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Old 10-14-2009, 08:29 PM   #136
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Loved the last two updates. The Mickey Bar series had me giggling! The DOF on all your shots are just perfect. I still kept calling DHS MGM too. I still will...don't think I'll ever stop. I still call the TTA the Wedway People Mover too
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:02 PM   #137
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Loved the last two updates. The Mickey Bar series had me giggling! The DOF on all your shots are just perfect. I still kept calling DHS MGM too. I still will...don't think I'll ever stop. I still call the TTA the Wedway People Mover too
For some reason, WEDWay People Mover never stuck in my mind. I don't really remember calling it that even though I'm sure I was there when it was called that. The 2nd trip I took was in 1991 or so, and I have one of those "pictorial souvenir" books from the trip and it's old Tomorrowland and even says WEDWay People Mover. I've bought one of those books every time since (well, this time it was a 5 book box set). Who knows...

I'm working on processing the last day of pictures. A few of the best ones have shown up on Flickr already. On departure day I didn't even pull out the camera. Wouldn't have been much to take photos of anyway; it was raining most of the time.
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:06 PM   #138
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Part 24 - Dreams and Cars

9/10/2009 3:28 PM EDT Block Party Bash was different but good. Fastpassing TSM for a 2nd time. Fastpass line is quite different than the regular one.

That's right, we're back at Toy Story Mania, because it's just that great of a ride. We FastPassed it this time, and the queue actually isn't quite as good, because you don't see a lot of it including Mr. Potato Head. However, we were breaking plates pretty quickly.

After Toy Story Mania, we headed over to One Man's Dream. I think this attraction is excellent; the models and all the other paraphernalia throughout the years are wonderful. My favorites are the models of the park attractions.



This Sleeping Beauty Castle is a reproduction; I saw the original in Disneyland in 2005. From what I heard, the original was just in storage somewhere and someone happened to come across it one day.






We made it up to the movie, but looking at the time, it was getting close to 4:45 PM and we wanted to see Lights, Motors, Action!

9/10/2009 4:31 PM EDT Went through One Man's Dream but skipped the movie because we had to get to Lights Motors Action.

I'll be honest here; LMA didn't hold anyone's interest. Each stunt sequence was really cool, but then there's a ton of downtime between the stunts. I know they need to setup and such, and a couple of the things they do between the stunts such as the backwards car and the car where the guy drives on the side were cool, but there's only so much you can do when you need 10-15 minutes to get everything ready.

Bring the longest lens you have, and get here early to get a better seat than I did.






9/10/2009 5:22 PM EDT Lights Motors Action was pretty good but there is a lot of downtime between each "shot". Dinner is at Mama Melrose.

Coming up: dinner and Fantasmic!
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:48 PM   #139
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Part 25 - DHS Nights (sung like Arabian Nights)

It's not a very long walk from Lights, Motors, Action over to near MuppetVision where Mama Melrose is located. However, with the crowd coming out of LMA, it took a little while to make the walk over there. We made it just before our ADR time, and it was fairly crowded. I checked us in and they told us it would be about 10 minutes. While standing around I overheard:

9/10/2009 5:29 PM EDT Note: Mama Melrose is completely booked tonight, probably because of Fantasmic.

We booked this 90 days out and couldn't even get the Fantasmic Package, so I wasn't very surprised that the restaurant was booked.

A few minutes pass, and the pager buzzes. One of the hostesses brings us to our table, and a minute or two later the waitress comes. She explains how the dining plan works (which we know back and front by now) and then disappears. A good 10 minutes pass at least and we are wondering where she is.

9/10/2009 5:49 PM EDT Service is SLOW. Waitress told us what the dining plan entitled us to and then left and hasn't returned. Nevermind, she just got here.

Literally as I was typing that tweet, she showed up. We ordered, and from this point on the meal went fairly smooth.

9/10/2009 6:23 PM EDT Had the spaghetti fra diavolo. Pretty good; however I would prefer not to be pulling the meat out of clams and mussels.

The spaghetti fra diavolo was quite good. I just don't want spaghetti sauce-covered hands while I'm trying to get the meat out of the clams and mussels. Decor in here is alright; I guess it's supposed to be like a local Hollywood establishment where a lot of famous people ate. I know Hailey had the spaghetti, but I'm having trouble remembering what everyone else ate. A lack of pictures isn't helping here. Overall I think everyone enjoyed the dinner, though.

Dessert time: most of us had the Warm Chocolate Truffle Cake. Don't be fooled by the fancy name; it's a chocolate lava cake. It was quite good, but it's nothing more than that. My mom got the tiramisu; we weren't sure it was tiramisu at first, but she enjoyed it. Hailey had ice cream, and of course she enjoyed that.

This dinner lasted a good while, and after we were done, we meandered back over to Sunset Blvd. to get in line for Fantasmic. The line wasn't there, as they had already let people into the theater. We took the long walk off Sunset to the theater, dropped the stroller off, and found seats to the left of center down near the bottom.

When I posted this, we had an hour to go:
9/10/2009 7:33 PM EDT Arrived way early for Fantasmic at 8:30. Pretty good seats but it's getting crowded. http://twitpic.com/h8yf2

The theater is filling up quick. One problem: there were swarms of gnats everywhere. Everyone is swatting at them, which of course doesn't really do much good because they're so small.

At this point I start posting random things:
9/10/2009 7:49 PM EDT I've only brought one lens each day. 30mm every day except AK and yesterday at MK (had the 18-55 IS for those).

Finally getting closer to showtime; the CMs are trying to keep the crowd under control by doing the wave. Personally, I am not a fan of the wave. Never really have been.

9/10/2009 8:14 PM EDT 15 minutes until Fantasmic.

At last, the show starts! This was the first time my wife and Hailey saw the show. Everyone else had seen it once before. Unfortunately, my wife and I didn't get to see the DL version when we were there because it was being refurbished.

Picture time:


There's really quite a bit of randomness at the beginning of this show.










Some imagination, huh?

9/10/2009 9:03 PM EDT Fantasmic was wonderful as usual. Smoke really burned my eyes at the end though.

Seriously, the fuel in the lake and the smoke did a number on my eyes. I was having major trouble shooting pictures and eventually I was just lining it up where I thought it should be and clicked. I had the wrong lens to shoot with anyway; on the other hand, the 18-55 IS may not have been fast enough. Another reason why I should get a nice long lens.

We take the long walk back down and the path that veers off toward Tower of Terror. I saw the Fantasmic billboard and took a photo:



One last thing left to do tonight: Rock 'n Rollercoaster! This was another ride just for my sister, dad and I. My wife, mom and Hailey hung out outside even though we suggested they head back to the room instead.

We thought this was pretty funny:
9/10/2009 9:16 PM EDT Since when has RnRC been sponsored by Hanes? Is that in case you ruin your underwear on launch?

We picked up FastPasses much earlier in the day and used them now. The line was quick and we were in the studio in no time.

9/10/2009 9:22 PM EDT Automated announcement system in the studio isn't working. Someone please fix that.

Some poor CM was sitting in a booth somewhere talking to "Aerosmith" on the screen because the automated one wasn't working. Come on Disney, how hard is it to fix this?

Finally we boarded our super-stretch. I really like Aerosmith and saw them live in August; great show by the way. The car we rode in had my favorite soundtrack:

9/10/2009 9:34 PM EDT RnRC soundtrack: Young Lust, F.I.N.E. and Love in an Elevator with love in a rollercoaster ending.

RnRC, once again, was a ton of fun. I could run back and forth between Tower of Terror and RnRC and I'd be fine with doing just that for a while. Anyway, we met back up with the others and started heading for the exit. Took a few PhotoPass pictures, and Hailey saw a horse she wanted to ride outside of a shop on Hollywood Blvd. After letting her ride for a few minutes, we left the park and headed back to Pop.



9/10/2009 10:30 PM EDT General DHS thought: not as much shade as the other parks. We're back at Pop drinking from our mugs and about to bathe and call it a night.

End of Day 5

Unrelated note in the present: We saw the Imagination Movers in concert today! They put on a great show with an "idea emergency" for the kids so that it's similar to the TV show. Warehouse Mouse was in charge of lights and mixing. The Movers are from New Orleans (like us), and off stage left, someone was holding up a chalkboard with the Saints game score written on it. Rich even announced the score once during the show; speaking of which, we also met Scott (Hailey's favorite) and Rich after the show.

Coming up: our last full day
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:35 AM   #140
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Firstly, at the Hanes comment

Secondly, OMG! Gnats + Fantasmic = Sounds like my biggest nightmare. I'm terrified of both bugs and Fantasmic!

I LOVE your pics from One Man's Dream. Such a lovely attraction, and I'm really loving the photo of the little Emporium model. It's making me nostalgic for the America I certainly never even experienced! Plus, I spy an HSM3 poster behind that Parisian castle model!
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Old 10-19-2009, 08:49 AM   #141
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Firstly, at the Hanes comment

Secondly, OMG! Gnats + Fantasmic = Sounds like my biggest nightmare. I'm terrified of both bugs and Fantasmic!

I LOVE your pics from One Man's Dream. Such a lovely attraction, and I'm really loving the photo of the little Emporium model. It's making me nostalgic for the America I certainly never even experienced! Plus, I spy an HSM3 poster behind that Parisian castle model!
I would have never noticed that HSM3 poster had you not pointed it out. The models are my favorite part of One Man's Dream.

And yes, scary scary gnats that don't do anything except annoy you while sitting and waiting for Fantasmic! The horror!
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Old 10-20-2009, 06:59 PM   #142
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Part 26 - September 11

9/11/2009 8:38 AM EDT Taking it a bit slow this morning; heading to MK once we get ready. Haven't done Tiki Room yet and then we'll be repeating a few things.

A bit slow was an understatement. We did the usual mug refill before leaving, and finally we were heading to the bus around 9:30 AM. This is inset into the floor outside Everything Pop in the main building.



Finally, we get to the Magic Kingdom, head through the bag check line, and then I look up at the train station and it hits me: today is September 11.



Needless to say, the flag at half mast was quite moving. After getting a bunch of photos of the train station, we head for the turnstiles.

9/11/2009 10:09 AM EDT MK ticket scanning machines just went down. Big crowd piling up behind the gates. http://twitpic.com/hb3rz

Every single machine went down; no one was going into the park. After a couple of minutes, they started stamping tickets with the date, but soon after the scanners came back up. Finally, we entered the park with the intention of going to the Tiki Room.

9/11/2009 10:15 AM EDT Detour on the way to Tiki Room. Daisy is at the front of the park.



9/11/2009 10:22 AM EDT Flag on top the train station and the flag in town square are both at half mast.

We enjoyed the sights a bit on Main Street, but I was antsy to get to the Tiki Room because MK was closing at 6 PM tonight for MNSSHP.



9/11/2009 10:38 AM EDT Never tell my family they can sleep in. It's 10:40 and we haven't done anything besides see Daisy and now we are in the Main Street Bakery.



Of course, I got the cinnamon roll. The verdict:

9/11/2009 10:50 AM EDT Main Street cinnamon roll is 10x better than the one at AK.

It's soooooo good. This is a must-have for me, and I'm no longer going to be fooled into getting lesser cinnamon rolls at other parks.

As we're leaving the Main Street Bakery, the Move It Shake It Celebrate It party is coming down the street.





As the parade passes, we realize one of the stilt walkers is a friend of my wife and mine from college. We talk to him for a moment as he passes, but instead of heading to the hub for the party, we head off to the Tiki Room instead.



There were only a couple of people waiting when we got there, and it wasn't long before we were let inside. As far as I know, this is the first time any of us have watched the "Under New Management" show. The preshow didn't give me very high hopes, though.

The bright spot in the show was the Tiki Goddess animatronic. This one is pretty cool and moves quite well.



Now, my wife and I had seen the original Tiki Room in Disneyland when we went in 2005, so we had a fairly fresh memory of the original. My mom liked Under New Management, and Hailey enjoyed it of course (she's enjoying just about everything). My opinion:

9/11/2009 11:34 AM "Under New Management" is not nearly as good as the original Tiki Room.

Coming up: repeating some rides at the MK before moving to EPCOT
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Old 10-21-2009, 10:22 AM   #143
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Just got caught up, Scott. Great update and your pictures are top notch. Love your train station composition with the flag at half-mast.

We seem to share similar thoughts on WDW things... I still call DHS "MGM" and probably always will, I also find the beginning of the Fantasmic show to be kind of random, I think MGM needs more lunch options, I now agree with your suggestion of why Haynes sponsors the RnRC , and I also hate it when we arrive in the MK and don't accomplish anything within the first hour and 1/2.

It also looks like you guys had some of those great dramatic FL skies when you were there. Really helps make the pictures even more interesting, huh?
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Old 10-21-2009, 12:30 PM   #144
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Just got caught up, Scott. Great update and your pictures are top notch. Love your train station composition with the flag at half-mast.

We seem to share similar thoughts on WDW things... I still call DHS "MGM" and probably always will, I also find the beginning of the Fantasmic show to be kind of random, I think MGM needs more lunch options, I now agree with your suggestion of why Haynes sponsors the RnRC , and I also hate it when we arrive in the MK and don't accomplish anything within the first hour and 1/2.

It also looks like you guys had some of those great dramatic FL skies when you were there. Really helps make the pictures even more interesting, huh?
Thanks Todd!

The thing about the Florida sky is it can either look really good or really mess up your picture. Especially on our last day, the cloud cover really came in and I had to quasi-HDR a couple of shots (from the one RAW file I shot) to get it to look decent. Those are on Flickr but not posted here yet (probably will be included in the next post).
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Old 10-22-2009, 11:49 PM   #145
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Part 27: It's Baaaack...

After the Tiki Room, we headed through Liberty Square towards Fantasyland. In the continued tribute to September 11, the colony flags surrounding the Liberty Bell in the square were also at half mast.



Hailey started misbehaving, so we put her in the stockade!



We're back in Fantasyland, and the crowds were still pretty light. I guess people were visiting other parks since MNSSHP was tonight. Also, Night of Joy was tonight at the Studios, so two parks were closing early.



We were moving at a fairly quick pace. First was a ride on Cinderella's Golden Carousel. Afterward, we took Hailey into Sir Mickey's for a pair of ears. She picked the pink ears with three princesses on them. Naturally, we had her name embroidered on the back. She already has a pair of traditional pink ears from when my wife and I went to Disneyland, so we were looking for something different this time. We also got one of the special fonts instead of the traditional script.

After finally getting these ears, we went back to our favorite 3D movie, Philharmagic. And of course, the valuable lesson we all learn at the end is "don't upset the instruments... they will get you."



9/11/2009 12:49 PM EDT Did the carousel, got Hailey some ears, and watched Philharmagic again. Now waiting in line for Pooh. 10 minute wait.

As usual, I don't think this line was actually 10 minutes long. Maybe 5.



After Pooh, we headed back to Toontown, but made a quick detour first:

9/11/2009 1:03 PM EDT Stopping at the Tea Cups on the way to the Barnstormer.

Everyone got nice and dizzy again, and we stumbled our way into Toontown looking like we snuck booze into the park. Hailey rode the Barnstormer two more times. The second time, I decided not to ride and try to get a shot of her on it.



The next time we're in WDW, the Barnstormer probably won't be known as the Barnstormer anymore. I think I can deal with that when I weigh it against what the Fantasyland expansion is bringing though.

After finally getting Hailey to decide to move on, we headed down the "Concourse to Tomorrowland". I don't understand why this is the Concourse to Tomorrowland. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Tomorrowland begin just past the Tea Cups? So, in my esteemed opinion, this walkway should be the Concourse IN Tomorrowland.

Anyway, as we're heading down the Concourse in Tomorrowland, I start to hear a sound. It's a familiar sound, but not one I've heard in a while. As we get closer, I can make out what it is...

"Now approaching... Mickey's Star Traders!"



I look up to see a familiar blue vehicle moving on the track overhead. At this point, I naturally have to yank out my iPhone and post an immediate tweet:

9/11/2009 1:40 PM EDT TTA IS OPEN!!!!



The refurbishment was scheduled to end tomorrow. The TTA is not only open, but it's open a day early! I really thought we were going to just miss it, so naturally we immediately head for it.

The next set of thoughts runs through my mind: what is Space Mountain going to look like? Well, here's my thoughts right after the ride:

9/11/2009 1:56 PM EDT Lights are on in Space Mountain. Can't see much other than the big ship on the lift hill and the roof. Construction walls everywhere.

9/11/2009 2:08 PM EDT As far as I can tell, TTA is exactly the same but the sound system seems improved. EPCOT is still there as well as the hairdresser scene.

9/11/2009 2:09 PM EDT Skyway station demolition is easy to see. The whole area in front of Space Mountain is a mess.

After the ride on the TTA, we headed over to ride Buzz Lightyear one more time. We're not quite sure what happened, but my wife somehow scored over 700,000 points. When we came out of Buzz, Stitch was having a somewhat impromptu meet and greet by the Carousel of Progress.



While in line for Stitch, we also noticed that Buzz was set up at a meet and greet right next to the Carousel with his own background. This is when my memory card filled up, so I didn't really get pictures of Buzz. Fortunately, the Photopass CD, my parents' camera, and my sister's camera made up for that.

When we were leaving the line for Buzz, we had a CM ask us if he could ask us a few questions about our character experience. My dad ended up answering most of them as I was fooling with swapping cards. Once the CM was done, we decided on a second ride on the TTA.

This time, I got some better shots because I had a ballpark idea where my settings should be. Of course, by now you've all seen the demolition and the inside of Space Mountain, so I won't drag you through those again. Here's the lift hill with the astronauts though.



9/11/2009 2:26 PM EDT Got plenty of shots inside space mountain. Will be posting after I get home.

Turns out I wasn't so quick on posting those shots.

We hung out in Tomorrowland a bit longer, and while we were just taking in Tomorrowland, there was a loud clap of thunder. Immediately afterward, the entire Magic Kingdom groaned in unison, and naturally I thought it was hilarious.



Finally, we decided to split up. My wife and I were going to head back to the room to pick up my tripod. Everyone else was going to go ride Aladdin one more time and then take the monorail to EPCOT. We would all meet back up at EPCOT.

On the way down Main Street, my wife and I stopped in Uptown Jewelers again. The other night we had looked at the Precious Moments figurines, and she decided she wanted the one of Minnie and a girl in a tea cup, called "You Are My Cup of Tea"



Since we were headed back to the room, we picked it up in order to bring it back with us.

Coming up: the final evening of the trip at EPCOT and Illuminations
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Old 10-23-2009, 05:04 PM   #146
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Great updates, Scott. So the TTA soundtrack seemed to be same except for updated audio? Or by updated audio do you mean that the soundtrack WAS changed? I had read that they changed it, that there was no longer the "now approaching..." or the "paging Mr. Morrow..." bits? I was so disappointed when I read that because we love the TTA soundtrack, and quote it all the time. Can you put my fears to rest, please?
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Old 10-23-2009, 05:09 PM   #147
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Great updates, Scott. So the TTA soundtrack seemed to be same except for updated audio? Or by updated audio do you mean that the soundtrack WAS changed? I had read that they changed it, that there was no longer the "now approaching..." or the "paging Mr. Morrow..." bits? I was so disappointed when I read that because we love the TTA soundtrack, and quote it all the time. Can you put my fears to rest, please?
Unfortunately, what you've heard is true. The soundtrack was changed recently. However, when the TTA first reopened on September 11, they were playing the older soundtrack with "now approaching..." and the "paging Tom Morrow" lines. It still even talked about Space Mountain like it was open and running. I listened to the new one and it's not bad, but it's quite different. Some parts are a bit more informative even. I still like the older one better.

When I rode that day, it was playing the older soundtrack, but I thought the speakers and such might have been changed out or something; it seemed clearer than I remember.
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Old 10-23-2009, 11:30 PM   #148
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I have YET to try a cinammon roll at the bakery! And as for the TTA new audio? I must have been so excited to just ride it that I didn't notice. But now that I think about it...I didn't hear the page for Mr. Morrow!
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:04 AM   #149
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I have YET to try a cinammon roll at the bakery! And as for the TTA new audio? I must have been so excited to just ride it that I didn't notice. But now that I think about it...I didn't hear the page for Mr. Morrow!
According to Wikipedia, the new audio started playing October 2. I also heard that it was back and forth between the old and the new version at first. So, you may not have heard the new version at all.

And you must try a Main Street Bakery cinnamon roll. I think you can fit it in sometime in your next two trips.
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Old 10-24-2009, 09:45 PM   #150
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Part 28 - The Transporation Snafu

On the way back to Pop, the sky opened up for a few minutes. By the time my wife and I got there, the rain stopped. We grabbed the tripod, got a mug refill and headed back to the bus stop.

We're waiting, and waiting, and waiting...

9/11/2009 3:47 PM EDT Went back to the room to get my tripod for Illuminations. The bus to EPCOT is taking forever to get here.

After two buses for all of the other stops passed, we decided we had enough and made a change of plan.

9/11/2009 3:53 PM EDT Taking the DHS bus and then taking the boat to EPCOT because the bus wait was getting ridiculous.

Was this actually a smart move? Who knows, but we were tired of standing in front of Pop Century.

When we reach DHS, we head for the Friendship dock only to see the boat leaving. I look at my wife, and she says she wants to walk to EPCOT. I ask her if she's sure, and she says yes, so here we go down the walking path from DHS through the Boardwalk to EPCOT. We were moving quick since we had a 5:30 PM ADR at Teppan Edo.

On our way into the International Gateway, a man leaving the park handed us a pair of FastPasses for Test Track. Wasn't part of our plan for this evening, but we kept them and maybe we'll find someone who will use them. Finally, we're in EPCOT and heading for the Fountain of Nations. Everyone else is in The Electric Umbrella grabbing a snack.



After meeting up with everyone, we spend some time in Mouse Gear because I saw an old-school blue EPCOT Center t-shirt that I wanted last time we were in there but waited on it. It was nowhere to be found anywhere else we went on property, so I made sure to pick it up this time. Here's a picture I found online:



We then took the walk over to World Showcase going around from Canada to Japan.

9/11/2009 5:13 PM EDT The stands for Food & Wine are going up.

Once getting to Japan, there's no real direction on where to go for Teppan Edo. We finally ask someone in the main store, and we're directed upstairs to the Teppan Edo/Tokyo Dining area.

9/11/2009 5:32 PM EDT At Teppan Edo. Just sat down at the hibachi.

First impression:

9/11/2009 5:58 PM EDT Fairly formal here. Waiting for the chef to come cook.

I've been to local hibachi bars before, but none of them were very formal. This was bowing and everything. Really interesting actually and gave more of an insight into Japanese culture than a normal sushi restaurant.

Finally, the chef came over, and it's a woman. I've never seen a woman chef at a hibachi before. She was very good and quite entertaining.







After the meal, I was feeling pretty good.

9/11/2009 6:42 PM EDT Just finished the entree. Everyone had surf and turf. Server should be by soon to take dessert orders.

Slight correction to that; everyone had the steak and shrimp combo except Hailey, who had just shrimp. Everything tasted very good. Then the server came by to take dessert orders. I ordered the chocolate ginger cake; my wife got the green tea pudding, my sister got soft serve, and my parents also got the chocolate ginger cake.

The server didn't ask what Hailey wanted for dessert, so I asked what was available for her...

9/11/2009 6:55 PM EDT Just got dessert. You mean to tell me that a $13 kids entree comes with a DelMonte fruit cup that's like a dollar for a pack of six?!

I'm sorry, but this left a bad taste in my mouth, especially when one of the regular dessert choices is soft serve ice cream. It literally was a DelMonte fruit cup; not even fresh fruit or anything. Very frustrating and I mentioned it to the server but didn't seem to get through to her.

Had it not been for the fruit cup incident, this would have been my favorite restaurant of the trip. Very good food, but how much money are they really saving by giving a child a fruit cup instead of a small bowl of ice cream?

Coming up: Illuminations!
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