You need a little music for this blog - click here to get in the mood.
The biggest splurge of the trip was the hotel for day 5: Disney's Yacht Club. Even though check-in wasn't scheduled until the afternoon, we drove over after breakfast to see if we could just leave the car there and take advantage of the short walk to Epcot.
The lady manning the parking booth at the Yacht Club was very friendly and told us where to go after we gave her our reservation information. I drove straight up next to valet parking. The valets (who were dressed like a cougar's pool boys, IMO) directed us to the lobby, where we met The Captain. White pants, a blue blazer, and a sailor's cap greeted us warmly.
Mom was thrilled with the Yacht Club. She had always wanted to stay in the Grand Floridian, and the Yacht Club is just a small step below the Grand Floridian. The lobby isn't as large and grand, but it's still very elegant and matches the yacht theming tastefully.
Our only FastPass+ reservation of the day was another ride on Soarin', and all of us agreed that it was a must! We got to walk through World Showcase before it opened up to the rest of the public since we entered through the "back door." It was really pleasant!
Soarin' was lovely once again. We once again were in the first row, so there were no feet dangling in view. I made sure to look around at the other sections of the attraction and how they were moving around. It was fascinating! Even better was the fact that, when the ride was over, we didn't come down right away!
The group made their way up the stairway of flags and into the theater to view what is probably the best show on property, the American Adventure. Yes, it's long. But it's done so well! And nothing beats the chorus entrance during the singing of "Golden Dreams." (It's at 2:30 of the YouTube link above.)
viral video with Pentatonix' Kirstie Maldonado, and I'd seen her before. She can hit high notes that I didn't know were possible! I heard her since with Voices of Liberty during Christmas, and they sang a great version of "Go Tell It On the Mountain" that ended with a modulation that brings me to tears it's so perfect!
As we exited the pavilion, another a cappella group was starting to perform in the America Gardens Theater. This group - the American Music Machine? - did modern music, and is very similar to the kinds of groups you'd see performing nowadays. (They still weren't as good as the Voices of Liberty.)
Fun fact: I mistakenly said in a previous post that we did the Gran Fiesta Tour in the Mexico pavilion on Day 1, but it was actually on this day!
One more Friendship Boat ride brought us to the rear of the park once again, but this time it was because we were heading back to the hotel. I went ahead of the parents in order to grab all our luggage and meet them at our hotel room. Just being able to get to the hotel within 10 minutes of leaving the park was amazing. I wish I had the money to do that all the time!
Our balcony had a relatively small divider between us and the other rooms, but it had a tree right in front to make it a little more private. What wasn't shielded by the tree overlooked the valet drop-off at the front entrance, and I liked sitting out there and watching the Magical Express and Cruise Line buses dropping off and picking up people.
We didn't stay in the room for too long; I wanted to get out and enjoy Stormalong Bay. It's probably the best resort pool on Disney property! It's large, has a giant waterslide, a lazy river, and a sandy bottom! Since it was so special, Mom and I even convinced Dad to come with us.
Our arrival was in mid-afternoon, so the storm clouds were starting to roll in. Our first brief stop was to enjoy the white sandy bottom of the pool. But our real destination was the lazy river. I LOVE lazy rivers. I wish there was a mile-long lazy river somewhere that I could enjoy.
Unfortunately, while we were able to secure the tubes easily, it was a little hard to get the three of us situated in the tubes and all together! When we were finally together, I looked over at Dad and said, "Are you comfortable?" And he just said, "No." (You could kind of tell, too.) After one lap, he got out and decided to sit on a deck chair and watch us.
Mom and I were just about to relax in a quiet area of the pool with a nice little waterfall when suddenly..."BOOM." Thunder. And as they are trained to do, the lifeguards all said that the water was supposed to be emptied immediately. Well, bummer.
Sure enough, as we headed back to the room, it started to rain. Of all the days for it to have an afternoon shower, it had to be they day when we were at the amazing pool!
Mom and Dad changed back into everyday clothes, but I decided to keep my swimsuit on. Mom found Toy Story 3 on television, and the two of us enjoyed watching that fantastic movie. After that, I suggested a tour around the resort. (My real motivation was to get us over to Beaches and Cream.)
We looked around at the store, viewed a smaller, unoccupied pool right next to the tennis courts, and passed the Yachtsman Steakhouse, the top-tier restaurant at the Yacht Club. We passed by the salon, the gym, and finally was over at Beaches and Cream! Dad was skeptical, and I kept giving them chances to say "No," but both of them kind of shrugged, not too keen on going in. But I needed to show them Beaches and Cream! (If you've been there, you understand.)
I was able to make the most out of the wait time, and by the time I was done, Mom and Dad had been seated at the counter (the best place to eat at Beaches and Cream), had ordered my recommendation - the No Way Jose - and were already starting to eat it! The No Way Jose is vanilla and chocolate ice cream in a giant glass dish and covered in chocolate and peanut butter syrup, chocolate chips, and whipped cream. In short, it is one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. It also is something that should be shared, so the three of us all conquered it. (I have eaten one by myself, but would not recommend it!)
It kind of ruined supper for us (we had it around 4) but it was so worth it. I'm glad we were able to eat there.
We needed to rest after our indulging, so we enjoyed some quiet time in the hotel room. Mom and Dad took naps, and I watched The Princess and the Frog. It was kind of clear that we weren't going to head back to the parks, and that was okay. We were not only able to take advantage of the closeness to the parks, but we were also able to just enjoy the hotel room!
After the naps and rest Dad and I ventured out into the Real World for a few things. We picked up more breakfast food and ended up getting dinner at a McDonald's that was nearby and bringing it back to the hotel. It was a great way to have a nice, relaxing, small dinner!
As we were driving back to the hotel, I told Dad an idea that I had. We had been tracking the tropical storm that sounded like it was going to hit Orlando the next day. We were planning on doing Hollywood Studios that day, but I was worried that the rain would cancel the nighttime shows: Fantasmic! and the Star Wars fireworks. So even though we didn't have a park hopper pass, I was going to take the 20 minute walk and catch the Star Wars fireworks from the outside of the park.
When I told him my plan, suddenly Mom said she wouldn't mind going with me! She probably volunteered to do it so that I wouldn't be walking alone, and I appreciated the company. Still, it was a longer walk than the one to Epcot.
We were going in the wrong direction as we finally made it to the parking area of Hollywood Studios. However, since everyone was streaming out, no one was sitting on one of the many benches that surround the entrance. And as soon as Mom and I sat down, the fireworks started!
We had a great view of the fireworks, but the audio wasn't too clear. Mom told me to go up a little further, and I actually made it right to the entrance before a cast member told me I couldn't go any further. But I did hear more of the audio, and it was a really nice fireworks show.
Mom wanted to take the resort boat back to the Yacht Club, and to my delight, it was pulling up right as I was exiting from the fireworks! I yelled at Mom and we both took off for the boat entrance and were able to get on the first boat that showed up.
The ride was nice, and we were back at the Yacht Club very quickly. We didn't go to the room right away, instead sitting out on the beach in some
Hurricane Colin comes a-callin' during our trip to Hollywood Studios, but there's only one thing we missed the entire day! CLICK HERE to see what it was!
Dad's Epcot/Yacht Club Top 3:
Bronze - No Way Jose
Silver - American Adventure featuring the Voices of Liberty
Gold - Soarin' (again!)