DAY 17

THURS 13th JAN 2000

I wake up at 8:00 sweating, shaking and delirious. No, I am not ill again, it is much worse than that. Shopping day. AAARRGGGGGH!!! I'm sorry to have to write about this as I'm sure that many men reading this have now had to go and sit down quietly with a cold beer to recover from the shock.

We have breakfast in the food court as I need all the sustenance I get can to steel me for the terrible ordeal ahead.

I drive us to the Belz Factory Outlet at the top of International Drive, arriving around 10:00. The mall buildings loom menacingly out of the eerie mist as thunder and lighting crash around us and a wolf howls in terror. OK, so it's a lovely sunny day but that doesn't have the right mood setting gothic feel to it.

I will not burden you with the hideous and often frightening details of our purchasing spree, suffice to say the credit card is gasping with relief when it is finally put away for the day and the plane will struggle to take off on the way home.
As we leave the mall (was it only hours? seems like days) the shop managers have laid down a red carpet and are kissing Tammy's feet as she passes.
We finally manage to drag her kicking and screaming to the car, her eyes bulging as she begs for just one last ring of the cash register.

With Tammy subdued at last we head back to the 192 to return the car. I wouldn't exactly say that E-Z Car were poor but they did not have the professionalism of the major car companies. We are driven back to Dixie Landings by an Egyptian gentleman who regales us all the way with tales of why England is such an awful place and how Prince Charles was involved in a conspiracy to murder Diana. He doesn't even know the way and is asking me for directions! Not the best way to get yourself a big tip. In fact he receives exactly what he deserves. Nothing.

Back at Dixie Landings Tam has to do some washing, so Grandma gives the girls showers while Tam and I go to the laundry by one of the quiet pools. While the washing is being done we sit by the pool and I write up my trip notes. It is 5:00 and still a balmy warm late afternoon. I mention to Tam that this has a slightly surreal feel to it. Back in the UK it is cold and probably wet, while here we are, sat by a pool surrounded by trees and shrubs in a beautiful resort with the sun shining down. Freeze this moment in time, I want to stay here forever.
This reflective time has even managed the near impossible task of pushing all thoughts of this mornings terror to the back of my mind.

We shower and get ready for the evening, then catch the bus to Epcot. Here we leave Grandma and the girls in front of Spaceship Earth as Tammy and I are going to have an evening on our own, eating at the Yachtsman's Steakhouse and then on to Jellyrolls.
We walk around World Showcase and then out of the International Gateway. The walk along the waterfront to the Yacht and Beach Club is very pretty and quiet. This is our first time at this resort and we begin with a walk around the pool area. I can see why this is regarded as the best pool in the Disney resorts, it is sprawling, with little inlets all over the place. One thing I was not expecting was the sand in the bottom of the pool, this is a very nice touch. The pool itself was closed, which surprised me as it is only 7:30. The pool at the All Star Movies stayed open until midnight. If I was paying the money to stay at the Yacht and Beach Club I would expect to be able to swim in the evening if I wanted.
We stroll around for a while. This is certainly a very impressive resort but, then again, all the luxury resorts are.

We are seated promptly at the Yachtsman's Steakhouse at a very nice table by the window. One thing we were impressed with here was the level of service. It was attentive without being intrusive, everything was cleared away efficiently without ever giving you the impression that you were being hurried.

Tammy and I share the Chateaubriand for two which came with mashed potato and asparagus. The steak is carved and served at you table and is excellent. We share a dessert of macadamia nut and white chocolate pie which is a little bit too sickly for us. This is definitely not a cheap place, our bill for 2 entrees, 1 dessert, 2 beers and 2 glasses of wine (very good) comes to $100 not including tip. If you are looking for a good quality but more expensive restaurant then this would be a good choice.

We walk around a little more afterwards to let the meal go down before wandering over to the Boardwalk and going into Jellyrolls. There is a $5 cover charge when we enter at 9:30.
I think that this place could definitely blow hot and cold. On a good night when the place is full it would be a really fun and raucous experience. However, if there are not many people in, then it could get old real quick.
The pianists themselves are very good indeed and could really kick up a storm with the right crowd. On this particular night it is not really packed and the atmosphere comes and goes along with the crowd. We both enjoyed it but I would imagine you could have real fun if you were with a group of people.

We leave around 12:30 and get a taxi back to Dixie Landings.