Walt Disney World Trip Report Part 27 – Last Tango in Epcot

Day 7 ‚Äď 11/10/2014

I left the Imagination Pavilion and made my way to World Showcase. This would be my last visit to Food & Wine. I was near the Puerto Rico booth so I started there. I ordered the beef with rice ($4.50). I have it down as being just okay I think because they had these ready to go; wasn’t too memorable. While I was waiting for my food a couple came up to where you pick up food and just grabbed a plate. I guess he thought it was like Costco samples. You know Disney is not doing anything for free man. The CM asked for his receipt and I guess he learned. I ate my beef and went back to Canada for some more soup.
DSC05654IMG_0260– Carne guisada con arroz blanco: Slow-braised beef with Puerto Rican-grown rice (gluten free)
IMG_0261– Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

Since I had already made my way on the Canada side I decided to start back in Mexico. On the way I passed the Desserts & Champagne booth and I had to get something sweet. I chose the dessert trio ($4.00) with a creamsicle, espresso cake, & cheesecake roll. The cheesecake roll was okay, the creamsicle was good, and the espresso cake was very good; despite me not liking coffee flavoring. DSC05658– Dessert Trio: Passion fruit coconut creamsicle, blueberry lime cheesecake roll, and chocolate espresso opera cake

In Mexico I looked around the stalls a little before getting in line for The Gran Fiesta Tour. I didn’t get any food since I live in Arizona with tons of Mexican food.
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I hadn’t really been to the “top” part of World Showcase yet so I sped past Norway & China on my way to Germany. At the German booth I got the pasta gratin ($3.50). It was also just okay. It was supposed to have ham, but I don’t recall there being much if any. The Poland booth was nearby and I stopped for what would end up being my last booth ūüė¶ From there I got the kielbasa pierogi ($5.25) & the apple pie drink ($8.75). The kielbasa was very good and the apple pie drink was great. I wish I had one right now. DSC05665
DSC05668DSC05669– Schinkennudeln: Pasta gratin with ham and cheese
DSC05670DSC05671– Kielbasa and potato pierogi with caramelized onions and sour cream & Frozen Szarlotka (apple pie) featuring Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

I continued along and did some browsing in Italy. I found this Italian candy I had bought the year before in Italy, Perugina Baci. I absolutely loved these so I had to buy a bag. I really should’ve bought more than one. They are like Hershey Kisses, but filled with a hazelnut filling and a whole hazelnut, basically one of the best things ever. I was ecstatic to find these. I passed the US and went to Japan to do some shopping. I looked around the main store a bit, but I was really after candy. I purchased a couple bags of candy to bring home.
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I had been to every country and checked off quite a few of my Food & Wine list. I really wanted to check out Stormalong Bay before we left and this was really the best time. I started walking out, but before I left I stopped and just took it all in for a couple minutes. World Showcase is one of my favorite parts of WDW, so just looking out over the lagoon for a couple minutes was a great way to say goodbye.
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I decided to walk back to Yacht Club and see what that was like. Probably not the best idea since my feet were already hurting, but oh well.
DSC05690_HDR – Beach Club DSC05695

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Walt Disney World Trip Report Part 20 – Eating My Way Around the World

Day 5 – 11/8/2014: Part 20 – Eating My Way Around the World

After my steak and soup I continued deeper into Canada. O’Canada was about to start so I stayed to watch that. Circle-Vision is pretty confusing to watch, I found myself constantly looking around to see everything. I enjoyed the film and it made me want to visit Canada, so I guess it did it’s job.
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I continued onwards to the United Kingdom. I did a walk-through of the stores. I was mainly hoping to find some candies we don’t get like Kinder Buenos or a Quality Street bar, but alas it was not to be.
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I headed to France. I wanted to give the escargot a try during Food & Wine. That line was ridiculously long and I didn’t feel like waiting forever. Other than F&W lines, my timing was working out nicely since Impressions de France was a couple minutes away. I was glad to see seats, but I may or may not have started to fight some sleep in the darkened theater. Another item I was looking forward to try was the macaroon ice cream sandwich at L’Artisan des Glaces. I opted for the chocolate on chocolate. I wanna hug whoever came up with that idea. So delicious. I had to stop for a Grand Marnier Orange Slush before I could leave France.
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The line for Belgium wasn’t terrible so I hopped in line for a waffle and beer. I went with the potato and beef waffle ($4.25) with the Leffe Blonde beer ($3.50). I’m not much of a beer drinker and the Leffe Blonde did nothing to change that, but the savory waffle was very good.
IMG_0233 – Food & Wine crowds
– Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef with Leffe Blonde

I finished my Belgian meal and popped into Morocco since it was right next door. I did a little browsing in the shops before getting in line at their F&W booth. I got the Kefta pocket ($5.00), which was probably my least favorite F&W food. It wasn’t bad, it was kind of dry and could’ve used some sauce.
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DSC05191 – Kefta pocket: Ground seasoned beef in a pita pocket

Japan was my next stop. I took some pictures around the torii gate before getting in line at the Japan booth for the hand roll ($4.95) and a Sake Sunrise ($7.50), both were very good. It was getting close to the time I had told Moms I’d be back so after eating I made my way out.
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DSC05208 – Spicy hand roll: Tuna and salmon with Kazan Volcano sauce with Sake Sunrise

Walt Disney World Trip Report Part 12 – Goodbye Universal

Day 3 – 11/6/2014

After getting the famous Vitameatavegamin skit stuck in my head again, I continued on my way to Transformers: The Ride – 3D. Transformers & Spider-Man use the same ride systems (even the same vehicles). Having just rode Spider-Man, Transformers just didn’t feel different enough.

DSC04681 – passed by some beautiful classic cars on my way to Transformers
DSC04454 – Autobots, Roll Out!

Mom’s kept herself busy taking some photos while she was waiting.
– you can kind of see them filming the Steve Harvey show here
– Moms used to love Emeril’s show on Food Network

The Decepticons defeated, I headed to the exit. Moms collects Hard Rock shot glasses and we couldn’t remember if she had Orlando already. I decided to stop in the Hard Rock Caf√© when I exited to get her a shot glass.
DSC04683 – bye for now Universal Studios

We were hungry and Emeril’s had a promotion going on for like a buy-one-get-one free entr√©e or free appetizers with a theme park ticket. We thought that seemed like a good deal and the menu looked good, so we decided to try it. The thing is, the promo was only for lunch and they had just opened for dinner. Neither of us caught that bit on the outside menu. Plus we had been looking at the lunch menu which had completely different food and prices from dinner. We stayed though and both got some small dishes. After looking at the lunch prices we weren’t prepared to pay double that for the entrees. The food was excellent though. I got a prosciutto pizza and Moms got some sort of pasta.
DSC04686 – my prosciutto pizza
DSC04687 – Moms’ pasta

After dinner we made our way back to the car, stopping at a nearby Walgreen’s before going back to PORS.
– this mini golf course looks insane

We got back to the room and rested a bit, but we ended up feeling a little hungry after our light dinner. We went to the food court and decided to split a burger back in the room.
DSC04693 – Downtown Disney boat taking off
DSC04696 – moscato colada I got from the pool bar on the way to the room (yes, it was very good)

After second dinner around 11 I wanted to go take some photos of the hotel with my tripod. Port Orleans Riverside is such a beautiful property at night. I mainly stayed around the lobby/pool area since I was super-tired.
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DSC04701 – I like this spot

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– Old Man’s Island pool

Walt Disney World Trip Report Part 7 – Today We Visit the Competition

Day 3 – 11/6/2015

I am a Harry Potter fan and had been regretting not visiting Hogsmeade on our previous WDW trip. With the opening of Diagon Alley I couldn’t resist anymore. I had bought us each a 1-day park-hopper (or whatever Universal calls it), but no express pass. We put the address in the GPS and made our way across the Florida wilderness to this strange & mysterious land.

We opted for the Express Parking and after parking we hopped on the first moving sidewalk. Took another moving sidewalk to the bag check area, before taking two more to get to Citywalk. I’m glad we didn’t have to walk all that way, because I would’ve been exhausted already. We made our way through Citywalk and entered Universal Studios Orlando.
– passed this minigolf course on one of the moving sidewalks

DSC04424 – like far-out man!

Our first stop of the day – Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem! We both love the Minions and this was high on the list of rides to try. The wait was about 40 minutes, so not too bad. I didn’t do much research on the rides of USO, because I wanted to stay spoiler-free. We don’t really do roller coasters & I knew a lot of their stuff was screen based, but I didn’t know much beyond that. Now Moms doesn’t handle simulator rides that well. I don’t know why I thought she could handle it. I saw the stationary seats and I don’t know why I didn’t tell her to move down there. I felt really bad because I know she loves Minions, but she had her eyes closed the entire time. It’s in a similar vein to Star Tours and I really liked it. I wish we could’ve ridden it again so Moms could sit stationary and enjoy the film. Maybe next time.

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Not having had breakfast, it was definitely time to get some grub. The nearest place was the Monster’s Caf√©. The restaurant is themed to the Universal Monsters, like Dracula, Frankenstein, etc. It has this mad scientist vibe going on which was pretty cool.
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We both ordered the half-chicken with potatoes and some green stuff that I hear San Francisco is using to ruin pizzas with. We were hungry, so we pretty much scarfed it down, but the chicken was not that great. I liked the potatoes, but didn’t touch the green stuff.
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Up next, we were wowed!

Walt Disney World Trip Report: Part 1 – We Love Publix

Day 1 – 11/4/2014

Our US Airways flight, took us to Chicago where we had a couple hour layover. The flight wasn’t bad, but on our previous trip we had quite a scare, so every bump & wiggle on this plane had us especially nervous. The flight was practically empty and Moms moved up to the seat in front of me so we both had our own rows.

– me on the plane

We ate some food before getting on our second plane. We arrived in Orlando with no complications. Since we were planning a day at Universal, we opted to rent a car for the entire trip instead of letting Disney drive us around. We were given a Chevrolet Spark, a tiny car that couldn’t fit our two pieces of luggage in the trunk.

– our chariot awaits

We’ve used the tollroads in California, so it wasn’t too jarring stopping at the various tolls. One of the things I love most about travelling is going to regular places that we don’t have in AZ. So before we stopped at our first hotel, we visited Publix to get some snacks & drinks for the room. We have grocery stores like that here, but for some reason we really loved Publix. We were hungry, but decided to wait to eat at the hotel, since we’d only have one night to check out their food options. I knew we’d come back to Publix for a meal though.

Our first hotel for the trip would be –

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Moms wanted to try it since it was a new hotel and to see how she liked the value hotels (our previous trip we stayed at the Polynesian).

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We had done online check-in & with our Magic Bands everything was super easy. Yes, we did have 4 MBs each for the trip. We found our room and unloaded the car before visiting Landscape of Flavors for dinner.

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IMG_0138 – I can never get sick of something so simple

A lot of stuff at Landscape looked good, but we both opted for the make-your-own-pasta to take back to the room.

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Europe 2013 Trip Report: Part 21 – Food So Nice We Had To Eat There Twice

Previous part here

On our last trip to Rome, our hotel had recommended a restaurant near the Pantheon called Casa Copelle.¬† It was delicious.¬† Since Castel Sant’Angelo was closed we decided to head to Casa Copelle for lunch.

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Europe 2013 - 450 - DSC00854¬†–¬†Castel Sant’Angelo
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Europe 2013 - 451 - DSC00859 Рthe Tiber River
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Europe 2013 - 454 - DSC00878-Edit РPantheon
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We had already been to the Pantheon, so we skipped it this time.¬† We did¬†have the¬†taxi drop¬†us off there because I didn’t have the address of the restaurant, but I remembered how to get there from the Pantheon.¬† I had meatballs and Moms had carbonara.¬† It was still delicious.¬† After lunch, we headed back to the Pantheon to catch a cab back to the hotel.¬† First though, I had to stop¬†for some gelato.¬† Previously we had¬†really good gelato at Della Palma, which is also in the area, so as we were passing by I couldn’t resist.¬† I ordered two flavors, one was pink grapefruit, and¬†the other I don’t remember.¬† The grapefruit was so good, it made me forget.¬† That was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten in my life and I’m pretty sure it has spoiled me on all gelatos going forward since I’m yet¬†to find that flavor again.
Europe 2013 - 456 - DSC00889 Рmeatballs
Europe 2013 - 457 - DSC00891 Рspaghetti alla carbonara
Europe 2013 - 458 - DSC00894 Рmenu board behind the bar
Europe 2013 - 459 - IMG_1868¬†– pink grapefruit gelato along with some other flavor I¬†can’t recall

Moms and I rested at the hotel for a while and eventually Jules came back.¬† Not too long afterwards, Nina and Fam finished their tour of the Vatican Museums and rejoined us.¬† Our last trip to Rome was definitely highlighted by fantastic food.¬† The staff at our hotel on that trip recommended some fantastic places (shout-out to Serena and Marco at Deko, they didn’t have two rooms available or else we would’ve stayed there again) and one of those places was Pizzeria San Marco.¬† I had this 4-cheese gnocchi there that was amazing and the thought of having that again was one of the reasons I wanted to go back to Rome.¬† So that was our dinner plan for tonight.¬† The food was excellent again (we were definitely eating good in Rome).
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Europe 2013 - 462 - DSC00922 Р4-cheese gnocchi
Europe 2013 - 463 - DSC00923 Рroasted potatoes
Europe 2013 - 464 - DSC00924 – the Andy Warhol burger (Cuz’s order)
Europe 2013 - 465 - 2013-11-11 20.26.04¬†– I’m not sure what Nina ordered
Europe 2013 - 466 - DSC00925¬†– Uncle D’s steak
Europe 2013 - 467 - DSC00927¬†– Mom’s pizza

With our bellies full we made our way back to the hotel for the night.

Tomorrow would be painful

The last installment is here

Europe 2013 Trip Report: Part 19 – I Guess Tossing A Coin In the Trevi Fountain Works

The previous part can be found here.

Nothing of note happened on the train to Rome.¬† I’ve taken the journey before, so I spent the time watching some Top Gear episodes and playing on my Vita.¬† The time passed pretty quickly for me, I don’t know about the others though.¬† We arrived at Termini Station and took two cabs to our hotel, Suite Dreams Rome.¬†¬†This time we had the upgraded suite, but it really just meant we had a hot tub we never used.¬† It was getting to be dinner time so I looked online¬†for some restaurants nearby.¬† I found one around the corner that had good reviews.¬† So we made the short trek to Target Ristorante.¬† I remember all of us really enjoying¬†our meals here.
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Europe 2013 - 411 - DSC00595¬†–¬†someone got a “salad”
Europe 2013 - 412 - DSC00596 Рthis was my pizza with potato and mozzarella
Europe 2013 - 413 - DSC00597 Рpretty sure Moms got this risotto
Europe 2013 - 414 - DSC00598¬†– Cuz’s pizza
Europe 2013 - 415 - DSC00599 Рspaghetti alla carbonara

After dinner, Moms was tired and went back to the room.¬† The rest of us walked over to the Hard Rock to get more shot glasses.¬† From there we headed to the Trevi Fountain.¬† The legend states that if you turn your back and toss a¬†coin into the fountain it will guarantee your return to Rome.¬† I’m not saying it’s true, but I did toss a coin¬†the last time I was there and¬†here I was again.
DSC00603 Рthe light rain had continued to follow us and gave the streets a nice glisten
Europe 2013 - 418 - DSC00606 РFiat 500
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Europe 2013 - 421 - DSC00614 Рa better view of the masses of people you have to wade through to get down to the fountain itself.

After tossing more coins in, we headed back to the hotel.  I do know gelato was bought and my slippery shoes continued to be a nuisance as I almost fell a couple times.

Tomorrow we had a tour of the tombs below the Vatican

The fun continues here