My husband and I took a trip to South Florida last week to attend his class reunion in West Palm Beach, Florida and also tend to a bit of business in Miami.
We didn’t have reservations, because we didn’t know how far we would drive the first day, but ended up stopping in Orlando. We snagged the last room available at the B Resort and Spa, which is in Disney’s Lake Buena Vista.
The hotel used to be something like the old Howard Johnson’s or Days Inn – we couldn’t really remember, but they’ve totally redone the place and it’s very hip and chic. We thought it was beautiful, and since our inner-children can’t be that close to Walt Disney World without going into the park, the very helpful concierge arranged last minute tickets for us to spend the evening in the Magic Kingdom.
This is the room from B Resort and Spa‘s web site, and our room was identical except that it had two beds. (Last room available, remember?) The frog on the bed was a cute touch that you find in all the rooms.
Both my husband and I have grown up going to the Disney Parks and love them, but we realized it’s been six years since our last trip – time flies, so the expansion to Fantasyland was new to us and exactly what we wanted to see. The beautiful apples were for sale in this area that used the popular Dumbo ride as the center of a “Circus” theme.
No longer do you have to stand in a hot line to wait for a spin on Dumbo. Instead, you get a pager and can play in the water-splashing, bouncy, climbing play area (and eat pretty $9.99 apples) while you wait your turn. Genius.
Brightly colored Disney touches were everywhere and flowed into the new Ariel’s Grotto with Under the Sea ride and the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train rollercoaster (loved it!!!) and into a Beauty and the Beast area with the Beast’s castle looming over the area. We also played on some of our old favorites like the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Carousel of Progress (very tame, but nostalgic).
This photo of (my) Cinderella’s Castle was taken with my iphone after my camera battery died. The front of the castle is under construction, and something’s been done to the design of the spires and turrets, but it still looks like home to me!
And then, the magic came to a screeching halt as we moved on down the road to Miami. The photo above is really the color of the sky. It became stormy to the point of sideways rain and lightening as thick as a barn and twenty miles long. I was in the car alone for a while, and when my GPS told me one thing, and the street signs another, I stopped and asked two different people for directions, and neither spoke English. They seemed nice enough, but we just couldn’t understand each other.
But not so nice were the drivers. I’ve never in my life seen such aggressive, and blatantly mean drivers. They would purposely speed up to cut us off even if they saw our blinker and must have known we needed to merge. Over and over again we were cut off, and feared for our lives as people zoomed within inches of us. “We’re not in Fairhope anymore.” I told my husband. “No kidding, they only wave with one finger here – and talk on the phone at the same time.”
I read later that out of 100 cities in America, Miami ranked dead last in traffic safety and fared poorly in terms of road conditions. – NO KID – DING!!!
I don’t see how The Golden Girls stand to live there.
Later, a few hours north again in beautiful and peaceful Palm Beach County . . .
The Atlantic Ocean always looks so strange to me. It’s very pretty, but in a completely different way than the familiar Gulf of Mexico. When you grow up on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, you can be really picky that way.
Much wider than our beach and with brown sand instead of sugar white, it’s still a beautiful place that was rather quiet, with many condos shuttered awaiting their big season in the winter, when thousands of Snowbirds from the northern states descend. This is Singer Island and is very popular for tourists.
My favorite thing about South Florida is seeing all the beautiful plants. Even though we’re in a tropical climate here in South Alabama, South Florida is subtropical and has completely different foliage. The banyan tree above is amazing.
These Poinciana trees are stunning. There are trees with bright purple, orange and yellow flowers all blooming next to so many different kinds of palms I lost count. We even picked up a coconut that had fallen near the beach! Very very different from the “Southern” North Western Florida where I grew up!
Such a good adventure and a great reunion with absolutely lovely people. I can’t wait to go back again, but I’ll be sure to take a taxi next time I have to be in Miami!