One thing I love to do when I’m travelling is getting up to see the sunrise. As we had a long drive ahead of us to Orlando and the first couple of hours were heading east, towards the sunrise and across the bridges linking the Keys, it was an ideal day to get up early and see it here. So we were up just after 5am and out of the hotel shortly afterwards. I started to wonder if something funny had happened when by 6.20am there didn’t seem to be any light rising on the horizon. But, I noticed that the black clouds had descended again and were making it seem darker than normal.
Then just as we reached the bridge before Islamorada, we saw a little redness appear on the horizon. Luckily, there was a perfect parking area just before the bridge and we pulled over to see the spectacle. We stood and watched for a good half an hour and more and more of the sky turned a deep red colour and reflected off the now dissipating clouds all around. It really was a great sunrise and just when we thought it had ended it got better as the sun appeared and the whole sky was lit up in oranges, reds and purples. I am so glad we made the effort to get up and see it is such an awesome place. The local heron wasn’t too happy though as we disturbed him as he sat on the seafront and he flew off to get away from us.
So what else do you know about Florida? Do you know about the mile after mile after mile of Orange Groves that you pass by if you get off the Interstate highway? Have you heard of Lake Okeechobee? What about the town of Sebring and its viewing tower that entices you in, only to find out that it is old, closed and derelict. Not surprisingly the local motel is advertising prices for New Years Eve – last New Year’s Eve or the one before that probably! Have you ever been to a town called Frostproof? What about a look at Chalette Suzanne? An old twisted hotel that still does business and has big heron type birds wandering all around!? Nope, I didn’t think you would know most of that. Well, neither did we till we did all that today on our way up here to Orlando.
|Cool.. a tower!|
We are all settled now in our nice little cabin. A night out to see the fabulous Blue Man Show in Universal Studios is now being followed by a quick shower and an early night. Well deserved I think after the day we have had!!
A great sleep last night was followed by a great day today. It didn’t bode well at the start though as we were told our free shuttle to SeaWorld had a flat tyre and would be 30 minutes late. But, 30 minutes later and it still wasn’t here! It did eventually turn up though and after dropping off a lovely couple from Louisiana at Disney world Animal Kingdom (a detour which seemed to go on forever – just how powerful and rich is Bloody Mickey Mouse eh?) We eventually arrived at SeaWorld just before 11am. It didn’t matter though as the whole day went well after that. Front seats on the Manta roller coaster was followed by back seats on the next go – we skipped the line and went in the ‘single riders’ queue! We then watched a brilliant Killer Whale show; where at the start there was an opportunity to pay tribute all military personnel in the audience. They asked for all US and United Kingdom military personnel, serving and former to stand up. We did so, along with a few others in the big crowd and were all treated to a round of applause. It was a little bit moving! Then the show started killer whale showed a complete lack of respect by soaking us with water. Hey ho, that’s how it goes!
|Man rides two dolphins|
|Pirate mime artist|
|Sleepy polar bear|
Another Roller Coaster – Kraken – was ridden twice and was faster than and just as good as Manta.
There is so much else to do at the park – Turtles, dolphin show (which was brilliant) Manatee, Pearl diving (You see a pearl getting taken out of its oyster), Escape from Atlantis water flume was good and so much more. We even saw an escaped bird trying to be coaxed from its new perch on a cafe roof as we headed to the Arctic adventure where we saw Beluga Whales and a dozing polar bear.
The funniest part of the day was the kids Pirate show where a mime artist took the piss out of people as they arrived and then two sea-lions and a huge walrus messed around on stage with a crap pirate captain and her two mates.
A final wander around the park brought us back to Manta, where we were the last people allowed on to the final ride of the day. The shuttle bus then even turned up on time to take us back to our cabin at the camp site. A great day out, but now I am even more knackered than yesterday.
Our second day at the theme parks in Orlando and we had to choose where to go – Disney? Universal Studios? Or somewhere else. There is literally an endless choice of places to go – But we settled on Universal Studios – Islands of Adventure and it was a great choice. Spiderman and Hulk both have rides here as well as Jurassic Park and one of the fastest log flumes I have ever seen that soaked us right through. But I have to give a mention to ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’. This is how a theme park should be. Not only have they built an entire town with shops and even the toilets true to the theme, but they have built a full sized Hogwarts school, complete with gothic towers, perched on a hill overlooking the town below. All the staff from toilet cleaners to security guards are in fancy dress and refer to members of the public as ‘Muggles’, just like the movie. Then when you go inside Hogwarts for the ride, you spend 15-20 minutes being taken through realistic and full-sized movie sets from the film, explaining what the ride is about and what to expect. It is beyond doubt the most complex and thought about ride entrance ever. The ride itself is also state of the art and a 4d dropping, spinning 4 minute madness ride. It is brilliant and worth the steep park admission fee just to look around the town. Anyone who has ever seen, watched or even just heard of Harry Potter would love it.
That’s it for Orlando. We are now in a small hotel just a short drive from Kennedy Space Centre, which we are planning to visit tomorrow.
Now though, it’s time for a good sleep!!