Category Florida

“No, they’re minerals. Jesus, Marie!”


  On our trip, we made certain to save some time for The Dinosaur Store & Museum in Cocoa Beach, as they reputedly have the most elaborate display of fossils for sale in the world. They don’t let you take pictures inside the store, so you’ll have to imagine precisely how elaborate that might be, but they did have some really awesome things. We ended up bringing home an ammonite from the Jurassic period, a piece of polished hematite that I thought looked cool (sort of like an insect’s eyeball), and an alligator foot cast that is perfect for giving high-fives.

ammonite  hematite


We also went to Ron Jon’s surf shop as it was directly across the street. I needed a new pair of flip-flops as any semblance of padding there used to be on my old pair had long since been ground to dust under the repeated impact of my elephantine legs. I found a suitably comfortable replacement (like mini mattresses for my feet!), and while we waited in line to check out, a young girl ran up to her mother and insistently said, “Mom. MOM! I have to show you these or I might go crazy!” I was definitely intrigued and wanted to know what she was talking about. So now I have to show them to you, or I might go crazy.  


  You’re welcome.


Don’t pay outrageous grocery store prices for something the farmer probably spit in!

On our way back from Weeki Wachee, we saw a billboard on the highway advertising “The Showcase of Citrus”, which boasted a monster truck off-road eco tour and safari and a world-famous orange slushy. We clearly had to go; there was simply no choice in the matter. The signs tell us what to do and we do it. We ended up arriving at The Showcase of Citrus not terribly long before they closed, and as such, there was no monster truck eco tour in our future, but we were able to take a look around and see what else there was to see. IMG_2378   IMG_1236 IMG_2383

Is this something that they really need to warn people about? If you live in an area where alligators are flipping everywhere, where approximately a third of all tourist dollars go toward alligator-related amusements, do people actually forget that there are alligators out in the water? Because I grew up across the street from a manmade lake where the most dangerous thing inside was a chance of pinkeye and only the bravest of kids would put a toe in there, is what I’m saying. Once, Tommy Host swam out to the island in the middle and got diarrhea for a week, and I don’t think I ever saw anyone swim in the lake again. And all of THAT is not alligator level danger. Who forgets alligator danger?





  IMG_2394 We had no intention of missing out on a world famous orange juice slushy, and frankly, I had no intention to share, so we bought two. I don’t want to call the Showcase of Citrus people liars, but the orange juice slushy is nothing that I’d call home about. Or remember that I still had in the process of consuming it. It was really nothing you couldn’t replicate with a bottle of OJ in the freezer, if it’s something that you felt like you needed to try. If you really want to replicate the flavor, do it with a slightly sour bottle of OJ. I wonder if they have a contract with Dole?

May the best man win: the mating call of the loser!


  Just like at Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Orlando has a CityWalk outside: an area full of restaurants and shops designed to part you from your money before you even make it into the park. What separates it from nearby Downtown Disney is that at Universal Studios, they charge you for parking, too.  The walkways to the park lead you directly past Hollywood Drive-In Golf, a minigolf course that appeared entirely too spectacular to miss, so we vowed to go there at least once during our trip. We actually ended up going twice: once before Halloween Horror Nights and once on the last day of the trip as we had a significant amount of time to kill after we checked out of our hotel but before we had to go to the airport (enough to play 36 holes of minigolf, see Gravity, AND have lunch), and the amount of fun we had didn’t diminish upon replay. In addition to the fun themes, it’s actually well-designed so that skill plays a larger role than luck and balls can’t just go willy-nilly all over the place and get stuck like one particularly shitty course I’ve played. They have two 18 hole courses: The Haunting of Ghostly Greens and Invaders from Planet Putt.     IMG_2401




IMG_2413This was my favorite tombstone: “So long together, I will always remember Wigglesworth, faithful tapeworm. I’m empty inside without you.”


IMG_2469 Each course was super detailed, with sound effects, moving parts, and hilarious decorative touches. For instance, they had swamp creatures all around one hole. As you walked toward the hole, they’d spit water at you.  One was additionally positioned directly above the hole and would shoot a puff of air out at you as you bent over to pick up your ball. I went first and it startled a screech out of me.



IMG_2436 Incidentally, that scream that the golf course got out of me the first time we played was the only time I screamed that night, which was pretty sad since it was immediately followed by Halloween Horror Nights, the entire reason we waited until later in September to go on our honeymoon. Halloween Horror Nights Orlando was horrible.   hhn-2013-haunted-houses-2900x2000-oi-1160x800

First of all, the scare zones were just zombies, zombies, and more zombies, which as you’ll see, contrasted with the maze’s themes of zombies, zombies, and more zombies.  Ugh. Cabin in the woods? Redneck zombies. Resident Evil? Lab zombies. Walking dead? Zombie zombies. Evil dead? Zombie zombie zombies! ENOUGH WITH THE ZOMBIES. Zombies have been played out for a long time, let’s try something new. Two of the non-zombie mazes were repeats: La llorona, and An American Werewolf in London (which essentially recycled all of the stuff from The Wolfman maze even if it wasn’t exactly the same), so the only two that brought something new to the table were Havoc and After Life: Death’s Vengeance. Havoc boiled down to army dudes yelling on a train; one literally yelled at me for not being scared. After Life: Death’s Vengeance was at least decent, as it was about the victims of a serial killer taking their vengeance on him after he was electrocuted–in 3D. The 3D effects made it visually interesting, but distracting, not scary. Every few feet, there were zombie nurses selling shots, which I don’t remember from Horror Nights Hollywood. Maybe there’s a difference between the state’s liquor laws that allow for it in one park but not the other, but the only message it sent to me was that they knew the mazes and scare zones sucked this year so you’d need to be hammered to enjoy yourself. If we go back to another Horror Nights, it will be to Hollywood, it’s not worth the trip to Florida.