19th August 2011
Golden Corral & Islands of Adventure, Revisited
Today was our last chance to get back to Universal/Islands of Adventure. We wanted to see Hogsmeade by night and wanted to re-ride a few of the rides we had enjoyed on our first outings to these parks.
After a bit of a lie in, we thought we should make a trip to Golden Corral to at least say we’ve been. We paid around $30 for the three of us, so a LOT cheaper than anywhere else we’ve eaten thus far in our trip.
We went for lunch at the one on the 192. It wasn’t particularly busy. We paid first, got our drinks and then found our own table.
A lot more spacious than Ponderosa (also on 192) and we preferred it at Golden Corral. The food was various American delicacies – fried chicken, mac ‘n’ cheese, burgers, fries etc, a big salad bar and desserts. Some stuff wasn’t labelled so didn’t have a clue what certain dishes were lol. Here is my plateful of grub…always a mess of food when I go to a buffet as I want to try a bit of this and a bit of that! Nothing exceptional, but it’s cheap and cheerful and I see why these sorts of places are popular, and also great if you are on a budget.
Even though it wasn’t busy, it was tricky to find waiting staff to refill drinks and we wasn’t sure what sort of tip to leave so we just left a few dollars on the table.
Found a dollar coin amongst our change – our one and only throughout our trip!
A gift shop was attached to the restaurant, so we popped in there. To my joy, I spotted a giant Disney towel hanging from the wall – my friend had requested one, and even told me the shop to go to on I-Drive…this saved us the trip! Had to take pictures of tacky souvenirs…
…before grabbing a towel for $20 and going to pay. Our Citibank card was declined and we couldn’t understand why, as we had plenty of money still in the account. Paid with cash as we had some on us and then went back to the villa to investigate what was going on with our account. Turns out a lot of our spending in Downtown Disney a couple of days before was still in authorisation and they only allow so many to back up before they put a stop on the card, which is understandable, but annoying all the same. We were also told that it might stop us from withdrawing money from a cash point as well, and only having $10 left in cash it was a bit of a panic! So we drove to the nearest 7-Eleven to see if we could withdraw some cash.
Luckily, we were able to take out some money, and took enough to see us through a few days until our card was back to normal. Bit of a pain that this happened, as so far, throughout two weeks we haven’t had a problem with the card and the transactions on it. Our shopping trip must have tipped the poor thing over the edge LMAO! We also pumped $35 worth of gas into the car and began our drive to Universal/IOA.
As I type this, it is very clear that we wasted so much of today! Getting up late, late lunch, sorting out our bank card….grr! Then our sat nav, Homer, decided to take us on some wild goose chase to Universal. It certainly wasn’t the way we went the two times we did before, but after a fashion and with the use of Mapman (to the rescue again) soon found Universal. We were parked up and was travelating our way to City Walk at 7:15pm O_o.
Universal would soon be closing, so had to miss that out and instead just went to IOA. Had trouble with Liam’s tickets which was really annoying and took a lot longer to sort out than was necessary – because he has a different surname to us they were creating all sorts of fuss, even when I said, would you like to see some ID they declined and continued trying to fingerprint him…eventually asking “do you have ID for him” *ROLLEYES*
Finally we were in to IOA, stopping to look at everything one last time…
and walked round to Spiderman to do this again. A short wait and this time we sat in the back row, seemed less intense of a ride back there than the front, but still awesome and so glad we got to do this ride again. Plus size rider guide: a shared lap bar, plenty of room for me.
By now, it was starting to get dark, so we walked through to Hogsmeade, stopping for a $5 hotdog :/ for Liam who was hungry. Whilst the boys were sorting that out, I stood and watched Dudley Do-Rights Rip Saw Falls – we never did do that ride :'(
Reaching Hogsmeade, which looks all the more amazing in the dark, and the snow doesn’t seem as out of place at this time of day when the Florida sunshine isn’t beating down! (I’m aware that a lot of these photos are pretty dark, my screen is quite bright so I’m okay with seeing them, but my bezzie mate moaned when she couldn’t see them properly on Facebook! My apologies in advance.)
We wanted to get Liam’s Dad’s postcard stamped at the Owlery since he’s a Harry Potter fan…it was pretty packed in here, and I snuck in the back entrance to find out where to get this done :/ The guy/gal to stamp your postcards is actually just outside the shop and there is a post box there as well to deposit said postcards.
Bought another couple of bottles of Pumpkin Juice, which I know are pricey at something like $6, but they are soooo lush! At the time of writing my diary in Florida I wasn’t sure if we could transport them back to the UK as they say ‘refrigerate after opening’ which indicated to me is product that doesn’t need to be in the fridge prior to that…safe to say, we brought them home and are all fine after drinking them!! I’m going to have a go at replicating them at Halloween following the ingredients on the back! I love the bottles, and they’ve been washed out and kept too ^_^
We also bought another frozen butterbeer in a souvenir mug to share whilst walking around the rest of the park. We didn’t actually do any more rides, but just soaked up the atmosphere of the park at night, which was lovely.
Lazy days seem to be so much more tiring than full days at the park…so we headed to the exit, saying goodbye to IOA and then Universal until we see them again in 2013!
We stopped to buy a box of Cinnabon to eat another day – we actually ended up bringing them home to the UK because we didn’t get a chance to eat them! They stayed surprisingly fresh, considering it was nearly a week later!! All that sugar hahahah!
Liam and I messed around with hats and wigs whilst Steve went off in search of a Universal t-shirt.
All feeling pretty hungry on the drive home, we stopped off for a late night take-away. Taco Bell for us adults and McDs for Liam. It’s junk food, so nothing fantastic to report…the tacos I make at home are tastier lol, but we wanted to try this and glad we did! Liam had a DOUBLE quarter pounder – oh my! He packed it away as well (growing lad that he is!). Not sure why it’s not just called a half-pounder…I also bought a vanilla shake, which was scrummy!
Everyone must have had the same idea, as the drive-thru McDonalds was rammed and it took ages to wait in the queue of cars to order and pick up Liam’s burger. We drove home and ate our food, and then watched crap on the telly (that doesn’t change the world over!) to allow dinner to go down, before all catching some zees to be all refreshed for our first trip to the most magical place on earth – MAGIC KINGDOM!!!!!!!
All photos from this day can be found on my Flickr!
Read the next day:
Day 17 – Let’s Make Some Magic!!: Magic Kingdom & Golden Corral
Read the previous day:
Day 15 – The Giant Golf Ball!: Epcot and Teppan Edo
Read ALL the days: Orlando, Florida Vacation, Flashback Friday Series Index