New places, new experiences, and a new name? Jan 2011 TR DxDP UPDATE 2/13

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by frzndaqiri, Jan 31, 2011.

  1. frzndaqiri

    frzndaqiri Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Messages:
    181
    UPDATE - 8/26 Since it didn't seem many people were interested here - I kind of let it lapse but I DID continue my TR on my blog. So anyone finding this and wanting to read more, please visit:
    http://disjointedimages.com/blog/archives/971




    For an intro - see my attempt at a PTR
    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2540899

    Our TR involves myself, my DH, and my Mom and Dad - spending two weeks together in WDW. Jan 10-23, 2011. Our first week is in Coronado Springs and the second at an area hotel, Best Western(Lake Buena Vista Resorts). Everything will be from my perspective - and mom might either chime in with "corrections" :rotfl: or have her own report to write.

    WARNING - I am wordy and photo heavy. I have 4500 photos (but promise not to post them all!) from this vacation, just to give you an idea. So I can't even use many smilies I've got so many photos.

    Also, yes - we had the DxDP and there will be food porn and reviews. Whoo!

    You've been warned!

    Chapters!

    --------------

    Day 1
    Getting There
    Wolfgang Puck's
    Yachtsman Steakhouse
    Day 2
    Epcot pt 1
    Chefs de France
    Morocco & Japan
    Next: Germany interrupted and Mission:Space

    BONUS CONTENT
    Food review book


    _____________________________________

    Sunday 1/09/11

    We drop off our car at a relative's house, (we live about an hour and a half from the airport), and then Mom and Dad pick us up to head out to the Clarion. We're splitting a room to take advantage of the "Park and Fly" deal. We all knew that we'd be too excited to get too much sleep anyway and being right AT the airport would alleviate any concerns of traffic or other unknown delays.

    [​IMG]

    Even for a place to crash for a few hours - I would NEVER stay here again.

    The beds were laughably uncomfortable. We spent an hour lying in them just giggling at how awful they were and fighting over who was going to sneak out to the car to sleep instead...

    I mean, really, the floor had more cushion.

    That said - I'd do the ride and fly again - as it was a great relief to just have to hop a shuttle 10 minutes over. I'd just budget ahead of time for a better hotel. ;)

    Monday 1/10/11

    We arrive at the airport sometime before 6 am - and manage to get the parents' baggage checked in, and through the TSA with no problems. Well... minor problems. Mom had the 300 trading pins in her luggage and that seemed to cause some confusion (and then amusement) on the xray. :happytv:

    I see a Starbucks and stop for a hot chocolate (it's a nice dark chocolate there, my favorite) but sadly they don't do hot foods. I often get the gouda bacon sandwich before work. Tasty, light, and not greasy like most quick breakfast foods. The worker at Starbucks did however recommend the Cafe Brioche back the way we came. They had just opened - and we ordered a bacon egg cheese croissant that was really tasty and a good price for airport food. (I neglected to get a photo - it's 6 hours before I'm normally out of bed - so sue me!)

    We make our way through the terminal - riding the express tram to the section with our gate - and settle in at the Delta section waiting for boarding.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After some more people file in, we get to chatting with a woman and her two boys who are sitting behind us and find they are headed to WDW for their FIRST visit. Mom and I dig out our trading pins and offer them their pick. A great start to the magic they'll have at Disney, I hope. ;) No pics of them for privacy.

    Me and Chris waiting - it's hard to tell here - but my hair is purple. I have thing about big trips (I do a lot of conventions and the tradition started there) it's good luck to have my hair purple. It's a vegan wash out type - that usually lasts 2 weeks - and is really dark. So only in bright sun does it show the purple, so I can get away with it at work (just looks black).

    [​IMG]

    Before we know it - it's time to take our seats. I get some pictures from my window to pass the time.

    [​IMG]

    We stop for de-icing:

    [​IMG]

    I switched to the camcorder for takeoff - I brace but other than a little stomach flip I'm pretty ok with the whole experience. I get a great shot of another plane waiting for de-icing with the sun peeking behind it as sunrise breaks. I'll have to see about extracting it from the video.

    We're up!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The 2 hours are broken up with a free glass of coke, lots of silly pictures, and listening to my new iPod.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Man - talk about sardines. I now appreciate most every airline joke I've ever heard....

    [​IMG]

    Touchdown is nice and smooth - and after letting the crush of people (FULLY booked plane!) go by, extract the luggage from the overhead, and make our way off the plane to greet HUMIDITY! Ah, Florida, there you are. Once stripped of my two layer jacket I'm feeling a little more tolerable - and we head to baggage claim - rent a luggage cart - and track down our rental.

    Once we've settled on a good pick for both trunk and leg space (a Dodge Charger) we headed to check in at Coronado! We pass the magical sign that says we've entered Disney territory.

    [​IMG]

    Then the cute DVC ad with the gang in a big red van.

    [​IMG]

    Then - the real sign we've been looking for ...

    [​IMG]

    Oh, wait, no... not that one.

    There it is! Coronado Springs!

    [​IMG]

    We pull up and head in and first impressions are very good. With so many months to read reviews and re-read horror stories and obsess and worry that you've picked the "right" resort... it can really make you nervous when you first pull up.


    Yes, it was quite overcast (and did start to POUR shortly after) that day - but that was fine because we'd already decided that we'd want to crash early and not waste a partial day at the park.

    [​IMG]

    I found my first hidden mickey too!

    [​IMG]


    After some initial confusion about rooms (we wanted same building, and floor if possible - but for sure Casitas if they could - and they thought we wanted adjoining rooms so were mixing up rooms more than necessary) we were settled in to the 3rd floor of Casitas 5 overlooking the lake with a view of El Centro and the Dig site.

    [​IMG]

    While a beautiful view I wouldn't request/pay extra as having an outside walkway means not wanting your curtains open (everyone can look in) and therefore you only enjoy it when not in your room anyway.

    The king bed rooms are quite spacious though. The sliding doors for the bathroom were very nice - made it feel less like a hotel room to not see anything of that area when the doors were closed. We also loved getting the Japanese TV station - as we are both Japanophiles and this station is an extra $30 a month at home.

    [​IMG]

    The beds are horrible though - very very firm and felt like sleeping on a box spring. Definitely not the new mattresses everyone was raving about... I mean, it wasn't Clarion bad but still.

    I will say up front - our entire stay the staff was excellent. Very prompt and friendly service.

    Next post - Wolfgang Puck's and the Stupid Expensive Dinner (aka Yachtsman Steakhouse)
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. Joyciemc

    Joyciemc DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Messages:
    2,702
    Great start! Looking forward to reading more :)
     
  4. LisaKeys

    LisaKeys Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    280
    Nice start to your TR! I'll be doing my own and keep up with yours so people have the chance to read both angles without being ahead or behind. I'll make sure I give credit to the pictures you took for me (different than what she's posting here). Just wanted to add we realized way after the fact that it was the queen beds that were updated and that everyone is raving about.
    Read you soon - :surfweb:
     
  5. Grumpy's Wife

    Grumpy's Wife Dollar Tree gal here

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Messages:
    26,141
    This will be my first time keeping up with two trip reports for the same trip. Looking forward to seeing it through both of your eyes.
     
  6. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Messages:
    1,742
    Nice start! I look forward to hearing about the rest of your trip.
     
  7. princessjv

    princessjv DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2005
    Messages:
    3,068
    Great start and I love the photos!
     
  8. frzndaqiri

    frzndaqiri Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Messages:
    181
    Thanks!

    I hope everyone enjoys the dual perspective. ;)

    Thank you!

    Thanks - I tried to get some non-standard things too, more variety for the scrapbook.


    Food photos shortly!
     
  9. oOJulieOo

    oOJulieOo Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2010
    Messages:
    428
    Your photos are amazing!

    Joining in!
     
  10. frzndaqiri

    frzndaqiri Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Messages:
    181
    Finally, the food!

    BTW - for my parents' views (and dishes) on the trip I highly suggest subscribing over HERE.

    By now it was ohh, 3pm and all we'd had was that early morning croissant so all of us were more than ready to dig in at Wolfgang Puck's in DTD. Three course meal? No problem!

    I'm not sure what this is from - but it reminded me of the bizarre illustrations in Alice in Wonderland.
    [​IMG]

    First we get bread and butter - nothing spectacular and I didn't like the flatbread at all.

    [​IMG]

    Then our appetizers. I got crab cakes (one of my favorite treats, but one with the most wildly varied recipes so I never know if I'll like it), Chris got tortilla soup.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I LOVED the crab cakes. Light taste (not full of filler or oil) with lots of crab, the sauce was amazing, and they were cooked perfectly. The tortilla soup was extremely tomatoey - which surprised Chris as every other place it has been more like a creamy queso type soup. He didn't find it worth getting again.

    Main course: Macadamia nut chicken and Pepperoni pizza.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The chicken I had a bad start with - I got some of the apricot/mango or whatever that orange fruity stuff is in my first bite and it did not go together for me. Once I knew to avoid the contaminated areas it was very good. The pizza Chris thought was tasty, the crust nice and chewy, but not a must have.

    And then dessert... despite our bravado and declarations at the beginning, we all agreed we were quite full (with takeout boxes yet from the main course!) and had a hard time selecting something at all.

    But choose we did - Lava cake for Chris and Key lime for me.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The key lime I liked - it was a good balance of sweet and tart with a good crust. I can assume Chris liked the lava cake, because this was his "I'm miserable but this is tasty and I must finish my precioussses" face:

    [​IMG]

    and I don't know that I really got a taste of it....

    After that - we headed back to the room to collapse for a while. All of us were groaning thinking about the big steak dinner scheduled a "mere" 5 hours away. What were we thinking?!

    On the way out, I spotted my second mickey:

    [​IMG]

    Not until I was editing them did I realize the D around the mickey head for "Downtown". Cool!
     
  11. imercier

    imercier Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    Messages:
    37
    Your report is so much fun! We are leaving in two days and I hope to post a report half as interesting as yours. Thank you so much for sharing!
     
  12. frzndaqiri

    frzndaqiri Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Messages:
    181
    Glad to have you!

    Aw, you're too sweet! Have fun on your trip!!! :goodvibes



    For anyone interested - at the end of the whole TR I'll have a tally of the DDP places, OOP cost vs dining plan etc. It's more fun to go
    through the photos right now, but I have all the receipts saved for reference.
     
  13. PlutosRHM55

    PlutosRHM55 Pluto's Un-Mentioned Manager

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2010
    Messages:
    10,567
    Nice trip report! You have some nice, funny little ad-libs :goodvibes
     
  14. NancyLuvsMickey

    NancyLuvsMickey Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Messages:
    484
    Just found your TR... popcorn::

    I'm here till the end... :cool1:
     
  15. frzndaqiri

    frzndaqiri Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Messages:
    181
    After the welcomed nap - we wandered out to see Coronado at night:

    [​IMG]

    Then trudged (heh) off to our Stupid Expensive dinner. I mean - I've splurged on meals back home, but the prices online for this place just floored me. How good can it be?

    The selection of beefy goodness:

    [​IMG]

    Then I have to get a shot of the "oh aren't we fancy" two forks and two knives AND a butter plate setup.

    [​IMG]

    The cute couple (d'awww):

    [​IMG]

    Oh, for the record, I mostly drank either Coke (thank goodness it's not Pepsi, ptooi, I'd have been a sad girl and Chris would have been BOUNCING more than Tigger from Mtn. Dew) or water. I restrained myself from 37 images of glasses of coke for your sake. You're welcome. ;)

    First - the onion pull-apart bread. OMG... I could eat these every day. Then, THEN, our waiter (David) brought me my own roasted garlic. I was in HEAVEN. I will roast and eat HEADS of garlic at a time. No joke.
    (No, no pics of the other rolls, I'm not a sourdough fan. My TR. nyah) :laughing:

    [​IMG]

    I got scallops and Chris SHOCKED me by getting escargot for his appetizer. Mind you, when we first met, he would barely eat anything more daring than a chili dog, but has gotten much more adventurous since then (sushi I think helped a great deal there). Still, SNAILS?? I don't know that I would have picked them. So bravo to hubby for that one.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The scallops were just ok, I didn't like the topping stuff. It was chewy and reminded me of oatmeal - of which I am not a fan. The escargot was devoured by Chris, and after getting a bite, I knew why. They were just amazing. I never would have expected it - but YUM!

    Main course: Porterhouse for him, and the "Prime" New York Strip Steak for me.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    WOW. Wow wow wow. Soooo meltingly good. I have never (and probably won't again till I come back) had such a tender, delicious, perfectly cooked steak.

    Mind you - I rarely get anything but a filet anywhere. So already a strip steak was out of my comfort zone. I'm also a "must extract anything that resembles fat" kind of person. Chomping on the gristle makes my skin crawl. But what WAS on here (and it wasn't much) was more flavor than throwaway.

    The sauce was tasty - but munching on the peppercorns was just kind of odd and I didn't eat a whole lot of them after the first bite.

    Chris thought his porterhouse... well, look:

    [​IMG]

    GONE is enough of a review I think. ;)

    Our waiter then produced a special dessert -

    [​IMG]

    which was sea salt caramels (like the best ever tootsie roll, which I don't normally like!) and little gelatin things that reminded me of red bean jelly that I've eaten with Japanese green tea.

    Then proper desserts!
    Chris: The Yachtsman Sundae - Trio of Gelato with Amarena Cherries
    Me: Creme Brulee - Fresh Berries and Rolled Chocolate

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The creme brulee (once removed of the offending blueberries) was sooo good. There were specks of vanilla bean all over it. Very creamy.

    Chris loved the gelato - but the porterhouse bested him and he didn't eat more than a few bites.

    The cherries I want in a jar. They are exquisite!

    In sum - Yachtsman Steakhouse was our first dinner - and my oh my, did it set a HIGH bar for the rest of the meals. The steak was exquisite, service impeccable (and yet still went along with our goofy attitudes and jokes) and we just all around enjoyed ourselves here.

    We crawled back to the car and rolled home....
    [​IMG]

    Next - Our first day in the parks!
     
  16. frzndaqiri

    frzndaqiri Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Messages:
    181
    Hah! Both mine and my husband's family are of the "dry wit" or "always got a smart @$$ remark for everything" type. So at this point it comes pretty naturally. :lmao:

    Woot! Welcome aboard.
     
  17. janeybabydee

    janeybabydee Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Can't wait to read more:)
     
  18. frzndaqiri

    frzndaqiri Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Messages:
    181
    Tuesday - 1/11/11 Epcot!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The green shrubberies are the holiday decoration leftovers. Luckily (because we really wanted Disney in it's usual state) most of the Christmas type stuff was gone. Just a few things here and there - and throughout the trip it was interesting to see even that just "disappear", as it were, overnight.

    Things like the green "Cousin Itt" (c'mon, you totally see that too, right?) trees in the right side of the picture - made you go "what's different" the next time you showed up and they weren't there. ;)

    It was nice to see little pops of color still too - having left nothing but snow and tree bark back in Michigan - like these pretty purple posies. (I think... botanist I am not.)

    [​IMG]

    Our first ride - Soarin! This wasn't even built last time we were here, and I'd heard it's on many must-do lists. The queue was great for photos:

    [​IMG]

    It was a BLAST! I just loved the ride. I had a sweet guy next to me who made little comments on each section - where places were, what forest etc - he was quiet about it but I could hear and I liked knowing someone was that either well traveled or well versed in the film. ;) We also scored a top row - which I hear really adds to the experience if you've never ridden before. My stomach did a little drop at one point - so they do an excellent job of making it seem real.

    Since we were right there, we hopped on Living with the Land next. Far too dark and fast moving to bother with any of the first part, but I did get some shots of the greenhouse.

    I do love lemon - and dang what a batch of lemonade this would make!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The criss-cross pattern on this shot was a cool accident.

    [​IMG]

    "Close your mouth, please, Michael. We are not a codfish."

    [​IMG]

    Then we meandered over to the World Showcase. We had reservations at Chefs de France that originally were for 2:00 pm. Well. After the reality smacking after effects of our introduction to the Dining Plan of doom - we knew that the more time between meals the better and were able to bump up to their opening slot at noon.

    Required shot of the up fountain:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Pretty flowers near Le Cellier:

    [​IMG]

    Morning EMH and standard low crowds for January meant lovely shots of empty (or nearly) streets like these:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I have to thank chunkymonkey for her Sept TR - which twisted my arm into making sure I had a super wide angle lens. I definitely got lots of use out of it!

    My dad being a goof as Chris figures out my camera:

    [​IMG]

    Me in my lovely birthday present - a cute purple/pink and black plaid jockey cap from the UK.

    [​IMG]

    Stopping for a paw print from Marie:

    [​IMG]

    Main fountain in France:

    [​IMG]

    Here's something you don't see anymore - framing the shot with your hands. Now everyone has a point and shoot camera with a live view. No elaborate methods to make sure what you see ends up on film....

    [​IMG]

    Ahh, to live the life of an arteest!

    [​IMG]

    NEXT: Chefs de France!
     
  19. Grumpy's Wife

    Grumpy's Wife Dollar Tree gal here

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Messages:
    26,141
    I love your pictures. Isn't is nice being there with so few people? I've never seen Marie but I'll be on the lookout for her next trip.
     
  20. frzndaqiri

    frzndaqiri Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Messages:
    181
    Chefs de France

    [​IMG]

    After checking in and being seated in the "conservatory" section looking out on the street, we look over the menu and try to decide on a dish. Neither of us are big breakfast food people - so this will be the first food of the day and that makes it harder to choose from strange fare.

    [​IMG]

    Ultimately we start with an easy choice for Chris - French onion soup. One of his favorites, I've even made it at home before as a treat. For me, not to be outdone by him the night before, I get escargot.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Admittedly, a completely different recipe and distinctly different cuisines, but this just did not stand up to Yachtsman. Presentation was quite lacking too. You'll see splashes of soup all over Chris's plate, and mine was a less than pleasing well worn simple crock with green circles of swamp water (by all visual cues). :lmao:

    We both agreed that if this was our first taste of escargot, we wouldn't have tried a second time. The onion soup was very different - it had some kind of herb taste overall where most places have a beef broth flavor as the base.

    Well - that would just not do and we demanded to see the head chef! (tongue in cheek here) ;)

    Armand came out to see what we needed - and upon seeing my fancy camera immediately struck a pose: "A photo? Of moi? But of course!"

    [​IMG]

    After some embarrassing explanation that we were hoping for photos of Remy - he dramatically introduced the culinary genius in person... er rat.

    [​IMG]

    All in all the interaction was adorable and fantastic - and if Remy is still in charge when you're there it is worth seeing him. I won't give away the cute jokes and entendres here, but it was very sweet.

    Main course! Crepe Basquaise (I guess... but the online description does not match what I got. Mine was chicken, cheese, spinach and mushrooms. No side salad...) for me and Filet de saumon, ratatouille sauce Choron for Chris.

    Back to the "food should be appetizing to the eyes" problem...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This time at least I found it very tasty. I was almost able to finish it, but had to stop for safety, lol. Chris found his rather bland. The potato and spinach were just blanched (not even salted) and the sauce was barely there. The salmon was just ok. Really, we couldn't believe that there weren't more classic "think of home" french dishes. Coq au vin maybe?

    On to dessert:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Chris had the cake - I had the cinnamon apple crepe. Mine was AWFUL. I took a bite and forced myself to keep it down. It was tough, and manufactured tasting. I've had crepes at the mall food court better than this.... I fought with Chris for his chocolate cake (though not too hard, we were quite stuffed.)

    Mom's report will probably be better on this - but our waiter Charlie was GREAT. He was a riot. My dad loves to rib people and will have a smart@$$ remark for everything - our waiter knew just how to deal with him... and when my dad called him "Harley" (pronouncing it wrong on purpose) all gloves were off! After taking our dessert order and my mom's, he walked away leaving my dad with no dessert (he got about 10 paces and came back grinning). :rotfl:

    So again, Chefs de France was ok - but mostly disappointing in food. Stay away between 12pm-3pm if they put you in the back corner with the windows. The sun peaks and you BAKE the entire meal! We were switching seats and holding out napkins and doing everything we could to keep from burning up. Very uncomfortable. We did mention they should have sun shades on that end at one point, and Charlie agreed.

    Back to touring the world! How many countries will my unprepared feet let me see? :)
     
  21. frzndaqiri

    frzndaqiri Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Messages:
    181
    For a photo junkie - it's the only way to see Disney ;)
    She was adorable - and PURRED at me! :lovestruc
     

Share This Page