Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by cdotla, Nov 8, 2008.
Enjoyed your update. We have never been to Ghirardelli before, looks yummy.
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We certainly did!
Nichole - you *have* to try it on your next trip! Guaranteed it will become a trip tradition.
Such a cute picture; i miss the stilts men!!! You mommies sure don't sleep!
Post-script from Day 1
Couple things I forgot to mention about our visit to the Studios on our first night. After dinner, we scooted over to the Magic of Disney Animation Studios for a little tutorial on how to draw one of the Chipmunks. Dale to be precise.
Here is Andrea's Dale:
Here is mine:
(Can you see my Arribas Bros Mickey necklace? I now wear it every Trip!)
This was so much fun! It was the first time either of us had taken this drawing class, and we each immediately wanted to go back for another class! Unfortunately, we were running short on time, so we had to move on.
Before leaving we also stopped for a couple pictures with some characters.
First, Wall-E. Obviously for our kids.
Here is Andrea with Wall-E:
Here is me:
And of course, the Big Cheese himself:
No, it is not you. Pretty blurry wouldn't you say??
And last but not least, a couple classic Photopass pictures in front of the Hat:
NEXT UP: Really is Day 2!!!
Day 2 - Part One
What a feeling waking up and starting the day by pulling back the curtains, opening patio doors and stepping out to the beautiful sights and smells of the Poly!
If you need a reminder, here was the view that greeted us this morning:
While we were up early (7am), we spent much of the day apart, taking care of some non-Disney matters. Later that afternoon we met back at the room before changing and heading back to the Studios to do some touring.
First up was Toy Story Mania. I had already experienced this awesome attraction in May during a "sneak peak" for Annual Passholders and again in early June shortly after it opened. It was Andrea's first time though. We both loved it! Very fun and interactive for all ages.
Although it was a long wait, there is so much to see in the que that it keeps you entertained. Plus, we chatted the whole time, catching up on each other's day. In fact, I was so busy chatting, I only took one picture inside the que:
After TSM, we high-tailed it down Sunset Blvd to the Tower of Terror.
Once again it was Andrea's first time on this attraction and needless to say, she was a little nervous. Heck, I had riden this countless times before and even I was nervous!
Here we are in line, anticipation building:
And here we are mid-drop! (Bottom right, front row)
After that, we headed over to Rock 'n Roller Coaster. Once again, we had a newbie ridder.
And if this picture doesn't crack you up, I don't know what will:
See the little girl in the front row. Completely calm and cool.
Then check out the two fools in the back row screaming their heads off.
After that, we headed down to pay our respects to Walt by seeing one of my favourite attractions, One Man's Dream. No matter how many times I attend, I am always finding new and interesting exhibits in the pre-show display. And I am always moved and inspired by the short film about Walt Disney each and every time I see it.
After that we had hoped to fit in a screening of the Great Movie Ride, but we were running late for our next ADR. So we said goodbye to the Studios and headed back to the Poly to get ready for dinner.
UP NEXT: Dinner at California Grill & Opening Evening of Food & Wine Festival at Epcot
Day 2 - Part Two
After a brief pit-stop at the room to get ready for the evening, we were out the door again! It is so difficult on a short trips to take full advantage of the Resort. I can't wait to return to the Poly again soon for a longer trip when we can spend at least one or two days at the Resort all day.
Dinner tonight was at California Grill at the Contemporary. It would be a first time for both of us and I was looking forward to it!
Before the Trip started, this was the top ADR on my list. And it also proved to be the most elusive. Right up until two days before the Trip, the only reservation we could get was at 9:40pm. Not ideal at all, especially because this was the night we wanted to see Illuminations.
Fortunately, persistence paid off as first thing in the morning two days before the Trip a 6:00pm reservation opened up. Of course we immediately cancelled our 9:40pm to take this one instead, which worked out perfectly!
We check in downstairs and were immediately escourted upstairs for dinner. As soon as we stepped out of the elevator, we were impressed with the place.
Even at only 6pm, the place was bustling. Lots of diners, both in the restaurant and in the adjacent bar area. The space is quite open, with the kitchen in plain view. You could see all of the activity and the numerous chefs and kitchen staff busy at work making all of the fabulous food.
Everytime you saw a server carrying a plate of food, you felt compelled to take a look. The presentation was impressive and the food on each and every plate looked amazing!
And the views!!! Absolutely stunning!
Soon after we arrived, we were brought to our table. We were actually placed in a tiny somewhat private room in the back of the restaurant which had about 4-5 other tables. It appeared to be almost a wine cellar of sorts and it appeared that all of the wine was stored in this room. Servers were frequently in and out throughout the evening to pick up bottles of wine to take them to other tables. You may get the impression that this would have been distracting or disruptive, but it wasn't at all. In fact, we said a couple of times throughout the meal that we really enjoyed eating our meals in this room. So much so that I would definitely request it again. While you obviously share the room with a number of other diners, it is just a little bit more intimate and private than the main dining room.
We had an incredible view of the Wilderness Lodge from our table. And we could see what I think was downtown Orlando in the distance. Maybe someone who knows better can confirm this. I think I asked our server this, but I can't remember for sure. (I think we each consumed a serious amount of wine that evening, so that is my excuse! )
We started our meal with a platter of Double-Crunch Rainbow sushi, which we shared. It was probably just about the best sushi I have ever had. So fresh, and the presentation was wonderful. It included Cobia, Salmon, Tuna, Tempura Crunch and Tobikko.
We also received some crusty bread with olive oil accompaniment, which was very good.
For the main meal, Andrea chose to have two appetizers instead of an entree. First she had the heirloom tomatoes with red onion, sherry vinegar, ricotta and basil followed by the goat cheese ravioli with sun-dried tomatoes, pesto and shiitake mushrooms.
I went with the chef's recommendation: Pacific halibut with red pepper-fennel compote, cranberry bean galette, buerre blanc, and serrano ham. It was wonderful! The plate had so many different infusions of flavours and tastes you would have sworn it was a couple of different dishes as opposed to one entree. Very, very good!
In between courses, we took the opportunity to step outside to check out the fantastic views from the two observation decks.
Before dining at CG, I had heard that the most-coveted reservation time was around 8:30-9:30pm to coincide with the MK's fireworks. However, my next reservation at CG will also be at 6pm. It was perfect timing really. We had the ability to go out onto the two observation decks while it was still light outside to see the sights. During our meal, we got to watch the sun go down, and by the time we finished, it was pitch black outside.
At the end of the meal, we went out once again onto the observation deck, and enjoyed all of the views. However, we both agreed that it was much more impressive while it was still light. For instance, in our little "private" dining room, we were able to see breathtaking scenery as far as the eye could see. But, once it got dark out, all you could see was your reflection in the window. If you came into the restaurant after dark, you would have missed so much.
All in all, the California Grill was one of the top 5 places I have ever eaten. The best meal I ever had was back about 10 years ago at the Gramercy Tavern in NYC with several of my classmates from law school shortly after we graduated. And as with all of my most memorable dining experiences, what made it special was not only the restaurant, the service, the food & atmosphere, but also the people I was there with and the occasion which brought everyone together.
Andrea & I had a fabulous time at the California Grill. It was definitely the highlight of our Trip and remains the best meal I have ever had in WDW.
What about you??? What is the best meal you have ever had in WDW?
UP NEXT: Opening Night of Epcot's Food & Wine Festival
SO excited for my Disneymoon now. Sounds like you had a fabulous time, you are both such gorgeous woman and it seems like you're really happy to be in Disney!
Hmm... best ever Disney meal? Probably Tutto Italia at Epcot; our entree's, wine and desserts were PERFECT and I had so much fun with my fiancee.
Keep up the amazing TR!
Wow those are fabulous views from CG. So far you've chosen great restaurants. Good to take advantage of those w/o the kiddos I bet.
Ohh, that did look good. I think I'll go check out the menu on allears now and think about trying it out for my next trip.
Definately California Grill for us too. We are going back there next trip since we took a break from there the last 2 years. The food really is excellent! CRT would have to be my next favorite place to eat. I love both of your updates and the pics are great too. the Poly pics made me homesick for Poly . We never seem to have much resort time either, like maybe and afternoon at the pool and that is all. It's hard when your a monorail ride away from everything. Your drawings of Dale are excellent . Mine never look that good. I should post Tom and Kaylee's Stitch drawing. I think she would be mad at me though .
Wow! It looks like you guys had such a great time! I'm right there with you on Brown Derby! Love it there! And think I had the same host when I was there in October! I'm thinking I'm going to have to try whatever drink you had -- that looked delish!
I'm also a Cali Grill fan. Yummy!
Oh and the photos of your kids are precious. What beautiful families you have!!
Looking forward to more!
Ha, ha! What a coincidence! I am one of the few people on here who also loves CRT! We are definitely on the same page for dining Nichole!
You won't be disappointed!
I've never yet been to Tutto Italia...definitely on my to-do list! There are so many great places to eat at Epcot!
Great to have you along! I hope to have another update and get this TR finished shortly!
Day 2 - Part Three
After leaving California Grill, we took the monorail to Epcot for opening night of the Food & Wine Festival and Extra Magic Hours.
We got there just in time for Illuminations. This is one of my favourite events at WDW. I love the excitement and anticipation that fills the air in the moments leading up to the start and hush that goes over the crowds.
Unfortunately, because we were rather late leaving dinner, we only arrived at Epcot just before 9 o'clock.
We quickly made our way through Futureworld and towards Showcase Plaza just as Illuminations was starting.
I was a little disappointed as I always like to watch Illuminations around Italy and we obviously would not have time to get there. I assumed that the view from Showcase Plaza at the end of Futureworld would not be as good. I assumed wrong. It was excellent! There was a clear, unobstructed view without trees. However, it *was* crowded!
Andrea saw her first ever Illuminations and even though we missed the first couple minutes, she loved it.
After Illuminations we headed over to World Showcase to partake in the Food & Wine Festival.
While the cheddar cheese soup from Canada was tempting, we were both still full from dinner. Plus, we knew we would be back the next day for lunch at LeCellier.
So we passed Canada, and also passed the UK and headed over to France. We stayed here awhile. We enjoyed our first wine from the Festival and then made our way inside the lovely shops. We purchased a fair bit here, including some French books for our daughters who are just learning French.
I also purchased some cute latte cups and saucers:
I had also purchased the plates with the various dresses on them on my previous trip 3 months earlier.
Of course transporting plates home from WDW on 2 plane rides is not a lot of fun. But I really wanted those plates. I had seen them the year before along with some other plates with eiffel towers on them and didn't buy them. By the time I returned to get them, the eiffel tower ones were gone so I decided to get the ones with the dresses for sure.
About 2 weeks after getting back home from my trip I found the plates with the little dresses selling at a small giftstore 5 minutes from my home. And cheaper than what I paid!
Oh well! I still haven't seen the pink latte cups and saucers anywhere, so I am still happy that I bought those.
Next we just happened to be walking through one of the perfumeries when we met a very charming gentleman who was giving out samples of perfume sprayed onto pieces of paper.
Now if we were asked if we wanted to have a sample sprayed on us, we both would have declined. Neither of us wear perfume. We live in a city with a strict scent-free environment policy.
However, just to be polite more than anything else we took the paper samples that were held out to us.
Well.....after taking a short wiff of the paper before I intended to discard it, I had to double back. It was seriously one of the best smells ever! I had to have it!!!
The thing that I liked most about it was that it was such a light scent. And citrusy. Not a heavy perfume-like smell at all.
Andrea was hooked too. Both of us (each of whom do NOT wear perfume) ended up making a purchase.
I purchased Petite Cherie by Annick Goutal and Andrea purchased a similar scent whose name I can't recall.
I wear mine everyday, and love it. It is very, very light. In fact, so much so that I actually wish it was a bit stronger. I am now hooked on the stuff and will now have to keep picking it up each trip!
Here we are posing with the CM from the perfumerie in France who was so charming he sold perfume to two people who don't use it!
Just as we were finishing our shopping, we ran into a brigade of young French bartenders serving champagne. Sold!
After all of our shopping and drinking in France, it was time to move on. First we had to stop for the traditional pose in front of the fountain:
We made our way briefly through Morroco and stopped to look into restaurant Marrakesh as I had never seen it before.
We then went onto Japan and spent a fair bit of time there shopping. We also stopped to speak with one of the CMs there who gave us a brief education on pearls:
Unfortunately the American Adventure was closed, and most of the various Food & Wine carts were either closed or starting to shutdown.
We passed by Italy and Germany as there was not a lot going on and pressed on to China. We spent some time here walking through the buildings and displays and then moved on to Norway. I can't walk by Norway without stopping at Kringla bakery to buy one of their cloud horns. They are my absolute favourite snack in all of WDW. Andrea purchased some Schoolbread.
As we were both too full, we just got them to go.
While it was very tempting, we passed by the margaritta hut in Mexico. That was hard, but I think we had each hit our limit.
By this point it was about 11:30pm and we decided to head back to the Poly.
On our way out I made a surprise discovery. I honestly had no idea that Futureworld opens back up for Extra Magic Hours at night.
So....we of course had to go on Test Track. With basically no wait.
Then, we went on Misson SPACE. Again no wait. This was a first time for both of us. We of course picked the easy ride due to all of the food and wine we had consumed! We were both pleasantly surprised by this ride. I will definitely be back to do this one again!
Then, on our way out we stopped off at Soarin'. I am sure we didn't enter the Land Pavillion until 11:55pm. Surprisingly, all of the CMs here were in an awesome mood. We asked for front and center and got it.
After our ride it had to be at 5 minutes after midnite, but do you know what those CMs did? They announced that anyone on the ride who wanted to stay for another flight could. I think the whole crowd of 15 or so people all stayed for round two and we of course all gave the CMs a big round of applause. What a way to end the night - back to back Soarin's!
We then made our way home to the Poly on the monorail very content and happy. After we got back we sat out on the balcony taking in the sights and relaxing. I think a Kringla cloud horn and schoolbread were also consumed.
I'm subscribing too......I've enjoyed your trip report so far, and I'm hoping to get some ideas for someday when I get to go with my best friend.
What is a strict scent free environment???
I hate mission space, I always go on it for Josh and I always feel green after (but we go on orange). TT is the best though!!!
Soarin' CMs were amzing, I'm so jealous. I can't wait to go!!!! I love hte Norway bake shop, but I am surprised you didn't get something from France. I love their treats even more than Norways!!!!
When you say we made ourway home to the Poly on the monorail I get so jealous. I can't wait to stay at the poly sometime.
Did you get the champagne with the blackberry brandy in it? It's delicious. I love the Mexico margs, I couldn't have passed them up.
Doesn't seem like you hit much of the food & wine booths... Are they any good? I've never been!
Glad to have you along!
Not sure if we had the blackberry brandy....things got a little fuzzy that nite if you know what I mean!
Unfortunately due to arriving late and completely stuffed from dinner at CG, we did not eat that much at Food & Wine. But we did drink!
Wow, you really know how to get a lot done in w/ the time you are given. No better way to end an evening at Epcot that two back to back rides on Soarin!
I've heard of the school bread but not the cloud horns. Will have to look into that one.
That perfume salesman must be one slick fellow to be able to sell you both perfumes. Who knows what kind of sales he could scrunge up on ladies that are actually perfume wearers.
Hey Tricia, you rock!
While I agree that some flexibility is important while traveling...preparation is PARAMOUNT. Tricia had our trip immaculately planned ahead of time. Otherwise we would not have had even half of the fantastic fun and dining experiences that we did. All this on a few hours sleep and with business meetings in between. Oh yes, we'd get back to the Poly with a whole 6 minutes for Tricia to suit up for a business meeting! Then after her meeting, a quick 4 minute change of clothes and out the door for a few more rides!
You are a terrific travel mate, Tricia!
I'm having a fun time reading your TR....
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