25 November 2010


If it's Novemberm then it must be time for the annual trip to Orlando with friends.  In the span of about 4 days, we manage to visit each Disney Park at least once.  And this year, we also had to go to Universal Studios Orlando to visit the new Harry Potter-land at the Islands of Adventure park.

We've learned a lot from going over the years.  We now favor staying on Disney propoerty and generally doing without an auto.  Seems much more convenient, although it does limit your range, particularly when it comes to food.  However, to counter that, we set up reservations at various restaurants at Disney so that eating becomes part of the adventure as well.  Of course, to be assured of getting into your preferred restaurants at preferred dining times, you have to make reservations about 6 months in advance.  This year, we could do it online (hurray!) and it worked fine.  We even managed to score a lunch reservation at the newly opened pasta and pizza place (Via Napoli) at the Italian Paviion at EPCOT.  In additions, we ate at Boma (African buffet at the Animal Kingdom Lodge), Artist's Point (at the Wilderness Lodge), and Le Cellier (the highly popular place at the Canadian Pavilion at EPCOT).  On top of that, we enjoyed (as always) tasting and drinking ur way around the workd during EPCOT's International Food and Wine Festival.  It's a great way to sample small plates from different countries -- and this year, to speed things up, they offered you the option of purchasing a mini reloadable gift card that you could carry attached to your wrist to make paying for the food and drink at all the booths that much easier (easier to have too much food, which we did).  Despite all the eating, we did manage to go on all our favorite rides and do some new things too (one of us even tried out at the American Idol attraction).

We also did some different activities this year.  We took the all-day Backstage Magic tour, which let us view some of the non-public areas at each of the parks.  We also were able to enter some of the general facilities located throughout the property (e.g., workshops, nursuries, etc.).  We also went on the one-hour Seeds tour which takes you into the hydroponics and greenhouse areas of the Land Pavilion at Epcot.  both tours were very interesting and proided some greater insight as to how things work at Disney.