Over Halloween, I traveled with my husband and two friends to that fun-filled vacation spot. Our primary reasons for going were, as you'd expect, theme park related. But it would actually be a few days before we got to that.
Day one of the trip, after our flight, was really just about getting settled. We'd decided to rent a house together rather than getting hotel rooms, saving us a lot of money and getting us a lot more space. We ate dinner out at a wings place, but we also didn't want to eat out for every meal, so we did some grocery shopping. The rest of the evening was just relaxing. Thoughts of using the screened-in swimming pool in the back "yard" were quickly dispelled when we found it to be crazy-cold.
We awoke on day two to a chainsaw massacre happening right outside -- the trimming of palm trees along the central lake in the housing development.
This kicked up a dust in the air so fine it penetrated the screen out back and left a gross film on the pool that the filter never really caught up with. I don't know if that swimming pool ever warmed up; we never used it for the rest of the trip.
But no worries, as there was plenty to do. This was to be our one "non-theme park" day of the trip, and after considering ways to fill it, we settled on a visit to Wekiwa Springs State Park. We took a short walk through local nature, getting far different scenery than a hike back in Colorado would yield.
It was a relatively short visit, but probably about right with so much walking to come on the rest of the trip. And in any case, we had tickets for dinner at a quirky destination: Medieval Times! You may have seen this sort of thing in Las Vegas (at the Excalibur hotel), or in the movie The Cable Guy. If not, Medieval Times is a two-hour dinner show inside a castle -- part Renaissance Festival, part Casa Bonita. You eat stereotypical medieval food (without silverware) and watch as six knights compete in a series of events.
The evening culminated in a staged joust, with the guests divided into six sections to cheer for a particular knight. We were in the green section, enthusiastically cheering on our "hero." And though he won his early bout, it was his turn to fall (as the script demanded) to the red knight -- a particularly galling outcome, given the ribald Trump fan in his section who thought it appropriate to actually shout "Make American Great Again" in the middle of the show. At least the blue knight later vanquished red and won the tournament. (Though obviously, I'd have traded this proxy battle for a different result in the election.)
Medieval Times was schlocky fun. Subpar food, fight choreography that was spotty at times, but still charmingly silly and enjoyable. I don't know that it's something I'd want to do it again, but it's an experience I'd probably recommend to anyone who hasn't tried it -- and to lovers of fantasy and horsemanship in particular.