As my brother and I left the Magic Kingdom full of anger and annoyance, I suggested we visit International Drive. Aside from Disney World, International Drive is probably the second most popular and well known place in Orlando.  It’s the city’s main tourist strip.

In addition to Universal Studios and Sea World it has attractions such as a Titanic museum, a wax museum, a chocolate museum, an animal skeleton museum, pirate miniature golf, a murder mystery dinner show and a zombie outbreak experience.  I knew there was no hope of getting my brother to agree to visit any of those attractions but at least we could have dinner there and look around.

I wasn’t sure where exactly International Drive was but I was hoping it was near The Magic Kingdom.  That way we could kind of sort of convince ourselves that our ill fated trek to The Magic Kingdom had been worth it. It turned out International Drive was right next to our hotel.

When we got there we saw some interesting sites including a hotel shaped like a castle and a building that looked as though it was upside down. When we passed the stores full of Disney merchandise I was still feeling so irritated by the whole Magic Kingdom fiasco I was tempted to take a picture of myself giving Mickey the middle finger.

My brother and I argued about what restaurant to eat at like we always do but eventually we settled on one. I don’t remember what I had for dinner but for dessert I had cheesecake lollipops, which were good. I wanted to ride the Orlando Eye, a ferris wheel that gives a birds eye view of the city. We’d seen it from our hotel room and been intrigued by it. I’d asked my friend Mary where it was and she’d said it wasn’t in Disney World so we shouldn’t waste our time but of course since then certain negative feelings towards Disney World had emerged and become known so we were willing to spend our time on non-Disney attractions. My brother said we should save it for the next day when our father and Gabrielle could join us.

When we got back to the hotel and told our father what happened he got to have a glorious ‘I told you so’ moment. “You should have listened to me when I told you the tickets were only good for one park per day. Why did you find that so hard to believe?” he said to me.

I figured that even though we hadn’t gotten to visit the Magic Kingdom that night I should honor the promise I had made to my brother to do something non-Disney the next day. I was so mad about what had happened that night that I wanted to boycott Disney out of spite anyway.

My brother was so tired the next day that he would have been happy staying at the hotel but I wasn’t going to stand for that. I looked up nature parks in the Orlando area and we settled on Wekiwa Springs State Park because of the opportunities it offered for hiking, canoeing and swimming in the springs.

When we got to the springs I was intimidated by the ‘Swim at your own risk’ signs that warned of the possibility of alligators. I know that there’s a possibility of alligators in any fresh body of water in Florida though. The springs looked so inviting so I decided it was a risk I would just have to take. I’d read that the springs were very cold so I prepared myself for a polar plunge but to my surprise and delight the water really wasn’t that cold. After I’d been in it for a few minutes it felt warm. I had a nice swim and I exited the swimming hole with all my limbs intact.

After I’d dried off my brother and I went on a hike. He’d sat out the swimming because he’d forgotten his swim suit. After we’d been walking for about half an hour I discovered to my dismay that he’d also forgotten to bring water. Luckily this is Orlando we’re talking about so this nature park had a store that had not only water but soda, chips, sandwiches, ice cream and cupcakes. After I’d gotten the food I asked my brother if he wanted to go canoeing but he said he was too tired so we left.

The drive back was not too pleasant for me because my brother had the radio tuned to Armed America. I wasn’t sure how or why there would be a radio station dedicated solely to gun laws in America but needless to say as someone who really dislikes guns and is very pro gun control, I strongly disagreed with the ideology that was put forth on that station.

That night we had dinner at another restaurant on International Drive with our father and Gabrielle. Then we rode the Orlando Eye. Although Gabrielle had no problem riding the London Eye, she decided she didn’t want to go on the Orlando Eye so it was just the three of us. I didn’t find the view from the top to be all that impressive but the ride was nice enough, especially since we got free cokes (the ferris wheel is owned by Coca Cola.)

Before we’d gotten on the ferris wheel we’d had our picture taken in front of it. When we got off we were asked if we wanted to purchase our pictures in a little booklet about the Orlando Eye. My father asked how much it was and was told that it was 45 dollars. “45 dollars?” my father replied incredulously. I panicked for a moment because I was afraid he was going to say  “But I thought it was free!’, which is a tired old joke of his that makes me cringe every time but he handed over the 45 bucks and said  “Ah, well, it was an experience, a moment in time.”

Image may contain: 1 person, swimming, outdoor and water

Image may contain: night and outdoor

Image may contain: night, outdoor and water

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