After we posted yesterday Keith met up with our son Eric for a drink at the club lounge. They each had an IPA beer made sort of locally (well nearby in Atlanta, Georgia). They did have two other beers made in this part of Florida along with several other national/international brands to choose from.
We all enjoyed dinner at the Grand Floridian Cafe. Keith chose this restaurant with the family in mind and for the convenience for those who wanted to pack after dinner. Eric and family did go back to the park for one final visit.
The grandchildren got to pick out a keepsake which their parents purchased for them. This is what Emma,Jackson & Emma selected.
We watched the fireworks from our room where we have a terrific view of the Magic Castle.
As we close out this portion of the trip, we are reminded that Disney began with Mickey Mouse. It is amazing how it has grown.
Like most things it is not for everyone but clearly Disney has and continues to be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages. I believe it brings out the "kid" in most people and for the time you are at Disney you can forget the outside world for hours or even days. You can laugh. You can scream. You can enjoy. You can dream.
And you can create memories that will last a lifetime.
We slept well and had breakfast in our room before walking over to the main building.
After check-out from the hotel we were driven to the airport by a Minnie Van which Keith arranged ahead of time for each family. All three Minnie Vans arrived on time and we saw the entire family before each family got into their Minnie Van.
We all left the hotel at the same time. Although we have three different flights across two different airlines the scheduled flight times were all close to one another.
As you may recall we used the Minnie Van service to take all of us from the airport to the Grand Floridian. They also offer a service through the Lyft application within Disney to take guests between parks or to other locations.
We spoke with all three drivers. They were upbeat and very helpful as are all of the Disney Cast Members. This service has existed for two and one-half years but more recently was expanded to serve between the hotels and the Orlando Airport. They also offer service between the hotels and the Port Of Canaveral for those sailing on a Disney Cruise Ship.
We checked in for the flight. Without TSA Pre Check the line getting through security was twenty minutes. Our line was much quicker. Anne Marie's rain coat did set off the alarm so she had to take that off. Also, they did inspect her carry on and we knew why. She has a piece of jewelry which they wanted to check to see what it was. This happened once before. We actually like when they do this as it reenforces their work. They were very professional and it showed.
We were fortunate. Our flight to Miami took off early and arrived early. This was not the case for the family who was on two other flights. A storm arrived to Orlando around the time we took off and flights to the west were halted so the family took off about one hour late and had a bumpy ride for part of the flight.
We were met at the luggage carousel by the driver. Miami can be known for the luggage being slow and we think because we arrived early this added to the delay. About 45 minutes after we arrived the luggage came out. A few minutes before we collected the luggage a woman who was on another flight raced in to get a piece of luggage and she just about knocked Keith over. He felt he was playing tackle football. Thankfully no injuries but she really was not paying attention and apologized.
Once we collected the luggage we made our way to the vehicle for the drive over to the Four Seasons Hotel.
Our first stay at this hotel was in 2007 before the start of the 2007 World Cruise. This was the hotel that Crystal used to host the World Cruise Gala. We have stayed at this hotel on several occasions and it quickly became our our go-to Hotel for Miami. With each passing year Miami has more and more hotel choices downtown and in Miami Beach. For us this is an ideal location. It is located in a quiet area downtown and is a short walk to many restaurants on Brickell, and at the nearby Mary Brickell Village and Brickell Centre. There are also two grocery stores nearby and several pharmacies where we pick up some final items to take with us for the adventure.
From its location we can walk along the Biscayne Bay, in the past walked towards Key Biscayne and can walk to and from the port just to see what ships are in-port.
On most stays we also walk to the Intercontinental Hotel located near Bayside and the American Airlines Arena where we take a taxi or Uber and visit South Beach. We prefer being dropped off at the start of South Beach and walk the area with the Atlantic Ocean on our right up to the board walk and over to Miami Beach.
We have looked at hotels to stay at in South Beach. However, unless you stay in a room facing the ocean it can be noisy at night. Also it doesn't offer the shopping like Downtown Miami does including the convenience to pick up items we purchase for the cruise.
After check-in we made our way to the room.
Our last stay in Miami was in 2017 prior to a Crystal Cruises Caribbean Cruise with another couple who used to live close-by in our former town. We had cruised with them before but it was their first Crystal Cruise.
In three years there has been more enhancements and completed new construction projects, many we saw underway in 2017.
Some of you may remember we always enjoyed having lunch and/or dinner at Perricone's located a couple of blocks fro the hotel near Mary Brickell Village. The restaurant was very unique in terms of it's layout. The property was worth lots of money and a developer bought it to build a much larger and taller site. Perricone's now offers delivery service until their new restaurant opens in a couple of months and will be located a few blocks from the hotel.
We took a walk over to a Publix grocery store to pick up some items for the cruise and also for our stay at the hotel. We walked by the former Perricone’s site which is under construction and passed a few other buildings which are new.
We stopped by a cafe which serves French Food. For many years it was under one name and has been renamed. Much of the food is as we remember.
We are glad that we are in Miami and look forward to a couple of days in this wonderful city before we board the amazing Crystal Serenity
With so much construction many of the sidewalks are marked to ensure that people are on site to not impact telecommunications fiber optics. We saw a familiar three letter name for those of you know where Keith spent the majority of his career.
Anne Marie & Keith