We’re back! Jen and I had a fun few days in Orlando. We flew out (connecting in Phoenix) on Tuesday, but didn’t arrive in Orlando until 8pm. This trip was great because I had work meetings in the morning (allowing Jen to sleep in and not worry about anything) but my afternoons were pretty open.
On Wednesday afternoon, we drove the 40 miles or so East of Orlando to Cocoa Beach. By the way, these eastern states use toll roads, and they only take cash…. The weather was beautiful (around 75 degrees on the coast), but the water was cold at first touch. There was a nice breeze, but it was just enough that there were folks on the beach in jackets, even while vacationers were in the water trying to body surf. We spent a few hours lounging around on the beach, on the pier, and shopping at the Ron Jon Surf Shop.
With the bit of day light we had left, we made a quick drive up to Cape Canaveral to the Kennedy Space Center. I was a little disappointed with this because although Florida is soooo flat (flattest in the nation!), they have vegetation lining the roads and you can’t really see the launch pads from the areas you drive to for free. We could have paid $38 for a tour but we didn’t have time nor did we necessarily want spend that cash on it. They do have a visitor center that we walked up to and took a few pictures. When we got back to the hotel, we took a dip in the heated pool and hot tub. No one else was in the entire pool, so we had plenty of fun.
On Thursday, after my meetings concluded, we spent some time shopping the outlet malls, relaxing, and went to a movie (Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler). Our flight left Orlando around 5pm on Friday, so we did some more shopping and a session at the temple in the morning. Jen and I figure we went on enough “dates” in the last four days to take care of the next 6 months here at home.
It was fun watching SportsCenter at night and hearing the announcers report (from Tampa, about an hour and a half away) that there were hardly any folks walking around in Steelers or Cardinals gear. Well, I think they all came in on Friday around 4:30pm, because as we sat in the terminal, we saw fan after fan after fan come down the hallway in either Cardinal red or Steeler black and gold. It was fun watching the march.
There were two words that kept coming to my mind when I thought about regarding the area we stayed (International Drive near Universal Studios in SW Orlando): chintzy and cheesy. Reno and Las Vegas are over the top, but this area was over the top in a very cheesy way. Instead of having a simple sporting goods store, they have to decorate the front with two 25-foot-tall statues of generic athletes or something and a helmet enshrouding the front door (I’m not kidding, see here). This store was directly across the street from our hotel. These kinds of stores were all over the place. Cheesy over-the-top store front decorations.
Another funny thing: Orlandoans must stink because we saw perfume stands on EVERY CORNER. In the malls. In the outlet malls. In shopping plazas. EVERYWHERE.