First a Little Pomp & Circumstance, then a Whole Lot of Disney Dining! – May 2012 Trip

Hello everyone! On May 13th (which also happens to be Mother’s Day) my oldest child, Allison, will be graduating from college.  To celebrate this milestone, I am taking her on a “girls only” trip to one of our favorite places…Disney World, of course. Joining our celebration trip will be her younger sister, Emily, who just successfully completed her first year of college. Our party of 3 will be spending 10 nights at my favorite Disney resort, the Boardwalk (but on the villa side this time, which we haven’t done for several years). But first, an explanation of our Ratings System!

An Explanation of our Dining Ratings System

After reading and critiquing my first review, Allison said that I needed to make our rating system more fun.  She suggested that I incorporate a Disney theme into our ratings. So since she was the guest of honor on this trip, I allowed her to choose our theme. Peter Pan is currently her favorite Disney movie and Tinkerbell her favorite character, so Peter Pan theme it is. Here is our rating system:

Argh! pirate: This food was pretty bad (luckily Captain Hook will rarely appear in these reviews).

 

I don’t believe that Mr. Smee was truly bad, he just dutifully obeyed his evil captain. And just like Mr. Smee, this food has the potential to be good, but is not quite there yet. For now, it’s just okay.

 

 

Just like Wendy this food is good, but not particularly imaginative or memorable.

 

Like Peter, this food is a star…very good!

 

This food was excellent, maybe even magical like Tinkerbell. :tinker:

MAY 15

We began our wonderful 10 night stay in a one-bedroom villa at the Boardwalk. I had debated about whether to again stay in a regular room on the Inn side at the Boardwalk (currently my favorite Disney resort) or spend a little more money for a villa. I can now honestly say that the extra space we had at the villa was worth every penny. Ten nights was the longest we had ever stayed at one hotel, and I’m certain that there would have been many more fights had we been limited to the space of a regular hotel room. I had been concerned about the common complaint that the walking distance from the lobby to the rooms at the Boardwalk Villas could be quite far. When I did the online check-in the only request regarding our room location that could be made was that it was close to transportation. So I check marked this request and hoped for the best. When we arrived we were told our room was #2026 and on the 2nd level, which is the same floor as the lobby. Encouraged by this, we happily began our walk down the hallway to locate our room…but then we walked and walked (with the hallway splitting off in different directions a few times) until we finally found our room at the very end of one of the hallways. Since I had no idea where we were at this point, I decided to reserve judgement until we figured out the lay of the land. Upon entering the room, the first thing we did of course was to check out the view from our balcony…

 

 

 

The View from the Boardwalk Villas Room# 2026

Now, I’m sure there are some here that would be less than thrilled to have a room with a direct view of the clown slide at the Boardwalk pool. :lmao: But for me it was actually quite a nice view, much better than the parking lot views I’ve had at many hotels. After unpacking, our next task was trying to find a shorter route to the Boardwalk. We took the EXIT door right next to our room, walked down one flight of stairs and out the door, where we found ourselves on the walkway to Disney Studios, right next to the pool area…just a short walk away from just about everything. We could walk through the pool area for a short cut to the bus stop or the bakery/walkway to Epcot. We could make the walk over the bridge to the Swan & Dolphin in about 5 minutes, which we did twice for dinners at their restaurants, as well as a couple of times when riding the bus. When returning on the bus from Animal Kingdom and Downtown Disney too (I believe), the Boardwalk was the last bus stop but the Swan was the first. So getting off at the Swan was a much faster way back to our room. And of course, being right next to the walkway…walking to Hollywood Studios was a breeze. I would therefore say that in terms of room location and view, we SCORED with this one! So here’s to standard view Room# 2026…YOU ROCK! :cool1:

Ok, now I’m ready to bring on the food…lots of food! :thumbsup2

Dinner at Il MulinoCOMPLETE

MAY 16

Our first morning didn’t exactly go as I had planned…which will be a common theme for this trip. ;) My plan was to be at the International Gateway entrance to Epcot by opening time, send Allison (our fastest walker on this trip) on ahead to get fastpasses for Soarin’ (my favorite Disney World ride and usually my first ride of every trip), ride Soarin’ once we catch up to her, then have breakfast at Sunshine Seasons there in the Land Pavilion while we pass the time until we can ride again with our Fast Passes. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans??? :laughing:

This was the reality: As I am getting ready for bed, soon after returning from dinner at Il Mulino, Allison informs me that she still has some online school work with a deadline of 7:00 a.m. the next day. :eek: What, I thought you graduated? :confused3 Yes, I know you graduated, I was there and saw it with my own two tear-filled eyes. Well, it turns out that because she was an intern in a school research lab last year there was still some work that needed to be done. They had kindly extended the deadline until after finals week and graduation weekend and she had taken advantage of their kindness. Consequently, she was up until at least 2:00 a.m. working on her laptop in order to finish and submit her work. (Let me just add here…Kudos to the Disney resorts for now offering free wireless internet in their guest rooms!) So of course, being the kind mother that I am :rolleyes1, I didn’t make her get up early the next morning. While both daughters slept in, I had a pleasant walk down to the Boardwalk Bakery for coffee and a breakfast treat.

 

Now I have always had a blueberry muffin for breakfast from the Boardwalk Bakery, but this seemed like it was going to be a trip where traditions would be broken. So with that in mind, this is what I got…

Chocolate Croissant

Well, I just might have to start a new tradition because this was very good! I took my croissant and coffee back to our villa, popped it in the microwave for just a few seconds, and then enjoyed them while I sat out on the balcony and played on my IPad. So this turned out to be a very quiet and relaxing start of our first day for me and my daughters greatly enjoyed their extra hours of sleep. Yes, hours…we barely made it to Epcot in time for our 11:30 lunch reservation at Le Cellier! :rotfl:

Lunch at Le Cellier  – COMPLETE

After walking around World Showcase in the hot afternoon sun, we were all ready for something cold and refreshing. Emily chose strawberry flavored kakigori (shaved ice topped with fruit syrup) from a kiosk in the Japanese pavilion. Sorry we forgot to take a picture, but she ate it quickly so that it wouldn’t melt. I thought about getting a rainbow one with three flavors, but then Allison and I decided to share this adult slushie from the France kiosk instead…

Grand Marnier Orange Slush

I just found a recipe for this online:

Ingredients

1 part Grand Marnier
1 part Grey Goose Vodka
2 parts sweet and sour mix
1 part simple syrup

Blend with ice.
Add orange food coloring if you want it orange just like at EPCOT.

That sounds about right…has anybody tried to make this at home?

So anyway, we took our delicious slushie with us to the UK to catch a performance of King Arthur & the Holy Grail by the World Showcase Players.

 

 

 

 

As always, the show was pure RUBBISH!!! :lmao: No matter how many times I see this, it always cracks me up!

It started to get really cloudy just as their performance ended and we just so happened to be very close to one of my favorite places at Epcot to pass the time on a rainy day…

 

Rose & Crown Pub – COMPLETE

We were enjoying ourselves so much at the Rose & Crown that we stayed a little longer than we should have and had to really rush to get back to our room to change clothes and then walk over to the Dolphin in time for our 7:30…

Dinner at Todd English’s bluezoo

BACKGROUND: This would be our first visit to bluezoo and I was really looking forward to it. On our last trip we tried Shula’s (the other signature restaurant at the Dolphin) for the first time and although I was disappointed with my steak, the rest of the food was very good and I would definitely rate it higher than our meal at Il Mulino at the Swan. So where would bluezoo fall in my rankings of the Swan and Dolphin Resort signature restaurants??? Please continue reading to find out. ;)

Dinner at bluezoo – COMPLETE

MAY 17

Today we actually got up early (well, early for the girls anyway ;) ) and were ready and out of our room at around 8:30. We didn’t have to wait long for a bus to Downtown Disney and since the Boardwalk is the last stop on this route, we made it to Downtown Disney Marketplace and in the door at Wolfgang Puck Express not long after it opened for breakfast (from what I’ve read they only serve breakfast for two hours in the morning, from 9:00 – 11:00).

Breakfast at Wolfgang Puck ExpressCOMPLETE

Lunch at Downtown Disney AMC Theatre (Fork & Screen) – COMPLETE

Background: With this being a longer than normal trip for us, I decided that we should spend a whole day at Downtown Disney…something we hadn’t done for a couple of years. So in terms of food, a full day meant from breakfast to dinner. That’s three meals or three new restaurants/food venues we could try. I was very excited just thinking about all the possibilities. But then about a week before our trip, I made the mistake of discussing my dining plans with my daughters. When told of my plans for our DTD day, their response was…”Couldn’t we just skip breakfast and sleep-in an extra hour?” WHAT??? And give up the opportunity to finally try some of the breakfast foods at Wolfgang Puck Express??? No way!!! :mad: So I had to do some quick thinking to avoid this potential mutiny. :idea: In my most diplomatic voice, I proposed a deal to my rebellious offspring. If they joined me for breakfast at WPE, then they could each choose where we would have one of our other two meals of this day. They took the bait…I mean, they accepted my proposal. ;) So now I just needed to convince them that the new places that I wanted to try, were the ones that they wanted to try. Emily was a pushover, she was all for combining our lunch with seeing a movie. One down, one to go. I then started working on Allison, suggesting that we could have dinner at Portobello since we all like Italian food. No, she didn’t want to have Italian again so soon after our dinner at Il Mulino. Okay then, how about if we try the Cuban food at Bongo’s? No, she didn’t feel like Cuban food. What? How do you know that you won’t feel like Cuban food a week from now??? :rolleyes: Yes, I thought this, but what I said to her was, “How about Fulton’s for seafood?” No, we will be having seafood the night before at bluezoo. At this point I knew where this was heading and that my plan to try all new places at Downtown Disney had been foiled. I resigned myself to the fact that we would be having…

Dinner at Raglan Road – COMPLETE

MAY 18

Breakfast at Sleepy Hollow – COMPLETE

Tea for Two (+1) at the Garden View Lounge – COMPLETE

Dinner at California Grill  – COMPLETE

MAY 19

This day was a planned sleep-in day for the girls.  …I actually allowed them to sleep until 10:00. However, according to them, getting up at 10:00 a.m. is NOT considered sleeping-in. :mad: But hey, we were in Disney World, girls! No time to waste sleeping when we had things to see, rides to ride, and most importantly, much food to be eaten. ;) But in that regard, I did my part this morning by thinking ahead while we were at Magic Kingdom yesterday.

Before leaving the park, I made a stop at the Main Street Bakery to get this

NEVER BEFORE SEEN here breakfast treat…

Wait for it… :lmao:

And here it is, the Breakfast of Champions (well, Champion Eaters anyway:laughing:)

…

 

The Main Street Bakery Cinnamon Roll

Okay, I lied…, you may have seen this here a few times before, right? :rolleyes1

So anyway, while Emily slept soundly on the pull-out couch of our villa, I quietly crept into the room to get my day-old cinnamon roll from the kitchen counter. I couldn’’t resist the urge to take a bite of it before retreating to the breakfast nook (aka the balcony ;)). Hmmm, …not so great. :sad2: I then had an idea. :idea: Yes, I popped it in the microwave and a few seconds later out came the warm, ooey-gooey cinnamon roll we all know and love. :love: It was well-worth the wrath of my daughter that I had to endure for running the noisy microwave. :headache:

But after all, it’’s just not the same without that delicious frosting dripping down my chin. You don’’t get that when you eat it at room-temperature, now do you??? :lmao:With some foods it’’s all about the temperature, right Linda? ;) Just as Disney cupcakes should not be eaten cold, the Main Street Bakery cinnamon rolls should not be eaten at room-temperature. Having learned that lesson, I then took my warm cinnamon roll and cup of coffee to the breakfast nook and enjoyed them while checking the Disboards on my iPad. ‘’Cause of course I had to find out if any of my favorite Disney Dining reporters (like DonaldDoleWhip and emmysmommy) had posted any updates to their then ongoing reviews. :thumbsup2 And with that, I’’ll leave you with a picture of my lovely dining table

…

 

Table for one with a view of the pool ;)

Oops…I guess now I have to admit that I ate my cinnamon roll that morning with a knife and fork. :rolleyes: But it’s not because I always have good manners about such things as this. I just didn’t want to have sticky fingerprints all over my new iPad. :rotfl:

Lunch at Tutto Italia – COMPLETE

Dinner at Bistro de Paris – COMPLETE

MAY 20

Skipped Breakfast

Lunch at Yak & Yeti – COMPLETE

While Emily and I were at Animal Kingdom, Allison spent this day at Epcot with a Florida friend who was visiting for the day. So while Emily and I were having lunch at Yak & Yeti, Allison and her friend were drinking :drinking1 their lunch at…

 

At La Cava they each got a margarita to go and took them outside to La Cantina where they got this to share…

 

La Cantina Nachos – corn tortilla chips with ground beef, nacho cheese, fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, black beans, and sour cream (I don’t see any sour cream in the picture so they either got it on the side or they didn’t get it for some reason??? Oh, and how about all those jalapenos? WOW! :scared:)

But I was just happy to see that they got food at La Cantina and not a second margarita. ;)

They enjoyed their La Cava margaritas and the nachos inside the air-conditioned La Hacienda de San Angel restaurant, as it has available seating during the early afternoon for the customers of the Cantina.

 

Allison and Friend seated inside La Hacienda with their La Cava Margaritas

Midnight Blue Margarita – 100% Agave Tequila Reposado, blue Curacao, fresh lime juice and agave nectar, served on the rocks with a hibiscus Himalayan salt rim

-and-
Avocado Margarita – El Mayor premium silver Tequila, melon liqueur, fresh avocado, agave nectar and fresh lime juice, served frozen with a hibiscus Himalayan salt rim

Sadly, Allison didn’t like the Avocado Margarita quite as much as I do, I think mostly because she generally prefers margaritas that are served on the rocks rather than frozen. This might be due to the fact that she is highly susceptible to “brain freezes”. :eek:

Later in the afternoon they stopped in at Germany’s Sommerfest and each got these…

 

Authentic Hand-twisted Soft Pretzel and an Altenmunster Oktoberfest Beer

Then they concluded their day together at the Boardwalk by having…

Dinner at Kouzzina

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Allison’s Dinner at Kouzzina (now closed) – COMPLETE

Dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse COMPLETE

We then continued our evening by first going to Epcot where we met up with Allison and watched Illuminations…

 

 

And then park hopped over to DHS…

for the second showing of Fantasmic…

 

I had thoughts of going to Magic Kingdom for Extra Magic Hours from 12:00 – 3:00, just so I could say that I had finally been to all 4 parks in one day…but sadly at midnight this Disney Princess turned into a very tired Pumpkin. :faint:
MAY 21

As you may recall from my breakfast review of the first full day of our trip, my favorite Disney World ride is Soarin’. Since I am the planner of all our Disney trips, I generally always schedule our first park day to be at Epcot so that our first ride of the trip is Soarin’. Well, that didn’t quite work out on this trip, because although we went to Epcot our first day, we didn’t get there until lunch time. This, of course, was way too late to ride Soarin’ without standing in line for hours (which I refuse to do), thanks in part to Test Track being down for a major refurbishment. :( Our second day we were at DTD and third at MK (where our first ride of the trip was on the Not-so-Great Goofini’s Barnstormer :rolleyes:). For our fourth day (the Saturday of the final weekend of the Flower & Garden Festival) we were again at Epcot but with it predicted to have big crowds that day, I had told the girls that they could sleep in and we would just go to the park for our lunch at Tutto Italia and spend just the afternoon at Epcot World Showcase, so no Soarin’ for us that day. :sad2: The next day DD2 and I went to Animal Kingdom, and so that brings us to this day…Monday, May 21.

Yes, we had been at Disney World for nearly a full week and I had not yet dangled my feet over the state of California!!! :eek:

But today, my dear DIS friends, we would finally rectify this grievous error. My feet would dangle not once, but twice (thanks to Fast Passes), with a short break in between rides for…

Breakfast Snack at Sunshine Seasons – COMPLETE

Hmmm…Let’s see, so far we have had Italian (twice), Canadian ( I guess you can call it that?) , Irish, English High Tea, French, and Asian. So what very popular International cuisine is conspicuously missing???

And no, there will be no Wiener Schnitzel appearing in my next review. :rotfl:

SAN ANGEL INN: A RETROSPECTIVE

My very first visit to Disney World was in 1984 when I went there with my DH (actually we were not yet married, but newly engaged then :hug:). I recall entering Epcot Future World for the first time and discovering the kiosks where dining reservations could be made for meals to be eaten that very same day. Ahhhh yes, those were the days when you didn’’t have to choose where you wanted to dine six months in advance. ;) Does anyone remember those days? But then again, the planning (especially the dining) is half the fun of a Disney trip…, at least for me it is. :thumbsup2 Anyway, we chose to dine that day at the Mexican restaurant, San Angel Inn. So being our first meal at Disney World, San Angel Inn will always have a special place in my heart. :lovestruc

Then when we started taking family trips 12 years ago, we almost always included SAI in our dining plans. It became a family favorite, but not really because of the food (which was okay, but certainly nothing special…just all the usual stuff like tacos, nachos, taco salads, frozen strawberry margaritas, etc. that you can easily find at your local Mexican restaurant). And since I’m feeling in a rather nostalgic mood today, I’m going to pull out a few pics from trips past.

 

Our First Family Meal at San Angel Inn – July 2001
Pictured: Allison, Emily, My Niece, My son (Andrew), and Me (Barb)

My standard meal at San Angel Inn was almost always the Tacos Al Carbon with grilled chicken, peppers, onions, and guacamole and a Frozen Strawberry Margarita.

 

 

So yes, as I said before, the food here was fine for the most part but San Angel Inn was a family favorite more for sentimental reasons (for my husband and I) and for the cool atmosphere of the restaurant. ;)

Oh, and Allison always loved to celebrate her birthday here, ’cause the “Happy Birthday” song always seemed more fun when it was sung in Spanish. :thumbsup2

 

“Feliz cumpleaños a ti”:bday: Plus she has always liked fried ice cream better than cupcakes for a birthday treat. :thumbsup2

However things began to change at San Angel Inn, which we first noticed on our March 2010 trip. Their menu had been almost completely revised. Gone were the nachos, and instead they had delicious tostadas.

 

Tostadas de Tinga – Pulled chicken seasoned with roasted tomato and chipotle, served on tostadas with black refried beans, green tomatillo sauce, queso fresco and sour cream.

 

My usual chicken tacos had been replaced by much more interesting and authentic Mexican entrees. And the entrees that did remain, like the Pollo a la Rayas, seemed to be greatly improved. :thumbsup2

 

Pollo A Las Rajas (Emily’s meal from 2007, I believe?) – grilled chicken breast served over red peppers, onions, chile poblano, chorizo and melted cheese (that was the menu description but in truth it was a dry chicken breast over cheese soup).
This was not good. :sad2:

 

Pollo a la Rajas (my meal from March 2010) – Slices of chicken breast, cream sauce, peppers, & onions. Topped with queso fresco and accompanied by Arroz Verde (Green rice)

This was very good! :thumbsup2

And I had this very yummy dessert…

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Moras con Cajeta – frozen white chocolate mousse with mixed seasonal berries and Mexican milk caramel.

And so our whole meal, from appetizers to dessert, was delicious…, one of the best of that March 2010 trip! ::yes::

But that wasn’t the end of San Angel Inn’s changes. ;)

With the addition of La Cava de Tequila next door later that year, came the delicious and more unusual new margarita flavors.

This included my favorite…

 

Frozen Avocado Margarita

And then about a year ago, the dining room setting was changed from a bright multi-colored Mexican fiesta to a more elegant and subdued look with white tablecloths and pretty new china and navy blue glassware.

 

The Old San Angel Inn

And a picture from our Nov. 2011 visit showing the new look of San Angel Inn…

 

 

In summary, I believe that San Angel Inn has made some very positive changes in recent years. And so that brings me to this lunch in May, 2012. Would this new version of San Angel Inn again impress us or would this meal cause an Angel’s Fall from Grace???

So please stay tuned for Part II, San Angel Inn: The May 2012 Review.

Lunch at San Angel Inn – COMPLETE

Nothing really appealed to us from the dessert menu (sadly, they no longer have the Moras con Cajeta) so we decided to go to the French bakery to satisfy our sweet tooth. But somehow, and I really can’t remember how :confused3, we got side-tracked and never made it to Boulangerie Patisserie…not that day or any other day of our trip. :sad: This was one of only a very few regrets that I have from this trip. I didn’t get to have one of my favorite Disney snacks…

 

The Incredibly Delicious Napoleon from the French Bakery

Dinner at JIKO

BACKGROUND: Now it just so happens that our very first dinner at a Disney Signature restaurant was at Jiko. Most of our dining during our first five or six family trips to Disney World was focused on Character Meals…we did them all, and some of them we did over and over again. :rolleyes1 That left little time for regular non-character restaurants, let alone the Signature restaurants. So getting to dine at Jiko during our 2001 trip was an extra-special treat for me. My brother-in-law had driven over from Tampa to have dinner with us, so I somehow talked my husband’s into splurging by dining at Jiko, since we were staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge at that time (just a few months after the resort opened in April 2001). And so the four of us (including Allison) had a wonderful dinner at Jiko.

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Our First Dinner at Jiko – July 2001

Oh, and in case you were wondering, our other two kids opted to go to Simba’s Playhouse that night. They really loved it there, as evidenced by the huge smiles on their faces when we picked them up after dinner.

 

They even saved one for their Dear Old Dad!

I think Andrew is holding up two fingers because that is his second treat of the evening. :lmao:

Anyway, I still have very fond memories of that meal, my first taste of Disney Signature dining. I took full advantage of my husband’s temporary generosity (or was it insanity? :laughing:) and ordered the most expensive entrée on the menu, Jiko’s Signature Herb-crusted Filet Mignon with red wine and port reduction and served on a bed of the most delicious macaroni and cheese I’’d ever tasted. :love: I highly suspect that that mac ‘n cheese and red wine sauce were sprinkled with a very heavy dose of Pixie Dust. :tinker:
I sooo wanted to pick up my plate and lick from it every last drop of those magical red wine and cheese sauces, but I had to show some restraint and set a good example for my 11 year old daughter. :laughing: She was after all, using her very best table manners at this fancy “grown-ups” dinner. ;)

Oh, and you might be wondering just how much this most expensive entrée on Jiko’s menu was in the year 2001??? And the answer is $28.50!!! I also found in my scrapbook notes from that dinner that my brother-in-law had the Banana Leaf Steamed Sea Bass with asparagus puree and accented with mushrooms and apples for $23.25 and very much enjoyed it. My husband had a Salmon dish for $20 and our daughter was allowed to order the Fish & Chips from the Kids’ Menu even though she was 11 at the time. And one more thing, I had one of my favorite desserts here, Creme Brulee for $5.25. Their version at that time was described as being “Scented with Grains of Paradise Dust”. :rotfl:

Here is the one picture that we have of our food from our July 2001 Jiko dinner. As you can tell by the angle from which it was taken, it was my daughter (then age 11) who took this picture of her Fish & Chips. It seems I had a Disney Dining Reviewer in the making and I didn’t even know it. :goodvibes

 

Food from Our Jiko Dinner – July 2001

If you look closely, you can even see the rest of our food in the background.

And so although this was a wonderful first Signature dining experience, it was not one that we were able to repeat for many years due to various reasons (mostly due to money and/or time). But fast-forward to the planning of our Nov. 2010 trip when I decided that the celebration of our 25th anniversary merited a return trip to Jiko so that I could again have the entrée which I had often thought about during the many years since I had had it. :cloud9: However, shortly before our trip I learned that Jiko had gotten a new chef who made some changes to their menu, one of which was replacing the mac ‘’n cheese with a different side dish, something like roasted fingerling potatoes or potato gratin.:rolleyes: I was so disappointed when I heard this that I immediately cancelled our reservation. But after that trip I began reading reviews where people were still able to get the macaroni and cheese with the filet because it was still on the Kids’ Menu. Therefore on my very next trip (May 2011) Allison and I dined at Jiko for the second time.

And so was the filet with mac ‘n cheese as good as I had remembered it?

Sadly my answer would have to be no. :sad2:

This time around the whole dish was just okay; nothing special, nothing magical, definitely no Pixie Dust. :guilty: Now I know that some of you foodies out there are probably thinking…”Haha, it serves you right for expecting a plateful of kid’s elbow macaroni and some runny cheese sauce to be anything but ordinary”. :snooty: But I swear to you that this steak/wine sauce/mac ‘n cheese combination was once extraordinary, or at least that’s how I will always remember it as being. ;)

However, on the positive side, my disappointment was offset by my daughter’s love of her chosen entree, the Braised Beef Short Rib served with Truffled Potato Puree, Pearl Onions, Baby Carrots, and a Cabernet-Tamarind Sauce. It was actually one of her favorite entrees of that trip, so consequently she specifically requested that on this trip (in honor of her graduation) we return for…

Dinner at Jiko: The Cooking Place  – COMPLETE

 

MAY 22

Skipped Breakfast

BACKGROUND: Beaches & Cream was one of only a handful of non-character restaurants frequented by my family during our early trips to Disney World. The food there was both good and kid-friendly. It was also relatively inexpensive (for Disney World food), the ’50s style decor was fun, and they served 8 different flavors of ice cream with about 10 different toppings to choose from. So, what more could you ask for, right???

 

Our First Visit to Beaches & Cream – July 2001

But then as the kids got older, I wanted to try more and more new places so some of the old stand-bys like Beaches & Cream seemed to have gotten lost somewhere in the shuffle. Consequently, we had not been there in more than 6 years.

 

Our Last Visit to Beaches & Cream – March 2006

Anyway, my last few trips I had really wanted to return to Beaches & Cream, but just didn’t have enough time to squeeze a visit there into our dining schedule…not even a quick stop for ice cream. So I was determined that on this trip we would have…

Lunch at Beaches & Cream

 

Lunch at Beaches & CreamCOMPLETE

After our early lunch at Beaches & Cream, we hopped on a boat for Hollywood Studios, where we spent a few hours seeing the shows that we had not been able to see the night before during EMH. We then decided it was time to relax by our pool, back at the Boardwalk.

 

Luna Park Pool Area (Picture taken from the balcony of our villa)

And of course, when relaxing by the pool on a hot afternoon, you must have a delicious frozen drink from the pool bar. :thumbsup2 Now it was about this time though that I realized that I had forgotten my phone (and therefore my camera) back in the room and my DDs did not want to break away from their “relaxation zone”, even long enough to snap a few pics. Actually their exact response to my plea to do so was, “Can’t you just use some google pics in your review”? :rolleyes: And so that is what I have done…please forgive me. :worried:

The first picture is of the pool bar, Leaping Horse Libations. As you can see, it follows the circus theme of the Boardwalk pool area.

This picture just so happens to be from the Dining/Menus section from the DIS website.

http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/dining/diningdetail.cfm?Restaurant.ID=5

When looking at the drinks listed on the menu here (dated June 2012), I see cocktails with fun names like Carousel, Ferris Wheel, and Tilt-A-Whirl. Whereas, when we were there in May they had only the standard Disney Pool Bar Drink Menu posted:

So now I’m wondering if they in fact are now offering cocktails which are unique to the LHL pool bar???

Anyway, these were the frozen cocktails which we had to choose from:

 

Frozen Drink Section from the Standard Disney Pool Bar Menu

And we chose two Pina Colavas (one of them a Virgin ;)) and a Mango Margarita. Now I happen to have a picture of the Pina Colava smoothie (aka Virgin Pina Colava) that I had at Coral Reef last year. So just picture this drink in a plastic cup and with a pineapple on the rim (instead of a strawberry). Also it might of had a cherry or two on top. ;)

 

Pina Colava (pictured on right)
Bacardi Razz rum, blended with Pina Colada mix and raspberry puree – $8.25

 

For the picture of our Mango Margarita, I did a search on Google Images and this very professional-looking photograph stood out to me above all the many others…

Mango Margarita – Patron Silver tequila blended with mango puree – $10.25

 

Now something looked very familiar about the professional and unique style of this picture. :scratchin So I was not completely surprised when I clicked on it and it took me here to this Disboard Dining Report…

http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=41424434&postcount=102

Yes, this lovely photo of a Mango Margarita was taken by our very own, Linda67. This was actually from the pool bar at the Poly, but I’m pretty sure ours looked the same. Anyway, I should have known to look through her reviews first for the Mango Margarita, as Linda has recently been awarded her Masters Degree in Margarita. So of course, she had to have done extensive research in the past in order to receive such a prestigious title and degree of higher knowledge. :thumbsup2

Anyway, while this frozen margarita was not quite up to La Cava standards, it tasted mighty fine while sitting (actually we were reclining ;)) poolside on a hot, sweaty Florida afternoon. Oh, and I’m happy to report that it did not give Allison a “brain freeze”. :thumbsup2

So as I was sipping my Pina Colava by the Boardwalk pool, I was also happily daydreaming about the delicious dinner I was planning to have at the Flying Fish Cafe that evening. :cloud9:

My dream went something like this…

It began with one of their Wine Flights.


Riesling Wine Flight

Then next came one of my favorite Disney restaurant appetizers.


Crispy Maine Coast Jonah Crab Cake

Followed by this delicious entree.


Potato-wrapped Red Snapper and Leek Fondue

 

Now so far this meal was an exact replica of the one which I had last year at Flying Fish. But I wasn’t crazy about the dessert I had that evening nor the one I had on my first visit to Flying Fish in Nov. 2010. So I had planned to try a different dessert.

 

PB & J Creme Brulee

Described as being a mild peanut butter flavored custard with a blueberry confiture at the bottom of the dish, which complemented the peanut butter and made it a PB&J.
(This sounds delicious to me! :thumbsup2)

(This picture and description are borrowed from a Dining Review done by ocdisney08 of her dinner at Flying Fish Cafe on May 18, 2012…just a few days before I had planned to dine there. ;))

Oh, and here is a link to her wonderful review, in case you are interested in reading all about her Flying Fish dinner:

http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=45058778&postcount=9

And so this was the dinner on the Boardwalk which I was expecting to have that evening. What would be the reality? :confused3

Well little did I know that my mutinous daughters had been secretly conspiring against me and had hatched their own plan for that evening. They had been waiting for just the right moment to inform me of said plan…a moment when I was totally relaxed, perfectly content, blissfully happy. :cloud9: Yeah, I guess you get the picture. ;)

So anyway, that moment came right about now…

“Mom, would it be okay if we don’t go out for dinner tonight? We want to rent a movie and get a pizza from that place on the Boardwalk. You know, just stay in and chillax.” :cool:

Now I could have told my daughters that it was too late to cancel our reservation without paying the $10/person penalty. But the truth was, I had actually not yet made a reservation for the Flying Fish that evening. :sad2: So not having a valid excuse to put the kibosh on their plan to “chillax”, I did what most parents would do in this situation and DEMANDED!!!

…that we be done watching the rented movie in time to catch American Idol on TV. Because if I wasn’t going out for dinner that night, then I was NOT going to miss Phillip Phillips (or Phillip squared, as we liked to call him) perform in this season’s final competition.

And so my friends, that is how I went from having a (no doubt) wonderful Signature dinner at the Flying Fish Cafe to having dinner out of a cardboard box from the Boardwalk Pizza Window. :rolleyes:

 

Now I did have a somewhat interesting encounter with the man working at the pizza counter. It went something like this…

Me: Do you have sausage pizza? (after seeing that there were only Pepperoni, Cheese, & Veggie Pizzas listed on the menu, but the girls wanted both pepperoni & sausage so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask)

Pizza Man (completely straight-faced and serious) : No, but if you ask for sausage then I have to give you sausage.

Ummm…what???, I thought to myself. :confused3 Then after taking a few seconds to process this information…

Me: So you are saying that if I ask you for a sausage pizza, or better yet a pepperoni and sausage pizza, then you would have to make it for me?

Pizza Man (again completely straight-faced and serious) : Yes, we can not tell the customer no.

Pondering this statement for a few seconds, then…

Me (totally not straight-faced and/or serious): Well, okay then, I’d like a chicken and bacon pizza with a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Oh, and barbecue sauce instead of pizza sauce and maybe some ranch dressing on the side.

Now of course I was just teasing this guy, trying to get him to crack a smile. But instead this was his response…

Pizza Man (still completely straight-faced and serious): :confused:

Yep, the Pizza Man just looked at me for what seemed like a very long and incredibly awkward moment.

Me: Umm…actually if I could get a pepperoni & sausage pizza that would be great. :o

Pizza Man: That will be $22.36 with tax. Please pay now. Your pizza will be ready in 15 – 20 minutes.

And so I paid and quickly retreated to the less uncomfortable refuge of the bakery next door. :lmao:

At the Boardwalk Bakery I picked up a couple of these for the girls to have for dessert:

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie from the Boardwalk Bakery

Then thinking that the one pizza might not be enough for the three us, I decided to check out the “Boardwalk to Go” kiosk to see what they had to offer.

 

And I was actually surprised by the variety of things that they served from this relatively small kiosk. Things like hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, corn dogs and nachos and several other foods that you can typically find at a carnival, but they are usually not all sold at one booth.

This is what I ended up ordering…

 

Fried Ravioli – $4.75 (plus tax)

After returning to the room with our dinner, I discovered that the girls were not yet back from the Boardwalk Community Hall, where they had gone to pick out a movie to rent. So I went into the bathroom to freshen up before dinner. When I came out just a few minutes later, they had not only returned to the room but had each taken a slice of the pizza and begun eating it. :eek: So my sincere apologies for the following picture of our pizza with slices missing…

 

Pepperoni & Sausage Pizza from the Boardwalk Pizza Window – $20.99 (plus tax)

While the Fried Ravioli was given a unananimously “Good” rating, there was a difference of opinion regarding the Pizza. Emily thought it was really great and gave it a “Very Good”. To me, however, it tasted no better than the $6 frozen pizza that we just had for dinner at home tonight. I gave it an “Okay” rating. Allison took the middle road and gave it a “Good”, and so that is the average overall rating for the Boardwalk Pizza.

And so we all squeezed onto the couch and ate our pizza and fried ravioli while watching “Tangled”, the movie which the girls had rented for $5.00. After the movie, they had their chocolate chip cookies for dessert while I had this tasty treat, which I had picked up from the Starring Rolls Bakery at DHS earlier that day…

 

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcake from Starring Rolls

Believe or not, this is the first time I’ve had this cupcake, or any other cupcake from Starring Rolls for that matter. So just in case there is anyone else out there who has never had it, this is a Red Velvet cupcake covered with a pile of white frosting. In the middle of all the frosting, there is a small dollop of cheesecake. Then the whole thing is drizzled with chocolate and covered in Heath candy bar (toffee) pieces.

While this was good and I definitely ate every single bite of it, I would have to say that I am still partial to the Boardwalk Bakery cupcakes.

My favorite one that I’ve had so far there is the…

 

Smores Cupcake from the Boardwalk Bakery – Nov. 2011

This was a chocolate cupcake filled with chocolate chunk frosting then topped with a vanilla-buttercream-marshmallow frosting, and dusted with graham cracker crumbs. Then drizzled with chocolate and topped off with a few toasted marshmallows. I love campfire s’mores so this was cupcake perfection for me!

But coming in a close second is another cupcake from the Boardwalk Bakery…

 

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcake from the Boardwalk Bakery – May 2011

This was a chocolate cupcake which was both filled with and topped by peanut butter frosting.

And so, our overall rating for this Junk food Dinner Buffet was: Good, but nothing special

Oh, and by the way, I did get to watch my Season 11 American Idol favorite, Phillip Phillips, sing “Home” and thereby clinch the title as this year’s winner. Any other Phil Phillips fans out there???

 

Seeing him perform that song almost made up for missing out on my dinner at Flying Fish Cafe. :thumbsup2

MAY 23

BACKGROUND: Kona Cafe is another restaurant that my family has been to many times, as the Polynesian was once our favorite Disney resort (and still holds a special place in our hearts). We have had all three meals there, but haven’t had lunch in several years and our last dinner in March 2010 was just so-so. Consequently I would have to say that breakfast is currently my favorite meal at Kona Cafe. However, sit-down breakfasts at Disney World are a rare occurance for my family these days. DH doesn’t like to get up early when on vacation and the kids just don’t like to get up early…EVER! So knowing that I have to choose my battles wisely, I usually plan one, but no more than two, sit-down breakfasts per trip. On this trip, I had planned three (if you count Wolfgang Puck Express). :eek: So did I choose well, when I decided to have…

BREAKFAST AT KONA CAFE??

Following our stay-in evening, Emily decided to stay up most of the night reading (the girl loves to read, and would definitely give Belle a run for her money ;)). Consequently, she was in no mood for her mother’s early morning wake-up call, or I should say…wake-up song. You see, I have an “annoying habit” (as my kids would say) of singing the “Good Morning” song which was performed by Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly & Donald O’Connor in the 1952 movie,“Singing in the Rain”.

Now most of you were probably not even born in 1952 (actually I was not even born yet ;)), but I’m hoping maybe some of you are still familiar with it. Wait, actually I just remembered that a scene from this movie is depicted in the Great Movie Ride, so maybe more of you are familiar with this film than I had thought. :thumbsup2

Anyway this is a part of the lyrics…

Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’

It’s great to stay up late

Good Mornin’, good mornin’ to you! :cool1:

My daughter’s reaction to my singing this “wake-up” song plus opening the curtains of the living room (where she was sleeping on the pull-out sofa) was reminiscent of another classic movie (this one a little more recently made, in 1973). So has anyone here seen “The Exorcist”??? :rotfl2:

I’m just kidding…actually, her head didn’t do a complete 360 degree spin. ;)

So as you may have guessed, Emily DID NOT join us for breakfast at Kona Cafe. Now Allison (who’s breakfast normally consists of a strong cup of coffee :rolleyes:) agreed to go, but only on one condition…that we would not also have lunch that day. :eek: So with the choice of eating at Kona by myself or having a dining companion but skipping lunch, I was forced to nix my plan to have lunch at Columbia Harbour House that day. With this in mind, I decided to move back our reservation to later in the morning, making it more like “brunch”.

Breakfast at Kona Cafe – COMPLETE

Skipped Lunch :sad1:

BACKGROUND: The girls had never been to Artist Point. Well, that is, unless you count having breakfast there with Winnie the Pooh & Friends. ;)

Artist Point Character Breakfast – Dec. 2000

Does anyone else remember when Artist Point hosted a character breakfast? Unfortunately this one with Winnie the Pooh didn’t last all that long…from 1998 to June 1, 2001. For the two years before that, it was Pocahontas & Friends (with Captain John Smith, Meeko and Governor Ratcliff). Now that would have been awesome, especially hosted in the beautiful and very appropriate setting of the Wilderness Lodge. Anyway, here’s one more picture from our Winnie the Pooh & Friends breakfast…

 

Artist Point Character Breakfast – Dec. 2000

During our first experiences with taking pictures at character meals, it seems like we often had the problem of cutting off the characters heads. :eek: And of course you wouldn’t realize it until after you had your roll of film developed. :sad2: Did anyone else have this decapitation problem? Does anyone remember using cameras that required film? :lmao:

Anyway, as I was saying before, having dinner at Artist Point was a new experience for the girls but as for me, this was my second dinner there. The first time was in Nov. 2010 (during our 25th anniversary trip), when my husband and I had dinner at Artist Point.

 

Our First Dinner at Artist Point – Nov. 2010

I very much enjoyed that dinner, which for me consisted of the Smokey Portobello Mushroom Soup, Salmon, and this for dessert…

 

Artist Point Berry Cobbler – Nov. 2010

Not only did they serve us this candlelit dessert in celebration of our anniversary, but also gave us complimentary glasses of dessert wine to have with it. Unfortunately the meal was not a total success though, because my husband did not like his entree at all. He had the Grilled Beef Tenderloin (which was very tough and chewy), served with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes (which were unevenly heated, parts were hot and other parts cold). Consequently, he was not at all impressed with Artist Point after this first experience. :sad2:

But with him not being along on this trip, I thought it would be the perfect time to return for dinner at…

 

Dinner at Artist Point – COMPLETE

 

MAY 24

Skipped Breakfast

I was very much looking forward to visiting Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar, which had recently opened in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion. I wanted to be able to take pictures of the interior without disturbing other guests, so insisted that we be there at 11:30 a.m. when they opened to have our…

Lunch #1 at Tutto Gusto – COMPLETE

Following our shared 3-course lunch at Tutto Gusto, Allison started whining about having to eat again. But I would have none of it that day, our last full day at Disney World. And so we made the long walk from one bar/restaurant, across the country of Italy to the other restaurant to have our 2nd lunch of the day. We must have burned up at least a calorie or two in doing so, right? :lmao:

Lunch #2 at Via Napoli – COMPLETE

Dinner at Narcoossee’s  – COMPLETE

And so we finished our dinner at 9:00, one hour before we would be able to see this…

 

Magic Kingdom Fireworks (picture taken from Narcoossee’s deck in May 2011)

But we decided to do something we hadn’t done for a few years…watch the fireworks from inside the park!
(Most of the remaining pics were taken with my IPhone so they aren’t the best quality, but hopefully you will “get the picture”.) ;)

While waiting for the boat at the Grand Floridian dock, we got to see the 9:15 performance of this…

 

Electrical Water Pageant

We then arrived at Magic Kingdom in time to see a presentation of “The Magic, The Memories, and You!”, which is the first time we had ever seen it.

This was followed soon after by…

“WISHES”

 

 

 

Then much of the crowd cleared out and we were treated to a second performance of…

“The Magic, The Memories, and You!”

 

 

 

I loved this picture of Walt that was projected onto the castle.

I must admit that I was “wowed” by this!!! I had no idea how good this light/music show is!
I’m so glad that we finished dinner earlier than expected and therefore went into the park to see the fireworks. :thumbsup2

As an added bonus there was then a second parade that evening and we were able to get front row seats on the curb to watch it.

Main Street Electrical Parade

 

 
Allison’s Favorite “Tinkerbell”

 

 

And I’ll finish this up with one more picture of the lovely…

Cinderella’s castle

 

 

 

MAY 25

Breakfast at Kouzzina – COMPLETE (Restaurant Closed)

And that’s all she wrote folks, but I will close out this trip report with some pictures from the Boardwalk.

 

Goodbye Yacht Club Resort – Home of one of my favorite Disney restaurants, Yachtsman Steakhouse. :thumbsup2

 

Goodbye Boardwalk Bakery and the Pizza Window Guy with no sense of humor. :rolleyes1

 

Goodbye Flying Fish Cafe – Sadly, I did not get to partake of your delicious food on this trip. :sad2:

 

Goodbye Friendship Boats that I rarely got to ride because my daughters were too impatient to wait for them. :rolleyes:

 

Goodbye Boardwalk, my favorite Disney Resort :love:

 

Goodbye Boardwalk Villas, thanks for providing us with a wonderful stay! :goodvibes

 

Goodbye Villa #2026 with your beautiful view of the pool! :thumbsup2

And a special Goodbye to this guy

…

 

I’’d much rather see you out my window than the rooftop or parking lot I usually see. :lmao:


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