Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Walt Disney World, Day 5

Today, we made it over to Animal Kingdom. This was a very special event for me...after many years of trying, we finally timed it right so that we were able to enjoy extra magic hours at Animal night. Normally, the park closes at 5 PM. I've always wanted to see the park at night, and it's every bit as beautiful as I remembered it.

The one thing we did today that was new for me was the Finding Nemo: the Musical show they've added. This huge, Broadway-style show has live performers, puppets, video effects, great music, and...yes...I know...the Finding Nemo movie wasn't a musical. Well, Disney got some of the folks involved with Avenue Q to help make it one, and the result is excellent. If you go to Walt Disney World, this ranks up in must see attractions.

Also on that list is Expedition Everest, the big Himilayan train-gone-amok "Beware of the Yeti" themed roller-coaster. The theming on this awesome attraction begins when you're in line. As you wait, you pass through the Yeti Museum, perusing artifacts related to this strange creature. The ride itself is so much go forwards, backwards, forwards again, and then come face to face with the monstrous Yeti himself. That's all I'm saying on the subject.

Other than this, we wandered around, did the Safari ride, which is always different, but usually great. They've toned down the goofy plot on it, making it much more about just seeing the cool animals that are seemingly roaming free. We checked out animals, got a bite to eat at the new Chinese fast food place (nothing to write home about, truly), and generally passed an enjoyable day. By now, however, my big bear belly was truly working against me. I was getting physically exhausted to the point of my endurance and beyond. I let the Otter and the Roo run off to do stuff sometimes while I relaxed. I figured that was better than being totally unable to participate if I couldn't walk. It did, however, kind of put me in a more tired than usual state of mind...

Which may be why tempers were fraying when we made it to Jiko, the restaurant we were eating at. Now, we've been excited to eat here for years, and I wish I could tell you it was worth it. The food was, indeed, quite tasty...but the service we had here was the worst we had anywhere during our trip. Our waitress seemed either new or just shockingly bad at her job. A big for instance...Jiko is known for its vast collection of South African wines. The host who brought us in mentioned it again. When the Otter asked our waitress what she recommended with his Maize-crusted Halibut, however, she seemed baffled. "Do you like citrusy wines?" she asked. He allowed that he did but asked again if there were any specific wine that was paired with the fish...touted, I might note, as one of their signature dishes. She again seemed baffled. "'s fish, so you'll want a white." After a few fruitless attempts, he gave up. It's worth mentioning that the roo and I both ordered the Oak-Grilled Filet Mignon...not for the filet, which was quite good in its red-wine sauce, but for the signature macaroni and cheese. This was easily the best part of the meal. Desert was good, but literally forgettable.

The combination of the fact that we were spending two options from our dining plan for this meal (instead of one at every other restaurant we visited) and the bad service made us feel a little ripped off, and the meal wasn't the nicest experience of our trip. As I say, tempers were fraying a bit, and it definitely came out. In conclusion, I would eat at Jiko again (the mac and cheese was honestly that good), but I would just pay cash rather than feel like I was being ripped off on the dining plan.

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