Kristen's 3 Night Hotel Hopper - Day One & Two!

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Kristen K.'s picture
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JMed wrote:
All I can add is get the hotdog at Satu'li Canteen!!! I'm soooo picky about hot dogs and this one is awesome. It's wrapped in Parker House Rolls dough OMG!!!!!!!!!! And it's a great all beef hotdog. It's so funny because we were all ooohing and ahhhhing over a dang hotdog. Way better than the hamburger things.

The hotdog huh? I wouldn't have considered that.
Maybe I will order the kids portion of the cheeseburger bao, and a hot dog.

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Kristen K. wrote:
JMed wrote:
All I can add is get the hotdog at Satu'li Canteen!!! I'm soooo picky about hot dogs and this one is awesome. It's wrapped in Parker House Rolls dough OMG!!!!!!!!!! And it's a great all beef hotdog. It's so funny because we were all ooohing and ahhhhing over a dang hotdog. Way better than the hamburger things.

The hotdog huh? I wouldn't have considered that.
Maybe I will order the kids portion of the cheeseburger bao, and a hot dog.

Normally we wouldn't either but I saw one on another guests plate and mentioned how good it looked so we got one and the 3 of us all had some. We'll get one with our bowls next time to share again. Unless I can manage not to get a bowl LOL

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I can't wait to hear about all of your list items!!! Esp your thoughts on TSL.

You are so close!! I'm excited for you!!

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I'm all packed! 4 more sleeps until we leave.

Since we are hotel hopping so much and not really going to be unpacking our bags we decided to try somethings new. We packed the clothes for nights 1 & 2 into one bag, and the clothes for nights 3 & 4 into another. My theory is that this should help us stay organized and streamlined in the hotel room, reducing the chance of us leaving anything behind. crossfingers

I am getting *so* excited. I don't think I have been this excited about going to Disney in quite awhile.

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You are getting so close. yay
Can't wait to hear your thoughts on resort hopping. Our last trip ended up with us in 5 resorts in 8 days! We will have to compare notes once you have experienced your trip.

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Wow you're going to be busy this trip! If you happen to miss any food related ones, feel free to let me know. I'm willing to sacrifice myself for the good of the blog laugh

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Spook wrote:
Wow you're going to be busy this trip! If you happen to miss any food related ones, feel free to let me know. I'm willing to sacrifice myself for the good of the blog laugh

Hahaha! I am always accepting guest posts. We're not hitting Epcot or Magic Kingdom on this trip, so anything you think you would like to cover (except F&W) I can use. muchlove

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Spook wrote:
I'm willing to sacrifice myself for the good of the blog laugh

This brings a tear to my eye!! I salute you and your potential sacrifice!!! awesome

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Kristen K. wrote:
Spook wrote:
Wow you're going to be busy this trip! If you happen to miss any food related ones, feel free to let me know. I'm willing to sacrifice myself for the good of the blog laugh

Hahaha! I am always accepting guest posts. We're not hitting Epcot or Magic Kingdom on this trip, so anything you think you would like to cover (except F&W) I can use. muchlove

Ok! I'll keep that in mind mickey Anything specific?

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JeffC wrote:
Spook wrote:
I'm willing to sacrifice myself for the good of the blog laugh

This brings a tear to my eye!! I salute you and your potential sacrifice!!! awesome

I eat do what I can biggrin

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Spook wrote:
Ok! I'll keep that in mind mickey Anything specific?

Anything that seems new is always good. If you happen upon any Christmas treats that are out early, sometimes they start putting things out in the bakery in late October. I see you are doing Pizzafari, Mickey's Backyard BBQ and Trattoria al Forno. Reviews for any of them would be awesome. mickey

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Kristen K. wrote:
Spook wrote:
Ok! I'll keep that in mind mickey Anything specific?

Anything that seems new is always good. If you happen upon any Christmas treats that are out early, sometimes they start putting things out in the bakery in late October. I see you are doing Pizzafari, Mickey's Backyard BBQ and Trattoria al Forno. Reviews for any of them would be awesome. mickey

Sounds good!

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I leave today! yay

Disney tomorrow! mickey

I'm so excited! banana

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stars stars stars

Safe travels!

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mickey
Happy Disney Day!!!
mickey

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12:30 and we're 4 drinks/ 2.5 bars in! All in the name of research.

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Are you asking yourself how many fingers you are holding up? If so did you get it right?? rolling

Hope you are having a magical day!!!

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JeffC wrote:
Are you asking yourself how many fingers you are holding up? If so did you get it right??

laugh laugh rolling rolling rolling

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Had a nice lunch today with Kristen and Tori at Maria and Enzo's.

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Well! I've been home a week now and I'm finally starting to feel normal again. Traveling just keeps getting rougher and rougher on my body. My daughter and I both decided that this was the last on my quick three night trips. The rapid schedule and lack of down time is just too much for me now. That being said we had a nice trip, if not a bit of an odyssey.

Let's break it down!

Day One

Our first day was a travel day. We hopped a bus to Chicago, where Becks was waiting to pick us up. Carlos had had chemo that day and wasn't feeling great, so we stopped at their place and got him settled in for a little bit. After some talking we convinced Becks that we girls should go out for dinner. We ate at the Gale Street Inn and had a fantastic meal. It was the second time we had eaten there and the food is pretty dern good. I was so happy to see her and get to spend some time out just doing normal stuff. She hasn't had much time for herself just hanging with friends lately. I so wished we could have kidnapped her to come along with us. Then we headed back to her place and hit the hay for a three hour nap. Our day two wakeup call was at 2:45AM.

Day Two

Up well before dawn, Becks took us to Midway airport where we arrived at 3:30AM. We flew Southwest, and once again I was thrilled with the service. I had arranged for wheelchair transport to the gate, and preboarding, both went very smoothly. We were able to get our preferred seats for a comfortable flight down. I am continually impressed with the care and compassion Southwest treats disabled guests. The airline had sent me some free drink coupons, so we celebrated with two rounds of mimosas at 39,000 feet.

Southwest Heart by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Southwest To MCO by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr

We landed safely (and ahead of time) in Orlando! Whoo hoo! Since we had tagged our luggage for Disney's Magical Express and just had my camera bag to manage we headed right for the bus. I was thrilled to step onto a new design of DME bus, it was very comfortable, the changed are mostly in the way the video screens are set up. There were also new videos, which was oddly exciting.

Kristen On Magicla Express by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Tori on Disney's Magical Express by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr

We arrived at the Grand Floridian by 10:15! I stopped to say hello to the new greeter for a second, but I was really looking forward to that first step into the lobby. The sweet smell of fresh flowers hit my nose and I took a deep breath, exhaling with a deep sign. Home.

We picked up my Buena Vista Scooter, which was waiting for me at the Bell Station, and then took a stroll around the beautiful ground of the hotel. My DVC home is Animal Kingdom Lodge, my heart belongs to the Polynesian, but I really and truly love the Grand.

Grand Floridian by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Grand Floridian Lobby by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Grand Floridian Courtyard Fountain by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr

Inspired by JMed and JoAnnC we opened the Courtyard Pool Bar! Though after all the booze on our flight we opted for a mocktail at this stop, and a turkey sandwich. We had a Lava Smoothie, which is the virgin version of the Pina CoLava. It was quite tasty. I had never realized what a great space the Courtyard Pool is here. Everyone wants to go to the feature pool with the rock slide and the beach view, but the chair around the courtyard pool are well padded, there is ample shade, and plenty of tables near the bar. We really liked it here and wished we had time to take a dip.

Grand Floridian Courtyard Pool by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Grand Floridian Courtyard Pool Chairs by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Grand Floridian Courtyard Pool Bar by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Lava Smoothie by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr

The plan after this was to hop on the boat to the Magic Kingdom and take care of our Park tickets. I had a considerable amount of things to take care of at Guest Relations and I didn't want to have to do it in the morning before DAK. Sadly, the boats at Grand Floridian are not wheelchair accessible. The monorail is considered the primary transportation option, I was way bummed. We changed course and headed for the monorail, our first encounter with monorail bag check. I don't know that I care for monorail bag check, it's a bit of a pain, but I understand the safety reasoning for it. Not only did they have to check my camera bag (which has many zippered compartments) but they also went over my chair every time. I found that the detail of the searches varies greatly, sometimes we would just get a quick check and waived through, sometimes they went as far as trying to pull apart my cane.

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Our monorail ride was... umm... bumpy? I know that at some point in the recent past they put in new safety systems and the drivers don't really drive the monorails anymore, they just watch the automated systems. I will assume that this was the cause of the less than smooth ride. It felt like the brakes kept engaging and the monorail would jerk a bit, again, and again. Has anyone else noticed this recently? Instead of going to Magic Kingdom Guest Relations to suss out our tickets like we should have, we ended up just heading to the Contemporary Resort for more cocktails. I would end up regretting this choice tomorrow, but in the moment it seemed like it wouldn't really put any sort of hitch in our plans.

Monorail and Castle by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Monorail Coral by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr

Tori and I strolled through the BVG Gift Shop, and discovered that there was a little pastry case inside it. We grabbed some cookies and then made our way over to the Outer Rim. It was Noon and the bar was empty when we walked in, the bartender, John, overheard us debating what drink would pair best with our cookies and agreed when we settled on the Godiva Chocolate Martini.

Monorail Coral Through Grand Canyon Concourse by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Outer Rim by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Chocolate Martini at Outer Rim by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr

I loved this martini. Tori could taste too much alcohol in it, but I thought it was perfect. I had a real problem with overly sweet and fruity cocktails on this trip. The Godiva Chocolate Martini was not one of those. We sat for awhile and enjoyed the view as I finished up some work. There will be a story about our cookies and this cocktail on the blog in the next few weeks. Some sort of sportsball game started while we were there and the bar got fairly crowded. Honestly, this was the first time I had ever seen Outer Rim with so many people in it.

We hopped back on the monorail. We wanted to stop at the Polynesian, but our reservation for tea was fast approaching so we went back to the Grand Floridian.

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It was 1:30 and we were exhausted since we had been up so early. We found a comfortable spot in the Gand Floridian lobby to charge up our phones while we waited to be seated for tea. I knew that the Grand had a great lobby space, but I really appreciated how easy it was to find a plush loveseat and an outlet to recharge. There are plentiful outlets both on the main lobby floor, and in the upstairs seating areas near the grand staircase. It wasn't long before we were heading in to tea.

Garden View Lounge Tea by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr

We were seated at a two top by the window. It was a lovely spot and Tori (who was facing the window) had an amazing view of the people strolling through the courtyard. The two top next to us had a couple at it with an obnoxious energy and I felt like they were right on top of us. Luckily they were done fairly soon, and by the time we had finished our cheese plate they were leaving. After they left I realized that our tables were not actually bumped up right next to each other, this pair just really took up a lot of space energetically. I was happy they left and was able to really relax and enjoy my tea.

Kristen Sipping Tea by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Cheshire Tea Cheese Plate by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr

We both chose the Cheshire Tea, which is the mid-priced option without champagne. I ordered Earl Grey, which is one of my favorite. It was a lovely light version that wasn't overpowered by the bergamot. The little pots hold about six cups of tea. It was more than enough to enjoy during the service. The food was fantastic, the service was a little slow, but that only gave us time to enjoy each course of the tea at a leisurely pace. We weren't rushed, our waiter answered a million oddball questions from me. One of my photos of Tori had an unexpected guest. We had a wonderful time.

Garden View Cheshire Tea by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Garden View Cheshire Tea by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Cast Member Photo Bomb At Tea by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr

Our waiter shared a couple of rumors. One is that apparently there is a plan in consideration to expand the lounge by pushing the glass wall out further into the courtyard. Also, after telling him how many trips I had been waiting to get to the tea room he did tell me that they have cancelations every day, and that frequently you can get in if you keep trying to make reservations once you are down there. I will absolutely do that in the future because this tea was one of the highlights of our trip.

Yes, the Garden View Lounge is expensive. No, they don't take the Disney Dining Plan. Regardless Tori and I both thought that the experience was worth every penny and look forward to stopping in again on our next trip.

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I absolutely love Afternoon Tea at Grand Floridian! I've experienced it twice, once with my granddaughter and her mother and again with my younger daughter. Everybody has loved it and my granddaughter has requested it as a part of for her high school graduation gift in June. It is a great time to relax from the hectic pace of Disney!

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I loved that pool bar, I stopped there myself. Glad JoAnn and I had some influence LOL

Do you remember if John at the Outer Rim was from Georgia? A John helped us there and was wonderful even as slammed as he was when we stopped!

Love the photo bomber!

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"It seems to me that we have a lot of story yet to tell."

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Right! I wish the picture with the photo bomber was better of Tori because it is awesome.

I don't think I noticed where John was from, but he is in one of my pictures. He wasn't the focus though so it's kind of blurry.

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1. That pic of Tori and the photobomber is hilarious and a keeper!!
2. The whole tea experience looks and sounds like a wonderful time for you both, especially after the folks next to you left.
3. The influence of JoAnn C and JMed are clear!
4. Gorgeous pics of the GF!!

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That's him!!!!!!! He was slammed the only one working and was just wonderful.

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"It seems to me that we have a lot of story yet to tell."

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Let's see...

Once tea was over our room was ready so we headed that way. Oh my gosh! I loved this room so much. Cathedral ceilings, soft plush beds, and a view that was straight out of Mickey's magical manual. I took a bunch of pictures, changed out of my tea gown, and put my feet up for a few minutes. I'll be honest, Tori and I cried when we looked out the window. We could not have been closer to the Castle. I had been lucky enough to be given this room as compensation for a problem that we had on a previous trip. We only had one night, but it was amazing. We really did feel like royalty in this room. Plus - I never sleep as good as I do in rooms at the Grand Floridian. I wish I could just moved one of those beds into my house.

View From Our Room by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Grand Floridian Theme Park View by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Legs up at the Grand by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
rainbow-over-mk by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Rainbow Over The Magic Kingdom by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr

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After a short rest in our plush room, we headed out to continue our monorail crawl over at the Polynesian. We put our name on the list for Trader Sam's Grogg Grotto and I took a bunch of photographs while we waited. We also stopped to get a Dole Whip from Pineapple Lanai at that point. There's always room for Dole Whip.

Our Trader Sam's pager went off pretty quickly. I think that we only waited for about 15 minutes, and there was a great table for us. We loved Trader Sam's in California, and this was our first time stopping in at the WDW location. The place is so much fun, though I think we would have enjoyed ourselves more with a group. Originally we were going to meet some local friends there, but they had a death in the family and so Tori and I were on our own. I ordered a Hippopotamaitai, and it about knocked me over with the "Two Shots of Rum!" I usually enjoy a mai tai, but this was so strong. I think I only drank about half of it. Tori had something without alcohol, I think it was a Skipper Sipper, it was very tasty.

Moon Over The Polynesian Village by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Trader Sam's Grogg Grotto by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr

We ordered Pork Tacos and Chicken Lettuce Wraps which were really excellent. If we had ordered 3 of the appetizers it would have easily replaced a meal for us. I always love the food at the Polynesian, there isn't a restaurant at that hotel I don't love.

Trader Sam's Grogg Grotto Hippopotimaitai by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Trader Sam's Grogg Grotto Lettuce Wraps by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Trader Sam's Pork Tacos by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr

We wanted to finish up the night at Mizner's but it was absolutely packed and there was no chance of us getting a table or even a chair at the bar. I was a bit bummed about this because there were some things on the menu that I was really looking forward to trying.

Instead we stopped at Gasparilla Grill, which I am continually find decent but lackluster. Our choices for this night were downright meh. I got mac-n-cheese, Tori had a pizza, neither of us finished them. Not that we weren't hungry, the food just wasn't that great. If there was one thing that I could change about the Grand Floridian that would make me stay there more often, I think it would be better counter service. Average pizza and cold cut sandwiches just aren't doing it for me.

Grand Floridian Gasparilla Grill Dinner by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr
Grand Floridian Gasparilla Grill Dinner by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr

We were back in our room by 8:30pm and that was fine because we were exhausted after the long day of travel and fun. We watched both the electric water pageant and the fireworks from the balcony of our room. Then we passed our in our soft nest-like beds.

Water Pageant From Room by Kristen Ann Kirk, on Flickr

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