Tuesday, March 24, 2009


This is the summary of the vacation trip we just took. IT’s longer than usual. I’ll have pictures online later this week since they are being developed. The to long/didn’t read version of this post is: Disney World was awesome. For details….. well, just keep reading.

Our first evening there we had arrived in the late afternoon. Since we had a 3 day hopper pass we were going to save the park access for the full days we were there so instead we hopped a shuttle bus down to an area called Downtown Disney. It’s basically an open air mall with lots of shops, restaurants, a movie theater, and upscale stores. There are even some night clubs out on the far end but we never went that far down. Our goal at Downtown Disney was to eat. Jana had found a website for a restaurant called Raglan Road pub. It’s an authentic style Irish place and the menu looked fantastic. This was a great meal. We started with the calamari and tempura veggies. They served malt vinegar with it and that was wonderful. Then I had the steak and Jana had the roasted chicken. Her dish was awesome as it came with a wonderful spinach sauce. For desert we had some toffee over ice cream. All in all that was a pretty good meal.

After heading back to the hotel and managing to sleep on a double bed we made arrangements to move to a room with a king size bed. Disney service is wonderful – they agreed to move all our baggage and all we had to do was stop in later after visiting the parks and find out our new room. Then we were off to Magic Kingdom. We did the usual MK stuff and had a ball riding the rides. I _may_ have been a little spazy but I really like riding rides. It’s a great way to play with your inner five year old. This time I didn’t manage to break very many rides at all – although the notable exception was Splash Mountain. We picked up a fast pass for Splash Mountain and rode Big Thunder Railroad then came back to Splash Mountain to find out it was broken. I was bummed since that is one of my favorite rides. I love not only the ride but also how non-PC it is. They could never tell a story like that anymore.

We also picked up our Happy Anniversary badges as we entered the park. I love the celebration badges. We wore them each day and had lots of people say “happy anniversary” to us. You can pick up badges for birthdays, anniversaries, family reunions, just married, and a generic “I’m celebrating” badge just by asking the Disney guys at city hall for them.

For dinner we headed over to Epcot and wandered the pavilions. We settled on trying the Biergarten restaurant in the Germany pavilion. This ended up being my least favorite meal during the trip. They serve a buffet style meal and you share tables with other diners. The floor show was quite amusing since they do an Oktoberfest thing and they had a live band teaching German songs and getting the crowd into the act. The food though suffered from all buffet style problems – the best item on the menu was the bratwurst and I could have ordered that from the little restaurant out front instead of paying a ton for the big restaurant in back. The schnitzel was pretty good too and I did eat a LOT of food. So that does make up for some of the lack of quality.

Back at the hotel we checked at the front desk and got our new room. YAY! The king size bed was much more comfortable. It is reported that I spoke in my sleep that night about “the sampo”. Jana said she was amazed that I didn’t wake up because of how much she was laughing. You’ll have to get the full story from her though. I was asleep.

The next morning we were off to Disney Hollywood. This has two of my very favorite rides at Walt Disney World. The Tower of Terror and the Aerosmith rollercoaster. We picked up a fast pass for the tower and went to stand in line for the coaster. The wait was about an hour for that ride but we are smart travelers and had snacks and books in our bag. Before long we were off on the ride. Then we returned to the tower to use our passes. This is a great ride and I love it, it’s just to bad how short the ride is. As we were getting off one of the Disney employees working there came up and asked to see my shirt. I was wearing my Mystery Science Theater 3000 shirt featuring Dr. Forrester with big green words that said “I’m Evil”. He thought it was really funny and asked us if we wanted to ride the tower ride again. We said something like HECK YEAH and he took us back through the employee access elevator right to the start of the line and put us right back on the ride. That was way cool. I love the Disney attitude.

Later that night we headed back to Epcot for dinner. We were thinking of trying the Italian place but learned that they were fully booked up for both that day and the next day. After wandering about some of the other pavilions we decided we would try the steak house in the Canada pavilion called Le Cellier. And let me tell you that ended up being the best choice of the whole trip. Jana had the green salad to start and I had the Seafood salad. Mine was amazing we both enjoyed it. There were big pieces of Crab and Mussel in the salad and the dressing was wonderful. Next I had the Filet Mignon with mushroom risotto and a white truffle sauce and Jana had the Chicken Coq au Vin. Both dishes were wonderful. I especially liked the risotto – they used a lovely nutty type of mushroom in the mixture and it really set off the taste of the steak well. Our waitress was very attentive and friendly and learned we were there for our anniversary. (The badges we were wearing may have been a clue.) And when we ordered the Maple Crème Brulee for desert she brought it out with the plate all decorated with the words Happy 1st Anniversary and a little Mickey Mouse head. Plus she brought out a little award certificate for us to take home. It was amazingly thoughtful. Plus the Brulee was PERFECT. It was a fantastic meal. And our server earned both a big tip and a follow up e-mail to her management saying what wonderful service we had.

Once we were fully sated we decided that we had a little time left so we hoped onto the monorail back to the Magic Kingdom. We thought that we could probably get onto Splash Mountain during the parade since the lines would be shorter. Jana was a little worried about getting cold since the sun had gone down but I reassured her that I hardly ever get wet on this ride. A little splash is all. Well…. The lines were short all right and we were soon on the ride. The log before us got DRENCHED so I thought for sure we were going to be fine. But we were soon in the exact same place as the log before us had been when I heard the click of the log at the top of the flume starting it’s drop. Oh crap. I’m about to get us both soaked. It was like being under a fire hose. I had never gotten so wet on this ride before. I managed to crack up the people in the seat before us by saying “don’t worry honey we won’t get wet” as we were trying to wring the water out of our hair and clothes.

The last day we went to Disneys Animal Kingdom. This is a perfect park to wind down in since it’s less crowded than the others and it features several nice walking trails that you can take at your own pace. This was important since both of our feet were starting to be tired of all the standing in line. This also features two really good rides, the Kali River rapids and the Expedition Everest coaster. We picked up a fast pass for the rapids and went on the coaster. It’s a really fun ride, kind of like the Matterhorn but more in the dark, and has some sort of corkscrew inside. It also features a part of the ride where you go backwards.

After that we went on the rapids ride. We both had a lot of fun quoting me from the previous day “don’t worry I hardly ever get wet on this ride”. Of course we did get wet – but it was not as wet as we did on Splash Mountain. Jana bought a skirt to change into after the ride and the sun quickly dried us both out. We enjoyed a more leisurely day at this park and after some consideration decided to just eat here as well. There are two nice sit down places in AK and we chose to eat at the one in the Asia area called Yak and Yeti. We had the pan seared pot stickers to start that came with really nice soy and lime sauce. Next I had the Miso Salmon and Jana had the Honey Chicken. They were both really good with strong flavors balanced out with the Jasmine rice. Desert was also really good there, we had the fried wontons that are stuffed with cream cheese and come on a skewer with grilled pineapple and a cream and vanilla drizzle. I think they should have served a pineapple sorbet with it instead of the vanilla ice cream but it was still a great desert.

The trip ended the next day as we had to get up at oh-my-heck-o’clock to get on the bus to head back to the airport. The weather was universally good for us with 80 degree days and gentle breezes. We left a ton of restaurants behind us that we still need to try so we’ll be heading back there again. I think I can speak for both of us when I say that the Walt Disney World parks have become our favorite place to vacation.


Susan Brady said...

Next Time I want to go out to eat I'm inviting you two, You sure know how to pick them. Hugs to all

Marianne said...

I am so jealous! I've been begging James to take me to Disney our WHOLE marriage! I think I may just have to plan it and make him go. Do you use a travel agency?

Drake Tungsten said...

Jana and I love to both cook and eat so it's fun to hit good places. We almost always order different plates so we can share the different flavors with each other.

Drake Tungsten said...

Marianne, We used the Southwest airline package for this one. It was fairly cheap and included, air fair, hotel stay and the park hopper passes. All we had to pay ontop of that was the food we ate and any souviniers.

I think Disney has partnerships with lots of different airlines for packages like that. So don't take the Southwest one unless you want to sit with strangers since the Southwest boarding policies SUCK.

Rebecca said...

This was awful. I MISS FOOD. Okay, it was great, it just gave me pains in my heart, stomach and taste buds.

Sounds fun, I shall have to take this trip someday. Glad you had a good time!

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