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2019 - Florida - Day 11

This morning sadly we woke to a cloudy sky which was a shame as it was our new arrivals first morning in Florida and we so wanted it to be lovely for them. Everyone was up surprisingly early as Barry & Neil swapped stories of the respective journeys.

Today was also the first full day of heating that we had arranged for pool heating and we were keen to feel how warm it was. Sadly though the timer on the pump doesn’t seem to be working and so I ended up later on having to turn it on manually, something which may turn into a daily routine.

After sorting this out and having breakfast, Neil fancied a round of Mini Golf so we left Barry & Ellie by the pool and headed off to Fantasia Golf. This is another part of Disney where there are a lot of building works in the car park which seems to be a common theme this trip already.

Neil chose the more difficult of the two courses here. Actually make that the totally unplayable one. It doesn’t have any traditional elements where you have to hit it over, through or around ‘crazy’ objects. Instead each hole is supposedly like a mini hole on a real course, except the undulations, lumps and curves means there is no actual line to hit the ball to the flag. Whatever route you take you end you end up in a carpeted bunker. It is quite simply ridiculous. I even lost a ball. I did enjoy playing and the setting but not the course. Neil won by several strokes, but his margin of victory would have been far greater apart from the fact we stuck to the no more than 6 shots per hole rule.

Back at the Villa, we rejoined Barry & Ellie who were chilling by the pool. We had some lunch and then all sat outside for a while as the sun kept trying to break through. We were joined by two large Cranes who came across from the Lake. They seemed to be asking for food but Karen & Neil didn’t think we should encourage them. I thought that was mean particularly as one of them only had one foot.

We then offered to give Barry, Ellie and Neil a lift to the final Halloween Horror Night up at Universal Studios. The drive wasn’t too bad up the I4 until I managed to miss the last turning into the Drop Off point which then involved a 12 minute drive to get back to the same point. I was very annoyed with myself for doing that. When I eventually did get back to the right place it was apparent that the drop off point had changed completely from where I had done so on many occasions in the past and that it was now on top of the car park.

The plan we had hastily put together for ourselves was to initially nip to the outlets which were less than 2 miles away. We found them easily. 10 minutes later we were still circling though trying to find an elusive car park slot. In the end we went across the road to another complex and parked there instead. We had to walk past a Starbucks back to the outlets so without wishing to miss an opportunity we stopped for Karen to top up her caffeine levels. We had a quick whizz round a couple of shops where Karen managed to buy a couple of tops at reduced prices.

From here we headed back in the direction of the Villa. We stopped en route for a meal at Joes Crab Shack as we had a $25 credit to spend from Karen’s unofficial birthday. As part of their loyalty scheme they give you a credit to spend each year within 14 days of your birthday. Since we started coming to Florida this time of year a couple of years back I registered Karen’s birthday as Nov 1st to take advantage of this.

Karen had one of the specials on offer with Salmon and Rice. I went for a Steampot with Mussels, Clams and Shrimp. They were both really delicious. Normally they would be quite expensive but with the credit, it more than paid for one of them. Karen was worried at one point that the staff might come over and sing Happy Birthday to her but instead the manager just came over for a long chat.

Then we popped into Publix to get some more fruit, drinks and bread for everyone. By now it was gone 8pm before we finally got back to the Villa after having left at 3pm to just provide a lift to Universal. However as tonight the clocks go back, we decided to head back out again to Jellyrolls, which is my favourite bar in the world by miles. We drove to the Boardwalk to park up (legitimately this time). En route to the bar purchased Ellie another Magic Band as she had forgotten to pack hers (why is it that everybody always forget one thing when going away, including me - mine was spare sunglasses this time). For some reason the main Hotel or shop didn’t sell them, so we had a nice stroll to The Swan Hotel to get one.

Jellyrolls then beckoned. The reason we don’t go more often here is that it involves paying $15 each admission. Each time we go in I moan, each time I leave I think - wow that was worth it.

As it was a Saturday night, the place was packed. I went to the bar and got Karen a Bud light and some water for myself. We found a good spot and eventually secured a couple of odds seats that we moved there.

The venue is obviously designed for Duelling Pianos and works so well. Everyone can see and join in. The atmosphere was already really good. The Pianists are so so talented. The songs tonight were a really eclectic choice and hardly included any of the old favourites. Even the Piano players were saying some of them they had never played before. What other places, can you hear songs that go straight from Garth Brooks to Def Leppard to Whitney Houston with several hundred people singing along at the top of their voices. This time there were no Billy Joel tracks but that didn’t ruin my evening. Some of the chat and interaction was very funny, as was when they were requested to play Rappers Delight by The SugarHill Gang which they did and were word perfect. We stayed far longer than we intended and left with a large smile on our faces.

If I had enough money I would like to open a proper Piano Bar in Norwich (but only after I had also learnt to play the piano to every song ever written and acquired a great singing voice - everything is possible with money though isn’t it?).

The only things stopping it from working though are that I think the US are much more open to these type of bars. Also their currency has smaller denominations of bills which is better suited to request songs with and they understand the concept of tipping all the time. They seem to handle alcohol better than the British (well in Jellyrolls they do). The temperature is far better here which does put people in better moods. Everyone here is also probably relaxed on holiday which helps. They seem to all have a wider taste in music than we do, and in particular Country songs some of which are quite funny and work well in this type of setting (Wagon Wheel). They have a number of very talented piano players who really know how to work a crowd. Apart from these facts I think I am onto a sure fire winner and financially successfully venture.

And so, sometime after Midnight we headed back to the empty Villa. We had no idea when our guests would be returning as they planned to get a Uber back here and so left some lights on and hoped they would be back when we got up in the morning.

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