I am in! Excited to see your train experiences, as I have always wanted to try one. I also don't fly, and live in Nebraska, so would be fun to head down to FL by train one time. Happy the curse is broken!
They definitely provided a magical moment later in the trip!I’ve got to follow this TR - Dapper Dans
Of course! They weren't easy to get, but I knew I had a forum to report to, haha.Thanks for sharing your train trip pictures!
Glad to hear it!It's so interesting to hear about your experience traveling by train!
Glad to be of assistance! Honestly, I still prefer driving, but I'd take the train over flying any day (while I will fly, it's not my favorite way to travel!).Interesting experience on the train. I actually laughed a little when you said you traveled by train because at work today we had a big discussion about traveling by train, none of us had done it and we all wondered what it was like. I guess I can report back tomorrow with some info! Looking forward to the Disney part of your trip too.
Indeed we were! ThanksLooking forward to your TR! My wife and I have talked about train travel before but we havent bit the bullet (train) yet. Looks like you’re off to a good start!
Unfortunately, we didn't take the auto train. It goes out of Virginia, as far as I know, not NYC. But that is a train you could fit your son's truck on!Thanks for the pix! It looks awesome! Tell me I could fit my son’s truck on there and I am in!!! (The driving back and forth is killing me!)
I definitely did that the next morning, haha.It does look tight with the beds made!
On the plus side, you can brush your teeth from bed!
Thanks! Glad you're enjoying!I am loving reading about your experience on the train! Glad you had so much fun with your mom!
Thanks! I really enjoy the train, though my mom only tolerates it, haha.Great start by going by train Thanks for sharing and looking forward for more!
That sounds awesome! It kind of is. You go past a lot of woods, mainly, but you also go past a lot of Southern towns that kind of look frozen in time. That was fun! At one station stop, there were a bunch of girls in prom-type dresses getting pictures with our train. No idea why, but it was fun to see!Great report so far and glad to hear that it went without major incident. I liked hearing about your train journey, I once travelled from Los Angeles to New Orleans by train for two days and I loved it! Is it a scenic trip?
It's definitely an experience, that is for sure! I recommend it! And thanksI am in! Excited to see your train experiences, as I have always wanted to try one. I also don't fly, and live in Nebraska, so would be fun to head down to FL by train one time. Happy the curse is broken!
Such an awesome start!!! Love the magicAPRIL 7, SUNDAY: CHECK-IN DAY AND EPCOT Part 1
After a fitful night’s sleep (where “sleep” was pretty much absent), we rose bright and early, because our train was supposed to pull into our stop at Winter Park at approximately 9:43 am! We chose to go into the Winter Park station instead of the Orlando station in the hopes of missing some traffic (and the ticket was also a bit cheaper), and also because downtown Winter Park is really beautiful. However, our train had been over three hours late during our previous trip over Christmas last December, so we didn’t have much faith in an on-time arrival.
We tracked Rhonda down (the attendants have to strip the beds and turn them back into seats) and, once our room was back to normal, we got ready (“it’s super fun trying to get ready in a tiny, moving space!” said no one, ever). Surprisingly, the train was actually running on time, so we pulled into Winter Park right around quarter to 10. With help from Rhonda, we disembarked with our many bags, picked up our checked bag, and made our way into the station.
My mom has this thing against Uber/Lyft (unless it’s a Minnie Van) and she refuses to use them (she doesn’t trust the companies, which I do understand to a point), so we had ordered a taxi from Mears to meet us at the station. I’d gotten a text confirming the taxi was there and its taxi number. Well. We walk to the front of the station and there’s our taxi. And the driver is busy loading two other people’s bags into the trunk. So of course we go up and say, “Umm, excuse me, this is our taxi?” The older couple stealing our taxi was like, “Oh, we live a mile and a half away—he’ll be right back!” We protested some more, but they ignored us.
The taxi driver kind of stood there awkwardly, like he didn’t know what to do. He just promised us he’d be back ASAP. So they drive away and we are FUMING. I know it’s a minor thing in the grand scheme of life, but after a sleepless night and with no food or coffee in us yet, it seemed like the end of the world. We debated calling a Lyft (since I have the app on my phone for Minnie Vans), but decided it wasn’t worth the hassle (and for my mom to even consider calling a Lyft showed how annoyed she was).
The taxi driver did come back in about 10 minutes after we’d stood there angrily texting my dad about the situation and trying to decide what to do. He apologized again and said that the couple approached him, he asked, “Are you my passengers?” and they said yes. I get that, but he should have asked for their name, I think. We’re from New Jersey, so we frequent NYC and I’ve worked in Manhattan for two years, so I joked to the driver, “I get it, but where we’re from, people get punched for stealing someone’s taxi.” (Which is a thing I’ve actually seen happen.)
Anyway, back to the magic! (This was miraculously the first and last unmagical thing that happened!) Soon we were approaching the most beautiful sight in the world.
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(I was attempting to take these from the back seat, so forgive their quality.)
Then, finally, he dropped us off at Beach Club! We were home and so excited to be staying at BC for the first time!! We gave bell services our stuff and walked into the lobby. At this point, it was probably around quarter to 11. We went to check-in, figuring our room wouldn’t be ready, but kind of praying it would be. As my mom waited in line, I wandered around the lobby and checked out the Easter egg display. I didn’t realize that BC would have eggs. I only knew about Grand Floridian’s, so I was jazzed to see them. I took a picture of every egg, and can share if you’d all like (let me know!), but I didn’t want to overload this post with egg pictures, haha. Confession time: I didn't take any pics at that point (I was so overwhelmed and happy to be there), so the below are from later in the trip (and were taken very late at night)!
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I wandered back over to my madre when she was next in line. We were checked in by a lovely CM (I REALLY need to start keeping track of names, geesh) who, though we were her last guests before her break, was still awesome. And I owe her so much—when she wrote out my name on my birthday button (my mom had already attached that to the reservation), she wrote my full name, Caroline, so beautifully and legibly that everyone was able to not just say “Happy Birthday” but “Happy Birthday, Caroline!” It made me feel extra special all week.
The other bit of magic she gave us was, when my mom asked if there was any chance that our room was ready, she said, “Well, not the one we assigned you, but if you wouldn’t mind a first floor room, then yes, it can be!” I get that people like the view from a balcony, but we didn’t care! Room now, please! So with MBs scanned and the all-important birthday button secured, we then went in search of FOOD and COFFEE.
I immediately popped my button on as we walked toward the Beach Club Marketplace. But as we walked toward it, we spotted a sign about a premium coffee bar in the solarium. We walked in and sure enough, there was a little coffee bar on one side of the beautiful solarium. And here’s where I had the first of many magical moments that occurred on this trip. (The following picture is courtesy of DFB, because I was so caffeine-deprived I didn’t think to take pictures.)
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I ordered my café mocha, and the CM, who was absolutely delightful, when he saw my birthday button, said to me, “Pick out two pastries, one for each of you, for your birthday.” Wow! So after profusely thanking him, I did just that, picking out a double chocolate muffin for my mom and an almond croissant for myself (my dad is allergic to tree nuts, so I always go hard on them when he’s not with us, lol). Then, once my coffee was ready, I tried to give him my card, but he smiled and said, “It’s your birthday—get out of here.” So after thanking him a whole ton AGAIN, I went to find my mom, who’d walked off to continue checking out the resort. I know it’s a small thing, but that encounter and “magical moment” really kicked the trip off just right!
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With free goodies in hand, we ventured outside to walk across to the DVC building and find our room.
PART 2 COMING SOON! Room pics and we finally get into a park!
You got it! I will include a dedicated egg post soonI would like to see egg pictures, please
I definitely have thoughts about BC, haha. Every CM we encountered there was beyond fantastic. But there were also a few things that happened that had us scratching our heads, which I'll mention soon. Overall, we really did love it. Though (GASP) we ended up finding Stormalong Bay a bit overrated!Can't wait to hear your thoughts on BCV. We visited quick our last trip, and our next trip are thinking about renting points. It's definitely the resort that is most "our style" and so far from your review, seems like the CMs are great too!
It really is beautiful. Thanks!The resort is just gorgeous, and I'm glad your stay is starting off on a magical note!
Thanks! I did, too!Such an awesome start!!! Love the magic
Following along! I am loving your TR! I stayed at BCV for the first time in August 2018 and it's bringing back so many good memories! Make sure you check out Beaches N Cream Ice Cream Parlour! And the pool has a sand bottom and it's AMAZING!We never had another housekeeper knock while we were in the room, and our trash was not taken out each day (which was the excuse they gave over Christmas), only some days. Whatever.
Thank you! It has a holographic top coat, which is just perfect for Disney when it shines in the sun!I love the color of your nail polish
It's definitely an adventure! And I think worth it to do, at least once. I'd definitely recommend either the roomette or bedroom, though!Following along! The train journey sounded interesting. I've traveled by train, but never overnight. I think the longest ride I've been on was 4 hours. Maybe I'll do overnight someday just for the adventure!
Thanks! We've eaten at Beaches and Cream a ton of times and love it, so it was a must do on this trip, too!Following along! I am loving your TR! I stayed at BCV for the first time in August 2018 and it's bringing back so many good memories! Make sure you check out Beaches N Cream Ice Cream Parlour! And the pool has a sand bottom and it's AMAZING!
With DVC, mousekeeping only comes once every four days, unless you ask them to do it daily!
We bring trays too! So much easier than trying to carry all those cardboard food containers plus drinks to your trash receptacle/dining table of choice!APRIL 7, SUNDAY: CHECK-IN DAY AND EPCOT Part 4
Then it was time for our first Flower and Garden Booth—The Citrus Blossom! And yes, we had a very specific, orange reason to go there first. The line wasn’t too long, so I hopped in while my mom secured a spot to lean. One thing we’ve always brought to Epcot with us during festivals (so…every time we go to Epcot it seems, lol) are these plastic trays my mom got years ago before our first F&W festival. They are lightweight and fit in our backpack. Well, the CM giving out the food at this booth thought that these were the best thing ever, haha. He was so amazed, showing them to the CMs preparing the food, as well as other guests. He was so funny!
Soon enough, I had secured our goodies:
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- Orange Cream Slushy in a Souvenir Orange Bird Sipper Cup
- Lobster Tail with Meyer Lemon Emulsion and Grilled Lemon
- Citrus Shortcake: Orange Chiffon Cake, Lemon Curd, Mandarins, Whipped Cream, Citrus Crumble
- Orange Sunshine Wine Slushy
I got the wine slushy too, because so many people on here said that the slushy in the Orange Bird cup was gross. But, ironically, I actually really liked it! To me, it tasted like a vaguely warm “milkshake” using Kohr’s Brothers creamsicle frozen custard as the base (any Kohr’s fans out there?!). And since I love that flavor, I liked this. Plus you can’t beat that cup .
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(I didn't take a pic that day, so here is the Orange Bird in his new home.)
But the Orange Sunshine wine slushy…wow. Just wow. It was sooooo good (so good that it’s one of the few festival items we repeated later in the trip). The lobster tail was small, as many said, but tasty. And the citrus shortcake was light and refreshing. All in all, a good first booth experience!
Next, we headed into the Port of Entry shop to buy…scavenger hunts! I know these are meant for little kids, but we had so much fun doing Chip and Dale’s Christmas Wreath hunt over Christmas, that we knew we had to do the two that were being offered while we were there: the Egg-stravaganza Scavenger Hunt and Spike's Pollen Nation Exploration. The first was only during Easter time, and the second is for all of F&G, I believe. For Egg-stravaganza, there are over-sized character eggs hidden around Epcot (mostly World Showcase), and for Spike’s, there are little Spike bees and seed packets hidden around the F&G gardens all over Epcot. Let me say, even though these are geared toward kids, some of them were tough to find!! But I highly recommend doing them; the little prizes you get at the end (stay tuned to see mine!) are cute and they make you look at Epcot with a fresh set of eyes. Be forewarned: I will be showing the locations of most eggs and Spikes, but I will post a warning before each one if you are planning to do the hunts yourselves this year!
WARNING: SPIKE LOCATION AHEAD
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We found this Spike right by the main topiaries of Donald, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, and Chip and Dale (I can’t remember quite where): these are all behind the main Mickey and Minnie topiary at the entrance to World Showcase.
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After popping the sticker in the right place on our sheet, we got in line for another PP picture with the main mice.
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(This was probably one of the longest PP lines we waited on all trip.)
I am an avid pin collector and trader (though I only trade with CMs or little kids who are cute and approach me, which happens a lot…I guess I look nice?)—I’ve been collecting since 1999, before “Disney Pin Trading” became an official TM thing—and there were some LE pins that had just come out in the last week, including F&G, so I was hoping to get my hands on them. So we headed to the big pin “tent” thing in Future World to see what I could find. Unfortunately, they were already sold out of most of the F&G pins (even though it had only been about a week since the festival started), but they did have a few I wanted! So I bought those, and then we had to decide what to do next.
We’d left this day pretty open-ended until later, since we did NOT trust the train to get in on time. None of our FPs started until 5, and we only had one ADR planned. So we decided to see what Journey into Imagination’s stand-by wait was. I’d gotten a FP for it later in the trip, but I figured we were right there, so why not? Figment is one of my favorite characters, and while I know it’s not what it once was (I have vague memories of the original ride with Dreamfinder from my '90s trips), I still enjoy the song and the ride. The posted stand-by was 20 min, so we hopped in line.
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(Whatever our feelings on Nigel Channing are, we still love Eric Idle!)
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(Always gotta get a pic of my absolute fav, Robin Williams. May he be resting in peace.)
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(My mom thinks this door in the queue is hilarious, so I took a pic for her [she says that she and Nigel are the "managers of everything else ]. Usually we breeze right by these things with FP, so it was actually nice to check them all out!)
After our “one little spark” journey, we decided to head up to the DVC Lounge on the second floor of the Imagination Pavilion. I know it’s controversial since this used to be Image Works, but TBH, we really love this little extra DVC perk!
I didn’t take pics of the lounge itself because there were people literally everywhere (and I felt weird snapping away while people were relaxing), but I took some shots of the glass roof, because I just think it’s so cool!
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UP NEXT: More F&G food, and more Spikes and eggs!