Wednesday July 4th
Yet again, another fine and sunny day….it`s getting a bit boring eh?
Following another GF Café breakfast, saying our good byes to Marvin and his wife [Judy] at the podium who would now be off duty until after we have left, we caught the monorail for another visit to MK.
I was surprised how relatively quiet is seemed again despite it being the 4th of July, but I wasn`t complaining.
That said, there seemed to be quite a lot of folks standing in line for the more adventurous rides, and as my DW doesn`t take those rides anyhow, today was to be another “soft knuckle ride” day.
We kicked off with the Jungle Cruise [5 minute wait], followed by PotC [walk on], the Mississippi Riverboat [boarded just before it departed], IASW [5 minute line] and ending up with a leisurely ride on the People Mover, hoping to get a better view of the Fantasyland extension which is now taking shape.
The rest of the morning was spent just ambling around, snacking, drinking coffee and a fair bit of people watching!
It was then back to the GF for another snack lunch at Gasparilla`s when it suddenly began to rain….the first inclement weather we had seen on this trip.
Taking advantage of this, my DW dragged me [kicking and screaming] into the GF shops for my opinion [and my cc ] on a track suit that she just had to have!
The rest of the afternoon, until the rain ceased at around 4.00pm was spent just lounging around the lobby of the GF listening to the pianist who was very talented and played some music from Phantom of the Opera which I lapped up.
Dinner this evening was at Citrico`s where we had requested Gwen [another of our friends thanks to Ricardo] to be our server, and who greeted us warmly and took really good care of us.
I had the veal shank which is one of their signature dishes and the meat just fell of the bone and melted in your mouth….absolutely delicious…. while my DW was equally impressed with her seafood choice.
Being conscious of the fact that tonight was THE night for an extended fireworks display at the GF, Gwen timed things perfectly so that we finished dinner leaving a bit of time to get a good viewing spot to see them.
There were dozens of folk crowded around the lagoon area outside Gasparilla`s so we wandered to the end of the boat dock area where there was only a handful of people, and this gave an even better [and closer] view of events.
From this vantage point I was amazed to find that some of the fireworks appeared to be set off some distance from the MK and several bursts took place above the roof of the lakeside GF buildings.
The display ended, followed by rapturous applause from the spectators as we made our way to the Sugar Loaf building.
We broke with tradition tonight and actually took advantage of the concierge facilities, albeit simply a coffee for me and tea for my DW.
One indulgence though that we couldn`t resist was to have several of the chocolate covered strawberries on offer which were jummy.
We only had 3 each though….honest!
Thursday July 5th
As this was to be our final day at the GF on this vacation, after breakfast we went to AK, the final WDW park that we hadn`t “done” so far this trip.
We used the WDW bus which on hindsight was a bit of a mistake because the bus was already nearly full with folks from the Contemp. Who had been picked up before the bus came to the GF. This was made worse by the fact that the bus was also making a stop at Blizzard Beach en route to AK!
Somehow I managed to find my DW a seat but I stood for the entire journey.
After securing Fastpasses for the Safari Ride, we walked around the forest area to view the gorillas, one of whom [the silverback] was napping very close to the windows at one of the viewing locations. It was here that I had quite a long and interesting chat with one of the CM`s who gave me loads of interesting information about “her” animals.
When the allotted time came for the Safari ride, my DW decided that the bumpy nature of the ride may affect her back pains, so she insisted that I rode alone. In a way this did me a favour as I was given the front row of the truck all to myself, so I sat down immediately behind the driver.
I was glad to see that Disney have taken away the “spoof poacher” part where a baby elephant had been captured and for the first time ever, I actually saw one of the lions in motion!
I was also amazed at one point when a huge rhinoceros came out of a clearing and walked in the opposite direction right alongside our truck. This really gave the impression of actually being on a real safari for once!
I then just had to go and see my favourite animals of all time [the tigers] in “Asia”. Here again it was good to see some of them in action, one of which walked on the wall alongside the water right in front of us…truly amazing creatures, and it`s such a shame that mankind has forced them to the brink of extinction.
Following a bbq lunch from one of the fast food outlets, the Nemo show was the final item on the agenda as this would be a previously unseen attraction for us.
It was a great show and seeing the performers actually singing instead of lip syncing [sp?] was an added bonus. The way the show was put together reminded me a lot of the Lion King with the use of puppets and interaction with the audience.
Back to the GF for a spot of lazing around before setting off to AKL where we had an ADR at Jiko`s.
Thanks [again] to Ricardo, we have made good friends with Raul who is the manager at the restaurant, and we first met him when he had the same role at the Flying Fish. Although it has been a few years since we last met, he greeted us like long lost friends and made sure that we had a great meal, throwing in a few surprises from the kitchen along the way…..another really nice guy.
We arrived back at the GF a tad saddened that this was to be our final night at the resort on this trip.
Friday July 6th
After our final breakfast at the Café I remembered that so far I hadn`t taken any photos of the new DVC building that is taking shape on the beach alongside the GF, so I put this to rights!
Construction seems to be coming along at a good pace but it`s just a pity that it has almost rendered the beach area out of action for a while…..more importantly the beach bar is closed as well!
After being driven to our car on the self parking lot using one of the GF buggies, followed by a 15 minute drive to our villa, it was back to Earth with a bump as my DW fired up the washing machine to do the laundry!
This was followed by several laps of the villa with the vacuum cleaner to make sure the place was spotless as my DW`s friend [Donna] from Miami was due to drive up to spend the weekend with us.
A sandwich from Publix catered for our needs at lunchtime, after which it was a case of just lounging around the pool for the rest of the afternoon, and thinking how far away WDW seemed even though it was only a short drive away.
Dinner was at Carrabas along 192 where we had a nice meal albeit in quite noisy surroundings.