"When I went it was all lights, and music, and Mickey doin' his magic." — Aug. '18 Disneyversary TR

Raeven

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 15, 2015
I talked with the allergy chef about my allergies, and he took me through the buffet. It almost seemed like it was a bother to him. Maybe he had a lot on the go that morning, I'm not sure.
Ugh that's so annoying. We also didn't have a great allergy experience last time at Cali Grill, but the chef didn't even bother to come out.

I didn't have many options for entrees that could be done for all my dietary restrictions, so I went with the steak and eggs.
Yeah they only gave Josh two the steak and eggs and the omelet even though I thought they could modify some dishes with GF bread.

In a demonstration of how excellent a server she really was, she told me that she had listened in to what the allergy chef had told me about dietary restrictions and what I could eat on the buffet, and she remembered me having an intolerance to spinach, so she went back and double-checked with the cooks and found out that the allergy chef had given me misinformation
That's good that your server was paying attention! Our server was awful when we went so it didn't make things much better :rotfl:

N also ordered the lobster omelette which he said was absolutely terrible.
Josh also didn't like that!

My steak and eggs were just okay. The eggs seemed a little rubbery and overcooked, and the steak wasn't very tender at all.
Yuck, my steak was almost raw, and had super overly seasoned eggs.

I'm sure there would have been something else they could have done to dress it up a little if they'd wanted to, but I still appreciated the option very much, and it was something a little more creative and different than your standard allergy sorbet.
They used to! But the last time we went they did the same thing and just kind of dumped fruit around it. Actually the last time we went they weren't sure they could even bring a cake :confused3

One part of our meal that was a bit disappointing was that the observation decks were closed during our entire meal.
This also happened to us! It was only one side, but it was the side we were sitting on.

My mediocre entree, coupled with a relatively short list of options for my dietary needs, left me feeling a bit "meh" about it for the price. N had a few more options, and one of his entrees was really stellar, so he came away with more decidedly positive feelings about it.
Wow, I feel like we had pretty similar experiences there. I'm sorry yours wasn't any better, I was hoping the lack of GF choices and stuff was just a fluke on our trip because it hadn't been that way before.

The way N described it was that he felt that if he had asked this server for a gun, that he would have brought it to the table with no questions asked.
I'm glad you enjoyed Shula's!

Ans I know what he means! If you get up during the meal they start folding your napkins into triangles the minute you step away. :rotfl:

The loaded baked potato was...well...a baked potato...with stuff to load it.
This sounds like exactly how Josh describes his side when he has a steak in front of him :lmao:
 

amazingact21

Upendi
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
You seemed pretty content with your CA Grill brunch, but I don't know. It sounded like there wasn't a lot of allergy-friendly foods, and with a meal that costs as much as that one does, you really wanna get your money's worth. :confused3

I don't think I've ever heard of Shula's before. Your steak from there looked delicious, though!

All the character meets sounded fun. Sorry Tink rushed you along; I do agree that sometimes the characters rush people without kids.
 


MeghanEmily

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 21, 2016
As the mother of an 8 year old I am thrilled to tell you these are not just preschool rules but children rules at large. Especially poop whenever it can be turned into a game in which a ticker is won and you use it to fuel your action figure to the moon :earboy2:
:rotfl: Oooh I never thought to combine them!! This is smart!

Yeah, I learned a lot of actual legit speech-y type things, too, of course. But I think the coolest stuff I learned was how to work with kids. Of course sometimes you get a kiddo who just stumps you, and none of the tricks work. But most of the time kids just make sense once you learn how to hang out with them properly. :-)

That is a bummer! I would have thought you would have gotten great service from a CG chef~
Right?!?

Allergy free or not, i could totally devour everything on that plate.
I DID devour everything on that plate. Nom.

I had the lobster benedict and while it wasn't bad, I just felt like it was over the top for ostentatiousness sake and not actually all that good compared to the other items. So maybe N had a similar experience :confused3
Ooh, that's too bad! Sorry you had that experience. N's experience was more along the lines of "...ugh...I don't think I can eat this..." kinda thing.

Definitely not creative, but certainly points for something slightly different
Totally!

Great photo. Your hair, ears, and lip stick are totally on point
Thank you! :lovestruc Was feeling cute! It lasted for about the first 7 minutes that I was outside in the humidity. Then it all melted, frizzed, and expanded. :laughing:

This may be my favourite picture of you ever. Though I hate to break it to you. Pretzels. Have. GLUTTEN. A good chef would have told you that :earboy2:'
Ooohhhhh!!! That explains it!! I wondered why I was so miserable that entire day!!! :rotfl2: Would have been great if a chef had told me that!! lol

What gives Meghan??/ Heard you went all all allergy free at CG and then ate an entire pretzel at the purple wall :confused3
:rotfl:

We had this same coupon last year, but Shula's was closed for 2 weeks when we were there. Hoping I can get another one this year so we can finally try it
Oh fiddlesticks! How lame. Hope you get to give it a try this time. It was pretty tasty.

:rotfl2::rotfl2::rotfl2: 48 ouches of meat a heart attack? I don't think so. Maybe just a slight gall bladder issue :P
:rotfl:

Your experience with the Chefs @ Disney seems to be real hit or miss.
It really does. But mostly "hit," fortunately. I have typically fair-to-excellent experiences with almost all the Disney allergy chefs. I think the negative ones might just stand out more sometimes when I go to write a report because I feel like it was important information to point out maybe.

Very colorful! I thinks it needs some whipped topping, but I guess not something you can have?
That would be a great addition! But no, I can't usually eat it. Sometimes I might cheat at home with something like whipped cream, but usually no, and definitely not on vacation when I need to keep myself in good health to have fun!

Excellent Purple Wall pictures.
Thank you!!

I remember when they first put the Tink meet & greet in the old Toontown. The premise was that by Pixie Magic you were shrunk down to Tink's size so you could meet her.
:lovestruc So cute!

This is great to hear. I'll keep this in mind for the future. Sounds like it will be great for an adult only trip.
It would be great for an adults' trip! Very good service and food when we went, and a more adult atmosphere.

So pretty! I love berries.
Me too!

I think you got some really good shots.
Thanks! :goodvibes
 
  • pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    "Oh god no! That's a heart attack!"
    418024
    The following day we'd be transferring to the second resort of our stay: the super swanky Grand Floridian.
    Gee! It seems everyone is staying there lately!
    I still doubt I ever will.... but I'm a bit less doubtful, now.
    I'd never eaten at the Dolphin before
    Nor have I.
    I remember the first time I heard it. She performed on an episode of So You Think You Can Dance. She wasn't known then. Or not much.
    I'll start by saying that Shula's ended up being really incredible, and we would absolutely go back.
    Great! :)
    Our main server was an interesting fellow, somehow enthusiastic about the food and service, while also very subdued and solemn in his personality.
    Kind of like "I know you'll like this... but then you're just going to poop it out later anyway."
    The way N described it was that he felt that if he had asked this server for a gun, that he would have brought it to the table with no questions asked.
    Well... it's the US. I think that's pretty standard.
    Our server also told us that they have a 48oz Porterhouse
    :eek:
    3 lbs of meat???? Is it for a family of 12?
    Our servers brought out bread and butter, and a gluten free hamburger bun or me! :laughing: I laugh, but these buns are actually better than most gluten free bread/rolls, so it was a nice option.
    Well... better than nothing?
    Just.... so... not fancy! :laughing:
    The lady at the table responded vehemently: "Oh GOD NO! That's a HEART ATTACK!" We chucked.
    :laughing:
    Our steaks arrived, and they were some of the best steaks we've ever ordered.
    Really! You're making it awfully hard for me not to try this.
    the little glass stick thing
    That, Meghan, is called a swizzle stick. Back in the day (even before my time) restaurants would put plastic ones in your drink and expect you to keep them. Cheap advertising. My mom still has a bunch.
    Whoa.... that looks really good.
    "I can't laugh, I might vomit."
    "May I poke you in the tummy? As an experiment?"
    Eventually, around 9:30, Happily Ever After began.
    Do you happen to remember what time they were supposed to go?
    I had recently upgraded my SLR camera, and I brought a tripod with me,
    ::yes:: Only way to go.
    I ended up taking better fireworks photos later in the trip, but I think these are still kind of neat.
    Nice shots. :)
     

    pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    This is closely related to: if you want a preschooler to keep doing an activity they seem to be tiring of, don't under any circumstances ask them whether they're "all done" or not. That one should have been pretty obvious to me...
    Yep. Been there...
    This also works for adults. Especially adults who might have had a stroke or other condition that affects their speech or language. Don't pretend you understand if you don't. They don't believe you.
    Oh! Of course. People can see through BS most times.
    My mom's basement. 😆
    The Shangri-La of accomodations!
    Our lease is up, but I only have another few months left to go in my coursework, and then I don't know where I'll have to go for my next internship, so we figured it didn't make sense to get a new apartment. We'd been hoping to just extend our lease, but we had been on a yearly lease, and our landlord ended up not being able to offer us that option.
    Okay. I get that. Did a similar thing when we got married.
    I have a very unique skill set. :laughing:
    ::yes:: Yes you do.
     

    afwdwfan

    DIS Dad #460
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2010
    I love the list of things learned from working with preschoolers. It couldn't possibly be more accurate. :rotfl2:

    You guys were really loving it up and eating well! The experience with the chef at California Grill is a bit concerning as they should be more careful about clearly understanding and giving accurate information on allergies, but huge credit to the server watching out for you!

    I'm glad the weather cleared so that you could return after dinner at Shulas and watch fireworks.
     

    disneyAndi14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2014
    I absolutely loved my experience at California Grill brunch, everything I tried was so delicious. I didn’t have to worry about Andi’s allergy during my meal so that made it so much more enjoyable. I’m surprised they don’t have better GF options, with this being high end and Disney is usually known for accommodating allergies really well. I’m glad you liked it and didn’t hate it! It is now 90.00 a person, yikes!

    Shula looks amazing and it always helps to have a good experience when you are celebrating a special day! How does the BOGO work? Does it have to be you exact Birthday to use it? That is a good deal, you don’t see that much anymore.
     
  • MeghanEmily

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2016
    WHOA!! That's some service!
    It really was! Our server really went above and beyond.

    OH too bad. :( Sorry that the one option you had wasn't so good.
    Yeah, I think it's probably a bit hit or miss with that entree, because I've heard tales of it being excellent, and others where it wasn't fantastic.

    So adorable!
    Thank you! I love when the photopass photographers give you the opportunity to have some fun. :)

    My fave of the bunch. :)
    Thanks! I had some fun trying to photograph fireworks with a longer exposure for the first time :)

    I'm still very much an "auto" kind of amateur photographer though, and only have a vague understanding of what the different settings on my camera mean. Now that I've got a slightly more advanced camera, I'd like to make better use of it. So I've ordered myself a couple of books to start educating myself a bit more about photography! And I'm hoping to find some time to take a class at some point in the future.

    Double ooh la la. I've heard a lot of good comments about it too. My birthday is the end of this month...might have to look into this.
    Highly recommend! It felt a bit swanky for us in terms of budget and level of service, but it would be lovely for a special meal. The birthday coupon really does make it more affordable as well—i.e. we only paid for one $56 steak, rather than two $56/$54 steaks!—and I seem to recall you have a window of a few weeks to use the coupon.

    Interesting? Sounds kinda strange to me, but you can call it interesting if you'd like. :laughing:
    Haha yeah, interesting was one word for him! He kinda seemed like a movie character or something. Quite a guy.

    Hey, hamburger bun is better than no bread. Glad they at least had something for you. You forgot to smuggle to your purse again, didn't you?
    You're correct on both counts. It was actually quite good. I preferred it to the typical bread/rolls that are server for gluten free folks.

    I'm not a souffle person myself, but that doesn't look too bad.
    You don't look like a souffle person. 😋 But according to Nathan it was quite tasty.

    Just curious...what was the upgrade from/to?
    Good pictures. I haven't quite figured out my camera completely. I haven't tried with a tripod either. I usually try to take a video and then do some captures from that, but they're not as high res as the pictures.
    I used to have a Canon Rebel (I think it was the T6i model?) and I upgraded to a Canon 80D. I don't know that Canon would have been my first choice if I didn't already have a couple of their lenses, but I'm also already pretty comfy with their interface and how their cameras work, so I like it for that reason. It's a nice little camera, and I'm enjoying getting to know it a bit better when I have the time. I mentioned this above in response to Liesa's comment, but I'm really still very much an "auto" kind of amateur photographer, and only venture outside that comfort zone occasionally with minimal proficiency. Having this camera is nice motivation for me to learn more about how photography works, so I've invested in a couple of books, and am hoping to find some time to possibly take a class or two in future.
     

    MeghanEmily

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2016
    Ah it sounds like the food was a little bit of a miss at CG! But otherwise glad you enjoyed yourselves and that your server was so great!

    oOoO I love your lipstick! And those ears are so cute!

    Cute princess & Tink pics!

    What a great dinner at Shulas! And awesome pics of HEA from the observation deck!
    Yeah, Cali Grill wasn't a total hit, but there were some good parts for sure. Thanks so much for the compliments! Our evening was really pretty top notch. :)

    Sounds like you learned alot! Of course, pretty much any parent could have told you those... Especially #7! I don't understand why but it is...
    Haha yeah, I really should have asked for advice from all my parent friends here on the DIS first! It would have saved me some time! :laughing: I really don't get what it is about the poop thing...but so many appointments headed for disaster could be salvaged by making poop jokes and bribing with poop emoji stickers!

    Ugh that's so annoying. We also didn't have a great allergy experience last time at Cali Grill, but the chef didn't even bother to come out.
    That's so frustrating...but I'm also not totally surprised.

    Yeah they only gave Josh two the steak and eggs and the omelet even though I thought they could modify some dishes with GF bread.
    Right!? I thought the same thing.

    That's good that your server was paying attention! Our server was awful when we went so it didn't make things much better :rotfl:
    Oh man! You were really two for two!

    Yuck, my steak was almost raw, and had super overly seasoned eggs.
    Ew. So gross. I think I remember reading that in your review. Very disappointing.

    They used to! But the last time we went they did the same thing and just kind of dumped fruit around it. Actually the last time we went they weren't sure they could even bring a cake :confused3
    Jeez! At least bring the little cake!

    Wow, I feel like we had pretty similar experiences there. I'm sorry yours wasn't any better, I was hoping the lack of GF choices and stuff was just a fluke on our trip because it hadn't been that way before.
    Yeah, I worry this is the way it's going. I hope that if they keep the brunch around that they beef up the allergy options and level of service around dietary restrictions. We'll see, I guess.

    I'm glad you enjoyed Shula's!

    Ans I know what he means! If you get up during the meal they start folding your napkins into triangles the minute you step away. :rotfl:
    Shula's was so great! And I totally ended up going because of your dining reviews! :goodvibes Oh my gosh I can totally see that happening with the napkins! :laughing: If we go back now I'm going to intentionally leave the table at some point just to see if they do anything to the table while I'm gone.

    This sounds like exactly how Josh describes his side when he has a steak in front of him :lmao:
    :rotfl:

    You seemed pretty content with your CA Grill brunch, but I don't know. It sounded like there wasn't a lot of allergy-friendly foods, and with a meal that costs as much as that one does, you really wanna get your money's worth. :confused3

    I don't think I've ever heard of Shula's before. Your steak from there looked delicious, though!

    All the character meets sounded fun. Sorry Tink rushed you along; I do agree that sometimes the characters rush people without kids.
    Those were kinda my thoughts about the Cali Grill brunch, too. It's not that I'd never go back, but we're not in a rush. It's definitely not on our itinerary for next month's trip. It wasn't terribly bad or anything, but not worth the price for me with my dietary stuff.

    Shula's was excellent! A little pricey, but the coupon made it quite manageable. I hadn't heard of it either until I read about it on dining reports here.

    We had fun with the characters! (Despite Tink being in a hurry.)

    I love the list of things learned from working with preschoolers. It couldn't possibly be more accurate. :rotfl2:

    You guys were really loving it up and eating well! The experience with the chef at California Grill is a bit concerning as they should be more careful about clearly understanding and giving accurate information on allergies, but huge credit to the server watching out for you!

    I'm glad the weather cleared so that you could return after dinner at Shulas and watch fireworks.
    Preschoolers are really a whole different animal from any other type of human on the planet! It was fun getting to know them and their quirks (and getting a few laughs out of it along the way!)

    We really did go big in the dining department that day! When on vacation... :) But I thought the same about the CG chef. I'm fortunate that my allergy isn't as severe as it would be for others. But it could have been a much bigger issue for another guest who didn't have a server watching out for them like ours!

    I absolutely loved my experience at California Grill brunch, everything I tried was so delicious. I didn’t have to worry about Andi’s allergy during my meal so that made it so much more enjoyable. I’m surprised they don’t have better GF options, with this being high end and Disney is usually known for accommodating allergies really well. I’m glad you liked it and didn’t hate it! It is now 90.00 a person, yikes!

    Shula looks amazing and it always helps to have a good experience when you are celebrating a special day! How does the BOGO work? Does it have to be you exact Birthday to use it? That is a good deal, you don’t see that much anymore.
    The Cali Grill brunch is really lovely, but it definitely doesn't seem to cater as well to allergies, especially in terms of gluten free options. I can't believe that price, though! $90pp is hard to stomach, even though it really is a wonderful experience. It's not that I absolutely wouldn't book it again, but I'd think twice, especially with the price increase.

    Shula's really was so excellent! I could be wrong about the coupon because I don't have any notes about it, but I seem to recall that you can get it by signing up for free for their fan club type thing, and then you receive it several days before your birthday, and you have a window of time to use it. I want to say it's a few weeks or a month? I do know that we didn't go on my actual birthday though, because the date of my real birthday was a bit before we actually arrived at Disney.
     

    MeghanEmily

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2016
    Gee! It seems everyone is staying there lately!
    I still doubt I ever will.... but I'm a bit less doubtful, now.
    You never know! Maybe someday you'll get a magical upgrade like Liesa! That's the dream!

    Well... it's the US. I think that's pretty standard.
    :rolleyes1

    :eek:
    3 lbs of meat???? Is it for a family of 12?
    Really! You're making it awfully hard for me not to try this.
    Hopefully I haven't oversold Shula's if you ever do go. But, at least for us, it was very good.

    That, Meghan, is called a swizzle stick. Back in the day (even before my time) restaurants would put plastic ones in your drink and expect you to keep them. Cheap advertising. My mom still has a bunch.
    Nifty! I'd never heard of this before, though I'd seen them in drinks before. The things you learn on the Disboards...

    Whoa.... that looks really good.
    According to Nathan, it was really good. He has decided that he likes souffles, but I think this was a particularly good one.

    Do you happen to remember what time they were supposed to go?
    I don't remember whether the fireworks were supposed to go at 8:45, 8:50, or 9:00. But I know they were at least a half hour late. Fortunately, they went off eventually! And before we decided to give up on them.

    Nice shots. :)
    Thanks! I'm very much still learning, but I thought it was a neat place to take pictures :)

    Oh! Of course. People can see through BS most times.
    Totally. And then it just makes them trust you less, so nobody wins.

    Okay. I get that. Did a similar thing when we got married.
    Yeah, it seems like the most logical option. And my family is pretty great, so I don't think we'll mind being there for a few months. We'll want our own space again as soon as we can get it, but for a short period time like that you just do what makes sense.
     

    Raeven

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 15, 2015
    Right!? I thought the same thing.
    I think we even might've talked about it back when I wrote the review. Like we were saying there were definitely dishes that they should be able to modify with GF bread and stuff. Especially since the first time we went they offered more options.

    Jeez! At least bring the little cake!
    :laughing: they managed to find one I guess because it was under the fruit, but they were kind of like "ugh nothing is gf we can try to make something I guess but we get all our desserts from a bakery. Maybe we can throw some fruit on a plate".

    Yeah, I worry this is the way it's going. I hope that if they keep the brunch around that they beef up the allergy options and level of service around dietary restrictions. We'll see, I guess.
    I hope it gets better, but I doubt we'd go back anytime soon to see. It's way too pricey for subpar food and service.

    Shula's was so great! And I totally ended up going because of your dining reviews! :goodvibes Oh my gosh I can totally see that happening with the napkins! :laughing: If we go back now I'm going to intentionally leave the table at some point just to see if they do anything to the table while I'm gone.
    I'm so glad you liked it! They're my favorite steaks.

    Yes, you have to :rotfl: I want to see if it happens to other people too. It was hilarious because I was still sitting there and I thought he came to take the plate so I was like oh he isn't done yet, and the guy was like I'm just here to fold the napkin with the most serious look on his face.
     
  • Tracy161

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2006
    Thanks, Tracy. It seems like every year goes faster.
    It's so true! Remember when we were kids and the summers lasted forever?! :rolleyes:

    I'm doing it full-time, so I've got a full course load, which is something like 5 classes, but one of those classes is actually a small group research project.
    That's intense. I took 2 courses at most... and sometimes my full-time job felt like a vacation from the classes:rotfl:

    Then I'm out in the world as a grown-up SLP!
    YAY! You're getting closer and closer each day :thumbsup2

    but he did enjoy the blueberry mimosa I forced him to accept.
    :laughing:

    Our server definitely had a name, but I don't remember it.
    This actually gave me a small case of the church giggles :rotfl:

    I was very impressed and felt good knowing that my server was looking out for me
    That's awesome. :goodvibes Especially since the chef was less than with-it. :sad2:

    First, we hit up the purple wall. I love this silly wall, and I have no shame about it.
    Me too! I also have no shame about it :thumbsup2

    Tink was expecially peppy this afternoon...I think she'd accidentally consumed a human-sized cup of coffee that day or something.
    HAHAHA!

    in true #loveandshove fashion, were on our way.
    Yes... this is such a thing. For this reason alone (because I expected it as an adult solo traveler), I avoided character interactions altogether for a long time. I do them now, but only characters I really want to meet! (Lookin at you, Chewie ;))

    So glad you had such a lovely dinner at Shula's. I've never ventured over there myself, but would be curious to try someday. And what a lovely way to cap off the night with the fireworks! Loved your pictures :wizard:
     

    pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    You never know! Maybe someday you'll get a magical upgrade like Liesa! That's the dream!
    I doubt it, but... you never know I suppose.
    Hopefully I haven't oversold Shula's if you ever do go. But, at least for us, it was very good.
    No, you didn't. I always go in hoping for a good meal, of course, but... I'll make up my own mind. :)
    Nifty! I'd never heard of this before, though I'd seen them in drinks before. The things you learn on the Disboards...
    The DIS... repository of all knowledge.
    I don't remember whether the fireworks were supposed to go at 8:45, 8:50, or 9:00. But I know they were at least a half hour late. Fortunately, they went off eventually! And before we decided to give up on them.
    Ah. So not too long, then.
     

    MeghanEmily

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2016
    It's so true! Remember when we were kids and the summers lasted forever?! :rolleyes:
    This is so true. Those were the days...

    I do them now, but only characters I really want to meet! (Lookin at you, Chewie ;))
    :goodvibes

    So glad you had such a lovely dinner at Shula's. I've never ventured over there myself, but would be curious to try someday. And what a lovely way to cap off the night with the fireworks! Loved your pictures :wizard:
    Thanks! Yes, it was a pretty lovely night. Good food, good show, good company. :lovestruc I definitely recommend Shula's if it ever fits into schedule/budget.

    Wow! your meal at Shulas looks fabulous. Joe and I have never been there but I'm definitely adding it to the list. Yum!
    Yes, it was very yum! Hopefully you'll work it in to your plans at some point :)
     

    MeghanEmily

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2016
    "Listen to Meghan. Don't Stand Up."
    Aug. 20—Part 1

    On this particular morning, we had a very early wake-up call. We were out of bed at 5:45am and on the road by 6:10 in order to arrive at Typhoon Lagoon by 6:45. For the first time in our lives, we were going to try surfing!! 🏄‍♀️

    When we arrived at 6:45, which was designated arrival time time, Typhoon Lagoon was deserted, and the front gate was left partway open. We looked around for a cast member, or someone from the surf school, and when we didn't find anyone, we noticed another group of guests had arrived and was entering the park, so we poked our heads inside the gate, began to follow the others, and headed toward the surf pool. It was a beautiful crystal-clear morning.








    Eventually we were discovered by a cast member who told us that we were absolutely not supposed to enter the park until we were met by a guide at the front gate. We all walked all the way back out of the park again, just to wait another five minutes for a guide who was running late, just to walk all the way back in again. #Disneyefficiency



    We all signed waivers that absolved Disney and the surf school from blame if we died. Then we all sat in some beach chairs by the surf pool and settled in for the safety spiel and the dry-land-teachy portion of the morning. There was a table set up behind us with some continental breakfast items, juice, water, and coffee. The course was taught by a lady who'd been surfing for decades, and two younger guys who'd also been surfing for years and worked for the school and helped her out. She was super awesome, but I forget her name now, nearly a year later. She was bright-eyed so early in the morning, and was the perfect balance of strict ('cuz, ya know, safety) and funny/personable. I liked her immediately.



    We were taught that the waves came in twos, and that when a wave was about to come from the wave machine, the fog horn would sound, and we'd hear a big *woummpfph* as a wall of water moved toward us. (Side note: apparently Typhoon Lagoon had just gotten a new, much louder fog horn sound, and it was continually scaring the bejeezus out of our instructor, who was used to the old one.) One of the recurring themes from the educational part of the morning was that when we heard the loud sound, our first instinct would be to stand up, but that it wasn't time yet, and that the instructors would tell us when we should stand. The main instructor kept coming back to this point throughout the lesson. At one point, she asked what we should do when we heard the fog horn, and nobody said anything. I think because I stood out with my pink hair, she called on me to answer, and I said, "Don't stand up!" She congratulated me on the right answer and asked my name. It became a running joke: "Listen to Meghan! Don't Stand up!"





    While still on land, we learned how to do the pop-up. You start by lying on your board, gripping the sides. Normally, you'd start paddling into a wave from this point, but since we were all newbies we were all going to be pushed into the waves and just focus on getting upright. The first part of the pop-up was to curl your toes under you against the board, and push yourself up into a push-up position. From there, you would pull your legs in underneath you into a crouching position in one fluid motion, then rotate with your toes pointed perpendicular to the length of the board, and stand up, with soft slightly-bent knees. The instructors made it look easy and seamless. In reality, it took some practice to get used to doing this, and we all practiced on land first.



    (^Don't stand at the back of the board to look like a cool dude...you'll flip it over and fall off the back.)



    (^Much better! Centre yourself in the middle of the board.)



    The pop-up...push-up into a standing position. Easy-peasy!





    After a bit of practice...









    ...we were ready to hit the water!



    Like I said, it was shaping up to be a beautiful morning. The line with the yellow flags in the air that you can see in the pictures below was a landmark for us. If we could stay on our boards that far, that was where we had to bail and swim our boards back to shore. Then we'd walk back with our boards to the end of the pool and offer them up to the next riders.





    Before we began, the instructors demonstrated for us. Cute young surfer dudes hanging ten? I was only a little bit smitten.






    Here is N on his board just as one of his waves was coming in. He's a pretty cute surfer dude, too. :lovestruc





    The instructors would give us a boost to propel us into the waves, and then they'd holler at us to stand up at just the right time to catch the wave. It was so noisy with all the rushing water, however, that I found I couldn't really hear them yelling. Eventually I just got the hang of when to stand up and made it up on my own.

    Each time the fog horn sounded, there was a "big" wave first, and then a second "little" wave that came after. We told our instructors whether we wanted to take the big wave or the little wave. N almost always took the big wave, and he found it gave him the push he needed to get some momentum. I, on the other hand, tended to prefer the little wave, as I found it really difficult to balance on my board with the big one. Balancing, it turns out, is one of the most important things when you're learning to surf. (Who woulda' thought!? :laughing:) I tried the big wave a couple of times, and spent the whole ride feeling like I was teetering from side to side just trying to pop up, only to try to stand up, and then face-plant into the surf with a nosefull of water.

    After we took our first wave, we'd paddle back to the end of the pool to catch a second one. After we'd had two waves, our turn was over and we'd pass off the board to the next person in line. There were 3 or 4 sizes of soft (foam) surfboards there, and the shorter the board is, the harder it is to balance. The longer it is, however, the harder it is to carry! I think I tended to use an 8-ft, and N tended to use a 10-ft, at the recommendation of the instructors.

    The first wave I took, I didn't know what to expect. After all, I'd never tried surfing before. I tried to pop up, failed, fell off the board, got tossed around a bit, and felt completely winded and exhausted. I didn't even want to swim back to take the second one, but I wasn't going to chicken out with everyone watching me. I went back and tried again. I got a little closer the second time, but still didn't get to a full standing position, then wiped out again. The shore looked so far away, and by the time I got to dry land I felt tired, nauseas, and sure I wouldn't be trying again. But as I waited for my second turn, a funny thing happened. I started brainstorming about all the things I could have done differently to improve, and I started feeling determined to give it another shot. And I did! Each time I tried, I did a little better, had a little more of an adrenaline rush, and felt more and more excited to try again.

    Here's a bit of that determination, as evidenced by my actual tongue sticking out. The pinnacle of concentration.




    N didn't get up on the board as much as I did, but he braved the tougher waves, and had a blast. I actually ended up getting pretty good at standing up by the end of the morning, but I had a tendency to pop up a little too far to one side of my board, so my heels sat too close to the edge, and I tended to fall off backwards before the end of my run. I got better at this, but I definitely still need more practice.





    By the end of the morning, N and I both had had about 5 turns of 2 waves each (a total of about 10 waves.)



    There was a nice man who was there with his family but wasn't actually surfing. He had a camera and said he just enjoyed photographing the classes. At the end of the class, he offered to send us all his photos if we gave him our email addresses. I expected to receive a dozen photos or so, with maybe a couple of me and N. It ended up being hundreds! Some of his photos were very good, and most of what you see in this update is thanks to him. (I wish I still had his name to give him photo credit, but if you happen to be reading this, kind sir, please make yourself known!!) Photopass was also there for the last bit of the class, so we got some photos from them as well.

    And now, here are a butt-ton of photos of us trying to surf. They're pretty self-explanatory. Some of them look pretty cool, I have to admit. And some of them I have chosen to include because I think they're hilarious. :laughing:








    continued...
     
    Last edited:

    MeghanEmily

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2016
    "Hey! Does anyone want the 10-footer?!"
    Aug. 20—Part 2

    (That quote's pretty self-explanatory, and I wrote it down because it made N chuckle for some silly reason, so I'm just gonna leave it there.)

    Photos continue...

















    :rotfl:





























    At the end of the session, we all gathered together for a closing ceremony. The instructors said a few words, and then we all received certificates and took pictures.

















    All in all, this was an amazing experience! I highly recommend it if you're looking to splurge on something new at Disney and you want to try something a bit more adventurous. It isn't, however, for the faint of heart. It was a very early morning, and it was a seeeerrrrrious work out. I have no regrets though, and I'm so glad we were able to do this on our trip. I'm hopeful that N and I will both have the opportunity to try some more surfing in future, either at home, or at Disney. We live about a half hour from some of the best surf in our part of Canada (...though that's not saying much! It's nothing compared to other parts of the world, and even other Canadian coasts.) I know there's a surf school there, so maybe we'll give it another shot sometime soon.

    After the class was done, I was a little peeved to find out that we weren't allowed to change out of our wet things before leaving. Apparently, since we hadn't bought a waterpark ticket, and the park was about to open, we had to be immediately escorted out and weren't given the courtesy of a quick visit to the changing rooms. We would just have to be a little soggy then when we headed to our next destination. Surfing works up quite the appetite, so we were on our way to one of our favourite breakfast spots...
     

    MeghanEmily

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 21, 2016
    "There's nothing to do here, that's why everyone is leaving."
    Aug. 20—Part 3

    ...we were on our way to Animal Kingdom Lodge to eat a stupid amount of breakfast at Boma!! :lovestruc

    I will mention that, while good, this wasn't a perfect Boma experience. Our favourite server, Theresa, wasn't there that day, and I also wasn't able to get real maple syrup from the kitchen that day. But otherwise, Boma is pretty hard to beat.

    Some of N's food...




    ...and some of mine (minus the extra gluten-free offerings)



    After breakfast, we rolled our gluttonous selves out to the car and drove to Hollywood Studios.



    Our first stop as we strolled along Hollywood Blvd was actually Starbucks. N grabbed a cold brew, and I picked up a mug that I'd promised to find for @fallonkendra and her husband. Then, because N had a drink and I didn't, I decided I wanted a frozen lemonade, the ultimate summer Disney drink. (It then ended up being the subject of a lot of photos.)





    While N rode Rockin' Rollercoaster with a FP...



    ...I continued to drink lemonade.



    I also did a bit of browsing the pin cart in that area, and I did some pin trading with cast members. I even did my first pin trade at the "pin drum" inside the RnRC gift shop.

    Next we headed over to the Indiana Jones show with FPs. We noticed that the FP line was quite long compared to the standby line, and both lines were entering the theatre at that time, so I asked one of the CMs there if there's any particular benefit to using a FP there. The CM told me that the FP line tends to be seated in a more preferred location. I'm not sure whether this is always true or not, but we did have good seats for the show.

    As we were seated, another CM noticed that I was pin trading and offered me a mystery pin trade if I could answer a Disney trivia question. (i.e. I would have to agree to trade for a mystery pin without seeing what it was. I'm a sucker for surprises.) She gave me two categories to choose from, general Disney trivia, and Disney princess trivia. Before I could choose, N ruined my chances by picking general Disney for me, even though I know an awful lot about princesses! I didn't get the trivia question right (it had multiple correct answers to guess and I only came up with a few of them) but I think the CM took pity on me because she let me do the mystery trade anyway just for trying.

    I really enjoy this show. It's a little silly at times, but in the best way. It does feel a little dated, but also nostalgic, and I think some of the stunts are really neat!










    Next, we headed to Toy Story Land for a FP on Alien Swirling Saucers.



    On the way, I photographed this adorable popsicle stick bench...



    ...and we stopped at a photopass photographer.



    Our ride on AS2 (<-- lol) was short, but fun. But before we rode the ride, we had a run-in with a not-so-magical-feeling CM. She was telling us to do something in a bored-sounding tone with the queue line that we must misheard or misunderstood, because whatever it was she asked us to do, it seems that we didn't do it properly. Then she followed it up with a sassy, "...or not!" I couldn't believe it! That's the kinda thing I say in my head about dumb people all the time, but I can't imagine ever saying it out loud directed at a guest if I worked at Disney! No hard feelings toward that CM or anything, since I have no idea what her day had been like to that point, but it just seemed so very un-Disney that I was surprised and felt kinda gross about the interaction as we left.

    At this point we were getting warm and feeling pretty tired after our early morning work-out. We decided to head back and check in for our fancy-schmancy stay at the GF. We made the stupid-long walk out of DHS (is this still a thing now!? I can't wait till this isn't a thing!)




    When we got on the tram to go back to our car, there was a cranky mom sitting in our row with a small girl (maybe 5 years old?) who seemed to be upset and pouty that they were leaving the park. The mother seemed to be getting fed up and had reached the point of Mom-is-officially-done-coddling. She turned to the daughter, gestured to the people on the tram, and snapped, "There's nothing to do here! That's why everyone is leaving!" :laughing: It seemed that the daughter was upset that they would be going to Universal and not returning to DHS, because then the mother tried to drag us into the matter by asking if we'd ever been to Universal before, and which park was more fun. We mostly stayed out of it. :confused3

    We checked in to the GF and got settled in our room. It was a lovely spot to spend our nights, and it made us feel pretty bougie. I did find, however, that because I had such high expectations of the Grand, I was probably more critical of our room/stay than I would have been elsewhere. I noticed that it felt like it needed a refresh, there was chipped paint on the wall, and I was a bit disappointed to have two (double? queen?) beds, when we'd requested a room with a king. (I'm not sure whether this is even a request that can be honoured in a standard room at the GF, but it was the only request we'd made. :confused3) One thing I loved about the room was the view. It was so neat to look out over the beautiful GF resort, and we could watch the sun come up behind the building across the way.


















    Before leaving, I ordered some allergy-friendly chicken fingers and fries at the quick service location which I ate in our room. #nom. Then we left and made our way over to EPCOT where we walked around for a bit and did some pin shopping, and I bought a new lanyard. Finally, we walked through the International Gateway and over to the Yacht Club for our dinner reservation at the Yachtsman Steakhouse.





    I'm going to pause here and say that I had super high expectations for Yachtsman. We'd never eaten there before, but I'd only heard wonderful things. If we talked about enjoying steak at a place like Le Cellier, for example, we'd be told, "Oh my goodness, then you NEED to go to the Yachtsman Steakhouse! It's so much better!" That kind of thing. So perhaps, once again, I went in with too-high expectations. Maybe I was just cranky from my long day. I don't think, however, that those things were enough to account for how poorly I felt about our meal after we left.

    We were seated for our dinner late. I don't have the times written in my notes, but I know that it was at least a half hour late. It was a fairly late reservation as it was, and we were hungry. (I was very glad I'd eaten some chicken fingers earlier that afternoon!) We were seated, and our server's name was David. I had talked up the bread/butter/garlic to N, so he was anxious to try it. We put in our drink orders...and waited... We didn't receive our bread or drinks until we'd been at the restaurant for over an hour past our reservation time, meaning that we'd been seated for 30+ minutes.






    I ordered a filet, which I was told could be done without gluten/dairy/alcohol, but it would have to have the butter/sauce removed. I told the chef that I could eat butter—don't ask, my dairy woes are complicated—but to do whatever he thought would work best to make it safe for me to eat. He also said I could add a side of veggies. N ordered the ribeye.

    By the time our entrees came, it was after 9pm, and I was hungry and tired. I was so hungry and tired, in fact, that I didn't bother telling our server that my steak was bland/under-seasoned, dry, and overcooked (around a medium well, when I'd ordered medium rare.) My vegetables—which consisted of a bowl of green beans topped with two carrots—were boiled, naked/plain, and cold. I understand that it can be difficult to be creative with a meal when someone has multiple dietary restrictions, and I wouldn't complain about the lack of ingenuity if everything had been cooked to perfection, but it didn't even have that going for it.






    On the flipside, N said his ribeye was one of the best steaks he'd ever eaten in his life.



    N also had loved the bread, once it finally arrived, and spreading on the roasted garlic. His side of fancy fries was also excellent. For him, other than the crazy long wait and slow service, this meal had been a total win. For me, it had been a total miss. When David brought the bill at the end of the meal and asked how things were, I gave a non-committal kind of okay-ish type of sound, and when he probed me, I mentioned the cook on the steak. Then he made me feel kinda guilty for not having told him earlier when he could have done something about it, but service had been so slow that I honestly hadn't really been interested in waiting for another steak to be cooked.

    I would be willing to give Yachtsman another shot in future, based on N's meal, and on the many positive reviews I've heard, but we haven't worked too hard to fit it into our plans again yet, and I definitely wouldn't do it at a time when I had anywhere else to be afterwards.

    We headed back to the resort after dinner, soaked in the glory of our rich digs, and went to bed.
     
    Last edited:

    pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    For the first time in our lives, we were going to try surfing!! 🏄‍♀️
    Fun! Did that a couple times with the kids in Hawaii.
    Did it a "couple" times because it was too fun to do just once. :)
    When we arrived at 6:45, which was designated arrival time time, Typhoon Lagoon was deserted,
    "It was then we realized our designated arrival time was for... tomorrow."
    Eventually we were discovered by a cast member who told us that we were absolutely not supposed to enter the park until we were met by a guide at the front gate.
    Um... okay... Thanks for telling us? Maybe keep the door closed, then? Perhaps a small sign saying "Wait here"?
    We all walked all the way back out of the park again, just to wait another five minutes for a guide who was running late, just to walk all the way back in again. #Disneyefficiency
    :sad2:
    That seems... stupid.
    We all signed waivers that absolved Disney and the surf school from blame if we died.
    Does anyone read those things???
    Then we all sat in some beach chairs by the surf pool
    Ha! Just to mess with their legal team, die in the chair instead!
    She was bright-eyed so early in the morning, and was the perfect balance of strict ('cuz, ya know, safety) and funny/personable. I liked her immediately.
    Sounds great. :)
    We were taught that the waves came in twos, and that when a wave was about to come from the wave machine, the fog horn would sound, and we'd hear a big *woummpfph* as a wall of water moved toward us.
    This was not the way it worked in the ocean.


    ;)
    (Side note: apparently Typhoon Lagoon had just gotten a new, much louder fog horn sound, and it was continually scaring the bejeezus out of our instructor, who was used to the old one.)
    :laughing: I can just see that.
    It became a running joke: "Listen to Meghan! Don't Stand up!"
    :laughing: Go Meghan!
    While still on land, we learned how to do the pop-up.
    ::yes:: I remember doing the same.
    Cute young surfer dudes hanging ten? I was only a little bit smitten.
    Awww... Meghan has a crush (or several).
    Each time the fog horn sounded,
    the instructor had the bejeezus scared out of her.


    See? I pay attention.
    I was teetering from side to side just trying to pop up, only to try to stand up, and then face-plant into the surf with a nosefull of water.
    Ah yes. I remember that well. :rolleyes:
    the shorter the board is, the harder it is to balance. The longer it is, however, the harder it is to carry!
    Huh. I didn't know that. We were just given a board and that was it.
    I tried to pop up, failed, fell off the board, got tossed around a bit, and felt completely winded and exhausted. I didn't even want to swim back to take the second one, but I wasn't going to chicken out with everyone watching me. I went back and tried again. I got a little closer the second time, but still didn't get to a full standing position, then wiped out again. The shore looked so far away, and by the time I got to dry land I felt tired, nauseas, and sure I wouldn't be trying again. But as I waited for my second turn, a funny thing happened. I started brainstorming about all the things I could have done differently to improve, and I started feeling determined to give it another shot. And I did! Each time I tried, I did a little better, had a little more of an adrenaline rush, and felt more and more excited to try again.
    I'm very impressed that you kept at it like that. Good for you!!
    Here's a bit of that determination, as evidenced by my actual tongue sticking out. The pinnacle of concentration.
    I love that photo!
    There was a nice man who was there with his family but wasn't actually surfing. He had a camera and said he just enjoyed photographing the classes. At the end of the class, he offered to send us all his photos if we gave him our email addresses.
    Get. Out! I was sure it was a PP photographer. Wow! That was both lucky for you and very kind of him!
    Some of them look pretty cool, I have to admit. And some of them I have chosen to include because I think they're hilarious. :laughing:
    ::yes::
    All in all, this was an amazing experience! I highly recommend it if you're looking to splurge on something new at Disney and you want to try something a bit more adventurous.
    It is a great experience. I might just try it at Typhoon Lagoon too some day. :)
    After the class was done, I was a little peeved to find out that we weren't allowed to change out of our wet things before leaving.
    What? That's.... Really weird. You'd think for sure hot showers and the chance to change would be an automatic. :confused3


    Back later to read the rest. :)
     

    Jenny Sanders

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 8, 2007
    What a great day! I would love to try the surfing class. It looked like so much fun!

    Your meals all looked delicious!

    Yay for staying at the Grand Floridian!!!
     



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