The “Why’s It Taking Long” Tour 2022 – Day Six

As much as a rest day is welcome in the punishing schedule of a WDW theme park based holiday, it does not make for a blockbusting, action packed trip report extravaganza, as I have often said. To be honest when you are as many trip reports in as I am, there is little I have not said before. I am not saying the park days offer anything blockbustery either, but that’s more a reflection of my poor writing skills. However, today was a rest day of sorts and I must make the most of it so here we go.

It’s always good to start a rest day by waking up at 6am of course. It’s a two hour lie in compared to the rest of the holiday so far, and I cannot fathom why this trip, for the first time, I was suffering from jet lag on the way out. My body would just not adjust to US time.

I forced myself to lie in bed till 8am. To be honest it it didn’t take too much forcing. After a shower and locating an accommodating T Shirt, we left the villa at 9.20 bound for I Drive. It’s unusual that we do, but certain eateries entice us there from time to time. I know many love that area but it’s not somewhere we have ever spent a lot of time. Being of boundless wealth, we can of course justify such snobbery.

This morning we were headed for…

to indulge in some life threatening gluttony.

On the way, the I4 was a bit busy and we did some crawling around Lake Buena Vista but eventually arrived at 10.10am. Being a Saturday and using the parks as a guide of how busy everywhere was, I was expecting to have to get a tram to this parking lot too, but it looked fairly quiet as we pulled in. We valet parked mainly as there never seems to be any alternative and we were seated immediately. We have seen the place much busier on every other visit.

To give you an idea of the calorific content you may onboard in a visit here, these are just the coffees.

Tom ordered the Camp Fire Smores Mocha, which had an inch thick crust of marshmallow on the top of it.

It’s always hard to order here as the menu is huge, but the main dilemma for me is critically, do I go sweet or savoury. We got our drinks and had a think….

We ordered –

Rebecca – French Toast

Emily went savoury with Avocado on Toast. The tree branch may have been optional.

Freddie just went with the Kid’s pancake….

I opted for Brown Sugar and Banana Flapjack, which would be a great name for a band….

Tom had a “Farmer’s Thing”, which as a Snickers Flapjack with sausage and egg.

Emily polished hers off and even helped Rebecca out a bit. Freddie did not finish, but that will not be a surprise.

Tom and I powered through and cleared the lot from our plates. I am equally proud and ashamed of that feat. My appetite is not what it once was for sure. I am developing old person’s stomach which seems to be a continual expansion on the outside, versus a continual retraction on the inside. I am not a fan. There were several times this trip when I would get angry with said stomach for getting full well before I had finished enjoying stuffing food into it. This however was not one of those times. Sure, I was full and should have stopped eating well before I cleared the plate but the deliciousness overcame those pesky thoughts of sanity and reason.

The bill was $140 including a good tip and we waddled out to get the car back from valet, tipping them $5, still not knowing after all these years if that is an insult or not.

It’s hard to drive when your stomach is as full as mine was but I got us back onto the 192 where we stopped at Target for “bits”.

As ever these shopping stop offs are random, with a trolley full of loo roll, drinks, snacks, pool toys and various personal items I will not recount here. It did not contain any video games, despite Freddie’s best efforts.

Tom tried to resurrect his quest for an Apple watch but there was no stock to be had here either. Bloody Brexit!

We drove back to the villa and once there, had a chat with Louise.

Rebecca, Tom and Freddie spent some time in the pool and I sat on the lanai strategising for our upcoming stay at Universal. I was looking into what was available to onsite folks for early hours and what was and was not included in the Front of Line access perks. I decided and decreed that we would do IOA first. Feeling happy with my decision I retired to bed for a nap. I dozed for around 90 minutes and upon waking felt like death. Clearly my body had decided to abandon any benefits of sleep during this trip.

I onboarded many painkillers and got myself ready to eat again. Yes, it’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.

We left the villa at 6.10pm and headed for Disney Springs. We parked in Lime on the very top floor and made our way down, through security and made our way across to House of Blues for our ADR. Sweet mother of Mary it was busy. It was a Saturday so we had loins girded for such, but it was madness. We struggled to even walk together and had to keep stopping to regroup along the way. We arrived at HOB at 7.10, I checked us in and we were seated ten minutes later.

I’ve taken better photos….Tom is vaguely aware of me pointing the camera in his general direction and Rebecca, being very much my daughter, is of course, more interested in the menu.

In all these years we have never eaten here. I think I popped in for a wee some years back, and another year we missed an ADR here as we got stuck at Premium Outlets in a torrential rainstorm, so it was nice to have the chance to finally see what the food was like.

Anyone else getting Hans Solo vibes here?

As we often tend to do, we started with Nachos.

There was live music on, which is nearly always a good thing, unless it’s Coldplay.

Party on Wayne!

For mains I had the Pulled Pork Platter and it was glorious.

Tom had a Juicy Lucy, but we would find a suitable cream for that in CVS later….

I wrote down that Rebecca had a burger……yep, I got nothing…

Freddie also had a “Burger”, but a different one….

Can you guess what Emily had?

I did note that this one was an Impossible burger to avoid any animal involvement.

Look, my meal was really good and I think my brain fogged over with the enjoyment and when I made notes later, “Burger” was the best I could do.

Everything was really tasty and the service was good. Emily had two cocktails with absolutely no regard to the effect on the bill which was $180 with tip.

We left, envious of Freddie’s ability to be pushed around.

We wandered a few shops and thankfully it was a little less busy by now, but not much.

Our wanderings took us back in the general direction of Lime.

We were all full and tired, again, for the second time today and not for the last time this trip. I shudder to imagine the calorie count for today so I won’t.

I drove us home in a pre-diabetic haze and we were all in bed by 10pm, me looking forward to another seemingly unavoidable early rise. Not a euphemism.

Till the next time…..

The “Why’s It Taking Long” Tour 2022 – Day Five

As Phil Collins said (again), today was to be the Stu, Stu, Studios.

Well before that could happen I felt the need to be awake at 4am again. I forced myself to stay in bed and horizontal until 6.30. Just before 7am I opened up the My Disney Experience app, thinking I would take a look at some new ride I had heard about. Something about resisting a rise. I mean how hard could it be to ride something at a theme park?

I was very soon reminded that I was off-site scum and Disney would rather set me on fire than allow me to get on a ride I had spent a lot of money buying a ticket for the park it was in. I felt, for probably the first time, like some sort of outsider to the Disney experience. Off-site idiots are now blatantly treated very differently in relation to this stuff. This has been the case in other ways over the years yes, but that was about stuff like free car parking or an hour or so extra in a park. This is a fundamental barrier to actually experiencing an attraction based upon your accommodation preference. I am not a fan. I also felt that I did not understand how all this worked yet. Sure I hadn’t done the required amount of research, but I was just wanting to go to a theme park and ride some rides, not perform surgery.

I bought Genie+ again and immediately felt ripped off and resentful. This is exactly what Walt had in mind I’m sure. It was now just after 7am and the best LL I could book was Tower of Terror for 12pm as we wanted a slightly later start today due to tiredness. Sure, I could have not bought Genie+ and then rocked up to the park mid-morning and found wait times longer than my old fella for the entire day, but what good would that be? In the good old days we would have had three FastPasses secured for the day about 60 days ago and be able to plan our day accordingly.

I called Louise to see how things were back home and I think a good summary was, better than they were yesterday. Mary was home.

A bagel and some fruit entered me with my consent and I had a shower and put some clothes on. I wasn’t naked eating breakfast. I put some different clothes on.

We drove to Hollywood Studios and arrived around 10.30am. I’ve had a moan above about some things but I will say again, well done to Disney for properly sorting out the security checks when entering a park. It is an immeasurable improvement.

We could already tell that the park was busy. The app confirmed this once we had entered with long wait times for anything and everything.

Rebecca went for a wee and the rest of us stood here.

The only/best option for us was to go and watch the Beauty and The Beast show starting at 11. We grabbed a seat and waited about fifteen minutes for it to start.

Freddie got a bit bored so I let him take some photos.

Then we did more selfies.

Thankfully for everyone having to look at those photos, the show started. It’s a show we have seen countless times and we noticed some fairly heavy adjustments to accommodate social distancing so it looked a bit odd. It was still enjoyable though.

We were out by 11.30 and by jingo if it wasn’t time to get some lunch!

We stood and sat here whilst mobile ordering some stuff. We were eating early as we had an early ADR for “dinner” at 3.50 this afternoon. You know you are on a WDW holiday when you have to plan ahead to be anything like hungry for your next ADR.

Our order from Rosie’s was ready at 11.50 and we found ourselves a table to eat at.

Freddie had a hot dog as long as his entire body.

Tom had one with Chilli on it.

Rebecca and I had chicken nugget things.

Emily just got some fries which I deemed unworthy of a photo.

As we finished eating and were heading to Tower of Terror for our LL, Louise phoned with a technical issue with the TV back home. Once again I was in remote support mode, trying to figure out what had been pressed and what needing pressing to undo that. It was an easier thing to resolve than yesterday’s issue.

Everyone who wasn’t pregnant went on the ride. Our LL helped us avoid a 60 minute standby wait at this point.

You will notice today that I had remembered my camera had a selfie mode.

We had been a little concerned that Freddie my be frightened, not by the drops, but by the dark and spooky nature of the ride. We need not have worried.

He loved the whole thing and had his arms up, screaming with laughter as we dropped over and over.

We headed for the Indiana Jones show next as it started in 15 minutes.

When we got there it was already full. I did say the park was busy.

Instead we headed over to the Frozen show instead and were seated immediately.

This is just good fun.

We left in a better mood and state than when we entered and that’s how it should be.

Freddie added to his plastic tat collection and we made our way to Star Tours that only had a 20 minute wait posted.

Where he met and very much liked “shiny man”. From here on in, “I want to go on shiny man ride” was a regular phrase.

Rebecca and her bump once again waited outside as we rode.

This was one of Freddie’s favourites and no doubt kicked off his Star Wards discovery in the coming years. As we met Rebecca on the bench she had been waiting on a small cavalcade passed by.

Anything that we may want to actually ride had a ride time too long to be tolerated so we toddled off to the Muppets.

Even on a busy day like today this wasn’t full and I even allowed us to sit down in the middle of a row once I had been assured it would not be full. Now able to wear the glasses and appreciate the 3D Freddie really enjoyed this one.

I know we only ate a few paragraphs ago, but it was now time for our ADR at 50’s Prime Time CafĂ©. We strolled over in that direction.

We were seated after a five minute wait. You can check in via the app now in case you didn’t know.

Obviously the experience here is not what it was before the pandemic. I don’t know if that is 100% of the reason but when we first dined here many years ago the interaction was legendary. Elements of it remain and let’s hope and see if they come back when any form of normality does.

Freddie and Tom ordered a milkshake.

It will not surprise you to hear he did not finish this.

Rebecca ordered this drink which seemed to involve something happening when Pluto was dropped in but it escaped me.

Emily chose a cocktail purely on the basis that it had a glow cube.

She was a little more limited for vegetarian options so ended up with a salad.

Rebecca, Tom and I had the Fried Chicken

Freddie had Chicken Tenders.

We ventured into dessert territory, with Emily and I sharing a peanut butter layered thing. Again, probably not what appears on the menu as its description.

Tom had one of those to himself and Rebecca a brownie based thing.

The food was all very tasty, but the bill of $215 including tip would be better justified once the full experience is back here. We were however very full, which was odd as we hadn’t eaten a lot today.

A Collection of House of Cards' Best Frank Underwood Side-Eye GIFs | Kevin  spacey, Frank underwood, House of cards

Since riding Tower of Terror at midday, I had been booking other LLs every two hours and now we found ourselves with stuff stacked up so we were looking forward to some queue free fun. This was not scheduled to start until 7pm so we rode “shiny man” again.

Freddie got a remote controlled BB8 from the gift shop. Having finally released it from the most ridiculous packaging known to man, everybody but Freddie then played with it for a bit. We gave him a turn eventually.

It was 6pm now and we had a choice of watching Indian Jones or going to Galaxy’s Edge. We chose….

It was just lovely watching Freddie’s reaction to the fantastic theming. He was enthralled by all the droids and fighters we walked past.

He got especially excited when we reached the Falcon.

He was absolutely desperate to ride it. The wait time was ridiculous and we had a LL for 8pm. Trying to explain to an over excited four year old why he can’t go on something that mind blowing until later is tricky. See….

We wandered off trying to distract him with other stuff….

and sat him in stroller with my camera as we made our way to Toy Story Land.

Thankfully for your and my camera’s sake we soon arrived at Toy Story Land.

Our first LL at 7pm was for Swirling Saucers so we all rode that, firstly via the 20 minute standby queue which was more like five and then Tom and Freddie rode again using the LL.

The rest of us found a bench to wait on.

It had become very cold, very quickly so we reached for the hoodies and walked to Toy Story Mania for our LL at 7.10pm.

I rode with Freddie and showed absolutely no mercy in the manner of defeat I inflicted upon him. I did so knowing it will only be a few short years until those roles are reversed.

We still had half an hour until our LL for Smuggler’s Run so Tom took Freddie on “shiny man ride” one more time.

Finally it was time for our LL for Smuggler’s.

It is hard to describe how excited Freddie was. He literally could not stand still during the short amount of time we had to wait to ride. It was just a joy to watch him. He almost exploded with anticipation.

Emily and I were gunners with Tom and Freddie piloting the Falcon. It was all a blur of images, noises and excitement but it was fab. This is so immersive that Freddie was absolutely convinced he had just flown the big Falcon he had seen outside and that is how it should be.

We walked out of Galaxy’s Edge and to the park exit.

With Rebecca struggling now after a full on day, Emily and I walked back to the car and then drove back to the front of the car park to pick everyone else up. We only missed them a couple of times and got there in the end!

We were home by 10pm after a full, sometimes frustrating, but enjoyable day.

Till the next time…..

The “Why’s It Taking Long Tour” 2022 – Day Four

Holidays are a time to relax, de-stress, kick back and avoid any issues to deal with that may raise your blood pressure. Well, this holiday was already classed as “not normal” so sit back and let me tell you a story.

Today started early, again. I was awake at 4am. I dozed till 6ish when Louise phoned me. She was a bit flustered as she was on Asda’s car park, in the snow, having just locked the car keys in the boot of the car, and of course the car had now locked.

This is not the news you want to hear from 4,000 miles away, as usually I would have picked up the spare key and driven the ten minutes to Asda to resolve the problem. Today Louise had a million things to do to prepare for her Mum coming home, so her stress levels were already higher than normal.

I sprang into action, calling Greenflag, who we get cover with via our bank account. They said they would despatch someone asap. I passed this on to Louise and had a shower and some breakfast, glad that this emergency had been dealt with.

We had noticed that Epcot didn’t open until 10am today which was a bit weird, but having been quite tardy with our park arrivals so far we made up for it by leaving the villa at 8.40. We parked in Amaze 34 and walked into the park.

On site special people were being greeted into the park like the elite kind of folks they are and us scummy off site proles had to settle for a Joffrey’s coffee and a doughnut.

Right about now Louise called me again, in a very heightened state of distress. The Greenflag man could not open the car. She was at this stage trying to smash a window on the car and I was phoning glass replacement businesses some 4,000 miles away to see who could repair it when she did. Several more calls came in from Louise, each more upsetting than the last.

Greenflag man asked Louise if she had a spare key for the car, at which point I think his head landed about half a mile away after she had taken it off. I was calling various family members to see who could help.

The horrible juxtaposition of me being stood in the pleasant warmth of Florida about to undertake a day in a theme park and Louise’s end of the video call, which consisted of sleet, high winds and a very distraught wife was not one I ever wish to repeat.

Meanwhile, back in Epcot, I sent everyone else off to do stuff whilst I sat near the entrance calling and googling various things to try and help. The new plan was to get a locksmith to our house to “break in” so Louise could get the spare key. The tricky bit wasn’t finding a locksmith, which I did from Epcot in two phone calls, no, the real challenge was getting Louise home. For reasons I cannot understand all the local taxi places would not take her as it was a journey from one town to another and due to COVID, apparently, this meant it was a no no. I was too stressed and busy to even worry about this.

We were about an hour in now and I was close to a heart attack. You do not want to be across an ocean when there is an emergency happening back home. Then, a saviour entered the scene. The locksmith I had found was sat outside our house and he called Louise to ask where she was. She explained she was stuck at Asda and could not get home. Like a superhero he went to pick her up.

Upon their return they were to go around the back of the house and pop one of the locks on the conservatory, which is very old and due to be replaced as soon as the weather improves enough for it to be installed. At the back of our house is a field and to get down from it to our garden there is a steep slope with less then great steps.

Here it is in what passes for summer in the North West of England.

Both Louise and the locksmith went down those steps, however Louise did so on her backside, slipping on the mix of sleety snow and other wintry shite on the ground. You may smile, or even laugh at that image now and that’s OK. At the time, nobody did!

We are edging towards the end of this story now. At this time I had wandered up through Epcot to meet everyone and I did so outside The Land as they had ridden Soarin’.

On my way up, just as some attempt at this being a trip report, I should mention that Epcot is a building site. I find it odd that it is so during the 50th celebrations, but the whole centre part of the park has endless boards up. It’s a bit of a mess.

As I waited, after all this stress, there was almost inevitably, a large Pooh.

We walked over to Nemo and Friends, but I was still mentally back home, waiting for news from Louise and confirmation that she had found the spare key and got into the car.

Whilst in the ten minute queue, Louise called. She had the spare key. The crowning glory of this tale is that when Louise and the locksmith had rappelled down the slope to our back garden and conservatory, and as the locksmith was preparing to break in, it turns out the conservatory door was open!

Suffice to say, Louise paid him plus a large tip for saving the day regardless of him just acting as a taxi.

I had chest pains.

We rode.

After that we decided to do Crush and walked in just as the doors were closing.

A few minutes into the show my phone went again. It was Louise and I had to leave the show to take it. She had got a taxi back to Asda and was back in the car and on with her day.

To add insult to chest pains and injury, it turned out that there was a lack of ambulances, so Mary’s homecoming would be tomorrow instead of today.

Shall we all just have a minute?

The weight of a thousand manatees lifted from my shoulders as I waited near them for the others to finish Crush.

We then wandered the rest of the tanks.

Half in anger and half as reward for the stressful delay to our park touring day, I had purchased Genie+. I had secured a Lightning Lane (from hereon in that is a LL). Even at that time in the morning all the LL’s for Test Track were gone for that day. How can a system where you pay for special access have that happen? I booked us onto Mission Space for 11.45 instead. It was now time for that so we made our way over there via the circuitous route created by all the screening boards.

Myself, Emily and Tom rode that. We rode the Orange intense side much to my delight.

I missed most of the briefing video as the next LL window was due right at that time so I spent those minutes looking at the app, choosing what to book next. I felt absolutely dog rough as we left the ride. It’s an age thing I am convinced. I once took my Mum on it when she was in her 70’s and almost killed her. I fear I am heading for the same fate as the years pass.

Freddie was spending a bit of time in the splash pad despite it not really being splash pad weather.

That next LL booking I had made was for Spaceship Earth and it was due now. We headed that way.

I had the honour of riding with Freddie.

Lunch was now very overdue so we headed back to The Land for food. I had something called a Land Crusher which was pulled pork on Texas Toast. I think it’s called that as it Texas so long to make it.

Honestly it was one of the tastiest things I had all trip.

It was so good I have no record of what anyone else had.

I had by now booked our next LL for Journey Into Imagination and not too surprisingly that was due immediately.

I constantly wondered what Freddie was making of these things he was experiencing for the first time. Now I know he’s ridden some of this stuff before but he of course has no memory of it.

Having no way to book any form of LL for Test Track, next, everyone except Rebecca joined the 60 minute queue.

Even with two breakdowns of the ride whilst we queued, and here we are during one of those looking happy about it…

We were on in 25 minutes. I am not one to suggest that wait times are being inflated to encourage the purchase of Genie+. To be fair it was a mixed bag all trip with many times the displayed minutes being correct and a good number of times it not.

We designed our cars….

Waited a bit more….

and enjoyed the ride.

With Rebecca waiting for us on her own we did not spend too much time admiring the cars we could not afford.

We met Rebecca in the new Creations shop. Rebecca and Freddie finally got their new magic bands all linked up and after a browse of the shop we found a bench and had a drink whilst Tom took Freddie on Mission Space. It’s always a judgement call as to when you let your small kids go on the big stuff. Every child is different of course but Tom and Rebecca were confident he would be OK. There are surgical procedures I would have undertaken without sedation rather than ride Mission Space again at this time.

Freddie loved it and returned with one of those Groot things that sit on your shoulder as a reward for bravery. Yes, he rode Orange too.

We walked over to the Short Film Festival next. Please don’t disregard this when looking for things to do. Sure, it’s no Captain Eo, but it was extremely enjoyable.

As we entered this, Mickey was out for pictures. We couldn’t stop as the show was about to begin, so as we left we circled back and were delighted to find him still there.

I am hoping these socially distanced style photos will just be a reminder of different times soon and we can get back to the meet and greets with hugs and stuff soon.

As we walked back to the stroller we passed one of the cutest service dogs we saw all trip and for some reason we saw a lot. We have never really seen any in all our previous times, but this year they were everywhere.

At some point in the recent past I had booked a LL for Soarin’ to make up for me missing it this morning as I was trapped in a glass case of chest pain and stress.

We rode at 6 and I loved this ride as I always do.

By this time Rebecca was starting to get tired and back painy so we decided to head out.

I saw the new lights on Spaceship Earth for the first time and all I wondered was why had they never done this before. It looked stunning and I took far more pictures than I will inflict on you here.

We made our way out to the exit.

I will add a note here to say that I am still in mourning for the loop music that now seems gone. I am sorry but this music IS Epcot.

Tonight’s dining was meant to be Bahama Breeze remember but we pulled that forward due to the Cheesecake Factory being too busy. With everyone being very tired we took the decision to just call at Taco Bell on the way home. I haven’t been to a Taco Bell for over a decade so had no clue what to order. Emily and I went in and muddled our way through the self order board thing and emerged with some food. It was $40.

We drove on to the villa and whilst we ate, called Louise to check in on her after her eventful day. Tom and Freddie went in the pool for a bit and then bed happened.

Till the next time……

The “Why’s It Taking Long Tour” 2022 – Day Three

There are many signs and few advantages of getting older. I once wrote a novel in the time it now takes me to start peeing and my appetite seems to be receding faster than my hairline did. I know it may not look like it, but I think I am starting to lose my hair.

One other setback, for me at least, is losing the ability to sleep well. I don’t know if it is stress, aches and pains or something else but despite being very, very tired upon getting into my (extremely comfortable) bed at the villa last night I was awake at 3am. Many years ago that’s when I may be going to bed never mind waking up but here we are and I was not happy.

I must have dozed off again at some point as my next recollection is timed at 5.30am and after more dozing I gave up on sleep around 6.45am. Jet lag really seemed to hit me for the first time ever on the way out this year and I don’t know why. It took me an age to get into the new time zone.

I had my morning chat with Louise, who of course was in her lunchtime environment at that time and then I had a bagel and some fruit for breakfast. If you don’t buy one of those big fresh fruit carton things from Publix are you even on holiday in Florida? Our plans for today were Typhoon Lagoon for a bit of rest. No matter that is was in single-digit degrees outside, we were doing a water park.

As it didn’t open till around 10, we were in no rush to get out. How I laughed about being awake since 3am with that in mind. At around 8am I had the great idea of going for (a second) breakfast, like were some kind of Hobbit. Everyone liked that idea, so we all showered, dressed for swimming later and piled into the car and headed to….

Tom had never done a Dennys so it was definitely overdue. This restaurant was a fixture of my early trips to the US when I was all fringe and naivety. My Florida knowledge and dining experiences have both developed for the better over the years but it is still nice to dine here from time to time just to marvel at how small the bill is for the amount of pain you are in from eating too much.

We all ordered coffee and juices with Rebecca having a water.

Rebecca (and her maternity knockers) had Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Me and Tom had a Grand Slamwich

Emily had a Beyond Burger

Freddie had Birthday Cake Pancakes. God bless the US of A for having such things.

Sure, we’ve had better quality food elsewhere, and my sandwich had more salt in it than was healthy for all five of us to consume in the entire holiday but it was all very tasty and extremely filling. The bill was $87 including a good tip. This meal was the perfect preparation for going to a water park of course.

We dragged ourselves back into the car and for the first time ever having a Sat Nav in the car I typed in Typhoon Lagoon and off we set. Sure I could probably have found it unaided, but with the roads forever changing around WDW, better to trust the Sat Nav right?

Wrong.

Inexplicably it took us to Blizzard Beach. So we had to pull over and type the actual address of Typhoon Lagoon in and within ten minutes we pulled into the car park. We were not too shocked to see that the car park was empty.

We strolled towards our usual area but this time we had our pick of beds right on the water’s edge. Today, a lack of shade was unlikely to be an issue.

It was quite cloudy and when the sun was hidden behind them it was definitely chilly, but this did not stop Tom and Freddie heading straight into the wave pool. It took Emily and I another half an hour or so to build up the courage to join them. We were delighted to notice that the wave pool was heated and it was actually much warmer than it feels in August!

We stayed in for an hour, with Freddie loving the waves. We came out around 12 along with the sun which was very welcome indeed as we got dried. Today was my Dad’s birthday so we Facetimed him and my Mum and had a chat to wish him a good day, even though is was almost over where he was.

Shortly after that we spoke to Louise again as she had just heard that Mary was being discharged from hospital the next day.

Rebecca, Tom and Freddie had a wander doing some slides and stuff whilst Emily and I relaxed a bit. In a pathetic attempt to walk some breakfast off I did a full loop of the park stopping briefly to watch some people remind me why I hate water slides and will never do the Humunga Cowabunga thing that looks like a death wish made out of plastic. Freddie joined in with the relaxing once he returned and got dry.

I got us some drinks and we watched the weather improve a bit through the afternoon, and it actually got quite warm.

More wave pooling happened. I retired to my lounger suffering from tiredness and a sore ear. With that in mind and Freddie being tired by now we left around 4pm. We made our first pharmacy stop of the trip in Louise’s honour and I got some drops for my sore ear.

We were home just after 4.30. Freddie and Tom continued getting wet in our pool and I had another chat with Louise.

Some resting happened and we were all then showered and ready to head out for some tea at 7pm. The plan stated we were to eat at the Cheesecake Factory. There is a new one near the Premium Outlet Mall. We arrived to discover a one hour wait and quickly decided that was not for us. Let nobody say I am held prisoner by the plan as I quickly juggled things around and brought forward Bahama Breeze from tomorrow’s plan as it was “just around the corner”.

Just a general note for those who haven’t been that often or at all. Nothing is “just around the corner”. Everything is miles from everything else. Always give yourself much more time than you may think you need to get anywhere. It can make for stressful times if you don’t plan for this stuff.

We were seated immediately, after opting to sit inside (it was chilly).

Today and probably the two days before had taken it out of all of us tonight. We were all tired and lacking energy. Luckily we could try to inject some into our bodies in the form of food, so we did.

We appetised ourselves with a Spinach and Artichoke Dip and Chips and Guacamole.

We then ordered….

Me and Emily – Black Bean and Guacamole Tacos

Tom – A chicken in a pineapple thing (this may not be the official name of this dish)

Rebecca – Steak

Freddie – Chicken Tenders

I was so tired I failed to capture these.

Everyone was too full for dessert and I was too tired to capture what we paid. I think it was sub $200 anyway.

We were home by 9.30. There was some minor kerfuffle trying to get the gates to the development to open but this was more about us not having listened to the instructions we were given at the gate house when we first arrived due to excessive tiredness and a lack of patience.

Freddie was already asleep in the car by the time we pulled onto the drive and if we’d been driving a few more miles, I would have been too.

Did I mention we were tired?

Till the next time…….