New places, new experiences, and a new name? Jan 2011 TR DxDP UPDATE 2/13
UPDATE - 8/26 Since it didn't seem many people were interested here - I kind of let it lapse but I DID continue my TR on my blog. So anyone finding this and wanting to read more, please visit:
For an intro - see my attempt at a PTR
Our TR involves myself, my DH, and my Mom and Dad - spending two weeks together in WDW. Jan 10-23, 2011. Our first week is in Coronado Springs and the second at an area hotel, Best Western(Lake Buena Vista Resorts). Everything will be from my perspective - and mom might either chime in with "corrections" :rotfl: or have her own report to write.
WARNING - I am wordy and photo heavy. I have 4500 photos (but promise not to post them all!) from this vacation, just to give you an idea. So I can't even use many smilies I've got so many photos.
Also, yes - we had the DxDP and there will be food porn and reviews. Whoo!
You've been warned!
Epcot pt 1
Chefs de France
Morocco & Japan
Next: Germany interrupted and Mission:Space
Food review book
We drop off our car at a relative's house, (we live about an hour and a half from the airport), and then Mom and Dad pick us up to head out to the Clarion. We're splitting a room to take advantage of the "Park and Fly" deal. We all knew that we'd be too excited to get too much sleep anyway and being right AT the airport would alleviate any concerns of traffic or other unknown delays.
Even for a place to crash for a few hours - I would NEVER stay here again.
The beds were laughably uncomfortable. We spent an hour lying in them just giggling at how awful they were and fighting over who was going to sneak out to the car to sleep instead...
I mean, really, the floor had more cushion.
That said - I'd do the ride and fly again - as it was a great relief to just have to hop a shuttle 10 minutes over. I'd just budget ahead of time for a better hotel. ;)
We arrive at the airport sometime before 6 am - and manage to get the parents' baggage checked in, and through the TSA with no problems. Well... minor problems. Mom had the 300 trading pins in her luggage and that seemed to cause some confusion (and then amusement) on the xray. :happytv:
I see a Starbucks and stop for a hot chocolate (it's a nice dark chocolate there, my favorite) but sadly they don't do hot foods. I often get the gouda bacon sandwich before work. Tasty, light, and not greasy like most quick breakfast foods. The worker at Starbucks did however recommend the Cafe Brioche back the way we came. They had just opened - and we ordered a bacon egg cheese croissant that was really tasty and a good price for airport food. (I neglected to get a photo - it's 6 hours before I'm normally out of bed - so sue me!)
We make our way through the terminal - riding the express tram to the section with our gate - and settle in at the Delta section waiting for boarding.
After some more people file in, we get to chatting with a woman and her two boys who are sitting behind us and find they are headed to WDW for their FIRST visit. Mom and I dig out our trading pins and offer them their pick. A great start to the magic they'll have at Disney, I hope. ;) No pics of them for privacy.
Me and Chris waiting - it's hard to tell here - but my hair is purple. I have thing about big trips (I do a lot of conventions and the tradition started there) it's good luck to have my hair purple. It's a vegan wash out type - that usually lasts 2 weeks - and is really dark. So only in bright sun does it show the purple, so I can get away with it at work (just looks black).
Before we know it - it's time to take our seats. I get some pictures from my window to pass the time.
We stop for de-icing:
I switched to the camcorder for takeoff - I brace but other than a little stomach flip I'm pretty ok with the whole experience. I get a great shot of another plane waiting for de-icing with the sun peeking behind it as sunrise breaks. I'll have to see about extracting it from the video.
The 2 hours are broken up with a free glass of coke, lots of silly pictures, and listening to my new iPod.
Man - talk about sardines. I now appreciate most every airline joke I've ever heard....
Touchdown is nice and smooth - and after letting the crush of people (FULLY booked plane!) go by, extract the luggage from the overhead, and make our way off the plane to greet HUMIDITY! Ah, Florida, there you are. Once stripped of my two layer jacket I'm feeling a little more tolerable - and we head to baggage claim - rent a luggage cart - and track down our rental.
Once we've settled on a good pick for both trunk and leg space (a Dodge Charger) we headed to check in at Coronado! We pass the magical sign that says we've entered Disney territory.
Then the cute DVC ad with the gang in a big red van.
Then - the real sign we've been looking for ...
Oh, wait, no... not that one.
There it is! Coronado Springs!
We pull up and head in and first impressions are very good. With so many months to read reviews and re-read horror stories and obsess and worry that you've picked the "right" resort... it can really make you nervous when you first pull up.
Yes, it was quite overcast (and did start to POUR shortly after) that day - but that was fine because we'd already decided that we'd want to crash early and not waste a partial day at the park.
I found my first hidden mickey too!
After some initial confusion about rooms (we wanted same building, and floor if possible - but for sure Casitas if they could - and they thought we wanted adjoining rooms so were mixing up rooms more than necessary) we were settled in to the 3rd floor of Casitas 5 overlooking the lake with a view of El Centro and the Dig site.
While a beautiful view I wouldn't request/pay extra as having an outside walkway means not wanting your curtains open (everyone can look in) and therefore you only enjoy it when not in your room anyway.
The king bed rooms are quite spacious though. The sliding doors for the bathroom were very nice - made it feel less like a hotel room to not see anything of that area when the doors were closed. We also loved getting the Japanese TV station - as we are both Japanophiles and this station is an extra $30 a month at home.
The beds are horrible though - very very firm and felt like sleeping on a box spring. Definitely not the new mattresses everyone was raving about... I mean, it wasn't Clarion bad but still.
I will say up front - our entire stay the staff was excellent. Very prompt and friendly service.
Next post - Wolfgang Puck's and the Stupid Expensive Dinner (aka Yachtsman Steakhouse)
Great start! Looking forward to reading more :)
Nice start to your TR! I'll be doing my own and keep up with yours so people have the chance to read both angles without being ahead or behind. I'll make sure I give credit to the pictures you took for me (different than what she's posting here). Just wanted to add we realized way after the fact that it was the queen beds that were updated and that everyone is raving about.
Read you soon - :surfweb:
This will be my first time keeping up with two trip reports for the same trip. Looking forward to seeing it through both of your eyes.
Nice start! I look forward to hearing about the rest of your trip.
Great start and I love the photos!
Food photos shortly!
Your photos are amazing!
Finally, the food!
BTW - for my parents' views (and dishes) on the trip I highly suggest subscribing over HERE.
By now it was ohh, 3pm and all we'd had was that early morning croissant so all of us were more than ready to dig in at Wolfgang Puck's in DTD. Three course meal? No problem!
I'm not sure what this is from - but it reminded me of the bizarre illustrations in Alice in Wonderland.
First we get bread and butter - nothing spectacular and I didn't like the flatbread at all.
Then our appetizers. I got crab cakes (one of my favorite treats, but one with the most wildly varied recipes so I never know if I'll like it), Chris got tortilla soup.
I LOVED the crab cakes. Light taste (not full of filler or oil) with lots of crab, the sauce was amazing, and they were cooked perfectly. The tortilla soup was extremely tomatoey - which surprised Chris as every other place it has been more like a creamy queso type soup. He didn't find it worth getting again.
Main course: Macadamia nut chicken and Pepperoni pizza.
The chicken I had a bad start with - I got some of the apricot/mango or whatever that orange fruity stuff is in my first bite and it did not go together for me. Once I knew to avoid the contaminated areas it was very good. The pizza Chris thought was tasty, the crust nice and chewy, but not a must have.
And then dessert... despite our bravado and declarations at the beginning, we all agreed we were quite full (with takeout boxes yet from the main course!) and had a hard time selecting something at all.
But choose we did - Lava cake for Chris and Key lime for me.
The key lime I liked - it was a good balance of sweet and tart with a good crust. I can assume Chris liked the lava cake, because this was his "I'm miserable but this is tasty and I must finish my precioussses" face:
and I don't know that I really got a taste of it....
After that - we headed back to the room to collapse for a while. All of us were groaning thinking about the big steak dinner scheduled a "mere" 5 hours away. What were we thinking?!
On the way out, I spotted my second mickey:
Not until I was editing them did I realize the D around the mickey head for "Downtown". Cool!
Your report is so much fun! We are leaving in two days and I hope to post a report half as interesting as yours. Thank you so much for sharing!
For anyone interested - at the end of the whole TR I'll have a tally of the DDP places, OOP cost vs dining plan etc. It's more fun to go
through the photos right now, but I have all the receipts saved for reference.
Nice trip report! You have some nice, funny little ad-libs :goodvibes
Just found your TR... popcorn::
I'm here till the end... :cool1:
After the welcomed nap - we wandered out to see Coronado at night:
Then trudged (heh) off to our Stupid Expensive dinner. I mean - I've splurged on meals back home, but the prices online for this place just floored me. How good can it be?
The selection of beefy goodness:
Then I have to get a shot of the "oh aren't we fancy" two forks and two knives AND a butter plate setup.
The cute couple (d'awww):
Oh, for the record, I mostly drank either Coke (thank goodness it's not Pepsi, ptooi, I'd have been a sad girl and Chris would have been BOUNCING more than Tigger from Mtn. Dew) or water. I restrained myself from 37 images of glasses of coke for your sake. You're welcome. ;)
First - the onion pull-apart bread. OMG... I could eat these every day. Then, THEN, our waiter (David) brought me my own roasted garlic. I was in HEAVEN. I will roast and eat HEADS of garlic at a time. No joke.
(No, no pics of the other rolls, I'm not a sourdough fan. My TR. nyah) :laughing:
I got scallops and Chris SHOCKED me by getting escargot for his appetizer. Mind you, when we first met, he would barely eat anything more daring than a chili dog, but has gotten much more adventurous since then (sushi I think helped a great deal there). Still, SNAILS?? I don't know that I would have picked them. So bravo to hubby for that one.
The scallops were just ok, I didn't like the topping stuff. It was chewy and reminded me of oatmeal - of which I am not a fan. The escargot was devoured by Chris, and after getting a bite, I knew why. They were just amazing. I never would have expected it - but YUM!
Main course: Porterhouse for him, and the "Prime" New York Strip Steak for me.
WOW. Wow wow wow. Soooo meltingly good. I have never (and probably won't again till I come back) had such a tender, delicious, perfectly cooked steak.
Mind you - I rarely get anything but a filet anywhere. So already a strip steak was out of my comfort zone. I'm also a "must extract anything that resembles fat" kind of person. Chomping on the gristle makes my skin crawl. But what WAS on here (and it wasn't much) was more flavor than throwaway.
The sauce was tasty - but munching on the peppercorns was just kind of odd and I didn't eat a whole lot of them after the first bite.
Chris thought his porterhouse... well, look:
GONE is enough of a review I think. ;)
Our waiter then produced a special dessert -
which was sea salt caramels (like the best ever tootsie roll, which I don't normally like!) and little gelatin things that reminded me of red bean jelly that I've eaten with Japanese green tea.
Then proper desserts!
Chris: The Yachtsman Sundae - Trio of Gelato with Amarena Cherries
Me: Creme Brulee - Fresh Berries and Rolled Chocolate
The creme brulee (once removed of the offending blueberries) was sooo good. There were specks of vanilla bean all over it. Very creamy.
Chris loved the gelato - but the porterhouse bested him and he didn't eat more than a few bites.
The cherries I want in a jar. They are exquisite!
In sum - Yachtsman Steakhouse was our first dinner - and my oh my, did it set a HIGH bar for the rest of the meals. The steak was exquisite, service impeccable (and yet still went along with our goofy attitudes and jokes) and we just all around enjoyed ourselves here.
We crawled back to the car and rolled home....
Next - Our first day in the parks!
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