Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Global Neighbours > UK Trip Reports Board
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 09-02-2012, 02:25 PM   #1
Would love a diet on Cadbury Flakes
Admits she's strange when it comes to eggs
wilma-bride's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 20,974
DISboards Moderator

Fred and Wilma - 'The Keys' to 'The World' - Day 1

Sunday 12th August - The Upper Keys

As tradition dictates, I was awake bright and early. The clock on the bedside cabinet told me it was just after 4am. I got up and decided to write up my notes. It wasn’t long before I was joined by Daniel, awake but still tired and just a little bit grumpy. We watched TV for a little while, then decided we would get dressed and explore the resort a bit as it was starting to get light. I started trying to find shower gel, shampoo and some clothes for Daniel and I. Meanwhile, Daniel decided to jump in the shower to try and wake himself up a bit. When I went back into the bedroom to find towels, Gary was awake so we all got showered and dressed. We went out on the balcony, to check out our view and were ridiculously pleased (ridiculous since we were just about to leave) to see that we had a sea view.

Room with a view

As long as you use the zoom lens

Below the balcony we also spotted some feral cats and kittens and spent a little while watching them playing.

Cute little kitty

Whilst packing the wash bags back in the cases, I noticed a picture on the wall of the lounge that I hadn’t seen the night before but, in particular, the frame. It was exactly the same as the frame on a mirror we have hanging on our landing at home.

Ocean Pointe Suites frame

Alcock Family Mirror frame

We packed the cases into the car and took a few pictures of the outside of the apartments.

Ocean Pointe Suites Building 2

We drove up to the main reception building to hand in the key and I took a picture of the dock area. It looked very pretty in the early morning sunshine and I wished we’d been staying longer and had more of a chance to explore the resort.

A nice place to dock

We were going to explore some of the Upper Keys this morning but first we needed sustenance. Apparently, Harriette’s has the best breakfast in the Keys.


A hungry Daniel

Again, Harriette’s was just a small, unassuming place situated by the side of the road but we were welcomed warmly when we went inside and led to a small table for four.

Harriette’s has an extensive breakfast menu and we were all hungry. Daniel decided on two eggs with hash browns, bacon and sausage accompanied by his usual Florida breakfast beverage of choice, a chocolate milk. Gary ordered conservatively, suspecting that Daniel’s eyes were bigger than his belly, and chose the French toast (with plenty of hot tea, of course) I decided to sample Harriette’s famous hotcakes (similar to pancakes) with bacon.

A big breakfast for a little boy

Famous (and delicious) hotcakes

French toast (or Eggy Bread, as we call it)

The food was served up promptly and was fresh and hot. Immediately, I had food envy and wished I’d ordered the French toast. I quickly struck a deal with Gary to swap a hotcake for a piece of French toast. As predicted, Daniel barely managed half of his breakfast – a valiant effort – and Gary had to leap in and help him out. I am ashamed to admit that he also had to finish my hotcakes for me as I just couldn’t manage them all.

We paid the check ($31.29) and left a $6 tip for our waitress. It was a beautiful morning and, since it was still early, we decided to take a drive down the Overseas Highway. We drove as far as Islamorada, stopping a couple of times to take in the scenery. I was a little surprised to see people literally sunbathing at the side of the road. Every so often, there were little pebble-beach areas and several people were in the water and sunbathing on the bank. Some people had even set up a portable grill by the side of the road and were cooking breakfast. It was all very bohemian.

The drive itself was just as I’d imagined, miles of road with water literally on both sides and, at times, within a couple of metres of the road. It was so beautiful.

I can see the sea

It’s not a Dodge Charger but we don’t mind


Road…and sea

Our original plan for today had been to visit John Pennekamp State Park but, as we only had one day in the Upper Keys, we decided against it as there were a few other things we wanted to do as well.

Continued in the next post...

Last edited by wilma-bride; 09-02-2012 at 03:52 PM.
wilma-bride is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2012, 02:29 PM   #2
Would love a diet on Cadbury Flakes
Admits she's strange when it comes to eggs
wilma-bride's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 20,974
DISboards Moderator

Our first stop, after breakfast, was Robbie’s of Islamorada.

Welcome to Robbie’s

Robbie’s offers fishing charters, boat rentals and snorkelling trips among other things. However, it is also the home to the Hungry Tarpon restaurant and the opportunity to feed the school of tarpon who visit the dock on a daily basis (presumably for that express purpose). This was the main aim of our visit this morning. We bought a bucket of fish ($2.89) and walked to the end of the dock, where there was already a small crowd of people. Apparently, the ‘trick’ is to dangle a fish just above the water and the tarpon should leap out to get it, however Daniel was too chicken to do that and so just threw each fish into the water and we watched in amazement as the tarpon literally swarmed to the fish, creating a mass of bubbles and white water.

Hungry tarpon (not the restaurant)

As well as the tarpon, there were also several hungry-looking pelicans hanging around. At one point, Daniel crossed to the other side of the dock to feed one of the bigger tarpon and, as he did so, 3 pelicans advanced on him.

Pelican crossing

I’m watching you

After we had disposed of all our fish, we washed our hands and had a look around some of the stalls selling various art pieces, glass, wooden signs and other souvenirs. Our favourite stall was a place selling frames made out of old lobster pots. They were really lovely and I wish we had bought one.

It was almost 10am now and so we reluctantly left Robbie’s and headed back up to Theater of the Sea. We parked up and took a couple of pictures outside.

Mum, they spelt ‘theatre’ wrong

Inside, we paid the entrance fee of $75.64 (we had picked up a coupon in Harriette’s for a free child entry) and made our way through the gift shop. The lady on reception explained that they are also a rescue centre for abandoned and injured cats. They have over 60 and there were quite a few of them roaming around the reception and gift shop area. Daniel, a sucker for cats, had to stroke every single one.

Yes, it’s a cat

Theater of the Sea is a marine mammal ‘park’ featuring a number of shows starring marine mammals and other creatures are held continuously throughout the day. When you arrive, you head to the show which is already in progress and continue from there. The shows are held on a loop so, if you have already missed a couple, you can catch them later. There are five different ‘shows’ and we arrived just in time for the dolphin show. The park is very small and so it is extremely easy to navigate and move between the various show locations. Because of the size, it is much more intimate than places like Sea World and we really felt like we were more part of the shows than just watching. Some of the tricks they perform are different to the crowd pleasers shown at Sea World and are intended to show what the dolphins and other creatures are capable of.

We were lucky enough to end up with front row seats for the dolphins. The show itself was very entertaining but, throughout, there was a strong conservational message. It was fairly obvious that the animals and mammals are well cared for and loved.


During the show, they offered the chance for some of the children to ‘meet’ the dolphins and Daniel was lucky enough to get chosen to rub a dolphin’s belly.

Belly rub

After the dolphins, it was time to meet Wilbur the Californian sealion. While we were waiting for the show to start, some music was playing in the background and one of the younger sealions in the pool behind the stadium was bobbing her head in time to the music. It was very cute.

Wilbur showed us his many talents, including balancing a ball, catching rings around his neck and holding a fish without eating it. It was an extremely entertaining show. The trainer was very knowledgeable and gave us lots of information about Wilbur and the other sealions in the park.


We also met another sealion, Jess, who was a lot younger and not quite so well trained. She was also learning how to hold the fish without eating it – but didn’t quite manage the ‘not eating it’ bit.

Next, it was time for the ‘bottomless’ boat trip. Since it was such a hot day, we stopped to get a drink from a nearby vending machine ($1.75) and, as such, were not able to get on the first boat trip. This didn’t matter too much, though, as it gave us the opportunity to sit in the shade for a little while. While we were waiting, I decided to pop to the snack bar for a bottle of water (we had only been able to buy diet coke from the vending machine) and got talking to a couple while waiting in line. They were asking about our trip and whether we planned to visit Disney World. When I told them we would be, they started giving me all kinds of ‘tips’ about the parks and things to see. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that this would be my tenth visit. I bought a bottle of Dasani ($3) and returned to Gary and Daniel.

Back at the bottomless boat tour, it was our turn and we took our seats. The boat was a large, square boat with a large ‘hole’ in the middle. While the boat was taken down the river, the dolphins swam alongside and into the centre of the boat.

The boat with no bottom

Ooh, a dolphin in our boat

This was probably the only part of the day we wouldn’t necessarily want to do again. It was a bit naff, truth be told, and unnecessary.

Next, it was on to the guided marine life tour. This was a walking tour, around various pools and exhibits. It was very informative and we saw lots of creatures, including turtles, nurse sharks and alligators.

The lesser-spotted tourists

A turtle (wish I could remember what kind)

Hmm, parrots – not sure they are necessarily marine mammals

Plus, I spotted a cute iguana which wasn’t actually part of the tour.

Bet you can’t see me up here

By this time, it was very hot indeed and Daniel was definitely flagging (full marks if you spotted the signs in the picture above) so we made an executive decision to avoid a meltdown and leave. It meant missing the final show (the bird show) but we weren’t too worried about that. We decided we would head back to the Hungry Tarpon for some lunch and a welcome break from the sun.

Hungry Tarpon (not the fish)

We’re somewhere on the A1A, apparently

Continued in the next post...

Last edited by wilma-bride; 09-02-2012 at 03:31 PM.
wilma-bride is online now   Reply With Quote
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 09-02-2012, 02:32 PM   #3
Would love a diet on Cadbury Flakes
Admits she's strange when it comes to eggs
wilma-bride's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 20,974
DISboards Moderator

We ordered diet cokes all round and studied the menu. Gary was keen to try conch so decided on the conch fritters. Daniel and I ordered cheese sticks and calamari to share.

Conch fritters

Cheese sticks


The food was not great, truth be told. The biggest disappointment was the calamari. It was overcooked (to the point where some pieces were rock hard) and not particularly warm. The cheese sticks were just your regularly frozen mozzarella sticks and, again, were only lukewarm. Having never tried conch fritters, it was hard to tell whether they were good or not. They tasted OK and were hot, at least, but quite doughy. Overall, I don’t think we would rush back here for lunch, although I have since read that they do a great breakfast.

Gary and Daniel decided to try a piece of mango key lime pie and pronounced that delicious so it wasn’t all a disaster. Gary told Daniel to suck on the piece of key lime on top of the pie, which he did – his face was hilarious, I wish I’d got a picture.

Key lime with mango

The check was $36.39 and we left $6 tip.

Back on the road again, we made the short drive to Hawks Cay Resort, on Duck Key, to check into our ‘home’ for the next three nights.

More road and sea

Our very own Key

We checked in but were informed that the room would not be ready until 4pm. It was a really beautiful resort, consisting of hotel rooms and villa-style apartment accommodations. Most of the facilities are situated in the main resort or marina areas. There was nowhere to store our luggage so we decided to leave it in the car for the time being, and handed over the keys to the valet staff. Valet parking is one of the services included at the resort, for which there is a daily resort fee of $29. Other services included are wifi, all tips for guest services and housekeeping, use of the gym facilities, resort-wide tram service and access to the kids club. We caught the tram over to the marina, where we got ice-creams at Emack & Bolios. Caramel Moose Tracks for Gary and Cookie Monster for Daniel and I. We tried to charge it to the room but our room cards hadn’t been made active yet so I paid cash ($11.26).


We sat at a table in the shade and ate our ice-cream, although very shortly we were forced to move due to some inconsiderate smokers who sat right next to us and all lit up. When we finished our ice-cream, we wandered around the marina. Gary was keen to hire a jetski so we enquired about cost. It was $149 for a 1-hour guided tour. Daniel was a bit reluctant (partly because I had voiced some reservations earlier) and so we decided to think about it. We caught the tram back to the main resort, where our room was ready. We were in building 1, a short walk from reception. Our room, 1204, was a standard room with two queen beds. The immediate view out of the window was of rooftops, however looking beyond that you could definitely see the sea. Gary did point out that there probably weren’t that many places in the Keys where you couldn’t see the sea though. The room itself was huge with two massive beds. Daniel had to take a running jump to be able to get up onto the bed.

Room without a view

Daniel was keen to get in the pool but I desperately wanted to unpack (I had hated not being able to unpack before now) so we quickly unpacked the case containing our clothes and stuff we needed for the first 10 days. Before we left, Gary had insisted it would be a pain to unpack and repack 3 suitcases several times so had packed separate cases for the first and second parts of the holiday – I was reluctant at first but I’ve got to admit, it worked out really well.

Once we’d found our swimming stuff, we changed and headed down to the pool. Daniel and Gary jumped straight in, while I wandered around taking a few photos.

The Saltwater Lagoon

The Resort Pool Bar

The Dolphin Lagoon

I came back to the pool area and found a couple of loungers, then settled down with my book and relaxed.

Key Lime Mojito – an excellent relaxation aid

Daniel takes a dive

It was 6 o’clock before we knew it and so we went back to the room, to shower and change for dinner. There were limited dinner options at the resort – Alma’s, an upscale Italian restaurant, which was not to our taste at all and Tom’s Harbour House. So we opted for the latter, which turned out to be a great choice! Our server was Wayne and he was great, really friendly and happy to make recommendations. We decided to share a portion of pineapple BBQ chicken wings to start. There were more than enough for the three of us. Daniel chose the BBQ burger and fries, Gary opted for the ribs and mashed potatoes. I was really unsure what to have and was leaning toward the citrus-roasted chicken. I asked what the catch of the day was, though, and was told it was margate, which Wayne described as a meaty fish with a mild flavour. On that basis, I decided to have the fish and chips.

The food was absolutely delicious. I am seriously gutted that I had forgotten to bring my camera out with me this evening as it looked just as good as it tasted. Once again, Daniel’s eyes proved to be bigger than his belly and he only managed half of his burger. He still managed to eat the free vanilla ice-cream that Wayne brought him though. Gary and I, although full, decided to share a piece of key lime pie, which was really tasty. We charged the cost of the meal ($95 including tip) to the room, then caught the tram back and were in bed by 9.30, absolutely shattered. Because it was quite early, there was a lot of noise in the corridors and outside but it had quietened down by 10.30 and we were all asleep shortly afterwards (once I had unplugged the extremely noisy fridge in the room).
wilma-bride is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2012, 02:50 PM   #4
DIS Veteran
maggs's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 775

What a great first day Joh. It is at times like this that I wish I would drive in Florida. It is so interesting to see the other 'side' of the state. I can't believe that you drank my mojito though.
Forgetting the camera to take food pics is a punishable offence.
Looking forward to the next instalment.

1999 - All Star Music
2001 - Quality Inn International and All Star Movies
2004 - Homewood Suites I Drive and All Star Music
2006 - Homewood Suites I Drive, Royal Pacific Resort and Pop Century
2008 - Homewood Suites, Hard Rock Hotel and Coronado Springs
2010 Homewood Suites, RPR, POFQ
2013 Homewood Suites, RPR,OKW

maggs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2012, 03:51 PM   #5
Latte Lover
in charge of the credit cards and plotting quickest routes to the shopping malls
Latte Lover's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Hampshire, England
Posts: 1,333

It looks amazing Joh. I've said "wow" and "oooh" several times already! Love the look of the resort and the saltwater lagoon.

1975 Royal Plaza 1997 Master's Inn Kissimee 1999 Clarion Universal 2001 Howard Johnson Maingate East 2003 Econolodge 2005 Howard Johnson Maingate West 2006 Our Timeshare at Sheraton Vistana Resort 2007 Club Sevilla 2008 Sheraton Vistana(May), Terrace Ridge (Aug)Nov 2009 Barefoot'n' in the keys, Kissimmee2010 Cumbrian LakesOct 2011 Sheraton & Disney MagicNov 2012 Florida Keys, The Sheraton, and OKW
Latte Lover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2012, 04:08 PM   #6
Disney Addict
TotallyAngelic's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Wales, UK
Posts: 6,672

WOW !!! A fantastic day ....

we visited the Theatre of the Sea when we took our kids there a few years after the honeymoon trip. They had a great time swimming in a water hole with clown fish if I remember correctly.

The Hawks Key Resort looks very nice ( as does that piece of Key Lime pie )
TotallyAngelic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2012, 04:35 PM   #7
Found the Tag Fairy's hangout
All whacked up on Scooby Snacks
UKDEB's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Gloucester, UK
Posts: 11,982
DISboards Moderator

As much as I love Orlando, I'm seriously envious of this "real" Florida trip you're taking. Everything seems quite expensive, though. $75 for the park admission for 2 people? And $29 a day resort fee?! Eek! (Although the resort does look lovely).

She was also learning how to hold the fish without eating it – but didn’t quite manage the ‘not eating it’ bit.
A sea-lion after my own heart!

October 1992 ~ Enclave Suites, I-Drive May 1996 ~ Omni Rosen, I-Drive October 1998 ~ Villa-Clear Creek August 2000 ~ Beach Club/Villa-Sunset Lakes July 2001 ~ Animal Kingdom Lodge/Hard Rock Hotel/Villa-Formosa Gdns Christmas 2001 ~ Villa-Formosa Gardens October 2002 ~ Hard Rock Hotel/Villa-Formosa Gdns May 2003 ~ Portofino Bay/Villa-Cumbrian Lakes January 2004 ~ Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes/Villa-Formosa Gardens July 2004 ~ Grand Floridian/Portofino Bay/Villa-Formosa Gardens December 2004 ~ Villa-Rolling Hills/Disney Wonder Cruise/BoardWalk Grand Villa/Contemporary April 2005 ~ Washington DC, Shenandoah, Blue Ridge Parkway, Charleston, Savannah, Royal Pacific Resort/Villa-Acadia Estates January 2006 ~ Reunion Resort/Royal Pacific Resort April 2006 ~ Celebration Hotel/NCL Jewel Cruise/Hotel Victor, Miami/Beach Cottage-Disney's Vero Beach October 2006 ~ Reunion Resort/BoardWalk Villa/Rosen Shingle Creek August 2007 ~ Saratoga Springs//Reunion Grande January 2008 ~ Saratoga Springs/Beach Club Villas/Reunion Resort November 2008 ~ BoardWalk Villas/Royal Pacific Resort/Saratoga Springs March 2011 ~ Celebrity Cruise/Veness Towers, a stone's throw from the Magic Kingdom November 2012 ~ Bay Lake Tower/Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota/Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, Jupiter/Saratoga Springs September 2013 ~ Kidani Village/Saratoga Springs May 2014 ~ Beach Club Villas/Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek/Bay Lake TowerJanuary 2015 ~ Four Seasons Golden Oak/Bay Lake Tower
UKDEB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2012, 06:02 PM   #8
Liked the sky effect
If we feel like having pop tarts for breakfast we can
disney_princess_85's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Manchester, UK
Posts: 5,798

Wow, what an amazing day! You certainly packed a lot in. Looking forward to reading more.
January 2002- Disneyland Paris, Sequoia Lodge, October 2007- Disneyland Paris, Newport Bay Club, May 2008- Walt Disney World, Pop Century/Universal Studios, Royal Pacific Resort, January 2009- Disneyland Paris, Holiday Inn, March 2009- Disneyland Paris, Sequoia Lodge, May 2009- Disneyland Paris, Magic Circus, September 2009- Walt Disney World, Coronado Springs/Universal Studios, Hard Rock Hotel Club Level, November 2009- Disneyland Paris, Hotel Cheyenne, February 2010- Disneyland Paris, Magic Circus, May 2010- Disneyland Paris, Magic Circus, August-September 2010- Walt Disney World, Saratoga Springs/Universal Studios, Royal Pacific Resort Club Level, October 2010- Disneyland Paris, Magic Circus, December 2010-January 2011- Disneyland Paris, Magic Circus, September 2011- Walt Disney World, POFQ/Disney Dream/Walt Disney World, Saratoga Springs, October 2012- Walt Disney World, Pop Century/Disney Dream/Walt Disney World, Wilderness Lodge, February 2013- Disneyland Paris, Hotel Cheyenne, October 2013- Walt Disney World, Old Key West, Animal Kingdom Lodge, May 2014- Disneyland, Paradise Pier

disney_princess_85 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2012, 08:48 PM   #9
Has a Masters in Margaritas
Linda67's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: England
Posts: 5,568

What a great day Joh
Lovely photos and the resort looks wonderful
Linda67 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2012, 07:04 AM   #10
Repeat after me....I LOVE CROC's, I LOVE CROC's, I LOVE CROC's!!!!!!
jockey's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: N.Ireland
Posts: 7,502

Lovely day Joh
jockey is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:45 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.