I look at my notes for today and it says we had a lazy start. It feels like there was a lot of this already this trip. I do wonder then why, looking back now, that I was definitely the most tired I have ever been on one of these things this year.
Sure, I’m the oldest I’ve ever been, but without stealing my Jerry Springer style summing up at the end thunder, I may have pushed the pace too hard.
Anyway, lazy we were and there was some TV watching, Freddie had his toast for breakfast and everyone generally did nothing until about 10.30 when readying began. We left the villa at 11.30 and headed for what turned out to be a very busy I4. I don’t tend to think about things like this when planning, but we were heading for Toothsome for lunch, and if I were back home I would seriously question driving that far to anywhere for lunch. It’s different here and on holiday of course food is very much part of the destination not the journey for us, and there is only one Toothsome, so travel we must and did.
It took us forty-five minutes to get to a Universal car parking spot and, another thing I wouldn’t do at home, I spent $22 on parking without blinking an eye or ranting for three and half hours, which I definitely would do in the UK.
We were in Spiderman 455. We unloaded everyone and Freddie’s stroller and after a battle with some escalators and some elevators that weren’t working, or at least not quickly enough for my patience, we were on the moving walkways and heading into City Walk.
By jingo it was hot.
We arrived at Toothsome, and again, it’s a bloody long walk from the car to get there, just after 12.45. There was no wait and we were taken upstairs and seated immediately.
Now, we were here for food. The chap at the front desk clarified that, as they must get a load of folks rocking up just for milkshakes. Regardless of our dining intentions, our priority of course was a milkshake so we spent many minutes looking at a menu we had read many times before the trip, even watching a vlog about them all, to help in our decision-making process.
I still rushed it a bit, and ended up blurting one out feeling pressured by the waiting server.
Me – PB&J
Mikey & Rebecca – Celebration
I can only apologise for the blatant lack of a photo. There is no excuse.
Emily – Key Lime
Tom – Brownie
Louise – No milkshake, but some wine
They are absolutely bloody lovely. I know they look impressive and that is important, but the taste does not disappoint. I loved mine as did everyone else.
We sucked on these whilst waiting for our meals to arrive.
Me – Red Reuben
Louise – Houmous & a side of Onion Rings
Emily, Mikey and Rebecca – Chicken Sandwich
Tom – Burger
Freddie – Pasta
Imagine the fullest thing you can, double it and add a bit more and that was me. I was absolutely stuffed, bordering on hospitalisation. So a good meal!
We walked, slowly, back to the car in incredible heat wondering if we would ever need to eat again. (We did).
The plan stated that this afternoon was a non-theme park day and instead we were to go shopping. How this would make the day any more restful, I have never known, but we have always done some shopping so off we went. The location was to be the Premium Outlet Malls at Lake Buena Vista.
The fatal flaw in this plan was defined by the very reason for its existence. Today was Labor (sic) Day weekend, and as such, my plan was to stay as far away from theme park crowds as possible. It seemed that all of those crowds had instead congregated at this mall. We toured the car park for about twenty minutes before finally admitting defeat. There was just no chance of us finding a spot and so I left that traffic nightmare and drove straight into another. The queue of cars to get back to the Crossroads area (Benny says Hi….ask your granddad) past Bahama Breeze was just bobbins. We sat and waited for about half an hour inching forward slowly. Just as we got to the front of the queue some f*ck nugget tried to just indicate and swing in right in front of us. If Freddie’s first words are unrepeatable, this moment will be why. I can assure you, I did not let him in.
Denied of retail therapy at one location we headed to Disney Springs, where these days, the one thing you can be pretty sure of is a parking spot. We pulled into Lime, found a spot easily and disembarked.
We wandered some shops, I have to say halfheartedly. Emily got a hoodie but other than that nothing was purchased and enthusiasm for such was very low it had to be said.
Rebecca voiced those views first and said they’d rather be in a park. Faced with a fairly forceful sulk, it was agreed that we’d chance a theme park as they couldn’t be any busier than these bloody shops.
Don’t worry, the pin had been removed from the back of this badge…I mean pin…no, I mean badge. There was nothing sharp on what Freddie was holding here is what I am saying.
Once back in the car we pointed the van at Magic Kingdom. He who dares wins.
We parked in…
At this time of day there was no army of Cast Members waving you to the bottom of a row so we drifted around the car park like it was the Premium Outlet Mall again until we found a spot.
We were by now getting quite skilled at the routine from the car, onto the tram and off again. Everyone had assumed a role, and we dismantled the stroller and boarded in a few seconds like on of those F1 pit land crews. We didn’t wear helmets though.
We monorailed in
Once in the park we consulted the app to see what horrendous queues awaited us and to confirm that no FastPasses would be available for anything.
I have to say, I struggled with the app this year. It was constantly flakey. Certain pages never loaded. For example, whenever I viewed our plans, unless I filtered by something, no content appeared. It froze a lot and was generally about as fast as an episode of Poldark. (Sorry my hatred for all Sunday evening period dramas seeps out now and again).
With every ride rammed we resorted to meeting a character. We rarely do this these days and hadn’t done any this trip. With Freddie with us, we should and we did. We struck out up Main Street heading for Tomorrowland and Buzz who was out doing a meet.
On the way, we passed “the purple wall”. If you “do” Instagram you’ll know….
Mikey, Tom and Rebecca joined the queue for Buzz for Freddie’s first ever official character meet.
We wondered if he would be terrified of them. It may run in the family as Louise is quite scared of other large things with weird heads.
As they queued I loitered ready to take a few photos once they got to Buzz. There was an Edna drive by…
We needn’t have worried about Freddie. Like everything else on this trip he took Buzz in his stride.
As did Mikey.
Whilst waiting I had used the app to book some FastPasses having found some actually did exist. The first of which was…
This is a ride I hadn’t been on since 2003 I think. After a pre-ride wee our FastPass time came around and we all boarded except Louise who I think thought it may be too thrilling for her.
After feeding Freddie, we now headed back to Tomorrowland (sure, I do know we just came from there…) and we did the old faithful rides when things are busy and you need something to do between FastPasses. First,
Even this had a small queue, but we were soon aboard, enjoying Magic Kingdom at dusk.
When you are “the planner” of the group there can be a certain pressure. Every time you leave a ride all eyes turn to you with a “What now?” attached. So I often find that whilst on one ride my mind is thinking of the next step or two. In this case, the answer was right in front of me and we did Carousel of Progress.
There was a holiday many years ago when Rebecca was obsessed with the song and we had it in the car for the whole fortnight. There is no greater testament of our love for her than the fact that she survived.
Our second FastPass was now due and thankfully it was for Buzz and not some ride at the other side of the park.
Again, the scores weren’t important. These competitive Dads who can’t just appreciate the joy of taking part with their family are a real source of dismay!
As we exited the ride the fireworks were on. This was a problem as Emily and I had been avoiding all online showings of Happily Ever After so that we could watch it for the first time live. So as we bolted for the exit, we did our best not to look up or indeed listen to what was going on! We must have looked a bit strange, head down, shouting instructions to each other, trying to avoid the gathered crowds whilst only looking at the pavement.
The other concern of course was that the fireworks would finish, and thousands of folks would start heading for the exit too, so this was a full paced extraction. We still took the resort monorail as the queue looked shorter and we were soon back at the car.
Right, time to get back on plan! Applebees it said and Applebees we would do.
We did the one on the 192 and were pleasingly seated immediately. More pleasing for those not driving was the news that it was two for one on most alcoholic drinks.
There were so many flying about that I lost track of what they were.
This one is actually Tom’s milkshake. He has an addiction problem, and this is it.
Freddie was alseep so we had brought him in still in his car seat. Applebees had an ingenious contraption that could be placed at the end of the table that we could rest that on so he wasn’t on the floor.
The fact that the only child in our party was out of it did not stop us from commissioning something from the wandering balloon person.
Yes, even at my age, I can still get Woody.
We ordered some appetisers as it had been several hours since our life threatening amount of food at Toothsome.
Me and Emily shared some nachos. Louise and Mikey had some Mozzarella sticks.
For mains we had –
Me – Thai Salad
Louise, Mikey and Emily – Various Pasta things
Tom – Club Sandwich
Rebecca – Boneless Wings
Who knows why I didn’t photograph those!
It was all superb. I know Applebees isn’t fine dining but it is good fun, great quality and at $200 including a 20% tip great value too. Full and tired I got us back home and we were in bed by 11.20.
Till the next time…..