Flower & Garden Festival #Epcot, Day 1

This time we remembered the suitcase, but, later, we would realize we forgot to put a few things *inside* the suitcase. I hope we get this down before our cruise – lol!

We arrived at the Dolphin around 10:30 in time for my 11 am pedicure. As some of you may recall, the Mandara Spa there is our favorite. This time Rich would kill some time in the lobby while I was busy with my spa morning. You may recall last summer when we were living in a nearby Air bnb waiting for our house to be finished and he’d hurt his back so he had a massage there.

Our room was ready so we even had time to drop off our suitcase in the room before heading to the spa. The room was at the end of a long hallway… and it had seen better days. More on that later in the trip.

Rich stayed with me until they called me in and then he went out to explore. My technician was really good – one of the best. She made pleasant conversation but wasn’t odd or pushy. She even brought me a mimosa. Funny thing is, in Las Vegas, the casino spas did not offer alcohol. Only one offsite place in Southern Highlands called “Professor Nails.”

After the pedi, we were on the search for lunch. We looked at the dining choices inside the Dolphin and noticed a Mexican restaurant called “Rosa Mexicano.” We hadn’t noticed that before so we asked for directions and off we went.

They’d only been open for about 3 weeks and let me tell you, it was some of the best Mexican food I’d ever had. Growing up in Southern California and being a Mexicophile, that is high praise!

Driving Under the WDW Sign

Dolphin Lobby Tour

Rosa Mexicano Live Review

Blood Orange Tequila Sunrise

After lunch, we headed back to the room to unpack and rest for the afternoon. We were planning on heading out to Epcot for the Flower & Garden Festival for the evening. But, it began to rain and even when it sorta started to clear up, the streets were wet and we didn’t want to risk getting stuck in the rain or getting my new shoes wet. 🙂

Instead, we made a late dinner ressie at the Grand Floridian Cafe, which gave us parking privileges at the Grand Floridian. Then we headed for the Enchanted Rose Lounge, which we hadn’t been to yet.

We each had the “Classic Martini” and, oh my goodness! It was the best martini any of us had ever had. Here are a couple of video shorts:

Enchanted Rose Lounge 1

Enchanted Rose Lounge 2

After our martinis, we checked into the GF Cafe, but were late getting seated (kept telling us they were cleaning off our table but does that really take 15 minutes – lol) but awesome service once our server arrived. Afterwards, we walked the grounds and spotted this beauty:

100th Anniversary Monorail

What a glorious ending to a beautiful day!

Easter Brunch at Art Smith’s Homecomin’

I totally forgot to post about our Easter Brunch at Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs.

We chose the 6 am sunrise Mass, which would place us at Disney Springs around 8:30 am with half an hour to kill before our 9 am brunch at Art Smith’s Homecomin’ at Disney Springs. We imagined we’d park and then walk around the Springs, maybe over to Saratoga Springs or grab a coffee at Starbuck’s to kill time.

We checked the opening time for the garages and 9 am was opening time. We also read about street parking that was supposed to be open 24/7. Well, the latter was not true. Both the Orange and Lime garages did not open until 8:45 and 9:00 – not sure which order now. But we saw the Grapefruit garage and it was open so we parked and got out of the car but was stopped by security because, apparently, it was for Cast Members only.

We got back in the garage circling, circling, circling until we saw a line begin to form at the Orange garage. Oh, yes, it opened at 8:45. We soon parked but were halted again at security because security didn’t open until 9 a.m. Which is so strange since restaurants at Disney Springs were taking 9 a.m. reservations. How are you supposed to get there on time?

Homecomin’ texted us while we were in line for security that they were expecting us so we texting back that we’d be a bit late due to the 9 a.m. security opening. Anyway, we weren’t too late and were seated and served by an amazing CM named Andy. He’d been there since opening day.

We both ordered the Short Rib Hash and a side order of Donuts.

Short Rib Hash

Two sunny side up eggs over our short rib hash with grilled corn succotash, potatoes, onions, red bell and Fresno peppers for a bit of a kick. Served with a cheddar cheese drop biscuit and choice of side.

House-made Doughnuts

Mini iced doughnuts piled with pecans, bacon and drizzled with house-made caramel. Or dusted with sugar and served with spiced cane syrup and seasonal fruit

Rich had the Sweet Tea Shine and I had a Princess Mimosa with Peach Puree.

Sweet Tea Shine

Sweet tea, fresh-squeezed lemon and moonshine<

Princess Mimosa

A royal pour of bubbly with your choice of freshly-squeezed Florida orange juice or blueberry, strawberry or peach purees.

We’d been there for lunch before but this was our first brunch here. Everything was delicious, although I try to avoid southern cooking for the most part. Donuts are something I absolutely should avoid at all cost but I succumbed and they were my favorite part. I paid for that for a couple weeks – lol!

The Port Orleans Pet Sitter Test Trip, Day 2, Part 2 and Finale

We drove the back way home from Hudson to our resort and took a much-needed nap. By the time we woke up, the evening was descending. It was too early to just stay in so we hopped on the boat to Disney Springs. we were hoping to get to the outside seating area of the Boathouse but the spaces not under cover were closed as they were expecting rain.

We headed over to Jock Lindseys’s Hangar Bar and snagged a seat inside. We’d only sat outside before so this was a new experience, one we really enjoyed at night. Great atmosphere inside, which we hadn’t noticed during the day.

We weren’t that hungry so we shared an order of 3 tacos al pastor. I had my usual Margarita – don’t know why I didn’t get a Singapore Sling as a nod to my youth.

Rich ordered a “Scottish Professor” – Monkey Shoulder Blended malt Scotch Whiskey, Hendrick’s Gin, Pear Nectar, Simple Syrup, and fresh Lemon Juice.

I took a sip of Rich’s drink and it was so amazing, I’d wished I’d ordered that instead. So smooth, which is exactly what my stomach wanted this night. Next time.

fter our meal, we walked over to Ghirardelli and shared the Ocean Beach Sea Salt Caramel Sundae – Caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream, handmade milk or dark chocolate hot fudge topped with whipped cream, sea salt and a Milk or Dark Sea Salt Caramel Square. This is what we always got at DCA at the Disneyland Resort. Reminding me of going to the original Ghirardelli at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco when we lived there.

We rode the boat back to our resort and spotted a carriage on the way back to our room. Completely unplanned, the night truly turned into a magical evening.

We slept well both nights on the king bed. For breakfast, we were thinking about those beignets again, but they were out. Rich got us some coffee and a couple breakfast sandwiches, we packed up, checked out and drove home.

By the way, all went well with the pet sitter. She really spent a lot of time with the kitties and I think Chip is especially looking forward to our next trip away. Hopefully, we won’t forget the suitcase. 🙂

The Port Orleans Pet Sitter Test Trip, Day 2, Part 1

We woke up tired, so instead of hitting one of the parks, we decided to take a drive down memory lane to where we used to live in Tampa Bay. After all, we were halfway there. Rich got us some of those delicious beignets to go with our chicory coffee, and we got the powdered sugar all over the room – lol! We thought, “oh well, the maids will clean that up for us.”

Well, were we wrong. When we returned later that afternoon, there had been no maid service. Rich called the front desk and they said every other day. So Rich cleaned up the beignet mess himself. What a day not to have maid service – lol!

It was a beautiful morning and a beautiful drive. It was so strange to drive through the old neighborhood. Boy, did that feel like a long time ago when we lived there. While we were up that way, we decided to check out Sam’s Beach Bar in Hudson and absolutely loved it. We’ve got some great Tiki bars here on the Space Coast but I think Sam’s is our new favorite Tiki bar.

The view was incredible and there’s something about the scent of the Gulf air that I’ve never forgotten. While I enjoy the cooler ocean breezes on the Atlantic side. I do miss the Gulf side and that yummy tropical air. I will always love Tampa Bay.

Rich had his usual Grouper sandwich (claims Sam’s is the best), and I had my usual Coconut Shrimp with Margarita. Rich might have had a Pirate Punch.

The food was tasty, the drinks yummy, the view incredible, the music was so diverse, and the people and staff were so friendly at this laid-back little beach bar. We can’t wait to go back!

Christmas at Wilderness Lodge

We kicked around several resorts for Christmas 2022, but Wilderness Lodge just seemed like the perfect place for Christmas. Especially when Christmas Day was that super cold day (somewhere in the 40s)–freezing for Florida. It was too cold to walk the property so we spent our time inside the Lodge.

We booked lunch at Whispering Canyon, which served a traditional Christmas turkey skillet dinner. It wasn’t what we were expecting and it seemed rather average in idea, but it was amazingly delicious!

And now we’ve caught up with our Disney adventures since we arrived back in Florida the end of June.

To many more adventures!

Happy New Year!

Christmas Season at the Yacht Club

We made a lunch reservation at Ale and Compass and while we waited to be called, we took a look at our favorite Yacht and Beach Club Christmas decorations. Picked up some treats at the Beach Club, and bought an amazing Yacht Club Christmas ornament, something we’d wanted for years!

And then we walked over to the Epcot gate to catch our first glimpse of the Epcot Skyliner station. I know, I know. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

It looked much better than we’d imagined, and a good use of that space instead of the crowded area we’d feared. We couldn’t go into the park due to blackout dates (we have the Florida resident AP). Then it was time for lunch.

After lunch, we’d thought about having a drink at Hurricane Hanna’s, having such great Christmas Day memories from the past there, but skipped it and headed for the Boardwalk. We turned around at the bridge near the Dolphin, and decided we were ready for the 90-minute drive home.


Disney-Themed Airbnb

When it was obvious the new end of August date “promised” by the builder was not going to be met, we had to extend our Airbnb stay. Of course, by this time, where we were staying on the beach in Cape Canaveral was already booked for September so we booked a Disney-themed townhouse with private pool in Kissimmee. Hey, why not make it fun, right?

The location was quite convenient for catching up with some Disney fun at Disney Springs, although we were saving the 3-day ticket we didn’t use on our March “househunting trip” to upgrade to an Annual Pass once we actually moved into our house and could prove Florida residency. Btw, when we finally were able to upgrade, we owed absolutely nothing. It was a straight trade. Wasn’t that awesome?

Our Disney fun was cut a bit short, though, when Rich hurt his back packing up and grabbing cats and moving into the new place. He did have a massage at our favorite spa at the Dolphin. Totally awesome! But mind you, throughout all of these shenanigans, Rich was working. Sitting on uncomfortably hard dining room chairs surrounded by me and our 3 cats. Not a time any of us would like to relive.

Our hosts were quite lovely, especially providing a bottle of Sofia Rose Bubbly upon our arrival. We are able to extend our stay for 3 extra days when, once again, the builder didn’t meet their latest deadline. Eventually, we closed on the house (although delayed to the afternoon instead of the morning, which meant we had to pack up and gather the cats in the dark, pouring rain on move-in night.

We are laughing at all of this now. Sort of. 🙂

Ironically, we enjoyed our stay at the beach more than near Disney. Maybe because it felt more homey and less touristy.