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Florida - April 2022 - Day 8

I can show you the world Shining, shimmering, splendid

Words that Karen started singing to herself at one point today and then couldn’t get out of her head all day. Disney does that to you. I mean nobody and I mean nobody talks about poor Bruno anymore.

It was an early start for us. Not planned but due to Karen getting two phone calls from Norfolk Careline telling her that her Mum’s alarm fob was running out of battery. Good service from them but not what we needed once alone twice at 5.55am USA time. Karen is still reluctant to put her phone onto silent for the night – ‘just in case’.

So not being able to get back to sleep I got up just after 6am. Disappointingly despite all the forecasts it was cloudy although the sun soon burnt all them off.

Karen joined me for an early breakfast by the pool. After a while we decided to head out early.

Our plan was to get Karen a coffee at the Disney Riveria Hotel and then have a free ride on the Skyliner to explore further. Sadly, the security guard on the car park of the Riveria would not allow us in to park without a reservation. Karen was indignant especially as the car park looked half empty. I did have to point out that what we were trying to do was not encouraged as it would be a way around circumnavigating the exorbitant car parking fees they charge at the theme parks, as we could have then used different ‘free’ methods to get to the parks from the Hotel. Plus, I think that Hotel Guests have to pay to park as well.

I therefore put into Operation Plan B, which was to try and park at the Disney Caribbean Hotel and walk down to the Riveria. We had done this last year when a kindly ex pat security guard let us in. As we drove up, we saw the same sign stating no guest parking, reservations only. However, our luck was in as it was the same security guard who said technically, we couldn’t park there but as we were Brits, he would turn a blind eye.

In fact, it was better parking here as we had a lovely walk around the resort and Lake to get to the Riviera. Karen got us a couple of hot drinks and we sat on the Hotel Balcony marvelling at all the rich hotel guests below. The cost per night to stay here is a factor of many times more than the cost of our villa. The Hotel itself is quite utilitarian looking and we both said we would prefer to be staying at the Caribbean Beach resort.

After staying as long as we dared, we made our way to the Skyliner. As it was late morning there was no queue at all. At each station the Skyliner approaches it at quite a speed and each time Karen braces herself for impact in case it doesn’t stop. Funny enough it does stop every single time without fail. It was as we took the sky for the first time, she started singing the song from Aladdin and then just didn’t stop for the rest of the day.

We headed to the Disney Pop Century resort, which is the one Neil wouldn’t ‘allow’ me to visit last time. I was quite impressed with the design, colours and layout. Even the shop was worth a look around. We decided to hide a UK coin for Jonathan and Jess to find when they arrive here in about 3 weeks’ time. We were not 100% certain they will be in this resort but should be quite close by. We took a picture of what we had done and sent it to him without saying exactly where it was but he should be able to work it out.

It was then back on the Skyliner, but this time we changed and took the route to fly over a corner of Epcot. Karen couldn’t decide if it was just cruel doing so as she was still keen to visit herself. I did keep reminding her that we will be in all the parks on our next visit in early November.

From here we got the Skyliner back to the Caribbean Beach where we walked back to the car and drove to the villa for a late lunch.

After another few lazy hours reading (I finished The Twyford Code, which was a clever construct of a book, but perhaps tried too hard in then end to be clever. Nevertheless, I quite enjoyed it).

We then headed out for the evening. In a bid to keep Karen entertained, we headed up to the CityWalk. Parking was free after 6pm and so we found a slot in King Kong 309. The place was heaving although to be fair most were heading out of the parks to the car park. It was though like being in a football crowd.

It was a pleasant walk around although it didn’t take us too long as we were not planning to eat here. We stuck our heads in the door of Pat O’Brien’s piano bar, but it was early and hadn’t really got going. Just the one pianist and no atmosphere. We ended our visit to CityWalk with Karen getting herself a Coldstone Creamery Ice Cream. We had a bit of a drama with her not seeing me sat at a table right next to the exit despite we calling loudly to her. Apparently, she was not expecting me to be there, how silly of me.

Back in the car we headed to the ‘new’ Cheesecake Factory at Regency Village which was on the way back to the villa. We hoped that it as it was now gone 8pm that we would have missed the crowds.

Wrong, wrong and wrong again. It was horrendous. I think 80% of people waiting were Brits. Families ahead of us in a scrum that was supposed to be a queue were being quoted 1½ to 2 hours wait for a table. Fortunately for a table for 2 it was only a 15-minute wait. As we waited, I was not happy with the crowds milling around. If it wasn’t that Karen was so keen, I would have left and gone elsewhere.

After almost exactly 15 minutes our table was ready. We have a lovely waitress even if she did have trouble finding English teabags for Karen and then eventually just turned up with Earl Grey (which if it had been me, I would have refused). The restaurant always has the biggest list of menu items in the world. Trouble is I never really fancy any of them. In a panic mode in the end, I went for a burger for the second night in a row. Bad choice. It was expensive, small and despite asking for no sauce still had a sweet undertone. The chips were frugal and non-descript. The bun tasted as though it had been deep fried. By some margin my worst meal of the trip so far.

Karen however enjoyed her meal and to be truthful it wasn’t really the meal we came for but for the Cheesecake that Karen wanted to take away with her. She opted for the Very Cherry Ghirardelli Cheesecake which she took to have the next day as part of her lunch.

Back at the villa, it was by now a quite late night for us. We had a quick cuppa whilst watching the local news before retiring for the night.

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