Follow me to the Boardwalk! – OCT 2015 Trip

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Today my latest and (who knows maybe?) greatest Disney dining adventures begin! I’m posting this from the airport while waiting to board a plane that will take me to my “HAPPY” place. This will be another (mostly) solo trip to again enjoy the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Due to a recent change in plans, this will be my longest ever Disney World vacation. I will arrive this evening, Oct. 23 and depart for home on Nov. 7. While I originally planned for only a 10 day trip, with the announcement that this would be the final year for the Osborne Lights I decided to extend my trip for a few days so that I can see the lights on their opening night, Nov. 6. I just had to see the Osborne Lights one more time!! But not only will I be seeing the lights on Nov. 6 but there will be food involved too, as I will be attending the Merry & Bright Dessert Party!

For all but two nights of my trip I will be staying at the Boardwalk Inn, hence the title of this dining report.

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Therefore my dining adventures will be focused on the F & W Festival and other Epcot restaurants, plus the Epcot resort area…with a few other restaurants thrown into the mix here and there. I promise you though that this dining report will include some surprises. As time allows I will update the Table of Contents in the next post, so check back here if you’d like to see what I’ll be reviewing. Also, if you are an Instagramer, you can follow me @jabead. I’m going to try to post a food highlight daily.

I’ll end this report introduction with something that a DIS friend, Niki Andiokno, recently shared with me on Facebook.

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This made me literally laugh out loud. Hopefully it did the same for you. Oh, and rest assured I’ll be taking photos of all my food, even if something is not ok. ;)

Friday, Oct. 23

My trip began on October 23rd with my 6:30 p.m. arrival at the Orlando airport. I knew that I was cutting it close, but the latest ADR I could get that night at my chosen Epcot restaurant was 9:00 p.m., on a Friday night when the park was open until 10:00. Luckily things went smoothly at the airport and at 7:45 I took this photo from the front seat of my Magical Express bus…

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I was still a little nervous though when our bus driver announced that we would be stopping first at the Yacht Club, then the Beach Club, before my resort destination, the Boardwalk. But again the stops went smoothly and not long after 8:00 I’d arrived…

Arrival at the Boardwalk InnCOMPLETE

Anyway, I was in and out of my room fairly quickly and soon on my way (by foot) to the International Gateway entrance to Epcot. I reached my destination at 8:30, 1/2 hour early for my dining reservation at France’s signature restaurant…

Dinner at Monsieur PaulCOMPLETE

Saturday, Oct. 24

Before moving on to my next review, I should explain my reasoning for my dining choices on this trip. I had just a few goals/rules in mind when planning my dining.

They were:

1) To not revisit any of the restaurants which I went to on my last trip in May. (Only broke this rule a few times, or maybe 6 :rolleyes1)

2) To dine at most of the Epcot World Showcase full-service restaurants that we didn’t go to on the last trip. ( If you count the two Italian F & W pairing lunches at Tutto and Via Napoli, I got to all but Norway’s Akershus, Japan’s Tokyo Dining, Morocco’s Restaurant Marakesh, and France’s Les Chefs de France). My reason for this is that for the next few months I will be featuring photos from the WSC restaurants on my Instagram account. ;)

3) To try some new restaurants or return to ones that I haven’t been to for quite awhile. (Falling into this category were The Wave, 1900 Park Fare, Tony’s, Captain’s Grille lunch, Cape May dinner, Biergarten, Nine Dragons, Monsieur Paul, Il Mulino, Trattoria al Forno breakfast, and Sci-Fi)

4) And last, which was the most difficult to abide by…Try ordering something I’ve never had before at the restaurants which I have visited on recent trips. (Since I have my “favorites” at most of these restaurants, which is the reason that I frequently return to them, this was hard. However, though I did have to break this rule a few times, I did expand my horizons on several occasions, starting with my breakfast at Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest…

Pre-Park Opening Breakfast at Be our GuestCOMPLETE

My original plan for the first lunch of my trip was to dine at Be our Guest. However, when I was able to snag a pre-park opening breakfast reservation there, the plan changed. Not wanting to have back-to-back meals at BoG, I looked for an alternative. If Liberty Tree Tavern had been open this would have been a no brainer for me, as it is hands down my favorite place to have lunch at Magic Kingdom. But with LTT closed for refurb, this made the decision much more difficult. I finally settled on a restaurant which I hadn’t been to for a few years, and that time I had had dinner there. Therefore, following my trip dining rules #1 and #3, I had the first lunch of my trip at Magic Kingdom’s Tony’s Town Square…

Lunch at Tony’s Town Square RestaurantCOMPLETE

Party for the Senses featuring Disney Chefs COMPLETE

Sunday, Oct. 25

On Sunday morning, October 25th I walked around the lake and over to the Yacht Club to meet up with two ladies from the DIS for breakfast at…

DISmeet Breakfast at Captain’s GrilleCOMPLETE

After spending the rest of the morning at DHS, it was time to check in for my lunch at…

Lunch at the Hollywood Brown DerbyCOMPLETE

Dinner at California GrillCOMPLETE

Monday, Oct. 26

On Monday, October 26th I was off to Epcot with no ADRs scheduled until dinner. Instead I planned to have breakfast at the French bakery, Boulangerie Patisserie, and for lunch I was going to make my first visit of the trip to the F & W Festival booths. So by 9:30 I was in France, where things were unusually quiet…

Breakfast at Boulangerie PatisserieCOMPLETE

Happy New Year Everyone! :wave2:

Sorry that I have been absent from my dining report for such a long time. The last few weeks brought much activity to the jabead household. I was very happy to have all three of the kids, including our daughter, Emily, home for the holidays. She arrived at Chicago O’Hare airport just after midnight on Dec. 24th and was able to stay with us until Sunday, Jan. 3rd, when she returned to Austin, TX.

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On the day after Christmas, we hosted our annual Christmas Around the World party with 22 family members and friends in attendance. This year, at the 6th annual party, wines, cheeses, entrees & side dishes, and desserts were served from 7 different countries of the world. Emily took some photos from our first course, which included 13 different wines, at least a dozen cheeses, along with various accompaniments.

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As you may have guessed, the idea for the theme of our annual family Christmas party came from the Epcot Food & Wine Festival marketplace booths. Which leads me to the subject of my next review….

A Tour of 13 of the 20th Annual Food & Wine Festival BoothsCOMPLETE

For the second night in a row I headed to the Contemporary Resort to have dinner. But instead of my usual dining destination on the 15th floor of the Contemporary, this time I remained on the 1st floor to dine for the first time ever at…

Dinner at The WaveCOMPLETE

Tuesday, Oct. 27

My original plan for breakfast on this morning, Tuesday, Oct. 27th, was to go to the Grand Floridian Cafe for one of my favorite WDW breakfasts, their delicious French toast.

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But then when I formed my plan to try new places on this trip (or return to those that I haven’t been to in a long time), I started perusing the menus of restaurants which qualified. One of these was 1900 Park Fare, which I hadn’t been to since 2002. On their breakfast buffet menu I was surprised to see “Maple French Toast.” Since 1900 Park Fare is located right next to the Grand Floridian Cafe, I assumed that they shared a kitchen and therefore the French toast would be the same. So when I was able to get an ADR at 1900 just a few days before leaving on this trip, I was quite pleased with myself. After all, I would be able to keep my promise to review some “different than usual” restaurants and still have my much-loved French toast. Sounds like a win/win, right? Well, let’s see how that worked out for me, shall we? ;)

Thanks to more good luck with Disney transportation, I again arrived early for my ADR at the Grand Floridian’s…

Breakfast at 1900 Park FareCOMPLETE

Following my breakfast at 1900 Park Fare, I headed to Epcot via the Resort monorail and then the Epcot monorail from the Transportation & Ticket Center. I really enjoy taking the longer monorail ride between the TTC and Epcot at least once every trip. :thumbsup2

After spending the rest of the morning hanging around Future World… ;)

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…I was then off to World Showcase with the intention of picking up where I had left off the day before during my first visit to the F & W Festival booths. However I only got to Mexico before it started raining, not pouring like it would do the following day but sprinkling. I debated about whether I should take a chance and forge ahead or come up with a Plan B for my lunch. I chose Plan B…

Lunch at San Angel InnCOMPLETE

I had originally left this night open on my dining schedule because I had thoughts of maybe going to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party which was held on Tuesday, Oct. 27th. However, when I finally decided that I would go to the party, I discovered that it was sold out…as were all the remaining nights of the party. :sad2: So I began looking for a place to have dinner. After considering several options I finally decided on the Grand Floridian Cafe, as I’ve only been to breakfast here. But then on a whim I checked online to see if Narcoossee’s (where I had had my favorite dinner on my last trip) to see if they might have any openings. I was surprised when a time popped up, albeit a late time for dinner as it was for 9:15. So I could either stick to my self-imposed dining rules for this trip and have dinner at a new (for me) restaurant or I could break all the rules yet again and return to a restaurant that I had just been to a little more than 5 months ago. Which did I choose? :scratchin

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So would breaking my own rules pay off for a second time in one day? Read on to find out. ;)

Dinner at Narcoossee’sCOMPLETE

Wednesday, Oct. 28

Breakfast from the Boardwalk BakeryCOMPLETE

My day began at Epcot with a visit to the Innoventions East building to get my F & W passport stamped for the 3rd day. I was there when the special area set up for Annual Passholders opened at 11:00, so was able to get my 3rd stamp and collect my 20th Anniversary port wine glass…

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It was raining when I left the building and started toward World Showcase for my 12:00 lunch at Tutto Gusto. It began raining very hard as I approached World Showcase Plaza and even though I had both a rain poncho and umbrella, I was afraid I would be soaked by the time I reached Italy. So I had the idea (along with several others who were attending the lunch) of boarding the Friendship boat to take me across WSC lagoon to the Germany/Italy dock. I had just missed the first boat trip of the day across the lake so I got in line under the boat dock awning to wait for the boat to return. And there we waited, and waited, until we realized that they had docked the Friendship boats (probably due to the lightning). After waiting as long as I possibly could, I started my fast walk/slow run towards Italy. While I did manage to get there before noon, I was very wet. Of course, so were most of the lunch guests that were already waiting in the lobby of Tutto Italia. The CM’s were well-prepared though for their rain-soaked guests, handing out towels and plastic bags for placing your wet ponchos and umbrellas. And so began my Italian Regional Food & Wine Pairing Luncheon at…

Italian Regional Food & Wine Pairing Luncheon held at Tutto GustoCOMPLETE

I began this evening by using my Tier 1 FP+ for reserved seating at the 6:45 Eat to the Beat concert, which gave me a great view of the performance by Dennis DeYoung and his band.

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When I told my kids that I was at a Dennis DeYoung concert their reply was of course, “Who is Dennis DeYoung?” :laughing: So in case you are like my kids and weren’t alive during the 1970’s – early ’80’s, Dennis DeYoung is one of the founding members of the band STYX. He was their lead vocalist and keyboardist, as well as the writer of many of their most popular songs. Still not ringing any bells? :scratchin

How about this #1 hit song by STYX (written by Dennis DeYoung)?

“Babe”
Babe, I’m leaving, I must be on my way
The time is drawing near
My train is going, I see it in your eyes
The love, the need, your tears
But I’ll be lonely without you
And I’ll need your love to see me through
Please believe me, my heart is in your hands
And I’ll be missing you.

Still nothing? :confused3 Ok then, skip past the next 5 photos and go directly to my La Hacienda dinner review. :thumbsup2

But if you are like me and are a fan of Dennis DeYoung and STYX (or are at least somewhat familiar with their music), then here are a few photos from the 6:45 show held by Dennis and his band that night.

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Singing “Mr. Roboto”
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And the last one, Dennis singing my favorite STYX song, “Lady”

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Are you familiar with the saying, “There may be snow on the rooftop but there is fire in the furnace?” ;) IMO, Dennis DeYoung exemplifies this phrase. He and his band gave an awesome performance and is now on my Top 5 list of favorite Eat to the Beat concerts…and I’ve seen quite a lot of them over the years. :laughing: If I didn’t have a 7:45 ADR for dinner that night I would have gotten back in line to see their 8:00 show.

But speaking of my dinner, it is for that review that you are here to read so let’s get on with it , shall we? ;)

Immediately following the concert I quickly left the American Gardens Theatre and made my way to Mexico for my dinner at…

Dinner at La Hacienda de San AngelCOMPLETE

Thursday, Oct. 29

First, you are probably wondering why I would schedule the Italian Regional Luncheon (held at Tutto Gusto on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays during the festival) and the Italian Food & Wine Pairing Lunch (held at Via Napoli only on Thursdays) on back to back days of my trip. When I booked and pre-paid for these events back in late July, I thought this would be only a 10 night trip (arriving on Friday evening and leaving on Monday morning). So that left only three possible days that I could do the Tutto Gusto lunch and just Thursday, Oct. 29th for Via Napoli. Not wanting to do them back to back, I attempted to book the Tutto Gusto lunch on Monday but it was already full, even though I called in the early morning of the first day that it was able to be booked. So apparently this luncheon has become a quite popular one, as I was only able to get into the one which was held mid-week…and I was just a party of 1. Therefore I considered myself lucky to be able to attend both lunches, even if I had to do them on back to back days. :thumbsup2

So anyway, on the morning of Thursday, October 29th I had only the rest of the cheesecake from my Tuesday night dinner at Narcoossee’s and a cup of coffee from the Belle Vue Lounge for my breakfast. {I should note that they had a special coffee blend at the lounge that I really enjoyed. I thought for sure that I took a photo of the sign with the name of the blend but sadly I can’t seem to find it.} :confused3But anyway, no breakfast review for this morning of my trip so on to my Italian Food & Wine Pairing Lunch at Via Napoli…

Italian Food & Wine Pairing Lunch held at Via NapoliCOMPLETE

My husband arrives for the weekend!!

Towards the end of the lunch at Via Napoli I received a text from my DH that he had arrived and was in our room at the Boardwalk Inn. He was hungry and asked where he could get something to eat close by. I told him that he could find food at the Big River Grille, Boardwalk Bakery, or the ESPN Club…all places right there on the boardwalk. He’d been to the ESPN Club before (once by himself and once with my BIL) and had enjoyed it so that is where he chose to go for his mid-afternoon lunch.

DH’s Lunch at ESPN ClubCOMPLETE

So not only did my husband fly in for the weekend to attend the Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, but so did our DIS friends, Niki (Niki Andiokno) and her DH. We were happy to meet up with them for dinner on Thursday evening at the Swan’s…

Our Dinner with DIS friends at Il MulinoCOMPLETE

Friday, Oct. 30

On the morning of Friday, October 30th, my husband and I walked over to the Yacht Club to have breakfast with Niki (Niki Andiokno) and her DH at…

Our Breakfast with DIS friends at Captain’s GrilleCOMPLETE

After our breakfast with Niki and her hus, my husband and I headed to Epcot for the day. We had lunch at the F & W booths (the review for this visit to the booths was lumped together with all of my other visits into one F & W BOOTHS REVIEW), so I will move on to our dinner at Epcot’s Rose & Crown.

Our Dinner at Rose & CrownCOMPLETE

Saturday, Oct. 31

Saturday, October 31st was the half-way point of my trip, but more importantly it was HALLOWEEN!! And Halloween at the Boardwalk Resort means a Castmember Pumpkin Decorating Contest…

Halloween at the Boardwalk – COMPLETE

Our Breakfast from the Belle Vue LoungeCOMPLETE

On Saturday, October 31st I had made no ADR for lunch. After I suggested a few restaurants in the Epcot resort area, my DH chose the Yacht Club restaurant where we had had breakfast the day before…so I guess he must have liked it! ;)

Our Lunch at Captain’s GrilleCOMPLETE

Our Dinner at the Swan & Dolphin Food and Wine ClassicCOMPLETE

Sunday, Nov. 1

On Sunday, November 1st my DH had scheduled a noon pickup for his ride back to the Orlando Sanford Airport so we decided not to stray too far from our resort for breakfast. Therefore we went with the closest full service option, the Boardwalk’s…

Our Breakfast at Trattoria al FornoCOMPLETE

I had not dined at Epcot’s Biergarten in nearly 15 years. That first visit to this German buffet restaurant was with our three young kids who were picky eaters. All I can remember from that meal is that they hardly ate anything. Therefore we decided to put this restaurant on the back burner until the kids got older. But then it was just forgotten about…until now. Since my goal for this trip was to try new restaurants or return to ones that I hadn’t visited in a long time, the Biergarten seemed to fit the bill. So after seeing my DH off I walked to Epcot for some shopping, followed by my solo lunch at Germany’s…

Lunch at BiegartenCOMPLETE

On Sunday evening, Nov. 1, I was to have dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse with Niki Andiokno and her DH but something came up and they had to cancel. I almost cancelled our ADR since I’d already had steak a few times on this trip but then I looked at the YSH online menu and spotted an appetizer that I was very interested in having so I kept my 7:25 p.m. ADR for dinner at the Yacht Club’s signature restaurant…

Dinner at Yachtsman SteakhouseCOMPLETE

Monday, Nov. 2

On Monday, Nov. 2 I had a pre-park opening reservation to try a new breakfast experience which is being tested at Hollywood Studios’…

Pre-Park Opening Breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater – COMPLETE

On Monday, Nov. 2nd, I had breakfast at the Sci-Fi and lunch at the Epcot F & W Festival booths, both of which I’ve already reviewed earlier in my dining report. Therefore I’m moving on now to dinner, but first before leaving Epcot I want to give a shout out to Boys II Men for the awesome Eat to the Beat concert they gave that evening.

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After using my FP+ to see their 6:45 concert from the Fast Pass reserved section, I killed some time at Epcot before heading to the Beach Club for my late dinner at…

Dinner at Beaches & CreamCOMPLETE

Tuesday, Nov. 3

On Tuesday morning, Nov. 3, I had a delicious breakfast snack with my coffee, a snack which I had gotten the day before at DHS. Following my pre-park opening breakfast on Monday at the Sci-Fi, I stopped in at my new favorite WDW bakery…

Breakfast from Starring RollsCOMPLETE

Brunch at Tusker House – COMPLETE

Dinner at Flying Fish Cafe – COMPLETE

Wednesday, Nov. 4

Early on Wednesday morning I took a bus from the Boardwalk to Magic Kingdom. On my walk toward the Resort monorail I noticed that the small boat which travels between the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Magic Kingdom was approaching the dock to unload its passengers. I did a quick change of plan and boarded the boat, getting off at the second stop for my breakfast at the Polynesian’s…

Breakfast at Kona Cafe  – COMPLETE

So having satisfied my Kona pancake addiction, I boarded the monorail and was off to Magic Kingdom. When I was last there the week before the park looked like this…

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But now Magic Kingdom had changed into its Very Merry Christmas attire…

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I’ve heard that this transformation occurs all in one night but I’m not really sure which night this had happened. I do know that the final Not So Scary Halloween Party of the year took place on Sunday, Nov. 1st and this was Wednesday, Nov. 4th. So I’m guessing this was done either immediately following the conclusion of the party at midnight on Sunday (or whenever the last party guest had left the park) or perhaps they waited until the night of the 2nd. Regardless though, I was very happy to be able to experience the beautiful park decorations and atmosphere for both of these holidays. Like choosing between the GFC’s french toast and Kona’s pancakes, it would be difficult for me to say which of the two holidays I prefer. For me they are both equally magical. How about for you? For those who have been lucky enough to experience both, do you prefer the Halloween or Christmas decorations at Magic Kingdom?

My original plan following my breakfast at Kona Cafe was to spend the rest of the morning at Magic Kingdom and then take the monorails over to Epcot for lunch at the Food & Wine Festival booths. However, by the time I reached Epcot it had begun to cloud up and a look at the weather forecast on my phone showed there was a good chance of rain that afternoon. I guess I wasn’t all that enthused about lunching at the booths again, because I used the threat of rain as an excuse to ditch my original plan. A quick check on the Disney Dining app to see what might be available in the Epcot/Epcot resort area for a last minute lunch ADR showed a surprise opening at…

Lunch at Beaches & Cream – COMPLETE

On my last night staying at the Boardwalk I again headed across Crescent Lake to the Beach Club Resort, this time to have dinner at their buffet restaurant…

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Dinner at Cape May Cafe

Thursday, Nov. 5

Thursday, November 5th was my check out day at the Boardwalk, so I spent the morning packing.  Again I was intending to eat at the F & W booths, but by the time I walked to Epcot on this very warm day I was ready to have my lunch inside at an air conditioned full service restaurant.  So I had dined in Mexico, Germany, Italy, France and the UK on this trip and Canada and Morocco on my last trip.  That left only Norway and China with full service restaurants in World Showcase.  Believing that it would be much more likely to have lunch at Nine Dragons than at Akershus without an ADR, I headed to China.  And I was right, I was seated immediately at a two top table by a beautiful, carved wood interior wall in a nearly empty restaurant.

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Lunch at Nine Dragons

As for dessert, for that I went to Germany’s Karamell Kuche, where I finally tried their Chocolate-Caramel covered Pineapple…

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This had been on my WDW food bucket list for quite some time. Although I knew that I loved the combination of pineapple and caramel (anyone remember when ‘Ohana served fresh pineapple with caramel sauce for dessert?), I wasn’t too sure about chocolate and caramel. So even though I had been told how good this KK treat was, I wasn’t convinced until I tried it for myself. And now all I can say is, “I’m a believer.” :thumbsup2 :thumbsup2:thumbsup2

Then it was time to catch a bus to the Wilderness Lodge, where I stayed for the last two nights of my trip…

After checking in and spending some time relaxing in my room, it was time to meet up with my brother-in-law (visiting WDW from the Tampa-St. Pete area) to have dinner at the resort’s signature restaurant…

Dinner at Artist Point

Friday, Nov. 6

On my last full day at Disney World, I boarded one of the Blue Flag boats from the Wilderness Lodge’s boat dock.  This small boat travels between the Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness, and the Contemporary resort…which was my breakfast destination.

Breakfast at the Wave

Following my breakfast I hopped on the resort monorail to Magic Kingdom.  One of my Fast Passes was for the special viewing area for the afternoon parade, Festival of Fantasy.

I’m generally a fan of parades, but I do really like this one.  It’s probably my second favorite Disney parade, second only to the “Boo to You” Halloween parade that is held during the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween parties (a special ticketed event at Magic Kingdom that takes place on several nights in September and October).

About an hour after the parade was over, it was time to check in for my early dinner at Magic Kingdom’s…

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Early Dinner at The Plaza

Then it was off to Hollywood Studios for my final look at the Osborne Lights.

Desserts at the Merry & Bright Dessert PartyCOMPLETE (2016 UPDATE: THIS DESSERT PARTY IS NO LONGER OFFERED)

Saturday, Nov. 7

Before catching the Magical Express bus to the airport, I had one last meal at my resort, the Wilderness Lodge.

Breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe

And that completes this trip and dining report.  But I have two trips to Disney World planned before the end of 2016.  The first of these is next month (Oct. 25 – Nov. 4), when I’ll be doing most of my dining with my DIS pals.  So stay tuned for lots more Disney food coming your way soon!

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2 thoughts on “Follow me to the Boardwalk! – OCT 2015 Trip

  1. We’re so glad you’ve started posting reviews again! We missed Barb accounts–reading your updates before bed is a family tradition in our house!

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  2. Hi Sarah! I really appreciate your comments and I’m so glad you found me here. I have two upcoming WDW trips planned, the first one in late October and then I’ll be back again in December. So I promise there will be many Disney dining reviews here in the near future. Thanks again!

    Like

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