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Erik & Smisty's Florida Oddventures


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Did the Bistro McDonalds still have the pool table? It actually looks like they've made it 'slightly' less nice from my last visit several years back. It was the upstairs that had all the super nice furniture and like foosball and pool table!

 

I totally approve of McDonalds centric TR's!!!!

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Did the Bistro McDonalds still have the pool table? It actually looks like they've made it 'slightly' less nice from my last visit several years back. It was the upstairs that had all the super nice furniture and like foosball and pool table!

 

No pool table. There is air hockey though. I recall the nice furniture being upstairs before, as well. But I'm not 100% sure because I wasn't taking photos of McDonalds' then.

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We didn't. We're not really wine people. Was it interesting beyond just trying out wines? We did enjoy St. Augustine enough that we'd like to go back and do all the stuff we didn't get to on our first trip.

 

We haven't done the winery tour in the past 6 or 7 years. We're not wine drinkers, at all, but we did it because it was free! It wasn't particularly interesting, as it is not an actual winery, but we made our own fun out of it. That made me think it could benefit from the Erik and Smisty touch!

 

We used to enjoy going to the St. Augustine Nights of Lights lighting ceremony, every November. http://staugustine.com/entertainment/arts/2009-11-17/nights-lights-ceremony-nov-21

 

Christian's second grade class went to the fort and the oldest school house on a field trip, a year and a half ago. Sadly, now we only go to St. Augustine for the outlet centers.

 

I can totally relate to the pain of trip report crickets.

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I've already told my wife the next time we get to Orlando we have to get to the themed McD's down there. We were there last spring and forgot completely about 'em. Anybody been to the jungle-themed one?

 

That one was always my favorite (when I lived here before). Sadly, while the theming is still there, it's no longer a Bistro Gourmet. Otherwise, it's probably the one I would have done a TR of.

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Did you know that Walt Disney World has two seperate 36-hole mini golf courses???

 

Okay, fine. Well, did you know that I was going to do an update from one of them today?

 

Hah!

 

Winter Summerland

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Winter Summerland is located next door to Blizzard Beach, and kind of shares a similar theme.

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The clubhouse, restrooms, and gift shop.

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The cost is $12.00 for 18-holes, but annual passholders get 50% off.

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Let's start with the Summer course.

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"No diving in yule tides."

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To borrow a phrase from IOA, these are "bad fish."

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Surf's up, Smisty!

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The summer course features a really big sand castle.

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Luckily, I'm made out of elf control.

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Hey, pole-in-one! (The track inside turns, carrying the ball to the top, and pushing it out on the other side.)

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Ladies and gentlemen, Erik's mom.

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The last few holes of each course are covered by this open-walled building.

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And this is on the roof of said building.

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And now for the Winter course, also sponsored by Airstream (but not really).

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No problem, just putt straight up the middle.

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S'mores, anyone?

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The net is a nice touch.

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This hole SUCKS. (Or maybe I just sucked at it.)

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Some elements are repeated on both courses, but differently themed.

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Hey, it's Disney characters! Are we playing mini golf...at Disney World???

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We only post photos of me when I look fat and stupid.

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Telephone pole = theming.

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This is a bad snowman.

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Don't get your balls stepped on by Santa.

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Misty is amazed by the sight of Mickey. "Are we playing mini golf at Disney World?" she is perhaps wondering.

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The final hole is hip and relevant to today's youth.

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And that's Winter Summerland. It's pretty good. And it's at Walt Disney World.

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Okay, time to pack it up. I'll meet you back at home, Misty!

Edited by Electerik
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We actually had a free round with our AAA package last year and planned on going to this one, but it never happened. We never slowed down throughout the week going to the parks, and just ran out of time. Bummer, this course really looks cool, at least on the theming end.

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Nice to meet you guys in a very rushed fashion though..

 

Not a problem. Hopefully next time, it'll be for more than 2 seconds.

 

Now then, Orlando mini golf versus Pigeon Forge: It depends on what you're looking for. Orlando's are probably nicer, but definitely come up short in the 'funk' department. Winter Summerland (for example) is fun and interesting, but there's no "Hillbilly Golf" style weirdness to it. It's just a really nice course.

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Do you guys plan on going over to the Fantasia Gardens to play? I hear that course is a mean mother....

 

Absolutely. In fact, we've already done the Fairways course. We just haven't played the Garden course yet (since we've been back).

 

And yes, the Fairways course is very challenging. Maybe too much so.

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Jambo, and welcome to Harambe!

 

Or, as it appears on the map at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Africa.

 

The thing about Animal Kingdom is, there's not much in it. And, perhaps worse, only about 60% of the park is well themed. Harambe is not very large, in terms of pure midway area. And there's only one real ride. Still, this is one of the good sections.

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The bridge from Discovery Island to Africa.

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A side view of the bridge, with Asia's Expedition Everest in the background.

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See? Harambe. Told you so.

 

The six badges on the left and bottom of the sign represent all the things there are to do here. The two on the bottom are stores. Two of the ones on the left are restaurants. Are you impressed yet?

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The view from the bridge. (Who knew Africa was so green??)

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Most of Africa's main midway. Like so many things at WDW, it's hard to get a photo of it NOT crammed with people.

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The first stop on our adventure: Tusker House, where an African band is just now setting up for a performance. It's easy to miss Tusker House, as it looks for all the world like a basic outdoor eatery, from the front. It's not, though. The tables out front are for the bar, and overflow seating for the quick service eatery across the way.

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The restaurant itself is accessed from around back, and all of its seating is indoors. (The outdoor tables are for people waiting to get in.)

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A host gives Misty the quick tour. It's a buffet, you see. It's $22 a person for lunch, and $28 for dinner. (A fact that they stress repeatedly before they seat you. I guess they've had complaints...?) It's well worth it, though.

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The food has a distinct African flair. (Not that I'm any great expert on African food, mind you. Alls I know is that I like it here.)

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A peanut butter and jelly sandwich bar for the less adventurous members of your party.

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One of the seating areas, just to give you a feel for it.

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Misty insisted I include a photo of this sign. I guess in Africa, health concerns are more basic.

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Okay, let's see if I can name this stuff from memory. Starting from the mashed potatoes and going clockwise: chocolate chip cookie, pecan bread pudding with vanilla sauce, rice and fried potatoes, tofu tandoori, curry chicken, coffee pork loin and tenderloin (both with some weird spicy African sauce). Oh, and one green bean.

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My new favorite restaurant at Walt Disney World, and my favorite thing there. The first person to correctly guess what it is gets...well, you don't get anything, really. But go ahead and guess anyway. What crazy African thing am I eating???

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Misty was very good in the restaurant--but outside, she goes bananas.

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Random theming. "Think 10 times before you dabble."

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Some cool theming around back. Like many of the park's prettiest quiet areas, it has been impressed into a smoking area.

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Heading back down the midway. The left and middle facades are for Tusker House, but the base of the tower on the right contains a small seating area for...

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The walk up "Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery."

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Face painting. And it actually kind of fits the area! Cool.

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Random "Africans like to work on their cars on the front steps" theming. I guess so. Really, Disney could just tell me anything; I've never been to Africa.

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Africa is so primitive, they still use "film."

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Kilimanjaro Safaris is Harambe's only ride. Luckily, it's huge, elaborate, and very high capacity.

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The queue. Jambo, Wilson.

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Actually, the queue has several different sections. This is the "booking room."

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Just how high capacity is this ride? This is (part of) the stroller parking. I have seen as many as four employees assigned just to this area at one time.

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Time to board our big ass truck.

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Our driver demonstrates...er, something. (Whatever. He was really good.)

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So, it's not really a "car on a track" type of ride. More like a "guy drives you around in a big ass truck" kind of thing.

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I think there's hippos in there somewhere. (Don't worry. There'll be a super awesome hippo pic later.)

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Crocodiles are proof that the gods hate us.

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If you look closely, you can just about see Wes cowering inside that hollowed out tree trunk.

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Wide rhinos, casting a spell of some sort.

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These gateways divide different parts of the reserve. I presume that the row of wires across the road provide enough unsureness of footing to keep the animals from wandering from one area to another.

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There are those damned elephants they're always on about. (I sure hope those poachers don't see them.)

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Texas cows.

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I'm pretty proud of this one. Should give you some idea of what Kilimanjaro Safaris is all about.

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The lions are tough to photograph, on account of the fact that they primarily lay around behind rocks.

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Wait, we're gonna drive through that?

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There's a bit of a storyline to this ride, but it mostly kicks in at the end. Poachers in the reserve, blah blah blah. Anyway, this is their camp. But don't worry, we saved the day by riding around in this truck.

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Unfortunately, our run in with the poachers cut our intended two week safari a bit short. But just as well; I forgot to pack extra socks.

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The ride exits into this small monkey exhibit. You then have the choice of heading back into Harambe, or...

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...walking the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.

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Though it looks a bit like a zebra, the okapi is actually a relative of the giraffe.

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I love half-aquarium things.

 

Okay, remember that hippo photo I promised you?

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Bam!

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Pressing deeper into Pangani. (Also the name of my new Tanzanian porno film.)

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We stop on our way to check out some amphibians.

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Like these gross ugly bullfrogs.

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Back outside for some fish and some orange ducks. (Shouldn't they be in Asia?)

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I like anything where you watch animals outside from under cover.

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Meerkats and *cough*umblemeers*cough*

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People come from miles around to see gorilla ass.

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That one has a baby. Or, some kind of adorable mutation.

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Wait, the scientific name of these animals is "gorilla gorilla gorilla"? Did Bunsen Honeydew name them??

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Yay for bouncy bridges!

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"I hate you all."

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"You want a picture, Mr. Man? I'll give you a picture! Now get out."

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Back in Harambe. I know some gorillas that might be interested those bananas.

 

Wait, does that say $1.29 for a banana? I hope those gorillas get a discount for working at Disney.

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This, um, "theming" is attached to...

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...the Ziwani Traders gift shop.

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I like the bongo tree.

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Smisty found something she wants.

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This is Mombasa Marketplace. But really, the two gift shops are connected in a way that makes the distinction pointless.

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Coolest door handle ever.

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Dude, you're Swedish. You look like a tool.

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Tama Tamu is located across from Tusker House, and features more-standard burgers and such. Its primary seating area is located around behind it (through the wooden doors on the left).

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Here's a photo of Tamu Tamu's courtyard.

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On the path to Asia, you'll find these drums, and some pretty nice views of the park's icon, the Tree of Life.

 

Hamba kahle.

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