I mean where do I even start when it comes to the topic of Florida? I suppose I could start from the very beginning, or near enough. When I reminisce to myself, a lot of my earliest childhood memories are from holidays spent at Florida with my family. These used to be the most amazing holidays because they consisted of me and my parents with my grandparents, my Dad's side of the family, also joining us. So Florida really used to be a family affair. I still recall past trips where my Nan bless her was always guaranteed to injure herself, whether it be falling out of our rental truck or falling off at the ET ride! You could always guarantee that there would be loads of laughs. Another funny incident that springs to mind was a trip in the early 2000s with my parents. We were queuing for Pirates of the Caribbean. The film 'Dodgeball' had recently come out and featured a character called 'Steve the Pirate'. Anyway, we were stood there in the queue, when all of a sudden, we heard a loud American guy shout out "Yarrrgh! And Steve was a pirate!" The three of us instantly burst into laughter, as did other people in the queue. It may not sound so hilarious written down but it really was one of them moments where you had to be there.
This giant ET billboard used to freak the heck out of me when I was a toddler!
Through the years, the family trips grew less and less but I still ended up having some amazing trips with my Mum, with the most recent being 2013. My trips with Mum also had some hilarious moments, including one instance where a man walked out in front of a car and the driver yelled out "Asshole!" It was just so stereotypically American that I couldn't stop myself from laughing! I remember we were going to see a film after that happened and I had to lock myself in a toilet for a good 10 minutes because I had uncontrollable laughter. Again, you just had to be there! So I guess you could say that another thing that springs to mind when I think of Florida is laughter!
Mum lapping it up with Poor Bear and friends!
A 17 year old's first time at Hooters. God I look young here!
I think it's safe to say that the topic of theme parks come to mind when most people think of Florida, me being no exception. Florida is absolutely synonymous for it's theme parks and for good reason too. A lot of people instantly think of Walt Disney World but we shouldn't forget that Florida is also home to Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens to name but a few. Florida is quite easily the theme park capital of not only America but the whole world! There really isn't a better place to go if you're a theme park lover!
Look at what I caught on my travels!
Now if you're going to ask me which one is my favourite, I really couldn't choose. It's just too difficult! That being said though, being the big Disney lover I am, I am extremely geared towards the Disney parks. Like I said with my childhood memories, a lot of them are from times spent at the Magic Kingdom and for some reason, I have a lot of distinctive memories from Hollywood Studios back when it was known as MGM Studios, which I still call it to this day.
Might have to check into this place again. I wonder if they've sorted out their elevator problems yet?
Being a massive film buff, I do love Universal Studios. The park has changed drastically throughout the years but I still love it. It is home to the longstanding classic ET Adventure ride, as well as my favourite show in all of Florida, Universal's Horror Make-Up Show!
Doc Brown told me his birthday was "In the future!" I did laugh!
Now this is where I raise a few eyebrows with some people but I'm also a very big fan of SeaWorld. I just find it an incredibly relaxing park to walk around, hence why it is known amongst my family as the 'first day park', because it has the prefect mix of peaceful exhibits mixed with adrenaline rushes, making it a great place to spend the first day of a Florida trip.
SeaWorld's beautiful entrance really sets the tone of the park
Food and Drink
If there's one stereotype that us Brits give America, it's that their food portions are huge. Whilst this is very true, it is also extremely tasty! I have many favourite restaurants in Florida that can't be found here in the UK. Examples include Friendly's, The Olive Garden and Johnny Rockets. Although they have a couple of locations here, you can't beat the atmosphere of an American Hooters, especially if you're a young lad!
Good music, great grub and pretty servers! What's not to love!
There's just something different about American dining and I can't quite put my finger on it. Well, quite importantly, it's more delicious, in my opinion anyway! Of course you're going to get burgers, that's another stereotype America is famous for, but hey, there are plenty of other foods on offer. One of my favourite things to eat out there are their sour dough toasted sandwiches. Oh my, I'm drooling over the thought of them now! One restaurant I mentioned, The Olive Garden, is home to the best dish I've ever had in my life, their Chicken Alfredo, dare I be crude but it is simply orgasmic! It's the stuff of legend, in my book anyway!
Oh how I love this place!
Here is the reason why!
Food aside, I can't go on without mentioning some of the beverages that come to mind when I think of Florida. Firstly, milkshakes! Oh my God the milkshakes in Florida are so heavenly! They're just so thick and creamy, I love them! Saying that, another beverage I love to drink out there is Mountain Dew. Now I know you can buy it over here but it just isn't the same. It really isn't. American Mountain Dew has a completely different taste. Surprisingly, it's a lot less gassy in America.
I needed cool air as well as Cola to cool down in the Florida sunshine!
One of my favourite things about going visiting Florida is the Americans. I just love them! Well, all the ones I've met anyway. They're just so friendly, though some would say overly friendly. I don't mind it though because for me it's all part of the experience. As you'd expect, the Cast Members throughout all of Walt Disney World are nothing short of exceptional, as are the staff at all the other theme parks. Restaurant staff always go above and beyond to maintain the best dining experiences too.
Workers aside, I've been blessed to meet some great Florida locals, including an elderly couple who stood with me and Mum to watch Blondie perform at Universal's Mardi Gras celebrations in 2011. I'll never forget that night because the elderly gentleman got into a fight with another guy over the Vietnam War. The man's wife looked at us, rather embarrassed and gave a wry laugh, so me and Mum just smiled!
My new adopted family!
So hopefully that answers some questions about why I love Florida so much and just why there's so much fuss about it, for me and many other people around the world. Like I said at the beginning, I had to limit myself with this blog because I could have quite easily gone on for hours on end about why I adore Florida. Trust me, this isn't all of my reasons, but hey, there's always time for another blog one day!
As always, thank you for reading and I'll see you soon!