Sept 03, 2009




Downtown Disney – a sad Goodbye – a brand new restaurant and a preferred viewing of Illuminations


It was time to say goodbye to our friends. This was the day they were leaving to fly back home again. We picked them up at Port Orleans Riverside around 11am after they had checked out. Since we had been looking to the store before we met, we were able to creep up on them from behind one more time. We all then got into our car and drove to Downtown Disney to all have lunch together.

 Since the young folk had gone to Downtown Disney by bus we all were to meet at Wolfgang Puck’s Express. When we arrived we got in line and while we waited our favourite server waved at us and asked if she should get us a table ready. Yes, please – but make it a table for eight! She did get us a table where we could all sit together. Once we had ordered and made it to our table we talked about the last few days that we had been able to spend together before our lunch was brought to the table. Tom had the Meatball and Parmesan Pizza - Niman Ranch meatballs, fresh basil pesto, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, tomato-basil garlic sauce and fresh basil. I ordered my favourite, the Four Cheese Pesto Pizza - creamy goat cheese, mozzarella, Fontina and Parmesan with Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic-basil pesto sauce and sun dried tomatoes.

 We both had a Diet Coke to drink and had ordered the Crème Brulee for dessert. Our server even offered to take a photo of all of us before we left. Once we were finished eating we strolled through the Downtown Disney stores, first up was the Christmas Store, a favourite for all of us. Next stop was Goofy’s Candy Company to get rid of the last few of Mary Ellen’s snack credits and then we all headed for the World of Disney.

There was still time left until they needed to go back to the resort in order to get on the Magical Express, so we paid one more visit to Ghirardelli’s. Since we were still full from lunch Tom and I shared a Chocolate Dipped Waffle Bowl, filled with Vanilla ice-cream and topped with hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry. All of us enjoyed those last few hours together a lot, but then it was really time to drive back to the resort.

We very slowly made our way back to the car and it was one last ride in the convertible for the four of us. Once back at Port Orleans the men went to retrieve the luggage and the girls got together to chat. Stephanie was picked up by her parents, to attend a wedding and drive home to New York later in the week and soon the bus rolled in. The luggage was stowed and then it was time for one last hug and they all had to get onto the bus. Needless to say we waited until the bus left and waved until it was out of sight. We slowly walked back to the car and drove over to Old Key West. There was a Magical Express bus ahead of us but it wasn’t the one Mary Ellen and her family were on. So we went back to our villa to relax for a while before we had to drive to the Boardwalk to have dinner at Kouzzina by Cat Cora and a preferred fireworks viewing of Illuminations at Epcot later that evening.

But before that we enjoyed a leisurely time on our balcony enjoying the peace and quiet of the resort. Our ADR for Kouzzina was for 5.05pm and we arrived at the Boardwalk at around 4.45.

So we checked out the shops and enjoyed the view of the Yacht and Beach Club and went to the Boardwalk Bakery to order a Mickey cake as a very late birthday cake, before we finally checked in at 5pm. They were still setting up the restaurant and we had to wait for about 3 more minutes before we were led into the restaurant. It had not changed all that much from Spoodles and we were seated at a table towards the middle of the restaurant.

Our server was very lively and fun and offered lots of recommendations on the menu items. We ordered two Diet Cokes and went to study the menus ourselves. They offered some Sangria and we ordered a pitcher hoping it would be as good as the one we had had at Spoodles before. Our server brought it out and it was as good as we had hoped it would be. We ordered the Crisp Calamari and Lemon - coated in Arborio Rice Flour with Spicy Yogurt and Garlic Yogurt. Not only did it look fantastic it tasted wonderful and we emptied the contents of the paper cone that had been brought out within minutes. When our server came by to check on us she just laughed when she saw how much we loved it. She brought out some Bread and Butter with Hawaiian Sea Salt.

A little while later she returned with our main courses. Tom had ordered the Oak-fired Pork T-bone - with Farmhouse Greens and Citrus-Fennel Marmalade, which he enjoyed very much. I had ordered the Wood-grilled Flank Steak - with fresh Herb Saltsa and Kouzzina Potatoes, which was absolutely delicious. We were full already, but didn’t want to pass up dessert, so we ordered the A Sweet Ending to Your Celebration . . . Baklava - Traditional Walnut and Cinnamon Pastry with Pistachio Gelato. While this was really nice we both found it to be a bit on the heavy side. But we really enjoyed the Loukoumades - freshly Made Greek Doughnuts drizzled with Warm Honey and served with two dipping sauces. These were really wonderful and we were happy we had chosen them as our second dessert.

Once we had finished our meal, we settled the bill and walked over to Epcot. We were still far too early for the Preferred Fireworks Viewing of Illuminations, so we walked through the countries, did a quiz in England and had a close look at the store in Canada and just for Mary Ellen we listened to her favourite Epcot musicians, Off Kilter. We went to Marocco about 45 minutes prior to the start of Illuminations and were the first people to enter the reserved viewing area.

So we were lucky and staked out the best viewing spot which we then had to stick to, once the rest of the British guests came in. Once Illumination started we really enjoyed the spot and Tom got to take some incredible photos.

After Illuminations we very slowly walked back to our car to avoid the crowds and then went back to our resort. We watched TV for a little while before we went to bed.