We had a Jolly Holiday with Mickey! – Dec. 2016 Trip (Completed 10/21)

I will be tying up some loose ends and hopefully completing my Austin dining report this week, but wanted to show my Disney World followers what they have to look forward to next here on my blog.  In December 2016 I visited Disney World for 10 days (Dec. 10 – Dec. 19), staying at the Wilderness Lodge for 2 nights and the Beach Club for the remainder of the trip.  During my 10 days there I was able to check off a few more new Disney dining experiences from my list, as well as return to restaurants I hadn’t been to for several years.   Plus of course, there were a few of my Disney World favorites thrown into the mix.  Here is a list of the places/events which I will be reviewing in this trip report:

Table service Restaurants

  1. Whispering Canyon Cafe Dinner (Wilderness Lodge Resort)
  2. Trail’s End Brunch Buffet (Fort Wilderness Resort)
  3. Liberty Tree Tavern Dinner (Magic Kingdom)
  4. Kona Cafe Breakfast (Polynesian Village Resort)
  5. Chefs de France Candlelight Processional Dinner Package (Epcot)
  6. The Fountain Dinner (Swan & Dolphin Resort)
  7. Coral Reef Lunch (Epcot)
  8. San Angel Inn Candlelight Processional Dinner Package  (Epcot)
  9. Beach & Cream Soda Shop (Beach Club Resort)
  10. Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen Lunch (Magic Kingdom)
  11. Be our Guest Dinner (Magic Kingdom)
  12. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Lunch (Hollywood Studios)
  13. California Grill Dinner (Contemporary Resort)
  14. Yak & Yeti Lunch (Animal Kingdom)
  15. ‘Ohana Dinner (Polynesian Resort)
  16. Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria (Epcot, Italy)
  17. Rose & Crown Dinner & Illuminations (Epcot, United Kingdom)
  18. Narcoossee’s Sunday Brunch (Grand Floridian Resort)
  19. Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine (Hollywood Studios)
  20. STK Orlando Lunch (Disney Springs)

Quick service/Specialty Shops/Kiosks

  1. Beach Club Marketplace Breakfast #1 (Beach Club Resort)
  2. Beach Club Marketplace Breakfast #2 (Beach Club Resort)
  3. Sprinkles Cupcake ATM (Disney Springs)
  4.  A Look Inside the Trolley Car Cafe (Hollywood Studios)
  5. Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery (Animal Kingdom)
  6. Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie Breakfast (Epcot, France)
  7. Tangierine Cafe (Epcot, Morocco)
  8. Karamell-Küche (Epcot, Germany)
  9. Boardwalk Bakery (Boardwalk)
  10. The Ganachery Chocolate Shoppe (Disney Springs)
  11. Blaze Pizza (Disney Springs)

Bars & Lounges

  1. Dawa Bar, A Tale of Two Visits (Animal Kingdom)
  2. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar (Disney Springs)
  3. Weinkeller (Epcot, Germany)
  4. La Cava del Tequila (Epcot, Mexico)
  5. Tune In Lounge (Hollywood Studios)
 
Miscellaneous
  1. Tri-Circle-D Farm (Fort Wilderness Resort)
  2. Wilderness Lodge Resort Holiday Decorations
  3. Wilderness Lodge Standard View Room #6048
  4. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (Magic Kingdom)
  5. Disney’s Candlelight Processional Program (Epcot)
  6. Beach Club Resort Standard View Room #3546

And that just leaves an introduction to our cast of characters for this Disney World dining adventure.  Along with me on this trip were two (out of three) of my kids, Emily and Andrew (who turned 21 on this trip)…

So please join me and my kids on our Jolly Holiday with Mickey!

Saturday, Dec. 10th – Arrival Day  (Wilderness Lodge)

Our flight from Chicago arrived at the Orlando airport on time at 7:15 p.m..  Quickly my son and I made our way to the Magical Express bus and by 8:25 we were driving through the gates to the Walt Disney World Resort…

Upon arrival at the Wilderness Lodge (our home for the first two nights of this trip) we brought our carry-on bags to our room, freshened up a bit, and then went downstairs to check-in a little early for our dinner reservation at…

Whispering Canyon Cafe Dinner Review

Sunday, Dec. 11th (Wilderness Lodge, Fort Wilderness, Magic Kingdom)

We had a 10:30 reservation for brunch at Trail’s End Restaurant, so my son and I headed out to the Wilderness Lodge boat dock to catch the small Blue Flag boat to Fort Wilderness…

While we waited to be seated, we took a photo of the Fort Wilderness Christmas Tree…

Then we were called for our brunch at…

Our Sunday Brunch at Trail’s End Restaurant

After brunch we walked next door to see the horses at the…

Our Visit to the Tri-Circle-D Farm

Next we boarded the Blue Flag boat again at the nearby Fort Wilderness boat dock to return to our resort, the Wilderness Lodge…

During our walk to the lodge from the boat dock we noticed that the Fire Rock Geyser was erupting…

This was first time in many years that I had been in the area at the right time.  I tried to get down there for a closer view, but I didn’t make it in time.  For those that might not be familiar with the geyser, it is located between the Wilderness Lodge’s Silver Creek Springs pool and Bay Lake, in the courtyard area of the resort. It’s modeled after Yellowstone National Park’s famous Old Faithful geyser.  You can catch the geyser shooting a plume of water 120 feet in the air every hour on the hour from early morning (about 7 a.m.) to 10 p.m.

We then had some time to kill, as it was only a little after 1:00 and we wouldn’t be able to enter Magic Kingdom with our Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets until 4:00.  While I am an Annual Passholder, my son isn’t so I didn’t want to use a full day of his park ticket to enter a park for just a few hours.  So we took some time to take photos of the beautiful holiday decorations in the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge…

Wilderness Lodge Resort Holiday Decorations

Next we made a quick stop at the Wilderness Lodge’s quick service restaurant, Roaring Fork, for something to drink…

We were still full from our brunch so only got a water for me and soda for my son, but they had some cupcakes in their display case that looked pretty good.  I took a few photos…

We then returned to our room to rest for a bit and get ready for the MVMCP.

Wilderness Lodge Standard View Room #6048

Somewhere between 3:00 and 3:30 my son and I caught a Red Flag boat from the Wilderness Lodge boat dock to Magic Kingdom…

They had switched over several of the park’s entrance gates for the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party guests, so we got into one of these short lines.  At 4:00 they began letting us in and by 4:11 we had our Party wristbands and were getting this photo taken in front of the Christmas tree in the middle of Main Street’s Town Square…

Then we used our two Fast Passes that I had set up for us between 4:00 – 7:00 (the closing time of the park for the regular guests and the starting time for the Party).  I was able to schedule these 60 days in advance with just our Party tickets.  I had selected Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (because it had been closed for renovations during my October trip and it’s my favorite MK ride) and the Jungle Cruise (which was the “Jingle” Cruise for the holiday season).  We also had time to go on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (without Fast Pass) before it was time to head towards Liberty Square for our 6:40 dinner reservation at…

Our Dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern

It was about 8:00 when we left the restaurant and the Party (which started at 7:00) was well underway…

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Monday, Dec. 12th (Polynesian Village Resort, Epcot, Dolphin Resort, Beach Club Resort)

With a 9:30 breakfast reservation at the Polynesian, we were up fairly early to pack our bags and send them on to our next resort, the Beach Club.  Before leaving the Wilderness Lodge, we had our picture taken by a Photo Pass photographer in front of the tree in the lobby…

 

We then made our way over to the Polynesian Village Resort and arrived there with a few minutes to spare.  Enough time to take a few photos, both outside…

…and inside the lobby.

 

 

Then it was time to check in upstairs for our breakfast at…

Our Breakfast at Kona Cafe

Following our breakfast at the Polynesian, we walked to the Transportation & Ticket Center to catch a ride to Epcot on the Epcot monorail.

 

We used our Fast Passes for Soarin’ and Spaceship Earth, then took a trip back in time with Ellen DeGeneres over at the Universe Energy.  We then headed to World Showcase and hung out in France.   While there we saw the Impressions de France film for the first time in quite awhile.  Oh, and we got our picture taken by a PhotoPass photographer in front of the fountain…

Then it was time to check in for our 4:00 dinner reservation at…

Candlelight Processional Dinner Package at Chefs de France

Not long after leaving the restaurant we got in the line (for guests with Candlelight Processional Dining Package badges) to enter the American Gardens Theatre for the 6:45 Candlelight Processional show.  I believe they began letting this line in sometime around 6:00 – 6:15.  My friends Paula & Hunter (plus Hunter’s mom and aunt) were ahead of us in line so they were able enter, choose good seats and save two for my son and I.

This show had as the guest narrator, Robby Benson, my crush when I was 18 years old.

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For you younger readers, you might know Robby (or at least his voice) as the Beast in the original animated version of the Disney movie Beauty & the Beast.

Anyway, when he was a later addition to the CP narrator schedule, I just had to add a second show to our trip.  (I had already reserved the CP Dining Package for the following night with narrator Meredith Vieira, when my daughter would be able to join us).

And so here are some of the photos which I took at the December 12, 2106 Candlelight Processional show featuring Robby Benson as narrator…

 

And a close up of my teenage crush…

Though now more grey and distinguished looking, Robby Benson is still very handsome and charming…even when at the end of the program he yelled in his Beast voice, “Get out!”  :laughing:  Ok yes,  I’ll admit it.  I still have a crush on Robby Benson!  ;)

For more information regarding the Candlelight Processional, including its history and my personal history of attending this show, check out this page of my blog.

Disney’s Candlelight Processional Program

Following the show we said our goodbyes to Paula & Hunter and then my son and I made our way out of Epcot through the International Gateway entrance and took the short walk to the Beach Club Resort.  The last time I stayed here was for one night during my October 2014 trip.  I took this photo of the waterside entrance to the lobby of the Beach Club then…

Entering at night and during the Christmas holiday season, the entrance now looked like this…

Just inside the lobby entrance we saw the carousel made of gingerbread…

The spinning carousel includes ponies made of chocolate and fondant.  Pastry chefs use 100 pounds of icing, 50 pounds of dark chocolate and 36 pounds of honey.  Also, 100 pounds of confectioner sugar and 96 pounds of bread flour go into the structure. Very impressive!

Then it was time to find our assigned room, which initially was Room #3555 but was then changed to Room #3546.

Our Beach Club Room Review

By about 9:30 my son was hungry again.  Our original plan was to wait for my daughter’s arrival at the Beach Club (her plane from Austin was to arrive at the Orlando airport at 7:30) and then the three of us would catch a bus to Disney Springs in search of food.  However her flight was delayed by about 4 or 5 hours (they actually had to arrange for a different plane to take them).  So our plans changed and my son and I decided to try and get (without a reservation) at Beaches & Cream, conveniently located right there at our resort, the Beach Club.  However, this place is not very big and pretty popular so nothing was available, not even two seats at the counter.  They estimated the wait for a party of 2 to be 45 minutes to one hour.  I gave them my cell number and they said they would send me a text when something was available.  If we no longer needed/wanted it then all we had to do was text back the word, “DECLINE”.   I then went through the other options in the area, as my son didn’t really want to wait that long to eat.  (BTW, it ended up being 50 minutes before we received the text notification from Beaches & Cream that our table was ready, which I declined).  Anyway, I had heard that The Fountain, located at the nearby Dolphin,  was similar to Beaches & Cream so I suggested we try it and he agreed.  So we walked past the Yacht Club and over the bridge to the Swan & Dolphin Resort’s…

Eats and Sweets from The Fountain

At about 11:00 p.m. we finished at The Fountain and went upstairs to the main level/lobby of the Dolphin, as I wanted to see their Christmas tree.  We were surprised to find a reception of some sort (probably a convention) going on right there in the lobby which made for a very crowded area around the tree.  So even after 11:00 at night it was impossible to get a photo of the Dolphin’s Christmas tree without people standing in front of it.  However, not knowing if I would have the opportunity to return to the Dolphin later in our trip, I went ahead and took a few photos…

We then made our way back to the Beach Club, stopping to take a photo of the lighthouse/boat dock in front of the Yacht Club, with the lake and the Boardwalk in the background…

 

Unfortunately my photo does not do justice to this beautiful view.  It is something that I recommend seeing for yourself.

Then it was back to our room at the Beach Club, where we managed to get about an hour of uninterrupted sleep before my daughter arrived at about 1:00 a.m.  But she settled in quickly to our room and the empty daybed and before you know it our phone rang with our morning wake-up call.

Tuesday, Dec. 13th (Beach Club Resort, Epcot)

After the wake-up call I found myself in need of caffeine.  So while the kids continued sleeping I quietly got dressed and went downstairs in search of coffee.

An illustration of a pristine grocery store

Breakfast from the Beach Club Marketplace

Somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00 we left our room at the Beach Club and walked to the International Gateway entrance to Epcot.  After using our first Fast Pass of the day at the Seas with Nemo & Friends ride (located in the Living Seas pavilion), it was time to check in for our lunch reservation at the restaurant next door…

Our Lunch at Coral Reef Restaurant

Following our lunch, it was time to use our 2nd Fast Pass for a ride on Spaceship Earth…

Then before heading to World Showcase, we went to see the Disney & Pixar Animated Short Film Festival in the auditorium located in the Imagination Pavilion.  There were three short films shown in 4D, Get A Horse, For The Birds, and La Luna. Each were about 5 or 6 minutes long and all three were enjoyable to watch…well worth your 20 minutes of time, especially when it’s hot outside and you need a break in the air conditioning.

Next I insisted on stopping for a Photo Pass picture in front the Christmas tree at the entrance to World Showcase…

 

As we walking towards Mexico, my daughter mentioned that she wore the wrong shoes for a day at Epcot…a park that requires a lot of walking.  Her feet were starting to blister.  I remembered that on my last trip when I had an insect bite on my hand that was swelling and hurting, my friends had taken me to get an ice pack from the First Aid Station (located inside the Odyssey Center, which is a building between Test Track in Future World and Mexico in World Showcase).  We were very close so I suggested a visit to seek help for her tender feet.  The employees working there are so nice and helpful.  They gave her (free of charge) some mole skin and band aids and saved the day!

After we “Let it Go” in Norway, it was back to Mexico for a Gran Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros…
Then with time to kill before our dinner reservation, we did some browsing at the Plaza de Los Amigos, the Mexico pavilion’s indoor marketplace.
We admired the work of the artisan who was working there…
Then it was time to check in for our dinner at…

Candlelight Processional Dinner at San Angel Inn Restaurante

Following our dinner at San Angel, we made our way from Mexico to the American pavilion for the 8:15 Candlelight Processional performance at the American Gardens Theater.  On this evening the guest narrator was American journalist and talk show host, Meredith Vieira…

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And here are a few photos from the show…

While she did a fine job of narrating, I preferred Robby Benson’s rendition from the night before.  And my all-time favorite narrator is still Whoopi Goldberg, who I saw during my December 2013 trip.

After the show I was tired but offered to stick around for Illuminations if the kids wanted to stay.  They instead wanted to head to Future World and ride Test Track and Soarin’ now, ahead of the Extra Magic Hours crowd.  So I opted to call it a night and head back to our resort, the Beach Club.  However, as I was walking back I had an idea…a pretty great idea.  One of my favorite desserts at Disney World is served at the Beach Club’s Beaches & Cream.  So since I was already in the vicinity, I decided to check and see if I could get a spot at the counter at…

A Sundae on the Beach at Beaches & Cream

 

Wednesday, Dec. 14th (Beach Club Resort, Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs)

As always during this trip, I was the first one up so headed downstairs to the Beach Club Marketplace in search of sustenance.

An illustration of a pristine grocery store

Beach Club Marketplace Breakfast – Round 2

Once the kids were ready we were off to Magic Kingdom.

 

Our first Fast Pass was at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train…

Our second Fast Pass was for Haunted Mansion…

 

 

Then with our ghost hitchhiker in tow, we headed off to Adventureland for our lunch at…

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Lunch at Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen

After lunch we did several more rides and attractions, including using our 3rd Fast Pass of the day for Buzz Lightyear…

Ha!  We all look so serious in these photos. But for me it was SERIOUSLY BAD!!

As usual, I got my butt kicked.  One of these days I need to take the time to read the online tips (aka “cheats”) for becoming a Galactic hero on this ride.  :laughing:

We also went to a showing at the Hall of Presidents to see President Obama give his speech one last time…

This could be the last time for me here for about 4 years…hopefully not 8 though.  ;)

Anyway, eventually it was time to head towards Fantasyland for our dinner at…

Our Dinner at Be our Guest

Following dinner we stuck around Magic Kingdom…

…to see WISHES, not knowing that this would be our last time to see it. 😥😥😥

 

 

Then we stopped for one last Magic Kingdom photo on our way to the bus stop…

Then it was off to Disney Springs for the first time of our trip.  Our final destination of the evening….

 

…because Raglan Road was where we wanted to be when the clock struck twelve midnight and my youngest turned 21 years old!  We arrived at about 11:30 so they were serving from their Late Night Pub Grub Menu…

However we ordered only drinks (2 Mixed Berry Margaritas and a Strawberry-Cucumber Mojito)…

And then shots for the birthday boy and his big sister, including something called an Irish Car Bomb (which I think was a shot of Jameson whiskey and Bailey’s Irish Cream dropped into a glass of Guinness beer).

The band was great that night.  They even sang “Happy Birthday” to my son…

We stayed until closing at 1 a.m. and then headed toward the Disney Springs bus stop.  But along the way the kids made a detour at the Sprinkles cupcake ATM…

“I Love Sprinkles, yes I do, yes I do! (or do I?)

Thursday, Dec. 15th (Hollywood Studios, Contemporary Resort)

Our day again began with breakfast in our room from the Beach Club Marketplace.  Then it was off to Hollywood Studios where we had Fast Passes for Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster…

…and Tower of Terror.

Then it was time for…

Our Lunch at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

Following our lunch we used our 3rd Fast Pass for the Star Tours ride and then got in the short line for the Great Movie Ride…

This makes me so sad looking at these photos (taken by my daughter), now knowing that this was our final time riding this.  Personally I would have loved it if they had updated some of the ride scenes rather than closing it (as is planned on Aug. 13, 2017) and replacing it with a totally different ride.  No matter how great this new ride is, it will never for me be as great as the Great Movie Ride.

But sadly I must forge ahead to our next stop before leaving Hollywood Studios that day…

A Look Inside the Trolley Car Cafe

After leaving the park, we made a stop at our resort’s pool bar & grill, Hurricane Hanna’s.  Here we each ordered the same drink…

Category 5 – Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, Creme de Banana, Peach Schnapps, Orange and Pineapple Juice and a splash of Grenadine

We all like fruity rum drinks so we all enjoyed this drink!  After sitting outside by the pool and finishing our drinks, we headed back to our room to rest up a bit and then get ready for my son’s…

Birthday Dinner at California Grill

 

Friday, Dec. 16th (Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, Polynesian Village Resort, Yacht Club Resort)

Today was our Animal Kingdom day…

 

We began our morning there at Kilimanjaro Safaris…

 

 

It was a cool morning so even the lions were out and about…

And roaring…

…at each other.

 

 

 

Then it was on to the first showing of the day for the Festival of the Lion King…

The monkeys are my favorite…

Then we had some time to kill before our 2nd Fast Pass of the day and we just happened to be by the Dawa Bar, a hidden gem if you happen to like Bloody Mary’s.

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This bar (and its delicious Bloody Mary) had been introduced by my friends, Paula & Hunter, on my last trip to Disney World.  So I of course got a Bloody Mary…

But my kids aren’t really fans of the Bloody Mary, so they each chose a drink from the Dawa Bar’s Specialty Cocktails menu…

From left to right: My son’s Tikiti Punch with Snow Leopard Vodka and Watermelon Lemonade; My daughter’s Lost on Safari with Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, Pink Pigeon Mauritian Rum, and Pangani Punch (which I think is a combination of orange, pineapple, cranberry and strawberry juice); My Dawa Bloody Mary with Snow Leopard Vodka, Loaded Bloody Mary Mix, Worcestershire Sauce, and Horseradish Garnished with a skewer of Truffle and Blue-Cheese-stuffed Olive and Prosciutto.

While our drinks were being made, I remembered something else from my last trip.  For the first time ever I had stopped at the nearby Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery…

Our Breakfast Treat from Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery

After our late morning break, we walked around the Africa area and took some more photos…

Then it was time for our 2nd Fast Pass of the day so we headed to Asia to ride Expedition Everest…

The kids told me to make a funny face…hence the tongue.  :laughing:

After our EE ride, it was a short walk to our lunch location…

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Our Lunch at Yak & Yeti

After lunch we used our 3rd and final Fast Pass of the day to ride Dinosaur…

For this ride photo I was instructed to look bored but instead I looked at my kids and laughed at their expressions.  :laughing:

Anyway, after Dinosaur we were ready to move on to Disney Springs but before leaving the park I requested that we have a few PhotoPass photos taken in front of the Tree of Life…

I love the “photobombers” on the left.  Perhaps their photo caption is,  “I’ve had enough, I’m outta here!”  “Oh no, you’re not!”  :laughing:

As we were exiting the park, my son said he wasn’t feeling well.   Not sure if this was caused by his lunch at Yak & Yeti or our ride on Dinosaur (most likely a combination of the two), but he headed back to our room at the Beach Club to recover.  So my daughter and I forged ahead to Disney Springs without him.  After doing some shopping, we were feeling a bit parched so headed to…

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Happy Hour at Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar

We then met up with my son to view the 7:00 performance of the drone show (Starbright Holidays – An Intel Collaboration) over the water at Disney Springs.

There were more than 300 drones lighting up the sky, accompanied by a recording of classic holiday songs performed by a full orchestra.  This was the first time a drone show of this scale had ever been performed in the U.S….but hopefully it will not be the last.  Very impressive!!

On the way to the bus stop I took a photo of the beautiful Disney Springs’ Christmas tree…

While in the Town Center we also saw this roaming performer, called “The Strolling Piano”…

Then we hopped on a bus to the Polynesian Village Resort for our 8:15 dinner at…

‘Ohana means family (and a big dinner)

Following dinner I wanted to go outside there at the Polynesian to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks, as they were about to start.  However, the kids were being “party poopers” and just wanted to catch an Uber back to our resort, the Beach Club.  So we parted ways for the remainder of the evening.  I enjoyed WISHES from a Polynesian terrace…

Then I walked down to the dock and caught a boat to Magic Kingdom.  Then in a spur of the moment decision while on the bus back to Yacht & Beach Club, I decided to get off at the Yacht Club.  One reason for doing this was to the holiday decorations in the lobby there…

The nautical-themed Christmas tree there is always beautifully decorated with miniature boats/ships…

Flowers and wreaths…

 

But my favorite is the Train & Village display…

My second reason for stopping at the Yacht Club was to pay a visit to the Crew’s Cup Lounge (located next to the resort’s signature restaurant, Yachtsman Steakhouse.  I was on a mission to again have a holiday specialty cocktail which they served there when I last visited Disney World during the holidays in December 2013.

Once inside the lounge I took a seat at the bar and took a look at their special Holiday drink menu…

Although all three of these drinks sounded very good, they were not the drink I was looking for.  So I asked the friendly bartender if they might still have the holiday cocktail called, “Santa’s Little Helper”.  He had not heard of it, however he asked a server who had been working at the Crew’s Cup for many years and not only did she remember the Santa’s Little Helper but she instructed him as to exactly how to make it.  SCORE!!!

Santa’s Little Helper – A delicious combination of Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur, Butterscotch Schnapps, and Goldschlager Cinnamon Schnapps

This drink tasted just as good as I remembered it!  And it brought back so many great memories from my December 2013 trip and my visits to the Crew’s Cup Lounge with my friends from the disboards dining forum.

Saturday, Dec. 17th (Epcot, Epcot, and nothing but Epcot)

Today we headed to Epcot for “A Day of Eating & Drinking Around World Showcase”.  We began our day with a stop at France’s bakery…

Breakfast at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie

Leaving France we veered to the right toward our next destination, the Morocco pavilion…

 

We did a bit of window shopping there…

And took a few minutes to sit, relax, and enjoy the beauty of this pavilion…

 

For our drinking in Morocco we chose some frozen cocktails from this kiosk…

Here was their menu…

And here are the Oasis Slushies and Smoothie we chose…

Left: Habibi Daiquiri (Rum, Strawberry and Orange Blossom Water); Right: Sultan’s Colada (Rum, Pineapple, Coconut Juice and Almond Liqueur; Back: Mixed Berries Delight Smoothie (Vodka and Mixed Berries)

And another look…

These were all okay…not nearly as good as the frozen adult slushies at the Les Vins de France kiosk (especially the orange one made with Grand Marnier, Rum, Grey Goose Orange and Orange Juice)…

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Anyway, I decided we then needed a savory snack to go with our sweet, fruity drinks.  So I sent my daughter into Morocco’s quick service restaurant in search of some hummus and chips.

and This is What She Returned with from Tangierine Cafe

Then it was on to the Japan…

Another pavilion with some photo ops…

 

Holiday Storyteller…

And it’s always fun to watch the fish in the koi pond…

But then it was time to choose our “taste of Japan” and for this we went to the Garden House…

And here is what we had…

 

Tokyo Sunset – Coconut Rum, Creme de Banana, Peach Schnapps and Pineapple Juice

I love sweet, fruity drinks and the Tokyo Sunset is a good one!  I’ve had this several times at Japan’s table service restaurants.  At Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining the Tokyo Sunset looks like this…

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Fancy glass, paper umbrella and cherry but the Garden House Tokyo Sunset was larger and at $8.50, I believe $1 cheaper.  The last time I had this Teppan Edo in May 2015 it was $9.50…

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So if you don’t mind drinking this cocktail out of a plastic cup (sans umbrella), then the Garden House is the way to go.

Our next stop was the American pavilion, where they had a beautiful Christmas tree…

Santa and Mrs. Claus…

Holiday Storyteller…

 

And of course, the Voices of Liberty performing Christmas carols…

However, the food and alcohol choices were pretty unexciting for us so we decided to skip it and move on.

We had some time before our late lunch reservation at Italy’s Via Napoli so we moved on to Germany’s Weinkeller…

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Would You Like Some Cheese to Go With That Wine?

Then it was time to backtrack to the Italy pavilion for our lunch at…

Our Lunch at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

After lunch we headed back to Germany in search of dessert from…

Our Dessert from Karamell-Küche

Next we headed towards the bridge and on to China…but wait, STOP RIGHT THERE!

‘Cause the drawbridge was raised in order for the barges and Earth Globe to be brought out into the World Showcase lagoon in preparation for tonight’s presentation of Illuminations…

I hadn’t gotten to see Illuminations during my last trip, so I was very much looking forward to seeing it tonight…and hopefully while eating dinner at an outside patio table at the Rose & Crown.  But more on that later, ’cause we still had several more World Showcase countries to visit.

And next up was China, where my son got a beverage from the Joy of Tea kiosk while his sister and I looked around in the shops inside the pavilion.

Joy of Tea

And here is his photograph evidence…

However, all I know is that it was some kind of tea.  :laughing:

Now I wanted to try a Peach Snap! (with Schnapps and Vodka), another beverage from Joy of Tea, and share it with my daughter.  However, the sun was setting and it was cooling off outside so she requested that we head to Mexico’s indoor bar (La Cava del Tequila) for our next alcoholic beverage.

But to get to Mexico, we first had to pass Norway’s…

There were a few things in their display that I don’t recall seeing there during my last visit in October.  First these cute Frozen-themed mini cupcakes…

And this Log Cake??? Not sure if this was even edible or if this was just there for decoration…

I also took a photo of their menu (as of Dec. 17, 2016)…

But we were there for an alcoholic beverage of some kind…preferably something Norwegian-themed.  However the choices were somewhat limited…

Although they had wines, they were Australian (Lindeman) so that didn’t seem like a very authentic choice.  They also had something called Viking Coffee, which was described as a blend of Columbian coffee, Kamora Coffee Liqueur (a product of Mexico) and Bailey’s Irish Cream.  Nothing Norwegian about that coffee drink, except for the name. :laughing: Though their beer, Carlsberg, was from Denmark (so at least Scandinavian), none of us are beer drinkers so we passed.  That left something called Linie Aquavit…

 

Apparently aquavit is the national spirit of Scandinavia.  Who knew?  Not me. :laughing:
And Linie Aquavit is one of Norway’s most famous aquavits because of its unique aging process that was accidentally discovered in the early 19th century. Linie means “line,” as its oak barrels are loaded onto ships that cross the equator (line) twice, supposedly enhancing the spirit’s flavor and smoothness due to the barrels’ constant rolling on the ocean and temperature fluctuations.  

So what is Linie Aquavit made of?  Potatoes…potatoes flavored with caraway, dill, aniseed, sweet fennel and coriander.  Hmmm…didn’t sound too appealing.  I’m more of a sweet, fruity drink kind of girl. :laughing: However, the small group of 20 somethings standing in line ahead of us were doing something the Kringla castmembers called the “Viking Challenge” and they invited my son to join in on their fun.  The challenge was to toast like a Viking by downing this aquavit shot…

…in 5 seconds while maintaining a straight face.  I figured this was a challenge because it tasted so bad that it was hard not to grimace.   :laughing: However, apparently this custom stems from the Viking sensibility of keeping your eye on others (and potential threats) at all times, even during a celebration.  But my son reports that I was right…YUCK! :laughing:

Our next stop was inside the Mexico pavilion at…

Happy Hour at La Cava del Tequila

After Mexico, we continued our game of “Eating & Drinking Around the World”, passing “GO” (aka as the World Showcase entrance) where the beautiful Epcot tree stands…

Our last stop before dinner was Canada, where I was hoping to get a Torontopolitan cocktail but unfortunately all they had left at the Beer Cart was beer.  With none of being beer drinkers we moved on to the United Kingdom, where we spent some time in the shops until it was time to check in for our dinner at…

Dinner & Illuminations at the Rose & Crown

Sunday, Dec. 18th (Grand Floridian Resort, Hollywood Studios, Boardwalk)

On this morning we were off to the Grand Floridian Resort for brunch at one of its signature restaurants…

Sunday Brunch at Narcoossee’s

Following brunch we visited the Grand Floridian’s lobby to see the beautiful tree…

 

…with its beautiful decorations.

And of course, the Gingerbread House…

After returning to our room at the Beach Club for a quick change of clothes, we were off for some Hollywood Studios fun…

We had some time to kill after using our Fast Passes so made a stop at the Tune In Lounge…

Happy Hour at the Tune-in Lounge

Next we staked out a spot in front of the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (previously the home of the Great Movie Ride) for Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular.

If you have not yet seen this show, I highly recommend that you do so.  There are fireworks…

 

Lasers…

 

And scenes and characters from the Star Wars movies are projected onto the front of the Theatre…

This was my second time seeing this show and it will definitely not be my last.  I plan to attend the Star Wars’ Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party (which includes a reserved viewing area for the show) along with friends during my upcoming trip to Disney World.

After the show it was time to check in for our dinner reservation at Hollywood & Vine…

Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine

After dinner we headed out of the park but first made a stop at the Boardwalk before calling it a night.  Inside the lobby of the hotel, we found it to be decorated with several smaller trees instead of one very large tree like many of the other Disney deluxe resorts…

They also had this tree outside…

Before leaving the Boardwalk, we visited one of my favorite Disney bakeries…

Some Old Favorites from the Boardwalk Bakery

During our walk back to our resort, the Beach Club, from the Boardwalk we crossed over the bridge just as Illuminations was starting at Epcot.  This was the first time I had watched the Illuminations from this view point, overlooking the Epcot’s International Gateway entrance.  Though we could only see the fireworks portions of the show, it was still a pretty good location to watch from outside of the park.   Here are a few of the photos I took that night…

Monday, Dec. 19th – Our Departure Day (Disney Springs)

Before I begin the reviews from the final day of our December 2016 trip, I wanted to tell you a little bit about my next trip to Disney World.  I will be leaving on October 24th and spending two weeks there, splitting my time between the Boardwalk Inn, the Polynesian Village Resort, and Animal Kingdom Lodge.  And lucky for me, my friends Paula and Hunter will also be at Disney World at this time too…

And for the record, IMO both of their shirts are correct because they are both Freakin’ Awesome!

Anyway, I am super excited that most of the dining plans for my upcoming trip include this awesome couple.   They will actually arrive a week ahead of me, so will be at Disney World for three weeks.  So how does one afford to visit Disney World for that long?  Well, being a LuLaRoe Independent Fashion Retailer definitely helps Paula fund her Disney vacation account.  So if you are interested in fashionable, comfortable, reasonably priced clothing, including some awesome Disney stuff like this…

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Then please check out her Facebook account by following this link…

http://Facebook.com/groups/lularoepaulamulder

Oh, but Paula will be temporarily closing down her shop after Sunday, Oct. 15, while she is vacationing at Disney World.  So get your orders in this weekend, or check back sometime after she returns home on Nov. 7th.

Now let’s get this dining report wrapped up!  Our final day breakfast of Boardwalk Bakery pastries was eaten in our room as we packed up and prepared for our departure from the Beach Club.  Once we had checked out of our room we boarded a bus to Disney Springs where I had made an 11:30 lunch reservation at…

Our Lunch at STK Orlando

After our lunch we visited a nearby shop, The Ganachery…

THE GANACHERY CHOCOLATE SHOPPE

After spending the afternoon shopping in Disney Springs, it was time to pick up some dinner and head back to the Beach Club to catch the Magical Express.  I lobbied for Earl of Sandwich but was outvoted by the kids, who both wanted pizza.  And so for the final meal of our trip we headed to…

Blaze Pizzas to Go

And that’s a wrap for this trip report.  But next Tuesday I’ll be off to Disney World for a two week trip, so stay tuned for much more Disney eats & treats.

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3 thoughts on “We had a Jolly Holiday with Mickey! – Dec. 2016 Trip (Completed 10/21)

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