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Old 13 Sep 04, 09:18 PM  
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Florida Bears 2004 Trip report, days one to six

Day One., Well all up very early at four AM !...
Arrive Gatwick at 6:10am no traffic problems at all, check in within 15 minutes. (online check in would not work for me)
Advised by check in staff that our flight (the 12:30) has a 90 minute delay !
Oh well that’s no problem only seven and a half hours to kill, as we will have probably done to each other by that time .
So our usual routine off for a good old fry up, we find that the ‘usual place’ we use has now gone and we went in Café Nero and I have to say the food was horrible…So we have still plenty of time on our hands so a look around the shops is the order of the day which did eat up a bit of time and amazingly I met an old work colleague who was off on his hols.
Time by now is around 9:30am, so yet another cuppa is downed and another walk around, with ‘land side done to death we decided to go air side, no problems here as I expected as we had a laptop with us but we were not asked to turn it on, it just went through the x-ray machine.
O happy days, More shopping !...Which admittedly did eat up some time, then a stop at McDonalds for more refreshments, we then found the viewing area fairly quite were some played cards and I feel asleep, seemed to be lot of movement at around 12:50pm so we followed the sheep through to the boarding gate only to find after a long walk that the building works going on mean we need to get a bus to the gate.
The family in front were intent on telling everybody by talking very loudly that they were going out there to get married, I must admit it was funny that no one rose to the bait and virtually everyone ignored them .
Well no dramas and we took off at 2pm, had the usual beer and nibbles at around 2:45, and ours fears about our seats were unfound as to me they we fine, although DW,DD and MIL did complain of being quite cold. (well DW did insist on sitting in that row ; )
Nice flight and nice nose bag but no sleep for yours truly as per usual through immigration and the rest fairly quickly, no problems with taking the laptop as it was just x-rayed.
When we got to the second baggage claim, all our cases came through except one, so I was thinking the worst that someone had taken it by mistake or someone had nicked it. But no it was the very last case to come through !
No more problems and off to our villa with a stop off at Winn Dixie for some supplies, arrived at our villa at around 8:30pm knackered, but the villa lifted our spirits as we had an ‘explore’ and it was a wonderful villa, and the spa in the pool was the icing on the cake…So we had a nice brew (tea taken with us from the UK !) unpacked and flopped into bed at around 10:30.

Day Two
Well no surprise that ‘the bear’ was up at 4am ! (that’s usually the case for me)….the rest started to drift up at around 7am, then when all were ready we had a nice breakfast at Denny’s (waited 30 minutes for table) then off to Wal-mart were we spent 2 and a half hours.. a quick stop at Eckerds on the way back, then an afternoon of pool fun, with a nice round off to the day with tea at Pacinos. (had a nice meal there but wouldn’t go back as I thought it was expensive for what it was)

Day Three The bear up early again at 5am, the rest around 6:45 then off to Golden Corral for breakfast, DS cries out yyyeeesss she loves Golden Corral because she can have pizza for breakfast .
Arrive at MK around 08:50, a lovely sunny start to the day were we go anti clockwise around the park, we have have never been ones for park hopping so as usual we will be at MK until ‘chucking out’ time.. We had a few breaks through out the day and stop at that Starlight (I think that’s what it’s called) fast food outlet for or tea at tomorrowland.
We take up position for the light parade and a lovely ice cream from that parlour on main street with some good people watching, as we watch three Americans guard 8chairs with there life and tell everyone that enquires that they are saving them for some one ! (no one else ever arrived).
It was fascinating viewing while we were waiting as these three we almost military in there guarding of ‘there space’.
Anyway the light parade was great as usual and we took up a different position near the front of the park for the fireworks, managed to get a great video of them from there.
Earlier on I noticed a great spot to watch the parade and fireworks from, the balcony at the front of the park near the station but I wasn’t prepared as some were doing to start waiting there from 6pm !
Any after the fireworks we got back to our villa around 11 pm and after a nice cuppa (why do us Brits like our tea so much !)
we all fall into bed around midnight.

Day Four Thursday 5th August The Bear again up early at 6:15..with a ’DIBB’ to start the day, then off to Dennys and yours truly tucks into ‘moons over my hammy’….lovely  ..a fairly short ride up the I-4 to Mall of Millennia were on the way we spot Super Target, and of course that is immediately ingrained on DW’s brain for a future visit .
As usual we split up and agree to meet at a certain time, youngest DS comes with me and DW,MIL,DD AND DS go there separate way’s….As the bear and DS wander round it goes through my mind that we wont be here long as the shops here will definitely not suit DW, having said that I did purchase a couple of gadgets from Sharper Image.
As I suspected we all got to our meeting time earlier than the time we agreed, I must admit that the surroundings and atmosphere there were first class but the shops were just ‘not for us’.
On our way out I spot the Cheesecake factory, hmmmmmm I go in there and order a cheesecake , but then DW points out to me that it is $54 !... I quickly cancelled the order and we stooped at Dairy Queen and got a lovely Oreo ice cream cake for $18.
On our way back to our villa we have a quick trip into Winn Dixie for some provisions then the first of many trips for me to camera shops looking for a new digital camera.
After our usual chill out/ mess around by the pool the usual debate starts about were to go for tea (eldest DS is a veggie), we settle on Ruby Tuesday and I must admit we had a nice meal there.
Then we have a walk around the shops to ‘walk off our meal’ and finally get back to the villa around 9:30pm, not sure why but everyone seems tired to night and start to go to not long after we get in, except for youngest DS who jumps in the pool supervised by DW.

Day Five A time for reflection for me this morning as it would have been my dad’s birthday.
Anyway another early start with a visit to Shoneys for breakfast and then off to Universal, a red hot day today so I needed to watch out for the old bald patch getting burnt !
I am not one for sun cream so I have to be careful !
We notice it’s very busy today and did consider paying for the express pass but eventually decide against it..
We go on the ‘usual rides’ plus a visit to the Mummy and Shrek shows which are new to us, and we all think they are fantastic, we had a long wait for MIB, 90 minutes but we all like that one and decide to wait, we seem to be getting through more drinks that usual today because of the heat, with yours truly tucking into some gorgeous vanilla ice cream from parlour near Jaws.
We even do something very unusual for us and have some lunch !...Refreshed we ‘attacked’ the rest of the park and left at around 6:30pm after our customary look around the shops and as always my ‘obligatory ‘look around that sports shop.
So then as we are in ‘that’ part of town we head to Sweet Tomatoes for our tea, DS has wanted to try this as he is a veggie, we all our enjoy our meal decide there and then that we will be going back there at some point…On our journey back to our villa it goes through my mind that I will wash the car on the way back……WHAT was I thinking, my own car at home has to have vegetables growing out of it before I clean it so why am I thinking of cleaning this one ?.. I quickly dismiss this thought and when we get back I lay in the pool on a baseball floatie with a cold bud in one had and some snacks in the other watching the sun go down….Ahhh this is the life.

Day Six…..One of the highlights for me its baseball day !...Me youngest DS,DW & MIL run down to K-mart and Sports authority along the 192 then its back to the villa for a spot of lunch.
At 1pm me, youngest DS & DD head for St Petersburg for the baseball, I ignore the directions we have and think I know best and try to remember the route from last time, as I exit the interstate I immediate realise that I have gone wrong and to make matters worse all the roads seem to be one way !
But some brilliant navigating from DD (18) saves the day and we arrive at the Holiday Inn St Petersburg at 3:05pm, we had a quick wash and brush and decide to walk to Tropicana field from the Hotel, the hotel staff look at us as if we are mad as we are asking for directions, well they were correct as we almost melt in the heat as we walk the 16 blocks to the stadium !
A quick drink when in the stadium goes down without touching the sides !..we then had a good walk round in the concourse and of course I had to buy some baseball merchandise which in the stadium is extortionate, $15 for a coffee mug !
I took plenty of photos and video and then we tuck into the usual baseball grub of a hot dog and fries. ($35 for the three of us!)
The game started at 6:15 and I really enjoy the experience, the Devil Rays lose 5-2 and It was a fairly quick game, we walked out of the stadium and within 40 yards and less than a minute we are in a cab !
The cab driver tells us that in twenty five years in Florida she still hasn’t got used to the heat ! (she is from New York)
She did give us a scary moment when she headed the opposite way from the hotel, but it was a short cut, we got back to the hotel at 9pm and I did consider driving back to Kissimmee there and then, but the hotel was booked and paid for and I thought good nights sleep was the order of the day so we stayed there for the night.

Days seven to sixteen
days seventeen to twenty four

Florida Bear's 2004 trip report day's one to twenty four
89,94,97,2000,2001,2002,2004,2006,2008,2010, 2011 Vegas & San Fran,2012,2014 LA/Anaheim/San Diego & DLP,2015

Edited at 09:23 PM.
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Old 13 Sep 04, 10:13 PM  
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A good start!
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Old 13 Sep 04, 10:38 PM  
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The baseball sounds cracking...I'd love to do that!
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Old 14 Sep 04, 06:45 PM  
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Great start Ted and I am looking forward to the rest

Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.
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Old 2 Oct 04, 02:37 PM  
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Superb write up!

BAseball is my Fav!
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Old 3 Oct 04, 04:15 PM  
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Thanks Andy/Diane, The BAse ball is a MUST for me now and one of the highlights of our holiday.

Regards... Ted
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Florida Bear's 2004 trip report day's one to twenty four
89,94,97,2000,2001,2002,2004,2006,2008,2010, 2011 Vegas & San Fran,2012,2014 LA/Anaheim/San Diego & DLP,2015
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