February 13th
 

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February 13th, 2021            

We had a day without any plans today, so we decided that it would be fun to head to Orlando to visit Disney Springs and Epcot. The primary motivation for Disney Springs was to visit Gideon's Bakehouse, so that we could finally try the cookies that we have heard such amazing things about! In order to make it to both Gideon's and one of the theme parks, we would have to get up early to arrive at Disney Springs. This is because there can be a long wait just to get inside! On opening day the wait was over 11 hours! Thankfully the queue is virtual, like the Rise of the Resistance ride at Hollywood Studios, so that means that we don't actually to wait in line the entire time.

Our drive over was uneventful, and Drew did a great job in the captains chair for our trip to Disney Springs in the morning. After arriving at the parking garage, it was time to go through the Covid-19 checkpoint, where we all got our temperature checked (as is the procedure at each of the parks as well). The first thing we did was register for the queue at Gideon's, and for us the wait ended up being 135 minutes. This gave us a little over two hours to explore and shop before we could return for our treats!

Our wait gave us plenty of time to explore the shops, take some pictures, and grab a bite to eat. We had planned to eat fast food before going to Epcot, but instead decided to stay at Disney Springs and eat at Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza instead. We also visited the Disney PhotoPass Studio to get some pictures taken of the four of us. When it got close to our time, we made the trek back to Gideon's.

We were all super-excited to see these nearly 1/2 pound cookies for ourselves, and to get our first taste of them! Once we got inside, the aroma of the bakery hit us, and the cravings really kicked in. Tara decided that we would order one of each kind of cookie (they were out of their "breakfast cookie", the coffee cake cookie). Each month Gideon's creates a limited time offering, and for February it was the 'Eternal Flame' cookie - a chocolate cookie with ancho, cayenne, and cinnamon spice mix, and topped with chocolate covered cherries. Tara figured that it would be a good idea to get two of these! We also tried one package of each of their frostings - peanut butter and butter cream.

Well, what did we think? Awesome. Simply awesome. I liked the chocolate chip, triple chocolate, and the cookies & cream versions. Tara's choice of the Eternal Flame was good as well (though I wouldn't touch the chocolate covered cherries), but it was one I'd have to eat in small bites spread over time, as the heat had a lasting effect! I didn't try the peanut butter crunch (couldn't brave the candied peanuts on top) or the pistachio toffee (because, well pistachio and toffee). We will definitely be back, and we can't wait to see what they come up with for March!

Off to Epcot we go!

 


Disney Springs


Even Minnie Mouse was masked up as we waited for our temperature checks!

A look at Disney Springs across Lake Buena Vista.

There were several of the newer Star Wars characters on display outside the Lego Store...

 
 

...as well as some of the Frozen stars!

The "Famous Florida Citrus" mural in Disney Springs.

And now for some pictures of the reason for our visit - Gideon's Bakehouse!

Here is a painting advertising their cookies...

...and one letting us know that "dreadfully good things await" us inside.

The entrance and signs to Gideon's.

Some of the decor on the inside.

Tara and Jayden checking out the offerings inside the shop.

These "flames" are located near the registers.

Another shot of the signs outside the building.

Here are a couple shots of the chocolate chip cookie after opening it in the car...

 

As I stated above, we visited the Disney PhotoPass Studio to have some photos taken of the four of us. He had a couple taken outside inside of a citrus themed Disney Springs sign, some inside in front of a green screen, and some with a gray background. You can see the best of those photos below...

 


Disney Springs - Disney PhotoPass Photos


Rodney, Jayden, Drew, and Tara in front of the Disney Springs sign.

We got a heart/valentine themed green screen photo...

...and a few other green screen shots with backgrounds I couldn't quite nail down...

 
 

We had some family photos take with the gray background...

 

...and some of Tara and Rodney...

 
 

...and one more group shot...

...and some of Jay and Drew goofing around...

 
 
 

Epcot was our next stop, but unfortunately Drew took some medicine that didn't sit well with him while eating lunch at Disney Springs, and this caused him to get sick on the drive over. We weren't sure that we were even going to get to visit the park today, but he was a trooper and decided to give it a shot. Of course, not feeling well meant that he wasn't interested in a "thrill rides", so that meant a calmer day in the park than we might normally experience. It also meant trying some shows in the World Showcase that we normally skip right past, so not all was lost!

Our first stop once inside the park was Spaceship Earth, mainly to give Drew a chance to sit and relax while trying to decide if he could keep going or not. While I do find this ride to be interesting, I was truly looking forward to what the now on-hold makeover was going to look like.

We decided to head to the World Showcase part of the park next, to tour the countries and to get Tara her favorite margarita, the Smoky Pineapple from Choza de Margarita in the Mexico section of the park. Our tour this time went counter-clockwise, however, meaning that we started off in Canada. As we approached the Canada pavilion, I spotted a yellow Mickey Mouse balloon popcorn bucket, which I knew I wanted to add to my collection. This particular popcorn stand gave us an option - maple popcorn, or regular butter. Since we had never had it before, we opted for the maple. Both Drew and Tara stated that it reminded them of kettle corn, and only had a small maple flavoring to it. Since I don't care for kettle corn, I opted to pass on trying this. While we were in Canada, we took in the new Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 show. We had stood in line for this show before the Covid shutdown, but didn't end up waiting to see it, so this was a first for all of us!

We continued on our trek around the world, quickly passing through the United Kingdom, as there wasn't much to do besides shop and eat today. Next up was France, and while we were here it was decided that we would wait to see another show for the first time, this one the Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along (though our group didn't spend much time actually, you know, singing along).

Like the UK, we made a quick walk through Morocco and Japan, before arriving at the United States pavilion. While here we decided to see The American Adventure, a movie/animatronics show that I found to be enjoyable, though Tara and the kids were much less interested in it.

We continued our walk through the World Showcase, making quick work of Italy, Germany, and China. We had intended to stop in Norway to ride Frozen Ever After, but the wait was pretty long, and we decided that we didn't feel like waiting this time. Off we headed to Mexico for Tara's margarita. Unfortunately this line was quite long too, and we made the decision to skip the drink and instead head out and stop for a bite and a drink on the way home.

We knew that Applebee's had some drink specials, so we stopped there for dinner. Thankfully we had much better service than we got during our last stop here, otherwise this may have been our last stop at this restaurant!

 


Epcot


There is lots of construction going on at Epcot - including the buildings on either side behind Spaceship Earth...

 

The new fountain in front of Spaceship Earth.

Here are a couple of photos from our time on the Spaceship Earth ride...

 
 

Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts was underway during our visit. They had some cool chalk art on the ground on the walkway to the World Showcase. Here is Mushu from Mulan...

...and Snow White...

...Mickey...

...and Elsa from Frozen.

The Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts sign.

A look at the Canada pavilion...

...and the waterfalls that are in the queue for the Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360 show...

 

Someone in the American Pavilion needed a belt!

A couple of pictures of Spaceship Earth from across the World Showcase...

 

A look at the new Spaceship Earth fountain lit up at night...

 

A closer look at Spaceship Earth.

Drew sneaking into Rodney's selfie.

A group selfie - Rodney, Drew, Jayden, and Tara.



 

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