Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Road Tripping & Walt Disney World (October 2011)

This is a past post from Magen's old blog, chronicling a trip taken in October of 2011. Excuse the poor writing style. She was still figuring out her groove. 

We got up bright and early for our very long drive (10 hours) from New Orleans to Orlando. This day was pretty much a travel day. We left around 9:00 AM. First stop was breakfast at the first Cracker Barrel we saw.

Cracker Barrel is a must on all road trips. It is non-negotiable.

We drove through Mississippi and Alabama and into the Florida Panhandle in a very short amount of time.

About halfway, it started raining. I used my Weather Channel app to check out a radar and discovered that the entire state of Florida was covered in rain, and some heavy storms. 

Sidebar: Florida is skinny , but I swear it's torture to know you're in the state but still SO FAR away from your destination. Also, toll roads.

We had dinner reservations at T-Rex in downtown Disney at 10:00 PM. I made the reservation so late to make sure we had plenty of time to get there, in case of any issues- like rain. I also wanted to walk around Downtown Disney for a while before we ate and before we checked into our hotel. (Side note: Ashley DETESTS rain. She really, really, really, really hates it. She’ll do anything to not be in the rain.) We arrived in Orlando about 8:00 PM. Ashley was kind of sulking because of the rain, but when we passed by all of the different theme parks (you could see Sea World and Universal Studios as we drove in), she kind of perked up. I knew what fun was waiting at the other end, so I couldn't have given a crap about the rain. 

We finally found Downtown Disney and located the restaurant at about 8:30 PM. It was still POURING rain. I had picked up some ponchos at the dollar store before our trip since Florida frequently has those 30 minute afternoon showers. So we put some on and headed on in. On the trek from the car to the restaurant, we realized that these 50 cent ponchos were NOT going to work out. We also realized that we were definitely not walking around Downtown Disney. We were soaked. So both of us were dripping wet, tired from traveling 10+ hours, and very hungry. Our reservation wasn’t until 10:00, but luckily they were able to put us in as a walk up and we would only have to wait 30 minutes. They had a nice big gift shop, so we could walk around and dry off.

T-Rex is very similar to Rainforest CafĂ©, except with dinosaurs. Ashley is pretty into dinosaurs (she might be a 10 year old boy?) so we had plenty of things to keep us occupied for thirty minutes. 

We were seated in the ice age area. There were fossils in the walls, and the “ice” changed from blue to red. Every few minutes, all of the dinosaurs came to life and roared. It was very dramatic. Kids (especially boys) would LOVE this restaurant. Our waitress was FANTASTIC. Some of the best service on our trip. Ashley ordered wings for an appetizer and a flatbread appetizer has her entree. I ordered a burger. All of our food was very yummy and my burger was HUGE. I probably only ate a fourth of it. Ashley and I traded some food to try each other's. Everything was yummy. It was a little expensive, but two (or more) could definitely share if costs are a concern. The portions were dino-sized. (Lame, but I’m keeping it.)

We both checked our weather apps to see about the rain. According to the forecast at that point, the rain was staying the entire week. whomp whomp.......... This was so disappointing. I knew it would be humid and rain isn’t that fun when you’re at a theme park. I also specifically picked October because it was one of the lowest months for rain. Ash has terrible allergies that worsen after a rain. We were pretty concerned. At this point, she said she wanted to go home (gasp!) I said no, we’ll wait it out. We didn’t make a two day drive to eat at a restaurant. We saw a few people with some T-Rex ponchos and they looked infinitely ticker and longer than our cheap-os, so we both got a poncho before we left. Then, we made a trip to Wal-Mart for some better rain clothes. We bought some wind pants and some sweat shirts (the rain made it fairly cold). I also bought some sneakers since I only brought thin casual shoes that wouldn’t work well in the rain.  Of course, since the Wal-Mart was only a mile from Disney, they were decked out with Disney souvenirs. I had to pry Ashley away. (She loves souvenirs…. it's a problem.) After our Wal-Mart trip, we finally headed to the hotel.

I chose the Coronado Springs Resort. It is one of the Disney World Resort hotels and it is considered “moderate”.  (Disney has several levels for lodging. Value, Moderate, Deluxe are the main options.) I chose Coronado because it was moderately priced, and it had some newly renovated rooms. I also wanted to stay in one of the Disney Resorts rather than off site, because on site guests get some extra perks, like more hours at the parks. I checked us in, and found our building. The raining had eased up enough for me to walk to find our room before we unloaded the luggage. Because of the 12 hour nonstop rain the area had experienced, there were earthworms (seriously) all over the sidewalks. I stepped on probably 100. It was pretty gross. We unloaded most of the luggage and they rolled all over them. It was pretty terrible. So bad it was funny. I couldn't stop laughing at the earthworm devastation my suitcase was to blame for. By the time we got in our hotel room with our new rain gear, it was 2:00 AM. We had 9:00 AM reservations at a restaurant inside a park the next day. We would need to get up at about 7:00 for both of us to get ready and catch a bus to get there before 9. We decided that we’d sleep in a little bit and cancel the breakfast reservation. I think we both fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows. 

Food Recommendation: 
Cracker Barrell | Pretty much anywhere in the south (American) BEST BREAKFAST :)
T-Rex | Downtown Disney, Orlando, FL (American)

Hotel Recommendation:
Coronado Springs | Disney World

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