Trip Report: Disney World September 2022

A visit to Walt Disney World in Florida never gets old for me. Never. I try to go 2-4 times per year so that I can stay up-to-date on experiences to share with travel clients, blog readers, and newsletter friends. 

Sometimes I travel with my whole family, but more often I’m traveling with other travel advisors, occasionally I’ll travel solo. Each trip is a little different, but my Enneagram 3 shows up big and I always have some goals in mind. On trips with travel advisor friends, we often go separate directions or tag along with each other to check off a goal from the list. Sometimes, it’s “try something new” and other times it’s “get this specific photo”. Anyway you look at it – it’s always an adventure. 



Trip Report Posts look a little different from regular posts. They’re usually sorted by time and read like a report, but with fun notes from me. 

Overview

    • Who/Travel Party: 2 adults (My good friend and travel agency owner, Jill and me)

    • When/Dates: September 22 – 26

    • Where/Resort: The Cabins at Fort Wilderness

    • Why/Trip Theme or Goal: Food and Wine, NEW (to us) dining and experiences, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Details

DAY 1

    • (8am) I had a super early morning arrival to Orlando (MCO), and took the Sunshine Flyer from the airport to our resort – The Cabins at Fort Wilderness. We did online check in and lucky for me our cabin was already assigned when I reached the property.  Choosing a resort can be tricky, but we hoped to try something popular, that fits a family, and was new to us.

    • We also rented a golf cart for the week, and I was able to pick that up right away after getting off the bus from Sunshine Flyer. I didn’t even go inside the small building with the “lobby” at this time. I put lobby in quotes, because you wouldn’t recognize it as a lobby at all, unless you saw the small sign. I’m told, most folks online check in here at the Cabins and Campground and then report immediately to their assigned cabin or campsite. I needed a map! 

    • The golf cart pick up is immediately behind the building, it’s hard to miss the giant sea of the carts all lined up. I found a Cast Member (CM) standing close and checked in, then they brought our golf cart around for me, like a fancy golf cart valet, and handed me the keys. 

    • I drove around a bit, not really on purpose, I missed my first turn, and circled back to get to our cabin. The cabins are closer together than I expected, but not too close. We were a reasonable distance from our neighbors and it was fairly quiet all week. Each group of cabins sits in a small kind of loop or neighborhood and there’s enough space for one vehicle and a golf cart. You could also have bikes and trikes and such if you like. 

    • (9:45am) I had a reservation for Ale and Compass at the Yacht Club, so I dropped my bags and headed back up to the golf cart area to grab a Lyft. I have a bucket list of restaurants for Disney World and it was fun to check this one off the list.

    • Arrived at Yacht Club and walked right in to Ale and Compass, I had a reservation, but they weren’t terribly busy at all. I really think this place is a hidden gem. The food is AMAZING. Some of the best food I’ve had on property. The service was fantastic, and the atmosphere was calm and quiet, which was very nice considering I’d had an early morning and wasn’t quite ready to “people” yet.  I ordered a mimosa to start. I had really hoped to get there in time for the breakfast menu, but I didn’t make. It’s ok! I was not disappointed. I enjoyed the Lobster and Corn Chowder as an appetizer and it was everything I hoped it would be. Creamy and warm, with good bits of lobster and a chowder consistency – not soupy. I also ordered the Mahi Fish Tacos and then dreamed about them for the rest of the trip. I can’t wait to go back and have them again. Guys…this is one of the best meals I have had at Disney – ever. And that’s saying something. 

    • (1pm) After a yummy lunch, I skipped dessert and headed back to the cabin via Lyft. Jill, my travel partner, was not set to arrive until later in the afternoon, so I unpacked a bit, had our groceries delivered – via Walmart. The driver brought them directly to our cabin door and even helped me unload. Next I decided it was time for a nap. 

    • (4pm) Jill arrived, and I met her at the drop off area with the golf cart. At this point, I was well versed in the area and able to get around without a map. (Yay me!) We came straight back to allow her to unpack and see the Cabin. It was both of our first stay in a Cabin at Fort Wilderness. I was pleased with how roomy it was, there really is quite a bit of space to spread out. One bathroom might be tough for a big family, but the space in the living area and kitchen was so nice. Also, lots of storage in the cabinets and full kitchen and fridge. 

    • We spent the afternoon exploring Ft Wilderness. We found the pool, the playground, the horse back riding and stables, some shops, and the quick service restaurant location. We also spotted Hoop Dee Doo, but that was for later in the trip. Tonight we started our Monorail Bar Crawl and had dinner reservations at Steakhouse 71 in the Contemporary.

    • (8pm) We took our golf cart to the drop off area and grabbed a Lyft to the Contemporary. Steakhouse 71 is fantastic. You can read all about it in my detailed review. Absolutely recommend the chocolate cake. Trust me – and it’s big enough to share. We met the most lovely couple who were both Cast Members. One worked at Space Mountain and the other in park security. Boy, did they have some good stories to share with us! 

    • (9:30pm) To continue on our Monorail Bar Crawl we headed to the Monorail and over to Enchanted Rose at the Grand Floridian. It’s so pretty inside, maybe my favorite lounge atmosphere. We were seated in the smaller room to the right of the bar, in cushy wing-back chairs. We enjoyed The Lavender Fog and the Island Rose. For sure I would go back for the Island Rose – yum. I really wanted to order the Truffle Fries, but we were so full. Next time for sure! If you’ve had them, I want to know all about it. 

    • (11pm) We took a Lyft back to our resort, did a little work – travel advisors don’t vacation well, and then got some rest for a not-so early morning the next day.

    • Our plan was to NOT rope drop this trip and see how it went. We hoped to avoid the rope drop crowds. Spoiler: it worked! 

Ft Wilderness Cabins and Campground.

DAY 2

    • It’s EPCOT day. Since EPCOT didn’t even open until 9, we woke up early to buy Genie+ and grab a Virtual Queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – the newest ride at EPCOT. Both were a success! 

    • (9:15am) We took our time getting ready and left the cabin around 9:15am. Drove the golf cart to the bus area and hopped a bus to EPCOT. We didn’t wait too long for a bus, but we did watch as one for Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios pulled in and out. 

    • (9:45am) Arrival at EPCOT. We shared the Cowboy Mac n Cheese from Mac and Eats food booth. It is super fun to order, if the right CM is on duty (it’s a whole show!). Also, delicious. Cheesy, not dry, and the perfect amount of chili and sour cream on top. It did not overpower the mac n cheese at all, but complimented it. 

    • We dipped into Connection Cafe for some water (and ibuprofen, because that’s how you Disney over 40). Also we took this time to put on sea band patches, because we were a little nervous about Guardians and feeling queasy. 

    • We had purchased the individual Lightning Lane for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind early in the morning – and also had the virtual queue – hoping to ride twice. It was time to test the waters and see if my tummy could handle this new coaster. Surprise! It was amazing! After about 20 seconds, I knew it would be ok. No spoilers, as it is a busy very movement-centered ride, but the music and the movement are so smooth, I didn’t have any issues with motion sickness at all. I really was surprised. If you’re looking for a comparison, I don’t know if I have a good one. It’s not like any other ride in the park – maybe a Space Mountain meets Flight of Passage? We were super excited to have the virtual queue and ride again. Our song was “Conga”!

PROTIP:
There are 6 total songs you can get for your ride in EPCOT: “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire, “Disco Inferno” by The Trampps, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears, “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls (made popular by Stranger Things”), “One Way or Another” by Blondie, and “Conga” by Gloria Estefan. 

The Guardians of the Galaxy ride in Disneyland – Guardians: Mission Breakout has a total of 8 songs.

    • (12:30pm) Next was lunch at Space220 – also a new experience for me. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the menu was – ok, a little underwhelming for me. I did have a fantastic burger, and two great drinks. I think the drink menu is better than the food menu, personally. While the burger was great, I don’t think it was worth the price tag. The deviled egg appetizer – also good, but again, pricey. Long story short, I’ll go back because I think my family will enjoy the “trip to space”, but we will stick to the lounge for dessert and a drink. 

    • We snacked around the World for dinner. Somehow we thought it would be a good idea to complete Emil’s Fromage Montage and come away with a prize at the end. I love me some cheese, friends, but this is a lot. Even sharing some items, we were rolling around by the end of the evening. Still, the cheesecake soft serve in a souvenir glass + the dairy tummy ache = probably worth it. My favorite food item was the Raclette from The Alps Marketplace near Germany. It was creamy melted Swiss cheese over baked dates, pears, and golden raisins and a crispy cranberry toast triangle. So good. Honorable mention to the Crispy Paneer with Mango-Curry Ketchup at the India Marketplace (near China). My least favorite was the Passion Fruit Cheesecake with Toasted Macadamia Nuts at Hawai’i Marketplace. It just wasn’t as flavorful as I’d hoped. 

    • We ended the evening by carrying our Cheesecake Soft Serve prize for completing the Fromage Montage, and claiming a spot of concrete to watch the nighttime show, Harmonious. We took the bus back to our resort.

Just after Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind!

Swiss Raclette from The Alps.

A well-earned “prize”!

DAY 3

    • Magic Kingdom day. We made bought Genie+ and made our first Lighting Lane for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Took our time and headed to the park around 9am. 

    • (9:15am) We drove the golf cart to the boat and took it over to Magic Kingdom. Once through security (which was super quick because no kids means no bags to search!), we started our day with Starbucks, Castle pics, and a meet and greet with our favorite princess – Merida! She was such a delight and so funny. If you have time for this one, just behind the Castle toward the Tea Cups, it’s worth it. We enjoyed some rides in Fantasyland before moving over to Adventureland for Big Thunder Mountain.

    • (3:30pm) We took the boat back to the resort for a fun filled evening at Hoop Dee Doo. You meet just outside and wait for the dinner bell, we grabbed a beer from the outdoor bar while we waited. Once seated in the very front row, we settled in for the show. I was really impressed, it’s funny, silly, but not in an annoying way, and the food is delish. Looking forward to doing this with my whole family soon.

    • (5:45pm) We added another stop to our Monorail Bar Crawl, while hoping for Trader Sam’s (it had a 4 hour wait), we opted to grab a drink at Tambu lounge and took it out side on the patio for a bit before the evening at Magic Kingdom.

    • (6:30pm) Back to the boat and Magic Kingdom for more rides and the Treats and Seats Dessert Party. Guys, this was literally worth every penny. The treats were fantastic, a buffet of yummy small bite desserts, beverages: champagne, wine, beer, and soda, all combined with a great view of the Castle at our small table. We were settled in for the show. Enchanted extras are some great things to add to your trip, and dessert party is the top of my list.

    • (11pm) We took the boat back and hopped on our golf cart to retire for the evening in our cabin. Another great day full of new things!

DAY 4

    • True to form we left our resort about 8:30am after buying Genie+ and making our first Lighting Lane we took the bus to Hollywood Studios

    • (9am) Starting with breakfast from Woody’s Lunchbox – I had the kids Breakfast Totchos with extra tots and a banana peanut butter tart. While I couldn’t finish the tots, the kids portion was perfect for a breakfast snack. The totchos include: eggs, sausage gravy, and some cheese over tater tots. The banana peanut butter tart was a little dry and lacked some filling, but I think that’s typical for the tarts here. I keep trying them hoping one is amazing, but no luck yet. 

    • We enjoyed a couple of rides before taking a bus to Coronado Springs for Sangria University at Three Rivers. This Enchanted Extra was so fun. I recommend it for a relaxing afternoon with other grown ups. Sangria U is hosted by a Cast Member who teaches you all about the resort and the history of sangria while you sample 3 versions with fresh guacamole and chips. Finally, you will mix your own sangria and enjoy that one too. The view from this restaurant is so pretty, surrounded by water and a view of the tower at Coronado. 

    • (4pm) Bus back to Hollywood Studios for rides that did not have a wait, and few that did but we snagged Genie+ for. Next up was dinner at Hollywood Brown Derby. We were able to get a walk up reservation for two with a short wait – which was great! Hollywood Brown Derby is known for their Cobb Salad, so of course we ordered it! Along with a side of mac n cheese to share (not impressive enough for a write up), and a margarita flight. 

    • We enjoyed the Frozen show and then bussed back to our resort just before the 9pm closing.

Breakfast totchos from Woody’s Lunchbox and PB banana tart

Sangria University at Coronado Springs

Cobb Salad from Hollywood Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios

DAY 5

    • Packed up and took a Lyft back to the airport for a very early morning flight home. 

    • Another fantastic visit to The Most Magical Place on Earth.

What I Learned From This Disney World Trip

    • Rope Drop isn’t for everyone, and that’s ok. I’ve always been a “rope dropper” but this time it was nice to take a more leisurely pace and skip out on the early morning crowds. 

    • Smaller parties can usually find a walk up reservation – like Ogas or Hollywood Brown Derby, if you’re willing to be flexible with time.

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