2022 Spring Break Trip (and Food!) Report

This was our first trip back to DW since COVID. In other words, it had been over 2 years and we were so excited to come back! I was a little apprehensive about Spring Break crowds (we missed the Florida schools’ Spring Break but went when pretty much the entire Northeast had theirs) but I was looking forward to experiencing mild weather. We usually went to DW during late August (for the better discounts and lower crowds). However, I was terrified that an August 2022 trip would be canceled due to hurricanes (we narrowly avoided them on TWO previous August trips) and I wasn’t taking the chance that our first trip back would be canceled by bad weather.

DH, DMIL, DD13, DS10, and I started our glorious 10 day trip by flying into MCO on an early flight from NYC. No more Magical Express :cry: meant we were relying on Lyft for airport transportation (and lugging our own luggage! :sob:). Another first: we stayed at a non-Disney hotel since there was a laughable lack of discounts (or even hotel availability) for the days we wanted.

Pros of the Dolphin Hotel:

  • Great location with regards to HS, Epcot, and the Skyliner.
  • The Deluxe Room with Balcony was decently sized. Even with the rollaway bed, we didn’t feel cramped. Granted, I wish the beds had been Queens instead of Doubles but we made do. Not sure those beds will work though once the kids are bigger.
  • Heavenly indeed were the beds, just like their ads. :laughing:
  • Good shower pressure! No flat Kramer hair here!
  • The counter service, Fuel, felt like a small high end grocery store. Plenty of both basic and more interesting food options.
  • The pool complex is pretty nice. The crowds were spread out so we didn’t feel like people were on top of each other. I even scored a coveted Grotto pool chair towards the end of the trip.
  • The Chat feature on the Marriott Bonvoy app made it easy to communicate with the Front Desk.
  • Decent Wifi that came “free” (as part of the Resort fee as a Marriot Bonvoy member). All I cared about with regards to the Wifi was that it be fast enough to let me score LLs with early morning return times. It did so I was content.

Cons of the Dolphin Hotel:

  • Pretty tiny toilet/shower compartment and only 1 bathroom sink.
  • We only wanted the trash emptied and towels/toilet paper replenished but even getting that level of minimal housekeeping was hard. I read in the fine print somewhere that housekeeping will stop by every 4 days but that’s a long time to wait when our towels are constantly damp/soggy and our garbage is almost overflowing (and we’re already pretty good about taking the food trash out with us when we head to the parks). The first time I requested housekeeping for the above, the front desk told us that Housekeeping indicated it had already been done (it wasn’t). A few days later, when we requested trash pick up and towel replenishment again, they came and took our trash and used towels…and then left them right outside our door??? Um, we could’ve done that and saved ourselves the tip we gave you for your “service”.
  • No lifeguards for the pool. At all. This one shocked me. There was just a pool attendant to monitor the slide line.
  • Speaking of the slide, it’s pretty basic and short.
  • Dude, can the shuttle service drop-off point at DS be any further from actual DS?? We were joking that we had forgotten where we were headed by the time we finally arrived at Security in the parking lot.
  • I paid $8-9 for a vanilla ice cream cone from the Fountain counter service. I know that Disney prices are insane but that seemed especially stupid.

Onto the actual trip!
We entered Epcot around noon and made a beeline for Regal Eagle Smokehouse as I placed the order enroute. Final verdict? All of us thought Flame Tree BBQ is better. Regal Eagle isn’t bad, just not as tasty, in our humble opinion.



Memphis Dry Rub Pork Ribs, BBQ Chicken Leg, BBQ Burger (bland and dry), North Carolina Chopped Pork Butt (my favorite of the bunch), Kansas City Smoked Half Chicken, Berry Punch, Tennessee Lemonade, and Banana Pudding

DH also grabbed a beer flight from the nearby Magnolia Terrace:

For dessert, we grabbed Kaki-Gori from the nearby Kabuki Cafe in Japan:

…and a sake and Tokyo Sunset for DH and myself:

As soon as we had landed in MCO, I had been steadily stacking LLs every 2 hours. And with the helpful drop info listed in this awesome forum, I had these beauties lined up:

As we walked through World Showcase towards Future World (sorry, I will always call it that instead of World Discovery/Nature/Celebration), we also tried to spot Spike the Bee for the Scavenger Hunt and Eggs for the Eggstravaganza. We also picked up a few more treats from the Flower and Garden kiosks along the way:


Grapefruit Tart (grapefruit curd, lychee jam, ginger mousse, and yuzu cream) and a beer flight from Citrus Blossom.
We also got the Orange Lemon Smoothie in the souvenir sipper cup. The sipper doesn’t look very big but it took us forever to finish before heading to Soarin. We really wanted to avoid having the sipper spill during the ride and dumping it on an unsuspecting passenger under us.
“Huh, the water spray during Soarin smells like orange this year.”

At the 3:32 drop, I was able to grab a LL for FEA for 5:10pm. It later converted to an anytime LL because it was down during our return time. That turned out well as it gave us more leeway on when to redeem it.

After Soarin, TT went offline (of course). We did MS and then had a Mickey Pretzel and smoothies as we waited for TT to come back on-line. We basically gave up and were about to walk away when eagle-eyed DD13 noted streams of people were suddenly pouring into TT.

After we redeemed our anytime TT, we got some more food and drinks (notice a trend here?). DS10 got a giant vanilla donut while the rest of us had the Pink Paradise Refresher (Dragon Fruit-Lychee Juice with Strawberries and Blueberries) from the Joffrey’s near the entrance to World Showcase.

After we rode FEA with the converted LL, I tortured my kids with a few more posed shots in front of various topiaries and 50th golden statues before we headed back to our hotel. Grabbing our grocery order (of water, milk, snacks, and some fruit) via Amazon Fresh from Bell Services was easy and we spent the rest of the night settling into the hotel room.
And oh, we grabbed some dinner from Fuel.

21 Likes

Day 2: AK and More Flower and Garden Festival Eats

We got to AK by 6:30am for Early Entry at 7am and had some fun with the PhotoPass Lenses from G+ as we waited for AK to open. The timing of Early Entry at 7am with LL grabbing at the exact same time made entering AK extremely stressful. I was hoping cast members would let us in a few minutes early but no dice. Due to my trying to scan in while dealing with inevitable MDE glitches, all the morning Safari LLs and most of the entire day’s FOPs were gone by the time MDE processed my tapping. But due to the helpful info in this forum, I waited for the additional drop at 7:08 and bam, scored 9:05am for Safari. The additional drops for the FOP ILL came a few minutes after (before the usual 7:17). I grabbed an early afternoon FOP (the time I wanted) at 7:10am. The entire time I was constantly refreshing MDE, I was half blindly following my family first to Pandora and then through the standby queue of FOP. That was the typical flow of our rope drop mornings- I had my eyes glued to the phone while madly refreshing and followed DH with my peripheral vision.

I really hate the G+ system. Although I generally obtained the top LLs I wanted/planned for every day of my trip (thanks again to the wisdom of this amazing forum!), I spent way too much time looking at my phone instead of enjoying my surroundings. Besides the obvious downside of having to pay for LL, there’s also the aggravation of being stressed just 1 day (60 days before the trip on FP day) vs every single park day. Grrrr.

It took us about 20 min to walk through the almost constantly moving queue before boarding FOP’s ride vehicles. We finished around 7:45am. NRR had a 15 min posted wait but we waited a bit less. We then had breakfast from Pongu Pongu:



Pineapple Lumpia, Night Blossom, and a few Sausage Egg and Cheese Biscuits (not pictured)

After breakfast, we leisurely strolled over to Africa for our Safari LL. I grabbed a 9:55am LL for Dinosaur after we tapped into Safari. After Safari, we had more snacks: a Mickey Pretzel (I think DS10 had 6 this trip :laughing:) and a strawberry rice krispy treat

We took various photos with Photopass photographers while we made our way to Dinoland. After Dinosaur, we met Kevin near the entrance into Discovery Island before picking up our Mobile order at Flame Tree BBQ.



St. Louis Rib Dinner x2, Pulled Pork Platter (kid version), a Tropical Breeze (layers of Mango and Blue Raspberry Slush), Frozen Raspberry Slushy, and a 50th Anniversary Celebration Cupcake (lemon cake with lemon filling).

We then went on a hunt for the Tiny World Magic Shot at AK. We accidentally found the path leading right up to the Tree of Life during our hunt. We didn’t find the Tiny World shot there but loved the quiet walkway that gave us close up views of the intricate carvings so it was a happy accident. We eventually did find the Tiny World Magic Shot at the literal exit of ITTBaB. Hard to find unless you’re exiting the attraction.

After redeeming our ILL for FOP around 1pm, we joined the walkup list for Nomad Lounge. We waited almost an hour but it was worth it when we got to relax there and enjoy the tasty foods and drinks.




Churros with Strawberry Chili Sauce and Vanilla Crema, Fried Cauliflower, Annapurna Zing, Hightower Rocks, 2 Kiama Mammas, a Balinese Breeze, and Lobster Mac N Cheese

After Nomad Lounge, we let DS10 burn off some energy at the Boneyard. After returning to the hotel to rest a bit and get the kids settled, DH and I went to Epcot for the last hour it was open to eat some more treats from the festival kiosks.




From Northern Bloom, we got a Maple Popcorn Shake, Seared Scallops, Beef Tenderloin Tips, and a Beer Flight



From Citrus Blossom, we enjoyed Crispy Mojo Marinated Pork Belly and a Tuna Tataki Bowl

And last, but not least, we got Tupelo Honey and Sweet Corn Spoon Bread and Local Wildflower Honey Mascarpone Cheesecake from the Honey Bee-stro.

It was a great way to cap off our first full day at Disney.

15 Likes

Absolutely loving all of these delicious food pics! Can’t wait to read more about the trip!

2 Likes

Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to read more about your trip!

2 Likes

#foodgoals yall are on your game w all these food pics. Love it.

3 Likes

Day 3: Visiting Easter Eggs and Enjoying the Pool

When I first planned this trip, I was counting on both water parks being open. Alas, they are taking turns being open :roll_eyes: so we had an extra day unaccounted for. Instead of BB, we decided to resort hop and enjoy our hotel pool. We first had breakfast at the Polynesian’s Captain Cook’s:





TONGA TOAST! (a must), Morning Flatbread, Wonderful World of Roast Beef Hash, and Mickey Waffles (another staple).

After the delicious breakfast, we walked from the Polynesian to the Grand Floridian. That walkway is MUCH nicer than the walkway between the Contemporary and MK :stuck_out_tongue:

Since it was still pretty early, we got to admire the Easter Egg displays without much of a crowd.







And of course, I had to check out the treats from the Grand Cottage! I opted for the French Toast Whoopie Pie.


I would’ve loved to bring home the chocolate egg filled with jelly beans as a souvenir to prolong my vacation but I seriously doubted I would be able to bring it home in 1 piece. So I’d then be paying the $18 price for a handful of jellybeans in a broken chocolate shell. No thanks.

From the Grand Floridian, we took the monorail to the Contemporary to admire their Easter Egg display.






After all the egg displays, we took a Lyft back to the Dolphin and let the kids enjoy the pool as they had been (reasonably) good for all the pictures. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
The adults shared a Strawberry Basil Lemonade

After a quick shower following the pool, we took yet another Lyft. This time, it was to Coronado Springs as I had been dying for years to try 3 Bridges Bar and Grill at Villa del Lago. We were there at opening (4:30pm) and were seated right away on the tranquil water.

We started with Warm Manchego Cheese and Oaxaca Cheese Dip and Szechuan Peppercorn Wings. I had a Sangria Flight (Sparkling, Rose, White, and Red)


For our entrees, we had the Three Bridges Signature Burger, Harissa Lamb Chops, and Steak Frites



For dessert, we shared Warm Churros, Tres Leches, and Mango Lime Sorbet

It was a nice relaxing day where I wasn’t glued to my phone looking for LLs. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

12 Likes

How were the Harissa Lamb Chops? That sounds RIGHT up my alley…but I have also never made the journey over to Three Bridges.

2 Likes

DH gave it a big thumbs up. He said both this lamb dish and the one at Farmers Feast were really good. Only the lamb dish from (the currently closed) Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco was better.

1 Like

Day 4: MK

The day started with my obtaining a 9:05am LL for Splash Mt for DD13 and DH and 9:10am for JC for the rest of us during the 7am rush and additional drops. I also got an early afternoon (my preference) ILL for 7DMT. Sadly for my early waking family, MK official opening time stayed at 9am (with Early Entry technically at 8:30) but we were let in early enough that my family and I were already boarding PPF at 8:35am. We then got in the short line for IaSW but quickly bailed when we realized none of the boats were moving. IaSW wound up having problems all morning. We decided to queue up for rope drop to Liberty Square at 9am instead.

After a very short wait for HM on standby, the family split into our respective JC and Splash groups. I had hoped to then grab a BTMR LL after we all tapped into our first LLs but the available return times were much later than I wanted. Ideally, I wanted us to finish with Adventure/Frontierland/Liberty Sq way before the parade as I didn’t want a repeat of Christmas 2019 when we were trapped by parade lines, which then killed the rest of our planned day. We took a quick snack break at Aloha Isle as I played with MDE to get either BTMR or IaSW.


I got the Tropical Serenade (POG juice with coconut soft serve and an upside-down pineapple cake pop) while the kids got a Pineapple Vanilla Dole Whip Swirl and Vanilla Dole Whip. I got an 11:25am for IaSW but it quickly converted to an anytime LL (due to IaSW being down yet again). I forget why but I was briefly able to get and hold a second LL simultaneously. (I grabbed Mickey’s Philharmagic for 11:25) but when I canceled it (because nobody in my family was interested in it but me), I could no longer grab another LL. :cry:

At that point, the kids were hungry again so I mobile ordered a giant Mickey Waffle from Sleepy Hollow for one and the 50th Celebration Hot Dog for the other. I also ordered a Pressed Penny Silk Pie for myself.



Truthfully, the Strawberry Bacon jam on the hot dog was plain weird. We didn’t get any bacon but did enjoy the funnel cake pieces on top. I think it would’ve been better if they just left out the strawberry bacon jam and piled on more funnel cake pieces for crunch.

Thanks to the helpful info in this forum, I knew to grab the Christmas table as we munched on this early lunch. It was a great shaded spot from which to sit and we even saw the 50th Celebration Cavalcade go by!

At this point though, we were nervous about staying in the area and getting trapped by the noon parade so we quickly left after we were all done eating. IaSW finally came back on so we rode that. As soon as we tapped in, I grabbed the Little Mermaid ride for 12:45. We had about an hour to kill until that LL and our ILL for 7DMT so we bought more treats.



The Donald Duck Dome Cake (lemon mousse with blueberry filling) and a LeFou’s Brew



Then a Jumbo Pretzel, Turkey Leg, and Frozen Coca Cola Slushy from Prince Eric’s Village Market


And a Pepper Jack Pretzel from Cheshire Cafe.

While we were eating, 7DMT went down. Of course. :roll_eyes: We redeemed our Mermaid LL and then waited around for 7DMT to come back on line. DD13 was again the first to notice it had returned when she noted she heard screaming again. :joy:

After riding 7DMT, the only LLs for the Tomorrowland rides or WtP were for several hours later and we didn’t want to stay in MK that much longer. I had my family pose for various specialty Magic Shots in the Central Hub and MK entrance before making our way to the Town Sq Theatre for our 2pm LL for Mickey. Unfortunately, he was “not available” (I have a suspicion it was because it was almost time for the 3pm parade and don’t they avoid having a character be in 2 places at once in the same park?). Our LL was converted to an anytime but that didn’t help us much as we wanted to leave MK by then.

We took a relaxing ferry ride to Wilderness Lodge to get on the waitlist for Geyser Point Bar and Grill. By the time we were close enough for us to join the walk up queue, the app told me we had a predicted 75 min wait. :sob: But I found us a quiet niche on the second floor of Wilderness Lodge to relax in while we waited. But wouldn’t you know it, we got an alert that our table was ready within 20 min!

We ordered practically the entire menu at Geyser Point:



Shrimp on a Wire, Cheesy Barbecue Brisket, Handcrafted Cheese and Charcuterie Board, Teriyaki Chicken Wings, Handcrafted Crab Cake, Roasted Salmon, and a Fruit Plate

For drinks, we had a Schofferhofer Pink Grapefruit Hefeweizen, Lava Smoothie, Strawberry Smoothie, and Northwest Iced Tea



For dessert, we again ordered basically everything:

Campfire mousse, Key Lime Meringue Pie, and Apple Cider Sorbet

After Lyfting it back to our hotel, I walked around the Epcot Resort area to catch the last of the Easter Egg displays.

At the Yacht Club:




At the Beach Club:


Even though the skies were starting to look concerning by this point, I walked to the Boardwalk to catch more Eggs. But of course, there were no Easter Eggs there and the skies opened up to POUR. Sigh.
I did however grab some Robin’s Egg Blueberry Macarons.

I tried to wait the rain out and walk back to the Dolphin in spurts in between the downpours. I was pretty good until the final stretch after Atlantic Dance Hall. I both mistimed it and went the wrong direction of the bridge in the dark so I got completely soaked and got to wade in a river of rainfall during the last stretch. Thankfully, this was the only time rain impacted me the entire trip. Onto the next day!

14 Likes

I am enjoying your report, the food pictures are fabulous! I really need to get to Geyser’s Point sometime, everything looks wonderful there.

2 Likes

Love your report! Lots of yummy pictures!!!

2 Likes

Day 5: Hollywood Studios and Epcot

We arrived super early for Early Entry at HS. We were waiting at the turnstiles a little after 6:30am and Early Entry was 7:30AM. However, they let guests into the park before then. DD13 and I walked quickly to SDD while the rest of my family went to TSMM. I think DD13 and I were part of the first 20 people or so on line. DH and I texted each other and found out that both groups were being held at the attraction entrances, apparently until actual Early Entry time.

While waiting for SDD to start, I spent a very tense 22 min trying to obtain a morning return time for RotR. This was the one day DH and I doubled up on our chances to obtain LLs. I was tasked with obtaining a morning LL for MMRR while DH tried to obtain the ILL for RotR. I successfully obtained 9:20am for MMRR but DH was not so lucky. I had had some luck with seeing (and grabbing) morning ILLs that dropped a few minutes after 7am (but before 7:17) for FOP the other day so I kept refreshing MDE to see if RotR would also drop additional LLs before 7:17am. That didn’t happen but I reminded myself, just wait for the 7:17 drop. Well, 7:17 came…and went…and still no additional RotR LLs.

I doggedly kept refreshing, but was also losing hope, as I had usually seen the additional drops happen right at 7:17 during my practice runs.
But at 7:22, RotR ILLs FINALLY returned and I was able to grab an 8:35am! I was so happy, especially since I could then relax and actually enjoy the SDD ride as we were quickly approaching the ride vehicles.

Following 1 round of SDD, DD13 and I met up with the rest of the crew and we did TSMM altogether. And then it was time for breakfast at Woody’s Lunchbox!



Yep, we ordered almost the entire menu again: Banana Peanut Butter Fudge Lunch Box Tart, Totchos, Breakfast Bowl (basically the breakfast version of Totchos), and the highly acclaimed Grilled Three Cheese Sandwich with a side of tomato soup.

After that fortifying breakfast, we walked to Galaxy’s Edge and joined the Resistance! We took a few more photos in GE, including the cool Super Zoom shot, before heading to our MMRR LL. But first, the kids had more snacks (yet another Mickey Pretzel and an Orange Cream Bar). This was our first time on MMRR- it’s cute but I’m still wistful for the GMR. After we tapped into MMRR, the only option that had a return time within the next hour was ST so I grabbed it. Following ST, I was sooo close to grabbing a LL for the first showing of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular but we got kicked to the second showing by the confirmation page. However, we didn’t want to wait around for the second showing LL and all the other available LLs for the park were for several hours later. So we decided to get into the Standby line for IJESS because it didn’t look that bad. Until we entered the theater. We were basically part of the last of the Standby group. Cast members were telling seated people to move in closer to each other to free up more seats but being smushed next to strangers didn’t really appeal to us. We were about to bail out and just wait for the second showing when cast members opened up the closed off seats reserved for those with mobility issues. We quickly grabbed some seats and got non-smushed seating. I was happy to finally see IJESS but I think the rest of my family were pretty indifferent to the show.

After IJESS, we grabbed a snack at Backlot Express.


The Glimmer and Shimmer Blondie was amazing! The Wookie Cookie was sadly just ok- it looked different from the oatmeal cream pie-esque promotional pics I had seen of it. Instead of being an oatmeal cookie with the great slightly chewy texture, this was more cake-like. Not a win for me.

We then shopped a bit more and took a few Magic Shots with Disney Photopass photographers before leaving HS around 2pm to take our first ever Skyliner tour! We visited Art of Animation to take a few photos around the Nemo and Cars buildings and the lobby. However, most of the family (everybody but me :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) was pretty tired by then, as shown by the decidedly lackluster poses for the pictures, so we headed back to the hotel. At the hotel, DS10 regained his energy just in time for some pool time. :stuck_out_tongue:

After the pool, the kids voted to stay in to eat so we grabbed them some basic fare from the cafeteria-like Picabu. DH and I then walked to Epcot to eat our way around the Showcase at the festival food booths.

First stop: Tangierine Cafe: Flavors of the Medina!


Mediterranean Flatbread, Lamb Kebabs, and Pomegranate Mimosa

Hanami’s Frushi, Chicken Yakitori, Beef Tataki, and Ozeki Pineapple Nigori Sake

DH then craved and got a brat from Germany while I scurried over to Lotus House for a Mala Chicken Skewer and Kung Fu Punch.

Trowel & Trellis’ Boneless Impossible Korean Short Ribs (so good that our family as a whole had it 3 separate times!) and the Twinings Energizing Matcha Cranberry & Lime Green Tea

Northern Bloom’s Maple Popcorn Shake (again) but this time with Tap 357 Maple Rye Whisky. Big mistake. I liked it better without the whisky. :frowning_face: All the alcohol was on top, instead of blended into the shake. The whisky also made the shake watery (a cardinal sin in my book) so this was a fail for me.

At this time, DH called it a night and returned to the hotel first while I stayed since I wanted to catch Harmonious. I also took the time to admire some of the festival’s gardens before it got too dark. I then grabbed a spot on the second level of the Japanese store (right outside Teppan Edo/Tokyo Dining) and watched Harmonious from there. The view was slightly obstructed by the Japanese torii but I still enjoyed it. After the show was over, I walked down to the ground level and realized I probably would’ve had a better view from just the ground.

This particular evening was EEH for Epcot and I had originally planned to enjoy the extra time but I was way too exhausted to stay after Harmonious. Still, it was another great Disney day!

7 Likes

I agree that the impossible short rib is amazingly delicious and my kids think so too.

3 Likes

Again, my stomach is mad jealous

2 Likes

My hubby LOVES whiskey and he took one sip of this and promptly threw it away. Im like it wouldve been more fun if we had just lit a $20 on fire cause you just essentially tossed one in the garbage :rofl:

1 Like

Oh! So sad. That wookie cookie does NOT look right:

5 Likes

Yes those look much better.

3 Likes

Yes! THESE are the cookies I was expecting! Not those weird cake things.

1 Like

I can’t believe how much you guys can eat!!

1 Like

As @dboothsummers says, we have #foodgoals. :rofl:

2 Likes