2023 - April - Villa Stay - Day 9
Today marked part 2 of the holiday and the change from a Road trip to a Villa trp. We were both ready for it. Typically, the weather was forecast to be lovely as we knew we were destined to have a couple of hours driving ahead.
So, we savoured having our last hotel breakfast for a while before heading back to pack up. We are getting much quicker at this and it was done in about 10 minutes. After checking out we hit the road.
It was 9.45am and officially we couldn’t get in the villa until 4pm although I had asked for an early check in as I could see there had been nobody staying there for over the week. Once we were close to Kissimmee, we intended to go to Dollar Tree to get some cleaning stuff and then Publix for whatever provisions we needed for the week. We intended to try and get in the villa about 2pm.
Our first dilemma came when the Sat Nav routed us on a toll road. We didn’t have the pass to drive through them and be billed afterwards. Nor did we have any coins to pay cash and we had no idea if it would be manned. In the end to avoid any problems I got the Sat Nav to avoid all Toll Roads which added about 10 minutes to our journey ahead.
Karen was on the hunt en route for a Starbucks but it wasn’t until we were very close that we started to see them. They were always on the wrong side of the highway though.
We got to the end of Highway 27 and turned onto the 192. I couldn’t recall any Starbucks between where we were and the villa and so I turned around and headed 2 miles back up the 27 where we had just past a Starbucks, Dollar Tree and Publix all in close proximity.
Once we had a drink and sat for a while, I got a message to confirm we could now enter the villa. We did a trolley dash around Dollar Tree and then Publix, hopefully buying enough to last us a week.
As we made our way to the villa, we started to get conflicting directions from the Sat Nav. The softly spoken lady was taking us what I considered the correct route whilst a gruffer spoken lady was trying to get me to turn round all the time. At one point one was telling me to turn left whilst the other was saying turn right. It was all very confusing and quite quickly became very annoying.
At first I thought it was the car’s in built Sat Nav but I couldn’t see how this was working. I then thought it was Google Maps (I was using Waze) but that didn’t seem to have any destination set in it. I then concluded it must be something else on my phone which I would try and sort out in the villa.
It was strange being back at Sunset Lakes. The keycode to open the estate gates remained the same as it has been on every visit. Our villa this time was near the entrance overlooking the smaller lake from a sideways perspective.
The door had an electronic number which had been set to a number of our choice. From getting in I then had 60 seconds to locate the laundry room and work out how to input the 5-digit alarm code to prevent the monitored alarm being triggered. It was like being on Crystal Maze and I just managed it without causing an ‘automatic lock in’.
The villa was very nice and a fair amount of money had been spent on it recently. It had 4 bedrooms (3 too many for us this time) but strangely only 2 bathrooms. It was nicely laid out.
I had just finished emptying the car when we received a Facetime call from Barry & Ellie who were kindly visiting Karen’s Mum in the Care Home. Karen was very happy to be able to see and speak to her Mum and be reassured that she seemed as well as can be expected. It was also lovely to see Barry & Ellie although we didn’t really get much chance to speak to them.
After this we had some lunch and sat by the pool for the afternoon. The pool area seemed quiet and lonely without others being here with us. There is a decent Bluetooth speaker in the lounge which I connected to and we had that on in the background. Naturally the first choice of album was good old Jimmy Buffet.
I booked us a table at Saltgrass steakhouse as we had another $25 birthday reward that needed to be spent this month. The traffic was horrendous and we arrived 15 minutes late but they found us a table immediately. My mood in the traffic was not helped by the schizophrenic directions we were still being given. I was now perplexed as I had closed all the open apps on my phone.
The food was as ever very good and with the $25 taken off very cheap. It would have been cheaper but Karen thought she deserved a glass of red. The service was the best we have had this trip.
After chilling out whilst eating, my rage was soon incurred again when we got back in the car and the 2 ladies started giving me conflicting directions to Disney Springs. When you are in heavy traffic it is difficult to separate which one, I should be listening to. I really could not work out what was going on.
We parked in Lime Garage at Disney Springs and made our way to the right. We wandered slowly in and out of a few shops, noting disappointingly that they are still not giving out free chocolates at Ghirardelli. As we were still full from dinner we thought we would save our ice cream stop for later in our stay here.
The whole place was busy but not crazy busy. In the Christmas Shop we found about 4 decorations we liked but as the cheapest of them was $25 we didn’t buy any.
After about 90 minutes we decided to leave the other half of Disney Springs to wander around next time and headed back. As I knew the way back, I turned off Waze, yet the gruff woman was just now speaking alone. In desperation I also turned off my phone, yet still she spoke giving me directions to goodness knows where. It was starting to feel a bit creepy and surreal.
Then suddenly I realised where the voice was coming from. I had brought my old USA Sat Nav with me as a backup. It had been plugged in since we picked the car up but we hadn’t used it. Somehow it had got knocked and been switched on. I unplugged it and suddenly the creepy woman disappeared. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t worked it out sooner.
Back in the villa I spent figuring out the as usual over complicated TV. There were lots of channels all showing rubbish. Karen chose to watch a USA episode of Deal or No Deal with a very annoying contestant. I went to bed as her screeching was too much to take and then ending our first day back in our happy place.