With Thanksgiving approaching, my mindset is on vacation. Naturally I’m reflecting on my first trip to Florida. I visited Naples with a day trip to Orlando (to visit Disney World). My personal tour guide (/boyfriend), Alec, showed me so many wonderful places that I hope you will be able to visit as well.
Alec made several videos from our trip that I will link below because sometimes pictures aren’t enough.
Because of the time of year, our days were cut short by consistent 3 o’clock rain/thunderstorms. Still, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Brio at the Waterside Shops. This Italian restaurant has amazing flatbread, caprese, and other Italian food.
I ordered the Steak Salad, one of my new favorite dishes. I have found that if you order something like a Steak Salad or a Salmon Salad, they give you a very generous amount of salmon/steak (typically) along with a salad so you are able to get both protein and greens.
Pick a clear night and visit the Turtle Club Restaurant on Vanderbilt Beach for a wonderful sunset dinner. I enjoyed the salmon while Alec had the grouper. Both were phenomenal and the view was beautiful. We walked along the beach after to watch the remainder of the sunset.
Next up: DISNEY! I have been to Disneyland several times but never Disney World. We purchased the park hopper ticket and visited the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. It was a very long day (I got 27,000 steps according to my Fitbit) but definitely worth the 3 hour drive from Naples.
I previously wrote a piece on Travel Snacks and I must say these came in handy at the parks. Alec and I both tend to get a little grumpy when we are hungry so we both snacked on Kind Bars and Larabars while waiting in line for the rides.
Where to Eat in Disney World:
I was very worried about finding places to eat that would not be fried, battered, or greasy but I was pleasantly surprised by all the options. Here are a few suggestions if you visit the parks:
- Magic Kingdom:
- Tortuga Tavern- this is located near the Pirates of the Carribean ride and offers pulled pork and other BBQ options.
- Liberty Square Market- a simple place to grab some snacks and other food.
- Plaza Ice Cream Parlor- according to my research, this is the best ice cream at Disney World (I think it’s Edy’s) but it was a wonderful reward after 18+ hours of Disney adventuring.
- Katsura Grill- if you want skewers or things of that nature, go here.
- La Cantina de San Angel- this is a quick and easy buffet-style kind of dining. You order at a register and then wait for a tray with your food on it. It was very good and filling, especially after a long day of not eating.
- The Land Cart
- Les Chefs de France- if you’re okay with spending a bit of money go here. It’s located in ‘France’ and is the cutest little Parisian bistro. They also offer amazing ice cream called L’artisan des Glaces.
- Hollywood Studios:
- Starring Rolls Café
- Trolley Car Café- if you want Starbucks, you can find it here (although there are several locations throughout all four parks). I eyed this one knowing we’d visit Hollywood Studios later in the day in case I needed a pick-me-up.
- Anaheim Fruits- offering a wonderful selection of fruits and juices, this is a great place to go if you’re in need of a healthy snack.
- Animal Kingdom:
- Harambe Fruit Market- I was so excited when I saw this little cart because they had oranges, apples, bananas, yogurt, fruit cups, and other healthy options. I got an orange and was almost too excited to munch away.
We left Disney around 9:30 pm but were desperate for food before our 3-hour drive back to Naples so we stopped at Perkin’s Restaurant and gorged ourselves with breakfast foods. Honestly, I love going out after a long day and ordering breakfast for dinner. It always seems like the most appetizing choice.
Our final day in Florida was sad because who wants to leave vacation (!) but we made the best of it. We ended the trip with a bang by visiting Clam Pass Park. Clam Pass is an extremely cute and intimate beach.
There is a 6/10th of a mile boardwalk from the parking lot to the beach that you can either walk or drive if you get picked up by a golf car. Once you get to the end of the boardwalk, there is a small shack that offers burgers, fries, smoothies, etc.. The Naples Grand Hotel residents visit this beach but there were very few people, at least when we went. We had our own little area that made it feel like a private beach. WARNING: this beach has a LOT of shells, but it also has sand dollars, which is super cool.
We spent a few hours there then headed back to our apartment to get ready for our sunset boar tour.
Although I loved Disney, I think the boat tour was the best part of our trip. We went on the Pure Florida Sunset Boat Tour in Tin City and saw not only a beautiful sunset, but also magnificent water front homes. It was the perfect end to our trip!
Tin City is another great place to visit with several cute shops for t-shirts and goodies. They have an amazing monkey bread store there with numerous choices like the pecan monkey bread. Riverwalk is a great restaurant to go to, especially if you do a deep sea fishing tour- they will grill your catch for you!
We, however, tried Pinchers and I will say it was AMAZING. We started with mussels, something I would not usually go for but loved. I got grilled shrimp, although the options included boom boom (sweet and sour), coconut, eat & peel, and barbecue. With the dishes you could pick two sides- steak fries, regular fries, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, green beans, black beans, rice, etc. I chose green beans and mashed potatoes *drooling*. Alec ordered the crab cake burger with a side of fries and rice.
I would suggest going a bit early to your dinner reservation or boat tour to walk around Tin City. It’s small but their stores are very eclectic and great for souvenirs.
Videos from Florida: