From here on I will not do a day-by-day report because we did so little.
We arrived in Kissimmee around lunchtime, and went to Smokey Bones for lunch. The burgers were delicious, but way to big. Neither one of us could get our mouths around them. We then went to the resort, Vacation Villas at Fantasy World, and checked in. There was a 15 minute wait before we could get into our unit. We were in a nice quiet location that backs up to a small stream and a pond.
When we opened the door to the screened in patio the resident family of Florida Sandhill Cranes were right at the screen. Darn, camera was still packed. We don’t feed them, but suspect the precious tenant did.
The one tourist thing that we did was visit newly opened Chocolate World. There is an interesting tour about the growth, production, etc. of chocolate. After that you are taken into a heat and light controlled room to view chocolate sculptures of solid chocolate. We expected something small. They were huge and absolutely gorgeous. The tour ends with a very interesting chocolate tasting. The cost was $16 per person.
There were beautiful chocolates made on site for sale, but we thought that they were very pricey at $1.95 each. There are also some beautiful desserts for sale, but nowhere is a price displayed. They have a small café where you could sit and enjoy one of the desserts. There is a small gift shop, but again very over priced. They had some Valrhona chocolates that were double the price that we paid for them in France. You can order directly from Valhrona for less even with shipping charges. Chocolate World was interesting, but certainly worth only going to 1 time. The cost was $16 per person.
We spent 2 weeks in Kissimmee and simply made it home for that time. We do eat out more than we do at home, and eating in does not involve any real cooking. We made good use of Publix Heat and Serve entrees. It is an expensive way to eat in, but certainly less than in a restaurant. We also had Chinese take-out from a restaurant that we have liked in the past. This year it was disappointing and obvious that they are cutting corners.
One of the things we do every year us attend Coffee with the GM. It is a breakfast meeting with the resort’s General Manager that brings owners up-to-date on improvements, etc. This year our association’s attorney met with us after the meeting to discuss a “Way Out” that has been developed for getting out of timesharing because many of the original owners are aging and can no longer travel. It is interesting, but probably not the best option.
At home we generally do no patronize chains; however, there are some in Kissimmee area that we like.
We went to Olive Garden, and back to Smokey Bones because I was hungry for ribs, and Paul doesn’t like them.
We also went to Landry’s courtesy of our children who had given us a gift certificate for them. We’d often seen it from the road, but had never been there. We definitely would go back. We had only one problem. I called on Friday to make a reservation for Sunday. The guy that took the reservation never asked me how many which I thought was strange, and I did tell him 2. He assured me that we had reservations.
When we arrived Sunday night, they had no record of our reservation. It was handled well with them telling us seating us would be no problem. The manager just happened to stop at our table to see if we were enjoying our meal (we were), and I told him what happened. The usual apologies, etc.
Weexpected a more formal restaurant, but Landry’s is very family friendly. They even had a women walking around making fantastic balloon sculptures for the children. Service was fine dining style and the food was excellent.
We went to see The Monuments Men (great movie with a great cast) in Downtown Disney, and then headed for dinner at House of Blues. We were told the wait time and were asked to leave a credit card with them in exchange for a pager. They did the same thing last year and our response was the same, “We won’t be waiting.” No way would we just leave a credit card and walk away. So House of Blues is permanently off our list of places to eat.
Instead we went Frankie Farrell’s Irish Pub. It has also been dropped from our list of places we will be going. The food, except dessert, was just okay, but we realized there were very few things on the menu that we would order. My dessert was awful. Paul said his was okay, but not the best he’d ever had. Translated that means it was awful as well.
We, as always, save our favorite for last. Columbia Restaurant in Celebration continues to have outstanding food and great service.
There was a big push for Florida products while we were in Kissimmee. Columbia had a special menu featuring Florida seafood and produce.
Paul had one of his favorite shrimp dishes with the white chocolate bread pudding for dessert. I had the grouper that was on the special menu. It had been rubbed with something slightly spicy. I really ordered for the topping of avocado, orange, onion, tomato and olives. It was outstanding. I had the guava turnover for dessert and their wonderful espresso.
Now it was time to head for cold, snowy, gray Pennsylvania.
I had some trouble downloading an actual picture here. Here is a link to photo of a Florida Sandhill Crane: http://i1077.photobucket.com/albums/w466/sg407/f1fbc246-6caf-4888-8c35-8f17740e61e0_zps0014cebe.jpg