~Monday, March 27, 2023~
Our first full day in Orlando was a trip to Disney Springs…..a dining, shopping and entertainment complex that pulls inspiration from many of Florida’s waterfront towns. The enormous installation is divided into 4 themes; The Marketplace, The Landing, Town Center, and West Side. Since we hadn’t brought backpacks, there was no reason to be stopped at security, so we had a pretty speedy entry into the park. From our “orange” parking garage, we officially landed in the park in just a few minutes. The minute we got into the park, you could tell that it wasn’t as full as it should be, especially with it being Spring Break. Our thought was that with the shaky economy right now, visiting amusement parks is not high on everyone’s list at the moment. Who can afford $400/night hotels, and $180 entrance fees when the basic necessities are a struggle for so many. So the parks must be feeling the sting. Coincidentally, Jeff found an article on that very thing today. Evidently, Disney is making a big push to cut costs and will be laying off about 7,000 employees by May. If interested, you can check out the article at https://finance.yahoo.com/news/disney-begins-process-of-cutting-7000-jobs-as-ceo-bob-iger-warns-challenges-ahead-164148565.html
Our first goal was to get to the Town Center to pick up our DisneyWorld passes at the Disney Ticket Center office. Having this pass would allow us a quick entry into the park tomorrow and a way to scan our way through faster lines with the Genie+. Even if you only do 2 rides with the Genie+, it’s well worth the extra $30, saving precious time standing in those long amusement park lines. Also, through the Disney app, we can get up to the minute wait times on rides, make dining reservations and specify our rides ahead of time. It’s well…..pretty Genie-us!
After we picked up our passes, we then strolled over to the serious shopping mecca which included such stores as LuLulemon, Tommy Bahama, Vera Bradley and Columbia Sportswear to name a few. Jeff found a really cool silky short-sleeved shirt at Tommy Bahama, but when he saw the $150 price tag, it made for a quick exit.
And though we didn’t eat at any of the restaurants, we did notice the biggees…..Morimoto's, House of Blues, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, and the Rainforest Cafe with the erupting volcano. It was just too hot to eat, but never for an ice cold beverage. So Cooke’s of Dublin was the perfect place to quench our thirst and offer a shady spot to cool off. Jeff had a Guinness and for me, a Harp. The guy next to me ordered a combination glass of Guinness AND Harp, highly recommending it if we’re into either beer. Hmm.. something to try next time. Our beer server is attending University of Central Florida pursuing a degree in electrical engineering to which all his afternoon guests raised their glass for a toast.🍻We still liked him even though his 411 on Guinness was not entirely accurate stating that more Guinness is consumed in Orlando than any other city in the U.S. except for New York. He also said that Orlando is the first Guinness delivery from Ireland. Fooled us.
The highlights for us were watching a choir from Wisconsin which brought back fond memories of our own children’s days in choir as well as the Aerophile balloon
flight (from below) and watching the Vintage Amphicar morphing from a land cruiser to a boat, then back again. There’s even a Cirque du Soleil collaboration with Disney where drawings come to life as a love letter to the art of Disney animation combined with acrobatic mastery. Since we were at Disney Springs for just the one day, and a full day tomorrow at Magic Kingdom, we decided to forego the Cirque show this time around. But it does sound amazing.
Having to consider our pups, we were just about to head back to the car after a whole day of entertainment until…….we ran into an old friend of our daughter’s. Katie and Hannah
were very close friends in their elementary school years, so we grew to know her and her parents as well. We also got to meet her boyfriend Stephen whom she’s been dating several years now. He seems like a very nice fella and they make a very cute couple. So great to see them. But what are the chances that we’d run into someone we knew. And I’m not kidding that just minutes before, I had mentioned to Jeff, “Now wouldn’t that be funny if we ran into someone we knew”. Well there you have it. I must have willed it to happen.
Sadie was thrilled to see us, eager for a ball chase, a nice walk and dinner. We timed our walk perfectly just as the sun was going
down behind Turkey Lake with the birds finding their way back to their resting spots for the night.