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Sans Friends - Magic Kingdom, The Wave, Epcot and ESPN Club

Discussion in 'UK Trip Reports Board' started by UKDEB, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. UKDEB

    UKDEB <font color=CC33FF>Found the Tag Fairy's hangout<b Moderator

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    Preamble
    Flight and first evening at the BoardWalk
    Mall at Millenia and International Food & Wine Festival

    Tuesday, 4th November (Election Day)

    I awake after a restless night and, judging by Matt’s tossing and turning, he’s experienced similarly disturbed sleep. We’re up at 5.30am, but don’t rush to do anything.

    For the next few days, in the knowledge that the jetlag will have us awake early, the itinerary has us hitting the parks for opening. We leave the room at 8:45am and head for the bus pick-up point. As many of you will know, Matt has a loathing for buses, but a love of the happy juice, so he almost squeals with delight as the Magic Kingdom bus rolls into view at 8:55am. (Now, I’m ahead of the quick-witted amongst you who will be thinking that he’s going to be gutted to discover that MK is bereft of anything remotely alcoholic, but we have a 1pm ADR for the new restaurant at the Contemporary, The Wave, so there’s method to our madness.) I should probably mention that I’m not a big fan of the buses, either, but, like Matt, I’m aware they have their benefits. That they’re one of the few ways to reach the doorstep of the Magic Kingdom without having to contend with the Transportation and Ticket Center is definitely one of them and we’re passing through the turnstiles shortly after opening. We’ve experienced the opening ceremony previously, so we’re not overly disappointed to have missed it. [For anyone who hasn’t caught it, it’s a real crowd-pleaser (as are those at the other parks).]

    As one of this trip’s priorities is to seek out the corners of WDW rather than to experience the main attractions, we take a look around Exposition Hall. It’s a few years since we’ve done so and it hasn’t changed any. Conscious of our quest to make good use of PhotoPass, we go for the obligatory Castle shot at the top of Main Street.

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    We take our time wandering up Main Street and then seek out another PhotoPass opportunity in the Rose Garden before taking the path around the back of the Castle into Fantasyland.

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    Because it’s something new, I have the notion that it might be nice to take a look at the Fairies “Meet and Greet” in Toontown, but as we approach the area and see the lines, I remember it doesn’t open until 10am. Instead we look around Minnie’s House before heading across to Tommorrowland.

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    Matt is keen to ride Buzz and, whilst I can take it or leave it, I’m happy to oblige. Knowing that he always spins the car in precisely the opposite direction to the one in which I’m about to shoot, we take separate vehicles. [The fact that I haven’t recorded our respective scores may just possibly suggest that he thrashes me.]

    Normally we’d do Carousel of Progress (one of my favourite attractions) and the TTA, but neither of us feels a particular urge to do so - we’re both just enjoying being here and soaking it all up. One of my guilty pleasures is looking around the gift shops, but when we’re with other people I feel I have to control the urge. Whilst Matt doesn’t share my delight in them, he’s always happy to indulge me and, when he’s had enough, is content to sit outside and people watch. These days, I seldom buy anything, but I like to look so I take a quick peak in Mickey's Star Traders.

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    We loop back through Fantasyland and stroll the length of Frontierland. I’m starving and, bizarrely for me, have a craving for something sweet, so I get a Mammouth Pecan Pattie (chocolate covered pecan and chewy caramel) in Prairie Outpost and Supply. Matt has a Twix :-)confused3 Don't ask me, I’m as confused as you), plus a share of my pattie.

    We round the corner into Adventureland and take advantage of another PhotoPass opportunity near Pirates of the Caribbean.

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    We mosey around the "Pirates" gift shop , as well as Island Traders before heading back towards Main Street and up through the shops on the Casey’s Corner side.

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    It’s still very early in relation to our 1pm lunch ADR, but it becomes increasingly apparent that this is very much the focus of today’s activities for both of us, so we board the resort monorail to the Contemporary. We arrive at 11:45am and while away 10 minutes looking around the concourse before heading for the restaurant. As we arrive, they’re preparing to open, so we sit in the lounge-cum-waiting area next to the bar.

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    I guess we’re not too surprised to find we’re the only patrons. Given the choice of an empty restaurant or an empty bar, the bar is going to win out every time, so we take up position. It doesn’t get busy the entire time we’re here with just two other couples joining us at the bar (albeit not at the same time) and maybe half a dozen parties entering the restaurant.

    We’ve read several reviews of this place, together with photos, and we’ve been keeping our expectations low whilst remaining keen to check it out for ourselves. Our impression has been of a pleasant, but very Disneyfied environment and typical Disney fayre. We couldn’t have been more wrong. The restaurant itself possibly fits that bill, but the bar is gorgeous – really grown up in a way Disney doesn’t normally do well. From photos I’d seen of the lounge areas, I’d imagined them to be pretty soulless, but, even empty, I’m pleasantly surprised at how atmospheric they are and I can imagine they’ll have a really good vibe during the evenings.

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    Our barman is Alan. He’s previously worked at the Territory Lounge at Wilderness Lodge and, more recently, the Pop pool bar, before getting this gig. We comment on how impressed we are with this space and how un-Disney it seems and he tells us what we already suspect; that it comes alive during the evenings when it’s packed with conventioneers in their smart attire.

    Determined to make the most of not having to drive, Matt wastes no time in ordering a Yeungling, followed firstly by the Orlando Brewing Company’s porter and then their pale ale. [The Orlando Brewing Company is a tiny firm based in Downtown Orlando and which normally only supplies a few small independents.] I peruse the cocktail menu, but don’t feel inspired, so I order a dark rum mohito before moving on to the Wolf Blass Gold Label chardonnay. All the wines here are from the southern hemisphere, which I’m sure is avant-garde in this context, but very disappointing to me given I can get most of them in my local supermarket. It’s a very small pour for $13.50 and, to add insult to injury, the wines are served in very beautiful, but totally impractical stemless glasses. [Glass stems are there to prevent one’s hand effecting a change in the wine’s temperature – a fact lost on most people who insist on holding the “bowl” of a wine glass. Good grief! Sometimes even I’m stunned by my own pomposity!.]

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    The food is a revelation. I was expecting theme park mediocracy with a healthy twist, but everything is scrummy. I start with a new menu item of Artichoke and Hazelnut Bisque with a Hazelnut Cream. Matt plumps for the Lump Crab Cake with Papaya Slaw and Balsamic Glaze. I opt for the sustainable fish entrée (Atlantic Char with Corn and Edamame stew and Saffron Oil), whilst Matt breaks with tradition (NOT!) in his choice of the Angus Chuck Bacon Cheeseburger.

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    The Wave has blown our expectations out of the water and we leave commenting that we really must try to make it back for dinner one day next week.

    Continued below.
     
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  3. UKDEB

    UKDEB <font color=CC33FF>Found the Tag Fairy's hangout<b Moderator

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    We decide to make our way back to the BoardWalk via Epcot, so we jump on the monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center before changing for Epcot. We’ve only done this journey a few times over the years and it’s fun to do the loop of Future World before pulling in at the station.

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    We take our first ride on the remodelled Spaceship Earth. I'm surprised at just how many scenes have changed completely and we both leave with mixed feelings. Judi Dench is very professional, but her narration just doesn’t sit right with the nostalgic within me. As Matt says, her voice doesn’t have the desired level of gravitas to pull it off. My disquiet reaches a peak as our time vehicle reaches the top. Jeremy Irons uttering the words “Or will we use this power to usher in a new age of understanding and co-operation on this, our Spaceship Earth..." never failed to bring a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat, but the new narration leaves me cold. The new ending, though, is great.

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    I’m keen to take a peek inside the IF&WF Festival Center in the old Wonders of Life pavilion. It’s strange to see all the old attractions there, untouched, and very un-Disney to let Joe Public witness it. A surreal experience.

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    We make our way back to the BoardWalk via the International Gateway, stopping at Canada to pick up a Moosehead for Matt and a glass of wine for me. It’s so awful, it goes straight in the bin. Even Matt won’t drink it!

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    We’re both flagging and succumb to the lure of the Friendship Boat. On the journey, we discuss the evening’s activities, conscious of the fact that the itinerary calls for the Animal Kingdom EMH (one of only two evenings during our trip when it will be a possibility and something we’re both keen to do having never been there after dark) whilst acknowledging that we probably don’t have the stamina. When we get back to the room we establish that a couple of small amendments will allow us to attend the following week without compromising the plans and it’s with some relief that we spend the next few hours watching the unfolding election results on TV.

    A couple of hours of slobbing out and we decide that we can probably make it out for a drink. My preference is Crew’s Cup Lounge at the Yacht Club (a place we love), but I’m mindful that Matt has been itching to get to the ESPN Club ever since we arrived and I’m not entirely sure my legs will carry me across to the Yacht Club, so ESPN it is. It’s quiet here tonight and I’d also noticed that Flying Fish Café was dead as we’d passed by. Matt has a few Yeunglings with a couple of Wild Turkey chasers, whilst I enjoy three glasses of chardonnay. We order the “medium” wings, but I’m not feeling them at all, so Matt lucks out. To our surprise, there are no screens showing election results, so we ask the bartender to change the screen in front of us to ABC News Channel 9.

    We return to the room at around 10:30pm and head straight for bed.

    Postscript: It’s been grey all day today with a high of 69°F. The cloud didn’t lift at all which was fine for walking around, but not great for photos.
     
  4. suzycute

    suzycute DIS Veteran

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    Fantastic report! I love your Photopass pictures! The Wave sounds like a good place to try (now that - today!- I've booked our flights for our trip in September!).

    Looking forward to reading more! :thumbsup2
     
  5. SusanEllen

    SusanEllen DIS Veteran

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    I'm certainly impressed with the Churchill park wardrobe. Not only did you choose beautifully compatible outfits to wear for today's photos, Debbie, yours made you look like you belonged in Minnie's sewing room (very matchy-matchy).

    I especially like the action Photo Pass shot where you're bravely protecting Matt from Captain Hook.

    You know, that Jack Skellington lashed to the gift shop shelf looks suspicioulsy like one in a big box in my garage.

    Your comments and photos of the lunch at the Wave certainly make me want to give it a try.

    Awfully glad you are writing these reports. They almost make up for the fact that you went without us.
     
  6. natalielongstaff

    natalielongstaff <font color=deeppink>I need a cup of tea and a big

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    The Wave sounds lovely, despite the dodgy wine glass !! i love the disney fairies border you are using :thumbsup2
     
  7. mandymouse

    mandymouse <font color=red>If It's Not A Bahama Mama Then I'm Moderator

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    Great photopass pics Deb :thumbsup2 It sounds like you had a lovely day :)
     
  8. tony64

    tony64 <font color=blue>Should've been a Cowboy<br><font

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    Great day and pictures, not sure about the effect Planet Earth had on matts head though.
    He does make a good Captain Jack.
     
  9. darthtatty

    darthtatty Been There, Done That, Going Back!

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    great report, lots of fab pics. :goodvibes
     
  10. raph_b

    raph_b <font color="red">Proud Redhead</font>

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    The wave sounds amazing, and that burger looks great - what was Matt's view of the burger?

    And what drink did you throw away in Canada - please don't tell me it was the Moosehead :eek:
     
  11. wicket2005

    wicket2005 <font color=deeppink><marquee behavior=alternate>H

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    Lovely report Debs, nice to just please yourself and just absorb the atmosphere in the parks rather than lining up all the time. I am glad your meal was better than expected and it is nice to see places where I have not been. :goodvibes
     
  12. jockey

    jockey <font color=deeppink>Repeat after me....I LOVE CRO

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    Great pics :)
     
  13. Tammy Stringer

    Tammy Stringer <font color=red>I love babies - all milky and baby

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    The Wave looks like a must do for our next trip

    Love the pictures taken in Spaceship Earth

    Tam
     
  14. mark&sue

    mark&sue <font color=teal>I keep trying to convert everybod

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    I'm thirsty just reading these. what a lovely day you both had.


    susan
     
  15. traceycooper

    traceycooper <font color=royalblue>Laughs off her mini dramas<b

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    I love the micky/minnie snowmen!! soooo cute!
    Love DH's shirt ;)
    Love you photopass pics
    basically i'm just loving your TR :)
     
  16. Snowy-girls

    Snowy-girls Did you speak to a 'human being'

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    Great day Deb.I love your pics,and the Fairies border is great-my girls would love that one.
    The food at The Wave looks very delicious :thumbsup2 .x.
     
  17. florida sun

    florida sun Mrs Christopher Eccleston wannabe! Moderator

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    Another great day Deb, brilliant photos, love the one of you with the sword:thumbsup2
     
  18. wilma-bride

    wilma-bride <<This space intentionally blank>> Moderator

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    Deb, may I just say that, for a first attempt at trip-report writing, you're doing a sterling job. You're even managing to give that Stringer fellow a run for his money (don't tell him I said so though ;))

    You seem to have achieved so much today - getting Matt on a bus, Matt declining alcohol. Whatever will happen next - can't wait to find out :)
     
  19. saratogagirl

    saratogagirl <font color= CC0066>I need books, and wine and Ian

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    Brilliant pictures. The Wave looks amazing, you make me feel very disappointed to have missed it, we promised we would go each time we visited the Magic Kingdom and never got there, next time definately. I can't wait to read more, off to read the next day.
     
  20. Cyrano

    Cyrano Moderator Moderator

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    Deb did not realise that this was your first attempt at report writing. I'd thought this was the muse of a seasoned writer :goodvibes

    As others have said your photopass photographs are inspiring. I especially love Captain Hook over at POTC. I'm cribing all of these down as the selections will keep both DDs and DS happy.
    Really glad that I pre-ordered the photopass CD.

    In spite of my past training as a wine waiter .. in the days before sommelier became the fashionable term ... I much prefer the French/Italian fashion of non-stemmed glasses. Once a Glasgow weegie always a !!!!;)
     
  21. tennisfan

    tennisfan <font color=blue>Was told off for sliding down the Moderator

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    Another great day:thumbsup2
     

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