Return to the Magic Kingdom

After the torrential rain on our first visit, Dave and I decided to spend our last day in Orlando by going back to the Magic Kingdom.

Cinderella's Castle

Muppets at Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom was so different in the dryer weather! There seemed to be something happening around every corner we turned, with street performers, vintage vehicles driving around, the parade and characters popping up all over the place. All the activity confirmed the Magic Kingdom as my favourite of all the parks, and I decided it was actually really lovely to both start and end our Disney days here.

Fruit Punch

Mickey Ice Cream

Gaston's Tavern

Despite still being full of IHOP breakfast, I couldn’t resist a couple of last Disney snacks and drinks. A Strawberry Lemonade Slushy from the Tortuga Tavern cooled us off nicely, and we got them with the souvenir Mickey straws. One of the straws has already been claimed by Disney mad colleague, so that was a good buy! I snacked on the classic Mickey Ice Cream Bar, which was like an extra nice choc ice.

At Gaston’s Tavern, we both ordered LeFou’s Brew which is frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted masrhmallow, and topped with passion fruit mango foam. Somehow, this is not sickly, and instead fruity and yummy, and tasted sort of bonfire night-ish. I also had a trio of macarons (chocolate, vanilla and coffee) which were excellent.

Gaston's Tavern

Castle mosaic

Haunted Mansion

We worked our way round some of the rides we’d missed the first time. Obviously, we had to do Pirates of the Caribbean, which now seems to be a large game of ‘Spot Captain Jack Sparrow’. We also did Jungle Cruise, which is brilliant. Your cruise along in a river boat while your skipper tells you bad jokes and entirely made-up facts about the animals you see. It was hilarious.

Peter Pan

Being the mature adult that I am, I of course had to go and meet one of my very favourite characters. Peter Pan is one of my favourite Disney films, but it’s the character of Peter that I love most. I adore JM Barrie‘s book and have loved most versions of Peter’s story, from Hook to Finding Neverland. This Peter was perfect; mischievous, funny and utterly in character. We had a  short chat, about first trips to Disney, about my new engagement, and of course, rides. He advised us not to ride on It’s A Small World, as apparently it hypnotises you.

Then it was time to say goodbye. My week at Disney World was truly amazing, and I’m already dying to go back, and to visit all the other Disney parks around the world.

You can see my vlog from the day here:

 

Miami and the Everglades

We spent a few days in Miami, staying in Miami Beach.

Surfside

I’ll confess that a lot of time was spent on sun loungers by the hotel pool or on the beach. We did manage to stroll around the area of Surfside on one afternoon. Miami Beach is a mix of art deco and Cuban looking architecture, lined with palm trees.

Surfside Turtles

We found a group of decorated turtles. Local Florida artists were invited to paint the thirteen turtles which line 93rd street, with the idea of raising conservation of the turtles native to the area.

Miami Beach

Beach

The beach stretches for miles, and we walked along it, paddling along in the sea, back along to the hotel.

Coopertown

We couldn’t come to Miami without checking out the Everglades. The Everglades National Park is a 1.5 million acres of wetland, and is home to lots of wildlife, including Alligators. We visited Coopertown, who have been running airboat tours since 1945.

The town is home to 8 human residents, who run the tours, and care for the animal residents.

Airboat

We clambered aboard our airboat and we were off. You zip through a variety of different habitats that make up the ‘grass river’. Our guide told us about the National Park and some of the wildlife we might see…we were all hoping for ‘gators! We did spot one, but only the tail, before she was gone.

Alligator

American Alligator

In the animal park, you can see plenty of alligators, including Big Man, the largest alligator in captivity in the world. Another guide showed us some of the other creatures that you can find in the ‘glades, including snakes and turtles. We had a go at feeding some turtles ourselves, but I didn’t fancy getting much closer to the alligators!

Lincoln Road

On our last night, we went to Lincoln Road, which is a gorgeous area, with shops and restaurants, with lots of fountains and art-deco buildings to look at.

Miami is beautiful, but just as mad as Orlando, I think. I’ll be back!

You can see my vlog from Miami here:

Flanigans Seafood Bar and Grille, Surfside

While we were in Miami, we stayed in the Surfside area of Miami Beach. On our third day, Dave and I peeled ourselves from the sun loungers and took a little stroll in search of some lunch. We ended up in Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grille.

Surfside

The restaurant felt so American to us visting Brits, with fishing paraphernalia and customers’ fishing photos all over the walls. We grabbed a booth and were talked through the extensive menu by our super friendly waitress (when she’d finished squealing over our accents…)

Flanigan's Seafood Bar and Grille

We were going to be out for dinner with the rest of the family that night, so we decided to order a selection of starters to share instead of ordering full meals each. Our waitress was more than happy to accommodate us and made some suggestions of her personal favourites from the menu.

Potato Skins

The Potato Skins ($5.49) are Idaho potatoes, filled with cheddar cheese and bacon bits. The potatoes were still fluffy inside, with piles of gooey melted cheese. The bacon bits were crispy and salty, and basically, we devoured these.

Mozarella Sticks

The Mozzarella Sticks ($6.49) are a huge portion of stretchy mozzarella cheese, deep fried. The cheese was perfectly gooey, and they were crispy without the dreaded deep-fried oiliness.

Firecracker Shrimp

Our waitress suggested her favourite, the Firecracker Shrimp ($9.99). 12 pieces of shrimp are deep-fried, tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce, and topped with pico de gallo, lettuce and ranch dressing. I would have happily eaten this solo as a lunch portion, as the portion was pretty huge. The shrimp was spicy, with a good jalapeno hit, but the ranch dressing helped sooth the spice levels. This was my favourite of the dishes, and it was delicious.

The portions were huge, so our idea of a light lunch rather failed, but it was all so tasty we didn’t mind. If you’re planning to order one as a starter before a main course, I’d suggest ordering a starter to share between two, or you’ll be very full! The food was great quality, and the service was fast and friendly. A very pleasant lunch!

We paid in full ourselves. All opinions are honest and my own. Flanigan’s didn’t know I was a blogger. All prices correct at the time of writing.