What a Carry On! Part 13 – Friday 29th August 2008. I wake, naturally, at 7.30, having left the alarm off after the late-ish night yesterday. It looks like a calm, sunny morning outside. Amanda joins me soon afterward and we shower before going down for breakfast on the lanai. A couple of toads have taken up residence on the pool deck overnight, so I return them to the wild outside. Adam, Amanda and I are off to Blizzard beach today, leaving Mum, Dad and Bethany at the villa for a rest day. We set off at 9.15 and are parked up 20 minutes later. It’s hot and sunny. We are admitted at 9.45, securing lockers and depositing our gear before joining the modest crowd for the 10.00am rope drop. We make our way straight to the ‘hills’ for the various slides and rides, starting with Down Hill Double Dippers, which Adam doesn’t like the look of, and waits at the bottom. Amanda and I are the first people on the slide today, and enjoy the fast and very steep descent. All three of us climb up to the Toboggan Racers (empty again, as yet) and hit the slope for three consecutive rides: being somewhat heavier than the others, I reach bottom first each time, and they both complain that they are ‘eating’ my spray on the way down! Climbing up for a fourth time, we choose the open tube raft slides next to the toboggans (Snow Stormers, I think) and ride twice. A bit of a line has started to build up, and people are fighting for the mats now (shared between both rides) so we head off round the back of Mount Gushmore to Run Off Rapids, trying to stay ahead of the crowds. We collect tubes at the bottom of the hill, and climb up the 100 or more steps for our first descent. Disappointingly, single riders can only use the ‘dark’, enclosed tube, which we do, but it’s quite unsettling and none of us want to do it again so we head off in search of other distractions. Teamboat Springs, the family raft ride has always been fun here, but when Amanda and I came alone two years ago, they’d imposed a 4 person minimum limit on the ride, so we couldn’t partake. Speaking to a cast member we are advised that they will let different parties combine to meet or exceed the minimum, so we head up to the top.. to find a 30 minute line! Forget it! Most of the slides are getting too busy for us now, so we walk down to the wave pool and climb into vacant tubes for a pleasant, 30 minute bob around the rocks and waterfalls before making a restroom visit and floating round the lazy river for a while. It’s soon 12.00 o’clock, and time we headed out for some lunch. I fancy the Pepper Market at the nearby Coronado Springs, so we make the short journey and are admitted without question by the guard to self-park in front of the main reception. From the extensive range of options we choose tuna steak with rice and grilled veggies for Amanda and I, and Adam has a grilled chicken sandwich. We get them ‘to go’ so that we can sit on the outside terrace overlooking the lake. It’s lovely here, but feels quite ‘un-Disney’ to me. The day remains very hot, and the first (bare metal) chairs we pick are hot enough to take the skin off our legs, so we swap them for others that have been under shade. The food is lovely. We finish eating by 1.00pm and set off home, stopping at Publix a little further along the 192 to get some food in for a villa meal later. Beth seems to spend most of the afternoon in her bathroom, messing with her hair and taking the world’s longest shower. Mum and dad are sitting in the shade outside, reading, although dad keeps nodding off before giving up and going in for a kip! Amanda, Adam and I shower and spend a couple of hours in and around the pool, playing or reading. It’s very relaxing, and I wonder if ardent hotel fans realise what they are missing: room for everyone to spread out, your own private pool and spa, access to entertainment and multimedia facilities… I don’t think I could cope with a (slightly older) family group in a hotel in this climate, but each to their own. Mum and I start making tea about 4.30 – I bring the villa’s new outdoor George Formby (‘turned out nice again!’) Grill from the games room and plug it in on the lanai. It’s a cracking piece of kit – it even has an Ipod dock! Mum makes a chicken risotto (and veggie version for Beth) inside while I grill some veggies and the mixed selection of seafood I bought earlier: It’s all ready for 5.00ish and we sit down outside together to enjoy it. After washing up, the adults sit out with a glass or two to relax. Very civilized! There’s little else of note to report for the rest of the day: essentially we sit and drink, chatting and enjoying the warm dusk. Oh, Beth appears around 9.00, (only after, I suspect all her UK based MSN contacts had gone to bed!) and sits with us for a while. Mum and dad have had enough relaxing by 9.30 and head off to bed. Adam, Amanda and I stay out, mostly in the pool and spa for another hour before going to bed. Goodnight. Mike & Amanda Tomorrow: Last full day .. so that’d be Epcot then?