Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Honey, Have You Seen My Wallet?

We woke up at 6 am Friday (10/12) morning feeling like we’d have plenty of time to finish packing and run an errand before driving to the Huntsville airport at 9 am for our 10:05 am flight to Orlando. Things were going wonderfully until I started looking for my wallet – and I looked and then looked some more. “Honey, have you seen my wallet?” “No.” Darn! Finally I decided I must have left it in my airplane, which I had flown down to Auburn the day before. OK, that’s a 25 minute drive one way and I’ve still got to run that errand too. I’m getting nervous now. I drive out to my plane, look around…nothing! I Call Susan at home and ask her to look in my flight bag and computer bag now sure that it must be at home. I head out to run that errand while Susan searches. I cross my fingers and hope. Susan calls back on my cell phone and gives me the bad news – no luck. Double Darn! By this time we realize that to make sure we can get our bags to the airport in time to check them, we’ll have to drive separately. Luckily, being a NASA employee, I have a handy government-issued picture ID that I can use as proof of identification for checking in at the airport. Our flight is delayed by about 15 minutes so that gives me a little breathing room to make our flight. Whew! I thought this was going to be a relaxing morning.

Our non-stop Delta flight down to Orlando went smoothly. On the flight with us were friends Tony O’Neil and his wife Cosette. After picking up our bags at Baggage Claim we met our driver (George) from Happy Limo who escorted us out to our stretch limo. We highly recommend Happy Limo by the way. We've used them for 6 years and we've always been very pleased. George dropped Tony and Cosette off at the Boardwalk and then took us to the Swan. We were able to check in and drop our bags off at our room and we were VERY pleased with it. We were on the 7th floor, had wonderful views towards MGM Studios and Animal Kingdom, a nice king bed with widescreen LCD TV…it was great.

Susan and I changed into shorts and headed out to Epcot for lunch. We had the cheddar cheese soup and maple glazed salmon at Canada and the chilaquiles and quesadilla con chorizo at Mexico – all were excellent! While we were at the Mexico pavilion we also did the revamped Gran Tour ride, which now features the Three Caballeros (Donald Duck, Jose Carioca and Panchito Pistoles). Next, we decided to venture over into Future World to check out the Food & Wine Festival Center set up this year in the old Wonders of Life (WoL) pavilion. This is a nice change from previous years as the WoL pavilion is air conditioned and no longer used so its facilities can be 100% geared towards the needs of the F&W Festival. We had a nice surprise…as we were wandering by the location of the complimentary wine tastings, a Disney Castmember waved us in to a tasting (by the Achaval Ferrer winery from Mendoza, Argentina) that was just getting underway. We’d never heard of the winery but found their malbecs to be outstanding. We had one in the $25 range, a second in the $50 range and a third in the $110 range.

We returned to the Swan to change for the South African Wine Adventure and met Tony and Cosette at the World Showplace at 6 pm. We didn’t know quite what to expect at this event as it was the first and only time it was to be held.
We suspected it would be set up similar to the Party for the Senses and we were correct. Color-coded areas were set up in the middle of the floor that corresponded to the various wine regions within South Africa. The “culinary specialty” items (yummy food) were located at tables arrayed together along the north wall. Unlike the Party for the Senses, the chefs didn’t cook the food at the stations; instead, it was precooked and they were simply serving it. It was all delicious; however, they could have set the tables up better. They were so close to one another that the lines for each merged into one long line. Finally, it would have been nice if some type of dessert item had been included - a zebra dome from Boma would have done nicely. These minor comments aside, we all all agreed this event was well worth the expense and we would not hesitate to do it again. In fact, we would suggest that Disney expand this event to not only include South Africa, but also do a similar event each Friday during the Festival focusing on the wines of countries such as Italy, France, Germany, Australia, Spain, Chile, etc.

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