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Old 12 May 19, 05:31 PM  
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Very Serious Dibber
Join Date: May 12
Newlyweds in the Caribbean: Curse of the DLXDDP - Day 12 - Epcot & Hollywood Studios

Newlyweds in the Caribbean: Curse of the DLXDDP - Day 12


Monday 10th September

Epcot and Hollywood Studios

Breakfast at Garden Grill, Food & Wine Festival snacks, Dinner at Hollywood Brown Derby

Another early start this morning, but for the best reason – we had breakfast with Mickey!

We were up at 6.35am, and did our normal routine of getting ready, suncreaming, putting on Minnie ears, drinking hot chocolate etc.

We left the room at 7.20am and only waited around 5 minutes for a bus to Epcot.

Today’s fastpasses and reservations looked like this –

The security line wasn’t too bad at Epcot this morning, as it was so early. However, every other time we went to Epcot the security line was crazy long.

Excited for Food and Wine!

Once through, we entered the breakfast reservation line to get into the park and then headed straight over to Garden Grill.

Our reservation wasn’t until 8.30am, but we checked in at 8am with the hope of being seated early. This was the earliest reservation we could get, but I’d read online that other parties of two had trouble getting earlier reservations too.

Our plan worked and we were called about 8.05am. We hadn’t expected to be called so early but were very happy!

To drink, I had a chocolate milk (big child here!) and Ollie had a mimosa (well, we were on holiday after all). He didn’t realise that you could get POG juice here, and was disappointed when I mentioned this later.

To start there was fruit –

Then the amazing chip’s sticky bun bake. This was delicious but sooo sweet!

We were then brought a skillet with -

Fluffy Scrambled Eggs
Hash Brown-style Potato Barrels
Mickey-shaped Waffles with Warm Chocolate-Hazelnut Drizzle
Thick-sliced Bacon and Sausage Links

I liked the Nutella style sauce for the waffles and Ollie liked the salsa they gave us for the eggs (made with tomatoes from The Land). The potato barrels were a big hit with both of us! We did ask for some more, but they never materialised.

I’ve been to Garden Grill a few times over the years and the character interaction has always been great. We managed to see each of the characters twice and they were more than happy to take time and stop for photos, even though we had no kids at our table.

Our server pointed out this hidden mickey and even took a photo for us.

Most of the early reservations were parties who left in time to go and ride Soarin’ at park opening. The family next to us arrived around 8.30am and left before us. They couldn’t have been sat down more than 20 minutes!

Overall, I really enjoyed Garden Grill. I’ve never had a bad meal here. I had breakfast at Garden Grill on my trips in 1998 and 2000, so it felt really nostalgic!

With our tummies suitably stuffed, it was time for us to also head for Soarin’.

Between the early start and the additional capacity, we were able to ride Soarin' twice with very little wait. We managed to get section B2 then B1. I really don’t mind seeing feet on the ride, I think it actually adds to the experience. The downside with row 1 is that sometimes when you look up you can see the top of the screen, which shatters the illusion a bit.

This was our first time experiencing the ‘round the world’ version of Soarin’ and I really enjoyed it, even with the CGI.

I do think they missed the opportunity to add 3D technology to the ride.

As we were in The Land, it would have been rude not to ride Living with the Land. The line was short, as normal, and we were soon enjoying our chilled boat ride.

I enjoyed the signage for Food and Wine Festival, showing which dish the plants featured in.

Next up was Spaceship Earth. We always seem to end up with Spaceship Earth as one of our Epcot fastpasses – with the tiering system there aren’t many tier 2 options to choose from.

Making it sound a bit more extreme than it is!

On our way into the ride, we noticed that our celebration comes up on screen when scanning our fastpasses.

I always enjoying listening to Judi Dench narrate us through time, but we really don’t have the best luck on this ride. Sometimes, we don’t get the ‘this is your future’ section at the end of the ride. Once, they showed our ‘future’ with two versions of me, with no Ollie in sight!

Today, we didn’t get shown any future, which is always a shame.

Ollie did manage to leave his hat on the ride, but they had picked it up when we headed back in.

Next, we headed over to The Seas to use our fastpass on Nemo and Friends. This was a first for Ollie and something I’ve only done once previously. Quite a cute ride, but not one I’m in a rush to repeat.

We didn’t feel the need visit Turtle Talk with Crush, as we had a similar experience on the Cruise.

No trip to Epcot is ever complete without a visit to Club Cool. (I read a rumour about this closing the other day and I really hope it’s not true!)

Obviously we avoid the Beverly at all costs. The Bepo drink (from South Africa, I think) was one of the favourites. The pineapple fanta is always good too.

The sticky floor in here always takes me back to my uni days.

I was really excited now to start our first Food and Wine Festival exploring. I’ve never visited at this time of year before, so this was my first opportunity to try out the festival. Lots of snacks and drinks sounds right up my street.

Our first stop was the convention centre to see if they did the sampler pass this year.

Previous years they offered this, and it worked out good value if you were partial to a more expensive cocktail. Unfortunately, they weren’t offering it this year.

I did enjoy the Ghiradelli chocolate displays.

We did eye up the Food and Wine merchandise, as I was keen to get something to commemorate the trip. I knew I wouldn’t get the use out of the clothing or kitchenware, but I did spot a Christmas ornament (yes, another one!) that I decided to think about.

It was now time for our third fastpass – Frozen Ever After. I was really excited to try this ride, but not enough to stand in a really long line!

The animatronics are very technologically advanced on this ride, but I can’t help but feel the faces look a bit creepy. Either way, the ride is really cute and I did enjoy it. The music from Frozen is great, so how could you not like a ride based around that? However, Ollie is still pining for Maelstrom.

I had no idea where the ride photo was, so have my eyes shut in it.

We had a restroom stop afterwards, and the Norway toilets soon became my favourite World Showcase restrooms. They were pristine and themed – clearly if your country hosts a really popular film, you get a bit of investment in the loos!

After a bit of effort in the app, Ollie managed to book a fastpass for 8pm tonight for Tower of Terror (one of our absolute favourites!)

We had a stop in Germany –

We were keen to try some Food and Wine snacks, but having had a big breakfast, didn’t want to go too overboard.

Snack 1 – the Mezzi Rigatoni from Italy - Vodka Sauce, Crispy Pancetta and Parmesan Cheese – $7.00

The pasta was tasty, but I don’t remember there being too much pancetta. Overall, not the most memorable snack from the trip.

I’m going to echo what most people say about the Festival here – there aren’t many places to eat the snacks, particularly those in shade! We fortunately managed to find a shady spot to sitt and eat the pasta dish, but weren’t so lucky in other spots. You see a lot of people eating on top of bins!

We noticed photopass photographers out around different parts of the World Showcase, capturing photos from different view points.

One snack down, which meant it was time for a drink.

Angry Orchard Rosé Hard Cider, Walden, NY – $4.25, from the Hops and Barley booth

We’re both big cider fans and this rosé cider was surprisingly refreshing. We did get ID’ed here. Again, Disney’s ID policy is very inconsistent. I heard they were particularly strict at Food and Wine, but I didn’t find this to be the case. We were ID’ed more often than not for drinks at the Festival. In some cases, just a driving licence was fine. Other times, we needed a driving license and our passport copies. We shared most drinks and sometimes they wanted to see just one ID and sometimes both of our IDs. Anyway, bring all ID just in case!

Our next stop was France for what turned out to be my absolute favourite drink of the festival. There may be a few repeats of this over the trip….

La Passion Martini Slush - Vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, Cranberry and Passion Fruit Juice — $10.75

So that’s one snack and two drinks, so it probably needed evening up.

Next stop was Hawaii, where we ordered - Kalua Pork Slider - with Sweet and Sour DOLE® Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise – $5.00

This has been around at the festival for years and I really enjoyed it. It’s a little on the small side to share but very tasty.

We also ordered a drink to go with it - Florida Orange Groves Sparkling Pineapple Wine, St. Petersburg, FL – $10.00

This was on my drink list, but it had increased a fair bit in price from the previous year menu prices. It was sweet and tasted nice, but a small portion for the price.

We had a nice chat to an older American couple about cruising whilst enjoying our goodies. We also chatted about their recent trip to London – I always enjoy hearing American takes on the UK!

We took a look in the Disney Traders shop near the entrance to the World Showcase, where I picked up this Christmas decoration for my new niece (I didn’t know if she was a niece or nephew at the time). I’d only seen very specific ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ decorations so far, so was keen to pick this up as it was the last one left on the shelf.

Our next snack was the cheese studio where we sampled the Braised Beef Stroganoff - with Tiny Egg Noodles, Wild Mushroom and Boursin Garlic with Fine Herbs Cheese Sauce – $5.25

Whilst I really like a good stroganoff, and I did enjoy this, I wouldn’t say I could particularly taste the cheese flavour, which I was expecting given that it was from the ‘cheese studio’.

Anyway, we must have finished this snack fairly quickly, as my receipts show only 10 minutes passed between ordering this snack and the next one!
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Old 12 May 19, 05:35 PM  
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Very Serious Dibber
Join Date: May 12
The next snack was from Earth Eats and was the The Steakhouse Blended Burger - Blended Beef and Wild Mushroom Slider with Brie Cheese Fondue, Arugula, Truffle and Blue Cheese Potato Chip on a Brioche Bun – $5.00

For some reason I don’t have the photo from today, but (spoiler!) we did have this snack on a later visit so I’ve included that photo.

There was a really good amount of meat for such a small burger. The real star was the blue cheese potato chip – so much flavour in that little crisp! One of our favourite snacks of the festival.

It was feeling super hot today, as the World Showcase always seems to feel! We decided to head out of the park for a rest at the hotel. Obviously, we headed out via club cool, as a sugar boost from some fizzy pop was required!

We waited around 15 minutes for a bus and were soon back at French Quarter.

We picked up our refillable mugs from the room and went to the food court as we had one snack on our minds – beignets!

Shortly before our trip, the pillow shaped beignets had been changed for Mickey shaped beignets. Due to a price increase, this did mean that you could only get 3 for a snack credit (although we would happily eat them, we probably didn’t need 6 beignets anyway).

We did ask, but the beignet sundae was no longer a snack credit. We also asked about an ice cream cookie sandwich, which we’ve previously had here for a snack credit. Although it wasn’t on the menu, the cast member advised she could make one up for 3 snack credits (one for the ice cream and one credit for each cookie). We declined and happily took our three Mickey beignets!

These are always delicious. I think the new shape means they are slightly less hollow inside, but still tasty. I insisted that we shared the third one equally! Just don’t breath in whilst eating them. We didn’t get around to trying the boozy beignets available in the bar next door.

Once back in the room we had a nap and then got ready for our evening at Hollywood Studios. We left around 5.30pm and made good time to the park. However, Hollywood Studios had temporary bus stops, I think to allow for construction of the skyliner. This made for a really long walk between the bus stop and the park.

Walking into Hollywood Studios, I was disappointed to see screens in front of the Chinese theatre. Why is Disney intent on taking down the Sorcerer’s Hat, but then blocking the Chinese Theatre with screens?

After a brief moment of anger, I realised they were pop up screens and looked like they would be taken down for the fireworks this evening. Much better than the screens used for the Frozen fireworks in previous years which didn’t move.

We had time for a very brief look around Toy Story Land.

I was presently surprised to see ok wait times – 45 minutes for Midway Mania and 60 minutes for Slinky Dog Dash.

There were lots of details here and I was excited to explore this area further!

It was then time to check in for our 6.30pm ADR at Hollywood Brown Derby. One of the big pluses about the deluxe dining plan was trying the variety of signature restaurants. The restaurant is one that would never make our shortlist on the standard plan where we chose just one or two signatures.

We were soon shown to a table, but were sat right next to the entrance of the restaurant with a large pillar blocking the view of the restaurant for both of us. I have no idea if the restaurant looked nice as I couldn’t see anything!

When our server came back, Ollie asked if we could move and we were taken to a nice spacious booth, which was much better. Although, I have no idea who any of these people were…

We were assigned a different server, who was polite but quiet.

To drink we shared -

Fabulous Marines - Absoulut Pears Vodka, Patron Silver, Lime Juice, Muddled Strawberries, and Cilantro ($13)

And a Beverly Blue-Tini - Absolut Citron Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Blue Curacao, and Pineapple, With a Souvenir Glow Cube ($14.25)

Got to love a glow cube

Our server took our drinks order, and them came back to see us apologising that he hadn’t ID’ed us and said we must be very offended! We showed him our IDs and he went to fetch our drinks.

To start, we both had to go for Our Famous Cobb Salad - with Finely Chopped Greens, Turkey Breast, Bacon, Egg, Tomatoes, Crumbled Blue Cheese, Avocado, Chives, and Cobb Dressing - $11.00

Considering this is a salad, this was really enjoyable. Probably something to do with the cheese, bacon and avocado rather than mainly typical salad ingredients.

For mains, Ollie had the Char-grilled Filet of Beef - Port Wine Glazed, Sweet Potato Silk, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Brussels Sprouts, Sweetie Drop Peppers - $49.00

A nice steak, but not as memorable as others from the trip.

I had the duck two ways (which no longer seems to be on the menu) – Crispy duck confit, duck cutlet, sweet corn silk, fava bean puree, succotash, blood orange gastrique $38

I’m still not sure exactly which bit was the succotash…

Fancy names aside, I really liked this dish. The duck cutlet was a bit like a duck tender – maybe an odd concept but I was on board with it!

Desserts are trios ($11) and we each chose 3. Despite the grapefruit cake being highly recommended by our server, neither of us actually like grapefruit, so we avoided this.

We both had the Banana-Toffee Cake - French Macaroon, Banana Fosters, Cocoa Crunch, Banana Mousse, White Chocolate Ring, Heath Bar

And the Warm Blueberry Cobbler - Crème Fraîche, Orange Blossom Honey

The blueberry cobbler was mainly whole blueberries, I would have liked a bit more cobbler and a bit less blueberry!

We also had the Lemon Cheesecake - White Chocolate Cream, Local Blueberries and the Dark Chocolate Crémeux - Apricot Marmalade, White Chocolate Amber Ring

Overall, it was a nice meal but not as strong as many of the others signatures.

After dinner we headed out to find it had been raining during our meal. I think this was the last rain we experienced all trip, until the final night. There was still a lot of lightning throughout our stay and some afternoons you wanted the weather to break to help with the humidity.

We headed over to TOT around 8.20pm to use our fastpass. Because after a big meal, this is obviously a good idea. Crowds were heading out of Fantasmic as it had just been cancelled due to lightning. Most people were heading out of the park, although I’m sure some stayed around to watch the fireworks.

We hadn’t actually planned to see Fantasmic this trip. It just doesn’t do a lot for me. Last trip, Fantasmic had a technical fault and ended early – we never found out if Mickey managed to defeat the dragon! I much prefer the fireworks shows to Fantasmic, but I know lots of people have a different opinion.

TOT was almost a walk on. We do love TOT and I’m always a bit scared on the first ride of a trip (actually, every ride). It’s even creepier in the dark. The cast members were on good form for this ride. We were advised to hold on tight ‘Don’t make like Elsa and let it go!’. One cast member shouted ‘next time, take the stairs’ as the door closed.

After our ride we had a quick look in the new Pixar shop on Sunset Boulevard. Ollie appreciated all the Wall-e merchandise, as it’s one of his favourites and often under represented.

It was time to head to the fireworks, and it really wasn’t too crowded. I wonder if the lightning earlier had put people off. We caught the end of Disney Movie Magic – I’d completely missed that this was showing during our trip!

I left Ollie in a spot and went to see if the Trolley Car Café was open, as I though a carrot cake cookie would make an excellent breakfast tomorrow. Unfortunately, my snack dreams were shattered as they were closed.

Firework time. The show was quite epic with the lasers and the powerful score. The projections on the Chinese theatre (without a screen or stage!) were effective, although not as clever as Happily Ever After. We enjoyed the fireworks and it was great to catch another new show.

After the show, along with everyone else, we made our way out of the park. We made it onto a bus with no wait, although it was standing room only. The drive back only took 10 minutes, so it wasn’t an issue.

Once back in the room, we put on the Weather Channel to catch up on the latest of Hurricane Florence. This was how our mornings and evenings over the next week would go – ‘catching up with Flo’. I do love the Weather Channel!

Day 13 - Magic Kingdom & Epcot

Edited at 04:16 PM.
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