To Siesta Key…And Beyond Tour 2017 – Day Five April 15th 2017

The first phase of the holiday was ending today. A part of me was saddened by this. After all the planning, waiting and build up I always try to cling onto each moment of the trip as it escapes through my fingers like fine sand.

There was still far more to come than had passed but I am strange like that. Today was moving day, Universal was over and we were heading to Siesta Key. As all we had to do this morning was put the possession explosion that had happened in our room back into our cases there was no mad rush to get up. We lazed in bed until a crazy 9am. It took an hour to pack and just after ten we left RPR for the last time and headed over to get Mum & Dad. More fun and sweating was had with the quart into pint pot game involving the luggage and car. We did find a slightly different configuration which improved things but Dad still had a case on his lap.

Thankfully we only had a ten minute drive this time. We were heading for Hash House a Go Go and a life threatening amount of food. As we entered the car park we noticed it was as packed as my underwear. Thankfully they had complimentary valet parking. So once we had released Dad from his suitcase companion, we handed over the keys and headed in. It’s usually at this point that I imagine the news headlines –

“Stupid Brit Gives Complete Stranger Posing as Valet His Car Keys”.

The lure of food was greater than my worries so I continued onwards.

We were faced with a fifteen minute wait and a tractor.

We were seated just before 11am and began the daunting task of navigating the menu. It is HUGE.

We stalled the waitress by ordering some drinks. Coffees and juice all round and Louise ordered a special Mocha which she declared to be the best she ever had. My nickname is mocha by the way!

I didn’t get a picture as I was too busy choosing food, but here’s one I found online.

We eventually decided upon –

Me, Dad and Emily – Andy’s Fried Chicken Benedict

Andy’s sage fried chicken w/ fresh spinach, hardwood smoked bacon, market tomato, griddled mozzarella, chipotle cream and scrambled eggs.

All Benedicts served on a fresh split biscuit with griddled mashed potatoes

Mum – Tractor Driver Combo with French Toast

Two Eggs w/ bacon sausage or potatoes with 1 HH signature flapjack. Add one buck for HH famous flapjack.With Vanilla Waffle With Griddled french toast

Louise – Portabella Mushroom

Fresh portabello mushroom, roasted red peppers, basil pesto & griddled goat cheese all on a fresh baked wheat bun

As my attempt looked like this….

Here’s a competent photo taken by someone else.

It is hard to describe the food here. I struggle to find a word that captures what I thought about it. It was superb, delicious, huge, different, fun, huge, unique, huge and huge.

Emily threw the towel in with her plate looking untouched. I made a very good effort but couldn’t finish. It was just so full of things that are designed to fill you up. Mash, Fried Chicken, Biscuit and smothered in a delicious spicy sauce. Safe to say this place will be on the plan for every future trip we undertake.

My notes failed to capture how much it cost, but frankly I didn’t care. You have to try this place!

Slightly more of us left at 12.40 than had arrived. Our car was returned to us and noticeably groaned as we inflicted our increased girth upon it. We found ourselves stuck in traffic trying to get onto the I4. I did think that the traffic was much worse in and around Universal and I Drive than it ever is around WDW and Kissimmee. With only one U Turn required (unlike Theresa May…ooh bit of politics….) which was totally the fault of our sat nav and not me, we found the Interstate and headed for Disney Springs. We arrived at 1pm and parked in Lime. That’s one of the new car parks. The theme parks are full of breath taking technology delivering jaw dropping immersive experiences. However, the fact that you can see if a row has a space without driving down it blew our collective minds. We live in exciting times.

Disney Springs is, as we expected, almost unrecognisable from what we first encountered as Disney Village in 1980 and as Downtown Disney in more recent times. We arranged to meet Mum & Dad later and set off to do what I hoped would be browsing.

The D Life, Beauty & The Beast themed shop was lovely.

Next was Sephora. I have no idea what any of the items they sell are but clearly I am almost alone in that as it was packed.

Louise was still searching for some sandals. Not just any sandals. We of course encountered many pairs of such in the many shops we visited, but none ticked the boxes they needed to.

Emily got a couple of sweatshirts which somehow I paid for despite her being 21 and gainfully employed.

It was very hot and we needed some water which we picked up from the Poutine Place. Upon getting to the counter and seeing some food, I almost threw up there and then, my stomach protesting at the thought of me trying to put anything else into it. It was an act of self protection and I applaud it for that.

We entered the vast expanse of World of Disney next and spent days wandering the endless array of Disney merchandise. By some miracle and completely by chance we left via the same doors we came in, which is a first for us. It was time now to meet Mum & Dad and so we headed back to the Lime car park entrance.

With Louise still needing footwear and a swimming costume I googled for a Walmart or Target having had all the posh boutiques at Disney Springs let us down and set off.

Never has the phrase cockpit been more apt.

Louise was slightly excited for a second in case this was the bloke from Sons of Anarchy.

It wasn’t.

The Target google found for me was actually the same one we spent far too much time in last year kitting out Emily for her time working in WDW. The same retail park contained a Ross in which we spent more time than any man should have to endure.

Then we went next door to the large sports store. We spent only a few minutes exploring the huge Dicks. Thankfully, the required sandals were discovered in Dicks. There are specialist web sites for that I believe. OK enough desperate attempts to make innuendos out of Dicks. In Target she also found some shorts.

With all the shopping I could tolerate done we now headed for Siesta Key.

It took just under two hours in total.

The last mile driving down the “front” was slow and tortuous but we eventually got to our house without incident or getting lost.

The house was lovely. Quirky certainly, a little rustic and not your typical polished, clinical new home but it was in keeping with all the other properties in the area.

Emily and I went to find the local supermarket. It was somewhere we would spend many happy hours over the coming week.

We had gone for some “essentials” and left $137 lighter about forty minutes later.

With the shopping packed away thoughts turned to dinner but nobody was really hungry so we stayed in the house and snacked instead watching some TV.

Apparently wine was an essential I forgot to pick up during my first visit to the shop, so I remedied that now with another trip. The drive to the supermarket took me up the main road on which all the bars and restaurants are. I did have a slight worry that I may not have brought us to the most suitable place as it looked tonight like Magaluf or Falaraki. However, this was a Saturday night at the tail end of Spring Break and my slight fears were unfounded as we would find out during our stay.

Upon getting back to the house I was knackered and fell into bed, managing about ten minutes reading before sleep.

Till the next time…..

 

 

 

 

Gaston Toys With My Emulsions

That plan that I outlined last week in all its gloriously detailed sadness…..well, it won’t surprise you to learn it has changed a little. That’s a good thing though. It isn’t yet at the “laminated” stage and the tweaks I’ve made were a direct result of some great information and suggestions following last week’s post.

I shall now re-type the whole thing including those changes….no, don’t worry, I’ll spare you that.  To summarise the tweaks, I have somehow managed to fit in another meal, on the day we move from Universal to Siesta Key. Once we have checked out we will breakfast at Hash House a Go Go (thanks Alison). The menu looks awesome and as we can’t check in until mid afternoon we can indulge in a huge breakfast and maybe do a spot of shopping before driving out to the coast.

I also got a couple of suggestions for eateries close to Siesta Key (Thanks Dawn) which we will try to get to too. Another tip was to go to the Outback on Kirkman Road on our first night, rather than I Drive, as it will be closer to Universal (Thanks Ian)…so that’s been tweaked…in fact just read the comments from last week to see all the great info I was given. Thanks to everyone for your input, it is very much appreciated.

I also juggled our Sanaa meal to another day. With just four days to do four parks at WDW, it will take some particularly cunning planing to make sure we get to do the stuff we want to without killing everyone with exhaustion. Originally we were doing Sanaa on our Animal Kingdom day, like this….

Day Fourteen

 Hangovers permitting, an earlyish start to get to Animal Kingdom and hopefully we will have enough stamina to make it all the way to the new night-time stuff too. Either way, Louise, Emily and I will all want to ride Everest in the dark.

 We always seem to end up having lunch at Yak & Yeti, hopefully leaving enough room for a late dinner at Sanaa, ADR permitting. The bread starter thing is a thing of beauty and delight.

 

but that might have proved tricky as we want to stay at DAK to see the new Jungle Book thing at night and ride Everest in the dark. So now, Sanaa will be done on the first night at WDW instead, when we will be arriving from Siesta Key, doing some Epcot Fastpasses and checking in. The idea is to get to Orlando some time around 10.30am, do some rides till late afternoon, shower and change before a 6.30pm ish ADR at Sanaa before heading back to Epcot for ROE followed by Jellyrolls. Clockwork, right?

I did have Beaches & Cream down for dinner that Epcot day night, but that is now on the “if we get chance list”. We’ve done it a lot over the years and we may just have to pop in for an ice cream whilst we are staying at the Beach Club. These are tough calls I’m making here.

Our Animal Kingdom day will probably see us do a large later lunch at Yak & Yeti, or even dinner…we love it there and it means we don’t need to leave the park.

I’ve had time to percolate these things as I have been off this week. It was my birthday, there was some decorating to do and I just needed not to be working for a few days after a very busy period. Usually, or at least more often than not in recent years, I am not in the UK for my birthday. It has just worked that way as we had to travel in the school holidays, and the last two weeks of August were (I think) the quietest in the parks with the US schools back in session.

Fortunately though, this year we are not in Florida. Our decision was particularly prescient as those poor unfortunate souls unlucky enough to be in the happiest place on earth are all getting wet and stuff with a couple of storms over Orlando. I have kept a casual eye on Gaston and Hermine and as far as I can make out, there’s hopefully no major damage or danger going on, just a lot of rain (apologies if there was any of the former, I’m not fully up to speed) so that would clearly have ruined our whole trip wouldn’t it? It’s best we didn’t go…..right? Right!

Instead, I have worked my nuts off for two days straight finishing off the decorating of our dining room that Louise had already spent many days on. Our dining room isn’t that big but I seem to have glossed the equivalent of the surface area of the moon. Never under-estimate how much white crap you have in one of your rooms….it goes on forever!!! As for the emulsion involved….suffice to say I am an emulsional wreck.

So in summary, the plan is tweaked, we are “lucky” not to have to endure Florida at the moment as it is a bit wet and my body is broken from decorating.

Till the next time….