Monday, March 10, 2014

Epcot Flower & Garden Festival 2014

Date of Visit: March 8, 2014

Last year was the first time we got to go to the Flower & Garden Festival and we spent days exploring it, getting all the stamps in the passport, and trying different food offerings.  This year we only had one full day at the parks, so we mainly focused on trying foods we did not try last time whether they were new or we just did not get to them.

My favorite new thing we tried was the lemon scones at the Buttercup Cottage in the United Kingdom Pavilion.

At the Fleur de Lys in the France Pavilion, Mom and I tried the gnocchi with vegetables and mushrooms.  Mik tried the duck confit, which ended up being his favorite thing he tried.

While we did not get much time to take in all the different garden areas, we made sure to show Mom the Bonsai Collection because last year Mik got totally inspired by it.  Dad even bought him a bonsai growing kit and books.  A year later and Mik has not started his bonsai, but he is still planning to.  We just have not finished getting settled in from the move last year and are going to move again this year, so he does not want to start until he knows he will be able to make a real effort at training it.

While enjoying the Bonsai Collection, he also tried out the Hanami Sushi from the Hanami booth in the Japan Pavilion.

The final thing Mik tried was the lemon cheesecake from the Primavera Kitchen in the Italy Pavilion. He did not really like it because it tasted more like plain cheesecake and he expected it to be more fruity.

We finished our day at the festival with my favorite from last year - the Frozen Desert Violet Lemonade from the Pineapple Promenade.

Destination Info:

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Lake Buena Vista, FL

Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort - Grandstand 1 Bedroom Villa

Date of Visit: March 7-9, 2014

Last year for this exact same weekend (first of Flower & Garden Festival) we stayed at the Saratoga Springs resort in an accessible studio.  This year again we ended up at the Saratoga Springs because we were not planning to go this year and booked even closer to last minute.  We did not even try for an accessible studio since we found it too small last time and booking only a week in advance ended up with a regular one bedroom.  It ended up being a much better experience, except that we could not use our annual passes on our magic bands because I accidentally linked this reservation to my account and the last reservation with the magic bands was linked to mom's and you cannot have them linked again through another email address (at least not easily).

The first thing that made this stay at Saratoga Springs better than last year is that we could control the thermostat in the room.  That was the biggest thing that made me leery of even trying a larger room at Saratoga Springs.  I don't know if they got rid of them everywhere or just certain areas of the resort do not have them, but glad we could override it and it made for a much more comfortable experience.  Although, instead we noticed the fans in the bathroom go on by motion sensors and that's a little annoying and energy wasteful seeming.

While we did not have an accessible room, we have done regular one bedrooms before and they have always been spacious enough.  Only thing that Mik really could use is bars in the bathroom, but since this trip was just only one full day here he did not spend much time in the room by himself to really need that this trip.

We did notice it would not have been navigable in his power chair, but the foyer area when you enter the room is still spacious enough to just park it there when you come in and be out of the way.

Again, we found the fold out couch to be annoying.  It is extremely hard to get out.  I do not remember that being hard at Animal Kingdom Lodge a few months back, so maybe it is more of an older resort issue or just our luck at Saratoga Springs.  At least with the one bedroom, you have more space overall and it did not seem crowded to have it out the whole time.

One of the things I liked best about being in the Grandstand area of Saratoga Springs is that it is the first spot the buses stop on the way through Saratoga Springs.  Last time we were at the Springs and when going to the parks first thing in the morning, we often had to wait for another bus to come because the bus would be full by the time it came to us and they could not accommodate a wheelchair.  That was not an issue at the Grandstand, although it is possible it could be later in the day when the buses are full coming back and it seemed few if anyone ever got off when I did at the Grandstand.

Destination Info:

Disney's Saratoga Springs
1960 Broadway
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830