You know, I forgot to write this. I don’t know why. Either way, I’ll write it now.
Day 15 was a pretty straightforward affair. We left the villa, went to Downtown Disney one last time and saw some Bible-bashers with a plane, writing stuff in the sky. Which was nice.
They got to “God loves u”, and then what? Presumably, God loves uptown girls. Or umbrellas. Or indeed underwear. God’s got to love underwear, considering the alternative is pretty sinful.
We also went to Friendly’s – of course, we’ve got to go there. The waitress recognised us (I think we’d been in there six times during the course of the two weeks). She joked that we’d be eating enough to make the plane not take off (that was always the plan).
So, to the airport, drop the car off, check in, play in the arcade (you’ve got to pay $10 I think, and half the machines aren’t working properly, but it’s better than nothing), get on the plane and sit around for 9 hours until you’re back in the UK.
So, conclusion for Florida then.
Florida is now a tourist destination. Let’s face it, we’re tourists. It’s a destination. We’re not going to go there and do boring stuff, and the good stuff it’s got to offer is very good, yet very controlled. The Florida parks make a lot of money – and rightly so.
I started to write about how the rides in Florida are not the best for thrill-seekers, but let’s face it – even though we’re thrill-seekers we still found the sedate rides such as Jungle Cruise quite fun. In that sense the parks have a huge variety of attractions for all ages, and they’re mostly pretty family-friendly. The parks are expensive compared to others such as various Six Flags parks and Cedar Point, from our previous visit, but you pay for the prestige. In terms of, say, fast food places, it’s like comparing KFC to the little YFC or AFC or GFC or whatnot. They both serve chicken stuff and taste nice, but the KFC is a nice justifiable treat. Same with Disney and Universal and so on. Stuff like Six Flags is perfectly good, just as Disney and Universal are perfectly good. The Florida parks are NOT the best I’ve been to, but they’re pretty high up there, and considering the amount there are, all within easy distance of each other, it’s pretty hard to knock.
Out of interest, you’ve got Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Aquatica, Wet n Wild, Universal Studios, Islands Of Adventure, Busch Gardens and Legoland. That’s 14.
As a destination, Florida is great! It is easy to find your way around and has all the facilities you could want. The only problem, I guess, is that you really are spoiled for choice. Do you pick a villa or a hotel? Or do you go for Disney accommodation? Do you stay near Disney or elsewhere? How do you get to the parks? We like villas because we are comfortable driving and like the space, privacy and freedom it affords us.
However, I would like to see more of Florida as a whole. This is something we have done on this holiday, but there is plenty more. In the past I’ve been to Cypress Gardens (I think), Old Town (another shopping area), Florida Mall (self-explanatory, and full of clothes shops – do they have anything like HMV in America?) and the Space Centre. I would like to go to them again (and I realise it’s only ourselves that stopped us), as well as the Everglades (which was something we thought of doing, but it’s a fair distance away – as is Miami, another place we wanted to go to), but the theme parks really are a huge draw to us.
When we went to Florida in 2004 we found it great, and in 2006 didn’t enjoy it as much. We were restricted by the amount of time we were there (a week) and staying in a hotel and relying on the hotel’s bus service, but we didn’t enjoy the parks anywhere near as much. 2009 we enjoyed as we had other people to show the parks to, and 2012 we enjoyed it too as we didn’t just do the parks. Don’t get me wrong, the parks are great, but don’t necessarily lend themselves to repeat visits that much. But then, does any theme park? I guess Florida has the ability to add new stuff a lot more often than other parks, and many new attractions have opened since the 2012 visit.
I guess, if I were to summarise, Florida is an excellent destination for… well, just about everyone. Everything is convenient. There doesn’t seem to be any drunks wandering around as in other destinations – the areas we tourists go to is pretty much pristine. If you’re prepared to pay the price (and there are cheaper parks which still offer great entertainment around the world) then it’s a great place to visit.