After a few days relaxing at St Pete watching dolphins and rays and walking on the beach, it was in the car, past Tropicana Field, Ybor City, Toyota of Tampa, Dinosaur World, Waterskiing Hall of Fame, Flights of Fantasy and Champions Gate to Orlando. Oh also passed Pepperidge Farm Cookie factory. This is how I know how far we have left to travel down the monotonous I4.
Went straight to Walmart to stock up on essential supplies of beer, wine, water and lays crisps. Very annoyed to find twisted Cheetos have ceased production. My. Life. Is. Not. Worth. Living.
Then back in car to my favourite hotel in the world, the Grand Floridian. I absolutely love this hotel, the atmosphere, Narccoossees, the monorail and watching wishes from the boat dock. I had done online check in before arrival so it wasn't long before I had my gorgeous pink magic band and we were in our newly refurbished room. The large desk and cabinet have been removed which gives a lot more floor space. We were in conch key building overlooking the lake and monorail and if you went out onto the balcony and hung over to the right, a view of Cinderellas Castle.
We unpacked and picked up resort mugs from Gasparillas. A quick shower and change and then off to the bus stop for the Downtown Disney bus. Not sure how many people know there is a short cut to the bus stop by going down the convention centre path next to Gasparillas and turning left. It saves the trek across to the main building and through the lobby. We didn't want to activate our passes until the next day so had made reservations at Bongos for dinner. There is obviously a lot of work going on here and areas boarded off. The car park was its usual busy self, if I was driving I would be tempted to valet park. Our first stop was to World of Disney to pick up our free $200 gift card yay. We stopped to watch a dance contest on the main stage over by the lake and got daughter socks from Little MissMatched ready for the VFestival on her return. Saw a surprising site of a group of Buddhist Monks in their orange robes enjoying sundaes at Gasparillas. Then it was off to Bongos Cuban Cafe for our first table service of the dining plan. It has a great atmosphere, quite loud, with Cuban music and dancers. My son was giving me the evils as I was whirling my napkin round my head and doing the conga through the tables. Had only drunk diet coke - honest. We all had the meat platter with beans and rice and plantains except for DH who had the seafood. It was all great but couldn't manage desert which we had boxed up to go. Made a detour to the shop opposite that paints Toms for daughter to look at, but she wasn't sure so made our way back to the bus stop for "home".
Of a staff of about 20, 4 of us are at Disney at the same time and whilst walking back to our room ran into my good friend A. We had already made plans to meet up tomorrow, so it was a quick hello and then off to bed ready for my big birthday tomorrow.