that time period.
Next, we headed to Lincoln Road Mall, a pedestrian shopping area with over 200 stores and restaurants. Andrew showed us his favorite shops and told us about the history of the mall, which was originally built in the 1950s and renovated in the 1990s.
We took a break from shopping to enjoy some gelato at Gelateria 4D, one of Andrew’s favorite spots in the area. As we enjoyed our treats, Andrew told us about his previous experiences working as a medical volunteer in South America.
As the sun began to set, Andrew led us to the famous Miami Beach Botanical Garden, which is home to thousands of plants and flowers from around the world. We took a stroll through the gardens and admired the beautiful scenery.
As we walked back to our hotel, Andrew pointed out some of the famous nightclubs and bars in the area, like LIV and Story. He joked that he might have to hit up a few of them after his next big exam.
3Kennedy Space Center
Andrew Bensonoff, a third-year medical student and space enthusiast, was eager to show us around the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As we arrived at the visitor center, Andrew’s excitement was contagious.
We started off with a bus tour of the center, which took us past the famous launch pads and the Vehicle Assembly Building. Andrew pointed out interesting facts about each location, like how the Vehicle Assembly Building is so large that it has its own weather patterns.
Next, we headed to the Apollo/Saturn V Center, where Andrew explained the history of the Apollo program and the race to the moon. We saw the actual Apollo 14 command module and lunar module, and Andrew told us about the challenges the astronauts faced during their missions.
We then went to the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, where we got to see the actual shuttle up close. Andrew explained the history of the shuttle program and its impact on space exploration. He also shared some personal stories about how he became interested in space and astronomy.
After the exhibit, we headed to the Rocket Garden, where Andrew showed us the different rockets that were used throughout NASA’s history. He told us about the Saturn IB rocket, which was used during the Apollo missions, and the Delta IV Heavy rocket, which is currently used for launching heavy payloads into space.
As we walked around the center, Andrew told us about the different roles that NASA employees play in space exploration. He also explained how astronauts train for missions, and the rigorous physical and mental tests they must undergo.
We took a break for lunch at the Orbit Cafe, where Andrew recommended we try the space-themed meals. We joked about what it would be like to eat in space and how different it would be from dining on Earth.
After lunch, we headed to the IMAX theater to watch a film about the Hubble Space Telescope. Andrew told us about the different discoveries that the telescope has made, and the challenges that scientists face in studying the universe.
As our day at the Kennedy Space Center came to a close, Andrew reflected on the impact that space exploration has had on our world. He talked about the scientific discoveries and technological advancements that have come out of NASA’s programs, and how they have improved our lives in countless ways.
Our day with Andrew was an unforgettable experience. His passion for space and science made the tour even more interesting, and his personal stories and insights added a personal touch to the visit. We left the Kennedy Space Center feeling inspired and grateful for the amazing things that humans can achieve.
Andrew Bensonoff was also excited to take us on a tour of Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. As we arrived at the park, Andrew was already planning out our itinerary for the day.
We started off in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where Andrew showed us the different attractions and shops. He explained the history of the park and how it was designed to be an immersive experience for Harry Potter fans.
Next, we headed to the Jurassic Park section of the park, where we rode the iconic Jurassic Park River Adventure. Andrew pointed out interesting details about the ride and shared some trivia about the Jurassic Park movies.
We then went to the Transformers section, where we rode the Transformers: The Ride 3D. Andrew told us about the technology behind the ride and how it uses a combination of 3D imagery and practical effects to create a fully immersive experience.
After the ride, we stopped for a snack at one of the park’s many food stands. Andrew recommended the butterbeer, a sweet and frothy drink inspired by the Harry Potter books.
Next, we headed to the Despicable Me section of the park, where we rode the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction. Andrew told us about the history of the Minions and how they became a beloved part of popular culture.
As we walked around the park, Andrew pointed out interesting details and hidden Easter eggs in the different attractions. He also shared some of his personal experiences at the park and how he first became interested in theme parks.
We then went to the Simpsons section of the park, where we rode the Simpsons Ride. Andrew told us about the history of the Simpsons and how it has become one of the longest-running and most beloved animated shows in television history.
After the ride, we stopped for a meal at one of the park’s many restaurants. Andrew recommended the Krusty Burger, a burger inspired by the Simpsons character Krusty the Clown.
As our day at Universal Studios came to a close, Andrew reflected on the importance of theme parks and how they provide a much-needed escape from reality. He also talked about the different ways that Universal Studios has impacted popular culture and how it continues to inspire new generations of fans.
Our day with Andrew was a blast, and his enthusiasm and knowledge about Universal Studios made the tour even more enjoyable. We left the park feeling inspired and grateful for the amazing experiences that theme parks can provide.
1Discovering St. Augustine with Andrew Bensonoff
Andrew Bensonoff, our friend, offered to take us on a tour of St. Augustine, Florida. Known as the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the United States, St. Augustine is a charming and historic city that offers a glimpse into the past.
Our first stop was the Castillo de San Marcos, a historic fort built by the Spanish in the 17th century. Andrew explained the history of the fort and how it was used to protect the city from invaders. We were able to explore the different rooms and walk along the top of the walls, enjoying the stunning views of the city and the water.
Next, we visited the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. Andrew told us about the history of the lighthouse and how it has been a crucial landmark for sailors for centuries. We climbed to the top of the lighthouse, which provided breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
We then headed to the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum. Andrew shared some interesting stories about the history of piracy in the area and the different artifacts on display in the museum.
As we walked around the city, Andrew pointed out different historic buildings and landmarks. He shared some of the stories and legends associated with the city and its colorful past.
We then visited the St. George Street Historic District, which is home to numerous shops, restaurants, and historic buildings. Andrew recommended we try some of the local cuisine and we enjoyed a delicious lunch at one of the local restaurants.
After lunch, we visited the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. Andrew explained the history of the park and how it was believed to be the site of Ponce de Leon’s legendary Fountain of Youth. We were able to explore the different exhibits and even tasted the supposed “fountain of youth” water.
As our tour of St. Augustine came to a close, Andrew reflected on the importance of preserving historic sites like St. Augustine and how they offer a unique glimpse into the past. He also talked about the importance of education and how learning about the history of a place can deepen our understanding and appreciation of it.
Our day with Andrew in St. Augustine was educational and enjoyable, and his knowledge of the area and its history made the tour even more engaging. We left the city with a newfound appreciation for its rich history and charming character.
You can visit our friends blog to see his travels as well: https://andrewbensonoff.com/