Our 2021 Florida Trip Report continues with a day visiting the Epcot Resorts and riding the Walt Disney World Skyliner…
Tuesday, June 8
We did not have any morning plans, so we got to sleep in a little. One of the things we have learned to do on these Florida trips is to relax a bit. We don’t have to go, go, go all the time. We can just take it easy and relax sometimes. That includes sleeping in some mornings, such as this one.
Once we did get up, we enjoyed our usual breakfast on the screened-in porch. While we were out there, we could see lots of blue skies with just a few non-threatening clouds. That was just what we needed. Our plan for the day called for us to visit the condo pool, and so that is what we did.
Another beautiful day at the condo pool
There were not all that many people at the pool, which was nice. We definitely did not have to worry about the 15 person limit. The water temperature was perfect, and the sun was nice. We swam, floated, threw our water frisbee, and just enjoyed being outside. Jaylin had a conversation with an older couple who was there. They said that they come every other year, saving up their “off-year” week so that they can stay for two weeks the next year. That’s a pretty good plan! I guess they do not have to find someone to feed horses for two weeks in a row, which might not be easy to do.
After we had swum ourselves out, if that is such a thing, we headed back to our room for lunch. Lunch was once again peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the porch. Who needs to sit inside and watch television when you have such a beautiful view outside? Not us. We can do that back at home.
We lounged around a bit after lunch, once again just enjoying not being on a schedule of any kind. But we did want to do some things, so we loaded up our car and headed out to Disney Springs.
However, Disney Springs was not our main goal of the day. Instead, we wanted to ride the Skyliner, the new Disney transportation system. We had talked about the number of things that had changed since our last visit two years earlier. The Skyway, the Riviera Resort, Star Wars land, lots of new roads, Disney+, the Mandalorian, and all kinds of other things had not been there (or not quite open) since our last visit. It seems like there is always something new to see.
Parking for us was once again provided by the Orange Garage, which is quickly becoming the “Official Parking Spot of the Burns Family”. Although I don’t think they have a logo for that or anything. At least not yet. But we parked our car and headed down the escalators. I only brought my smaller camera bag, which did not have the flash or extra lens that I had brought on our previous visit. That allowed me to go right through the security scanner without having to have my bag checked, which was nice. And then we headed straight for the bus stop.
To Infinity and Beyond! Except that wasn’t our bus. It was just refilling its pixie dust. Seems like there was a lot of “refilling” many times when we were waiting for a bus.
One thought had been to go to Art of Animation and ride the Skyliner all the way from there to Epcot, getting off at the new Riviera Resort to have a look around. But there really wasn’t much at Art of Animation that we wanted to see. So instead, we decided to ride a bus straight to Riviera to have a look around there, and then to ride the Skyliner on to Epcot.
We did not have to wait all that long for a bus. And as it turns out, we were the only ones on the bus. A bus all to ourselves! It was almost like our own private limo. Except, of course, that it was a bus. I was interested to see that all of the groups of seats had numbers on them. Our group of three seats was number 2. So not every seat was individually numbered, but instead, they were broken up into groups. And plastic sheets divided one group from the next adjacent group. Also, all of the handle straps that people usually use while standing up were tied up so that they could not be used. All of that meant that each group was given a place to sit and there was no standing on the buses. But none of that mattered when there were only three people on the bus. I did wonder if that would affect us later, however.
Welcome to Disney’s Riviera Resort!
We took some time to look around the Riviera Resort because we had not been there before. As we always do at these resorts, we visited the gift shop, and I was interested to see just how much Skyliner merchandise they had, along with some original art created just for the resort. We also spent some time looking around outside at the well-kept grounds. I was interested to see that like so many of the other Disney resorts, they have a large area of artificial turf grass. I know that they don’t have to keep that up or worry about it getting trampled into mud that way, and that they can have events on it. Still, it looks just a little strange to me.
Laura and Jaylin and the large chess set at the Riviera. Except that we don’t play chess.
We also found the tile murals that everyone posts on social media all of the time. Interestingly, you see many more photos of the Tangled murals than of the Peter Pan murals. I guess all of these young kids don’t like the classics that much anymore.
Have you even been to the Riviera Resort if you did not take photos of the tile murals?
We then found our way to the Skyliner station, boarding it to go to Epcot. There was almost no one waiting, so we were able to get right on. We had our own car, which was nice, and which is also normal for right now to keep everyone socially distant. So we took our masks off in the car.
The three of us on the Skyliner
Jaylin might have been a little apprehensive about the Skyliner, but Laura and I definitely loved it. It was fun to float along in the sky high above everything else. Thanks to the louvers at the top of the car, there was a nice breeze blowing, so that it did not feel all that hot. Epcot was the next stop, but there was a “turning station” to allow the cars to make a right-angle turn, and that was pretty cool. We also got to see the new parts of the France pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase as we flew over the soon to open Ratatouille ride. All too soon, we floated down to the International Gateway at Epcot, and we exited our car.
We made it to France and the Eiffel Tower! Except that this is just at Epcot. The Skyliner doesn’t actually go across the ocean.
We weren’t actually going to Epcot, however. Our goal was to walk around the Epcot Resorts. And so we walked along the canal that runs from Epcot to the resorts. This would have us going in a different order from how we usually visit the Epcot Resorts, but that was not a problem.
A Friendship boat passes by as we walk along the Epcot Resorts walkway, with the Walt Disney World Dolphin in the background. You may remember that I posted a photo earlier with a Friendship boat and the Walt Disney World Swan. Yes, I like these kinds of photos, if you can’t tell.
The first one we came to was the Beach Club Resort. Even though we had not walked for all that long, it was hot enough outside that we enjoyed getting inside the resort for a few minutes, walking through the lobby to check out the gift shop, which had been remodeled since our last visit. From there, we wandered out by the pool area and over to the Yacht Club Resort. The Yacht and Beach Club Resorts are actually one very large building, although we never have found how to get from one to the other without going outside. We did not linger too long in either lobby, but that was okay. But because it was a hot day, we gave in and got some ice-cold Coca-Cola products at the shop before we continued our walk.
Inside the lobby of the Beach Club Resort. Where were all the people?
Lots of Epcot Resorts to see in this photo: The Lighthouse and the Yacht Club at the right, the Boardwalk at the left, the Walt Disney World Dolphin in the back right, the still-under-construction Swan Reserve farther in the background, and two Friendship boats. Plus, if you look closely, you can see one of the swan statues from the Walt Disney World Swan at the left, too.
Our walk next took us to the Walt Disney World Dolphin, still going in reverse order from what we usually do. We kept to our standard pattern of going into the lobby and looking around in the Disney gift shop. They also had a droid in the lobby to promote Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so we got a photo of Jaylin with it.
Jaylin and his droid friend
Our journey continued with a walk across the Michael Graves Causeway to the Walt Disney World Swan. Same as before - lobby, shop, and then back outside. We were just seeing the highlights of the Epcot Resorts, as we always do. It will throw off our groove just a bit when they open the new resort that is currently under construction, but we will see how that affects us later on when it is finished.
From the Swan, we walked on along to the Boardwalk Resort, which is actually our favorite of the Epcot Resorts. We usually end up spending more time here, and this time was no exception to that rule. We went into the main gift shop there, which is actually an interconnected collection of three shops. It is always our favorite of all of the Epcot Resort shops, for whatever reason. And one purchase that we always make is at the sweet shop at one end. Laura and I got ice cream, and Jaylin got fudge.
Next stop: Boardwalk Resort
We needed a place to sit to eat our treats, so we found some chairs in a covered area near the lobby. Several other people were sitting quietly in the other chairs, and it was just a bit strange that no one was talking. So I tried not to be the one to interrupt the silence, just in case someone had some deep meditation going on.
A quiet place to eat ice cream at the Boardwalk Resort
Another place we like to visit at the Boardwalk is the Weyland gallery shop, where they have all sorts of interesting artwork by Weyland and several other artists. In our past visits, we have often been approached by one of the cast members who has asked us all kinds of questions, apparently thinking that we might be there to make a purchase. This time, we were greeted with a “Hello!” And then everyone went back about what they were doing. We have now evidently been marked as “those people who never make a purchase in here.” Interestingly, I overheard a cast member chatting with someone who actually was making a purchase, and that cast member said that the shop had been shut down for over a year due to the pandemic. So I was glad that it was open again for our browsing pleasure, even if we did not buy anything.
From there, we continued our walk, heading back to the International Gateway at Epcot. But once again, we were not there to visit Epcot. Instead, we were there to take another ride on the Skyliner. We decided that for this trip, instead of disembarking at the Riviera Resort, we would continue on to the Caribbean Beach Resort, just for a slightly longer ride. As we boarded this time, we were told by the cast member to keep our masks on while we were riding. But it was just us in the car, so we might have been slightly rebellious and taken off our masks.
Once again, we enjoyed the views as we went up and over everything down below. It was fun to stay on when we got to the Riviera station and keep on going, too.
Back on the Skyliner!
Coming in for a landing at the Caribbean Beach Resort!
I had not been to Caribbean Beach in a long, long time, so it was interesting to walk around there for a bit. We took the scenic route, walking through several of the villages to Old Port Royale. Once again, we visited the gift shop there and just enjoyed looking around for a little while. But we were needing to move on along and figure out some supper plans, so we caught a bus back to Disney Springs.
Walking through the Caribbean Beach Resort
Laura and her “droid” friend. Yes, we know that is not a real droid. Laura was just having fun.
Because of the heat, we were all craving something cool to drink. So when we arrived at Disney Springs, we decided to give the Coca-Cola Store a try. We went up to the rooftop beverage bar and discovered a pretty long line. But we decided to wait in it. I got a Coke Icee, Laura got a Fanta Icee, and Jaylin got a Mexican Sprite with real sugar. We walked back down to the ground level while enjoying our cool treats.
We also did some quick shopping in DisneyStyle, although we did not find anything that suited our style enough to buy it. Apparently, we are already stylish enough for us. So we went back to our car in the Orange Garage, passing some of the live musicians in the central area as we walked, and we drove away.
An evening view of Disney Springs as seen from the rooftop beverage bar of the Coca-Cola Store
We made a quick stop at the Subway in Formosa Gardens to get sandwiches for Jaylin and me, and then we drove back to the condo. While the guys ate our sandwiches, Laura had her leftovers from Molly’s from the previous day. We then watched a little television before heading off to bed, dreaming of the good day that we had just enjoyed and resting up for the next adventures.
Check back soon for more from our 2021 Florida Trip!