After my family got the first round of vaccinations we all decided we were in need of a trip. 3 cars and 8 people made our way from Boston to Orlando. It felt so good to stop at Sweatmans BBQ as we have done so many times in the past. We love their BBQ plate and their off the beaten path location.
During this trip we rented an Airbnb in Kissimmee. The Airbnb was fine with plenty of space for all of us. What I wish I knew earlier is homes within these communities are right up against each other and you can hear everything. For a week we suffered through another house swimming, screaming, and playing music very late into the night.
It was a loud fun and busy week with my family but it was great to be traveling again!
Our 2nd trip to Disney World during Covid was with friends staying at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. We booked a concierge level safari view room and our room location was perfect. The concierge level was getting back to normal and it was as good as previous trips. Our room luckily received daily cleaning our friends didn't stay in concierge level and they had to fight to have it cleaned more than once. The downside to our stay was a lack of welcome feeling from the staff. In the past the Animal Kingdom Lodge was one of the friendliest resorts we've stayed at. It felt that during this stay the staff were tired and over it.
Unfortunately, one night at Cinderella's castle a family were quite obviously very sick and seated right next to us. Two days later I tested positive for Covid. Greg and I put on masks, stopped at Walmart to pick up more Covid tests and drove straight home with minimal stops. 24 hours after arriving home Greg tested positive as well. I have a few nice thoughts about this trip but overall a lot of negative memories sadly.
We were still weary about flying at this time and so we drove down to Orlando but this time stopping in Florence SC and Savannah GA along the way. I can't recommend the restaurant Town Hall in Florence SC enough. Fried oyster deviled eggs and a charcuterie board with cracklin's isn't the healthiest but it was so tasty! In Savannah we wandered along the riverfront and enjoyed cocktails and small bites in between shopping spots.
When we arrived at Disney's Yacht Club resort we were booked in a standard room. At check in we asked if there were any paid upgrades to concierge level available. There was and it was a great deal cheaper than if we booked it originally! We had previously stayed club level at the Yacht Club and I can confirm the staff, food offerings, and rooms were just as good if not better than before Covid. We included my sister and nephew on our reservation for a small price (she was staying at a different resort) so that she could join us in the lounge as well as the pool area.
The pool is shared by the Yacht and Beach Clubs and is gated. The staff do check your wristbands or room keys to ensure you area guest at this property. If you aren't no pool hopping for you. It was wonderful to have the pool filled with sand to feel like the ocean. We got to watch my nephew play in the pool while still feeling relaxed on the sand. The pool bar drinks do leave something to be desired though. Most times we would go up to the lounge to just enjoy a glass of wine with a snack.
One of our favorite areas is the bar inside the Yacht Club. It's gives dark speakeasy vibes while still being welcoming. The staff are outgoing and make terrific drinks. Added bonus you can enjoy some fresh cut french fries from the Yachstman next door.
At the last minute we decided to do a birthday getaway at Disney's Polynesian Resort. We weren't doing any of the parks on this trip. It was simply a see friends, sit by the pool and have a relaxing time together type of trip. The club level at the Polynesian resort is very hit or miss in my opinion. It's extremely pricey, small, and very crowded. The food offerings for the most part were terrific but when it came down to asking for dairy free options it's very mixed. One day I met the chef who personally made me vegan eggs that were amazing and told me how to make them at home. The next couple of mornings I received regular eggs scrambled without milk that were kept in a warmer. The staff looked overwhelmed and unhappy. Other than that chef no one else went above and beyond.
The grounds are wonderful. You have multiple pools, restaurants, grassy areas, stores and more. We also appreciated being on the monorail and it was great fun doing a monorail drinking crawl. If I had to do it again I might stay at the Polynesian but I don't think the club level is worth it there.