Trip Start Sep 03, 2007
220Trip End Jun 17, 2009
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Where I stayed
Best Western Lakeside
It was a sunny day and the road north was busy as we followed the coast before heading east to Orlando. It's hard to remember that a lot of Florida is swampland and the roads and housing have been recovered from the swamps, whilst still leaving great areas of swamps untouched. The highways and other roads are good.
We needed a few shopping items and stopped at our first 'Walmart', sheeesh those places are enormous
Distance driven 137 miles
Sunday 2nd December
Seaworld was first up. This was a difficult one because we had both had sad experiences with zoos several years before and have never visited one since. We decided to go, as we believed that with its reputation, Seaworld was above the 'zoo' label.
You know when you've had a couple of drinks, when you express wishes that you would otherwise have reservations on ? Well, at supper last night we saw that there was a 'shark tank experience', well I mean, you can't pass that up can you ? Now in the daylight it was time to be brave, check in and get changed into a wetsuit. As you entered the cage, which was at one side of the aquarium above an underwater tunnel that visitors were walking through and could see you, you were fitted with a helmet that air passed through and you looked out at the passing sharks as the cage moved the full length of the tank and back again
We watched a dolphin show that was well presented and then went to see "Shamu' - the killer whale show. Brilliantly done but it left me somewhat uneasy that these magnificent animals were performing in this way. There was a "Polar Express' ride that was not based on animals but did give us an introduction to the Orlando rides. As we exited this ride in the arctic area there were Beluga Whales, Walrus and a Polar Bear in tanks. This did feel wrong, as my belief is that these creatures, which roam for hundreds of miles naturally, should not be in any kind of restricted areas.
Monday 3rd December
OK - it's Big Kids Day and we're off to 'The Magic Kingdom' at Disneyworld. We chose this one as the typical Disney site that is renowned above all others. Car parked, we boarded a tractor trailer and then a monorail to the site. A ride round the whole site on the steam train before starting at 'Frontierland'. We rode 'Thunder Mountain Railroad' and it was so good we got straight on again
We saw the Big Parade in the afternoon, got wet again as there was a brief rain downpour - what, in Florida !! 'Space Mountain' was just a bit too far, we rode in a car in the (mostly) dark, round planets and got our brains, back and eyeballs thoroughly rattled in the severe twists and turns. We rode the "Mad Hatters Tea Party' in spinning tea cups to calm our senses - spinning, yeah !!. We saw the night parade with all the floats and 'Sleeping Beauty Castle' lit up and then just caught 'The Pirates of the Caribbean' ride before the final, magical, mesmerising closing fireworks. We arrived at 10am and left at 9.30pm exhausted. The Disney organisation whisked hundreds of people off the site in no time in a superbly co-ordinated way.
We topped this by getting lost in the Orlando road maze in the dark but made it back to the hotel by 11 pm I can only say it was a most magical day and for once it was great to be just a big kid !!!!!!!!!
Tuesday 4th December
Universal Studios. Started with "Jaws', then 'Men in Black', saw the "Blues Brothers Concert (twice), 'Shrek', 'Terminator' - which was a live actor show with effects and motion and the best of all was 'The Revenge of the Mummy'. This was awesome combining special effects plus animatronics in a spinning, twisting and flying ride. What was clever is that you could leave your bags in lockers that were fingerprint recognised. Neat. Not quite as busy as Disney but some good rides, most of which involved 3D and getting wet!
We enjoyed the Orlando area but it is definitely mostly for kids (and those with flexible backbones and limbs !!!). It was great to have experienced the Disney magic.