Don’t Even Leave The Airport

Hopefully that’s not really what Delta stands for! We’re headed off for Spokane WA. It’s a first for both of us, and it will be exciting to see what Spokane is like. But first we go through Minneapolis. I remember when I was young my family (all good Minnesotans) would fly to Minneapolis (though we usually drove), and due to the observance/non observance of daylight savings time, we would often arrive at the same time we departed! Probably won’t happen today…

1900 Park Fare

1900 Park Fare is an old favorite buffet-style restaurant at the Grand Floridian hotel at WDW.  As far as I know, they only do character dining, and they do it well, along with truly fantastic food served buffet-style.  We went with our extended Florida family, and had a blast.  Here is Prince Charming, or at least a charming Prince with Kaitlyn and Kacie.  You can see that he’s honored by their presence, as it should be.  A very fine time!

Here is the same fine fellow in good form with Callie, who seems equally pleased to see him.

Callie and her mom Nancy are giving or getting tips on princess posing from Cinderella, if I’m not mistaken.

Here are Bob and Paula and Donna, not royalty as far as I know, but fine company for dinner, and enjoying the combination of royalty and fine food.  By the way, the food really is awfully good!So in addition to the royal frivolity, Callie had this college graduation thing that was quite a big deal, and Disney made a very nice cake for the occasion, far to big for us to eat.  Here it is before we tried:

IMG_0384So somehow Cinderella and Anastasia Tremaine (check me on this, she was created for film by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston) confronted Callie with the fact that since she was a college graduate and princess in her own rite, that she should be able to eat cake however she wished.
IMG_0386So on further goading they told her she should just bite the cake



Which she did, whereupon Anastasia (who is not supposed to be a very nice person) seemed to be in a celebratory mood.

IMG_0389Anyway, it was great fun, and we still have half of the cake, which was also quite good, chocolate with buttercream filling.  And I’m as proud of Callie for graduating as Anastasia is proud of her for biting her cake.  Maybe moreso.

Cranberry Bog

I kind of jumped the rails back to Epcot, but I forgot to mention the cranberry bog.  They have a pretty large cranberry bog where some entertaining and informative folks from Ocean Spray tell you all about cranberries.  If you can answer some questions afterwards, they give you free Craisins.  So now I know what a craisin really is, and where they product the most cranberries in the US, and how a bog works.  I got lots of free Craisins!

Hollywood Brown Derby

We ate at the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant as part of our Fantasmic Dinner Pkg.  It was pretty good.  It’s not my favorite place at WDW, but the food was good, the service was great, and the place itself is very reminiscent of old Hollywood, which is cool.



Paula appears to have made a decisive dinner choice, while Nancy continues to study the many delicious items on the menu.

Callie is apparently equally studious.

Here’s their crab cake appetizer, which was better than most crab cakes I’ve had back home, but not the best I’ve ever had.  I think Boston might have that distinction.

This was a lobster bisque appetizer, which looked good.  I didn’t get to taste it, but it looked even better in person than in this fuzzy photo.

The entrance to the Hollywood Brown Derby.  One of several table service restaurants at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as I’ve said, it wouldn’t be my first choice in this park for table service, but it’s certainly good.  I think I would prefer the 50’s Prime Time Cafe or the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant.  We’ve liked Mama Melrose’s too, though some report mixed results there.


When we were here last December, we tried to get into the Frozen Sing-Along, which sounded like fun.  Clearly it was because the crowd in front looked like Times Square on New Years Eve.  So we didn’t get in.  But this time we got a Fast Pass and got in for real, and it is pretty fun.  Of course most parents are probably sick of Frozen, but this fast-paced and fun re-telling of the story through live performances mixed with movie clips was worth the time, and I think most of the packed theater enjoyed it.  I managed to snag a few shots, here’s Anna (in case you didn’t know)

Here are two very entertaining actors who carried most of the show through narration, and they were funny and skilled, leaving us with the impression that they did a great deal of ad-libbing, but I’ve heard that everyone thinks that, so it might be that they’re just good at it–acting!

Here’s the other one, the queen…what’s her name?  Oh yeah- Elsa.  She showed up pretty much just in time to sing Let It Go, which was a great endingAnd with typical Disney theater craft, the ending was pretty spectacular, including snow and REALLY cold air mixed with fog and (so it seemed) frost.  Anyway it was a wintry ending for sure:


Like it says

OK, this was pure marketing, but we got to see a preview of a new Disney CD (also available on iTunes) called We Love Disney.  It is a bunch of classic Disney music re-imagined by more contemporary artists.  I see that Disney is having to put effort into being relevant for younger people, and although I’m not part of their new demographic, I think they’re doing a good job.  The album looks interesting, featuring artists like Ne-Yo, Tori Kelly, and Kacey Musgraves doing old-time Disney songs.  It looked pretty cool, but it won’t be available for sale until October 30th.  It was interesting getting a preview tho.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a little wet today

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of my favorite Disney parks.  It has a lot of movie nostalgia, combined with fun entertainment and some newer movie stuff that probably isn’t properly considered to be nostalgic.  Today we had several Fast Passes and we had a package dinner reservation at the Hollywood Brown Derby combined with priority seating at Fantasmic.  Fantastic is something everyone should see at least once, it’s a magical combination of Disney storytelling and theater craft that’s just pretty cool.  The thing is, getting a good seat involves lots of waiting in the hot sun, but with either a Fast Pass or a Dining package that includes Fantasmic tickets, you can get good priority seating.  We were in the second row.  I didn’t get any pictures at the show because I thought it would be a waste of time as so many of the effects involve back-lighting and water, so to avoid getting a bunch of sub-par pictures and a wet camera, I passed on that photo op – but it is very cool!


Anyway, the headline mentioned a wet park, and it was wet–poured buckets for over an hour.

But we had fun anyway, as you can see.  Callie was in good sprits despite her soggy shoes.  Notice that she had a poncho too.  Bringing ponchos to WDW would save about $10 each, but it has to be pretty wet before I’ll wear one because it’s like a sweat lodge and I don’t love it.  But today, I bought one and wore it anyway.  Did I mention it was wet?  Weeeeeeet.

Tutto Italia

One of the great things about Epcot are the fantastic restaurants that are typically operated by well known restauranteurs in their respective countries, and staffed by young people who visit United States it one year at a time to work in these pavilion restaurants. It’s quite a treat to talk to these people and find out what they think of their experience working in Epcot and the food is even better as shown in the pictures below:

My lasagna Bolognese

Callies ravioli di ricotta with chicken, prosciutto, and Parmesan cream

Pork, beef meatballs, and sausage with polenta that Nancy ordered called polenta valsugana

A nice side of green beans with bacon and garlic