Florida Trip – February, 2020

Part 1 – Walt Disney World (WDW)

Sunday, 02-16-2020: After church services and lunch at the church, we drove home to change into our “traveling” clothes and finish packing. We drove south (from Cumming, GA) to just south of Macon, GA where we visited a dear friend whom we’ve known since 1981! It was a blessing to see and fellowship with her. We continued south to Tifton, GA where we spent the night at a very nice Spring Hill Suites hotel.

Monday, 02-17-2020: Had a nice (spelled FREE) breakfast at the hotel, then headed south on I-75 to the Florida state line where we had our traditional picture taken at the welcome center sign.

Note my Mickey Shirt! Very happy to be on this trip with my precious girlfriend and wife (of 44 + years)

From there, it is only a little over 3 hours to our WDW hotel – The Dolphin! (For a full tour of this wonderful hotel, see my latest “tour” movie at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLdcgeKTRaM ) We affectionately refer to the Dolphin as our “Disney Home”.

I admit – I get excited each time I see this sign
As we come in from the west and get closer to WDW (Walt Disney World), we can actually see the pyramid section of this fine hotel!

Because of my many past stays at a Marriott property (the Dolphin and its nearby “sister” hotel the Swan, are managed by Marriott), I have the highest lifetime status (Titanium) awarded by Marriott. This enables me to get many privileges including a free upgrade (when available) and late checkout. I expected an upgrade, but not one that we received – a Presidential Suite!

We actually were given this suite in September, 2016 when we attended the Ole Miss – Florida State, season-opening football game in Orlando. At the time, we were so impressed with this 2 BR, 3 BA, 2 LR, DR, Kitchen suite, we never thought we’d be blessed with such an opportunity again. But, we were!

Here is a link to a video I made of the suite: https://photos.app.goo.gl/JwcgYqEjov6mskXZ9

Here are some more images of the hotel:

The Dolphin lobby has always been a wonderful place to be and see. And, with the 2017 renovation, they made it even nicer…
The “streamers” located just above the fountain. Beautiful!

Once we got checked in and unpacked,as is our custom on the arrival day, we drove to Downtown Disney (a.k.a. Disney Springs) to eat supper at the sandwich restaurant The Earl of Sandwich.

We love the sandwiches at this fine eatery!

And, as per our custom after supper at “The Earl”, we went to the nearby store “World of Disney”. I bought the navy blue Mickey Ringer T-Shirt there last year, and was hoping to find a white version (which had not been available for some time). To my surprise, they had a just what I was looking for!

Not only does this look like the “original” I’ve been looking for, but it appears the material is “performance-like”.

Once we got back to the hotel, I headed out for a nighttime stroll around the nearby Crescent Lake area. This is one of my favorite parts of Disney, which features the Boardwalk with its shops and restaurants, the Disney hotels Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club, and Yacht Club. All surround the lake with glimpses of the buildings and fireworks of nearby Epcot. I ALWAYS enjoy the peaceful 1-mile walk around the lake, especially at night, which you’ll see in the following photos:

It’s an actual boardwalk, similar to what was once so popular in Atlantic City, NJ.
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Next to the Beach Club is the Yacht Club
At the end of a long pier is the iconic Yacht Club Lighthouse (I love lighthouses!). The light actually rotates like the beacon of a real lighthouse – very nice!! Much of the Boardwalk can be seen across the lake.
The Dolphin Hotel looks great at night, especially when viewed from near the lighthouse.

Here’s a link to a video showing the Crescent Lake area: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ewY1EWzL4RH1qM3v5

A part of the Epcot fireworks show can be seen across the lake.
Note the lighted walk way from the Dolphin to the Swan (not seen here). The boat pier in the middle is for the Friendship boats that take guests to the Crescent Lake area, as well as Epcot and Hollywood Studios theme parks.
Day or night – the Dolphin is a beautiful place.

Tuesday, 02-18 and Wednesday, 02-19-2020: I went into the Epcot and Magic Kingdom theme parks each day (I had what is called a “park hopper” pass). I will be making movies of my favorite rides in each park, so here – I’ll share some photos of what I saw.

First – Epcot (my favorite Disney park).

Spaceship Earth – the Iconic structure and ride at Epcot (one of my favorites).
Nicely lite at night
Spaceship Earth – twice as nice!
Mission Space – A fun virtual ride into space!
The Canada pavilion has a great movie that shows the highlights of the country
The France pavilion is my favorite “country” attraction. It has a great movie with French classical music, that shows beautiful scenes from around the country
Beautiful at night as well
Of course, there’s always Soarin’, one of my favorites!
Mexico has a fun boat ride, and a dark and relaxing interior.
China has a very nice movie showing the vastness of the country.
One of my favorite night scenes at Epcot
The sun sets majestically over the lake at Epcot, with our hotel tower in the background

Here are a few scenes from the Magic Kingdom:

Main Street, USA
A magical picture of a magical place
Probably my favorite ride in the Magic Kingdom
Splash Mountain Closed!? Booooooooooooo…
Thanks Walt and Mickey, for such a magical place…

Thursday, 02-20-2020: Leaving Disney for Vero Beach, FL. We had a leisurely morning and a late checkout of the hotel. That morning, I took my first ride on the new Disney transportation system: The Skyliner. Here are a few scenes:

Approaching and leaving the “back” entrance to Epcot. I rode it to the new Riviera hotel and back.
The Swan and Dolphin Resort from the Skyliner.
Watching from the Epcot Skyliner station

Once we arrived in Vero Beach, we checked into the hotel, ate supper, and drove to the ocean to enjoy views from the city’s Humiston Beach Park. Very nice!

Looking south
Looking north
A fun time was had by all…

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