Aug 16, 2011





Guest of honour


We slept in a little that day and only got up around 8am. We then got ready and were out the door shortly before 9am. Since we didnít want to have breakfast in the room we went to our other favourite breakfast place, Wolfgang Puckís Express.

Even though we had arrived shortly after they had opened, the restaurant was already bustling. We placed our order, picked up our marker and our drinks and found a nice table. It didnít take long for a server to arrive and hand us some cutlery and shortly after that our breakfast had arrived. Tom had ordered his favourite, Wolfgang's Breakfast Pocket, Scrambled eggs, peppers, Niman Ranch Bacon, onions, mushrooms, mozzarella and cheddar cheese baked into Wolfgang's pizza dough and served with breakfast potatoes, while I just had to have my favourite breakfast at Wolfgangís, the Smoked Bacon Pizza, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, mozzarella and cheddar cheese and Ranch Dressing.

We were in breakfast heaven. When we had finished our breakfast we spotted our favourite server, Maritza. She is on her way up the ladder and is in training for another position, but when she saw us, she came over and we all hugged. We had brought her some Austrian candy for her little boy and she was stunned that we had thought about her, while away from Florida. She told us her schedule and we vowed to come back when she was working. We then made our way back to the car to drive offsite and do a little shopping. Tom and I just love to browse through all those huge stores, so we went to Walmart and Target and spent a good part of the morning there. Once we were done shopping we decided to make a stop at our favourite Krispy Kreme store. We picked up a dozen hot Original Glazed Doughnuts and a large Diet Coke to share and sat inside the store to enjoy a doughnut or two. Once we had filled our sweet tooth, we drove back to Old Key West and hauled all our new stuff up into the villa. We had a little time left until we were to leave again for our Fantasmic Package, so we decided to just stay put for a while. Tom made use of the Jacuzzi, while I checked my email and did an update on the DISboards. Soon it was time to head out again. It isnít very far to the Studios and we arrived there in no time. This is by far the worst park to park at for us. We either start a new row or park at the far end of the tram stop. This day was no different.

We parked more than halfway down the parking lot, the tram stopped a few rows away and it was pretty hot. Back check was easy and even getting through the turnstiles was done in no time. We checked the tip board on the way to the restaurant and picked up a Fastpass for Startours before heading for our Mama Melrose ADR. We arrived there about half an hour early for our ADR and the place was packed. They told us that it would be at least a half hour wait, so we decided to venture over to the shop on the opposite side and have a look at the merchandise. After we had seen every single piece of merchandise we headed over to the Christmas store and had a good long look before returning to the restaurant.

It was still packed but since they sent away walk ups we were pretty sure since we had already waited nearly half an hour that we would be seated very soon. When a seat became available about another 20 minutes later, we decided to sit down, since it had been quite a long time we had been waiting already. Every now and then they would take out a slip of paper and call a family, but we were still waiting. After an hour and five minutes we were finally called and taken to our table. Maybe we should have taken it as a sign of things to come, but we were to spend quite some time in the restaurant. After that long wait we were seated at a 4 top and told that we would have the best server in the house. Another five minutes later an older server came over, introduced himself, looked lost and left again without taken even the drinks order. He came back a little while later and asked if we had decided on drinks and when we told him that we had decided on food as well he made it a statement that he would get us something to drink first. We both ordered a Diet Coke and waited. And waited. And waited some more until he returned with our drinks. And not only the drinks, but also a basket full of Fresh Rolls and some Olive Oil with dried herbs in it. We were delighted to see that he was now in the mood to take our order and ordered our starters and main courses. The restaurant was full and continued to watch the hustle and bustle while nibbling on the bread. It took quite a while for our starters to arrive but finally they made their way to our table. Tom had ordered the Clams Oreganatta, oak-fired clams cooked in oregano butter with Italian sausage over toasted focaccia, while I had decided to try the Mixed Greens - with dried cherry vinaigrette, candied walnuts, fresh pear and imported gorgonzola cheese. Since it had taken quite a while for our starters to be served we did not have enough time to finish our food, before our main courses arrived.

And that is something I really do not like. But Tom was almost finished and I continued on finishing my salad before digging into the main courses, the Charred Strip Steak, Italian Roasted Potatoes and Cipollini Onions, aged Balsamic-Shallot Butter, and Chianti Wine Reduction for Tom and the Chicken Campanelle, wood-grilled chicken over Campanelle pasta tossed with Romanesco, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach and sweet Onions in a Four-Cheese Cream Sauce for me. Both were equally delicious, but while Tom was able to finish his dish, I was not. When we were done we were sitting in front of our plates for quite some time. Our server walked by, but didnít clean the plates or asked for dessert. After about 20 minutes of waiting he decided to take away the plates and asked about dessert Ė hm, could we have a menu please. He murmured something, then left and returned a while later with two dessert menus and left again. After quite a while he returned again, took the order and disappeared again. A food runner brought out our desserts. Tom had the Chocolate Cannoli Cake, with cannoli and nutella filling, while I felt like something light and had ordered Mama's Panna Cotta, Tiramisu-flavored custard with ladyfingers and Cappuccino cream.

Unfortunately neither of the desserts lived up to the expectations. By then we had been nearly three hours since we had checked in and we were both growing tired of sitting there and waiting. In the meantime our server had been assigned to look after a 10 top and it took all his attention, so we waited some more. When he finally was done with taking their orders we asked for the bill. He went back and forth and back and forth and finally he put our bill on the table. I was really running out of patience by that time. Donít get me wrong, I do understand that those servers have a lot of things to do, but our server was mostly standing in a doorway staring, then wandering between the tables until he went back to staring.

We decided to go with the requested 18% tip and not top it up like we usually do and put our KTTW card inside the holder and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. Our server walked to the table next to us, to the table behind us, but would he pick up our bill? NO WAY! So, when I saw another Castmember walk by, one who was not in uniform, I asked about our bill being processed. She picked it up, asked if everything had been alright and I was in no mood to lie, I told her that this meal had taken over three hours now, and we were done! Really.

She apologized, took our bill and soon after we could see her talk to our server, who went to process our bill. The other Cast member came back and handed us something, which I didnít realize in the first place. She told us that she was truly sorry we had lost so much of our park time here in the restaurant, hoped that our meal had been pleasant and handed us a ďGuest of HonorĒ Fastpass. It practically lets you go on a ride of your choice right away. We were both stunned and thanked her so much for her kind gesture. Disney knows how to make things right and guests happy! So once our bill was paid we left the restaurant and walked over to Startours as we only had minutes left on our Fastpass.

We entered the queue area and walked past a lot of people standing in the standby line up until the last room where even the people in Fastpass line had to wait. But it only took about 5 minutes to reach the area where you are assigned a row and we got lucky in into the front row. The new ride is fun, still jerky and we liked it a lot. Once we got off the ride we walked over to the tip board as we still had the Guest of Honor pass and found that it would be the perfect pass to use at Toy Story Mania as it had a 100 minute wait in the standby line. So we walked over there, handed over our pass, and got in the Fastpass line. It still was about 15 minutes until we got on the ride, but at least it was less than the 100 minutes in the regular line.

We had about 45 minutes left until we had to get into the theatre for Fantasmic and since we were already there, we decided to head into ďOne manís dreamĒ. The air conditioning was nice and itís a great exhibition, so we took our time, explored and read all the signs before we got to the holding area before the movie. There was still a 10 minute wait, so we went back to have a closer look at the exhibits at the end and in no time we were let inside the theatre. We both love the movie about Walt, and even though we have seen it MANY times it never gets boring. When we left the theatre it was already time to head over to Fantasmic. The theatre was FULL already.

In the Fantasmic package area, which is to the very right facing the stage, there were only a few seats at the very top left, so we decided where we wanted to sit and settled in. About 20 minutes later the show started and it was really nice to watch. We hadnít seen it in a while and we while we both remembered the plot of the show it was nice to be reminded of all the fun details that make Disney stand out when it comes to story telling. Tom tried to take pictures and he did, but every now and then people in front of us would have their kids stand up, so it didnít always work out. We really enjoyed Fantasmic and all its special effects.

Once the show ended everyone got up and pushed towards the exit and this time we were pretty lucky we were seated so close to the exit, it didnít take us long to get there. The park was still open for a few more minutes, but we had already decided to call it a day and leave. Again, we got lucky at the tram stop, as a tram had just pulled in and we were able to grab a seat on the first one out. When we had finally gotten to the car we opened up the top and enjoyed driving home in a warm summer nightís air. Once back at the villa we checked our email, then made ourselves comfortable on the couches and watched a little TV, before we went to bed.