Tuesday, March 17, 2020

florida, day one

it's amazing how fast things have changed in the world since i wrote my last post, which makes me kinda hate myself for the title i used for it.  i'm definitely taking the current situation a lot more seriously than that, so as i recap the trip over the next few posts hopefully you won't judge me for going at all.  at that point the competition was still proceeding as planned, albeit with a much more scaled-back process in regards to the audience in the arena during performances.

having had trouble falling asleep that first night, the next morning found us all sleeping in till around 11:00.  this meant that we'd missed breakfast completely, instead heading back down to the food court to grab something for lunch from the same menu that was available for dinner the night before.  the team was meeting at the front of the hotel to catch the shuttle that would take them to the all star sports resort for mandatory practice, and so after we finished eating we headed back to our room for the girls to get ready.

the team had brought cute matching tanks, which they'd been asked to wear to practice along with black workout shorts and their competition shoes.  too bad you can't see the tank in this picture, heh.


the shuttle van pulled up to take the girls to practice, and i waved to the bean as they piled in.


with a good two hours all to myself, i decided to catch a lyft and head over to check out disney springs.  i hadn't been there since they added a bunch of fun stuff and changed their name from "downtown disney," so i was pretty stoked to have some solo time to walk around at my leisure.  on the way there i spied the new disney skyliner, the newest form of transportation in the resort.


hello, disney springs!


i got out of the car and wandered around kind of aimlessly, not really knowing where to go and trying to keep a good distance from other people.  i debated stopping here, but eventually decided i didn't really want to chance getting buzzed when i was all by myself.


i bypassed this, too:


but when i found a starbucks, it was like i'd hit the jackpot.  and i even used some of my rewards stars to pick up a fun new florida-exclusive cup:


ahhhh, nectar of the gods.


i stopped in the world of disney store to check it out.  it's at least twice as big as the one we have at home.


i sent this picture to the old lady, who's a big "aristocats" fan.


when i saw this kiosk, i made a mental note to come back with the bean.  because after all, we don't ever turn down a chance for some good poutine.


there are lots of fun shops here, both disney and non-disney.




 the hub happened to call me just as i was about to go in here to take pictures and find him a souvenir:



and these are just a few of the other restaurants and fun things i walked past.



meanwhile, the bean was on the football field at the all star sports property...practicing the routine for the next day's competition but also mostly taking pictures.



she texted me to say that they were done and waiting to get on the shuttle back to our hotel, so i headed back to the rideshare drop-off and called another lyft to pick me up.


like my shoes?  what can i say...the car took a few minutes and i got bored.


back at the hotel, i met up with the bean and went back to our room to change so she could hit the pool with the rest of the team.  i got her to take this picture for me on the way:


we found our friends at a table underneath an umbrella by the pool, and while she happily hopped into the water i made a beeline for the bar.




we hung out there for a couple of hours, enjoying the breeze and chatting and sharing virus-related news and updates we were getting from home.  the hub was starting to panic a little, with more cases being discovered in what seemed like on an hour-to-hour basis.  he was trying to get us to come home early, and while we were both having fun i knew i had to be practical and go along with whatever he felt was best.  i figured he was also extra concerned mostly because he wasn't there with us, and so i told him that we would come home whenever he could get us a flight.  unfortunately, because of the news that had just broken about flights to and from europe, the airlines' phone lines were totally jammed and he couldn't get through.  and so at that point, we were still scheduled to return on monday morning.

the pool closed at 8:00, and so we headed back to the room to shower and figure something out for dinner.  a little miscommunication with our friends led to us being on our own for the evening after all and so i decided to take the bean to disney springs and pick a restaurant.  but not before snapping a selfie or two first.


disney springs was slightly crowded, so we did our best to stay far away from other folks as we browsed through a few shops and searched for sushi.  we found it at morimoto asia, which hadn't come up when i was searching for available reservations but happily seated us right away.




 i was on roll cocktail-wise, so i figured i might as well order one here too.  this is the shiraryuri - lime-infused vodka, yuzu juice and calpico with a pretty edible flower floating on top.


we ordered a couple of appetizers - an order of shumai, which i somehow didn't get a picture of, and the shrimp wontons served with duck broth and garlic chili oil.  these were really tasty.


i also had the "surf and turf" roll - a shrimp tempura and asparagus roll topped with slices of seared steak.


the bean was perfectly happy with her sushi - salmon and toro.  and then she chose dessert, too:  this is the japanese soufflĂ© cheesecake served with vanilla gelato and strawberry compote.


we would have loved to do some more shopping, but because it was a weekday night the stores all closed early.  and so we decided we'd just find time to come back at least one more time and hopped into another lyft to take us back to the hotel.

not a bad ending to our first full day in florida.

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