Good evening Lj readers,
how are things? Hopefully well. I : am back! from a recent trip to Disney World / Orlando, Florida. My college friend Eric nicely came with me too :)
* Monday (part 1 of 2)
We flew in via Southwest
. At the airport, Eric stopped for a snack @ McDonald's
and I, later @ a Starbucks
from some You Are Here
mugs I am collecting (cups you can only get, at their actual locations - for example, Florida's is only in Florida). We airport-shuttled to the hotel, but alas just missed the hotel shuttle into Disney by something like 20 minutes. After trying to use Uber
on my tablet, I switched to Lyft
and we got a ride into the park.
We monorail'ed to the Grand Floridian
, where I picked up some inexpensive bath bombs @ the Basin White
store there, then onwards to the Contemporary, where we rode the elevator to the key-only 14th floor (out of 15) for some nice views of the Magic Kingdom castle and, indeed, parking lots, heh. Nicely a young girl -with- a key was going to the 14th floor, too.
* Monday (part 2 of 2)
After that we bused to Disney Springs
, the large shopping center. Nicely in the year since I had last visited, they had finished most of the construction on the west side (I had basically missed the west 1/3 of the area the last time). We looked in the large souviner store, then swung into an Italian dessert place where I sampled a biscotti gelato and actually bought a kiwi-fruit-flavored one.
A large square Coke building held soda-themed merchandise and a neat 3rd (or so) story open-bar rooftop, to which we ascended for some nice views. They even had a soda-themed bar up there! I tried a sample of an interesting drink called sparletta sparberry.
Disney's transportation crew holds trading cards you can collect, of the various boats, buses and monorails throughout the park. Asking for one from a parked bus driver, I discovered he not only used to live in Columbus, but was gay too! How about that.
In the first half of the day we caught the hotel shuttle to the parks, then monorailed to Contemporary, then boated to a place none of us had ever been before - Fort Wilderness. FW is Disney's wilderness-lodge-themed hotel. The lobby was large and held fireplaces and rocking chairs, the latter in which I sat. A stream bubbled up from the "floor", flowed outside, down a waterfall and into... the hotel's pool! Then, apparently, onwards to the lake we boated across the in the first place. Quite interesting.
The second half of the day we visited Animal Kingdom Lodge and toured the two restaurants in the main, larger Jambo House
- Boma and Jiko. At Boma we nicely sampled butternut squash soup and the tasty zebra domes. In Jiko we tried 3 types of bread and 3 dipping sauces ( + goat butter). Outside, giraffes and yak-esque animals roamed the fenced-in center part - we watched them get fed for the evening.
Today was a "park day". Of the 4 parks, we picked Animal Kingdom as the one. The flow and overall look of the area was well done - everything seemed logical and coherent. We saw the amusing 3-d movie It's a Bug's life
, swung by the Starbucks
for the only-available-there "You Are Here" mug, walked through well-done fake "ruins" to see real gazelle and exotic birds (plus a tiger, too!), had lunch at the plant-filled Rainforest Cafe'
(I nicely had a free birthday credit from the parent company of the eatery), then finished in Dinoland
, where we rode a "dark" ride (Dinosaur
- which jiggled us around large scary dinosaurs) and then an outdoor ride, which was a standard roller coaster with an occasionally-rotating passenger car.
We decided to head to Boardwalk for the evening. As we rode over in the bus, it rained, but nicely finished just as we arrived. Of course, it was not very crowded! We walked around and even sat in a swinging bench on the little beach area they had at the place.
* Thursday / overall
Today was a "half day", as we were all set to catch the airport shuttle in the mid afternoon back to the airport. On the advice of the front desk person Brian, we walked to a very affordable (and, not surprisingly, somewhat crowded) Chinese buffet for lunch, then sampled some new orange varietals at the large, half-orange-shaped novelty gift shop right next to our Travelodge
. We tried pineapple orange and temple orange slices.
The weather was quite lovely overall and, given the unseasonably-warm winter we have had thus far in Ohio, actually pretty similar in temperature! Of course it's always nice to see palm trees and people in shorts ;)
For a gallery of 10 pictures, one may click here
Okay. Have a good night!