Good food is all the sweeter when shared with good friends! – Oct./Nov. 2017 Trip (Completed 10/22)

I was fortunate to have lots of good food with good friends on my latest trip to Disney World.  But unfortunately we also had some food (and service) that was not good.  However, these disappointments were made a bit more tolerable because they were shared with my Disney foodie friends.  So let me first introduce you to our cast of characters with this photo we took at the Swan Dolphin Food & Wine Classic with celebrity chef Todd English…

From left to right: Me/Barb (aka jabead on IG & previously on the Disboards), Hunter, Chef Todd English, Paula, and Rachel

My two week trip began on Tuesday, October 24th and concluded on November 7th.  During this time I stayed at three different Disney resorts, starting with the Boardwalk Inn for 5 nights, then the Polynesian Village for 5 nights, and the last 4 nights were at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jambo House.  So I’ll be reviewing all three of these resorts, including my room at each and the many dining experiences I had at the Boardwalk, Polynesian, and AKL.   Additionally I’ll be reporting on our numerous other dining experiences at the parks, Disney Springs, and five other Disney resorts.  A few of these were brand new to me, a few I had not visited in many years, and of course there were also my favorites which must be included on every Disney trip.

Here is a list of the places/events which I will be reviewing in this trip report:

Table service Restaurants

  1. Monsieur Paul Dinner (Epcot, France)
  2. Spice Road Table Dinner with Illuminations Viewing (Epcot, Morocco)
  3. Trattoria al Forno Bon Voyage Adventure Character Breakfast (Boardwalk)
  4. Beaches & Cream Dinner (Beach Club)
  5. 50’s Prime Time Cafe Lunch (Hollywood Studios)
  6. Liberty Tree Tavern Lunch (Magic Kingdom)
  7. Grand Floridian Cafe Dinner (Grand Floridian Resort)
  8. Yak & Yeti Restaurant Lunch (Animal Kingdom)
  9. Morimoto Asia Dinner x 2 (Disney Springs)
  10. Kona Cafe Breakfast #1 (Polynesian Village Resort)
  11. Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria Lunch (Epcot, Italy)
  12. The Wave…of American Flavors Dinner (Contemporary Resort)
  13. Grand Floridian Cafe Breakfast (Grand Floridian Resort)
  14. California Grill Dinner (Contemporary Resort)
  15. Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano Lunch (Hollywood Studios)
  16. The Boathouse Dinner (Disney Springs)
  17. Crystal Palace Character Breakfast Buffet (Magic Kingdom)
  18. Tony’s Town Square Restaurant Lunch (Magic Kingdom)
  19. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue Dinner Show (Fort Wilderness, Pioneer Hall)
  20. Kona Café Breakfast #2 (Polynesian Resort)
  21. Sanaa Lunch (Animal Kingdom Lodge, Kidani Village)
  22. Boma Dinner (Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House)
  23. Raglan Road Saturday Brunch (Disney Springs)
  24. Narcoossee’s Dinner (Grand Floridian Resort)
  25. Tusker House Character Breakfast/Lunch Buffet – Rivers of Light Dining Package (Animal Kingdom)
  26. Jiko Dinner (Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House)
  27. Le Cellier Lunch (Epcot, Canada)
  28. Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria Dinner (Epcot, Italy)
  29. Boma Breakfast (Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House)
  30. Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Lunch (Disney Springs)

Quick service/Specialty Shops/Kiosks

  1. Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie (Epcot, France)
  2. Fountain View (Epcot, Future World) – SEE TRIP REPORT BELOW (Oct. 26th)
  3. Gaston’s Tavern (Magic Kingdom)
  4. Sleepy Hollow Tavern (Magic Kingdom)
  5. Boardwalk Bakery (Boardwalk)
  6. Satu’li Canteen (Animal Kingdom)
  7. Pineapple Lanai (Polynesian Village Resort)
  8. Captain Cook’s Visit #1 (Polynesian Village Resort)
  9. Refreshment Port (Epcot)
  10. Roaring Fork (Wilderness Lodge Resort)
  11. Contempo Café (Contemporary Resort) – SEE TRIP REPORT BELOW (Oct. 31st)
  12. Captain Cook’s Visit #2 (Polynesian Village Resort)
  13. Captain Cook’s Visit #3 (Polynesian Village Resort)
  14. The Trolley Car Cafe (Hollywood Studios) – SEE TRIP REPORT BELOW (Nov. 1st)
  15. Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory (Port Orleans French Quarter)
  16. Main Street Confectionery (Magic Kingdom)
  17. Sanaa Breakfast (Animal Kingdom Lodge, Kidani Village)
  18. Amorette’s Patisserie (Disney Springs)
  19. Creature Comforts (Animal Kingdom) – SEE TRIP REPORT BELOW (Nov. 5th)
  20. Pizzafari (Animal Kingdom)
  21. The Mara (Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House)
  22. Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe (Epcot, Norway)
  23. Karamell-Küche (Epcot, Germany) – SEE TRIP REPORT BELOW (Nov. 6th)
  24. The Ganachery (Disney Springs)

Bars & Lounges

  1. Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar (Epcot, Italy)
  2. Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge (Hollywood Studios)
  3. BaseLine Tap House (Hollywood Studios)
  4. Rose & Crown Pub  (Epcot, United Kingdom)
  5. Geyser Point Bar & Grill (Wilderness Lodge Resort)
  6. Tambu Lounge (Polynesian Village Resort)
  7. Mizner’s Lounge (Grand Floridian Resort)
  8. Coca-Cola Store Rooftop Beverage Bar (Disney Springs)
  9. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar (Disney Springs)
  10. Dawa Bar  (Animal Kingdom) – SEE TRIP REPORT BELOW (Nov. 5)
  11. Nomad Lounge (Animal Kingdom)
  12. La Cava del Tequila (Epcot, Mexico) – SEE TRIP BELOW (Nov. 6)

Special Food & Wine Festival Events & Booths

  1. Our tour of 20+ Epcot Festival Booths
  2. Italian Regional Food & Wine Pairing Luncheon held at Tutto Gusto on Oct. 25, 2017 (Epcot, Italy)
  3. Swan and Dolphin’s Food & Wine Classic held on Oct. 27, 2017 (Swan & Dolphin Resort)

Other Special Events

Miscellaneous Non-Food Stuff

  1. Boardwalk Inn Room 5266
  2. Halloween at the Boardwalk
  3. Polynesian Village Room 3818 (Rarotonga Longhouse)
  4. Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House Room 4015 (Giraffe Trail)

 

And so it begins…

Tuesday, October 24 – Arrival Day/Epcot

The Plan: I was to depart from my local airport (Central Illinois Regional Airport) on Delta flight# 5250 at 6:00 a.m (CT), with just a 1 hour 15 minute layover at the Atlanta, GA airport to change planes.

The Reality: The first glitch was one of my own doing.  When going through the TSA line, I realized that I had left at home my quart-size bag which held many of my necessary toiletries…like make-up, deodorant, etc.  So while I waited at the gate to board my plane, I called my husband and asked him to mail me my forgotten Ziploc.  I would have to do without some things for a day or two but I decided not to let this stress me out.  The next glitch did stress me out though.  Because of a problem with the cabin door our plane did not leave until 6:45, cutting my layover time to just 1/2 hour!  Now I was starting to sweat…and my deodorant was lying on the dryer back at home. :laughing:   So I spent part of my 1 hour and 40 minute flight time to Atlanta trying to memorize the layout of the Atlanta airport that was pictured in the Delta magazine.  It had been several years since I’d been to the Atlanta airport and my memories of it were that it was spread out and chaotic.  Would I make my connecting flight to Orlando??

I did make it…with about 5 minutes to spare!  :laughing:  But I was finally able to relax a little in my middle seat (as that was all that was left by the time I reached my gate and checked in for my seat assignment) and before you know it I had arrived at one of my favorite airports…MCO!!  Though the wait time for the Magical Express bus (to the Boardwalk, Caribbean Beach, and Yacht & Beach Club resorts) seemed excruciatingly long, at 12:46 the bus was approaching the gates of my HAPPY PLACE!

 

After our first stop at the Caribbean Beach resort, the next was the Boardwalk.  By 1:15 I was dropping off my carry-on bag in my room (#5266 on the Inn side of the resort), which happened to have a king-size bed…

But I’ll review my room later.  Let’s move on to the food, which commenced at exactly 2:00 with this…

Our Reviews from the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Booths

During this first day of tasting, we decided to take a break from the booths and visit Italy’s wine bar…

Our Visit to Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

After Tutto Gusto and the Hops & Barley booth I wanted to listen to Kenny G, who was performing the Eat to the Beat concert that evening in the American Gardens Theater.  Unfortunately the theater was full so we stood outside for a bit and listened to a few songs.  Paula & Hunter stopped at the nearby Block & Hans kiosk…

Here were the Block & Hans’ festival offerings…

Paula & Hunter chose the Floriography Blooming Red wine…

And also a Mickey pretzel…

Both were very good.  Paula said the pretzel was soft and tasted fresh.  Although I’m not sure about the wine, I believe the pretzel is something that is offered at this kiosk year-round.  So if you ever find yourself near the American pavilion and are in need of a salty snack, give the Mickey-shaped pretzel with cheese sauce a try… for $6.00 or 1 Disney Dining Plan snack credit.

Soon it was time to check in for our dinner reservation at…

 

Our Dinner in France at Monsieur Paul

Then it was time to make my way back to my home-away-from-home for the next 5 nights, the Boardwalk Resort…

Image result for night photos of disney's boardwalk

Review of Boardwalk Inn Room #5266

 

Wednesday, October 25 – Epcot, Epcot, and only Epcot!

I started my morning with a quick visit to the Belle Vue Lounge (located on the second floor, between the lobby and the elevators on the Inn side of the Boardwalk resort) for a cup of coffee.  The coffee here is decent and the location is very convenient if you are a guest of the Boardwalk Inn.  They also have available for purchase here muffins and other breakfast pastries from the Boardwalk Bakery.  While from 6:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. the Belle Vue serves continental breakfast, from 5:00 – midnight it is a cocktail lounge.  Unfortunately no food is served though during the evening hours.   Also, FYI, your Disney Dining Plan snack credits can be used at the Belle Vue during breakfast hours and you can use your resort refillable mugs here to get your morning coffee.

Though the Belle Vue took care of my need for early morning coffee, I had something else in mind for my actual breakfast.  So I was off to Epcot’s France pavilion (via Epcot’s International Gateway Entrance)…

 

Our Breakfast at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie

It was then on to Soarin’ in Future World for the three of us and my first ride of the trip (Paula & Hunter’s second and they had been there for a week already :laughing:).  To this point, Soarin’ was my favorite ride/attraction at Disney World but before the end of this trip it would be displaced from the top of my favorites list.  

Soon it was time to head back to World Showcase for our lunch at Italy’s Tutto Gusto…

Italian Regional Food & Wine Pairing Luncheon Review

Our lunch lasted about 3 hours so it was about 3:00 when we emerged from the dark cellar to the Florida sun shining brightly outside, which was quite a shock to the eyes.  But we didn’t get far, as Hunter wanted to treat us to a limoncello from Italy’s Enoteca Wine shop…

I passed since I’m not a big fan limoncello but took a photo of my friends enjoying their shots.  Next they wanted to make the long trek back to the front of the park to meet up with some friends in the Festival Center.  However, the only trek I felt like making at this point (after at least five glasses of wine in 3 hours time) was to the boat which would take me back to the Boardwalk for a nap.  :laughing:

After my much needed nap, I texted my friends to see if they were interested in going to the Eat to the Beat concert with me.  They were having a good time though at the Rose & Crown Pub, so I returned to Epcot and attended the Billy Ocean concert on my own…

I had seen him perform here last year and really enjoyed his concert.  This year he was again very entertaining, as were his band and backup singers.  I recognized almost all of the songs he performed and especially enjoyed his 80’s hits, “Caribbean Queen” (No More Love on the Run) and “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car”.

After the concert I met up with my friends for dinner at Morocco’s…

Dinner at Spice Road Table with Illuminations Viewing

 

Thursday, October 26 – Boardwalk, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Beach Club

Thursday morning started out at my resort with breakfast at…

Bon Voyage Character Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno

After breakfast I took our extra pastries to my room and then the three of us went to Epcot, where we rode Test Track but first, “Everyone on #4″…

This was my 3rd day of the trip (2nd full day) and I was already forced to wear my less comfortable sandals rather than the tennis shoes that I normally wear when navigating the parks.  Why?  Because my tennis shoes (that I swear I’d thought I’d sufficiently broken in) had worn nasty blisters on the backs of my feet on my very first day at the parks.  Boo!!!  Needless to say, mole skin and band-aids were a nearly constant companion during the remainder of my two week trip.

Anyway, we were finally allowed to leave #4 and Hunter designed our car for us.  Then it was off to the races…

In all my ride photos I always look like I’m either bored or in pain! :laughing:  I assure you though that I was having fun.  Test Track is my second favorite Epcot ride behind only Soarin’.  Oh wait, I forgot about Spaceship Earth.  Ok, so maybe Test Track is my third favorite ride at Epcot. :laughing:

Oh, wait I just realized that this ride photo is not from Test Track but from Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster!  Here’s the one for Test Track…

That’s better.  I actually look like I’m having fun.  It’s Hunter that looks bored on this one.  :laughing:

Anyway, regarding the previously mentioned Spaceship Earth, that was our next stop…

After Spaceship Earth, Hunter was in need of a Starbucks fix so we paid a visit to the…

 

While Hunter and Paula stood in line for his coffee drink, I took some photos.  First there were the coffee cakes (from left to right): Iced Lemon Pound Cake, Double Chocolate Pound, and Caramelized Apple Loaf Cake…

And the Cookies (Oatmeal and Sugar)…

The Cheese Danish and Croissants (Butter and Chocolate)…

And then some Specialty Cupcakes, like these cute Mickey ones with Oreo ears…

And in honor of Epcot’s 35th Anniversary, this Spaceship Earth Cupcake…

Though this cupcake looks really cool, I’ve heard from a friend that it doesn’t taste as good as it looks.  But anyway, if you haven’t already heard about it, it’s a yellow cupcake with strawberry cream filling. The Spaceship Earth portion on top is a dome of cake covered in silver fondant.

We didn’t try any food though because our plan was to lunch around the F & W festival booths today.  Which is exactly what we did.  I’ve lumped all of our booth reviews (from all 3 days) together though and the link is posted on the first day of this trip report (Oct. 24th).

After visiting a few of the booths it was time for Paula and Hunter to attend their first of two Beverage Seminars for which they had purchased tickets on that afternoon.  I went on to visit a few more booths on my own before going back to my room at the Boardwalk.  When it was time to head to Hollywood Studios for the Dessert Party, I met up with Paula and Hunter at the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge…

Happy Hour x 2 at the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge

Then it was time to check in for the…

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party Review

Following the Star Wars show, we left DHS and headed to the long line of people at the boat dock.  I believe we made it onto the second boat that arrived at the dock and rode it to its second stop, the Yacht & Beach Club.  We made it there in plenty of time for our late dinner reservation at…

Our Dinner at Beaches & Cream

 

Friday, October 27 – Hollywood Studios, Swan & Dolphin Resort 

I had no plans for breakfast this morning, so it was the perfect time to dig into the leftover pastries from our Thursday morning breakfast at Trattoria al Forno…

I had the chocolate twist braid again, which was a day less fresh but still very good.  I also tried one of the clamshell pastries and it too was good.  These along with a cup of coffee from the Belle Vue Lounge made for a good, relaxing breakfast in my room.

Later that morning I met up with my friends, Paula & Hunter, at Hollywood Studios and we used our fast passes to ride one of my WDW favorites, Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster.  While waiting in line to enter the studio, I saw that I was to be the Headliner at a Country Music Festival that day???  Who me? Sorry, not a fan of country music.  Must have been another Barbara in the room.  :laughing:

Anyway, then we boarded our limo and…

…there’s the ride photo where I look terrified! :laughing:  But really I love RnRC.  It was my overall 2nd favorite WDW ride (behind Soarin’) up until this trip when it got bumped to 3rd.  

Because the three of us were attending the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic this evening, we scheduled an early lunch at…

Our Lunch at 50’s Prime Time Café

After doing a few rides/attractions (Star Tours and perhaps the Muppets show??), we found ourselves by the new bar at Hollywood Studios…

See the source image

Drinks & Snack at BaseLine Tap House

Next it was back to my room at the Boardwalk to get ready for the Classic, to be held that night at the neighboring Swan & Dolphin Resort.

2017 Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic

Saturday, October 28 – Magic Kingdom, Grand Floridian Resort

The plan today was to meet up with my friends, Paula & Hunter, for lunch at one of our Magic Kingdom favorites, Liberty Tree Tavern, but I decided to head to Magic Kingdom early.  This was my first visit of this trip to Magic Kingdom so I had to stop to take photos of the Halloween decorations along Main Street USA…

And then it was time for a Trolley show…

 

Before heading further into the park in search of breakfast though, I paid a visit to Guest Relations to see about changing a reservation I had for this evening.  Unfortunately I had scheduled the Happily Ever After Dessert Party for that night and the weather forecast was for a thunderstorm and strong winds.  So I decided that it was worth a shot to see if they would allow me to change this to another night, and thankfully they allowed me to do this without any penalties.  So with my Dessert Party reservation secured for Friday, Nov. 3rd, I happily proceeded to my next destination…

My Breakfast at Gaston’s Tavern

Then it was time to use my first Fast Pass of the day on one of my favorite Magic Kingdom rides…

Ok, so I look a little bored.  :laughing:

Soon after I headed toward Liberty Square to meet up with my friends for our lunch at…

Lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern

After enjoying some rides together (Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.), my friends were wanting a snack before we left Magic Kingdom.  Hunter had a specific snack in mind from…

Snacks from Sleepy Hollow Tavern

Sorry I’ve been away for awhile.  I came down with that nasty flu bug and today was my first day of having a temperature below 100 degrees.  So I celebrated by writing another installment of my trip report.  Coincidentally, the last time I was sick was while on this trip and during this next meal my symptoms were at their worst…so this gives me a sense of deja vu.

But anyway, back to where I left off at Magic Kingdom.  Shortly after their Sleepy Hollow snacks, Paula and Hunter were ready to go back to their hotel to get ready for their second night at the Swan & Dolphin Classic.  I had changed my plan to attend the fireworks party that night and in its place had scheduled an early dinner at 5:00 at the Grand Floridian’s…

Dinner at Grand Floridian Cafe

After dinner I returned to my room where I stayed for the rest of that rainy evening.  I tried to watch the Illuminations fireworks from my balcony but it was pouring down rain so my viewing was limited to watching from just inside the balcony door.  I was very thankful that I had rescheduled the Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Party for another evening.

Then it was one last sleep at Boardwalk.  Tomorrow it was on to Resort #2.

Sunday, October 29 – Boardwalk, Animal Kingdom, Polynesian Village, Disney Springs

Since the Boardwalk is one of my favorite Disney resorts, I’ve been a long-time fan of the Boardwalk Bakery. So with this being the final morning of my 5 night stay at the Boardwalk, I knew I had to make the trek down to the bakery for my breakfast despite the fact that my cold symptoms were telling me to skip breakfast and stay in bed.

But there was packing to do, luggage to transfer, and a bus to catch to Animal Kingdom for a very special Fast Pass so I dragged myself out of bed and down to the Boardwalk to get my breakfast from the…

Breakfast from the Boardwalk Bakery

After finishing my breakfast, it was time to pack up and send my bags on to my next resort, the Polynesian Village…

Then one last stop in the lobby to see if the winners had been named yet in the…

2017 Boardwalk Castmembers Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Then I caught a bus to Animal Kingdom to meet up with my friends, Paula & Hunter, for our first-ever visit to the incredible Pandora – The World of Avatar.  When I caught up with them there they had just ordered some snacks from the new quick service restaurant…

Hunter’s Review of Satu’li Canteen

While Hunter finished up his snacks at Satu’li Canteen, Paula and I were off to use our Fast Passes for Avatar Flight of Passage.  This ride was incredible!  I loved it and it is now my favorite ride at Disney World!

We met up with Hunter and then left Pandora and made our way to Asia for our lunch at…

Lunch at Yak & Yeti

Following our lunch I was badly in need of two things…some over-the-counter medication to treat my cold symptoms and a long nap.  So I said my goodbyes to Paula and Hunter (with the intention of meeting up with them that night for dinner at Disney Springs) and headed out of Animal Kingdom, catching a bus to my new home for the next 5 nights…

Review of the Polynesian Village Resort’s Raratonga Longhouse and Room #3818

I then called Bell Services and found that my luggage had arrived from the Boardwalk so had them deliver it to my room.  Then I was off to the shops of the Great Ceremonial House in search of cold medicine.  I didn’t have any luck at the BouTiki on the first floor, as it was more a gift shop with clothing, souvenirs, etc.  But on the second floor, at Moana Mercantile, I found this…

Cough See the source image Sore Throat See the source image Nasal Congestion See the source image Fever (maybe, but I didn’t have a thermometer to confirm) See the source image Body Aches See the source image

This seemed to have everything I needed but it was labeled as Maximum Strength and Night Time medication.  Knowing this would likely make me even drowsier than I already was (and take an even longer nap), I decided to concede to my illness and changed my plans to meet my friends for dinner at Morimoto’s (Disney Springs).  Instead, I spent the rest of the day/night there at the Polynesian.  But as I was exiting the Great Ceremonial House to return to my room for a much needed nap, I caught a glimpse of this…

Striking Gold at the Polynesian!

After finishing my Dole Whip treat, I took a dose of the Delsym and took a long nap.  Meanwhile, my friends gathered in Disney Springs for their dinner at…

Dinner (x 2) at Morimoto Asia

When I woke up that night I was a little hungry so I headed over to the resort’s quick service restaurant…

My Dinner from Captain Cook’s

Monday, October 30 – Polynesian Village Resort, Epcot, Contemporary Resort

My day began with breakfast at my resort, the Polynesian’s…

Breakfast at Kona Café – Round 1

After breakfast, I made a quick stop back in my room and then I walked to the Ticket & Transportation Center to catch the monorail to Epcot.  The walk is a pretty easy one (especially at the start of your day when you don’t have tired feet) and saves some time.  Otherwise, you can take the Resort monorail from the Polynesian’s Great Ceremonial House to the Ticket & Transportation Center.  However, with stops at the Grand Floridian, Magic Kingdom and the Contemporary it would take longer than just walking there directly.

Once I got to Epcot and went straight to Norway to use my Fast Pass for the Frozen ride…

One of these days I’m going to learn how to take a good ride photo.  :laughing:

After that I backtracked to Future World to meet up with my friends, Paula & Hunter, to share a few things from the Food & Wine festival booths there.

Then we moved on to World Showcase, as Hunter was wanting a breakfast snack from the…

Hunter’s Breakfast Snacks from the Refreshment Port

Before we knew it, we found ourselves in the United Kingdom area of World Showcase we no real plans so why not pay a visit to the…

Our Rose & Crown Pub Visit

Though we had scheduled dinner at Via Napoli for the last night of our trip, Hunter decided he couldn’t wait another week to have their pizza.  So we headed towards Italy and along the way ran into our friend, Vicki, and her husband.  They accepted our invitation to join us, so the 5 of us forged ahead to…

Pizza for 5 at Via Napoli

After Via Napoli I left my friends in Italy and headed out of Epcot and back to my resort.  My plan was to take a nap, as I was still fighting a cold.  But when I reached the Polynesian I decided to first make a stop for something to soothe my sore throat…

Yep, another stop at the Pineapple Lanai for a Dole Whip (pineapple and vanilla swirl).  This is good stuff and so easy on a sore throat.

Then it was nap time…a nice long nap!  Later that evening I met up with my friends, Paula and Hunter, at the Contemporary Resort for a late dinner at…

Our Dinner at The Wave

Tuesday, October 31 – Here, There, and Everywhere (a tour of the Magic Kingdom resorts)

My Halloween began by taking the resort monorail from my resort (the Polynesian) to the next stop, the Grand Floridian, to have breakfast with my friends, Paula and Hunter.

Our Breakfast at the Grand Floridian Café

We had no plans for after breakfast and it was a nice day so decided to take a boat ride.  Actually we rode on two boats, one from the Grand Floridian to Magic Kingdom and then boarded another boat to the Wilderness Lodge.  We then took a walk around the resort…

…and eventually found ourselves here.

Our First Ever Visit to the Geyser Point Bar & Grill

After our leisurely visit at Geyser Point, Paula and Hunter went back to their hotel.  Or did they go to Epcot?  This was nearly 7 months ago so actually I don’t remember where they went.  :laughing:  But I do remember what I did next.  I decided to take a leisurely stroll up to the lodge, first stopping at the Fire Rock Geyser

In case you are unfamiliar with this Wilderness Lodge landmark, it’s located between the Silver Creek Springs pool and Bay Lake, in the courtyard area of the resort. It’s the lodge’s version of Yellowstone National Park’s famous Old Faithful geyser.

FYI: 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. in the evening.

Then my walk continued past the swimming pool…

…and down the path to the lodge.

Once I reached the lobby…

…I had to again admire one of my favorite features of the Wilderness lodge, the 82-foot tall stone lobby fireplace.

 

Then it was on past the rear of Whispering Canyon restaurant…

…and down the hallway for a peek inside the empty Territory Lounge.

It wasn’t yet open (I don’t think it opens until 4:30) but I wanted to check if there might be a menu lying around to see if it matched up with the one currently listed online.  We had visited the Territory Lounge three or four times during our 2016 trips because we found some things that we really liked on their menu then.  But most of our favorites appeared to have been removed from their menu (according to what we saw online) and though I could not find a menu to confirm the changes, we decided to skip the Territory Lounge on this trip.

So then I continued down the hallway until I reached…

My Visit to Roaring Fork

After Roaring Fork I decided to move on to another Magic Kingdom resort.  Walking down to the boat dock at the Wilderness Lodge…

Hmm…two boats to choose from.  But I didn’t want to go to a park this afternoon and the big boat on the left was going to Magic Kingdom.  So I chose the little boat on the right…

Because this boat, called the Blue Flag boat, was going here…

Getting off at the Contemporary Resort, I decided to make a slight detour on my way to catch the monorail…

See the source image

The Contempo Café, the Contemporary’s quick service restaurant, was a little busy with the lunch crowd so I took a few photos of the desserts in their display case and then moved on.  But here is what I saw there on October 31, 2017, starting with some Halloween themed treats…

These were labeled “Confetti Cakes”.

And Flourless Chocolate Cakes

Next were these Mickey Smores Brownies

These are Mickey-shaped brownies topped with toasted marshmallows, dusted with ground Graham crackers and chocolate sauce.

Then there were these Peanut Butter Pies

A vanilla tart shell filled with peanut butter cream cheese filled, drizzled with chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate sprinkles.

And last but not least were these Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches

These were not the typical ice cream filled cookie sandwiches.  Instead they are filled with marshmallow cream, with the added bonuses of being topped with a cute chocolate Mickey face and gold sprinkles.

I almost got one of these, but instead decided to return to my resort, the Polynesian Village, to explore the options at Captain Cook’s. So I boarded the Resort Monorail at the Contemporary and got off at the second stop, the Polynesian…

I love the lights/lanterns which hang from the lobby ceiling…

Once I was downstairs, my next stop was at the Polynesian’s quick service restaurant…

Round II at Captain Cook’s

On Halloween evening my plan was to again meet up my friends to again attempt a Resort Monorail Bar Crawl, something we had tried last year but were unsuccessful in completing in one evening.  Since I was staying at the Polynesian, we began our crawl at the…

Kicking off our Monorail Bar Crawl at the Tambu Lounge

We then boarded the Magic Kingdom resort monorail and got off at the next stop, the Grand Floridian Resort, to visit the…

My First Ever Visit to the Grand Floridian’s Mizner’s Lounge

Next we boarded the monorail…

…which took us to the final destination of our Monorail Pub Crawl, the Contemporary Resort’s signature restaurant…

 

A Late Dinner & Hallowishes Fireworks Viewing at California Grill

 

Wednesday, November 1 – Polynesian Village Resort, Hollywood Studios, Port Orleans French Quarter, and Disney Springs

My day began with an early breakfast at my resort’s quick service restaurant…

Round III at Captain Cook’s

Later that morning I met up with my friends Paula and Hunter at Hollywood Studios.  The first thing we noticed when entering the park on November 1st was that the Christmas decorations were up…

 

They even had a Christmas tree up…

Our first stop was at Starbucks, aka the Trolley Car Café…

While Hunter got his iced coffee I took photos of some of their offerings, starting with cupcakes…

First up is their Star Wars themed cupcake, the Darth Vader Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake ($5.99)…

Next their Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cupcake ($5.49)…

This used to be called a Butterfinger cupcake when it was served at Starring Rolls Café.

And last is their Coco Dulce de Leche Cupcake ($5.99)…

Another look at the Coco cupcake inside the packaging…

Then some breakfast pastries…

First their Cinnamon Roll ($4.19)…

Then the Danish, Cheese (left) and Cherry (each $3.59)…

 

The Fruit Tarts ($4.79) also caught my eye…

As did their Napoleons ($4.19)…

So far all of the items pictured above were available (or probably would have been, in the case of the Coco cupcake) at Starring Rolls before it permanently closed on Feb. 5, 2017.

However the Trolley Car has some savory options that are from the Starbucks breakfast menu.  These include the ir Spinach, Feta, & Egg White Wrap (left) and Seared Steak Seared Steak, Egg and Tomatillo Wrap

And last their Egg Sandwiches, one of which was gluten-free…

Having had Tonga Toast for breakfast and with an early lunch scheduled at Mama Melrose, I didn’t try any of the food here. But as usual, Hunter enjoyed his Starbucks drink.

After a few rides it was soon time for our lunch at…

Mama Melrose Lunch Review

We stuck around and did a few more things in Hollywood Studios, but then decided to head to Disney Springs (where we had a reservation for dinner that evening).  Since we left before 4:00 though there was no direct bus running yet to Disney Springs from any of the theme parks, including Hollywood Studios.  So we decided to catch a bus to either of the Port Orleans resorts (whichever bus arrived at the DHS bus stop first) and then catch a boat to Disney Springs from there.  Well, as fate would have it, the Port Orleans French Quarter bus was the first to arrive and once we were there I offered to buy a snack from their quick service restaurant for us to share.  I had a particular snack in mind, one that’s been on my Disney Snack Wish List for quite awhile.

Snacks from the Sassagoula Floatworks & Food Factory at Port Orleans French Quarter

Then we boarded a boat at the Port Orleans French Quarter dock and rode it up (down?) the Sassagoula River to “Just Around the River Bend” (aka Disney Springs).

 

We had quite a bit of time to kill before our dinner reservation so walked around Disney Springs, making some stops here and there.  The first of these was at The Ganachery.  This stop was mostly to see if they were still offering the House made S’mores that our friend Rachel had told us about (and sent this photo of hers back in June 2017)…

 

We were told these were only available during the summer so no s’mores for us.  As an added note though, I’ve heard that these are again being served at The Ganachery this summer (2018).  So although I didn’t buy anything during this visit, I did return on the last day of my trip to purchase chocolates to take home as gifts.  Therefore I will save all the photos that I took during this visit to include with my last day review of The Ganachery.

So moving on, our next stop in Disney Springs was the…

Our First Ever Visit to the Coca-Cola Store Rooftop Beverage Bar

During our walk from the Coca-Cola Store towards our dinner destination, we came upon this sign regarding the opening of a new Disney Springs establishment…

This made me laugh out loud because during my last visit to Disney World in Dec. 2016 I also took a photo of this sign…

In reality The Edison, which we had hoped to visit during this Fall 2017 trip, did not open until January 2018.  Wow, I hope they’ve done a better job of estimating the opening date of Star Wars land and that late 2019 doesn’t become Fall 2020.

Anyway, we reached The Boathouse, where we were to have dinner on this night, but were way too early to check in for our reservation.  So with some time to kill we visited the bar next door…

Third Time’s the Charm at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar?

Then finally it was time for our dinner reservation next door at…

Our First Time Ever at The Boathouse

After dinner I caught a bus back to my resort, the Polynesian, and got there in time to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach.  This was the final night of the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Parties so this was actually Hallowishes…

 

 

Here’s a pretty cool photo…

 

 

This was an unplanned but very nice way to end my evening.

Thursday, November 2 – Magic Kingdom, Fort Wilderness Resort

My day began at Magic Kingdom, which had been transformed overnight from Halloween to Christmas…

The Main Street Trolley performers were now dressed in their Christmas attire and singing Christmas songs…

 

It was time for my breakfast though so I quickly moved on to Crystal Palace, where it is always Friendship Day…

My Breakfast at Crystal Palace

After breakfast I was off to use my 3 Fast Passes, the first of which was on my favorite Magic Kingdom ride, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad…

But had some time to kill so stopped to take photos of the Liberty Square Riverboat and Tom Sawyer Island…

Then it was on to the most “rootinest, tootinest ride” found in all of Walt Disney World…

But don’t forget, there’s NO DRINKING, FIGHTING, or WHISTLING???

Then again I had more time to kill before I could use my next Fast Pass and I happened to be walking by the Country Bear Jamboree, just as they were inviting people to come inside for the show that was about to start…

Wow, it had been many years since I’d seen the Country Bears.  A fun classic!

Then it was on to my next Fast Pass, another Disney classic, Haunted Mansion, which is still be haunted by 999 ghosts including the Bride…

Yet again I found myself with more time to kill and I just happened to be by the entrance to “It’s a Small World” (aka “The Happiest Cruise that Ever Sailed”)…

Following my cruise I was off to Tomorrowland to help Buzz Lightyear battle the evil Emperor Zurg…

Having made no lunch plans, at some point during the late morning I used the My Disney Experience app on my phone to see what full-service restaurants might be available for lunch that day at Magic Kingdom.  I believe there were three restaurants with openings, Liberty Tree Tavern (which I love but had already been to earlier in my trip), Skipper Canteen, and…

Lunch at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant

Before heading back to my resort, I went next door in search of a sweet treat for later…

A Visit to the Main Street Confectionery

Then I headed out of the park, stopping to take a few more photos out front since it was much quieter there now then at park opening…

A closer look…

 

And the poinsettia trees were already out…

Then I boarded the boat, which goes to both the Polynesian and Grand Floridian resorts…

From Magic Kingdom, my resort (the Polynesian) was the second stop after the Grand Floridian (then the boat returns to Magic Kingdom).  The boat ride to the Polynesian (even with the stop at the Grand Floridian) took only about 15 minutes.

Then I returned to my room for some R & R…

Later that evening I headed back to Magic Kingdom…

…where I met my friends, Paula & Hunter, by the boat dock.

From there we boarded a boat to take us to the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campgrounds for…

The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue Dinner Show

 

Friday, November 3 – Polynesian Village Resort, Animal Kingdom, Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village & Jambo House, Magic Kingdom

Today was a very busy day, which included transferring to the Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House for the final 4 nights of my trip.  But before leaving the Polynesian I had one more breakfast at Kona Café.  Because I had packing to do and a Fast Pass scheduled at Animal Kingdom for later that morning, I scheduled my breakfast for 7:30 (the opening time of the restaurant).   My friend Paula had participated in one of the RunDisney events that morning at Animal Kingdom (I think the race began at 5:30) and decided to join me and reload on carbs.  So at 7:30 a.m. the two of us were seated for our breakfast in an empty Kona Café…

My 2nd Breakfast at Kona Café

After breakfast Paula went back to her resort to get some sleep, while I returned to my room there at the Polynesian to pack up for my move to the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Once my bags were packed I called over to Bell Service to arrange for their transfer.  The bellman was soon at my door and gave me this Luggage Transfer ticket/receipt in exchange for my two bags…

Then I boarded a Disney bus to Animal Kingdom because I had a Fast Pass scheduled for my new favorite WDW ride, Avatar Flight of Passage.  After my ride I explored the beautiful Pandora for awhile…

…until it was time to leave the park and catch a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village. It was here that I met up with my friends, Paula & Hunter, to have…

Cocktails & Lunch at Sanaa

Following our lunch at Sanaa we waited outside at the front entrance to Kidani Village for the complimentary inter-resort shuttle van which runs between Kidani and Jambo House.  Before long it arrived and we boarded for the short ride over to the front entrance of Jambo House.  Once there we briefly parted ways, with Paula and Hunter heading out to the pool bar while I was off to find my new room for the final 4 nights of my trip…

Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House Room 4015 (Giraffe Trail)

After checking out my new room, I caught up with my friends, Paula & Hunter, at the Uzima Springs pool bar.  [Sorry but I didn’t take any photos here because I left my camera and phone back in the room to charge in preparation for the big “picture-taking” night ahead.]  As we were sitting there relaxing and enjoying our drinks I remembered that during my last stay at AKL I had participated in their late-afternoon free culinary tour of the restaurants, Jiko and Boma.  I told my friends about this and they were up for it.  So after confirming that it was still offered and at what time, we made our way to the shared lobby area of the restaurants to check in for the tour…

See the source image

Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Culinary Tour of their restaurants, Jiko and Boma

Immediately following the tour I checked in for my 5:20 dinner at…

My Dinner at Boma

After dinner I caught a bus to Magic Kingdom, as I had a party to attend there…

Review of the Happily Ever After Fireworks Dessert Party with Plaza Garden Viewing

 

Saturday, November 4 – Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village & Jambo House, Disney Springs, Grand Floridian Resort

I woke up early on this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep so decided to walk over to Kidani Village from Jambo House where I was staying.  It was at Kidani Village that I decided to have breakfast at…

My Quick Service Breakfast at Sanaa

Later that morning I caught a bus to Disney Springs, as I was to meet up with my friends at noon for brunch at…

Our Brunch at Raglan Road

After brunch my friends and I parted ways until dinner.  I spent a little time exploring Disney Springs and eventually found myself at…

A Visit to Amorette’s Patisserie

Before and after my trip to Disney Springs, I spent some time exploring my resort…

Let’s begin with a quick peek inside the retail store located in the lobby of Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jambo House, the Zawadi Marketplace…

Here you can find some unique animal-themed souvenirs, including wood carved giraffes…

Next is the gorgeous lobby…

 

Though it’s dark, and therefore difficult to capture all of its beauty in photos.  But speaking of the lighting, I love the light fixtures which hang from the lobby’s tall ceiling…

From floor to ceiling there are so many beautiful things to see inside the lobby of the lodge…

 

 

But even better than the inside is the outside of Jambo House…

 

 

As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of giraffes.   Although they are my favorite animal on the savanna here, I also like zebras…

 

 

And whatever this was (some kind of antelope) caught my eye…

 

That evening I boarded the bus to Magic Kingdom and then caught the small boat from there to the Grand Floridian’s dock.  My dinner destination was located right next to the boat dock…

Our Dinner at Narcoossee’s

 

Sunday, November 5 – Animal Kingdom, Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House

Today I headed over to Animal Kingdom where I met up my friends, Paula & Hunter, for a pre-brunch Bloody Mary at the Dawa Bar…

Although they have some Specialty Cocktails here…

We love their Bloody Marys!  Here are some photos of our drinks in the making…

Yep, that’s a slice of delicious bacon going into each of our drinks…

Next we checked in for our brunch next door at…

Our Tusker House Brunch (Breakfast & Lunch) with the Rivers of Light Dining Package

Following our brunch at Tusker House it was time to use our Fast Passes for an expedition into the Harambe Wildlife Reserve (aka Kilimanjaro Safari).  Here is our trip in about a dozen photos…

We then headed toward Pandora for our next Fast Pass, stopping along the way for Hunter to get his Starbucks.

I took a few photos of some of the food they had on display there.  Unfortunately I forgot to change my camera settings back after taking photos on the safari ride so the photos didn’t turn out well.  But here they are, starting with the Colossal Cinnamon Roll

They also sell this huge cinnamon roll at Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery for the same price of $6.99.  I purchased it from there during my December 2016 trip and shared it with my kids.  It was delicious!

A couple more breakfast options that I poorly photographed…

I’ve had something similar to that Spinach, Feta, Egg White Wrap at Kusafiri but I’m pretty sure it was just eggs (not egg white) and I think it cost more than $5.49.

There was a variety of muffins and coffee cake…

Pound cakes, Pumpkin and Banana Nut breads, and Caramelized Apple Loaf Cake…

A few Specialty Cupcakes…

And other desserts like this Turtle Brownie…

Once Hunter had his Iced Coffee were off to the Na’vi River Journey ride.  When we exited the ride it was starting to rain.  As luck would have it, there was refuge nearby for wet and wandering travelers…

Relaxing & Staying Dry Inside the Nomad Lounge

When we left the Nomad Lounge it had stopped raining but not for long.  In fact, we didn’t even make it off of Discovery Island before the rain began again.  So this time we took refuge inside the colorful Pizzafari…

A Snack for Hunter at Pizzafari

Once the rain had stopped we made our way over to the theater entrance for the Rivers of Light Dining Package guests.  This entrance is located just across from the entrance of the Theater in the Wild, where the Finding Nemo show is held.  We waited outside the entrance (among the first of the guests to arrive) until about 6:30 when we were allowed in to choose our seats in the middle Dining section of the Discovery River Theater.

I took this photo of our view when we first sat down…

And then this one (with the Tree of Life in the background) a bit later…

Then the show began at 7:30…

 

 

We all really enjoyed the show!

Then as we were heading toward the park exit, we stopped to view the Tree of Life…

It was the first time that I had seen the Tree of Life at night.  Unfortunately we were in a hurry to get to our dinner reservation so it was a quick stop.  Next time I’d like stick around longer to watch it and take more photos.

After exiting the park we caught a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House for our dinner at…

Dinner at Jiko The Cooking Place

 

Monday, November 6 – Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House, Epcot

I woke up early on the last full day of my trip and was in need of some coffee to get me going.  Since I was staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (Jambo House) the logical place to satisfy my need for coffee (and food too) seemed to be their quick service restaurant, The Mara.

The Mara Breakfast Review (plus a bonus review)

The plan for my last full day of my trip was to spend the entire day at my favorite park, Epcot.  The day started with my previous WDW favorite ride (now second favorite after the new Avatar ride), Soarin’.  Then it was on World Showcase, where I started my tour around the world in Canada.  I had some time to kill before my lunch reservation so I took a showing of O Canada!, the Circle-Vision 360-degree film shown in the Canada pavilion.

Then it was on to Canada’s signature restaurant…

Lunch at Le Cellier

Following my lunch in Canada I decided to visit the Mexico pavilion next.  The entrance area of the pyramid was decorated for the “Day of the Dead” or perhaps for the upcoming movie release of “Coco”, or maybe both.

Next I admired these from the Marketplace inside…

 

During my Gran Fiesta Tour boat ride, it dawned on me that is was nearly the end of my two week trip and I hadn’t yet had one of my favorite margaritas.  So when I disembarked from the boat I headed toward La Cava del Tequila…

 

I was surprised to see a line there, especially since it was a Monday afternoon.  I got in line and thankfully it moved pretty fast.  Here was the menu posted in the line…

Once it was my turn to enter and place my “To-Go” drink order from the bar, I ordered my favorite…

La Cava Avocado Margarita – Tequila Blanco, melon liqueur, fresh avocado, agave nectar, and fresh lime juice, served frozen with a hibiscus salt rim – $14.75

While they were making my margarita I took a few photos of the menu at the bar…

I found a seat just outside of La Cava to sit and enjoy my margarita.  While there a small group exited the bar and claimed a nearby table.  From margaritas to tequila shots to tequila flights, they had it all…

My next stop was Norway, where I had an interesting encounter with a mischievous Viking…

A Visit to Kringla Bakeri Og Café

My next stop was next door at China, but it was a brief one to look for a bit in the store there and then to take a few photos outside…

 

 

Then it was on to the African Outpost…

And then window shopping in Germany…

Then while in Germany I had to check out what was happening inside Karamell-Kuche…

 

They were hand-mixing the fresh caramel popcorn…

Before scooping it into small and large size bags (NOTE: Both sizes were snack credit eligible)…

They were also taking skewers of marshmallows…

And dipping them in chocolate…

Then they are drizzled with caramel for a finished product that looks like this…

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I took just a few other photos of treats in their display case before making my purchase…

These Pecan Caramel Apples caught my eye because they were huge…

And because they were $14.99! YIKES!!!

But I bought only my husband’s favorites to take home to him…

 

Milk Chocolate Caramels topped with Sea Salt

As I left Germany the sun was setting, so I stopped to take a few photos…

 

Then it was on to meet up with my friends in Italy…

It was there that I joined my friends, Paula & Hunter, for one last meal together at…

Dinner at Via Napoli

After dinner we all decided to call it night and made our way out of the park…

And then sadly we said our goodbyes before boarding our busses back to our resorts.

Tuesday, November 7 – Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House, Disney Springs

I was up early on my departure day, but before packing my bags I went downstairs for my 7:40 breakfast reservation at…

My Breakfast at Boma

After breakfast, I packed up and checked out of my room (sending my bags on to the airport at AKL’s Airline Check-in Desk) before heading to Disney Springs for lunch and some “chocolate” shopping because, according to this sign at The Ganachery…

Shopping at The Ganachery

Knowing the many choices available at Disney Springs, I had not made a lunch reservation.  Instead I decided to just wait and see what I felt like eating for the final meal of my trip.  And I apparently was craving some Southern cooking because I found myself at…

Lunch (without a reservation) at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’

Following lunch I returned to Animal Kingdom Lodge to catch my Magical Express bus ride to the airport for my return trip home.  And so another wonderful Disney trip came to an end and now so does this trip report.  But guess what?  I’m happy to say that my next Disney dining adventure begins tomorrow when I check in at the Polynesian Village Resort for the first 3 nights of my 12 night trip…

I’ll leave my other 3 Disney resorts a mystery for now though.  Check back here on my blog sometime after November 4th for my next trip report and you’ll find out where my latest Disney adventure has taken me.  In the meantime, if you’re on Instagram, follow me @jabead for some clues.

 

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Good food is all the sweeter when shared with good friends! – Oct./Nov. 2017 Trip (Completed 10/22)

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