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We drove aimlessly around Daytona for a bit learning that the eateries featured in our sat nav were now sadly out of date, with many of them now closed.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…..

The Adults Only Tour 2015 – Day Eleven

Day Eleven – 6th September

Well, theme park fans, once again I must apologise up front for what will be a ride free day. Such is married life!

Today we set off for our overnight mini-break in Daytona. Just at the point when an early start would have been very useful we all slept in until 8am. Of course, we hadn’t done anything clever like pack the night before. Frankly, we are always so tired by the time it comes to bed time that it’s a bonus if we manage to get undressed.

I have written in my notes that we were out by 9am. I can’t now remember the start to today in great detail but based upon our track record thus far, I think I was lying.

We were soon on the I4 which was lovely and clear with it being a Sunday, albeit Labor (spelt the US way as it is a US holiday) Day weekend.

Having spent all the journey watching my petrol gauge stressing about whether we would make it or not, with thirty miles to go my bottle went and I came off the I4 in search of gas. The sat nav helped me a little but it took a stupidly route, including a trip through a “swap meet” in a weird car park, to come to the BP station the sat nav promised us.

This gas station was in a place which if you look in the dictionary for the term “back woods” you will see a picture. I was served by a chap, who was so stereotypical, if I told you about him you would think I was being racist, bigoted and shallow. Let’s just say there was a hint of the red neck about him.

There was a sign at the counter telling me that they did not accept any bills larger than $20 so I gave one of those and a ten to get the tank pretty much full. That’s another reason I love the US.

As I left he said “Have a great day, and a better one tomorrow!” which I thought was lovely and reminded me a little of Forrest Gump and the Truman Show.

Back on the road we completed the last thirty miles.

The coast was in sight soon enough.

We arrived in Daytona just after ten which, even as I write it now sounds impressively early. We parked up and undertook a delightfully swift check in at the Hyatt. One of our three rooms was ready so we dumped our bags there, changed and headed for the beach. It was a slightly shocking $80 for six sunbeds and three umbrellas. I think Grandad passed out.

My toes were, I believe the phrase is, on fleek?

We had a very healthy lunch of burgers from one of the vans serving on the beach and I spent most of the day reading. I had picked up one of the books from the villa, a Jack Reacher novel, which somehow I had never come across before. Perfect sunbed reading material.

As we were heading out at around 5pm tonight Rebecca and Sarah went up to the room to get ready at 2.30pm!! The rest of us stayed in the sun until about 4pm.

After taking my usual ten minutes to get ready, I took some photos from our balcony.

After showers and stuff we all met in reception at around 5pm. The girls, despite their, early start were late, but for once with good reason.

Rebecca’s boyfriend, who was staying at our house helping to encourage the cats to go missing before our return (I am no fan of our cats!) had been in touch to say that someone had just tried to break into our house. It was night time at home of course, and he had been upstairs. Having heard a noise he went down to see a couple of men at the back of our house, one stood at the back door.

As he opened the door to ask them politely, what they were doing, they left. As you can imagine, we all felt a bit sick and shaken, but probably not as much as Tom did! We set off for the baseball stadium. It may not surprise you to hear that as we got there I realised I had forgotten the tickets I ordered, printed and stored away safely some six months ago. The box office sorted things without any fuss.

I called my brother back home and asked him to meet the police at our house to have a look around. With nothing else untoward to report, we tried to concentrate on having a nice night in one of our favourite places.

We ordered food. That’s quite a simple statement, but we somehow managed to make it a more complex operation than the D Day landings. With everyone a little bit all over the place with worry about events back home as we stood at the window placing our order, nobody, especially me, was concentrating too well, and we managed to confuse our poor server at every stage, no doubt not helped by her not being able to understand our strange accents either.

Somehow, we all ended up with a drink and something to eat and we settled into the bleachers.

Here, you may be able to get some appreciation for just how red and sore Sarah’s legs were.

Grandad was sat behind a local character who he befriended. You can see him in the photo above. He helpfully explained the finer details of the game throughout and they chatted about all sorts. It’s funny I think, how two people with such different life experiences can be thrown together and find common stuff to chat about for about four hours. This local chap had a tattoo on his arm which read “I’m F**cked” without the asterixes. He looked like a member of the Grateful Dead and was a thoroughly lovely chap.

The game went on with most of it being sort of understood, interspersed with all the usual fun and games between innings.

The stresses of earlier events drifted away and we started to relax in the perfect late evening weather and I certainly, as I always do, wondered what it would be like to live in such a climate. Surely, it makes for a happier, healthier, less stressful time?

Tonight was the final game of the season. Thankfully, the home team, the Daytona Tortugas won in a low scoring game and the night ended with a fireworks display, which frankly went on much longer than anyone expected. It was surprisingly impressive for a small minor league baseball stadium. My photos, as ever failed to capture any of it with any degree of accuracy.


The night, as usual included lots of local sponsors giving stuff away and we were only mildly shocked to be given a $10 off Dicks voucher as we left. Each to their own.

We left the stadium and we were back at the hotel not longer after. The girls went up to their room but the hardcore oldies sat out by the pool for an hour or so enjoying wine and coffee (not in the same glass) and chatting. Bed was then a welcome sight. As much as the bleachers are the best place to watch the game from, they really play havoc with our behind!

Till the next time…..