Sue's F&W Weekend - Day 1 of 4

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Oct 21, 2021, 7:47:33 PM10/21/21
DAY 1 – Thursday 10/21/21
Who: Sue (62), DVC Member

Plan: Drive to WDW, Gideon’s, Food & Wine

Actual: I worked half the day, leaving the office at 11:45. A birthday present had been delivered (to our warehouse) and the sender had called to tell me to get it before I left. To my surprise, it was a bunch of chocolate from the ice cream/candy store we used to frequent when we lived in New Jersey! I think it’s always been my favorite chocolate store – Thomas Sweet. Chris’ dad was the sender, and that was so nice of him. I took the chocolate home and left it where I hope SB won’t see it, lol! I was on the road to Disney right at noon.

When I turned onto the turnpike (halfway point) I checked my phone and saw the “room ready” notification had already arrived. Being familiar with the resort I knew my requests had been met and my room’s in a great location. Of course had I been going straight to the resort it probably wouldn’t have been ready until an hour after I got there, but since I’m going to Disney Springs the room is ready before I get there!

Regardless, I decided to stick with the original plan since it was hot out today and there was no rush to get to Epcot in the heat. I parked in the Orange garage and based on the many parking spaces on every level I figured most likely Gideon’s wouldn’t be doing the virtual queue – it’s not crowded enough. Sure enough, when I got there they confirmed they were just doing standby, and said it was a 25 minute wait. It was all in the shade and there was a nice breeze, so it wasn’t bad at all. They were accurate on the time as well.

The Gideon’s cast were making a bunch of hoopla because it was “hot cookie hour”. I’d read about this but have never been here for it. Basically, for this hour they sell hot chocolate chip cookies with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Many people got that (along with cookies in a bag or box), and as each one would exit the cast would cheer and yell hot cookie hour. I knew if I got that it would do me in for the rest of the day in terms of being able to eat anything – and for me a Gideon’s cookie is a multi-day snack that I prefer not soggy from ice cream.

When it was my turn I got one of the October cookies – the Frankenstein. This is a chocolate chip cookie with double stuffed oreos and then topped with M&M candies. On an impulse I also bought a bag of the Gideon’s Bites, which are partial pieces of their cookies, completely dipped in chocolate. The cast member said they stay fresh longer than the cookies, since they’re coated in the chocolate.

I left the store to no cheers since I didn’t have a hot cookie <g> and walked back to the garage. It was an easy drive to Beach Club Villas and I was able to take all my stuff up to the studio in one trip. However, at the door my magic bands would only make the light turn red! Thankfully a housekeeper came by and she opened the door for me. I unpacked and got settled in the room. I opened up the Gideon’s Bites and they’re a pretty good size – some will be more than one snack for me. I hope I like them, since they were $20 <g>.

I guess I stopped thinking for a moment, because I was out the door by 3 – while it was still hot outside! I stopped at the cast member in the Villas lobby and she reset my magic bands – I had some degree of doubt about that but when I returned later it worked just fine so she was right! As I was walking to Epcot I realized I’d been planning to go over later, when it was cooler, but at this point I just kept going. On my way into the park I stopped at Guest Relations to get my passholder card. I wasn’t able to get SB’s, since they said the person has to be present, with their photo ID. World Showcase was busy, but not mobbed, and the Food & Wine booth lines were very short (in some cases no line at all).

I decided to start with my favorite – the chimichurri skirt steak on corn cake from Flavors of Fire. With it being earlier than planned, this would hopefully make it easy to have a second item later around World Showcase. Along the way I noticed the Creations Store and decided to detour there first. It wasn’t terribly crowded, and they had plenty of cute merchandise but nothing that really called out to me. In hindsight I should have looked for the 2022 calendar while I was in there – oh well, maybe another day. Exiting Creations I saw the queue of people waiting to get into Club Cool. Not liking soda, that had no appeal to me.

Instead, I walked over to the Flavors of Fire stand and had no wait to get my skirt steak. Most of the tables were out in the blazing sun (it was HOT) but I knew where to find a shady table. There were a couple available, so I grabbed one, took the required food porn photo, and started eating. It didn’t taste exactly the same as I remembered! I think the problem was this time there was too much steak. That may sound funny, but it seriously was like eating a plate full of steak with just a tiny bit of the crunchy stuff on top. The corn cake was like it always was (good), but the proportion of the rest was just off. I ate it all, but knew I wasn’t going to have room for a second item now.

Across the way was the lobster booth, with only 1 person in line (and 3 registers open). I don’t eat seafood, but I ordered the Steenberg sparkling sauvignon blanc from South Africa. It was very good – and it’s served in a flute rather than a thimble <g> so I felt that it was worth the $6 it cost.

I walked back out to World Showcase with my sparkling wine, noticing how HOT it was out there. October can be so miserable still. In United Kingdom I watched Carol Stein’s set, standing as close to the open shop doorway as possible (for a little a/c). She played a number of Disney movie songs, and it was really nice.

After that I checked the Genie thing again. I’d looked at it earlier, and saw the tips it had for me in terms of best time to ride different attractions in Epcot. This time I noticed it said the Beauty & the Beast Sing Along was taking standby people now, so I stopped in France. There was still 9 minutes until the show so I put on my mask and browsed through the wine shop (not buying anything) then went to wait for the doors to the show to open.

I’d never seen this, and expected it to be like the Frozen Sing Along, where there would be live actors. It was not. This was just a film, and during the songs the words would appear on the screen and the audience would sing along. Still, I enjoyed it (more than I expected) and was glad the audience singing wasn’t too awful <g>.

After the show I continued the loop around World Showcase, stopping to look at merchandise or festival booth menus/pictures but not getting anything. The festival spirit jersey is really cute this year! I thought about something sweet, but I wasn’t hungry at all and knew I had all that Gideon’s stuff at the resort so I passed for today.

When I came around to International Gateway I’d had enough for today and left the park. The Skyliner didn’t look busy so I hopped on that for a leisurely ride to Caribbean Beach and back. Someone on MouseOwners had heard Riviera didn’t let you get off unless you were staying there, and I saw NO sign of anything like that. It’s never happened in the past to me, and I’ve never heard of it happening. I got off at Caribbean Beach and had a short wait to board for the return trip. The line moved continuously since all the gondolas there are empty when they arrive. At Riviera there was a similar size line, and that one just stood still since most of the gondolas that arrive have people in them. They were boarding just 1 party per gondola, I assume because it’s not a peak time.

At International Gateway I left the Skyliner and walked back to Beach Club Villas, happy to be here again. From my balcony I can see the Tower of Terror and it’s possible I’ll get some Harmonious fireworks from the other direction. We’ll see later. I was in by 6:30 and went to work getting the report done before going online and getting distracted with other stuff. My fabulous HAL cruise is coming up, on the brand new ship (Rotterdam) that just sailed from Amsterdam yesterday on the first voyage. It arrives in FL November 3rd, and some of the nice people on board are sharing photos and comments on facebook and message boards – if I went to that first the report would have been delayed <g>.

I brought wine, crackers & cheese from home, along with water and breakfast stuff. Most likely some of it will go back home with me, but I wanted to have the option of partaking or not. Wine is heavier to transport than cheese & crackers, so I got comfortable and decided to have some wine along with a few crackers and cheese. Later when the sweet tooth kicks in I’ll eat a little Gideon’s. The Bites are mysteries, since with the chocolate coating you have no way to tell what kind of cookie it is. Fun!

Today was a great start to the trip, other than being warmer than I’d like. I’m very happy with my room and love being back for Food & Wine! I’ll report tomorrow on whether I can see the fireworks from my balcony, and tomorrow I’m looking forward to relaxing by the quiet pool all morning!

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