2023 Summer (and FOOD) Trip Report

Day 1: Arrival and Homecomin’/POFQ

DH, DMIL, DD14, DS11, and I took an early flight into MCO and were happily checking out our room at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista by 10am. After spending about an hour unpacking, we strolled over to DS for our 12pm ADR at Homecomin’ to start off our trip with a gluttonous bang.

Bee Haven Bay Fried Green Tomatoes (hiding under delicious shaved ham, rémoulade sauce, and dressed local greens)

Shine Flight (Strawberry Lemonade, Blue Hooch, Rumshine Punch, Moonshine Margarita, and Sweet Tea Shine) and a Moonshine Mash (Watermelon-infused moonshine, fresh watermelon, lime juice and simple syrup)

Fried Chicken & Doughnuts (DS11 replaced the mashed potatoes with fries)

Skillet-fried Chicken Paillard

Art’s Famous Fried Chicken with a side of collard greens subbing out the mashed potatoes
(I don’t know why my kids don’t like mashed potatoes. Where did I go wrong?)

Barbecue-glazed Pork Chop served with sweet potato mash, Southern green beans, and a cheddar cheese drop biscuit. (Look! A non-chicken dish!)

And a dessert that was MADE for me: Signature Sampler (A trifecta of “petite” portions of the Shine Cake, Chocolate Pecan Pie, and Hummingbird Cake with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream). These were NOT petite slices.

DH also tried the Kentucky Coffee (Woodford Britton Barrel Select, coffee, and sweet cream)

As we left, we refilled our squeeze bottles from previous trips with the Strawberry Lemonade and Sweet Tea Shine to keep in our hotel fridge for fun little sips throughout the vacation.

After all this deliciousness, I went around the corner to obtain The Ganachery’s Flavors of Florida specialty- the Key Lime Pop- even though the event technically ended a few days before.

This was a great arrival meal!

We then walked back to the hotel for some pool time before heading back out to take a boat from DS to Port Orleans French Quarter. It was a relaxing albeit long-ish boat ride. But it was worth it because: BEIGNETS!

But first, we had a light dinner from Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory:

Mediterranean Curry-Chickpea Salad (Definitely underwhelming)

Jambalaya (decent with a bit of spice)

It’s Princess Week (or month) so there was also this intriguing Wishing On Stars dessert (Mango Mousse with Coconut-Lime Gelée and Coconut Glaze). However, all the cast members looked at me blankly when I called it Wishing on Stars (despite it being printed as such on the menus/placards). Just call it the Tiana cake and it’ll save you some trouble. :sweat_smile:

Whereas the “Tiana cake” was pretty good, S’more Summer (Graham Cracker Cake topped with a Milk Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Mirror Glaze, and Toasted Meringue garnished with Candied Bacon) was pretty standard. Given the choice between the 2, I’d pick the former.

We also got to try out the Ghoulish Delight Beignets (dusted with Cookies 'n Cream Powdered Sugar and a “ghoulish” Marshmallow Creme Drizzle).

We got DS11 a Mickey-shaped Beignets Sundae sans sauce and whipped cream (again, I don’t understand my kids).

After this abundance of beignet heaven, we tried to take the boat back to DS but alas, threat of lightning grounded the boats so we had to wait a long time for a bus. At least we had this pretty view as we walked to the bus stop.


Nice, yummy start. That last photo looks like a painting!


I like that you put captions on the food photos - with great descriptions! What did you think of the taste of the Ghoulish Delight Beignets? Was that a good move, or do you like the regular ones better?


Wow, so much delicious food! :star_struck: :yum:


Have you not seen the “normal size” slice?


Thanks for all the photos-great first day!!


Oh man. I am usually not hungry this early in the am but you fixed that for me.


The Ghoulish Beignets were quite good but I don’t think it beat out the classic powdered sugar version.


True. :grin:


Staying at POFQ in October. Can’t wait for beignets again and for our Homecommin dinner. Always so good.


POFQ is my favourite resort, that last pic is stunning!


Day 2: Epcot (my favorite park!) and Space 220

I had 3 of us attempt a boarding group for GotG and DD14 reigned supreme. She scored a Boarding Group of 14, which I thought was pretty good. However, it still didn’t get called till many hours later. (Based on reports of hour long wait times for boarding groups that didn’t get called back within the first hour, I bought ILLs for GotG to avoid wasting precious eating time. :laughing:).

We boarded the free hotel shuttle at 7:30am and arrived at Epcot around 8am for Early Entry at 8:30am. Since we already had a LL for TT lined up, I had us rope drop Soarin’. My kids then went ahead to MS: Orange on standby while the adults browsed a nicely empty Creations Shop. Unfortunately, the festival booths were still closed so we had some light “breakfast” at Club Cool instead. That was our first time tasting the different sodas so that was a lot of fun. Especially the reactions to Beverly. DS11 also got his beloved Strawberry Smoothie near MS.

As soon as we tapped into TT at the start of our LL at 10am, I grabbed a LL for SE. Right after tapping into SE, I obtained a 12:45pm for FEA, which was slightly problematic as we would be munching in Space 220 at that time but I figured I could keep modifying it.

At this time, DS11 begged for more sustenance so I bought him a Remy Liege Waffle (Cream Cheese Liege Waffle with Cream Cheese Icing, Graham Cracker Crumbs, and a Remy Chocolate Garnish).

He devoured the above while DD14 and DH saved the world on GotG. (I get slightly nauseous on this ride and I wasn’t willing to risk my glorious Epcot food day). We then proceeded to Space 220. What a cool experience! Yes, it’s a hefty price but we personally thought it was worth it to do at least once as the food was tasty, the “blastoff” is fun, and the ambiance is amazing. Unfortunately, we were seated to the side right against a wall. I let my kids have the better seating (facing the rest of the restaurant to more easily see the floating shenanigans outside). So I spent a fair amount of the meal craning my head around.

I had the Illumination (Bacardi, Malibu, Passion Fruit, Blood Orange, Pineapple, Lime Sour, Passion Fruit Boba).

DH had the Black Hole Fashioned (Knob Creek, Demerara, Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters) but I missed videotaping the smoky reveal.

For starters, we chose:

Blue Moon Cauliflower (Tempura Fried Cauliflower, Housemade Hot Sauce, Blue Cheese Dust). It doesn’t look like it from the picture but this was a much smaller portion than I expected. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Big Bang Burrata (Compressed Watermelon, Burrata Mozzarella, Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula, Florida Citrus Oil, White Balsamic Dressing)

Space Greens (Bibb and Red Leaf Lettuce, Honey Crisp Apples, Radish, Cornbread Croutons, Bacon Bites, Pickled Shallots, Warm Bacon Vinaigrette)

Starry Calamari (Fried Calamari, Italian Cherry Peppers, Spicy Marinara, Roasted Pepper Citrus Aiol)

Around this time, my 2 hour LL waiting period expired so I was able to grab my next LL: Remy! It was for much later but again, I figured I could modify it.

For our entrees, we selected the following:

Galactic Miso Salmon (Miso Glazed Salmon, Glazed Rainbow Carrots, Edamame, Celeriac Puree)

Rocket Flame Seared Tuna (Fennel Spice-Rubbed Tuna Loin, Eggplant Caponata, Arugula, Aged Balsamic)

Steak & Frites (Coffee Space Rub Flat Iron, Fries, Broccolini, Chimichurri)

Space Pad “Thai” (Rice Noodle, Stir Fried Vegetables, Bean Sprouts, Crispy Tofu, Garlic Chili Crunchy, Sweet Soy Chili Sauce). This was a truly massive portion. Delicious, too.

DD14 also ordered a side order of the Truffled Herb Parmesan Potato Wedges:

I would’ve liked to try some of the desserts but I had been unable to modify FEA to a time that I liked so I hustled us out as soon as the check came and we tapped in at the very end of our FEA LL time.
After a surprising drenching on FEA, we double backed to Mexico and got a Mickey bar for DS11 and made a stop at La Cava del Tequila for me.

La Cava Avocado (Tromba blanco tequila, melon liqueur, fresh avocado and lime juice. Served frozen with hibiscus salt rim). I was a bit disappointed with this drink. I didn’t really taste anything but lime. I was expecting it to taste like a spiked version of an avocado milkshake (a Filipino drink) but no. :disappointed:

We then proceeded to leisurely stroll World Showcase in a clockwise fashion, haphazardly looking for scavenger hunt Remys as we went along. DH had a beer as we passed Germany. In Japan, my kids gleefully browsed the fun merchandise in the Mitsukoshi Dept Store. We also enjoyed the exhibit on kawaii—Japan’s “cute” culture in the Bijutsu-kan Gallery.

Afterwards, we doubled back to the America Adventure Pavilion to take a much needed seated AC break in the rotunda and were treated to a perfectly timed performance by the Voices of Liberty. During this time, an additional Remy drop occurred at 3:47 as noted by @mikejs78 (thank you!) so I was able to modify my LL to a more immediate return time than I had originally.

After riding Remy, my family and I were finally hungry enough to partake in some additional treats.

Cinnamon Caramel Apple Crumble and Coffee Ice Cream from L’Artisan des Glaces for DH and I to split while DS11 chose Vanilla.

Chilaquiles: Corn Tortilla Chips tossed in Salsa Verde with Ranchero Chicken, Queso Fresco, Cilantro-Lime Crema and a Soft-Poached Egg. My first Food & Wine Festival treat of the trip! Technically, the Remy Liege Waffle was one, too, but eh.

Fife and Drum’s The American Dream (Frozen Fanta® Wild Cherry, Vanilla Ice Cream, and Frozen Fanta® Blue Raspberry Slushy)

But of course we also needed a Mickey Pretzel.

And to top it all off on our way out of the park, an Orange Slush (Grand Marnier, Rum, Grey Goose Orange and Orange Juice) from Les Vins de Chefs de France because miracle of all miracles, there wasn’t a line at this kiosk! I’m assuming it’s because people were getting their French slush fix at the France Food & Wine Festival booth instead.

Afterwards, we strolled out the International Gateway and enjoyed the relaxing walk to Yacht Club where we then caught a bus back to DS and ultimately, our hotel. I was sad that I didn’t have enough stomach space to eat more festival foods but I still think Space 220 was worth the exchange.


We were floored by how pretty it was at POFQ. It’s now definitely on my bucket list of hotel stays!



I want this now. Please and thanks.


How was this? I normally love them so hope I’m not disappointed. Looks like a hearty serving too.


My favorite drink :heart_eyes: :drooling_face:


Day 3: Leisurely morning + HS + Sci Fi Dine In

For this trip, I was very careful to alternate rope drop days with late starts. Good thing, too, as my family did not “naturally” wake up as early as they did on previous trips. :grimacing: Plus, due to a successful experiment with HS LL stacking that I did during a short trip in February, I had a suspicion that stacking LLs would serve our family better than RDing HS.

After my family woke up feeling refreshed, the kids enjoyed the fitness center and pool. Yes, you read that right. DD14 finds exercise relaxing and had always wanted to try various gym equipment but we don’t have a gym membership at home. So I thought it would be a perfect time for her to try the “free” gym at our hotel. DS11 was much more excited about the pool but was willing to try out the machines, too. As they are both minors, one of us adults always accompanied them.

Around 11am, we walked over to Polite Pig for lunch.

We all split the Butcher Board, which was comprised of Pork Shoulder, Smoked Chicken, Brisket and BBQ Cheddar Sausage with Slaw, House Pickles, two Cornbreads and a choice of two Market Sides (we selected the Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Whiskey-Caramel and BBQ Waffle Fries). We opted to add the Ribs and to also get Grilled Street Corn with Chipotle Aïoli and Breadcrumbs and the Hop Salt Pretzel with Beer Cheese Fondue and IPA Mustard. For drinks, I tried the Polite Punch (moonshine, pineapple, cranberry) while DH had a beer flight.

After lunch, we took a Disney bus to Caribbean Beach Resort to then take the Skyliner over to HS.
Throughout the morning, I had stacked LLs for HS, modifying all over the place to take advantage of earlier return times/attempted to minimize back tracking.

When we first arrived, we were a bit early for our first LL so we went over to the Gelato cart near Muppet Vision to try out the much lauded POG Sorbet.

Yep, it’s worth the hype. Run, don’t walk, to get this refreshing treat.

We then proceeded to our first LL of the day: MMRR. Afterwards, we all walked down Sunset Blvd for DH, DD14, and DS11 to redeem the LL for RnRC. Time for another icy treat!

Frozen Coke. Simple but hits the spot.

I could’ve obtained ToT for around this time to avoid backtracking but DS11 had very specific parameters to be willing to try ToT for the first time. He wanted it at the end of the day, in case it made him nauseous. I couldn’t fault his reasoning so that’s how I planned it.

Therefore, we then walked to Toy Story Land to redeem LLs for ASS and TSMM. We also had a perfectly timed SDD LL but of course, the dreaded afternoon thunderstorm hit so SDD went down and that LL converted (yay!). But SDD never went back up in time for us that night (boo!).

After tapping into the Toy Story Land attractions, I obtained a ToT LL for right before our ADR at Sci Fi that night. My family chilled in seated AC comfort in Star Wars Launch Bay as we waited for the ToT LL time. Meanwhile, I went to get another treat.

Earl Grey cupcake topped with orange buttercream frosting from Trolley Car Cafe.

After this fortifying snack, DD14, DS11, and I braved ToT. I love the theming of this ride but the drops scare me so I get why DS11 said it was a one and done for him. I think half of why DD14 likes this attraction so much is to hear me freak out on it. :grimacing: After tapping into ToT, I obtained a LL for MFSR for later that evening, just in case my family wasn’t too tired for it after our ADR. (They were too tired so I wound up releasing it).

Onward to another dining bucket list item: Sci Fi Dine In!

Unfortunately, I think this is a one and done for us. My kids were not as amused by the flicks as I thought they would be. In fact, I think DH, DMIL, and I were the only ones laughing in the whole theater. (Does nobody else like corny B movies?!) Our food was also pretty underwhelming but part of that was my fault. I fully knew going in that I should’ve stuck to the burgers but all that meat I had at lunch made me want something different. Bad decision.

Chicken Salad Sandwich (House-made Creamy Blend of Chicken, Granny Smith Apples, Celery, Mayonnaise, and Spices with Applewood-smoked Bacon, Lettuce, Vine-ripened Marinated Tomatoes, and Cilantro-Avocado Aïoli served on a Fresh-baked Multigrain Croissant).
I didn’t taste any apples or celery, which were badly needed to add some texture to a very bland chicken salad. The croissant also didn’t taste fresh. At least the onion rings I subbed in were tasty.

The Oreo Cookie Shake was very good. But it took so long for us to get our food that I was done with my drink way before our entrees arrived.

DH and DMIL both ordered the Pan-Seared Salmon Pasta (Pappardelle Pasta tossed in a Lemon-Butter Sauce with Rainbow Tomatoes, Onions, and Spinach, served with a Toasted Garlic Crostini) while DD14 got the Chicken version of the pasta. These pastas were surprisingly pretty tasty. DS11 chose 2 orders of the Kids’ Menu Beef Skewers as his meal and he said they were decent.

I had originally planned on getting dessert, too, but I was reluctant as it had taken us a long time to get our food. I was too tired to wait around for the dessert. By the time we left around 7:30pm, SDD still hadn’t come back so I swung by Guest Relations on our way out to politely ask them to convert our Select Experiences LL to something we could use the following day in MK. The Cast Member warned me that he couldn’t convert it to Tron or 7DMT (which I expected) but accepted my choice of PPF. Cast members are great!

We then Lyfted back to our hotel. The free hotel bus shuttle was coming in about a half hour but my family was pretty exhausted and we were feeling grimy in the humidity. It was another good day and LL stacking had worked out well.


I thought they were tasty and an easy portable snack to walk around the Showcase with.


Our server very deliberately steered us away from this menu item. He was pretty stern about it. :joy: My wife and DMIL were openly talking about getting it and he overheard. It sounds like they made the right choice by not getting it.


I wish my server had warned me off it. It was a definite waste of stomach space. :sob: