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Old 11 Oct 18, 12:08 PM  
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Restaurant Reviews: 5
Four (don't) go camping - day 5

Up early this morning for the long awaited, and much anticipated EPCOT Center day.
On every trip we take a day together in EPCOT where we *may* enjoy and adult beverage or two... this year was my turn to be the designated driver.
But this time, we were heading out for dinner to... The Boathouse. As massive Lou Mongello fans and WDW radio fans, this was something we had been looking forward to for ages... more of that later!

We had our usual Large cup of tea, cereal and toast then headed into one car (did I mention it was MY TURN TO DRIVE ?) and down the road for the quick 10min drive to EPCOT parking lot.
After a short wait in the bag check area we arrived at the digital turnstiles just as the park opened. It didn't seem too busy to be honest - we even got a few photos in front of Spaceship Earth.

The weather was stunning - bright blue sky, toasty hot and we were ready for lots of fun.
Spaceship Earth was a walk on, so despite a FP+ for later, we hopped on, with Millie choosing to ride with Niki... I got Morgan and the big boys rode together. We all recited the narration together as we moved from the beginning of time to.. well... the mid-90's
We headed over to Test Track straight afterwards for our FPs, and it was battle of the sexes. Girls vs Boys in the designing room and needless to say, the girls not only created the most efficient car, but also the prettiest with sparkles and purple paint! Boys went for ridiculous spoilers and nitro-fueling..
The on-ride photo was another cock-up. Us girlies in the back decided to pretend we were asleep whilst the boys in the front completely obscured our comedy scene...

The outcome of the whole ride and who's car was better was left a mystery (probably for the best) as the last screen wasn't working so we agreed to disagree!
We exited through the gift shop and took a dash in the blazing sun to Mission Space - walk on in terms of wait time. Millie, Dan and Niki on green; Simon, Morg and I on orange. I really love the centrifuge in this ride - it's a really unique ride and whilst I know it's not for everyone (Dan), it's an incredibly brave ride to put in a theme park and perhaps isn't given the recognition it deserves. The theming and story are great, but I wish they would ditch the grim soft play area at the end - we just scoot on by to keep Millie away!
We had a quick chat about what we wanted to do next -Simon wanted to look around Mouse Gear so we popped in there for some much needed A/C and he mooched about the retro t-shirts etc. Nothing purchased, but we headed out the other side and walked to the Seas pavilion. Millie wanted to take Niki and Simon to see Turtle Talk with Crush after her experience a couple of days before, and they had never been there so we waited the 5 mins for the next show. Morgan hates the Crush show so he went for a wander over to the manatees.
Crush picked Mils to ask a question, but when he asked where she was from she couldn't remember, so I then got the chance to chat with a Sea Turtle! yay! We even "shared a moment" talking about our offspring!

After Crush, it was about 12.15 and we agreed to head towards World Showcase.. I wanted to go into the shop in Canada after realising I had never ever been in there - there are some really cool things in there! I even bought a few stocking fillers for Christmas (which no doubt I won't remember about when we get to December).
After exiting the shop, Niki and Simon suddenly presented us with gifts they had brought with them! Lanyards, score-cards and pens for all, with a whole bunch of themed stickers to be completed as we walked around World Showcase.
The grown-up drinkers had space to document their drinks around the world, where the small people and me (did I mention I was driving?) could record drinks and snacks. They were so cool - it was a complete surprise and added another element to the afternoon.
We were all pretty hot and thirsty so we went into the Rose & Crown to grab a drink - Pints for the boys, Pimms for the girls and apple juice for the kids. I particularly like the loos in the Rose & Crown (pub side) because of the music - they were piping in some Gilbert & Sullivan this time so Millie and I had a little sing along!

Drinks documented we continued our journey over the channel and arrived in France.
The drinkers opted for the Grey Goose or Grand Marnier Slush (I was so sad not to be able to have one!) and indulged themselves in a mini-photoshoot!

I took the kids up to the shop and they both had some small pieces of French chocolate as their snack..
I also took the opportunity to soak Morg from the fountain on the way past - one of us always does it and I was just a moment quicker this time
Morg wanted photos too...

Next was Morocco and it was really really hot by now. The drinkers had Casablanca beers, whilst I chose an iced mint tea which was lovely and very refreshing. Millie and Morg didn't want anything here, but we took a long wander around the bazaar area whilst the beers were being consumed.

Next onwards to Japan - we were all a bit peckish by now so headed up to Katsura Grill, probably one of our top 3 QS restaurants in WDW. The food here is amazing - fresh, tasty, large portions and good variety. Katsu curry, teriyaki beef and chicken, edamame and sushi were eaten and Kirin Ichiban beers for those drinking.
We wandered down through the garden area and found a table I have never seen before - next time we will definitely sit here in the peaceful shade.

Millie then called in her snack choice and we bought a rainbow Kakigori for her - she loves these but they are HUGE and far too much for a 5 yr old! She particularly liked the fact that it matched her new rainbow ears!

On to USA and this time it was Morgan's snack choice - Funnel Cake. I am one of those people who cannot understand the fascination with over fried, donut batter covered in sugar, syrup etc. I tried a bit, but sorry - still bleugh.
We grabbed a table in the shade near the kidcot area and had a rest whilst some craft beers were consumed by the "adults". I don't think I had really noticed this seating area before, and it's actually quite a nice place to sit because you can see all the way past the theatre and over the lagoon to Spaceship Earth.

Simon was handing out annotated stickers in each country to everyone, which by this point were everywhere!

The weather was turning a little cloudy so we took a break to see if it would blow over and had out Italy stop inside in Tutto Gusto (always have to go in!). I had my only other drink in here with a Campari Spritz whilst others had Moretti beers and the kids had chocolate milk! The loos in here are also amazing, so a good comfort stop too (they share them with Tutto Italia)!
As we left Tutto Gusto, the heavens opened in true August-in-Orlando style. We dashed as quickly as we could to Germany and jumped into Karamel Kuche to get in the dry. Millie chose a caramel apple as her snack and whilst we got it the others took the dry inside route to the bierkeller at the back to get their German beverage.

I had just apple - Mils had removed and eaten all the caramel

The rain wasn't letting up, so we took a "swift stroll" to China and I dashed into the temple with the kids and left the others to seek out a drink in the rain. I had the chance to explain to Morg and Mils about the acoustics of the temple and we took it in turns to stand in the centre-spot and hum quietly.. it's always magical!
To stay in the dry we had a wander around the China pavilion and at the back came across something I didn't know was there- a whole room expo on Shanghai Disney!?!
There was a model of the castle and huge displays of their rides etc.
We even found a few areas about the Tron Coaster , which if the new one in WDW looks as good as this, I cannot wait to ride it!

It's worth a look back here if you are interested in other parks - it's completely hidden and only had about 4 people in it!
The other 3 had found some random chinese cocktails and a beer so we moved onto Norway.
The Kringla og Bakeri was still closed for refurb so a drink was purchased from the cart outside which happily for me was also selling School Bread - my snack for this stop. I did however get it in a box, because I genuinely couldn't eat any more!

Nobody wanted to ride the Frozen Ever After ride with a 70min wait, so we moved on to Mexico where we took a boat trip with the Three Caballeros again.
It was now around 5pm so I decided to take the kids back to the villa before needing to go to Disney Springs later, and actually Dan chose to come with me, leaving Niki and Simon to finish the job back at Canada when they had finished their margaritas.
We hot-footed it at pace in the rain to the car an the hardcore 2 left went to Canada and they sent us the proof of drink eleven!

They agreed to meet us at the Boathouse later and whilst we drove home, had a shower and changed, they nipped out of the international gateway, through the Beach Club and hopped on the bus there to Disney Springs.
I'm a Great British Mickey Waffle Presenter and part of the 2020/21 DLP UK DREAM TEAM

Been to DLP 35 times?
Yes... Yes I have.

DLP INFINITY ANNUAL PASSHOLDER 92,93,94 (twice), 95, 96, 98, 99, 00 (twice), 01,02,03, 05, 06 (twice) 07, 09, 10 (twice), 11, 12, 14, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 (twice) 19 (x 4!)
Ask me anything :
WDW 94,96, 99, 10,11, 13, 14,15,17,18,19 and 2020 postponed!
DL 97 and 2021 on the cards with Aulani!
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Old 11 Oct 18, 12:49 PM  
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As I drove to Disney Springs, bearing in mind time was a little short to make our reservation at the Boathouse, I was dismayed to find the queue to get into the lime and orange parking garages to be all the way back past Typhoon Lagoon! I suppose I hadn't quite realised that on Saturday evening at 7.30, it would be so busy (not really a surprise though is it?) so cue some very non-british driving and a swift manouvre across 4 lanes of busy traffic and a left turn to the surface parking behind House of Blues.
If anyone has been to Disney Springs before, you will by now have realised (as we did) that we had parked literally miles away from the restaurant, so we had to do a fast power-walk to the Boathouse amid thousands of people to make our reservation... we arrived late, but only a few minutes. I checked us in at the podium whilst Niki and Simon popped to the loo and changed into some dry clothes we had brought them.

I have to say, my expectations of this place were super-high, due to the amount of praise and recommendation that many people, including Lou had given it... #Lousentme #stay hungry
When we were all there, we were shown to our table... and we were incredibly lucky to have been given the most amazing spot.. IN A BOAT! yes - we got the table which sits inside the middle of a speedboat - it was so very very cool!

The entire menu was amazing and it was so difficult to choose. Our server Alejandro was outstanding - the right mix of attentive, funny and informative.
To start out Niki and I shared a few oysters - I actually quite like them. We chose the ones you can only get at the Boathouse, and considering I live in a town that is known internationally for its oysters... these were incredible.
As appetisers we shared some of the Pimento Cheese Dip which was served with tortilla chips and pickled veg - one element on its own was nice, but all 3 together was .. wow!
We also shared some firecracker shrimp which are not for the fainthearted- I love spice, but Dan couldn't eat them. Morgan made short work of a plate of Carpaccio and it was apparently amazing (nobody else got a look in!).
As a main course, I wanted something I could only get in Florida and Alejandro was great at making recommendations.
Eventually I chose the Florida Grouper from the additional seasonal menu, served with asparagus, fennel cream and apple pico de gallo.

It was just unbelievable. I don't really have words to describe it, but genuinely, one of the best things I have ever eaten.
Dan had the shrimp and grits which was a bit of a wild card- didn't expect that at all, and Morgan had a huge steak which he says was perfect. Niki had the Tuna and Simon the Salmon.
Dessert was shared again - Key Lime pie in a mason jar and Morg had chocolate cake. I'm a huge fan of Key Lime anything and I like it to be not too sweet, but wow - this was tart to the point of being sour... tasted amazing, but nobody could manage more than a couple of mouthfuls!
We had the most wonderful meal, and price wise- the bill came to $440 including tip, so not cheap, but probably the easiest place for us to say we would be back next trip! If you are on DDP, don't even hesitate - get it booked. You can also book on OpenTable if you can't get an ADR though MDE, which we found much more successful.

It was now about 10.30pm and Millie was understandable flagging, so we decided to head back and Niki & Simon decided to stay in the Springs for a while then grab an Uber back later.

Now for the only thing that wasn't so good...
I am not someone who is overly anxious or cautious, but that evening in Disney Springs, it was heaving. To get back to the car took over 30 mins and that was due to the number of people who were lining the streets and milling around. There was lots of live music, dancing and fun, but due to how busy it was I just wasn't comfortable.
I actually felt for the first time ever how vulnerable Disney Springs may be to something horrible happening. There appeared to be very low security (although I understand there is un-uniformed security around), no clear evacuation plans and thousands of people in a very small, isolated and enclosed area.
I genuinely couldn't get back to the car quickly enough with the kids and Dan.
I have been to Disney Springs before and after at other times and all has been fine, happy and not worried at all, but that evening at that particular time I almost felt unsafe.
I think for me, a Saturday night in August and Disney Springs just don't go. I will get a booking for a different night next time.
I also appreciate that not everyone experiences things in the same way, so I may be the only person who felt that way that night, so it's just my opinion.
I'm a Great British Mickey Waffle Presenter and part of the 2020/21 DLP UK DREAM TEAM

Been to DLP 35 times?
Yes... Yes I have.

DLP INFINITY ANNUAL PASSHOLDER 92,93,94 (twice), 95, 96, 98, 99, 00 (twice), 01,02,03, 05, 06 (twice) 07, 09, 10 (twice), 11, 12, 14, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 (twice) 19 (x 4!)
Ask me anything :
WDW 94,96, 99, 10,11, 13, 14,15,17,18,19 and 2020 postponed!
DL 97 and 2021 on the cards with Aulani!
cheekytink is offline Girl Mouse Click to view Members Trip Plans Add Member to Ignore List
Old 11 Oct 18, 01:52 PM  
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A busy day your food in the evening looked and sounded good!

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