A Disney Springs Reward Stay Trip Report (Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista)

Disclaimer: I am no pro at this.

We woke up this morning ready to leave our couple day stay on Jekyll Island. We packed the car, said goodbye to some family that was staying a few more days and some other family that was flying back to Ohio. We ser out towards the center of Jekyll Island and parked, ready to spend our last hour on the beach. Our son, who just this July spent a week running away in terror from the Ocean and the beach, was relishing in his newfound confidence that he too could brave the waves lapping at his ankles. He spent the hour chasing the sandpipers and seagulls, and digging up scallops and sand dollars, and even a sole moon snail. All creatures left in their original locations, give or take a few meters, it was time to clean up and start the drive in earnest.

Crossing the Florida Georgia line, the traffic shifted. Florida drivers are bat shit crazy. We escape the insane at one point for a brief bite to eat at Zaxby’s, an oddysey for a northerner. It is not as good as remembered. We press on, driving in a like manner as all of the other crazies. Traffic soon comes to a brief standstill. We hop off I4 WB and navigate a few unmemorabpe Orlando streets, before rejoining I4. Traffic has improved. Before long, we are turning onto Hotel Plaza Blvd. The excitement sets in as we pass through the giant cartoonish gates sporting a larger than life Mickey. We turn left into the median, waiting for our chance to play Frogger with the traffic standing between us and entry into our hotel parking lot.

We pull up in front of the main entry, and turn off the car. Stiff legs straighten slowly. We are greeted and asked if we are self or valet parking. Enthusiasm on the staffer’s face wanes as we answer “self”. We enter the lobby and approach rhe fromt desk. We are greeted by Michael. Its 2:45pm. Checkin starts at 4. We explain that we are already checked in online, but that we would like physical cards. We intend to use digital keys, but still prefer to possess a key as well. We explain that all we were able to select online was the accessible room, bit we dont really need it. Michael explains that the only real difference are grab bars. I remember that these rooms also appeared to only be near elevators during online checkin. I prefer high floors away from the elevator for peace and quiet. I respond, truthfully that I dont want to take an accessible room from someone else if they need it and we dont. In the back of my mind I remember that the accessible room cost us 300,000 HHonors points and all other rooms would have cost us far more.

Michael says hold on, let me see what I can do. You are in room 1057. I can put you on floor 8. That room is also renovated. Theyre much nicer. A few moments later Michael says someone sniped the room in the few moments we were talking. He asks us to hold on, and taps feverishly. Our son is playing with the ropes that form the queue. Other than a few reminders to be gentle, he is fine, and entertained. Michael says ok, I have you in a Junior Suite, give you a little more leg room since you are with us for a full 7 days. It is not renovated, but it is much larger. It is on floor 5, not 10, so the possibility now exists for footsteps above us at night, but we happily accept.

We all ride the elevator up together. Mom and son exit, while I ride back down to move the car, and start lugging luggage laboriously to the room. I park somewhere random. It looks like the bus pickup location. I grab a few things and head up. I never see a luggage cart. Back down we go. No liggage cart. Back up we go. No luggage cart. Mom says someone said we could have them bring our bags up, but she doesnt know if it costs. I reply yes, a tip. We press on, carryimg our own car full of stuff. Toys, snacks, a foam wedge so son doesnt roll out of bed. We are hard-nosed hard-working Clevelanders, so none of this phases us.

The room is spacious, and we are grateful. It is wedge shaped, number 577. We realize it overlooks the pools and Disney Springs. We unpack quickly. Its 3:45. We have an ADR for 5:15 at Wolfgang Puck’s. We decide to head out at 4.

We head down, and get lost trying to head in the general direction of Disney Springs. We head out the front door toward the sidewalk on Hotel Plaza, and find the double bridge. We would later realize we could have had a more direct path next to the pool.

Dinner is good. We’ve had a lot of bar food this week on Jekyll Island. None of the restaurants is particularly good there. We want something lighter. We agree to split one entree and one salad, knowing full well we will have to finish what our son doesnt. We split the Weinerschnitzel ($31) and the Apple Salad ($17) Son gets spaghetti for $8 and a mearball $2. Adult portion sizes are not large. Kids portions are larger, relatively speaking. The sauce on the pasta is pretty good. The meatball is amazing, as is the schnitzel. The dill cucumber salad and tomatos are good. The salad has pomegranate, pumpkin seeds, a pumpkin vinegrette, green apple, and very fresh mozarella with what seems to be pesto on it. Our total bill is $85 after a 20% tip. The restaurant was loud, and that helps us feel at ease that our 3.5 yo son is not responsible for said loudness.

We wander around Disney Springs a bit and stop at the Ticket Center. Dad hasnt been in 8 years. Mom hasnt been since the 25th anniversary of Magic Kingdom it is sons first trip. We want to be sure we know how to use the tapstiles. We already jave tix linked to mom and dads phones, but ask about son’s entry. A few minutes later and we are on our way again. We pass through World of Disney. Son relocates at least a dozen pieces of merch as each one becomes his new favorite for a while, while mom and dad arent ready to commit to buying just yet. A 16" tall plush Minnie takes the crown as most-loved for the longest duration. We feel bad for store CMs that have to relocate merch, but we are just trying to survive this traversal of the store without a meltdown.

We cross the bridge back to the Hilton, and head upstairs. We are excited to realize we can see Spaceship Earth in all its colorful glory. Soon we see fireworks. We sit on the bed, watching the lengthy Harmonious show.

And now, as the Tribe is losing to the Yankees on the very large tv across our wedge shaped room, playing on the 4k FireStick we brought with us, plugged into HDMI2 while whatever was in HDMI1 had to be unplugged to gain control over the tv inputs, dad writes this trip report while he should be sleeping… For we are getting up at 5am tomorrow. This isnt that different for us as we are usually up before 6. Dad knows he will be tired, however, for he worked from 7am through to 5am Thursday into Friday, troubleshooting a major problem between Microsoft Azure and our company’s F5 load balancer. I still havent recovered from that one, so I think now is the time for sleep. Tomorrow its time to make memories at the Magic Kingdom.


Sleep tight!

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Thanks, dad. Having walked past this hotel on the [long] way to the Doubletree, I’m interested in reading more of your more than adequate (so far :wink:) trip report. :blush:


You are doing quite well for someone who’s no pro at this :wink: Enjoying the report!

Nice to see Jekyll. We have great memories there.


[quote=“derecs, post:1, topic:90170”]
We turn left into the median, waiting for our chance to play Frogger with the traffic standing between us and entry into our hotel parking lot.

You’re aging yourself. Lol!
Such a lovely written report, Reads like a book. The pictures of the island are gorgeous. Looking forward to your park pics. Thanks for sharing, Dad.


We once attended a wedding on sea island but couldnt afford to stay there so we stayed at the westin on jekyll island. Such a cool place!! Ive always wanted to take a rewards trip to disney. For now i just do flights but bonnet creek would be a good spot! Nothing ever available at swolphin on pts.

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Super interested in reading the repot! I use to have millions of Hilton points and thought about staying at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista many times. With the price of on-property hotels raising all the time, I will have to book that Hilton next time!