Disney Springs east coast Florida Pandemic Florida Trip southeast travel Uncategorized Universal

Family is here – Day 11

Today is the day my daughter has been waiting for. Today we go to MCO and pick up my mother, brother, and his girlfriend. Thankfully, we don’t have to wake up too early to do it. There flight is coming in around 09:30 so by the time they get their bags it will be closer to 10 if not a little later.

I have always found that baggage claim at MCO takes forever. Longer than any other airport I’ve been too. Something everyone should keep in mind starting in January (2022) when Disney’s Magical Express stops running. I usually end up bringing just a carry on so I don’t have to deal with it if I fly. But as you know I like to drive almost anywhere I visit.

Well today I woke up around 6am. I didn’t wake her up till a little after 7. We still had to pack the car, eat breakfast, and check out. I ended up packing the car on my own. She wasn’t too much help.

The biggest problem I was running into was were was I going to put three more suitcases and three backpacks. Luckily they packed smaller carry-on suitcases but they would still have to wait for them at baggage claim. They flew with Southwest and checked them since your bags fly free with Southwest.

Now after playing a little Tetris with all the stuff in the back of the car I figured I was ready to pack their stuff. It was going to be tight but I was pretty sure we could do it. If not I guess my daughter would have to hold on tight as she would be riding on the roof.

Since the car was packed it was time for breakfast. My daughter had some cereal and well, I forgot to eat. I really wanted to go downstairs and get breakfast at Tesoro Cove. It looked like it would have been really good. Guess that will just have to wait till next time we visit.

Once she was done breakfast we checked out of the hotel and hit the road. It was too long of a drive to MCO and I was going to get there a little early anyway so I took the back roads and not the highway. Turns out that wasn’t the greatest idea.

We ended up hitting traffic but it wasn’t just any traffic. It was traffic from a freight train moving slowly across the road. After sitting for about 5 minutes it looked like the train was stopping. So we did the smart thing and turned around to go a different way.

We didn’t have any more issues the rest of the way. As we were coming into MCO’s cell phone waiting lot we watched two planes land. One of them might have been my family. It was a Southwest flight so there is a good chance it was. 

We were not in the lot for too long before we got a text from my mom that said they landed and were on their way to baggage claim. We ended up sitting for another 25 minutes or so before we headed towards the pick up area. 

At this point they had two bags and were waiting on the third. It turns out for some reason they unloaded half the plane than unloaded a plane from Chicago before they finished unloaded my mom’s plane. I guess someone didn’t realize they didn’t finish unloading the first plane. 

Now as I suspected last night, it was a tight fit getting all the bags into the car. I did manage to get one of the carry-ons and two backpacks into the back of the car. The rest had to go on their laps. Luckily it wasn’t too far of a drive to where we would be staying. 

We arrived at Fantasy World Resort and checked in. Of course, our townhome wasn’t ready yet but we were able to keep our bags there till our house was ready. Yup, you heard me right. We were staying in townhomes and not a hotel room. 

Now we had a couple of hours to kill and were not too sure on where to go. First we went to the outlets on International Drive. My daughter wanted her strawberry crocs. Plus she also find a new pair of Nike’s as well. 

We didn’t spend too much time here. We were all getting a little hungry and it was packed. It was so packed that we had a hard time finding parking. We did find some but it wasn’t close at all. Plus by the time we left that lot was filling up too.

From the outlet we made the short drive over to Universal CityWalk to get lunch. As you already know we had a couple good choices to choose from. We ended up going with Bubba Gump’s. Boy do I love that place. The names of the dishes are amazing and fun. Plus the food is tasty.

We went in to get a table and our party of five was seated quickly. The waiter came to our table quick too. The only thing that wasn’t quick, was what everyone wanted.

We started off with Bubba’s Far out Dip. This Spinach and Artichoke dip is pretty tasty. My daughter didn’t eat any of the dip but she loved the chips.

For our main course my daughter got the cheeseburger with bacon. I ended up going with the Forrest Seafood Feast. It was a real toss up between that, the Sampler, or Shrimper’s Heaven. No matter what I would have gotten would have been good. But I am glad I went with the seafood feast.

The fish was nice and crispy and hot. The shrimp were amazing as always. Plus I just love the hushpuppies at Bubba Gump’s. My mom ordered the 20 for $20 and went with half fried and Tempura Shrimp. These too were cooked perfectly and were very tasty. We were all happy with our choices.

Once we were finished we got ready to leave. However, the Florida weather had something else in mind. It was pouring down rain so we decided to check out the store first.

We looked around for a couple minutes and picked up some ponchos and some glasses. Plus we picked up what we thought were really neat rubber cups. It turns out they just slide over a pint glass to help keep your drinks colder, longer.

From here we decided to hit up Disney Springs since it might be our only chance to go. Tomorrow we are planning on spending the day with my Aunt and Uncle. After that we would be hitting up Magic Kingdom one day, Hollywood Studios the next. Than on there last full day we would be going back to Universal. The day after that they would be getting back on the plane and my daughter and I would be driving back to Philly.

As we were heading back to the car the rain was still coming down hard. I must say I am glad I wasn’t in the park today. We would have gotten soaked.

Most of our drive to Disney Springs had us dealing with rain too. The good new was it was starting to let up. Once we parked the car and went through security the rain all but ended.

Good thing too because I didn’t want to wear a poncho or carry an umbrella. First stop at Disney Springs was the Disney Store. So many things we wanted to get but couldn’t/wouldn’t.

We checked out the 2021 merch. All the new and old ears they had. We looked at the Loungefly backpacks. We looked all around the store. We must have spent 45 minutes inside.

After checking out the Disney Store we walked about Disney Spring for a little bit longer. We hit up the Pin Trader hut, Goofy’s Candy Company, and Uniqlo. My brother even stopped at Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop and got a milkshake. It really did look amazing. Definitely wish I would have gotten one.

Now it was time to head back to Fantasy World Resort and check out our townhome we would be staying in for the next 5 days. We stayed here about 13 years ago and it is just how I remember it. Well the inside of the townhome. The rest of the resort looked different but in a good way.

We unpacked the car and check out the townhome. We laid claim to our rooms and unpacked a little. Than it was off to Publix to go food shopping. The nice thing was, Publix was less than five minutes away.

So we drove to Publix and got breakfast, drinks, and snacks for the next couple of days. We figured we wouldn’t be eating dinner here. We would just grab stuff at the theme parks.

Once shopping was done we came back and changed to go swimming. The pool at Fantasy World Resort is huge. Plus there are two slides and a massive lazy river. I could have spent the rest of the night in the lazy river. I know my daughter could have too.

Before you knew it, it was getting late and some of us were getting hungry. My brother ended up Uber eating Arby’s. I ended up driving over to Taco Bell (Passing Arby’s) and getting some much needed taco’s. I could have walked to the Taco Bell but I took the two minute drive instead.

I spent the rest of the evening sitting on the covered patio listening to the Cicadas going wild. Those suckers were loud. Almost to the point were I couldn’t hear the person on the other end of the phone. She was able to hear me and them. She even made a comment on how loud it must be where I was at.

Today was a nice relaxing day. Tomorrow was going to be much of the same. My Aunt and Uncle were coming in from Fort Myers to spend the day with us. It will be nice to see them. I haven’t seen my uncle in over 10 years. It’s been 2 or 3 years since I’ve seen my aunt. I’m sure everything we be good tomorrow.

Hope to see you tomorrow for our 12 day on this crazy Pandemic Florida trip. What is the longest you have ever gone on vacation? Was it over two weeks? Did you spend most of the time in the same location? Let us know in the comments below.

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