Sunday, March 22, 2009

Favorite Disney Moment Ever

Back in my post about which restaurants we planned to eat at, I mentioned that The California Grill was one of my favorite restaurants as I had a my ultimate...make that most "Magical" Disney experience at the restaurant. Well, before I could write this post, I had to scan something in, as the story requires proof. This past weekend, I was able to find the 5 minutes I needed to scan the item. Here's the story....

During our second trip to Disney World we decided to use two table services and eat at one of the Signature restaurants. We decided upon The California Grill, as I had heard many great things about the restaurant and the view was supposed to be spectacular.

Needless to say, we weren't disappointed. The food is great. They have wonderful flat bread pizzas and some of the best sushi I have ever had. The sushi chef is apparently world renown and unique as the chef is a woman, which is unheard of in the Japanese cuisine world.

The view... well what can you say about a view of the Magic Kingdom from high above. If you book the correct time and ask for the right table, you can view the fireworks while having dessert. If you can't get a time during the fireworks, you are allowed to use the rooftop platform.

But this story really isn't about the food and the view. It is about who we met.

The restaurant has tables up against the window and about 2-3 rows of tables which go towards the middle where the open kitchen is stationed. We sat in the "2nd" row of tables from the window. While in the middle of our appetizer course, I overheard a father at the table next to us tell his kids, "That gentleman by the window, is Mr. Disney." Of course, when I heard this, I perked up and scanned the room.

On my initial scan, I didn't recognize "Mr. Disney" and thought the father was kinda crazy. I gave another scan of the room....and sure enough, seated with his back to window, eating alone was Roy Disney! Wow!! I couldn't believe my eyes! Of course, I haven't met many "famous" people before in my life, so there was no way I was going to pass this opportunity up. He finished his dinner well before us and I quickly found something he could sign, if he happened to walk by our table. Luckily, he walked right by us and with a quick, "Excuse me sir, would you mind signing this?", I had met a Disney! Here's the proof:
Obviously, nothing will every top that dining experience!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Movin' Right Along!

50 days from now, we will be pulling into the Boardwalks Villas, unpacking the car and checking in. Before all that happens we need to get down there!

As mentioned previously, we are taking 3 days to drive down to Florida. Doing it in 2 days is very reasonable from Southern Ontario, but with a 10 month old, probably too much. The plan is to be on the road for about 8-9 hours a day (7 hours of driving and 1-2 hours of breaks). Our first night will put us in Clarksburg, West Virginia, and our second night we'll be in Columbia, South Carolina.

We booked our hotels for the drive down; in Clarksburg we will be staying in a Hampton Inn and in Columbia, we will be in a Fairfield Inn. All I have to say is thank god for Trip Advisor! If it weren't for that website, I would be really afraid of which hotels to stay in. I'm always worried about the state of roadside motels, as there are some pretty dicey ones out there.

If you live in Southern Ontario or states close to Ontario, you will know that the drive down to Florida is very picturesque. You see rolling farm fields, beautiful mountain ranges and dense forests.

One of my favorite spots along the way is the New River Gorge bridge. What a site!

I'm sure we will have a few headaches along the way with making sure Graydon doesn't sleep the whole time in the car, but I'm sure it will still be great!

Friday, March 13, 2009

D23 update--Good improvement but not great!

Just a quick update on the shipping fees for Canadians wanting to sign-up for a D23 membership. I received a phone call back from Disney Shopping on the $50 shipping fees and apparently there were enough of us that complained, that they relooked at the cost and decided to lower the cost. Now, Canadians (not sure about other countries) will have to pay only $25 for shipping. Like I said in my title, this is a good change but not a great change, considering Americans receive free shipping.

They have already made the change, so if you go to purchase your membership now, the shipping fees are lower.

So, have I purchased my membership yet? No. I still want to see what I'm getting and if it is worth $135 Canadian. What is the likely hood that I will purchase it? Pretty good......

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

D23--Not so great for International Fans!

Disney finally launched D23 today.

If you aren't an avid Disney fan and a reader of the many Disney blogs out there, D23 was publicized on the web for about 2 months, with a simple website asking, "Are you 23?" Many rumours surrounded the website and what D23 was, from a big release of Disney DVD's to an exclusive club. Well, the latter was true. D23 is the ultimate Disney Fan Club, run by Disney.

This really isn't the first fan club that Disney has run. There was once the Magic Kingdom Club, which provided discounts on merchandise and other things. There is the Walt Disney Collector's Society (the official club of the Walt Disney Classics Collection), but it is no longer run by Disney, but rather by Enesco.

I won't get into the details of D23, but all I will say it is a Disney Fan's dream come true..... Except for this Disney fan!!!

To join, you purchase your membership from Disney Shopping. So, I had my credit card out, ready to purchase and made it all the way to the payment screen, to see a shipping fee of $50. $50 shipping for a $75 purchase?!?!? And US residents get free shipping??? Someone want to tell me how that is fair? I can understand that shipping outside the US is a little more expensive, but I live in Canada not eastern Europe or Australia. It is free to ship to Niagara Fall, New York, but costs $50 to get it over the border. In addition, with the currency exchange, my total cost would have come to about $160 Canadian, more than double the US cost.

Needless to say, until Disney does something about the shipping costs, I will not be a member of D23.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yes, I'm still here....

OK, so I know it has been almost a month since I have posted something and after some pestering by my co-worker/friend, I figured it was time I write something....

The planning of our trip is well underway. We actually paid off the balance of our trip on Monday, since the Canadian dollar was starting to take a bit of a dive. We didn't actually need to pay for the balance until March 22nd, but at a rate of $1.30 and getting worse, I wasn't taking any chances.

I also have all the restaurants booked. Here is where we are eating, in order:

Wolfgang Puck
San Angel Inn
Le Cellier
Tutto Italia
50's Prime Time Café
The Wave
Le Cellier

We had considered going to a signature restaurant one night, but figured it was going to be a little difficult with 2 kids and traveling on the WDW bus system. Most of the signature restaurants are in the hotels, which means a lot of bus transferring.

The one thing you will notice is we have booked Le Cellier twice. Yes, we love it that much. The one problem I had was getting a dinner reservation for the 9th of May. Initially, I had to take a lunch reservation, but was able to get a 7:15 dinner reservation for the same night (with thanks to the same co-worker/friend). As mentioned, Janice's birthday is on that day, and this is where she wants to eat. We are afraid it is going to be too late for the kids. The plan is to keep trying in the lead up to our stay, to get an earlier seating. As the same co-worker/friend mentioned, with the state of the economy, more people may cancel trips and reservations.

I also ordered a couple of surprises for Janice for both her Birthday and Mother's day. Unfortunately, I can't give away the details right now, as she may read this entry. I'll let you know what it was in a post-trip report.

Only 63 more sleeps!