Disney Journal No. 9–the last day :(

Friday

I really didn’t want to leave. Really, really, really didn’t want to leave.

The Beach Club was so homey, so Downton Abbey in the awesome staff, and with the pool and the fireworks and the food…it was truly a great place. Every day the flowers were replaced in the lobby, which always smelled of orchids. I loved the solarium, the cheerful lifeguards who talked to every kid in their section, the awesome families, and the beautiful architecture.

I loved Flounder and Sebastian on my rug!

IMG_0742

But, sadly, we had to leave. But not without some last minute pin trading and Beaches and Cream.

(And I grabbed a few more Mickey Rice Krispy treats for the road. I ate the last one earlier this week. SO GOOD.)

Cape May Cafe  put up a pin trading board every day after they closed post-breakfast. There was a two pin limit (meaning you could trade two of your pins for two on the board, at a maximum. You didn’t have to trade two, if there weren’t two pins you wanted.) (And yes, I’m posting more on pin trading later!). So I had to get in one last trading session, and got an Iago and Cinderella pin for my collection, swapping two Star Wars pins.

Then I met Dad at Beaches and Cream, for our farewell burgers and chocolate Cokes. It was the only time we ate there that we got a booth, so huzzah!

Beaches and Cream entrance

Beaches and Cream entrance

Dad hadn’t had the burger yet, so I told him he must have it before we left. In total, we had the hot dog, the falafel, the soup and grilled cheese, the burger, and the Turkey sandwich. And the Milky Way Sundae. Dad also enjoyed the Orange Dream a few times as his beverage of choice (I loved the little candied orange pieces on the whipped cream topping.)  We finished our meal with two scoops of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. So we did a pretty good job on the menu front.

Beaches and Cream theming

Beaches and Cream theming

mmmmmmm. The buns and pickles are made on-site.

mmmmmmm. The buns and pickles are made on-site.

After the meal we took some last photos of the pool, hotel, and solarium.

In the Solarium

In the Solarium

View from the Solarium

View from the Solarium

The orchids all over the Beach Club.

The orchids all over the Beach Club.

Beach Club as seen from the lake walkway

Beach Club as seen from the lake walkway

And then, it was time to head north. 😦

Dad had filled up the car at the local Hess station, so we were ready to go. He brought the car around to the front and we were heading to Atlanta.

Au revoir, Beach Club!

IMG_1916

Advertisements

Disney Journal No. 8–batten down the hatches!

Thursday

So it rained part of every day I was at Disney. But on Thursday, we had a tropical storm. At first I just thought it was more rain; neither of us were reading the paper or really checking news sites, and we weren’t watching any TV (except hockey, sigh).

So I couldn’t do my normal morning swim, so I headed to the Solarium.

The solarium

The solarium

IMG_0775

main room of the solarium

main room of the solarium

IMG_0777

Custom art

Custom art

Hidden mickeys!

Hidden mickeys!

not really hidden. :)

not really hidden. 🙂

but this one was!

but this one was!

 

I loved the solarium. There was a TV on with Disney Chanel (natch) and Disney movies, and a lot of people were in and out since it was raining outside. I took my journals and books down there and did some reading and writing.

Dad joined me around 10:30, since the last conference session  ended early that morning, and we headed over to the Yacht Club to look for souvenirs for us and for mom and the siblings. Here I got a few more pins and my pin trading book (there is a whole post coming about pin collecting, folks), and a WDW Hoodie I’d been desiring. 😉 Then we headed back to the Beach Club where I did some pin trading, we headed up to the room and dropped our purchases, and had lunch at Beaches and Cream. We really liked Beaches and Cream. I had the tomato bisque and the six cheese grilled cheese and Dad had the falafel. I also taught him the wonders of Chocolate Diet Coke. (Trust me. It’s awesome.)

We went to the Solarium for a bit and then it stopped raining! So we could swim! Yay! I as especially keen to show Dad the whirpool I’d discovered inside Stormalong Bay.

whirpool lurking

whirpool lurking

It totally took me by surprise the first time I ended up inside, unawares! But it was a lot of fun. Really, everything about that pool was fun. We also conquered the lazy river although Dad wanted it to be faster (Dad. It’s a lazy river, I tell him…)….

Dinner was–where else?–Beaches and Cream.

We had an awesome waiter from Ohio and sat at the counter next to a dad and his three boys from Dublin.

My favorite photo from the trip.

My favorite photo from the trip.

 

(That sundae is a Milky Way Sundae. It’s really, really good.)

After dinner we headed over to the Boardwalk where–what else?–it started to rain. We bought a Mickey umbrella. And some more pins. 🙂

We ended our last full Day in Orlando with another viewing of the EPCOT fireworks show from our balcony.

 

 

Disney Journal No. 7: EPCOT!

or: Apres moi, le deluge–Louis XV

(That’ll make sense in a minute. Trust me.)

So Wednesday was the last full conference day for dad, so we headed to EPCOT (which was, not kidding, right next door to our hotel) around 3:50. A fellow Ohioan (a woman from Dayton) was our ticket taker (although they really are no “ticket takers”, anymore. It’s all electronic: you hold your card over the Mickey Mouse head and it lights up when it’s accepted, then you put your finger on a scanner so that no one else can use your ticket if you lose it. ONLY YOU. This is more helpful for multi-day passes, not so much for us, because once we were in, we weren’t using those particular tickets again. The tickets are like credit cards–plastic, about that size, with Disney characters on them.)

I wanted to see the World Showcase first, because that’s the part I was most interested in. As we came in, the UK Pavilion was to our left, so we headed there first.

Mary Poppins in the UK Pavilion

Mary Poppins in the UK Pavilion

UK Pavilion

UK Pavilion

IMG_1850

Rose and Crown pub

Rose and Crown pub

The one place I really wanted to go? Here.

Twinings!! AKA Jane Austen's tea.

Twinings!! AKA Jane Austen’s tea.

I love tea, especially Twinings, and I did love it before I found out it was what Jane drank (there are references in her letters to trips to Twining’s in London for tea). The store is technically called “The Tea Caddy”, but I just called it the Twinings Place. 🙂 Here I bought a tin of Coronation Tea and a cookbook called Eating Royally, which was written by Princess Diana’s former chef. He also cooked for the Queen and the rest of the royal family. (And yes, the book has Prince William and Duchess Catherine’s wedding cake in it.)

Remember the deluge part? YEah. This is where it started.

It was a true deluge. Pouring, pouring rain. Fortunately Dad had brought out Disney ponchos, so some of us was dry (not my feet. Oh, so totally, not my feet.). We tried waiting it out in The Tea Caddy but eventually decided to soldier on to France.

La Belle France

La Belle France

IMG_0803

Even in the rain, France is gorgeous. We decided to take shelter in their theater and watch the film Impressions de France, which was truly amazing. I’m sort of glad for the rain because otherwise I don’t know if we would have done this! I highly recommend it.

Impressions de France theater

Impressions de France theater

Le chefs de France

Le chefs de France

I loved these pillars in France

I loved these pillars in France

French fountains. C'est magnifique!

French fountains. C’est magnifique!

c'est le mieux

c’est le mieux

After the video, we continued our trek around the World Showcase. Our end point would be Mexico on the other side of the lagoon. We had dinner reservations for 6:30 at La Hacienda San Angel. From point to point, the World Showcase is a mile long, so we were definitely going to get some walking in.

Norway: A stave

Norway: A stave

Vikings!

Vikings!

Norway

Norway

Germany shops

Germany shops

Werther's shop display in Germany

Werther’s shop display in Germany

The popcorn we bought here was amazing–covered in Werther’s caramel and dark chocolate. Holy. Moly.

delicious

delicious

anything with Dopey on it, I love.

anything with Dopey on it, I love.

German glass art

German glass art

"A symbol of thy royalty" (name that movie)

“A symbol of thy royalty” (name that movie)

Germany pavilion

Germany pavilion

IMG_1866

Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest!

We reached Mexico earlier than we planned, and fortunately, they took us early!

View from La Hacienda

View from La Hacienda

Love those lamps

Love those lamps

celebratory dessert

celebratory dessert

La Hacienda dining room

La Hacienda dining room

We both ordered the fish tacos, and I had a wonderful rose margarita, which came topped with actual rose petals and was rimmed in Hyacinth flavored sea salt. It was like drinking the best perfume. I loved it. Dad, not so much. (I know a took a picture….it’s hiding somewhere. I’ll try to post it at some point.) And yes, even without the button, we got a celebratory dessert, because Dad told our waitress, Fatima (from Mexico City) about our celebration. You can see that above. It’s AMAZING.

Something strange happened here–two parties were seated, one after the other, and both got up and left before they even ordered anything! And the first couple had ADR, as seen by their print out that were were carrying in the restaurant. Weirdest thing I’d ever seen. Who does that?

Fortified by dinner and a strong cocktail (well, on my part) we went back around the showcase. It had stopped raining, thankfully. (This is when I took most of my pictures.)

At Snow White's wishing well in Germany

At Snow White’s wishing well in Germany

China

China

In Italy, I bought a necklace with Venetian glass pieces.

IMG_1869

Fountains in Morocco

Fountains in Morocco

Bella Italia

Bella Italia

At this point, we had seen all we wanted to see and it was about 8:30ish. Our feet were not super happy with us, so we decided to head back to the hotel and be back in our room so we could see the fireworks by 9:00. We made one stop on the way out so I could buy a t-shirt for my friend Mary.

Originally bought at Bonjour Village in the Magic Kingdom, I found one at Epcot for a friend back home.

Originally bought at Bonjour Village in the Magic Kingdom, I found one at Epcot for a friend back home.

Disney Journal No. 6, Magic Kingdom continued

OK, so I’ve set the stage for the Magic Kingdom.

Now it’s time to tell stories.

IMG_1795

OK, first, note the button on my shirt. That’s the “I’m Celebrating” button. It’s important.

The entrance to Bonjour! Village Gifts

The entrance to Bonjour! Village Gifts

So I had some time, after riding rides and eating in the Tavern, and I began my souvenir shopping with Bonjour! village gifts above. This store is basically all Beauty and the Beast all the time, and they have some high-level souvenirs here, including original artwork that is priced in the three figures. But they also have fun t-shirts and other items. So I selected a few things and headed to the check out.

A guy about 23-24 checked me out and noticed my button. He asked what I was celebrating. I briefly said lung transplant, eight years ago. Most people if you give them this they’re flabbergasted enough; they don’t need superflous detail. Well this guy knew what I was talking about.

“Single or double?”

“Double.”

“Where?”

“Columbus.”

(Clearly, by this point I knew I was dealing with someone who was familiar with transplant.)

Kit (the guy) said that he had just had his double lung transplant–eight months ago.

I mean, what the heck, right? He’s from a small town in Michigan. So we talked about that for awhile. He was really nice and super-sweet, evening giving me some Beauty and the Beast stickers gratis. It was a real pleasure to meet him and get to talk to him!

After this I headed over to storybook circus, where I bought my brother and his girlfriend small gifts, as well as purchased TWO dinglehoppers. (They are excellent hairbrushes, by the by, with soft rubber bristles, so they wouldn’t hurt a baby or a little girl. Or a big girl, for that matter!)

By that time, it was time to meet Dad back at Gaston’s.

In the big chair!

In the big chair!

He also had LeFou’s brew and we then got in line for the Little Mermaid ride.

Little Mermaid queue

Little Mermaid queue

queue theming

queue theming

A little high-tech seek and find in the line

A little high-tech seek and find in the line

Scuttle!

Scuttle!

Boarding the ride: It's like the Haunted Mansion, except with Clam shells.

Boarding the ride: It’s like the Haunted Mansion, except with Clam shells.

Mambo! :)

Mambo! 🙂

IMG_1810

Yikes

Yikes

double Yikes

double Yikes

KISS THE GIRL!

KISS THE GIRL!

Ariel gets her voice back

Ariel gets her voice back

"how much I'm going to miss her."

“how much I’m going to miss her.”

happy endings

happy endings

We had a lot of fun on this one. Since this is one of my favorite movies, I really enjoyed it. The queue moved fast, too, since this is a constantly loading ride.

Afterwards I introduced Dad to the wonders of Philharmagic.

Then, then it was time for Be Our Guest. I was so looking forward to this dinner.

We checked in and they saw my button, and again, asked what we were celebrating. I gave them the cliffs notes version. They were all duly flabbergasted and noted it on our reservation slip, which is conveyed electronically to the restaurant and the waitress.

Once our buzzer went off, we went to the castle doors at the other end of a gargoyle-adorned bridge. And then, we got into the dining room.

Outside Be Our Guest

Outside Be Our Guest

Dad and the gargoyle

Dad and the gargoyle

Mosaic inside the castle

Mosaic inside the castle

The ball room

The ball room

rose napkins

rose napkins

the chandeliers

the chandeliers

The theming in this place is incredible. It really is the movie brought to life. The Beast also poses for photos in the library, and comes out into the restaurant.

Here’s what we ate:

dessert, chocolate cream puff

dessert, chocolate cream puff

Dad's ratatouille and quinoa

Dad’s ratatouille and quinoa

my meal: pork chop with mac and cheese and veggies

my meal: pork chop with mac and cheese and veggies

 

Let me tell you, the food was exquisite. I loved my pork chop and the au jus sauce that came with it. The veggies were perfect. I didn’t get much of the mac and cheese because as you can see, it’s a BIG PORK CHOP.

We ordered dessert, too. And then the best part of the meal came.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The grey stuff.

THE GREY STUFF

THE GREY STUFF

People. This was exquisite.

The Grey Stuff isn’t on the menu. You only get it if you’re celebrating something. Those are edible pearls on the top. And the “try the grey stuff”? ALSO EDIBLE. It’s like chocolate gloss.

The grey stuff is cookies and cream panna cotta. It’s amazing. I mean, I was in food heaven. Life fulfillment, I’m telling you.

So after that, I got my picture taken with the Beast (that’s coming later, sorry!) and sadly, we were done with dinner.

The talking knights

The talking knights

gregorian chant in the library. Just too cool.

gregorian chant in the library. Just too cool.

"Lady and the Unicorn" tapestry in the castle foyer.

“Lady and the Unicorn” tapestry in the castle foyer.

IMG_1844

And once we got outside, it was POURING.

So we ran to Fantasyland proper and bought ponchos, then rode Haunted Mansion. By then it was nearing 10, so we, not being fireworks people and not being ones to stand in monsoon, headed for the buses and went back to the Beach Club.

As Maleficient said, it was a “Most gratifying day.”

 

Disney Journal No. 5, Tuesday (AKA Magic Kingdom Day!)

OK this is going to be long and picture heavy. So it will be two parts.

First, some of the “hidden mickeys” I saw throughout the Beach Club:

IMG_1675

Bathroom wallpaper

IMG_1676

chair pad!

IMG_1677

resort carpeting in the hallways

IMG_1674

more bathroom wallpaper

So Tuesday began with my normal routine: up early, lauds, breakfast, then off to the pool. That day for lunch I went back to Beaches and Cream and had a fantastic hot dog with coleslaw and fries. They did offer fruit, instead of the fries, but it was heavy on the grapefruit and cantaloupe  which I can’t eat, and don’t like.

After that I went back to the room and prepared for the MAGIC KINGDOM!!!! Our tickets were good starting at 4:00, so around 3:30 I headed down to catch the bus would would take me to the gates.

we're hereeeee!

we’re hereeeee!

monorails

monorails

IMG_1695

Since we were also celebrating my 8th transplant anniversary, I stopped by the Town Hall and got an “I’m Celebrating” button. (This plays into several stories later on!) Then I made my way down Main Street USA. It was overcast, as you can tell from the pictures, but it wasn’t raining (yet).

Snow White window on Main Street USA

Snow White window on Main Street USA

Cinderella--I love the Duke.

Cinderella–I love the Duke.

Little Mermaid  window

Little Mermaid window

Castle from Main Street.

Castle from Main Street.

My main object was New Fantasyland, so I booked it up Main Street and headed for Fantasyland. On the way I found some great things:\

Cinderella's wishing well

Cinderella’s wishing well

Castle mosaic

Castle mosaic

Cinderella fountain

Cinderella fountain

This was in one of the shops, and yes, it changed from pink to blue.

This was in one of the shops, and yes, it changed from pink to blue.

Window display in Fantastyland

Window display in Fantastyland

I was basically grinning ear to ear a la Cheshire Cat. I was meeting my dad around 6:00 at the Gaston Fountain, so I had a bit of time, and decided to ride “Small World.” Not a whole lot ever changes in that ride, but it’s always fun. Then I rode a new ride, Mickey’s Philharmagic which I loved. It’s more of a 3D experience than a ride and was just great fun.

Theming in line for Mickey's Philharmagic

Theming in line for Mickey’s Philharmagic

love this.

love this.

After that–time to head into New Fantasyland.

Beast's Castle

Beast’s Castle

Belle's cottage

Belle’s cottage

Dopey and Doc, in front of the under-construction Dwarves' Mine Ride (opens next year)

Dopey and Doc, in front of the under-construction Dwarves’ Mine Ride (opens next year)

I was in love with the detail, the theming, everything. The soundtrack from the movie and the show of Beauty and the Beast played all over that area, which was divine.

My first stop was Gaston’s Tavern.

Gaston and LeFou play darts

Gaston and LeFou play darts

Gaston's

Gaston’s

Once inside I ordered a LeFou’s brew, as well as a chocolate croissant. I had so much fun here. The LeFou’s brew definitely involved apple juice, had a great foamy top, and was wonderfully cold and slushy. And what can I say about a chocolate croissant other than c’est magnifique? 🙂

Some more examples of the great theming in the general area: 

IMG_1779

“Hunting equipment”

IMG_1778

“Florist”

 

Gaston and LeFou play darts

Gaston and LeFou play darts

That’s it for Part I, because Part II is going to be really awesome with lots of stories and….

GREY STUFF. 

 

 

Disney Journal No. 4, Monday

Monday was a great, relaxing day for me (not so for my dad, who had a lot of presentations!): no parks planned, gorgeous weather. So what better to do than explore the resorts and swim? Oh, and eat.

Yacht Club Lobby

Yacht Club Lobby

The first order of business was buying a new swimsuit top, because I’d lost enough weight that the top I had was, um, not doing it’s job, to put it mildly. Fortunately I’d packed another top but it was still a bit too revealing for my taste. So over to the Yacht Club I went to buy a new, more satisfactory top.

After that, it was definitely time to swim.

IMG_1683 IMG_1678

Stormalong Bay is a bunch of pools, and I just loved it. On Monday most people go to the parks, so it was nice and quiet at the pool.

Lunch at Hurricane Hannah’s, the poolside grill, was decent. The lobster roll was more like lobster ontop of roll, but I made it work.

Once Dad came back from Day 1 of the conference, it was time for dinner!

Beaches and Cream entrance

Beaches and Cream entrance

We chose Beaches and Cream, which became our basic go-to restaurant. We just loved this place. You’ll be seeing a lot more of it. This night we sat at the bar and got to watch the restaurant’s famous Kitchen Sink dessert be made. There were four ordered that night. Basically it’s every flavor of ice cream and every topping they offer in one big bowl. They use about a can of Borden Light Whipped Cream for each one.

The Kitchen Sink

The Kitchen Sink

 

It’s sort of amazing. Seeing kids react to this was a hoot.

After dinner I showed Dad around the hotel and the grounds. There’s the hotel, the solarium (more on that later), the gift shop and mini market, and the Beach Club Villas, for Disney Vacation Clubbers. I wasn’t one, but I still got a picture with Ariel. 🙂

Outside the Beach Club Villas

Outside the Beach Club Villas

Afterwards we headed back up to the room, watched the Epcot fireworks, and went to bed. The next day–Magic Kingdom!

 

 

 

Disney Journal No. 3, Sunday Evening

Oh, Flying Fish. How I love you.

Our first ADR was at 8:00 on Sunday night, at the Flying Fish Cafe. Dad and I are both massive fans of seafood, so when I was looking for places to eat this seemed like a perfect choice.

Flying Fish interior

Flying Fish interior

 

The cafe has a Coney Island turn of the century feel to it, with a bit of a carnival atmosphere. There’s also an open kitchen where you can sit and watch your meals be prepared. We were lucky enough to be seated inside the circus tent near the back of the restaurant!

Our waiter was from Rio and did an amazing job for us that evening. Our meal included: a cheese board (for me) and shellfish bisque for dad (more than just the usual lobster, it included crabs and shrimp as well); oak-grilled scallops with risotto (oh my gosh that risotto), and a sorbet trio for dessert.

dessert

dessert

We both had a fantastic meal, and a great time at this restaurant. It’s a Signature Dining place, so there is a loose dress code. No hats, no shorts, etc., collared shirts for guys.

IMG_1668

After dinner we did some shopping/browsing along the Boardwalk, then headed back to our hotel. Monday was a big day for Dad. We weren’t just here for fun; he was presenting at the annual IBM conference at the Swan and Dolphin resorts, and both his presentations were on Monday.