Friday, February 20, 2009

Walt Disney World, Days 2-3

We got up on Day 2 and walked over to Downtown Disney. Once there, we hopped on a bus for the Wilderness Lodge, one of Disney's big, luxury hotels. No, we didn't buy an upgrade...we were heading to breakfast. Nestled into the the Lodge's environs of geysers, running rivers, and National Parks lodge charm, there's a restaurant called Whispering Canyon. A bit of a deliberate misnomer, the Canyon is one of the loudest restaurants on site. It's decorated to look like a Cowboys & Indians themed kid's playroom, and the wait staff are all "Cousin Al" or what have you. The food is excellent. The Otter got French Toast with cinnamon icing. The Roo got a version of Eggs Benedict (one of his favorite dishes) with beef brisket in place of the Canadian bacon and a BBQ hollandaise sauce. This was awesome.

Me? I'm a bear of simple tastes. I got the all you can eat conglomeration of breakfast...eggs, hash browns, sausage, bacon, biscuits and sausage gravy, waffles...the one plate was enough for me. I passed on seconds, and I still wasn't hungry hours later. Not to mention, everything I was served was great (gotta love little Mickey Mouse shaped waffles.)

I can't pass on mentioning the restaurant's rather...odd custom around ketchup. If anyone asks for ketchup, the wait staff immediately begin yelling for the ketchup. The table that has the ketchup is then expected to get up and bring it over to the other table. I phrase it that way because the restaurant has about 10 bottles...and they all end up on the same table when someone asks for it. I deliberately asked for it to get them to perform this ritual, then gleefully hopped up to deliver several bottles to the next poor suckers. Hehehe.

We then took a ferry back to the Magic Kingdom and went inside. We had a great time and stayed pretty much all day. We were a little disappointed that the Hall of Presidents was down for refurbishment (gotta install the big O, don'tcha know), but we knew about it ahead of time. It was a cool day, so we had no problems walking right on to Splash Mountain. And, yes, of course we stopped into the Country Bear Jamboree.

As the evening came on, we were finally starting to feel a bit hungry. We decided to hold off on dinner, however, as we knew that the big fireworks display, Wishes, was coming up. We staked out a spot in Liberty Square, behind the castle. You may miss a few light effects on the castle, but the fireworks seem to fly almost right overhead. Far more exciting for my Disney Dollar. Kudos to Stevie-Roo for having found this out when he was last there with his folks.

Our only disappointment came at the end of the night. We'd planned on eating at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, in Tomorrowland, because we'd been assured by a cast member that it would still be open. was. Sort of. The lines for salads, fried chicken, and other awesomeness were closed, but the lines for burgers and fries were still open. Oh, joy. The one thing I never eat at a Disney park. Ah well. My disappointment was faintly mitigated by the fact that I felt this was a good excuse to go mental at the fixings bar. So my fries were covered with melted cheese, and my burger was smothered in sautéed mushrooms. Afterwards, we made our way exhaustedly back to our hotel to collapse to sleep.

Day 3 was the only day of bad weather on our trip. It rained...and I mean...rained. The trouble was, it didn't start til we were in the park, so we weren't entirely dressed for the occasion. We chose this day for Disney's Hollywood Studios. This park is decent, but probably my least favorite of the four parks. We rode all our favorites, like the Aerosmith Rockin' Roller Coaster, Star Tours, and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. We did some of our favorite other attractions, like MuppetVision 3-D and the Great Movie Ride. We also did some things we don't always do, like Voyage of the Little Mermaid, because the Otter hadn't seen or done them. We also stood in line to get our photos taken with Bolt and Rhino, the park's two newest characters.

Nothing crazy to report on food in this park on this trip. We got early lunch/late breakfast at the ABC Commissary - Cuban sandwiches and whatnot. We also got some of Disney's awesome smoked turkey legs at the Toluca Turkey Leg Co. If you've ever been to a Disney park, are not a vegetarian, and haven't had one of these...come on! Next time you go, eat one of these prehistoric beasts! They're incredibly good...almost like eating smoked ham on a bone. It's a grisly meal, though. A turkey leg this size look like a leg.

After we left the park, we went back to the hotel and cleaned up, showered, got dry clothes, and then hopped on a bus to Downtown Disney because it was raining so hard. Once there, we transferred to a bus for the Animal Kingdom Lodge, another hotel built by the architect of the Wilderness Lodge. Here, we ate at Boma. I've ranted about Boma in other journals I've kept, but allow me to rant very briefly here. This is probably one of the best restaurants on Disney property. To call it a buffet is a crime. It has pods of different foods...all inspired by African cuisine. You can get bobotie (a dish of ground meat and eggs in a casserole), mealy bread (similar to corn bread), all kinds of salads (including watermelon rind, which is delicious), roasted meats, homemade hummus, vegetables, cous cous...the list just keeps going.

The two places where Boma really kicks rumproast, though, are it's soups and its desserts. There are always five (or more) homemade soups, ranging from lentil to beef to baked potato. Our favorites are the carrot-ginger (which is like eating liquid marshmallows) and the curried chicken-coconut soup. I have the recipe for this, and I make it at home, because once every couple of years is not enough. (Dang...think I'll make that this week.)

Desserts are topped first and foremost by zebra domes. These delicate little units of chocolate and Kahlua are beautiful to the eye and to the mouth. Other faves include chocolate mousse crunch, banana bread pudding, homemade cookies, and much, much more.

Needless to say, we slept well after Boma.

More updates soon.

- The Happy Bear

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