Friday 20th April
Today was another rest day so we weren’t up until 9:00. We were out at 10:00 and as it was a nice clear day we decided to go up to Air Florida Helicopters and take one of their flights. I had looked at their web site before we left and we decided to do trip number 7. The flight lasted for about 10 minutes, cost us $135 dollars each and was absolutely fantastic. We flew over Sea World, Universal, Premium Outlets, Downtown Disney and more and we both thoroughly enjoyed it, unfortunately it looks like they have closed down now.
After the flight we went down to Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores where Dad wanted to look in the Waterford Crystal shop for a brandy glass. He found one that he liked but we had a wander round first so that he didn’t have to carry it around with him. After wandering round we went into the food court where Dad had a turkey club sandwich with the works (tomato, lettuce, cheese and onion) and I had a roast beef sandwich with cheese, lettuce and onion. After lunch Dad went and got a pair of brandy glasses (the design he liked only came in a set of two) for $64 rather than the $90 they would normally cost.
From there we went to Downtown Disney where Dad bought himself a Grumpy Old Man T-shirt. It had become a running joke between us over the week that he could get a job in the park as Grumpy so he had to buy the T-shirt. I had been looking all over the malls for a Miami Dolphins shirt in my size and hadn’t found one so on the off chance I decided to go in Team Mickey. I found exactly the one I wanted and also picked up a Florida Marlins jersey which was marked up as $75. We went to pay and the Cast Member asked if I was a Marlins fan, where we came from and started to talk to us about the weather forecast and then announced that the total was $79.88. Now I hadn’t seen the cost of the Dolphins shirt, hadn’t been watching what the Cast Member was doing and thought that maybe there was some sort of half price sale on which had made the cost lower than I expected. As we walked out I checked the receipt which confirmed that only the Marlins shirt had been rung up!! All the security tags had been taken off and the till would be right at the end of the day so we put it down to another Disney Magical Moment.
From Downtown Disney we went back to the hotel and filled our mugs before going back to the room at 2:10. After a short break we were out again at 2:50 and as the low fuel light was showing on the car we stopped off at the car care center to top up. We put in $30 worth and I was quite pleased to see the fuel gauge needle go up to full as it takes me £30 to fill up my car at home.
We drove round to Animal Kingdom and parked up in Giraffe 44. We had only come to see the parade so we wandered up to Harambe and found a spot outside the Tusker House Restaurant. After the parade had gone past we walked over to the bridge into Harambe and watched the parade coming back again. This was a great spot as we had a good view of the parade coming up and turning in front of us.
After the parade had gone past for the second time we drove over to Animal Kingdom Lodge for a look around. We both liked the look of the resort and the savanna view rooms so we decided that we would definitely like to stay here next year.
Once we had looked around the Lodge I decided to drive out to Sweet Tomatoes for something to eat. Using the sat nav we got there with no problems but I couldn’t see the entrance to the parking lot and this was where I made my second stupid mistake of the trip. I decided that despite the fact there was a sign saying “Turnpike. Exit only” I could ‘go around the block’ and get to the restaurant parking. Of course there was nowhere to turn and so the only thing I could do was continue on the turnpike, through the toll booths until we got to Turkey Lake Service Plaza which is in the middle of the turnpike and allows you to go back the way you came. I reset the sat nav and got us back to Sweet Tomatoes but still couldn’t see exactly where I needed to go for the car park entrance. This time I ignored the turnpike exit and ended up back at Mall at Milennia where I turned around for a third attempt. This brought me round the other side of the block where I turned right onto International Drive and finally into the car park at 6:30.
Although I had read a lot of reports of Sweet Tomatoes I hadn’t expected what I saw. For those who haven’t been before, you take a plate at the entrance and work your down a long bar containing all sorts of different salads and salad items (you name it they have it). At the end you pay the cashier for a buffet meal and drinks and you are then shown to a table. Once you have finished your salad it then works like a normal buffet restaurant where you can go up and have a choice of pasta or soups and then go up again for dessert. Dad and I had both filled up on salad so we were quite pleased to see that the plates for the pasta are unusually small by American standards. The whole thing cost just $23.17 for the pair of us.
Suitably stuffed we left the restaurant and were back in the hotel by 8:00 where we filled our mugs twice again during the evening and were in bed by 10:10 ready for another park day tomorrow.
Tomorrow: “Sir, you need to take it off.” Day 11