Four Go Wild In Florida Previous drivel 1.The Plan and The Flight 2.We get off the plane 3.Discovery Cove 4."Walk this w..a...yyy!" MGM & Reflections 5.An unusually quiet day- Universal & Jungle Jims 6.Where's the Plan? !! (EPCOT) 7.The safe key incident 7 ½ .MGM 7 ¾ . Reflections With Janice Four Go Wild in Florida Day 7 Seaworld and a trip along the 192 Well Stranger, sorry this ones been a long time coming. Truth is, after all the excitement of yesterday (Day 6), this one really is hard to tell coz nothing happened honest. If you want to wander around the other excellent reports on offer, I quite understand. Ill let you know when me next mishap occurs oh, yes, thats tomorrow. Ill get this one out the way for now and see you tomorrow then. PLAN Ponderosa, Islands of Adventure, Wet N Wild, back to IoA. CHANGES TO PLAN Lie-in and Seaworld MISSED FROM PLAN TO DATE - E Night(MK), Pleasure Island , Blizzard Beach, Wet n Wild, Downtown Disney, Fantasmic & IoA. Day 7 We were all shattered as we collapsed in ungainly heaps the night before and promised not to disturb anyone still sleeping the next morning. This was proving to be the most fantastic holiday, but we were starting to pay the price for our early mornings. No matter how strict the plan, we agreed beforehand that it wouldnt be allowed to take over our lives and sacrifices would be made, wherever needed, to preserve our overall energy and yomping power. See, told you it would be boring today. I woke first at 6.30, then 7.30 and finally 8.50 ! The others followed as I began to assemble a light breakfast of refillable coffees and fizzy rot-your-teeth juices and Frosties in our disposable bowls. Id got doughnuts from the shop as a treat to give us energy and some sugar!! Wed decided last night to drop IoA today in favour of SeaWorld as wed been so disappointed to miss it yesterday due to the boy losin the safe key. We also reasoned that we werent likely to be ready for an early start and wanted to be fresh for IoA when we did go, as it was a first for us. Me next strategic manoeuvre was to get me little princess up and about. She needs more sleep than any of us and was really struggling to get up, never mind keep up, as the days went on. So, having kept her away from the pin stations long enough, I used the pins that Janice had given her last night (the first things she looked for on waking, Jan) as the bait to get up and dressed. Want to get our free pins, Pet? She was up dressed and at the door in no time at all. These pins are lovely but are also the greatest money-spinner Disney has come up with for some time. I knew once J had one it would get expensive from then on. Oh, well. Id held out for half the holiday halfway already! and they do make great souvenirs. So we wandered hand in hand (arent daughters great on holiday) to the pin station and got our four pins all the same and special Steam Boat Willie ones. Of course we had to buy the tabard to put Js onto and we set off back to the room to negotiate ownership rights with V&G. Me and V donated ours to the Princess for swaps. The boy looked uneasy. Too manly to be seen wearing one of them tabard things and certainly not interested in collecting the pins etc. But, this was HIS and it was stayin that way he might not be able to show his mates or even tell them hes got it but .. awhhhhh, canny bairn! So we set off for SeaWorld and were at the gate for 11ish. There was quite a queue and we were entertained by an old man (he wasnt nice enough to be classed as an elderly gent) in one of those four wheeled scooter thingys. He wasnt happy to be in a line, and was scootering back and forth along the backs of peoples legs (literally) tryin to get in quicker (see told you he didnt warrant elderly gent). We finally got in and made our way straight to the SkyTower coz we missed this in 99 due to high winds. Was very impressed with the view, though the lady in the roof got a bit tedious doin her tour-guide-Barbie bit! It really brought home just how vast Orlando is and how far away WDW is in relation to I Drive. We could just make out the Contemporary and Mk in the distance. On the way down I quickly assessed that we needed to make our way to the Water Ski Stadium Vs choice. I had no fancy for this at all and was right. American Galdiators at its worst- all look at me and whoo-whoo-whoos! Now the athletes were fine exponents of their sport, but all that got lost in the tedious lets all cheer for the blue team. I have no idea which was my team or if we won sorry, but I hope you can sense how pointless I found this waste of holiday time. Oh, V enjoyed it and the kids enjoyed it but thats not the point is it? We made hurried, grumbling, tracks over to Shamu Stadium for some proper entertainment. Nearly full, but the back rows were empty perfect. I wanted to be at the back to avoid the ridiculous size of the man in fronts head and shoulders for me video of the show he wasnt in yet but I knew hed be comin. Got great shots of the whole show with the VC perched at shoulder height. One tip. (Dave FM will know, this of course) we were at the back, right of centre, and the white glare from the pool causes a bleaching on the recording. I assume if wed been in the left of the arena we might have missed the glare. If you thought we dont cry on boring days wrong! The sheer beauty of these animals brings tears just thinking of them the graceful dives and gliding round the edge of the pool. The first glimpse of the gentle giant, as he/she comes into view under water for the first time. The roar from the crowd as both Shamu and trainer leap effortlessly from the water and disappear again in perfect timing. This is a wonderful show and the look of wonder on every child and newbies face is a treasure to lock in your mind forever. Got to admit, I found the edu bits a tad intrusive but figure they are needed for the trainers to set up for the next sequence. Just goes to show the impact of the first Shamu experience I couldnt really remember any boring bits from last time. The Splash Zone finale is, of course, worth the money alone. Someone recently said it was a bit overdone, and I agree it is, but for the glad to be here factor alone, they can do it over and over for me just joy and pleased its not me feelings here. Next, a highlight of any visit free beer. We dallied a while and drank our freebie on the bridge and took in the tranquillity of the gardens and watched the turtles go by just like Spennymoor, really! We were getting hungry by now and were heading for the lakeside food places when we walked past the Nautilus Theatre. Taken by the panpipes, we noticed the show was about to start. We wandered in and sat at the back partly coz the auditorium was filling and so we could make a quick exit if it wasnt to our taste. Now Im not a great circus lover but, given Id paid $254 for Cirque Du Soleil for tomorrow night, this seemed much more value for money free! The funny little man doin the warm-up was worth goin in for alone. Following people down the aisle and sliding into the seat they chose just as they sat down! It was hilarious those whove been will know what I mean. The show itself was entertaining fire eaters, jugglers and Peruvian music. It was very atmospheric. There was one of them men swinging on curtains to music not my cup of tea but the audience was appreciative. All I could think of was Ive paid $254 to watch someone do that tomorrow! V really doesnt appreciate the sacrifices I make to keep her happy (aka quiet!). The little man did a couple of stand-up sequences in between acts and he was truly the star of the show. All in all, it took about an hour and we enjoyed it. If you only have one day in Seaworld, this might be too much of a bite out of your time there. I will certainly go to see this again, even if its on me own while the others waste their time at the look at me water-ski show. Just after 3pm now and were all starvin. We head for the Dockside Smokehouse for bait. J manages to divert us into the Ocean Treasures gift shop but I skilfully divert her past the look what a bargain these are Dad and back into the world where no money will be spent outside. Theres quite a queue at the Smokehouse and we take our place in line. The seating area is packed and its fairly clear most people sitting down are waiting for someone in the line. Now this is one of my pet hates, and I remember the same thing being a particular problem at the Waterside Grill which adjoins it last time we were here. Well just have to hope that all the people they are waiting for are so far ahead of us theyll have eaten and left by the time we want to sit and enjoy our meal. But, of course, as a table became free, it was grabbed by someone just coming into the area. Leaving those of us already queuing, nowhere to sit when we got served. (Now I know the answer is to send V and the kids to beat them at their own game, but I was dragged up under the adage two wrongs dont make a right) So I stood with me motor runnin and me glances around the table-sitters became glares as the tedium of the line came over me. Why these people are allowed to save tables while others ahead of us were leaving with full trays and nowhere to sit is a mystery to me. Half an hour later we were wandering round the seating deck glaring at the table savers while we failed to find a place to eat our meal. We finally gave up and perched our trays on our knees on a bench hardly idyllic. I got a rib and chicken combo and the others just chicken. All with fries and sweetcorn and 2 Mountain Dews between us for $38. I thought that was good value but would have paid $50 if it had guaranteed me a table! I noticed another table area just outside the Seaworld Theatre, which turned out to be the Chicken & Biscuit, this was practically empty and we finally enjoyed our meal. Now was the time to split up as me and the boy headed for the rides. Made sure the girls had a supply of cash for drinks etc, but not enough to make it worth popping into any shops on their travels, and agreed to meet in the dolphin underwater viewing area about 5.15 just before the Key West Sunset Celebration at 5.30. V & J headed for the penguins, manatees and dolphin pool while me and the boy were Kraken bound. Now I enjoyed R&RC and was looking forward to Kraken but was also quite nervous. I havent done any of these feet dangly ones before and dont really like the high ones. Ive only just got used to the now dated corkscrew at Flamingoland and have done loop-the-loop ones two or three times but only to say Id done them- and dont particularly enjoy them. I hope you can feel the fear as we are walking up the winding path to the ride. The boy is very chattery which just irritates me more doesnt he know Im scared stiff! As we near the place where you get put into the seating lines I go through me ritual of putting me specs in me bumbag at least I cant see the fall now- and making sure everythings secured. I check the zip of the bumbag at least 10 times as I get more stressed as the car in front goes out and the people in front of us take positions for the next one. Too close deep breaths God, Im such a good Dad to go through this for the boy. As the car before ours pulls in I check the bumbag zip one more time and it occurs to me if the boy had done that the other day, he wouldnt have lost the safe key. The car in front pulls out and the next one comes straight in with ridiculous punctuality theres no rush. We take our places. The boy is nervous of sitting on the outside so I swap and sit closer to death than I ever want to be again. Im shaking and gnashing me teeth as the CMs check our seat belts why? Have they ever come loose !!!!! The floor falls away beneath me feet youll just have to imagine the expletive. We pull away smoothly and fall down and turn right towards the hill climb. Once goin, the ride didnt seem so bad. The first little drop and turn had been so smooth (like Mike said it was) it was quite pleasant in a wish Id gone to see the penguins sort of way. It was only as the car climbed up and up and up the hill that I fully appreciated how high Kraken is. We felt the top car fall and ours was dragged inexorably behind it. Like slow motion, we edged closer and closer to the edge until the earth was staring back up at me! Hadnt anticipated it bein soo steep. If I could have gripped the handles of the shoulder harness any tighter, I would have done. It did occur to me that if I put any more pressure on it, it might break. Try having that irrational thought quarter of a mile high while you plummet to earth in freefall! Before I realised we were at the bottom, we were heading for our first loop and the rests just a blur to be honest. As we came out of that first fall I just closed me eyes, hung on for dear life and apologised to all around me between expletives. It seemed to take a long time to get round and I suppose I should say its quite a long ride and therefore good value. I actually began to enjoy it as I got used to the twists and turns and was truly amazed how smooth it was. We were soon home and I just managed to maintain some control over me legs to get me away from the scene before everyone started pointing at the fat Dad whod been screamin and swearin all the way round. Do you want to do that again, Son? Luckily he said no and we headed for Atlantis not sure Im up to successive rides yet. Though the euphoria of survival was a real buzz and I was actually startin to like these death defying rides. The line for Atlantis wasnt too bad and we were quickly on, wet, and off again. Good ride but once a trip is enough for me. The coaster bit seemed faster than I remembered but then I wasnt scared of it this time so probably took more in. We just had time for one more thing before we met up with V & J so I took a vote with meself and chose the brewery! Got me beer and me and the boy wandered round the museum bit taking in the atmosphere. Found the brewery bar at the back and they had even more choices there- noted for next visit. Met the girls under the dolphin pool and spent some time watching the schools swim. I could pay for Seaworld just to sit here all day they are so graceful and the way they seem to smile at me as they pass just melts me. We made our way to Key West for the Sunset Celebration at 5.30 as scheduled- but there didnt appear to be anything happening, so we headed for Terrors of the Deep. Just a quick walk through here coz we wanted to make our way to Shamu Rocks America for 6.30. Sat on the left side this time but the glare wouldnt be a problem coz Id filled up me last tape on the ski show (over the moon to have THAT on tape) and Cirque de la Mer. Never mind, with our 7 day pass we can pop in another night and video the show. The kids sat in the splash zone. The show is shorter coz they miss the edu bits and was enjoyed, as usual, by all. The splashing is really overdone in this show but everyone enjoys it and the camera capturing people before and after is a bonus I howl at every time. Time for home, we head out via the Ocean Treasures, coz Im a nice Dad really. Id seen three small beanies for $18 Shamu, a dolphin and a white seal. I thought they were a real bargain and I got me hand held again so it was worth it. We left Seaworld and felt wed had a good day, despite missing things because of the late start, taking time over lunch and Cirque de la Mer. We still had Clyde and Seamore, Pets on Stage and Shamu rocks to see and video but no matter. We could fit in another half day as the week goes on (Oh yeh?!) 7.30ish now, it seemed the best time to go to Belz. V wanted to go to the Disney Character Warehouse and I wanted to see if we could get some water park shoes as we were due at Typhoon Lagoon tomorrow. I was also keen to get a set of walkie talkies so I could talk V back from wherever she gets lost next. Were splitting up more and more now and thats goin to result in a lot of time wasted as we sit (probably in different places) waiting for each other. Not wantin to spend too much time shopping, we decided the girls should do the Disney Character Warehouse while me and Gaz ran round the electrical shops looking for WTs. I remembered there bein a very good record store there too and thought I might just get dragged in to buy something if I loitered in the doorway long enough. Couldnt find any WTs that suited and me head kept goin back to all the board recommendations to go to Walmart but wheres that? We went into the record shop and there was loads I could have bought looking back you probably get them all in HMV at home but I dont do shopping, so hardly get to look. Like a kid in a toy shop I was up and down the aisles and quickly assembled me wish list Genesis the Hits and a double Jethro Tull compilation. $44 the lot I was too scared of Vs wrath to buy them both and couldnt decide which to get, so put them back and shuffled out of the shop dejected. We found V & J in their element in DCW and they grabbed us to show a real bargain. Well it would be wouldnt it. Theyd found a rack of withdrawn pins 2000 Epcot for $3.99 and one retired WDW logo pin @ $6.99. Now these were a bargain given that the pins went from $7 in the parks and the retired one was quite large so would be nearer $10/12. Could understand the WDW one but why do we want a 2000 pin? Oh, no they wanted four! The idea bein that J used these cheaper pins to swap for ones she wanted and so save Dave buyin her loads of expensive ones. That did the trick get whatever you want. Next we found the CDs Id looked at the Epcot Millenium cd yesterday and it was $19.98 - $10.99 here. The Official Disney Album had been $20 at MK, we got it for $6.99. Fantasmic was just short of normal price at $18.86 so that went in the basket too. If you want them pet, you get them. I know how you love your Disney music at home, so dont count the cost, just buy whatever you want, my pet. A couple of travellers cheques later and the trap was truly sprung I ran as fast as me fat little legs could take me and got me Tull and Genesis cds before she knew what had hit her. Result. A couple of sugar pretzels (dont get the salted ones theyre seriously foul!) later and we headed for the Levi shop ,which is the only place the boy wanted to go. The staff were pulling the shutters down in preparation to close in ten minutes. There were people still browsing inside and we could have gone in but Dad doesnt do shops with shutters half down and staff looking at their watches unless he wants something anyway! So Gaz and his I never get anything face were hurried into the car well go find Walmart. I remembered someone telling Frances that it was a couple of miles from WetNWild and Id looked it up on me map for her. Should be about half an inch behind WnW then left for ¾ of an inch, I recalled. Should be a doddle. Figured it should be off I Dr then left onto Sandlake Road and stop when you see an Alladins Cave thats open all night. Easy peasy. I decided to go down Kirkman Road to Sandlake cos it was the one before WnW and ran parallel to I Boulevard anyway, so why go down to come back? Big mistake! Anyone seen the slip road system on that section? Now Im bad enough with US slips anyway all the wrong way round and winding roads that make you lose sense of direction and this was in the dark. I negotiated the slip and was sure I was still heading in the right direction. The junction with wherever Walmart is cant be far up this road. As soon as we came onto the Sandlake road all me confidence drained. In the dark with no street lights it looked like the road to nowhere. I had visions of driving for miles without sight of civilisation and no turn off, only to run out of gas and be left in the car on me own while I sent V and the kids for help! Up one way and straight down the other couldnt get off that road soon enough. Never mind, the boards had also said there was another Walmart on the 192 how hard can that be to find? As we approached WDW, V said shes rather just go home now and wed look for Walmart tomorrow. I just nodded as we drove on she wouldnt have a clue where we were anyway so why cause a fight? Ive made me mind up to find this Walmart and we will. Besides I need those shoes for me poor aching feet for TL theyre still hurting, Stranger. Though you wouldnt have noticed coz Im so brave and dont like to mention me pain. Once back to WDW I headed for the 192 I should have gone from 535/536 junction but thought goin this way would miss those road works. Mistake number 2. The roadworks would have been a doddle. Got to WDW just in time to join the procession of cars exiting Epcot and MK heading for the Kissimee resorts. Nearly 10 o clock now, we took 20 minutes to get to the 192 then I got herded into the wrong lane coz Id sat on the left for too long. So I ended up turning round near Old Town and would have been here 30 minutes ago if Id used the 535/536 junction. Now since weve mostly done Old Town and only been to Kissimee once, I figured that was the most likely place to find Walmart. It isnt! If Id stayed on the 192 heading East, Id have found it in 15 minutes. Instead I turned and headed West ,joining onto the end of the line of traffic Id been half a mile ahead of half an hour ago. All the way up that section of the 192 and found there even more roadworks to enjoy too. No Walmart. All the way back to the WDW turn and I admitted defeat and turned for home. We got to the room at 11.20 and V was less than pleased at spending best part of two hours driving in the dark going up and down deserted stretches of road beyond all sign of civilisation saying just one more mile up here its got to be somewhere. The only good to come of it was that wed glimpsed the off site roads and congestion and reaffirmed that its WDW all the way for us for the time being the roads on site are deserted mostly and tonight was the only time weve ever encountered traffic jams. It must be awful getting home from the parks at night. So there you are, Stranger. If you stayed this long, I did warn you. Sorry I didnt fall out on Kraken or crash the car on the 192. Off to bed now. Animal Kingdom in the morning (can you believe we havent done this yet and been here a week?) Typhoon lagoon for a chill in the afternoon then of to the circus to see what I get for me $254 can you tell how I excited I am ? (not!) See you later.