Holidays Our little holiday diary

Florida Part One

Florida. November 2003.

After our trips to California twice, the second time has yet to be written) we were bitten by the American bug. We felt we had to explore more of the USA so where better than Florida. We also wanted to celebrate one of our wedding anniversaries somewhere we hadn’t been before. Florida it was then.

We sent off for a shed load of maps and details about the various attractions available to us and settled down over the weeks to plan our trip with military precision. We spent many hours in our dining room with the maps spread out on the table while we planned in meticulous detail where we were going to stay and how we were going to get here. It all looked so easy.


We would spend the first few days at the Ramada Hotel near to the Disney Parks, taking in the Two Universal Parks because our son Darren had given us free tickets to these parks for our wedding anniversary (which we will be celebrating whilst we are out here). We would then drive across to Clearwater, staying there over night so that we can get a good start in the morning for Busch Gardens in Tampa where we had again been given tickets by one of our daughters. From there, we would wander down the gulf coast before making our way across the everglades to Miami and the back up to the Ramada Hotel for the last few days before flying home.


We flew into Sanford Airport, the poor mans airport, out in the wilderness, but we knew that because of the studying we had been doing. It was oh so easy. Collect our hire car from the airport, drive straight out, travelling west, pick up the I4

Hotel Pool

south and we are almost home and dry. Not a cat in hells chance. It was just going dark as we left the airport, along with what seemed to be another two hundred happy holiday makers driving hire cars like they had never been in cars before and all having a death wish. They were weaving everywhere. Within a quarter of a mile, everything went tits up. There were road works signs diverting us off the road we had planned to use and we ended up on some toll road. We had booked in at the Ramada Hotel round the corner from The Disney Parks but when we asked at the pay kiosks on the toll road which was the best way to get there, every one told us a different way. After the flight and the chaos of getting out of the airport, we were getting more and more frustrated both with each other and with the situation. We started snapping at each other. Eventually, more by good luck than good management, we stumbled across highway 192. Turning westward, we felt that we were finally within sight of our destination. Not yet!! Trundling along the nearside lane feeling quite relieved until we found ourselves on the slip road into the Disney Parks complex which at this time of the night was all closed. After wandering around various car parks, we eventually got ourselves out and back on to the 192. Being very careful to stay in the middle lane, we went past the slip road this time and within another 100 yards past the slip road we found our hotel. What a day!


Sunday Day 2.

After the fun and frolics of yesterday, we decided to have a fairly lazy day, get our bearings and sort out what we really wanted to do. The first and most important thing was to have breakfast. We had been told about an eating place called the Ponderosa that was supposed to be very good value for money and on enquiring at the reception in the hotel we were told that there was one virtually across the main road from the hotel. Off we went and found it on the end of a row of shops exactly where we were told it would be. The bonus was that also in the row of shops was a computer/photographic shop. I needed an AV lead for my camcorder and found one there. Back to the Ponderosa, where we found that we had to order a main course, such as chicken breast with baked potato or similar and then go round the salad bar/food tables to get the different extras for our meal. They were incredible; there was every conceivable type of food one could wish for.  Diane soon realized that if we asked for a doggie bag for the main mail, we could make a meal just from the food tables and in that way, we got two meals for the price of one. We planned on taking the chicken breast etc to the Disney Parks to save paying inflated prices in there. After stuffing ourselves in the Ponderosa, we made our way back to the hotel, not forgetting to buy some drinks on the way. We spent the rest of the day going through our paperwork and planning what we were going to do over the course of the holiday.


Monday Day 3.

Had to get up fairly early because we had rather stupidly agreed to go to a “90 minute time share presentation” in return for a free breakfast and cheap Disney Tickets. We survived the presentation, which went the full 90 minutes and was a hard sell. They were as good as their word by providing a breakfast of sorts and the cheap tickets for the Disney parks. By the time we got back to the hotel we just had time for a quick snack before setting of to go to Universal Studios. It would be easy to find!! Along the 192, left onto International Drive straight up and Universal Studies would be somewhere up there. Typical of us we somehow managed to miss everything and ended up on the I4 travelling south. (Usual Sanderson trick). Oh well, back to the hotel for a few drinks to forget the mess we had made of the day. When we got there, we couldn’t get into our room because our plastic key cards hadn’t been re-activated. It couldn’t get any worse so we decided to have an early night and try again tomorrow. Who said it couldn’t get any worse, when I tried to use my mobile phone, it turned out that it was barred from making out going calls. What a wonderful end to the day. Let’s hope tomorrow is a bit better.

Finally got Part Two on now

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