A pleasant 4 hours drive from Miami, courtesy of Flixbus (which I last used in Germany back in 2015), landed us in the kids and grown up fun capital of the world. The last time I was here in Orlando, goodness me, I think it was 1999 with the fam! Wowzers.

Orlando is also an excellent base to venture out and visit places, however, I’ve had to concede that we won’t be seeing the extended places we had wished to and for once, the cost was secondary. You see, some months back I lost my driver’s license ID card. This hasn’t proved to be a problem, until now. Despite having a passport and a colour photocopy of my driver’s license, this isn’t sufficient to get us a rental car. So with profound sadness, we’ve had to write off the Kennedy Space Centre, Tampa, Daytona Beach (and Speedway), St Augustine, Savannah, and other non-touristy cities on route. Then there’s the freedom and convenience a car would bring for just 3 or 4 days but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

This did get me down for a while and has meant we wouldn’t see Florida in all its splendor the way we wanted. Despite this, we’re in the city of Orlando, a dream destination for many, so I’m trying to re-appreciate this and focus on having a good time here, despite car and general budget restrictions.

We’re staying along International Drive which is a decent area to stay. There are mini theme parks nearby and of course, endless restaurants. It’s also a short distance by car to some of the main attractions and literally across the road to a miniature adventure park, ICON Park. Here they’re also in the middle of building what they have labeled as the World’s tallest slingshot and drop tower. (Viv sighed some relief knowing this wasn’t available for public use yet so I wouldn’t be able to convince her to give it a try lol).

It did have one of these, though.

The question is whether if any of us were brave enough to participate? Place your bets now folks 🙂

Separate to the above, we ended up doing a trio of attractions here at ICON Park including, an aquarium, a big wheel (think London Eye), and a Madame Tussauds. The latter had some really great lookalikes as you’ll see shortly.

Aquarium

Quality waxworks!

A big wheel, antics, and views!

We’ve found ourselves building up a list of frustrations of things that happen here in the US, but considerably less elsewhere.

1) Check-in is generally 4pm, especially in the lower-end accommodation stays. We have been used to 2pm check-ins (officially) but in reality, have nearly always been able to check-in before midday. A big deal with a ton of luggage.

2) Speaking of which, some of these budget accommodation places can’t or won’t hold luggage for you (before or after). That’s a big issue as we found on day 1 in Miami and a second time since.

3) A room deposit is taken when you book and won’t be credited back up to 5 days later after you check out. A big problem when you’re on the move every 2 or 3 days. As of this writing, we are honestly over 200 dollars ‘in-waiting. Just unbelievable.

4) Accommodation is overpriced and just nowhere near as good as anywhere else we’ve been and to think we’re in the States! Cost and quality are definitely mismatched, not that they’ll be any-the-wiser on that.

5) Taxes and tips make considering eating out a serious rarity for us. When we enjoyed that milkshake in the photo above, we were still presented with a screen message on the terminal: ‘Would you like to leave a tip?’. Do one, mate.

6) Distances are vast so unless you’ve got a car here or can find a bus route that works for you, you’re paying for transport. To keep our costs down, we have twice in the last week walked 1.8 miles (3KM), in 33-degree heat to get to a supermarket. (Admittedly we caught an Uber back each time for the return journey as 40 minutes one-way was hard enough).

Speaking of food, considering an average-to-pleasant meal will cost at least 20 bucks each (without drinks, tips, and taxes) that’ll add up to 60 – 70 dollars, just how are we ‘handling’ this?

Here’s your answer…. 😂

Not quite to the privileged food standard that we’ve been used to over these many months.

Over the last few days, I come to realise that Vivian is blissfully unaware of what makes Orlando so magical. Yes, she knew there would be a heavy Disney presence here but she didn’t really know too much about the other parks, particularly The Universal Parks.

I, then, have a difficult decision to make for tomorrow, our final day in Florida. Could I justify the frankly ridiculous cost for us visiting even just one of the three main Universal Resort parks!? Will this be a ‘heart over head’ or a ‘head over heart’ decision. Arrrgggh.

I’m gonna need to sleep on it.

In the meantime, do enjoy the following…

6 Responses

  1. That ride looked awesome, sounded like you enjoyed it too sort of, although your faces said otherwise at the end 🤣🤣 the wax works were another level, particularly enjoyed the one of your alter ego Batman. As for the universal resorts ….You know what to do 😀 enjoy your last week in your 30s 😂

    • Ha, some great spots and a great message, nice one. Did you hear Viv’s screams? They were pirch perfect 🤣 Dude, the Neymar model was sooo life like, unreal. But yeah, all quality. Batman was quality 👌

      Ha, you bugger. So where do you think we’re heading next after Orlando? See Mum’s comment for her gueses. You thinking here or somewhere in between first?

      • Hmmm let me get the map out………New York is a great shout. Perhaps the big DC, Washington to see the capital or Philly so you can reenact your idol Rocky running to the top of the steps.

        Could be the place named after your favourite dance the Charleston 🤣

        • Haha, very good 👏

          Be hoping to take in at least one of these places. Let’s see what rolls our way…

          You’d be as bad at the Charleston as I would 🤣

  2. Hi what a shame about your driving licence. That was bad luck. In fact you have been to florida twice. The other was in 1991.
    Enjoyed the video of the aquarium and the waxwork.
    My guess your next stop with me New York. A pity to miss that depending on your budgets.
    Take care love mum xx

    • Guessing Paolo won’t remember that trip being all of one year old lol.

      Thanks for the message. Yeah the waxworks were incredible. Would you have gone on the tall ride? 🙂

      Let’s soon see how close or far off your guess will be.x

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