Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our Dream Disney Vacation - Day Five

Deciding what to wear this morning was a bit of a difficult task. I couldn't figure out what looked nicer than park clothes but didn't look like I was trying to hard. I also felt like none of my outfits matched and made me look 50 pounds heavier. Needless to say I was stressed but finally figured something out that I could live with.

The four of us got to Hollywood Studios around 10:00 a.m. I believe. I know, I know... we slept in! I went straight to American Idol Experience to audition for the show. None of my family members wanted to come in with me so off I went by myself. The first judge that I sang for was a spunky woman. I chose to sang the same first audition song that I went with last year since it went so well, "Leave the Pieces" by The Wreckers. She really liked it and asked me to sing something from the AIE song list. I asked her if "Love Song" was the one by Sara Bareilles and she told me it was. I ended up singing that for her and she really thought that fit my voice well. I think she also had me sing something else but I don't remember what now. Anyway she moved me on to the next round where I sat in the "Red Room" listening to songs karaoke style on an iPod.

I chose to sing "Love Song" and "The Climb" for the producer in the next round. To my surprise, I walked into the room and not only was the producer watching me but one of the AIE hosts was sitting in on my audition. Gotta admit this guy made my nervous meter go up like 95% because he looked just like Nick Lachey. At least... what I would imagine Nick Lachey would look like in real life.

After singing both songs I could tell that I just wasn't feeling "The Climb." I sang it well. Just as good as "Long Song" but my heart wasn't in it. Maybe because I hate Miley Cyrus... who knows. :) The producer felt that was as well because that's what he said. He just could see me singing "Love Song" and really getting into it. So, that was it! A video came on and Ryan Seacrest told me once again that I was moving onto the show.

As soon as I left the audition room there was a camera crew and a director telling me that they needed to get some shots of me doing random things like practicing with an iPod, running out of the audition room happily, and dancing in front of the American Idol sign outside. They grabbed my family and had them walk down the street outside of the theater with me praising me and fawning over me. It was all really cheeseball but still very fun. I liked doing the filming stuff!

Before I had to arrive back at the theater for hair/make-up at 12:00 (I was in the 1:00 show) we decided to hit up a few attractions and met some characters.

I checked into my show and met my fellow performers. It was really hard to read them. The very pretty gal was fairly quiet and definitely not as outgoing as the gentleman I performed with. He was bubbly and... likeable! While the guy went into vocal coaching and the girl sat out in the waiting room practicing her song to herself, I went into hair and make up. This is hands down my favorite part other than performing on stage. The make-up artist touched up my curls and made my make-up look goooood. While I was sitting there I heard the other girl practicing to herself and she... sounded... amazing. Her tone was gorgeous. I really thought she could take the cake! Then I could hear the guy practicing with the vocal coach and it was pretty... loud. He messed up on some notes but was seemingly enjoying himself.

It was my turn into vocal training and I had the same fella that I'd had the year before. He was really friendly and made me feel at ease right away. I ran through my song once and he didn't really have any pointers. I said I wanted to practice the bridge since that was the part I didn't feel as confident with since it's so different than the original version of the song. After I finished he stopped the track and said, "Wow! There were some moments in there where you did your own thing and it sounded really amazing. What are you doing with music right now?"

*Birds Chirp*

I replied, "Nothing? I play my guitar and sing for my husband at home and that's about it. I work at a bank. But I'd really like to pursue music as a profession."

He said, "Well you should be. You need to write. A lot."

He sort of broke "character" when we had this conversation. It was really nice and made me feel sort of special. Like it was something he didn't say to every contestant that he saw every day.

The three of us contestants blocked our places on the stage and then we took a seat and did sound check one by one. The gorgeous woman shocked me. She had terrible stage fright! I wanted to shake her and tell her how great she was and not to be so nervous! Her song was "Last Dance" and she kept trying to add a key change at the end of her song. She was having a hard time staying on key in general. The big guy shocked me as well. He actually had no stage fright at all. He was insanely likeable! Sort of like the life of the party guy that you dared to sing in front of everyone karaoke style while totally drunk.

It was finally show time and the nervous gal went first. During her interview with the host I learned that she had 8 kids! A real life Brady Bunch at like 30 years old. Amazing story. After he performance the judges said that they could tell she had a voice in there but that she was so nervous they couldn't feel her performance. I really felt for her because she seriously had a great voice.

I was second and I thought I performed really well. Thankfully, the judges did too! They were all really into my performance and said that a lot of people don't get song selection right but they felt I nailed it. I had fun with it and I was so glad that I didn't mess up the bridge!

Finally, awesome guy was up to the plate. He sang a "hick" type country song and got really into it. Lots of "Yee haws!" and "Woo hoos!" The judges ate him up! They loved his personality and compared him to a big teddy bear that you can't help but love. One of the judges said that while he really enjoyed my performance he LOVED this guy. I told you he was likeable!

It was no shock to anyone that after the audience voted... the guy won. The audience definitely loved him a lot. I had a great time and didn't care that I didn't move it. American Idol Experience is such a fun attraction to be a part of and it's not at all about winning. Just getting to perform is really exciting. Truly! After the show I left the theater and they had a Photopass photographer taking pictures of contestants greeting their families. He got a few really amazing shots of us!

Last year I participated in American Idol Experience as well and made it onto the finale.  Here is the link to my story from that trip!

Matt and the idea of getting us reservations at 50's Prime Time Cafe last minute. It worked out well. I was super hungry and in the mood to be picked on by a funny waiter. We waited about five minutes and then we were seated at the infamous table with a television. Our waiter was seriously the most hilarious person on the planet. He really got into character and played it up with the jokes.

My mom ordered Dad's Traditional Meatloaf. Matt's mom got Aunt Dana's Artichoke and Ricotta Agnolotti. Matt ordered his typical veggie burger. I got my typical salmon salad. Basically if salmon is on the menu I can't order anything else. It's a serious illness I'm working on.

At one point during our meal our waiter raced around the restaurant wearing a trash bag and carrying an egg on a spoon. Hilarious high point. The food was good. No one complained about anything but I wouldn't say that it was the best salmon I'd ever had. For the record that is at Le Cellier. I do recall Diane really enjoying her dish. It looked really good!

We left the Studios and went back to the hotel to take a break. We got back to the Polynesian at 6:00 p.m. Just in time for the torch lighting ceremony! It was really cool to see! Though, the guy that did the fire... dancing... kind of seemed like a tool. I don't know why I thought that but I did. Turns out I was right because a few days later on the beach at the Polynesian I saw him hanging out with his equally toolish friends.

The four of us freshened up in the room and then headed out to Epcot.  When we walked through the Great Ceremonial House we followed some firemen going towards Captain Cook's.  I wanted the skinny so I walked close and listened in.  Apparently there was a lot of smoke coming from the kitchen and that's what set off an alarm.  No fire though.

Once at Epcot we hit up Spaceship Earth and had a grand 'ol time.  Our pictures always come out hilarious!  I finally found out how to get the surfboard picture!!  You have to choose "work" of all things!  We decided to give Mission: Space a try next.  We did the "tame" side since I've done the exhilerating side before and I felt like total crap after.  The tame side was totally fine and I'd do it again.  Though, I still miss Horizons and Mission: Space will never ever compare to it.  Us ladies waited outside of Mission: Space for Matt because he wanted to try the other side.  He never gets bothered by motion sickness but he came off saying that it shook him up a little too much.  Seriously people... beware. 

All we really did for the rest of the evening was walk around the World Showcase a little bit more and then we realized how tired we were so we decided to walk back to the monorail and go "home."  Our monorail car was empty so I sprawled out and laid down.  It was this night that I realized how far our longhouse was from the TTC.  I felt like we were never going to get there and I may just have to camp out on the grass. 

The gang all crashed pretty quickly from what felt like the longest WDW day ever! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Blogger... I'm Over You

For a week, I've been working on Day Five of my trip report and of course I've hit a wall.  The wall called Blogger.

I would pump these suckers out much quicker if I didn't have so many issues uploading photos to Blogger.  First off, I can only upload one set at a time for whatever reason.  I have to get out of the blog editor completely then get back in to upload more.  Secondly, I have to switch to the old school editor in order to upload vertical pictures correctly.  When I use the old editor it messes up all of the formatting of the entire blog.  Everything just goes nutso!

On top of all of this, as if my head didn't hurt enough... I got some error message and now my almost completed Day Five entry won't save at all!  Ever!  I can't figure out a way to fix it.

This means that I have to redo all of Day Five.  I'm going to take some advice and use Firefox intead of Internet Explorer.

In the mean time I will try and think of something else entertaining to write about tomorrow.  Promise :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Playing It By Ear? Out the Window!

My upcoming trip companion, Ashley, booked our hotel room this morning with her sweet discount.  The total per person came out to be a whopping $93.31!  That's not per night!  That's TOTAL!  Whoa!  Ashley paid her portion so I just have to call the reservation system and pay my part soon.

Our entire idea of "playing it by ear" sort of went buh-bye after we started talking about our dining reservations.  We realized it would have to be more organized since we'd have to be at the right place at the right time.  The schedule goes as follows.

Saturday, March 5 - Arrival into Orlando at 3:05 p.m.  Ashley and I visit Magic Kingdom.  Watch Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes.  Head to Boma for a 9:25 p.m. reservation.

Sunday, March 6 - Visit Epcot all day with a 12:30 p.m. reservation at Teppan Edo.

Monday,  March 7 - Beach Day!  Dinner off-property at Seito Sushi.  Whatever we want to do after that. 

Tueday, March 8 - Animal Kingdom in the morning then head to Hollywood Studios to park and walk to Epcot.  Lunch at Les Chefs de France at 1:00 p.m. and then back to Hollywood Studios for the afternoon and to watch Fantasmic. 

Wednesday, March 9 - Get on a crappy airplane and head back to boring old Michigan.

We're talking about booking a horseback riding reservation at Fort Wilderness as well at some point during the trip.  More details to come!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Planning A Last Minute Trip On A Shoestring Budget

I can hardly believe that I'm typing this...  I'm going BACK to Walt Disney World!

Not only am I going back to WDW but I will be there in less than 2 months!

This all came about after talking to a friend of mine, Ashley, that works at Walt Disney World.  She's been trying to get me to come down and hang with her for a few months now.  I really wanted to go back at the beginning of December but Matt and I just couldn't afford it.  Anyway, I was talking to Ashley this weekend and just for kicks I started to look into how much it would cost me.  My husband was okay with me going but it would be contingent on me making it ridiculously cheap.  We also have a trip to New York in May for his brothers graduation. 

To my surprise, I could get decently priced flights out of airports relatively close to me.  Normally I have to drive to Chicago or Detroit in order to fly out to Orlando International.  I had the option of flying out of South Bend, IN; Fort Wayne, IN; and Kalamazoo, MI.  I copied a March calendar and wrote down all of the prices for each day's flights.  Departing and Returning.  I then wrote down all of the prices for any combination of flights.  I ended up choosing March 5-9 since I would only have to take 3 days off of work with it being over a weekend.  Flying out of South Bend, Indiana's airport will mean I only have to drive an hour instead of over two hours.  I'll be flying back into Fort Wayne, Indiana though which is an hour and a half drive.

Ashley gave me her sign on info to "The Hub" which is a cast member website that allows you to look at lots of stuff that CMs might be interested in seeing.  There is a section for booking resort reservations for either yourself or Friends & Family.  Ashley came up with the idea of her staying in the room with me and splitting the cost.  Her normal discount is 50% off rack rate but right now there is a 60% off discount for CMs.  We're going to be staying in one of the All-Star Resorts for four nights.  The total?  $198.  That means my portion is under $100.  Ridiculous, right?

The price for my flight ending up being a little more tricky.  For some reason on Allegiant Air's website you can't book a multi-city roundtrip package.  Stupid!  This means that I'd have to pay their $15 online booking fee twice for doing two seperate flights.  I talked to a customer service rep online today and they said if I called I'd only have to pay the $15 once.  Also, when I got home I double checked the prices and found that my return flight which was already cheap ($64.99) went down even further to $43.99!  My other flight is $79.99 without fees.  Final total?  $156.37!  Flight is booked!

All I have to pay for after my flight and part of the hotel is food.  Even this gets cheaper!  Ashley has cast member vouchers for 20%, 30%, and 50% off dining at on-property restaurants.  Almost every restaurant is on the participating restaurant list.  We know for sure we want to go to Boma.  I'd also like to try one restaurant I've never been to before.  Ashley and I have to compile a list and go over the prospects.  :)  She also would like to take me to a sushi restaurant off-property that apparently will knock my socks off.  I have a new found love for sushi and she is going to feed that love.  I'm quite alright with this.

The itinerary for this trip will be pretty vague I think since I was just there in October and I'm going to have less days to spend. 

I arrive at Orlando-Sanford International Airport on Saturday at 3:05 p.m.  Ashley is driving to pick me up and then who knows what we'll do after that.  We can do whatever we want and I feel good about the "winging it" opportunity.  I rarely wing it. 

We have Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday as full days to tour.  Ashley had the idea of going to the beach for the day if the weather permits.  I would absolutely love this since I haven't seen the ocean since I was in high school!  Not sure if Ashley has ever been to New Smyrna Beach on the east coast but it's my favorite place in the entire world next to Walt Disney World.  It's a quaint surf town.  I often dream about retiring here and/or raising a family in such a beautiful place.  It's only an hour away from WDW as well.  Back in high school I went on a few Youth For Christ trips to Florida and we spent time at New Smyrna Beach.  I think I miss it so much sometimes it brings me to tears. 

Ashley and I have decided that we're not interested in spending much time at Animal Kingdom.  I'd like to go do Kilimanjaro Safari, Expedition Everest, Finding Nemo: The Musical, and Festival of the Lion King.  We'll probably do Disney's Hollywood Studios on the same day we visit AK.  I'm really excited about seeing One Man's Dream after the renovations! 

So, you probably wonder how I know Ashley, right?  Given that she's never been to Michigan, grew up in Florida, and isn't related to me.  Back in 2009 on a trip to WDW with my mom, I participated in American Idol Experience at DHS.  When I had to check in for my show I had a conversation with a CM about random stuff... clothes, Disney, etc.  Months later this same girl found me on Facebook via Sean Klitzner (host of my AIE show) and sent me a message saying she remembered me and loved my performance.  We continued talking and realized that we could have been twins seperated at birth.  Haha!  I got to see Ashley briefly (she now works at Space Mountain) in our trip this past October.  I'm really excited to be able to hang out with her soon! 

I'll update with more info soon!  Mickey Mouse, here I come!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Our Dream Disney Vacation - Day Four

On this very relaxing day we woke up excited to go see some animals. After getting around, hopping the bus to AK, and waiting at least 45 minutes at the turnstiles to get into the park, we were walking towards the Tree Of Life. It feels like the Running of the Bulls when you're on target for Kilimanjaro Safari. Luckily we were in one of the first ride vehicles of the day! Our driver was an older woman who was incredibly lively. Probably the best driver I've ever had.

Our crew took a walk to Expedition Everest so Matt and I could hop on quickly via the single rider line. We basically walked right onto the ride. Time was tight but we made it to the restroom just before Finding Nemo: The Musical's first show of the day. I was really excited for Diane to see it. It's my favorite thing in Animal Kingdom hands down. We sat right by the walkway... my favorite spot to see the show. In the last 2 minutes of the show I end up a blubbering mess no matter how hard I try and hold back. It's just so dang happy! :)

We trotted over to Restaurantosaurus to grab some lunch. I've never eaten here before but the menu looked amazing. My Vegetable Subosaurus was crazy good. I just picked off the mushroom (yuck). It came with sweet potato fries that pretty much were like crack. My madre got the Angus Bacon Cheeseburger and she said it was one of the best burgers she'd ever had at Disney World. Matt and Diane both ordered the Shrimp Po Boy. And OH BOY was it good. We all agreed that Restarauntosaurus was a must do before the trip was over.

I had to convince the gang that we needed to leave the park and go back to the hotel in order to get around for our spa day. Yes! I said OUR spa day! If you read my planning posts previously you'll know that I was under the understanding that it was just me that was going to get a massage at the Grand Floridian Spa. To our surprise, on our second day we received not one but FOUR vouchers for a Swedish Massage. Not only that... but we'd be receiving our massages at Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa instead of Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. From what I've read Saratoga's spa is actually much nicer than the Grand Floridian's.

We changed our clothes back in the room and then hopped on the monorail to Magic Kingdom. From there we walked to the bus stop to get transported to Saratoga Springs. After waiting five minutes we were all talking about how we were going to be so early and would have to find things to do at the resort. But, we ended up waiting for a half hour for a bus. At this point we were sweating bullets hoping we made it to our reservation on time. The vouchers said 3:30 p.m. I knew it would take a while to actually get to Saratoga Springs from MK and that it did. Of course once we were at the resort our bus stop was the last one.

Upon first sight of Saratoga Springs I wasn't terribly impressed. It was pretty blah looking and I'd remembered seeing the rooms online before and thinking they looked really tacky. It took us a few minutes looking at a map to figure out exactly which building we needed to go into to find the spa. The layout of that resort was cooky. Once we found the correct building we actually ended up with about 15 minutes to kill before our arrival time so we took a potty break and then headed up the stairs to the spa.

Checking in was quite the pleasant experience. The staff was among the most friendly I've ever seen anywhere on Disney property. They were saying how they'd heard about my big win and were totally envious. We were then told the names of our massage therapists and our appointment time... 3:00. Uh, it was like fifteen minutes until 3:00 at that point. We thought we were just really early but turns out there was a discrepency with the appointment time.

It's worth mentioning that there had been a running joke that I was going to end up getting a male massage therapist. Well, it happened. We determined before our appointments that they all had females and I had the male. I'm glad it was me rather than my mom though because she was insanely nervous for this experience. To the point that she almost bailed. She "didn't want some strange man rubbin' lotion on her!" HA!

After we changed into robes and slippers in the locker room we all met up in the waiting room and grabbed a glass of water and a magazine. Within five minutes my mom's massage therapist came for her. We were so glad she got called first so that way she wouldn't have to sit there being a nervous wreck. Trust me... she was. Then Diane got called. Then Matt. And then I heard the door open and a soft manly voice said, "Stacey?" I turned and thought to myself, "Whoa!" Yes folks. They didn't give me a big, old, hairy massage therapist with bad teeth. But they assigned me to a young and adorable guy that made me blush insanely.

The treatment room was really relaxing right away. Damian gave me the run down since it was my first massage ever. He said, "Now, I don't know what you're wearing under your robe but..."

I blurted out, "Oh! I just left my underwear on but I can take them off if you want!"

I then realized I just offered to take my underwear off for a total stranger. My face got hot again and Damian chuckled and replied, "That's totally up to you and what you're comfortable with!"

For the record... I left my underwear on for fear of looking like I was trying to seduce him or something since I clearly already stated how willing I was to strip down for him. Ugh. Stacey, Stacey Stacey...

I'll review the entire experience in more detail at another point but I can say that it was one of the most relaxing experiences in my whole life. Damian used medium to heavy pressure with me which was perfect. I have the most messed up back in the world and his magical hands made me feel loads better. The time flew by so quickly and before I knew it I was putting my robe back on my now oily bod and waiting for Damian to bring me some fresh water.

Down in the locker room there was a hot tub, sauna, and steam room to use but we didn't really care to use them so we passed. I saw my mom come down the stairs and she looked like she had just gotten three days worth of sleep. She loved it! :) In fact, everyone had such an enjoyable experience that we all said we'd return if we had the extra money during a future trip.

We bussed back to Magic Kingdom and then hopped the monorail to get back to the Polynesian. Everyone showered and got around to spend the rest of the evening at Downtown Disney. I really wished that we would have gotten pictures of us that night. We dressed a little nicer than park clothes since we were going to see Cirque du Soleil.

I was so freaking pumped about dinner at Earl of Sandwich. It's such a good deal and the food is amazing. Matt and I both ordered the Mediterranean Tuna Salad Wrap. Normally I order the Caprese Salad Wrap but I felt like something different. I made a great choice. It was delicious. I honestly can't remember what Diane and my mom ordered but I know they loved whatever they got. I also couldn't pass up that delicious looking potato salad. I L-O-V-E potato salad. And Earl of Sandwich didn't disappoint.

After dinner we browsed tons of shops before we hit the theater.  The folks at the spa had told us they heard we had good seats for the show. How they knew this and we didn't I will never understand. I picked up our tickets from the box office and noticed we were smack dab in the middle about half way up the upper tier. I didn't know that the theater was going to be so small! That means that truly there is no bad seat in the house. The seats are crazy small though and I was basically sitting on top of the guy next to me... a middle aged hispanic man that dressed as though he was about ready to fight a bull.

La Nouba was simply outstanding. I've never seen anything like it. It was so interesting watching the story unfold and figure out what each character would do. The performers are so talented. Had we actually paid for the tickets ourselves I would have felt like we got our monies worth ten times over.

We walked to the bus stop at the West Side/Pleasure Island and within five minutes a bus came. I am pretty sure I fell asleep on the way back to the hotel. I was really exhausted after this very exciting day. We all hit the hay and got rebooted for a day at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Next up... I audition for American Idol Experience!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Our Dream Disney Vacation - Day Three

Morning was upon us and we were so ready to get out the door and to Epcot! I was particularly excited for this day because I frickin' love the International Food & Wine Festival. My mom and I experienced it last year and I knew I had to go back in October just for this event.

The walk to the TTC wasn't too bad even though we were in the furthest building away. Mind you... this was at like 7:45 a.m. I had energy then. I'd come to later realize that walk seems like 10 miles when it's midnight or later.

We walked off of the monorail and right up to the turnstile. Waited for like 45 minutes and then hauled tail to the rope drop. We were, of course, in the front row of the first Soarin' ride of the day. That's because I know how to manipulate a crowd and get ahead. ;)

Keeping with the smart people plan we went to Test Track but the crazy crowds already beat us to it and we had no patience to wait in the long line so we grabbed FastPasses and walked all the way back to visit Michael Jackson. Yes, friends. We saw Captain EO. But not until we took fun photos to commemorate the blessed event. MJ made me groove in my seat and definitely took me back to the great era that was the 80's. I admit that I had some issues at times with my 3-D glasses though. For some reason I just couldn't focus on the effects properly.

After Test Track blew the pants off of us we headed into World Showcase because it had opened up. We spent a lot of time in the first country we came to... Mexico. My mother-in-law bought some goodies and then we high fived The Three Caballeros in small boats. This is where we began to realize that for some dumb reason, every cast member saw us as one giant person and never ever seperated us into two rows. I'd like to just state for the record we are miniature people. My husband's arms take up more space than my whole body. And my hips take up more space than Jupiter.

Before we checked into our lunch reservation at Biergarten in Germany I had had had to visit the new bakery/confectionary/shop/mecca of all things caramel. Karamell-Kuche is the newest hot spot in World Showcase and it's easy to see why. Every glorious sweet that you could imagine that would taste good with caramel has been made. You can watch them make things like caramel popcorn and caramel and chocolate dipped strawberries. Then you can buy a freakishly huge apple on a stick covered in almost anything.

Finally the ADR I had been waiting so long for had come up. We were seated quickly inside of Biergarten and our orders were taken. Matt, Diane, and I got a beer while my mom got her typical Coke. Honestly, I can't remember what beer we ordered but I know it was the same as I ordered last year. The family we were seated with wasn't as stuck up as last year so I was REALLY pleased about that. They actually spent some time living in Germany so it was cool to listen to them talk about what foods tasted really authentic to them. While I was waiting in the buffet line I saw something really cool behind the host/hostess counter.

We were all thoroughly entertained from the German band and sufficiently stuffed from the crazy amount of food. I'd like to mention that I didn't see the red cabbage my first trip up to the buffet and when I saw my husband come back with some on his plate I freaked out, hopped up, and got me a plate full of it. I could live off of red cabbage folks.

It was time to work off the food by walking the World Showcase some more. It was pretty freaking hot this day so we found little ways to take breaks here and there. I took quite a few pictures in the countries.

We decided go to Universe Of Energy because it would be an extended period in air conditioning. In fact, we were so hot that we left Epcot and went back to the Polynesian Resort to swim for a bit.
The beach was packed and the volcano pool was packed. We realized how wonderfully empty the quiet pool was and relaxed our tushes there for a while.

After freshening up back in the room we walked back to the TTC and got on the monorail to spend the evening at Epcot. By this time everyone was ready to dive into the Food & Wine Festival. We started in Canada and worked our way around. Matt started it off by getting Cheese Fondue with Croutons and Roasted Potatoes from Charcuterie and Cheese. We were pretty unimpressed. Blandness ensued in our mouths.

I visited Ireland and grabbed a favorite from last year's festival... Fisherman's Pie! The hubby got the Kerrygold Cheese Selection and my mother-in-law enjoyed the delicious, albeit small, Warm Chocolate Lava Cake. I distinctly remember thinking one of the pieces of cheese tasted like vomit. The rest was good though. I know Matt didn't like the chutney served with the cheese.

I then chose to go "down under" to Australia and get the Seared Barramundi with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes Arugula, and Lemon Oil. It was DELICIOUS!!!

Diane and Matt hopped over to Morocco and got Falafel Pita Pockets. Not quite as good as the ones at Tangerine Cafe but still decent. We also got the Seared Albacore Tuna from Spain which was yumtastic.

Diane decided she needed something sweet at the Hops and Barley booth so she ordered the Pecan Bread Pudding. I know she was really impressed with it.

My mom finally decided on what she wanted to get believe it or not. Her stop was in Italy to get Baked Cheese Ravioli with Creamy Bolognese Sauce Melted Mozzarella. She was in love.  Matt and I ran over to Japan to try a Spicy Tuna Roll.  I tried sushi once before and it was... nasty.  Very very nasty.  I can now very proudly say that I LIKE SUSHI!  Apparently I just can't eat it if it's a Calfornia Roll.  Yay!  Even Matt likes sushi now.  In fact, we both liked it so much we forgot to get a picture.


Our last stop was in Poland for mom.  She got Golabki (Pork stuffed cabbage).  Mom regretted this decision.  It was edible but not anything memorable. 


Our bellies were clearly so full that we were about to burst.  We wanted nothing more than to go "home" and lay around like bumps on logs.  On our way out we made the obligatory stop on Spaceship Earth.  So I leave you with this picture...