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Old 09-06-2011, 08:30 PM   #1
*~PrincessBelle~*
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Talking "Well this isnt what I was expecting!"...a very last minute not-so-solo solo TR!

Hello everyone and welcome aboard! We're traveling to..... to my TR!!

This is my very last minute (well planned in two weeks - which is last minute for a crazy uber planner like me) not-so-solo, solo TR! I'll explain the solo thing in a minute..but first...introductions!

Im PrincessBelle...a 24-year-old-soon-to-be CM (as of November 1st! ) from good ol' Canada.


Im ready to head to Orlando by , on Flickr

I had originally planned this trip as a one year anniversary trip with my DH but he had other plans...My DH is an avid hunter and got offered to go on a 10 day Moose hunting trip in Northern Ontario for the last week and a half in September and couldn't get time off to do both trips so being the amazing wife () that I am I said he could go on his hunting trip instead. We can do Disney together anytime and we did go for our honeymoon so we opted for a smaller more local weekend getaway for our anniversary... Now that's not to say I wasn't going to spend a few days in Disney!

We still had a small amount of money left over in our honeymoon registry, enough that would cover room and park tickets for one of us for at least 3-4 days...and my November start date in Disney did still seem sooooo far away that a little disney fix was just what the doctor ordered...I have been on 3 solo trip's so far and LOVED everyone of them so a few days alone was not going to be an issue...

So with hubby's blessing I was all set to start planning another solo trip...a gf of mine was going away for an extra long weekend down to Alabama to see her bf and we were both planning on flying out of Detroit (much cheaper and closer than Toronto) so my dates were set. I would fly to Disney the same dates my gf was in Alabama so we could car pool to Detroit together...can you say roadtrip!!! Only problem was...it left me less than two weeks to plan talk about stressful! Given the short notice and that I had been to Disney back in February (now I was on business but did manage to squeeze in the parks) I decided that I would have a *relaxing* vacay with little to no park time and just unwind ( Oh how funny that sounds looking back now LOL)

So here is how things were shaping up...

When: August 12th - 16th
Airline: Delta out of DTW
Resort: Pop Century - Preferred Room (no std view left)
Dining Plan: None
Park Tickets: 3 Day Base (bought strictly under the intention of NO rope drops and only for evening EMH use and to tour at a leisurely pace)

Now here's where the not-so-solo part comes into play...a girl that I had met back in the spring at the Disney interviews had already started her program at Disney (just a few weeks before I arrived) and we had kept in touch and she knew that I was planning to spend a few days in the World and suggested we meet up since her days off coincided with the dates of my trip - well most of them at least. Perfect! Someone as Disney crazy as me to hang out with!

**for the rest of the TR I will refer to my great CM friend as Ariel...just because im not sure if she would want me referring to her by her real name since she is a CM in Epcot**

The day before the trip Ariel had suggested doing a character meal on my arrival day..and had booked us dinner at CP in MK...I was so excited! I had never been to CP before! Little did I know this trip was going to contain a lot of firsts for me....

Well I think ive blabbered on enough about all the boring pre-trip events...time to get on with the show!

Coming up next....our travels to the airport and arriving at POP!!

Chapters
DAY ONE - Arrival and POP Century
DAY ONE - Magic Kingdom & CP Dinner
DAY ONE - Wishes
DAY TWO - A Relaxing Morning at POP/Afternoon Tea at GF
DAY TWO - Meeting fellow CM's at Epcot & Illuminations
DAY THREE - A rough night, delicious visit to Ohana's, and touring the resorts
DAY THREE - A short break in MK & the best meal ever!

Last edited by *~PrincessBelle~*; 09-21-2011 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:11 PM   #2
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Day One - Arrival and POP Century

The anticipation had been killing me but soon enough the big day came. My gf from work and I set off for Detroit around 6:30 am and made great time to the border (despite a quick stop for gas and some tea from Tim Hortons). There was hardly any wait at the border and after a less than magical chat with a border crossing agent we were on our way. All in all we had parked in the green lot at Detroit airport by 9:15 am…way ahead of schedule…a great way to start the trip! Once in the terminal we both breezed through security (WAAAAY much quicker and smoother than Toronto) and I decided to make a quick stop at the Delta customer service desk….

I had always wanted to fly first class and thought well there is no harm in asking…the agent said there was availability and the upgrade from economy to first would only cost me 65$...sounds like a deal to me!
With my new premium boarding pass in hand me and my gf decided to have some late breakfast at an Irish pub near her gate…after a nice cold lemonade and a shared bowl of fruit salad and jalapeno poppers (the breakfast of champions) we parted ways….my gf off to see her bf in Alabama and me off to the World!!

I got to my gate just as they were calling for first class to board …

** don’t underestimate the time it takes to walk to your gate in Detroit airport…my gate was at the other end of the terminal and it felt like I was walking forever…now there is a tram but I foolish thought ”the walk can’t be that bad!” ha! Folks..when in Detroit – take the inter terminal tram**

First class definitely had it’s perks..a nice bottle of Dasani waiting for me at my oversized seat and two glasses of wine down before the plane even taxied onto the runway (just a note my flight was 12:30 pm - so it wasn’t that early to start drinking). The meal served was AMAZING some southwest chicken salad..just delish! The snacks, drinks, and service were constantly flowing and met with a friendly smile…overall a very enjoyable experience but not something I would treat myself to on a regular basis

Just over two hours later we landed at MCO….as soon as we taxied to the gate I sent a text to Ariel to let her know I had landed and was on my way! Ariel had booked herself a room at POP for that night too with her CM discount since she didn’t have to work the next day either and was already checked in and touring around the resort….

I made it down to the DME line in record time and was surprised to see no one in line! Not what I was expecting for the busy August crowds….


Disney Magical Express by , on Flickr

I was lead into the POP line and a few minutes later was joined by one other family…less than 10 minutes later we were on the bus…we only sat for another 10 minutes later before leaving MCO. Our bus couldn’t of had more than 5 families on it and was only making two stops…POP and AKL Kidani village…and POP was the first stop! Could this day get any better….and then I saw this….


Welcome to Walt Disney World by , on Flickr

Ahhhhh..Heaven!

The line was quite long for check-in (it was around 4pm though) but only waited about 15 minutes. I was greeted by an awesome CM who was so sweet and super helpful. She had even informed me that CM friends and family discount had been applied to my room! Ariel had given me a discount for my stay…so sweet of her! I was placed in the 50s building, ground floor room, in room 1133.
Just as we were finishing up at the front desk Ariel showed up…it was so great to see her! We decided to head to my room to drop off my suitcase and so I could change into something..cooler…the August heat and humidity was BRUTAL!

….after a short walk I found my room….


Pop Century Resort by , on Flickr

It was (what I thought would be) a very quiet location…but more on that later….this was the view from the room..


View from my room by , on Flickr

The room was just what I needed for a short stay and was clean and in good condition...although I was surprised at how little space there was between the door and the double bed when walking in the room...pretty tight!

After a quick change into a cooler sundress it was off to MK for dinner at CP and EMH!!

Coming up next….”Where is everyone?” a virtually deserted Main Street and many many more pictures!!
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:32 PM   #3
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I am thoroughly jealous that you are going to become a cast member - how exciting! Do you know where you'll be working yet??

Loving your report, great photos!

Can't wait to read more
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Old 09-07-2011, 05:38 AM   #4
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Hi! I'm joining in I've always been intrigued by solo trips, looking forward to reading yours! That's so exciting that you'll be a CM! Do you know what you'll be doing once there?

I didn't know some of the 50's Buildings were preferred! Although, now that they have the pool view booking category, I suppose they can't make the 60s buildings the only preferred...

Pop Century views are funny! One year we had one room that looked right to the Foosball scene, but the next year we had a gorgeous view of the lake! So you never really know what you'll get!

Looking forward to reading more!
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:16 PM   #5
*~PrincessBelle~*
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maryr1oz View Post
I am thoroughly jealous that you are going to become a cast member - how exciting! Do you know where you'll be working yet??

Loving your report, great photos!

Can't wait to read more
Thank you!! Yes I am very excited!! I will be working in food & beverage department in the Canada Pavilion in Epcot...so I get to start out working at the popcorn cart and then work my way up to serving in Le Cellier! Can't wait to get my hands on that soup and pretzel bread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mimiloveswdw View Post
Hi! I'm joining in I've always been intrigued by solo trips, looking forward to reading yours! That's so exciting that you'll be a CM! Do you know what you'll be doing once there?

I didn't know some of the 50's Buildings were preferred! Although, now that they have the pool view booking category, I suppose they can't make the 60s buildings the only preferred...

Pop Century views are funny! One year we had one room that looked right to the Foosball scene, but the next year we had a gorgeous view of the lake! So you never really know what you'll get!

Looking forward to reading more!
Thanks for reading! ...Im so excited to be a CM! I will be working in the Canada Pavilion for one year in the food & beverage area (Le Cellier) on their International Cultural Representative Program...

I actually really liked the spot I had at POP initially..very quiet (it seemed) and lots of greenery to look at ...kind of peaceful and away from the hustle and bustle of the pools...although I would of really liked a lake view room too...I hear that you can see some of illuminations from the 3rd floor of those lake facing rooms
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:43 PM   #6
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Day One - Magic Kindom & CP Dinner

Ariel and I headed out to the bus stops and waited only a few short minutes for an MK bus to show up... Ive never been so happy to see an air-conditioned bus!

We arrived at MK and I was expecting the worst for crowds...after all it was 5 o'clock on a Friday afternoon in the beginning of August...once we got through the turnstiles Ariel took me to town hall so I could get an "Im Celebrating" button..we had a great chat with the CM working behind the desk about her time working with Disney and shared the great news about my upcoming start date as a CM. I was just so darn excited I pretty much chatted up every CM I saw and told them too ... she was so sweet and said they couldn't wait to have me join the Disney family and wrote on my button that I was celebrating "becoming a Cast Member"... the best souvenir of the trip!

Once we left town hall we rounded the corner and saw this....

A surprisingly quiet Main Street USA by , on Flickr

Now if you take out the family standing in the middle of the shot there was like no one else on main street leading up the castle! Where were all the people??? either way I was so excited and hope this would be a good sign for wait times...and it was!

We still had 30 minutes before our supper ADR at CP and we decided to go see what kind of a wait Space Mountain had.... 15 minutes! Not bad at all...and even better? Once we got in the line we pretty much walked right on!! Maybe a 5 minute wait for all the walking it took to get to the ride...

After a quick ride to space and back we decided to head over to CP to check in for our ressie when the heavens decided to open up. A typical late afternoon thunder shower rolled through (looking more like a monsoon!) and we ended up taking refuge under the tomorrowland terrace with about 100 other people. After about 10 minutes it cleared up and we checked in at CP just a few minutes behind schedule...

SIDE NOTE: while we were waiting to check in there was a family in front of us who had made a ressie for something like 4 people and wanted to add another 5 people to their reservation understandably the CM had a very difficult time and told her if she wanted a table that much larger than her original ressie she would have to wait and couldn't guarantee when they would be seated. Well of course this woman was just livid! I felt so bad for the CM ...she was just unnecessarily rude...and in front of her kids too! If your wondering how it turned out...After much yelling and arguing she was granted a table ....right beside us....for her full group not 5 minutes after we sat down...guess it goes to show that being rude pays off???

As soon as we sat down our waitress took our drinks orders and it was off to the buffet....they had a great selection of hot and cold foods and desserts. I loved everything I put on my plate...I wish I had more food pics but was so excited to eat that I forgot...As soon as we brought our first plates back to the table we had a visit from...

Me and Tigger at Crystal Palace by , on Flickr
TIGGER!! and then we were visited by Piglet...

Me and Piglet at Crystal Palace by , on Flickr
Next up was Pooh ..who I swear was not planning on leaving that table! We had so much time interacting with all the characters ..it was fabulous...ive been some character meals where the characters take the obligatory picture with the "adults" than leave as fast as they can..but not here...every single character took loads of time with both me and Ariel...I think maybe my button helped too...


Me and Pooh at Crystal Palace by , on Flickr

The last, but not least, character to come around was Eeyore...I love that guy!


Me and Eeyore at Crystal Palace by , on Flickr

We had an amazing meal...so much fun with the characters and great food. I would do this meal again in a heartbeat! I enjoyed the atmosphere and character interaction here much more than at Chef Mickey's on a previous solo trip...

With our bellies full it was now off to take in some rides...but first...some pretty sunset shots of the castle....


Cinderella Castle by , on Flickr

Cinderella Castle by , on Flickr

Coming up next ..Wishes & EMH
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:47 PM   #7
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It sounds like your trip is off to a very good start!

I really like that picture of the castle in the pink light!
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:08 PM   #8
*~PrincessBelle~*
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Day One - Wishes

After dinner we made a bee-line over to the Haunted Mansion..I hadn't been on this ride since they added the interactive queue enhancements...I thought they were very cute but could get old really fast and cause a hindrance in line movement...that being said I love that they added the option to either go through the interactive line or go straight through...

I also love the new hitchhiking ghosts at the end...very cute! I tried a few times to take some video of it on my camera but didnt come out very well...

After a spin on Haunted Mansion it was off to Fantasyland to see what we ride before wishes... so far we had been lucky and only waited 10-15 for HM and IASW was no exception...

Its a small world by , on Flickr

Its a small world by , on Flickr
We also got lucky enough to ride Mickey's Philharmagic with no wait...words can't describe how much I this show!...Classic disney tunes from all my favorite movies, 3D , classic donald duck antics...what's not to love?? We also managed to squeeze in a ride on Winnie the Pooh as well...another classic that I hadnt been on since I was a kid....

Winnie the Pooh by , on Flickr

I can safely say if it wasnt for been in MK with Ariel I would of never gone on the amount of rides in fantasyland I did if I was alone...people already look at you funny if your an adult riding alone let alone smiling from ear to ear singing in the winnie the pooh ride all by your self!

After some rides we headed back out to the hub to watch the Magic Memories and You show...this was a first for me as well (aside from watching on youtube) and was blown away..some of the effects on the castle were sooooo cool! I was floored...thought it was amazing...very difficult to take good pictures though when you dont have a tripod... these were the only decent ones I got...

The Magic, The Memories, and You by , on Flickr

The Magic, The Memories, and You by , on Flickr

Then it was time for my all-time-favorite-always-have-a-tear-in-my-eye-all-the-way-through fireworks show..WISHES!


Cinderella Castle by , on Flickr

Wishes by , on Flickr


Wishes by , on Flickr


Wishes by , on Flickr


Wishes by , on Flickr

After wishes we managed to ride space mountain one more time, monsters inc, the people mover, peter pan, pirates, and BTMRR before calling it a night..originally I had planned to make it all the way through to 3 am...but after being up super early to drive to Detroit that wasn't going to happen...I think I called it quits around midnight and decided to head back to POP...

For Saturday I had planned to not be at a park for rope drop ( this was a hard one for me to handle...I am a park commando ALWAYS at park every day of the trip and there at RD) but instead had planned to laze around the POP pool in the morning (while the heat was somewhat bearable) and relax then head to GF in the afternoon for a ressie at the Grand Floridian Tea Room then head to Epcot after dinner to ride test track, tour WS and watch Illuminations...

As we were leaving the park Ariel had mentioned she wasnt working the next day and said she would love to join me at the GF for tea in the afternoon... not one to turn down a super fun disney-holic like me to share tea with I was thrilled!

I finally got back to POP and settled into bed...a little harder bed than what im used too but I was sure it would do fine for a few nights...and then the neighbors came home...now they weren't loud it was just that I heard EVERYTHING they were doing...opening drawers, running water, talking, tv etc...im sure they weren't overly loud I think it was just that the walls were pretty thin...finally when the noise stopped an hour or so later...the upstairs neighbors came home and the same noise ensued...I was determined to not let it bother me and tried my best to catch some sleep and simply put my inability to fall asleep down to sleeping in a new place for the first night and was determined to see how it went the next night..either way I had a relaxing day planned ahead and so no waking up at 6 am to make it to RD for me!

Now will tomorrows non park morning be as relaxing as what I had planned? That and more coming up soon!
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Old 09-07-2011, 09:10 PM   #9
*~PrincessBelle~*
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Where'sPiglet? View Post
It sounds like your trip is off to a very good start!

I really like that picture of the castle in the pink light!
Thank you!! I took so many of the castle lit up with the pink...I think that's my favorite...it always looks so lovely when the sun is setting too
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:12 AM   #10
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So wonderful trip. congrats
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Old 09-08-2011, 06:51 AM   #11
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Great trip report, thanks for sharing! I love your pics
So I'm doing my first ever solo trip to the world in 7 days! I'm a bit apprehensive about the whole thing!
Congrats on becoming a CM! I was a CM at WL and The Grand in 2007. When I was a CM I did done solo touring on off or short days but never rode many rides or ate alone. Your comment about being looked at funny when riding solo as an adult has got me wondering..... Is it your true feeling or said for setting up the reference to singing? lol anyway.... Considering my upcoming trip, I find your comments very interesting !
Thanks for posting! I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your report!!
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indychristine View Post
Great trip report, thanks for sharing! I love your pics
So I'm doing my first ever solo trip to the world in 7 days! I'm a bit apprehensive about the whole thing!
Congrats on becoming a CM! I was a CM at WL and The Grand in 2007. When I was a CM I did done solo touring on off or short days but never rode many rides or ate alone. Your comment about being looked at funny when riding solo as an adult has got me wondering..... Is it your true feeling or said for setting up the reference to singing? lol anyway.... Considering my upcoming trip, I find your comments very interesting !
Thanks for posting! I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your report!!
Hi Christine! Thanks for stopping by... I want to reassure you about solo touring..there is nothing wrong with it! I ride pretty much all the rides solo when I go ... some days I feel a little more self conscience than others when touring but most days all the CM's make you feel very welcome and dont bat an eye when they ask "how many riders?" and you say "just one"...I just try and remember that im on vacation too I paid just as much $ as the next person to get into the park so that should allow me to ride whatever I want ..regardless if some parent thinks im too old... Like I said generally everyone is great and would never say a word...i just tend to be a little more self conscience some days...a word of warning though when parade/firework watching you may get the odd parent ask if their child can sit/stand in front of you so they can see...and every time I oblige if the parent is very plesant about it...there has been the odd occasion where a child was literally shoved infront of me and then parents squeezed me out of my parade spot I sat in for almost an hour...to which they replied "your too old and dont need to see the parade anyway" not to scare you though...that is an rare occurance and has only happened to me once in 4 solo trips... you will have a great time!!
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:01 PM   #13
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Day Two - A Relaxing Morning at POP/Afternoon Tea at GF

Saturday morning I couldn't believe I actually slept in until 8:30! That's a big deal for me...especially when im vacationing in Disney...I am a religious rope dropper/park commando...but surprisingly did very well at this new change of pace.

Today all I really had planned was some pool time in the AM, and afternoon tea ressie at GF for 3:30 pm, and Epcot after that to catch some rides and watch Illuminations...

I woke up, grabbed my refillable mug, and headed out to Everything POP to grab a drink (which I chose the pomegranate lemonade) and a fruit salad to start my morning. By the time I got to the food court it had quieted down a little but was still busier than any other morning food court ive encountered at other resorts in the past...

I grabbed a nice table out by the pool and ate my breakfast in the sun

After breakfast I headed back to the room, changed into my bikini, grabbed my book and headed out to the main pool. It was around 10:30 and there was hardly anyone at the pool at all...it was surprisingly relaxing! I spent an hour and half by the pool finishing my new book 'Sarah's Key' and jumping in the pool every 15 min to cool off...the sun was just brutal!

After the pool I went back to Everything POP and grabbed a pizza (does anyone else just disney pizza??), salad, and refilled my mug once again with lemonade and sat outside and ate my lunch...

Then it was out of the wet bathing suit and into a nice sundress in preparation for my ADR at GF. Before heading out to catch the bus to MK I decided to take some pictures around the resort...


Pop Century Resort by , on Flickr

Pop Century Resort by , on Flickr

Disney Pop Century Resort by , on Flickr

Disney Pop Century Resort by , on Flickr

A short bus ride later I arrived at MK... I decided since I had plenty of time that I would take the monorail to GF and make a stop at the Poly on my way... I mean who could pass up a dole whip on the beach??

When I got to captain cooks I had a sudden change of heart and ended up grabbing a strawberry dole Popsicle and sitting out on the patio of CC's. Something about that resort is just so calm and peaceful...I could sit there all day and people watch and just listen to all the noises...the polynesian music, the sound of the waterfall, the ducks quacking for food, the distant sound of the MK train ..now that is my happy place

After a short break at the Poly I got a text from Ariel who said she was on the bus headed to MK and should be at the Poly soon so I decided to tour around the gift shops and wait for her there...

A short while later Ariel arrived and we caught the monorail to the GF. When we arrived we went down to the tea room to see if we could check in (even though we were an hour early) and were told we would have to wait at least half an hour before checking us in...no worries...so we decided to wander the GF and take some photos along the way...


Grand Floridian Lobby Floor by *, on Flickr

Grand Floridian Lobby by , on Flickr

I dont why but I became obsessed with photographing the lobby floor...


Grand Floridian Lobby Floor by , on Flickr

Grand Floridian Lobby Floor by , on Flickr

Grand Floridian Lobby Floor by , on Flickr
It was around this time that a CM noticed we were taking pictures of all the marble floors and told us to look around the back of the big staircase that leads up to the second floor...he said that almost everyone misses that one...and sure enough we went to look and found it...

Grand Floridian Lobby Floor by , on Flickr

Around 3:00 pm we were able to check in and about 10 min later we were called to our table...

Afternoon Tea at Grand Floridian Resort by , on Flickr

I have to preface this by saying I LOVED this whole experience at the tea room. I would do this again on another trip in a heartbeat. Its a very relaxed slow paced meal and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. Our waiter was fantastic!

Thanks to the Dis I already knew what I wanted to order... the grand tea complete with champagne

Ariel ordered the same but chose to substitute the cider for the champagne and also requested all ham & cheese finger sandwiches instead of the regular selection.


Afternoon Tea at Grand Floridian Resort by , on Flickr

The tea I chose was the Earl Grey. I know pretty typical and boring but hey this girl knows what she likes

Afternoon Tea at Grand Floridian Resort by , on Flickr

The tea sandwiches came out next...now im going by memory here but I believe there were 5 different offerings: a pear & Gorgonzola, chicken curry, lobster salad, cucumber & watercress, and an egg salad. On the side it also cake with some sort of duck pate and a caramelized onion tart.


Afternoon Tea at Grand Floridian Resort by , on Flickr

Next up was a strawberry jam tart and a raisin scone with jam and clotted cream. The tart was delicious as was the scone both tasted very freshly baked.

Afternoon Tea at Grand Floridian Resort by , on Flickr

The final course was my absolute favorite! Now I should give some background here and let you know I was born and raised in the UK. And as such I LOVE a good trifle but it's so hard to find anywhere in North America that can make a traditional tasting English Trifle....well the GF did it

Afternoon Tea at Grand Floridian Resort by , on Flickr
(although I realized it doesnt look too appetizing in the picture LOL)

This trifle was melt in your mouth just pure heaven delicious. The custard, the dream it all tasted just like my nan makes back in England. This was the icing on the cake for me...this will be a place I make sure we stop at every trip back to WDW

All in all this was a wonderful meal. It took a good chunk of time out of afternoon (about 90 minutes) but enjoyed every moment. I highly recommend this experience at least once on your trips to WDW. It is a bit on the pricy side for what it is (tea, finger sandwiches, dessert etc) but the atmosphere, service, quality of the food all made it worth while for me.

With our tummies full it was now off to Epcot! How many rides will get in before illuminations? Stayed turned to find out!
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:45 PM   #14
sstewart
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I would love to do a solo trip....Really enjoying your TR! Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip!
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Old 09-12-2011, 12:54 AM   #15
Winnie the Goof
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I'm subscribing to your TR. You take great photos!

I'd like to try a solo trip myself someday, too.
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