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Trip Report "You have to book a time to buy a popcorn bucket?!" - A one-day Epcot Festival of the Arts adventure

Talk about a last-minute trip...

These guys, dressed in their best winter gear, because it was cold:
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About a week before we decided we wanted to get away for MLK since we have a long weekend. Sean starts to look for DVC availability for 2 nights. It's a long shot, right. All DVCers know you have to book super early, especially during festival season and especially if you want an Epcot resort.

However, about a week before we leave, a standard view studio pops up for 2 nights at Boardwalk. Yes, an Epcot resort during a festival opening weekend! We grabbed it started making plans. I purchased 1-day Epcot tickets (prices were insane) and photopass. Our plan was to hit up the festival on that Sunday.

I book a hotel for our drive down on Friday at our new halfway point, Valdosta. It's just easier than stopping at Tifton. With those plans made, I kept looking at Disney resort reservations. Found a room at one of the All Star resorts for $200ish for one night. I couldn't do it. That's just too expensive for what you get. Lo and behold a 1-night DVC popped up for Friday night at Wilderness Lodge. We jumped on it. Persistence was key.

I made a list of everything I wanted to try and on Friday at 11 am, we headed to Florida. Traffic in Georgia was a breeze. We were routed through 285 (Atlanta bypass) and amazingly, it was speed-limit traffic. This is practically unheard of on 285. Then we got to Henry county where it's always slow even if there is no accident or anything. Luckily the express lane was open and we shaved about 10 minutes off of our time.

It was easy going until we hit Florida...
 

imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
WHYYYY is there always traffic in McDonough? We always get caught in it on our way home from WDW.
It's because the traffic gods hate us.
Is that Florida or Pennsylvania?

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No kidding. We had been tracking the weather and of course the coldest weather would be Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was in the 50s and Sunday in the 60s. We were counting on some pool time on Saturday and even the kids weren't in the pools. That means its really cold.
 

imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I had been tracking the traffic getting closer to Florida. Our goal was get an ADR when we hit the GA/FL line. Our estimated arrival time was about 6:30 PM and then it jumped up to 7:30 PM. I look at the map and the IS SO MUCH RED. Even if we tried to take another route, the toll conglomerate said we see you trying to subvert us, so we will make all of the non-toll routes even longer. We were stuck. Every time something cleared up, a new something took its place. Lookiloos everywhere. There were no actual accidents.

While on the road, our room becomes ready. We had booked a studio, but were assigned a 1 bedroom. We'll take it!
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I included this because I've never seen this garbage set up in the kitchen.
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So we finally get about an hour outside of Orlando. Traffic is once again ok. It's busy though. Look at the ADRs and see a Yachtsman. I grab it for 8:10 PM. We make our way over to the restaurant. But first, a stop at Crews Cup to await our reservation time.

The bartender said there were three martinis on the menu that you couldn't find anywhere else. I tried 2 out of the 3. I do not have a picture of the menu.
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This was gin based and very tasty.
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This was basically a lemon drop martini with rosemary and delicious.
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The bartender even checked us in for Yachtsman. When the reservation was ready, the host came and got us at the bar.
 

Zipadeelady

Well-Known Member
I had been tracking the traffic getting closer to Florida. Our goal was get an ADR when we hit the GA/FL line. Our estimated arrival time was about 6:30 PM and then it jumped up to 7:30 PM. I look at the map and the IS SO MUCH RED. Even if we tried to take another route, the toll conglomerate said we see you trying to subvert us, so we will make all of the non-toll routes even longer. We were stuck. Every time something cleared up, a new something took its place. Lookiloos everywhere. There were no actual accidents.

While on the road, our room becomes ready. We had booked a studio, but were assigned a 1 bedroom. We'll take it!
View attachment 693177
View attachment 693180View attachment 693181
I included this because I've never seen this garbage set up in the kitchen.
View attachment 693182
View attachment 693179
View attachment 693178

So we finally get about an hour outside of Orlando. Traffic is once again ok. It's busy though. Look at the ADRs and see a Yachtsman. I grab it for 8:10 PM. We make our way over to the restaurant. But first, a stop at Crews Cup to await our reservation time.

The bartender said there were three martinis on the menu that you couldn't find anywhere else. I tried 2 out of the 3. I do not have a picture of the menu.
View attachment 693183
View attachment 693185

This was gin based and very tasty.
View attachment 693184

This was basically a lemon drop martini with rosemary and delicious.
View attachment 693186

The bartender even checked us in for Yachtsman. When the reservation was ready, the host came and got us at the bar.
Lookiloos. 😆. I’m stealing this. Lookiloos drive me crazy! What a great upgrade.
 

imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
After a good night's sleep, we decided to just relax because check out is at 11 am.

8:30 am - housekeeping - yes, we are still in the room. I get it. They want to turn over the room. Disney, just let me enjoy this room for a couple more hours.

I guess around 10, we decided to hit Disney Springs for a bit and then head to Sanaa for a last-minute dining reservation.

We packed up our stuff, said goodbye to a great room and headed to Disney Springs. I'm not really a shopper, so we looked around The Disney Store and the Co-op.
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And finally, off to the Ganachery before heading to Animal Kingdom Lodge.
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For $16, you can also have 6 tiny squares. Pretty sure $10 of the price is the fancy box. They are really good and I've taken my time to enjoy them instead of eating them all at once. It has been a struggle.
 

imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We pull up to AKL security and there's a bit of a line.
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Kidani Village is a bit crowded and Sanaa was very busy. It was the busiest we've ever seen it and quite loud.

Bread service is always a must. It came out quick.
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We usually order the Potjie Inspired with butter chicken and Chickpea Wat. This time, we decided on Zanzibar Vegetable Curry with Chicken. The Potijie is $31 and the curry is $28. The curry has so much more food. You could easily split this with three people (if you have bread service). The table next to use ordered the Potjie and it's shareable, but not with three people. The chicken reminded me of the butter chicken and did not disappoint.
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After lunch, we headed to the Dunkin that is next to the Magic Castle Gift Shop. I like how google blurs out the face.
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While we waited on coffee, I decided to check this place out. I found some unique items (except the last one):
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Pretty sure everyone's grandma had one of the hanging in the house.

Really though, if you're looking for some Disney/Universal/FL souvenirs, this is actually a decent place to go. They had a lot of Disney/Universal/FL stuff plus clothing and luggage. Forgot your swimsuit and it's January, this is the place to go.

After downing our coffee, we headed to a new-to-us brewery: Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co.

Cool place to hang out and drink beer for a little while until our room at Boardwalk was ready.
 

imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Our room was ready mid-afternoon at Boardwalk, which was surprisingly early. We booked really late, so wasn't surprised at a run-of-the-house room. We ended up on the 1st floor right outside the elevator in a HA room.

This room was in desperate need of a refurb. It still has a ceiling fan (which I love) and an older wall temp unit (which I also love, because it doesn't turn the air off with no movement).

The pictures look nice, but the carpet and furniture were worn.

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As you can see, we had a pool view. It's a great location. What we didn't like was that we were attached to a 1 bedroom and there is no divider on the patio and only 3 chairs.
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You can also see the tech hasn't been updated for the TV. No Welcome Mullins Family on this TV.

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Large bathroom, but there is almost zero storage. Not a fan of yellow shower curtain liner.

This room was very convenient to the Boardwalk and to the guest parking lot. The only real issue is that everyone on your hallway has to pass your room because you're just two doors down from the elevator bank. Folks were loud.
 

imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I just realized I forgot to add our Yachtsman meal.

We've always like eating here and while the food was good as usual, the service left something to be desired. They were super busy, which I get, but about 30 minutes had gone by and we had to ask for bread service.

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We ordered NY Strip, which came with fries, and then ordered sides of truffle mac and cheese, brussels sprouts, and creamed spinach.
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lostpro9het

Well-Known Member
Eddie at Crew’s Cup made a solid recommendation for wine at dinner. If you have the opportunity, give it a go.
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As for Persimmon Hallow, I will be back! They have a solid offering, cool vibe, and great prices. All pints(US) were in the$6.5-$7 range and all 6-packs were just $9! For decent craft beer thats a win.
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