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Autumn is officially here, and
with it another edition of the INTERCOT Insider. In this edition we
go coast to coast checking out a new land at Disney's California
Adventure, learning how to dine with a very special Guest from the
Animal Kingdom, find out great places to eat at Epcot's World
Showcase, and start to unlock a treasure trove of Magic Kingdom
trivia. Hang on to them hats and glasses, cause this here's the most
informative ride on the internet!
News with TinkWest>>
-- Buena Vista Street --
Welcome to the newest “Main
Street” in the Disney Parks family - Disney California Adventure’s
Buena Vista Street at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.
I finally had a chance to see the new entry to Disney California
Adventure after watching and waiting for years. I was in the area
for a completely different reason so only had a short period of time
to rush over to DCA for a look-see. Besides my limited time I was
dealing with 100+ temperatures which slowed me down and wore me out!
So, really, this was a quick visit.
When I entered the Park I immediately felt relaxed, with a notion to
stay for a while. As I passed the buildings during my walk up the
tree shaded sidewalk toward Carthay Circle I truly got a feeling of
being in 1920s or 1930s Los Angeles. The tile work, wrought iron,
and art deco design is impressive. Even the restroom and locker
areas blend in beautifully. It was such a contrast to the
architecture used in the original “postcard” entrance area known as
Sunshine Plaza where each store, food vender, and area icon had been
something unique but just didn’t blend together to form a special
feeling. Today’s Buena Vista Street felt like a PLACE to visit and
come back to.
Like Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland, Buena Vista Street is mostly
shops, shops, shops – such as Kingswell Camera Shop, Julius Katz &
Sons, Atwater Ink & Paint, Elias & Co., Big Top Toys, Los Feliz Five
& Dime, and Oswald’s Gas. Within these stores you can find just
about anything – photo albums, kitchen items, clothes for all ages,
toys, souvenirs, hats, and more. The interior is gorgeous dark wood
and each area is meticulously themed to match the name for that
particular store front.
A wide variety of food, going from treats to signature dining, is
mixed in with the shops. Trolley Treats, Mortimer’s Market, and
Clarabelle’s Ice Cream offer on the go snacks. Fiddler, Fifer &
Practical Café has sandwiches, bakery items and Starbucks! There is
quite a bit of seating inside. I thought there might be a separate
line for Starbucks only purchases, but everyone gets in one line for
all food items sold here. These food service areas have the same
decorative feel that the shops have.
I did not venture in to the Carthay Circle Theatre Restaurant at the
end of the street, but have seen the current menus. The menus vary
between lunch and dinner but the descriptions on both are on the
fancy side and prices reflect it. However it all sounds delicious
and I look forward to giving it a try.
I saw several of the “citizens” of Buena Vista Street – Molly the
Messenger and Calvin the Cop. And I heard Five & Dime performing
jazz tunes near the Carthay Circle Fountain. There are quite a few
citizens roaming the Street and musical entertainment coming and
going throughout the day. I picked up a copy (free!) of The Buena
Vista Bugle. You can find them on counters in several of the stores.
It’s a four page newspaper with articles and ads focusing on the
attractions, entertainment, and offerings at DCA. It even had a
comic by Mr. Walt Disney himself. The paper stayed true to the time
period of the area. A fun souvenir!
I took a ride on the Red Car Trolley, which made me think of my Mom
who used to ride the Streetcars as a kid in Los Angeles. If you’re
in a rush skip this one-way, 20 passenger attraction because it is
quite slow and has several stops. But if you have time give it a go.
The conductors are full of information and Disney trivia to keep you
entertained as you make your way from the beginning of Buena Vista
Street to the Tower of Terror in Hollywood Land. I thought it was a
relaxing and fun break on the hot day that I was there.
Finally I stopped to admire the Mickey and Walt “Storytellers”
statue near the fountain. It is a nice addition to this beautiful
new area. So glad I finally got to experience this street that has
been hidden behind construction walls for so long. It was worth the
wait. Can’t wait to go back.
<<A Taste of the
World with Mickey'sGirl>>
World Showcase --
The Cast: Dear Husband Brian -
Turning 45 on this trip; Dear Son Harry (14) - Celebrating
graduating from Grade 8;
Dear Son Euan (8.5) - Celebrating his Half-Birthday because we can’t
go down in January, Me – Just happy to be making the trip with my
Rose and Crown Dining Room
Atmosphere: I think the inside seating at the Rose and Crown is
pretty accurate. We enjoyed reading the cartoons framed on the
Food: Brian had the Fish and Chips, where were good and not greasy.
Harry had the Pub Burger (without the shallots), but didn’t eat the
fries (Harry is not fond of fries), Euan had the kid’s beef slider
and I had the Ploughman’s lunch - carved ham, cheese, roast chicken,
egg, branston pickle, radishes and salad greens, not really the
traditional lunch I have had at pubs in Europe, but it was very
good. Harry and Brian ate my ham, and Harry ate my cheese and Euan
ate my roll, but there was plenty left for me to enjoy! Brian had
the beer sampler with his meal, and I had a pint of Strongbow (drink
of champions!). 3/5
Service: We had a very nice server from Gosport, England (birthplace
of my evil ex-brother-in-law), who was prompt with our drinks, and
very pleasant to talk to. Tables were cleaned and turned over well.
We periodically go to the Rose and Crown. The experience is not so
different from experiences we have at home, and when we travel to
Europe, so we will often go elsewhere when at Epcot. We enjoyed our
lunch, and love the bar offerings, so we will likely return again.
Overall rating - 3.5/5.
Atmosphere: I love the straight lines and clean minimalistic décor
of Tokyo Dining. We were seated in the area in front of the sushi
chefs. Tables are well spaced. 5/5
Food: We really love sushi in our house, but whenever we have dined
in “Japan” at Epcot, we have always opted for Teppan Edo. Our
decision to go to Tokyo Dining was spur of the moment and based on
Euan taking on an Agent P mission in Japan. It was a great decision!
As before, we shared several sushi dishes to start, California
rolls, cucumber rolls and salmon rolls (so Euan would share), also
some spicy rolls and chef’s suggestions, and some Edamame. It was
really lovely, and we enjoyed watching the chefs prepare the sushi.
Harry had the sushi combination platter for his main course - tuna,
yellowtail, salmon, izumi-dai, shrimp, Masago and California Roll,
Brian had a beef and noodle bento box, I had a bento box that had
tempura vegetables, avocado and salmon salad, Philadelphia rolls
(salmon and cream cheese sushi) and teriyaki beef. The salmon and
avocado dish was particularly fabulous. Euan had a kids meal of
tempura shrimp, green beans, carrots and rice. It was served on a
monorail plate, and he thought it was the best thing EVER. 5/5
Service: I have always said that I always feel special after eating
at a Japanese restaurant, and Tokyo Dining made me feel even more
so. Everyone is so polite and respectful, it is really lovely to
experience. Like at Tony’s, we saw all of the staff pitching in to
get things done. When a table was vacated, everyone available went
and cleaned it off and got it prepared for the next guests. It was
quick and efficient, and really the way people should work together.
Our server was very good, and attentive to the boys. 5/5
This was a fabulous last minute addition to our eating roster. We
were all tempted to go back the next day because we enjoyed it all
so much! Overall Rating - 5/5
<<Tours and More
--Dining with Animal
I have to admit, I'm not a very
adventurous eater so the idea of eating at Sanaa wasn't all that
appealing to me. However, 11 year old, Caleb, is an animal fanatic
so Renae and I decided to do this special lunch as a treat for him.
Caleb and I did the Dine With An Imagineer 3 years ago and really
enjoyed that, so we hoped for similar results here.
We arrived at Sanaa early. Some of the rest of the group were late,
so we were able to walk out to the savannah and enjoy the view.
There were 10 in our group for the day which wasn't bad. Once we
were seated we were introduced to Chris, one of the head animal
specialists at DAK, who would be our host for the day. After
introductions we were all seated and Sanaa's head chef came out to
explain to us the basic concept behind the restaurant (reflecting a
traditional African marketplace) and his thoughts behind the meal we
would be served. Given that Renae and Caleb are both foodies, just
hearing the chef give all of his insights was treat enough. He spent
about 15 minutes with us talking about the different influences on
African food and how we would experience that during our meal.
Instead of ordering from a menu, the meal was done "sampler" style.
As each course was brought out to us the cast member explained what
each thing was, how it was created, and a little about the part of
Africa it comes from, including the influences from other cultures
that helped create the dish (Africa is quite the melting pot of
cultures!). The first course was a bread course. I enjoyed some of
that. The second course was our salad/appetizer. We were given some
chickpeas with a variety of sauces, beets (the only thing all meal I
just couldn't eat) and fresh watermelon soaked in lime juice. Very
refreshing and tasty. Before we had started eating I was talking to
a CM from South Africa. He said his biggest problem with being in
the USA was the food was so bland. After this salad course I
understood what he meant. The foods really had a variety of flavors.
The main course was actually awesome. We had a chicken dish soaked
in a tomato-type sauce, a shrimp dish with lemon, and some other
seasonings, and rice. Again, not huge amounts of any of this so we
never felt too full. Finally a dessert sampler was brought out with
fruit and chocolate. I had such low expectations for this meal, but
it was actually excellent and I'm pretty much a straight meat and
potatoes kind of guy.
While we ate we had a great conversation with Chris. She explained
to us the various ways the animals are cared for, how they train
them, how DAK is helping with breeding and endangered species
programs all over the world, and all of her experiences with the
animals. She also let us ask all the questions we wanted. Even my 6
year old, Cole, was able to ask about his favorite-giraffes. With
the meal and discussion we spent about 2 hours around the table.
Then Chris took us outside and introduced us to one of her favorite
animals and let us get up close and personal. Caleb and Cole were
The Animal Specialist meal hasn't been as widely promoted as the
Dine with an Imagineer program, but to me it was one of the best
"behind-the-scenes" things you can do at Disney. The food and staff
at Sanaa were top notch, Chris was extremely knowledgeable and
friendly, and we learned a lot. If you're an animal lover, or just
want to have an adventurous experience, I would highly recommend
this tour and meal.
<< Fun Facts with
-- Magic Kingdom: Part One --
-The entire length of Main Street
is bordered by red pavement, as if the RED CARPET has been rolled
out for you.
- Fire Station Number 71 is a clever nod to 1971, the year magic
-Imagineers are not allowed to sign their work. Instead they
sometimes place little symbols of themselves, other in the form of
initials or birthdates, cleverly disguised to blend into the
environment. You will see many of them as your tour the parks.
-Pay attention to the street lamps down Main Street. They begin as
gas lamps near the Emporium, but by the time you reach Casey’s
corner restaurant they have progressed to electric lamps – you have
been moving through time.
-Marty Sklar, former vice chairman and principal creative executive
of Walt Disney Imagineering, holds the distinction of being the only
person who has attended the opening day of every Disney Park
-The PM flag ceremony on Main street typically involves veterans or
people associated with 9/11/01 – after the ceremony they’re
presented with the flag they have just taken down and they get a
<< Conclusion >>
for us to make like a tree a leaf. We hope this edition made you
excited to see the new sights at the Disneyland Resort and has given
you some great ideas for your next Walt Disney World trip. We'll be
back in a few weeks with an inside and out look at the dining in and
around the Magic Kingdom. See ya real soon!
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