Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Banana Jacks ~ AKA The "I Can't Even" Dinner

I have talked up a restaurant called Banana Jacks a good bit on this blog. We visited for the first time back in Sept of 2013 (here) then we loved it so much we took the entire Parker crew back in April of 2014 (here).  I've also recommend it to a TON of blog readers as well as real life friends who visit the Orlando area. It's always been an affordable pizza/games/play place type deal and we've really loved it.

Those praises end NOW.

Zach and Jordan really love competition and enjoyed playing the basketball game at Banana Jacks in the past (the first time we visited Jordan and Casey went on another night than we did and loved it too). Since it's always been a fun place to go, we planned to all go together on our last night of the trip! Who doesn't love some pizza and some fun games, right?

Right when we walked in we could tell the vibe was different. I'm not saying it was ever fancy by any means...but it just seemed dark and creepy to a point. There was literally ONE person working there and it was overrun with quite the crew of customers. Not judging books by covers...but some of these dudes were ones I'd def be scared to see solo in an alleyway. It also got way more expensive! They didn't have coupons anymore and Zach and Casey took forever trying to deal with ordering and getting it all worked out. We were so turned off by just the initial entrance to the place that we debated not eating. Kinda wish we would have gone that route now!

Sidenote about me but back in the day when I auditioned for The Real World (you can read about that here) they told me I had a lot of "street smarts" because when a random guy told me he was with MTV and to "come with him" I said no way. I am the type of person who has my radar up all the time, everywhere we go. I know it's sometimes annoying to people with me, but I trust my gut BIG TIME and feel like it's an asset in keeping my family safe. My Emily Radar was going off in a mega way at this place. Everything just felt off and I didn't like it! But the kids were excited and I knew we had Zach and Jordan to keep us safe so I pushed those concerns aside and tried to let the kids enjoy themselves since it would be the last time we ever visit there!

So much of our experience is just something words can't fully describe. It's one of those times that those of us who were there will never forget. At one point Zach came over to the staff member and let her know he found human feces on the floor. No. Joke. This is a place where kids are supposed to remove their shoes in order to play in the play place. So tons of kids are barefoot. And it's also a place where FOOD IS SERVED. Yet there was poop smeared all over the ground by a couple of the games. What the heck!?! Magically another worker appeared to clean it up and only brought out some water and a mop. Um. Seriously?!? She said it was "gum" on the floor and not poop. But Zach and Jordan can smell and they confirmed it was not gum. Who even knows how long it had been there. Soooo grosssssssss.

It seemed like it took years for our food to come. I just wanted to EAT and GO! Of course Zach was pretty insistent on using up all of our tokens we had purchased. I'm usually not one to want to waste money either, but in this case I was over it. I just kept constantly thinking about everything my kids were touching. Like Tess never wears shoes. I was carrying her constantly b/c she was not about to touch that floor!

Don't you love how none of my pictures accurately portray the situation? haha! It just looks like we are all having a great time at a nice dinner! (I do have to admit...the pizza was goooood....)

Toooo cute (and omg their little milk cups sitting side by side!)

We were all cracking up at situation and about died when we saw a glass of wine sitting on table. Like who orders wine there?!?! I wish I had the nerve to take a picture of the guy who was drinking it. It would have made for a killer meme or something haha! "Just finished my drug deal...human feces on the floor...still drinking my wine"

The babies were having SO MUCH FUN!

Her silly side really came out!

Look closely at this picture. Do you notice anything?!?!

Yes. A security guard came in and told everyone in the place that they had to evacuate immediately. Y'all. I about died. She said we all had to leave. She wouldn't say why and of course I'm thinking someone got murdered when the obvious drug transactions went sour. Or like someone was on their way to rob the place and they got wind of it or something. The options were truly endless in this situation. 

She wouldn't tell us specifics but my husband, of course, wanted to finish out his tokens before we left. They wouldn't refund us for them and we sure as heck wouldn't be coming back to use them so he didn't want them to go to waste. Clearly his Zach Radar was getting different signals than my Emily Radar. 

She told us she could give us 20 more min and that she was pretty sure we'd be safe. Great. I felt SO much better. 

At that point everyone else had cleared out so honestly I did actually feel a little better. But that didn't stop me from speed rushing the kids to use as many tokens as quickly as possible! 

This. This is what we risked our lives for haha

Congrats on the high score, sorry you almost got murdered for it haha 

I was helping Britt play the race game but refused to put Tess down while doing it and the game took Tess's picture as the driver ;)

These are our "WE CAN'T EVEN" faces. We were DONE. SO DONE.

But, hey, massive amounts of tickets...totes worth it right? ;)

Praise Jesus we made it home alive from that adventure. While we were there I did take a peak out at the pool area because Banana Jacks is attached to Regal Palms which is a place we have stayed at in the past, that I recommend to people all the time, and where we actually almost purchased a place. It makes me SO THANKFUL that we prayed a lot on that decision and decided against it! Clearly the community is also going downhill. The girl who worked at Banana Jacks told us that it's under new management and has just been run completely to the ground. SO SAD. 

We also think that the reason the security guard cleared the place out was due to the feces. Right?!?! I mean they probably needed to shut it down for health code reasons? Because that was a crap load of crap haha

Since it was our last night of our trip we told the big kids they could share a room! They were SO PUMPED and had the best time staying up "late" and talking and laughing. I love how they have all their friends set up :)

When we first planned the trip I was REALLY excited for some tougher time with Casey and Jordan. But the night we got there Georgia Tech (Jordan's team) played, then the next night our crew was at MK, then Sat night Casey and Jordan had their date night (and FSU played) so the only night we all ended up getting to hang out was Sunday! It was well worth the wait though!

I love love love how close Casey and I are and that we spend so much time together but it is so fun to be together all four of us. While I'm so thankful they are parents now, kids are kinda a group hangout buzzkill! I mean it's hard to all get together when we have children to worry about right?!?! We spent so much time laughing (and omg Jordan has this awesome laugh that is so infectious) and it made me realize just how much I truly MISS those times together with them! We need to make it more of a priority even though it's tough to make it happen! It's well worth it and we had a blast!

Turns out I'm NOT good with a selfie stick. This took like 20 min to accomplish haha

Impersonating my selfie stick skills haha

When I booked the house for our stay it worked out to cost the same amount to book an extra night. Even though we were heading home Monday morning we actually had the place through Tuesday morning. Casey and Jordan hit the road but we took our time and decided to just leave later that afternoon. We wanted to enjoy the chill time and the pool and not have to rush packing up to leave! 

The house had a garage turned into a game room that Kye LOVED!

Making up games in the pool!

Helping pack...by putting their piles of "friends" directly in front of the stairs ;)

I found a mayo packet in my book bag from our Disney day and thought it'd be funny to leave it beside the bed just so the cleaning staff would wonder what it was used for haha

We had an AWESOME trip!!! Family time together is THE BEST!

PS: I sincerely apologize to everyone to whom I have recommended Regal Palms/Banana Jacks. DO NOT EVER VISIT THERE. I repeat EVER. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Downtown Disney - Disney Springs

After our breakfast at Cape May we drove over to check out Downtown Disney which is now officially known as Disney Springs. It's been a hot mess of construction for a LONG time but is getting better and better each time we visit! I know the big appeal of Disney Springs is now supposed to be the high end stores and restaurants, but y'all know us. We ain't high end type folk ;) I don't see us enjoying the new elements and we will probably always stick to the Marketplace end of it! 

We got daring and had Tess miss her morning nap! We only skip it occasionally on Sundays so we were a little brave in attempting it. I did bring her friend in hopes that maybe she'd fall asleep in the stroller. Shocker: didn't happen :) Luckily she's my angel baby and was happy as could be even if a little sleepy!

Nothing like being greeted by a hot air balloon! 

Although we didn't walk into any of the new shops, the new layout forces you to pass them all on your way to the Marketplace so we enjoyed window shopping!

Of course we also enjoyed hunting down some hidden Mickeys!

Britt impressed me at our stop into T-Rex! She wasn't scared this time at all!

Zach's photo taking skills on this day are pretty hilarious...poor Tramp got his head chopped off ;)

Lego Store is a "must do" for our crew!

Kye doesn't own any Legos. We did some Duplo stuff and he has liked it but we put off legit Lego's until he was truly old enough to enjoy them. Legos can be frustrating so we really wanted to stick to the age recommendations on the boxes and all the little size legos are at least age 6. This will be Kye's first Christmas receiving Lego's and he had so much fun with Zach checking out all the options to put on his Christmas wish list!

I'm not sure if this is new, or if we just never saw it before, but they have a cool build a car racer thing outside the Lego Store. I took the girls to look at the princess stuff while Kye and Carter did some car fun!

Toooo much cuteness!

I adore this :) Daddy gives the best piggy back rides!

Kye, Britt and I pretty much spent our time annoying everyone else by pointing out every Mickey we could see ;)

Daddy was so nice to let the kids ride the choo choo!

I thhhhhhink the moms may have had more fun than the kids hahaha


Zach was also sweet enough to let Tess ride the carousel and the big kids were SO great about it. They had just gotten to have an entire day at Disney and Tess didn't so it was her turn for some special fun! (Although these pics don't make it look like she enjoyed it haha!)

We packed lunches and found seats to enjoy what we had packed! The babies were getting SO sleepy and Kye was such a big helper keeping them happy. He's SO great with little ones :)

If you ever visit Goofy's Candy Co then you have to be on the lookout for the hidden GOOFY! We found him and were pumped :)

Had to get a little treat (and as far as Disney prices got, $4.95 for this big bag of cotton candy was quite a bargain!)

First time ever eating "candy" 

Oh Britt.

Kye's reading ability has made life so fun! He was so so funny all morning pointing out the hidden Mickey's and just was in a silly mood. He cracked me up when we passed by T-Rex on the way back to the car and he said "MOM! The dinosaur BITES!" He had read a sign below the dinosaur fossil display that said "Please do not touch, He BITES" and just couldn't get over it. He thought it was hilarious because the dinosaur can't really bite us. 

We got back to the room a few minutes after 1 which was perfect timing for naps! Tess did fall asleep on the way back to the house and Zach used his Daddy ninja skills and somehow managed to get her out of her car seat, into the house, up the stairs and into her bed while STILL asleep! Boom! 

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