Saturday, May 5, 2012

Anniversary #3 (Part 1)

This is the trip where I felt like my Disney obsession went up a few notches. I had finally discovered Touring Plans, spent months creating the perfect spreadsheet of our vacation, and started branching out beyond the typical Disney must-do's.
I distributed copies of the agenda to everyone. We were able to split up and meet back for dinner reservations.
This trip we went with my mom and brother. Once again the free dining plan was offered, but you had to stay in a moderate resort to get the Table Service plan. So, to really get in touch with our inner child, we picked the Caribbean Beach Resort for the pirate bedrooms! 

The grounds were beautiful, the pirate pool was fun, and I loved the theme. However, when the Magical Express dropped us off at the Customs House to check in, I did not realize how spread out the resort was. When the CM who checked us in informed us we could take a resort bus to our room, I naively ignored her suggestion, thinking a brisk walk would let us explore and see the resort. Big mistake. Although it was a relaxing vibe, the walk around the lake to get to our building was nearly a mile.

Despite listening to a shockingly negative review (via DISunplugged podcast) about the resort's only sit-down restaurant, Shutters, (read about it here), we wanted to give it a try our first evening. Sad to say, we had nearly the same experience as the reviewers. Despite an Advance Dining Reservation, we waited about 30 minutes after our ADR time for a magical slip of paper to print out of the infamous little box at the podium before we were seated. The service was okay at best, the food wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great. I'm glad we tried this resort once, but we'll likely never return. 

What was NEW

  • To humor my mom, we tried the Sci-Fi Diner so she could relive her drive-in days. Although this restaurant sometimes gets poor reviews, the atmosphere was so much fun, it doesn't matter that I don't remember what I ate. They played clips of old, corny sci-fi movies and commercials for the refreshment stand. It was a hoot to eat in the cars. The photo below is one of my favorite memories. My brother was supposed to take a picture of just Bill and I, so my mom lied down in the back of our "car" to get out of the picture. However he didn't zoom in enough and we got this hilarious photo of my mom peeking out instead. Classic Disney memories!
  • We went to the boardwalk for dinner at Kouzzina. Although the service was really slow, the food was delicious. I am the total opposite of a vegetarian and have always said I could eat a steak every day. Well, with the Disney Dining Plan, I can and do! I had a delicious steak and despite the slow service I would definitely go back. It was also fun to walk along the boardwalk, get some fudge and watch families ride around in bike carriages. Oddly, the funniest moment of the night was when I hailed a cab from the Swan/Dolphin resort. My mom looked at me incredulously and asked "Where did you learn to hail a cab?" and without missing a beat I replied "Sex In the City". Naturally. Oh, the things you learn when you take family vacations as adults.
Tasting plate at Cat Cora's

  • I was thrilled that Via Napoli opened about a month before our visit. The first morning Via Napoli was available for reservations, I got up early and locked us in! We love the 3 ovens and the pizza was great. I didn't even miss my steak that night! 

  • Another first was the Spirit of Aloha luau dinner. Bill and I hadn't explored the Polynesian resort before. They put on a decent show. We were lucky to be seated towards the front. It seemed they looked to give everyone an opportunity to get up on stage and dance with the Polynesians. "All the kids!", "Anyone with a birthday!", "Couples!", "Just because!". Once again, I was enthralled by the fire twirler (is it possibly the same guy from Festival of the Lion King?). 

1 comment:

  1. As it! I especially liked the SciFi picture with mom "getting out of the way", it's always the unintended moments that make things so special.