The Traveling Steve's

Happy Birthday to Steve DOS from DISNEY SPRINGS!

We got back from our MSC cruise and had a couple days at home to unpack, wash clothes, and repack for our 3 night trip to Disney Springs to celebrate Steve (DOS’s) big “Medicare” birthday. We stayed at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, which is an outstanding property near Disney Springs in Orlando.

Although we only live 45 minutes away from the Hyatt Grand Cypress, we have stayed there many times over the years, and it’s a great mini stay-cation for us, although we haven’t been there since the COVID pandemic of 2020. I checked in the Hyatt while DOS parked the car in the self-parking lot. We had used a Globalist suite upgrade on our paid stay, and got a lovely suite with HUGE terrace on the 12th floor. The agent welcomed me back back and offered me a glass of champagne, which I declined, but it was a nice gesture.

The bellman, Tim, assisted me with our luggage to the room, and DOS met us along the way. I told Tim I remember him, as he had given me a “Merlot” sticker a few years back. “Merlot” is the Hyatt Grand Cypress’s macaw mascot, and Tim can often be spotted in the lobby with “Merlot” on his shoulder. When “Merlot” is not on Tim’s shoulder, he is rested on his perch in the hotel lobby. We chatted for a bit on the way to the room, and he said “Merlot” is 25 years old, and during the pandemic while the Hyatt was closed for a few months, he cared for “Merlot” at his home. Tim has worked at the Hyatt for 37 years, and many of the staff there have over 30 years of service as well.

Our room was one of the 4 “terrace” suites on the 12 floor, which are essentially two room suites (living room and small dining area), with a separate bedroom and bath. The biggest plus to these rooms, however, is the HUGE outdoor terrace which approximately 60 feet long by 15 feet wide. We’ve had this room or similar a few times, including some wonderful pre-Christmas and New Year’s Eve stays, where we decorated the terrace with Christmas lights we had brought with us. The terrace has outstanding views from the 12th floor, including in the very far distance, Magic Kingdom, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and the Orlando Eye on International Drive; perfect for the theme park fireworks viewing at night.

Our 12th floor terrace, with the Four Seasons Hotel, Contemporary Resort, and Space Mountain way, way, way in the distance (center). You can see the nightly fireworks from the terrace.

There is built in irrigation for the plants and grass on the terrace, and outdoor electrical outlets too.

The Orlando “Eye” ferris wheel is in the center of this photo, located on International Drive several miles away. Universal Studios is to the left of the Eye, and SeaWorld is to the right of the Eye.

You can see the SeaWorld Tower to the right of the photo, while further right is one of SeaWorld’s roller coasters.

Our 12th floor room also had two French-type balconies (one in the living room and one in the bedroom) which provided floor to ceiling views inside the room.

After setting in the room and unpacking, we took the elevator down to the lobby to head over to Disney Springs. We were going to take Uber to Disney Springs, but we saw Bellman Tim in the lobby and he suggested we take the complimentary Hotel shuttle bus going there in 15 minutes, (at 5pm) which we did. We later took the shuttle back from Disney Springs to the hotel, which is quite convenient, and they are the Hyatt’s own shuttle buses, which unlike most of the Disney operated buses are usually jam-packed, standing room only vehicles.

We arrived at Disney Springs around 5:10pm, and entered via the West End, which is down by Cirque de Soleil and House of Blues. We were meeting my cousin Sherry and friend Kathy, who had been at Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) already for a couple hours, but as they were on the other side of Disney Springs from where we were, we had a bit of a walk to meet them. The little things we take for granted today; smart cell phones to call them, and also to take a couple photos along the way!

Cirque de Soleil “tent” building for their circus type shows at the west end of Disney Springs.

Below are several photos I took along the way to meet Sherry and Kathy at Disney Springs.

My cousin Sherry was in town from Virginia, and we met her and an old college friend of her’s, Kathy, (who lives locally in the Orlando area) for drinks and dinner. We had a fun time walking around Disney Springs, and as it was a weeknight (Wednesday), it wasn’t overly crowded like the weekends. We took a few photos with them pre-dinner, such as these by the lego store, with the lego dragon, and Mickey Mouse, all made out of legos.

Kathy, my cousin Sherry, and me (Steve UNO) at Disney Springs.

A couple of “cone heads” we met at Disney Springs, who were promoting the new show
at Cirque de Soleil.

At our suggestion, we next went to Wine Bar George, which is a wonderful and fun place to visit if you like wine, as they have just about any type wine you would like. You can order from an ounce of wine, to a glass, to a bottle, and as I learned a few years back, make sure you are looking at the correct column with the pricing on their extensive wine menu! (That nice wine you like and think it’s $16 a glass, maybe is actually $16 an ounce, and having a glass as I did years ago, it came to $80 a glass! Plus tip! I didn’t make that mistake again, although it was an outstanding Italian red!)

Anyway, as we didn’t have a reservation for Wine Bar George, we just sat at the bar for a glass of wine and a shared charcuterie platter. Wine prices range from reasonable to outrageous, (i.e. several thousand dollars a bottle!) but there is an extensive list of wines by the ounce or glass, and after my mistake years ago, we asked the bar tender sommelier for some advice on what to order, as the wine list was so extensive. One nice thing about Wine Bar George is you can try some nice high end wines for a one ounce sample, that you might not try otherwise. We also ordered a charcuterie board of various cheeses and crackers to compliment the wine.

We each had a glass of a full-bodied Cabernet or Malbec (Sherry), and shared the charcuterie board over a wine toast. We also had the bartender take a group photo of us.

After Wine Bar George, we headed over to Splitsville for our 7:15pm dinner reservation. Yes, Splitsville is a bowling alley, that just happens to have a good restaurant! We’ve eaten there many times, and it’s a fun and casual place to go, and although we had reservations, it’s one place most people would not think to go for dinner, so you can usually get a seat fairly easily.

Splitsville is huge, and a couple levels, occupying the former massive space of Virgin Records from several years ago. We ate on the second level, which is a separate section from the bowling action, although it’s nearby if you want to watch it. The menu there ranges from Sushi, to burgers, to pizza, salmon, steaks, appetizers, and desserts. While Sherry and Kathy weren’t real hungry from their late lunch and then the cheese platter and vino and Wine Bar George, they did have a dessert, while DOS had a chicken Cesar Salad, and I had a club sandwich and brewski for me.

We had a nice evening spending time with Sherry and Kathy before heading out to our hotel while they stayed a bit longer to look in some of the many shops at Disney Springs. We took the shuttle back to the Hyatt, and like the ride out to Disney Springs at 5pm, the shuttle bus was not full and was a quick 10 minute ride to the hotel. We had about 20 minutes before the bus pickup time, so we stopped at the House of Blue’s outdoor venue on the West End of Disney Springs, where a band was playing some old Eagle’s songs among others.

House of Blues shop at Disney Springs. There are both indoor and outdoor entertainment venues
to the left of the shops.

While we were waiting for the shuttle bus, we saw some Disney fireworks lighting up the night sky. We watched them for several minutes until the hotel shuttle bus showed up.

The next day was DOS’s birthday! We slept in a bit, and then headed downstairs for a nice breakfast buffet in the large Lakeside restaurant in the Hyatt. We saw a couple of waitresses who remembered us from previous visits, and truly made us feel welcome. Wow – what a great memory they have as we hadn’t been there in nearly 3 years! Hyatt Regency and Grand Hyatt’s always have a great breakfast, and usually a huge buffet like the one served here at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress which we thoroughly enjoyed.

After breakfast we took a nature walk around the hotel’s beautifuly manicured pathways. The Hyatt Regency Cyprus Creek is a huge 1,500 acre property, much of which is prime, undeveloped land, that sits on a “gold mine”, as it borders the property of Disney Springs. The hotel overlooks a small on-property lake with hotel amenities (as part of the daily resort fee) such as paddle boats and canoes, beaches, two large pools, (one of which has a pool cave you can cool off in), as well as a Jacuzzi inside the cave.

Wedding pavilion tent located next to the lake.

There also is a putting green, rock climbing wall, bicycles for use on the property, while the landscaping is immaculate with Asian statues and pathways. The property has a feeling of being at a Hawaiian resort, here in the heart of Central Florida! The Hyatt Grand Cypress has a private feeling to it, even more so than Disney World’s luxurious resorts such as the Polynesian or Grand Floridian, as only guests staying at the Hyatt are on property there, vs a constant stream of visitors strolling thru some of Disney’s premium properties via the monorail or boat access.

There’s even a “Wild West” section at the opposite end of the lake that looks like something out of a western movie. As there is lot of picnic table seating next to it, it’s probably used for corporate events or themed parties. There used to be horses in the woods back there, but we didn’t notice any now, so maybe they only are brought in for special events.

For dinner on DOS’s birthday, we met our good friends Ben and Tom (who live locally as well) at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort for dinner. We Uber’d over from the Hyatt, which is only a 15 minute journey, even with the Disney and I-4 traffic, and met at 6:30pm for a 7:15pm reservation. We had never been to the large and luxurious Rosen Shingle Creek Resort before, which is a large golf and convention type resort, so we wandered around the property a bit before having a brewski on the patio overlooking the golf course and lobby bar.

We had a pre-dinner drink on the outdoor patio of the restaurant bar, overlooking the golf course.

DOS the birthday boy, with Tom and Ben at Shingle Creek Resort.

View from the balcony patio where we were having pre-dinner drinks, overlooking the golf course.

For dinner, we ate indoors at the adjacent “A Land Remembered” restaurant, which is a fine dining restaurant, but with a casual golf resort or country club feel to it. We enjoyed a couple shared appetizers, and vino before ordering our salad and entree.

A good waiter can usually gauge the pace of your meal, and plan service accordingly, although we find if we don’t order all at once the meal does not get unintentionally rushed, i.e. salad and entree and/or appetizers get delivered too close or even with the entree (usually at more casual chain restaurants). Here, however, the service and meal course timing were excellent.

Wine cellar at entrance to “A Land Remembered” Restaurant.

Our friends Ben and Tom joined us for dinner.

Our waiter pours the first wine, a French Bordeaux which we had with our appetizers.

Nice and smooth French wine we had with our appetizers.

The second wine was amazing! DOS and I have actually been to this vineyard (Emiliana), a couple hours from Santiago, Chile, and had a wine-pairing lunch there years ago. This 2011 vintage wine was even better than I remember it – fantastic!
Outstanding red blend of Syrah, Carmenere, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvèdre, and Malbec, make this 2011 vintage truly a gem! Awesome with our steaks!

Cheers to the Birthday Boy!

DOS and I split a bone-in ribeye, and had them slice it for the two of us, and we still didn’t finish it! Tom had a strip steak, and Ben had the Sea Bass. We all agreed the meal and service were out standing.

This is why DOS and I always split a steak when we go to a fine dining restaurant. The steaks are always huge (and we didn’t even get the Tomahawk steak; rather the dry-aged ribeye.). This was more than enough for the two of us, and we had a bit leftover as well!

For dessert, our waiter presented DOS with a nice dessert, and had previously left a birthday card on the table when we were seated.

Happy Birthday, Steve (DOS)!

The four of us had a wonderful dinner and time together, and DOS really enjoyed his special “Medicare-aged” birthday! We loved the restaurant “A Land Remembered”, and look forward to going there again sometime in the future. We will certainly remember our night at “A Land Remembered”, celebrating Steve DOS’s 65th birthday!

When we got back to the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, there was a surprise gift from the hotel for DOS: some chocolate-covered strawberries, with “Happy 65th Birthday” spelled out in chocolate!

Happy Birthday Steve DOS! And many more to come!

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