Let me start out by excusing myself for my prolonged absence – not that I have a following who would notice said absence, but still. Anyone who has gone through their post-secondary studies can attest that it is extremely time and energy consuming. Add work, family, friends and a new found obsession with Gilmore Girls and their simply aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish what I set out to do. Seeing as it’s been a couple months since I went on my last trip, and the details of it are starting to fade, I figured a post on it was long overdue. Now that that’s out of the way…
When I think of Florida I don’t think of it as a culinary destination (although I have read good things about the restaurant scene in Miami, not that I’ve experienced it for myself). The first things that spring to mind are discount memorabilia shops, chain restaurants, and hotels lining large highways filled with cars. A close second, is the much more ~magical~ Disney World Theme Parks, where all your dreams are said to come true. Afterwards, my mind wanders to their miles and miles of beaches. On my last trip to the sunshine state I experienced all of the above.
Part 1: Disney World
Wanting to come back from our trip less tired than we were starting out, we made the executive decision to only visit three of the four Disney theme parks. Our first park was Hollywood Studios. We strategically chose to go to Hollywood Studios first to see The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, and let me tell you, a spectacle is what we got. The Osborne’s collection of Christmas lights became so large that the crowds it drew in garnered attention from authorities because of the local residents’ traffic complaints. When the word spread that his tradition would come to an end Disney offered Residential Street at Hollywood Studios as its new home. Over 5 million Christmas lights dance to holiday favourites every 10 minutes or so making it a feast for the senses. We probably spent close to an hour wandering around hunting for hidden Mickey’s, singing and dancing along, and gazing in awe. Unfortunately, this past holiday season was the last installment of the show because of upcoming construction. I wonder what will happen to the collection of lights… Hopefully they won’t end up sitting in a storage unit somewhere in Kissimmee and will get put to good use elsewhere.
Of course we also saw the usual shows, Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, Lights Motors Actions and Beauty and the Beast. We’re not much for rides though and conveniently skipped over Aerosmith’s rocking roller coaster and Hollywood Tower of Terror, opting instead to wait in line for Muppets 3D. Christmas is an incredibly busy time of year for Disney (although I’m sure its busy all year round) so we didn’t really get a say in where we would be dining. We ended up at Mama Melrose, an Italian American restaurant. The food was satisfying and gave us the chance to sit in an air conditioned, relatively quiet room, and for that we couldn’t complain. I’m a pasta fiend myself and went for a pappardelle cream dish with spinach and butternut squash drizzled in truffle oil.
Next up was Magic Kingdom. Let’s be real, everyone loves Magic Kingdom, my family and myself included. We thought it would be a great place to spend New Year’s Eve; apparently so did every other tourist within a 50 kilometre range of Orlando. Since it wasn’t our first time at the theme park we already had an idea of what was worth waiting for, and what could be skipped.
This lead to the discovery of smaller unpopular rides with minimal waiting times, which we did not complain about. We did, however, complain about waiting for over two hours in line for the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride. Who doesn’t love standing up for that long after walking around all day? I would be lying if I said it wasn’t totally worth the wait though. It also made for a prime twilight (or would it be considered dusk? I can never keep the two straight) hour location.
One thing we couldn’t avoid was the madness of everyone’s desire to consume food; everyone has to eat. We somehow managed to get a last minute seating at the Plaza Restaurant. Pro tip: don’t get the chicken salad, unless you are a lover of iceberg lettuce (ew, who would be) and large dollops of blue cheese, you’ll just end up staring enviously at your family members who (although you wouldn’t admit it to their faces) made the wiser decision of getting burgers and fries.
The real highlight of the day came at midnight. Instead of their regular, measly, firework display (sarcasm doesn’t translate very well over the internet, so if you were wondering, yes that was me being sarcastic), Disney opted for a spectacular 360 degrees firework display. They certainly did not disappoint. BUT, don’t expect to get out of the park within a reasonable delay, be prepared to be stuck for hours. Looking back it probably would have been worth going on a ride or two before heading out to avoid the crowds, oh well you live and you learn right?
To ring in the New Year we went for Brunch at Boma. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but after getting back to our house around 2:30 in the morning we weren’t pleased with the notion of getting dressed, let alone getting out of bed. Buffet breakfasts are extremely overwhelming; so many decisions to make, so little room in my stomach for everything I want to try. Now, I’ve never raved over eggs before, but the scrambled eggs with crumbled goat cheese and spinach may have very well been the best eggs I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Also, if you’re there, do yourself a favour and save room for a biscuit or two, they were to die for; just try not to think of all the butter you’re subjecting your system to.
Last but not least, Epcot. Don’t fret, I’ll keep it brief, especially since no pictures were taken this day with my dslr camera. The clouds looming above threatened rain all day, and my neck was sore from the camera’s weight on previous days. Let’s get to the good stuff first, Tutto Italia. No matter where we are in the world it’s inevitable, we will find ourselves eating at an Italian restaurant, we’re drawn to them, we sniff them out, what can I say? There’s nothing more comforting than Italian food, and Epcot offers an authentic Italian food experience. The star of the night was the Tiramisu; I must stress, do not get one to split, you will regret it after the first bite and will immediately wish you could have it all to yourself. Don’t pretend you’re too full, we all know there’s a separate compartment in our stomachs dedicated to desert. When it comes to the rides at Epcot, I’m not particularly fond of them; I much rather walk around the pavilions, catch the shows or demonstrations and browse each country’s shop.