Monday, November 5, 2012

Disney recap, part 1 of 5

Oooh so much to say! I'm going to split this into a few parts so it doesn't take you hours to read each post. I photographed every single thing I ate (3 exceptions: 2 danishes that were the same as previous danishes, and my mom's sorbet, as mentioned in the previous post) and I can tell you about it. And if you decide you absolutely MUST attend Disney's Food & Wine Festival, well, you have another 10 days to do so! Hop on that plane and get down there!

First of all, I would like to say that, despite the massive amounts of food I ate, I am very pleased to have maintained my weightCan you believe it?! We walked probably close to 10 miles a day, and I am a very brisk walker so it was better exercise than I would have believed. To be honest, my normal walking is like a mile every other day, I don't exercise nearly as often as I should, but I intend to fix that little issue.

We left on Monday on a 6:05am flight. This is crazy, but this is what my parents do, and to make it easier, we all flew down together. It lets us have pretty much an entire day once we get there, even if we are zombies for part of it. We ate muffins at the airport for breakfast- edible, but not anything worth mentioning.

We checked in, our room wasn't ready (at 11:00am, of course), so we checked out bags and headed over to the Magic Kingdom. My parents are really into the new(ish) sorcerer game, so we signed up and did a few sorcerer things, then headed back to the hotel for our lunch reservations at Whispering Canyon.

We did not love Whispering Canyon. The menu used to be quite different (like 15 years ago, so I don't remember it at all), and the menu is fine, but not what we were looking for. Unfortunately, the atmosphere is really not what you want when you've been awake since 3am. It's a better place for kids- very loud and the staff is Disney-obnoxious (you know, in your face but not really rude about it).

Clint had Moosehead beer and I had a moonshine margarita.

 Apps were good- Indian fry bread on the top and delicious pulled pork spring rolls on the bottom.
 I had a salmon quesadilla. It was fine, not amazing. The tomato chutney was amazing, though.

In my opinion, Magic Kingdom is not a place to go to eat. It's a place to go because your kids want to meet Mickey, the princesses, go on rides, etc. Eating in Magic Kingdom occurs because your hungry. That being said, there is good food there, but it's not widespread. We spent our evening in MK working on the sorcerer game (didn't get very far, since one of the portals we needed to use was down). For dinner, Clint and I ate at Pecos Bill's in Frontierland, a place I remembered from years and years ago as a place to get a good burger. We didn't get burgers this time, Clint got a pulled pork sandwich and I got taco salad. The pork was pretty good, but the taco salad surprised me- it comes as a taco shell and meat. I saw other people picking up their orders, and the first one I thought the woman was just weird and asked for just meat. Then I saw another and another that was just shell and meat, and I was very confused- how on earth is that taco salad? Toppings bar! Add your own salad. So I piled on a ton of very fresh and good lettuce and tomatoes. In the end, it was pretty good, worth eating, but I'd get something else next time. (there was a pulled pork and steak special that look delicious in the picture but I saw someone that'd ordered it- I won't get that! the steak is very small and sad-looking)

 Dessert in the Magic Kingdom is a pineapple whip. Lately I prefer my pineapple whip in the form of a pineapple float. A pineapple whip is basically pineapple soft serve. You may know that I truly adore pineapple, but I have a mild allergy/sensitivity to it. I eat pineapple, but I pay for it almost immediately. However, I can have canned or fully cooked pineapple and pineapple juice! Hooray. Years ago, the pineapple whip was served with a piece of fresh pineapple. It's a nice touch, but I was relieved when they stopped doing that. Lately I prefer my pineapple whip in float form: pineapple juice with a good helping of pineapple whip on top. Around the time they started offering the floats (or maybe I only noticed it then), they also started having vanilla soft serve, and you can of course order a pineapple-vanilla swirl- amazing! For some reason, I didn't think you could get a swirl with a float, but this time the women misheard me and that's what she gave me. Perfect! I love the combination of vanilla and pineapple. You can see Clint's pineapple/vanilla whip in the background, he eats his differently than I do. One thing I love about these is they're hollow. I really got a kick out of the empty middle when I was a kid, and it's sort of stuck.

 Day 2 is posted here.

Day 3: Epcot.

On Day 2, I mentioned Key Lime wine, and how interesting it was (I later went back to buy a bottle). Well, on Day 3, we moseyed on over on to the F&W HQ pavilion to check it out. In past years, we haven't really paid attention to the HQ pavilion. Our first time at the F&W, we visited because Jamie Deen (Paula's son) was there signing books, but the line was impossible so we gave up. I think we knew they offered seminars and things, and we knew about the gift shop (obvs). This year we did a better job of checking it out. We took wine seminars. We visited the chocolate exhibit (history of Ghirardelli, complete with free samples and chocolate sculptures). We drank "drinking chocolate" at the chocolate exhibit- this is supposed to be some amazing kind of hot chocolate, but honestly it's about the same as the hot chocolate I normally drink, which is made from dissolving chocolate shavings in scalded milk. (Still tasty, though!)

 We hung out in the Chase Cardmember lounge (clean bathrooms with no lines and free soft drinks!). And we took more seminars.

Our first seminar was by a rep from Kim Crawford Winery in Marlborough, New Zealand. It was a good seminar, we learned about the winery and their wines and watched video clips of the head winemaker talking about the wine we were tasting (btw, his "tastes" of wine were much more generous than ours!). We tried their sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and pinot noir, which were all pretty good. I took notes, of course (but they're still packed somewhere!)

After that, we visited the wine shop and found WINE JUICE BOXES. Oh my.

 They were from the Florida Orange Grove Winery, the place that made the key lime wine and the sangria I'd tried the day before. Mom and I split the mango wine juice box, which was the one we hadn't already tried. It was pretty good. Very sweet, like mango is, and like the key lime wine, it was really hard to tell it was 10% alcohol. Danger!
Then lunch at Coral Reef in The Living Seas pavilion. This is mom's favorite restaurant. I think it's fine, definitely not a favorite. I like seafood but I don't find their menu items all that interesting, it's stuff I can get anywhere. I had lobster bisque and the fish tostadas.
 Clint had miso glazed salmon.

 Mom had grilled mahi mahi with coconut cilantro rice and shrimp (citrus sauce on the side)
 Dad had trout with some sort of bean/tomato concoction.

 For dinner, we wandered around the F&W, of course! First stop, Swedish Meatballs from Scandinavia!
 Then a mung bean pancake with shrimp and raspberry wine from South Korea. The pancake was incredibly salty- we ate about half and tossed the rest :(
 Cheese fondue from Cheese- yes, there is a booth called "Cheese". This was pretty good. I ate it all myself :)
 Beer flight!! This was Flight #1 from the Brewer's Collection. Clockwise from top left: Hoevels, Radeberger Pilsner, Schoeffenhofer Grapefruit, Berliner Kindl Dark. 1: didn't love, 2: ok, 3: OMG AMAZING, 4: not bad.
 Yes, I love my girly, fruity beers. The grapefruit was kind of like a Shandy, which is half beer and half lemonade, only with grapefruit. Later on I had their regular hefeweizen, which was also very delicious.

Then we decided we were tired, and wanted to go back to the hotel. We took the monorail back to Magic Kingdom, then the boat to the hotel. We rested. My parents decided to go to the pool, and Clint and I decided to return to Epcot. It was "Extra Magic Hours", which means Epcot was open late for Disney resort guests- til midnight instead of 9pm. So we had the brilliant idea of going back for more food. The only problem with this is the F&W isn't actually open for extra magic hours. Nor are a lot of the stores and sights to see in the countries, it's pretty much just the rides in future world, which we'd done earlier that day, that are open. Huge fail. We took the bus (which took about 1.5hrs), walked through Future World to the World Showcase, walked pretty much around the world without finding anything to do, then finally got a ham sandwich in France and a tiny glass of Beaujolais.
We were kind of tired and annoyed by the time we got back to the room. Day 4 would be better!

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