Keep Calm and Go to Disney! – Oct 2014 Trip

Hello again and welcome to yet another one of my Disney dining reports. Wow, I believe this will be my 9th since 2010!:eek:

Since completing my last dining report a few months ago my life has been a little rough, with family issues involving both the upper and lower limbs of my family tree. :worried: During this time I developed the motto of “Keep Calm ’cause I will soon be going to Disney World.” When this Facebook post appeared in my newsfeed a few weeks ago, I knew it was destined to be the title of this dining report. :thumbsup2

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So on 10/21 I will be leaving all my worries behind (hopefully) and for two glorious weeks I will be living in the land of food, wine, and Magic Bands. ;) This will be my longest trip to Disney World since 2001, and yet somehow it still doesn’t seem quite long enough to do everything I want to do. But I will hopefully be crossing off many of the things on my Disney Bucket List, such as attending my first MNSSHP, doing several special F & W dining events including Party for the Senses and the Swan & Dolphin Classic for the first time, and I recently added the Wanyama Safari & Jiko dinner at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Oh, and I will be traveling solo again. Well, that’s not completely true, as my DH will be flying in for a couple of days towards the end of my trip. In addition, I have several DIS meets planned with some great ladies (Linda67, Couchy, wilma-bride, Niki Andiokno, and hopefully emmebear and Wood Nymph too). I also hope to run into many others so if you are there between Oct. 21 and Nov. 4 and happen to see me at the parks or resorts, please do say hi. :flower3: And speaking of resorts, I will be a wandering nomad on this trip. I looked up the definition of a nomad and this is what I found:

NOMAD – A person who has no fixed home and moves from place to place in search of food, water, and grazing land.

Yep, that’s me! :lmao:

On this trip I will be staying at the Beach Club for one night, AKL for one night to do the Wanyama Safari, followed by six nights at each of my two current favorite Disney resorts, Wilderness Lodge and the Boardwalk (I’ll be staying on the Villas side this time). Oh, and one of my nights at the WL I’ll be staying CL so my dining report will again be including some food from the Old Faithful Club lounge. :thumbsup2

Tuesday, Oct. 21

Check-in for one night stay at the Beach Club (includes room photos)COMPLETE

Dinner at Yachtsman SteakhouseCOMPLETE

“A Musical Interlude with a side of Illuminations”

I believe this was my 5th trip to Disney World during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. On each of my previous four trips I had enjoyed at least one (but usually more) of the Eat to the Beat concerts which were held nightly at the American Gardens Theatre stage in Epcot’s World Showcase. On this trip I had planned to attend five and made it to all but one. The first band that I wanted to see was scheduled to perform on my arrival night, so after my dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse I made my way to Epcot to do some

“Walkin on the Sun”…

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I must admit that Smash Mouth had pretty much fallen off my musical radar over the last decade. Therefore, I’m not positive but I believe that only one of the original band members was performing at this concert, Steve Harwell. But since he is the lead singer, their hit songs sounded almost exactly as I remembered them. :thumbsup2

But what set this concert apart from the other three that I saw later in my trip is that Smash Mouth took the “Audience Participation” thing to the max. They actually invited the entire audience to join them on stage (or at least as many that would fit)…

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So their concert became one big party, with dancing…

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Photo ops…

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And whatever it is that this guy was doing??… :lmao:

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Their strategy to get the audience involved seemed to work perfectly, as a good time was had by all…even me from my seat in the back row. ;)

Following the concert, I needed to make my way over to the opposite side of World Showcase because I had a FP+ for Illuminations. But I couldn’t help but stop to take a photo along the way…

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Or maybe two… ;)

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Anyway I arrived at the designated location for Illuminations at the beginning of my FP+ window of time, which was something like 8:35 – 8:55. There was already a line formed to have your Magic Band scanned for entrance into the viewing area. This was the first time that I had done the FP+ for Illuminations so I did some research ahead of time to find out where the viewing area is located. I found this really great map posted by Robo in the Theme Parks and Strategies section of the DIS…

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I wished I had gotten there earlier because I ended up standing behind about three people. The view was still good, but I decided that I would try to get a FP+ for another night later in my trip and arrive earlier to try and get a spot closer to the front. Anyway, I still managed to get a few pictures that are kind of cool…

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And with that it was time to call it night. My first evening had gone pretty much as I had planned, but what would tomorrow bring? I’ll give you a hint…LOTS AND LOTS OF FOOD!!! :laughing:

Wednesday, Oct. 22

Breakfast Snack at Sunshine SeasonsCOMPLETE

Once I’d had my snack and a much needed cup of coffee, I was ready for my flight over California followed by a date with my favorite mouse… :love:

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Italian Regional Food & Wine Lunch at Tutto Gusto COMPLETE

Wanyama Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge, includes dinner at JikoCOMPLETE

Check-in for one night stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House – COMPLETE

Thursday, Oct. 23

Breakfast at Boma  – COMPLETE

Following breakfast at Boma it was time to check out of my room there at Animal Kingdom Lodge and arrange for the transfer of my luggage to my next resort. Then it was off to the park…

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My first FP+ of the morning was for Kilimanjaro Safaris, but along the way I was distracted when I noticed some movement among the vegetation…

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Sure enough, it was the lovely DiVine. :goodvibes

Then another distraction which required a quick stop for a pic…

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As you can see, the Tree of Life had a wall in front of it. I haven’t been keeping up on the WDW park construction updates so I have no idea why the wall is there. Anybody know what’s going on?

Anyway, eventually I made it to Africa and the Kilimanjaro Safari ride where my chariot awaited me…

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Umm, correction, make that me and about 20 – 30 other people. :lmao:

Shortly after departing from the station we had to stop, as there were a herd of bongo crossing the road in front of us…

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They are quite beautiful, don’t you think?

There was one other rare occurrence which took place during this particular safari. The lions were not only out and awake but the male lion was actually roaring. While I didn’t get a photo taken in time to catch the roar in progress, I did get one soon after.

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Then I tried to take a closer shot but I was so excited that I failed to notice that my camera had decided to focus on the grass in front of my subject.

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But I thought the photo looked kind of “artsy” so I’ve posted it anyway. :laughing:

Other than these two unusual happenings, the rest of our ride was pretty typical. We saw zebra…

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Several rhino…

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What’s the plural of rhinoceros anyway? :confused3

and elephants, to name just a few.

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And since I was in the mood to see even more animals, after the safari ride I took the exit detour to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail where I saw this guy…

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I then completed the animal viewing trifecta by doing the Maharajah Jungle Trek because I wanted to some beautiful tigers…

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This one tried to hide behind the tall grass but I got a pretty photo of him anyway. ;)

Somewhere in my travels through the park that morning I also came upon this cute Cotton Tail Tamarin…

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Next it was time to use my FP+ to see the Festival of the Lion King in it’s new theater…

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I can’t even look at a photo of this show without having the Circle of Life song start playing in my head. :lmao:

Anyway, after seeing another great performance of the FOTLK it was time to head to my lunch. Yes, though I had had a big breakfast at Boma that morning, oddly enough I was actually hungry. :eek:

On my way to my lunch destination I walked by the area where they do the Flights of Wonder bird show…

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They were about to start the next show but I had an ADR to get to so unfortunately I was unable to attend. I haven’t been to this show in more than 10 years so I really would like to see it again some time. But sadly I didn’t get to it this trip so it will have to remain on my bucket list. :guilty:

Then it was on to my lunch at…

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Lunch at Yak & YetiCOMPLETE

It was then time for my third and final FP+ for Expedition Everest…

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But I decided to skip it and instead catch a bus to my new home, the Wilderness Lodge.

 

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NOTE: Photo was taken during my last stay at Wilderness Lodge in April 2014. This pool area was under construction and surrounded by walls during this visit.

…I checked in and was assigned to Room #6096 which was on the 6th floor overlooking the beautiful lobby. It was above the front desk area and I believe was a Woods view, which would be an upgrade since I had booked a Standard view room. I discovered that my luggage had not yet arrived from Animal Kingdom Lodge (it was only about 3:00 though and they had said not to count on it being there until 5:00). But I had planned for this and had included a change of clothes in the bag which I took with me to the park that day. Although I did not wear a costume that night to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, I did wear a special shirt in anticipation of meeting a certain character. But I’ll keep you guessing on that for a bit, until my next review. ;)

Anyway, it was soon time to head to Magic Kingdom for my pre-party dinner reservation. Upon entering the park I was surprised by how beautiful it looked. Though I had been to Magic Kingdom during the Christmas season a few times, I had never been there for Halloween.

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But I was running late for my reservation, so didn’t have time to take more photos. I checked in at the outside podium for the…

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Dinner at the Plaza RestaurantCOMPLETE

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, including snacksCOMPLETE

Friday, Oct. 24

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Why the quote from “A Tale of Two Cities”? Because it accurately describes my three meals from this day. So which was one(s) of the best of my trip, and which were among the worst? :scratchin For a partial answer to this question, read my first installment of…

“A Tale of Three Meals”

Not knowing if I’d wake up in time to have breakfast the morning after attending the MNSSHP, I hadn’t made any plans. But by 6:30 a.m. I was wide awake and for some reason I was very hungry. :confused3 I debated between getting my favorite Mickey waffles from Roaring Fork…

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Bananas Foster Mickey Waffles

…or having breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe. I had had the same dilemma during my last stay at Wilderness Lodge in April and had chosen the waffles, so this time I went with…

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Breakfast at Whispering Canyon CafeCOMPLETE

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

“A Tale of Three Meals”

For the second installment of this tale I will be reviewing my French Regional Lunch at Epcot’s Monsieur Paul.

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French Regional Lunch at Monsieur Paul, featuring ChampagnesCOMPLETE

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

“A Tale of Three Meals”

This is the third and final installment of the strange tale of bi-polar dining which I experienced on the 4th day of my trip. A quick look at the score card for today’s dining shows that my breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe was nearly a total loss. With the exception of the Mickey waffle, the breakfast skillet was for me a failure. However, things improved greatly when I attended the French Regional Lunch at Monsieur Paul. All four courses were very good and the champagnes which accompanied them were all to my liking as well. So lunch was a definite win! As for my dinner, well let’s see how that went down, shall we? ;)

After a much needed nap to sleep off the effects of all the champagne, I headed to the Wilderness Lodge boat dock to catch the boat to the Contemporary. Unfortunately the line for the boat was crazy long plus there was no boat anywhere in sight. With very little time to spare before my ADR, I decided to return to the lodge and take a taxi. It was a very quick and inexpensive ride over to the Contemporary and I was able to check in a few minutes early for my dinner reservation at…

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Dinner at California GrillCOMPLETE

Saturday, Oct. 25

Breakfast at Grand Floridian CafeCOMPLETE

Following my breakfast, I took a stroll around the beautiful grounds of the Grand Floridian Resort…

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Then it was time to head to Epcot, so I jumped on the monorail and road it to the Ticket & Transportation Center where I then transferred over to the Epcot monorail. I really enjoy riding the monorail to Epcot and circling Future World as it arrives at the monorail station there. I try to do this at least once every trip and surprisingly this ended up being my one and only time on this two week trip. :guilty: Upon entering the park I went straight to the Festival Center to look around. Though this was the 5th day of my trip, I had not yet set foot inside the Festival Center. :eek: First I picked up my pre-purchased ticket for the Culinary Demonstration. I also asked at this time if they had any free tickets left for the Book Signing session that Carla Hall would be doing following the demo and was told that they had all been given out. :sad2:So I spent some time looking at all the Food & Wine Festival merchandise that they had for sale in the shop and then found a seat on a bench just outside the area where the Culinary Demonstration would be taking place two hours later. By doing this, I got to see the last 1/2 hour of the Cheese Seminar that was taking place in this same area. I had considered attending this since I love cheese, but I just couldn’t justify spending $79 plus tax for a cheese plate and some wine. After seeing about 1/3 of the 1 1/2 hour presentation and some of the cheeses and wines they were served, I was happy with my decision. ;) Anyway, as soon as the Cheese Seminar ended at 11:30 a line starting forming for the 1:00 Carla Hall demo so I jumped in the line. This ended up being a wise move because I chit chatted with and got to know the people ahead of and behind me in the line. They were all so nice and festival veterans who gave me some great tips regarding the Party for the Senses that I would be attending for the first time ever that night. :thumbsup2 Also they told me that they did in fact still have tickets for the book signing session, you just had to ask the right person. :rolleyes: So they saved my place in line while I went back to get my ticket (from the right person this time ;) ) and then went back to the store to purchase Carla Hall’s book. Not long after I returned to the line they started letting people in. My new friends made a beeline for the front and center table and I followed them so not only did I have a great view for the demo but I got to continue to enjoy the company of these people. :)

And then it was time for the demo to begin…

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For those of you who are not familiar with Carla Hall, she is a co-host of The Chew (a TV show on ABC) and was also a Top Chef finalist. However, the reason that I wanted to see her in person was her fun personality and I was not disappointed…

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Hopefully the above photos convey just how entertaining Carla was during her demonstration. And then of course there was her wonderful dessert…

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Salted Peanut Chocolate Pudding Tart with a Salted Peanut Shortbread crust and Milk Chocolate Ganache

Sorry but I apparently didn’t take the time to fully focus my camera before taking the photo. :guilty: Probably because I was so anxious to dig in to the subject, which looked incredibly delicious. And it tasted just as good as it looked, if not better. I ate every last morsel of my tart, as did everyone else at my table. We all gave both the dessert and Carla’s presentation glowing reviews. :goodvibes

Oh, and I forgot to mention previously that the chocolate tart was paired with a Sauvignon Blanc from a Napa Valley winery. I was a little puzzled by this pairing, but in the end the two did work surprisingly well together. :thumbsup2

After the 45 minute demo, it was time for Carla to wave her good-byes to the very satisfied audience…

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I followed the group from my table over to the book signing area and got in line. A cast member came around to collect our tickets and then at 2:00 Carla came out to do her thing…

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It was a great experience meeting her in person, one of the highlights of my trip. :)

Lunch at Le CellierCOMPLETE

Next up is the review of my first-ever…

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Party for the Senses, featuring Disney ChefsCOMPLETE

Sunday, Oct. 26

Breakfast at Kona CafeCOMPLETE

Following breakfast at Kona, DeeDee and I said our goodbyes and I was off to Magic Kingdom for some Fantasyland fun. My first FP+ was to meet Anna and Elsa…

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I then had quite a bit of time before my next FP+, so I took a “slow boat to China” (and other Asian countries) ;)

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…as well as many other parts of the world. And the “around the world” boat ride was so entertaining that it seemed like only minutes before we arrived back at shore…

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Still having time to kill, I decided to attend a Royal Wedding at a nearby castle…

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Here are the happy bride and groom. Don’t they look very excited, even animated. :laughing:

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Then it was time for my much-anticipated first ever ride on the…

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“We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig in our mine the whole day through
To dig dig dig dig dig dig dig is what we like to do
It ain’t no trick to get rich quick
If you dig dig dig with a shovel or a pick
In a mine! In a mine! In a mine! In a mine!
Where a million diamonds shine!”

I really “dig” that song. How about you?” :lmao:

If you are wanting thrills and chills, this isn’t the ride for you. But if you’re okay with short and sweet then you will probably like this one. While it doesn’t make my list of Top 5 Magic Kingdom rides, I did enjoy it. :thumbsup2

Then guess what time it was? It was time to eat again!! :laughing:

I had received an “exclusive” email inviting me to dine at this castle…

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Apparently me and a couple hundred other people received that “exclusive” email. :lmao:

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Lunch at Be our GuestCOMPLETE

Later it was time to use my third and last FP+ of the day to see the Festival of Fantasy parade for the first-ever time. I went to the designated roped off area in front of the castle and found a seat near the entrance while I waited for them to open. Consequently I was one of the first people to enter the area and staked out a great spot with a straight-on view of the parade as it crossed over the bridge. The parade kicked off with the Main Street Philharmonic Band…

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Here is the picture collage from the parade that I posted on Instagram…

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One of things that I found most impressive was the dragon…

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Talk about a case of bad breath!! :rotfl:

I have to say that I love this parade. It’s by far the best afternoon parade I’ve seen. Actually the only WDW parade that I like better is the Boo to You Parade, which is held only during the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

After the parade at Magic Kingdom I headed back to the Wilderness Lodge, as tonight was my one night Club Level stay there.

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Wilderness Lodge Old Faithful Club Lounge – Evening OfferingsCOMPLETE

Dinner at Artist Point COMPLETE

Wilderness Lodge Old Faithful Club Lounge – Dessert & Cordial OfferingsCOMPLETE

Monday, Oct. 27

This was another day of highs and lows, but unlike Friday these were not created by food. Instead, the highlights of this day involved the meeting of two DISboard members. However, I had long been planning to meet up with a third DIS friend but sadly that didn’t happen, thus creating the biggest disappointment not only of the day but of this trip.

But before we get to all that, let’s talk breakfast.

Breakfast at the OFC LoungeCOMPLETE

After finishing my breakfast, I went out onto my balcony to check out the view by the light of day. While I had a nice view of the Contemporary Resort when looking up…

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Looking down, the view was not so great. ;)

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However, my one night stay in this CL room was now complete so it was time to pack up and move back down to a regular room. My room on the 4th floor (Room 4118) was ready when I checked out of the CL room at about 11:00 a.m. My new home for the next 2 nights was a regular room with two queens but had a Woods View, though I had only reserved and paid for a Standard View. Woohoo…an upgrade!! A small one, but nonetheless a free upgrade. :laughing:

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Once I had settled in a bit into my new digs, it was time to go downstairs for a quick DIS meet with Sue (Wood Nymph) and her DH. I had the privilege of meeting this nice couple from my home state of Illinois for the first time ever in the beautiful Wilderness Lodge lobby. I of course had to document our meeting with a photo…

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Sadly our visit was cut short by the arrival of the nasty old Magical Express bus that would be taking them to airport. :sad1: But hopefully we will meet again and next time have a meal together…because that is how we roll here on the Disney Dining Reviews board. :thumbsup2 Thanks Sue, it was a pleasure meeting you! :goodvibes

Once Sue (Wood Nymph) and her husband boarded the Magical Express, I boarded a different bus…one to my favorite park, Epcot. Today I was headed toward World Showcase on a mission. Surprisingly, though I had been at Disney World for nearly a week at this point, I had not yet tried one single thing from the Food & Wine Festival booths. :eek: I was very much looking forward to my first tastes from this year’s festival and even more so because I was supposed to do this with my DIS friend Linda (Linda67) and her husband. They were to dock that morning after their Disney cruise and then spend the next week at Disney World. We had made many plans together for the week, including a Reserved Table at the Party for the Senses at the end of the week. Having not yet heard from her, I decided to make a small detour at Spaceship Earth… :laughing:

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I then decided that I should go ahead and eat lunch, as I had dinner plans with another DIS friend at 7:30 and wanted to have enough time between meals to get hungry again. So I forged ahead on my own…

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Lunch at the Food & Wine Festival Booths  – COMPLETE

Having still not heard anything from Linda, I was beginning to worry. Later while I was at the Wilson Phillips Eat to the Beat concert…

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…I received a text from Linda’s husband and learned that my worry had been justified. Linda was injured while on the cruise and was now in the hospital. By the end of the week she was well enough to fly home, but all of their Disney World plans had to be cancelled. I was feeling so bad for Linda, as I knew how much she was looking forward to her week at Disney World. I was also sad that I would not be seeing her and her husband, as it had been nearly a year since I had seen them. Feeling pretty low at this point, I nearly got up and left in the middle of the concert. But then, as if on cue, they began singing my favorite Wilson Phillips song, “Hold On”…

“Don’t you know things can change.
Things’ll go your way.
If you hold on for one more day.”

The lyrics of this song are so encouraging and inspirational. I took the wonderful message to heart, and for the rest of my trip I tried not to focus on this very disappointing turn of events or think about my family problems that I left behind at home. I was, after all, in my Happy Place. What better place to temporarily forget my troubles… “break free from those chains and hold on for one more day”? :goodvibes

Dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel COMPLETE

When I exited La Hacienda, Illuminations was just starting. I stepped up my pace in order to “get out of dodge” before the mass exodus of people following the show. I reached the bus stop well ahead of the crowds and in nearly no time at all I was on a bus on the way back to my hotel. By 9:30 I was seated at a table for two at the Wilderness Lodge’s…
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Dessert at Territory LoungeCOMPLETE

Tuesday, Oct. 28

I kicked off the second week of my trip with a pre-park opening breakfast at Magic Kingdom. Arriving at the park before 8:00 a.m., I had plenty of time to take lots of (nearly) empty park photos. Here are a few of those…

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By 8:04 I was standing in front of the castle taking pictures…

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By the time I thought about having a photographer take my photo, there were a few people around in the background…

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Then I remembered that I had wanted to take a photo at the front of the park, so I headed back that way…

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I saw the nice lady who dances in the Magical Express video… ;)

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At about 8:30 I headed back up Main Street, this time it was not quite as empty as it was a half hour earlier…

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It was then time to check in for my breakfast ADR at…

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Pre-Park Opening Breakfast at Crystal PalaceCOMPLETE

Following my breakfast at Crystal Palace I had three FP+ scheduled for the morning, including another ride on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, plus Haunted Mansion, and the “Wildest Ride in the West”…BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN RAILROAD!!

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Ok, not really all that wild but still one of my favorite rides at Magic Kingdom. :thumbsup2

I then had some time to kill before my lunch so I took some photos in the Frontierland area.

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I haven’t been to Tom Sawyer’s Island in nearly 15 years. My family made it on the first raft over there one morning in an attempt to find the hidden paint brush, which could be exchanged for a Fast Pass for the whole family to ride Big Thunder Mountain or Splash Mountain (I believe). Sadly we never found it and that was first and last time that we set foot on the island. And since this fun activity was discontinued sometime around late 2012 or very early in 2013, I guess we will never find that elusive paint brush. Anyone here ever search for/find a paint brush on Tom Sawyer’s Island?

Besides never finding a paint brush, another thing that I have never done in my nearly 20 trips to Disney World is cruise the Rivers of America aboard the Liberty Belle…

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It was then almost time for lunch so I found a nice shady spot to sit on the porch of the restaurant where I was to dine that day…

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Lunch at Liberty Tree TavernCOMPLETE

Dinner at Narcoossee’sCOMPLETE

Wednesday, Oct. 29

Following my 6th and final night at the Wilderness Lodge, I was up early to pack before heading out to the boat dock at the crack of dawn.

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My destination this morning was Fort Wilderness, an area of Disney World which I had not been to in more than 13 years. I reached the dock at about 7:20 a.m. and didn’t have to wait very long before a boat arrived.

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After picking me up at the Wilderness Lodge, the next stop of my private boat (I was the only one on board other than the captain) was the Contemporary.

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The Contemporary dock was also deserted…well, except for some chirping birds.

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After the Contemporary, our next stop was…

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And after a short walk from the boat dock I arrived at my breakfast destination…

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Breakfast at Trail’s EndCOMPLETE

When I left the restaurant at around 8:40 it was starting to get busier inside…

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…but outside on the porch it was still peacefully quiet. This looked like a great place to sit and relax…

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…or perhaps challenge your dining companion to a game of checkers.

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But I had something else in mind, a visit to the nearby…

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Jabead, The Horse Whisperer??

 

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I will first warn you that this update will not include any food or beverages. However, because my next Disney experience was both enjoyable and a little unusual, I felt that it was worth mentioning here. So anyway, following my breakfast at Trail’s End, I decided to do a little exploring in the area. I had not been to Fort Wilderness in at least 13 years so my memories of it had faded. I seemed to recall though that they had a petting zoo-type area where we had taken our kids when they were young. So I set off on foot to see if this still existed and here is what I found…
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With no other humans within earshot, I proceeded to express my admiration to this horse. Yes, out loud. :laughing: Then I continued my walk around the perimeter of the fenced in area to see what else I might find. It wasn’t long before I noticed that the horse that I had whispered my “sweet nothings” to had followed me to the other side.

 

 

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After more pictures and a little more one-sided chit-chat, I noticed the time. Sadly I needed to say my good-byes and head back to the dock to catch a boat. But before I left, I sent my DH a text to ask him if there might be anywhere on our farm to keep a horse. ;):rotfl:

My return boat trip to the Wilderness Lodge was uneventful except that instead of the boat going directly to the lodge, we first headed to the Contemporary and Bay Lake Towers.

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This confused me a little since earlier that morning the boat had gone to the Contemporary after picking me up at the Wilderness Lodge. So either the Blue Flag boat had switched direction or they have two boats running the Contemporary/Wilderness Lodge/Fort Wilderness route in the morning, one running clockwise and the other counter-clockwise??? :confused3 Regardless, I still reached my destination in time to finish packing and check out of my room by 11:00 a.m.

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Then it was on to the 4th and final resort of my trip, the Boardwalk Villas…

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Check in to studio room at the Boardwalk VillasCOMPLETE

Lunch at the Food & Wine Festival BoothsCOMPLETE

As I was about to return to the Ireland booth for the Warm Chocolate Pudding, I received a text from a DIS friend saying she had just arrived and was checking in at her resort, the Beach Club. So the idea came to me to meet her at Beaches & Cream, where she could get some lunch and I could have my much-loved ice cream dessert, the No Way Jose. Brilliant plan, right? Well, I thought so until I reached Beaches & Cream and was told the wait for a table (or even two seats at the counter) would be more than an hour.:sad2: So when Beth (Couchy) arrived we decided to seek some lunch for her next door at the Yacht Club’s lounge…

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A Visit to the Crew’s Cup LoungeCOMPLETE

As I was exiting the Yacht Club, I noticed a boat approaching the nearby dock. The boat was heading towards Epcot, which meant the next stop was the Boardwalk. After getting up at the crack of dawn that morning to go to Fort Wilderness, I suddenly felt really tired…or perhaps just really lazy. :laughing: So I boarded the boat and headed back to my room. I guess the desire to take a nap trumped my need for dessert. ;)Therefore my next review is not about my sundae from Beaches & Cream. However, I promised myself that I would get back over to the Beach Club for a No Way Jose sometime during the remaining 5 days of my trip.

So anyway, following my nap, I was getting ready for dinner when I received a text from Beth. She was not feeling well and would not be able to join me for dinner. So what was originally planned for 4 (Linda67 and her husband were to join us but did not make it to WDW after their cruise due to Linda’s injury) had now become the Jabead party of 1 for dinner at…

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Dinner at Flying Fish CafeCOMPLETE

After leaving Flying Fish, I walked to Epcot to use my FP+ for Illuminations. I’ll just throw in a couple of the 100 photos I took of the show… :laughing:

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Thursday, Oct. 30

This was another early morning for me, as I had another pre-park opening breakfast scheduled…this time at

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When I arrived by bus that morning at the park entrance there were less than a handful of guests waiting to enter…

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I had never before seen a park entrance that empty! Oh, and by the way, that photo was taken at 7:35 a.m. on a day when the park was to open at 9:00.

They began letting in those of us with Tusker House breakfast reservations at about 7:45. I was the second person through the gate, but was passed up by a few of those who entered behind me when I stopped to snap some photos of the Tree of Life. I guess they were hungrier than me. ;)

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Even with the stop, I still made it to the check-in desk for Tusker House at 7:53 and took this photo of their menu…

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Breakfast at Tusker HouseCOMPLETE

For lunch on this day, I was off to Epcot’s Japan…

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Or more specifically to one of Epcot’s Japanese restaurants…

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Lunch at Teppan EdoCOMPLETE

Following our lunch at Teppan Edo, Johs husband and son headed back to the Boardwalk (where they were also staying) to do some “clowning” around at the pool. ;)

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However, Joh and I had a DIS meet to attend in France, or more specifically at this French booth…

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DIS meets at Les Vins de France have become a tradition, one that started for me back in August 2012 with this meeting of some of my DIS friends…

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Vicki (GoofySon’sMom) & Tracy (Tracerr00)

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Joh (wilma-bride), Emily (JustEmmy), Brenda (emmysmommy), Vicki’s son Andrew, Vicki (GoofySon’sMom), Tracy (Tracer00), and Tracy’s daughter

Though I was not present at this DIS meet or had not yet met any of these great people in person, I felt like I was there in spirit. I had gotten to know Joh, Brenda, Vicky, and Tracy from here on the Dining Reviews board and some of them helped me to launch my “LIVE FROM DISNEY WORLD” threads, which began at this time and continued here on the Dining Reviews board for nearly two years. Pictures from this DIS meet were some of the first ones which I received and posted on the first of my three live threads.

My first DIS meet in France happened during my March 2013 trip and was with Vicki (GoofySon’sMom) and her son Andrew…

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And then when a group of us got together for a December trip that year, we of course had to include a visit to the French slushie booth in our plans. Here are some of Brenda’s and Linda’s photos from this meet…

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Paula (smile4stamps) and her DH, Hunter

 

 

 

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Oh, and a photo that I took of Linda (Linda67) and her DH…[IMG]Therefore, it only seemed natural that Joh and I would plan to meet with two of our other DIS friends in France, so that together we could partake of one of our favorite Epcot cocktails…[IMG]
While I myself am partial to the Orange Grand Marnier slushie, which is again what I enjoyed at this meet…[IMG]There are some who prefer the Lemon Grey Goose Citron slushie…
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No matter what’s your preference though, both of these frozen drinks are soooo refreshing on a very hot day at Epcot. And this was one of those days, as you can probably tell from the redness of my face in the picture below…[IMG]Or perhaps the red face was because of the drink??? :laughing:Anyway, in addition to Joh and I, Niki (Niki Andiokno) & her DH and Beth (Couchy) were present at this DIS meet. Also, Beth’s husband was there but he was the photographer for the above picture. It was the first time that the three ladies met each other, however I wasn’t a bit surprised when this seemed like a meeting of old friends.Looking at these photos is making me a bit sad though, as I currently don’t have any plans for DIS meets in France on my upcoming trip. I might just have to have a slushie here with my daughters in honor of all my DIS friends, those that I’ve had the privilege of meeting and those that I hope to meet someday.

The combination of a big lunch, two cocktails, and very warm weather had taken a toll on me and I was ready for a nap. :faint: But on my way back to the Boardwalk I made a few stops. The first was right there in France at the bakery…

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And I know what you’re thinking…Why in the world would she want more food? :eek: But I wasn’t there for me, I was there for my husband. ;) He was to arrive late that night, too late to join us for dinner at bluezoo, so I wanted to get something that would keep well in my studio’s fridge and could be heated in the microwave.

This Ham & Cheese Baguette seemed to fit the bill…

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I took photos of other offerings in the display cases, but it was pretty busy so I quit after just a few. I took many more during my next visit to the bakery, so I’ll wait until that review to post all of the photos.

Anyway, after leaving Epcot I was walking down the boardwalk…

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…when I came upon this sign.

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Being the obedient person that I am, I of course went in. :laughing:

Dessert from the Boardwalk BakeryCOMPLETE

My evening began by using a FP+ for the reserved seating area for Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios. While this provided me with a good view of the show without having to stand in long lines, I don’t believe it’s worth the sacrifice of a Tier 1 fast pass…especially if you are a fan of Toy Story Mania. For me, the same holds true for the Illuminations FP+ at Epcot. Again the area reserved for those with a FP+ is a prime viewing spot for the show and I actually did this one twice during my two week trip. However, on a shorter trip with much more limited FP+, I would not have chosen Illuminations over the other two Tier 1 rides at Epcot.

Ok, that said, I was able to get some pretty good photos of Fantasmic!, a show I hadn’t seen for several years because I didn’t want to either stand in line or do the Fantasmic dinner package. I’ll post just a few of these and then move on to the dining review.

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Now on to the Dolphin hotel, where I was meeting Niki (Niki Andiokno) and her husband for a late dinner at…

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Dinner at bluezooCOMPLETE

Friday, Oct. 31

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

My husband and I didn’t have much in the way of tricks today but we did have many treats, including having an early breakfast with Niki (Niki Andiokno) and her husband at the Dolphin’s…

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Breakfast at FreshCOMPLETE

Following our breakfast at Fresh, my husband and I headed off to Hollywood Studios…

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Knowing that the hat would be gone by the time we next visit DHS, we said our fond farewells.


Then we used our first FP+ of the day to ride Toy Story Mania. To no one’s surprise, he trounced me…as everyone does. I’ve been thoroughly beaten on TSM by everyone in my family, by Brenda’s daughter Emmy, and by Beth (Couchy). In other words, by everyone I’ve ever ridden TSM with. :laughing: It’s not that I have poor aim (my accuracy rate is usually pretty high), it’s that I suffer from trigger arm fatigue syndrome. Is that a thing? :lmao: Anyway, if you ever need an ego boost, ride with me on Toy Story Mania. ;)

We did a few other things and then before you know it was time to eat again! :laughing:

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Lunch at 50’s Prime Time CafeCOMPLETE

Following our lunch we met up with Joh (wilma-bride) and her family to use our second FP+ and see the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show…

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We had only seen this show once before and that was more than 8 years ago so it was pretty much brand new for us. I didn’t remember it being so, ummm…fiery. :laughing:

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Though this type of show is not really my thing, we enjoyed watching it with Joh and her DH. Sadly, this was the last time that we saw them, since they flew home the following day. I can not say enough good things about how great this family is. They were so kind to adopt me into the “wilma-bride” family for two of their meals. Those two lunches were among my favorites of the trip. It was so great to finally meet Joh and her family and I sincerely hope that our paths cross again someday. Oh, and a special thanks to Daniel (Joh’s son) for twice finishing up my food. It would have been a tragedy to leave behind any of my delicious Ooey Gooey dessert at Liberty Tree or steak at Teppan Edo. ::yes::

So our Halloween day at Hollywood Studios was then nearly complete, except for one small trick which I played on my husband. I mean, what’s Halloween without at least one trick to balance out all the treats? ;) For our third and last FP+ I had scheduled for us to see the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration show…

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However, I told my husband only that it was a new Disney musical show, one that we had never seen before. Since my husband is someone who complains every time we go to Disney World about having to go on the same old rides, see the same old shows, etc., he was all for seeing something new. And guess what? Much to my surprise, he actually enjoyed this show! :woohoo:And so did I, so much so that I’ve talked my kids into using one of our FP+ in order for me to see it again next trip. One more time, and then I’ll probably be ready to “let it go”. ;)

After our “Frozen” fun at DHS, we returned to our room at the BWV to get ready for our night out on the town…or at least the part of the town that is located on the promenade of the Swan & Dolphin resort. ‘Cause tonight we were wining and dining at the 5th Annual…

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Dinner at the Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine ClassicCOMPLETE

On our walk back from the Swan & Dolphin to our room at the Boardwalk Villas we stopped to enjoy the live entertainment. There is a rotating group of performers who entertain along the boardwalk on Thursday – Saturday nights. On Friday, Halloween night it was a juggler…

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Then once we had gotten to the grassy area of the Boardwalk resort which lies between Flying Fish Cafe and the Wyland Galleries (called the Boardwalk’s Village Green) the Halloween Dance Party held there from 7 – 9 p.m. had just finished up…

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It looked like it had been well attended. Also “The Nightmare Before Christmas” was being shown at the Luna Park Pool. Usually the nightly movies are shown on the Village Green but due to the Halloween Dance Party being held there that night, it had been moved to the resort’s main pool area. We were tempted to watch the end of it, but we were just too tired.

I did though take a few minutes in the lobby to see who had won the Pumpkin Decorating Contest…

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Boardwalk Resort’s Halloween Pumpkin Decorating ContestCOMPLETE

Saturday, Nov. 1

The first thing on today’s busy agenda was for me to attend another special Food & Wine Festival dining event, the 9:00 a.m. Parisian breakfast at Epcot’s…

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Parisian Breakfast held at Les Chefs de FranceCOMPLETE

After the Parisian breakfast I met up with my husband, who was having some fun in the French gift shop… ;)

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He had not yet had any breakfast and was hungry. Unfortunately, I hadn’t thought to stuff the rest of my pastries into my bag before leaving the restaurant. :laughing: So guess where we headed next? Three guesses, and the first two don’t count. ;)

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A Visit to Boulangerie PatisserieCOMPLETE

We didn’t get very far after leaving France before my husband declared that he was still hungry and needed another snack to hold him over until lunch. We happen to be in the area of Canada at the time so I suggested a cup of Cheddar Cheese Soup from the Canadian F & W festival booth…

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He loved this…well, except for the price. He couldn’t understand why a tiny cup of soup would cost $4.25. I guess I should mention here that he hasn’t been to the Food & Wine festival for a few years. ;)

Once he finished his soup we made our way to Mexico, where we were scheduled to have lunch at noon. However, it was only 11:30 so we had a little time to kill. So what do you do in Mexico when La Cava de Tequila isn’t yet open? :scratchin

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Ha! I bet you were thinking that we went shopping, weren’t you? But no, no shopping for us. Instead we went on a Gran Fiesta tour in order to discover the answer to this all-important question…

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Once we found Donald, it was time to say our goodbyes…

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…and check in for our lunch at La Hacienda de San Angel.

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Tequila Pairing Lunch at La Hacienda de San AngelCOMPLETE

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila…FLOOR!! :faint: I wasn’t the least bit surprised when my husband requested a nap following our tequila lunch. :laughing:

But after a nap, a shower, and a change into some nicer clothes, all five of our senses were ready to PARRRTYYY!!!


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Our night began by attending the 5:30 Eat to the Beat concert and taking advantage of the reserved section for Party for the Senses guests.

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The PFTS reserved section was right behind those who had purchased the dining package, so we had a pretty good view. However, while 38 Special was good, this was probably my least favorite concert of the four that I attended during my two week trip. I think this was mostly because, unlike at the other three concerts that I saw, there was very little interaction with the audience.Anyway, immediately following the concert (actually we might have even left early), we made our way through a very crowded World Showcase to the World Showcase Pavilion…[IMG]

Dinner at Party for the Senses – Reserved SeatingCOMPLETE

Sunday, November 2

Sadly my husband’s short trip was ending today, with a scheduled pick up at 12:30ish for his ride to the Orlando Sanford Airport. :sad1: He had asked to sleep in on this morning, so I didn’t schedule a table service breakfast for us. Instead, while he slept I walked down to the boardwalk to get us some breakfast to go from the…

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Breakfast from the Boardwalk BakeryCOMPLETE

After my husband left for the airport, I decided to ditch my plan to go to Downtown Disney for brunch at Raglan Road. Instead I opted for a much closer place to get a taste from that area of the world, Epcot’s…

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Lunch at Rose & CrownCOMPLETE

Then when leaving the Rose & Crown I heard a familiar sound coming from the Rose Garden…

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Though I enjoyed listening to the British Revolution, it again reminded me of how much I miss my favorite Epcot band, Off Kilter…

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Every time I walked by the empty stage in Canada, or worse yet when the lumberjacks were sawing away where this great band had performed for so many years, it broke my heart. :sad:

Seeing British Revolution also reminded me of another great UK act that didn’t survive the massive Epcot entertainment cuts and changes…

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The World Showcase Players performing King Arthur & the Holy Grail

I have one word for the Disney execs who were responsible for these entertainment cuts… “RUBBISH” :headache:

But to end this review on a positive note, it warmed my heart to see this father dancing with his little girl to one of the songs played by the British Revolution…

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It reminded me of the times that my husband danced with our daughters during a performance by British Invasion (the Beatles cover band which preceded this one at Epcot). Only I never once got him to wear Mickey ears. :earboy2:

Originally I was to meet up with Beth (Couchy) and her husband for dinner on this night, but her husband was sick so this ended up being a solo meal. I arrived at the Grand Floridian a little more quickly than expected so wandered around for a bit and enjoyed the “grand” ambiance of this hotel, including the pianist and the two little princesses who were also enjoying his music…
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And then the orchestra began “jazzing it up” in the upstairs balcony…

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Then it was time to check in for my dinner at…

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Dinner at CitricosCOMPLETE

Monday, Nov. 3

Breakfast at Cape May CafeCOMPLETE

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Following my breakfast at the Beach Club, I made the short walk to the International Gateway and entered World Showcase before its official opening time of 11:00. However, I only got as far as France before being stopped at the ropes in front of Les Chefs de France. There were two castmembers manning the ropes and a dozen or so other park guests standing there waiting for them to lower them. Why were we all there anxiously awaiting the rope drop? The answer: Wrist bands for reserved seats at one of the Eat to the Beat concerts that night! :thumbsup2 A limited number of wrist bands were being given out at the Chase lounge and I had learned from an attempt earlier in my trip that these go fast. So once the ropes were removed at 11:00 I took off fast-walking (some ran) toward the Chase lounge, which was located on the third floor of the American pavilion. The entrance to go up to the lounge was located between the Liberty Inn restaurant and the door where you enter to see the American Adventure movie. Before allowing you to enter you had to show your Chase credit card (btw, it doesn’t have to be the Disney Chase card) to the castmember at the door and then if they were not yet at capacity you were able to either walk up the stairs or take the elevator up to the lounge.

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Once reaching the lounge, I got into the short line for the free wristbands. You were given a choice of three show times (I opted for the first show at 5:30). I also got another wristband for the Chase reserved area for Illuminations viewing for that night. I was told that this area was located out by the water in the Italy area. After securing my wristbands I then went to the other room to get my complimentary beverage from the Coca Cola Freestyle machine. Once I had my cherry-vanilla coke, I went to the room filled with tables and chairs and at least one very comfy couch (which I had tried out on a previous visit to the lounge) ;)

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In addition to the television there were also video games…

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This time I chose a table by the window which had a lovely view…

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Even without the wristband giveaway (which were only available on certain days of the week, which I can’t recall the schedule but this was a Monday and both the concert and Illuminations ones were being given out), I found the lounge to be an awesome perk for Chase credit card customers. This happened to be a cooler day, but on other days that I visited the lounge it was warm so the air-conditioned break with a free cold beverage was quite welcomed at the half-way point when I was touring World Showcase. Hopefully Chase will offer this during the festival this year and every year thereafter. :thumbsup2

And I’ll go ahead and post this out of chronological order, as I didn’t attend the concert until 5:30 that day…

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This was the last of the many Eat to the Beat concerts which I attended during my two week trip and was one of the best. The Chase reserved seating was on the left side of the American Gardens Theater and pretty close to the stage. If I remember correctly only those who had purchased the dining package were seated in front of us. The Boys were very entertaining and interacted with the audience quite a bit. This made for an enjoyable concert and was a good way to spend the final night of my trip.

But back now to earlier in the day…before heading to the Festival Center for a 1:00 Culinary Demonstration, I made my traditional last day of trip visit to Germany’s Karamell Kuche…

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Karamell KucheCOMPLETE

Then it was on to the Festival Center for a Culinary Demo…

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With my bag loaded with Karamell Kuche goodies, I then made the long trek from Germany in World Showcase to the Festival Center, which is towards the front of Future World (in the old Wonders of Life pavilion). I picked up my ticket for the 1:00 Culinary Demonstration from the Festival Center’s Will Call desk and then got in line outside of the demo area to wait for them to open up. The demo which I had come to see was to be given by a chef who was previously unknown to me, Ken Vedrinski. When the demo/wine seminar schedule was published back in July, I had looked over all those which were taking place during my two week trip. This one caught my eye because they were serving a lobster dish. :thumbsup2

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Since it was scheduled on a Monday and a $2 discount is offered to Tables in Wonderland members, DVC, and Annual Passholders on wine seminars/culinary demos held on Monday – Thursday, I quickly surmised that I could have a lobster dish and a glass of wine for $13. Not a bad deal for Disney food and wine. :thumbsup2

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After purchasing the ticket on the phone (to get the discount you must purchase in advance and over the phone), I did some online research regarding Chef Ken Vedrinski and was thrilled by what I found. There was article after article regarding what a great chef he is. I discovered that one of his two restaurants in the Charleston, SC area (Trattoria Lucca) was in fact an Italian restaurant (as I had suspected when I saw the name). And an award-winning one too, as Lucca was named one of the Best Italian Restaurants in the United States by Travel & Leisure in 2012. But even better than that, I read that his Italian cooking (and homemade pasta recipes) were influenced by his Italian grandmother, who had grown up in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Now it just so happens that my grandparents were also from Abruzzo. I have visited that area and loved the food there, as it reminded me of all the delicious Italian dishes that my grandmother used to make. So I became super excited about attending this demo and looked forward to seeing what lobster dish Chef Vedrinski would prepare for us. I had a feeling that it would be Italian and that it would be awesome…and I was 100% correct! :thumbsup2 But let’s back up a bit and start from the beginning.

Shortly before 1:00 the line started moving and I was able to enter and choose a seat at one of the long tables close to the stage (seating is first come, first serve). A familiar face, Pam Smith (who hosts most of the culinary demos) was there to introduce the wine presenter from Rodney Strong Vineyards.

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He gave a short video presentation and then we were given a glass of chardonnay.

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So what was the lobster dish that the chardonnay was paired with?
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Lobster Bolognese…SCORE!!! :woohoo:Both lobster and Italian, this was going to be GOOOOOD!!!

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The gnocchi in this dish were little pillows of deliciousness… :cloud9:

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Here is the recipe for those who might be inclined to try this…

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And last, a photo of the Chef… :worship::worship::worship:

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You know, I’ve never been to Charleston but it is now on my bucket list of places I’d like to visit. ;)

Now you would think that after a big breakfast and the lobster bolognese, I’d be too full for anymore food. Well, you would be wrong! ;) My sweet tooth was demanding to be satisfied. At first I thought of my Karamell Kuche brownie, but then it dawned on me that I hadn’t yet had one of my favorite ice cream treats on this trip. Actually I hadn’t had one during the two trips prior to this one. :eek: So I made an emergency exit through the International Gateway and walked to the Beach Club.

What was my destination?

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A Snack and Dessert at Beaches & Cream – COMPLETE

And that just leaves the final meal of my trip. My original idea was to begin this trip by having dinner at the restaurant where I had had my least favorite meal on my previous trip, Yachtsman Steakhouse. I followed through with this plan and ended up having a great meal there. While it wasn’t among my favorites of this trip, it was good enough to restore my faith in this restaurant after having two bad experiences there. The other idea I had was to end this trip by returning to the restaurant which was my favorite last trip, Shula’s. However, after having a wonderful filet the night before at Citricos, I decided to forego that part of my plan and cancelled my reservation. Since I knew I wanted to attend the Eat to the Beat concert, I decided to look for something at Epcot. From the restaurants which had availability for after the 5:30 concert, I chose to have my final meal at Epcot’s…

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Dinner at Via Napoli – COMPLETE

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2 thoughts on “Keep Calm and Go to Disney! – Oct 2014 Trip

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