Just Keep Swimming 2017- Day Five

Our fifth day in the parks was our second and final day at Epcot. Fortunately, the crowds were on the low side of moderate (our previous visit was the high side of moderate) which helped us have a better day. The morning of this day was definitely one of my favorite mornings. We had a wonderful breakfast at Garden Grille and then walked on to Soarin' with no wait. We then had our own boat for Livin' with the Land. It was truly a magical morning!

Location- Epcot's Land Pavilion, Seas Pavilion, Imagination Pavilion and the World Showcase


The Garden Grill- I was a little nervous about this choice. We aren't breakfast people. On all the other days, we ate poptarts, fruit, granola-type things, etc... In addition, Garden Grill was family-style. We don't eat a lot in one sitting, so all-you-can-eat type affairs aren't something we enjoy. And lastly, we've avoided character meals due to price, crowds, anxieties, etc... So, why did I pick it? Well, I got a pre-rope drop reservation which was supposed to allow us to go on Soarin' with no lines! It was highly recommended by WDW Prep as a good touring strategy, and I decided to give it a try.

It turned out to possibly be my favorite meal. The food was delicious. Neither of us ate the bacon because it was way undercooked, but this didn't matter to me because I actually loved their cinnamon bun. I don't like cinnamon buns/rolls at ALL. This thing was delicious. All of it was delicious. Delicious waffles, scrumptious tater tots, yummy sausage, POG juice, and more. Service was great. We got a great booth with a nice view of Living with the Land. We saw all the characters. It was a wonderful experience, and it worked like a charm! NO lines for Soarin' and we got to ride Living with the Land by ourselves!

Not only will I do a pre-rope drop ADR at Garden Grill again, I plan on doing it next year!

Lotus Blossom Cafe- This wasn't part of the plan, but Jimmy was starting to fade so I wanted to stop somewhere and have him sit down for a bit. We shared Orange Chicken and Potstickers. It was average- worse than last time we are there. They also had a special Festival of the Arts food. It was cute, but bland, and way overpriced.

Tangerine Cafe- For dinner, we at the quick service place in Morocco. We shared the Chicken Schawarma platter. It was pretty good. I liked the quiet atmosphere.

Rides & Attractions-

Soarin', Living with the Land, The Seas with Nemo & Friends, Journey into Imagination, Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival, Friendship Boats, Japan Pavilion, Frozen Ever After, Gran Fiesta Tour, Spaceship Earth, American Adventure



We did the "Pick-a-Pearl" in Japan...there was no wait! I got a single golden pearl. I also met Baymax.


Side Notes-

I had a beautiful Festival of the Arts dessert that turned my tongue blue!

While Jimmy relaxed in the hotel room that evening, I went down to the gift shop to pick up a bag we had sent to the hotel a couple days prior, and I took a quick snapshot of our lobby.

Disney Countdown: Week 21

Only 21 weeks until our Disney trip!!! My excitement has been rejuvenated by working on my touring plans.

The black blog in the left corner is Fred! See the end of the post for a blooper.

The black blog in the left corner is Fred! See the end of the post for a blooper.

Breakfast at Garden Grill

Jimmy & I are jumping out of our food "comfort zone" and we made an Advanced Dining Reservation for breakfast at the Garden Grill.

Why is this out of our comfort zone?

  • It's Breakfast- Jimmy and I aren't breakfast food sorts of people...he usually eats cheerios, and I usually have toast. We don't like big breakfasts, even when vacation. Actually, especially when vacationing! Why do we want to waste valuable touring time with food that we typically find mediocre? Last time, we grabbed easy items like muffins, croissants and fruit from our hotel's quick service dining. This year, we plan to bring our own food (yay, driving!)....granola bars, pop tarts, fruit, etc...
  • It's Character Dining- Character meals are also not our shtick. We are pretty introverted so our character interactions are usually few and awkward. Also, the presence of characters tends to make the meal more pricey- not something we are usually willing to pay for.
  • It's Family Style- If you aren't familiar with this style, it is all-you-can-eat (like a buffet), but served to your table. Jimmy and I are light eaters...we tend to share meals, and we prefer a smaller meal with a snack a few hours later. On our last trip, we found the buffet meals to be our most expensive meals and they had the least value. 

Why are we doing it then?

  • First in Line for Soarin'- Our reservation is pre-"rope drop" meaning we'll be in the park having breakfast before the park opens. The Garden Grill is in the land pavilion near Soarin' (a very popular ride) and we'll be able to jump in line for Soarin' before the hoards of people enter the park. With the addition of the new Frozen ride, there's going to be more long-line forming attractions than there are available Fastpasses, so it is important to get in line early.
  • Highly Recommended- I got this idea from Shannon at WDW Prep, but I've heard several other people report the same experience since then. Shannon highly recommended the experience for the food, but also said that they were able to actually ride Soarin' before the park opened with no wait. Several other people have reported great food, a fabulous time, and getting to ride Soarin' early.
  • It seems pretty enjoyable- The food has been described as very good, and the menu has options that both Jimmy & I will partake in. I've eaten at the Garden Grill, but not for well over a decade. The restaurant rotates (slowly, hardly noticeable) which gives a fun view of the Living with the Land ride. In addition, the "harvest" theme of the characters (adorable farmer Mickey) is very appealing.

You can check out the official Disney description here (with photos): https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/garden-grill-restaurant/

And here you can find a review of the Garden Grill (with food pictures):http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2015/11/10/review-chip-n-dales-new-harvest-feast-breakfast-at-epcots-garden-grill/

I really hope they are still serving the cinnamon buns with vanilla icing when we go...Jimmy will be all set! Me? I'll be good with the fruit and potato barrels (aka breakfast tater tots!).

Have you eaten at the Garden Grill? Do you do breakfast on vacation?

Main Street Electrical Parade: Live Stream

As I've mentioned before, one of my trip goals will not be accomplished because they decided to stop the Main Street Electrical Parade :::sniffle::: They couldn't have waited four more months?!

Anyway, I was able to see some of the floats this week on a recent Disney Live Stream. I feel like some chunks of it were not shown, and they spent too much time interviewing people about the parade. Yes, I know it's good, Disney, so let me watch it. Also, if it is so good, why are you getting rid of it?! But, it was still fun to watch.

Chase Rewards Card

All of our daily expenses are put on a Chase Disney Visa that I pay off on a weekly basis. This gives me Disney-specific cash back (as well as an adorable Finding Nemo credit card). It also gives bonuses like a special Character Meet & Greet line. To spend the rewards in Disney, you get a rechargeable rewards card. They suggest ordering this well in advance of your trip, in case there are any delays with its arrival. After you have a card, you can continue to add more rewards money on to it via the website. This week I ordered my card!

Lines Pin

I talk about the Touring Plans website and it's fellow Lines app all the time (here and on the old blog). Touring Plans meshes well with my style of Disney vacationing. Consequently, the people on their chat app (Lines) I love chatting with because they are like-minded folks. Lines is great for when you are in the parks (they answer *all* sorts of Disney questions very fast) and when you are not in the World and missing Disney (hear about other people's trips, and help answer their questions!).

Folks on the Lines app call themselves Liners. They also like to look out for each other in the parks. A custom pin was designed for us and placed on Zazzle, so that we can identify each other in the parks. I ordered mine this week (thanks to a sale!).

Liberty Tree Tavern

I'm debating on whether to add another table service to our plan. We had a great time at Liberty Tree Tavern on our last trip. We will be in the Magic Kingdom for three days. I adore MK, it's now my favorite park, but it has a pretty crappy food selection. I'm thinking of replacing one of the crappy quick service places with an LTT ressie if I can get one. Of course, the real reason I want to do this is because when they call you when your table is ready they announce where you are from. Last time, we were the Davidson's from the territory of Ohio. I'd really like to hear them call us now that we are from Virginia!

This week I plan to continue reading the Unofficial Guide, mess around with Touring Plans more (I keep deleting and restarting as I change my mind), maybe clean some pennies, and work on my Disney binder.

Fred did not want to let me take photos of Duffy and ShellieMay this morning! I needed to pet him!

Fred did not want to let me take photos of Duffy and ShellieMay this morning! I needed to pet him!