20131209 – Orlando, Mickey Mouse Town

Monday – hot, sun and clouds.


Lazy start to the day, as usual.

Then it’s off down to the Circle B bar ranch reserve. Birds and wildlife galore. Gaitors, turtles, wild boar, just missed a bob cat and of course more Pileated Woodpeckers then trees in a forest. A superb 2 hour walk, a real treat and it’s free.

Then it’s back to the bright lights and the glitz as we head to Down Town Disney. Wendy has a Ghirardelli DIY double fudge hot chocolate. At these prices you’d think it would come ready made. No you have to melt the chocolate bars in the hot milk and give it a good stir. I’m then left all on my own some with only an iPhone and free Disney wifi (15Mbps SDSL no less) for company. Perhaps I can remotely disable Wendy’s credit card!


After a pleasant evening stroll around Down Town we head off for dinner. We’ve been told that Sweet Tomatoes is a great place to eat. It should be made to display over the door in neon lights a very clear government health warning. Veggies only. Wot no meat. Have you noticed how very one sided this veggie thing is. Blood eaters allow vegetables but veggies never reciprocate. 

Finally get to the Olive Garden. Very impressed. Reasonably priced, good food, free salad and soups. I had Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo, best meal I’ve had this holiday, Wendy needs to get it on her regulars list.


Back to the hotel. I think we’ll have to resort to the stairs this lift has the most sickening Xmas music. By the time you’ve got to your floor you’re ready to slit your wrists rather than listen to another bar.

Tuesday – hot and sunny.

Lazy breakfast.

Then gird your loins, put on your hiking boots and we’re off to Disney Hollywood Studios.

Disney Hollywood studios today. We tried to rent some crotch droppings on the way in but they’re totally out of them. Wandering around like so many overgrown kids. 

I never thought I’d say it but thanks to 3.5 hours queuing on NCL we’re all fit and ready for all the queues Disney can throw at us. 


Still didn’t manage to get on the Toy Story ride – 55 minutes can you believe it. God alone knows what it must be like at Christmas.

Get to see Fantasmic for the 44th time! You can now buy a Mickey Mouse ears hat that lights up different colours and synchs to the music in fantastic. Technology gone mad.

Then go to see the dancing Christmas lights. Very impressive. I wonder how long it takes to find and replace a dodgy bulb?

Dinner is MacD’s. 

Wednesday – hot and sunny.


Hashbrowns with corned beef, scrambled eggs and baked beans for breakfast, very tasty. After all the Haute Cuisine cruise food, I can just taste now my Friday night coming home treat of Welsh Rarebit, Bacon and baked beans. Lazy breakfast and then set off for Seaworld. Change our minds half way there and go to Universal. Memories of the crap service and greed on our last visit still linger. Always good to vote with your feet.

Have a great day at Universal. A tad expensive but unlike Disney the queues aren’t too bad. Start with the Spider Man ride. Nearly have diced carrots everywhere. Devastated we’re too big for the Pteranodon Flyers kids ride. But we’re very brave and risk the kids Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster. Then it’s the ET ride Wendy’s favourite, followed by Men In Black – a real mans ride – just about avoided shouting for Huey and Ruth. 

Starbucks provides a welcome break before the Macy’s parade and then the Shrek show.


Great day. Spoilt only by the 30 minutes it takes to get out of the car park.

Amazing when you think about it. Universal has problems with poor customer service, that is, long queues. What do they do about it? Provide more capacity or limit daily admissions? No they sell Fast passes to jump the queues. Now how financially smart is that. But what crap customer service.

Then it’s off to Subway for their Pastrami Sub. Queue for 10 minutes only to be see a sign saying it’s so popular we’re out of it. They’re about as dumb as a bag of rocks, there’s still a big sign in the window promoting it. Vote with me feet.

Thursday – warm and sunny.

Lazy breakfast and then a late checkout. 

Drive to Down Town Disney to the big Disney store. Judging by an overflowing car park they must be giving it away.

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I sit and have a coffee at Ghirardeli’s and contemplate how much Wendy is spending.

6 weeks in Florida and not a single black bin liner perambulating around, like a Dalek without a proboscis, apart from one on the last day that had somehow penetrated Downtown Disney’s security.

Then it’s the usual airpot check in queue, TSA queue and crap. Our airport lounge is in Terminal B and by parkinson law of maximum perversity we’re in A.

Pretty good flight. I have me buttie for tea before we get on. Virgin Atlantic food is best avoided, not even a starving hog would swallow it.

Try me new idea of sleeping tablets. Sit down with Do Not Disturb and off to sleep. Free sleeping tablets courtesy of NHS so much cheaper than business class. Seems like a good way to fly, especially on an overnighter.

Well what have we learnt this trip?

Most of the best things in life are free. Take the Circle B Bar Ranch Nature Reserve. No queuing, free, no crowds and spectacular wild life. Or a walk, bike ride or kayak around Marco Island.

Florida great place this time of year.

Marco Island is awesome, we’ll be back.

Disney are loosing the plot. Yes great free wifi, but the crowds and queues at this time of the year are unbelievable. I dread to think what Christmas must be like.

It would be a great idea to have Xmas every 4 years, like the Olympics. Or as one Grinch said “Once every Preston Guild”.

Learn Spanish ready for our next visit, as it seems to be taking over.

Most of the Caribbean seem to be the same 3rd World chicken shit little Island / Resorts. Give me civilisation any day.

No NCL cruises ever again – see Ode.

Perhaps rather than cruising we should try a luxury All-Inclusive.

Sleeping tablets on a long haul overnight flight work a treat.

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