A zippy drive through South Florida

August 5, 2015

17  comments

B Hotel Lake Buena Vista Orlando

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.

 

B Hotel lobby lake buena vista orlando Walt DisneyThe 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.
B Hotel Lake Buena Vista OrlandoThis 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.

Disney candied apples, Walt Disney World, Fairhope Supply Co. 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.

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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.

Fantasyland Circus area, Walt Disney World, Fairhope Supply Co. 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).


Disney Mickey Dooney and Bourke in Walt Disney WorldMain Street has gone chic with designer Dooney and Bourke/Mickey handbags.


Cinderella Castle, Fairhope Supply Co., Walt Disney WorldThis 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!

 

Palm Trees, South Florida, Fairhope Supply Co. 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.

 

Miami Traffic, Fairhope Supply Co. 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.”

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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.
Turtle Nest, Singer Island, Palm Beach FL, Fairhope Supply Co. 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.

 

Singer Island, Palm Beach FloridaMuch 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.


Banyan Tree South FLMy 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.

 

Poinciana Tree South floridaThese 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!

  • Leslie Anne,
    I’ve never been to Disney World but many times to Disneyland and love it! Your castle pic is gorgeous, very magical! The traffic looks horrendous, worse then LA or Atlanta which are not my favorites. Even though I fr grew up on the beaches in Southern Cal, I agree that there is nothing more beautiful then the sugar sand beaches along the gulf. The hotel looks wonderful, glad you had a great trip!
    Rebecca

    • I’ve been to Disneyland once and it was so interesting to compare the two magical kingdoms! Such a fascinating history of Walt and how he managed to develop the entire empire on a mouse! Thanks for the thumbs up to the Gulf Coast beaches, but I know Southern California has a great vibe that can’t be touched by any other place!

  • The changes to Fantasyland, especially the pagers for the Dumbo ride, are fantastic.
    As a fellow native Floridian, I have to agree that Miami is not our finest. And there is nothing, anywhere to compare with the sugar white sand of the Gulf of Mexico beaches!

  • That fun chair in the hotel looks like it belongs in Fantasyland. I love going to Disney World but my hubby does not. He’s only been once and complained ever since because it’s all “make-believe” and he likes “real” buildings — preferably historic and at least 100 years old.

    Don’t you just love the exotic trees and vegetation? Sounds like exotic folks there, too 🙂

  • One of my daughter’s friend’s family are huge Disney buffs! The mom actually has the D&B Bag! To each his own! 🙂 Sounds like ya’ll had a great trip, other than the crazy Miami traffic, lol! Love that tree at the end, gorgeous! ~Rhonda

  • I think that traffic is why we have never been to Miami — that plus the ungodly crime problem. I would love to see South Beach, but I am sure it will not be with Ray! I need that chair in the hotel lobby! Hope you made it home in one piece.

    • The chair was awesome. I took my husband’s photo while he was sitting there on a business call. It looks so funny.

  • I love all the photos! The one of the castle is so perfect. I love what you’ve done with the place. 😉
    What a beautiful hotel room. Wait till you see the one we stayed at on the way home from our road trip….in an upcoming blog post.

    • Making last minute reservations from the car is always a bit of a crap-shoot, but we lucked out this time. We even got a last minute discount!

      I’ll have you over to the castle when the renovations are completed, so go ahead and start polishing your crown.

  • Amazingly beautiful picture of your castle. Hard to believe it was made with an iPhone . There must have been some magic involved.

  • Great post, Leslie Anne. The hotel looked great!! I lived in Boca for 3 years when my 2 girls were young. You’re right about the drivers – but let me tell you a secret. Most of those rude drivers are over 80. We are off to Disney for a wedding in Sept. Have a great week!

    • What a fun place for a wedding!

      I thought all the old drivers drove 20 mph. These grannies are flooring it! We drove through Boca Raton and it was absolutely gorgeous!

  • I recognized the Lake Buena Vista Hotel immediatley. Back in 1979 I stayed there for an extended Labor Day weekend visit with some friends from high school. During our stay, Hurricane David passed through. We were fortunate that the storm was not a direct hit, but missed a day in the parks. I just went to check my scrapbook for the name. It was called the Hotel Royal Plaza back then. I remember it was quite swanky at the time, but seems much more contempory and fancy today.

    Driving in traffic with less than friendly drivers is never a good experience…hopefully you are safely back in Fairhope.

    • Aren’t you a wonderful Nancy Drew! Thanks so much for looking that up. It was driving us crazy that we couldn’t remember the name of it. We even asked some of the staff at the front desk and they didn’t know. I’ll let my husband know you are on-the-ball! (Aren’t scrapbooks great?)!

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