Aug 19, 2011






Meeting Rosie and receiving special treatment


We got up early today and after a quick look into the fridge we thought about where to have breakfast. We didn’t feel like anything on site, so we decided to drive offsite and just find a restaurant along the way. The first restaurant we came across was a Denny’s. It was our very first US dining experience and it didn’t need much persuasion to stop and walk inside. We were seated on the spot in a nice booth and the server was on hand right away. We ordered our drinks, orange juice and tea and coffee and went to study the menu.

They had some specials and the Pancake Puffs, six bite-sized round pancakes rolled in a delicious blend of cinnamon and sugar and served with warm syrup for dipping, peaked our interest. So we ordered one helping for both of us to share as a starter. Tom ordered the Ultimate Omelette, three egg omelette with bacon, sausage, fire roasted peppers and onions, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, topped with cheddar cheese, served with hash browns and toast. My choice was the Florida peaches, French Toast Skillet, two thick slices of their fabulous French Toast, topped with caramelized peaches, served with two scrambled eggs, bacon and hash browns. All the food was wonderful, our server very attentive and fast and we really enjoyed the trip down memory lane. About 50 minutes after we had entered the restaurant we were on our way out again. With sufficiently filled bellies we discussed on whether to drive to a park or go shopping offsite. Since we were already offsite, shopping won. We drove to the Prime1 Outlets and started to explore some shops.

 I was amazed at all the different kinds of Crocs they offered and there were several other shops that we walked through, but there was one shop that we both had been looking for the most. The Disney Outlet store. They always have a lot of interesting and reduced articles and there were several that actually went into our baskets. When we left the store it was nearly 11.30 and we headed back towards our villa to pick up our goodie bag for Rosie and I tried the Mickey chocolate mints before driving over to Pop Century to pick her up. We arrived at the Pop Century right on time and walked into the lobby and there she was. We hugged and we it felt like we had known each other for years. Rosie led us outside to the pool area, where her family was having fun in the pool.

 We exchanged a few words and our gift bags. Rosie had gotten Tom a really nice postal themed keyring and I got some Vera Bradley paper clips. Then it was time to drive over to Wolfgang Puck’s Express for lunch. Tom took the top down and we had fun riding in the convertible together. Luckily we found a parking spot at Downtown Disney and walked straight over to the restaurant. Again, we were surprised, at how full the restaurant was. We got in line ordered our lunch and were disappointed to hear that they were out of Crème Brulee. Bummer! I wanted something else than pizza, so I ordered the Crispy Chicken Tenders & French Fries, while Tom chose the Pennette Chicken Alfredo with peas, bacon and parmesan.

While we waited we introduced Rosie to our favourite server there, Maritza. We had a fun conversation while waiting for the food and once it arrived and after we had taken multiple photos of the food we finally got to enjoy it. All the while we talked and had lots of fun. Finally we were finished and it was time for dessert. Rosie and I had been looking forward to the Crème Brulee and now we had to settle for the Cheesecake. And we were glad we did, it was surprisingly smooth and tasty and had a perfect burnt sugar top. We both loved it a lot. Tom had taken a Brownie and since he didn’t really feel like it, we gave it to Rosie, as her grandchildren would certainly like it. We chatted for quite some time before we headed back to the car and drove back to Old Key West, so Rosie could have a look at our villa and a feel for the resort. We sat and talked a little more before we needed to take Rosie back to Pop Century. When we arrived at Pop, we found Rosie's family having fun in the pool and they had already been assigned a room and we went to check it out. It was a nice room overlooking the pool area. After some time the kids came back to the room to get ready to head for dinner and I think Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom, so we sadly said our goodbyes and parted ways. Tom and I drove over to Publix to stock up on things we wanted to take on the cruise and then went back to Old Key West. We chilled for a while, then changed and got ready to head to the Contemporary Resort for dinner at the California Grill.

We made our way up to the second floor to sign in. I asked if Ron was working that day and yes, he was, so we asked if we could be seated in his area. They told us that we might have to wait a bit longer than the usual 20 minutes, but that was okay with us. Beeper in hand we walked over to the elevator and waited to be taken up to the restaurant. It didn't take long and we were back in the hustle and bustle of this busy restaurant. Tom and I got ready to go outside onto the viewing deck when our beeper went off. 

No 20 minute wait, more like a 2 minute wait.We were led to a 4 top in the middle of the restaurant and told that Ron would be over in a few minutes to greet us and were left to study the menus.A little later he came over, looked at us, thought about it and then you could see that it had dawned on him who we were. We hugged and he told us that he had told us to email him before we were to visit so he could have gotten us a window table and had it decorated. We were quite happy with where we were and that we had gotten him as our server. After our little chat he told us that he was going to get us a glass of water and that he would be back in a bit to discuss the menu, did we have any questions.

He did not only bring us both a glass of water, but he brought us two glasses of Prosecco as well. He sprinkled the table with Mickey confetti and when we proceeded to order some wine with our dinner he went all out and recommended another wine, but wanted us to try both. So back he went and came back with 4 glasses and the two bottles in question. We both took a sip of both wines and he was right, the wine he had recommended was far better. So we both ordered a glass of the Mer Soleil. We then ordered our starter and the main courses. It did not take long and we were served the Spiced Lamb with Dates, Roasted Olives, Sylvetta Arugula, Cucumber Yogurt, and Manchego Cheese Flatbread, which we shared.

Once we were done Ron brought out the California Grill's Sourdough Bread and a small dish filled with Butter sprinkled with sea salt. Ron stayed a while to chat some more and then told us that he was bringing us something else to try.

They were serving a very special Honey, that came in a honeycomb with their cheeses. The honey itself would go nicely with the bread as well, so he brought some out on a little plate for us to taste. We nibbled on the bread and dipped it in the honey and had some of it with the nice butter and after a while our main courses arrived. Tom had ordered the Florida Yellowtail Snapper, served over Dungeness Crab risotto, Brentwood Corn, Snap Peas and Sauce Choron. I had ordered the Cast Iron-seared Veal Tenderloin with Marble Potatoes, California Blue Lake Beans, and Morel-Vegetable Vinaigrette. Needless to say that both were wonderful and while we were eating the manager of the California Grill stopped by at our table to ask about our experience. Ron came by as well and told him that we were special guests and then explained to him that we were the "chocolate people", which seemed to ring a bell with the manager as well. We had a nice conversation about Austria and about how much we enjoyed our visit to the restaurant and Ron's service and then it was time for them to move on. To say the least, we were full once we had finished our entrees, but Ron wanted us to have a look at the dessert menu anyway and brought out two glasses of dessert wine to get us in the mood. He got Tom a glass of the Royal Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos, from Hungary and I got a glass of the Mission Hill Riesling Icewine Reserve. Now we had to get dessert. Tom ordered the Summer Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler, served with Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream.

I went for my "old staple" and favourite California Grill dessert, the Valrhona Chocolate Cake, Warm Chocolate Cake with Molten Center, Macerated California Strawberries and Strawberry Ice cream. We sat for quite a while and enjoyed our desserts before we decided to ask for the bill, handed Ron our Tables in Wonderland card and our Key To The World. I guess we completely forgot to tell Ron that we were on the Dining Plan and he didn't take off our credits, but billed our room. We didn't mind either way, but were now left with 4 more credits to spend. After saying our goodbyes and learning which days were his days off we finally walked outside and took a few pictures of the Magic Kingdom.

It was Extra Magic Hour at the Magic Kingdom that night, but it was only to start at 11pm and so we slowly walked over to be greeted by a huge crowd walking towards the entrance. This meant that we were in for a packed Magic Kingdom, so we took our chance and were stopped right there in the town square by all the people waiting for the Main Street Electrical Parade that was about to begin. Since there was no way to get through anyway we decided to stay and watch the parade.

Once it was over we were swept up Main Street with the rest of the people and made a right at the ice-cream parlour to hitch a ride on the Peoplemover. There was a line going onto the ride, but it is so nice to just sit, relax and watch the busy crowds, especially after such a large meal. Once we got off it was about time for Wishes to start so we tried to head back to Main Street, but there was NO way we could get there, so we headed towards the hub and actually found quite a nice spot to watch Wishes. It was only quarter past 10 when Wishes was over and we had 45 minutes until Extra Magic Hours were to start. You could not move an inch after the fireworks and when the crowds finally moved we just went with the flow and walked towards Tomorrowland. After checking the line for Space Mountain we gave it a miss and just stolled over to the shops near the Speedway. We spent some time checking out the merchandise and then headed towards Cosmic Rays as we both were thirsty.

We shared a large Diet Coke which we used a snack credit for and sat and chilled and waited for Extra Magic Hours to start. Once they had started we hoped for the crowds to die down, but there were still a lot of guests around. Haunted Mansion was a 30 minute wait, Thunder Mountain had a 50 minute wait and it was too early to get drenched on Splash Mountain. So we strolled over to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, which only was a 15 minute wait. We were seated at the back of the boat and enjoyed the ride. When we got off we checked out the store at the end and then walked towards the Jungle Cruise. The wait time was pretty short and even though we were both tired, this is a ride not to miss during Evening Extra Magic Hours.

You won't be able to take in all the details of the ride, but the skippers come up with a lot of unique and extremely fun jokes. Our skipper that day was no exception. We were all in stitches and when we came to the temple, he said that he was done for the night and we either had to stay there or someone else had to steer us through this terrifying tunnel. He chose a little boy who did the job and got a round of applause from all of us. Once back at the pier the skipper told us to get out and be aware that it was a theme park out there. Again everyone was in stitches. It was half an hour past midnight by now and we were both so tired, so even though the park was still open for another hour and a half we decided to call it a day and head back home. We picked up the car and drove back to Old Key West. It was nearly half past one when we got back and we were so tired, we fell in bed and were out like a light.