Thanks for the compliments guys. It's a shame our paths couldn't cross at some point in time in Orlando. It's still weird how so many of us picked the same general time to visit.....maybe next year, we'll catch up with you! Anyway, time for the next segment of this epic story.
After I left WDW, I delivered the car in Fort Lauderdale, met up with the gang at the resort. On Sunday, we kicked back, lounged by the pool, had a few beers at the tiki bar, and watched the Dolphins lose again to New England.
On Monday, it was time to make the 4 hour drive south to Key West....one of my favorite places on earth. It's not like it was in the old days, when Jimmy Buffett still lived there, but still a great place to relax and enjoy yourself. And since we never really get out anymore, it was nice to have a night to cut loose a bit, and party like the old days. Unfortunately, my brother-in-law's wife, Jennifer, recently received the news that she was pregnant with their first child. Now I know that's actually not unfortunate at all, but sadly, it did mean that she had to retire back to the room after dinner, and couldn't join us at Sloppy Joe's this time around. Thankfully, she's really cool about it all, and wished us the best time. We love her for that!
Time to let the pics tell the story.....
Your driver for the day – Jeremy. I’ll be playing the part of navigator…..and obviously, photographer as well.
A house that was never completed. Well not until I can come up with a couple million, anyway.
A couple million would no doubt elicit this reaction.
Yes, it’s really 7 miles long.
Any True Lies fans? If so, you may recognize this.....I'm sure Jamie Lee Curtis does.
Pina Colodaburg was closed, so we had to settle for this.
I’m at one of my favorite places on earth. For years, the adopted home of my all-time favorite musical artist; so naturally we’re gonna end up here for lunch.
Jennifer and Jeremy enjoying it.
As are we. And Shannon has yet to adapt to the flash on the camera.
When in Rome….
Ok, first, it’s pronounced “konk.” And secondly, this was the original flag used for the island’s secession in 1982.
No women going crazy here today…..yet. Only Parrotheads will understand that.
It may be a bit cheesy, touristy, and aggrevate the locals at times, but it’s still a great way to see and learn about the island.
Papa Hemingway’s old hangout….and one of my personal favorite watering holes. Good times are sure to be had here later.
"Little Jerrys" and stray cats rule the island.
While we’re on the Seinfeld kick, Shannon proclaims I am “spongeworthy.”
A peek inside the aquarium at Mallory Square.
“I said gimme some candy!!”
Shannon visits with a local resident of Mallory Square.
On this spot, Jeremy became the first person in the Eastern time zone to puke in the new millennium. Seriously, at the stroke of midnight, January 1, 2000, I was present to witness the historic event. We were sad that there was no plaque to commemorate it
Time for some grub. Yep, this is now home to….
This. Owned by actor, Kelly McGillis, who once co-starred with well-respected Harrison Ford in “Witness,” and freakshow scientologist, Tom Cruise in “Top Gun.”
The ceiling fans over the indoor bar section. Very clever don’t you think? Their Golden Ale was the hoppiest I've ever tasted, too. A couple and I was set.
Time for more beer and some interior decorating.
Shannon’s either very happy about sitting on Eric Clapton’s bar stool, or still hasn’t adapted to the camera’s flash….or both, I’m not sure.
Me, I’ll take the comedic choice.
Now for that interior decorating….
I’m definitely at home here.
Sorry Tony, you’re not getting my wife’s bra.
After a couple more Red Stripes at Tony’s, it was time to hit up Sloppy Joe’s. A slow Tuesday night crowd, which was a change for us since we always seem to visit when it’s a packed house.
I want that marlin for my wall at home.
Ummm,so don’t undercook my burger then, ok?
We’ll only be drinking cheap beer from this point on, thank you.
The cover band for the evening was from Atlanta.
On a mission to bring sexy back.
She succeeded, in my opinion. Oh, and also managed to make this happen….get me on tha flo. Six beers to that point in the evening didn't hurt.
On the long walk back to the hotel, we stopped into a pizza joint run by some Philly guys. I toasted a fallen `Cane, and we continued our trek back to the room.
Tuesday morning brought a chance to revisit a couple more touristy things….such as this. What? C’mon conchs! I know you’re all on island time, but you couldn’t repaint “ost” by now?
The best breakfast in the Keys. One that we would not get to enjoy this morning.
Instead, we had to settle for an early lunch here at Willy T’s (don’t let the sign fool you). You see how thrilled Shannon is…..I concur.
Just before we left the island, it was time to stop in and drool at one of my favorite artist’s work.
And then the last thing I ever expected happened. This became ours. Trust me, a major art purchase was not originally in the playbook. Definitely an audible at the line.
Okay, so after our one "wild" night of the year, it was time to get back to reality. I also realized real quick that those days are past me for a reason. The body takes a little longer to recoup now.
Anyway, Wednesday brought us back to Orlando for some Universal goodness. Again, Jennifer wasn't quite feeling up to the 6 hours of driving for the day, and really couldn't enjoy the parks like she'd want to, so she sent us off with best wishes, and chilled at the resort for the day. We missed ya though, Jen.
First up for the day was USF. A few quick thoughts. Mummy delivered! Besides MIB and Mummy, there really isn't much else here to keep me interested. We didn't spend much time here....therefore, not as many pics. Oh, but IOA is up next....and that always makes up for the lameness of USF. Well, at least IMHO.
On to the pics....
Ok, so we parked in Jaws, apparently with a gum problem. Someone please remember where we parked, ok?
The trek begins.
And the race is on.
This Stitch Assist option on the camera works pretty well.
As you can see, Universal Orlando has made an excellent effort to recognize many of America's biggest professional sports......NASCAR.......
...Major League Baseball....
That spinning globe will always look cool.
At lunch the other day, Jeremy asked me, "Scott, has there ever been an unwatchable big budget storm chasing film with it's own theme park show/exhibit which was ruined by a fake cow swinging on obvious wires?"
Xavier, Gary, and Ita. Just another day at the park for them. Sometimes I wish I lived in Orlando too.....sometimes.
Do I spy a redneck's dream?
The benefit of arriving when the park opens on a Wednesday in October.
Time for the second new credit of the trip.
Of anyone in here, you'd think I'd be the one bothered by the blatant VW promotion. Oddly enough, I didn't mind it at all.
Impressive queue. Most impressive.
Almost looks like the evolution of man chart, or a Cingular ad.
I'm at a loss for words on this one. lol
I should be rewarded for actually riding this crap.
I have yet to see this movie from start to finish. But hey, the ride's cool.
These gusy are disturbingly creepy, yet funny at the same time.
I like the design of the ride vehicle. That's really not interesting at all, is it? Sorry.
Still open, yet I have no interest in outdated simulator rides not starting with "Star" and ending with "Tours."
How long 'till the Simpsons ride?
Space-related trick shot, yet no Sinise. Sorry Wes. You're Mission: Space stuff triumphs.
Just a reminder. Men, you should frequently inspect 'em. Early detection is critical to surviving testicular cancer.
Yay for another kiddie credit.
Just happy to pick up the missed credit from the last visit, and a walk-on as well.
Harassment! Call HR, check his emails! Heck, he's probably been secretly hitting on Jimmy Neutron. We're suing, and I'm taking you down, Universal!
There's a connection there somewhere.
We liked the movies, but skipped the show. It wasn't a priority today. The donkey, however; does make this a certifiable TPR photo TR.
Okay, so it was time to jump over to IOA for the rest of the day. The crowds were pretty light today, which was very nice to see. Here's the quick rundown:
Hulk, 2 rides - 1 front row wait/ 20 minutes, 1 "big boy row" ride later in the day when the crowds got a bit heavier before HHN/ 25 minutes.
Hulk was running 3 trains all day, but one remained emtpy in order to meet the testing requirments of a new train.....or so I was told. Was kinda tough to tell. Anyone know if there's any truth to that "new train" claim they made?
Doom, 2 rides - One in the morning, and one before we left/ each 5-10 minute waits.
Spidey, 2 rides - both no longer than 20 minutes.
Dueling Dragons, 3 rides, 2 Fire, 1 Ice - all front row rides, none more than a 15 minute wait.
All in all, a great day at the park.
It's picture time again, boys and girls......
Indeed it does.
Do we look ready? Well, actually, judging by the pic, not really. But trust me, we we’re stoked about our free adventure thanks to a generous friend! Thanks again, Justin
There’s my baby. I’ve missed you!
Okay, so there's my real baby, standing by our first order of business – lunch. ;)
So this is Hulk.
I like the wide angle look.
The 1,976,347th time you've seen this shot.
Wait for it.....
Still my favorite S&S tower. Especially when riding with someone clueless as to what they do. Jeremy’s reaction was priceless. Just a shame we couldn’t capture it on film….and also a shame that line doesn’t really apply anymore due to the digital age, huh
Awesome queue line scores high marks with me.
Will do, Mr. Doom. Sorry, Doctor…I mean, Doctor.
Hooray for 5 minute Dr. Doom waits.
Ah, there we go.
"Grrrr……..don’t use the 'gimme some candy' line." Sorry doctor, too late…you just did.
May I claim “exclusive shot?”
Toss up: a billion dollar theme park to explore, or blowing money in the arcade? Hmmm…
Spidey arrives on the scene. Evidently, the whole swinging from building to building thing has lost its charm or something.
Two words: Still AWESOME.
Sadly, these computers are probably still faster than the crap at work.
What do you do at this point in line?
Well, you take a group pic wearing 3D glasses, of course.
Another satisfied customer.
Kirsten Dunst has nothing on my leading lady. You just watch your hands, you web freak.
The golfers in here would refer to this as ground under repair. Free drop.
Looking as good as ever. But we skipped it to stay dry.
Now everybody, in just a moment, we’ll need your beset Richard Attenborough voice while saying “Welcome, to Jurassic Park.” Any locals know if this look-a-like still wanders the park from time to time? The pic was circa 1999.
This is your cue.
I’m not gonna lie. What’s the best thing about having a new 5 year old nephew?
Finally getting the freakin’ Pteranodon Flyers credit!!
I love the setting of this ride.
The bad part – having to think about how cool this ride would be if it was about 20 times bigger than it is.
You guessed it….through the trees.
Wait. No guide dogs, but peg leg pirates are welcome? Crap, don’t tell Disney.
Almost an hour later.
Our bird is ready.
I love this ride. There, I said it. Short, but still pretty sweet. Would I wait more than 10 minutes to ever ride it again? Nope, but still pretty fun once around.
Shannon approves, and Jeremy once again fails to recognize he’s in the pic.
And now it’s time for the act like a 10 year old segment. Truth is, I was right there with ‘em . Stepping on cutouts to make dino sounds is the coolest thing you can do when, um, you exit the Pt. Flyers in Jurassic Park.
Yep, that works for me.
Well, that’s nice, but there really was 10-15 minutes worth of people around the corner.
Lift hill enthusiasts….
“Hey Scott, what has 2 thumbs and likes the fact that Jurassic Park shares the same initials as me?” Yes, Jer, I know.
Broken raptor pen….and I’m afraid you will not be seeing the raptors either. I couldn’t get the camera turned back on in time. I’m such a putz sometimes.
As much as he liked it, Jeremy will not be getting that tattoed anytime, anywhere.
“Okay, now I wanna see an EPIC splash at the end of this thing, ok? I don’t care how you get it done…just get it done!”
Yes sir, Mr. Spielberg.
And with this pic, we'll take a short commercial break.
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