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Old 12-17-2009, 06:01 AM   #1
SorcererDonald16
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Smile If Mickey Cooks It, We Will Come.. And Eat It! (NEW: WCC, Tea, RFC, CM's, & More)

5/18 NOTE: My intention had been to wrap everything up by late the night of the 17th due to my impending lack of computer access. I have been working on these reviews every spare moment I had today, and I simply can't finish them all right now. I will be back in late May with my last 3 TS reviews (California Grill, 'Ohana, and Le Cellier), my last 5 CS Snack, Breakfast, and/or Lunch reviews, and my final thoughts. Appreciate your patience!

4/9 NOTE: Due to me having computer and *life* issues since this review began, I had not updated in quite awhile. Due to the new Dining Review time rule (which I just read today, my first day back on the DIS since before it was enacted), I am aiming to complete all reviews by late next week. Look for several reviews each day, starting Saturday, April 10th. Thanks!

Greetings, fellow DISers! This is my first foray into Dining Review Land, and I'm very excited to get my feet wet, and share some great pics and reviews with y'all! Busy year, so I am only now getting around to my reviews from May 13th-22nd 2009. We were there 8 full days, plus arrival and departure days (half day arrival, almost a full departure day). I'm a lean, mean, picture takin' machine, so I have many, many pictures, many from a lot of the more popular spots. There was lots and lots of eatin' on this trip!


The "What's What"
My parents and I went on this trip as our main family vacay of the year. Mercifully, I am an only child with parents who let me decide where we go on vacation each year (within reason). The tradeoff is I plan the whole thing from start to finish. Can be fun, can be maddening. The way it worked out thanks to schedules, we had to be on vacation on my birthday, the 2nd year in a row that's happened. I enjoyed it, but 2x was enough for me. We almost always go to WDW in May, June, or July. Gone in March a few times, and April once. We drive from VA, splitting the trip into 2 days. I've been to WDW 11 times since 1993, and my parents have each been probably 17 or 18 times since opening. This was our third time staying at Wilderness Lodge, which we love (but can rarely afford). We each have our own likes and dislikes in terms of food, which I'll talk a bit about next. None of us drink, so no alcohol in this Dining Review.


The "Who's Who"
Making up the Disney-Loving Trifecta are:

My DD (aka Disney Daddy). Loves WDW, probably almost as much as I do. Has been going there since not long after they opened. Doesn't like wasting a lot of time at TS restaurants, but is torn because he likes a "real" meal. CS doesn't count as a real meal to him. Very much a steak and potatoes type of person, also loves seafood. Loves big breakfasts as well, since he generally doesn't get a chance to eat breakfast. Really likes Le Cellier. Goofy is his favorite character.

My DM (aka Disney Mama). Likes WDW, not crazy about the crowds or the heat. Loves Disney overall though. Has been going to WDW since they opened. Doesn't like to eat huge meals. Likes just about any kind of food, although she's not crazy about high fat foods or dessert. Likes a good steak, maybe a couple times per year. She loves TS restaurants because they give her a chance to get away from the crowds and the heat a bit. Like my dad, she really enjoys Le Cellier, partly because of the "peace and quiet, finally!" She watched the Mickey Mouse Club all the time growing up, with her Mouse Ears proudly on her head.


And then there's me, SorcererDonald. Lest I confuse anyone, I am a gal, not a poster named Donald. And yes, that has been the assumption of many people on these boards over the years. I'm in my mid-20s, and I am the family's resident Donald Duck nut. Mickey? Mickey who? The Duck is where it's at! Huge baseball fan, hence the Field of Dreams title reference. I'm also my family's resident picky eater. I'm not a big fan of meat, and when I do eat meat, I like it well done. I hate seafood, except for tuna and most types of salmon. I also don't do veal, goose, and especially not *gulp* duck. Basically, I'm a chicken person, and turkey, but I'm picky about how that's cooked after a couple bouts with turkey-induced food poisoning. Forget weird salad dressings (aka anything with the word vinaigrette in the description!), and various vegetables like broccoli. I don't typically like fried food; I'm not a fan of spicy food; I don't like anything unusual or weird; and I'm allergic to pepper. I also hate cake and ice cream, generally. I'm weird. Sue me. Like my mother, I prefer small meals to large meals. Still love a lot of WDW restaurants though. If I can find stuff to eat, I think most picky eaters can. Les Chefs de France is my favorite restaurant. The food overall has become half the reason I enjoy going to WDW. Donald is (no kiddin'!) my favorite character.


Why I Am An ADR Obsessed, Disney Planning Nut
We'd almost always walked in to restaurants in years past and had a couple TS meals per trip. 2005 arrived, and suddenly we couldn't walk in anywhere. And so, after eating nothing but fast food for over a week, our use of ADRs was born in 2006, as was my affinity for pushing as many ADRs into any given vacation as possible. This trip, I went extra overboard. Hey, it was my birthday! Going into the trip, I had 12 ADRs made. We don't use the Dining Plan. We pay OOP for everything, because we generally eat small meals wherever we go, and we only eat out for breakfast a handful of times each trip. We bring breakfast foods and juice with us to save money and time. DDP just does not make sense financially or otherwise for us.


Dining Review List

And now for the Hit Parade! Pictures (lots and lots of pics!) will accompany all but 1 or 2 reviews. In this thread, I will be reviewing the following 14 TS and 16 CS/Cart locations, in order of when we ate where. B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner; S = Snack. * Indicates that was the first time we ate at that location. Now, on with the show!

In alphabetical order:

CS and Cart Reviews


ABC Commissary (Day 2: S)
Auntie Gravity's (Day 5: S)
Boardwalk Bakery (Day 3: S and my custom Birthday Cake)
Boulangerie Patisserie (Day 3: S)
Cantina de San Angel* (Day 7: L)
Captain Cook's at the Poly (Day 4: B)
Club Cool (Day 3: S)
Earl of Sandwich (Day 1: D; Day 10: L)
Goofy's Candy Company (Day 10: S)
Kaki Gori Stand* (Day 9: S)
Kringla Bakeri (Day 7: S)
The Lunching Pad (Day 5: S)
Main Street Bakery (Day 9: S)
Pizzafari (Day 8: L)
Pizza Planet (Day 2: D)
Roaring Fork at WL (Day 1: S; Day 5: D; Day 10: B)
Royal Anandapur Tea Company* (Day 8: S)
Toontown Hall of Fame Tent Candy Counter (Day 5: S)



TS Reviews
California Grill (Day 8: D)
Chef Mickey's (Day 7: B)
Coral Reef* (Day 3: L)
Garden View Lounge at the GF (Day 6: Tea/S)
Hollywood Brown Derby (Day 2: L)
Le Cellier (Day 9: L)
Les Chefs de France (Day 3: D)
Liberty Tree Tavern* (Day 4: L)
'Ohana* (Day 9: B)
Planet Hollywood (Day 7: D)
Plaza Restaurant* (Day 4: D)
Rainforest Cafe, DTD (Day 6: D)
Tony's Town Square Restaurant (Day 5: L)
Whispering Canyon Cafe* (Day 6: L)


I'll be using the following rating system for food, atmosphere, cost, and overall experience.

1x = "Oh Phooey!" Poor or Terrible, depending on what I'm referring to!
2x = Not terrible, but nothing to get excited about.
3x = Average
4x = Good
5x = Excellent. Even Donald would be satisfied!

There was the Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the in-between. Which will be which? Any guesses? There was also a bad illness in our future , and a never ending, absolutely miserable downpour thanks to a front that stalled over the central part of the state. I could have navigated WDW better on days 2 and 5-10 if I was really a duck.

PREVIOUS UPDATE, 5/15: Disney Day 5 Dinner: Roaring Fork review has been posted.

LATEST UPDATE, 5/17: The following reviews have been posted today.

Disney Day 6 Lunch: Whispering Canyon Cafe
Disney Day 6 Tea/Snack/Meal: Afternoon Tea at the Gardenview Lounge
Disney Day 6 Dinner: Rainforest Cafe
Disney Day 7 Breakfast: Chef Mickey's
Disney Day 7 Lunch: Cantina de San Angel
Disney Day 7 Snack: Kringla Bakeri
Disney Day 7 Dinner: Planet Hollywood
Disney Day 8 Lunch: Pizzafari
Disney Day 8 Snack: Royal Anadapur Tea Company


UP NEXT: Day 8 Dinner at California Grill!

TTFN,
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Last edited by SorcererDonald16; 05-18-2010 at 03:58 AM.
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:18 AM   #2
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can't wait!
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:23 AM   #3
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I'm in! I'm in! You ate at some of our favorite places. Looking forward to your pictures.
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:15 AM   #4
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I am definitely in!
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:39 PM   #5
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Hi all! Look for the first round of reviews to be posted within a couple hours. Waiting for some photos to finish uploading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkxray View Post
can't wait!
Thanks for reading!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manypets View Post
I'm in! I'm in! You ate at some of our favorite places. Looking forward to your pictures.
Neat that we share some faves! Glad to have you following along!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoofySon'sMom View Post
I am definitely in!
Hope you enjoy the reviews and pics!
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Old 12-18-2009, 04:26 PM   #6
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Wow, now this is one "professional" report. NICE
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Old 12-18-2009, 07:47 PM   #7
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"I didn't agree to the starvation diet!" Travel Day, and pre-WDW Day 1

Hi folks! Thanks for following along! I'll start with the not-so-fun stuff: The pre-Disney food. Although, hey, ya gotta eat somethin' right? I do find it sad that I now take pictures of fast food prior to my Disney arrival. My dad finds it even sadder. I just pass the buck and blame the DIS for it.

I'm going to use the following rating system for all of my reviews:

x1 = "Oh Phooey!" AKA Poor or Terrible, depending on what I'm referring to!
x2 = Not awful, but nothing to get excited about.
x3 = Okay
x4 = Good
x5 = Excellent! Even Donald would be satisfied.


Full Travel Day

As you may recall from my OP, we drive to WDW from VA and split the trip into two days. Well, this year, I was extra behind packing things and printing my thick-as-the-Sunday-newspaper menu binder... More on that another time! We were supposed to leave by 10am or so, and get on the road to Savannah, our stopping place. Between my slowness and some other mishaps (we forgot essentials repeatedly, and had to go back to the house not 1, not 2, BUT 3 times ) , we didn't get on the road until 5:30pm.

Snack

Now why is all that important, you ask? Well, food kind of got sacrificed for all the busy-ness. At 5:30pm, all I had eaten all day was a piece of toast for breakfast. So, I finally resorted to breaking out the "snack" bag. And if you've ever seen the snack bags packs, you'd think there were 10 of us on this trip.


I tried to comfort myself with the thought that in one day, I'd be drowning in Disney eats. But when you're starving, exhausted, and crabby, yeah, that ain't going over so well with me.

The Review: I want a Dole Whip!
Two s

Lunch

It takes us almost 2 hours to get to I-95, so it was about that time before the "Hallelujah" chorus began. Why? Right before the I-95 on-ramp, this fabulous place exists:


I opened my Turkey, Bacon, Ranch wrap, to find this:


Last I checked, sandwich does not = a wrap. Into the store goes, only to find out that Arby's no longer sells wraps. Like Disney, apparently the average fast food chain reads my mind, finds out my favorite menu item, and discontinues it. Strawberry Swirl from the Enchanted Grove in MK. The original Schoolbread from Kringla Bakeri in Epcot. The pre-boxed fudge WDW magically discontinued this year. If I like it, they will get rid of it.

The Review: Despite the fact that I didn't get what I ordered, the sandwich was good. Not Disney-level-good, since the bread contained nuts (which I don't care for). But by that point, I was ready to begin chewing on shoe leather, so I can't complain.
Three s

Dinner
Around 9:30pm that night, we began hunting for a McDonald's to get our Sweet Tea fix and dinner. Apparently all the South Carolina McDonald's close early, because we couldn't find one open until the fifth try, which was at 12:30am! Here was my dinner that night, at 12:40am:


Yeah. I wasn't exactly singing the "Hallelujah" chorus then, but what can ya do? We used to eat at a restaurant for dinner the night of our main travel day, but the last few years, and I have been so pooped from packing and preparing that we just want to sit in the car to eat and rest. This time, even if we wanted to, we couldn't have eaten at a restaurant. We didn't even get to the room in Savannah, GA until almost 3am.

The Review: Fries were fries, and the tea was good. I don't care for fried food, but I didn't feel like a sandwich, and they had stopped serving salads. Since then, I've given up Sweet Tea and switched to Unsweetened. But for future reference, we went to the McDonald's at Crossroads outside of DTD regularly during the trip. No pictures of that though!
Two s


Pre-Disney Day 1 (AKA Travel Day 2)
The second day of our travels takes us from Savannah, GA to Orlando. We usually stop in Daytona Beach on the way, go in the Daytona International Speedway shop, and eat at the Taco Bell across the street from there for lunch.

I have no earthly idea what I had for breakfast. Whatever it was, it was something we brought with us, as well as juice from home.

When we finally got to Daytona, prior to shopping and taking the track tour for the first time, we grabbed lunch at the ever-so-familiar Taco Bell. This is what each of us ordered:


I think our grand total for lunch came to $3.63. We are such big spenders!

The Review: Good, simple "lunch." And hey, it saves $$$ for Disney Eats, so what's the downside? Oh yeah, the growling of my stomach by the time we were outside of Orlando would be the downside.
Three s

And so ends the boring but snarky, "I'm starving!" pre-Disney reviews section of my Dining Review. Now on to the good stuff! I promise you we ate more than this in WDW! I'll be posting a "Bonus Pic" with each review, somehow relevant to the day. Thanks for reading, and here's hoping no one gains weight just from looking at the upcoming pics. In looking over them the past couple days, I think I might be gaining weight that way!

Bonus Pic 1:



Until next time,


Up Next: Later tonight I'll post my review of Earl of Sandwich, our dinner from that day.
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Old 12-19-2009, 08:10 AM   #9
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Old 12-21-2009, 08:28 AM   #10
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Day 1 Dinner: Did you say Earl of Sammich? I say, YUM!

Hi all, thanks for following along. Sorry I'm later than planned on reviews. Busy getting ready for Christmas.

On our tale of over-indulgence on the road to elevated cholesterol, the last eating establishment we had visited was Taco Bell. Now, after a side trip to the Disney store in one of the outlet malls, it was time for our first Disney property dinner! The last couple of years, I've preferred the idea of getting dinner from Earl of Sandwich at DTD rather than waiting to check in to the resort first and getting food there. Just seems easier and faster. And with my tummy still rumbly from a pint-sized lunch, I wanted to eat NOW, daggone it! Problem was, by the time we finished at the outlets, it was getting late. If we ate at Earl, we would miss the Electrical Water Pageant on Bay Lake.

Earl of Sandwich or EWP? *Cue Jeopardy music* This was debated for a good 15 minutes. And believe me, we're lucky the debate didn't last longer than that. On any given trip, including day trips, without fail, any discussion about food turns into a long drawn out discussion. "Where do you want to eat?" "I don't know, where do you want to eat?" "I really don't know either. Hmm... What do you think?" This is what also occurs every Friday at home when it's time for our weekly foray into fast food. My mom and I are always indecisive about where to eat, which is one reason for my dad to be happy about ADRs planned months in advance!

Finally I decided I was so hungry that the EWP could wait for another night. We found a parking space near Once Upon a Toy fairly easily and made a beeline for the yummy goodness that is Earl of Sandwich. Or, as calls it, Earl of Sammich!



I owe our discovery of this place to the DIS several years ago. Never paid attention to it until I read reviews here. So, to everyone who posted reviews or pics prior to 2006, bless your hearts! It is one of our favorite places to eat in WDW.

I read here prior to our trip that the fabulous Ultimate Grilled Cheese (a delicious sammich, er, sandwich, I discovered in 2008, but subbed cheddar cheese for bleu cheese) was no longer on the menu, so I knew I had to pick out a new one. Had no clue what to get, as this was one of the few places whose menu I had not studied diligently beforehand. I knew I had read good reviews here of the tomato soup, though. I wasn't sure what to get as my dad and I got in line. The place was surprisingly not that busy, and plenty of tables were open. My mom got one by the door right away, and told us she wanted her usual, the Caprese sandwich and a smoothie, any smoothie.


Here is the menu as it was on Wednesday, May 13th:




Normally, I'm a person who would be filled up by one sandwich, but (have I mentioned this yet?) I was starving, so I decided to go for broke anyway and get the tomato soup and a sandwich. I didn't have much time to decide since the line was short. Since I like ham well enough, I decided to go with the Ham 'N' Swiss. My dad ordered his usual, the Hawaiian BBQ. He and I both decided to get smoothies as well, so he ordered a Pineapple/Coconut for himself (loves Coconut). I ordered one of those for my mom , and a strawberry/banana smoothie for myself. We waited less than 10 minutes for everything; I believe my soup took the longest.

The Reviews: Now that we're actually into Disney reviews, I'll be breaking these down by item. For things my parents ate/drank, I'll be sharing with you their thoughts/comments on everything. I'll start with the smoothies.


One of the Pineapple/Coconut Smoothies:



, much like me, can be picky about what a pineapple/coconut smoothie tastes like. She doesn't like a lot of coconut in hers due to taste and the fat factor. I don't like much in mine because it gives me a soar throat for some odd reason. So needless to say I tend to avoid this type of smoothie in the first place. She thought this was perfect, good mix of the two flavors with pineapple being the dominant flavor. Perfect amount of ice used so it wasn't runny or soupy. Refreshing way to wash down her sandwich.

on the other hand, loves coconut. He thought it could have used more of it, but still enjoyed it. Also was glad it wasn't runny, and thought it was a good match with his Hawaiian BBQ sandwich.


My Strawberry/Banana Smoothie:



I love strawberries, and I love bananas, but I don't like the combination in juice form. I hadn't had this type of smoothie in years, and never at Earl. So I wasn't sure how I would like it. I actually really loved it. The flavor was great, and to me you could taste the fruit in it. At a smoothie place near my college alma mater, you can taste a powder mix they add to their smoothies. No hint of that here. Also appreciated the fact that it wasn't runny. I'd order this again, definitely.

Now, on to the food! We'll start with 's Hawaiian BBQ:



The menu describes this as "Grilled Chicken, Roasted Ham, Swiss Cheese, Fresh Pineapple, and Hawaiian BBQ Sauce." My dad has ordered this, I believe, all but one time we've eaten here. Even if he loves a meal, he doesn't go into much detail about it. He said he liked it, although he thought it could have used a little more BBQ sauce. I asked why he liked it, and he said it was because it's something different, not anything you see anywhere really. He also likes ham a lot. I have no doubt he'll order it yet again whenever we go back.

Here is 's Caprese:



The menu describes the Caprese as "Fresh Mozarella Cheese, Roma Tomato, Fresh Basil & Drizzled Balsamic Vinaigrette." Like me, once my mom finds something she likes at a restaurant, she tends to stick with that item. Last year she too had the Ultimate Grilled Cheese, so with that gone, she reverted to the Caprese. She's had that sandwich at least 4 times now, I believe. I've had it a couple times, and I can't figure out if it always had a vinaigrette on it or not. I thought it used to be EVOO, because I doubt I would have eaten anything with a vinaigrette on it. Anyhow, she enjoyed it, although she did say it seemed stronger than it had in the past. Tomatoes were ripe, and the basil was fresh. Mozarella was light with a "perfect" flavoring to it. She loves Earl's bread, and they did not disappoint her this time either.

Lastly, for my eats. I was hungrier than I could remember in a long while, so I literally started inhaling my sandwich as soon as I got it. I left the soup for last, to give it time to cool.

My Ham 'N' Swiss sandwich:



This is described as "Roasted Ham, Swiss Cheese, and Earl's Mustard." Not as exciting sounding as the other two sandwiches, but I was very impressed. There are some really fancy schmancy ham stores here in VA, so I know ham like the back of my hand, and I know what's good and what's not. I won't touch honey ham with a ten foot pole (mildly allergic to honey), and I don't care for really salty ham. A cheese shop near me sells a fab baked ham sandwich, and I measure all ham sandwiches against it. Well, I give Earl credit... This one even topped my baked ham sandwich back home! There was plenty of Swiss cheese that tasted sharp but not too strong. The mustard didn't seem to be honey mustard, but it wasn't the yellow, hot dog-type either. It was very good. Surprising to me since I tend to just like the plain stuff. It was a little spicy, but nothing that bothered me. Probably wouldn't seem spicy to most people, but I have a low tolerance for spiced stuff. The ham was perfect. Not too salty, great flavor. No fat that I saw anywhere in it. The bread was fabulous as always. I loved it. Can't wait to get it again whenever we go back.

After I finished my sandwich, it was time for the tomato soup:



According to AllEars, you can get this as a side or a full portion. Mine was the full portion, based on what we paid ($2.95). I'm not honestly a fan of soup. I have a hard time considering it food since it's liquid. Just a weird quirk I picked up as a child. But I love French Onion Soup, and like some Cheddar Cheese soups, and some Tomato Soups. Reviews here were good, so thought I'd give it a whirl. After I let it cool off (hot food also gives me a soar throat... I'm special in so many ways! ), I took my very first spoonful. My mom grabbed a spoonful beforehand to try a bit of it as well. We never eat after each other since my mom and I (especially me) can be prone to picking up any little bug there is. She really liked it, thought it was creamy. I scooped up a spoonful, thought "Here goes nothin'!" and tried it. Oh. My. Word. Best tomato soup I have ever eaten, hands down. It was thick, it was buttery, it was creamy. It had an excellent flavor to it. The "croutons" were very soft, and complimented the soup nicely. Between the sandwich and the smoothie, I couldn't finish it all, though. I cannot wait to get back there and try this again. Food Heaven in a bowl!

I started this trip with the intent of taking pics of receipts, but that didn't last past this meal. So, here's the one and only receipt pic in my entire dining review:



All in all, especially considering it's WDW, $34.13 for 3 sandwiches, a nice serving of soup, and 3 smoothies is not bad at all.

The Ratings:

Food: 5x We liked or loved everything we had to eat. Truly great, especially considering it's counter service.

Atmosphere: 2x Let's be honest here, you're not going to Earl for the atmosphere. It is what it is. Not bad, just noisy.

Cost: 5x Especially for Disney, you can't beat the cost for what you're getting.

OVERALL: I'd rate it 5/5 if it weren't for the noise. But one should expect that at DTD, especially since it's connected to a shop. Food was great, smoothies were great, and the lower-than-the-Disney-norm cost was much appreciated. We returned on our getaway day as well and can't wait to return on our next WDW trip. I recommend EoS to anyone who likes sandwiches, tomato soup, or just really yummy counter service food at a decent price.



Up Next: Coming soon will be a mini-Roaring Forks review, followed immediately by our first Disney TS meal, lunch at the Hollywood Brown Derby.

Until Next Time!
~Sorcerer Donald~
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Old 12-21-2009, 11:49 AM   #11
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I'm here SD We've been to WGPE the past few times at DTD, I might have to go back to Earl...I forgot how tasty everything was!!!
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:26 PM   #12
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You're making me hungry!!
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:50 PM   #13
tinkerbell3747
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I am joining in!

We will be trying EOS on our arrival day in a few months....I can not wait....

I am a lover of Tomato Soup so glad they have that on the menu. I think I am planning to try "The Original" (minus the horseradish though).

Waiting patiently for the next installment.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:57 PM   #14
creativeamanda
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I love EOS! And I enjoyed eating outside. . .much less noise!
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:27 PM   #15
CS3SONS
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Joining in. Great review
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