Chris and I were lucky enough to be able to sneak away for a handful of days to our favorite inexpensive and instant -sunshine vacation-Orlando,Florida. For six sun drenched days we partied it up at the Happiest Place on Earth. And we only ran into a couple of obnoxious southerners this time! We stayed at the All Star Movies resort, a value resort Ã¢â‚¬â€œpretty much it is a room and a public pool and a giant cafeteriaÃ¢â‚¬â€lots of families go thereÃ¢â‚¬â€it’s cute and cheapÃ¢â‚¬â€so you kinda hafta take it at face value. Apparently there was some big dance competition and a lot of the teams were staying there. Down side: lots of obnoxious giggling teenage girl. Plus side: it sure beat the cheerleaders! One funny snippet was that we overheard some girls talking on the bus later that week that they had won the national championship. Some college guys were trying to flirt with them so they asked one of the girls what they are judged by in the competition. The girl’s oh so intelligent response was Ã¢â‚¬Å“like, by how able you are to danceÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Our flight was decent w/SouthwestÃ¢â‚¬â€quick and pretty smooth, but the plane was chock full so it gave one the feeling of being a cramped and sweaty sardine.
Most of our vacation was spent reading out in the sun, most days hit low 60’s to high 70’sÃ¢â‚¬â€not too bad–Ã¢â‚¬ÂcoldÃ¢â‚¬Â for native Floridians but just fine for us Northeasterners! Chris struggled through the final Harry Potter installation before the up and coming finale, and was pretty much cursing JK Rowling for such addictive and depressing reading! I spent most of my time doing crosswords and laughing with Augusten Burroughs (read him!!!). We took several long walks and spent a day exploring Fort Wilderness and our favorite little private beach there, Clementine Beach. We also spent a night walking around Coronado Springs, which looks like a walk downtown in a beautiful Southwestern city.
We only went to the theme parks for one day, because the park hopper passes we bought a couple of years back still had some days on them. We went to Epcot to look up our picture that we had put on the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Leave a LegacyÃ¢â‚¬Â wall last time we came. (see photos). We got to ride Ã¢â‚¬Å“Soarin’Ã¢â‚¬Â which was amazing! We had to pick up an Early Fast Pass, because lines are insane (an hour plus wait) and fast passes (which allow you to skip the lines) go out in minutes! It was definitely worth it, as it felt like you were really hang-gliding over the Everglades. You could even Ã¢â‚¬Å“smellÃ¢â‚¬Â the oranges in an orange grove and feel the sea breeze on your feet! Way cool!
Although returning to 2 degree weather wasn’t fun, it was nice to have a little get away at one of our favorite places.
Most of Florida’s food, as you know from previous posts, consists of masses of fried chicken wings and all you can eat meat buffets. However, even poor vegetarians like us were able to scramble and find some good things to eat. To digress off of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“healthy eatingÃ¢â‚¬Â tangent for a second, however, I must say that Hotties donuts are arguably the best donuts ever!!! We went 3 times, but we DID walk a few miles each way, so technically we were being good ….about being bad. Speaking about being bad…I don’t mean to sound rude to say this but there were certainly a lot of people in Florida who look like they have had a little too much fun at the all you can eat buffets. The Ã¢â‚¬Å“turkey neckÃ¢â‚¬Â and bubble-front trend was in style there it seemed. Sadly it’s due to all the deep fried fast food at every corner.
The resorts themselves have fewer options for vegetarians, the food at All Star is very unremarkable so we avoided that as much as possible(aside from Ã¢â‚¬Å“Mickey wafflesÃ¢â‚¬Â now and then for breakfast and ice cream sundaes at night). Here is a breakdown/rating list of our food experiences:
- All Star ResortsÃ¢â‚¬â€2 stars for their regular fare, 3.5 for dessert…because you pretty much can’t screw up ice cream. Overpriced and unremarkable, only good if you’re in a hurry and have nowhere else to go. Their Ã¢â‚¬Å“veggieÃ¢â‚¬Â burgers were dry and weren’t even advertised on the menu.
- Seasons at Epcot_4 stars for a resort. We were amazed at the array of foods offered, and how healthy and good it really was! We were surprised to see unique menu items such as Warmed Beet and Goat Cheese salad, but it was extremely good! We had an unusual breakfast there consisting of oatmeal, a cinnamon bun and some sushi (I know a weird combo but it was good I swear!). There were several vegetarian and kosher options, and none of it looked like it was prepackaged or left sitting out too long.
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe-3 stars, because they do have really good veggie burgers and a whole bunch of stuff, like hot peppers and mushroomsÃ¢â‚¬â€that you can put on them.
- Earl of SandwichÃ¢â‚¬â€located at downtown Disney. A good sandwich joint that makes great Earl Grey tea lemonade and iced tea. You usually wait forever in line but their sandwiches and salads are usually worth it. We love the Caprese salad with mozarrella and basil. 3.5 stars
- Ghirardelli’sÃ¢â‚¬â€it’s chocolate, it’s ice cream, it’s Ã¢â‚¬Å“iced mochasÃ¢â‚¬Â. Need I say more? 3.5 stars
- Wetzel’s Pretzels-3 stars. It’s pretzels, what more can you ask for?
- Chevy’sÃ¢â‚¬â€a chain of mexican restaurants down South, this is better than Ã¢â‚¬Å“Chili’sÃ¢â‚¬Â and certainly beats Ã¢â‚¬Å“Taco BellÃ¢â‚¬Â. They make homemade salsa and guacamole on premises, and their food is usually fresh and unique. The waitstaff are very friendly too! 3.5-4 stars for a chain.
- Hotties DonutsÃ¢â‚¬â€you have to love a donut chain that offers pb&j donuts, chocolate peanut butter filled ones, and lucky charms-topped ones! They are seriously good, and they don’t use trans fats either. As I will quote the owner, Ã¢â‚¬Å“these donuts are the most fun you can have with your clothes onÃ¢â‚¬Â. 5 stars
- Perkins-2 stars. We waited a half hour to be seated and endured a crabby waitress for some sub-par coffee and food. Not worth it.
- India Palace-4 stars. Unfortunately it’s location and audience makes it not much of a popular place, but we certainly find the homemade baighan bharta dozens of times more appealing than the Ã¢â‚¬Å“all you can eat greasy pizzaÃ¢â‚¬Â buffet next door. Plus, the owners always recognize us and are very friendly!