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2023 - November - Florida - Day 15

When it rains in Florida, it really rains. At home we now describe any short heavy downfall as Florida rain. It is like having a bucket of water thrown over you, constantly.

We woke up again to rain which then didn’t stop all flipping day long. At times it eased a bit but not for long. This was not how we wanted our last full day in Florida to be. We again counted our blessings though that all the days when we had things booked for that the weather had been perfect.

So, we busied ourselves during the morning, and even started our packing in the hope that we would be able to enjoy the sun on our last morning tomorrow before the drive to the airport.

Even though we were all feeling a bit down with the rain we all tried to keep our spirits up. We decided to have an early lunch and carry on with our plans for the day which was to mosey around some of the Disney Hotels.

We drove to the Polynesian Resort and tried to park there and were turned away. We tried the Grand Floridian and the same thing happened. It is annoying but understandable as people (like us) would try to park there to go to the Magic Kingdom via the monorail for free thus avoiding the $30 parking fee. Today though we genuinely only wanted to visit the hotels (and maybe just ride the monorail).

Before resorting to driving to Disney Springs and catching a bus back we tried Wilderness Lodge and were merrily waved in by the Security Guard. I thought this was a bit strange as although there is no monorail link here, you can (as we did) get a free boat direct to the Magic Kingdom.

First of all, we had a wander around the magnificent Main Lodge. It is a wooden lodge on a scale that needs to be seen to be believed. We had hoped that they would have up the 60ft Christmas Tree in the main lobby but we were still too early for that. There was a small Christmas Tree display and Karen was one person away from being chosen as the family of the day to switch on the lights. As it was raining hard the lobby was very busy whereas the lovely area outside was deserted.

Then we decided to catch the boat to the Magic Kingdom, so we could connect with the monorail. It was a lovely boat trip across the Lake around the Contemporary Resort and one we hadn’t done before. Then after getting the monorail back to the TTC, we did the Monorail loop around and through Epcot, which despite the inclement weather still looked very busy. We decided that next trip that we would visit the park properly.

Getting off the loop back at the TTC we decided to get the monorail to the Grand Floridian to see the full-size Gingerbread House. This was a tactical mistake on our part, as tonight was another Mickey Party Night (our invitations must have been lost in the post for this one) and loads of other people were trying to get from the Hotels to the Magic Kingdom. We had a 20-minute wait to get onto the monorail during which time Karen was getting frustrated with the number of people on mobility scooters and parents with stupidly large pushchairs who kept bumping into her.

The Grand Floridian was very busy as many other people also had the idea of visiting the Gingerbread House. It is very impressive and big enough to house a Christmas Stall inside selling festive Cookies at a festive premium. There was a large queue of people willing to pay extra for the privilege of saying that had bought a Mickey shaped cookie from inside a real Gingerbread House. We didn’t join them. Instead, we waded through the water outside to go to one of the cafes in another block to get some hot drinks.

Whilst here Karen bemoaned that I hadn’t booked afternoon tea for her at this Hotel. We looked up the prices. One on offer was $150 for two people which included such delicacies as Poached Pear & Gorgonzola sandwiches. I was glad we had swerved that one.

It was a bit of a phaff getting back to the Wilderness Lodge where we had parked via the monorail and boat but in the end, we made it and we tried to make it as fun as possible.

Before getting in the car, Neil wanted to get as high as he could in the Lodge and look down on the lobby. He found his way up to the top floor whilst Karen & I stood where we think the tree will be installed next week.

Given the traffic problems we had had yesterday around this time we decided to head back via the Saltgrass restaurant which was in the opposite direction. We got there with no issue other than the now monsoon like rain. I dropped Karen & Neil at the door. I was drenched when I re-joined them after parking.

We were seated immediately which we were pleased about (there was a large queue waiting by the time we left), and placed our orders of the usual Steaks. As normal our side salads were served first. We were half way through them when Karen said ‘I have got something metal in mine’ and indeed she had. It was a blade off a sharp knife. It was very lucky that she had been watching carefully as she ate and not just put it in her mouth. I called the waitress over who was mortified by it. She could not stop apologising. It turned out it was only her second day. We reassured her that she wasn’t personally responsible and she went to get the manager.

We kept calm and didn’t get annoyed when the manager came over. I felt she was embarrassed and didn’t really know how to handle the situation. She was very apologetic and said nothing like that had ever happened before. First of all, she offered Karen a free dessert which she politely refused. Then she offered to compliment Karen’s whole meal which was much more acceptable to us. I guess we could have pushed for more and would have if Karen had been injured but, in the end, we thought the offer was reasonable.

The main meals were delicious and I was happy with the reduced bill.

The drive back to the villa was easy apart from the amount of water on the roads as the traffic had cleared. We then watched a bit of the news before another couple of episodes of Shark Tank before going up the stairs to bed for the last time here before our flights home.

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