It’s officially been a week since Jake and I returned from our beach vacation, and I am still poorly adjusting to my life of waking up and not seeing the ocean as the first part of day. You know what I see when I woke up this morning? Dog poop, because our dog is still mad at us for having gone a vacation in the first place. Real life is fun, y’all. Instead of focusing on how I am going to salvage my bathroom rug, let’s recap my vacation instead, shall we?
Jake and I arrived in Tampa about mid afternoon, pick up our rental car, and drive the 30-ish or so minutes to Clearwater Beach. We drop off our junk at the hotel, and make an immediate bee line towards the beach, where I took this uncomfortable photo.
Realizing that our last meal was several hours ago, and in my case, a veggie sub from Quizno’s that surprisingly didn’t give me Zika (how do you screw up a veggie sub? How?) We decided to skip driving into town (#travelexhaustion) and just eat at the hotel restaurant instead. I ordered some sort of penne with vegetables that was mostly just olive oil, but I was starving so I devoured it. After dinner we almost immediately went to bed. In fact I think I was already asleep in the elevator ride up to the room, so I can’t be certain.
This day was pretty much start to finish spent at the beach. This was also the day that we would discover that most, if not everyone staying at our hotel was British. This was delightful for two reasons; getting to hear a bunch of little kids running around yelling “Mummy!”, and everyone was so polite. To celebrate being on the beach, and around the best accent next to Boston, Jake and I enjoyed drinks by pool before we left for dinner.
I don’t know what was even in this drink, other than it was called “Mermaid Punch” but it tasted like melted Shocktarts and I loved it. Once we had finished our drinks and cleaned up from beach day, we drove out into town to eat dinner at a restaurant over looking the sand and ocean, called Frenchy’s. There seemed to be like 30 variations of Frenchy’s in that town, so forgive me if I’m not detailing the right one, but this one was super casual and a lot of fun. We walked in during some live music, and I quickly discovered that they had the greatest hot sauce on the planet. My dinner ended up being mostly just hot sauce, but it was so good I don’t even feel bad about it.
Disney day! Jake and I woke up extra early and drove up to Orlando to begin what would be a 12 hour journey, and almost 9.5 miles of walking. Jake grew up going to Disney parks all the time, where as I have only been once, over ten years ago…and it was a school trip, so needless to say, he knew where to go and how to do everything. We started off at Epcot, and thankfully it was hardly busy at all. We rode Soarin’, and that creepy animatronic thing inside of the Epcot golf ball. When I went on that ride on high school my friend got out of the car and we took a picture of her standing with the dolls. I relayed this story to Jake and apparently you can get arrested for that. Kathy if you are reading this, I’m so happy you didn’t have to go to Disney jail, but also would have been really cool too.
After Epcot we rode a ferry over to MGM, and immediately got in line for Tower of Terror. Florida humidity really showed it’s beastly power while we were in line, and I think I sweat off 5 lbs just standing for 30 minutes, and almost blacked out twice. The near death experience was worth it for the photo though.
I’m the terrified screaming girl in the read shirt. If you look towards the top right you’ll see that a small child is laughing at me. What’s worse is that I have been on this ride before, but I still reacted as if my life was truly about to end. After a terrible lunch where I ordered a chicken salad, but instead received 6 pieces of lettuce and 3 strips of chicken (Disney I know you have the budget for more lettuce, don’t play me like this), Jake and I rode on Star Tours! They’ve updated since The Force Awakens, so there was cute Finn and BB-8 shout out that I really enjoyed. Once we exited that ride, we had some time to kill until our Fast Passes were available for Rockin’ Rollercoaster, so Jake and I went on the TCM movie ride. I was mostly there for the air conditioning, but it was pretty cute nod to the classics, and of course, several terrifying animatronic adaptations of real people. Once Robert Osbourne had exhausted his movie knowledge on us, Jake and I went rode Rockin’ Rollercoaster, and then took the bus over to Magic Kingdom.
By the time we had gotten on the bus we had walked almost 10k, and the heat and humidity was killing me. I tried my best to be a good sport, but I was fading fast. After riding the Jungle Cruise, Jake and I split a Dole Whip (oh my GOD I need one of those every day for the rest of my life), and I started to feel a little better. We spent the day riding Space Mountain (my fav!), Buzz Lightyear (how does the point system work???), The Haunted Mansion (yay A/C!), The People Mover (Twice…and it’s not even a ride), The Carousel of Progress (more creepy robots), and Pirates of the Carribean. We would have done Splash Mountain but it was a 70 minute wait, so no thank you! We left a little after 8 pm completely exhausted, but it was worth it!
My birthday! I told Jake I just wanted a low key day, so we spent the morning at the beach, followed by lunch (the best shrimp I’ve ever had in my life!) at a little restaurant in town called Crabby’s and then a three hour nap. I woke up and then got ready for our “fancy” dinner night out. Jake said he had made reservations at the nicest steak restaurant in Clearwater, but when we got there everyone was in jean shorts and Hawaiian shirts, and the restaurant’s decor looked it was designed by early 90’s Donald Drumpf (lots of fake gold hardware, and those iridescent clear cubes that divide up space at nail salons). I’m not ragging on this place, the food was alright, but I was just kind of confused on the Yelp ratings. After dinner I made Jake stop at a Publix grocery store because I always hear about them from West coast bloggers, plus you know I love a good specialty grocery store. I decided to treat myself to an ultra low budget spa night, and picked up a Biore charcoal face mask, and a small tub of deep conditioning hair treatment. All in all it was $16, so yeah, I really went all out on myself. However, the best part of my birthday, and maybe out of all of my birthdays, Jake found beer made by Hootie & The Blowfish. They have their own beer! It tastes like beer pong beer (cheap, could be confused for a dehydrated person’s urine) but it was still Hootie!
Our last full day in Clearwater was jam packed! We started off our morning with a round of pirate mini golf at Captain Bligh’s Landing! I 1000% recommend this place, it was so much fun! The staff was super nice, and the course was super detailed, and very clean. My score was abysmal, but that’s nothing new. After golf we drove over to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and had a chance to see some dolphins (celeb sighting: Winter from Dolphin Tale 1 and 2!), sea turtles, sharks, and some sting rays I refused to touch.
The aquarium was small, but I really enjoyed that the staff was exceptionally friendly, and their main focus was the care of their marine life, and not entertaining us (SIDE EYEING YOU, SEA WORLD). After our under the sea adventure, Jake and I went back to Crabby’s for lunch (It’s so good, I’m sorry!) and I ordered the best watermelon margarita of my life, and Jake literally ordered a bucket of alcohol.
In his defense the bucket is on the menu, but good lord. Given that we didn’t want to drive (and by we I mean I), we walked over to a nearby souvenir shop to pick t-shirts and gifts. They had a deal going for buy 1 get 2 free t-shirts, and you know I couldn’t pass that up. So we stocked up, and headed back to our hotel, where we spent the rest of our afternoon at the beach and then relaxing by the pool with UK’s finest.
Okay we technically didn’t do anything this day since it was largely spent traveling home, but can I take minute to rant about people at the airport? On our connecting flight from Tampa to Charlotte, NC, while we were waiting board by group numbers, instead forming a single file line as they called up group 1, 2, and so on, people were forming lines outside of the single file line (where the civilized human beings were standing), and then cutting in front one by one as people started to board. Who raised you, and why are you terrible? If you see a line, you get in the back, you don’t decide to be a renegade and form your own line, now is not the time to be the badass you’ve always dreamed of being! I’m sorry you got group 3 instead of 2, maybe check in earlier next time?! Okay my rant is over. I’m going to travel by boat now.
That was my vacation! Jake and I already planning our trip for next year (hint: it involves Disney but a different coast)! We had the best time at Clearwater, and if you are going to Florida and looking for a beach vacation, I can’t recommend it enough!