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Old 04-23-2012, 03:31 PM   #151
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During the first parade? I know we were in there at the same time as katt789 because I saw her in line, so maybe 8:30ish? All my time stamps are all messed up, by like 14-16 hours, but I think that's right.
Ohh okay... well, I don't know who that is. BUT! We definitely weren't in there at the same time, then. We were pretty much there right at the start of the party.

I could care less about Cirque honestly haha. FotLK doesn't seem theme parkish to me, I feel like it's not really trying to be a certain type of show, it's just itself. I love it... like, immensely.

Oh man, a gondola ride in the Italy pavilion would be amazing! Especially considering that Italy doesn't even have a movie hahah.
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:19 PM   #152
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I seem to have a fairly regular schedule for falling behind – it probably very closely matches when homeworks are due for the class I TA for. It’s inevitable that the number of emails I receive daily will spike (and not just from more spam I sign up for, trying to get some coupon codes!) for about a week or two. But we’re at the end of the semester (last day of school!) and everything’s slowing down. Plus I think we’ve finally turned a corner with our (four!) foster kittens and we won’t have any more accidents. Just in time for them to go up for adoption (today! Adopt-a-thon weekend oh joy).

I’ve also recently decided it was imperative that I work on my fishtail braiding skills and I’m happy to report that it’s going swimming (as has my renewed dedication to puns). Clearly I am resourceful and productive with my time as the semester winds down!

When I last updated, many moons ago before flickr changed its upload page, we were working our way around the World Showcase.


We really burned out after Norway – this is honestly the only (decent) picture I have. And we weren’t speed walking! I don’t know. There’s just something about those other countries (i.e., the rideless ones). I go in with the best intentions and then… nothing. Can’t stay focused.


Eventually we made it out of the wasteland that is the back third of World Showcase and onto the Friendship Boats. Slow and slightly inconvenient, but neither of us could figure out a better way of getting to our dinner reservation. I had somehow completely missed that there was a Boardwalk until a year or so ago. My past trips were all very go-go-go and the Boardwalk isn’t featured heavily on any park maps.


I’m pretty sure Bear wishes it would have stayed that way because I am obsessed with the whole area now. Vintage Boardwalk/carnival is a theme that is kind of overplayed right now (at least in the dark corners of the Internet I’m in) but I still have a soft spot for it. Like pretty much everyone in the mid-Atlantic states, I grew up going to the Jersey and Delaware Beaches, so the whole area feels familiar. And it seems that I’ve been reading idealized and romanticized versions of the eastern seaboard since birth – everything from Jacob Have I Loved and Marguerite Henry up to Canada with L.M. Montgomery.

And there are boats! I love boat travel (actually, pretty much all forms of transportation. But my inherent laziness is neither here nor there). And since we’d managed to grab a boat nearly immediately – and given that we would’ve gotten lost on foot – we made it to Kouzzina with plenty of time to spare.


I really wish Disney would’ve found a better font – and a better use for that apostrophe! – on the Seashore Sweets sign. It’s just so… generic? If I can access the font free through basic word processing programs, it shouldn’t be used on a Disney sign.


We got to Kouzzina before it even opened; this turned out to be a good thing, since once we got inside, they couldn’t find our reservation. The hostesses assured us it wouldn’t be a problem and got to work on their computers. There were quite a few large groups (10+ people, many of whom were complaining about something. The restaurant opening at 4? Someone being late?) and I wonder if there wasn’t a wedding/other event going on. In any case, our piddly group of two wasn’t a problem.



I snuck off to Seashore Sweets to use the bathroom and escape the crowds. Seashore Sweets is adorable, but I’m not sure who the target audience is. Boardwalk Resort guests? If so, I much prefer the mod/value-style food courts. I’m a sucker for a good food court. But the beauty queen dolls were nice! I like when designers include the tacky parts of boardwalk history (or organized crime! There’s so many interesting things that happened around Prohibition – peak of the power of organized crime, forensic science, etc. – that doesn’t really get fairly depicted).


These cookies were disappointing – the black icing was totally not very good. But I would only learn this later. They do look terribly delicious when still in the packaging.


We got called in for our table relatively quickly and we had a lovely server. Both of us agree that this was one of the best meals on our trip. We had good service and got some very good food (the pita sampling platter, the Kouzzina trio, the pork, the loukoumades, and some other cake). And we were pretty far away from all the other guests, my favorite restaurant seating arrangement.


Considering we went into Kouzzina around 4:00, it was a shock to see it was so dark when we left! We live on graduate student budgets and don’t really go for 3 course meals very often (okay, never. And definitely not to places where it’d be $100+ for the meal, as was the case with Kouzzina).


Bear wanted to ride the Friendship Boats back and we weren’t as lucky this time. A boat was pulling away right as we got to the dock, so we settled down for a nice wait. The temperature was nice, we were right on the water, and we both needed some time to digest. There were a few things that we wanted to do in Epcot. I just can’t enter the park without doing Spaceship Earth at least once, more is preferable.


We came up with a rough plan of attack; walk slowly through the park, hitting up a few attractions on our way out. If Soarin’ had a decent line (doubtful), we’d get in line. Bear had only two conditions for staying in the park – check the Soarin’ line and use our Test Track Fastpasses. Nothing too strenuous to finish up our day.
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:55 PM   #153
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Glad to hear you enjoyed Kouzzina! It sounds like a pretty awesome place. I forget, were yall on the dining plan? If not, did you really pay over $100? GOOD LORD hahahaha.
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:00 AM   #154
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The Boardwalk area...I adore it as well!! Isn't it just the most wonderful, peaceful area? One of my favorite Disney memories is being on the Boardwalk super-early with DBF, sitting outside the Boardwalk Bakery eating breakfast.

(Of COURSE it involves food!! )

Glad you enjoyed your dinner at Kouzzina! That restaurant really is great, isn't it? I do totally agree about the sign fonts though. And that rogue apostrophe. It drives me a little nuts too!
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:06 PM   #155
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I love the Boardwalk as well! We actually were trying to rent DVC points for our upcoming trip there but it didn't work out so no Boardwalk for us Did you stop in to the Boardwalk bakery by any chance? They have the best cupcakes!
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Old 05-19-2012, 12:41 PM   #156
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Hey everyone, sorry I've been so flaky! My end-of-semester ended up being way more hectic than I thought - there's lots of ways that coordinating a 150-page group paper, collecting and grading close to 45 student assignments can go off schedule. And then after all that, Bear and I decided to pack up the car and drive a little over 1,000 miles for four days...


here!

It was tons of fun and Bear is already teasing me mercilessly about how I still haven't managed to edit pictures from December's trip and now I have more! So in between unpacking and totaling up receipts I'm going to try and get everything organized and caught up on anything and everything!

(photo)
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Old 05-20-2012, 02:41 PM   #157
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The boat ride back to Epcot took much longer than our previous voyage. I’m not sure if it was an illusion created by our eagerness to be back in the parks, but it was practically years of waiting before we reached International Gateway.

And then Bear wanted a restroom stop.

What?


We were so close to the gates after his choice of excruciatingly slow transport. But back on the dock we had agreed to be more relaxed when touring, so there really wasn’t any other option besides exploring International Gateway while I waited.

It turns out that International Gateway is really boring at night when no one else is around and it’s too dark to explore. There are some banners and the restroom signs (all of which I have exhaustively documented) and that’s about it. The lighting isn’t the best out there either.

Bear eventually came back out, when I was close to expiring from sheer boredom, and we were off!


Only to be distracted by the Window o’ Duffies. I just can’t resist a good teddy bear in a sailor suit. I totally understand why the Japanese are so obsessed with Shelly Mae and friends – especially the Jedi version. He comes with his own light saber!

As anyone might have guessed, the lines at Soarin’ were still incredibly long. But Living with the Land was a walk-on (surprise!)! After the debacle earlier in the afternoon with no more Living with the Land passes and a filled-up queue, we had to try this own out.


I didn’t really know much about Living with the Land and the opening scenes did not help. Looking back, I’m not sure I even remember what these are? Besides a very realistic looking tree.


Or some buffalo!


The porch is a little more self-explanatory. This is where the thunderstorm is, yes?


I love the greenhouse roof. It’s just so plasticky-looking in the best possible way.


I love greenhouses and this one is no exception. So much variety and for most of the time I was too busy looking around (and poking Bear so I could repeat the recording verbatim to him).

I’ve read that Living with the Land used to have narrators, similar to Great Movie Ride. I am so glad that for whatever reason – cut backs, penny pinching, whatever – that they are gone now. The ride works much, much better without the hit-or-miss nature of real live people hosts. Long live pre-recorded narration!



Even a fish room! I know fish farming has some (serious) implementation problems but I still have a weakness for them. Especially since humans haven’t really figured out how to fish sustainably (not quite the same thing, but look up statistics on shark populations. It’s just awful).

Living with the Land is seriously the coolest – and a personal favorite - ride in Epcot. They’re doing research on space agriculture in here (my picture of the sign sadly got corrupted). Agriculture! In space!! I have meant to look and see if there are any publications that have come out this program but I haven’t found the time yet.

We sat through the little movie bit – about as interesting and useful as the first part, minus the animatronics. The video clips need about 151850% more space agriculture and then I will play attention.


Clearly the only possible follow up to such an excellent attraction is Test Track. Bear loves Test Track, partly because of the outdoor bit and partly because I always close my eyes at the brick wall. Or what used to be the brick wall – now I think it’s a door? Maybe it always was a door, I’ve never actually seen it!


Didn’t there use to be a duckling crossing sign in the queue? I miss that sign!

Test Track was as good as always (even though it is distinctly lacking in space anything) and we headed towards the Epcot gates, content. Of course, who wants to leave merely content? Thank goodness that Spaceship Earth had a short line – it’s the easiest, guaranteed way to elevate your theme park experience.

We finally made it out of the Epcot right as everyone was gathering for Illuminations. The entrance plaza was blissfully empty. So nice and empty that Bear agreed to forego the trams and walk back to the car on foot.

Since neither of us remembered where the car was parked, this turned out for the best. The tram announcements always make me second guess myself; walking through the quiet parking lot, it’s easier to remember that small scrap of information.


Port Orleans is really lovely at night with all the lights reflecting in the river. This room had probably my favorite “holiday” decorations of the whole trip. By the time we made it back to the room, I was practically dying of thirst. We had barely taken advantage of our room’s prime location and that needed to be remedied! Plus it was barely past nine – surely we weren’t tired yet?


Well, we were, but I needed a drink and a print out of our room charges and dining credits to show Bear. He has a truly astonishing lack of faith in my basic mathematics skills (when it’s actually trigonometry and geometry that I’m awful at. He always gets those mixed up).


Bear chose to chat with the DVC rep as I ran around the lobby, refilling mugs (then giving them to Bear), taking some pictures, and waiting at the desk. It usually works out this way – it’s definitely faster because Bear will talk to anyone and everyone. I’m not even sure what all they were talking about but it kept him entertained and happy as I poked around the lobby. Even with various delays, I had to wait while Bear wrapped up his conversation and collected all his brochures, business cards, and various pieces of papers. By the end of the trip we had an entire bag full of this sort of Disney marketing – Bear loves a good brochure.
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Old 05-20-2012, 03:18 PM   #158
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Are you going to do a Disneyland TR? Please do a Disneyland TR!!! At least, post some pictures here!

The International Gateway looks really pretty, all decorated for Christmas!

I love Living with the Land, I don't know why we skipped it in May! I don't remember it ever having a real person narrating, but I'm with you, I'll take the pre-recorded narrator any day! I kind of wish they would do that for the Great Movie ride, but then I guess they'd have to give up on the whole gangster/cowboy story lines.

POR is so beautiful, I bet it's really pretty, all decorated for the holidays!
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Old 05-20-2012, 03:40 PM   #159
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Oh my god, I'm so jealous that you had a trip to Disneyland! Argh, I want to go back so badly.

I love Living with the Land, but I actually miss the people who used to operate the ride. I like the more personal touch.
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:24 PM   #160
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I want to go to Disneyland.

Living with the Land looks awesome at night. You take wonderful pictures.
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:31 PM   #161
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Are you going to do a Disneyland TR? Please do a Disneyland TR!!! At least, post some pictures here!
Agreed!!! Disneyland TR!! Disneyland TR!!

Hahaha the Friendship boats are certainly not the fastest mode of transportation, but they are lovely!

YES Living with the Land did have CM narrators in the past! :yes:
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:14 PM   #162
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Bear’s conversation didn’t go too long and we (I) were tucked away in bed to watch TV (sleep) very soon after.

Our typical Disney wake-up time is around 6:30 – enough time for a sit-down breakfast and still be within 15 minutes of (normal) park opening. Breakfasts out are one of my favorite parts of vacations and rope drop isn’t nearly as important. And I’ve found that the actual ‘rope drop’ event itself is way too crowded. Five minutes late is good enough for me.


Bear had been disappointed that we hadn’t gotten a new towel animal the day before so while he was in the shower, I recycled some of our old ones. Obviously I do not have the same towel-folding abilities as our rose-making Mousekeeper, but he (said he) liked it.


Given that I had yet to eat my body weight in Mickey waffles, Bear and I headed out to the Riverside Mill. I love waffles – plain (just a hint of vanilla) with butter, powdered sugar, and maple syrup is best. None of that fancy-schmancy ‘fruit’ I keep hearing about. It should pretty much be a 1:1 carb:sugar ratio and the Riverside Mill didn’t let me down. Bear didn’t care as much for his bacon, but that’s his fault for not picking waffles.


After stuffing ourselves in the Mill (sub par bacon included), we ambled through Port Orleans. Counter service breakfasts don’t take anywhere near the same amount of time as a table service and we had ended up with some spare time.


Our mansion (and thus our parking lot) was right next to the quiet pool. For some reason, I was obsessed with the little pool building that we always passed on the way to the car, I’m not really sure why. The whole area is very peaceful (and quiet, obviously!) and has some nice foliage, but I never took an actual picture of that. Instead, I focused on the backside of the pool house? Maybe all the powder sugar hadn’t kicked in yet.


But we managed to make it to the car – and eventually to Epcot – without fanfare. Epcot day was one of the few times we made it to rope drop and Bear certainly wasn’t impressed. I don’t think he realized that the lines were because no one was being let in the park yet and not that it was going to be massively crowded all day.


At least the person in front of us had an excellent headband on; I had a good idea for a picture that I don’t think ever materialized. I have multiple versions of this picture saved on my hard drive but this is closest to what I had in my head.

I took up enough time trying to discreetly photograph a woman’s bouncey Mickey headband that we in shuffling through the turn stiles, following the crowd to Soarin’ before I knew it. The mad dash to Soarin’ is incredibly tame and doable in my opinion, and really can’t be compared to the Toy Story Mania run. Maybe it was just crowd levels on the different days, but Epcot’s layout is much less prone to bottlenecking and traffic jams than MGM’s.


I chose to ride standby and pick up Fastpasses later after a quick glance at the crowds by the machines; Bear chose to follow me. The line moved quickly enough that I never figured out the “games” (I think?) in the standby line. What are they?


Bear was adamant that we would request row B1; his friends had instructed us to do this for optimal viewing during our Earl of Sandwich dinner and Bear likes requesting seats. It was an easy enough process; the Cast Member simply ushered us to the back of the B1 line and we waited an additional cycle.


Plus we got to stand by one of my favorite employee only doors. Flight crew!

The lines – and Patrick’s introduction – went quickly and we were soon strapped in and ready for lift off. Neither of us were very impressed this go-around; we were both expecting a more continuous film (maybe with more Patrick?). At least some more transitions instead of the blink-and-now-you’re-on-boat thing they have going on. Or the golf ball – Bear insists that golf balls go that high, but how high up are we supposed to be at that point? Certainly not at gliding altitude. And are you supposed to be a single high glider or all three stacked? Because someone’s feet would definitely be on the ground at that point and there’s no way you’d just go up again.


It wasn’t the fault of the ride, ride operators, or even film quality. We just had no idea what to actually expect and had gotten different impressions from friends and the Internet. It certainly wasn’t a bad ride and our seats were excellent for the hang-gliding effect but it didn’t have that ‘must ride’ factor.


We decided to still pick up a set of Fastpasses, figuring they’d come in handy later. Plus Bear had promised I could walk around the Land Pavilion. I love the balloons and we’d been in such a rush the day before I hadn’t gotten a chance to appreciate them. So Bear grabbed Fastpasses while I tried to figure out that best way to shoot inside the land; he was finished before me.


Since we had just done Test Track the night before, I wasn’t too concerned about joining the post-Soarin’ dash over. Bear had different plans and hovered anxiously while I hurried to finish up.
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:15 PM   #163
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By the time we made it over to Test Track, the lines – standby and for Fastpass - were long enough that both of us were grumpy – me because I could’ve taken a few more shots that I wanted and Bear because I’d taken too long.


Of course, our Fastpass slot wasn’t open yet, so – I argued – it didn’t matter about the line for Fastpasses. We could ride Mission: SPACE and by the time we finished up there, everything would be just fine.


Bear couldn’t think up any counters to this on our way over; of course, he loves Mission: SPACE far more than me. I still don’t trust it 100% to keep me alive through the whole thing.


But I love the queue, in a five-year-old stomping-feet tantrum-y sort of way, where I refuse to listen to any criticism (wrong or right) of it. The lighting, the random space trivia, and the fact that the Imagineers threw in pretty much anything and everything space travel related. It’s just such a hodgepodge of ‘This is used in space!!’ that it makes me laugh.


Especially this table. What a great table – practical and ugly and so, so NASA-y.


Valentina Tereshkova! A momentary diversion: She was (is?, she’s still alive) an amateur parachutist (in Soviet Russia!!) chosen from over four hundred applicants to be the first female cosmonaut in space. And she eventually became a major general in the Soviet Air Force. Not too shabby!

Gary Sinise guided us on another successful mission to Mars and then Bear guided us on a successful mission for Test Track Fastpasses. Not quite on the level of being the first woman in space, but good enough for two vacationers.

We had lunch reservations in the Yacht Club, so we decided to explore the other side of Future World before wandering up through Canada and England to the Boardwalk (only in Epcot does that make sense).


I vaguely remember the Figment gift shop from when I was eight, but never went near the Imagination Pavilion on any other trip. Either I couldn’t find it (most of my Epcot time is spent in Mexico or Norway) or didn’t realize you could go in. It was a confusing period of time, trying to find more Figment but continually missing the giant glass pyramids. Like a really bad romantic comedy, but featuring a girl and a building. Emphasis on the ‘really bad.’


It was a toss-up on which Imagination attraction we’d do first, since neither of us remembered the originals of EO or Figment. Figment won out in the end, since it had a non-existent line (like usual) and we would have had to wait for the next EO showing.


Honestly, I didn’t think this version of Figment was so terrible. What I do remember of Figment is mixed together with the old version of Spaceship Earth so at least these new versions are definitely separate things? That’s really stretching it, I know, but there’s really not much to say now about Figment, which is sad.


I’m watching the original Journey into Imagination now (literally, thanks youtube!), and I remember more of it (it’s also kind of.. schmaltzy? The intro certainly isn’t the best scriptwriting I’ve ever heard. And I dislike that the science creativity segment is faux-science jingoism – “electron beams” – instead of, you know, actual science? But it’s a small thing in an overall excellent ride that makes at least an effort at including sciences and the inherent creativity involved instead of just lauding the arts as the more beautiful, humanist, etc. form of expression. I just have lots of feelings about the dual nature of art and science! That are not actually addressed in Journey to the Imagination so…)


We were finished with Figment practically seconds after getting on (it’s so short! NEED MORE FIGMENT) and were dumped unceremoniously in the gift shop. I had high hopes for in here because I clearly remember it – and it was, of course, nothing like I had pictured.

Oh well.


I did talk Bear into picking out a Vinylmation to try and get a Figment-y souvenir. We ended up with the Disney Cruise Line one (picture.. to be included later?), which wasn’t so bad. Only at that point, we had no plans to ever go cruising ever (my how things change!) so the poor li’l yellow guy was essentially worthless to us.


Bear was hungry and eager to head up to our reservations – he had agreed to try walking this time and was positive we’d end up being late. The walk to International Gateway from Future World is especially pleasant in the early lunch hours – no one waits in line to visit Canada at 11AM precisely, so we had Future World all to ourselves.
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:31 PM   #164
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It looks like you guys were being very efficient and getting some stuff done in EPCOT. I can't wait to hear what you thought of Kouzzina. Do you and the BF typically like Greek food?
Yes! I love Mediterranean food in general (my favorite is Turkish, followed by Egyptian). One of my favorite places out here in Colorado is Greek-American fusion and they have the most amazing pita dessert ever - pitas coated in cinnamon sugar, fried, and then dipped in maple syrup. Not quite Greek, but still delicious! I don't get much Turkish/Egyptian out here - my favorite places are in Germany and New Mexico (respectively) and thus are a little too far for a dinner date.

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Ohh okay... well, I don't know who that is. BUT! We definitely weren't in there at the same time, then. We were pretty much there right at the start of the party.

I could care less about Cirque honestly haha. FotLK doesn't seem theme parkish to me, I feel like it's not really trying to be a certain type of show, it's just itself. I love it... like, immensely.

Oh man, a gondola ride in the Italy pavilion would be amazing! Especially considering that Italy doesn't even have a movie hahah.
Yeah, we were with Tiana + Naveen then. My boyfriend was thrilled that the Christmas party turned into Prince + Princess Palooza.

I mean, the quality of FotLK is amazing and everything, but I think I was expecting something different based on reviews of FotLK. In most of the reviews I read, FotLK was compared to full-stage productions in a 'as good as' sort of way, never seeing HOW it was as good as them. I go to more of those than Disney staged shows (e.g., never been to Disney on Ice, anything in MGM), so I was thinking the scope was the same! And obviously in those, there's more space, limited performances, etc. that allow for more complexity in choreography and story. So I just wish people wouldn't compare it to, say, Broadway productions because it's not and it's not meant to be!

Or.. I agree with you!

I KNOW. World Showcase should totally turn into Boat Rides Around the World.
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:45 PM   #165
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Glad to hear you enjoyed Kouzzina! It sounds like a pretty awesome place. I forget, were yall on the dining plan? If not, did you really pay over $100? GOOD LORD hahahaha.
Yup, we were on the dining plan. We did upgrade from the free one to deluxe, but I totally would've paid for it as well. Kouzzina was our big 'break even on the dining plan' ADR so we went all out. If I was paying OOP (I pay for all food on our trips), we definitely would've scaled back some. I like nice meals, but $100+ nice meals is pushing it just a bit!

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The Boardwalk area...I adore it as well!! Isn't it just the most wonderful, peaceful area? One of my favorite Disney memories is being on the Boardwalk super-early with DBF, sitting outside the Boardwalk Bakery eating breakfast.

(Of COURSE it involves food!! )

Glad you enjoyed your dinner at Kouzzina! That restaurant really is great, isn't it? I do totally agree about the sign fonts though. And that rogue apostrophe. It drives me a little nuts too!
It's such a great area. I really, really wish the Bear liked it a little more; he'd rather stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge than Yacht/Beach Club or Boardwalk Inn. AKL is great and everything, but we could WALK to Epcot. And eat food all the time!! Kouzzina is my best argument for a Yacht Club stay because Bear still talks about that meal, 5+ months later. It was probably his favorite thing this trip, besides from our Kona dinner.

Yes! I just can't figure out that sign. It drove me bonkers the entire time we waited for Kouzzina to open. I really want to try breakfast at Kouzzina next time - feta cheese eggs (and the fact that honey is on pretty much everything offered for breakfast!) sound so delicious!

Quote:
Originally Posted by archdandy View Post
I love the Boardwalk as well! We actually were trying to rent DVC points for our upcoming trip there but it didn't work out so no Boardwalk for us Did you stop in to the Boardwalk bakery by any chance? They have the best cupcakes!
The Boardwalk is just such a great location, especially since they redid the Yacht/Beach club rooms. Sooo pretty and relaxing. And the pools!! Neither of us have swim suits but I'd TOTALLY buy one just for use on the Boardwalk.

We didn't! I keep meaning to try Disney cupcakes but never get around to it. They're just so massive and Bear isn't quite the dessert-y person that I am (except for ice cream and cheese cake!).
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