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Old 02-06-2012, 04:25 AM   #1
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Fred and Wilma - They're Back and They're Child Free (Day 8 - Jacksonville Jaguars)

Thursday 2nd September

We were woken just before 7am by the sound of screaming children in the room next door. The screaming and crying was interspersed with the sound of something (a spoon?) being bashed onto something else (a plate?) very loudly! Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that kids get over-excited and loud and I also know just how hard it is when your kids are having a meltdown but, honestly, I could hear no sound of the parent(s) even trying to quieten the kids down

After half an hour of continuous noise, we gave up any idea of sleep and decided to get up. Since we had no plans for this morning, we took a stroll down to the Boardwalk Bakery to get breakfast – a ham, egg and cheese croissant, cinnamon roll, tea and an OJ. We sat outside our room to eat, watching the friendship boats go past and people walking to DHS.

After a short discussion on what to do, we decided to spend some time by the pool. I am not a huge fan of the Boardwalk pool – or should I say, I am not a fan of the scary clown slide.

Still, it was very quiet, only a couple of other families were there and two young children eagerly awaiting the opening of the Keister Coaster (slide). The little girl ended up being the first down the slide when it opened at 10 and she was rewarded with a gift of a snorkel mask from the lifeguard. A lovely Disney touch.

At around 11, we went back to the room, showered and dressed, then drove to Downtown Disney. We had lunch at Earl of Sandwich.

Earl’s Club, with no sauce or tomato, for me

Gary had a chicken Caesar salad

We had a wander around the shops and spent a fortune in Mickey’s Pantry – I think this is probably my favourite DTD shop. I actually really love Downtown Disney and, as it was relatively quiet, it was very pleasant just strolling around enjoying the sunshine.

Just before 2, we drove the car to the Westside parking lot to meet the driver who was picking us up for our trip to Jacksonville. We had booked the trip through Viator after much deliberation about whether or not to drive ourselves. It was quite pricey at Ł128.97 for the two of us but it was worth it not to have to make that long drive back in the early hours of the morning. Had it been an afternoon game, we probably would have gone under our own steam but we just didn’t want to have to negotiate a strange town, unfamiliar roads and a long drive back in the wee small hours.

The driver turned up at about 2.20 and we then went to International Drive to pick up another couple, Danielle and Steven from their hotel. There were only the four of us on this trip and we had a small minivan so there was room to spread out a bit. The driver explained that we would have a quick lunch before leaving for Jacksonville around 3pm. Gary and I hadn’t realised that lunch was included in the trip (we knew the afternoon game trips included breakfast but the website hadn’t said anything about lunch being offered). As it turns out, the lunch was at Sizzler on I-Drive and, to be honest, we were very underwhelmed. We both tried a couple of things (just to be polite) but the food was barely lukewarm and everything just looked very unappetising. I was glad we had already eaten.

We were ready to leave on time and the driver explained to us that he was having some problems with the air conditioning in the minivan so we would be taking a slight detour to go and collect another one. It was quite a long detour, all in all, and we didn’t end up leaving Orlando until nearly 4 o’clock. It was a long drive to Jacksonville but we chatted to Steven and Danielle most of the way. It was their first trip and, so far, they had only been to Universal, so we were able to give them lots of tips and advice. We had a short rest stop half way there, which was good as I had drunk a LOT of diet coke at Sizzler and arrived in Jacksonville shortly after 6.30.

The driver parked up in a field across from the stadium and told us to head back there directly after the game and he would be waiting for us. First stop was Teal Town, where we each had a drink and took some pictures, then walked into the stadium to find our seats.

We were right up at the top of the stadium. I am not good with heights and I was a bit concerned that I would not be able to concentrate on the game as we were so high up but it was actually OK and, because of the seating set-up, it doesn’t actually seem that high.

Our seat was up there!

Viator obviously have some kind of arrangement where they buy season tickets, which they can pass on to customers for individual games as we were surrounded by locals and season ticket holders, although there were quite a few empty seats as it was only a pre-season game. We got chatting to a couple sat next to us, Brenda and Calvin. Brenda told us she had only missed on Jags game in 15 years.

The game was really good, starting with an impressive fly past. I did find it hard, at times, to follow where the ball was and actually managed to miss the Jags score a touchdown. We all got into it, though, and were cheering and chanting with the rest of the crowd. During time outs and half time, these weird men dressed in teal outfits came into the crowd and would throw t-shirts to those who cheered the loudest. It was a great atmosphere and a really good night. Final score: Jacksonville Jaguars – 14, Atlanta Falcons – 9. Yay!

The one thing that still amazes me is how a game that is made up of four 15-minute quarters can take almost 4 hours to play

When the game had finished, we went straight back to the van. There were no delays or anything and we were on the I95 back to Orlando within minutes. It was a quiet drive back. Everybody (except the driver) fell asleep and we arrived back at Downtown Disney at around 1.30 am. We tipped the driver, said goodnight to Steven and Danielle and drove straight back to the Boardwalk and went to bed
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:13 AM   #2
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Sounds great, we would love to go to more USA sports games, ice hockey was loads of fun.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:55 AM   #3
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I'd love to catch a game one year.
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:21 PM   #4
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Great day Joh. I've been watching American Football for years and still find it hard to follow where the ball is.

Dad says the same thing about the timing - he comes to the Wembley games with me, even though he isn't a fan, and can never understand why the last 5 minutes of the 4th quarter drag on so much.

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Old 02-06-2012, 02:14 PM   #5
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Great day Joh
I've never been to an American Football game, looks like a lot of fun
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Old 02-07-2012, 11:05 AM   #6
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Made a nice change to see the game. Oh and I agree about the clown - he would freak me out especially if I went past in the dark!!
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Old 02-07-2012, 02:31 PM   #7
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great day, the clown does look a bit freaky
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Old 02-07-2012, 04:37 PM   #8
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Clowns don't usually bother me.... but that's one very creepy looking thing.

So cool that you got to see a game, fun times x
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