Hello TP People,
I’ve never done a trip report before. But I enjoy reading other peoples, so I thought my recent business trip might be an interesting report for others considering a solo trip, or business trip.
A little background on me as a fan:
I’m a long time Disney fan. My first trip was back in 1971 with my parents. My memories are based on photos of that time mostly. But I do have a distinct memory of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. We went again in 1978 and 1983. Many fond memories of Epcot on the '83 trip. Our family would make the long drive from Ontario, Canada and stay off property. They were usually single day trips. Back when you could do most of the park in one day.
I began taking my family in the early 90’s. I’ve got 3 kids, 24, 13, and 8. We’ve gone 8 times together as a family and stayed mostly at the Poly, and Grand Flo. So…we’re a bit spoiled when it comes to our experiences on property. I’ve also been lucky enough to have done an evening in Disneyland, California (again on a business trip) and a full day at Disneyland Paris. (another business trip) I’m a huge Parks fan (obviously). I also enjoy the Disney films. Mostly pre-1978.
On with my trip report…
A client of mine originally scheduled a meeting in the Orlando area, and then changed the location to Jacksonville at the last minute… I had already booked a 3 night stay at Coronado Springs Resort. And was planning on going to the parks for my arrival day, a half day on day 3, and a full day on my departure day. The Jacksonville detour put a bit of a wrinkle in my plans, but I was determined to make it all work.
Trying to find a place to stay that would be on property and still meet the financial restrictions of my company wasn’t easy. (as it turns out - impossible) I started by searching using JTT’s search tool http://currach.johnjtierney.com/priceline-express-simple-search/ to find a deal on priceline express. I have no idea if it’s because I’m searching from Canada, or if I waited too long, but the B-resort, and the Hyatt Regency kept coming up…and really nothing else worth mentioning. I didn’t want to stay at either of those, so I reached to to Mike Rahlmann at the Magic for Less. He found a decent deal for Canadian residence at the Coronado Resort. $239 tax in. Mike is also the host of Be Our Guest podcast. I’ve been a long time listener of his show, and found him to be a good agent.
My Jacksonville issue ended up causing me to have to do a split stay. Coronado couldn’t accommodate my request to check out for a day, then check back in again on the same reservation. I ended up getting a Ramada in Jacksonville for the 2nd night. And the Caribbean Beach Resort for the 3rd and final night. It’s too bad that I couldn’t have returned to the Coronado, because as it turned out my renovated room at the Coronado was much, much better than the pirate room I ended up getting at CBR. Which turned out to be one of the worst hotel rooms I’ve ever had in my very long life of hotel stays…more on that later.
Anyone who has experienced frequent air travel already knows this. But I really feel like international air travel is getting worse. My flight from Toronto to Orlando was normal. A giant delay at the 3 stage security at YYZ (Toronto airport). No matter how many times I go through the security / customs experience - I can’t help but think - won’t it be great when someone invents the Star Trek teleporter and we don’t have to go through all that BS…
Arriving at MCO at 10:05am, I was at the Budget Fastbreak desk by 10:25, and on the road by 10:35. Easily the fastest I’ve ever gotten through MCO. It’s amazing how fast you can go when you don’t have your whole family with you. lol.
I arrived to the security gate at Coronado by 11:45. (a bit of traffic on my way in slowed me down a bit) Then it took me a while to find the front check-in. The resort, which is massive. Was crawling with convention people. Very few cast members to be found. Disney won’t ship magicbands to Canada anymore…so we always have to check in at the front desk to get our magic bands. (a major pain in the butt. If any of you know a work around to this…i’m all ears)!
I had a great cast member at the front desk. I tried my hardest to get an anytime Fastpass from her by telling the story of how bad my FP’s are with only booking a week out. (no luck but worth a try )IMG_1577|666x500
I hoped in an Uber and headed to Epcot. I didn’t want to take a bus, as I thought even a 10 minute delay would be potentially one less thing I could accomplish in my short trip. Unfortunately the Uber driver couldn’t find his way out of the parking lot… i’m not joking. He was a nice enough guy. I just quickly pointed out that he should maybe not pay so much attention to his GPS, and just look at the signs that are clearly marked exit. lol. So much for my plan to get to the parks quickly.
10 minutes later I was in heaven! No bag, so security was a breeze.
My plan was to hit the rides / attractions and food that my family wouldn’t normally go towards. My first stop was The Land. I love this building! It is Epcot for me. The beautiful entrance. Two amazing rides. I’m secretly hoping they’ll add a Inside Out ride experience at the old Circle of Life theatre.
My reward for a long morning of travel was to grab a Mickey Whoopie Pie. A bit too sweet for me.
Then on to Living with the Land. Love, love, love it! Some cute Christmas touches as well.
Then headed over to my next fastpass (that didn’t need a fastpass) Journey Into Imagination. Of all the years I’ve been to Epcot, this was my first time riding this ride! I was soooo excited. lol. A bit of a let down… but I’m glad I did it. Darted over to Canada to watch the O’Canada film one more time before its gone. So sad to see it go… I shed a tear everytime O’Canada plays… I love my country!!
At that point the International Festival of the Holidays was calling my name. Time to eat and drink my way around the world!! The crowds were heavy… France was my first stop- Bouchée à la Reine Traditionnelle: Turkey and Mushrooms in a Veloute Cream Sauce served in a Light Puff Pastry – $6.75 Good flaky crust. I enjoyed the Mushrooms and Cream sauce. The turkey was a bit dry. I also got a Willm, Brut Blanc de Blanc Sparking Wine – $9.50. You can’t lose with a glass of bubbly!!
Then enjoyed listening to the drummers in Japan while drinking a lovely glass of Sake. Had to make a stop at the train set near Germany. I swear that train set is every man’s dream playset from their childhood. It’s amazing how many guys between 40-60 were there with me watching the trains go by. It’s a must do.
Strolled through Morocco, and Germany. Snuck into Biergarten to listen to a little Oktoberfest music. One day I’m going to eat at that restaurant. I’m a sucker for sauerkraut. It’s always such a fun atmosphere. Then off to my favourite country in Epcot -Mexico. This was the highlight of the food festival for me. The Enchilada de Pollo con Mole: Chipotle Chicken in a Corn Tortilla topped with Mole Negro and garnished with Shredded Oaxaca Cheese and Sesame Seeds – $6.35, paired with a classic margarita was hands down the best food I had in my short trip. Wow!! I went back and told the cast members just how amazing it was.
Listened to some gospel Christmas music at the main stage for a bit. What a band!! If I had another margarita I would have stayed longer to enjoy the music. But I had a few more rides to hit before hoping over to the Magic Kingdom for the Christmas party!!
Enjoyed Mission Space (Green…i’m a chicken…) And hit single rider Test Track (which was a walk on!!) and my final fastpass of Spaceship Earth (best ride at Epcot!!) before grabbing one more snack to keep me company on the monorail ride to MK. The Croissant Doughnut with Eggnog Pastry Cream and Gingersnap Crumbs — $6.50 at Taste Track might have been the best treat I’ve ever eaten in my life!! I swear I must have been moaning with pleasure as I ate it in the monorail. lol. I did make sure that the woman next to me knew that it was the donut that was causing my reaction. The Guardians roller coaster is coming along nicely. Can’t wait for that!!!
I’m going to continue my trip report tomorrow. Hope you’re enjoying it so far…