A quick note – You may notice, depending on how you are viewing the blog, that some of these pics may seem small. It seems on this trip my phone was set at a weird photo size setting so a lot of my pics are not blog-ready. I apologize in advance and hope this doesn’t take away from your blog-joyment. Signed, management.
Oh you know. WEHEARTDISNEY. The Disney in WEHEARTDISNEY. Like, we have been driving from Boston down the east coast over the last few posts. And finally, we get to where we were going.
IT’S THE NAME OF THE BLOG. WEHEARTDISNEY is the name of the blog. And in this post, we finally get to Disney, Gah. Keep up.
Get it now?
Whatevz, man. Let’s just move on. Day 4.
Day 4 – Fried chicken in Savannah, dinosaurs in Disney
So Day 4 was a day I was looking forward to for a lonnnnng time. Not only is it finally the day we make it to Walt Disney World (spoiler alert!) but Day 4 was bringing with it a food experience that promised to deliver on both taste and caloric intake. For that reason, I thought Day 4 would be a good day to get a morning run in. Plus, I love being able to run in a new city – exploring it on my own a little bit, taking pictures, sweating. The whole thing.
I woke up around 7ish, got on my running clothes and headed out the door. I started out for River Street. It was a foggy morning, but it made for some pretty cool pictures.
But when I got down to the section of River Street near my hotel, I couldn’t see much beyond construction. Because of the fog, I could only see water in front of me, construction to my left, and what looked like a walled-in area to my right. So I decided to head back up into the downtown area to run through some of Savannah’s famous squares.
Despite it’s minor issues, Savannah really is a beautiful city. The little squares are hella-charming and there is a lot of history around every corner. I also ran by this CVS.
Which was mentioned on our night the tour before. I guess this building was once a jail. The kind where prisoners were kept in the floorboards underneath. And while I don’t remember the entire story, I think some of them died in there or whatever something ghosty. And the tour guide said a lot of people won’t go in this CVS past 9PM. But to be honest, you probably shouldn’t be in any CVS past 9PM. The only people in there at that time are serial killers, drug addicts, and people with bad colds in need of Halls and Robitussin. So basically, people you don’t wanna be around. Having prison ghosts just seems redundant at that point.
Wait. Where was I? Oh right, my run. After my run through the squares, I decided to give River Street another shot. I ran down and realized there was so much more than just fog and construction workers. It was a great run along the river.
The whole run was about 3 miles according to MapMyRun, so I felt ready. Ready to head up, get showered, grab Nickie and the kids, and put on my eating pants. Because we had lunch planned at Mrs. Wilke’s Dining Room. And yes, I realize it was only like 8:30 and we were thinking about lunch. But this is how they do things in Savannah.
I know I mentioned it in the pre-trip posts, but Mrs. Wilke’s is a super famous spot in Savannah. Only open from 11-2, it’s a table you have to work for. You sit alongside other fans of food and they serve all the food family style (and by “all the food” I mean “ALLLLL the food” but I will get to that later.) And since they don’t take reservations, you have to line up rather early. The concierge told us we should be good to line up at around 10:15.
It was around 9:15 by the time we left so the plan was to get there a little early to walk around and do a little more exploring. We packed up, threw on our Goodreau Christmas Vacation shirts (we wanted to be wearing them when we reached Florida) and headed down to the lobby to grab some free coffees, and grab the car. We drove about 5 minutes down the road and found a great spot around the corner from the restaurant with 5 hour parking (metered) so we parked the car and decided to walk by Mrs Wilke’s on our way to explore. Now, by this time, it was a little before 9:30. AND WE ALREADY SAW PEOPLE IN LINE. So we decided to just hop in line and wait.
And it’s a good thing we did. Because by 10:30, the line looked like this:
And we had a really good time in line. Everyone waiting was very excited to eat here so we were all in good moods. We met people from all over – Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Canada, even Uruguay. The woman we met from Uruguay even gave the boys some coins from her home country. We talked about road trips with the couple from Canada. And everyone joined in on our Heads Up games. The most popular category seemed to be Friends. Though Star Wars was a close second.
Pro tip – Make sure your kids go to the bathroom before hopping in line. A kid I know…let’s call him um…Mowen….had to pee while we were waiting in line and public restrooms are nowhere to be found. Thankfully, there was a port-o-potty in an alley nearby. Not thankfully, it was locked. But, I mean…peeing next to a port-o-potty still counts, no? I mean, we could still smell it. I mean, they….they could still smell it. Mowen…and his dad.
Around 10:45, we could start smelling the fried chicken and we were all getting insanely hungry. The doors opened exactly at 11:00AM and as we were like the 3rd family in line, we got right in and seated.
And at our table, alllll this was waiting for us.
Fried chicken, barbecue pork, mashed potatoes, au gratin potatoes, mac and cheese, collared greens, corn, squash, rutabaga, cole slaw, and so so much more. And when we sat down, we noticed some people at our table that weren’t actually waiting in line.
The guy sitting next to me works the cash register there, which was helpful as he could tell me every dish we were served. And the only woman posing in the photo at the end there was working on Lady and the Tramp as a script supervisor (the guy next to her was also working video for the shoot) so Disney legit just follows us EVERYWHERE.
Once we were seated, we were told to grab a plate or bowl, take some food and pass it to the left. It was a mad rush of food and I grabbed a little bit of everything that came my way. This was plate #1:
I got most of everything but my plate was sort of overflowing so I had to start eating. They served sweet tea along with the meal and seriously, I can’t think of one thing I didn’t like. The fried chicken was amazing, as expected. But I definitely remember really digging the au gratin potatoes a lot and the biscuit served with the meal could quite possibly be the best biscuit I have ever tasted.
The meal totally lived up to the hype and everyone working there was attentive and friendly. I highly HIGHLY recommend checking this place out if you are ever in Savannah. And don’t worry. While that was only plate #1, I went back for seconds. And thirds. And I am pretty sure fourths.
I also wish I got a picture of my dessert. It was delicious. We were offered a choice of banana pudding or blueberry cobbler. I had the banana pudding and it was delicious…and a perfect size. It was just enough to have a taste while still leaving room for a little more fried chicken afterwards. Which I of course had. I was definitely the sole fried chicken eater by the end of the meal. But I couldn’t stop. It’s a good thing Nickie and the boys were getting antsy to hit the road. Or I may still be sitting there.
But finally, we finished and went up and paid for our meals at the front – it came out to around 80 bucks for all of us. And again, four plates for me plus dessert. So I mean…value. Obviously. Just a heads up though – if you do wanna check this place out, it’s cash only.
So like, bring cash.
I can’t believe I had to explain that to you.
With our bellies full and waistbands tight, we hit the road. Next stop: Florida! From Mrs. Wilke’s to the Florida border, it was about a 2 hour drive. Which surprised both me and Nickie. On account of we aren’t good at geography. We had expected Georgia to be one of the longer drives but turns out you only drive through a little corner of it. Heh, who would have thought? Oh, everyone. Cool, thanks.
So yeah, about 2 hours of driving later, we saw this…
Which signaled two things – one, we were in Florida (doy) and two, the kids could open another bag.
Inside was another Play Pack, some Disney jellybeans and some #WavesofDisney T-shirts. For those that don’t know, this is a favorite saying of one of our favorite Disney YouTubers – Michael Kay. He’s good stuff.
And of course, we stopped at the Florida Welcome Center. Having never driven to Walt Disney World with the kids, this was one welcome center we were all super excited to get to.
I mean, yeah it marked our official arrival in our destination state. But it also signaled this:
I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably all, “Yeah who cares? Orange juice. Big deal.” Well first off, you’re insanely cynical and should really try finding joy in the little things. But secondly, this was FREE orange juice. Bam. How you like me now?
The welcome center also had some Disney, obvs. So we grabbed some brochures to build the excitement and took some fun pics.
Well, one pic. But. Still fun.
OK, enough of this welcome center stuff. Off to Disney World!
From the welcome center, it was still about a 3 hour drive to Walt Disney World. The boys watched some movies and played on their phones and Nickie also quizzed us with some trivia. We started with some Disney trivia and then moved onto 80s trivia. Both of which I must say I did amazingly at. I must say that. Because no one else would.
Our drive took us through downtown Orlando, which we have actually never seen before. And my assessment of downtown Orlando? Well, it’s hard to say. On account of there is construction. Literally everywhere. It looks almost as if they were like, “Orlando? Eh, let’s just scrap the whole thing and start over.” THAT’S how much construction there was. It took us a while to drive through it.
And as we were making our way through that whole mess, we really started missing all the magic of our usual trip into Walt Disney World. Grabbing the Magical Express from the airport is a much nicer way to be brought into the World. So in an effort to try and capture some of that, Nickie brought up the Magical Express video on her phone. Thank goodness for YouTube.
So at this point, we were obvs squad excited. Especially to finally see the sign welcoming us to Walt Disney World! We had Google Maps taking us to our home (well, for the next couple nights at least) – The Wyndham Lake Buena Vista. We were kind of excited as this hotel was literally right across the street from Disney Springs so it was a new area for us. Also, at 70 bucks a night, it was definitely cheaper than legit any of other Disney stays.
But…one disadvantage was already apparent. If you’re driving in from the north, no sign. Yeah, all of a sudden we were just in the Disney Springs area. We considered doing a more circuitous route to hit a sign but we decided against it as we were eager to get settled.
We did, however, drive by the gas station near Disney Springs. So we did our pre-drop-off fuel up and grabbed some stuff for the room – some snacks, beer, wine…the essentials. And then a couple minutes later, we hit the hotel. Well, not literally hit it. But like, we arrived.
I dropped Nickie and the kids off with the bags and then I drove the car over to the Alamo rental desk at the Hilton Garden…whoops, sorry force of habit…I mean the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace, which was right around the corner from our hotel.
The Alamo desk was closed at this point, but they had a lot and a drop box for the keys.
It was sad to say goodbye to the road trip portion of the trip, but I was excited to be able to drink as much as I wanted to not worry about driving anymore.
I decided to just walk back to the Wyndham instead of calling for an Uber since it was about a 7 minute walk.
Plus it took me right past Disney Springs…
And the bridge from right in front of our hotel to GET to Disney Springs….
The boys met me down in the lobby so of course I made them take a pic for me. Begrudgingly.
They took me up to our room. And I gotta say, we really were kind of loving this hotel.
The lobby was really nice, especially decked out for the holidays. And our room was bigger than anything we were going to have for the rest of the week, as we had studios booked at our other two Disney hotels. Plus, being able to walk to Disney Springs was really cool.
Now, in the spirit of full transparency, I do have to bring up one bit of meh-ness. When I got up to the room, I noticed that I left the charger for my battery pack and my glasses in the car. And being that I was exhausted and hungry, I took it a little harder than I probably should have. I started freaking a little bit. I mean, I didn’t beat my kids or curl up into a ball but I got a little annoyed. I put a call into Alamo and they said I should probably try and call that desk at the Hilton in the morning when they open.
I put my OCD on the backburner as best I could and we headed out to Disney Springs!
The walk over took about 5 minutes. And the view from the bridge before descending in was spectacular.
We contemplated checking out the Christmas Tree Trail tonight as it was right at the foot of the bridge.
But the trail was pretty crowded at the moment and we were pretty hungry. So we satisfied ourselves with a look at the Disney Springs tree…
…and walked off in search of some sustenance. We were assuming without a reservation, we would probably have to settle for something quick at a counter-service location or cart, but as we were walking right by it anyways, I checked in at the desk outside T-REX.
And much to our surprise, the guy at the front said it would be about a ten minute wait. I was all…
But sure enough, we waited over to the right and within ten minutes, we were seated.
It had been a while since we dined at T-REX but we have always had a good meal here. It’s cray cray fun with all the dinosaurs and an every-20-minute meteor shower. I mean, I guess it’s basically like the Rainforest Café. But dinosaurs sort of make everything better. Well, not everything. I suppose Jurassic Park was kind of a disaster. But like, still. Dinosaurs=awesome.
We started the meal with some drinks. The waiter told us if we ordered one of the signature cocktails, we got a souvenir glass and 4 bucks off our next drink. And I mean, it just made mathematical sense. Nickie and I both opted for the Caveman Punch (rum, banana liquer, peach schnapps, and fruit juices.)
Owen got an ICEE…
And Myles got a Shark Water (Sprite with blue coconut syrup.)
And we all raised a glass to all we had accomplished and all we had to look forward to.
It was a pretty awesome feeling to think we had done it. We had driven over 1300 miles and had made it to our happy place. It’s hard to not feel like the best family at a moment like that. And it was hard not to smile (or maybe shed a happy tear or two) thinking we still had like 11 days ahead of us.
OK, enough of the sappy stuff. Onto the food.
We started off with some appetizers. As per usual, we got the giant pretzel.
And we got the quesadillas.
Both were very good. The giant pretzel was a standard giant pretzel. But I mean, that’s by no means a bad thing. And the quesadillas had a lot of flavor to them.
When it came to the entrees, I was a bad foodie and didn’t take ANY pictures of what the kids got. Owen got a cheeseburger and Myles got the pulled pork sandwich. They both seemed to enjoy their meals so I mean, you got that at least.
Nickie and I split a buffalo chicken sandwich:
The waiter was really pushing it as a new menu item so we felt compelled to try it. And thing was on point. The chicken was just the right amount of spice and the bread was nicely toasted. Topped with bleu cheese, it was yum-o-rama.
Overall, the entire experience was just what we needed. From being seated quickly to the food to the atmosphere to our excellent waiter, all made for a great first meal at Disney.
For our second drinks, Nickie and opted for to-go beers (4 dollars off for each, remember?), paid the bill and we walked out into Disney springs to do some exploring.
I really wanted to check out Uniqlo as I had heard there were some good buys in there and some unique stuff.
And there definitely were. They had a ton of Mickey stuff and some shirts for around ten bucks. Some nice stuff, but we opted not to get anything at this point.
Next stop was World of Disney.
This would be our first time at World of Disney since they redid the place so we were all excited to see the new changes. And couldn’t wait to be like..
I really liked the new look of the store. It was all kind of open concept and had a ton of cool new things to see.
And all the Mickey Mouse Club stuff was just waiting to be bought. By us.
But eh, consider all that foreshadowing for now. As it was only our first night, we opted to just browse at the moment and not pick anything up just yet. In due time, wallet. In due time.
There was, however, one place where we WERE hoping to spend a little money.
Yup, Amorette’s Patisserie! After seeing Instagram post upon Instagram post of their delicious-looking little creations, we have been dying to try this place.
I mean, look at these things.
And it’s always fun to see food professionals hard at work.
We walked right up and ordered 3 Mickey Mousses and a Coffee Time Petit Cake.
The Mickey Mousse is a combination of chocolate chiffon cake, dark chocolate mousse, and white chocolate mousse. And they are legit adorbz.
The Coffee Time Petit Cake has layers of chocolate cake, dark chocolate cake, and coffee buttercream underneath a (blech) fondant outer layer.
The verdict? Erm, mixed. Everyone loved the Mickey Mousses. It was a super rich dessert (I mean…mousse so) but very very tasty and the chiffon cake broke up the mousse nicely. And like I said, adorbz.
The Coffee Time cake was…ok. I mean, it was good. But not great. It was actually a tad drier tasting than I had expected and no one likes fondant. Well, except the criminally insane.
Regardless though, its worth a visit. EVERYTHING in this place is Insta-worthy.
After dessert, we figured it was probably time to call it a night. Day 5 was going to be our first in-park day so we wanted to rest up. All in all, an insanely successful first day at Disney.