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Old 18 Aug 19, 09:44 PM  
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Day 5 - Universal, Sunset Lakes & Buffalo Wild Wings

Day 5 - Universal, Sunset Lakes & Buffalo Wild Wings

Alarm set again, we were up early as our plan was to ride the new Hagrid’s ride. Pastries, fruit, coffee, orange juice & chocolate milk were had in our rooms again to utilise the most of our time.

Our 2 nights here had been great and we were sad to be leaving so soon. We really hope to be able to return one day.



G got himself settled with a coffee in Starbucks whilst the rest of us were faced with this!



Not my idea when I think of a holiday.

Hoped Hagrid’s was worth it.

To cut a very long story short as it doesn’t even involve food, we walked all the way through to Poseidon’s Fury and The Mystic Fountain in a separate queue for the ride, then told we had to follow a guy with a tall white sign for crowd control which is what we did, who walked us all in a massive circle and took us to the back of the queue?!?! >> lots of very angry & upset people. **bleep **bleep #%#%.

We stuck with it and agreed to wait until we got to the lockers to make a decision as to what to do. The app still wasn’t displaying the wait time. This whole sorry and rubbish saga took approx 1.5 hours from when we entered the park at opening till we arrived at the lockers.

We spoke to a member of staff regarding what had happened who apologised and told us to return at 11.30am and she would take us to the front of the queue. She told us her name (Kassandra) and said to ask for her.

The wait time was now showing 210 minutes.



We were a tad dubious and were not totally convinced we would ever find her again but decided to trust her. And it worked! We returned and we were taken through a back way straight onto the ride. We thanked her numerous times! It’s not just Disney that has magical moments.

What an absolute BRILLIANT ride. Grateful and happy we got to ride it. Really hope Universal sort out there queuing system and everyone can get to ride it fairly.

Anyway, back to food! It wasn’t lunch time yet but everyone had worked up an appetite. So we opted for pie. Yes you read that correct! Apparently all American pies. From the Captain American Diner.



We had cherry and apple. We didn’t expect them to be so big and should’ve shared. Again. If I had been at home, a lovely dollop of custard would’ve been divine. Anyway, I digress...





Our youngest doesn’t like pie so at some point she had an M&M chocolate coated s’mores bar from The Candy Factory for approx $5.



It was then time to check into our villa in Sunset Lakes for 10 nights. We booked this via the dibb. Thank you Melvin.

My new favourite view!





We also spent a fair amount of time eating in this space in the coming days!



Once unpacked, we drove a short distance to B’dubs. We were eager for a savoury fix by now.



A quick glance of the menu



Games played on the iPads provided



A variety of chicken, sauces and sides were ordered. The food was good but took a long long time to arrive and there was a mix up so waited even longer for some dishes. Our server was very up and down. One minute trying to be our best friend and the next very short and a tad rude. It was all rather odd. We’ve always had a good experience here so it won’t put us off just a bit disappointed.















I didn’t take a note of how much it cost but remember thinking it was reasonable. I do try to take more photos of receipts later on in the holiday.

We then popped to Super Target and stocked up on essentials, including some fruit.

#tryingtobegoodparents

#nobeigeinsight

For some reason I don’t have photos of the rest of the fridge!



The girls got straight into the pool whilst us adults relaxed, read our books, watched them and reminisced about the day. With a drink. This became my favourite. Don’t worry Melvin, it was put in a plastic cup as per the villas instructions! Cheers.




Tomorrow - A very lazy day at the villa which is a tad boring for a trip report! We do venture out for breakfast at Golden Corral and dinner at Panda Express.

Thanks for reading.

M x

Edited at 11:38 PM.
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Old 19 Aug 19, 07:39 PM  
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Day 6 - Golden Corral & Panda Express

Day 6 - Golden Corral & Panda Express

We woke with the whole day ahead of us and no set plans. Bliss. We spent the majority of the day chilling at the villa and spending time in the pool.

The only decision we had to make was regarding food. We decided to head out for a late breakfast at Golden Coral. It's cheap and cheerful but always been fine. It's also added with nolstalgia, as it was the first breakfast we had in the states as a family of 4.

Sunday is obviously a busy day and everyone had the same idea as us! There was no space in the car park and the queue to get into the restaurant was very long so drove further down the 192, near the Celebration turn off.



Once inside, it was crazy busy, a fight nearly kicked off between 2 families and the food wasn't as nice as our previous visits.

I only took 2 pictures which is rare for me!

Cost approx $40 for the 4 of us.

I was relieved to leave and apologised to our friends that this hasn't been our experience before. In no rush to return.






On a much happier note, we then spent time and money in Super Target and chilled and spent time back at the villa. I know it's only a super market but it was good to be back. I love that familiarity feeling. Stocked up on more sun cream spray and hair and body products we can't get back home in the UK. Treated myself to a new lunch bag for work.

For dinner, our friends daughter was keen to try Panda Express.

A short drive and we were there.



This was really really tasty. We all had a variety of rice and noodles as our sides.



We queued with our trays, chose our boxes (one entree & one side) or plates (two entree's & one side), paid then found a table. There was space for the 7 of us to sit together with no problems.

Excellent value at $35 including drinks.

Orange chicken (had a little kick)





Chicken teriyaki



Shanghai Angus steak & mushroom chicken



Looking forward to returning again one day.




We returned to the villa, played card games and all watched Harry Potter.


Tomorrow - Kennedy Space Center

Thanks for reading.

M x

Edited at 08:16 PM.
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Old 19 Aug 19, 08:24 PM  
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Do like NBC ! Although then there was Panda Express .. Winner !
Shame about Golden Corral , we felt the same about Ponderosa.
So pleased you got on Hagrids after all that faff.
And wow, villa looks just blissful.
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Old 19 Aug 19, 09:06 PM  
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Originally Posted by Pumba75 View Post
Day 0 - Pre travel day


Hello and welcome along to our drool fest of calories!

We returned home yesterday so thought I would get cracking on with this to help with the holiday blues.

We had an amazing time, made brilliant memories and ate lots of delicious food. The 7 of us kept saying "we should share" but never did and I wonder why my jeans are feeling a tad tight today!

I normally do food reports live but as our friends were joining us my plan was to write notes and update when home. But unfortunately didn't write any notes so hoping my photos will jog my memory!

Anyway, let's get started...



Premier Inn - Gatwick North Terminal

After a day at work, we were picked up by Paul (airport transfer who we have used for the last few years and is great) and with no problems on the M25, met our friends at the Premier Inn in good time. Excitement levels were at an all time high for everyone!



We normally fly from Heathrow and have never had to book a table at a Premier Inn before, but as we were a larger group our friend R phoned up the day before but they didn't have any availability until late. Ooops. Great start. We decided to walk across to the terminal and eat there instead.

This worked out really well. A short walk, up the escalator and we turned right and opted for The Nicholas Culpeper.



We were sat upstairs at a round table which I always like as it feels more sociable. Simple pleasures hey!

We had dreamed, saved and counted down to this moment.

Cheers!




The food and service was brilliant.

A selection of sharing platters, sides & mains.












I was meant to take a note of the cost but forgot. Sorry!

We headed back to the bar at the Premier Inn but it was noisy and busy. We ordered drinks and managed to find a quiet corner.







Everyone then came back to our room before we said our goodbyes and goodnights and agreed to meet up early for our Premier Inn breakfast.

I struggled to get to sleep as was so excited. I love this moment when everything is ahead of you.


Thanks for reading.

M x
Great start at Nicholas Culpeper, the sharing platters look good - plenty food for everyone
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Old 19 Aug 19, 09:11 PM  
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Fuellady
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Originally Posted by Pumba75 View Post
Day 1 - Travel day

We were all up, showered, talking and tucking into our Premier Inn breakfast before we knew it. The best photo I have is this! Apologies. I get better as the holiday goes on. I promise.




G had checked us all in the day before and the rest of the time until we boarded went smoothly and quickly.



Just to add - we decided not to pay for our seats with BA and all 7 of us were allocated seats together on both flights (3 window seats & 4 in the middle). We also didn't change our Esta's to add our middle names. No problems at all.




We took off on time. Crew were great.

Compulsory photo taken!



Drinks and pretzels handed out.



Meal was a choice of pasta or spicy chicken. Both were actually fairly good. Enjoyed my pasta more than I was expecting. Liked the quinoa salad & summer berry pot too.







The chicken Caesar sandwich was ok. Could've been double the size! The banana loaf was a big hit with everyone.



I thought we had previously had an ice cream, but no such joy this time.

The BA flydrive worked well for us again. This was the first time we had flown into Tampa and would happily fly this route again. Immigration was much quicker and the airport smaller to navigate.

Our first destination was The Grand Plaza at St Pete beach. This took us approx 30 minutes to get there. We were very happy to be back in our happy place.







We opted for take out from Bongo's. We ordered from our sun loungers around the pool. The men had beers.





The time difference was starting to catch up with us so didn't take photos of everyone's meals. None of us were able to finish. In hindsight, we should've shared. A common theme! Maybe that should’ve been the name of this report.

The photos don't do the food justice at all. We opted for fish tacos, beachside burgers & the cypress chicken sandwich under a mountain of fries.









We rolled into the mahoosive beds and promptly fell asleep, content, happy and full. Until the fire alarm went off during the middle of the night and we had to walk down 7 flights of stairs in our PJ’s! The hotel staff handed out water. It wasn’t long until we were allowed back in. We looked and felt like zombies! Didn't matter though as we quickly fell asleep again, dreaming of our Skidders breakfast which awaited us.

Thanks for reading.

M x
Ooh, banana loaf! I do hope BA are still doing those in October Pasta looks decent, but then I'm one of those weird people who likes plane food anyway

I've heard good things about Bongos - all of your take out meals look good, and huge. How relaxing to order from your sun loungers, sounds great
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Old 19 Aug 19, 09:30 PM  
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Originally Posted by Pumba75 View Post
Day 2 - St Pete Beach

Day 0 & Day 1 were written/uploaded whilst I was procrastinating...

Day 2 has been written during the middle of the night due to jetlag. With no notes and only my photos as a guide, hope it makes some sense!

I woke up at silly o’clock with an excited and hungry tummy. In reality, I hadn’t actually eaten that long ago. I regretted not putting my chicken sandwich from last night in the fridge!

It was still dark and everyone else was still asleep. I went out onto the balcony, caught up on social media/whatsapp and then watched the sunrise. Bliss.

The others started to stir and joined me.





I made G & I a coffee. Somehow I obviously didn’t put enough water in the machine as we only had half a cup each! It was still good to taste our first American coffee.



With texts sent and knocks from our adjoining room mates, we all set off on the short walk to Skidders for breakfast.



Immature giggles had, I think we were some of their first customers. We had been here once before and enjoyed it. Thankfully today we had the same experience.

We browsed the menus.







I had forgotten how full of flavour & juicy the orange juice was.



Breakfast was a selection of pancakes (chocolate & blueberries), waffles, cornbeef hash, eggs, biscuits & gravy and home fries.















I remembered to take a photo of the receipt this time.



Everyone was keen to return the following morning, which is what we did. Staff were friendly and attentive throughout. An extra $20 had accidentally got stuck behind the money we had paid with. Our server came back and gave it back to us. We were grateful for her honesty.

We walked back and popped into the “tat shop” opposite the hotel and a variety of purchases were made. The prices seem to have increased since we were last here!

We popped back to our rooms to freshen up and then headed straight out onto the beach. It was already feeling hot hot hot! Spent time cooling off in the sea and reading under the cabana, which is included in the resort fee.





Around lunch time we retreated to the pool and a variety of cold drinks were purchased. Soaked up every moment. Perfect.

A raspberry & peach sangria. Lovely and refreshing.



Non alcoholic daiquiri’s





The other drinks must’ve been non photogenic!

Showers were had and we appreciated the air con. During the afternoon we all headed out for a drive. No one fancied lunch but we ended up at Twistee Treat, which filled a little gap.

My coconut ice cream was lovely.









For dinner we all decided to walk next door to Crabby Bills, then head back to Bongo’s for dessert and cocktails.



We struggled to make a decision as lots of options to choose from.





The food here was delicious and my fish tacos were one of my favourite meals of the holiday.

Fish tacos





Seafood platter



More fishy plates that I can’t remember...







All of it was delicious.

The weather started to quickly change so we retreated back to our rooms instead of Bongo’s. Unfortunately it got worse and the storm continued for the rest of the evening.



Later on, a few of us decided to brave it and go and purchase desserts from Bongo’s and take them back to our rooms. (Our adjoining rooms worked really well - kids were in one and adults in the other). We got rather wet just taking a few steps out of the hotel but the lightening was impressive to watch. It wasn’t the evening we expected or planned, but hey ho. We made the best of it.





All the desserts were delicious and we stopped talking whilst we ate!

Snickers



Key lime pie. I had a very happy husband!



Cheesecake




Tomorrow - we return to Skidders for breakfast, drive to Orlando, check into Cabana Bay and go to Universal and Volcano Bay.

Thanks for reading.

M x
Every single one of those breakfasts from Skidders looks fab - I have no idea what I would have chosen!

Not a fan of seafood, but glad you all enjoyed your food from Crabby Bills.

It's a shame your evening didn't turn out as planned, but at least you managed to venture out for desserts - they certainly look worth it
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Old 20 Aug 19, 05:48 PM  
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Originally Posted by WileyCoyote View Post
Do like NBC ! Although then there was Panda Express .. Winner !
Shame about Golden Corral , we felt the same about Ponderosa.
So pleased you got on Hagrids after all that faff.
And wow, villa looks just blissful.
Thanks. Both those meals were delicious. Yes happy we got to ride Hagrid's after all that! That's a shame. I never got tired of that veiw every morning.


Originally Posted by Fuellady View Post
Great start at Nicholas Culpeper, the sharing platters look good - plenty food for everyone
Originally Posted by Fuellady View Post
Ooh, banana loaf! I do hope BA are still doing those in October Pasta looks decent, but then I'm one of those weird people who likes plane food anyway

I've heard good things about Bongos - all of your take out meals look good, and huge. How relaxing to order from your sun loungers, sounds great
Originally Posted by Fuellady View Post
Every single one of those breakfasts from Skidders looks fab - I have no idea what I would have chosen!

Not a fan of seafood, but glad you all enjoyed your food from Crabby Bills.

It's a shame your evening didn't turn out as planned, but at least you managed to venture out for desserts - they certainly look worth it
Thank you for reading and commenting.

Yes pleased we went rogue at the beginning. Food was lovely.

Fingers crossed for October! Not long now.

All the food at St Pete beach was delicious. I'm missing eating out every day. Cooking at home again is a tad boring!

M x
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Old 20 Aug 19, 07:42 PM  
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Mobile Day 7 - Panera Bread, Kennedy Space Center & Bob Evans

Day 7 - Panera Bread, Kennedy Space Center & Bob Evans

Today we were up and out early as we were heading to Kennedy Space Center.

We stopped off on route and went to Panera Bread (Irlo Bronson memorial highway) for breakfast. We love it here.



G had his favourite Bear Claw



Pastries, breakfast wraps, rolls, soufflé and oatmeal were all eaten.











So good.

Cost us approx $35 for the 4 of us including a selection of hot and cold drinks.

Before leaving, we decided to pick up bagels and cookies to take with us to eat at Kennedy Space Center. Purchased and packed in our bags we were set to go.

We had a brilliant day.








These filled a gap and a much cheaper option to buy earlier on in Panera Bread.





Our youngest purchased space ice cream! Cost $4.95. She thought it was good. I had a little bit and it was a tad weird and chalky but melted in my mouth.





We stopped off at Bob Evans for dinner on the 192, just prior to the turning for our villa at Sunset Lakes. (The other end of Irlo Bronson memorial highway where we had breakfast). We’ve always had a good time here and again it didn’t disappoint. We were sat at a large circle table by the window which worked out really well.

The air con is always really cold here so we went prepared with cardigans/hoodies. Except G, who doesn’t take anything to Florida that covers skin below his knees and elbows!



I was ravenous and eager for the warm bread rolls to arrive. They didn’t last long. Our server explained there were more in the oven that would be out shortly. With no will power, we demolished those too.



Then we had a first. My phone was passed round the table and the “framily” took photos of their own food. How proud was I?!

3 of us had my favourite turkey/thanksgiving dinner. Mmmmm. One day I will try something different on the menu.



G was very happy to see the meatloaf has been put back into the menu.

You have the choice of different sides.





Salmon and veg



Fried chicken & mac n cheese



We showed this to our server who added the discount. They accepted it from my phone. It wasn’t a problem it wasn’t printed out.



For all 7 of us it came to approx $70.

Lovely comfort food and great friendly attentive service.

Forgot to add that some of us had the fruity lemonade. This was cold and refreshing and not overly sweet or eye winky!

Sadly we were too full for dessert. They looked so so good. Gutted my dessert stomach let me down.




Even though we had a long list of restaurants, we ended up returning to both Panera Bread and Bob Evans.

We finished the day back at the villa, in the pool and playing cards.


Tomorrow - Shopping, Miller’s & Volcano Bay.

Thanks for reading.

M x

Edited at 10:34 PM.
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Old 21 Aug 19, 12:05 PM  
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Bob Evans looks really nice we need to give that a try next year.
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Old 21 Aug 19, 12:31 PM  
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Bob Evans looks good. Nice to have something like that for a change and good value.
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