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Chelley
11-26-2000, 05:44 PM
"On the road again!"

Sunday, 19 November 2000

I sprang into action early, as we had to pack our bags in preparation for our return to the Swan. Yes, I liked the Villas at the WL, but I was ready to get back to the Epcot area.

My friend had been delighted to learn that she qualified for the government employee rate (as well as the teacher rate) at the Swan, so she moved there from Port Orleans. She transferred early and took a cab to the Wilderness Lodge so that she could see our villa.

We gave her a tour, then called the bellman to store our luggage. We had PS for breakfast at Artist Point at 10:20, so we checked out prior to the meal.

I could feel my arteries clogging as I ate at Artist Point. The server brought out platters of pumpkin, banana, and blueberry bread. Then she brought plates piled high with eggs, potatoes, sausage, bacon, pancakes, and biscuits. Argh!! My husband and my friend both enjoy a big "cowboy breakfast" (as my grandfather always referred to it), but I am not a breakfast person.

Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore stopped by for pictures. The kids (Chicken Girl and my friend's son) didn't do anything truly horrible, so I chalked breakfast up to success. No spilled milk, no tantrums, no whiny fits! Hooray!

After the meal, my friend and her son departed for Epcot, and my family piled into a town car with our luggage in tow, bound for the Swan. We arrived around 11:45, and our room was not ready, so we walked over to Epcot.

We watched the movie at the Canada pavilion, then spent a pleasant afternoon strolling; we met up with my friend at one point, and the kids admired the train at the Germany pavilion. My friend was beginning to look frazzled because her son was not a happy camper. I don't go to WDW to be miserable, so we separated again! My family saw the Off Kilter show later, before exiting through the International Gateway and returning to the Swan.

The young man at the front desk had told me to return after 3:00 to get my room assignment, so we arrived back at the hotel around 3:15. He was no longer on duty, but a young woman offered to help me. She looked at her computer for a moment, asked me to excuse her, then disappeared for THIRTY MINUTES! After waiting and waiting and waiting, I feared that she had left the building, so I asked another employee to go check. FINALLY, the woman who had been helping me reappeared and apologized. She said that she had been on the phone with housekeeping, trying to verify that my room was ready. (Why she didn't give me an update twenty minutes earlier still escapes me!) She gave me my room number, and we headed for the elevator. (Don't forget about the long check-in procedure. This incident will reappear later in the story!)

We had been at the Swan earlier in the week, and we had been pleased with that room. The one we checked into on this day didn't disappoint either. Unlike the first junior suite in which we stayed, this one did not have a balcony. However, it had even better (if possible!) views. We could admire Spaceship Earth from two of the four windows. This jr. suite was on the ninth floor and was very nice. I was delighted!

I took Chicken Girl down to my friend's room; she had offered to babysit for the evening. My husband and I got dressed for the big event: dinner at Victoria and Albert's!

I had called six months in advance in hopes of securing the Chef's Table. I don't know who was more excited when I booked it, the reservationist or me! My husband LOVES the Food Network, so he was delighted about seeing the chefs in action.

We took a town car to the Grand Floridian and spent a little time admiring the Christmas decorations before V & A opened. When we entered the restaurant, we were escorted to the kitchen--where all the action is!

All the servers at V & A are called "Victoria" and "Albert." Our Albert took us to our table and poured champagne for the two of us and for Chef Thomas, who explained what would take place throughout the course of the evening. We don't have any food allergies, and we are willing to try almost any food imaginable, so we gave the chef free reign.

Albert asked us if we would like the wine pairings with dinner. My husband is not really a wine drinker, so he declined. On the other hand, I really like wine, so I said that I would like the pairings. And that's where the trouble began.

You see, on paper, wine with dinner sounds good. However, wine with a multi-course meal is A LOT OF GLASSES OF WINE. I lost count somewhere around the fifth glass and started making a concentrated effort NOT to make a fool of myself.

The meal was incredible. Here's what we ate:

To begin, we each had beluga caviar on toast points followed by sliced buffalo tenderloin. Then, I had Maine lobster salad with mixed greens and melon and pomegranate syrup (and wine--wine is good). My husband had herb-marinated pork loin with braised cabbage slaw and Gewurztraminer vinaigrette.

Next, I had veal shank and mushroom ragout with mushroom jus (and some more wine). My husband had quail with apples and roasted butternut squash compote.

The soup course was next. I had pheasant consomme, and my husband had a sweet potato-amaretto cream soup.

For the fish course, we each had yellowtail snapper and shrimp with couscous and saffron beurre blanc (and I had more wine--and wondered if the ceiling always moved in wiggly lines).

We then had a trio of sorbets (apple, raspberry, and mint) to cleanse our palates. A cleansed palate is always a good thing!

Then, we both had grilled prime beef filet and Colorado lamb with potato gratin and onion risotto (and I had some more wine--while trying to keep my head from wobbling off my neck and hoping that I was not slurring as I tried to ask the chef intelligent questions).

Next was the cheese plate. We had Gruyere, Ossau Iraty, and Royal Stilton with poached pears. We had port to drink with this course. At this point, my husband observed that I was in a WAY better mood than I've been in the last fifteen or so years. Hmm . . .

Finally, Victoria brought a French press to the table. Coffee! Thank God! Dessert included tropical fruit mousse in an orange scented chocolate "purse" (the dessert featured on the cover of Disney Magazine a few months ago) for my husband and a Swiss chocolate souffle with creme anglaise for me. The souffle might be the best thing I've ever eaten in my life. We also had a vanilla bean creme brulee to share.

Albert brought us chocolates, then presented me with a rose--and my husband with the check. YIKES! Chef Thomas gave us menus and wished us well.

The meal took over 3-1/2 hours, but the presentation was INCREDIBLE. We enjoyed seeing the "behind the scenes" action.

We took a town car back to the Swan. We had several messages on our phone, but one in particular was funny. The young woman from the front desk had called to apologize again and to give me her extension number, just in case I needed anything. Gotta love that effort!

Our daughter was sleeping over in my friend's room, so we called "dt" and her husband and invited them over for a visit, as they were leaving the next day. We had a great time together, talking and laughing, and we all walked over to the Dolphin to admire the Christmas tree.

I stared out the window at Spaceship Earth for a while before falling asleep. What a great view! What a great place!

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[This message was edited by Chelley on 11-26-00 at 10:42 PM.]

Emmalyn
11-26-2000, 06:30 PM
I can't wait for the next installment.

By the way, not only are we in the same line of work, but we may live in roughly the same geographical area. Shall we start wearing lime-green ribbons to conferences so we can recognize each other? ;)

Emmalyn

dt
11-26-2000, 07:58 PM
Chelley was in a rather good mood after her dinner. Not that she wasn't on the other ocassions we met, but this nght she was just extra so if you know what I mean.

I have two other witnesses!

What a great way to spend our last night - actually early morning. Visiting with new friends and seeing the beautiful Dolphin Christmas disply!

We returned to the YC about 1:30am and we still had not packed. Did a wake up call for 6:00am and somehow managed to get eveything packed, went to breakfast and brought two packages to the front desk to be shipped to us back home!

What a great vacation - very different for us, but we did enjoy ourselves.

It was great meeting Chelley and family.

It is so nice to "connect" on line and then to "connect" in person as well. Especially when the other family members just join in and everyone is comfortable!

Chelley
11-26-2000, 08:59 PM
But you don't have videotape, do you?

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Chelley
11-26-2000, 09:00 PM
Emmalyn, lime green ribbons would spice up many a conference!

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woolfie
11-27-2000, 06:13 AM
Well, Chelley, you've done it again! Terrific, funny, descriptive trip report! (your students are very lucky!)

We also have reservations for the Chef's Table--for December 17th, our 29th anniversary. And yes, I also got up early SIX MONTHS in advance to obtain them. And yes, we're willing to mortgage the home and the family car to have this experience.

Some questions: we had heard that they were remodeling the kitchen area where the Chef's Table is to accommodate TWO tables. Is this true? And if there WAS another table, did you feel that it in any way took away from YOUR experience?

Also, we had heard that this area (compared to the low-light romance of main dining room) was rather brightly lit and utilitarian. We also heard (obviously we live by rumor and innuendo) that the "surprise" visit by Mickey and Minnie was cancelled (this is okay with us), but that some other surprise was planned. True or not?

ANYTHING else you can tell me (on this forum or by emailing me directly) will be of great interest, I promise!

Thanks so much for your wonderful reports! Like Stephen King, you're publishing in installments in cyber-space!

Woolfie
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Chelley
11-27-2000, 06:32 AM
The Chef's Table is in the kitchen, so it is brightly lit and not romantic. However, we really liked seeing the chefs at work. Our table was the only one, and we saw no evidence of remodeling.

No, we did not have a character visit at all. I was the only character at that meal!

Enjoy your dinner there!

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Rajah
11-27-2000, 02:55 PM
Okay, I'm getting one of those "I ate too much" stomach aches just READING your report on V&A's!! Wow! DH is also a major fan of the Food Network, so this would be a major treat for him, but I have so many food allergies that I don't know that it would work for me. How did this work, did they give you a menu you could choose from, or did they just bring food to you to try?

-Rajah
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I pity the fool who feeds whales cheese.

Chelley
11-27-2000, 03:17 PM
The chef asked about any food allergies and/or preferences before cooking anything for us.

Yes, the courses seem to go on forever, but the servings are small (therefore, manageable!).

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ILuvLucy
11-29-2000, 04:35 PM
After reading your note, I am telling DH that is where we are going on our last night, which is our anniversary! Your reports are great! And how many glasses of wine was that? HeeHee

Chelley
11-29-2000, 05:52 PM
I lost count somewhere around glass number eight.

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TeresaNJ
11-30-2000, 09:23 AM
Chelley, your trip reports are wonderfully descriptive. I'm really enjoying reading them. Thanks for describing your V & A experience. I've always wanted to eat there, but wasn't sure it would be worth the cost. After reading about your dinner, it sounds like it would be well worth it, especially if you like to try different foods. My husband would love it, as he is also a huge fan of the Food Network. I'm going to be sorry to see your reports end.

Chelley
11-30-2000, 11:18 AM
We really enjoyed V & A. What a treat!

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sherrie
12-03-2000, 04:11 PM
great repot so far, one question. how could you possibly do anything after all that food and wine?

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Chelley
12-03-2000, 05:07 PM
I didn't do anything strenuous. Talking to "dt" is easy work!

calbayBWV
12-04-2000, 09:17 PM
Chelley,

Thanks for the great description of Victoria and Alberts, my mouth is watering.

How much, may I ask, was the bill?

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LisaTx
12-04-2000, 09:30 PM
V&A's sounds marvelous. :) DH and I may go to WDW for our anniversary next year. I'll definitely have to consider that for our anniversary dinner if we do.

Thanks for sharing your trip with us, Chelley.

Lisa :)

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Chelley
12-07-2000, 07:41 PM
er. . . um. . . was SCARY.

minniecarousel
01-17-2001, 09:28 AM
Thanks for the report!

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Marla Hellwig
02-11-2001, 07:35 PM
By the end of the 8th or so glass of wine my head would have been on the floor! Thanks for posting!