Well, here's the recap. I'm trying to include enough detail that those of you who know Disney will enjoy, but not so much that those of you who don't won't click away. Bear with me.
Plane was on time. All the bad things I've said about Southwest... I take them back. It was a downright pleasant flight, and sitting where I want is the bomb. I think it's different when you travel alone.
One funny thing about the plane trip... the woman beside me was reading an Elizabeth Berg book checked out from one of our branches. She was folding the pages over to mark her place. I was very tempted to hand her a bookmark... my business card. I think it would have said it all. But I refrained.
Alice arrived soon after I checked in, and we had lunch, then went to Downtown Disney to buy our park tickets and shop. I bought bath bombs at Basin. (Funny story... I used the Disney bath bomb tonight... when it dissolves it leaves little Mickey Mouse ear-shaped soap in the tub. Athena and I were taking a bath together, and I thought it would be fun. Some brilliant mind made the bath bomb turn the water bright yellow. It totally looked like we peed in the tub. Disturbing.)
After a quick change of clothes, we headed to the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT. We grabbed a fast pass for Test Track and then we started eating our way around the park. We only made it from Florida (just before Mexico as you head counter-clockwise around the world showcase) to Australia (just before Germany). That's not even halfway. We were stuffed on little mini-servings of shrimp, lamb, chicken and beef. Here's what we had (in no particular order). I'm including prices because I know there are people (Amy) who would be interested. Plus, I want to see how much I spent:
Spicy Beef Empanadas $2.00
Marinated Strawberries with Basil $2.00 (we shared this one... Alice paid)
Chilaquiles $3.50 (Alice)
Quesadilla con Chorizo y Pollo $3.50 (me)
Traditional Kjottkaker $2.75 (These are meatballs, and tasty ones at that)
Lingonberry Mousse $2.00 (This was nasty gross -- the only thing that we really didn't like)
Bobotie with Mango Chutney $3.00 (Alice only)
Durban Chicken with Mealie Pap $3.25 (it was very yummy... I could have had more. Mealie Pap is really similar to Polenta -- and thanks to Cheryl, I knew this before I left for the parks)
Shrimp on the Barbie $4.00 (not really great, but not bad)
Grilled Lamb Chop with Caramelized Onion $4.50 (overdone, but okay)
Macadamia Nut Tartlet $2.00 (Alice only)
Bailey's Trifle $2.25 (Alice only)
Wild & Wonderful Florida Shrimp:
Sauteed Shrimp with Ginger and Lime $4.25 (this was excellent, and it was also the first thing we had)
So, are you impressed with my ability to resist dessert?! I was impressed. If you want to see what we missed, go to the menu listing at AllEars.net. If my math is correct, it looks like my "meal" set me back about $26.25. Not bad for Disney. And we were quite stuffed. Otherwise we would have continued around the circle. The only reason we didn't go back later in the trip to do more of the stands was we had purchased a meal plan which didn't include these treats.
After "dinner," we rode Test Track, and then walked over to the Boardwalk to go to Jellyrolls Dueling Piano Bar. Unfortunately, when we got there, it was too smoky to stay (smoke was rolling out the door), so we caught a bus to Downtown Disney, shopped a bit more, then caught the boat to our resort. Our room looked out over Downtown Disney, and by now, it was just before midnight, so we sat on the porch, ate popcorn, and listened to the music wafting over the water from the clubs at Pleasure Island. Then we crashed.
Disney (MGM) Studios. Both Alice and I wanted to do some thrill rides since that's hard to do with kids, so we got a fast pass for Tower of Terror, then went to get in line for The Rock and Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. Turns out that standby line was about 80 minutes of waiting, so we cut back to Tower to find the standby wait to be nonexistent. So... we got on to Tower, then crossed the park to eat lunch (we slept late), then came back to ride Tower and Coaster. The wait for Coaster was supposedly only 20 minutes, but we were given "The Tag" which is how they measure the wait, and our wait was definitely longer than 20 minutes. More like 45. Worth it though.
We then had time to catch the Muppets 4-D movie (I never get tired of it) before the next showing of Lights, Motors, Action, which is by far the best stunt show I've seen in any park. It was really fun and very exciting. At Muppets, I broke down and bought myself a t-shirt, although I swore I wouldn't. It's Beaker. You can't really turn down The Beaker. I wore it Friday and had many positive comments.
While at MGM, we also bought Pumpkin Mickey Ears to wear at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on Monday night and I got Marcus his first pair of ears with his name on the back. Chris took a picture of Athena, me, and Marcus wearing our ears when I got back. I'll post it soon.
Sunday night, we met my mom and her best friend, as well as her best friend's oldest son (who lives in Orlando) at Citricos restaurant in the Grand Floridian. This was on my meal plan, so I could order appetizer, entree, and dessert. Since I had already paid (a really reduced price) for my meal, I splurged on the wine pairings.
This was a highlight of my trip. I've never been to the Floridian and it's a really gorgeous resort. The food at Citricos is widely acclaimed, and I now know why. Plus, from our table, we could see the fireworks at Magic Kingdom AND the Electrical Water Pageant. Very cool.
As for the wine pairings, Disney is one of the only places I've been with a fleet of REALLY competent sommaliers. The wines were unusual and excellent. The first (to compliment my mushroom ravioli appetizer) was a light Pinot Grigio. The second, for my Osso Buccho was a nice rich red -- a Shiraz mix of some sort. I had a lemon cheesecake for dessert and they brought me a lemon liquor. Loved it.
Dinner took us later into the evening than we thought, but it was Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom, so we took the monorail there and we rode Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion... two rides we expected would be really busy at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party on Monday.
People have complained that they've ruined "Pirates" by adding Davy Jones, Barbosa, and Jack Sparrow from the successful movies, but I think it has really enhanced the ride. I've never really understood the story Pirates was supposed to be telling me, but now it makes a little more sense. Big thumbs up. Loved it.
Again, we got "home" near midnight and we crashed.
If you haven't left me yet, congrats. I'll save Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for another update... I'm sure you've had enough for the moment.
Incidentally, Alice took all the pictures, and she hasn't been able to send them yet. I'll post them separately when I get them. :-)