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Florida Trip Park Review: Disney’s Epcot

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

I hate to keep harping on the trip between the parks and the resort, but it’s really hard to tease out how the park was without understanding the starting and ending mood.  Basically, the way it all starts and the way it all ends has a lot to do with the experience in the middle.  If I were in charge of one of the Disney Parks I would be mad because they are at a disadvantage if a guest arrives in a bad mood.

Getting to and from Epcot wasn’t as bad as the Animal Kingdom. The day before one of us forgot their Disney wrist band so we had to ride to the park then get off the bus and wait for a bus back to the resort and then back to the park.

It seems like Epcot is two things.  First, there are some Disney rides/exhibits/shops.  Second, there are country rides/exhibits/shops.  I was deeply devastated… This is true, and it bothered me a lot more than I would have ever guessed.  I have been reading about the Disney Tomato tree for it seems like at least 10 years.  I have seen pictures of it on Wikipedia. I thought the tree was like 10 years old.  We made sure to get a fast pass for the ride/exhibit that the Tomato tree is on… Then when we went through they showed us the Tomato Tree.  It was about 3 feet tall and it was pathetic.  I asked about the Tomato Tree as we were leaving and they said it died and what they had on display was not actually a Tomato Tree.  That sucked.

We went through about half the Disney things and all of the Countries.  Japan was very interesting to me.  Canada was really stinky.  I also enjoyed the USA section.  They had all of the original Colony flags on display in the Cafeteria.  It was interesting to see the Georgia (my state) started with the Rattle Snake and the the text “Don’t Tread On Me.”

Epcot was neat, I would had had a better day if we had stayed at the resort.  As I try to remember Epcot I can remember an hot/uncomfortable trip to the park, the main Epcot ride in the big ball seeming quaint, a HUGE disappointment when I saw the “Tomato Tree”, the Canada IMAX exhibit smelling like poop,  a funny squirrel in England, Morocco being absolutely beautiful, Japan being really stimulating, China being impressive, Mexico being very comfortable and wondering why their cartoon wasn’t considered racist (but it was funny with the accents and antics) and then a hot, crowded, bus ride back to the resort.

Epcot was nice, but I think we probably should have skipped it.

 

Florida Trip Park Review: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Getting to and from Disney’s Animal Kingdom via the shuttle buses was a miserable experience so it’s hard to tease out the actual Animal Kingdom, but I will try.

So the main thing I remember is constantly looking for a place to sit.  It seemed like every place I looked, every surface that you could sit in was occupied by other desperate sitters.  Also, I am getting older and even through I run 3 miles a day I am still a bit fragile.  After about 3 hours my hips were absolutely killing me.  My hip flexers got very tight.  When I stretched them I went too far and it left me in a lot of pain (it felt like a bee stung my hip) I think it’s because there are very few places to sit and I found myself standing on uneven surfaces most of the time.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the Animal Kingdom day was a generally miserable day, but most of the discomfort had nothing to do with the rides or exhibits.  Most of the discomfort was about the transportation and the surfaces.

There were a couple of things I really liked:

  • Some swinging monkeys as we entered Asia.  That was very very neat.
  • The Yeti ride. That was my favorite roller coaster of the trip (including all the Universal roller coasters.)
  • The safari ride in Africa.

To be sure I had some very good times in the Animal Kingdom, but in general all I remember was being hot, bored, tired, and limping.

If I could go back in time I would have just stayed at the resort and skipped the Animal Kingdom.

Florida Vacation: Beach vs. Disney Parks vs. Universal Parks

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

A quick recap.  We visited Florida for a family vacation.  We spent 2 days and 2 nights at Cocoa Beach and a Resort, 3 days and 3 nights at Disney Parks and a Resort, and 3 days 2 nights at Universal Parks a Resorts.

I already went over the resorts.  They all got As.  Disney got a better than perfect 100+ score, Universal got a solid 95 score, and Cocoa got a 90 score.  I also noted that the Disney Resort goals seem to align perfectly with our family needs, the Cocoa probably would have been better for something like a Bachelor Party, Girls Weekend, or Spring Break, and I think Universal my give up points in the resort to make your time at the parks better.  But with that written, Disney absolutely positively ROCKed it… perfect… better than perfect.

Now onto a 30,000 foot view of the Beach and Parks.

From 30,000 feet I really enjoyed the beach, it was very nice and relaxing.  I also got to relax in a hammock for about 45 minutes next to the beach and that was an amazingly relaxing feeling.  So when I think about the beach I remember good things relaxation, pretty people, happy people, beer, sand, waves, hammocks, wave sounds, and some nasty seaweed… for the most part very very good things.  It’s hard to figure out what part of our wonderful beach experience is man made and what part is natural.  Regardless of how it happened I give the beach a 99%.  It lost 1% for the sea weed.

From 30,000 feet when I look back at the Disney parks all I can thing about is some crazy monkeys swinging around (good), our guest being tricked into a looping roller Coaster (the Yeti – good) and being really, really, really hot and miserable (bad).  I think it’s because waiting for the bus to take us from the resort to the park and then from the park to the resort was hot and miserable.  When I was a kid we used to wait for a bus to take us to school, I remember my bus ride to school being a better experience than the bus rides at Disney.  The thing is that the bus ride is the first and last thing I remember about the parks.  In both cases is was really hot in the line.  People (other guests) were grumpy and miserable.  Employees were cheerful and miserable.  It was like 100 degrees and we typically waited in line for the buses for about 15 minutes, but it felt like 2 hours.  We got all lined up in the line that was specified for each resort, so I  felt like a cow going to slaughter (I don’t like structure) and then it was always stressful because sometimes the bus was full when it got to your stop and then you might not get on or you might be standing in a full bus next to very grumpy, sweaty guests… The point is, it’s hard to remember the good things about what happens in the park when you start off by being miserable and end up by being miserable.  I give the Disney parks at 61% barely passing pity grade. Like the kind of grade you give someone when they really failed but you feel sorry for them and there isn’t a follow up class.  Disney really missed the mark from an overall experience within the overall vacation view.  If I could do it all over again, I would not have bought tickets for the parks, I would have just hung out at the Resort during the Disney part of our stay.

Universal.  From 30,000 feet I can only remember good things about Universal.  In general getting there and getting back to the room was nice, so very pleasant.  A few times we had to wait for the boat in line, but I usually walked the shaded path to and from the resort.  The walk seemed like it was between 1/2 and 3/4 of a mile and it was super duper pleasant.  I can say that the moment I laid eyes on Diagon Alley it KNOCKED ME ON MY BUTT.  OMG what a moment.  I was astounded.  Everyone in our group was blown away and everyone had a different reason that they were blown away.  Walking around in Diagon Alley and doing the rides in there was amazing.  I truly was like going from one world to another, the contrast is amazing.  I also felt like I was witnessing something that was getting better, like it was improving organically.  There were a few other moments that stood out but for me when I remember Universal I remember being generally comfortable, stress free, and Diagon Alley.  I do remember being miserable in the train stations that get you onto the train that you ride between Hogsworth and Diagon, but when I remember it, it almost seems like another person (“An extra from the movie”) was miserable there, like someone from the movie was miserable not me.  When I was waiting for the buses at Disney “I – Marty”  felt miserable… that’s weird.  Anyways, while I might have had very uncomfortable moments within Universal the uncomfortable moments seem to be sandwiched between pleasant and wonderful moments.  So I guess the overall Universal Parks experience a solid 100%.  Absolute perfection, the imperfections just made the perfections more perfect.

Without a doubt from an overall experience perspective the Universal Parks time is my most cherished and the one I want to hang onto the longest.

To sum up:

  • Universal Studios: 100% I wouldn’t ever want to miss out on the parks.
  • Cocoa Beach: 99% I wouldn’t ever want to miss out on the beach.
  • Disney: 61% if I could do it over again I should have slept in, jogged some more, and hung out at the resort.  You know, this is 100% truthful, I think I should have slept in, jogged at Pop Century, then rode the bus to the water park, then hopped onto a bus to the Animal Resort, and then jogged on the Animal Resort jogging trails, and then relaxed on a bench somewhere in the Animal Resort, ate, and then took a bus back to the Pop Century and then taken a shower and relaxed by the pool…  I wish I would have done that.

Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Studios 95 out of 100

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

We after Cocoa and after Disney we went to Universal Studios.  We stayed at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort.  It was really, really nice.

We arrived on a Friday night after spending the day at Epcot so we were pretty tired.  There were five things that we didn’t like right off the bat:

  • The parking is different and different can be weird.
  • When we first arrived the guys opened all of our doors without warning.  It was weird.
  • There isn’t enough parking. That made me mad because we paid for parking.
  • They couldn’t give us adjoining rooms and then after the first night they moved us to adjoining rooms but the rooms didn’t actually adjoin, they were just next to each other.  Disney is the only one that got this right.
  • It’s a long walk from the parking lot to the rooms and we had to walk back and forth 3 times before we found an appropriate parking spot.

Once we finally found a parking space, after three trips back and forth to the parking lot.  Keep in mind that we paid money for a parking space, parking is not free. We didn’t move the car until we left so once that was over we didn’t have to worry about it again.

From 30,000 feet our trip to Universal was better than our trip to Disney because the Universal Park is a better fit for us.  And Diagon Alley is AMAZING… I was blown away.  And that was after being very over stimulated for the last 4 days.  I mean we did Cocoa and then Disney and then all of Islands of Adventure and then Hogwarts… and then after all of that Diagon Alley and it threw me for a loop.  It’s just amazing… just amazing… And I am not a Harry Potter fan; I read the books for professional reasons and then I didn’t need to read the last book so I didn’t.  When I laid eyes in Diagon Alley for the first time, my heart skipped.  So all and all our Universal Studio stay was a lot better than our Disney stay.

With that written, our time in The Pop Century Disney Resort was a lot better than our time in the Royal Pacific Resort.

The main thing that made our time in Pop Century better than Royal Pacific, was the parking and the adjoining rooms.  When you’re in a big group it is a very nice feeling when you can open the door between the rooms and keep the exterior doors closed.  You can do things like leave all the food on one room and play board games in the other room.  It’s just really nice.

The main thing that made our Universal Experience better than the Disney experience was moving back and forth between the room and the park.

Waiting for the bus to get us between the rooms suckkkkkked so bad.  It’s a 1/2 hour wait, the buses aren’t comfortable (the drivers are super duper nice though) and the ride was a 1/2 hour.  The point is that while it is possible to go from the room and then the park and then back to the room to rest and then back to the park at Disney we never did it.  We never did it because riding the transport was miserable and took a long time.

Going between the Royal Pacific Resort and the Universal Studios Park is fun and quick… it’s a pleasure.  We did it every day we were there.  We might get wet at the park and then shoot back to the Resort, take a hot shower, put on fresh clothes and then back to the park.  That just isn’t possible (practical) at Disney and it’s so natural and easy and fun at Universal.  At Universal when you’re moving back and forth it’s easy to relax and there’s lots of neat things to look at.  You can take pictures.  The walk is easy.  It’s so nice and it makes visiting the park so much better.

To me from a high level perspective this is what make Universal more fun than Disney.  Disney definitely creates a better product, but Universal creates a more enjoyable product.  Disney gets the details right, but Universal Rocks your world.

Keep in mind that I generally hate structure and Disney is a very highly structured environment.

I’ve gotten off topic.  I just wanted to say that I am clearly on Team Universal not Team Disney.  With that said, the Pop Century Resort was better than the Royal Pacific Resort.

The reason I am very torn is because I had a better time at Universal, a much better time.  I wonder if the reason I had a much better time at Universal was because of the way Universal is set up.  Like if the parking was closer to the rooms would that have made transport between the parks and the rooms harder?

I guess I wonder if the Royal Pacific Resort sacrifices points at the resort level to make the overall experience better.  Let’s face it no one is there for the resort, we’re there for the Parks.

To sum up the Royal Pacific is very nice and gets a solid A.  It’s not perfect, but it is excellent.  Well done Royal Pacific, thank you.

Disney’s Pop Century Resort 104 out of 100

Friday, July 24th, 2015

After we spent two days at the International Palms Resort In Cocoa Beach Florida we went to Disney’s Pop Century Resort for three days.

If I had to describe the International Palms Resort in a single phrase I would say “Sexy and Dirty.”  If I had to describe Disney’s Pop Century Resort I would say “Clean, Structured with a small hint of Party.”

So leaving a place where everything is cleaned to an extreme but is still dirty to a place where everything gleams because it’s never ever been dirty was a shock to the system.

Once we got passed the gated security we were blown away by how well organized and how much everything gleamed at the Pop Century.  It was like you could bring in the best cleaning crew in the world and they could spend a week cleaning the International Palm Resorts and at the same time if you just picked up the litter at the Pop Century Resort the Pop Century Resort would still be cleaner.

So to we were awed and thrilled when we walked into the Pop Century Resort is an understatement.

I absolutely loved that place.  I jog about three miles a day.  I have jogged in some amazing places.  Examples of places that I have been lucky enough to jog are along the beaches in Australia, Time Square, Mountains in North Carolina, Hawaii… I just love jogging.  Well the best jog of my life was at Disney’s Pop Century Resort.  I could go on all day about what made jogging in the Pop Century Resort great but that would take too long.  I’ll just write that it was a wonderful experience.

So everything is super organized there, which is great for most people, I don’t usually like that much structure, but they do it well.  The problem with having a lot of structure is when anything goes wrong then it’s hard to get back on track. The higher the level of structure the harder it is to adapt.

We had one small negative experience that mushroomed into a miserable 1.5 hours.  It’s the kind of thing that should have been resolved in 5 minutes but the intense structure made something that should have been a simple fix into a huge ordeal.

We ended up elevating our issue and eventually someone called my wife (while I was having a nice jog) and fixed it all up.

Truth be told, if they had never messed up they would have earned a 100 out of 100 score.  If they had never fixed the problem they would have gotten a 99 out a 100 score.  Since they did such a good job fixing their 1% error they got 5 points of extra credit.  So they did a great job.

When I compare my experience at the Disney Pop and the International Palm they were both fun.  The one thing that made Disney Pop a better overall experience is that I felt really safe at Disney Pop.  I never let my guard down, but at the International Palm I felt like there were a 1000 ways one of us could have gotten hurt, at Disney Pop I didn’t.

Keep in mind that Disney Pop was A LOT more expensive.

In closing, the Disney Pop experience was better than perfect.  A few things went wrong, but even though they were slow and that slowness magnifies their few mistakes they were very, very good at reacting to the magnified mistakes.  If they had never made a mistake they would have been perfect.  The folks at Disney are so good at what they do that problems become opportunities and opportunities give them the ability to turn a mistake into extra credit and that’s how they earned a 104 out of 100… better than perfect.

The International Palms Resort In Cocoa Beach 9 out of 10

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

We stayed for two days at “The International Palms Resort” in Cocoa Beach.

The good:

  • The location – it is very convenient to the beach (90 second walk.)
  • The Facility – it has lots of fun things, to do.  A nice big pool, a basketball court, a bar, a restaurant,  hammocks (I loved laying on the hammocks after my morning jog.)
  • The Pretty People – there were a lot of good looking people running around there.
  • The Surrounding Businesses – it was an easy walk/drive to restaurants, groceries, gas, souvenirs, tours…

The bad:

  • Broken Thieving Coke Machines – The soda machines are dirty and steal money when you complain the staff gives you a free soda, but then there’s no place to get soda.    The soda machine gives you a coke and keeps the change and keeps any other change you put in and won’t accept any other dollars until it resets after a few minutes… then it goes back to its thieving ways.
  • Dirty – The room starts off clean, but it gets dirty really fast.  This is because everything just outside of your room is filthy.  All of the hand rails, the floor, the stairs…
  • Parking – There is not enough parking for guests.  Between construction crews, semi-trucks, employees, and others there it’s very hard to find a parking space after about 6pm.
  • Adjoining Rooms – They promise adjoining rooms, but they don’t have the technical resources to deliver.  If you call them for a room reservation they will promise adjoining rooms if you ask for it.  Unfortunately, unless you get lucky, you won’t get it.  The way they are set up they can’t set aside rooms ahead of time.  They assign rooms when you arrive so if there are no adjoining rooms available they can’t give you adjoining rooms.
  • Last minute checkout fees – They will try to get you to leave without an itemized bill.  If you do you will have a lot of extra fees.  If you ask for an itemized bill you will see a bunch of extra fees.  If you challenge them, threaten to challenge the fees on your CC, and threaten to criticize them on Social Media they will probably remove the extra fees.

 

All and all I think this is about as good as it gets for Florida party (Cocoa, Daytona, Panama City…) beach hotel stays.  It’s kind of the perfect place for a bachelor party or chasing a good time.  It’s probably not the best place for young children or a “traditional family outing,” but I saw a lot of young people having a good time.

At the heart of the place it’s a very, very nice motel.  It’s not a private resort.  It’s not a high rise.  The general public has easy access to the beach.  The parking is a free for all with some tense security trying to figure out who belongs and doesn’t belong.  The doors open to the outside and the majority open to the parking lot.

All and all I liked.  I don’t think the name “Resort” is accurate, it is set up more like a Days Inn than and Embassy Suites.  I think the words “dirty sexy” describe it better than the words “posh luxury.”  It’s the kind of place that you stay at when your 20 something and then hope the video never shows up on the Internet for the rest of your life.

Again, I give them a 9 out of 10.  It’s a Cocoa Beach hotel, easy walk to the beach, kick-ass pool, pretty people every where, lots of alcohol… It a little dirty and gross, but that’s what a lot of people are looking for at a Cocoa Beach Florida Beach Hotel… It’s Cocoa Beach, not Destin, not Hilton Head… more like Daytona or Panama City.

I think they should change the name from:

The International Palms Resort

to:

The International Deluxe Party Motel

Reactive vs. Proactive Nature Of Service In Florida/Georgia

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

On our trip to Florida we were very annoyed at first.  In general we are used to a very proactive type of service.  In general, most places around where we live (Marietta Georgia) try really hard to get service right in the first place.  In general, most places around here get service right in the first place.  So that’s good, the bad part is that when it goes wrong around here most places/people around here don’t handle things very well.  If something gets messed up around here the service provider usually refuses to admit the mistake and then fixes the underlying problem after you leave.

In Florida, I noticed that they seem to assume things will go wrong and then make you happy after words.  They are extremely good at making unhappy people happy, but not so good at taking care of underlying problems.

Being from around here we are very hesitant to tell service providers about problems because they react so poorly to problems.  When we finally did started complaining about things like a broken coke machine the employee gave us two cokes to make us happy.  The employee never even asked which one of the dozens of coke machines was broken.  Fixing the coke machine issue wasn’t even at all on the agenda, keeping guests happy was the only agenda.

Why is this?  I don’t know, but I can guess.  So here’s my guess.

Most people in Marietta Georgia that walk into a store are from around here.  We know what we like and what we don’t like.  We know what we need to do to make local people happy and that’s the agenda.  Most customers in Cocoa Beach Florida are not from around there.  There is no way to know what might or might not offend their sensibilities.  They have to react to each individuals personal response to every issue because the people are all over the place. There is no defined code of behavior in Florida because the vast majority of customers are outsiders.

Here’s what I learned in Florida.  If you walk into a business and you are really nice to them they will likely respond by giving you the worst service or situation possible in hopes of reserving the better stuff (rooms, table, food, smiles) for more demanding customers.  They are trying to maximize profit.  If you complain they will react in a non-negative way and reward you with better service. Complaining and being mean is rewarded in Florida. I think complaining and being mean can be a hard habit to break and people probably won’t appreciate it when you come back home if you live in a place where cooperation is important.

Florida Trip From 30,000 Feet

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

This year we did our trip in an unusual way. The primary reason for the trip was so that Lex could compete in the AAU Club National Championships at Disney.

Before the competition we went to Cocoa Beach, then to Disney Resorts, then to Universal Resorts.

We went to Cocoa first to spend less money.  Staying at Disney is extremely expensive.

We went to Disney so we could be close to the competition.

We went to Universal because we like there parks the best.

So it was 2 days a Cocoa Beach  Resort, 3 days at a Disney Resort, and 2 days at a Universal Resort.

This turned out to be a very good way to do things.  Because of the wild change in venue every few days when it was all done we all felt like we’d been on vacation for a month. Also we have all become very routine based, the first couple of days we couldn’t get passed feeling like we were neglecting out routines, but after the dramatic changes in our surroundings every few days we were all able to disconnect.  By the end we were all sleeping very well.

I think if you have the kind of life where there is a lot of stress and a lot of things to accomplish breaking up a vacation so that your reality changes dramatically every few days is a good strategy.  It seems to trick your brain into thinking that your life back home is in the deep past.

Florida is a great place to do that.  The beaches have a very unique culture and then Disney is a little world unto itself and then Univeral is very different too.  After about 4 hours in each place you are fully immersed into the new venue and then after a few times all of your routines back home just dissolve… it gives you a break.

Cowfish… so very bad… so very rude…

Monday, July 20th, 2015

For the next couple of weeks I am going to be capturing my experience of a Florida Vacation. I hate making negative posts.  As a rule I never allow myself to have a negative post unless there are 10 non negative posts on both sides of it.  So when I make a negative post I have very deep negative feelings because I am promising that my next 10 posts will not be negative.

In general a trip to Florida is going to be good.  When I complain about something bad in Cocoa Beach, Disney, or Universal it’s kind of like when you’re watching NBA basketball and they say that the 6’11″ power forward is short or the NFL when they say the 290 pound guy is small.  The Central Florida area creates really good experiences so most complaints are in the context of excellence.

I hate to write about my experience with Cowfish at Universal Studios in such a negative way, but I just can’t tolerate such RUDE behavior.  I remember one time we were driving through Louisiana on our way to the Junior Olympics in Houston.  I decided to play a prank on my wife while she was driving and she almost flipped our car into a swamp.  It was clearly a bad judgement call on my side. We were all so shook up that we pulled over at a gas station that looked like it was falling apart.  It seriously reminded me of the original Texas Chainsaw Murder.  When we walked in there was a very near violent dispute over a credit card that was being used.  The tension was palpable.  There were fire arms visable, calls to the police… the place was filthy, I am pretty sure there were camera’s in the bathroom.   Everyone there hated us for being different. It was a terrible awful experience… I am not kidding when I way that our experience at Cowfish was worse.

I felt more sad for the lady behind the bar at Cowfish than I did for the guy working at the gas station.  Cowfish in Orlando is very clean, but the people are so awful.  The guy behind the counter in the Louisiana Texas Chainsaw Massacre gas station had a brain that was functioning properly.  He was alive, that lady behind that bar was like some kind of zombie or like tortured lab rat.  It’s like the employees were all poking and prodding each other to such an extreme amount that being horrible is just a way of life.

The context is that my darling daughter thought the place looked neat (she’s a very successful IBMer) and she goes to places like that a lot.  So we were all supposed to meet there at 11:00.  There were 7 of us.  Melissa and I walked from the resort, Ana and Jimmy were at the Studios, and the rest were at the Island of Adventures.  Melissa and I were the first to arrive.  We asked for a table.  They had us wait a few minutes and then took us upstairs.

A very arrogant 19-24 year old kid asked us where our party was.  We explained that our party was separated, but on their way.  He rolled his eyes at us (RUDE… seriously, like the dude at the Texas Chainsaw Massacre place never rolled his eyes at us) and told us that he couldn’t set a table aside for us until our party arrived.  There were more than a dozen tables in that place and not a single table was occupied.  He told us “You have to sit at the bar until your party arrives!” in a very nasty manner.  Remember the place is E-M-P-T-Y so we went to the bar.  The bartender smiled and said how my I help you.  I explained that we were sitting at the bar until our party arrived.  She got so mad, and not the “lash out angry mad”, the “I hate the world” mad and she asked if we needed anything to drink.  I didn’t really want anything, but I felt so bad that I ordered a Coke.  Melissa ordered water.  The bartender couldn’t look at us for the rest of the time.  After about 6 minutes our party arrived and the bartender brought me a bill.  She placed it in front of me (out of my reach) without saying word and rush off.  The bill was for three dollars and change.  I was just sitting there feeling awful and so very sorry for the poor girl.  I left her a $10 bill ($6+ tip) for pouring one drink and letting us sit at her empty bar for 6 minutes.  I was hoping to see her smile when she got it.  I was watching her when she picked up the ticket and she just got mad.  There was no pleasing her.  As a customer there is no way I could ever please her.  I am sure if I had stiffed her she would have been mad and if I would have left her at $100 bill she would have been mad.  It’s just a sick situation.

Also when our party arrived I told the mean 19 YO that our party had arrived, I figured he’d be happy that we weren’t wasting his time.  Nope, he was annoyed… more eye rolling.

At this point, I can say without hesitation that every employee at Cowfish behaved worse than the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, filthy store, peephole bathroom place in the swamps of Louisiana.  What I am saying is that that guy behind the counter in the swamps of Louisiana, surrounded by filth had a better outlook on life and better social skills than these tortured souls at Cowfish in Orlando Florida.

We sat down.  The waiter that came up was looking at 7 people we were all going to order $15+ meals… that’s a pretty big tip.  He started pretty nice, then he took our drink order.  I mentioned that I had already paid for my drink.  He got very defensive and said that he would not refill my drink unless I paid for another one.  I was frustrated at this point, because waiters and waitresses are almost always super duper nice because they usually like tips.  In a weak moment I mumbled “Orlando Style” to myself and he looked at me and said “What was that?”  the way HS kids pick a fight.  I said “Orlando Style” and he rolled his eyes at me.

Everyone ordered water (a first in my family) and then my daughter looked at me said, do you want to go? There’s no reason to sit here and be miserable.

So we left…  We went to a restaurant two spaces over.  We all got sodas and desert.

To me the food on the menu look great at Cowfish.  The people that work there seem like they are very smart and capable.  They seem like they are in an terrible situation.  They act like people that feel trapped and like they can’t do anything right.  They seemed like good people that would do awful things because they are in a awful sick, disgusting context.

I worked in the food industry all through the 80s and 90s and I’ve seen a lot of places. This seems like the kind of place where the employees are very very miserable.

I know that the way the employees feel doesn’t really matter to a lot of people.  They are strangers to me, so all and all I don’t want anyone to be miserable, but it doesn’t make a lot difference; but it does…

See this is the kind of environment that produces sick and disgusting behaviors.  Generally, what you see in the front of the house is the tip of the iceberg.   Many times an eye roll at the front of the hours is urine in the food at the back of the house.  Miserable restaurant workers often do horrible things to food.  Just watch the movie fight club, that does happen in some places when the workers aren’t happy.

I was afraid to eat anything that comes out of the Cowfish kitchen.  I sensed a deep hate coming from that Cowfish front staff. I think Cowfish was so bad that they don’t deserve be me rated in context with the parks or beaches.  I think Cowfish should considered in the same league as family owned gas stations that were built in the 70s.  When compared to family owned gas stations that were built in the 70s Cowfish loses because in the gas stations you can buy sealed food, food that wasn’t touched by a staff that hates you no matter how hard you try to be nice.

Cowfish… EPIC FAIL.  Try being nice to the staff and then maybe they will be nice to the customers.  The other restaurants draw from the same resource pool and their staff is nice.

Wonderful/Amazing Florida Vacation

Monday, July 20th, 2015

For the last week I have been fortunate enough to be on an amazing Florida Vacation.  It was like three vacations:

  • We stayed in a sprawling beach resort on the beach in Cocoa Beach.
  • We stayed on a fun/energetic resort at Disney.
  • We stayed in a posh resort at Universal Studios.

What made is especially wonderful was that my three kids, my youngest son’s very sweet girlfriend and my darling daughter’s amazing husband were all a part of it too.

For the next couple of weeks I am going to review the vacation.  I am sorry if you visit this blog for the Angular, 3D printing, or digital boy posts, but I have to capture this experience in my blog.