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Thread: Sue Rayford, Nov 10-14, 2022, Beach Club Villas

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    Sue Rayford, Nov 10-14, 2022, Beach Club Villas

    Who/When/Where:

    Who: Sue (64), DVC Member
    SB (65), my husband
    Chris (36), my son
    Amanda (34), my daughter-in-law
    Ari (6), my grandson
    Dates: November 10 14, 2022
    Resort: Disneys Beach Club Villas Resort
    Experience: Very Experienced 57th stay at BCV

    INTRODUCTION:
    This was booked as an extra trip for Food & Wine purposes. Our main Food & Wine trip ended up being at Old Key West due to being planned with friends from Massachusetts (who later backed out), so I knew my time at Food at Wine would be more limited and not convenient. I booked a dental appointment for Thursday morning and Friday is a work holiday since 11/11 is Saturday, so this trip wont cost me much vacation time. The main Food & Wine trip (late October) didnt include any full weekends, so bringing Chris family up then didnt make sense. However, with this trip Ari has no school on Friday, so they can come up Thursday after school and Ill actually get to spend time in the parks with them Thursday night and Friday. Saturday they can do a park and we booked lunch at Terralina together, then Sunday theyll do a park before heading home while Ill enjoy the pool & then do something at a resort or Disney Springs. Normally including SB on a trip in a studio is not something Id consider, but in this case since his days off are Thursday & Friday I invited him to meet me there Thursday and spend Thursday/Friday at Food & Wine. Ari being here is the sole reason he agreed to come, and thats fine. If it wasnt for him getting to spend time with Ari Id prefer to have the studio to myself the entire time.

    So all of the above was thrown into chaos with the expected arrival of hurricane or tropical storm Nicole! The last thing we need is another freakin storm!!! Plus, I dont like driving in the rain, driving in traffic, or driving in the dark call me a fuddy duddy if you will, but it is what it is. To get from my Gainesville home to SW Florida its 4 hours minimum, assuming no traffic or weather issues. From there to get to Disney its 3 tough hours, having to deal with potential traffic on I-75 and a greater risk on I-4. I decided to reschedule my dental appointment (to the following Thursday) to eliminate having that portion of the drive during crappy weather. Changing the Disney portion of the trip is not possible, since BCV studios have been booked up for at least 7 months now and both rooms were booked with banked points. It sucks that lots of rain & wind are expected Thursday & Friday, which are the only days I have access to the parks (only interested in Epcot, for Food & Wine). Id planned on Saturday & Sunday to have time by the pool but now Sunday is expected to have a high in the low 70s. Sometimes plans just dont work out, and this trip is a classic illustration of that!

    Besides SB & Chris family, my cruise buddy Fran was supposed to be here at Beach Club Villas with her daughter and son-in-law from NJ so Id looked forward to seeing her and having her meet Chris & family. Unfortunately, Nicole ruined that. Her daughter & son-in-laws flight was canceled due to the airport closing, so she canceled the entire trip.

    On September 28th hurricane Ian roared ashore and destroyed much of the area near my home in Ft Myers. Amazingly, mine seems to be the only street for miles that didnt flood, meaning our homes didnt flood even though so many others (many without flood insurance I have carried flood insurance since buying there in 1986) suffered great losses. Of the 30 homes in our homeowners association there was serious damage to around a third of them, but not mine. That said, the costs (building exteriors, non-home structures) not covered by insurance will be passed along to all of us, so I opened a claim with my insurance and FEMA to hopefully cover some/most of what Ill eventually be hit with. Still, Im thankful to have my home and only experience very minor damage to my place. Its heartbreaking to see entire neighborhoods devastated, places we enjoyed wiped away, etc.

    Back to this trip - generally, the weather should have been nice in November, which is another big reason in booking this trip. I hate Disney when its hot or hot & humid if Im going to sweat in the parks I dont want to be there. November is usually pretty ideal in terms of weather, except when a hurricane/tropical storm is blowing through. Given that Thursday is supposed to be rainy & windy to the point Epcot makes no sense I looked for a lunch reservation to satisfy SB. Beaches & Cream would have been his pick (Im just eh on that one) but nothing was available. Instead, I booked Ale & Compass since we can get there without going outside. The latest lunch reservation I could get was 1:35 so thats what I booked. Hopefully our studio will be ready by the time we finish lunch ideally it will be ready when we arrive (haha). Chris family wont get in until later that evening my guess would be close to 9pm. The big unknown at this point is whether the storm causes me to delay the drive down I keep hoping a window of better weather will open up but thats probably not likely.

    After tracking hourly weather both in Gainesville and Orlando I wasnt seeing any obvious best window of travel. Id canceled the Ale & Compass reservation when SB thought the Beach Club Marketplace menu was better, so without having to arrive by any specific time well play Thursday by ear. Theres obviously a big benefit to arriving when the studio will be ready, and when the forecast has dropped from rain to showers. It looks like Food & Wine may be on the table for Thursday evening, so Beach Club Marketplace will be the backup plan.

    Friday may still have a shower or 2 in the morning but for the most part it looks like a mostly sunny, comfortable day. I really would like to enjoy Food & Wine one last time this year.

    I have $25 birthday credits from a couple restaurant groups. One includes Terralina and Amanda also has the same credit since her birthday was 11/1. I booked lunch for us there on Saturday. My other one is with Landry, which is Rainforest Caf, T-Rex and Yak & Yeti at WDW. Ill plan to use that on Sunday either at the bar in T-Rex or at Lava Lounge (outside Rainforest Caf).

    The plans so far are:
    Thursday 11/10: Drive to BCV, Food & Wine
    Friday 11/11: Epcot, Food & Wine
    Saturday 11/12: Pool/Beach, Terralina lunch
    Sunday 11/13: Pool/Beach, T-Rex or Lava Lounge
    Monday 11/14: Drive to Gainesville


    DAY 1 Thursday 11/10/22
    Who: Sue (64), DVC Member
    SB (65), my husband
    Chris (36), my son
    Amanda (34), my daughter-in-law
    Ari (6), my grandson

    Plan: Drive to BCV, Food & Wine

    Actual: As planned I kept an eye on the weather and determined the optimum time to leave would be 1pm. I worked until 12:30 and we ended up getting on the road at 12:45, taking both cars since SB would be returning home Friday night. The first half of the drive was rainy and windy at one point SB called in a panic saying the car is going to blow over. It was windy on that stretch but not enough to topple his car, and it got better from there. We ran into 1 accident (big truck had jack knifed) which blocked 2 of the 3 lanes on I-75 but thankful we only lost about 15 minutes.

    Once on the turnpike it was almost rain-free and the wind wasnt noticeable. By 2:30 an email told me our room was not quite ready. We arrived just after 3 and after depositing SB & our stuff in the room with the pool table I went over to Beach Club lobby since they didnt have anyone working at the Villas today. The cast member confirmed my room wasnt ready yet and said shed call housekeeping to let them know were here. Where have we heard that one before?? It seems to be the standard response yet never yields any results. I did learn that were on the 4th floor, in the middle of the resort, and Chris family would be in the same general area.

    I went back to join SB in pool table room. I noticed more people than usual hanging around in the various sitting rooms, so its possible housekeeping staff didnt all get to work on time this morning because of the storm. Disney had brought out games and toys to each room, so the kids were happy. Happy kids generally mean noisy kids, and that was true today. Add 2 dads playing pool while trying to shoo away whining kids who wanted their attention and it became a bit much at times. By 4 we were still waiting for the room to be ready. At 4:15 Amanda texted to say their room is ready and theyre not even on the road yet.

    At 4:30 I walked back over to Beach Club but before I left the Villas building I got the text that our room is ready! We moved in and got settled. Its a nice room, convenient to the parking lot and the quiet pool. Its also got an extended balcony that wraps around I think I had this room when Ari was little and he & Amanda stayed with me. I sent a photo to Amanda and she confirmed it, and said Ari loved crawling around out there.

    After unpacking I checked the weather, since it didnt start raining at 4:30 like forecast earlier. Now it was saying rain at 6 but short-lived and only 36% chance. We figured that was safe to get a loop of Food & Wine in, so I grabbed an umbrella and we headed out. Entering Epcot was very quick no lines of people or delays at all. Walking up the hill and then turning right towards France I noticed how much less crowded the walkway was compared to our late October trip. However, once we got to the Food & Wine booths many of the lines were much longer than wed seen last trip.

    France was too long to bother with, so we continued without stopping until we came to America. SB got the hot beef sandwich there. We no sooner got that and it started sprinkling. I was glad to have the umbrella! He ate while we were walking. A number of the stands were not open at all perhaps not enough cast members could get to work today. In Germany I joined the line and got the bratwurst in pretzel roll, requesting one without mustard. SB had found a mostly dry bench so I joined him there. The bratwurst was good, but once is enough. I ate most of it and asked him to finish it. Of course mere seconds after sitting on the bench to eat the bratwurst it started raining again.

    I opened the umbrella and said I could eat while we continued walking. In Mexico I was shocked to see hardly any line at the margarita stand so SB got a strawberry margarita. It was very good, and he commented it had quite a bit of alcohol in it. As we approached Canada we stopped at the Refreshment=something stand and I got the maple cheesecake to bring back to the room.

    Before going to the room we stopped at Beach Club Marketplace to get SB some dinner. A single Food & Wine item does not satisfy him! He got the half chicken dinner (comes with mashed potatoes, gravy, corn on the cob & cornbread) and New England clam chowder. We didnt mobile order, but were able to order & pay at the cash registers and then pick the food up when it was ready in a few minutes.

    We took his dinner to the room and he loved it this is a really good meal and he loves the clam chowder here. Chris family were about an hour away by the time SB finished eating so we hung out watching tv and doing online stuff while waiting. I poured myself a glass of wine. SB started nodding off, which is fully expected after a margarita and big dinner <g>.

    Amanda texted just before 7:30 saying they were on property, so they must have had a smooth trip without the usual traffic delays! Her birthday was November 1st and since her birthday gift is always Disney gift cards Ive got it here in our room along with a bag of gummy candies shaped like black spiders for Ari (Halloween stuff).

    They dropped their stuff off then came over to our room it was great seeing everyone! We exchanged birthday gifts I ended up with several Bath & Body items that all smell great. We hung out for a while and Chris & Amanda shared some of what theyd seen back home after the hurricane, around the area where I live. People further inland were walking in water up to their chests (flooding), yet my street didnt flood its so bizarre. Theres trash piled along roads no place to put it I guess. Chris delivered some medications to a patient who lives a good 15 minutes inland from where my place is, and the water line (where the flood water stopped) was maybe a foot below the ceiling. Everything in that home need to be torn down and replaced. Its so sad.

    After visiting for a while they left to go walk around Crescent Lake before turning in. SB was watching the football game but with his eyes closed and not even facing the screen. I finished up the report and did a few things online before turning in.

    Today ended up being a better day than expected. The drive down wasnt bad at all, and conditions here are fine. I didnt like waiting until 4:30 to get the room especially since when I did online check-in I expected to be arriving earlier and listed 12:30. Epcot was nice despite the off and on rain, and SB really enjoyed his Beach Club Marketplace dinner!

    Tomorrow were heading into Epcot for early entry. Chris is going to try for a Guardians of the Galaxy slot for all of us. Well do some Epcot attractions and then enjoy a Food & Wine lunch not sure exactly what after that.


    DAY 2 Friday 11/11/22
    Who: Sue (64), DVC Member
    SB (65), my husband
    Chris (36), my son
    Amanda (34), my daughter-in-law
    Ari (6), my grandson

    Plan: Epcot, Food & Wine

    Actual: We both slept well the room is both comfortable and quiet despite being right by the elevator. We got up around 5 but I think we were both awake a little before that. I made my cappuccino and brought it back to bed, and we hung out doing online stuff while the local news was on.

    Around 6 I got up to take my shower & get dressed. After that I made breakfast, while SB went down to Beach Club Marketplace to get some home fries to add to his. I had the usual egg and slice of bacon. SB had an egg, the potatoes, and a smoked sausage Id brought from home I snagged a small piece of that as well. Chris was online at 7 to get us a Group 1 boarding pass for the new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction. However, it said SB didnt have valid park admission, so wed need to get a cast member to help once in the park. As it turns out, SB has his account and a dummy one, and the dummy was the one linked to be friends with Chris. Chris sent an email to the real one (that I manage), so its fixed for the future.

    We were out the door at 7:30 and met the others down by the walkway to Epcot. Chris had gotten the breakfast sandwich (bacon & eggs on hotcakes) but said it was a mess. Without syrup it was very dry, and with syrup it was just messy. Ari ate one of the hard boiled eggs wed brought for him.

    At International Gateway there was a huge crowd because they hadnt started letting people through yet. We joined the crowd and within 5 minutes it started moving. At the top of the hill we were scanned to ensure that were resort guests, and from there we headed towards Test Track. Ari was excited to have both of us grandparents present! SBs not around him as often as I am, and he was exhausted watching him! Ari is quite the Disney expert, with maps to all the parks in his backpack. On attractions he knows the narrative.

    Im not a fan of Test Track but thats what they wanted to do so I agreed. The plan was to do Test Track and Soarin and still make it to our Guardians boarding group. That didnt exactly happen. We got to Test Track and waited for them to open the attraction at 8am. Once we were moving and had gotten through the part where you design your car and then pushed into a room to form a queue for the last portion of the wait the attraction went down. We were basically trapped at that point so just had to stand there waiting. Eventually it came back up and we continued to the loading area.

    It seems all the cars are blue now didnt they used to be different colors? Ari rode with SB & me while Chris & Amanda were the back row with a young boy doing the single rider line with his family. We were zipping along and until just before the big truck, which the car came slamming to a halt. Once again the attraction was down. The audio was eventually shut off and the lights came on. After sitting there for a while they started up again this time we were on the path to crash through the wall when we stopped again. Audio off, lights on, wait ensued. Finally it started running again and we made it through the last bit of the ride without any additional breakdowns.

    By now it was just after 9 and we had until 9:10 to get on Guardians of the Galaxy. We waited in line at the Guest Experience kiosk and the cast member there was able to link the real SB to ride. If she hadnt been able or willing to do it, Chris would have given SB his magic band. Evidently Chris wont ride this Amanda says hes a baby. This is Aris 3rd time the first time Amanda had to carry him off crying at the end, the 2nd time he was still scared & may have cried, but he wanted to do it again.

    Chris came with us through the queue and preshow this is a very long process once you enter the building! As we were about to board Chris exited. I rode with Amanda and Ari rode with SB. We were in the last 2 rows of the coaster. I dont remember what song played but it was familiar to me and I liked it. I wasnt sure what to expect, but I loved it! Its very smooth, and definitely intense, but very enjoyable. Its also pretty long, too.

    I dont think Ari cried at all I may have heard him screaming like people do on roller coasters. SB was quiet and when we pulled back in he was sitting frozen in place. I asked if he was ok and he said no. Thankfully he was just feeling nauseous and not experiencing any real medical emergency! He was woozy, shaken up, and says hes never riding that again, lol! As we passed the misting station he took off his hat and stood under the cool mist for a while, then later got a coke to settle his stomach. What really did the trick for him though was the margarita!

    Soarin had a 60-minute wait at this point, so we skipped doing that and headed to Mexico. The margarita stand wasnt open but the cantina was just letting the first guests in. We went there. While Chris & SB got margaritas Amanda, Ari & I secured a table by the water. SB was back to normal after his margarita, and around 10:30 we got up and walked towards Hawaii.

    Some of the Food & Wine booths in this area open at 10:30, so Chris stopped at Saucy Swanky Swine while the rest of us continued to Hawaii. SB & I sat on a shady bench outside the shop while Amanda & Ari went in the Hawaii queue. They got the pulled pork sliders 1 for Ari and 2 for Amanda. Chris joined us with the lettuce wraps and a bloody mary.

    Once everyone had eaten we continued walking around the countries. Canada wasnt too busy but we may do that tonight. We stopped in Canada, where Amanda got powerade and SB got his coke. The next stop was Spain (near Germany) where SB got the paella and got me the white wine. We again found a shady bench and relaxed. They wanted orange chicken from the counter service place in China and it didnt open until noon so we were just killing time.

    When we got moving again Chris & SB each got a beer in Germany. Amanda, Ari & I waited for them in the air-conditioned Christmas store. Next was the caramel shop, where I bought apple oatmeal cookies for SB & me and a caramel cookie for Ari. We saved those for later.

    In China there were already people forming a queue, so we went in and got a table. Before long Amanda decided to go stand in the line since it was growing longer. Seems like they need to open this place at 11 or 11:30! Just before noon I went to the India booth and brought back the chicken tikka masala and the chenin blanc. Chris & Amanda were impressed by the portion size of the chicken, saying it looked like a meal rather than a sample. Theyre right its a very filling portion.

    Finally Amanda was able to order the orange chicken and bring it back to the table. Its very good, but now around $15 I think. Disney prices are a bit much most of the time. But, they enjoyed it it was mostly for Ari but we all ate a little bit. By now we were tiring out so we decided to leave the park. Its so nice staying at Beach Club Villas cant beat the convenience!

    SB decided to head home now rather than come back to Epcot with us later. He needs to feed the cats tonight, and plans to sleep <g>. He said his goodbyes to the others and we went to our room for SB to pick up his stuff. Id thought about going to the pool but showers were expected this afternoon and I just didnt feel like bothering to get down there and risk getting rain. Instead I sat on the balcony for a bit and then worked on the report while watching General Hospital. We plan to head back to Epcot around 4, and theyre probably napping. Around 2:15 I did hear thunder, but Im not sure it actually rained.

    At 3:30 SB called to say he got home safely, and then Chris called saying Amanda wanted to get something at Ale & Compass Lounge. I decided to join them, and well go to Epcot from there. We walked over to Yacht Club and found a table by the fireplace. The sign outside said they opened at 4 but as we were looking at the menu I noticed faint print saying the food was available starting at 5. Amanda wanted the Vermont cheddar burger, but didnt want to wait over an hour so we left and walked over to Epcot. We are so happy being at Beach Club Villas cant beat it for trips like this (Boardwalk would be a fairly close second).

    As we approached the entrance it sprinkled a little bit just enough to get the umbrella wet before it stopped. Chris had mentioned the cheese soup in Canada and I was thinking that would be my dinner, but I was not hungry now. As we walked through Canada I saw they had both sides open, and as usual the side closer to UK had barely anyone in line while the other side was pretty crowded. We know this tip but many people dont.

    We headed to the Flavors from Fire stand, where Chris joined the queue. Amanda & Ari continued to the macaroni & cheese stand while I held a table in between the 2 booths. Chris got the corned beef, the skirt steak and the smores cake. Ari had the regular mac & cheese, without the breadcrumbs. The mac & cheese is so delicious! They all loved the smores cake and polished it off easily! It was warm, too I never noticed that with mine (last trip) since I was bringing it to the resort for the fridge.

    Our next stop was the Odyssey where theyre doing different wings. There lots of tables in here and a couple musicians were performing. Amanda, Ari & I got a table and when the musicians finished their song they announced they were going on break, lol figures! But, a DJ came out and played music so it was still entertaining. Chris got the garlic parmesan wings and really enjoyed them. They looked great, too. He also had a beer.

    When he finished we continued walking around the countries and arrived in America at 5. The theater was already pretty full of people waiting for the 5:30 Kenny G concert. We decided to wait outside the theater and just catch a couple of songs from the walkway, since an active 6 year old isnt going to do well sitting for a half-hour. Back here he could move around some.

    Around 3 minutes before show time Kenny G came walking into the theater (in the audience section). He motioned to the sound/light techs to start, and he began playing while walking throughout the audience. I wasnt sure he realized he was allowed to use the stage, lol but eventually he did get up there. Hes very very good! We stayed for about half the concert then decided to move on and beat the mass exodus that would occur.

    We stopped in Greece, where Chris got the gyro while the rest of us claimed an empty bench. He liked the gyro, but like mine last trip it was only warm rather than hot. We made one more stop, in Canada. Once again the registers on this side had 1 person in line so I got my bacon cheddar soup w/pretzel roll. Chris was full at this point so he skipped it. I got an extra spoon for Ari and he enjoyed it, but wasnt a fan of dipping the pretzel in the soup so he ate his piece of pretzel plain. The soup was excellent, but I wasnt really impressed with the pretzel tonight.

    At this point we decided to head out and left via International Gateway. They were headed to the Ale & Compass Lounge for Amandas burger. I decided to just turn in since I wasnt hungry and Ive had a head cold that is causing a runny nose and occasional coughing. Nobody in a food venue wants to see & hear that, but in my room I could blow to my hearts content and try to get it out of me.

    I went back to my room and got into bed with the laptop and a pile of Kleenex. Today nobody came by to do a room check and take the trash. Id been hoping theyd show up when I was in the room this afternoon because whoever cleaned this room before my arrival didnt leave any washcloths and theres no spare box of Kleenex.

    Out on the balcony I learned my room faces Spaceship Earth, and the trees were shorter Id have a great view! The trees are so tall I can only make out the lights between branches and its pretty obstructed. Well see how visible the fireworks are at 9pm.

    Today was a terrific day love staying at this resort, enjoying time with family. Food & Wine was great. Test Track was a pain. Guardians of the Galaxy was fantastic, but SB would disagree.

    Tomorrow theyre headed to Magic Kingdom to do a few things right when the park opens (30 minutes prior for resort guests) and then come back to the resort so we can drive over to Disney Springs. Well hope for the Gideons virtual queue and have a noon lunch reservation at Terralina. I think we all to enjoy pool time after lunch, although I may stick to the quiet pool well see.


    DAY 3 Saturday 11/12/22
    Who: Sue (64), DVC Member
    Chris (36), my son
    Amanda (34), my daughter-in-law
    Ari (6), my grandson

    Plan: Pool/Beach, Terralina lunch

    Actual: When I heard the fireworks at 9pm last night I stepped out onto the balcony and found I could also hear the music. The trees blocked a lot of the fireworks, but they were still somewhat visible from the balcony and from my bed. If the trees were shorter (or not there at all) it would have been a front row view! I only stayed outside for the beginning, then watched the rest from bed.

    It was lights out around 9:30 and I slept well, getting up around 5:30. I made my cappuccino and watched a HAL ship sail into Port Everglades. I watched some local news, did some online stuff, and rebooked our excursions for the November/December cruise. The itinerary had gotten reversed after I booked everything, and that messed up a couple things so I made adjustments. That left me with excursions 2 days in a row, which I wasnt happy with. Just like my Disney trips are more about the resort than the parks, my cruises at this point are more about the ship than the ports. Although most of these ports are new to SB hes content staying on the ship, so I decided to use our excursion credit to book 2 excursions but on days that arent consecutive (Costa Rica day 4 and Aruba day 8).

    My head cold is still causing my nose to run constantly, so I definitely need to get another box of Kleenex today. I have some nighttime cold medicine (which I didnt take last night didnt seem to need it as I slept fine) but Chris said it would make me drowsy. Maybe Ill consider it later if Im just laying by the pool. Its very foggy here this morning, but hopefully that will lift by the time I head out.

    A little before 8 I had breakfast, then took my shower & got dressed for the day. By 9 it was still humid/foggy the fog had lifted enough to make driving safe so I headed out to the car in search of daytime cold medicine. Amanda texted saying Magic Kingdom was packed so disappointing but also so predictable. With closing early so many nights for the overpriced Christmas party it makes the other days that much worse! I dont regret my decision to switch to the Monday Friday pass! Later she mentioned theyre filming part of the Christmas day tv show, so thats a big part of the reason.

    I didnt feel like driving around in strange places so I went to the Publix across from the Premium Outlets. I was surprised to find they dont have a pharmacy in the store, but they did have an aisle with basic over the counter meds. The cold/flu section was pretty sparse not much to pick from. I did get some cold/flu caplets that should both help with the runny nose and also suppress cough.

    On the way back to the resort I filled up the gas tank at the station across from Boardwalk, then returned to Beach Club Villas. I asked the first housekeeping cast member I saw for a box of Kleenex and went to my room. I was confused to find the light and TV were on, when I know I hadnt left the room that way. The trash was still there, but then I noticed the section f wall covering the air handler was removed (and the air filter had been leaning outside my door) so evidently maintenance was here and had to go get something.

    The maintenance guy came back, explaining he had to go to another building to get the new filter. Once he put that in and screwed the piece back onto the wall he was gone. Chris family left Magic Kingdom about 10:30 to catch the bus back here. He got his car keys & they picked me up from my room for the drive to Disney Springs.

    We parked in the Orange garage and went immediately to Gideons to join the virtual queue. The expected wait time at that point was 170 minutes (almost 3 hours) and its not likely well still be here. We had about 30 minutes before our noon lunch reservation so we wandered around some of the shops and then went to Terralina around 15 minutes early. I was surprised to find the door open and a couple people sitting at the bar since the website says they open at noon. I checked in and within a few minutes we were seated.

    Our server was excellent, and overall we had a nice lunch. I wasnt going to bother with wine so I had Aris meal put on my check to help use up my credit. He had kids spaghetti and seemed to enjoy it. I got the appetizer bruschetta and although it was nicely prepared and presented I wont get it again. There are too many other better choices for me, but I wanted to try something different so no regrets. Amanda got an adult portion of the fried cheese ravioli and Chris got some pasta dish with chicken & stuff.

    At this point it had been 75 minutes since we joined the 170-minute virtual queue so I texted my cancelation. We all settled the checks and drove back to Beach Club Villas. They headed to Stormalong Bay but I decided to just hang out at the quiet pool Ari enjoys the slide and lazy river, but I knew Id just be sitting on my chaise lounge and sometimes its just so crowded over there. Amanda texted to express frustration at the many rude guests she encountered saving empty chairs with nothing on the, rushing over to the table they were headed for and declaring it taken, etc. I miss the old days when if you went somewhere nice youd be surrounded by other nice people behaving nicely. Now there are too many absolute buffoons with no class or respect for anything.

    At the quiet pool people came and went but everyone was pleasant & respectful. A family with 2 young boys arrived and I cringed a bit but they were great. The parents kept an eye on them all the time and corrected their behavior (once they started to run) without having to scream across the pool! Another member from the MouseOwners board spotted me and came over to say hello. We chatted for a bit its always nice to meet in person!

    It was really warm out there bordering on hot! Within an hour Id moved to a shady chair, but positioned it so I could still get my legs in the sun while I felt comfortable due to the rest of my body being in the shade. Overall it was a nice 1.5 hours out there and tomorrow should be cooler so even nicer!

    I went up to the studio at 3 and changed back into clothes, then sat down to update the report. Amanda reported Ari had enjoyed the big slide and then he & Chris floated around the lazy river. They were back in their room by 3:30. We agreed to meet at 3:45.

    We walked over to the Skyliner and rode it to Hollywood Studios. Once there we took a bus to Grand Floridian to see the gingerbread house. The gingerbread house just opened up November 9th and its always an impressive sight to see the level of detail that goes into it. Quite a few people were hanging out in the lobby and there was a long line of people waiting to buy the various treats they sell there. We passed on the treats but took some photos and then bought a couple things in the Basin store upstairs before heading out to the monorail.

    We rode the monorail to the Magic Kingdom, and then to complete our utilization of the various forms of Disney transportation we took the boat to Wilderness Lodge. Ari & I sat out back, while Chris & Amanda found a seat inside (it was crowded). Ari befriended the guy next to him and his 2 buddies on the seat behind us. They were good sports and carried their end of the conversation very well, and even showed shock and admiration when Ari showed them his muscles, lol. Amanda could hear it all through the open window and was cracking up.

    At Wilderness Lodge we went inside to Territory Lounge, which was also quite busy. However, a big party whod pulled 2 tables together had just left, so we were in luck! They separated the tables and pulled 4 chairs around ours and we were all set. Theres a relatively new menu here, which includes a smores old fashioned (cocktail) that is only sold here. Chris wanted that, so we traveled using 4 forms of transportation to get his drink <g>. I got a glass of wine, Ari had apple juice and Amanda stuck with water.

    Chris liked the old fashioned he said it smelled and tasted like chocolate. It sure didnt look like chocolate to me, and I didnt taste it. The server threaded some mini marshmallows on a stick and torched them to toast them, before laying them in the drink. There really arent any kid food items here, but the server said she could get chicken fingers and French fries so we ordered that. We also got the charcuterie, which was really good. That had 4 different types of hanging meat, 4 different cheeses and various accompaniments. The meats included prosciutto, salami, something we had at Jambo House concierge lounge, and something spicy. Ari also ate some of the meat, but didnt want the spicy one. It was plenty of food and everything was high quality.

    Chris got a second smores old fashioned before we left, and poured it into a carryout cup to take with us. We went down to Roaring Fork for the magic cookie bars but the shelf was empty! Amanda asked a cast member if there were any more, and just then another cast member brought a tray of them to place in the case. I bought one for me and one for Chris, then we headed out to the bus stops.

    We rode the bus to Hollywood Studios, stopping at Contemporary along the way. At the Studios we hopped back on the Skyliner for the ride back to Epcot/International Gateway. From there we walked over to Beaches & Cream so they could get the pumpkin pie shake. Its a milkshake with a piece of pumpkin pie on top looks over the top to me, but between the 3 of them they finished it! I didnt even try it.

    After the milkshake we headed up to our rooms and I gave them one of my extra magic bands. Theyll drop their stuff off in my room before catching an early bus to Animal Kingdom. If they get back while Im out, they can grab their stuff and leave the magic band behind to hit the road.

    Today was another delightful day! Im not a fan of the bruschetta at Terralina but its still a good restaurant choice for me. Its been great spending time with Chris, Amanda & Ari but also nice that when it makes sense we go our separate ways (me to quiet pool, them to Stormalong Bay) for a bit. The transportation adventure in search of the smores old fashioned was fun, and we had a really nice time at Territory Lounge.

    Tomorrow its Animal Kingdom then home for them. Ill used my other birthday credit at either T-Rex or Lava Lounge at 11 when they open, then spend time by the pool before I have to start packing up my stuff for an early Monday morning departure.


    DAY 4 Sunday 11/13/22
    Who: Sue (64), DVC Member
    Chris (36), my son
    Amanda (34), my daughter-in-law
    Ari (6), my grandson

    Plan: Pool/Beach, T-Rex or Lava Lounge

    Actual: I had a bit of a rough night, waking around 1:30 with a tickle in my throat that quickly progressed to a coughing spell. That repeated a couple more times before I finally got up just after 5:30. I made my cappuccino, took daytime cold meds and went back to bed to watch the local news & do online stuff. Now its looking like my afternoon by the pool may have been replaced by showers (no sun) as the cold front passes. All I can do it hope for the best at this point.

    The others stopped by around 7 to drop off their stuff and say goodbye. Ill see them again Thursday when I spend the night at their place (dental appointment), then again November 29th. I decided instead of cooking breakfast Id finish the apple oatmeal cookie from Germany one less thing to transport home, and oatmeal is breakfast food <g>.

    After they left I lounged around some more, spent a little time out on the balcony, then showered & dressed for the day. I re-checked the menus at T-Rex and Lava Lounge and decided Lava Lounge would be my destination. Although the French onion soup at T-Rex sounds appealing, eating outside by the water is even more appealing.

    Around 9:45 I went to the car and drove to the Orange garage in Disney Springs. There was a steady stream of people arriving, but I still got a very close parking spot. By the time I left around noon or 12:30 the Lime garage was full and things were definitely crowded. I walked over towards Gideons and the end of the line was around the corner and all the way past Morimoto Asia (across from Homecoming). It was insane! It was still 5-10 minutes before they even opened. I asked the cast member at the door if she knew when the virtual queue might open and she seemed very nice but said probably noon. That didnt make sense its too late on such a crowded day. But, I thanked her and decided to walk down to the West Side and then see if the virtual queue would be running on my way back by here.

    Theyve got the Christmas Tree Stroll going on, so I stopped to look at many of the trees. Honestly, many are not that impressive and theyre fairly small. Some of them were cute or creative, however. I noticed the group with the carillon (Cast in Bronze) is now set up between what was Pleasure Island and the West Side. I always enjoyed catching their performances years ago, but figured Id be long gone from Disney Springs before they had any performances here.

    I wandered down as far as Cirque du Soleil before turning around to head back. Sure enough, as I got to Gideons they had opened the virtual queue. I joined, and was told it would be 90 minutes (at 10:30). I figured that would work if I showed up for lunch right at 11 Id have plenty of time. I continued wandering around Disney Springs. It sprinkled off and on, and I ducked into World of Disney to kill some time. Its amazing the quantity of merchandise people buy! There was nothing I needed, which I was very happy about when I saw the lines to check out! Once back outside the rain started again so I browsed in the Co-Op, the tea store (used to be Gourmet Pantry), Christmas store, and Art of Disney.

    It was raining steadily by now, and people were lined up in the rain waiting for Rainforest Caf to open in 5-10 minutes so I bypassed them and went down to Lava Lounge. Nobody was there but when I saw a staff he confirmed theyd be open at 11. I stood near the entrance, under a big umbrella and waited for the bar tender to arrive and get set up.

    Another party came while I was waiting, so at 11 we both took tables along the railing. It was nice at first, but then the light rain was blowing on me so I moved to the other seat. I ordered a glass of sauvignon blanc and the tomato arugula flatbread. More people arrived, but it wasnt ever crowded while I was there. It was nice and comfortable since the clouds blocked the sun.

    No sooner did they deliver my flatbread when I got the text from Gideons that it was time and it was only 60 minutes! The flatbread was really large (8 pieces) and pretty good I liked it ok but doubt Ill order it again. The other bartender had stopped by each table earlier chatting & being friendly so I got his attention and explained Gideons was calling, lol and I needed the check with my birthday credit applied and a box. I ate 3 pieces of the flatbread and that was enough now the rest is in the fridge. My lunch used up $23.99 of my $25 birthday credit so I left a cash tip and headed out.

    Chris & Amanda had waited 100 minutes for Flight of Passage this morning, and had just ordered lunch (probably at Flame Tree) when I signed up for the virtual queue. While I was at Lava Lounge they were heading out of the park and then when I got the early call to join the queue they decided to wait for me at Beach Club Villas (they had one of my extra magic bands). Chris wanted the special cookie for November chocolate pumpkin crumb and I got peanut butter for Amanda and the chocolate chip banana bread for me. This month the bites are white chocolate and I think theyre not having them every day. I dont like white chocolate at all, so I wasnt tempted.

    Once I had the cookies I let Chris know I was headed back, got the car and drove to the resort. They were hanging out in my room so I took my cookie and gave them the box. I offered the flatbread to Chris, but he didnt take it. They headed home (3-hour drive) and I changed into a swimsuit and went down to the quiet pool. The sun was back out again for now.

    I did some reading and then it started to rain again so I moved under the umbrella at the nearby table. After it passed I moved my chair out to the sun but left my stuff under the umbrella. At one point I started coughing that annoying tickle that you cant get rid of and what little water I had with me wasnt doing the trick. Eventually it calmed down a bit so I gathered up my stuff and went to the room for a cough drop. It wasnt worth trying for more pool time so I packed up what I could and then settled down to update the report.

    I watched some other ship and then a HAL ship sail from Port Everglades and then about 4:30 went out for a walk around Crescent Lake. I wasnt in any hurry so I took some pictures, browsed in the Screen Door, and then sat on one of the bench swings on the beach for a while. When I first went outside there were some sunny spots but soon the thick dark clouds filled in so there was no visible sunset tonight. I was back in the room by 5:45.

    The flatbread just wasnt appealing to me at all, so that will go in the trash tomorrow morning. Id brought a bottle of wine and some cheese and crackers but so far have only had some of the wine. I decided tonight would be a cheese & crackers night since I dont have access to Epcot for Food & Wine Festival.

    Today the weather was disappointing, but it was still a nice relaxing day. I wont order the flatbread again live and learn. Tonight Ill watch some tv and do some online stuff, just like Id be doing at home. In the morning I hope to be on the road by 6am for the drive back to Gainesville (and going to work).

    This was a great little trip, and it was fun spending time with Chris family. I LOVED Guardians of the Galaxy, and will look forward to riding again some day. The Food & Wine Festival was great this year as well the food choices and quality are excellent. I did better than than I did at the restaurants this trip <g>.

    My next trip is a HAL cruise (yay!!!!). This ones with SB, so hopefully we wont want to kill each other. Originally it was planned with Pete & Judy and Fran, but since Pete passed away Judy wasnt up for doing the cruise just yet. So, itll be me, SB & Fran. SB & I will head down to spend the night with Chris, Amanda & Ari on 11/29 then make the 2-hour drive to board the Eurodam (and meet Fran at the pier or on the ship) on 11/30.

    The next DVC trip will be in January, when Holli, Vickie & I return to a grand villa at Hilton Head for 5 nights! The next WDW trip will be 2 nights here at Beach Club Villas in early March prior to another HAL cruise. Thanks for reading, and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the United States (belated Happy Thanksgiving to the Canadians).

    Sue (Holland) Rayford
    WDW1972

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  3. #2

    Lots of twists and turns in this trip report with the weather! I cant believe how chatty Ari is getting! It seems like just recently I was reading the trip reports where Chris was still a teenager. Lol!

    Glad you were able to do so much with the weather. Have a great time on your cruise and I look forward to your trip report in January! Though I may not always respond I always read them and love all your insights!


  4. #3
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    I have been so far behind with the Holidays that I was happy to relax and read another one of your awesome reports. I still have to finish the cruise one too. I can imagine how time consuming these reports are so I appreciate you doing them. I stayed at the boardwalk this summer and loved it. Just the chance to walk into Epcot made it totally worth it. Them the skyliner and the boats to the studios made it so much fun. There were 11 of us for the whole trip and another 8 for part of it. It was hectic but fun


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