“Welcome Home” to Wilderness Lodge

The plan:

Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot on Saturday, Ormond Beach Byzantine church on Sunday.

The reality:

Friday night we enjoyed beer and pizza out on our Lanai. The sunrises and sunsets are amazing with the clouds, the sky, the pond, the fountain, the grass, the trees, the ducks, the geese, and other Florida wildlife. We enjoy early morning sunrises and late afternoons with the shady, cooling afternoon breezes. Therefore, we didn’t feel like jumping up on a Saturday and driving off to Epcot, about 1-1/4 hours away. Instead, we sipped our coffee and regrouped.

By mid-afternoon we really wanted to get out of the house so we headed for our Orlando Byzantine church, thinking we’d get to Epcot on Sunday morning. We rarely drive north to Ormond Beach for that church. In fact, we’ve pretty much made it a rule that we don’t go north of New Smyrna Beach or at least where I-4 intersects with I-95. 🙂

We have been getting to the Orlando church on I-95 south, it’s about 15 or 20 miles longer by taking I-95, but pretty smooth sailing, compared to I-4.

Halfway there, though, I’m thinking, “You know, I could use a trip out of Florida. I’m getting sick of it.” Okay, so I actually said those words to Rich. Compare that to the first time we lived in Florida – 4 years without leaving the state. Don’t think I’ve done that in any state I’ve lived in. But those days are long past.

Anyway, as soon as we pulled into the church’s parking lot, which is in the middle of road construction so it is quite a challenge getting there, we felt immediately at home, making the trip worth it. Liturgy is always a blessing there.

Having made such a long trip, we decided we should do some Disney after and skip the F&G this weekend – we’d already scheduled another time later in the month. It had been a while since we’d done drinks and apps at Territory Lounge at Wilderness Lodge, so we pointed the Challenger in that direction. We were concerned about getting past the guard gate without actual ressies since they’ve been checking the last three times, and we had to verify with a magic band or ressie on the phone.

But those were all breakfast or lunch ressies and we had no problem getting in at 6 pm for the Territory Lounge. Of course, immediately we’re feeling at home. We’ve spent a lot of time at Wilderness Lodge over the years and it is home. And escaping to Disney’s version of the Pacific Northwest, well, I no longer felt the need to leave the state – lol!

We sat in our favorite comfy, upholstered chairs in the corner and went with our usual drink at Disneyland’s Hearthstone Lounge in the Grand Californian, the Habanero Lime Margarita. We immediately felt like we were back in the GC. We shared a couple of items, the Asian Chicken Wings (yum!) and the super tasty Oregon Chardonnay Fondue. Wow! We were hoping to share a Cobbler but no room for that. Next time we’ll share one app and the dessert.

Crispy Asian Chicken Wings

Soy Glaze, Sesame, Green Onion

Oregon Chardonnay Fondue

Pretzel Bread and Grapes on the Vine

We chatted with our server and when she asked where we were from, she said one of the Disney chefs she worked with had bought a house out where we were and loved it! That’s quite a commute – about 1-1/4 ours during non commute hours but maybe he works the dinner shift and gets off late. It really is amazing driving back to our quiet little beach town after the super business of Orlando and Disney. In fact, I would have to say that our golf course community is even nicer than Disney World property. Whoa! I never thought I’d say that about a place.

After our snacky meal, we walked around the property but a big T-storm came in, so we ran back inside, killing time sitting in front of the fireplace and checking out the gift shop. We saw a break in the storm so we ran out to the parking lot, got in our car and drove home. Such a wonderful evening with church and Disney. What a wonderful evening at home!

About Kathy

Novelist & Music Producer