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Old 11-12-2008, 09:49 AM   #16
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Hello,

Hopped over from my TR. Can't believe you were able to do all that with only two hours of sleep. I'm impressed you were able to get a few rides in between Spectro and Wishes w/o missing Wishes.
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:32 AM   #17
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I'm loving your report so far! It's making me SO excited for our childless mama's trip coming up!

The dinner at Brown Derby sounded excellent!
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MEK View Post
Great start to your trip report! Sounds like a blast. I remember when my kids were toddlers and I savored those free moments for relaxation. Can't wait to read more!
Thanks for posting - great to have you along!

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Originally Posted by pmama View Post
Hello,

Hopped over from my TR. Can't believe you were able to do all that with only two hours of sleep. I'm impressed you were able to get a few rides in between Spectro and Wishes w/o missing Wishes.
Yes, we certainly didn't let any moments go to waste. But the night didn't even end with Spectro and Wishes! I think sleeping is highly overrated, especially in WDW - LOL!


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I'm loving your report so far! It's making me SO excited for our childless mama's trip coming up!

The dinner at Brown Derby sounded excellent!
I am sure you will have a blast! And I guarantee you will love the Brown Derby!

Next update coming up shortly!
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:53 PM   #19
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Day One - Part 4

After leaving the Magic Kingdom, we headed over to Downtown Disney and Pleasure Island.

First stop was more shopping. Yes, we certainly shopped a lot on this first day! Loved browsing through World of Disney and Arribas Bros.





Next stop: Ice Cream!!!




If you have never been to Ghirardelli's, put it on your must-do list for your next trip. Seriously. It is enough to justify a special trip to DDD in and of itself. The most delicious ice cream ever!





Here is Andrea with a little bit of Heaven on a Cone.





After we had our fix of shopping and ice cream, we gradually made our way over to Pleasure Island.

By this point, it was getting late, and the lack of sleep the night before combined with a full day was starting to take its toll.

However, this was also the weekend that Pleasure Island was shutting its doors for the last time and I knew that I wanted to pay my respects.

As this point, the camera got packed away. While I have somehow managed to overcome my hesitation in taking photographs of my food, there was no way I was walking around PI with a camera strapped around my neck! So, unfortunately readers, I don't have much of anything by way of photos to remember my last ever visit to Pleasure Island.

However, on our way into the Clubs, I did the unthinkable and pulled out my geeky camera *and* camcorder to get Andrea on tape dancing with the crazy stilt guys.





Unfortunately, the photo that I took does nothing to show just how funny this was, or the crowds which had gathered to watch. The guys were dancing and Andrea was dancing and it was just hysterical! Their costumes in and of themselves were pretty outlandish and had lights lit up all over them. It was very fun.

By the time we eventually made our way back to the Poly it was quite late. We were both out cold as soon as the lights went out.


UP NEXT: Food & Wine, California Grill, and more shopping!
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Old 11-14-2008, 09:07 AM   #20
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As this point, the camera got packed away. While I have somehow managed to overcome my hesitation in taking photographs of my food, there was no way I was walking around PI with a camera strapped around my neck!
So true. It is a hurdle to cross to get comfortable whipping out that camera and taking pictures of your food before eating it. I can totally understand your hestiation to take it into PI.

I hope you and Andrea enjoyed yourselves.
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Old 11-14-2008, 09:31 AM   #21
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Enjoyed your update. We have never been to Ghirardelli before, looks yummy.
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Old 11-14-2008, 07:01 PM   #22
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I hope you and Andrea enjoyed yourselves.
We certainly did!

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Enjoyed your update. We have never been to Ghirardelli before, looks yummy.
Nichole - you *have* to try it on your next trip! Guaranteed it will become a trip tradition.
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Old 11-14-2008, 07:37 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdotla View Post
Day One - Part 4



Unfortunately, the photo that I took does nothing to show just how funny this was, or the crowds which had gathered to watch. The guys were dancing and Andrea was dancing and it was just hysterical! Their costumes in and of themselves were pretty outlandish and had lights lit up all over them. It was very fun.

By the time we eventually made our way back to the Poly it was quite late. We were both out cold as soon as the lights went out.


UP NEXT: Food & Wine, California Grill, and more shopping!
Such a cute picture; i miss the stilts men!!! You mommies sure don't sleep!
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Old 11-14-2008, 08:03 PM   #24
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Post-script from Day 1

Couple things I forgot to mention about our visit to the Studios on our first night. After dinner, we scooted over to the Magic of Disney Animation Studios for a little tutorial on how to draw one of the Chipmunks. Dale to be precise.

Here is Andrea's Dale:





Here is mine:






(Can you see my Arribas Bros Mickey necklace? I now wear it every Trip!)

This was so much fun! It was the first time either of us had taken this drawing class, and we each immediately wanted to go back for another class! Unfortunately, we were running short on time, so we had to move on.

Before leaving we also stopped for a couple pictures with some characters.

First, Wall-E. Obviously for our kids.

Here is Andrea with Wall-E:






Here is me:







And of course, the Big Cheese himself:






No, it is not you. Pretty blurry wouldn't you say??









And last but not least, a couple classic Photopass pictures in front of the Hat:








NEXT UP: Really is Day 2!!!
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Old 11-15-2008, 12:09 PM   #25
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Day 2 - Part One

What a feeling waking up and starting the day by pulling back the curtains, opening patio doors and stepping out to the beautiful sights and smells of the Poly!

If you need a reminder, here was the view that greeted us this morning:







While we were up early (7am), we spent much of the day apart, taking care of some non-Disney matters. Later that afternoon we met back at the room before changing and heading back to the Studios to do some touring.

First up was Toy Story Mania. I had already experienced this awesome attraction in May during a "sneak peak" for Annual Passholders and again in early June shortly after it opened. It was Andrea's first time though. We both loved it! Very fun and interactive for all ages.

Although it was a long wait, there is so much to see in the que that it keeps you entertained. Plus, we chatted the whole time, catching up on each other's day. In fact, I was so busy chatting, I only took one picture inside the que:







After TSM, we high-tailed it down Sunset Blvd to the Tower of Terror.

















Once again it was Andrea's first time on this attraction and needless to say, she was a little nervous. Heck, I had riden this countless times before and even I was nervous!

Here we are in line, anticipation building:









And here we are mid-drop! (Bottom right, front row)






After that, we headed over to Rock 'n Roller Coaster. Once again, we had a newbie ridder.










And if this picture doesn't crack you up, I don't know what will:






See the little girl in the front row. Completely calm and cool.
Then check out the two fools in the back row screaming their heads off.

After that, we headed down to pay our respects to Walt by seeing one of my favourite attractions, One Man's Dream. No matter how many times I attend, I am always finding new and interesting exhibits in the pre-show display. And I am always moved and inspired by the short film about Walt Disney each and every time I see it.

After that we had hoped to fit in a screening of the Great Movie Ride, but we were running late for our next ADR. So we said goodbye to the Studios and headed back to the Poly to get ready for dinner.


UP NEXT: Dinner at California Grill & Opening Evening of Food & Wine Festival at Epcot
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Old 11-15-2008, 01:26 PM   #26
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Day 2 - Part Two

After a brief pit-stop at the room to get ready for the evening, we were out the door again! It is so difficult on a short trips to take full advantage of the Resort. I can't wait to return to the Poly again soon for a longer trip when we can spend at least one or two days at the Resort all day.

Dinner tonight was at California Grill at the Contemporary. It would be a first time for both of us and I was looking forward to it!

Before the Trip started, this was the top ADR on my list. And it also proved to be the most elusive. Right up until two days before the Trip, the only reservation we could get was at 9:40pm. Not ideal at all, especially because this was the night we wanted to see Illuminations.

Fortunately, persistence paid off as first thing in the morning two days before the Trip a 6:00pm reservation opened up. Of course we immediately cancelled our 9:40pm to take this one instead, which worked out perfectly!

We check in downstairs and were immediately escourted upstairs for dinner. As soon as we stepped out of the elevator, we were impressed with the place.

Even at only 6pm, the place was bustling. Lots of diners, both in the restaurant and in the adjacent bar area. The space is quite open, with the kitchen in plain view. You could see all of the activity and the numerous chefs and kitchen staff busy at work making all of the fabulous food.

Everytime you saw a server carrying a plate of food, you felt compelled to take a look. The presentation was impressive and the food on each and every plate looked amazing!

And the views!!! Absolutely stunning!

Soon after we arrived, we were brought to our table. We were actually placed in a tiny somewhat private room in the back of the restaurant which had about 4-5 other tables. It appeared to be almost a wine cellar of sorts and it appeared that all of the wine was stored in this room. Servers were frequently in and out throughout the evening to pick up bottles of wine to take them to other tables. You may get the impression that this would have been distracting or disruptive, but it wasn't at all. In fact, we said a couple of times throughout the meal that we really enjoyed eating our meals in this room. So much so that I would definitely request it again. While you obviously share the room with a number of other diners, it is just a little bit more intimate and private than the main dining room.

We had an incredible view of the Wilderness Lodge from our table. And we could see what I think was downtown Orlando in the distance. Maybe someone who knows better can confirm this. I think I asked our server this, but I can't remember for sure. (I think we each consumed a serious amount of wine that evening, so that is my excuse! )

We started our meal with a platter of Double-Crunch Rainbow sushi, which we shared. It was probably just about the best sushi I have ever had. So fresh, and the presentation was wonderful. It included Cobia, Salmon, Tuna, Tempura Crunch and Tobikko.










We also received some crusty bread with olive oil accompaniment, which was very good.





For the main meal, Andrea chose to have two appetizers instead of an entree. First she had the heirloom tomatoes with red onion, sherry vinegar, ricotta and basil followed by the goat cheese ravioli with sun-dried tomatoes, pesto and shiitake mushrooms.







I went with the chef's recommendation: Pacific halibut with red pepper-fennel compote, cranberry bean galette, buerre blanc, and serrano ham. It was wonderful! The plate had so many different infusions of flavours and tastes you would have sworn it was a couple of different dishes as opposed to one entree. Very, very good!





In between courses, we took the opportunity to step outside to check out the fantastic views from the two observation decks.















Before dining at CG, I had heard that the most-coveted reservation time was around 8:30-9:30pm to coincide with the MK's fireworks. However, my next reservation at CG will also be at 6pm. It was perfect timing really. We had the ability to go out onto the two observation decks while it was still light outside to see the sights. During our meal, we got to watch the sun go down, and by the time we finished, it was pitch black outside.

At the end of the meal, we went out once again onto the observation deck, and enjoyed all of the views. However, we both agreed that it was much more impressive while it was still light. For instance, in our little "private" dining room, we were able to see breathtaking scenery as far as the eye could see. But, once it got dark out, all you could see was your reflection in the window. If you came into the restaurant after dark, you would have missed so much.

All in all, the California Grill was one of the top 5 places I have ever eaten. The best meal I ever had was back about 10 years ago at the Gramercy Tavern in NYC with several of my classmates from law school shortly after we graduated. And as with all of my most memorable dining experiences, what made it special was not only the restaurant, the service, the food & atmosphere, but also the people I was there with and the occasion which brought everyone together.

Andrea & I had a fabulous time at the California Grill. It was definitely the highlight of our Trip and remains the best meal I have ever had in WDW.

What about you??? What is the best meal you have ever had in WDW?


UP NEXT: Opening Night of Epcot's Food & Wine Festival

Last edited by cdotla; 11-15-2008 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 11-15-2008, 03:22 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by cdotla View Post
Day 2 - Part Two


All in all, the California Grill was one of the top 5 places I have ever eaten. The best meal I ever had was back about 10 years ago at the Gramercy Tavern in NYC with several of my classmates from law school shortly after we graduated. And as with all of my most memorable dining experiences, what made it special was not only the restaurant, the service, the food & atmosphere, but also the people I was there with and the occasion which brought everyone together.

Andrea & I had a fabulous time at the California Grill. It was definitely the highlight of our Trip and remains the best meal I have ever had in WDW.

What about you??? What is the best meal you have ever had in WDW?


UP NEXT: Opening Night of Epcot's Food & Wine Festival
SO excited for my Disneymoon now. Sounds like you had a fabulous time, you are both such gorgeous woman and it seems like you're really happy to be in Disney!

Hmm... best ever Disney meal? Probably Tutto Italia at Epcot; our entree's, wine and desserts were PERFECT and I had so much fun with my fiancee.

Keep up the amazing TR!
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Old 11-15-2008, 07:49 PM   #28
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Wow those are fabulous views from CG. So far you've chosen great restaurants. Good to take advantage of those w/o the kiddos I bet.
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:19 PM   #29
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Ohh, that did look good. I think I'll go check out the menu on allears now and think about trying it out for my next trip.
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:15 PM   #30
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Definately California Grill for us too. We are going back there next trip since we took a break from there the last 2 years. The food really is excellent! CRT would have to be my next favorite place to eat. I love both of your updates and the pics are great too. the Poly pics made me homesick for Poly . We never seem to have much resort time either, like maybe and afternoon at the pool and that is all. It's hard when your a monorail ride away from everything. Your drawings of Dale are excellent . Mine never look that good. I should post Tom and Kaylee's Stitch drawing. I think she would be mad at me though .
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