Trip Report January 2016 – Day 5
Wednesday was an atypical vacation day for us. We had a few Quick Service credits to use up, so we started the day with breakfast at Gasparilla Grill. After breakfast, we finished packing and loaded all of our luggage into our rental van. Then we set out for Daytona Beach. Traffic through Orlando was much worse than the last time we drove around with a rental car. It took us just under 2 hours from leaving the Grand Floridian to driving onto the beach.
We planned this trip a long time ago. The 1 year anniversary of my father-in-law’s passing fell halfway through the trip. This was one of the reasons my mother-in-law joined us on the trip. We planned this beach day to return to one of their favorite locations and where they first met despite growing up in the same area in Indiana.
It was a rainy day throughout Florida and daily rainfall records were set in Orlando and Daytona Beach. Luckily most of the rain in Daytona Beach fell that morning, so other than a brisk wind the beach was still enjoyable.
This was my first time visiting Daytona Beach. It’s remarkably wide and flat; it’s so novel to drive and park on the beach! While the weather wasn’t ideal, we didn’t see anyone else walking or driving on the beach until just before we left.
On our way back to Orlando we made a stop at a Daytona Krispy Kreme. It has probably been 15 years since I had a fresh off the line Krispy Kreme. Oh my, it’s SO good. That’s what donuts are meant to be.
When we arrived at Bay Lake Tower it was check-in time (4 pm for DVC villas) but we hadn’t received our room number via text.
Upon stopping by the front desk, we discovered that during a split stay, you must actually check-out at the front desk of your first hotel to allow check-in at your new hotel. It took a few minutes to sort out, but soon we were on an elevator to our 10th floor theme park view villa.
I enjoyed the location of our room, on the north half of the Tower on a high floor. The north elevators seem much less busy than the south elevators near the Sky Way Bridge.
One thing I like about Bay Lake Tower 1-Bedroom and 2-Bedroom Villas is that there is an extra bathroom in the living area. This trip we used it as the pack n play room. At the Grand Floridian Villas we put the pack n play in the master bedroom closet.
After settling into the hotel it was soon time to head to Wilderness Lodge for dinner. We took the Blue Flag launch from the Contemporary, which runs a loop between the Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness. 30 minutes after leaving our 10th floor room at Bay Lake Tower we checked in to Whispering Canyon Cafe.
Wilderness Lodge is one of our favorite Disney hotels. Immediately after stepping onto the dock I felt a rush of love as I breathed in its familiar smell and saw its rustic boardwalk.
We’ve eaten at Whispering Canyon Cafe many times, but this was our first for dinner. Overall I enjoyed the skillet and was surprised by the number of meats included. The baked beans were the only thing I did not enjoy. Whispering Canyon Cafe now has disks that let you opt-in or opt-out of the server play. Near the end of a long day, we opt-out.
It was raining steadily after dinner so we walked around Wilderness Lodge and then over to the Villas. Eventually we donned our rain jackets and ponchos and took the bus to Magic Kingdom. It was a 17 minute ride from Wilderness Lodge to the Magic Kingdom with a stop at Fort Wilderness.
Wishes started soon after we arrived.
With 2 hours of rainy Extra Magic Hours ahead of us, we set out to accomplish as much as we could. From 8:15-9:56 we rode Pooh, Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, small world, and Haunted Mansion. We were also delayed by an E-stop on Pooh and stopped for drinks at Gaston’s. Overall it was the best EMH we’ve had in the last 5 years. Thank the rain! We caught the Kiss Goodnight on our way out.
Of course we ended the night by catching the Electrical Water Pageant from our elevator lobby windows. No photos, but a great end to a great night!