Today's the day .. Duckman turns the Big 5-0! At approx. 7:04am it was official. Turning 50 can be hard for some but if anything like what I've experienced the past couple days, it's awesome! I feel so fortunate being blessed with the family and friends in my life, am embracing this new decade in my life and celebrating in one of the most magical places on earth doesn't hurt either :)
As followers of my blog know, food is a very important part of our trip, deciding what favorite restaurants we want to visit again and which new ones we want to try and then planning which park we visit around that. Sometimes I think we come to WDW more for the restaurants than the parks and rides .. LOL!
We chose one of my favorites for lunch, the Liberty Tree Tavern. This restaurant has become a staple since we first dined here in 2004. This was Bob & Toni's final day here at WDW, so was glad when they said that they would be able to join us for lunch. Upon arrival, we were seated and our table was all decorated with Mickey head confetti and we were greeted by Caressa. I think Joe may have been replaced as our favorite server this trip and Jenny-O (from our trip this past May) may even have a little bit of competition :) As always, even with Thanksgiving just a mere few days away, got my traditional Pilgrim Feast. Caressa made lunch so special with not only excellent service but a personality that couldn't be beat!
After lunch, we decided to head to Downtown Disney and do some shopping but before doing that, was surprised to find our friends Tim & Lynne, their sons Justin and Morgan were down from Erie. It had been a few years since we last saw, so was great seeing them again and catching up in Fantasyland. We laughed how we had to travel to WDW to see one another. Hopefully we'll get to hang out together tomorrow at Epcot.
From Fantasyland, we headed down to Downtown Disney with Bob & Toni and do some shopping. After this trip, I fully have Bob immersed in collecting the die-cast cars from Disney/Pixar's Cars :) We'll have some more Cars 101 training when I see you next week in New York and hopefully find Red & Stanley before then :) It then came time to say good-bye :( After a lot of hugs, kisses and tearful good-byes, Bob & Toni headed to the airport and we went to catch the boat back to OKW to get ready for dinner at the California Grille at the Contemporary.
We got back to our room, I opened the door and much to my surprise, the room was decorated with balloons on the island, dining table and coffee table plus a signed picture of the Fab Five, a Mater & Lightning picture frame, Cars banner and a lanyard filled with pins. Special thanks to Anthony and the Staff at Old Key West for doing this! You guys made our trip so special this past May and really outdone yourselves this time! OKW rocks!
We got ready and headed off to the California Grill for dinner. We no sooner arrived, our table was ready (all sprinkled with Mickey head confetti) and we greeted by Ashley who told us after dinner, we were granted a Magical Moment and would be taking the Private Fireworks Cruise! Right after we were seated, we had a wonderful view of the Cinderella's Castle How awesome is that! We had a wonderful server (Ryan) and once again, an out-of-this-world meal. Highly recomment their brick oven fired flatbreads for starters. Our favorite being the triple cheese with sun-dried tomato and basil pesto. Last visit, I opted for the spinach ravioli, this time around went for the pan-roasted grouper fillet. What an excellent choice! This is definitely the place to spend a special occasion.
I was glad the portions aren't too large, left plenty of room for dessert :) For dessert, Ryan brought us the chocolate temptation, a chocolate pyramid of chocolate gelato, berry compote, and chocolate hazelnut crunch. Anticipaton of boarding the boat, Ryan suggested we take the cake and enjoy later, which we did.
Next stop, the loading dock at the back of the Contemporary to board the boat. When we arrived, they escorted us to our boat, where Captain Mike was waiting for us. We got an awesome view of Bay Lake Towers while waiting to depart and Captain Mike gave us an update of the progress so far, they've already finished the interiors on six floors and still on schedule for Fall, 2009.
The boat was decorated with birthday balloons and there blankets folded on the two bench seats where we were to set. At 8:30pm sharp, we were on our way. The first part of the cruise is going around the lake and we headed over towards Wilderness Lodge. As we approached the front of the lodge, Captain Mike pointed out how when the hotel was constructed, as you approached from the angle we did, you could see Humphrey the Bear. The two lights at the top were his eyes, the great room window his mouth and the chandelier his tongue. That was the first time I had ever that and after being pointed out, something really cool to see.
From here, we headed towards the Magic Kingdom to get in our staging area to watch Wishes. As many times as we saw Wishes, it was nothing compared to being the only people on the boat, sitting out in the water, having the Castle right in front of you and experiencing it like the show was being put on specifically for you! There was so much we've never seen before. It was definitely a Magical Moment!
When Wishes was over, Captain Mike took us on a boat ride past the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resorts and then finally we returned to the dock behind the Contemporary Resort. Upon arrival, he gave me the balloons from the boat and offered to take our pictures. If you look at the picture above of Captain Mike, to the right of him, the balloons almost create a hidden Mickey.
I can't thank Mary & Amanda, Chris O. and all those involved in making this one of the most memorable birthdays I ever had. It was a day of phone calls from family and friends and emails. You all Rock!
Time to rest up for our last full day before heading back home on Wed. :(