Thursday, October 25, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today was my 48th birthday. Happy Birthday to me!

We started Saturday with a 40 minute run to burn off some of the calories we'd consumed at the South African Wine Adventure. We ran down the sidewalk connecting the Boardwalk-Swan-Dolphin area to Disney's MGM Studios, and around the Crescent Lake (Boardwalk, Yacht Club, Beach Club) walk. What a beautiful area to run in! After a shower, we decided to take advantage of Swan hotel room service for breakfast (ham & cheese omelet and hash browns). After all, we had this nice table in our room and spectacular views out the windows and it was a great choice.

Checking the Food & Wine Festival guide, we noted Pam Smith was having a cooking demonstration at 11 am in the Odyssey. Pam is a familiar face to those who've attended the F&W Festival before as she's typically the hostess for other chef's demonstrations in the Odyssey. Pam showed us how to make a tasty crab and fresh corn risotto and, the best part, we got to taste it....mmmm. Next up was a wine tasting. While Susan headed to the Festival Center in the Wonders of Life pavilion to get in line, I went to the Land pavilion to get Fastpasses for Soarin'.

The winery hosting the tasting was Allen Scott Winery & Estate, located in Marlborough, New Zealand. As I recall it, we tasted an unoaked Chardonnay, a couple of savignon blancs and a pinot noir. All were very good. In a "It's a Small World" moment, the Alan Scott representative, Fred Ordway, was actually from Huntsville, AL - our neck of the woods. Fred's presentation included a nice briefing that described the various New Zealand wine growing areas, with a focus on the Cloudy Bay area where there winery is located. We are definitely going to be looking for Allen Scott wines in our local wine stores.

Next, we went to Guest Services to get me a "It's My Birthday" Disney button. If you're at Disneyworld during your birthday, do it. It's nice to get "Happy Birthday" wishes from the Disney Cast Members and also from other Disneyworld guests. We spent the next several hours sampling the cuisine at the Marketplace food booths (Dominican Republic, Greece and Oklahoma). Of particular note were the Spanakopita in Greece and the seared Buffalo with scalloped wild onions and Three Sisters Soup at the Oklahoma-Three Sister's Cafe. While in the Oklahoma exhibit area we also enjoyed a show by some Native American dancers.

By this time it was getting pretty hot outside so we decided to go to the American pavilion to see the Voices of Liberty and American Adventure. As we walked into the pavilion and were about to take a seat, one of the Disney Cast Members came up to me and said I had a phone call in the lobby. When I picked up the phone it was Goofy singing Happy Birthday to me. Too cute! As we made our way back to our seat yet another Cast Member came up and said she noticed that we'd lost our seat when we came to answer the phone. Since it was my birthday, she said she was going to escort us up to the second floor and make us the "First Family" for this show of the American Adventure. Cool! We got to sit in real chairs and listened to the talented Voices of Liberty below. After the preshow, the Cast Member escorted us into the theatre where we could sit anywhere we wanted. After the rest of the crowd entered, the Cast Member announced us as the "First Family" and asked for a round of applause. We turned around and gave the crowd a wave as they clapped. Our last activity in the park was Soarin'. What a great ride. For those not familiar with it, Soarin' is a simulated hang glider tour of various areas of California. Guests sit in tiered swings that face a huge movie screen that is used to project the scenes. Definitely a "do not miss" attraction.

Afterwards, we hot footed it back to the Swan to freshen up and change clothes in preparation for our reservation at the Party for the Senses. Once again, we were joined by Tony and Cosette O'Neil. What can I say - we had a great time. The food was fabulous - the wines were excellent - the entertainment (acts from La Nouba by Cirque de Soleil) was amazing. This was our 5th Party for the Senses and I'd have to say it was the best we've been to so far.

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