Monday, 10th November A slow day was always on the cards for today, and, even though were up by 7.30am, its gone 11am before were ready to leave the room. We abandon the scheduled activity of a walk over to Old Key West as, after yesterday evenings aborted effort, were keen to get to T-Rex in good time. Although this is our third stay at Saratoga Springs, weve never had an opportunity to have a proper look around. On top of that, whilst weve walked from the resort to West Side (leaving SSR adjacent to the Turf Club and hitting DTD between Cirque du Soleil and House of Blues) many times, we havent walked the route from the opposite end of the resort into Marketplace. Were agreed that today provides the ideal circumstances to do both. We head first to the main complex. The Carriage House is home to check-in, the Turf Club Bar and Grill, Artists Palette Food Court and Marketplace (resort shop). Also in this central area is The Spa and the main swimming pool, High Rock Spring (there are an additional 3 quiet pools throughout the resort). Although were familiar with most of the facilities here, I want to take a look at the spa. Ive always been reluctant to book treatments here (likewise at the Grand Floridian) because, of the few photographs Ive been able to find, none fills me with enthusiasm. For that reason, my onsite spa experiences have always been at the Mandara Spa at the Dolphin. The SSR Spa is as Id expected pleasant enough, but far too functional for my tastes. I like a good dollop of luxury with my spa encounters. [I only managed to get a photograph of the foyer the other areas were all in use and I thought it would be rude to start snapping away.] We also pop into the Turf Club Lounge as were intrigued by the blurb in the DVC pack we were given at check-in yesterday which describes it as having panoramic views over the golf course and the lights of Downtown Disney. Not unless its had a major makeover, it hasnt! Sure enough, its the same old view of the golf club car park, and a vague glimpse of Cirque if you crane your neck. The plan is to walk the path along the length of the waters edge opposite Downtown Disney, so we head off in the direction of Congress Park (one of five neighbourhoods and very popular thanks to its views over DTD). We take our time, soaking it all up and taking photos along the way. The path eventually brings us out onto Buena Vista Drive and into Marketplace next to the bus stop. We head straight to T-Rex and are taking our seats at the virtually empty Shark Bar shortly before noon. Needless to say, were aware this is Rainforest Café with dinosaurs, but what we havent picked up on from photos weve seen is just how similar the two are. Here theres an open kitchen and, even with the Build a Dino franchise at the rear, the gift shop is considerably smaller than the RFC at Animal Kingdom, but other than that the footprints are almost identical and the environment is almost indistinguishable right down to the storms, animal cacophony and air con pumped up to the max. I order a cocktail a Lava something or another which is almost a dessert: a fruity, creamy affair that I would have loved at one time, but which is perhaps a tad on the sweet side for my grown-up palate (still good, though!). Matt has a Sam Adams. Tonight were planning to head back to The Wave (definitely this trips find), and, as RFC regulars, we know the food here will be plentiful, so we choose to order from the appetisers menu Colosso Nachos (seasoned beef, pico de gallo, black beans, green onions, Cheddar cheese, queso sauce and sour cream) for Matt and Footprints Flatbread (warm flatbread topped with Cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan and goat cheeses, rotisserie chicken and caramilised onions, drizzled with a balsamic glaze) for me. Theyre both enormous and we could easily have shared either one as an entrée. Matt manages to do justice to half his nachos, plus a slice of my pizza, whilst I know, even as Im eating it, that my fourth slice was a slice too far. Will I never learn? Both dishes are really good. [Ive always been impressed with the food at RFC, particularly the pizzas which seem to be made from scratch with fresh ingredients, and Ive never understood why it receives such a high percentage of poor reviews. In my experience, it can seem comparatively expensive, but armed with the knowledge that the portion sizes are huge, its easy enough to get value for money.] We leave feeling more than satisfied with the food, the overall experience, and having succeeded in our bid to eat there and take a stroll around Marketplace, taking a look inside most of the shops there. As Matts been a good boy, with not even a hint of a rolled eye as I drag him into yet another store crammed to the rafters with Disney merchandise, I suggest a stop at the Sosa Cigar Bar at the Marketplace end of Pleasure Island. He tries his best to appear nonchalant, but only succeeds in looking like the cat who got the cream. Before settling at the bar with a Red Stripe and a Fess Parker chardonnay respectively, Matt chooses one of Sosas own offerings which scored 90 points in a recent edition of Cigar Aficionado. We discover that the cigars he bought at Corona Cigars yesterday cost $10.50 each here. There they were $6.50 and, after the discount he received for buying a box, worked out at just $4 each. We haven't previously noticed that Sosa is particularly expensive and we wonder whether this is a one-off. Its certainly not incomprehensible that its price could become inflated once a cigar appears in CA. As a very recent subscriber to the pleasures of this particular indulgence (he doesnt smoke cigarettes), hes only ever bought the odd one or two during previous trips, so its altogether possible that we simply havent paid that much attention. We both always enjoy our sojourns here and sit at the bar chatting away with each other, the bartender and other patrons. My only grievance is the cigarette smokers who seek refuge here. Cigar bars should be places for like-minded individuals to share their appreciation of an occasional treat in a relaxed environment, not somewhere for cigarette smokers to partake of a quick drag in a bid to get around the recent bans. Cigar bars on cruise ships have been commandeered in the same way. I know thats probably a completely unprincipled view, but cigarette smokers never used to inhabit cigar bars. I dont quite understand why, if cigar bars are legal, there couldnt also be cigarette bars.