|01-11-2009, 07:37 AM||#1|
Found the Tag Fairy's hangout
All whacked up on Scooby Snacks
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Gloucester, UK
Sans Friends - Mall at Millenia and International Food & Wine Festival
Flight and first evening at the BoardWalk
Monday, 3rd November
Despite our full day and very late night yesterday, I’m still awake at 5:40am. I make a trip to the bathroom and tip-toe back to bed so as not to wake Sleeping Beauty. I lie there for 5 minutes before acknowledging that I’m way too excited to go back to sleep. I give Matt a nudge and exclaim, “Wake up! We’re at Disney World!” There’s a muffled sound resembling a very grumpy, “I am awake” which I take as my cue to jump out of bed and leap around like a maniac.
We unpack and make the room homely before stepping out onto the balcony with a cup of coffee to watch the sun rise. At around 6.50am, we head down to the BoardWalk Bakery and return with a bacon, egg and cheese croissant for Matt and the tomato, egg and cheese variant for me, together with some orange juice. According to my notes, the damage is $16.99.
The plan for today had been to head to Fresh Market at the junction of Dr Phillips and Conroy Road for supplies before making the short drive on to Mall at Millenia. Fresh Market opens at 9am and the Mall at 10am and we’d imagined we’d be raring to go early, but obviously hadn’t factored in yesterday evening's impromptu activities. It’s 9.45am by the time we’re driving away from the BoardWalk, so we decide to go straight to the Mall. This is our favourite shopping venue in the area – a good mix of high-end and regular stores, plus department stores and great places to eat.
We park at Macy’s end and do one circuit – along the top and back along the bottom – before returning to the middle and our favourite store, Tommy Bahama. Matt buys a new shirt to add to his ever-growing collection and I treat myself to a set of fabric cocktail napkins (although quite what a tee-totaller like me is going to do with them is anyone’s guess). I’m a tad disappointed with the homewares and accessories on offer this time. The place looks a little bare compared with previous trips. I also pick up a funky body suit for our Grandson in the Lucky Brand Jeans store.
The Mall decked out in its Christmas finery.
I’ve been keen to try the new Village Tavern which is on the periphery of the mall, but Matt is a creature of habit and looks so forlorn when I mention it (even though I’ve been priming him for months) that we end up at the bar of the Cheesecake Factory. We’re not disappointed to encounter the familiar face of Shannon, our bartender, and we spend an enjoyable hour or so chatting away with him. He sets us, and his fellow bartender, a puzzle. It takes me a while, but I manage to score 100%, whilst his compatriot struggles to even comprehend the question. Which four states have capital cities whose names begin with the same letter as the states themselves?
As is our regular MO, we order appetisers to share. We opt for old favourites of the Ahi Tuna Tempura Rolls (these really are delicioius), Chicken Pot Stickers and Buffalo Wings. I’m not at all keen on the wings, but judging by the way Matt polishes them off, he seems to enjoy them. Matt washes his down with a Sam Adams, whilst I get stuck into the Platinum Mohito. In a moment of sheer madness, we share a slice of strawberry cheesecake.
After a good sluicing to rid Matt of wing sauce, we head off in search of Fresh Market. It’s a very easy hop down Conroy Windermere Road and as we alight the car, I can’t help but think we’re missing a great day’s weather by being holed up inside. We buy a few staples – granola, milk, juice, coffee, bread, butter, peanut butter, Beer Nuts ( ), beer and wine. I’m thrilled to find one of my favourites – ZD Chardonnay – which isn’t available in the UK.
As it’s still fairly early, we decide to make the short trip to Prime Outlets, but we don’t buy anything. Matt sees a great pair of trainers in North Face which are an absolute bargain (a discounted price of $70 with an additional 50% off), but they don’t have them in his size. As we expected, this place has developed exponentially since our last visit in January.
With temperatures well into the 80s, we’re starting to feel a bit jaded, so it’s back to the BoardWalk at around 4pm for a rest. This is where we get to appreciate not having travelling companions for the first time. Even if you have no set plans, it’s at this point you’d be forced to make arrangements to meet up at a specific time. As it is, we have the luxury of chilling out and not having to do anything until we feel like it.
We’re duly rested, showered and changed by around 7.15pm and stroll over to the International Gateway entrance to Epcot. This is really what staying at this location is all about for us. Epcot is our favourite park and the IF&WF our favourite event, so we are two happy bunnies. We stop outside the entrance to buy Annual Passes (with DVC discount) and the Tables in Wonderland dining discount card, and to pick up our pre-ordered MVMCP tickets for the party on 10th November.
We pass through the turnstiles at 7.45pm. It’s surprisingly busy and we comment that it’ll be interesting to see how it compares next week when the F&WF is over. Today, dear reader, we shall be mainly walking around World Showcase Lagoon in an anti-clockwise direction, so first up is France.
There’s a small twist to this year’s festival in that each country is represented by one of its cities. Lyon is flying the flag for France. [I’ll give a full rundown of all the offerings and prices in a later report, but for now I’ll just report briefly on what we ate this evening. Unless otherwise stated, all food and drink samplers are shared.]
Now, I’m not squeamish about much in the food department, but nothing could persuade me to eat snails, especially since learning they’re not even some kind of exotic breed, but the common or garden variety which play havoc with your marigolds. Slimey little beggars. I’m a big fan of goat’s cheese, but the quiche doesn’t particularly appeal to either of us, so we move on to Louisiana which is this year’s feature state.
The Crawfish Etouffee, a little pot of crawfish tails in curry sauce topped with a dollop of rice, is really tasty. We both love the Abita Purple Haze which is a wheat beer with raspberry puree added after filtration. (You’ll just have to trust me when I say it’s much nicer than it sounds.) Great start!
As it’s our intention to return at least once more before the festival ends, we skip Marrakesh.
At Wellington, New Zealand, the Bay Scallops with Baby Greens and Cranberry Vinaigrette sound too good to miss. There are certainly plenty of them, but they’re disappointing. They’re coid (I don’t know why, but I expected them to be hot) and have a strange tang. We should have gone for the Lamb Slider on a Brioche Roll. In a shocking turn of events, we don’t partake of any alcohol here.
We give Tokyo a miss and move on to San Francisco and the Seared Beef Medallion with Cheddar Cheese Polenta (de-li-cious!) accompanied by the Beaulieu Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Prior to the trip I’d read that gift cards attached to stretchy wrist bands are available for the festival. Whilst we’re not entirely convinced that it sounds any easier than handing over cash, nonetheless we’re keen to purchase one. We stop by the gift shop at American Adventure only to be informed they’re sold exclusively at F&WF concessions. We’re directed outside to Pearville (I jest not) where the sweet little octogenarian CM has trouble processing the transaction. Following several attempts and a phone call to hail a supervisor from another part of the park, it turns out he thinks we’re trying to top up rather than purchase the thing. I feel sympathy for both the guy and Pearville (which has to be the least patronised “festival experience”), but not sufficiently so to purchase one of the many varieties of pear on offer. As we leave, I look around nervously for the tumbleweed which I’m convinced must be passing through.
Matt sporting the fully-loaded gift card which he clearly feels needs an extra level of security in the shape of his Trion:Z.
Pearville is set up in the space to the right and front of the American Adventure gift shop and, as luck would have it, Hops and Barley (featuring Sam Adams beers and food offerings of New England) is situated just the other side, facing the walkway. After the ordeal of purchasing it, we feel the gift card should be put straight to use and I opt for the Cherry Wheat (one of my favourites) whilst Matt goes for the Black Lager.
We like the sound of the Boxty with Bacon Chips and Kerrygold Garlic & Fresh Herb Butter at Cork, Ireland. It’s a little wheat pancake with fried onions and bacon and it’s okay, but the dollop of butter doesn’t add anything. [I don't appear to have taken a picture of this.] Matt has a Guinness whilst I continue to work on my Cherry Wheat.
We’re beginning to feel satiated, so pass up on the offerings of Bologna, Italy and Munich, Germany. We do stop for our first PhotoPass opportunity of the trip, though.
Peppery Prawns on the Barbie with a Sweet Potato Hash at Melbourne, Australia grabs our attention. Again, it's just okay – effectively just two prawns on cold lumps of sweet potato. Against my better judgement, I elect to try a glass of the Cooralook Chardonnay. It’s chardonnay at its worst – the kind of cheap offering frequently served up in UK pubs. I’m always hugely disappointed that there are very few higher end wines on offer. [There appears to have been a slight breakdown in my meticulous note-taking here, as there’s clearly a glass of red wine on the table with the shrimp. I know I had the yeuchy chardonnay, so it must be Matt’s. Looking now at the options, I’m guessing it was the Green Point Shiraz.]
Now entirely replete, we simply wander on around the lagoon taking a good look at the remaining booths to give us an idea of what we might want to try during our next outing (when we’ll head around in the opposite direction). There's a further PhotoPass opp at China.
We arrive at World Showcase Plaza just as Reflections of Earth starts. Tonight is all about the festival and we were always going to catch IllumiNations from wherever we found ourselves - there will be plenty of opportunities next week for staking out a place in one of our favourite spots. As it happens, it works out perfectly. Even though we’re not in a lagoon-side postion, we still manage to get a good view and this is definitely the place from which it was meant to be seen. The re-mastered globe is extremely clear and defined.
The mass exodus really is a sight to see – like a swarm of bees. We hang around for the 10 minutes the area takes to clear and then wander on around the lagoon in the direction of the International Gateway, taking a detour around a deserted UK.
We’re really on our last legs now, but the Friendship Boat is standing room only, so we make the decision to walk. Even at our sub-dawdle pace, we reach the ESPN Club as the boat docks.
We’re both pretty shattered and we’re settled down for the night by around 10:30pm.
Postscript: Today has been sunny and hot and this evening was mild.
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Last edited by UKDEB; 01-11-2009 at 07:55 AM.
|01-11-2009, 09:45 AM||#2|
Laughs off her mini dramas
Chickens out of Dr. Doom's Fearfall
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Nottingham England
what a great day!!! Food & wine & WDW!!!
2002 Caribean Beach & 4 night Disney Wonder cruise
2004 All Stars Movies & 7 night Disney Magic cruise
2006 All Stars Movies & married at Clearwater
2008 15 nights at POP & 5 nights at Royal Pacific
2010 7 nts at CSR,3 nts Dolphin, 5 nts RPR & 5 nts Renaissance @ seaworld
2012 doubletree universal :banana
2013 1ST CHILD FREE TRIP DOUBLETREE UNIVERSAL
|01-11-2009, 09:52 AM||#3|
Should've been a Cowboy
In charge of driving & collecting coffee and doughnuts for breakfast
Join Date: Jun 2003
Great day Debs, I'd like to have seen a picture of the cheesecake.
1995 Paris 1997 Masters Inn 1999 Clarion Floridian 2001 HoJo 2003 Econolodge 2005 HoJo 2006 Sheraton Vistana 2007 Club Sevilla 2008 May Sheraton Vistana 2008 Aug Terrace Ridge 2009 Barefoot'n in the Keys 2010 Villa at Cumbrian Lakes2011 Sheraton Vistana & The Magic 2012KeyLargo, Sheriton Vistana & OKW
The Buckland Disney Stampede August 2005 TripThe S.V.R. 2006 Trip T&T Do Thanksgiving 2007 Trip T&T & 2 1st Timers May 2008 Trip T&T Do the Triple Aug 2008 Trip T&T's 2nd Thanksgiving Trip 1975 & 2010 A double trip Bad Mothers & Others Oct 2011 Key West to Old Key West Nov 2012
|01-11-2009, 11:14 AM||#4|
Mrs Christopher Eccleston wannabe
Don't you know who I am ??? I was on Dr Who
I'm dizzy just reading
Join Date: May 2004
Location: wales uk
Great day Deb, I love the F&WF, food looks good, wine looks better
|01-11-2009, 12:55 PM||#5|
I need a cup of tea and a big bar of free chocolate now
Was born with my dancing shoes at the ready
I will be back later to stalk some more
Join Date: Apr 2004
Great day, i love the photopass pics of the two of you together
|01-11-2009, 01:31 PM||#6|
Join Date: Jan 2008
Great day & night.
I love the F&W pics - I still can't believe our camera broke that night
I agree that the Purple Haze beer is much nicer than it sounds!
Oct 1990 - WDW - Offsite (3 weeks)
Jun 1996 - DLRP - Sequoia Lodge (2 nights)
Apr 1998 - DLRP - Offsite (2 nights)
Feb 1999 - DLRP - Sequoia Lodge (4 nights)
May 2007 - DLRP - Daytrip
Sep 2008 - WDW - Offsite (2 weeks)
Mar 2009 - DLRP - Hotel New York (3 nights)
Nov 2009 - DLHK - Daytrip
Sep 2010 - WDW - Last trip before its time to have babies!
Thank you O' great Tag Fairy - You have made this Proud Redhead a very happy bunny!!
|01-11-2009, 02:54 PM||#7|
Despite the end of tWW I'm still crazy about Josh Lyman
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Beckenham, Kent. UK.
Sounds like a lovely evening.
I'm a fan of fruit beers too - Hoegarrden Rose is a fave of mine.
We were at IF&WF in 07 and enjoyed the sampler dishes - our little 'uns are quite adventurous and loved the festival too
Look forward to reading more.
1982 WDW off site * May 2001 WDW off site * May 2005 DLRP * May 2007 WDW off site * Oct 2007 WDW off site * May 2009 DLRP * DLRP Christmas 09 * April 2011 3 wks Emerald Island, 3nt Dream cruise & Miami Beach * November 2011 SSR & VWL
|01-11-2009, 04:13 PM||#8|
If It's Not A Bahama Mama Then I'm Not Interested
Can I put my Christmas Tree up yet ?
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Nuneaton U.K.
Oh no, not the Mall at Millenia I have just spent the last two weeks trying to avoid going there every single day as Kerry is a huge Urban Outfitters fan (where she spent most of her money this trip)
More fab photos, I would love to visit the IF&WF, it looks great ~ maybe one day
|01-11-2009, 04:17 PM||#9|
Christmassyfyed, yes I have had a glass of wine judging by that spelling
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: North East England
Lovely report Debs, thanks for posting.
|01-11-2009, 05:45 PM||#10|
I keep trying to convert everybody, but they just don't want to be converted
I can only get a tag if its near the weekend. a monday, tuesday and some wednesdays are definately no tag days
Join Date: Nov 2004
What a great first proper day and such a full evening at the wine and food festival. I nearly always seem to peak to early on the first couple of glasses and not fully enjoy the whole night.
Oct 1992: off site - April 1998: Dixie Landings - Oct 1999: DL California - Oct 2000: Grosvenor Resort - Oct 2001: POFQ - Dec 2001:Disneyland Hotel - Oct 2003: Davy Crockets Cabins - Oct 2004: Grand Floridian -May 2005: SSR (DVC) & HRH - Oct 2005: New York Hotel - Oct 2006: SSR and BCV (DVC) - Aug 2007: SSR (DVC) and 1st Disney Cruise - July 2008: Sequoia Lodge - July 2010: Treehouse Villas - Sequoia Lodge: Oct 2010 - April 2011 Treehouse Villas/Portofino Bay
2012/13: Several trips to our Dream holiday Home in Spain
|01-11-2009, 09:21 PM||#11|
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
The PhotoPass shots of you and Matt from this day alone were worth the cost of the CD. Thanks for the details of your Food and Wine experiences. Too bad some things didn't rise to expectations, but must say your photos made everything (even things you didn't like much) look terrific. You and Matt have come a long way on your Disney Journey to personal growth--taking food photos!! and this following just a day after your declaration that the two of you enjoyed a bus ride. Absolutely amazing.
A few words about the place where the Magic began: Yet Another Happiest Place on Earth Report Disneyland, June, 2008 Pre-trip w/index to the entire report
|01-12-2009, 03:07 PM||#13|
Did you speak to a 'human being'?
As you can see, all I have is a load of gobble-de-gook writing
Join Date: May 2007
Fantastic day Deb,great food pics.x.
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|01-12-2009, 04:05 PM||#14|
Anyone for haggis
Aren't we all a cagey lot
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: 6,800Km from our happy place
Great photopass photos
Impressed that you were up so early and lasted the pace
|01-13-2009, 04:32 AM||#15|
Would love a diet on Cadbury Flakes
Admits she's strange when it comes to eggs
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wiltshire, UK
I'm disappointed that I can't see the pictures, Deb, as I'm at work at the moment - suffice to say, I'm looking forward to that particular gem this evening.
Meanwhile, sounds like you had a fabulous day - and, would you believe, the description of some of those F&WF offerings sounded tempting, even to my plainer-than-plain palate (must be the diet playing havoc with my tastebuds )
A great day - and a disappointment that you didn't try the Village Tavern. Not sure I can even promise to try it for you in October as I'm sure I'll have difficulty persuading the Longstaffs to choose that instead of the cheesecake option
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