26th Anniversary Trip - It is all about the food!- Updated and Complete 1/10

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Reviews' started by kristenhh, Dec 14, 2016.

  1. kristenhh

    kristenhh Why can't we go to DL for EVERY vacation?

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    Welcome to my food report! I started it before we left, but now we have been home for a few weeks and I need to fill in some details.

    The Premise: This will be an anniversary trip for us with no kids. We are planning to have a relaxed pace with afternoon breaks built in- gasp!

    The Background: We went on our honeymoon to WDW, and have had several family trips through the years. We have done one other adults-only trip since having kids, but we went with lots of extended family. This will be the first time since our honeymoon with just the 2 of us.

    We are trying a lot of new things this trip, including:

    1. Taking an afternoon break

    2. The Food and Wine Festival – if it’s not too insanely crowded

    3. Renting points and staying at a DVC hotel (Saratoga Springs- not our 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. choice- but hey – it was available!)

    4. Quite a few new restaurants

    5. Using Uber

    6. Staying offsite the first few nights

    This report will center on the food- with probably some trip details thrown in. Our last trip included the kids- one of our daughters was doing the college program- so we got a great rate at an AOA suite. However, the deal would only let us do the CS Dining plan, and would not let us upgrade to the regular Dining plan. This turned out fine- we got to try a bunch of CS places that we really enjoyed. But this time, we have the regular dining plan, and will pay OOP for Signature meals, and F&W snacks, as well as whatever else we want! Here is the plan:

    The Plan:

    Arrival Day- Staying off site near the airport

    Food Plan- Whatever we can find

    Day 1: Plan: Check into Disney Springs Hotel- Epcot – Then Disney Springs – Then HS for fireworks

    Lunch: F&W boothsNew!

    Dinner: Frontera Cocina- New! We have always wanted to try Rick Bayless’s restaurant in Chicago- but since we’ve never been to Chicago- we were really excited he opened one in Disney Springs.

    Day 2: Plan: Epcot again – See Illuminations?

    Lunch: F&W booths

    Dinner: Le Cellier- a family favorite and my favorite restaurant in the world. The whole world. It has never let me down yet, fingers crossed.

    Day 3: Plan: Check into Saratoga Springs – Dining Plan begins - Epcot again- too much? Maybe?

    Lunch: F&W booths

    Dinner: CS – Mexico if we are still at Epcot, maybe WPE

    Day 4: Plan: AK Morning- Break – MK evening

    Lunch: Flame Tree BBQ- also a CS favorite

    Dinner – Crystal Palace- We can still hang out with Pooh- even with no kids!

    Day 5: Plan: HS – Break – Fantasmic

    Breakfast- cupcake from Starring Rolls

    Lunch- Mama Melrose Fantasmic Package

    Dinner- CS somewhere

    Day 6: Plan: Epcot- (future world) – break – YC for dinner

    Lunch – Coral Reef New!

    Dinner- Captain’s Grille- New!

    Day 7: Plan: MK – Contemporary for Dinner (may not be a break here as MK closes at 4:30)

    Breakfast – cinnamon roll from Gastons- New!

    Lunch – BOG

    Dinner- California Grill- New! My daughter highly recommends this place

    Day 8: Plan: Fort Wilderness for Breakfast – MK to see anything we missed- Break – AKL for diner

    Breakfast- Trail’s End- New!

    Lunch- CS somewhere

    Dinner- Boma- also an old favorite

    Day 9: Plan: AK – Break - Kidani for dinner

    Lunch – Yak & Yeti- New! I have always wanted to try this.

    Dinner- SanaaNew! My daughter highly recommends this place

    Day 10: Departure Day
     
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  2. kristenhh

    kristenhh Why can't we go to DL for EVERY vacation?

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    Arrival and Day 1- Part A


    We spent all day flying from California and finally arrived at the airport tired and hungry. The original plan had been to find the Macaroni Grill, but we were too tired, so we grabbed our bags and hauled them back upstairs to the food court. MCO does have a pretty good food court, and we had some Panda Express. Unfortunately the food looked at tasted like it had been sitting around for hours- so not the best- but it did the trick and we called the shuttle to go to the Country Inn and Suites that was very close to the airport. All we did was sleep here and take advantage of their free breakfast- which was good- and we packed up and ordered our first Uber. The car arrived a few minutes later and we were off to the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista. We really liked Uber and had a good experience using it during our trip when it was late, or it would be several bus rides to get somewhere.


    We had never stayed offsite, but we wanted a slightly longer trip, and couldn’t check in to our DVC hotel until Day 3, so we used some other hotel points and credit card points to get free and nearly free rooms. Our second hotel, the Hilton, was really nice and had a lovely warm pool and a nice hot tub. Also, I believe it is the closest off-site hotel to Disney Springs, and all we had to do was walk over a bridge from our hotel and we were at Earl of Sandwich. However, transportation from any of the parks back to this resort was a very long walk to the bus, and they did not run as frequently as Disney buses. I determined that I was an on-site person.


    Back to the food- we dumped our bags at the hotel and walked over the bridge to Disney Springs. We could see a bus stop, but this stop is no longer in use. So we kept walking and walked to Saratoga Springs and found a bus stop and were finally on our way to Epcot! And we were the only ones on the bus. It was very weird, having mostly stayed at Values where the buses are always crowded…


    We arrived at Epcot around 10:30 and headed to World showcase to start our food booth lunch extravaganza. We had made of list of things we wanted to try, and some maybes thrown in.


    The first booth we saw was Australia- and it was open early. We had the shrimp down as a “maybe”- but hey it was open so we decided to try it. And then I promptly forgot to take a picture! (Here’s one I found on the internet)
    upload_2016-12-14_15-45-0.png

    We bought one serving of everything we tried and split them. We both liked this- it had a little bit of a kick. After all of today’s booths, my husband said this was his favorite.


    Next up was Mexico. I got in line while Dave went for a large coke to go with our lunch. We don’t drink- so the booths were a lot cheaper for us. The line didn’t appear to be moving- and I realized they weren’t opening early, so I waited. We got the Barbacoa enchilada here, which we also liked.

    upload_2016-12-14_15-45-40.png



    Next stop: South Korea

    upload_2016-12-14_15-46-0.png upload_2016-12-14_15-46-19.png

    We had the Korean style beef with kimchi and the lettuce wraps. I was a little afraid of the kimchi- but it was very mild. I really liked both of these- they had a little bit of a kick, but not too much. I would get them again.


    Next up: Germany

    upload_2016-12-14_15-48-2.png

    We had the pasta gratin. For me this was squarely- meh. Dave liked it better but wasn’t thrilled. It was kind of like baked mac & cheese. The lady sharing our bench had the strudel- so I asked her how that was, and she was not at all excited about it- so I was glad I didn’t get it.


    The last food booth stop for the day was Hops & Barley in the American Pavilion. We were only going to get the beef brisket, but on an impulse I decided to also get the carrot cake- and I’m so glad I did!

    upload_2016-12-14_15-48-33.png

    I liked the brisket more than Dave, and it was by far the biggest meat portion of any of the booths. (USA! USA!) It was a little dry, but I still enjoyed it.

    One of the best things ever, though, was the carrot cake drowning in frosting.

    upload_2016-12-14_15-48-53.png

    Oh my goodness. I took one bite and immediately picked up my phone to text my best friend who loves carrot cake to tell her that somehow- someday- she needs to come eat this. It was delicious.

    So after 5 booths where we shared the appetizer portion, and a large coke- we were full and called it for the day.

    The greatest thing was – we were done by 11:45-ish before the crowds started pouring in. So even on the last crowded weekend- if you go early you are okay. And somehow we had gone the opposite way of the crowd, so that helped too. When we walked by the booths later- they were insanely crowded.


    Total Cost for lunch for 2 people sharing at 5 booths + a soda: $36.25. Now that I add it up, it cost more than I thought it would. But we enjoyed it, and that’s what counts.
     

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  4. kristenhh

    kristenhh Why can't we go to DL for EVERY vacation?

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    Day 1 – Part B


    We saw what we wanted at the World Showcase, and decided to head back to the hotel because our room was ready. We had a nice room at the Hilton and had a little rest- but didn’t unpack because we were only there 2 nights.


    For dinner we took the short walk over to Disney Springs- which was crazy crowded- and found our way to Frontera Cocina. We were really excited to try this restaurant and have been watching Mexico One Plate at a Time for years. I was surprised that it wasn’t very crowded- maybe because it is new?


    Anyway, we were seated and decided to start with the Queso Fundido – which was served with tortillas.

    upload_2016-12-14_16-15-32.png

    It was excellent- but a little hard to get with the tortilla if you are using them to dip. (Hard chips would have been easier) But we spread it on the tortillas and ate it like that. It could be that’s how you are supposed to eat it…


    For our entrees we had the Carnitas:

    upload_2016-12-14_16-15-47.png

    And the Carne asada:

    upload_2016-12-14_16-16-4.png

    Both were plated beautifully and tasted good. However, I was expecting Mexican food on another level and pure excellence. It was not. I think I like our local place better and it is a heck of a lot cheaper. Dave said maybe we should have ordered something more authentic- less popular with Americans- even though our waiter told us we had ordered the 2 best things on the menu. I might go try it again and have something else- but it did not make my list of “Must-Do’s”.


    After dinner, we took an Uber to DHS to catch the Star Wars Fireworks before they switched over to the new Christmas show. It was already crowded, so we found a bench not too far from the Hollywood Brown Derby, and decided when it started that we would join the crowd on that side.


    We sat for a while and decided we needed a treat. I fought the crowds and made it to Bill & Mins hoping they would have a good holiday milkshake. They had Blue Raspberry- which sounds like it would be a smoothie type thing, but it was a milkshake. I got one of those and a chocolate milkshake and fought my way back to the bench. These were okay, but hit the spot for a treat.


    When the show started, we realized that you really do want to be in front of the theater to get the full view. We did not have a great view- lesson learned. We decided to take our hotels bus home – and let me tell you- it was a long hike – way past all of the resort shuttles. And there were no good signs. And we waited and waited. I finally called the hotel to make sure one was still coming- and eventually it came- to the stop next to the one we were at- so even though we had been there way longer than anyone- we were last on the bus. I really missed Disney transportation with good signage and knowledgeable cast members to help you.
     
  5. jakenjess

    jakenjess DIS Veteran

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    Great start! I think we were there around the same time, got there the last Sunday of Food & Wine, our first trip without the kids since before we had kids! Very different kind of trip, but we had a great time!

    How did your daughter like the DCP? Our daughter is doing Spring Advantage 2017, so we'll be heading back down late January to take her (and take another vacation ;-)
     
  6. kristenhh

    kristenhh Why can't we go to DL for EVERY vacation?

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    My daughter loved doing the DCP - she worked at Citricos. She liked it so much that she is also doing the Spring Advantage 2017 - and hopes to transition into full time work. Let me know if you have any questions- she is a great resource.
     
  7. jakenjess

    jakenjess DIS Veteran

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    Thanks so much! Was she a seater? That's my daughter's role, and she's really anxious to see where she'll get placed. Citricos must have been a lovely place to work!

    Looking forward to more of your report!:)
     
  8. kristenhh

    kristenhh Why can't we go to DL for EVERY vacation?

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    Yes- she was a seater - she really liked Citricos - but she would have liked more hours- they are only open for dinner. And they let her do some of the other roles while she was there too.
     
  9. kristenhh

    kristenhh Why can't we go to DL for EVERY vacation?

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    Day 2- Part 1


    We got up and grabbed a muffin & pastry and milk from the little café in the Hilton. They were nothing special- but very expensive. We headed out to the pool area and had breakfast then enjoyed the hot tub for a while. The Hilton has 2 lovely (and warm) pools and a couple of nice hot tubs.


    Then it was back to Epcot for more Food & Wine Festival Booths for lunch. Apparently I mostly forgot to take pictures today- although I really thought I had… Anyway I borrowed photos from Disney food blog.


    First stop- Patagonia. We hadn’t originally planned on this one- but people had it walking by and it looked tasty- and it really was! This was the beef skewer with boriato pure- we didn’t know what boriato was –we had to look it up- but it tasted fantastic.

    upload_2016-12-15_11-41-52.png

    Next: Islands of the Caribbean. We had the Mojo pork and the Puff pastry.

    upload_2016-12-15_11-42-10.png upload_2016-12-15_11-42-19.png

    We liked both of these things- but I think I liked the puff pastry more.

    Third: Wine & Dine studio. We tried the pork tenderloin. The pork was overcooked – but since it was a tenderloin, it was still okay- but not great. This was one picture that I did take.

    upload_2016-12-15_11-42-35.png

    Fourth: Greenhouse Guru. We had the Heirloom tomato salad. I was really excited about this- but I thought it was just okay. Dave really liked it.

    upload_2016-12-15_11-42-49.png

    Fifth: France. So a funny story here. I went up the France booth and said “I would like the short ribs”. But then I realized that it wasn’t called that, so I said- “I mean the Beef Bourguignon”. I’m sure that I did not pronounce it correctly, but when he rung me up- he said- that will be $16.00 and ran my card before I could say anything. I looked at the receipt and he had rung me up for the Beef and Chardonnay. I didn’t want the chardonnay – because we don’t drink- so I said that I hadn’t ordered. I have always heard the French rudeness stereotype- but having never been to France- had no experience. The look he gave me was hilarious- like- how could you be such a stupid American? It made me laugh. Now I realize that I had probably not said Beef Bourguignon with the correct French pronounciation – but there is NO way it sounded like Chardonay. Then he rolled his eyes and said – well I guess I can give you cash back- like it was really an impostion. So I really got the full French experience! Luckily the food was tasty.

    upload_2016-12-15_11-43-6.png

    Sixth: Brazil. We had both the cheese bread and the Pork belly. Both were delicious.

    upload_2016-12-15_11-43-20.png upload_2016-12-15_11-43-30.png

    Last: Belgium. We had one of everything and I think they were all our favorite of the day. We had the braised beef with gouda mashed potatos- heavenly. Then we also had both the waffles – with berries and chocolate. I liked the chocolate slightly better, but both were excellent.


    upload_2016-12-15_11-43-51.png upload_2016-12-15_11-44-0.png


    We were full by this time and had tried everything we wanted. The total for today’s grazing lunch was $50.50. More expensive than yesterday- but we ate more things. We decided that we did not need a 3rd day of booths. We walked back to the American Pavilion to check out the Chase Lounge. There was a line for free soda- but it moved quickly- and they had 3 coke freestyle machines. We got a soda and found a table and had a nice break and used the plug by our table to give our phones a charge.

    We had a FP to the Frozen ride which we had never been on. The stand-by line was 2+ hours- I felt really sorry for those people. The ride was oka- but I feel like they didn’t give it their A game. I think they could have added more detail. We also enjoyed all of the Epcot rides we were interested in. The crowds were quite a bit more than we expected- so we really took advantage of FP’s and did not wait in long lines. We had an early dinner reservation – so we did not take a hotel break in the afternoon. Instead we took a break with our feet up in the Sunshine Season’s area.
     
  10. kristenhh

    kristenhh Why can't we go to DL for EVERY vacation?

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    Day 2- Part 2

    Dinner was at Le Cellier. We got to Canada early and found a bench. I decided to check in early- and I was glad I did because they said they were behind. However, they called our name in a few minutes and we were on our way to a table. My only complaint about this restaurant is that they need more space. Surely there is a way they can expand? Every table is very close to the other tables- it is almost like having strangers dining with you!

    We branched out and ordered some appetizers- the poutine and the cheese soup.

    upload_2016-12-15_11-46-38.png

    We had never had the poutine before and it was so good and cooked to perfection. It was way too big for the 2 of us – I would only order it again for a bigger group- or just for my entrée if I was going cheap. The soup was also excellent – as well as the pretzel bread- which is always tasty. Then my favorite dish in the entire world: The Mushroom Fillet with the truffle butter. This time they had added some asparagus on the top.

    upload_2016-12-15_11-46-52.png

    I keep thinking the dish will let me down – but every bite was like heaven! How do they do it? I told my husband that even though he is my favorite person ever, if something happens to him, I will come here and try to get something going with whoever makes this. No joke. This meal is expensive, but wow it is totally worth it to me.

    We decided to walk to the Beach Club after dinner. We passed incredibly long lines at every food booth and were again glad we hit them early. It was a quick walk to the BC- it made me want to stay there! We called an Uber to take us back to the hotel. Uber worked great for us.
     
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  11. thumpergirl101

    thumpergirl101 SA 2015 Alumna

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    I'm the daughter who worked at Citricos, and I'd be happy to answer any questions your daughter might have!
     
  12. jakenjess

    jakenjess DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! I'm happy to hear you enjoyed your program so much! Will you be a seater again, or a different role this time around?
     
  13. thumpergirl101

    thumpergirl101 SA 2015 Alumna

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    I'll be a seater again. I think it's one of the best roles the College Program offers, so I'm excited to do it again.
     
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  14. kristenhh

    kristenhh Why can't we go to DL for EVERY vacation?

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    Day 3

    Today was the day to check into Saratoga Springs! We got up and enjoyed some more hot tub time before we packed up and called for an Uber ride. It was funny because you can see a map of where your driver is- Disney Springs – but for some reason he went the opposite way and took a really long time to arrive. Then we started off for Saratoga Springs – which is not that far away. Now I am directionally challenged, but we sure seemed to be driving for a long time. My husband finally spoke up and said – Saratoga Springs, right? The driver assured us yes- and was telling us how he only needs 4 hours of sleep per night… Finally the drive pulls in somewhere and turns around- he had been heading somewhere else after all! (When we got the Uber bill- they charged us more because it took so long- but they took away the extra charges when I told them the Driver had been lost).

    We arrived at the Carriage House and got checked in- but our room was not ready. The good new is that we got almost the perfect room. Dave had done some good research- and we had requested a specific building that was close the the main building with the food, close to the boat transporation, and close to a pool with a soda station.

    We now had the dining plan, so we grabbed our mugs, got a soda, and decided to add some extra MK time since we were done with food booths. We found the closest bus stop and headed off. An important note: we always had a seat on these buses – it was great. As soon as the bus started, we got a text saying our room was ready- Room 8701. Oh well. We later learned it was just a few minutes to the main building and the boat to Disney springs- just what we wanted.

    Dave had been craving a salad, and the best we could come up with was at Peco’s Bills. We each got the salad with chicken- and when we got them- they looked pretty small. (The bowl was small)

    upload_2016-12-21_11-38-36.png

    However, I loaded it up with some serious guacamole and sour cream. The chicken was flavorful and not overcooked- which was surprising. They filled us up and we were ready for an adventure. We used Fastpasses and meandered around for quite awhile. Then we decided to go check out our room and have a rest.

    For dinner we decided to try the boat over to Disney Springs (which was great and convenient) and made our way to Wolfgang Puck express. We ordered a Pepperoni Pomodoro pizza and a BBQ pizza. As we sat down, we realized that one of us should have ordered a pizza, and one a salad to share- which would have been a better idea. WPE is also nice because they have soda machines and you can get a refill. One change I didn’t like was that the crème brulee was no longer included with the dining plan, even though it was the same price as the cheesecake. I got the cheesecake- which was still excellent- and Dave got a brownie to eat later.

    upload_2016-12-21_11-38-54.png upload_2016-12-21_11-39-3.png

    Not enough basil for me!

    upload_2016-12-21_11-39-19.png

    WPE was good as always- but next time we will get more of a variety. Also, in retrospect, I wish we had gone back to Epcot to have a CS meal at one of the countries we like to eat at- like Mexico or Morocco as we never made it back there. But closer and easier was better for us that night.
     
  15. kristenhh

    kristenhh Why can't we go to DL for EVERY vacation?

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    Day 4

    This morning for breakfast we tried some microwave oatmeal in our studio villa and a pastry we had obtained at the food court/shop the night before- then we headed off the the Animal Kingdom. We always love this park – although our first FP couldn’t be used because Expedition Everest was down. (When it was operating later- we could still use our FP). We went on the safari, watched monkeys, saw the Bird show and enjoyed the atmosphere.

    Lunch was a favorite CS – The Flame Tree BBQ. We decided to share the Ribs, Chicken and Pulled Pork Combo- and got the Onion rings as our dessert. It was fantastic and plenty of food for 2 people. Even though it costs $19.99 if you are paying OOP- divided by 2 isn’t too bad for a Disney meal. The onion rings were also tasty and we enjoyed eating outside in one of the covered areas. I forgot to take a picture- but our plate had more food than this!

    upload_2016-12-22_11-27-33.png

    After lunch we decided to head back to the hotel for a rest. We enjoyed the hot tub for a while- and a nap. For dinner we headed to the Magic Kingdom. We strolled around a little, then checked in at The Crystal Palace. We always have an excellent meal here. The characters also came by- but we didn’t keep them so the kids around us could have a longer time. All of the entrée items were really good- I especially liked the piorgi? It was a stuffed pasta with onions and it was amazing. (on the plate below)

    upload_2016-12-22_11-27-50.png

    The sliced beef (I forget what they called it) also had a great flavor, and the mashed potatoes were also good. It was all hot and fresh and we really enjoyed it.

    upload_2016-12-22_11-28-1.png

    The salads I tried were also good. We did not care for the bite sized desserts which seemed to be prevalent almost everywhere we went. They were mostly okay- but nothing spectacular. I really like coming here- on the dining plan. I think it would be really hard to pay that much OOP for a character meal- at least for me.

    We wanted to see Wishes that night, but had some time to kill – so we found a nice place to hang out.

    upload_2016-12-22_11-28-13.png

    I texted the picture while we were there to my former CP daughter who promptly replied she knew right where we were and liked to sit there and eat cake pops.

    We didn’t want to fight crowds- so we went up on the railroad platform to watch the fireworks. Last time we went, they did FP’s for fireworks and we had a spot where we could sit right in front of the castle. I’m sorry they did away with those. We enjoyed our day and headed home.
     
  16. kristenhh

    kristenhh Why can't we go to DL for EVERY vacation?

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    Day 5

    Because we love a good cinnamon roll, we decided to try some of the recommended ones around WDW. We got up early and took an Uber to the Boardwalk resort to try the one at the Boardwalk Bakery. I was happy I decided to take my refillable mug with me, because they had a refill station there.

    We ordered a regular cinnamon roll and a pecan sticky bun. They were fine, but not excellent. However, when we took some extra frosting from the cinnamon roll and added it to the sticky bun, it was much better! Next time I would order the sticky bun, then have them add frosting. Anyway it was a decent breakfast for 2 snack credits. We ate our breakfast outside and it was chilly by the water. We were headed to DHS, and wanted to take the boat from the Boardwalk- but it sure was a cold wait. Take a jacket if you go early.

    upload_2017-1-4_10-48-20.png upload_2017-1-4_10-48-29.png

    Today was our only DHS day and we had FP’s and a plan to finish everything by early afternoon, then take a break and come back for Fantasmic. Our first FP was for Toy Story MM- but it didn’t start until 9:05- so we were just lurking by the entrance as the stand-by line got longer and longer. Right across the street is a Character spot for Woody and Buzz. A cast member saw us waiting and begged us to come see the characters as there was no one there. And they were right… So if you have people in your group who want to see Woody & Buzz- head over there 1st thing in the morning.

    We explored DHS all morning and hit all of our favorites: Star Tours, Tower of Terror, TSMM, The great Movie ride, then we had a FP for Indiana Jones. Dave had really wanted to see this again, which surprised me because last time we saw it, he wasn’t impressed. And as soon as they started and started picking audience members, he said- “I can tell I am not going to like this.” Yes, I could have told him that. Oh well! When the show was over, it was too early for our lunch at Mama Melrose, but we were hungry and decided to see if they would let us check in early. No they wouldn’t. But once we finally got seated, I was very interested to see how many empty tables there were that never got filled. I’m pretty sure they could have seated us.

    We have eaten at Mama Melrose’s several times and have always had a good meal. Not so much today. The bread basket they brought out was good. Then I ordered a pomegranate lemonade- which I did not like at all. That is not MM’s fault- it just didn’t do it for me. I was going to get a refill of something else, but our waitress was very scarcely seen. So I drank it, and then had nothing. She finally came around much later and brought me another one- which I would have appreciated, if I had liked it. For appetizers Dave got Caesar salad, and I ordered the Mozzarella and Tomatoes. This was the first place I had ever had a capresi salad- when my friend had ordered it- and I loved it. This was dreadful. The tomatoes were not ripe and very pale. (I have seen ripe tomatoes on Living with the Land- I know they have them…). There was no basil, and the cheese wasn’t great. I told my husband, if I was the chef, and the tomatoes looked like this, I would not serve them. I saw our server dash past, and asked if they now made this without basil. She said, “They didn’t give you basil?” So she brought me a bowl of basil after about 10 minutes. The Caesar salad was decent, by the way.

    For entrees, Dave got the Penne alla Vodka and I got the Shrimp Campanelle.

    upload_2017-1-4_10-48-43.png upload_2017-1-4_10-48-51.png

    He liked his okay, but it was nothing special. I have had the shrimp before, and liked it, but this just wasn’t tasty. Well there is always dessert, right? We had the Fantasmic package and so there was only 1 dessert choice which was 3 bite sized samplers of their desserts. We didn’t like any of them- and were not a fan of any of the bite sized desserts. (Okay- I liked some of Boma’s later). I had to borrow some pictures.

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    I won’t say I’ll never try MM again, but it certainly won’t be on my list for a while. We got a FP for Fantasmic later that night and decided to head back to the hotel for a rest. Also during the day, as soon as I saw Starring Rolls, I used another snack credit for a Butterfinger Cupcake to eat later. I have learned by sad experience that Starring Rolls closes in the evenings, so I wanted to get one while I could. I ate it the next day- it was delicious as per usual.

    We enjoyed relaxing, but Dave just didn’t have it in him to go back to DHS for Fantasmic. I told him I was fine with that- we will just have to go to Disneyland soon to make up for it. I used this phrase a lot.

    The food court at Saratoga was not very exciting for dinner, so we took the boat to Disney Springs to find a CS meal that sounded good. Dave had wanted to try the breakfast Poutine at the Poutine place, but they had replaced it with a turkey poutine. To say we are NOT turkey fans in an understatement. We looked at the CS for Morimoto Asia, but it didn’t speak to us either. After much walking, we decided to try D-Luxe Burger.
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    I don’t know if you can tell from the pictures- but the burgers were Huge! And they were delicious. And the fries and the dipping sauces were also fantastic. I think next time we should share a burger, then we can eat more fries! This place was on the dining plan, and we used our “dessert” to get the fries. They also had tasty looking milk shakes, but we were too full to try one. I would definitely go here again.
     
  17. jakenjess

    jakenjess DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    Messages:
    2,076
    Have to agree with you about MM going downhill. In many years past we've had a good meal there, but the last time we went, about a year ago, it really wasn't good. I doubt we'll be going back anytime soon.

    D-Luxe Burger definitely needs to go on the list of new places to try. Looks delicious!
     
  18. kristenhh

    kristenhh Why can't we go to DL for EVERY vacation?

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    379
    I would definitely give D-Luxe burger a try- we really enjoyed it!
     
  19. kristenhh

    kristenhh Why can't we go to DL for EVERY vacation?

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    379
    Day 6

    We decided to try Saratoga’s food court for breakfast this morning, after sleeping in. I got the French Toast Strata and it was so good! It reminded me of bread pudding.
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    Dave got a ham and cheese omelet- it was fine, but nothing special. One thing we like to do if we eat breakfast at the food court, is to get bottled drinks to save for later, then we use our refillable mugs to get a drink for breakfast- it works great! I would totally order this again, but may not use a CS credit as it is pretty cheap. One nice thing about this food court is that you order, then go pay, then they bring your food out to you. But it is really tiny. It is a totally different than the experience at Art of Animation- and has much less variety of choices.

    We went back to Epcot and made sure that we saw everything we wanted to see in Future world. And we cancelled our FP+ for Frozen, because we decided we didn’t need to see it again now, so some lucky person got to take advantage.

    Lunch was a new restaurant for us – Coral Reef. We had decided to go here because the Shrimp and Grits entrée really appealed to my husband. We also saw that they had a Price fixe option that included the Shrimp and Grits, so wanted to see if we could get that on the dining plan. (Answer: NO- only if you use 2 TS credits- which is totally not worth it- since all it adds is an appetizer.)

    We were seated and had a good view of the tank and could see a window were some rays were hanging out. The tables here are on tiers so hopefully everyone can see the tank. Our waiter told us that we could get the fancy non-alcoholic drinks on the dining plan. I had the coconut elixir and it was great. It tasted like a pina colada in juice form. (No refills though). Dave had the Strawberry Lemonade (I think it was Odwalla) and it was fine but nothing special. We both ordered the shrimp and grits and it was delicious.
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    It may have been my first time eating grits, but they were good and the sauce under them was also good. I would definitely come here and eat again. And I thought the restaurant was pretty- Dave was harder to impress- but he liked the food. For dessert we had the Panacotti Lime Tart and the Chocolate Wave.
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    The Tart was nice and had a light, fluffy texture. The chocolate wave was also good, but I thought the center was a little too gooey for me- it was like cake batter.

    We hung around Epcot for a little bit, and actually waited in the standby line for Soarin. We decided to head over to the YC/BC area and hang out until dinner. We enjoyed hanging out at quite a few deluxe hotels this trip. We walked over to BC and I was surprised to see the gate open to Storm Along Bay. I wanted to see what it looks like, so we took advantage and walked all around. We also learned there was no exit on the far side, so we walked back and got out by Beaches & Cream. Then we walked over to the YC and explored a bit and enjoyed the chairs in the lobby.

    At dinner time, we checked in at another new restaurant: Captain’s Grille. This had never really been on my radar, but I read another food report where they talked about the Tagliatelle Pasta- and it looked enticing, so we had to try this place. One thing I really liked is it was not too crowded, and it was big, so it looked like you might be able to walk up and get a table.

    We were seated and brought a tasty bread basket with salted butter.
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    Our waitress was great and talked me out of the pasta, and into just having the short ribs. So we got one pasta and one short ribs on the corn risotto. They were both amazing! As soon as the put the plates down and Dave saw the corn risotto, he grabbed a bite before he even tried his own. It needed a little bit of salt – but once added, delicious.

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    For dessert we had the Seasonal fruit cobbler (it was apple) and the White chocolate cheesecake with chocolate gelato.
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    The cheesecake was nothing special, but the gelato and fruit was good. The cobbler was also good, but it had a little too much nutmeg, in my opinion. I liked it so much, that when I help my daughter drive back for her next college program, we are going there.
     
  20. Niki Andiokno

    Niki Andiokno DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2003
    Messages:
    737
    Your trip looks amazing. I love the short ribs at Captain's Grill as well. Can't wait for more.
     
  21. kristenhh

    kristenhh Why can't we go to DL for EVERY vacation?

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2005
    Messages:
    379
    Day 7

    Today was MK day- and I was really excited, because the crowds were predicted to be 2 out of 10 –because they were closing at 4:30 for a cast member party. This excitement was soon to be squashed as it was definitely still crowded… My desired plan was to go to the Poly early and get some Tonga toast in the food court. I always want to do this every vacation, and it never works out!

    Instead we got the MK at opening and used our FP for the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, and headed to Gaston’s to try out their cinnamon rolls. First of all I waited in a long line. I finally got to the front and ordered a “Warm Cinnamon Roll” and found Dave at a table, we poked the cinnamon roll and it was cold. I decided to rebel- after all – it is called “warm” in the description. I didn’t want to brave the line again, but a CM was propping the door open, so I asked if we could get them warmed up. He said there is no way to do that (lame!) but he told me that I should throw them away and he would bring us warm rolls. Dave’s face was priceless as he saw me dump them in the garbage! We waited for a few minutes, and he brought us some new cinnamon rolls. Still cold! And they were not good at all. So much for the rave reviews I have read. We are a few bites, then gave up and decided to have a snack later.

    We rode more rides- using our FP’s and looking for small lines. Again, it was pretty crowded. Soon it was snack time because we hadn’t had much breakfast. We went into Pinocchio Village Haus and there were no crowds because it was between breakfast and lunch. Dave got some Tomato Basil soup and I got some French fries. We sat at this lovely corner table with windows and enjoyed our snack.

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    We enjoyed going on the People Mover several times and took the train around the park.

    Lunch was at Be our Guest! Since the last time we went, they have a separate line for those that pre-ordered, which made things much faster. We got it pretty quickly, but then had a hard time finding a table. We went to all the rooms, and finally in the Beast’s study, we saw a table that had people who were almost done- so we hovered and then waited while they cleared the table. We both had the pork, and it was excellent. (Sorry about the dark photo- it is dark in there!) This is one of my favorite uses of a CS credit- it is more like a TS, and the food is great in my opinion. (And refills!)
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    For dessert, I had the Master’s cupcake, and Dave had the orange éclair. They were both tasty.
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    After lunch we decided to get on the monorail and go hang out at the Poly. What we really wanted was a hammock, but apparently they took those out! So we found a nice area with couches upstairs and had some quiet for a while, but then tons of people started surrounding us. They were all people gathering for 4:00 ADR’s at O’hana. We moved downstairs and found a new chair. I had really wanted to get some O’hana bread pudding at the lounge there, but I just wasn’t hungry enough and we had a fancy dinner that night. So I decided to at least get a dole whip float to share. It took me a while to find where they sold them now- and when I ordered, they told me it was on the house. What? I think they were having trouble with their equipment (magic band), but it was magical to me. They could have just closed down, but instead, were just giving everyone free dole whips. I texted my good fortune to my daughter and was commenting about how warm it was- so she sent me back this picture of her at that moment.
    upload_2017-1-9_9-36-15.png


    Poor baby in the snow!

    We decided to move the Contemporary for some more hanging out- and this was the location of dinner. It was our first time at California Grill, and it was our anniversary celebration meal. My daughter highly recommended this place, and she wasn’t wrong. They took us up in the special elevator to the restaurant. They had great viewing areas for fireworks – both for the MK and Epcot. There weren’t any MK fireworks that night, because of the special event, but we were told we could come back with our receipt the next day if we wanted to see them there. I thought that was really nice.

    We ordered the Potato soup and Caesar salad to start. Neither of these were noteworthy- we will skip appetizers next time. (And I know sometimes Caesar salads have a fishy taste – but this had big slices of fish- not my thing.) The presentation was beautiful however.
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    For the main course, we both got what was titled simply “Pork” and it was phenomenal. I just wanted to keep eating and eating, but I couldn’t finish it.
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    There was pork belly and 2 pieces of pork tenderloin on goat cheese polenta. Amazing! We were really full, but they brought us an Anniversary Boston Crème cupcake.
    upload_2017-1-9_9-37-12.png

    We took an Uber home and fell asleep full and happy.
     
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