The Adults Only Tour 2015 – Day Eighteen

Day Eighteen – 13th September

For any serial WDW visitor, there’s a phrase which strikes fear and dread into their hearts.

Last full day.

Here we are, after all this time, with just one more day here. Those of you who know anything about us will probably be able to guess which park we would spend such an occasion in. We were headed for Magic Kingdom of course, but aiming to be consistent with the rest of the trip we obviously decided to have a lie in. To be fair, my notes tell me I had a rough night, probably brought on by the thought of not only our last full day, but leaving one of my daughters behind too.

With this unintentional lie in I found myself on the PC shifting our FastPass bookings to later in the day. Of course, by doing this on the day I was now booking FastPasses for the monorail and to watch a trash can get emptied on Main Street.

With the morning a bit of a write off some packing happened and with that pretty much done we left the villa at 12.30. This wasn’t as bad as you may think as we wanted to stay until parades and fireworks tonight so this later start may give us a fighting chance.

It was raining. The weather making its own comment on the mood surrounding the end of the trip. We parked in Scar 119 and were in full poncho as we trammed into the TTC.

As we left the monorail the rain stopped. It is where dreams come true after all. I had my sack handled by an elderly US gent for the last time, Ryan had a cigarette and recovered as we took some photos.

As usual at the end of our summer trips, Halloween was in full effect on Main Street.

More photos happened as there was a definite sense of the impending departure minus one of our party.

Here we see what happens when two different people are taking your photo at the same time.

All trip I had been putting off visits to certain shops using the excuse that we needed to wait until Emily had her Cast Member discount, and then when that ran out, the age old “I don’t want to carry that around all day so we’ll come back at the end of the holiday”. Today neither of those were any good so we spent more time than I would ever want to in the Pandora shop on Main Street. Louise bought some earrings that were worth more than her actual ears.

Nana and Grandad spent some time chatting with a Cast Member in the shop whilst Louise and the girls spent more time choosing jewellery than we did our last house.

Of course having arrived at the park half way through the day, every ride had wait times almost as long as the time we spent in the Pandora shop. So we deployed the “everything is busy” strategy of wandering about and looking at stuff. The first thing we looked at was the new Circus area where Mickey and Minnie’s house used to be.

There’s a feeling that this isn’t for us as we no longer have children to which this relevant. Stuff moves on of course, but I will forever have Mickey’s house in my heart alongside the mental images of my very young girls within it.

We decided to catch the train and do a loop of the park.

As we waited for the train there was a rescue situation. A tiny turtle was sat on the rail of the train track about to find out that its shell was no match for a couple of tonnes of train. The Cast Member on the platform was told about it and he bravely made his way out onto the tracks and moved it on into the bushes, thereby saving a few hundred kids an experience that may well have scarred them for life.

Just in time….

We stopped at Main Street but didn’t get off.

We alighted (got off) at Splash Mountain and went into the shop there as we certainly weren’t getting on the ride. Inevitable hat trying ensued.

We bought Emily a fluffy blanket that had a hood. An essential I think you’ll agree.

We walked past Splash heading for Country Bear Jamboree. Yep, that’s how busy all the real rides were.

Having not seen this in years and of course Sarah never had, we enjoyed it more than we thought we might. We made our way then over to the new area to find Gaston about to appear. However, his queue was already full and closed to new guests, so instead we loitered at the front of the queue watching him interact with those who had waited since last week to see him.

Gaston found time to flirt with the girls as he spotted them taking photos of him.

Thankfully we were now approaching one of our FastPass times so we slowly wandered down to Space Mountain taking more photos as we did.

We did the People Mover to kill the last bit of time and to rest our legs.

At 5.05 we got on our first ride of the day, but to be honest we felt no sense of having not had a nice day so far. Sometimes it’s about where you are, not what you’re doing.

Space Mountain was fast and bumpy and my notes classified it as “full clench”.

Nana and Grandad had gone shopping rather than ride the mountain so we now met them on Main Street as we were now, having done one ride, heading out for our evening meal. We caught the boat headed for Trail’s End.

 

This is one of the nicest ways to make your way to food.

We arrived at 6.05 and checked in for our 6.15 reservation.

This is a buffet affair and so what followed was bordering on warfare. There are no photos as what happened was not pretty. Having gone all in on the superb food, dessert was not an option, but to be fair, the corn bread was cake anyway.

As we left we spent a little bit of time talking to the horse bloke. I suspect that isn’t his official title.

As we waited for the boat back to Magic Kingdom my favourite time of day, in my favourite place happened and for once my camera did a half decent job of capturing it.

Dusk in and around Magic Kingdom is just lovely.

The beauty of those photos were stark contrast to the absolute chaos that we found on Main Street. The first parade was about to happen and it was just madness. Keeping a party of seven together was a challenge but we somehow made it all the way to Thunder Mountain and used our FastPass.

By the time we had done that it was 8.45 and we headed for Main Street again to try and find an inch of space to watch Wishes and the parade. It was brutal. Busy does not describe it. We found a spot literally half way up Main Street in the middle of the street.

About here…

I have long since given up trying to capture Wishes on camera and we just stood and watched full of all sorts of emotions. Emily cried throughout.

Afterwards Louise and I had to battle the shops to buy gifts for everyone we hadn’t yet whilst everyone else went to find somewhere to watch the parade. That shopping experience wasn’t pleasant. The shops resembled a crowd scene from Ghandi but somehow we gave Disney a large amount of money and left to find the others.

By some miracle they had managed to secure a spot up on the balcony near the train station. After a ten minute wait the parade started and from the few hundred photos I attempted here are the few worth sharing.

Leaving the park was expectedly chaotic and we opted to take the resort monorail as the normal one was just madness. The trams were also packed and after a fair bit of waiting we finally got on one and got back to our car at 11. As we had sat on the tram waiting for the 612 safety announcements and checks there was a family in the queue going absolutely mental at the family sat in front of us. It was all in Spanish so I don’t know what they were saying, but they were clearly upset that they had not been able to board. As the family in front of us didn’t speak Spanish either most of the tirade was wasted. Everyone was tired and emotional at this stage.

We stopped off at CVS on the way home for water and some throat spray….yes I was STILL ill. We were in bed by 12 completely spent.

Till the next time……

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The Adults Only Tour 2015 – Day Seventeen

Day Seventeen – 12th September

If you look back at my numerous, previous trip reports and had to summarise them, there are a few ways to do so, but in my mind they are pretty much just diaries of how to fill the time in between eating with the more than occasional knob gag.

Today is going to be a great example of that, as it is all about getting stuff into our bellies and little else.

We did not wake until 9am which is a good sign that the holiday is coming to an end as our body clocks are finally starting to make sense. Incredibly we were in the car by 9.45 which is quicker than we ever have been when it mattered on a theme park day.

We got to the Commons at 10.15 to pick Emily up and were soon pulling into the car park of The Beach Club. The plan today, having missed our reservation for it the other night thanks to our dodgy sat nav, was Beaches & Cream. Having no reservation today we figured arriving at opening would give us the best chance of getting a party of seven into one of the most popular, yet smallest eating venues on Disney property. God loves a trier.

Every time I am in this location I remember how much we loved staying here in 2010 and I always make a mental note to remember that if we ever book another trip.

After talking very nicely to the young ladies on the podium our only option was to sit at the counter in about an hour. We agreed to that, having no choice of course, and decided to have a walk around the Boardwalk area to kill the time.

We bought some gifts in Screen Door and had a general browse before catching the boat back to Beaches & Cream at about twelve. With buzzer in hand we still had to wait another half an hour to be seated.

For me there was no need to look at the menu as I knew I was having a Kitchen Sink. The fact that the girls opted to join me was fine. Everyone else opted for normal food.

It is indulgent beyond measure and despite our best efforts, including ordering tactical salty fries too, we just couldn’t finish it today. I am suitably ashamed.

The bill was $125 but I was too full and close to a sugar coma to care.

Next on the plan was a trip to (the very newly named) Disney Springs. We were directed to park in a spot near the Casting building across the road so we did.

As usual when shopping we splinter into smaller groups, so Nana and Grandad made their own way to procure the relevant gifts for the grandchildren not currently with us. The rest of us spent an age in the World of Disney and Louise bought me a lovely Mickey watch for my recent birthday.

We got ourselves a much-needed drink and sat on the benches near the stage area before continuing into Marketplace and Once Upon a Toy. Earlier in the holiday, near a face painting location, Sarah had refused to have one done as she was fully made up. She promised Rebecca that the next time we saw somewhere to have it done she would and Rebeca could choose. So….

All shopped out we left around 4pm and went back to the villa. There was some pool action for a while.

Then we had to get ready for our evening plans, which were, to my absolute delight, Teak Neighbourhood Grill. We were out by 7.30 as due to a twitter exchange with Teak, they had reserved us a table at 8pm. The journey was awful as it was raining. That word doesn’t really do justice to what was happening but it’s all I have. We arrived, ten minutes late and I was exhausted from the tension of concentration and the fear of death.

As we walked in we were immediately escorted to our reserved table and welcomed like honoured guests. Over the years a good number of folks have gone to Teak and told them that they heard about it from my trip reports/blog so we have often chatted on twitter etc and as and when we recreate the famous Donut Burger at home we always send them photos.

The welcome that awaited us tonight was something none of us expected or deserved. John and Tony, the owners, greeted us and stood at our table chatting for ages telling us about the number of times I’m mentioned from Brits eating there. If I had an ego it would have been nicely stroked. We were given an exclusive sneak peek of their soon to be released new menu which looked awesome (and will be launched by now of course.)

Sorry for the blurry photos…

We also had a look at their incredible beer selection which wasn’t something I had been too aware of, having always been driving.

The beer cocktails look amazing. We were even given a couple of samples of the newer items they are now serving.

That, and a pumpkin beer, served with sugar around the glass rim were my favourites.

We ordered –

Me – Cronie burger and garlic fries

It is no over exaggeration to say that this is one of the best things to ever be in my mouth and so deserves two photos. That cronut is an improvement on the Donut Burger I have had in the past and those garlic fries are just beyond delicious.

Emily – Donut Burger

Sarah – Chicken Tower Sandwich

Grandad – Chicken Breast Dinner

Nana – Crab Cakes Salad

Louise – Beef Sandwich with dip and garlic fries

This was THE best meal I can remember. Everyone was just blown away with the quality of their food and the flavours were just ridiculous. Being so full we were close to death, we refused to order dessert. Undeterred, the owners introduced us to their executive chef who arrived at our table with a dessert sampler to share.

Again, incredible.

Just when we thought the night couldn’t get any more special, the owners arranged for Ashton Kutcher to be our server! The girls were happy.

I had an incredibly unflattering photo taken with the owners showing exactly where all that food now was….

If you have read anything I’ve written in the past you will know that I have raved about Teak for years. Every time we go it gets better and some of the new menu items they have brought out are incredible. They even have a secret menu that you need a password for (Like them on Facebook for that).

We have eaten at the poshest of the posh Disney restaurants and most of the major chain places in Florida. What we love about Teak is that it feels like an authentic locals place, and that really comes over in the atmosphere. It is our favourite without any doubt.

Feeling full and humbled to be treated so nicely by everyone there we left around 10pm having given the biggest tip in my history of tipping.

An awesome night.

It will not surprise you to know we were home and in bed as quickly as humanly possible.

Till the next time…..

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The Adults Only Tour 2015 – Day Sixteen

Day Sixteen – 11th September

I’m afraid the theme park thing didn’t last long and today I must warn you of two things.

  1. As today was our visit to Typhoon Lagoon, on this dull, cold January day this report will include photos of glorious Florida sunshine, blue skies and temperatures you can only dream of.
  2. There may well be images, possibly only mental ones, that may drive you lady types crazy as I spent the day in just my shorts. I shall pause just a moment to allow you time to process that.

You can take for granted that everyone was awake and up later than we needed to be. I had been quite chilled about our departure time, knowing that Typhoon Lagoon only opened at 10. My chill had vanished by 10.05 when we finally left the villa.

Obtaining shade at a Florida water park, in the summer can literally be the difference between life and death. Ok, I may exaggerate a little but it can certainly be the difference between third degree burns and skin you can live with.

I always wonder why there is so little shade provided at these places. Are US folks equipped with sun repellent skin? Is it some form of collusion with the medical centres of Florida to provide them with endless business with guest after guest trotting off to Centra Care with sunstroke?

It seems so un-Disney, who are normally so concerned about their guests welfare that the tram from the car park has more safety announcements than the steel tube that takes you over the Atlantic.

Anyway, I digress. We arrived at 10.40 to a car park empty enough to suggest that we may be able to find some shelter.

There are many signs that we may have been to WDW more often than we should. One of them is that we have “our spot” at Typhoon Lagoon. Once through the gates we headed there hopeful of finding it empty. We did, and we did the usual dragging around of sunbeds and chairs until everyone was happy with the exact position of their chosen implement of leisure.

Our spot is such as it is covered by a good number of palm trees and once we are in it, it is small enough for our flabby milky bodies to deter anyone else from joining us there.

This is the view from our spot. You are only allowed to use our spot on the occasions we are not in Typhoon Lagoon.

For the next few minutes we all stood and sat around rubbing cream into our bodies. At no other time is this socially acceptable…just in case you were wondering. Tradition dictates that as soon as I have sun cream rubbed into my skin I should immediately go into the wave pool so that it can be washed off. So that’s what we did. That we was me, the girls and Grandad.

Great fun was had by us all being battered by the waves. At times like these I curse my rubbish eye sight as without my glasses on my view of the lovely environment is hindered. Sensibly, I do not wear my glasses in the very rough wave pool and thankfully it also means I can’t properly see those pesky lifeguards with their bright red swim suits.

Alas, Grandad is a little less sensible and entered the wave pool with his sunglasses. We can now add those to the list of stuff he lost on this holiday. Somewhere in Orlando some chap is walking around with a lovely watch and a pair of sunglasses.

When our bodies could take no more from the waves we retired to our places of rest and did some of that. I read for a bit. Having been in the blazing sun for over an hour Louise then took Sarah off to do some slides and rides. The rest of us stayed….in our spot.

Soon enough lunch time rolled around. Technically it was about 11.30, but we are on holiday so what are you going to do? I have to say that our lunch experiences here have been average in the past and today was to be no different. We chose from the usual selection of burgers, chicken sandwiches and salads and sat on one of the benches in the bird shit zone.

Once we’d had enough food, or rather didn’t want to eat any more of it, we fed the birds around and about us. We then had a lengthy debate about whether feeding one of the birds some chicken was breaking some law of nature.

After food Louise, Sarah and I did the lazy river. I’m sure there’s very clever scientific explanation for this, but they seemed to be travelling much faster than I was. I had a double ring, which is quite a rare medical condition I’m told, but I’m not sure why that explains why they soon vanished into the distance. I lay back, closed my eyes and didn’t worry about it, until some little shite sprayed me with cold water from the side of the river. I gave him the speech from Taken as I floated past and I’ve never seen a six year old run so fast.

I’m not sure how many times I went around as I didn’t take any notice of the little sign at the place I got in. At some point that afternoon Grandad appeared beside me but I have no idea how he found me. We floated for a little longer until we had to go back to our spot for more resting. A few of our party moved down to the shallows of the water to sit there for a bit as they were pretty well done at that point. Inevitably during the afternoon I had to restroom so I wandered off to find one. It was close by, but I’m not sure if the water feature at the entrance was intentional. The door was underneath one of the slides and there was a constant waterfall of freezing cold water flowing from above the door.

My need to get rid of some water overrode my reluctance to walk through some, so in I went. I was drenched and again on the way out.

For a change we did not have to leave mid-afternoon due to a huge thunderstorm and we left voluntarily at 4.45. Every one of us were feeling the sun’s effects and once back at the villa the showers were a little more painful than they should have been.

We left for dinner at 7.30 heading for Romanos. We had a fairly typical twenty-minute wait browsing the menu before being seated and greeted with the usual fresh bread and oil dip. This simple affair is one of my favourite things on the planet.

We had –

Me and Grandad – Shrimp Portofino

Nana – Penne Rustica

Rebecca – Italian Bake

Sarah – Flatbread (my apologies for this photo)

Louise – Mama’s Trio

We all went big on desserts tonight with five cheesecakes and one chocolate cake finding their way to our table. With a few wines the bill came to $195 including tip.

You may be amazed to discover we felt very full, again and went home immediately to go to sleep.

Till the next time….

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The Adults Only Tour 2015 – Day Fifteen

Day Fifteen – 10th September

Hooray and Hurrah, we’re back in a theme park today and I have notes that expand over multiple pages. My excitement at this prospect clearly was not shared by those I am allowing to share this trip with me. My daily moan about leaving late should be inserted here along with my grumpy attitude and protruding bottom lip.

This childish strop isn’t purely driven from my desire to get to every theme park at opening (as if we’d ever manage that beyond day one). With this new concept of booking your rides in advance, I had spent not an inconsiderable amount of time months ago setting out the schedule of the day ensuring that we got on more than the tram from the car park. Balancing that with the concept of this being a holiday is a struggle shared by every Florida holiday planner I would imagine.

Once again our journey to a park was spent (by me) glancing at the clock and the speedo calculating constantly whether the reading on the latter would mean that we got to Epcot at a point on the former that would work. The added pressure today was that the first FastPass was for Soarin’, the favourite ride of several of those in our group (Louise excepted). We dumped the car in Amaze 36 and waited for what felt like three days for the tram to arrive. My teenage sulk was now off the scale. It was around now that I realised (again) with the turnstiles and bag check still to do that you need to allow about an hour or more from leaving your villa to the time of your first ride.

Everyone knows that every villa in Florida is “only fifteen minutes” from Disney. Right?

After all the travelling, checks and swiping of things we stood on the right side of the entrance looking at the big shiny ball. After allowing about four seconds for that, knowing that we had exactly six minutes to get to Soarin’, we struck out, at my pace, to get there. Knowing what you know about the geography of the place, do you think that’s possible, with two of your party in their seventies?

I can’t say that we chatted much on that march, or smelled too many roses, but somehow we swiped our Magic Bands at the entrance to Soarin’ with the clock still showing 10.00 exactly. I don’t work this hard for a living!

Of course, we still waited ten minutes to board even with a FastPass but that gave us a chance to get our breath back and stop sweating. Louise got through the ride somehow despite her irrational yet very real fear of heights/flying. We were out by 10.25 and now the camera is released to record images of the day.

Worth the wait I think you’ll agree.

We turned left as we left The Land heading for The Seas. We entered of course via the Nemo ride which was a walk on and nice sit down. We spent the next hour or so wandering about looking at stuff behind glass.

We watched the manatees eating for a bit and finished our journey to the deep with the Crush show. I know this is aimed at young children, but frankly it is wasted on them. I urge Disney to do an adult version which could be very funny I think.

We emerged into the sunlight at 11.45 heading for our next FastPass which was Spaceship Earth.

We were a little early. Yes, that’s right, early. It’s no good now!

We spent five minutes in the shop near the entrance buying stuff we didn’t need before marching majestically past a sizeable queue with the smugness of Piers Morgan.

After looking for our funny faces on the big screen as left, we headed for Test Track to see how long it would be broken down for. After watching the Jamminators en route we were amazed to find it operational. The posted thirty minute standby queue was right at the end of our tolerance for a queue but we joined nonetheless hopeful for a shorter wait. Alas, it was the full thirty, but with the designing of our car it passed fairly painlessly and we all enjoyed the ride.

After all this fun and stuff it was inevitable pay back that we now had to spend some time in Mousegear. Hadn’t we done today’s shop browsing in the five minutes before Spaceship Earth? We bought stuff, but I didn’t record the details in my notes as the pain was enough first time around.

We moved on to what would be our last ever viewing of Captain Eo, although we didn’t know that at the time. Oddly, this was always in Rebecca’s list of top attractions. Her childhood love of MJ had never diminished and ever since its return this has been a must do. Oddly, there was no wait for this one but despite the half empty theatre we did of course move all the way to the end of the row.

After those few minutes of 1980’s funk we stopped at Ice Station Cool and introduced Sarah to Beverly. You can only imagine the delight of having someone new to play this trick on.

What you need after drinking some Beverly of course is to ride something which can soothe your stomach, so we set off for our Mission Space FastPass. Nana and Grandad opted to sit this one out as the first time we took them on they felt ill for about two and half years afterwards.

Of course we had to choose the Orange experience, as this would be Sarah’s first time. I have noticed, as the years go by, that my propensity to feel as rough as a dog after this ride increases. It is only a matter of time until I emerge from the pod with carrots and sweetcorn all over my bright white trainers. I haven’t eaten either of those since the late nineties but I know that doesn’t matter.

With thankfully clean trainers we left Mission Space and headed up towards World Showcase. With not having spilled my stomach contents it was inevitable that this led to serious turtle head at this point.

Normally, and without need for discussion we would start our world tour at Mexico. I don’t know why we have always gone that way, but it just happened. Today we had reason to do things differently. This was Emily’s first day on stage and so instead we headed straight for the UK to find her.

She was busy being trained of course so couldn’t distract her for long but we got a quick photo and left her to get on with stuff.

We moved on through France and continued the loop through all the countries in turn. Louise did her best to have a drink in each pavilion but had to admit defeat and inebriation after not too long. In Japan we found the drummers about to start as we were leaving so we took a seat for a rest and to watch them. I wandered off to a funnel cake stand near the America pavilion to acquire some much needed calories, and frankly, I played a blinder.

That my friends, is double chocolate funnel cake with ice cream. If possible, it tasted better than it looks and we all dug in and devoured it in no time at all.

Our wanderings continued through lots of shops and stuff.

Germany it seems is mounting a challenge to Mexico, where the law states you must try on the big hats and shake your maracas.

Which by the way we did as well.

We did the ride in Mexico too, although the term ride is a bit of a stretch to be honest.

We were done for today, both in terms of energy and stuff to do so we wandered down to the main exit somehow finding some energy reserves to do some more shopping. It had been a very long, hot and tiring day, and on the drive home most folks declared that they didn’t want to go out for tea so we stopped at a Papa John’s close to home and got enough pizza to feed everyone who was in Epcot today. Louise and I did fancy going out so we left everyone else in their PJs and a pizza coma and set off to eat out.

We had nowhere in mind and ended up at a Chilli’s. It felt strange to be eating as two again and the meal was OK, but nothing special.

I had Tacos and Louise had Fajitas. There was a two for one wine offer on which Louise was delighted about and the bill was a lovely $59 including a good tip. We didn’t get home until 11.20 so bed was the only thing on our minds, where I thrilled and delighted Louise….by falling asleep immediately.

Till the next time…..

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The Adults Only Tour 2015 – Day Fourteen

Day Fourteen – 9th September

I can only apologise. With this trip being a very indulgent eighteen days we seem to be having more rest days than John Lesley. Here comes another. My notes are barely two pages and there are four photographs, so if you’ve got a busy day today then this part of the trippie will suit you very well.

What adds insult to that injury is that on my original plan, today was to be a full day at Epcot. However, it was very apparent that everyone was a bit frazzled and tired and so picking up on subtle hints from yesterday like “It would be nice to have a rest day tomorrow”, I changed the plan, cancelled the FastPass+ stuff for the day and booked some more for tomorrow instead.

Feel free to skip this day and pick it up again tomorrow when we do some stuff.

Nana and Grandad had mentioned that they wouldn’t mind going to that discount shop Louise and I found the other day at some point today so I said I’d take them when they were ready. After breakfast and about ten minutes of reading by the pool, they were ready so off we went. Yep, a rest day….I know.

I left them to browse and took the opportunity to go to the nearby Target to restock the villa again. To give Nana sufficient time to spend lots of money I took my time and demonstrated enormous “big shop” expertise by doing two shops at the same time, one for the villa and some stuff for Emily’s apartment. Once done, I went to refuel the minivan and then loitered outside of the Ross shop Nana and Grandad were in waiting to pick them up. Today truly is the stuff of trip report gold isn’t it?

Once back home some of that actual resting happened, pretty much for the rest of the day. I binge read another Jack Reacher and so I’ll be honest I was fairly oblivious to what anyone else did. I was aware of some bodies in the pool at various times but beyond that I have no clue. Oh, it was hot too.

We had evening plans so the readying happened from late afternoon. I joined in with that ten minutes prior to departure at around 6.30. With Emily’s groceries in the boot (trunk) we arrived at The Commons around 7 and went through the pleasingly arduous security process to get to drive down to her apartment.

Most of us took the chance to go and have a nosey around her home and we met another of her room mates, Siri. Yes, that’s right, we met the infamous Siri. She was Norwegian, nineteen, lovely and incredible at English. I felt suitably inadequate.

After packing away Emily’s food into her bits of the kitchen we were about to leave and her phone went as her boyfriend Facetimed her. This went on for some time and we hung about like spare parts for a bit. As this had been the first time they’d managed to Facetime properly since her arrival she decided to stay in and chat with him rather than come out to dinner with us.

We left her to it, feeling more like an Asda delivery service than parents and went to eat ourselves.

Tonight was Bahama Breeze which is literally two minutes from The Commons. We asked to be seated on the patio as we can’t get enough of them steel drum UB40 covers from the resident artiste.

We ordered –

Me – Buttermilk Chicken Sandwich

Louise – Jerk Chicken

And my crap notes for today failed to capture anyone else’s food either in written or photo form. These rest days are the path to shoddy notes and need to be discouraged and eradicated as soon as possible.

As we ate we were joined by a scruffy little kitten.

Knowing that we shouldn’t, we fed it some bits and we saw not only was it eating stuff but it also dragged stuff below the decking. Upon investigation we saw another, much more shy kitten, there eating the bits it was being given. Needless to say we threw more food down to that one, no doubt infuriating the restaurant owners.

The food was as lovely as ever and we were the most full we had ever been ever, since the last meal and we were never going to eat again…..again. We shuffled to the car and I had us home by 10.30. We went straight to bed in order to give our bodies the optimum conditions under which it could convert that food to fat as quickly as possible.

Till the next time……

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The Adults Only Tour 2015 – Day Thirteen

Day Thirteen – 8th September

Well, who would have thought we’d still be here, writing and reading about a holiday that ended months ago? Apologies for how long this is being dragged out over but I just haven’t had the time (and often motivation) to churn more than one a week of these things. There’s still some way to go so I’ll see you at the end, which will be sometime in the early summer!!

After all this recent beach nonsense, today saw a return to sanity and some theme park action. After spending a day or two not charging from one FastPass and/or dining reservation to the next, I was suffering withdrawal symptoms and was therefore quite keen to get off to a nice early start.

Ah the joys of being the planner of the group. My notes tell me I was quite stressed this morning as this sense of urgency was not shared throughout our touring party. I stood around for what seemed like hours, seeing FastPasses die right before my eyes. It was a grumpy me that eventually bundled everyone out of the front door, regardless of their state of readiness at just after ten. Yep, you heard right!

No matter how awesomely I drove (and I did) there was no making up for that shoddy late start and I had a right good sulk all the way to Hollywood Studios. After parking in Film 28 we boarded a tram. My childish sulk knew no bounds and I even got frustrated with the seemingly endless safety announcements and procedures needed before the tram could depart. I ranted a bit about how, no doubt, the actions of one absolute bell end who managed to somehow injure themselves when sat on a tram now meant that every single guest had to have a briefing routine similar to astronauts heading for space before a tram that does no more than fifteen miles an hour could carry them half a mile.

I pined for the simpler days in the eighties and nineties when boarding said tram was like a scene from Mad Max, with a Hispanic family of seventeen crammed into one row with an unfolded stroller.

Finally, we were deemed safe to depart and we made our way, slowly, ever so slowly, to the entrance. It was just before 11am when we made it past the turnstiles. My expertly planned FastPass+ for the Rock n Rollercoaster expired at 11 so I set the pace (at high) as we made our way down Sunset Boulevard towards it. Why we just hadn’t stayed in the park after Fantasmic last night I don’t know. It would have been much easier.

We entered, using our FastPasses at a few minutes past eleven (thank you Disney for your common sense and leniency, my touring party know not what they do). We walked, with customary smugness past a forty minute queue. There was little to no appreciation of my skills in getting us here just in time as everyone was too busy wheezing and trying to wipe the sweat from their bodies.

This is the best ride to start a day with. It really blows the cobwebs off and gets the adrenaline pumping. Our next, expertly planned, FastPass+ was naturally for Tower of Terror, and it was now active so we went straight there. You will note that my sulk and need to rush everyone everywhere so far has meant that I had neither the time nor inclination to take any photos yet.

Everyone loved this ride. Even Louise, who “hates it”, enjoyed the random drop sequence. Two great rides that went some small way to putting my bottom lip back into its natural position.

It was 11.35 and it appeared that the day may be salvageable after all! With our two early FastPasses complete I allowed some time for the wandering of shops and even a visit to the restroom for those who needed it. Our next FastPass+ was not until 1.20 so we had lunch on our minds. I hadn’t booked anywhere for lunch in the park, assuming we would do counter service, but as we were walking in that general direction, I thought we’d try the Sci Fi Diner, as neither Sarah nor Nana and Grandad had done it before. It would also be interesting to see how hard they laughed at us for asking if they could take a walk in for a party of six.

The Gods rewarded me for my patience and good grace this morning by having a table/car immediately available. We were seated and went on to have a lovely meal.

We had –

Me – Chocolate Shake and a Reuben Sandwich

Louise, Nana and Sarah – Chocolate Shake and a Turkey Sandwich

Grandad – Salmon Salad

Rebecca – Oreo Shake and a Turkey Sandwich

Everything was excellent, despite a drinks order mix up which of course meant the diet coke I ordered, as well as my shake, somehow got missed and then when it arrived, it was a Cherry Coke. I drank it anyway, enjoying it much more than I thought I might. I seemed to be cursed with food order woes this trip.

The bill was $130 for the six of us and we left just after 1pm.

It was incredibly humid so we slowly made our way to the Stunt Show for our next FastPass+.

I know we go in August/September, so only have ourselves to blame, but bloody hell it is uncomfortable on those bleachers during this show. Of course, the bum numbness is a factor but it somehow feels about ten degrees hotter than anywhere else. My folds and crevasses were found by every bead of sweat.

For me, not being a huge car freak, the show is just OK. There’s too much talking in it for me, probably as I have seen it multiple times and most of the time you can’t really hear what is being said. They seem to have shoe horned in some of the characters from Cars now which, again, for me wasn’t really worth it. Having two girls, Cars was never a film we embraced too much in our house so the characters don’t mean much to us. I suppose for those with kids of the right age and gender this enhances the show so who am I to grumble?

We left the show and sought out much needed drinks. We decided to call it a day and head back to the villa as it was just too hot to do anything else. We got there just after 3pm.

We all rested, read and swam enjoying the heat much more in this scenario. We had arranged to collect Emily at 7pm from her apartment so we got ready and set off amazingly on time. We were even early enough to pop back to the Premium Outlet mall to return some shirts my Dad bought the other day and for Louise to get something pierced. I think it was some other part of her ear. She had tried on our last visit but didn’t have her ID with her so they refused. Now she had her driving licence so she could prove that the ear she wanted a hole in was actually hers and not someone else’s.

Dad was a little upset that the Izod shop wouldn’t swap his shirts for a different size. Apparently their closing down sale in which he bought them meant there were no returns or even exchanges. He informed them of his displeasure and we moved on.

We waited at The Commons for Emily until 7.15 but it was clear she wouldn’t make it back in time, mainly as she messaged us and told us she wouldn’t make it back on time so we had to leave for our ADR without her. We made it to the Wilderness Lodge for 7.45.

We checked in and found some seats in reception to await the buzzing of our thing.

We were seated just after 8 and had the usual good fun and hearty food.

Me, Sarah, Rebecca and Grandad had the ribs.

Louise and Nana had steak.

As you can see the portions are huge, which of course is great.

We of course had to ask for ketchup….

Rebecca was put in jail by a passing server as he said he had seen her on her phone throughout the meal. She had been messaging her boyfriend back home and she, he said, had to be punished.

It did not however, deter her from future crimes.

It was a dear do at $300 but it was declared the best meal of the trip so far. We went next door into the Territory Lounge for a speciality coffee. My friend and colleague Steve and his wife Di, have this down as one of their favourites when they visit so we had one in their honour and of course taunted them on social media with photographic evidence.

Overly full and more than a little tired we dragged our bodies back to the car and I drove us home. Luckily all of my sulking this morning had worked and turned the day into a success!!

Till the next time…..

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The Adults Only Tour 2015 – Day Twelve

Day Twelve – 7th September

There’s a very good reason you probably won’t find too many trip reports of beach holidays. The material for such is a little monotonous and uninteresting as I shall now demonstrate.

We were awake around 8am and of course had to pack, ready to check out. With that unpleasantness done, we went down to the free breakfast. It was very nice and buffet style, so I shall let you draw your own conclusions about how that went.

Nicely full, we took our luggage out to the car before making our way down to the beach and more expensive sunbeds.

I can summarise the next few hours in two photos.

As the second one demonstrates, it was very, very hot and few of us were suffering from a little too much sun yesterday.

The rest of the morning meandered away with little or no activity to report, which of course is the sign of a good beach day. Rebecca, Grandad and I ventured into the very rough sea for a little bit, followed by some more lying around. Riveting this isn’t it?

Around lunch time we experienced a very strange rain shower. There were absolutely no clouds and yet we were sprinkled with not unpleasant drizzle. As this rain was persisting a little longer than we wanted it to, Louise suggested that we drive out somewhere for a lunch a little more varied than the burger van fare available on the beach. With that decision made we packed up and decided we’d head back to Orlando after lunch and so we said our goodbyes to Daytona.

We love Daytona and of course Vero. I do find it a bit odd that we have always done beaches on the East coast of Florida rather than the more traditional destinations such as Clearwater and St Pete’s. One of these years we will put that right I expect, but there is always that dilemma of trying something new or sticking with that you know you will enjoy.

We drove aimlessly around Daytona for a bit learning that the eateries featured in our sat nav were now sadly out of date, with many of them now closed. This should not have been too surprising as it hadn’t been updated since we bought it in 2011 (I think).

We ended up on the road out of Daytona back towards Orlando and spotted a large mall, which was called Volussia. As unappealing as that sounded to me, being a mall, it had an Applebees attached to it and so that made our decision to stop an easy one.

As we waited to be seated, perusing the menu, our decision to leave the beach proved to be a good one, as the heavens opened and stayed open for a good few hours.

We had –

Grandad – Shrimp Starter and then Won Ton Tacos

Me – Appetiser Sampler as my entrée, which was made up of Nachos, Mozzarella Sticks and Boneless Wings. I didn’t have a starter as I’m not an animal.

Louise – Same as me, but with Quesadillas instead of wings

Rebecca – Same as me

Sarah – Mozzarella Sticks and then a Fajita Wrap

Nana – Fish and Chips

I must have been hungry as those two photos were all I could manage.

With some Margaritas and a wine or two the bill came to $130 including a tip.

We left and drove west toward Orlando, through the rain, arriving back at 4.50. The plan had been to collect Emily on our way out to Hollywood Studios, but she told us she was knackered after work and just wanted to sleep, so we changed our plans to leave a little later, taking the chance to nip to Publix for more bits, which essentially consisted of wine and high sugar goods.

We left the villa at 7.30, arriving to see the Studios looking glorious in the dark.

Tonight was the final Frozen Firework party thing of the summer and so we made our way up to DJ Chill who was expertly playing other people’s records in front of the Great Movie Ride.

My ability to take a blurred photo knows no bounds.

The girls got their groove on to the “banging tunes” for a bit, whilst Nana and Grandad wandered off to the shops and to get a drink.

After battling their way right to front for more throwing of shapes they returned to us to watch the fireworks.

We enjoyed the fireworks so much I took another blurred photo.

We then battled our way down Sunset Boulevard for the 10pm Fantasmic, stopping in the villains shop on the way for drinks, souvenirs and more crowd battling.

Once inside a very full and busy stadium we took our seats.

Clearly not feeling myself, I agreed to buy Louise some lighty up ear things and after fighting my way to a vendor and all the way back to my seat, imagine my delight when they didn’t work. The joy continued when the show started, as after about a minute it stopped again due to the increasing rain. Our history of rain and Fantasmic is surely now legendary?

We waited a few minutes and the show started up again…..only to stop once more after not long at all. With our patience at full stretch, we stuck it out a little longer and we were rewarded with the rest of the show without interruption.

Here is my traditional eulogy about Disney’s ability to disperse thousands of people via seemingly a couple of trams without fuss, queue or complication. Within minutes of leaving the stadium (after swapping out Louise’s defective ears) we found a tram waiting for us, with no queue at all and we were whisked away to our car and we are on our way on amazingly uncongested roads. In the UK, if you dare to attempt the Trafford Centre at any time other than 2am on a weekday you sit on the car park for forty minutes waiting to get off.

We did witness some truly scary driving from some folks on the way home, with last minute lane switching and the cutting up of other folks, but thankfully my experience, excellent road sense and The Force saw us home safely. I was so busy keeping us safe that I did miss a junction so we took a lovely scenic route home, which was nice. We were home by 11.40 and I managed about a page and a half of my book before my eyes closed.

Till the next time…..

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