Old Key West, Epcot and Eats

Originally this weekend was supposed to take place at the beginning of January. Time away, solo, enjoying some sunny Florida weather as a way to refresh and refuel. Lately, I’ve learned how to rent DVC points and grab a cheaper option for a nicer resort. Two years ago we were able to experience Saratoga Springs for the first time and this time I decided to grab an Old Key West reservation. I was excited to check out another DVC exclusive resort and eat at my favorite breakfast on property: Olivia’s.

I stayed with some friends on Thursday night in Gainesville and then headed down to Disney after breakfast Friday. The first night I was there I stayed in one of the good neighbor hotels near Disney Springs; I love close proximity to Disney Springs. It’s so nice to have it as an option just to lounge, shop, get some Disney magic, and get incredible eats.

So after a quick nap in my room I headed towards Disney Springs to check out all the new merch, with a few stops at my familiar comforts! I picked up a new pin from Pin Traders (for Disney Visa Holders) and new ring from Pandora, and the regular grub from the Polite Pig, a barbecue joint with some incredible vegetarian options as well! I checked out a few new toys for Elijah and the latest styles and called it a day!

After settling in for a mostly restful night sleep I woke up and hopped out the door for a walk/light jog, definitely humid, but I couldn’t complain about sunny and not freezing. I made it back just in time to shower, checkout and head to my breakfast reservation at Olivia’s Cafe. There isn’t anything crazy special on the menu but if you want a family feel with cozy eats this is your place. Its located near the main lobby of Old Key West and sits on the water. I made sure to grab some mickey waffles, a LOT of coffee and I headed to Epcot for my one park day. The buses are a little crazy at Old Key West, they do not come through often like they do at a resort like the All Stars and the stops before you actually leave are plentiful. That was lesson #1! When we finally made it to Epcot the excitement was contagious. Typically when I’m at Epcot its during a festival so I am after festival food, unique designs and visuals, but this time it was the week in-between Arts and Flower & Garden so I took advantage of rides and character meets that I usually don’t! It was wonderful. Staying on property also has its advantages here since you can get in early – I was on and off Test Track and in the queue for Ratatouille before the park even opened to the general public.

Ratatouille was a one and done for me, but it’s definitely worth doing! By the time I was out of that line I was starting to get hungry so I went over to Regal Eagle Smokehouse. I was going to try the barbecue, we never have and as someone who lives in a place with fantastic barbecue I was skeptical. Rightfully so, if you live in a place that has access to great barbecue this is a no-go, however, if you don’t then you might find this perfectly acceptable. But it was nothing that a good Joffrey’s cold brew and donut couldn’t make up for! So I sipped as I walked the rest of the show case and stopped for photo-ops, all in all a great day.

After several hours taking it all on I took a lap on the monorail as a break. I had no agenda except to enjoy the ride, I stopped at Magic Kingdom to say hi and then hopped on a bus there to get over to All Star Movies where my sister in law was staying. The afternoon was just as relaxing as can be, we chilled at the pool for awhile, got ready in their room and then hopped over to Hollywood Studios for our first time at the Brown Derby. It’s considered signature dining, and the food was good, but I am not sure quite good enough for the price tag, this was lesson #2.

What happened next was extremely unfortunate and continued to paint Old Key West in a less than positive light. While my sister in law and her friend headed off to rides, I was ready to hit the hay. I walked over to catch a bus to the resort and after 30 minutes I was still waiting for a bus to the resort, it continued to paint the picture that the transportation at OKW is less than ideal. An hour later I finally did get back to the resort, moved my car over the room I was staying in (SHOUT OUT TO MOBILE CHECK IN), grabbed my two backpacks and headed up the stairs to my room, EXCEPT my digital key on my phone wouldn’t open my door. So I rustled through my bags to see if I had any of my magic bands with no luck. Thankfully, when you do mobile check in you’ll get an email that gives a number that goes straight to the front desk of your resort, clutch. So after two calls to them I finally was able to get someone to come let me in, but the process was anything but smooth. Lesson #3 : in person is always better. I should’ve just walked to the front desk myself it would have solved all my issues in a matter of minutes instead of the night and next morning ordeal it became. Who knew you could learn so much after so many times at Disney?

I was slightly disappointed in the rooms at OKW, they seemed more bare bones than the rooms at Saratoga Springs, and there is no access to walk to any parks or Disney Springs. I did NOT like the Boardwalk but the ability to walk to Epcot or Hollywood Studios was clutch. Likewise, at Saratoga Springs the ability to walk to Disney Springs puts it above Old Key West for me.

But again, the food at Old Key West is top notch, and that might be reason enough for some people to still stay there, just probably not me. The next morning I went to their quick service place right on the water called Goods to Go. The harvest breakfast sandwich was hands down one of my favorite sandwiches on property. So while some of the logistics weren’t ideal, the eats were 10/10. Pick your poison.

Leaving is always sad for me, other than on major holidays when I can’t wait to get out of there its just such a fun place to dream, relax, try new things, you can really pick your own vacation! And as you saw above, you’ll learn a few things each time you go!

Enjoy the magic!

Jordan

Boston: Foodies on the Hunt

Along with it’s rich cultural history, Boston is rich in food-ism as well. Although we were a little over seafood after Bar Harbor, like I ever thought that was possible, Boston’s seafoods scene is alive and well. But we wanted more than just great seafood, we wanted a little bit of everything. In all the genre’s we never knew were possible.

Boston has so many neighborhoods and the eats inside them all range from healthy to down and dirty fried fish and chips. So here is just a small taste into the food scene.

First and Foremost, at least for Jon is Dunkin Donuts (kidding kind sorta). Birthed in Massachusetts there is a Dunkin on practically every corner, and with Pumpkin Spice flavors bursting on the scene we indulged in the classic you can find just about anywhere.

Now for the real eats:

Rich History : Union Oyster House

Our first night in Boston was a hustle, but we also were excited to arrive to meet up with our friends for a fun first meal in the historic way. And what better spot than America’s oldest restaurant. It’s not a cheap place to eat, but their menu but seafood and American is substantial and it comes with an epic piece of delicious cornbread that tastes more like cake.

Grab and Go : Boston Public Market

After our dinner our friends took us over to Boston Public Market, similar to Atlanta’s Krog Street, Boston Public Market is a large open space with small stalls for individual vendors. Bagels, donuts, ice cream, noodles, floral shops, nuts, and our favorite: the apple cider booth. We grabbed some mini apple cider donuts for a fun after dinner snack!

Healthy Helping : Sweetgreen

A local chain, think Upbeet in Atlanta, that has bowls of any combination you could dream up. Jon and I got a little over our rich meals and settled for a healthier and lighter lunch choice one day for Atlanta. Nothing super special, but you can find them in several spots and they are quick and easy!

Perfect Vibe : Beehive

In the South End neighborhood, nestled into an unsuspecting building, lies Beehive. On this particular Sunday morning brunch there was jazz on a stage we overlooked. It made for a really great experience, and while not substantial options there was something for everyone and it was perfection.

Burger Joints: Boston Burger Co.

I googled this one, being the burger connoisseur’s that Jon and I think we are. And there were several great options that stood out but why not hit for the most local sounding. This spot is near Fenway Park and there is no shortage of burger options. I stuck with a very traditional mushroom and Swiss turkey burger, while Jon far ventured out with something involving peanut butter, bacon, and everything in between. Good experience, good vibe, excellent fried pickles.

All things Italian : Bricco

Something similar to Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood you can find anything and everything Italian right in the middle of the city. From family style Italian, to brick oven pizza, from cannoli’s, to gelato you can literally hit any spot on these couple streets and be completely satisfied.

Brunchin : Tatte Bakery

I am a sucker for brunch so not only did we hit Beehive with its vibe, we hit a local favorite, Tatte. While the coffee wasn’t our favorite, both of our breakfast sandwiches (slightly different) were INCREDIBLE. This is a poppin’ place and the light and open feeling makes you feel completely ready to take on the day.

Sweet Treat : Pressed Juicery

This one is ALL thanks to Courtney, who casually mentioned this place to me. It’s found in the Northeast, and the particular one we went to was in Harvard Square. The have plant based sweet treats, in addition to their pressed juices that you would never suspect weren’t the “real” deal. Their soft serve is made with fruits, nuts, and vegetables and is 100% dairy-free and 110% delicious. PLUS you can mix in whatever you want.

There were several more places we would have LOVED to hit. Including the newer seaport district, but of course there is no way to try everything. We definitely plan to be back when I finally qualify for the Boston Marathon (crossing my fingers for 2021).

Do you have any favorites? Any opinions on the places above? Let me know at jordan@fuelingherforward.com

Until Acadia friends,

Jordan