It was going to be a quick report that really turned into a novella…
Me: 42 female
DH: 47 male
Dates: Late arrive on Thurs July 4 to early departure Sun July 7
Resort: Beach Club - Club Level
Celebrating: 15th Wedding Anniversary - no kids on trip
Day 1: Arrival at MCO / Plans to go to Boardwalk
Arrived into MCO during a typical summer late afternoon thunderstorm. Got held at ME line for the next bus and had to wait about 25 minutes in the bus to depart MCO for BC. Sad to lose that time but tried to keep our spirits up. We were in Orlando!
At the BC:
As we approached in ME, really lovely grounds and building. The lobby? It was a madhouse. There were people everywhere (it was raining out), and no CM to greet us as we entered. We clearly looked kind of lost too, but nobody was there. I knew better than to get in line at the front desk, so we went off in search of the elevators. In the elevator heading for 5th floor for club level check in we said a prayer that our old magic bands (we never could get the new options to be in stock for us) worked.
On the 5th floor, we weren’t a step off the elevator until we faced the two desks of the CL concierge (seems like space is a real issue at BC CL). The sweet lady concierge there told us to grab some food from the Stone Harbor Lounge, as they were about to clear the hot food away. That was super thoughtful as we were very hungry. The lounge was busy and seemed somewhat harried and many tables with dirty dishes. But we enjoyed a quick meatball sub slider, some potato salad, a beverage and went back to see the 4th of July themed desserts - festive holiday brownies, red/white/blue cupcakes, and fruity peeble bars? Alcoholic beverages were readily available (DH joked that we were going to take a bottle of DiSoronno back to our room) but most folks seemed to be using the lounge as a stop off before heading out to 4th of July plans.
Back to the concierge, we got checked in. Susan was helpful in mapping out where we needed to go for the plans we had and made us feel at home should we need anything. She introduced us to John, a CM who worked in the Stone Harbor Lounge. Susan also presented us with a nice glittery 15th Wedding Anniversary pin with our names on them. The pins, I think, were a consolation prize because despite using TP’s room finder/fax, and making several requests, we didn’t get a King room for our anniversary trip. 2 Queen beds it was for us! In all fairness I think there maybe only ONE king room on the CL, but I was still a bit disappointed. Susan told us: “We eat, we walk, we sweat. That’s what we do.” She was right on the mark.
We dumped our stuff in room 5696 (not a bad walk from the lounge, distant view of the Epcot golf ball), and walked down to the BC lobby and towards the Boardwalk. My initial plan was to check out Abracadabar and grab a drink, but as we approached the Boardwalk, we realized we miscalculated the 4th of July revelry. Lots of folks on bridge between Epcot and the Boardwalk and the crowd thickened as we approached the ESPN zone. DH and I weren’t there for the 4th of July fireworks- and we try to avoid crowds but we did grab a table in Abracadabar. Having just loaded up on small plate items at the lounge, we went for the drinks alone - DH had a Magic Mirror and I had a glass of prosecco. It was nice, but it was hard to really get a sense of the theming for the people and the noise. The CMs were struggling to keep up with drink and food orders or busing tables.
After our drink, we walked back to the BC just before the fireworks started. Got across the bridge to Epcot and watched what we could see above the trees. Wandered back through the BC lobby (still not impressing us at this point) and checked out the merch at the BC Marketplace. We wandered over to Yacht, and ended up deciding to eat (again, the time change was catching up to us at this point) and got a table at the Crew Club. The Crew Club was MUCH more our scene. We loved the roast beef sliders and the everything pretzel was massive. The CM was cheerful and we agreed, for an adult trip, this was a nice little lounge to hang out in.
Having had our fill of food and drink, we made our way back upstairs and called it a night. We knew Friday would be a long day. At the room our bags had arrived, and I enjoyed the variety of H2O products in the CL. Our turndown service left some Ghirardelli chocolates on our pillows.
Day 2 DVC Tour / Stormalong Bay / Beach & Cream ADR / HS After Hours
With our time change (we flew in from the west coast), I knew morning would come early on Day 1. What I didn’t anticipate was having so much trouble sleeping the night before! I felt like I tossed and turned, was hot and cold, and otherwise not well rested when my Fitbit alarm went off. I felt much refreshed after a shower, and we made our way to the lounge for some breakfast. We noshed on some croissants, hard boiled eggs, cheeses, pastries, coffee and “jungle” juice – the orange, passionfruit and guava mix.
Headed down to the lobby to grab our DVC bus to Saratoga Springs. At this point, I was really trying to allow the lobby to redeem itself. Our last trip we stayed in the CCV, and the WL lobby is just so amazing – I was really struggling with the BC. But, ah… that BC smell. That was lovely. Like sea salt, jasmine and cotton candy. Lots of crowds by Cape May for the character breakfast. We headed out into the moisture that is Florida in the summer.
The bus ride was uneventful other than to say we had a flat (like a stale soda) CM. Arrived at the DVC center and I could probably write a whole new novel on our DVC impressions. Suffice it to say, we had done a LOT of research before and after scheduling the tour and knew going in that we weren’t going to buy. We went through the whole pitch and it was very good – very Disney – but also so many buzz words: “Bookmark the magic!”. About 45 minutes into it, we finally got to see the rooms, we had a quick walk through the CCV (almost sold out), but we had stayed there in our last trip, so that wasn’t of too much interest to us. The RR rooms are gorgeous. This is the biggest selling point for buying RR DVC points. The rooms are wider than anything we have seen, which allows for the murphy bed to be down and you can still walk around the room in the one bedroom. Really lovely. The finishes are nice, and the feeling is upscale for sure. Our DVC sales guy was nice, maybe a bit slick (he was from NY and we had bonded over that earlier in our conversation) but the pitch ended with the 3 options: 1. Buy now 2. Think about it or 3. This isn’t for me. I appreciated that he cut to the chase. We put ourselves firmly in camp 2, enjoyed our post tour ice cream, collected our 3 extra non-assigned FPP and a $150 Disney gift card and called it done at the DVC center.
Back at the BC, we grabbed some snacks at the CL lounge and readied ourselves for Stormalong Bay. This pool is supposed to be the best – so after we wandered around, we found some open lounge chairs and set up camp. It was a busy day at the pool and frankly, this pool wasn’t as big as I thought it was going to be (we’re from AZ, so we have maybe a skewed notion of a good pool). The “lazy river’ part doesn’t connect… you have to kind of jump out and get in another pool to work around the complex. Not ideal when the concrete is so hot!
At this point, it was after lunch. Families were back from early day touring, and the sun was shining. We floated around the lazy river for a bit, making our way over to the slide and deciding not to ride. As we held onto the wall and sort of floated there, around the corner come Donald and Minnie! There was a Dad near us who about killed himself trying to get his kids and his camera, it was really cute. They took some photos, and since we left our kids home this trip, we moved away so that others could get closer.
Back on the other side of the pool, we decided to grab a drink at Hurricane Hanna’s and found two seats at the bar. I enjoyed the Pina Colava (raspberry lava pina colada, yum) and DH had a rum drink. We probably sat there for 45 minutes. Finally get back into the pool for some more lazy cooling off and wouldn’t you believe it – Donald and Minnie are still out?! I look across the pool from our lounge chairs and Donald is flossing with some young kid, and they were dancing right by the pool edge. It was amazing and I was so sad that I didn’t have my camera to take a video. I loved that the characters were just out and about – good old Disney magic that is!
After cleaning ourselves up, we checked into our 3:40 ADR at Beaches and Cream. We were seated at a table just next to the bar, and quickly ordered. I had the patty melt, DH had the chicken fried steak. It was good, but the back of my head a voice kept saying: “the Wisconsin swiss melt at Culvers is better.” I told the voice to shut up, but that impression stuck with me. We watched as other families attempted to eat the Kitchen Sink sundaes and were amused by one family with 7 people who were perturbed to be seated at the bar for their party. Ummm, take a look around? Where are they going to seat a party of 7?! I head the CM say that tables were reserved for those ordering food. Just then the table next to us was seated with a party of 4, they ordered the Kitchen Sink right off the bat. No food for them. So not sure what the actual policy is here….
DH and I shared a brownie sundae. It was good but I think that this point we were just so FULL, nothing would have tasted good.
We headed back up stairs and napped until 6:30pm. We headed out the BC in effort to catch the boat to HS After Hours (with 7pm entry). It was super threatening out, and the boats had stopped running. So decision – walk or go back for the bus? Already on the path towards the Swan and Dolphin we decided to walk on.
Rain. Lots and lots of rain.
We ducked into the Swan (get that? Ducked…) and headed to their bus station. And we waited, and we waited… 30 minutes later, a bus labeled only Beach / Yacht pulled up, and low and behold, it was going to HS but the labeling was TERRIBLE. If it weren’t for another family who asked, all of us would have continued to sit there waiting for a HS bus. On the bus, happy we were finally moving, we rode around to all the Epcot area resorts before finally being let off at HS.
Got through the HS gate, picked up our wrist bands and headed for our first FPP of the night, Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Now, maybe there had been some day drinking going on, but the crowed was super animated during the show. DH and I kept looking at each other, wondering what joke we had missed. It was cute, and hilarious, and seemed so dated and old at the same time.
Hopped out of there and made our way down to RnRC. We love this ride, the theming, the vibe. So fun! Every time you use a FPP it just makes you feel like a VIP. Why do these people stand in line?!
Grabbed and ADR to the SciFi Drive In for 9:25pm while we were in line at RnRC. Made our way over to our ADR, and it wasn’t raining anymore but the humidity was ramping back up. The park was still busy at this point and Fantasmic had been delayed due to weather.
We squished ourselves into our car at the SciFi Drive In. DH and I are pooh sized and although it was cute, we were rather uncomfortable in the car. I wish we would have been seated at one of the tables with pull out chairs but they seemed to be cycling through the dining room and we were the last ADR of the night. We grabbed the appetizer sampler and a couple of drinks. DH really likes the old movies so it was fun and also something we wouldn’t do with our younger kids.
After SciFi, the park now officially closed, and it was DARK, the After Hours fun began. We walked straight onto Star Tours and we on the ride with 4 other people. The CMS were kind of laughing at our amazement that there was nobody there. After Star Tours, and it being near 10pm, we headed to over to TSL. We got in line for TSM, and this was, for us the best ride of the night. DH loved the concept, and we had a blast competing against each other. Line time? We never stopped walking and got right on.
I was determined to get on ASS and SDD after TSM. The posted time for SDD was 30 minutes, so we headed to ASS. They were only running one side of the ride, so the line here was also long. We got in it and waiting maybe 20 minutes until our turn. Not much to say here. It really is just a spinning / dizzy ride. Next, we grab a Mickey Bar (part of After Hours tix) and get in line for SDD. The line looks long and the posted time is 30 minutes. But the line was moving. As we approached the boarding area, the couple behind us remarked that only 23 minutes had passed since they got in line. I was surprised. It felt longer to me, but we were melting with sweat from the humidity and tired… we were melting…… even at 11pm at night in TSL.
SDD was cool. I liked that it was a longer ride. I think I prefer SDMT but overall seeing TSL at night was really cool. We skipped the character greets – Buzz, Woody, and Bo Peep were out. We decided to ride TSM again and DH beat me, again.
On our way out of the HS gate, I asked the CM – “are the buses running this late?” She said that she didn’t think so, so we walked over to the buses. Hmmmm. No BC listed on the Bus Terminal signage. Huh. Asked CM: “BC? You need to take the boat.” The boat? The one all the way OVER THERE? I looked across the water and my feet screamed at the idea of walked all the way back to the gate and down to the dock. But off we went. Somehow my feet survived and got me up to my room, but whew, the FitBit said 25,000+ steps and I felt it. Fell in bed at 1am.
Day 3 – Epcot
Not surprisingly, we slept in and it was part of the plan. At 9:45am I scrambled down to the Lounge to grab some breakfast foods and coffee while they were still out. We relished in our ability to sleep in (our family is full of early riser – and early am kiddos) and took our time getting ready for our 11:40 ADR at Trattoria al Forno. We were meeting my DH’s cousin – who is a CM and continues to share her discounts with us making our trips possible!
Just the BEST breakfast EVER at Trattoria Al Forno. It was quaint, and festive, the characters were hilarious, the service was good and the food was fantastic. I had Ursula’s cauldron with an over-medium egg on top (CM suggested it) and wow, so good. Everyone was super happy with their food, and after Flynn Rider seduced me with a smolder… well, I could have stayed there happily for a lot longer. But leave we must, and good timing too as they were trying to turn the dining room over from breakfast to lunch and they were waiting for us!
At Epcot, we headed to Soarin to use some of our DVC FPPs. Checked out some pins for our kids and made our way to Norway for our FEA FPP. We arrived early, and agreed – we didn’t have the kids, and it was about to rain, let’s press on to China. We stopped in China at the Joy of Tea and based on the Disney Food Blog’s advice, grabbed the “Tipsy Ducks in Love”. Shared a curry chicken pocket and enjoyed some people watching from a bench in the shade of the bamboo.
Ultimately, this afternoon turned into a selective drinking around the world. We headed to Tutto Gusto wine bar and camped out with a couple of flights, “prosecco” and “soft reds” during the height of the afternoon. The rain was very threatening, but holding off as we headed through Morocco (ran into another couple without kids in the Gallery of Arts (which has a very dark and with its heavy door and no windows … seemingly no one goes in there). The husband was boasting of all the beer he had consumed and the wife said she never recovered from Mexico. I was secretly glad we didn’t start in Mexico or drink beer.
After our encounter in Mexico we headed to France. I think this was our downfall. DH ordered the Le Geant – supersized Grand Marnier Slushies from the Champagne and Wine Kiosk. Without much thought, I followed suit. Wow. Yum. Feetlebum.
As we sat and drank our massive slushes with many comments from passersby and admired the fake Eiffel Tower in the distance… it started to rain, moderately at first. We nipped into Le Halle and grabbed some pastries. Raining harder and we were booking it back to the BC as the skies were about to open and it was going to be a fierce storm. Tucked away safely on the 5th Floor, the water poured down the roofline and the downspouts, and we were happy about how smart we were.
It didn’t last long, us being smart that is. We had apparently drank enough to really impact our decision making. Realizing that we hadn’t actually bought anything for our kids yet, and it was only 7pm… We decided to go back to Epcot – get the Mary Poppins merch we saw in England, and the items we liked at Norway for our girls. Do we need ponchos? Nah… who does that?
Everyone but us, apparently. We were the crazy people running through the puddles at Epcot on Saturday night. We got all the items we needed for our kids, and as we came out the store near Mexico, DH says, let’s go around again.
So we did.
I won’t bore you with the details but we did end up having some nice Sushi up at Teppan Edo without embarrassing ourselves. No one got hurt or sick and despite all the rain, I didn’t even get a blister. Another 25,000+ steps day – I mean really, who goes around the world showcase twice?!
Left the park as Illuminations began, sort of sad not to see it, but it was necessary. We totally crashed.
Day 4: Departure
Talk about bad mornings. My alarm went off at 5:10am. DH was hurting. I had paced myself a little better and hadn’t drink half as much as he had. I worked to pack us up and get us down to the ME by 6:am.
As we left, I finally got to appreciate the BC lobby. Ah, and that BC smell…