Florida 2019 – Day 10 – West Coast

A relatively early start yesterday, as we’re checking out of the Orange Lake Resort, in Orlando, and heading west across to Clearwater Beach for a few days on the Gulf of Mexico coast.

The plan was checkout, Denny’s, fuel, then across to Tampa and back to Busch Gardens, which is then a short drive to Clearwater.

The plan was executed almost as above, with the exception of a minor amendment regarding the Denny’s. Our ‘local’ on West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway (the 192) was rammed busy, so we decided to get going and either stop on the way, or if not get something in Busch.

Down the toll road and onto the I4, we trundled along and then spotted a Denny’s just off the Interstate. Happy days. After parking up, we went in only to find the F’s sat there in their own ‘local’!

After some abominably slow service (think of the Julie Walters “here’s your soup, Sir” sketch slow) and a “Moons Over My Hammy” breakfast, we got back on the I4 westbound and headed off to catch up with the F’s at Busch.

It was only slightly busier today, but judicious ride planning and queue management meant we got on a fair few rides pretty quickly and front row for two of them.

The first was Cheetah Hunt, a 60mph, 4G, linear synchronous motor (LSM) launched coaster, that I didn’t go on last week, but have before. It’s brilliant! I love the “heart line roll” (the coaster corkscrews around a centreline of the passengers heart), and the bit that’s like flying a T-16 Skyhopper through Beggars Canyon on Tatooine.

We also went back on Sheikra, and managed to go front row, which makes the two vertical “hold and drop” bits even more funky.

We did try and get on Falcons Fury (a drop tower, but as we were about to get on, the seat section we would have been sat in malfunctioned and they closed the ride for repair.

Must confess that I think we were all a bit knackered today, and by around 5pm, we’d got to a point of indecision on the next ride.

As such, and having realised that although not actually that far in distance, the hotel was around an hour and fifteen away, I suggested we headed to an “award winning pizza and gelato” restaurant, mode between where we are staying and where the F’s are for the next couple of nights.

A slight mix up with the order in the kitchen meant that I ended up with two 12” Italian style stone baked pizzas. Looks like I won’t be needing any supper!

The service and food at Cristinos Coal Oven Pizza was outstanding and I would highly recommend the place. Managed to try two small, local beers as well.

The 7 Mile Bridge reminded my of my first homebrew (a bit turgid, slightly yeasty, but more than drinkable), and the second was a really smooth chocolate porter. Would have gone well with their chocolate ice cream except we were all too full to do puddings!

After the meal we all headed out separate ways, with our accommodation situated on an island, reached by crossing two large bridges.

We checked in, and Jane and Charlie crashed out. I went for a walk to suss the place out.

More on that tomorrow, but suffice to say the sign on the beach is likely to mean a few in our party won’t be snorkelling or even dipping a toe in the sea!

A shocking nights sleep, so

I finish writing this from a sun lounger on the beach at just before 8am.

No idea what we’re doing today. It’ll be all good though!

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