Kristen K. #NeverSayCancel - Day 1 Report In Progress (Arrival, Lunch, Bus, Disney Springs)

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MrHub's picture
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It all looks good! Oh, I am hungry!

Belinda's picture
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Totally amazing view and oh the food - enjoy!

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The view from your room is fantastic. Can't wait for more food reviews! mickey

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Your food photos are beautiful! Looks like a wonderful start to your trip!

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Kristen K.'s picture
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Hello!!

I'm home safe - completely exhausted but it's all good. I need a couple of days to get my thoughts and recover before beginning my trip report. If you're leaving soon and have anything specific you want to ask me about go right ahead!
I'm working on uploading pictures to flickr today if anyone wants to browse through them. There are 1005 in total and I won't be sharing all of them here.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/thedvcmom/albums/72157673970558406

High Points

  • Art Smith's Homecoming Florida Kitchen
  • Amorette's Patisserie
  • Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar
  • The F&W Booths in Future World
  • Brown Derby Lounge
  • Star Wars Galactic Spectacular
  • Tiffin's
  • Expedition Everest at Night

Low Points

  • Fighting with a squirrel that stole my Baklava right out from under me (can't quite decided if this was low or high but it was funny)
  • Monorail Service
  • Frontera Cocina (though I'll give it another chance on a later trip)
  • Pin Quest
  • A total of 4 dining bills that ended up being adjusted because of things going poorly
  • Functionality of the Grand Floridian Studio Villa

Kristen K.'s picture
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Day 1 - Flights & Arrival

Kirk and I woke up at zero dark thirty this day, we had to be at the airport by 4am for a flight on Southwest that left at 6am. Though I had called ahead of time and let them know I was working with a disability and needed extra assistance, that didn't actually happen. I'm rather miffed at Southwest about it, though I know that it's a 3rd party company that actually has the porters and wheelchairs. Anyhow, we found a spare chair and my son Kirk pushed me through MKE to our gate. They at least got my priority boarding correct and we were able to board without trouble. The flight was on time and went smoothly and quickly. No wheelchair for me on the exit side either, so I sucked it up and powered through down to DME.

We scanned out MagicBands and walked right onto the Magical Express Bus. It was swift and easy, in less than an hour we were walking into the Grand Floridian. Richard was outside to greet us and I was excited to get my picture taken with him. He's such a treasure and I was afraid I may not have another chance to share another smile with him. If you ever have the chance you should spend some time chatting it up with him.

Grand Floridian Entrance Kristen and Richard The Grand Floridian Greeter

I took a couple of pictures of the car outside - I believe this is one of the transportation options that Disney Brides are able to choose for their Fairy Tale Weddings.

Grand Floridian Entrance Grand Floridian Entrance

Speaking of Brides...

Grand Floridian Entrance

We hung around outside for a few minutes for my Scootarama Scooter Rental to arrive. It was on time and everything went fine, but I didn't like the size and function of this scooter as much those I've rented from Buena Vista Scooter. But the cost was less expensive and there was a coupon from Passporter.

Next we headed inside and this lovely lady checked us in. Our room wasn't quite ready, but I left my phone number so that they could text us when it was available. I dropped my electronics bag at the Bell desk and we headed for some lunch.

Grand Floridian Cast Member

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Richard and me in June! He is delightful!

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Kristen K.'s picture
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Day 1 - Lunch at Gasparilla Island Grill and Bus Service Notes

We were pretty starving by 11am as we didn't really eat much in the way of breakfast. So we went to the Quick Service at the Grand Floridian, Gasparilla Island Grill. It's a decent counter service spot with sandwiches and pizza, not really worth an extra trip just to eat at, but a fast solid meal if you are staying at the Grand. In the evening there is a really great fireworks view from the outdoor seating, making it a place to keep in mind if you're looking for a non-park view of Wishes. We ordered our lunch and picked up our refillable mugs.

Gasparilla Grill Gasparilla Grill

I had the Cuban Panini, and Kirk ordered a pizza. The Cuban was fairly classic and really messy. I enjoyed the cucumber salad which was similar in flavor to a type of homemade pickles (press gurka) I make for the holidays. I do wish that they had more pickles on the sandwich and used spicy mustard, but that's personal choice. Everything is made to order tasty - the pizzas have a french bread crust that was a nice surprise.

Gasparilla Grill Gasparilla Grill

Dessert was good. We chose cupcakes, one Pina Colada, and one Lemon Blueberry. Both cupcakes were straightforward in their flavors and sweet without being overly cloying.

Gasparilla Grill Gasparilla Grill Gasparilla Grill

From there we decided that we would head over to Disney Springs and get things started. We took the bus from the Grand Floridian. I must say that I like the video screens at the Resort Bus stations that tell you when the next bus is due to arrive. I wish that they were in use at all of the Disney bus stops. We also noticed that at the Grand Floridian there was occasionally a bus attendant stationed to greet people and make sure that they got on the correct busses. For me as a scooter user this was a great touch, because the attendant would explain the loading procedures. I felt like the presence of the attendant and her function as an information provider helped to keep the mood at the bus station calmer and less chaotic amongst families trying to get to the parks fast.

The Scooterama scooter I rented was easier to load onto the bus due to its smaller size. However it took quite a bit to get used to because it would coast for a second or two after I released the handle for it to stop. I was lucky I didn't run into anyone, and this is the main reason I won't use that company again.

We liked the addition of dedicated Disney bus lanes over by Disney Springs. While traffic wasn't bad while we were there, I've been stuck on a bus in traffic in the past at Disney and this little touch is going to make Disney transportation in the area move much more quickly. I also really like the new bus depot at Disney Springs with it's separate loading and unloading areas - it's designed for quick transitions and less conflict. Good choices all around when it comes to bus service.

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I booked a massage at the Grand Floridian next month. I am planning on having lunch at Gasparilla Island Grill after my appointment.

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Day 1 - Coca-Cola Store

When we arrived at Disney Springs the first place we went was the Coca-cola store. This three level building is themed to be a refurbished Coke plant. In this store you'll find tons and tons of Coke merchandise. The best part is the roof-top bar. To get to the bar you can either walk up the ramp on the outside of the building, or just take the elevator. It's a nice walk, but better to do coming down than going up.

Coca-Cola Store Disney Springs Coca-Cola Store Disney Springs Coca-Cola Store Disney Springs Coca-Cola Store Disney Springs

We tried the Coke Float sampler - it was yummy if soda floats are your thing. There were 8 floats to try for $10. We really enjoyed the music and the atmosphere up on the roof. The view was beautiful and there was a very relaxed vibe. My son really enjoyed the Red Cream Soda, which is something he used to get at his grandma's house, but we don't have where we live. We actually went back to the Coke Rooftop bar again on our last day so that he could get a giant cup of the Red Cream Soda.

After 3pm they do Coke based cocktails, I'd like to go back and give some of them a try on another trip.

Coca-Cola Store Disney Springs Coca-Cola Store Disney Springs

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Day 1 - Morimoto Asia Street Food

Our next goal was to locate where we would be eating dinner that night (Homecoming) so we strolled through Disney Springs in an attempt to find it. Now - I've been to this area a zillion times - but the new sections that have been constructed are massive. Give yourself some extra time to navigate this new world, in spots it's easy to get disoriented and turned around. You can still walk the original paths, but the new sections that have been opened like the Springs and the Town Center are going to take you a visit or two to get down. The new Disney Springs is a day (or more) experience now with more shopping, dining, and entertainment in one place than I could have ever dreamed that they would build. The crazy part though, is that it's not even completed yet! I'm loving it, and I think a long weekend without the Parks just spent around the Disney Springs may be on my vacation list soon.

STK - We didn't go into STK, but it had a lovely exterior that included a pretty little courtyard with a waterfall that I just loved. It would be an awesome place to have a cocktail party of small wedding ceremony.
STK Orlando Exterior
STK Orlando Exterior Courtyard

After we located Homecoming we noticed that Morimoto Asia Street Food was just across the path. My son headed over to look at the menu while I shot some pictures. We decided to taste a couple of things since we were there.

Morimoto Asia Morimoto Asia Street Food Morimoto Asia Street Food

Kirk was brave and tried the Octopus Fritters - he was not a fan due to the texture. He did however say that the flavors were great.
Morimoto Asia Street Food

I had the Pork Bao Tacos - very tasty, with a melt in your mouth teriyaki pork belly. Sadly bao tacos are not "real" bao, but nice try. Overall they have a pretty fantastic menu for fast snacks here, I'll be back again. I still need to eat inside, but Street food is a great way to get an idea of the flavors being presented.
Morimoto Asia Street Food
Morimoto Asia Street Food

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I got all turned around exploring the new section in Disney Springs too. I agree, it is MASSIVE! I can't wait to have a ton of time (when it's not the dead of summer) to explore it all!

I gotta get to that rooftop of the Coca-Cola store for a float and to meet the polar bear again! He is awesome!

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We got I wouldn't say lost but off-track when we went to Disney springs it was nothing like I remember of downtown Disney.

Can't wait to read more. yay

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This report is making me very hungry. Is it lunch time yet?

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Loving your report so far Kristen! I got sooooo lost in Disney Springs! I'm pleased they have installed those directories which helped me find out where I was!!! We ate at Morimoto Restaurant and loved the pork Bao so ill be stopping by there on our next trip!

I'm so hungry from reading this and its only 9.53am laugh

Can't wait for more!