Trip Report: Conference Day, Epcot, And Dessert Party

We’ll call Day 3 of my trip a bit of a rest day. I slept in a little later and gave my feet a rest. The conference portion of the Royal Retreat was taking place and I was excited for the evening dessert party at Epcot.

My roommmate, Maddy, and I started our day with a few other colleagues by grabbing breakfast at the quick-service location, El Mercado de Coronado, before heading to the conference room located down the hall.

The day was filled with opportunities to see different areas the stunningly beautiful resort. This is another property that never really made my list of places to stay, but I’m so glad I had this chance. It is just gorgeous. The conference included great information on many suppliers including all-inclusive destinations, cruises, and even a visit from our partners at Universal Orlando!

We challenged ourselves to try new things or step out of our comfort zones. You may have seen a video live on business Facebook Page. It was very short and just a quick view around the courtyard at Coronado Springs.

During lunch I enjoyed some mini-cheesecakes which were very similar to those I had sampled at Food & Wine in September. They were delicious!

One of these prize bags included contained the Disney Parks Purple Potion Ears. I was so excited to win these during trivia. I had looked at them online and while in the parks over the last few days. They would be perfect to wear to the dessert party in the evening.

The afternoon portion of conference took us on a tour of the Gran Destino Tower at the resort. It’s incredibly beautiful. I was already impressed with our room in the main part of the resort but the tower rooms were even more stunning. The views from the rooms and public areas were pretty amazing too. Here are just a couple photos. I’ll be sure to include many more when I write a full review of the resort.

Time for Epcot & Dessert

Epcot was the only park I hadn’t had time to explore yet. I took a break after the conference to freshen up a bit and then hopped on a bus to the park. Arriving just after sunset I was greeted by Spaceship Earth glowing in shades of purple and blue. I had two plans before dessert. First, use my FastPass+ to ride Soarin’ and then find the new location for the Character Spot. Amid all the construction, the Character Spot was actually pretty clearly marked and I picked it out while I made my way to Soarin’. I love this ride and just can’t get enough of it!

Now on to meet Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie. The new character spot (which has since closed for additional construction) blew me away! The updates to the character backdrops were incredible! They were a much more updated artwork depicting Epcot. Minnie’s “Fun is always in bloom” couldn’t have been more fitting or adorable!

Of course, I had to stop at another PhotoPass spot. This time it was with the Food and Wine set up. When I made my way back to World Showcase it was a bit early. I chatted with the Cast Member working the dessert party viewing area for a while, made a call home to say hi to the kids, explored the France Pavilion for a few minutes, found one more PhotoPass, and enjoyed some music in the United Kingdom Pavilion from The British Revolution. This was my first time wandering beyond the facade of the pavilion. I had no idea about the gardens behind the buildings and never peeked in the small shops here either. It was truly a lesson that Epcot has still has SO much to explore.

Finally it was dessert time. After enjoying Happily Ever After’s Dessert Party a few months prior I couldn’t wait to have my fill of sweets again. The menu was much different and smaller. I later checked out the menus for other dessert parties offered and Happily Every After definitely has the best menu.

I sampled only a few of the desserts but did have plenty of the Mickey shaped key lime pies!

The fireworks view was amazing. The party was a private and overlooking the lagoon making it very roomy. We were all able to line chairs up along the railing to watch the show. I loved the front row seat. It was my first time to watch Epcot Forever, which replaced Illuminations earlier in the year. Disney always goes all out on fireworks and the show was no exception. I honestly didn’t recognize much of the music. The soundtrack is generally Epcot themed, with music from many retired attractions, until the end when A Whole New World is played. While I was happy to recognize the song it seemed out of place. I actually remember feeling slightly confused by the song choice.

When the show ended a few of use decided to use the nearby World Showcase park exit to take a ride on the Disney Skyliner. Since we were at Coronado Springs Resort we knew we’d also need additional transportation from wherever we got off. We were going for the experience, not necessarily the convenience.

The line appeared quite long when we arrived. It was actually off the queue ramps nearing the walkway to the Epcot resorts. It moved quickly. It was less than 15 minute wait from arrival time until our cabin arrived. The ride to Caribbean Beach Resort, the main hub, is supposed to be approximately 10 minutes, but took us slightly longer when the line stopped moving for just a few minutes. An announcement assured us we’d be moving soon and a family riding with us mentioned they had stopped for 2-3 minutes earlier in their stay. It wasn’t too long before we were moving again. The station at Caribbean Beach had cute Skyliner photo props that we played for a few minutes.

We clearly weren’t the only people with they idea to ride the Skyliner. There were two other parties that were waiting for Lyft rides in the area. A ride for our party size was a bit of a wait, but we didn’t call for it until we knew exactly where we would be waiting for pick up. Total time from arriving at the Skyliner until being dropped off at Coronado Springs was 48 minutes. In the end, we very likely didn’t “save” any time from riding a bus directly to the resort. It’s not ideal unless staying at a Skyliner property. We did get to enjoy some very pretty nighttime views over the Disney property and didn’t need to manage crowds walking through Epcot or on the bus.

It was time for bed! Another early day was ahead!


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