Epcot, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA
Over the past three weeks, I’ve been fortunate enough to sneak in two separate quick long weekend trips to WDW thanks to some decent airfares and room rates. Below are some random observations (I’ll spare you the typical TR stuff as most of us have vacationed with the Mouse over the years and know the deal).
Caribbean Beach – For my first stay, we stayed at the CBR and it has been well over a decade since I have previously stayed there. For a moderate, it’s a very nice resort; second to Coronado in my opinion. All of the main construction (for CBR) was completed a few days prior to us arriving so we were able to check in at the new centralized building and hit up the new pool bar for some drinks and snacks (while waiting for our room). Both of which are very cool and well designed. It’s much easier now checking in to a main centralized building as opposed to the old satellite check in building which required you to have to take an internal bus to your room from there. The only major construction currently going on is the Rivera Resort tower across the lake but other than being an eyesore, you don’t really hear anything (at least we didn’t) and construction is in full swing. For the rate that we paid for our room, it was a steal (even for a moderate) so it was too good to pass up. Overall a very nice stay at CBR.
California Grill – We had a nice $160 dinner at CG and while it was good, I wasn’t overly impressed. The view were of course fantastic and my filet was decent (slightly overcooked), but for whatever reason I wasn’t blown away. After we ordered our meals, our server told us that it would be around 20-25 minutes for our food to come out of the kitchen and he suggested that we talk a walk on the catwalk to take in some MK views to pass the time. Our server indicated that he would get us shortly before our food came out and this was a nice service touch. Overall a good meal, just not a great one.
Coronado Springs – For our second stay, we stayed at CS which is my favorite of all the moderates. And like Caribbean Beach, we were able to snag a room rate that was too good to pass up. However, unlike CBR, there is construction all over at Coronado and it is way more in your face there (probably hence the dirt cheap room rate we got). The main pool was also closed for refurbishment but that was fine as we weren’t planning on doing a pool day for this trip. Other than the “dust”, you really didn’t hear anything from the construction. We were assigned to one of the newly refurbished rooms and I was really impressed with the improvements. If you like ferry tails and pixie dust peppered throughout your Disney room, you will be disappointed with the new rooms. The new rooms are more modern and sleek and better appeal to business travelers attending a convention there as opposed to a family. But for me, it is my kind of décor style I had a great stay there. If you are a sucker for a good shower by the way, the new shower heads there are amazing.
SkyLiner Gondola – What is taking so long? I feel like this project has been going on for a while now and while construction is going on everywhere, it’s not moving along that fast (or at least it doesn’t seem so). Don’t ski resorts build ski lifts over a few months? Now, I’m kidding of course as I know the scope of this project is well beyond a typical mountain ski lift; but it just feels like it moving along at a snail’s pace, that’s all. Today at IAAPA it was announced that the SkyLiner would be opening in late 2019 which seems crazy. Maybe just me.
Illuminations – Of course, had to get in a final Illuminations viewing before next summer. Not sure if I will be back in the Spring or not. RIP Illuminations.
Flying Fish Café – Finally, have to mention that we had another $160 meal, this time at Flying Fish Café on the Boardwalk. First time eating there and it certainly won’t be the last. One of the best meals that I have ever had; ever. Had the Sea Bass if you are wondering and it did not disappoint.
Overall it was hot, not a drop of rain and another fun trip visiting the mouse. Good times and love me some Food and Wine.Last edited by Hanging n' Banging, Wednesday, November 14, 2018 3:29 PM
We never miss California Grill, but I will say on our last visit we too were a little less than impressed. I’m not sure why, but the food was not it’s usual knock-your-socks-off good. I had the cioppino, which was a bit of a different choice for me, and it wasn’t bad by any means, but not awesome. And as usual, the service was wonderful, the room was nice and a window-side table for the MK fireworks is always magical. Oh, and take a tip from me. Never, ever, accept a steak that isn’t to your specs. Not medium rare enough for you? At that price? Send it back.
We also tried Flying Fish for the first time and I have to say it was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. On the heels of a recent re-do, the decor was gorgeous, complete with an original Flying Turns car, so what could be wrong with that? Flying Fish may take California Grill’s place on our list for fine dining.
On that trip we spent a lot of evenings at Springs for dinner, inspired mainly by the chef-driven restaurants that have popped up over there. We really enjoyed Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Rick Bayless’ Frontera Cocina, and Morimoto’s, to name a few. And Disney Springs is a good place to get your drink on before ubering back to the resort.
I wish we could get into the groove of long weekends at Disney but it always just seems smarter to do the week+ long visit every few years, especially coming from Ohio. Plus I’m of the mind that anything shorter would just make me mad. Or sad. Or something. I guess I’m still a do-it-all kind of guy.
Between you and Josh’s frequent Disney trips I’m a little jealous, btw.
Diana said she saw them stringing up the cable on the gondola system somewhere. More than six months off does seem kind of nuts. It seems like the stations and turns are mostly done, but I guess I can't really see the mechanical stuff.
My last visit to CA Grill involved a "light" meal of one of the sushi dishes. I might have also had dessert, but I did not leave hungry and it was well executed. I've heard a lot of people say good things about Flying Fish. I have a "milestone" trip coming up this February---maybe that should go on the docket.
We're doing a week long at CBR in a a few weeks. Glad to hear that the new renovations are so spiffy.
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