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Old 11-14-2012, 04:53 PM   #1
lilwitch646
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"A Poor Student's Food and Wine Diary" or "Crashing my Parents' Vacation"

Hello again Everyone! It's me! I'm back!

Oh, you don't remember who I am? That's ok! I'll just introduce myself. This is me in EPCOT on a prior vacation enjoying a glass of wine. I'm a law student, in the last month of my last semester of my last year of law school. And not that I'm counting down, but when I'm writing this, I will be finished with my last law school final ever in 27 days, 20 hours, and 13 minutes.


Other people on this trip include:
  • Mom
  • Dad
  • Uncles
  • Aunts
  • Ali (BFF)

I am now 36 hours removed from WDW, and finding that I have a ton of pictures to share with you all and a really fun TR! So if you want to read a bit more of an introduction, you can click on the conveniently provided link, or click on the links to the more exciting Disney related posts here for your convenience. So here we go!!!!

Off to Neverland! (aka Disney's Food and Wine Festival)
Introduction, and How this Trip Came About
Nov. 9 - Flight and Magical Express
Nov. 9 - California Grill and the Top of the World
Nov. 10 - Canada and Hawai'i
Nov. 10 - Terra, Caribbean, and Argentina
__________________
TR: The 7 days of a 21st birthday celebration (May 18-24, 2011)
TR: "A Poor Student's Food and Wine Diary" or "Crashing My Parent's Vacation" (Nov 9-13 2012)

Grand Floridian 5/92 :: OKW 5/93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 12 :: DCL 4/00 :: BCV 7/09 :: Food and Wine OKW 10/09, 10/13 :: Family Christmas OKW 12/10 :: Brother's 21st Birthday BWV 5/11 :: Vero 12/11, 5/13 :: Brother's 22nd Birthday BWV 5/12 :: Disney's Magic Canadian Cruise 8/12 :: OKW 9/12 :: Food and Wine BWV 11/12 :: Law School Graduation AKV 1/13


Last edited by lilwitch646; 11-25-2012 at 02:07 PM. Reason: Adding links
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:16 PM   #2
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Nov. 9th - Flight and the Magical Express

I know that flights really aren't that interesting, but November 9th wasn't a very interesting day.

One of my classes, Aviation Law, was cancelled on Friday. My Professor flies in every other week from Los Angeles to teach this class. Because of the nor'easter, he held Thursday morning's class by online conference, and cancelled Friday's class. We were supposed to have our final exam on Friday morning. The exam was rescheduled for Nov 15. I had planned on flying out on Friday after class, but since class was cancelled I had all morning to hang around the house and work on the paper that was due on Sunday (this paper was originally due the week before, but was moved back because of the storm. School was slowly ruining my quick get away.)

So I packed a suitcase full of books that I needed to help finish up the paper:


And at 1:30 pm my brother brought me to the airport. My poor brother. He couldn't get off of work to come down. Apparently it's a black out period. So he took my parents to the airport, and me to the airport for a vacation he couldn't go on! He was not a happy camper.

I flew down to MCO, and we arrived nearly 30 minutes early! I was very excited about that because I thought that meant I would be on time to meet my family at California Grill for the 7:30 dinner reservations. (Heads up, I wasn't )

I got the front seat on the Magical Express. That's very important because I wanted to be able to take this picture:


And I also got this one:


I had never taken the Magical Express to the Contemporary before, so I didn't know that the Magical Express, first stops at the Polynesian, then the Grand Floridian, then the Wilderness Lodge, and FINALLY at the Contemporary. I knew they were all on the same loop, I just didn't realize that the Contemporary was last!!! By 8:00 pm, I was getting some very unhappy text messages from some very hungry family members. (My plane landed at 6 pm, I can't believe it took over two hours to get to the Contemporary.)

And then FINALLY, finally we arrived at the Contemporary, and I decided to take a picture of the bus:


I tried getting a picture of the Contemporary on the way in, but I wasn't able to. Sorry.

And now comes the appearance of my BFF Ali! Ali lives in Florida about two hours south of Disney. She was coming up for the weekend to do Food and Wine with me. She arrived at the Contemporary about the same time as the Magical Express. So I guess the two hours was really a blessing in disguise. I was in the lobby to meet her when she got there.

Then we went up to the California Grill desk and got whisked up to the 15th floor in the magical elevator to meet my family. My mom greeted us at the elevator with two glasses of Chardonnay. Apparently we were officially on vacation!


Next exciting post:
__________________
TR: The 7 days of a 21st birthday celebration (May 18-24, 2011)
TR: "A Poor Student's Food and Wine Diary" or "Crashing My Parent's Vacation" (Nov 9-13 2012)

Grand Floridian 5/92 :: OKW 5/93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 12 :: DCL 4/00 :: BCV 7/09 :: Food and Wine OKW 10/09, 10/13 :: Family Christmas OKW 12/10 :: Brother's 21st Birthday BWV 5/11 :: Vero 12/11, 5/13 :: Brother's 22nd Birthday BWV 5/12 :: Disney's Magic Canadian Cruise 8/12 :: OKW 9/12 :: Food and Wine BWV 11/12 :: Law School Graduation AKV 1/13


Last edited by lilwitch646; 11-25-2012 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:46 PM   #3
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I'm happy you had a good time. Can't wait to read more!
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:31 PM   #4
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Nov. 9 - California Grill, Wishes and Top of the World

Now that we had arrived, the California Grill agreed to sit all of us, there were 10 of us!! Fortunately, they held the table for us until Ali and I got there.

I took a picture of the show kitchen:


And then we ordered our food (be prepared! Food pictures galore in this TR!):
This is the lamb gyro flatbread, and it was delicious:


Dragon Roll sushi, without the shrimp:


CG famous Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli, a must if you like food:


Swordfish with cauliflower:


Since Ali and I got there around 8:00, we didn't get our food until around 8:30, and Wishes was at 9:00! When the music started, Ali and I walked out to the observation deck, and once we got there we ran like crazed monkeys to the next level down. You can still hear the music being piped onto the observation deck, but there's never anyone else there! So we sang along to Wishes at the tops of our lungs. Unfortunately the video I took of the fireworks won't upload to youtube It says there is something wrong with the file? I'm not sure how to fix that. It was the first night of the Christmas Wishes and it was beautiful! Very similar to last years though.

Oh! Apparently Ali and I aren't the only people to know about the secret spot, because when we ran down the staircase there were two lovebirds all snuggled up together. It seems like we messed up their lovey-dovey plans because they left after we arrived. Oh well...

After dinner, my Dad took my Aunt and Uncle back to French Quarter where they were staying, and he went back to the Boardwalk. My mom and I took Ali up to the Top of the World! She's never been there before and I'm not so sure the DVC Membership will let us up there after the new year. It's another great place to go and watch Wishes.

Inside the Lounge:


Our beverages:


I didn't get a picture of it, but when my Mom and I did a quick weekend trip back in September, we came up here for appetizers and drinks for dinner and Wishes. We had the same waiter that night as this night!! But he didn't remember us.

Ali was driving us back to the Boardwalk, and while waiting for the elevator, I took this shot of the castle:


It was as close as I got the Magic Kingdom on this trip, and I had really want to see the new Storybook Circus and the Be Our Guest Restaurant. C'est la vie I suppose.

AND TOMORROW I FINALLY GET TO DO FOOD AND WINE AT EPCOT!!!

Next Post:
__________________
TR: The 7 days of a 21st birthday celebration (May 18-24, 2011)
TR: "A Poor Student's Food and Wine Diary" or "Crashing My Parent's Vacation" (Nov 9-13 2012)

Grand Floridian 5/92 :: OKW 5/93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 12 :: DCL 4/00 :: BCV 7/09 :: Food and Wine OKW 10/09, 10/13 :: Family Christmas OKW 12/10 :: Brother's 21st Birthday BWV 5/11 :: Vero 12/11, 5/13 :: Brother's 22nd Birthday BWV 5/12 :: Disney's Magic Canadian Cruise 8/12 :: OKW 9/12 :: Food and Wine BWV 11/12 :: Law School Graduation AKV 1/13


Last edited by lilwitch646; 11-25-2012 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:10 PM   #5
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Just wanted to say hi My SO and I are both lawyers (met in law school). I wish we had visited WDW during school!

California Grill is awesome. Great pictures
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:28 PM   #6
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Nov 9 - Canada and Hawai'i

Hello again! I'm back!

On Saturday, my Mom, Ali and I walked over to EPCOT for the last weekend of the 2012 Food and Wine Festival. We had lots of good food, lots of good drinks, and lots of fun.

We had to stop and purchase Ali's ticket so she could enter the park, and there were so many people buying tickets at the International Gateway. I thought it was a bit weird, but I think a lot of people parked at Boardwalk or Beach and Yacht. The one guy behind me said that he had never used this entrance before!

This was the F&W sign on the ticket booths.


We bypassed Ireland and beelined for Canada and some of their cheddar cheese soup! nom nom


We basically got one of everything of the menu and then split it 3 ways.

"Le Cellier" Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce (no risotto though ):


Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta and "Minus 8" Onion Jam:


And the holy grail of Canadian-Disney cuisine .... THE CHEDDAR CHEESE SOUP!:


As you can see all were decent portion sizes, more than enough to split, but not make you overly full. Although, by the time we made our way to Germany we were much more selective with our food choices, haha.

Then we headed over to Hawai'i. I'm not sure when this was added, but they're not a country... also there was a Vegan booth, a Caribbean booth, a Hops and Barley booth. None of those are countries either... hmm...

So Hawai'i - not that impressed, sad to say. The menu looked and sounded good, but the food didn't really live up to my expectations, nor to Ali's. My Mom didn't eat anything here.



Kahlúa Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonaise:


Tuna poke with seaweed salad and lotus root chips:


The pork slider was better than the tuna poke, which was starting to taste a bit fishy to me. And I like raw tuna... The seaweed salad was pretty good, but nothing spectacular. I didn't try the lotus root chip, I actually thought it was dried orange...oops!

We also had the Chardonnay, which I thought was too dry, and the Big Wave Golden Ale. Neither Ali, nor I liked the ale, but I'm not much of a beer drinker, so I wouldn't take my opinion too much into account on that one.

The pork was at least nice and juicy, with the sweet pineapple chutney and spicy mayo, but I wasn't wowed by it. It seemed like a lightened up pulled pork sandwich, just without the BBQ sauce. The roll was a bit dry, too...

I think I should leave Hawai'i alone now, I'm picking on them a bit too much.

Also...why does everything from Hawai'i have Dole pineapples? It may sound like a silly question, but are they that big in Hawai'i? I've never been there (Aulani is somewhere in my future travel plans once I finish school). It's not that I don't like pineapples, because I do, but does anyone else in Hawai'i grow them?

Next post:
__________________
TR: The 7 days of a 21st birthday celebration (May 18-24, 2011)
TR: "A Poor Student's Food and Wine Diary" or "Crashing My Parent's Vacation" (Nov 9-13 2012)

Grand Floridian 5/92 :: OKW 5/93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 12 :: DCL 4/00 :: BCV 7/09 :: Food and Wine OKW 10/09, 10/13 :: Family Christmas OKW 12/10 :: Brother's 21st Birthday BWV 5/11 :: Vero 12/11, 5/13 :: Brother's 22nd Birthday BWV 5/12 :: Disney's Magic Canadian Cruise 8/12 :: OKW 9/12 :: Food and Wine BWV 11/12 :: Law School Graduation AKV 1/13


Last edited by lilwitch646; 11-25-2012 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 12:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belle83 View Post
Just wanted to say hi My SO and I are both lawyers (met in law school). I wish we had visited WDW during school!

California Grill is awesome. Great pictures
Hi!!! I'm really lucky that I get to take vacations during school (thanks DVC!) it's such a stress relief. I have definitely gone down and just sat by the pools reading for class. Then gone into the parks for dinner, or a quick ride.

I love going to California Grill! Hope you keep reading/looking at pictures!
__________________
TR: The 7 days of a 21st birthday celebration (May 18-24, 2011)
TR: "A Poor Student's Food and Wine Diary" or "Crashing My Parent's Vacation" (Nov 9-13 2012)

Grand Floridian 5/92 :: OKW 5/93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 12 :: DCL 4/00 :: BCV 7/09 :: Food and Wine OKW 10/09, 10/13 :: Family Christmas OKW 12/10 :: Brother's 21st Birthday BWV 5/11 :: Vero 12/11, 5/13 :: Brother's 22nd Birthday BWV 5/12 :: Disney's Magic Canadian Cruise 8/12 :: OKW 9/12 :: Food and Wine BWV 11/12 :: Law School Graduation AKV 1/13

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Old 11-25-2012, 01:53 PM   #8
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Terra, Caribbean, and Argentina

So Disney was starting to decorate for Christmas when I was down there. I love looking at their holiday decorations.



Then we did Terra, which I think was new this year. It was a vegan booth!


Trick'n Chik'n Curry with Basmati Rice - surprisingly pretty good! I couldn't talk my mom into trying it though since I think it was made of tofu. I liked the sauce and I'm a sucker for basmati rice.


Chocolate Cake with Passion Fruit Sorbet and Coconut Foam (sorry for the bad picture) - also surprisingly good once it warmed up enough that you could dig into it with the little plastic spoons. I wasn't expecting to like the coconut foam since I don't like coconut, but it didn't have a strong coconut flavor. The cake was a bit dry, but the sorbet was yummy! I'd eat that sorbet any day of the week.


Such a gorgeous day!! It was too crowded before lunch time, so it was nice then. But it got so much worse as the day went on.


Next we did the Caribbean! Which is a nice nondescript way to refer to all the islands in the Caribbean Sea I guess.


Like I said, I'm a sucker for rice, so I had to try the Ropa Vieja with Cilantro Rice, and I thought it was delicious! I don't really remember why, I just remember wanting more than I had.


Jerk Spice Chicken Drumstick with Mango Chutney. Also surprisingly good. I don't normally like drumsticks, but this was juicy and moist, and the jerk spice wasn't too hot. The mango chutney was pretty good.


Also, we did Argentina! Whenever I think of Argentina, I think of an economic project I did in undergrad when I got to interview the Consulate to the UN in New York City on their economic policies. And then I also wonder is it Argentine or Argentinean? And I always come away with Argentine. Any input? (grammar! ahh!)


So, we HAD to try the beef empandas. I've only ever had empandas once before, and they weren't anything like these. We got them when they were nice and fresh, and ridiculously hot! Couldn't eat them for a number of minutes, or at least you couldn't without avoiding a numb tongue. It was pretty good once it cooled down.


BUT I much preferred the beef skewer with chimichurri sauce and boniato puree. So good! I could have eaten like 6 (million) of these!


And what "trip" to Argentina is complete without a glass of Malbec?


Are you hungry yet?

Also, more on the not counting down until the end of school? I have 16 days, 22 hours, and 27 minutes left!!!! (I'm ridiculously excited to be almost finished)
__________________
TR: The 7 days of a 21st birthday celebration (May 18-24, 2011)
TR: "A Poor Student's Food and Wine Diary" or "Crashing My Parent's Vacation" (Nov 9-13 2012)

Grand Floridian 5/92 :: OKW 5/93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 12 :: DCL 4/00 :: BCV 7/09 :: Food and Wine OKW 10/09, 10/13 :: Family Christmas OKW 12/10 :: Brother's 21st Birthday BWV 5/11 :: Vero 12/11, 5/13 :: Brother's 22nd Birthday BWV 5/12 :: Disney's Magic Canadian Cruise 8/12 :: OKW 9/12 :: Food and Wine BWV 11/12 :: Law School Graduation AKV 1/13


Last edited by lilwitch646; 11-25-2012 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 11-25-2012, 01:59 PM   #9
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Introduction and How this Trip Came about

(If you've been following along before, sorry to cause any confusion. I moved the introduction to its own separate post, that way people can skip right to this Disney food porn rather than looking at pictures post-Sandy. Sorry for the out of time posting!)

It goes like this...several months ago, my Mom (Tiggeye to the Disers) and her cousins decided to do the Food and Wine Festival in November because it coincided with the teacher's convention (my aunt is a teacher). The only rule, as far as I know, "NO KIDS ALLOWED!!!"

And to be fair...that's not fair!! My Uncle started an email chain and it involved all the Aunts and Uncles, and us kids (all over 21 mind you). When my cousin responded on the chain asking if she could go, there was an overwhelming, "NO!!"

Needless to say, I didn't listen...

Because I'm in school my income is in the negative (I'm not allowed to work more than 15 hours a week, blame the American Bar Association and my university). But who ever let money stop a Disney vacation???

I started looking for cheap flights so I could go down when my parents would be there. I managed to get tickets for $283 roundtrip from Philadelphia to Orlando. Really not a bad price! I had wanted to use my Southwest miles, but it seems like they've stopped the nonstop flights from Philly to Orlando (annoying!). I ended up flying Airtran. (FYI: Southwest has much more comfortable seats.) I booked my flight on October 12th, for flight out November 9th. I know! I'm cutting it really close here! And I would be returning early, early, early on November 13th.

My parents flew out really early on November 6th, and took my suitcase full of clothes with them. After all, "Bags fly free on Southwest!" (Airtran charges $25!).

My lovely little purple suitcase all ready to go!


My mom sent me a text message telling me that my clothes were safely in Florida, and that they were now having more fun than I was (which is true, I was in class).


My parents picked up their rental car and drove it to Disney. Meanwhile, I received this picture (just to remind me I wasn't on vacation yet )
[IMG]https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-3oJQAYxq3G4/UKQX2G3ahdI/AAAAAAAACc8/dN***2lnPbY/s684/IMG_1347.JPG[/IMG]

The pictures continued for the next three days while my parents were on vacation without me. but I managed not to pout too much, and reminded myself I had a countdown! And that I would be down in Disney in 3 DAYS!

In the meantime back home in NJ, me and my brother toughed it out by eating grilled cheese sandwiches, hoagies, and going to class and work.

My parents' trip was the week after Sandy hit the Mid-Atlantic and New England area. Fortunately we're far enough inland that we weren't greatly effected. We had a tree branch crash into the driveway, one into the garage, and we lost power for about 17 hours. But we were very fortunate. Some of my family still didn't have power two weeks after the storm!

Then we had a nor'easter! It was pretty much a bust where we live. And I'll take that any day of the week! It flurried a bit, but nothing stuck. I'm also thankful for that.

Here's some pictures from Sandy. As you can see we escaped very lightly.

This is the branch that fell down and blocked the driveway.


And this is my Dad chopping it apart.


Kind of scary, but at least it didn't impale anyone.


When we lost power, we decided to play Monopoly.


And this is what Monopoly looks like my candlelight. It's much harder to play this way!


So that all happened a week before my parents left. I'm sure the part you're all really excited to read about is the Food and Wine Festival! Am I right? So here we go!

Next post:
__________________
TR: The 7 days of a 21st birthday celebration (May 18-24, 2011)
TR: "A Poor Student's Food and Wine Diary" or "Crashing My Parent's Vacation" (Nov 9-13 2012)

Grand Floridian 5/92 :: OKW 5/93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 12 :: DCL 4/00 :: BCV 7/09 :: Food and Wine OKW 10/09, 10/13 :: Family Christmas OKW 12/10 :: Brother's 21st Birthday BWV 5/11 :: Vero 12/11, 5/13 :: Brother's 22nd Birthday BWV 5/12 :: Disney's Magic Canadian Cruise 8/12 :: OKW 9/12 :: Food and Wine BWV 11/12 :: Law School Graduation AKV 1/13


Last edited by lilwitch646; 11-25-2012 at 02:02 PM. Reason: Adding Links
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