I haven’t been this excited about my birthday since I turned 21! – Apr 2014 Trip

Hello! :wave2: For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Barb.

 

For the first time ever I’m going to be at Disney World on my actual birthday, which is this Sunday, April 27th. :cool1: To say that I’m excited would be an understatement. ;) I’m looking forward to this birthday almost as much as when I turned 21…well, okay maybe not. :laughing: But at least for this birthday I won’t be kidnapped at midnight and taken to a bar in my pjs…or at least I hope not. :lmao:

But anyway, I will be arriving at Disney World this Sunday morning, 4/27 and will be there for a week. Though I’ll be traveling solo, I will be meeting up with some of my DIS buddies for several meals. I’ll also be doing a few meals on my own, and for these I have changed my mind three or four times…and that was just in one week. :laughing: Anyway, I plan to do a full dining report when I return home and perhaps, if time permits, I will post a few “live updates” while I’m there. ;) Oh, and my kids have recently got me started on Instagram, so I’ve promised them I will post photos there during my trip. If you would also like to follow me on my Disney adventures next week, you can do so @jabead. I’d be happy to have you along! :thumbsup2

Day 1 – Sunday, April 27

Check-in at Wilderness LodgeCOMPLETE

And so, where did I go for my first meal of the trip???

 

Sunday Brunch at Raglan RoadCOMPLETE

Birthday Dinner at California Grill  – COMPLETE

Day 2 – Monday, April 28

Breakfast from Roaring ForkCOMPLETE

Snack at Sunshine SeasonsCOMPLETE

Our lunch plans on this day were to visit several of the Flower & Garden food booths, as there were at least a dozen things that I wanted to try. The first booth we encountered when entering World Showcase was…

 

We all wanted to try the tilapia, so I bought one for us to share.

Ghost pepper-dusted tilapia with crisp winter melon slaw and mint oil featuring The Original Sauce Man’s Kick It Up Rub – $4.75

This was very tasty! I was a bit afraid of the word ghost pepper in the description, as I had heard that ghost pepper is the world’s hottest chili pepper, but it ended up being just slightly spicy…nothing to worry about. :thumbsup2

By the time we reached the Mexico booth, an alternative stop was proposed by one of us…it was probably me. ;) So we entered the Mexico pavilion with the intention of getting an avocado margarita for Hunter and me and somehow ended up having a light lunch at San Angel Inn. :confused3 Ok, again that was probably me. :laughing: {I’ll be reviewing this lunch in a separate post} Following our lunch, Hunter begged Paula and me to do the El Rio del Tiempo boat ride with him, so of course we did. ;) Then it was back outside to the nearly 90 degree heat, which quickly lessened my desire to stop at more outdoor food booths. We glanced at the menu at the China booth and moved on to Germany, where Paula and Hunter stopped at the Trinken cart for (I believe) shots of Apfel and Jagermeister. I made it as far as Italy before I requested a reprieve from the hot sun and we ducked into the cool darkness of Tutto Gusto {again to be reviewed separately}. Once we had emerged from Tutto, my appetite had recovered enough for one more thing from a F & G booth. Last year one of my favorite F & G fest foods was from the Smokehouse booth, located by the American pavilion.

 

I was very happy to see that this was again on their menu, and so my next and final choice from the F & G booths was the…

 

Smoked Beef Brisket with Collard Greens and Jalapeño Corn Bread – $6.75

This was as delicious as I had remembered. The brisket was excellent, the corn bread very good, and even the collard greens were quite edible. ;)

Paula wanted to try one of their Piggylicious Bacon Cupcakes…

 

I’ll let her speak for herself (in her dining report) regarding this, but after the small bite of it that I had I would say that these were not nearly as tasty as they looked. ;)

We then made two more stops in France, one of these at the bakery, where Paula & Hunter got a few things to have on hand at their villa. Hunter also bought me a Napoleon (boxed to go) to be used in my taste test comparison with a Napoleon which I will get later in the trip from the Boardwalk Bakery. This comparison review will come later in my report. Our last stop before leaving Epcot was at the French wine shop, where Paula & Hunter made some purchases. I saw this sign on their counter…

 

My oldest daughter and I did this Wine Walk three years ago and the exact same wines were served for the same price of $20 and the same 2 oz. pour size. So I was quite surprised to see that nothing about this had changed in three years, especially the price. ;)

Here are the photos from my May 2011 Dining Report…

 

Valckenberg Madonna Spatlese and Liebfraumilch (along with our passport)

 

Castello Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio and the delicious red sparkling wine, Rosa Regale

Chateau Tour de Segur (red Bordeaux) and Georges Duboeuf Pouilly Fuisse (dry Chardonnay)

 

Lunch #2 at San Angel InnCOMPLETE

Happy Hour at Tutto GustoCOMPLETE

Dinner at JikoCOMPLETE

Day 3 – Tuesday, April 29

On Tuesday, Paula, Brenda, and their hubbies were heading to Animal Kingdom. Sorry AK fans, but I would have to say that this is currently my least favorite Disney World park. I suspect this has more to do with the lack of great restaurants there than the rides, shows, etc. While Yak & Yeti, Flame Tree, and even Rainforest Cafe are all fine, none of these are on my must-do list. I’ve never tried Tusker House (where the others had breakfast on Tuesday morning), so will need to do that sometime but for today I had something else in mind for my breakfast. ;)

I had learned on my first day that the next stop for the Downtown Disney bus after picking up at the Wilderness Lodge is the Grand Floridian, so I decided that this might be the most direct and fastest Disney transportation option. My strategy worked perfectly, as there was a DTD bus sitting at the WL bus stop when I approached. I boarded the empty bus and we quickly departed for the Grand Floridian (Oh yeah, private bus ride to the Grand!! :woohoo: ).

 

 

You may have noticed that the above photos were not taken from the front of the resort (where the bus stop is located), but instead were taken from the back. Since I didn’t have an ADR scheduled, I didn’t need to be anywhere at a certain time. It was a beautiful morning so I went outside and took a few moments to soak up some of the beauty of the Grand Floridan resort. When I felt sufficiently “soaked” I entered the main building to have breakfast at the…

 

 

Breakfast at Grand Floridian CafeCOMPLETE

Following my breakfast at the Grand Floridian Cafe, I headed to Magic Kingdom to use my FP+ for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad…

 

Haunted Mansion…

 

and Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid.

 

Then I had some time to kill before my lunch ADR so checked out the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride. There were several castmembers in full costume standing around the entrance and a small informal line of people milling about who said they had been there since park opening, in the hopes of riding the Mine Train. So I decided to have a seat in the area to see what might develop…which sadly, nothing did during the hour that I hung around. :sad2:

But the good news is that though this hour long wait “beared no fruit”, it was followed by a nice lunch at the…

 

Lunch at The PlazaCOMPLETE

My plans for Tuesday evening were to begin by meeting up with Paula and Hunter at the Wilderness Lodge bus stop to catch a bus to the Yacht Club (with a transfer at Magic Kingdom). As we were standing there waiting for the MK bus that seemed to never come, it began to rain…a light rain. The bus finally came and we boarded, but the light rain continued…inside the bus. :eek: It seems the bus had sprung a leak right above Paula and me so we continued to get dripped on during the ride to Magic Kingdom. But that was just the beginning of the fully-clothed shower that the three of us experienced that evening. Unfortunately when we got to Magic Kingdom we were caught in a torrential downpour while transferring from our bus to the Yacht Club bus, which of course were not anywhere near each other. :sad2: I had an umbrella which was immediately twisted like a pretzel by the first gust of wind, but at least I was able to keep my head from getting completely soaked. Paula was not so lucky and looked like she had just stepped out of the shower. But she was a great trooper and forged ahead to our destination, the Yacht Club.

 

Dinner at Yachtsman SteakhouseCOMPLETE

Day 4 – Wednesday, April 30

On Wednesday, April 30th I packed up my bags before heading off for breakfast, as I was moving up to the 7th floor today for my one night stay on the concierge level of the Wilderness Lodge. I then caught a taxi over to the Polynesian resort to meet up with Brenda (emmysmommy) and her husband, Michael, to have breakfast at…

 

I overestimated the amount of time that this would take so arrived at the Polynesian about 10 – 15 min. early for our 9:00 a.m. reservation. I took a few minutes to walk around the Great Ceremonial House (aka as the Polynesian main building which houses the lobby and their restaurants), as I knew it would all be under construction by the time that I next visit the Polynesian. Sadly I said my goodbyes to the lush green plants and waterfall which adorned the first floor lobby…

 

Then I took a look at the menus for Kona Cafe and Kona Island, which are posted outside the restaurant. I took a photo of the Kona Island breakfast menu which is available there from 6:30 a.m. until noon (this converts to a sushi bar at night)…

 

I found it a little odd that this also includes their wine offerings. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t usually have a glass of wine with my morning muffin or danish.  But then again I would consider having a mimosa, so I guess it’s all good! :laughing:

Breakfast at Kona CafeCOMPLETE

Following our breakfast at Kona Cafe, I said my goodbyes to Brenda & Michael (until lunch anyway ;)) and hopped on the resort monorail to Magic Kingdom. From there it was just a quick boat ride back to the Wilderness Lodge, where I needed to check out of my regular room by 11:00 and check in to my new room on the Concierge level of the hotel. This process went very smoothly. The Old Faithful Club castmember who checked me in and showed me to my room was very friendly. He asked me if I had ever stayed CL there or at any of the other Disney resorts before. I mentioned that I had just stayed at the Yacht Club’s Regatta Club a few months ago (this had been a complimentary upgrade during my December trip). The CM then made me a bet that my stay at the OFC would far outshine the one at the Regatta Club. Hmmm…well we will just have to see about that. ;)

My new room on the 7th floor looked the same as my standard one, so I didn’t take any photos. And since I was there for only one night, I didn’t bother doing any unpacking. Therefore it wasn’t long before I headed out again and was on my way back to Magic Kingdom…

 

There are usually a ton of people lined up to take their photo here, so when I saw there was no one around I couldn’t resist taking a pic. :thumbsup2

I had some time to kill before meeting up with the others for lunch, so I found a seat in front of the castle and watched the show there…something I had never taken the time to do before. After the show I continued to sit there, relax, soak up the atmosphere, and do some people watching, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I saw this cute little Minnie that I had never noticed before…

 

When it was getting close to the time of our reservation I made my way to our lunch destination…

 

Lunch at Liberty Tree TavernCOMPLETE

Following our lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern, I again separated from the others, as they were off to do rides while I wanted to see the afternoon parade. I found a good spot in front of LTT and sat down to wait for the start of the parade. However, it quickly clouded up and and then began to rain. At first they were telling people that the parade would go on but then by 3:00 it had started raining even harder and the announcement came over the intercom system that the parade had been cancelled. So I decided to head back to the hotel and check out things at the…

 

One night stay at Wilderness Lodge Club Level:

 

Old Faithful Club Part 1 – Afternoon Snacks & RefreshmentsCOMPLETE

Old Faithful Club Part 2 – Wine and Appetizers – COMPLETE

Old Faithful Club Part 3 – Cordials and DessertsCOMPLETE

Old Faithful Club Part 4 -Continental BreakfastCOMPLETE

Dinner at Artist PointCOMPLETE

Day 5 – Thursday, May 1

:beach:“Under the Boardwalk”:beach:

After having a relaxing breakfast in my room, sadly it was time for me to pull up stakes and leave the wilderness behind. :worried: But happily I wasn’t traveling far, as my new home for the next three nights would be the lovely…

 

Check-in at the Boardwalk InnCOMPLETE

“Meet Me At The Derby” 

On May 1st Hollywood Studios celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Though I had originally planned to be at DHS in time for the special anniversary parade, I decided that morning that I didn’t feel like fighting the crowds. So instead I arrived at Hollywood Studios about an hour after the morning festivities. Initially, the stage in front of the hat was the only indication that this was anything other than the usual day at DHS.

 

 

To my surprise the park didn’t seem particularly busy…or at least not on Hollywood Boulevard. I was then handed this flyer regarding the 25th Anniversary merchandise which was available for purchase…

 

Since I had some time to kill before my lunch ADR, I decided to check out the temporary shop which had been set up to sell this special merchandise. It was located between the Studio Backlot Tour building and Toy Story Mania…and it was there that I found the crowds!!! Yikes, the line to enter the building was way longer than I had time for. So I promptly did an about face and headed back toward…

 

Lunch at the Hollywood Brown Derby COMPLETE

After my lunch at the Hollywood Brown Derby I did a few things at DHS, which included saying hi to Walt…

 

Seeing a 3D Sneak Preview of a Disney movie which was released later in May…

 

…and catching an American Idol show.

 

On a side note, I was sad to hear that this will be closing sometime in January 2015.

Anyway, then I remembered that Starring Rolls closes at 4:00 and since there was something I wanted to get there, I backtracked and paid a visit to the Brown Derby’s next door neighbor…

 

A Visit to Starring Rolls CafeCOMPLETE

Paula & Hunter’s 10th Anniversary Dinner at California Grill COMPLETE

Day 6 – Friday, May 2

I arrived at Epcot’s International Gateway entrance around 10:45 and headed across the bridge toward France, stopping along the way to take a few Flower & Garden Festival topiary photos.


Cinderella and Prince Charming

 

 

 

 


Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and Prince Philip


Lumiere and Cogsworth (from Beauty and the Beast)

During my walk from the Boardwalk I had noticed some threatening dark clouds in the sky but by 11:00 that threat had become a reality. I hastily sought shelter from the pouring rain and luckily since I was in France, I didn’t have far to go…

 

Armed with only a partially broken umbrella, I decided that I needed to buy a Mickey poncho…which turned out to be a very wise purchase since it continued to rain off and on for the next two days. After a little more shopping at Les Halles’ gift shop, I saw that unfortunately the rain was not letting up. It was then that I noticed that things were pretty quiet at the bakery and decided to take advantage of it by taking photos of many of the delicious offerings at…

 

A Visit to Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie  – COMPLETE

As I sat and enjoyed my bacon and cheese roll at one of the indoor tables by Les Halles, I noticed that the surrounding tables were quickly being filled by lunch customers. So even though it was still raining outside, I decided it was time for me to give up my dry table and chair and move on. :worried: I still had a couple of hours before my lunch ADR, so with the rain washing out my plans to visit more of the F & G food booths, I had a lot of time to kill. :scratchin Hmmm…I need refuge from the rain, preferably somewhere between France and Canada (where I was going for lunch), and a drink, snack, and chair to sit down would be a definite bonus. ;)

 

Yep, the Rose & Crown Pub fit the bill perfectly! :thumbsup2 I sent Paula (smile4stamps) a text to see if they might be interested in meeting me there and was happy to get a positive response. I also heard from Beth (Couchy) that she had arrived at the Swan and would soon be heading over to Epcot to join us at the pub. Yay…I wouldn’t have to drink alone! :woohoo:

Waiting out the rain at the Rose & Crown PubCOMPLETE

Soon it was time for Paula, Hunter, and Beth to meet Brenda and Michael for lunch at Chefs de France, so I was left alone at the table to finish up my drink. A gentleman asked if he and his wife could share my table and I had no problem with granting his request. But then more of their family members arrived and were standing around our table. I began to feel a bit awkward and out-of-place :crowded:, and decided it was time to relinquish my claim on this prime piece of real estate inside the Rose & Crown Pub. So I quickly downed the rest of my liquid courage :drinking1 and said my goodbyes to my loved ones (aka the group of strangers at my table). :laughing: Wearing my protective gear (aka my new Mickey poncho) and armed with only a broken umbrella, I set off for the Canadian wilderness in search of my next meal. Would it be elk, bear, moose or perhaps the wildest of all game…the corn-fed Canadian cow? ;)

So what did I find in the Canadian wilderness? Well, I must have wandered into the French territory because I came upon this restaurant…

 

However the food here was not French, nor was there any elk, bear, or moose on the menu…well, except for this “moose”. :p

 

Lunch at Le CellierCOMPLETE

I passed on having dessert at Le Cellier because I was craving something in particular for dessert…


No Way Jose (smaller version with only 2 scoops of ice cream)
Peanut Butter and Hot Fudge delight featuring Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Cream, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Morsels, Whipped Cream, & a Cherry

I didn’t make it to Beaches & Cream for this delicious sundae during my December 2013 trip, so I was determined to get there this time. Sadly though when I left the windowless cellar I found that it was still raining outside. So my plan to walk to Beaches & Cream at the Beach Club (and hopefully walk off some of my lunch to allow room for this rather large dessert) was thwarted by Mother Nature…again! :(

I decided that I needed to downsize, both on my dessert choice and the distance that I would have to walk in the rain in order to obtain it. So where can one get ice cream when you are in the UK (as I had to stop in at the Crown and Crest for some shopping ;))?

One answer would be, across the pond in France at…

 

A Visit to L’Artisan des GlacesCOMPLETE

And now for a real life  (non-Disney related) update…

Last week I noticed my daughter Emily’s post on Instagram/Facebook asking if any of her friends were interested in spending the holiday weekend with her in Chicago. Since I have not seen my daughter since she moved to Chicago nearly a month ago for her summer internship, I was sad to learn that she was not planning to come home to celebrate the 4th with her family. Knowing that her mother’s disappointment would probably not be enough to change her mind, I had to use a more powerful tactic. So I followed her Instagram post with one of my own ;)

 

“I miss you Emily!”

And my “trick” did the trick…Emily is coming home tomorrow night. :thumbsup2 What can I say, a mother will do what she’s gotta do to see her kids. :laughing:

So anyway, I’ll be taking some time off from the boards to enjoy the holiday weekend with my family. I’ll be back with another update Sunday or Monday, but until then…

HAPPY 4th of JULY!!!

I hope everyone had a great weekend!! Mine was quite nice, with all the makings of a great 4th of July…parade, fireworks, beautiful weather, lots of grilled meats, and two out of three of our kids home to celebrate with us. :thumbsup2 But now it’s time to get back to my dining report, and next up is my visit to my favorite place at Disney World to purchase take-home treats…

 

A Visit to Karamell-KucheCOMPLETE

My next review is from a dinner which still has me shaking my head in disbelief. I will attempt to convey to you the series of events which occurred during this meal and led to a somewhat shocking conclusion. However, this dinner took place more than two months ago now and my memories of it are starting to fade. Well actually, to be honest, I walked out of Flying Fish that night wondering “what the heck just happened here???” :confused3 But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s go back and start at the beginning.

I met up with my dining companions (Brenda & Michael and Paula & Hunter) on the Boardwalk a few minutes before our 8:00 reservation at…

Dinner at Flying Fish Cafe – COMPLETE

Following our dinner at Flying Fish, the plan was for us all to go to Jellyrolls. However I considered bailing since our dinner had taken about three hours so it was 11:00ish and some of us had plans to meet for breakfast at 8:00 the next morning. On the other hand though, on each of my last 6 WDW trips I had intended to visit Jellyrolls but I had yet to set foot in the door. :guilty: Therefore, I decided that I should not let a 7th trip go by without marking this off my Disney World bucket list. :thumbsup2

And so the five of us (all but Beth who opted out) had our first ever visit to Jellyrolls that night. In case you too are new to this dueling piano bar, here is what it looks like inside…

 

 

This club is located on the Boardwalk, but is also very close to the Swan & Dolphin. You must be 21 to enter and there is a cover charge of $12 per person. As you can see from the above photos, the entertainment here consists of between 2 – 4 performers who are on stage playing the piano and singing songs that are requested by the audience. Sadly though, none of our requests were performed during the time we were there. :(

They have a full bar and servers who come to your table to take your order and deliver your drinks. I don’t believe they serve any food here though other than the complimentary basket of popcorn that our server left on our table. So even though I was too full to drink, I still found room somewhere to have a few handfuls of popcorn…I mean, who can resist popcorn?? ;) Although I didn’t think about taking a photo of it, it does make a partial appearance in the selfie that Hunter took of the three of us.

 

Michael and Brenda were already gone by this time, as I think Brenda’s foot was still pretty sore so they didn’t stay long.

In going through the photos that I took at Jellyrolls that night, I found that most were not very good and not worth keeping. I almost hit the “delete” button on this one until I noticed something shiny in the photo that caught my eye.

 

Could it be a Disco Ball? Yes, I do believe it is!!! :banana:

Wow, this takes me back a few years, plus about 30… :laughing:

 

Ahh, I have such fond memories of my disco days… ;)

 

Ok, so this is not me…I had brown hair. :lmao:

Since I haven’t been clubbing in way more years than I can count, I have to ask…Is this a throwback from the ’70s-’80s? Or have Disco Balls made a comeback? Could it be possible that they never left? :laughing:

But getting back now to the task at hand, which is reviewing my first ever visit to Jellyrolls. In one word I would have to describe it as “ho-hum”. I know that Jellyrolls has its fans but at this point I can’t really say that I’m one of them. Maybe if I hadn’t had to pay $12 I would not have expected as much? Or perhaps I was just too tired and drained by our weird 3 hour experience at Flying Fish to give this place a fair shake? :confused3 While I’m glad that I finally got to mark this off my bucket list, I think the next time that I’m wanting to see some live entertainment along the same lines as that at Jellyrolls, I’ll use my $12 to take a taxi over to Port Orleans to see Yehaa Bob. :thumbsup2

Day 7 – Saturday, May 3

Sadly this was the final day of my trip, but I managed to cram in three full meals plus a snack from the Boardwalk Bakery so I still have quite a bit more food to review. :laughing: My day began with an 8:00 a.m breakfast at the Yacht Club’s…

 

Breakfast at Captain’s GrilleCOMPLETE

After breakfast I then had the privilege of spending the whole morning with Patty and Emme at DHS. We met up with Beth (Couchy) there, who then thoroughly trounced me on Toy Story Mania… :lmao:

 

This was followed by the four of us taking a wild ride to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and back on Star Tours… ;)

 

After having such a fun morning together, I was sad when it was time to part company. But before saying our good-byes, Patty took just a few more pics…

 

 

After saying our goodbyes to Patty and Emme, Beth and I headed toward Studio Drive for our lunch at…

 

Lunch at 50’s Prime Time Cafe – COMPLETE

After lunch the group how some fun on the Great Movie Ride…

Next some “Incredible” fun…

Then some Mulch, Sweat n’ Shears…

I then parted ways with the rest of the group with the intention of going back to my room to rest up a bit before our dinner. However, my sweet tooth starting aching and would not allow me to rest until I had satisfied it. ;) Since I was still at DHS, I decided to take a look inside Sweet Spells. It was very busy at the time so I didn’t take any photos of the display case. I purchased a few Frozen-themed treats to take home, but didn’t see anything that I wanted there.

So I left DHS and headed back to the Boardwalk. Since I had not been inside Seashore Sweets (located next to Flying Fish Cafe) for several years, I decided to check it out first. What I found there was very similar to what I had just seen at Sweet Spells.

 

Still not finding what I wanted, my quest continued on down the boardwalk to the bakery…

 

 

The sign says, “Come on in!” Well, who am I to disobey??” ;)

A Visit to the Boardwalk Bakery (A Tale of Two Napoleons)COMPLETE

For my final dinner of this trip, I met up with my friends at…

 

Dinner at Shula’s – COMPLETE

Day 8 – Sunday, May 4

For the final review of this trip report, I’ll be returning one more time to the…

 

I had just enough time to pay a quick visit for a breakfast snack before heading to the airport.

Breakfast from the Boardwalk BakeryCOMPLETE

I took my muffin and coffee and returned to my room to have my final Disney breakfast. I was though tempted to sit down at one of the tables in front of the bakery to enjoy one of my favorite views at Disney World. However, I was afraid that if I did this I might be tempted to board this boat to DHS…

 

…instead of this bus to the airport. ;)

 

And with that this trip report is complete.  But here’s one last photo from the Boardwalk boat dock…

 

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