Feb 23, 2011




A peek at the Flower and Garden Festival with a visit to „The Ditch“ and some caramel


Another day we did not make it for rope drop. Instead we had some breakfast in the room, there was plenty of yummy food in the fridge and there were still some Krispy Kreme left, which “needed” to be eaten. When we finally left it was nice and warm outside and so we decided to head over to the Beach Club and have some ice-cream. So we drove over, parked the car and headed towards Beaches and Cream. Bummer, still closed.

We were thinking about what to do and decided to try and hit Epcot. So we walked over from the resort and entered through the International Gateway. The countries were all still closed but we were heading toward Futureland.

When we got to the bridge we saw that they had actually started to put up the topiaries for the Flower and Garden Festival, so we stopped and took lots of photos of them and all the new plant designs that were around. We walked towards The Land to take our chance on Soarin, but Fast Passes were for the early afternoon and standby line was already 90 minutes, thanks, but no thanks.

Nemo and Crush didn’t draw us in, so we went over to Mission Space to try our luck there. Standby line was 45 minutes, so we picked up a Fastpass instead. But we noticed our first Flower and Garden photo option – a Stitch topiary. There was a long line for Test Track, so we just headed to the exit of the ride to check out which new cars they had in the exhibition.

We had a good luck around and a good laugh when we found out that the 2011 Chevy Cruize was 19 % Austrian. After spending quite some time in the exhibition we decided to have a look into Mousegear.  Lots of new stuff, so we spent a lot of time looking around. They had quite a few Dooney & Burke’s there, so we waited in line for a CM to have a closer look at them. Unfortunately the three CMs there didn’t care much and two of them tended to their own business, while the third had a conversation with two older ladies. After about 5 minutes we gave up and walked on and a little while later we finally left the store. Walking around we noticed lots more topiaries that they were already putting up for the Flower and Garden Festival. There were Mickey, Minnie and Pluto flying a kite, Donald and Daisy, the “100 Acre Wood Gang” and many more. The space around the ponds was planed with thousands of flowers which made up a Mickey as well.

Time flew by and it was our Fast Pass return time, so we headed over to Mission Space, the line had subsided by then and was only 20 minutes, but once we were inside the building we went right to the front of the line and went straight into briefing. We were teamed with a Spanish speaking mother and daughter, who had not understood a word of the briefing and it was impossible to even point out what they were supposed to do.

The ride was fun as always even though we had a lot of computer override. When we got off we wanted to walk towards the countries to have some lunch, but then we noticed that the line for Test Track was pretty short. We could not really believe it and jumped into the line and low and behold the wait was only 15 minutes. It was really fun, since we hadn’t done it in a long time, due to really long wait times.

Needless to say, we scanned the photo they take onto our Photopass CD! It was past 11am and that meant that World Showcase was open by now and we could have some lunch. So we walked over to the countries and since we hadn’t tried the new counter service place in Mexico, that is where we were heading.

So once we had arrived at the La Cantina de San Angel, we were shocked at how full the outside seating area was. We knew that you could sit inside the Table Service Restaurant during the day as well, so we peeked inside, it was full there too, but there were still a few open tables, so we went back to get in line. Quick look and we found that all the cash points had about the same amount of people in line, so we stayed at the one closest two us.

Two groups on both sides, now that should not take long. The first three groups went fast, so there was only a group on the other side to be care of and it would be our turn. The family had discussed the menu all the time they were in line, so there should not be a problem, or so we thought. Once it was their turn they started to think about their options, ordered, changed the order, changed it again, and finally told the Cast Member they were on the Disney Dining Plan. Ups, sorry, but some of the items  you ordered, like the extra sides needed extra credits. Okay they started over again to just ordered what is covered and it took quite a while as they needed to rethink. Well, they finally were done rethinking and ordering and the CM took their Key To The World, pulled it through and “Surprise”, they didn’t have enough credits. Would they like to pay cash for the rest – no, they would not! They rethought and started all over again. In the meantime the CM needed a manager to void the order and it took even more time. Both the manager and CM apologized to us, but by that time we were no longer shaking our heads, but only laughing. The family of three adults and two kids were finally done ordering and paying with their credits and the CM turned to us.

 Since we had had more than enough time to make up our mind we ordered and were done in about a minute. The other family was picking up their lunch right before we were handed ours and stormed inside the Table Service restaurant as well. They plopped down at the very first, rather small empty table there was and one of them had to even have their meal standing next to the table holding the tray. We walked a little further and found a nice table between two benches and sat down.

We both were thirsty and needed a drink. We shared a large Diet Coke and the Tacos de Carne - grilled beef tacos served on fresh handmade corn tortillas with Pico de Gallo, lime and Corn Tortilla Chips. Tom got some sauces and we both really enjoyed the tacos and the warm tortilla chips a lot. I wanted to try the Churros con Cajeta - Churros with Caramel Milk. And that was right up my street! Soft sweet churros, dipped into the caramel goodness of the sauce! Oh yum. Sometimes I am pretty happy Tom doesn’t like sweet things as much as I do. Once we had finished our lunch we went inside the Mexican Pavillion to see if we could do the boatride. Boy, was it packed in there and no way am I getting in line for that little boatride for 20 minutes. So why not have a nice relaxing drink instead. A few steps over to the La Cava del Tequila to have a look if we could squeeze in there somewhere and we were surprised to find it absolutely empty. Needless to say that we had change that and sat down at a table for two. A server was on hand immediately and she welcomed us, pointed out a few things and then left to let us have a look at the menu. Tom chose an Avocado Margarita, El Mayor Premium White Tequila, Melon liqueur, fresh avocado, fresh lime juice and agave nectar, served frozen with a Hibiscus Himalayan Salt rim.

Last time we were there I had wanted to try the Pineapple Margarita, but they were out of pineapple juice, so I was determined to get it this time. It was made from El Mayor Premium White Tequila, ginger liqueur, caramelized pineapple nectar, agave nectar and fresh lime juice, served on the rocks with a cactus-lemongrass Himalayan Salt rim.

Both were very good!  And there was one thing we were sure we wanted to have as well, the Guacamole with side of fried flour chicharron drizzled with Valentina sauce. The server offered a side of fresh Tortilla Chips as well and we happily ordered that too. It was so nice sitting in the cool little Cava, nibbling and sipping. It left both of us a little thirsty, so we got some Diet Coke as well. We sat there for quite some time, before we finished our treats and the bar filled up and it was time to leave.

We then set out on a quest to find as many Flower and Garden Festival topiaries as possible. There were a ton around World Showcase, Trolls in Norway, lots of animals in China, the characters from the Lion King, Mickey and Minnie, Princesses and Princes and much more. The only real stop we made was in Germany to pick up some of the famed Caramel Pop Corn.

We had a nice chat with a Cast Member there who was stunned that we would answer her in German. We walked out through the shop and stopped to talk to one other Cast Member who was talking about which other parts of the USA she still wanted to travel to. We munched our popcorn while walking around World Showcase and it was as good as everyone had said.

When we came to the International Gateway, we decided not to do the full loop, but leave via the Gateway and try to score a table at Beaches and Cream now. It looked pretty full, people were sitting at the tables outside the restaurant, but we gave it a shot. The Cast Member was very sweet and told us that we might have to wait a while. She then went inside and when she came back she asked if we would mind sitting at the counter.

We didn’t mind and 3 minutes later we were seated at the counter. We were handed a menu and asked if we wanted something to drink and we both ordered a Diet Coke. Still being quite full from our lunch we both decided on something a little smaller. Tom ordered the Frozen Sunshine - orange sherbet, vanilla ice cream and seltzer, blended to perfection, topped with whipped cream, and a candied orange slice and I knew what I wanted before we had even entered Beaches and Cream.

I wanted the Mickey Mouse Sundae, made with Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. It is just the right size of a treat for me! While we were waiting for our sundaes we could watch the Cast Members preparing numerous other treats and were amazed at the amount of ice cream that went into those. Once our treats had arrived we enjoyed them very much and Tom was not even able to finish his, even though it was very good and much lighter than we would have imagined. When we had finished our afternoon snack we decided to go back to the resort to crash for a while. Or so we thought. We arrived back at our resort around 3pm to find our room ……… not ready, yet! No, our room was not made up by 3pm and there was no mousekeeping to be seen anywhere around.

So we just chilled on our unmade beds for a while and then decided to head out and do a little shopping at the outlet malls. We headed to the Prime 1 outlet mall to do a little more Disney shopping. There were a lot of things that peaked our interest and we actually took home quite a few things including T-shirts, DCL embossers and some other little things. We wandered around the mall for a little more time, popping into some of the shops to have a look around and before we knew it, it was dark outside. It was nearly 8pm and we had gotten hungry. There were lots of options on the way back to the resort but a friend from the DISboards had suggested Miller’s Ale House and that was where we decided to go for dinner.

Thankfully Tom had programmed it into the GPS earlier and once we arrived there all our hopes for getting a table dropped as the parking lot was full. It never hurts to try, so we walked around to the entrance, looked around, it was shock full inside, but since there was a server at the check-out, we just asked if there was a chance for a table for two. And we were so lucky! Not only did they have room for us, they even had a table available right away.

It was a nice and comfy booth towards the back of the restaurant and as soon as we were settled in our server arrived and asked for our drinks orders. I don’t have to think about it as I always have Diet Coke, with the exception of Bubba Gump’s and Tom had spotted something on the menu that he wanted to try, the Killians Red. Once we had put in our drinks order we went back to have a closer look at rather big menu. We both decided on ordering a Caesar Salad to start off the meal. It was a little underdressed, but nice and crisp. Tom ordered the Full Rack of Baby Back Ribs, their own secret slow cooked recipe smothered in Barbeque Sauce, served with French Fries and Coleslaw. The Ribs were huge and there was a generous portion of fries, but the Coleslaw came in a tiny cup. I felt like ordering a steak as well. So I went for the Flat Iron Steak with Boom Boom Shrimp. A Choice Flat Iron Steak with 10 mildly spicy Panko breaded shrimp, served with a baked potato, loaded with butter, sour cream, chives, cheese and bacon bits and a side of broccoli. The serving was huge and even though I was pretty hungry I was not able to finish it. There was no way we could fit in dessert, so we left after finishing our meal and rolled back over to the car. We were both tired and went back to the resort and were happy to see our room being finally made up. Tired as we were we crashed on the beds and after a little TV it was time to turn off the light and go to sleep.