Our most recent trip to Walt Disney World was an attempt to escape the snow in Ohio, a never ending feat it would seem since our winters seem to last like 5 months. So on a last minute whim, eager to learn more about rose gold cupcakes and test the new food and new bee game at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival we scraped together some money, booked a flight and headed to Orlando.
This trip we had also decided that beach time was much needed. So we had planned to rent a car, and drive over to St. Augustine for the weekend because we thought it best not to be at Disney during the opening weekend of Flower and Garden. We also decided to stay off site at a Disney Good Neighbor Hotel in Disney Springs so we could write about it and mainly because booking anything decent on Disney property with a month notice is near impossible.
The car and flight were from Alamo and Spirit, both very very budget friendly options. The hotel we chose was The Best Western Hotel at Disney Springs. We’ll definitely write a separate review of the hotel with all the pros and cons, but here’s a few things to know right up front if you’re considering staying here. It’s a pretty decent budget-friendly family place to stay. While there’s sometimes a fear that going too cheap in Orlando means sharing the hotel with a bunch of high schoolers staying up all night, that didn’t seem to be the case here. We’ll blame it on the parking, which is limited and for a fee and the resort fee which is in addition to the room rate. While neither is terribly pricey, it would surely keep some of the hooligans away. You also get extra magic hour perks and a parks shuttle as well, so pretty decent all around.
The glowing blue light through the window is the B Resort, a neighboring hotel we were lusting over all through this trip! Definitely on our must-stay list.
Being so close to Disney Springs we were able to run over and grab a late dinner at the Morimoto Asia Street Food counter. While the hotel wasn’t walking distance it was close enough to make a quick trip without driving all over town. We did get some decent food to share… but it was pricey enough that a sit down restaurant would have been just as well. Just the food here was about 45 dollars between us. Yikes!
Disney’s Flower and Garden Festival is one of our favorite festivals at Disney. The complete lack of people stumbling around half-drunk, makes this festival both kid and grandma friendly. We also love that some of the rides get a makeover. Living with the Land, one of the easy river rides in Future World Epcot, gets all decked out with flowers and plants that the kitchens use for the festival. So pretty.
We of course also found some amazing food to try! A favorite was the strawberry feta quinoa spinach salad at The Berry Basket. This one was easy to copycat at home too!
We were however a little disappointed in the pizza in France. Mainly because we’re always on the search for a good pizza and this one had all the potential of being quite light and perfect….but it was soggy on the bottom. Which we figure coulda been the fault of a watery sauce but it really was just too wet… so disappointing. Especially since we usually love everything in France!
We also tackled the Rose Gold Cupcake Tour. We covered 8 cupcakes that were pretty much all over the Disney property so definitely needed the car to get to them all. Otherwise we would have just spent a lot of time on busses, or a lot of money on uber. Totally worth it though! So many interesting combinations, some disappointing but some so awesome we hope they always have them available. We did hear of a 9th cupcake at Hollywood Studios that popped up just as we were leaving, so be on the lookout. Disney is totally playing the rose gold and millennial pink trends right now, so there’s plenty to be had.
After a few days at Disney we hopped in the car and drove the 2 hours over to St. Augustine, Florida.
Okay, guys, we’re gonna be crazy honest here. It was more like 8 hours. St. Augustine is gorgeous and earns the “America’s oldest city” title with fancy old buildings but there were definitely some road bumps on this mini trip. We couldn’t find parking to save our lives! The whole town is smashed into a block of streets that are all very skinny, without readily available parking garages- so that was a problem. And then parking that was available was no where near walking distance to town. Then there was this pirate ship party boat that every hour or so would cause the only bridge in and out of the town to back up completely while the bridge raised and lowered. How do these people live? So we drove around to try and find parking, drove to try and find food- more places without parking, and then finally just gave up and went to our hotel on that first day instead. There were cute shops, a few cute places to eat, and an awesome fort, so definitely somewhat worth it. We’ll definitely be writing about this mini-trip in our new Disney and Beyond series chronicling all the fun trips you can take that are relatively close to Disney, but… don’t expect it to be a super positive review. The coffee wasn’t great. Stay tuned.
Back at Disney, and lets face its always good to get back at Disney… you know where there IS parking (even if you have to pay for it now)…we stayed at Coronado Springs. Even though they have this massive 15 floor tower going in for concierge level rooms the construction didn’t impede our vacation at all. Which was definitely more than could be said for the construction at Caribbean Beach. Besides, it was beautiful! We got one of the new refurbished rooms with hardwood floors and the new stationary shampoo/conditioner/body wash attached to the shower wall. Plenty for everyone.
We finally got a chance to try the Grand Floridian Cafe ( post on the way! ) and had a lovely waiter, Robert, who took the best care of us! Note: Skip the fancy coffee press coffee- it really doesn’t come with that much coffee and while cute to photograph ( like our camera) at 8 dollars the coffee press wasn’t really worth it. The rest of the food, however, was lovely, and much like all things Grand Floridian felt like a wonderful escape from the rush of vacation.
G also got a cute gift from our mom right before the trip. This adorable cube camera is like a mini go pro and took the most amazing pictures and videos! Excellent control of light and motion and while it takes a little skill, cause you just have to guess where you’re pointing it, it captures the best 124 degree views! We also loved that it looks like a little Instagram camera:)
So, now we come to the reason for the title of this post. If you’ve been reading this blog for any time at all or keeping up with us on instagram and pinterest you know we love fancy drinks. And if we’re taking pictures of our shirts… which is always on the agenda when we visit Walt Disney World..we need something cute to drink! So we’re walking past Pecos Bill Cafe and right across the way is a little outdoor service counter that has something called Desert Pear Lemonade Slushy. Whaaaatttt!!! Is this a Magic Kingdom drink we didn’t know about? Unfortunately there was a little sign on the booth that said they were closed, but you could get the menu items inside Pecos Bill. So away we went in search of the Desert Pear drink. We get inside and ask for the drink. Low and behold, they don’t have it. We say, “but the sign said come in here.” The girl says they don’t have it. We express some mild disappointment (mind you we’re not kicking and screaming, just sad), and we say “that’s ok we’ll order the strawberry lemonade instead.” When she realizes that this drink is the only thing we’re ordering she collects the drink and gives it to us for FREE. “How much is it?” we ask.. she says “oh don’t worry about it.. you know its a magical moment… or whatever. ”
We love Disney Cast Members:) They come in all different shapes, sizes, and temperaments. For many we imagine Disney work life is still just a job that has some dumb policy called “magical moments” that need to be given out in times of sadness.
Either way, we were super excited to get a free drink and take yet another picture of one of our favorite shirts. You can grab our everything is satisfactual design in the shop:) Xoxo