This post is going to be a pretty snappy and not as long winded as some of the other posts of mine. But in 2010-2011 I was living in Lake Buena Vista, Florida with all the other Disney ICPs and CPs (International College Program). Almost 6 months of my life was spent mostly in Disney premises, exploring Disney parks and having fun with friends. I think I ventured out to Downtown Orlando twice, once for shopping and once for partying. So can’t say I know much of Orlando, although it always looked more rough than the Disney bliss.
The one time me and my three friends really decided to kick the Disney dust off our feet was when we decided to rent a car and drive off to Clearwater Beach. And for anyone living in the, what I would call, Disney Hell, it surely is a good idea to get away at time to time. The money you earn as an ICP is crap and you can’t choose your days off but if you do get a chance take a break and explore!
I’m not much of a beach person but I have fond memories of Clearwater Beach. It’s one of these beaches that I would recommend people to go and I still see a lot of my Florida friends recommending it. Endless sandy beach, with dunes and sun, sun, sun everywhere. No cover! If you want cover, you pay extra. Unfortunately for me our Disney money didn’t go very far, so I burned real bad. Even with my Mexican roommate putting on 50+ lotion on me everywhere. But overall Clearwater beach gives you the perfect Florida beach setting: shopping strip (Beach Walk), a never ending beach, all the fun and games of banana boats and shark slides etc..
Clearwater beach is on the West of Florida, so you’re guaranteed to get your perfect sun set pics. And this is what we were waiting to see as well. The Beach Walk shopping strip we didn’t really look into too much and can’t give you any restaurant advice, since we picniced our way and topped up with McDonalds. Back then I was a vegetarian and the options was appalling: bean burgers, bean burgers, bean burgers. So it didn’t matter whether you paid a lot or a little, you’d still get a bean burger. I hope the vegetarian options and even vegan options have now become more popular. Post your comments below if you’ve got some great restaurant tips to Clearwater or vegetarian/vegan options to share.
Miami beach I got to see by accident in 2014 on our honeymoon. We were flying from Finland to Chicago. Chicago to Miami and from Miami to Argentina. Unfortunately there was a storm in Chicago and our flight left super late, so we missed our connecting flight to Buenos Aires. To my horror we were having to spend 24 hours in Florida. I don’t think very highly to my past in Florida and I didn’t have great enthusiasm to see more of Florida. We were going to Argentina in July, so we were wearing winter clothes. Miami felt so odd because we mostly spoke Spanish everywhere we went. It didn’t even feel like America except everything looked like in America: big buildings, big malls and Miami beach was big.
After some shopping we made our way to Miami beach. Pretty much the same setting as Clearwater Beach. A long beach with restaurant strip next to it. We took some much needed first pics of our honeymoon at the beach and then headed to get some drinks and watch football. We are truly a football fanatic family (Mr Merry took a break from our second wedding to go with the lads to see Chile play at the World Cup 2014). I’m not a huge beach person so I won’t go into great lengths to tell how the sand was perfect or which degree you’ll get your best tan. Been there, seen the beach, done that. But I have to say that Miami beach area has some delicious restaurants to choose from and we did enjoy a nice meal whilst chatting in Spanish with the waiter. Would almost advise to learn Spanish to get a bit more detailed service in Miami.
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