Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Orlando trip - February 9, 2011 - arrival and Epcot

Wednesday was mostly a travel day. We left SoCal in the morning and arrived in Orlando around 6pm. After picking up our luggage and our rental car, we headed to Walt Disney World. Our last visit had been August of 2010, so it was nice not to have to deal with the sweltering heat and humidity this time.



This picture is actually from our August 2010 visit, but my attempts at taking a similar picture this trip failed miserably.




We were staying at the Beach Club this time, so we arrived there, checked in and then got settled for a couple minutes before walking to Epcot for dinner. Can I just say how much I loved being able to do that?



Walking towards the France section of Epcot.




We had an 8pm dinner reservation at Les Chefs de France. We'd not eaten there before and were interested in trying it out. We ended up with a nice little window table with a lovely view outside, just about across from the Grand Marnier slushie cart. A friend had told me about that place, and I'd tried one of their slushies on our prior visit - YUM!

We actually had two servers, a female who was the trainee and a male who was the supervising server. The trainee mostly took care of us and took our order, and the supervisor just watched and corrected when needed. One of the little details about the Epcot restaurants that I love is that they have people working in the restaurants (at least the servers anyway) who are from the country that corresponds to the restaurant. Both the trainer and the supervisor had French accents but we had no problem understanding them, and besides, I'm kind of a sucker for European accents. They were both friendly and attentive without being intrusive.

I started with the French onion soup (which is really just called "onion soup" when you're ordering it in a French restaurant...), and it was very tasty, but it was a bigger portion than I expected.

For my entree, I had the trio of fruits de mer (scallops, tiger shrimp, mahi mahi), which was kind of like a cioppino, which I happen to love.





The seafood was plentiful and nicely textured, not overdone, and the broth was delicious. We had a lovely meal and would definitely go back.



We try to time our first night at WDW to be at whichever park is having evening Extra Magic Hours so we can spend a little time in a park. Unfortunately, EMH this night was at Animal Kingdom, which still meant it closed earlier than some of the other parks with regular hours. Since we were staying at an Epcot resort, and Epcot is our favorite WDW park, we had decided to just have dinner at Epcot. We picked Les Chefs de France partly because we did want to try it and partly because of its location - from there, we knew we might be able to see flashes of Illuminations and maybe hear some of the soundtrack as well. We're *huge* fans of that show. We were well into our meal by the time Illuminations started at 9pm but there wasn't really much of the show we could see and we were also enjoying our meal. However, I could hear muted strains of "We Go On" from our table, and it already started me tearing up. Ever since the first time I heard that song, it's always made me cry just because it's so beautiful.

After finishing our meal, we went outside and stood by the edge of the water listening to the rest of the Illuminations closing music - which at that point had gotten to the entire full soundtrack of Tapestry of Nations. We stood and listened to it all the way through. Even without having been able to see Illuminations that night, it was still a thrill to be able to stand looking at World Showcase at Epcot, listening to the Tapestry music.

After the music ended, we walked back to our room and retired for the evening in preparation for the next day's activities.

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