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Old 04-17-2013, 12:21 PM   #31
livsmom04
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Love looking at the pictures! And I have no clue as of why Duffy is so expensive. My daughter has been wanting one for so long but honestly I just can't justify paying that much for one. I normally get her a build a bear and buy Duffy's clothes. Works better for me that way.
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Old 04-17-2013, 02:35 PM   #32
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Thanks for the reading along!

I love spending time with my family. Emme wanted to take papa & grandma with us to Disney again.

I saw the story of Duffy at our hotel this weekend. Cute story but dang he's expensive! The build a bear idea is a good one.

I will be starting my trip report for the last leg of this trip tonight. It will be much more in depth and have lots and lots of pictures!

Thanks again for reading along!
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:24 PM   #33
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updated 4/17/13



HELLO PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE!!



finally, after what seemed like forever planning with rachel, we were off to disney. i worked until 2:45 pm, picked up emme & off we went!




the drive is about 2.5 hours & we had some rough patches of traffic. the night before, rachel was worried about her flight being delayed as it was snowing in april. yikes! but, after some smart moves by rachel (she changed flights & flew into chicago first), she actually beat us by 30 minutes.




someone was a wee bit tired from all the excitement of the drive. ha ha.


at about 5:30, we finally made it!





up until this point, i had stayed off property or at values (AOA LM, ASMO, POP) so to be able to stay at a moderate was a bit of a luxury for me. emme & i don't spend much time in our rooms so i never took the plunge for anything but a value. but with the florida resident discount, it was a great deal to split the room with rachel. needless to say, i was really excited to be staying at port orleans.

we booked the royal guest room. i knew emme would enjoy it but deep down inside, the little girl in me was ecstatic to be in this room. i'm not gonna lie...the pictures i've seen online of port orleans was not very flattering for the resort. from what i saw online, the resort looked a bit outdated. i didn't have high hopes for the resort but was exuberant to be in the royal guest room.

we met rachel in the parking lot & it was a happy reunion. emme was so excited to see her. we were in room 9922 on the third floor.








the royal guest room was absolutely beautiful! we had a decent view of the main courtyard despite paying for the standard view.





tiana left a special note for princess emme. she carried this scroll around for the entire day.







this is what the scroll said.



here are some more pictures of the headboard/bed:













the headboard was really fun. if you press a button, fireworks illuminate! it's really pretty and such a nice touch. emme absolutely loved this feature. after being exhausted from the parks, we would get ready to sleep & she would press the buttons & we'd watch the fireworks. it was awesome!

the bed was a queen size bed & leaps and bounds better than the terrible beds at pop century. the pillows were also better than the awful pillows at pop. i wished i had brought my own pillow but after being in the parks all day, i can honestly say that i slept pretty well on these beds.



these are the pictures that were on the wall:









and this was really interesting too:







it was pictures of the princes. that was a nice touch!



i didn't take much more pictures of the room as we had to get ready for our dinner at hollywood brown derby, but i was trying to find the items that the princesses gave tiana for the room.


this was from jasmine:




there was also a magic carpet on the ground as well (i forgot to get a pic).



this was from cinderella:






the shower curtain was from ariel as it had dinglehoppers on it. speaking of showers, i do have one complaint about this room. the bathroom was TINY. it was smaller than the bathrooms in the value hotels. that was the only down side of the room.



here was a pretty chandelier type light fixture. can you spot the hidden mickey?





overall, i was very happy with the room. i love being on the third floor as we got a nice quiet sleep. also, another cool feature is that the flat screen tv pulls out a few inches and the screen could move to the left or right. the room also had a mini fridge that we used to store water, milk, wine, yogurt etc. the perfect setting is 5 as 4 would not be cold enough and 6 froze everything in the fridge.

my tour of the room only lasted for about 30 minutes as we had an ADR at hollywood brown derby.


up next, dinner @ HOLLYWOOD BROWN DERBY!

Last edited by emmebear; 04-18-2013 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:01 AM   #34
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The room is beautiful! We too have always stayed in Value resorts. But since our Honeymoon last August we are staying at a Moderate at Coronado Springs Resort.
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Old 04-18-2013, 04:59 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livsmom04 View Post
The room is beautiful! We too have always stayed in Value resorts. But since our Honeymoon last August we are staying at a Moderate at Coronado Springs Resort.

I agree...it was a gorgeous room!

I want to check out the pool at csr...it looks amazing!!
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:33 PM   #36
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updated 4/18/13



MEET ME AT THE DERBY [or not]??
DINNER @ HOLLYWOOD BROWN DERBY




onwards to our meal @ hollywood brown derby.





we took the resort bus to hollywood studios. the sky was overcast & it was a tad bit humid. my tummy was grumbling and i was pretty excited to eat & have a cold beer. HBD was never on my radar to try but we were going to see fantasmic (or at least planned too) & decided to try out HBD.






we arrived to HBD & checked in. we waited about 10 minutes before we were seated. emme had her first tiny meltdown as she wanted the minnie princess hat. she's been wanting this hat for the last 3 trips but i had a hard time giving up $29.95 for it. she was in her tinkerbell outfit so she decided to change her mind about the hat & wanted this really "not so pretty" tinkerbell doll. after i told her "no", the meltdown ensued.

luckily for emme, she had some pixie dust sprinkled her way as a CM at HBD gave her a light up tinkerbell toy that attaches to a straw. meltdown over & happy emme reappeared.










our server daniel arrived to our table about 10 minutes after we were sat. i don't know if it was just his personality but he was very uninviting, disinterested & very matter of fact. maybe the hospitality industry is not the right choice for him but we were going to make the most of our dinner.

my first impression of HBD is that it had a very cool but hip "old timey" vibe to it. it wasn't very busy this night & i was very hungry so we ordered fairly quickly.



SAM ADAMS SEASONAL BEER

it was a bit humid this night & i really wanted an ice cold beer. as you can see from the glass, the beer wasn't very cold. i was disappointed. the beer wasn't warm by any means but it definitely wasn't cold.



and then, bread service.




the bread is the same rolls they serve at BOG. the rolls were very warm. emme at the insides of at least 6 of these rolls.




i love soft butter like this. it's so easy to spread & you don't have to fight putting on cold butter on a warm roll. just spread & eat. i enjoyed the butter & bread very much.



rachel ordered the cobb salad as her appetizer. she was kind of enough to share it with me.



Our Famous Cobb Salad - with finely chopped greens, turkey breast, egg, bacon, tomatoes, crumbled bleu cheese, avocado, chives and Cobb dressing - appetizer $8.00

rachel asked for no bleu cheese in her cobb salad. i've read a multitude of reviews about this particular cobb salad. perhaps i had too many expectations for this salad but i thought it was just "ok". it definitely wasn't terrible but it was not life changing as i've read. maybe the bleu cheese would have brought another depth of flavor. who knows. also, the avocados tasted a bit off. maybe my mind was playing tricks on me but i thought it kind of tasted like taboulleh at times. i'm glad i decided against ordering this as an entree.









for emme's entree, she wanted a grill cheese sandwich & got this:



Grilled Cheese on Whole Wheat Bread - with sliced apples $6.00




see that face? that's the face of someone wasting $6.00 & not eating dinner. the sandwich was a triple decker and just very well toasted. it was too large & too hard for emme to eat. i took off the first layer of toasted bread but she lost all interest in the sandwich. lucky for her, there were thin slices of apples to eat.



for my entree, i ordered:



Sterling Silver Pork Chop - with smoked gouda and heirloom apple slaw served over potato hash with bacon, Napa cabbage, sweet peppers and a cider jus $33.00








the pork chop was ginormous especially compared to rachel's entree. the pork chop itself was beautiful but the hash underneath the pork chop was complete hot mess. it was pretty messy to look at. the plate needed another color but brown on.

the smoked gouda wasn't ooey or gooey but had melted hard on top of the pork chop. i'm not sure if that was intentional or if my entree was sitting in the window & the cheese cooled down.

the green apples were tart & it was a great combination with the pork chop. the pork chop was cooked "well done" & i wasn't given the option of it being cooked any other way. it wasn't as juicy or as tender as the pork chop i've had at california grill but it was tasty.

it was a bit difficult to cut through the hardened cheese to get to the pork. the pork chop slid all over the potato hash making the plate look super sloppy. what can i say? i like pretty food & this entree was definitely not pretty. however, my disney standards, i thought for $33.00, it was a pretty large portion.







emme & rachel playing with their dinglehoppers.



after our entrees, we decided to share a dessert and ordered this:



Grapefruit Cake - Light Layers of Yellow Cake with fresh Grapefruit-Cream Cheese Icing $8.00





suprisingly, the dessert was not as sweet as i had anticipated. it was very light & fluffy. i loved the grapefruit cream cheese icing. it was a very pretty dessert. i'm a huge proponent of all things being edible on my plate so even though i'm not quite sure the garnish was suppose to be eaten, i did take a bite. and yep, it tasted like candied grapefruit.



emme ordered:



Vanilla ice cream

emme loves her ice cream.



we used my TIW card for this meal:





i wasn't very excited about HBD after the meal. i don't think i want to return in the near or distant future. i wish our CM was slightly enthusiastic. he was very efficient & our drinks were never empty but he just was not personable. it's not how i wanted to start our trip but hey, we're at disney & life is good.

rachel called HBD a place to just knock off the list. it wasn't exceptional, the food was decent, the ambiance was calming but i think our server really did impact our overall experience.



after dinner, emme refused to watch fantasmic, even though we've seen it before. so we headed to TSM which had a 5 minute wait. SCORE!





and then we had a less than 5 minute to meet our friends:






up next, hollywood studios at night!
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Old 04-20-2013, 12:33 AM   #37
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hollywood studios at night.

updated 4/20/13



DHS @ NIGHT!




after our meal at HBD, we made a stop to a merchandise store. emme wanted the "not so cute" tinkerbell doll. i just couldn't fork over the money for the doll she didn't really want...and wanted for the sake of wanting the doll because she had a tinkerbell dress on. does that make any kind of sense??

the disney "babies" line is so adorable. she has a baby simba & a baby ariel. every trip, emme gets to pick 1 stuffed doll. on our last trip, she picked the outrageously expensive duffy doll. at this particular store, i didn't see baby tinkerbell. so with the "not so cute" tinkerbell doll, i begrudgingly went to the counter with the doll to check out.

the CM was super perky & nice so i asked if maybe they had a baby tinkerbell stashed away somewhere. she said she would check in the back. to my delight (and emme's), she had a baby tinkerbell in the back. YES!



baby tink!



we originally came to dhs to watch fantasmic. emme & i have seen this before & she really enjoyed it last time. we got a spot in line while rachel checked out this ride:






while we were standing in line, emme was very adamant about not wanting to watch the show because she was scared. that's her new word these days..."mommy, i'm scared." i stood & listened to her & she was pretty concerned about NOT watching the show. i text rachel & let her know we'll be sitting at the table to wait for her.

rachel finishes her ride & meets up with us. we decide to check out TOY STORY MANIA & was hoping there would be a minimal line. the only other time i've been able to ride this was april of last year. that was my first trip to disney with emme & we waited for over an hour.


as we walked over, we stopped in front of the sorcerers hat.




all the lights were so pretty.



we made our way over to pixar place & much to my delight, there was almost no wait for TSM. i was so excited because emme could really enjoy the ride this time. she was older, a wee bit more coordinated & she's seen all three movies.


















and then we ran into a friend:






the line was moving really quickly. we waited less than 5 minutes. i couldn't believe our luck. given, the park was closing in 15 minutes but i still anticipated a line. this thing is always packed.

emme & i got our glasses on & we were ready!





here are some pics from the platform:









and i really loved these lights.





emme & i had so much fun during this game.





i was trying to help her aim towards the middle. her gun was pointed up for the most part. but she still managed to score some points. GO EMME!




i guess i should hang my head in shame with my 44% accuracy. i think that would equate to a 5% if i were 3 years old like emme.



we exited the ride at about 2 minutes left until park closing. i looked across & there was no wait for the buzz & woody meet and greet. i thought they were closed but they allowed us in to take pictures. in december, we waited an hour for some crappy pictures as the photopass photographer didn't care at all. again...i was excited with the no wait & a chance at redemption for a decent picture.

unfortunately, my camera battery died.

*side note* emme accidentally kicked my camera with lens off the bed. my lens is severely messed up & i didn't realize this issue until we got to disney. *le sigh* i've bought a new lens since the trip but i missed out on so many photo opportunities. BOO!

the photopass guy was awesome! he took my phone and continuously shot photos while i was up there with emme. i was so grateful!









blowing kisses to woody.



i really wanted to yell, "here comes andy!" while i was up there. do the characters really have to drop and be still?? inquiring minds want to know.

after the ride, we were exiting the park to take the bus back to the resort. we stopped by guest relations so that rachel could upgrade to the annual pass. i also just renewed my pass & still had the paper pass. i wanted to get the new RFID pass.

there was no one in guest relations so we were helped pretty quickly.




this is my seasonal pass. you were allowed to pick from different characters. we both chose minnie mouse. she's so cute! my parents had these passes on our last trip as i purchased the 3 day florida resident pass for them.

the RFID cards are pretty cool. you scan your card on a round mickey and then put your index finger to get biometrically scanned. if everything goes well, the machine lights up green. i'm not quite sure if this will be any more quicker than the machines that sucked up the tickets as guests were having issues using the machine. who knows. but i liked it alot. the card is much easier to keep up with over the paper ticket.



happiness!




she wanted a picture too with the card.



even though we did not see fantasmic, for the 3.5 hours we were in the park, we got a lot done. dinner @ hollywood brown derby, toy story mania & pixar meet & greet. i really wanted to see sorcerer mickey. he is someone i have not had the pleasure to meet. next time, it's a priority.

we hopped onto our bus & had a relaxing ride back to our hotel. this was one of the few times we were actually sitting in a seat. god bless those buses. it sure beat walking to my car & driving.

our trip was off to a fantastic start!



up next, grand floridian random pictures!

Last edited by emmebear; 04-20-2013 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:07 AM   #38
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:49 AM   #39
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I think 44% accuracy is good!! I don't think I got that!!

I totally forgot that Emme was blowing kisses to Woody. That was adorable!!
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:51 PM   #40
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Your daughter is super cute!

Awesome that there was no wait for Toy Story! I love that ride but the waits can be horrendous. 44% accuracy is actually amazing and probably the highest I have seen in TR's!
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:33 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cshel85 View Post
Joining in!

welcome!!!



Quote:
Originally Posted by rachel09985 View Post
I think 44% accuracy is good!! I don't think I got that!!

I totally forgot that Emme was blowing kisses to Woody. That was adorable!!

emme's first disney movie ever was toy story 2 when she was 9 months old. she was fascinated by it & still is. she prefers 2 over 1 & 3.

she loves woody!!

i think you beat me in overall score though. it was hard to play while emme was shooting the sky. i was trying to help her out as much as i could.

this is fun doing trip reports for the same trip. i'm totally excited to see your pictures!




Quote:
Originally Posted by smile4stamps View Post
Your daughter is super cute!

Awesome that there was no wait for Toy Story! I love that ride but the waits can be horrendous. 44% accuracy is actually amazing and probably the highest I have seen in TR's!

thank you so much!

i figured out of 100%, 44% was on the lower side. but i guess i will hold my head up high now.

last april, as we were waiting inside, they were having mechanical issues. we were so close and at mr. potato head that we stuck it out & waited for them to fix it. i'm glad we waited as we haven't been on it since. i love that ride. it's so super fun!

thanks for reading along!






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Old 04-20-2013, 05:15 PM   #42
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Oh I don't know where to start!

The suite at Bonnet Creek is amazing! And by the looks of it so was the Korean food

The Royal Rooms at Port Orleans look really great as well, you certainly stay at some wonderful places

One photo out of all your awesome shots really stood out to me .... The close up of Minnie's hands signing Emme's autograph book, such a simple shot but I love it
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:49 PM   #43
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Oh I don't know where to start!

The suite at Bonnet Creek is amazing! And by the looks of it so was the Korean food

The Royal Rooms at Port Orleans look really great as well, you certainly stay at some wonderful places

One photo out of all your awesome shots really stood out to me .... The close up of Minnie's hands signing Emme's autograph book, such a simple shot but I love it

i got such a "suite" deal on that "suite".

the royal guest room was the first moderate that i've ever stayed in. i've only stayed at values or off site as we're never in the room very much. but having rachel there really kept the costs down & made it affordable because disney room costs are ridiculous.

however, i think riverside had the absolute worst bus service to and from magic kingdom. we always had the longest lines of people to get on the bus & then only one bus would pull in. it was so frustrating at times.

but other then that, i really loved the hotel. it was amaaazing!

and emme accidentally stabbed minnie with the sharpie. she was trying to hand minnie the sharpie but marked her hand.

thanks for reading along!!
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:14 PM   #44
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off to 1900 park fare we go!

updated 4/21/13


after a successful night at DHS the night before, i slept quite well. i was pretty tired from working the day before, then driving, & hitting the park. i felt pretty rested but was feeling extremely lazy.

in my real life, i am like to be early for my appointments. but when i'm at disney, despite making my best efforts to be on time, i'm a wee bit late. and now we were at the mercy of the bus to magic kingdom to get us there on time.





emme said she was hungry so i fixed her some cheerios & milk. the television was playing old disney cartoons so emme was entertained as we were getting ready.

finally, we headed towards the bus station.

port orleans riverside was beautifully laid out. we were so close to everything. the walk to the bus was less than 5 minutes. there was this bridge that we always had to cross. i loved that bridge. it was so quaint & cute.






can i just say how awesome rachel was with emme? it's normally just me & emme on these trips & after reflecting back on our trips, i have no idea how i managed to do these trips alone especially with a jogging stroller. rachel was such a HUGE help & i got to enjoy disney differently this time because of all her help with emme.





the magic kindgom bus stop was always a total hot mess. there is a whole bunch of people trying to get on & only one bus shows up. we never got an actual seat on our way to magic kingdom. it was rough at times especially with the jogging stroller.



emme & i patiently waiting for the bus to get here.



we finally made it onto the bus & we had to stand. emme did not know where to hold or what to do. she finally found the pole and anchored on.






we arrived at magic kindgom & decided to take the boat to the grand floridian.



so windy but so awesome!





narcoosees.



the boat reached the grand floridian. everyone else on our boat was heading to the polynesian. and of course we were sitting on the most inconvenient side to exit.





as i took this picture, i realized that my lens was having some issues. as i was packing for our trip, emme didn't realize my camera was on the bed. while she jumped, she kicked my camera off the bed.

my lens was really struggling & there were some parts lose inside as well. i'm glad i brought my 50mm lens as well or i would have been camera-less for the duration of the trip. i will be upgrading my camera next year so i guess everything happens for a reason??




the grand floridian







i loved this pineapple fountain. i wish i could take it home and put it in my yard.


the grand floridian was landscaped so beautifully. there were flowers everywhere. it was very lovely.




i stood there for a solid 30 seconds trying to get my lens to focus. i then realized that i'm going to have to shoot everything in manual mode. so much for vacation! i'm going to have to work for these pictures.






we made it inside & i saw this:


giant bird cage??



we checked in for our ADR. i was starving & looking foward to this breakfast as i have never eaten here for breakfast. emme was also saying how hungry she was as well. i also had a date with a bloody mary.









up next, BREAKFAST @ 1900 Park Fare
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Old 04-21-2013, 03:44 PM   #45
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Breakfast @ 1900 Park Fare

updated 4/21/13


Supercalifragilistic Breakfast @ 1900 Park Fare







i woke up pretty excited for the day. i couldn't believe i was hungry but alas, i was. after getting everyone ready, we headed for the bus.


after taking the overcrowded bus to magic kingdom, we decided to take the resort ferry to the grand floridian.



the very important jogging stroller essential for our trips to disney.



we made our way inside & checked into our ressie. we were late (i blame the bus) but we were seated in about 15-20 minutes.






rachel & i discussed this breakfast option at length. i was still in sticker shock over my $134.00 breakfast @ akershus with my parents. $134 for cheesy potatoes. we had akershus originally planned but i was still slightly bitter. rachel told me that 1900 park fare had decent bacon AND cheesy potatoes.

i thought it was a WIN WIN especially since we had never eaten here before. this was a vacation of firsts for all of us so 1900 park fare was the perfect choice.






i had been to 1900 park fare for dinner before. emme was a bit of a grump during that dinner as she was starting to get sick from all the wind that superstorm sandy had brought. i do remember that table having a whole bunch of stuff on it making it hard to manuever anything extra on the table. the extra things being camera & iphone.





it was nice to have a pot of coffee awaiting us. i'm glad that was there because our server took about 10 minutes to finally greet us. emme kept repeating she was "hungry" & i didn't want to be rude & head to the buffet without being greeted. the last time i did that at akershus for lunch, the CM was really rude & brash after i helped myself to the buffet before he greeted us (which took about 20 minutes after being seated).


our server brought asked if we would like some of the yummy juice.



why yes. yes i would like some of the yummy POG juice.



speaking of drinks, i asked for an adult beverage menu. it's never too early for a bloody mary, right? it's totally healthy.









the bloody mary was a vast improvement over the semi-warm beer i had at hollywood brown derby the night prior. it wasn't too spicy (which i was grateful for as tomatoes are quite acidic) & the olives were yummy. i was a happy camper.






check out the frizz already happening to my hair. it was super humid this day.



here is emme's plate of food:





she LOVED the blueberry yogurt & the muffin. the muffin was a nice size. we call muffins "cupcakes" so let me say again that she loved her "cupcake".



here is my first plate:



Lobster Eggs Benedict, Carved Ham, Smoked Salmon w/ capers & red onions & Cheesy Potatoes



nothing says sexy like a runny yolk & hollandaise sauce.





the lobster eggs benedict were made with biscuits here. is this a 1900 park fare thing or were they just improvising? i didn't see much lobster in the sauce but the egg oozed perfectly. the biscuit sopped up the yolk well but i missed the crunchy texture of the english muffin.

the smoked salmon was really fresh & tasty. i love me some smoked salmon with capers. i also love red onions & despite having massive red onion breath afterwards, it was delicious.

to my disappointment, the cheesy potatoes were really dry. i was so sad. i think rachel felt immediate guilt for the dry cheesy potatoes & the puny disney bacon as she had talked it up so much. i almost regretted not being @ akershus for the cheesy potatoes but that regret disappeared when i remembered that 1900 park fare was 1/2 the price. cheesy potatoes, we shall meet again.



some of emme's friends made a visit to our table:



emme's [kinda]looking at the camera!



she had no idea who mary poppins was but she's looking at the camera. i'll take it.



we love the mad hatter! we met him for the first time at MNSSHP last year. he was so funny & it was by far the best character interaction of the meal. you like how we were photobombed?!


oh yeah, back to the food:




there was an omelette station as well. the ingredients were very fresh but the omelette was over cooked. it was a waste of fresh eggs. i like to take advantage of real eggs whenever i see them at disney. the powdered scrambled eggs kind of gross me out. i did eat the inside of the omelette.

anyone a fan of jacques pepin?? i adore that man. he's awesome. i stumbled upon his omelette recipe a few years ago. this is my favorite way to make an omelette. it is so creamy & delicious. you can see a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57afEWn-QDg

more eggs benedict on my plate. yummy!


tigger came over for a second meet & greet.




he wanted rachel's attention and was covering her phone. she took a picture & said she would instagram him. so cute!




i took a self portrait with tigger.


character meet & greets are tough on me. i'm so busy trying to get a picture that i don't really get to enjoy me food. but from what i ate, i did enjoy the meal at 1900 park fare. it was a great price & a great start to our day. our server was pretty good (minus the long wait) & i loved the bloody mary. we used my TIW card for the meal.

emme was full & happy. i still longed for some cheesy potatoes after this meal but maybe it was the universe's way of telling me i really didn't need all those carbs.

i'm glad i got to finally try 1900 park fare for breakfast!
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