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Thread: Sue Rayford, Beach Club Villas, Oct 21-24, 2021

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    Sue Rayford, Beach Club Villas, Oct 21-24, 2021


    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    Dates: October 21 25, 2021
    Resort: Disneys Beach Club Villas
    Experience: Very Experienced 54th stay at BCV

    This is a solo trip something I havent really had in a while! When its too hot for the parks it makes sense to bring Holli & get a big enough villa to invite Chris family as well. Holli enjoys relaxing by the pool, and either sitting at a bar or doing the faux concierge lounge in the villa. Chris family doesnt let the heat & humidity keep them out of the parks, but they also spend time enjoying the villa. However, for this trip it should finally be more tolerable to enjoy Food & Wine Festival, and for that I want quick & easy access via Beach Club Villas! Believe it or not, I havent done Food & Wine Festival yet this year. When Disney started it in July I thought that was just ridiculous and still do. Its too hot to enjoy it! It will probably still be too hot in the afternoon during this trip, but I can enjoy much more pleasant evenings strolling around World Showcase. A studio is all I need for a solo trip, and without SB or others along theres no pressure to do anything other than exactly what I feel like doing at the moment, so Im really looking forward to this little trip.

    Ill be back in a couple of weeks with SB, Chris family and others, so during that trip Ill visit all the parks not because I really want to, but to spend time with them. This trip I booked park reservations at Epcot every day. Theres nowhere else I want to be, as Food & Wine Festival is the only priority, so there wasnt any point in going to some other park first especially when Id rather just be by the pool. I need to start working on a tan, since I have a HAL cruise coming up in early December, and dont want to board the ship as white as I am currently.

    Gideons has become an indulgent high-calorie splurge for cookies, and during October their cookie of the month is the Monster. Its basically a chocolate chip cookie but covered in mini M&Ms and it has some oreos in the dough as well. It sounds like something Id like, and since this is my only October trip I plan to head there upon arrival. As usual, Ill park in the Orange garage so any stuff in the car isnt sitting in the hot sun. Assuming I can join the virtual queue, Ill spend the waiting time getting a glass of wine at Jock Lindsay or somewhere else in the area. Ill bypass any food and wait for Food & Wine Festival later! Once the room is ready and my cookie is obtained, Ill get settled in at Beach Club Villas and make the rounds of Food & Wine Festival!

    Friday will be pool time and Food & Wine Festival. Sunday will be the same. Saturdays have historically been miserable at Food & Wine (too crowded), so Ill enjoy the pool again but then head to Chefs de France for a late lunch. Its possible I may check out Harmonious some evening, only because when its over I can walk back to my room.

    Ill really miss the Eat to the Beat concerts and am not interested in the local bands theyre bringing in. If I happen to wander by when one is performing and they sound great I will stop, but based on what I saw at the last Flower & Garden Festival I wont be missing anything if I skip them.

    The plans so far are:
    Thursday 10/21: Drive to WDW, Gideons, Food & Wine
    Friday 10/22: Pool, Food & Wine
    Saturday 10/23: Pool, Chefs de France
    Sunday 10/24: Pool, Food & Wine
    Monday 10/25: Drive to Gainesville

    DAY 1 Thursday 10/21/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member

    Plan: Drive to WDW, Gideons, Food & Wine

    Actual: I worked half the day, leaving the office at 11:45. A birthday present had been delivered (to our warehouse) and the sender had called to tell me to get it before I left. To my surprise, it was a bunch of chocolate from the ice cream/candy store we used to frequent when we lived in New Jersey! I think its always been my favorite chocolate store Thomas Sweet. Chris dad was the sender, and that was so nice of him. I took the chocolate home and left it where I hope SB wont see it, lol! I was on the road to Disney right at noon.

    When I turned onto the turnpike (halfway point) I checked my phone and saw the room ready notification had already arrived. Being familiar with the resort I knew my requests had been met and my rooms in a great location. Of course had I been going straight to the resort it probably wouldnt have been ready until an hour after I got there, but since Im going to Disney Springs the room is ready before I get there!

    Regardless, I decided to stick with the original plan since it was hot out today and there was no rush to get to Epcot in the heat. I parked in the Orange garage and based on the many parking spaces on every level I figured most likely Gideons wouldnt be doing the virtual queue its not crowded enough. Sure enough, when I got there they confirmed they were just doing standby, and said it was a 25 minute wait. It was all in the shade and there was a nice breeze, so it wasnt bad at all. They were accurate on the time as well.

    The Gideons cast were making a bunch of hoopla because it was hot cookie hour. Id read about this but have never been here for it. Basically, for this hour they sell hot chocolate chip cookies with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Many people got that (along with cookies in a bag or box), and as each one would exit the cast would cheer and yell hot cookie hour. I knew if I got that it would do me in for the rest of the day in terms of being able to eat anything and for me a Gideons cookie is a multi-day snack that I prefer not soggy from ice cream.

    When it was my turn I got one of the October cookies the Frankenstein. This is a chocolate chip cookie with double stuffed oreos and then topped with M&M candies. On an impulse I also bought a bag of the Gideons Bites, which are partial pieces of their cookies, completely dipped in chocolate. The cast member said they stay fresh longer than the cookies, since theyre coated in the chocolate.

    I left the store to no cheers since I didnt have a hot cookie <g> and walked back to the garage. It was an easy drive to Beach Club Villas and I was able to take all my stuff up to the studio in one trip. However, at the door my magic bands would only make the light turn red! Thankfully a housekeeper came by and she opened the door for me. I unpacked and got settled in the room. I opened up the Gideons Bites and theyre a pretty good size some will be more than one snack for me. I hope I like them, since they were $20 <g>.

    I guess I stopped thinking for a moment, because I was out the door by 3 while it was still hot outside! I stopped at the cast member in the Villas lobby and she reset my magic bands I had some degree of doubt about that but when I returned later it worked just fine so she was right! As I was walking to Epcot I realized Id been planning to go over later, when it was cooler, but at this point I just kept going. On my way into the park I stopped at Guest Relations to get my passholder card. I wasnt able to get SBs, since they said the person has to be present, with their photo ID. World Showcase was busy, but not mobbed, and the Food & Wine booth lines were very short (in some cases no line at all).

    I decided to start with my favorite the chimichurri skirt steak on corn cake from Flavors of Fire. With it being earlier than planned, this would hopefully make it easy to have a second item later around World Showcase. Along the way I noticed the Creations Store and decided to detour there first. It wasnt terribly crowded, and they had plenty of cute merchandise but nothing that really called out to me. In hindsight I should have looked for the 2022 calendar while I was in there oh well, maybe another day. Exiting Creations I saw the queue of people waiting to get into Club Cool. Not liking soda, that had no appeal to me.

    Instead, I walked over to the Flavors of Fire stand and had no wait to get my skirt steak. Most of the tables were out in the blazing sun (it was HOT) but I knew where to find a shady table. There were a couple available, so I grabbed one, took the required food porn photo, and started eating. It didnt taste exactly the same as I remembered! I think the problem was this time there was too much steak. That may sound funny, but it seriously was like eating a plate full of steak with just a tiny bit of the crunchy stuff on top. The corn cake was like it always was (good), but the proportion of the rest was just off. I ate it all, but knew I wasnt going to have room for a second item now.

    Across the way was the lobster booth, with only 1 person in line (and 3 registers open). I dont eat seafood, but I ordered the Steenberg sparkling sauvignon blanc from South Africa. It was very good and its served in a flute rather than a thimble <g> so I felt that it was worth the $6 it cost.

    I walked back out to World Showcase with my sparkling wine, noticing how HOT it was out there. October can be so miserable still. In United Kingdom I watched Carol Steins set, standing as close to the open shop doorway as possible (for a little a/c). She played a number of Disney movie songs, and it was really nice.

    After that I checked the Genie thing again. Id looked at it earlier, and saw the tips it had for me in terms of best time to ride different attractions in Epcot. This time I noticed it said the Beauty & the Beast Sing Along was taking standby people now, so I stopped in France. There was still 9 minutes until the show so I put on my mask and browsed through the wine shop (not buying anything) then went to wait for the doors to the show to open.

    Id never seen this, and expected it to be like the Frozen Sing Along, where there would be live actors. It was not. This was just a film, and during the songs the words would appear on the screen and the audience would sing along. Still, I enjoyed it (more than I expected) and was glad the audience singing wasnt too awful <g>.

    After the show I continued the loop around World Showcase, stopping to look at merchandise or festival booth menus/pictures but not getting anything. The festival spirit jersey is really cute this year! I thought about something sweet, but I wasnt hungry at all and knew I had all that Gideons stuff at the resort so I passed for today.

    When I came around to International Gateway Id had enough for today and left the park. The Skyliner didnt look busy so I hopped on that for a leisurely ride to Caribbean Beach and back. Someone on MouseOwners had heard Riviera didnt let you get off unless you were staying there, and I saw NO sign of anything like that. Its never happened in the past to me, and Ive never heard of it happening. I got off at Caribbean Beach and had a short wait to board for the return trip. The line moved continuously since all the gondolas there are empty when they arrive. At Riviera there was a similar size line, and that one just stood still since most of the gondolas that arrive have people in them. They were boarding just 1 party per gondola, I assume because its not a peak time.

    At International Gateway I left the Skyliner and walked back to Beach Club Villas, happy to be here again. From my balcony I can see the Tower of Terror and its possible Ill get some Harmonious fireworks from the other direction. Well see later. I was in by 6:30 and went to work getting the report done before going online and getting distracted with other stuff. My fabulous HAL cruise is coming up, on the brand new ship (Rotterdam) that just sailed from Amsterdam yesterday on the first voyage. It arrives in FL November 3rd, and some of the nice people on board are sharing photos and comments on facebook and message boards if I went to that first the report would have been delayed <g>.

    I brought wine, crackers & cheese from home, along with water and breakfast stuff. Most likely some of it will go back home with me, but I wanted to have the option of partaking or not. Wine is heavier to transport than cheese & crackers, so I got comfortable and decided to have some wine along with a few crackers and cheese. Later when the sweet tooth kicks in Ill eat a little Gideons. The Bites are mysteries, since with the chocolate coating you have no way to tell what kind of cookie it is. Fun!

    Today was a great start to the trip, other than being warmer than Id like. Im very happy with my room and love being back for Food & Wine! Ill report tomorrow on whether I can see the fireworks from my balcony, and tomorrow Im looking forward to relaxing by the quiet pool all morning!

    DAY 2 Friday 10/22/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member

    Plan: Pool, Food & Wine

    Actual: Last night at 9:05 I saw fireworks off my balcony. They were brief, and mostly obscured by the tall trees. According to Genie, Harmonious was scheduled for 9:45, so I have no idea what this was. I went outside for a few minutes waiting for more, but it was over.

    At 9:47 I could hear Harmonious so I got up and could see it from the balcony. I could see some of the lower fireworks, but not the barges. I could hear the music clearly, and of course the high fireworks were completely visible. I also noticed there was a full moon tonight. I stayed out there for the entire show, coming back inside a little after 10. The one drawback to the rooms on the 5th floor here is theres a bright light over each balcony. Theres no switch to turn it off, so I have to close the drapes this trip otherwise too much light gets into the room. I finished up with the computer and turned in around 10:30.

    It was very quiet in the room (other than a couple people with loud kids passing by in the hallway) and I slept well, getting up just before 5. I decided to go for a walk before starting my cappuccino, so I brushed my teeth, got dressed, and headed out. It was really quiet outside! I walked briskly over to Hollywood Studios and back, coming around via the Boardwalk. The entire time I was out I only saw 2 other guests and that was near the end of my route. There were a few cast members cleaning or delivering alcohol via pulled cart, and one lone security person who didnt make eye contact or offer a greeting at all.

    When I got back to the studio it was 6am, and I used the coffee maker to heat up water for my cappuccino. It came out light brown, so I dumped that & tried again this time I got clear water. Obviously the previous guests used the coffee maker to make actual coffee, lol. I took the cappuccino back to bed and spent time online.

    At 7:39 I realized Id forgotten all about trying for the Remy virtual queue. By then all spots were taken, but thats ok since it really wasnt important to me. If Im in the park at 1 I can try again, but its not likely Ill be over there then unless I decide to brave the heat briefly for something from Food & Wine!

    The sunrise was very pretty watched it from my bed. Around 8:30 I got up to make breakfast an egg and slice of bacon. After changing into a swimsuit & coverup, I headed down to the quiet pool just after 9.

    There are 2 areas at this pool where I usually sit both spots that will get the sun earlier rather than later. I knew going out at 9 the entire area would still be shaded, but I wanted to get my spot to be ready for when the sun did peek over the building. I was shocked to find nobody in the pool or on the chairs around the pool, 2-3 people in the hot tub (their stuff was on chairs at the end of my row, and both of the 2 spots I try for had been staked out already by chair hogs! Ive never seen this happen, and to happen at a quiet pool thats never really crowded was just bizarre.

    An old man with a scooter was putting the finishing touches on 4 chairs in my row (the end I normally take today I just moved down the row). He even laid a couple life jackets on 2 of the chairs, placed a bag of goldfish crackers on one, suntan lotion on another, etc. Then he left shortly after 9. The other area had been set up with stuff on 3 of the 4 chairs towels, cooler, water bottles. This couple showed up a little after 11. The other party showed up (first grandma on her scooter, later grandpa on his) just after noon! Grandma put the life jackets away. Grandpa brought his laptop and had some sports broadcast/show blaring away, so that was the end of me. Id pretty much planned to leave by 12:30 so I left at 12:15 instead.

    I decided to walk over to Epcot for a Food & Wine Festival lunch before getting cleaned up, since it would be hot & sweaty anyway. I figured I could do that, be back to watch General Hospital, and then shower & get dressed before heading into Epcot later (when its a bit cooler). Epcot was busy but not uncomfortably crowded. Being a Friday, I expected it to be busy. The walk wasnt too bad in terms of the heat, but I did choose to walk in shade where possible <g>.

    I turned left towards United Kingdom and began walking around the countries. The line at Canada was very short but I wasnt in the mood for the cheese soup in the heat of the day. Hawaii was a possibility, but that line was very long so I forgot about that. Some booths (China, Mexico) had pretty long lines standing in the sun so those were off the list. Id been thinking about korma chicken in India, but when almost there I remembered the hot beef sandwich at Hops & Barley.

    As I approached India there was NO wait! Yesterday the line was pretty long. But, Id mentally moved on to the beef, and there were no shady spots to eat if I had gotten the korma chicken, so I kept walking. Italy once again had a shockingly long line extended well outside of the queue same as yesterday. I didnt understand that at all!

    In America I could see Hops & Barley had a very short line, and it was now almost 12:50. At 1pm people inside the park can try for a virtual boarding group for Remy, so I sat on the shady wall of a fountain and got ready to do that. I was directly across from the open doors to American Adventure, so the air conditioning blowing out felt great! Almost everyone I saw walking by or sitting around had their phones in their hands and were also trying for the virtual queue. I figured I probably wouldnt get it, and that would have been fine.

    However, at 1pm I refreshed and joined the queue, snagging boarding group #126. It said my estimated wait time was 360 minutes, which would be around 7pm tonight. That works Ill go over to Epcot later than yesterday and plan to stick around until then. If the attraction goes down and boarding groups get delayed its no big deal to me if I miss it or just skip it.

    With the boarding group obtained, I walked over to Hops & Barley and ordered the hot beef sandwich with no wait. I had to wait at the counter for a minute because they had none pre-prepared, which works fine for me. Id rather have it fresh vs sitting out on the counter for 30 minutes! I took it back to the shady fountain wall and forgot to take a picture before starting to eat it. By the time I remembered, it was nearly gone. The beef was very tender, and thin sliced. The pickled veggies were minimal and added a little crunch. The horseradish sauce wasnt too spicy. Overall I liked it a lot and would happily get it again. The portion wasnt overwhelming it was just right.

    I was in the mood for something sweet, but had more than enough of that stuff in the room. I headed to International Gateway and walked back to the resort, stopping to deal with a work issue. Once in the studio I spent more time on the work issue, then finished up the small Gideons bite Id eaten from yesterday. Its pretty darn good!

    I updated the trip report while watching General Hospital (quickly reading yesterdays recap to catch up). After General Hospital I thought about getting up but being lazy won out. Around 3:30 they came to empty the trash, and I thought now would be the time to take my shower. However, the weather was still very hot (90) and the my Remy boarding group was still hours away, so I poured a glass of wine and sat back down on the couch. Theres really no rush to get back to the park, until its not too hot to be comfortable.

    I downloaded the photos Id taken yesterday and deleted most of the blurry fireworks shots from last night on the balcony. What was left was more than Id normally keep, but what the heck. I had another glass of wine and caught the early evening news while finishing up online. Since Im in a studio there are no wine glasses in here, but I bring an old Disney (formerly refillable) mug for my cappuccino in the morning and a couple of the Epcot plastic festival wine glasses slip in there just fine.

    Around 5 I finally dragged my wretched body (Haunted Mansion reference) to the shower. I guess it was the dead center of the shower. Disney puns are so bad, lol. By 5:45 I was out the door, walking over to Epcot. Remy was on groups 91-105 so my time (126) wasnt too far away. I wasnt sure what I wanted for dinner, but figured Id wander around in shade as much as possible and then explore more when the sun got lower.

    By now the sun had gotten low enough that clouds hanging just above the treetops blocked it out and it was very pleasant outside. I turned left towards UK again, and made a loop of the countries. Once again, some booths had long lines and some no line at all but it didnt make sense in many cases. I thought about India and once again there was only 1 person there, picking up her food. The timing would have been great, but I really wasnt ready to eat yet.

    I just enjoyed walking around, enjoying the sights and sounds. Tonight a local band is doing concerts at 7:30 and 8:30 I heard them while walking back to the resort later and they actually sounded good. Might be something for tomorrow night if the timing works out. Our February HAL cruise is on the Nieuw Amsterdam, which is scheduled to sail into Port Everglades at 4:45 am tomorrow, then depart at 5pm for a 7-night Caribbean cruise. This will be the first HAL sailaway from Florida with passengers onboard since before covid, so many of us are excited to watch! Unfortunately, being the first cruise from here could mean delays, if the ship gets extra inspections and bureaucratic paperwork Im hoping that since they came from Seattle, there wont be all the hoopla (theyre not coming from a foreign country).

    When I got to France I debated whether to head towards Future World to get the mac & cheese or just wait for my boarding group. It seemed like the boarding groups were moving faster, so I stuck around and of course that means they slowed right down again <g>. I played on my phone and sat over here a while then over there a while then stood here and there. Finally my number was up and I joined the queue. From there it was still another 30 minutes before I got on the attraction, which is what the app said would happen.

    This is my second time riding and honestly Im not impressed. Its a kiddie ride, and very short. The time spent waiting (30 minutes) in the queue isnt justified for me, so I think Im done with Remy unless Im with someone who has never ridden AND were in the virtual queue. By the time I got back outside it was after 8.

    The park was really busy by now, with people starting to stake out spots for Harmonious at 9:45. I decided cheese soup from Canada would be my dinner, since thats pretty close. They did have a line but it moved very quickly thanks to having 3 registers open. Although it was dark I spotted an empty table right along the lake and grabbed it. Another couple got there just after me and said you beat us. I told them to share the table with me, so they did. They were staying for Harmonious, so this was a great spot for them. Ill watch it from my balcony cant see the water projections but the fireworks are enough for me.

    The soup was very good but the pretzel breadstick could have been better. Perhaps its because its the end of the day and its been sitting around, but the ones in the past were softer. After finishing my soup I left the others at the table and walked back to Beach Club Villas for the evening.

    Today was a really nice day overall, other than the weird chair hog behavior at the quiet pool this morning. I really didnt understand it, and have never experienced that here or at other dvc resorts. To tie up chairs for 2 or 3 hours without being around is just so rude and inappropriate. I think tomorrow Ill head to the beach instead avoiding the situation is one way to deal with it, lol! I enjoyed my time in Epcot, and both of the Food & Wine items I had. While Im not crazy about Remy, I dont regret doing it tonight. The first time was a blur the second time wasnt much different, lol.

    Tomorrow will be sort of like today except for watching the ship sail and having lunch at Chefs de France. I may try to catch the first concert, too.

    DAY 3 Saturday 10/23/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member

    Plan: Pool, Chefs de France

    Actual: Last night I sat outside on the balcony to watch Harmonious. For some reason the music seemed much louder tonight I could hear every song clearly. The fireworks were very nice, as usual. Once that ended I turned in for the night.

    This morning Id set my alarm for 4:20 and woke up just before that. Checking the port website I could see Nieuw Amsterdam on the radar and figured it wouldnt make the 4:45 time. As it turned out it was closer to 5 before it was passing by the webcam. Its such a sad feeling waking up on a cruise and seeing Florida generally that means the cruise is over. There are people who do back-to-back cruises but Id rather just book a longer cruise rather than pop back into Florida every week or so.

    Once the ship was in I dressed and headed out for my walk. Once again, other than a couple custodial cast I only saw 1 other guest (jogger). It was a nice walk, and I was back by 6. While out I noticed all the chair on the beach were down by the slide for Stormalong Bay. There used to be chairs scattered around, including down at my end. Its not a big deal itll just change which path I take to walk out there.

    I made my cappuccino and took it back to bed, then got online and puttered around while the local news was on. The usual breakfast occurred around 8:30 and by 8:45 I was headed to the quiet pool to pick up towels for my chaise lounge on the beach. The red cooler couple were there, but they were both on their chairs so I had no problem with that. Scooter Grandma & Grandpa hadnt been down to save any chairs that I could see. I took 4 towels and then walked over to the beach.

    The morning was just delightful!!!! It didnt get hot until almost 11, so until then it was perfect barely broke a sweat. After 11 it was like someone flipped a switch, and it was sweaty! I did some reading and enjoyed listing to the boats coming and going. Other than that it was very quiet & peaceful out there. About noon I gathered up my stuff and returned to the quiet pool to drop off 2 of the towels (the other 2 I can use again). Red cooler couple were still there impressive. No sign of the others today.

    I went up to the room and since my lunch reservation is at 1:50 I didnt have to rush. I did check the app to see if I could move the time up a little but there was nothing available. I took my shower and got dressed. I left a little after 1, figuring I might walk over to Creations Shop to look for the 2022 calendar.

    Epcot was very busy, but for a Saturday of Food & Wine Festival Ive definitely seen worse. Some booths had pretty short lines, and there were some that were just ridiculous. It seems though right by the entrance to World Showcase had the most horrific long lines, thanks to people who dont think they just get in the first line they see. Heading further in they would have found much shorter lines.

    I walked over to Creations Shop and asked the cast member if they had any of the 2022 calendars. She didnt think so but said theyd be by the registers if they did. I looked at both ends and asked another group of cast members at the other end, but theyre all sold out. They also didnt have them at International Gateway. Ive never waited this long to buy one, so missing out is a new thing for me.

    As I walked back to World Showcase I saw the friendship boat arriving so I joined the queue. I sat outside, in the back and thought Id be ok without a mask there since it was outside. But, the cast member reminded me to keep my mask on so I put it back on. Seems silly, but Disney makes the rules. I got off in Morocco and made the short walk to France & checked in at Chefs de France. They dont have the international cast working here yet the person checking me in and my server were both from the US.

    For lunch I ordered the French onion soup and the house chardonnay. Although I dont generally like chardonnay, this ones ok. The soup is spectacular lots of cheese, not salty, and really good-tasting. I guess Id forgotten how big it is, or theyve increased the size since my last visit because this was a huge bowl! It looked and tasted delicious, but no way could I finish it. I did eat more than half, along with half the crusty loaf of French bread (yum). A solo lady across from me ordered the soup and a salad and she didnt finish her food either.

    After settling the check (about $20 plus tip very reasonable) I left the restaurant, exited Epcot and walked back to Beach Club Villas. I swung by Beach Club Marketplace but no calendars there either. Up in the room Id no sooner sat down when housekeeping was there to get the trash. I decided to spend the afternoon in the room, waiting to go back to Epcot until after it cooled down.

    A check of the Port Everglades website showed my HAL ships departure had been pushed back to 6pm. However, they have 4 cruise ships scheduled to depart at 6pm and that cant happen. Theyll go out one at a time, and I have no idea who will go first. I took care of the rest of the photos on the camera, then uploaded them all to an album for the trip. Once they uploaded I captioned/retitled them. After that it was HGTV and playing on the computer until it was time for the ships to start sailing.

    Two other ships sailed first, one right after the other. Then the camera was on the HAL ship, which was just sitting there still tied up! The pilot boats were slowly cruising around, clearly ready, but the dam ship wasnt moving. Finally at 6:40 the lines dropped and the ship was underway. I was out the door at 7:15 to walk over to Epcot.

    Whats so great about staying here is by 7:21 I was inside Epcot, heading up the hill to World Showcase. I made it to the America Gardens Theater with a couple minutes to spare. Last night Id heard the concert as I was walking home, and decided I would see the 7:30 show tonight. Quite a few people were there, but it wasnt full. The group was the M-80s and most likely a local band.

    Id never heard of them but I thoroughly enjoyed the concert! Every song they did was one that I knew, which makes a huge difference for me. It was high energy, and a lot of fun. I hadnt realized just how badly Ive missed the concerts at these festivals. Having Mariachi Cobre or Voices of Liberty is nice, but its no substitute for a real concert. Nothing beats live music, and live entertainment in general. Thats one thing I love about my HAL cruises the ship is full of live music, and Id much rather have that vs watching a screen or listening to a recording. I filmed a handful of short videos of most of the songs and uploaded them to facebook while I let the crowds die down after the show.

    Tonight World Showcase wasnt as awful as Saturday nights of Food & Wine Festival have been in the past. There were a lot of long lines, but some of the festival booths had really short ones. India for example had no line at all but I wasnt in the mood for chicken korma tonight. I thought mac & cheese sounded better. As I was walking I noticed Spaceship Earth with changing colored lights, and to the left fireworks were going off somewhere (Hollywood Studios would be my guess).

    I left World Showcase and walked over to Spaceship Earth to watch the lighting change and take some pictures. It was really pretty! From there I headed back deeper into the park and stopped at the mac & cheese stand. I really wasnt hungry still, and decided although the mac & cheese tastes good it was too heavy. Instead I went to the lobster booth and got a flute of the sparkling sauvignon blanc. I sipped on that while walking back out to World Showcase.

    I had the apple crumble tart from Appleseed Orchard on my mind, since it was on my way home. Thats in Canada, in the venue they use for the movie. Right now the movie isnt playing, which is a shame because they redid it not long ago. I wandered down there and a cast member stopped me from going inside because I didnt have my mask on. Id completely forgotten, but moved aside and went to sit on the wall (outside area) to finish my sparkling wine.

    Two couples came and sat next to me, and both of the women had the apple crumble tart. It was massive!! I asked the lady next to me how it was and she said it was amazing. Damn I will have to get it at some point, but its too big to get now with only 1 day left. Itll be either early in a trip or when SB is with me. I really thought it would be about half the size.

    I headed to International Gateway and left the park, noticing big crowds heading to the skyliner. Im sure itll be horrible later, when the park actually closes. I was back at the resort by 9. To satisfy my sweet tooth I ate part of a Gideons bite, then settled into bed to update the report. At 9:45 I went out to the balcony to watch Harmonious fireworks again.

    Today was a really nice day, with no real hiccups or issues at all just how I like it! The beach was fabulous, and a much better choice than the pool. Lunch was great but so much bigger than I remember. I dont know why I like their chardonnay, but Im glad I do. I was really pleased to see HAL sailing from Florida again and cant wait for my turns this season! Epcot this evening was beautiful weather was perfect, and the concert was so much better than I would have expected.

    Tomorrow Im hoping for sun in the morning so I can enjoy the beach again. Its supposed to rain in the afternoon & evening, so if I want to get korma chicken Id better get over there earlier rather than later. Its too hard to eat while holding an umbrella, and no fun trudging around Epcot in the rain.

    DAY 4 Sunday 10/24/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member

    Plan: Pool, Food & Wine

    Actual: I was up at 5 again and enjoyed my walk this morning. Each day Ive done a slightly different route, and today I just made 2 loops around Yacht/Beach/Boardwalk. As usual, it wasnt until the end that I ran into a pair of joggers setting out on their run. Back in the studio I made my cappuccino and took it back to bed.

    By 7:30 the sun was up but covered by the thick clouds. The showers could start as early as noon, but looked more likely by 2pm for sure. I had breakfast around 8, and decided I was still going out to the beach despite the clouds. Its a pretty setting and its warm enough. While I wont get any sun, I shouldnt sweat much either <g>. In any event, sitting out there with my kindle was more attractive than going into the park to ride attractions.

    By 9 I was in a swimsuit & coverup, headed to the beach. I made a quick detour for one more towel from the quiet pool. The red cooler was on its chairs but no sign of the humans. I got the extra towel and then walked out to the beach. Today I had a drag a chair down to the edge of the water (the fence, technically). For whatever reason the 4 chairs that were down there yesterday were gone/relocated.

    It was very peaceful out there on my chaise lounge, and despite the lack of sun I enjoyed myself. I could hear the music played at the Boardwalk resorts, and of course the friendships as they came and went. I stayed out there just under 2 hours then returned my used towels to the quiet pool (red cooler still sitting there all lonesome) and went upstairs to take my shower & get dressed.

    I was out the door just after 11:30 and walked over to Epcot. With the clouds and a little breeze it was actually very comfortable. Once I was inside the park I turned to the right towards France, just to change it up. The crowds were the smallest Ive seen yet, which was really nice. I walked around past the countries, seeing a few booths with long lines but not quite as long as the previous days.

    As I approached India I could see there was no line at all. There were also a couple available tables in the corner of South Africa, so I quickly got in the queue & ordered the korma chicken and sula chenin blanc. It came up right away, but of course by now both of the tables had been taken by others. There were stand-up tables across the way (in the shade) so I went over there.

    Ive had the sula chenin blanc in previous years, and I like it. For whatever reason this one is priced lower than most, at $5 rather than $6. The korma chicken came with jasmine rice, crispy chickpeas, the spicy sauce & yogurt sauce. I wasnt sure about the chickpeas, since I dont like hummus but I figured I could just pick them out. As it turns out they were sprinkled on top (easy to see) and were actually delicious with the rest of the food! The portion was large, with a lot of chicken.

    After Id eaten a bite or two a regular table opened up so I went over and was able to enjoy my lunch while sitting down. I could have easily shared this with another person but it was so good I ate it all! While I was eating the sun came out, which wasnt expected. It immediately got very hot walking around. Mexico didnt have people lined up waiting to get inside yet so I ducked in there for the air conditioning even though it meant I had to put on a mask.

    The boat ride was basically a walk-on so I rode that. It was cool & comfortable. I left the pavilion after the boat ride and walked over to where Future World meets World Showcase. There was some shade so I sat on a shady wall and drank some water while people watching and monorail watching. Eventually I got moving again and left the park via International Gateway. I might come back later when it cools down, even if its just to walk around a bit.

    I decided to take another spin on the skyliner, which wasnt busy at all. I boarded my gondola and got off at Riviera. I took a few pictures over there and browsed through the little merchandise shop, then hopped back on the skyliner to Caribbean Beach. At that station I transferred to a gondola going back to International Gateway. For whatever reason, the skyliner came to a complete stop 4 times! Each time it was long enough to trigger the announcements that theyve stopped and then are resuming. The fourth time was just my gondola got into the station at International Gateway. The doors didnt open because I was barely an inch away from the sensor that opens them! The gondola started creeping forward very slowly, and the doors were very slowly starting to open. The cast member said I was small enough to fit through the opening, so I got up and exited despite the doors not being fully open. It was getting warm in there without any real movement!

    I walked back to Beach Club Villas and was in the studio shortly after 2. The rain seems to be pushed back until this evening. I packed up some of my stuff, then decided to relax in the studio for the afternoon, after making 1 trip to the car with a couple things I wont need tonight/tomorrow. While at the car I picked up the Gideons receipt from the front seat and realized Id given bad information. I could have sworn the menu on the wall in Gideons said the bites were $20. The receipt says $12. At $20 theyd be expensive enough I wouldnt likely buy them again. At $12 not too expensive, but damn you Gideons I dont want the temptation! That place is addicting.

    Since I expected rain I hadnt taken the camera to Epcot earlier but did take a number of pictures with my phone and emailed them to myself. I added them to the album, which is on Snapfish at

    By 4 it was raining steadily I was glad to not be caught out in it. It seemed to stop a bit later even though the computer said it was raining outside. By 5 it was pouring. Between the off and on again rain, plus the awful humidity, I decided to just stay in tonight. I still have wine, crackers & cheese, so that will be dinner. Theres also still some Gideons cookie and most of the bites too I wont go hungry!

    When I head home early in the morning I dont bother with a report that day, so this will wrap up the trip report. Its been a great little trip in so many ways. First, I loved that it was solo for a change, and loved that it was at Beach Club Villas during Food & Wine Festival! I wish it would have been cooler, like last weekend or next weekend, but hopefully the November trip will be more comfortable.

    My room location was perfect for me, and I enjoyed watching the Harmonious fireworks from the balcony each night. I wasnt happy about the silly chair hogs at the quiet pool, but the beach was a much better choice for me & once I tried that there was no reason to return to the pool. Food & Wine didnt seem as crowded as in years past, although it was definitely busy. I never had to wait long for anything I wanted. The food and wine I tried there was very good ditto for Chefs de France. Gideons was delicious as usual. Cant wait to see what the November cookie of the month will be! In terms of parks, I only did 2 attractions this trip, neither of which were planned before the trip. Im glad I got the virtual queue for Remy, only because Id never done the virtual queue. However, that attraction isnt worth the 30-minute wait you still have even with the virtual queue, and not worth paying to ride (for me). I may do it again next though, only because everyone else hasnt experienced it yet.

    Speaking of the next trip, it begins November 6th less than 2 weeks away! This trip will be 9 nights, starting with 3 solo nights at BCV before moving to a villa at Boardwalk Villas for the last 6 nights. Friends Pete & Judy will arrive at Boardwalk November 7th, and their friend Bonnie will be coming up for the first part of the trip too. SB arrives on Tuesday, which is the day I move to the villa. Studios dont work for us, and thats what I have the first 3 nights over at BCV. Friends Tiana & Jonell join us for the day on Thursday, then Chris/Amanda/Ari arrive for the weekend on Friday. Everyone travels well together, so it should be a lot of fun!

    Sue (Holland) Rayford

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  3. #2

    Thanks for another great trip report, Sue! I enjoy them so much. Your pictures were great, too, especially that amazing moon photo!

    "A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference." --Eeyore

  4. #3
    MousePlanet Columnist
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Quote Originally Posted by wdwjan View Post
    Thanks for another great trip report, Sue! I enjoy them so much. Your pictures were great, too, especially that amazing moon photo!
    Thanks Jan!

    Sue (Holland) Rayford

  5. #4
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    Aug 2014
    Gulf Coast of Florida

    Thanks for another report Sue! It seems like you are carrying the full load for all of us these days.



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