Friday 13 May at the Beach Club

The morning of Friday the 13th was, luckily, a beautiful one. I got a rather late start, as I recall, and, knowing that my dinner reservation at La Hacienda de San Angel was an early one, I decided to have a full breakfast and the Mexican dinner and then perhaps a snack later on in the evening.

I was curious about Picabu in the Dolphin since I had not eaten there since way back when it was Tubby’s Buffeteria. So I strolled over there enjoying the sunshine and the views of the Friendships plying the waters.

Trouble was, I had that Swolphin confusion and went to the Swan instead. Hadn’t been in there for a long time either so I didn’t mind that bit of tourism before breaking fast.

Once I got the correct hotel I wasted some more time wandering around in there just trying to find my way to Picabu, which I wish were called something else as that name just sounds silly to me. But I figure I’m not really the target audience for anything called Picabu. And the staff were friendly and the standard American breakfast was just fine as was the coffee–much better than that served in the Beach Club Marketplace.

Full of bacon and eggs and such, I waddled back over as far as the Yacht Club where I took the bus to Downtown Disney for some shopping. In the Art of Disney store I used the touch-screen computer system to order me a couple of framed pictures for my apartment, where all the walls are very white and very bare. I wasn’t getting the hang of the system at first but friendly cast members assisted me and it wasn’t long before I parted ways with quite a bit of hard-earned legal tender (Ooh, that shipping on big framed items!). The Disney Rewards Visa discount did soften the blow somewhat.

After that it was over to the World of Disney where I could easily spend hours wandering from room to room. Picked up several items to take to folks back home and was again glad for the discount. I used to have the Magic Kingdom Club card for that purpose back when that existed but had resisted getting the Disney Rewards Visa for years…

Once I come out of the World of Disney store I’ve had it with shopping for the day at least and feel the need to get out of Retail Land. A relaxing journey on the Sassagoula River Cruise is just the ticket. Only a few minutes of squinting on the dock before a boat pulls up to take me up the river… Going by Saratoga Springs I think I ought to go over there some time to explore the resort but that didn’t happen this trip.

And I always enjoy the views of the Treehouses and think that it would be fun to stay in one… but I would probably want a car if I did that and I don’t like to drive while in the World.

A stroll through the grounds of Port Orleans French Quarter is always pleasant. I’ve never stayed at this resort, although I really liked Dixie Landings, especially the Bayou section, back before The Merger and its transformation into Port Orleans Riverside. Although I think that Coronado Springs is my favorite of the moderates, I may have to try Port Orleans French Quarter the next time a moderate fits in the plan.

After some wanderings in faux New Orleans, I board a bus for the park formerly known as Disney-MGM Studios. Here my resolve not to eat again until La Hacienda time vanished and I stopped at Min and Bill‘s Dockside Diner for a Frankfurter in a Pretzel Roll with Dijon Mustard and a Coke. I had read online somewhere that they were stingy with the Dijon and that you would probably need to pick up a packet of mustard but mine had plenty and it hit the spot. Would this spoil my appetite for dinner later? Time would tell…

Is Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction ever open any more?

Star Tours was still closed at this point and I saw no signs of pre-re-opening riding opps. But my primary destination was really Muppet Labs anyway. I have seen Muppetvision 3D so many times I feel like I know it by heart but it is still one of my favorites, in spite of my not being fond at all of 3D glasses. And I always enjoy walking through the store on the way out of the theatre. “Don’t look here.”

From the Studios I took the boat or walked, I don’t remember which, to the Boardwalk. I probably took the boat as it was pretty darn warm at that time of day to be walking over there… At the Boardwalk I visited the ATM and then continued on foot to Epcot.

Before reporting to the podium at La Hacienda de San Angel, I of course assisted Panchito and José Carioca in their efforts to find Donald on the Grand Fiesta Tour Starring Them. I really like all these characters so naturally I enjoy this ride although I do miss some aspects of the earlier one.

It wasn’t quite time for dinner yet so I people-watched outside the pyramid observing the parade of humanity. My impression is that that stretch of the Promenade between the pyramid and the new Cantina/La Hacienda is a bit narrower than it was before the re-do, making for a more crowded feeling there most of the time.

I saw people lining up at the entrance to La Hacienda so I joined them and soon I was entering the restaurant for the first time. I couldn’t help observing that La Hacienda has really good-looking staff… Very friendly and efficient and all handsome or pretty. And the food was great also. On the dining plan, I skipped the appetizers although several of them sounded very appetizing to me. But I did spring for a classic margarita which was delicious. So too was the Pescado a la Talla. I honestly don’t believe there was a single crumb or drop of anything left on my plate when I was finished. It was like I had never been to Min and Bill’s! Dessert is obligatory on the Dining Plan but I resisted the call of the heavy-sounding chocolate and opted instead for the ice cream, which was perfectly fruity/berry-y and refreshing. I believe that La Hacienda is now second only to Boma on my list of favorite places to eat at Walt Disney World.

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