Stripes On Tour Previously on Spottys holiday 1.The night before 2.The Journey 3.Me first full day 4.Thered better not be any queues 5.We've time fer a coffee 6.Yesterday, we went to EPCOT 7.MGM 8.Wet n Wild and Bomas 9. Kennedy Sorry I missed coffee this morning. Didnt wake till 6.10 and had to be out for 8am PS at Chef Mickeys. Weve been to Gatorland and Boggy Creek this morning and now the kids are in the pool. I thought itd make a nice change for us to sit and have a beer while I tell yer all about yesterday. Weve got a beautiful clear blue sky , Vs so hot shes had to move into shade, and the AS tannoy systems playin its two hour 70s music tape Blondie Heart of Glass at the moment. So sit back, relax and Ill drone on and on about the stuff we did yesterder. When I left yer in the foodcourt and went back to the room, V was all excited. I thought shed found her pressie but theyd had the news on (J was NOT impressed btw) and they heard mention of a launch at Cape Canaveral that afternoon. We planned to go to Kennedy tomorrer but quickly rescheduled coz a launch was too good a chance to miss. We called in at Sizzlers (Maingate W) for breakfast and headed down Beeline 528 lookin for a launchin pad. A pleasant drive over and we were amazed and thrilled as we crossed the causeway bridge over Indian River. We stopped bein amazed and thrilled as soon as we encountered the inefficient ticketin system. Tedium grew into frustration as we finally paid our $100+ to get in then four ticket gates converged into one unruly he who pushes most single file line to get through the metal detector. It was 11.30 by the time we finally entered Kennedy Space Centre and I was not impressed anymore. The launch had been advised on TV as bein set for 5.40 so we headed for information to find out more about it. As KSC closes at 5.30, would we see it from the car park or be better moving away earlier? Turns out the launch wasnt at Kennedy after all and was an army satellite rocket launchin at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base down the road. Yer didnt think it was gonna be The Shuttle did yer? We did! I did think it was odd that it was goin today when there wasnt a shuttle scheduled till April but figured maybe it was deliberately announced on the day for security reasons. V had heard the news, not me. I just changed the plan accordin to the information and headed straight for the car. Never mind, we were comin tomorrer anyway. And to see a rocket go up would be good anyway. The lady told us wed be better at Cape Canaveral Beach to see the launch and that it would take place at any time from 5.40 until 6.40. If it hadnt happened by then it had been cancelled. The NASA Up Close tour was suspended due to heightened security and we didnt fancy payin another $80 for the Then and Now tour. Besides, we figured wed struggle to fit everything in given it was already mid-day and wed have to leave early to get to the beach. The Bus Tour takes 2 hours anyway so we set off to start with that. We started to enjoy the day as soon as the bus got under way. The onboard video built up the anticipation of the tour nicely and we saw alligators on the bank side, which made Vs day. First port of call was LC39 viewing gantry. Wed seen the Vehicle Assembly Building en-route and were duly amazed at the size and scale of it all. The Shuttle video at LC39 was not what I expected at all. Not about the space craft but all about the people that work for years on their part of the project just to make it happen. Id gone to KSC under sufferance coz I didnt really see what the fuss was about. It was gonna take a whole day out of me schedule and cost how much? Now, havin watched the pride and dedication of the engineers and backroom staff on that video, me adopted patriotic emotions started to swell- God Bless America! I recovered me British sullenness as soon as we were back outside and the disorderly queue formed (or didnt, which was the trouble) for the bus for our next stop on the tour. The video on the bus set the scene for the Apollo Centre. At least this was something I could relate to. Never a sci-fi fan or an avid space race watcher, I was intrigued by the history and memories the Apollos evoked. The launch of Apollo 8 in the Firing Room had an unexpected effect on uz. The video and sound effects made you feel you were really there. Show over, we exited right, into the Saturn V Rocket Plaza. Id seen this bit loads of times on travel programmes and all the Orlando ads. I vividly remember one clip of Sarah Greene bein all glassy eyed at the sight of Saturn V and sayin it was coz it was from her time. Mikes excellent 2 and 2 Kids Kennedy report had nearly got me here last year but I couldnt (or wouldnt) fit it in. To me, this was a when Ive time and nowt left to do tour. Something Id like to see but way down me list of priorities. We left the Firing Room theatre and walked into the Saturn V Plaza right under the booster engines of Saturn V. To say me jaw dropped is an understatement. I just stood in awe. Im not mechanically minded or a techy buff but I know power when I see it. I cant describe the effect that first encounter had on me so I wont try. Suffice to say V and the kids wandered on oblivious to its significance and magnitude while I wandered backwards to the windows never takin me eyes of those five booster engines. I sat on the ledge and just sat with me thoughts for a couple of minutes. Glassy eyed, just like Sarah Greene. I could remember this. Ive seen this on the telly blastin off into space. I walked the length of it from back to front and back again. I was a bit overwhelmed. I took pictures of the moon buggy and landing vehicles but kept bein drawn back to Saturn V. My hero! The final film- Apollo 11 and the first moon landing- was well done but came as a bit of an anti-climax after the Saturn V Plaza. We got the bus back to the Visitor Centre and looked round the Shuttle mock up. We had planned to do one of the IMAX presentations but the next ones were 30 and 50 minutes away and that would make us late for the beach and something to eat. So we left KSC around 3.30 and agreed it had been worth it after all. Wed all got something different out of the day. The kids were surprisingly interested in the space race and the fact these things had actually been in space. V liked the views all around and thought the films were good. Im not sure Id go again but am sure glad we went. I didnt appreciate what I was missing but do now. We found Cape Canaveral and was surprised to find it had very little in the way of shops and restaurants. We continued down the road to Coco Beach and it wasnt as busy/touristy as wed expected. Figurin it was better to be nearer the launch site we headed back to Cape Canaveral Beach and stopped for a very nice tea at Perkins. We were pushin it a bit to get back to the beach for 5.40 so V had to pass on desert which was a shame coz shed set her heart on Key Lime Pie. We stood on the beach with 100s of others gazin over the water towards the launch pad. Yer could just make it out and I had to use the zoom on me video to see which of the three gantries had the rocket on it was that far away. After half an hours peerin into the distance yer eyes start to go a bit funny and we wondered if it was gonna be worth it after all this. Would we see it anyway? It was. And we did ! The launch was just like all those we saw on telly in the 60s when we were kids. A ball of fire movin slowly up into the air and a faint rumble of the take-off. We could clearly see the trail of fire and exhaust as it blasted off some miles away. I expected it would go straight up and disappear into the atmosphere but it got so high then sort of turned and levelled, then came straight for us! To be fair, it was only a ball of light by now but you could clearly see it heading across the sky rather than up into oblivion. The growing crescendo of its boosters as it went across our eye line is another lasting memory of that day. We stood watchin the rocket disappear for good and once the sound of the boosters was replaced by the ebb and flow of the sea we set off for home. We decided to continue up the Coco Beach road and join up with the 192 to take us back to WDW. We like sight-seeing so this would complete our route as a circle. It took longer than I expected as its a slow road and I dont really like drivin on single lane country roads in the dark in UK never mind Florida but we got to see Indian Harbour and Melbourne and got home safe and sound by 9pm. Beer and telly and I think I was the first asleep before ten. So were sittin here chillin and the kids have gone back to the room. Theyre watchin Pepper Ann. Ive spend £5000 to bring them on a once in a lifetime trip and they watch Pepper Ann!! Havent got time to tell yer about Gatorland or Boggy Creek coz I promised they could go to Disney Quest tonight. So Ill go freshen up and well grab a bite at the foodcourt before we go. See yer tomorrer.