SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2022
Since the cruise was leaving from Port Canaveral on a Monday, it was only natural to take advantage of the weekend prior. This time we decided to go ahead and launch our vacation at the Walt Disney World ResortⓇ, particularly because we hadn’t yet visited the parks during the 50th anniversary celebration!
With time being limited (& it not being winter), we opted for the first Southwest non-stop flight of the day at 7:30am. UGH.
Kara: Gayle arrived at my house on Friday around noon - already exhausted from lack of sleep. Unfortunately that was impacting both of us this week as I didn’t sleep well while I was in Nashville with a client earlier in the week.
We grabbed some lunch and dinner and headed to bed by 9 p.m. Unfortunately, the insomnia bug hit both of us again a bit on Friday night. Just before my alarm was to go off at 4 a.m., Gayle knocked on my bedroom door - already fully dressed and needing to use the flat iron in the main bathroom.
So, it was going to be THAT kind of travel day.
We left the house by 5am, parked the car at the Fast Park and were at the airport by 5:30am. Something was going on at American Airlines as well as with TSA on the A side of the Indianapolis airport (where Pre-check is). We were flying Southwest so didn’t have to deal with any of the American issue and thankfully they still let pre-check go through, but it was a BUSY morning at the Indianapolis airport for some reason.
Boarding and the flight were completely uneventful which was a delight after I had three very turbulent flights in a row earlier in the week. We landed and headed to baggage claim. While we had claimed our own bags at Orlando on three previous occasions this was the first time since Magical Express ended at the parks that we had to get our bags to go to the parks. And, it didn’t go well.
The carousel they sent our bags on broke. After about 20 minutes of a blaring alarm they moved us to a different carousel to get bags. Thankfully our two bags came out together and we were on our way to get our Lyft.
Getting a Lyft at Orlando is actually quite simple - you simply step straight out from the baggage claim area and there are pick-up options from many of the doors. Our driver arrived about five minute after Gayle ordered the car. Unfortunately, it was obvious he was a smoker so the car wreaked of cigarette smoke - a smell neither of us can stand. We dealt with it to the hotel and got our bags which we quickly handed right off to bell services after exchanging a couple of things between our day packs and our carry ons. And, with that quick exchange made - it was off to try to get lunch.
Neither of us have been to Beaches and Cream since it was renovated and expanded.
Gayle: We arrived a couple of minutes past the 11:30am open. With the high demand at this venue, I presumed we were out of luck. I was finally able to access the "Join Walk-Up Queue" in the My Disney Experience App, only for it to tell me they weren't accepting walk-ups. What?
We inquired at the check-in podium and were told it would only accept parties of one (for the counter service seating). That's super weird and non-intuitive. After more instruction and dealing with the app, we got a seat at the bar within about 5 minutes.
Kara: We ordered our burgers and tater tots and both of us had time to go change out of jeans and into skorts. (We realized later in the day that we purchased the exact same skort off of Amazon in two different colors and wore them on the same day)
Lunch was tasty and we always enjoy sitting at the bar and watching all the activity in the kitchen. The part of the bar we were at now mainly looks over the ice cream and treat making area which made it even more entertaining for us.
Gayle: Our meal was quite underwhelming. And in it having being >3 years since our last visit, I had sticker shock. Our meal was $40 - before the tip.
Kara: We made a quick run through Disney’s Beach Club Resort shop but Gayle didn’t decide on anything she wanted so it was off to the bus to head to Disney Springs. The Pluto bus wasn't ours, but I HAD to share the photo.
We arrived at Disney Springs right around 12:30pm. We did most of our usual stops there - World of Disney, The Art of Disney, the spice store (which used to also be Mickey’s Pantry but is now 100% spice store), Co-op, Trend-D, Disney Days of Christmas, and then we tried to go to the Lego Store.
Gayle: First, the Lego Store had a monitored line running outside the store, which we had never seen before! Second, when we got inside the Mini-Figurine Factory had a sign indicating the next opening would be in 2-3 hours. UGH!!!! (FYI even today the reservation site shows Unavailable for the rest of the year!) So I have no idea how to actually get this experience; updated instructions on the website would be really helpful. This on top of seeing no Marvel or Harry Potter sets in the store, we quickly left (disappointed).
Kara: We sauntered down to the West End to make two new stops - the M&M Store and Everglazed (a donut and coffee bar). Had it not been super hot, I think both of us would have gotten something in the M&M Store. Gayle got us both donuts which we’ll enjoy for breakfast the next couple of days.
Gayle: As most of you know sweet treats are my thing - to the point I’m even a snob about them! The scents in Everglazed are wonderful and the donuts are BIG. Their spin is extra fun toppings. I think the heat limited what I purchased, which turned out to be a good thing. I got both of us a Peanut Butter Explosion and extra for me, a Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
My issue with donuts is you can find them anywhere, but they are usually common. Or worse - my current hometown bakery makes good, very good donuts, but they aren’t truly special. (However the bakery thinks they are the best ever.) The Everglazed donut base is a typical, yet sturdy, yeast donut. However, these were delicious! Large, light, fluffy and a flavor that would have been great without all the toppings. While they were >$6 each, this dessert-fiend thought they were totally worth it! The donut itself was flavorful, was able to support the weighty toppings, and endured some time. (I consumed the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Monday morning. The cereal had gone soft, but the rest was still incredible.) This is a definite must-stop on my next visit! Everglazed gets an A+ and I look forward to future visits!
Kara: We were both feeling our early morning wake up and so we headed to the bus and back to the resort (at 3pm) even though our room wasn’t ready yet since check-in is officially at 4pm.
We found a quietish nook to sit in and visit/surf our phones. We passed time until 4 pm when our room still wasn’t showing as ready in the app we headed up to Guest Services. They were able to get a room for us at which time perhaps the most magical moment of my entire vacation happened. Kara opted for an old school key card instead of one of her old Magic Bands. The concierge agent handed me a PLUTO card. If you don’t know - Pluto is her jam!!
Kara: We headed to our room (5015) and Gayle filmed a walk through (yes, I was making the closet door move).
Then we settled in and called for our bags. And waited. …
An hour later, I called back down for our bags and the young woman told me the order showed as completed so she’d look into it and call me back. So we waited again…
And then we decided that we would split up. I stayed in the room while Gayle headed down to the Bell Services desk to see what was up. She ran into the gentleman with our bags on a cart in the elevator when she wash headed down so she came back to the room with our bags. All told the bag adventure took roughly 90 minutes!
Bags safely stowed we headed out to Disney's Boardwalk (simply downstairs) to get dinner. Gayle headed over to Beaches and Cream to get her Frozen Sunshine and I headed to the new Boardwalk Deli to get our sandwiches. I decided I’d also grab some sherbet from the ice cream place nearby.
We met back in the room and sat down for dinner together. Unfortunately, the sherbet was cursed and it cursed the Frozen Sunshine. In some not so infinite wisdom, Disney decided a Frozen Sunshine should not have plain orange sherbet anymore. (Gayle’s favorite frozen treat at the resort since roughly 2003!) It now had the rainbow sherbet which is far, far more lime than orange - and it is overpowering lime (which I can tell you too because it’s what I got at the ice cream place). I don’t think we’ve ever thrown away that much ice cream at one time in our lives. The Frozen Sunshine is ruined forever until they fix this atrocity. [Enter sobbing here.]
So, now we’re waffling on our plan for tomorrow and dealing with a loud gentleman in the room next door to us as we await some fireworks viewing from our Boardwalk view balcony.
Overall, it’s been a mixed day and we’re both pretty exhausted. Here’s to a good night’s sleep and a plan for tomorrow that we can both enjoy.
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