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Day 4 – The Three Ps / The First Time 2011

Day 4 of The First Time 2011, the first of my Disney Trip Reports, is here! Today is a slow day, with popping out for breakfast, doing some shopping, and hanging out in the villa pool!

The First Time 2011 Trip Report Index has the full list of days for the trip. You can also check out my 2011 Pre-Trip Planning Report to find out more about us!

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Day 4: Chill-Out Day

Ponderosa, Publix & Pooltime

7th August 2011

Paranoid about burning out (I’d not been well), we decided today to have an easy one – breakfast at IHOP, shopping, and then chilling in the pool until a buffet dinner at either Ponderosa or Golden Corral.

We started the drive to IHOP – Homer couldn’t direct us properly and instead, we ended up pulling into Ponderosa on the 192. Close enough! (IHOP is on the other side of the road!)

Breakfast at Ponderosa

We queued and paid for our breakfast. We all got the waffle add-on, but I don’t think we actually needed to do this. Oh well!

We were shown to a booth, and then a server came over and introduced himself and we went to the buffet bar.

Ponderosa Buffet Area

It is a squish around the buffet, very close to the booths on either side of the station.

Having people’s butts in your face whilst your trying to eat can’t be very pleasant!

I’m glad we were not so close to it! (I found the Golden Corral layout a lot nicer – that post comes later!)

There was a big selection of breakfast goods – eggs, bacon, sausage, cereals, fruit…along with more bizarre items like jelly, chocolate mousse, and cake!

I had my first try of biscuits and gravy – another tick on the ‘foods to eat in Orlando’ list. They tasted a lot nicer than I thought they would.

We actually ended up buying packet mixes of both biscuits and gravy to bring home to the UK, when we later visited Publix.

Biscuits & Gravy

When we paid at the start, we bought three bottles of orange juice.

We didn’t realise we had to pay for all our drinks upfront; so when I decided that I fancied a coffee, the waiter asked if it was on our receipt, which it wasn’t…no coffee for me then!

I assume I could have gone up to the till again and paid for one? Who knows! He didn’t tell us!

Our waffles were then brought out, and Liam nommed his all up.

I warned the boys that the blob of what looked like ice cream or cream, was actually butter…most of that was flicked to the side of the plate!


I couldn’t manage my waffle at all, which is when I remembered my friend telling me to just have the buffet and not pay for the add-on…

We weren’t overly impressed with Ponderosa. I know it’s a cheap meal, but it also looks and tastes like it.

The bacon was swimming in a vat of oil and looked rank. I remember not actually wanting to try anything much because it didn’t look too clever.

We decided we probably won’t be going back there. Ever. But glad we at least tried it to formulate our own opinion of the place.

Attached to the restaurant was a gift shop, so we decided to take a gander there.

Making a mental note of the prices of suitcases, we also picked up a few Disney photo albums at $10-ish, and a bunch of keyrings as gifts for peeps back home.

We visited a few other gift shops along the 192 and just loved looking at all the tacky souvenirs!

Tacky Souvenirs

Shopping At Publix

Our next stop was Publix to do some food-gift shopping, as I had a list of American goods to bring home (from my siblings!)

Public Supermarket

I don’t have a dog, but if I did, I would buy them this product on name alone!

Packet of Snausages

We found Publix to be a much nicer supermarket compared with Walmart.

I can’t say that I actually compared prices, but I am told that Publix is slightly more expensive.

With photos of random foods taken…

…and Liam holding the biggest bucket of ice cream we ever did see…

…we made our way to the checkout to pay for our sugar-filled treats.

Now, they bag up your stuff in Walmart, but Publix, well, they go the extra mile.

There was a lady at the end of the checkout packing our stuff neatly away, as the other person put the stuff through the till.

She made conversation with us, mentioning that she can always tell the tourists as they buy all the candies!

Compare this with the UK where they bleep the shopping through as quickly as possible, and snarl at you if you can’t keep up with packing…give me American service any day of the week!

The packer then said she would take our stuff to our car and help us to put it in the boot (or trunk as they like to call it).

I felt bad because she was this little old lady, but she just grabbed our cart, and off she went!

I nudged Steve and asked if he thought we should be giving a tip; we didn’t know if we should or not, but to be safe and not to offend, we gave her a few bucks.

Turns out, that this is actually part of the service and that you don’t have to tip them – at least, according to my American friend who I mentioned what happened at Publix when we started talking about tipping customs in the UK vs the USA.

He said she shouldn’t really have taken it! Oh well, if it buys her some more blue rinse…

Quite suddenly, Steve started to feel unwell with a stomach ache.

So we went back to the villa where he slept for a few hours, whilst Liam and I messed about in the swimming pool.

I also tried desperately to catch up with the photo editing on my iPhone pictures and upload them to Instagram, Facebook, and Flickr!

I gave up with the ones we took on the Lumix cameras as our netbook was too small and fiddly for me to work properly and it was winding me up.

I just resided myself to the fact that I would have mountains of editing to do when I got back to the UK.

Trying to write a live trip report on the forum I belong to was also a big pain in the bum, so that too went out of the window.

Then, learning about the riots back in the UK being close to home as well wasn’t too pleasant, so today was turning out to be a bit of a meh kinda day.

I took photos of our earlier purchases to cheer myself up!

I was surprised to find Cool Whip in the freezer section and had to buy it because of Family Guy!

It tastes like and has the texture of Dream Topping and surprisingly, is not as sweet as I thought it would be.

Can’t have pie without Cool W-Hip
Candy Corn for Halloween!
Always used to read about Goobers in books as a kid!

So many peanut butter-flavoured goods!
Mac ‘n’ Cheese
This is a breakfast cereal?!
We don’t get these flavours in the UK!
When I put this photo up on Facebook, the face recognizer wanted to tag her as my sister – we were in hysterics!
How retro-looking! I love the box!

As for White Castle Burgers, I’ve known about these since I was about 14 and an NKOTB fan! They would always go on about these tiny burgers!

You can cook them in the oven or microwave, and since I’m on holiday, the microwave was as good as it was going to get!

A nuke of 60 seconds and ta-da, burgers! Liam ate all 6! I had a tiny bite – they weren’t too bad!

White Castle Burgers

Steve still wasn’t too clever by the evening, so we didn’t go out for dinner as planned.

We just had some snacky bits at home, and I’m pretty sure, that now we’re into day 4, all this food is playing havoc with my diet and body.

(At this point in the holiday I was desperate for weighing scales to see what was going on! By now I had lost just over 5 stone.)

A storm brewed overhead and we were treated to a spectacular lightning show.

Lightning Storm

All in all, a rather uneventful day I’m afraid! Tomorrow, Universal – for sure!

All photos from this day can be found on my Flickr!

Read about the day after:
Day 5 – Universally Speaking
Universal Studios and Mel’s Drive-In

Read about the day before:
Day 3 – Our 1st Orlando Theme Park
Islands of Adventure and Mythos Restaurant

» Read ALL the days!

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