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Trip Report Sweating at the Swolphin: a 2017 Food and Whine Report

Discussion in 'WDW Trip Reports' started by bee, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. bee

    bee Well-Known Member

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    Hello and welcome to another Bee trip report! My DW M and I had the privilege of attending the opening weekend of the 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, and the timing couldn't have been better! We both go "back to school" soon (she's an academic admin at a university and I teach voice and piano at a performing arts school), and last month we found out we have to move from the very affordable apartment we've loved for over three years because someone new bought the building and wants everyone out. We considered cancelling the trip given the moving news but almost everything was paid for already, and we decided in the end that we really needed this escape from reality. We made the right call!

    You may know from the PTR to my California trip that this trip was originally scheduled for the end of September and beginning of October to coincide with Epcot's 35th birthday, but a flight change caused us to reschedule. More on that here.

    The Plans
    Who: M and me
    What: A quick trip to Food and Wine!
    When: Thursday, August 31-Monday, September 4
    Where: Caribbean Beach and WDW Dolphin
    Why: Because we needed a distraction from real life!
    How: Lyft, Southwest Airlines, Magical Express, and more Lyft!

    Keep reading for new experiences, old favorites, and of course lots of food and drinks!
     
  2. mcstensrud

    mcstensrud Well-Known Member

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    Trying to keep up with you two!
    I'm in.
     
  3. TheMouseFan

    TheMouseFan Well-Known Member

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    Can't wait to hear all about it!
     
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  4. ajrwdwgirl

    ajrwdwgirl Well-Known Member

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    Yay! Can't read to about your F&W adventures!:joyfull:
     
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  5. bee

    bee Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Welcome, @mcstensrud!

    Welcome, @TheMouseFan!

    Welcome, @ajrwdwgirl!
     
  6. bee

    bee Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Day 1: Thursday, August 31
    Travel, Caribbean Beach, Food and Wine

    Our day started with a 3:45 alarm and a bit of last-second packing. At 4:00 I requested a Lyft ride from home to EWR; we were on our way before 4:15 and our driver's name was Orlando, which I took as a great sign! :D

    Luckily we didn't need to check a bag (since it's a giant pain at Newark early in the morning!) and security was a typical twenty minutes. Our first stop post-security was, of course, COFFEE!

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    We also shared a bagel with egg and "cheese"

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    We had just enough time before boarding to enjoy our breakfast and fill up our water bottles. We were both in the A group and managed to get these coveted seats:

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    This was of course an exit row so we had to verbally confirm we would assist in case of emergency. No problem!

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    This was just orange juice. And I didn't actually eat these crackers because I'd just had the bagel. I saved them for later.

    The flight was smooth and uneventful. We did have a chuckle at a FA who was alternately wearing Elvis sunglasses (complete with sideburns) and a red clown nose. During the safety speech he even put the demo safety belt around his head. :joyfull:

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    Since we'd taken off a little early we were on track to land early!

    Up next: Bracing ourselves for crazy holiday weekend DME lines!
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
  7. bee

    bee Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Day 1, cont.

    We landed early and made our way to the B side for Magical Express. On our recent trips we had waited on absurdly long lines for the buses and we expected the same-or worse-since it was the Thursday before a holiday weekend.

    But today, we moved so quickly to the check in desk that I didn't even have time for a photo on the way! There was no one waiting in line!!

    Our DME timeline was:
    9:10 scanning MagicBands
    9:12 at the front of the line
    9:13 on the bus
    9:16 room ready text
    9:19 going!

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    Hidden Mickey (???)

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    Room ready!!!

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    You're not really in Florida until you see a Publix and/or a Publix truck!

    Our bus had a lot of families with young children. We were sharing with Pop and AoA, so that makes a lot of sense.

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    We were toward the back of the bus so I couldn't get a photo of the main sign, but I do love Minnie so no complaints from me! As Minnie came into view an excited little kid kept shouting, "Minnie!! Minnie!! Mom, look, it's MINNIE!!!"

    We stopped at AoA, then Pop, then Caribbean Beach. It was our first time staying at CBR and we were excited to check it out even though we knew there would be construction everywhere. We stopped at the check in desk to pick up our gift card since we'd booked during the promotion.

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    How cute is this???

    The CM who checked us in was super friendly and suggested we either take the internal shuttle to get to Aruba, or go to Bell Services to get a direct ride in a van. We decided to try the shuttle, but one was leaving just as we arrived at the stop, so we went over to Bell Services. The first CM we talked to outside told us to take the shuttle, but we told him what the check in CM had said, and he directed us to the actual Bell window. This CM also told us to take the shuttle. We didn't feel like arguing and we'd intended to take the shuttle in the first place, but it was a little annoying that the check in CM told us we could take a ride in a van and then they wouldn't take us. :rolleyes:

    So back to the shuttle stop we went!

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    A bus arrived soon and there was plenty of room for us.

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    Up next: Our room in Aruba!
     
  8. bee

    bee Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Day 1, cont.

    In case you're not familiar with the layout of Caribbean Beach and the construction, Aruba is currently the last stop on the internal bus route and the park bus routes. It didn't take us long to get there, however.

    At one of the early stops on the internal shuttle we observed this conversation between a preteen and her mom:
    Girl: This is our stop.
    Mom: No, it's not.
    Girl: Yes, it is! Let's go!
    Mom: Fine then, get off.

    The girl obviously stayed put. I remember being super annoying at that age, too! :facepalm:

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    We loved seeing these beautiful purple flower trees everywhere at the resort!

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    Initial thoughts: This sure is a lot of pink!!

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    Ah, to be 21 and at Disney...

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    Here we are!

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    I'll admit I didn't have high expectations going in, but we LOVED this room! We liked the balance of modern style and highly-themed flair, and of neutrals and bright colors. The room was spacious and the beds were very comfortable. We would certainly book here again after all the construction is finished (whenever that will be!).

    Up next: The downside to staying in Aruba during construction
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
  9. ajrwdwgirl

    ajrwdwgirl Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't surprise me that you had problems with the bell staff at the CBR, they were horrible to us. They even hung up on us once when we called about our bags. We had switched resorts that morning and called at about 3:30pm to see if our bags had been delivered to our room and if not could they. The bell person said they couldn't do anything and hung up. Once we got to our room and called again they said they would be there in a few minutes with them and over an hour later and 3 more calls....:mad: In the end we had a nice chat with a CBR manager. Apparently the bell service hasn't become more friendly.:(
     
  10. bee

    bee Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Ugh, that's awful! I get that they have a huge property and thousands of guests to deal with, but that is no excuse for poor service. M and I were trying to figure out if maybe they just didn't want to "waste" a trip on us since we only had backpacks and no big suitcases, but there were at least six empty vans sitting in front of the Customs House. And besides, we paid for a room just like everyone else whether we brought a lot of luggage or not. Luckily that was our only experience with unfriendly service at CBR.
     
  11. bee

    bee Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Day 1, cont.

    I left out the photo of the gift that was waiting on the table in our room:

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    How cute are these??

    We chilled in the room for maybe half an hour. I charged my phone and we drank some water since we hadn't had much that day. Then we headed out to the bus stop. I had requested "close to transportation" when I'd done online check in, and we were about as close as possible to the Aruba bus stop.

    When we arrived at the stop a transportation CM asked where we were going. "Epcot!" we replied in unison. She told us the bus would be there in about ten minutes.

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    Okay, this checks out.

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    Okay, at least it's going backwards now???

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    FINALLY!!!!

    Up next: We finally get to Epcot!
     
  12. Tuvalu

    Tuvalu Premium Member

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    The title of this TR makes me nervous......
     
  13. LisaBelle

    LisaBelle Well-Known Member

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    I'm in! The construction hat Mickey gift card is adorable!!
     
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  14. Matty30

    Matty30 Well-Known Member

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    Count me in. Can't wait to read all about it. I have never stayed at CBR but the room looks great!
     
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  15. susan lees

    susan lees Well-Known Member

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    Following along. I love food and wine reports:)
     
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  16. Songbird76

    Songbird76 Well-Known Member

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    Do you really NEED a reason to Disney? I think Disney itself is reason enough.
     
  17. RedNoseMickey

    RedNoseMickey Well-Known Member

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    I am so happy you started this.:)
    Sorry that bell service were less than magical but good for you for not letting it ruin your mood.
     
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  18. riverside

    riverside Active Member

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    I'm excited for this report!! Can't wait to hear all about it!!
     
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  19. dizfan917

    dizfan917 Well-Known Member

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    WOW! That was one quick trip on the DME!! Excited to vacation with you once again!! :geek:
     
  20. LeighM

    LeighM Well-Known Member

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    Following along. I was thinking of possibly staying there during the second half of our split stay next year so I'm really looking forward to finding out more :)
     
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