The Food and Wine Festival is our favorite time of year to be at Disney World. For one thing, it’s held at our favorite park, which is Epcot, and not only our favorite park, but our favorite part of our favorite park – World Showcase. This is the one thing we miss at Disneyland. The rest of Disney World, we don’t really need – we have Disneyland and are more attached to it – it’s our home park. But Epcot was the reason I visited WDW for the first time in 1982 – for the opening of Epcot.
We hadn’t been to the Food & Wine Festival since we left Florida in the summer of 2007 so it was especially exciting to return this year. In addition, we rented a pool home, invited family and got to catch up with family, friends and even met friends and family of other friends. It was definitely a full week. The other thing is, since we’d left Florida, we’d had leanings and thoughts and questions about whether we’d move back if given the opportunity. This week in the pool home would offer us glimpses into how we felt about that, and we’ll add our thoughts at the end. In the meantime, here are the highlights and lowlights of the trip.
- Getting out of Dodge – Just getting out of Las Vegas was a real highlight. We were so ready to see something other than neon lights, casinos, and dirt. Changing planes in Dallas was a real thrill – water, trees, grass – wow! Plus the fabulous Tex/Mex in the airport – could we live here? lol!
- The Pool Home – We loved our home in Florida and Florida homes are all quite similar so it was fun to experience one again – especially since that seemed to be the huge draw in considering moving back to Florida. The backyard pool is an added bonus.
- The Food Booths – Love, love, love World Showcase and the food booths are an added bonus. We began the trip by strolling the booths together and ended them the same way. In-between, we strolled, tasted, and sipped with family and that was a blast. The beer in the Rose & Crown pub with family was a true highlight.
- The Tequila Tasting Event – How fun to discover why I prefer Silver tequilas over other tequilas. This event was fun and informative.
- The Beach – Dinner at JBs overlooking the intracoastal at sunset at New Smyrna Beach was fabulous. The warm stroll on the beach afterwards was also fabulous. The day trip to Cocoa Beach, swimming and bodysurfing was simply a blast – the water so warm was amazing. And lunch at Grills Seafood in Port Canaveral with brother Bob was also a lot of fun!
- Nostalgic Visit to the Magic Kingdom with Family – Rich and his brother got to ride Carousel of Progress together for the first time since the New York World’s Fair in 1964. Lunch at Whispering Canyon and antics was a fun first for us.
- Private Tour of Bay Lake Towers – Our dear Disney friends were so gracious to show us around their two-bedroom villa at Bay Lake Towers. Swanky! Need I say more? lol! Wow!
- Seeing Old Friends/Meeting New Friends – We met up with old friends and met new friends/family at the 3D Dessert Extravaganza, which included a special viewing area for Illuminations. Fun group all-around – needed more time with them, though, especially a ladies FAB meet – so wish we could have had that – maybe for the next meeting of The Tom Jones Club in Vegas.
- Humidity – This may be a given, but coming from Las Vegas, October felt more like August to us. The humidity really hit us and we were sweating and struggling to find the energy we needed for the parks. If we were still Floridians, we’d be thinking how perfect the weather was. 🙂
- Bugs, Bugs, and More Bugs – I’m one of those people who is hunted down by bugs because my blood is so delicious – lol! I brought Off and it helped where/when I applied it. But those suckers will crawl inside my clothes for a nice bite of my flesh. And be forewarned – it takes about 24 hours for you to notice so don’t think you’ve gotten away with anything if you’re not itching/scratching right away.
- 3D Dessert Extravaganza/Illuminations – This was a highlight and a lowlight. It was only a lowlight because it wasn’t how I pictured it when we decided to get tickets. For one thing, I imagined it would be held in an outside venue by the Lagoon in front of Italy and we’d sample desserts/liqueurs in that viewing area with a much smaller group, in a more intimate setting. And once I realized it would be held inside where the Party for the Senses is held, I expected a hostess to introduce the event/talk about the event like other Food & Wine events we’ve been to. Plus, Illuminations isn’t nearly the show it once was.
- The Pool Home – Since we lived in Florida there are now laws about pools and the need to have an alarm and fence around the pool. It was our understanding you were required to have one or the other but the pool home rental had both. This ruins the whole indoor/outdoor Florida pool home lifestyle. The entire house is designed to focus on the pool and with a fence around it, the view is blocked somewhat. Also, the point of having multiple sliders and even pocket sliders is to leave the sliders open so you can mingle in/out. But with the alarm, you can’t have the slider open AT ALL!!! Not good – I love to keep the sliders open during the cooler weather to allow fresh air into the house.
The whole point of a vacation is to take you away from your normal life so that when you return home, you appreciate home. This vacation was a total success because it did exactly that. I may have been conflicted about where to live before but one thing I do know – my home is right here – in Las Vegas just 4 hours from my Orange County. I’d like to think that somehow we could actually return to Orange County for good, but if not, Las Vegas is the next best thing. I don’t really have wanderlust – I just want to be home – my real home.