Nice restaurants/bars/shops – Sand Lake

This visit we took a recommendation to try a restaurant with an outside patio bar in the Sand Lake area – this is exit 74a off the I4 where Sand Lake Road crosses with International Drive and is the Dr Phillips area.

We went to Bravo and went through the restaurant to the outside patio/bar area.  It was about 6pm and it was happy hour – there was a great selection of cocktails/wine for $5 and also some bar bites for $3.95.  You were also able to order off the full menu.

We tried the Pinot Grigio (very nice) a Blue Moon beer (apparently also good) and then I had a Burger off the bar bite menu – which was good quality and had chips with it.  My other half had a Verduta Pizza and our friend had the Crispy Mozzarella Ravioli off the appertiser menu.  They both then tried some dessert – Tota Di Cioccolata and Layered Chocolate Cake.

It was very popular with regulars and workers on the way home.  We had a great view of the crossroads and could see what was going on, there was also a large Barnes & Noble just across the road.

A lovely way to spend a few hours in the early evening.  We will certainly go back to this area and try other restaurants and bars in the future, and obviously return to Bravo

Florida characters (real people)

In Epcot the other day I was engaged in conversation with a ‘cast member’ who I will name ‘Ray’.  Ray told me that there were some mad tourists sitting round the pool – he thought they were crazy as he was still wearing his thermals – although he might take them off soon – I did say not now – and he said not right now!

Ray then advised me that he had been told he was not to fraternise with the guests as he ‘revealed too much’.  That said he then proceeded to tell me that often the seagulls didn’t move before the monorail arrived – bye bye seagull!!  Ray named by us as he was a real ray of sunshine!!

The next ‘character’ was the Florida State Trooper that we saw on duty at the WDW road works last night.  He was sitting in his unmarked Dodge Charger with his lights on to draw attention so vehicles moved lanes.  As we drew level I realised that he was busy changing his status on his facebook page – hard work policing at Disney obviously!

Our final characters for today were the Tampa Bay Rowdie fans who starting fighting amongst themselves in the 2nd half and ended up with the Orlando Police arriving to break it up and removing a couple of the fans.

Eagle Ridge Mall, Lake Wales

It has been a few years since we last stopped at this Mall.  However, today on our way home from Bok Tower Gardens (currently in peak bloom and very beautiful), we stopped at The Eagle Ridge Mall as I wanted to look for some new bedding in the department stores.

As I said it has been a while, the last time we went to do a bit of Christmas shopping, we were very underwhelmed, however, since then there have been new owners and today I was pleasantly surprised.  It is still very quiet compared to the Orlando Malls – loads of parking available and less choice of stores.  However, there are 3 department stores – JC Penney, Sears and Dillards, and lots of smaller stores including Rack Room shoes, Hallmark, Dollarstar, plus a Starbucks and quite a few stores for prom dresses!

I was looking for some new bedding and both JC Penney and Dillards had sales on.  The lady in the home department in Dillards was particularly helpful and when I selected bedding which wasn’t available in the size I needed she called around the other stores in the Orlando vicinity and got a set put away for me at the Florida Mall.  I then found a set for our other bedroom which was reduced by 65% of the original price so I got a really good quality comforter set for the price of a basic quality.  Downstairs in Dillards I then found that the Clinque counter had a bonus time on which was too irresistible to resist.

All in all a very productive hour at the Eagle Ridge Mall – it was clean, quiet and although limited selection I was able to find everything that I wanted so if you are going down the US27 and need something you might just find it is worth the stop.

New Fantasyland – Magic Kingdom

Today we went to visit Magic Kingdom to view the New Fantasyland – first things first, the whole area is not open yet, it is opening on a phased basis.  They have opened the new Aerials Grotto, Goofy’s Barnstormer, Casey Jr Splash ‘n’ Soak Station and the 2 new Dumbo Elephant rides.  They have also opened the new Beast’s Castle and Belle’s Village – where we saw Gaston – he was very popular with all the teenage girls on Spring Break!!

Then we rode the new Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid.  You ride a clamshell (like the Nemo ride in Epcot or the Doom Buggy’s in the Haunted Mansion) and take a journey under the sea – it is very colourful, great music, all the characters that you will know from the story and the happy ending.  If you are young (including at heart), a little girl into princesses or someone who loves Disney but doesn’t ‘do’ rollercoasters – you will enjoy this ride.

You can fastpass this ride.  Beware though the fastpass distribution area is actually next to Philharmagic and nowhere near the new ride – so get your pass first and then go and check out the ride.  We spent some time in the new Village square, people watching and enjoying an apple!

Daytona Bike Week

My blot today is inspired by the 30 bikers from Finland who were on our flight to Orlando yesterday. Fully kitted out in everything Harley Davidson they were on their way to Daytona Bike Week.

This year’s event runs from March 8 – 17, at Daytona Beach. This is the 72nd year. The 10 day event motorcycle racing, exhibitions, concerts, parties and street festivals. Approximately 500,000 are expected to visit the event do if you are not into bikes you will probably want to avoid Daytona for the next couple if weeks.