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?


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…….

The Dodging Dorian Tour – Day Nine

I started today close to death. The onset of my cold last night had incubated nicely during the night into what I assumed was the onset of the Zombie apocalypse, as clearly no human could feel this rough and live to see next week. As I was due back at work at that time, I figured this wasn’t a bad way to go and resolved to make the best I could of my remaining time. If the cold was going to get me I figured I may as well eat myself to death and go out in style.

Luckily, today had become a non-park day. What should have been happening on day two, didn’t as we moved a theme park up due to Dorian, and so here we are on day nine, doing day two of the plan. I’m glad that’s clear.

Typhoon Lagoon was the plan and it opened at 10am, so leaving at 9.40 was just late enough to have me silently tutting that we probably would arrive a few minutes after opening, seeing every sliver of shade already taken and us crisping nicely in the scorching sun for eight hours.

Upon arrival, the car park was empty, or at least close to it and me and my budgie smugglers made our way into the park ignoring my chaffing flabby white thighs as they attempted to start a fire between my legs. Not for the first time baby!

It did take us a good few minutes of wandering to find somewhere that would allow Louise unfettered access to eight hours of blistering direct sunlight and the rest of us some cooling shade. All of the umbrella spots had gone to the people who hadn’t left their villas too late so we had to try and find a spot covered with some natural shade. As we began to set up camp, Tom, Rebecca and Freddie were already off into the water.

I sat, making good use of the toilet roll I had brought from the villa, depositing it once used into the supermarket plastic bag I had brought for that very purpose. I mean, who wants to be walking all the way to the restrooms! Fear not, I was depositing nasal secretions rather than anal, which is a sentence I didn’t imagine using in this, or any report.

I read for a while between sniffs and blows and after some time doing that I wandered off to get some bottles of water for everyone. See how everyone rallies round when I’m ill so I don’t need to do anything? No, me neither.

Eventually, the heat got the better of me and it was time to go and infect the wave pool with my germs. With every battering from the waves, I was no doubt launching ever so tiny molecules of germ-ridden snot in all directions. Caring is sharing. Hopefully, the coughing woman from the plane was in there and she caught it again.

Soon, that was very much enough of that and I had to retire back to my sun lounger, resting there like some oversized snot dispenser. Louise and Emily left me to it and went to do the lazy river.

By the time they returned it was 12.30 and I was so hungry I was about to call Bob Geldof to launch an appeal. Louise, Emily and I went off first for lunch leaving the rest to guard our possessions. My large plastic bag of snot ridden toilet roll was clearly going to be catnip for any potential thief.

Louise bagged a table and far too many condiments and napkins whilst Emily and I ordered. We had…..

Me – Chicken Burger

Emily – The Impossible Burger

Louise – A “Chicken and Rice Thing”.

Emily’s was pretty good but other than that the food was at best average. We returned to camp and released Tom, Rebecca and Freddie for their eats.

The rest of the afternoon was spent resting, for me anyway. Tom wasn’t seen again until closing, as he spent every moment sliding down stuff. Imagine our surprise at the end of the day when he returned looking like a very red thing.

Late in the afternoon, I took Freddie into the wave pool for a bit, obviously away from the major action.

We had a lovely time and he wasn’t keen on leaving at all, but we did around 4.30, having avoided a rainstorm at Typhoon Lagoon, which is incredibly unusual for us. I loved that time with him playing in the shallow end. I’ve banked that as a another one of those times to remember.

We made our sandy footed, damp bottomed way out of the park and back to the car which had attained the temperature of the sun whilst we had been away. That was handy as it would need to dry out my seat after I had made it all wet. Incontinence is a curse of the middle-aged.

We were soon back at the villa for welcome showers and changing. Our plan was to head over to Magic Kingdom tonight to watch Happily Ever After. Like some overconfident, detail averse idiot, I assumed that tonight’s fireworks would be at 10pm, so I had booked the Plaza restaurant for an 8.15 ADR. See how I subtly hint at some upcoming planning woe?

We parked in Scar, drinking in another spectacular Floridian dusk.

There are few places on earth that make me happier than a tram heading into Magic Kingdom. Freddie seemed to concur. We were again dumped and forced to walk to the TTC.

I apologise but there’s something about a WDW sunset that means I get a form of photographic Tourette’s and can’t stop myself.

It was right about now that I actually looked at the app to discover the time of Happily Ever After tonight and realised that I had once again dropped a huge ricket, as tonight for reasons that were never clear to me, it would be on at 9.15.

Still, the view was nice.

Fearing now that we wouldn’t be done eating by 9.15 I was very annoyed with myself. I haven’t been keeping count of all the absolute howlers I have committed this trip, but it’s a lot. Clearly, I need many more trips so that I can improve my planning skills. I put this one down to illness, which I’m not sure I have yet mentioned.

With the new time table in mind, I upped the pace a little as we entered the park trying to get us to the Plaza those crucial few minutes early.

I hoped that we may be seated immediately, as we arrived at around 7.55 but alas no, we waited until just after 8.15 before getting shown to our table.

Freddie had been in charge of the buzzer and was convinced it was actually a phone. I have no idea who he thought he was chatting to.

Here, you can see Tom and his radioactive complexion. He’s doing well to hide the incredible pain caused by his T-shirt touching his skin.

I look like someone who has been expelling snot from most orifices for several hours. See how I manfully suck it up, flash a winning smile and don’t mention that I’m ill at all.

Service was a little slow, or maybe that was just my perception. We ordered as today’s water park exertions started to hit Freddie like a ton of bricks. He hits the same brick wall that Rebecca used to all those years ago. As soon as the incoming food would hit his stomach we all knew it would be game over. To be honest the same would still be true for Rebecca!

Rebecca and Tom had one of the Plaza’s special milkshakes each.

Upon its arrival, Freddie suddenly perked up a little!

Louise and I had the steak….

Emily, the Fried Tomato Sandwich,

Tom and Rebecca, a Turkey Sandwich

and Freddie the PB & J

The bad news was that, as feared, we missed the first few minutes of the fireworks and I had another enormous man baby sulk.

The slightly better news was that we had a window seat and had a decent view of the stuff we were missing.

I hastily paid the bill and we made our way outside to watch the rest.

At this point, as predicted, everything had caught up with Freddie and he immediately fell asleep in his pram. Rebecca and Tom decided to set off for the car with him before the crowds all did the same. The rest of us stayed to watch the end of the fireworks and whilst doing so got a message from Rebecca telling us that the monorail was down and the exit was like a scene from a disaster movie where thousands of people try to get on a ferry boat. We immediately left, just ahead of most of the crowds but still got caught in the carnage.

The ferry still seemed like the best option and we waited fifteen minutes to board one. It was packed and not one of the more enjoyable journeys on it, but it got us where we wanted to be.

We walked to the tram pick up and were soon back at the car where Tom, Rebecca and a very much asleep Freddie were waiting. I drove us home still feeling more ill than anybody ever in the history of the world, but I don’t like to talk about it.

Till the next time…….

Freddie’s First Florida Fiesta – Day Ten 7th September 2018

I blame the huge amounts of food last night, and every other night this trip, for sleeping in until 9am. This is a rare occurrence and if you aren’t middle-aged with a body conditioned to wake at the time your daily grind demands, then make the most of the lie ins you can currently enjoy. The fact that you can go more than eight hours without a wee will be a miracle you won’t appreciate until later in life.

Whilst it was a valiant effort by all concerned, leaving the house at 10.01 was still later than I of course would have liked. Today was water park day and Typhoon Lagoon had opened one minute ago.  Writing interesting prose about lying in the sun is always a challenge, so let’s see how we go with tales of swimming for a bit, eating, lying down a bit and then swimming again! By the time I had expertly reversed off the drive, in my mind, every slither of shade had already been taken and we would be forced to lie in the blistering heat watching our skin bubble and pucker, so I was keen to get there asap.

These mental scenarios tortured me as I hammered it down the 192. I did a glorious job of getting us there in just twenty minutes and to be fair it looked quiet in the car park, but of course that didn’t mean that 3,500 people hadn’t arrived by bus and coach.

As we wandered in the subject of hiring a cabana was mentioned. With Freddie with us the prospect of not enough shade was not an option and so we enquired if any were still available at this advanced hour. We were dealt with by a cast member earning their ears, bless her, who knew less than I did, and her more experienced colleague stepped in and gave us a choice of pretty much any cabana on property. It seemed the park really was that quiet. There was one available right next to the lazy river but we declined that one as it was the only cabana that wasn’t “lightning proof” and chose the one next to it.

We were joined by our personal server for the day and stood making awkward conversation with her whilst Tom went to change Freddie. Turns out I’m as good at small talk as I am at getting us out of the villa on time.

It was a load of cash. I mean, silly amounts, but you know, you can’t take it with you and all that and it was lovely. Having learned how much they make from these things I know understand why they don’t provide brollies for free.

This was our view. That is actually cabana number 1, the one which is not lightning proof due to it being a big umbrella.

There was a little fridge with bottled water and endless towels and crucially copious amounts of shade.

The price also included refillable mugs for the day so we had a LOT of coke to drink today. Once we had settled in we did our first filling of the mugs and had our first of many battles of the day with wasps.

Everyone, minus Louise who was already prostrate in the direct sunshine, went into the lazy river. We all did one loop and retired back to the cabana. Time to refill the mugs again. They were a bit temperamental to be honest. “Place cup on try” was a message I had already had enough of hearing especially as I had put the bloody cup on the tray.

I watched Freddie for a bit whilst all the youngsters went off swimming and sliding and took the responsibility of ordering us some lunch. This was done by texting our young helper for the day, who I think was called Rebecca. I spent seconds looking at the menu before spectacularly over ordering lots of pizza, a hot dog for Tom and a chicken sandwich for Rebecca.

It arrived just as everyone returned from the water and we dug in. It was all very tasty indeed. One interesting point was that our server wouldn’t/couldn’t accept a tip from us which I thought was strange.

Our food interested more wasps and some other wildlife….


For some reason I thought now was a good time to take a photo of my refillable mug.

We all dried off and rested for a bit now.

Once we had waited the obligatory amount of time after eating that your Mum always told you to so that we wouldn’t die, we headed back into the wave pool to be aggressively tossed around for a bit. That was an interesting and unexpected perk of the cabana I have to say.

As is always the case at Typhoon Lagoon at this time of year a storm approached and the water was cleared.

There were a couple of light showers which saw pretty much everyone else leave the park, but as we were covered by our cabana we were able to sit it out, have a drink, fight some wasps and just chill out a bit.

Everything was opened up again at 4pm and we enjoyed whatever bit of water we liked all to ourselves. Maybe this cabana had been worth it after all?

We spent the last hour in the shallow bit of water just outside the main wave pool with Freddie. It was absolutely lovely. To be sat with the girls, all playing with Freddie in the warm water was just a lovely moment.

The park closed at 5pm, which I have to say I think is a little early saying it opens at 10am. We could easily have stayed another hour or two. We reluctantly made that damp, sandy walk back to the car and did the usual sitting on towels in the car whilst we drove home.

We did a fairly impressive set of showers and changes to quickly head out for dinner tonight at the Cheesecake Factory. The closest one was at the Mall at Millennia and my hunger drove us there in no time at all.

I checked us in and was upset to hear that it would be a thirty minute wait. We chose to wait outside as it was very busy and noisy indoors.

After what felt like several days we were shown to our table and we were hungry!

We had some appetisers despite the fact that we would be eating dessert here no matter how full we might feel. He who dares wins…..

Mikey had Calamari but I suspect there’s a cream for that in Walgreens.

I shared Guac & Chips with Rebecca. I’m not trying to be hip and groovy, that’s what the menu said…..

Emily and Louise had spinach and artichoke dip

Tom had pot stickers after loving them at Yak & Yati the other day.

I followed that with a fried chicken sandwich as I didn’t want to go crazy with the calories!

Tom a Bacon Bacon Burger. Yes, so bacony they named it twice….

Rebecca, spicy sausage pasta

Emily a Chicken Caesar salad

Louise had a Filet Mignon with Mash.

Mikey had Lasagne

I can confirm that this was all as delicious as it looked. Fantastic food.

What follows now are several photos of cheesecake. I didn’t note who had what. I was just too excited to cram mine down my neck so just drink them in and appreciate them.

Emily took hers to go as she was one spoonful away from a hospital visit. Holy hell those desserts were just wonderful. I was too full to eat it, but eat it I did and I’m not even sorry.

It was literally painful to walk back to the car and how I managed to control the thing without killing us all I don’t know. We abandoned the van pretty much on the drive, or close enough not to matter and we all crawled our way into our beds.

Tomorrow’s plan had called for an early start but by consensus we had all decided that was just not going to happen and a lie in was proposed, seconded and agreed by all.

Till the next time…..

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….