I’m really good at mini-golf. You know, maybe not big person golf, but little person golf – Natalie Portman
It was to be another long drive day. Orlando is a long way from Panama City Beach. We decided to wake up a little bit early and skip the hotel breakfast in favour of the Waffle House next door. Waffle House is a very classic American diner. We didn’t feel like a sweet waffle breakfast so we got smashed hash brown bowls. This was just hash brown with scrambled eggs and sausage all mixed together – damn good. We had an included breakfast but we heard that the bagels had mould on them at the hotel breakfast, hotel breakfasts are pretty much the worst. Glad we avoided that.
We got on the bus and ended up with the front seat for the first time. The front seat is special on the bus, our instruction is to rotate the front seat everyday so that everyone gets a chance to get the best view. We were planning a sleep after staying up late last night and waking up early, but in front seat there is no chance of that. We were chatting with our driver Alex most of the way. He is a really great guy and so personable. We stopped at the capital of Florida, Tallahassee on our way to Orlando where we tried our first Five Guys Burgers and Fries. It was damn good. Easily the best fast food we have had yet. The burger was big and good. It just tasted so fresh. It was a bit more expensive, but we would definitely recommend.
We arrived at our hotel in Orlando, this place is enormous. It is the Clarion Inn in Orlando. I am pretty sure this can’t all be the one hotel and that there are multiple resorts here. It is quite good for a Contiki hotel.
We spent a short amount of time getting ready and then we were back out to the Vineland Premium Outlets in Orlando for some discount shopping on quality merchandise. We spent a few hours perusing all of the stores, it was a massive shopping centre. Ronnie doesn’t really like shopping though, but Aimee found this to be enjoyable. They have this lolly shop called ‘its sugar’ that just have giant everything, massive boxes of nerds and a full kilo of LCM bar, we didn’t get anything because bags have become an issue. They’re so full, we can’t fit anything else in them. Orlando is beautiful by the way. It is very clearly a vacation town. Giant hotels and theme parks, everything is really big, neat and clean. Really quite a nice place.
After Ubering back to the hotel to drop off our purchases. Then we Ubered to Universal city walk. Universal City Walk is a massive promenade of restaurants and shops that is located just outside universal studios theme park. It’s massive and awesome tons of bright lights and open space. It is kind of like a theme park but instead of rides and attractions, it has restaurants and a lake. It is really cool. We ate dinner at a decent looking Italian restaurant that smelled amazing called Vivo Italian Kitchen. We ordered woodfired pizza, pasta and bread. It certainly wasn’t the best food, but it was such a nice vibe in here.
After the meal we walked around and explored. We ha an agenda though, and the real reason we were at Universal city walk is because we wanted to play a real, proper American version of mini-golf like the ones you see on TV. We went to Universal Hollywood Drive-in Mini-Golf. We headed over there and they have two courses to choose from, either a monster themed course or an alien themes course. We did the monster themed. It was freakin’ awesome, putting our way through scary areas, and playing mini golf. The theming and lighting were excellent at night and we just had do much fun.
We returned to the hotel and needed desperately to do some laundry. We pretty much had no clean clothes left. This took about 2 hours and by the time we were done, we were exhausted and Aimee was starting to feel a bit sick. 1am and time for bed ahead of our big day tomorrow.
Ronnie & Aimee.