A Tale of Two Floridas

Our trip to Florida was our first vacation since the Covid pandemic and exactly a year from our last vacation. Florida has never been a destination on our bucket list, but with international travel still difficult to do, we decided to make the best of a February getaway. Travel in any shape or form sounds good at this point.

Two Floridas? The first -My husband’s idea of a good time and my idea are not always the same. We travel together but our activities are split and we do our own thing. The other tale is that we divided our stay, 3-nights in St Augustine and 3-nights in Disney World. Disney was solely my idea and it took a bit of coercing to get my mate onboard with that one.

Yoga class on Vilano Beach

St Augustine- Florida Part 1

Since this portion of the trip fell on a Fri, Sat, Sun, I knew this would be a busy and crowded time. Since I wanted to see St Augustine and my husband was going to golf and enjoy the Golf World Hall of Fame which is about 20 miles away, I booked us a hotel off of I-95 in between the two. This worked out perfectly for the things we wanted to do. Below is my good and not so good list of my experiences.

Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios

The Good

  • St. Augustine is a beautiful town. I really liked the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission Nombre de Dios. It’s a pretty waterfront park…and it was the only free parking I could find.
  • Good restaurants
  • Dan golfed at 2 nice courses at Golf World Village, Slammer & Squire and King & Bear.
  • I took a backroads drive to Jacksonville, and in the town Green Cove Springs I found a couple of neat old cemeteries.

Not so good

  • St Augustine parking is next to impossible and the city was extremely crowded…(albeit this was a Saturday). Driving through on a Monday was much better.

Disney World- Florida Part 2

Leaving St Augustine we drove the A1A coastal highway, a little slow-moving but very scenic. We bypassed Daytona and got back on I-95 for a bit and then continued on to Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. The drive and sightseeing took most of the day and we arrived at Coronado Springs Resort inside Disney World around dinnertime.

The GoodNot so Good
Coronado Springs resort is nice… and very gigantic.

Dan had 2 golf days inside Disney- the Palm, and Magnolia.

I went to Animal Kingdom one day- a nice, fun park, not too crowded. The best ride was Avatar: Flight of Passage.

The next day I went to Epcot. This was my eating day: so many countries with so many foods to try. This park was very empty, 20 mins was my longest wait for a ride.
Because of Covid only 2 full-service restaurants were open, not good for a resort of this size and the wait time  for a table was ridiculous.

We ate dinner one night at Polynesian Resort. Food was good but pricey, that was expected. Shuttle buses were about every 1/2 hour or else too full to get on. We used Uber when eating at the other resort.
Cemetery in Green Cove Springs, FL

Here is what I learned about Disney World… you cannot be in a hurry for anything. Everything takes a long time, restaurant waits, shuttle buses, lines for rides, and walking around the hotel/resort area, everything is far because it’s so big. Of course the travel agent in me spent a little bit of time shuttling over to other resorts to see what they look like.

Disney resorts are so nice, they are a vacation destination on their own–you don’t need a theme park everyday. I expected the Floridian resort to be nice, but I was blown away by how nice. Talk about the “wow!” factor.

Floridian Resort Disney World

Would I do Disney again? Yes! (my husband said absolutely not). What would I do different? Maybe I’d bring a car as to not rely on shuttle buses, bring an older school-age grandchild with me, and spend more time enjoying the resort amenities.

Woodpecker seen in Green Cove Springs, FL (Mt Olive Cemetery)