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Posts Tagged ‘epcot’

So we’ve been back from our awesome Caribbean cruise vacation a week and we’re already planning our next trip. 🙂

We were waiting for the official opening date of the Harry Potter theme park at Universal in Orlando to plan when we would go check it out. Now that we know the grand opening is June 18th, we’re considering going in October (once all the kids are back in school after the summer break).

We have a couple of options.

Option 1: Take a short Bahamas cruise (Bahamas is on The List!) that either includes a stop in Port Canaveral (excursion to Universal Studios in Orlando), or leaves from there and we could arrive a couple of days early to visit the theme park. For exmaple, this one.

Option 2: Take a trip to Orlando for 4-5 days and visit the Universal parks (including the Harry Potter area), Seaworld (Shamu is on The List), and maybe a day at Epcot for the Food & Wine Festival (which we loved last year).

We’re currently leaning towards Option 2…since it would give us some flexibility to do other things in Orlando. 🙂

Next year, we’re looking at a Mediterranean cruise (France/Italy/Spain) on a cruise line other than Carnival or NCL to expand our horizons. We’ve heard good things about Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity but other than the itinerary, don’t have anything to base it on. Any feedback would be appreciated!

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Or as I prefer to call it the Wine & Food festival. Priorities people, priorities. 🙂

We met up with our friends Angie and Scott to experience the festival together and had an AWESOME time. Anything that involves food and alcoholic beverages is a plus, but to get to do it with good friends is even better!

I’ll try to remember everything we tried – there were some hits, some so-so’s and no misses that I can recall.

Brazil: Grilled Pork Skewer with Farofa – this was just OK for me.

Spain: Poema Cava Brut Sparkling Wine – this was nice and refreshing on a hot day

Argentina: Beef Empanada with Tomato Salsa – very tasty

Greece: Chicken souvlaki with tzatziki – just so-so

China: Chris got a Happy Lychee drink and it was very good

Ireland: We tried a few things here:

Kerrygold Cheese Selection: Aged-Irish Cheddar, Dubliner and Ivernia Cheese with Apple Chutney and Brown Bread – this was nice but I love cheese so this wasn’t a surprise

Warm Chocolate Lava Cake – OMG. Heaven.

Bunratty Meade Honey Wine – yummmm. Reminded me of something Harry Potter would drink at Hogsmeade.

Australia: Rosemount Pinot Noir – very smooth

Morocco: Royale Tangerine Mimosa – this was great, Chris had the baklava and he really liked it

South Africa: Seared Beef Tenderloin with Sweet Potato PurĂ©e, Mango Barbecue Sauce – Excellent

Italy: Primavera drink – mix of strawberry, banana and peach slush – very good vacation drink in the sun

Canada: Maple sugar candy – Good but not the same as the local stuff 🙂

Mexico: Mousse de Piña y Coco – yummy coconutty mousse

Poland: Chopin Raspberry Chiller – awesome!

Germany: Apple Strudel with Vanilla Sauce – yum yum yum – it was warm too!

France: Escargot Persillade en Brioche – good

I know Chris had tried a few others but I can’t recall – and I know I’m missing some wines in there too… It was a great festival and one I would definitely do again.

We also stopped at the Rose & Crown pub for a drink. The guys each had a Guinness, Angie had a cool-looking Leaping Leprechaun and I had an apple cider. Getting out of the sun was good too – I have a mean sunburn 🙂

After Epcot, we headed over to the Disney Boardwalk (which we didn’t even know existed! Luckily we were there with some expert locals 🙂 ) We had some drinks and snacks at the ESPN bar where the crowd was quite excited about the baseball game. We then headed over to Jellyrolls, which is a dueling piano bar where you can make requests for songs and sing along – which was an awesome place.

It was a great day – this day really made our trip. 🙂

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For day 2, we planned on doing 1/2 of Epcot, namely the Futureworld (rides/shows) side since we’re doing the Wine and Food festival on Thursday, which is on the other side (world showcase).

That being said, we got a late start to the day (got to the park at around noon) after a heart-attack-on-a-plate breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes and biscuit. We vowed that tomorrow’s breakfast won’t be as unhealthy… Anyhoo, back to the park. We got there and went straight to Soarin’ to pick up our fast passes, then did a bunch of rides including Finding Nemo, took a tour through the Epcot ecocenters and greenhouses which was actually pretty cool – I’ve never seen veggies like tomatoes and sweet potatoes grow on trees without any soil before – they might be able to get astronauts to grow food in space! Very neat. We also did Spaceship Earth which was a time travel machine back through time to learn how communication evolved. This was cute too. Then we headed over to the Mexican pavilion for lunch (San Angel Inn), had awesome lime frozen margaritas under a twilit sky with pyramid and volcano in the background. I had a chicken dish and Chris had enchiladas. Dessert was awesome – a vanilla flan that we shared and each had a cinnamon coffee. All very good. I love the ambience of this pavilion.

After lunch we popped over to the UK pavilion to see if they sold Chris’ tea (Twinings Chai) – we can’t find it in stores at home. Sure enough, they had it, and we got a couple of other ones too: Twinings Herbal Unwind African Honeybush (with mandarin and orange flavours), as well as Winter Spice (apple flavoured camomile tea spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and cloves). Yum.

Did a bit more shopping, stayed away from the wine and food kiosks (to keep it fresh for Thursday), then headed over to Mission Space, which was awesome again. It’s a space launch simulation and you’re strapped in, then your shuttle launches into space, you feel the zero gravity and g forces, your shuttle slingshots around the moon and lands on Mars – very cool. But if you don’t like feeling woozy or close quarters, this is not for you.

After this, we did some shopping, then slowly headed over to Japan for supper at Tokyo Dining. We sat and people-watched a bit before dinner and Taylor Dane was actually there doing a concert. We had mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, she was cool when we were in high school, so we felt a bit nostalgic hearing the old songs again (Tell it to my heart, Love will bring you back, etc.). But on the other hand, after her big success, she disappeared and we didn’t hear from her again until now – and it,s kind of sad that she’s been reduced to playing a handful of 80’s songs at Epcot…

Time for dinner. We had sushi and sake. Then for dessert, we popped over to the French pastry shop for a chocolatine (Chris) and chocolate mousse (me) and cafe au lait.

It was a good day! Tribe Gooneegoogoo wins immunity. 🙂

Tomorrow is Animal Kingdom.

That's a big ball.

That's a big ball.

Cool jellyfish on the Nemo ride

Cool jellyfish on the Nemo ride

Mexican Pavilion

Mexican Pavilion

Yummy frozen lime margarita

Yummy frozen lime margarita

Kinda dark but the flash really didn't do the background justice. This is Chris at our table.

Kinda dark but the flash really didn't do the background justice. This is Chris at our table.

Me at our table

Me at our table

Pretty scenery at the Mexican pavilion

Pretty scenery at the Mexican pavilion

The Japanese pavilion

The Japanese pavilion

Japan, where we ate supper

Japan, where we ate supper

This is a hedge maze. Chris knows I have this on my Life List and kept urging me to jump over the fence and make my way through the maze (he can be a bad influence at times). As I considered his suggestion, since the hedge was only about a foot high, to make it challenging, I would have to navigate the maze while crawling around on my stomach. Not very discreet. I chose not to give in.

This is a hedge maze. Chris knows I have this on my Life List and kept urging me to jump over the fence and make my way through the maze (he can be a bad influence at times). As I considered his suggestion, since the hedge was only about a foot high, to make it challenging, I would have to navigate the maze while crawling around on my stomach. Not very discreet. I chose not to give in.

Cool pic of the fountain outside the France pavilion

Cool pic of the fountain outside the France pavilion

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Yesterday we finalized our itinerary for our Disney trip next week and made all the reservations for the restaurants we wanted to try on our trip:

Sat 24th: Flight lands at 12:37pm. We’re taking the Disney Magical Express to the resort (they pick up our luggage at the baggage claim and bring it to our room so we don’t need to wait for it at the airport). We booked dinner at Jiko, which is located at the resort where we’re staying (Animal Kingdom Lodge). It’s an African-themed restaurant so we’re looking forward to trying some dishes we haven’t had before. Not much else planned for saturday – maybe hang by the pool and explore the resort.

Sun 25th: Epcot FutureWorld. We also booked lunch at the Mexican pavilion (San Angel Inn) which is set in a romantic twilight setting. We went there last time and it was awesome. For supper, last time we tried the Moroccan resto which was really good, but we wanted to try something new, so we booked Tokyo Dining at the Japanese pavilion. Should be good!

Mon 26th: Animal Kingdom

Tue 27th: Hollywood Studios

Wed 28th: Magic Kingdom – this is a small park that can be done in a half-day. Since we have the Cirque du Soleil show at 9pm (Life List item), we figured this park was a good bet so we don’t have too full a day. If we’re not in the mood for this park, we may go back to Animal Kingdom.

Thu 29th: Epcot World Showcase – Food & Wine Festival with Angie & Scott. We’re so looking forward to this – can’t wait to have some good eats!

Fri 30th: Our flight leaves at 1:30pm. We booked breakfast at Boma, another African-themed restaurant at our resort. We figured having a good breakfast to keep us fueled until we get home was a good idea.

A few do-not-miss items on our list: Aerosmith roller coaster, Tower of Terror, Animal Kingdom (it’ll be our first time), the rides at Epcot we had missed the last time and some we really enjoyed (i.e. Mission to Mars), shopping. 🙂

Can’t wait! We’ll take lots of pics.

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