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Old 03-21-2013, 09:03 AM   #1
poison ivy
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Two adults take on Flower & Garden & Spring Training (w/photos) New! 5/9:THE END

Wanted to share some highlights from our adults only trek to the flower and garden festival We were celebrating 25 yrs together and couldn't imagine a better place to be!!!

Dates: Friday, March 15, 2013 to Tues, March 19, 2013 (4 nights)


This trip report includes:

Day 1:

Morning: Frontier Airlines out of NJ Trenton-Mercer Airport and Port Orleans Riverside Check-in
(no link - scroll down this post)

Afternoon: Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival
Evening: signature dinner at The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck Cafe in DTD

Day 2:

Morning: shopping at Disney Outlet
Afternoon: Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival
Evening: signature dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse and MK EMH

Day 3: (Happy St. Patrick's Day!!)

1 AM: Change of Plans

Morning: early entry AK - Tusker House breakfast
Morning II: Tusker House Breakfast Pt. 1 (full photo review)
Morning II: Tusker House Breakfast Pt. 2

Morning III: An Animal Kingdom Morning (incl. safari entry ahead of rope drop crowd)

Afternoon I: Prelude
Afternoon II: Caribbean Beach check-in
Wrap up pt I - Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival
Wrap up pt II - Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival
Evening: dinner at Sanaa

Day 4: Game Day

Prelude
WWoS I: Wide World of Sports Complex - Spring Training: Atlanta vs Phila
WWoS II: Game Highlights
Evening I: Hollywood Studios
Evening II: DHS - ABC COMMISSARY
Evening III: THE END

(I'll try to post links if I can figure out how!

__________________________________________________ _____________________________

Day 1 - Friday Morning - 3/15/13

We flew out of Trenton, NJ via Frontier Airlines. This is the entire length of the airport. There's only one bathroom upstairs and they repeatedly warn you there are NO facilities once you pass thru the security checkpoint.




That's my husband James a/k/a Johnny Quest (or JQ) here on the dis waiting patiently by the stairs with our bags.



You carry your own luggage downstairs to security and board the plane from the outside lot!! Felt like a bus terminal!







I looked out the window and this guy was looking back!!



We left at 8:10am and arrived at MCO at 10:10am. It literally only took 2 hrs to get there. No taxiing on the runway. No delays. A great new plane with leather seating and monitors on each seatback with first run movies and shows you could order. We had a really smooth flight!

At first I thought Im never doing this again as I sat claustophibically in the waiting area watching the bag screeners manually rummage thru everyones checked luggage piece by piece. There is only one xray machine and its used for carryons. It has a very short conveyor belt so it was painfully slooowww moving thru this part!!! Everyone stares at everyone else as we patiently wait our turn!!! Good practice for Disney!

But now Im thinking heck! Its only $69.00 if you book it at the right time. Checked bags are 20.00 whether you pay in advance or at the counter. Plus the same two employees who checked us in also work the downstairs and call for boarding. They walked around volunteering to tag anyones carry-on and check it for free to alleviate overhead storage congestion.

We rented a car thru Nationals Emerald Club. Membership is free and I highly recommend it. We reserved a standard with an upgrade coupon but it didnt matter. Emerald club members bypass the check-in counters and kiosks and proceed directly to a section in the lot with a choice of whatever vehicle happens to be parked there. We scored this little gem!!! Fully loaded!!! Sunroof, navigation system, heated seats, the works!!! It was awesome! Only one problem with it - JQ didnt like the way it switched into gear.





We had a split stay. 2 nts Port Orleans riverside using an AP rate and 2 nts Caribbean Beach using some leftover dvc pts from a cruise we had to apply to a non DVC resort. In hindsight I would have chose the 2nd half of our stay differently but we had never been to either resort and had no experience to reference when planning this out. We split our stay to manipulate the dining plan, which we only added to the Port Orleans reservation. We chose deluxe so we could hit the food booths using snack credits at Epcot for lunch every day and a still manage a couple of signature restaurants for dinner.

I loved Port Orleans Riverside. So beautifully landscaped! Peace and tranquility everywhere you walked. The grounds are really spread out and gorgeous. Its a big resort area!!

Some quick photos





















This one is a personal favorite! Wish I had thought of it!!



Our room. No king beds were available! Apparently they have some themed rooms but I didnt realize this and of course did not book that category. From what Ive seen they look beautiful!









Next up lunch at the flower and garden festival!

Last edited by poison ivy; 05-09-2013 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:11 AM   #2
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Oh yeah! I'm in. Can't wait to read more!
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:31 PM   #3
poison ivy
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2013 Flower and Garden Festival – Take 1

We drove to Epcot to check out the Festival and sample a few booths for lunch. First stop was the Festival Welcome Center located in the “old” Wonders of Life Pavilion.

There were little areas set up with merchandise, food and live presentations which were free and ran at various times throughout the day. We grabbed a special festival guide brochure at the entrance to Epcot complete with a schedule of events. This was invaluable in helping us navigate through the festivities over the next several days.








We were ready to feast after a morning of travel! JQ was starving!

Here is the menu at the Welcome Center





We ordered

Fruit and Cheese Plate



Italian Salad



Beet Lollipop



Everything was fresh and delicious with a light spring menu theme! The portions were big enough to share (with the exception of the lollipop) . The Italian Salad was excellent with a fantastic pesto vinaigrette dressing and the fruit and cheese platter was devoured!! We loved every bit of this and couldn’t wait to venture out and sample more things!!


We were headed to World Showcase and had the most beautiful walk to get there passing so many incredible topiary designs with flowers, gardens and play areas everywhere!!















First stop – Florida Fresh!!



This was our favorite booth overall. Our goal was to try just about everything we could at the Festival (which turned out to be too ambitious – who knew!)

Here’s the menu – you will notice the spring menu fare throughout the festival! Loved it.



And here’s what we sampled:

Watermelon salad w/ pickled red onions; BW farm baby arugula; Feta cheese and Balsamic reduction – wow so good!!



Shrimp and stone ground grits with andouille sausage, sweet corn, tomatoes and cilantro



To drink: Strawberry Slush non-alcoholic



And for dessert! Angel Food Cake with macerated Florida berries. I can still hear the angels singing around the presentation of this unbelievable dish!!! We were in Heaven!!!



Two booths down, 11 to go. 7 items sampled so far.

Next along the path – Jardin de Fiestas

Menu



Our choices

Tostada de Jaiba – crab tostada served with chipotle mayonnaise and valentina salsa



Flan de Guayaba – guava custard



Both were really good!!

Next we stopped at Lotus House to sample a few items.



Unfortunately we were too full!! We planned to revisit the next day but we never got back here. Oh well, there's always next year!!

Of course we did manage this last minute treat compliments of the karmell kuche. Love that place!!



This concludes our first afternoon at Epcot.


Next up an evening of signature dining at The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck’s Grand Café

Last edited by poison ivy; 04-03-2013 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:56 PM   #4
Johnny Quest
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My favorite dish to this point was the Watermelon salad and the Angel food dessert and the fruit and cheese plate and the Italian salad and the Crab Tostada and the chocolate covered marshmallows which they were dipping right in front of me. Almost reached over and grabbed one.

This is the best trip report ever!! Give me more please.
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:48 PM   #5
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That crab tostado looks like it was made especially for me . I believe the Flower and Garden Festival is my favorite time at EPCOT. I like it even better than Food and Wine Festival.
Keep those pics coming.
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:52 PM   #6
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Oh nice! Im always looking for Flower and G pics. Im in.... Im working on my Trip Report from a trip I took back in late May, talk about procrastination. Our trip was also just husband and I.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:47 PM   #7
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Great report so far! I love the way you shared the photos - it makes me feel like I'm right along with you.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:25 PM   #8
poison ivy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Quest View Post
My favorite dish to this point was the Watermelon salad and the Angel food dessert and the fruit and cheese plate and the Italian salad and the Crab Tostada and the chocolate covered marshmallows which they were dipping right in front of me. Almost reached over and grabbed one.

This is the best trip report ever!! Give me more please.
You are cracking me up!!! Wish we were there right now!! Explain to me again why we live in NJ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henlady View Post
That crab tostado looks like it was made especially for me . I believe the Flower and Garden Festival is my favorite time at EPCOT. I like it even better than Food and Wine Festival.
Keep those pics coming.
Ahhh that tostada is good. This is the first time they did the food booths and I really loved it. I thought it was better than the food and wine as well. Not sure what it was about this whole experience, but the menus were really well designed and everything was so beautiful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SMWfamily View Post
Oh nice! Im always looking for Flower and G pics. Im in.... Im working on my Trip Report from a trip I took back in late May, talk about procrastination. Our trip was also just husband and I.
Thanks for joining in!! Well I can understand how your trip report is still in progress. This is our first, and I really appreciate everyone's contributions here after going thru the effort here. Hope you manage to finish it!! Would love to check it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by msbiscuit View Post
Great report so far! I love the way you shared the photos - it makes me feel like I'm right along with you.
Thanks!!! Really glad you're here!!! Hope you enjoy the rest as well!!

Last edited by poison ivy; 03-21-2013 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:38 PM   #9
poison ivy
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Day 1 continued………………

An evening of Signature Dining at The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck Grand Café.


As previously mentioned, we opted for the Deluxe Dining Plan for the first 2 nights of our trip. This gave us the opportunity to experience a few Signature Restaurants for dinner. First up is The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck Grand Café.

This is a new addition to the Dining Plan and a first for us. Wolfgang Puck’s Grand Café is located at Downtown Disney West Side near House of Blues and Disney Quest. Unfortunately it seems I did not photograph the building or the downstairs when we first walked in so I will try to narrate the set up of this place because it’s confusing as all heck if you just walk in without a plan.

This Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe is split into four separate eating establishments all housed under one roof. Each section has its’ own kitchen. You can dine at any of the following places downstairs:

Express – a counter service eatery similar to the one at the Marketplace
The Café – a casual sit down restaurant worth 1 TS credit on the meal plan
The Sushi Bar – a walk up bar

Or you can dine upstairs in “The Dining Room”, which provides a quiet, more upscale atmosphere with a signature menu. Here is a link to the current menu thru disney.

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/di...nd-cafe/menus/

and here are some pics of our menu for comparison. (sorry for the blur)










Views from our table.






To start we ordered;

Ahi Tuna Tartare – spicy tuna, Sriracha aioli, pickled ginger, scallions, masago roe in a sesame cone. (great dish! The cones had a sweet flavor which contrasted well with the fish.)



Pan Seared Sea Scallops – charred eggplant, Thai red curry (these were excellent!)



Roasted Organic Baby Beet Salad – split for two – Humboldt fog goat cheese, toasted pistachios, arugula (delicious!)



Next was our main course;

Steamed Seasonal Fish “Hong Kong Style” – bok choy, shtake mushrooms, snap peas, Hong Kong sauce, and chili oil with jasmine rice. Tonight’s catch was Red Snapper
(this dish was fantastic. Fresh and delicious)



And Lobster Maki Sushi – a tempura roll with fresh lobster, Haas avocado, sweet soy glaze, and spicy masago aioli.



(words cannot describe this dish! It was excellent and far more than I imagined! What we couldn’t finish was wrapped to go!) I would order this again but not with all the other dishes. Maybe with sashimi and 1 shared appetizer. It was beautifully prepared and presented and delicious!!!

For Dessert, we tried to order the Apple Strudel but they were fresh out so we opted for:

Chocolate Lava Cake – warm soft centered cake with vanilla ice cream $7.95



And Carrot Cake – to go – homemade cream cheese icing with candied pecans $7.95 (Huge!!!)



Both were to die for!!!! And I’m not a huge carrot cake fan, but ordered something that would transport well. This was a great choice and really good with coffee in the morning.

In summary, I wanted to mention that our waiter, Pablo was excellent and knew the menu inside and out. He assisted with every course and was easy to talk to. This meal was well worth the 2 dining credits. Every dish was exceptionally prepared and of the highest quality. We will definitely dine here again

After dinner we planned to hang out Downtown but were pretty tired so we drove back to the resort. It was a pretty full first day!!!


next: an AM visit to the Disney Outlet Store

Last edited by poison ivy; 04-03-2013 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:05 AM   #10
poison ivy
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Day 2 - AM at the Outlets

Day 2 – March 16, 2013

Since this trip was only for 4 days over St. Patrick’s Day Weekend we had to carefully pick and choose what we really wanted to do and be flexible if things didn’t quite work out.

Today we had planned the following:

Morning shopping at the Disney Outlet Store.
Afternoon lunch at the Flower and Garden Festival
Early 5:00 pm Signature Dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse
Evening EMH wrap up at the Magic Kingdom for the Main Street Electrical Parade and Fireworks.

We started out around 11am – grabbed coffee, and enjoyed dessert from last night. From there we drove to the Orlando Premium Outlets on Vineland Ave.
(Reason #1 to rent a vehicle)



Directions From Downtown Disney:
Take Hotel Plaza Blvd to Rte. 535 and make a right. Stay in the Left Lane. Go to the second light (which is right after you drive under the I-4 overpass) and make a left on to Vineland Avenue. Proceed 1 mile.








The outlets will come up on the right after about a mile.











I wanted to check out Disney’s Character Warehouse for any deals.

Store Information:
Disney's Character Warehouse
at the Orlando Premium Outlet Vineland Avenue
Location: 8200 Vineland Avenue, Orlando, FL 32821 (407) 477-0222
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-9pm







I don’t have interior photos but you will see some very familiar park/cruise/holiday/resort/sports merchandise from Disney here. You have to take your time and really look around. Much of this is from prior months but don’t let that deter you. It’s a great store and I love checking it out every chance I get. Inventory turns over quickly here and changes all the time.

This is what I purchased. (I could have bought a lot more but disciplined myself and refrained – I almost bought a Disney Phillies Shirt for game day on Monday but they only carried the smallest size. Too BAD!!!)





Yes! you are reading that correctly. Reg priced 29.99 on Sale for 7.99!!! I love this bag. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Puts a smile on my face every time I use it. What a great trip memento!!!


Next up - how to grab lunch at Epcot, get changed and Make a 5pm Dinner in less than 2.5 hrs.

Last edited by poison ivy; 04-03-2013 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 03-22-2013, 04:02 PM   #11
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Loving it so far! Great pics! Can't wait to see what's next!
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poison ivy View Post
You are cracking me up!!! Wish we were there right now!! Explain to me again why we live in NJ?
I was put on this earth to crack you up. I live in NJ because you do! I would go anywhere if you were there.
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Old 03-22-2013, 08:48 PM   #13
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Signing on and i love that bag!
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Old 03-23-2013, 12:49 AM   #14
poison ivy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawnm8877 View Post
Loving it so far! Great pics! Can't wait to see what's next!
Welcome!! and thanks!!! Glad to have you here!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Quest View Post
I was put on this earth to crack you up. I live in NJ because you do! I would go anywhere if you were there.
So if I move to FL...............................I take it you are IN!!! Good to know!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProudMommyof2 View Post
Signing on and i love that bag!
Me too!! It has a magnetic snap close with a small inside pocket on one side and a zip pocket on the other. Really love how much it holds and how easy it is to access from the sides. Great for the parks!!
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:06 AM   #15
poison ivy
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Day 2 Lunch

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival - Take II.


At this point we're leaving the outlets and ready for lunch but it's later than we hoped. It's around 2:30, dinner is at 5.

We need to drive to Epcot - grab lunch in World Showcase - get back to our room - change for dinner - and get to the Yachtsman in 2.5 hrs.
(Reason #2 to rent a vehicle)

Two hurdles: time and logistics

We didn't want to get too full to enjoy dinner and we needed to park and get in and out of world showcase in the least amount of time.

So we did what every good Disney Vet does, parked at the BeachClub!!! Heck! Im a BCV owner does that count? JQ tells the attendant "we are just visiting". Which we were! I used the bathroom, refilled my mug (I know, I know, I'm sorry!!) and perused the gift shop at the Marketplace as soon as we walked in.

Heres my proof:



Walking to Epcot.



We entered Epcot thru the International Gateway and had to decide quick: Left to England or Right to France? We still had 10 booths to sample in a less than two hr window before dinner.

I looked right and saw a beautiful memory from our wedding.



Our private Illuminations International Dessert party venue at the French Island Upper Terrace. No matter how many times we pass it - it never gets old!!

We decide to make a left turn, and I am immediately distracted by these two characters....



....So much so, that I fail to see what I am about to head into....



Yes!!! This is England midday Sat. afternoon March 16th St Pattys day weekend. This is where THE PARTY IS AT!!!! Look how happy everyone is!!!! See the green beer in the plastic cup? Remember this when I recap 3/17.

We walked right on thru in search of their festival booth.



The menu:



Here's what we ordered.

Potato, chive and cheddar cheese biscuit with smoked salmon tartare and sour cream. (this was delicious and not what we pictured at all for this dish. loved it)



Baked goats brie with Kumquat chutney (So good!!!)



Trio of Trifles (chocolate, berry, and ginger and tea) (This was a great dessert and we loved most of it but the chocolate has a very rich section and overall we found these to be a little tough to enjoy in the blazing sun)



So I tell James time is not our friend as it's now after 3:30 and we have to eat, walk back to the car, drive to Port Orleans, change and get back to the Yacht Club. Why didnt we just bring a change of clothes? Truth is we debated it and started to pack but felt rushed and convinced ourselves we had time to get back, so we bagged it. Plus, we wanted to take a quick shower. What the heck were we thinking?

Now all the "counter-planning" begins while we are eating. We have to cut our losses. First casualty - no time for the shower. Second casualty- no time to get ready (so decide now what we are wearing and how fast we can pull it together!!! ) Third casualty - no time to eat so hurry the heck up!!!

We wrap it up and quickly motor back to the car. Flower and Garden Food Booths: 4 down _ 9 to go. It's not looking good!!

Still managed to get a few shots along the way though!!

The secret side door into the beachclub from the back BCV walkway (we didnt take it)



We're walking still walking



DVC Beach Club Villas





Beach Club/BCV Front entrance







Next up Signature Dining at Yachtsman Steakhouse

Last edited by poison ivy; 04-03-2013 at 09:18 AM.
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