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Trip Report Completed: Wait, are we just staying at the Polynesian?!

Discussion in 'WDW Trip Reports' started by LowesChevy, Jan 24, 2017.

  1. fractal

    fractal Premium Member

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    I'm glad you came back to this!

    Love the restaurant reviews. Too bad about Artist Pointe are Narcoosses's.

    I agree - if you are a "signature" restaurant you should act like one. Getting the food out hot is crucial.
     
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  2. LowesChevy

    LowesChevy Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    It is-becoming a victim of your own success is a terrible way to go. California Grill turned it around, hopefully these spots can bring back the magic. I know people want to experience fancy food, but the dishes do not get served fast enough. Chefs putting too much meaningless crap garnishes on the plate! Huge pet peeve
     
  3. LowesChevy

    LowesChevy Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    2/12: Kona Café then Epcot for the day

    Waking up on another beautiful day in February is marvelous! After breakfast at Kona Café, we walked over to the TTC to head to Epcot. Always stopping along the way to smell the tropical flowers of course.

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    Successful morning-- riding Soarin’ and Test Track both. We toodled around and started on the Mexico side of the Showcase. I got my popcorn bucket refilled and we took our time strolling. You never want to be hanging around the Africa Outpost long if the sun is scorching in the fall, but it wasn’t as bad this time of year. You better fill up that beer or have some water handy. Personally I think more misters could go a long way around these parts. It reminds me of the early days at the Animal Kingdom before the trees and vegetation grew in so full! Lack of shady sports were a killer!

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    We would be back in the evening for dinner at Teppan Edo, so we made the trek back to the Polynesian. We grabbed a couple of loads of laundry and tried to figure that out. A quick lunch at Captain Cook’s will keep us happy till dinner. Debs needs her little nap.

    Later Epcot and Teppan Edo
     
  4. LowesChevy

    LowesChevy Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Teppan Edo evening at Epcot

    So the one thing I noticed is that like where I live, the sun goes down earlier, but it made for some interesting photos around the park.

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    Teppan Edo is not unique and the prices are higher than your average Disney restaurants. To me that’s a good thing, I get a more varied menu and fewer folks on the dining plan, probably due to the lack of decadent dessert! If they make you pay for something you may as well enjoy it right?! The place is jam packed every time we visit though. We have a local teppanyaki that is also very good as well. The one thing I can always count on at TE is that the food will be hot and the show will be great! A big bonus for us since we tend to find the bad dining cracks often. Service is always great too.

    This visit was no different with the experience and we had a lot of fun talking to our table mates. Sometimes people are on the shy side, but I am always up for conversation. I do not normally take a lot of photos here because the food is constantly hitting your plate. With full tummies we were off back to enjoy some evening ambiance and a couple of funnel cakes since Debs wanted her own.

    Service: 5 stars
    Food: 5 stars
    Choices/Variety: 4 stars
    Overall: 4.5 stars
    Be Back: Yes, of course!


    Tomorrow is Monday, but it’s much better when you are in Disney J--Magic Kingdom fun tomorrow
     
  5. LowesChevy

    LowesChevy Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    2/13: Kona/Kingdom/Kalifornia Grill ;)


    Starting off at Kona again. I would like to eat at GFC or the Wave, but the Wave is tough to get to from the Polynesian without taking the monorail all over and with all the breakdowns you wouldn’t want to take the chance. Plus that is where we always dine when we stay at BLT.

    Off to the Kingdom

    We started off heading to Frontierland to ride Big Thunder Mountain RR, which has been order more frequent maintenance during our trips. After that we checked out the shops and moseyed around towards Liberty Square and Fantasyland. Our FP for the Mine Ride was good to go, so we hopped in line. I think the Mine Ride is a great mix of medium thrills that adults and kids can enjoy. I have seen kids bail at the last minute and I feel bad for the families after waiting in that line. My suggestion would be maybe some more light in the loading area. Kids are kind of skeptical of the dark! I view the boards daily to keep up with news and happenings and I love the reactions people have to things. There was scuttlebutt about the new Soarin’ too with the digital animation and the Mine Ride when it first opened. My take: If you don’t like it, don’t ride it. Just a short rant here: people whining about this ride or that ride not being good or worth riding etc. etc. Then don’t, it is as simple as that. This goes for any attraction. Be thankful you can go somewhere and make memories with your family, not everything needs to have the latest technology or be the biggest thrill factor! Go to Universal and experience the Potterworld rides. They are fantastic, but only so many people can experience them due to their thrill factor! End rant.

    Since dinner was at the California Grill, we didn’t want a large meal or to leave the Kingdom, we went to Casey’s for a dog! Big wiener fans and even though being a Erie, PA native, my favorite are Smith’s brand, I will eat other dogs too. You can’t mess up hot dogs too much, but Disney could definitely speed up the service or make the service area more efficient! The expanded seating area near the Plaza is much appreciated too. In fact I really like the new courtyard area even though it took several years to complete!

    Back through the hub to Liberty Square and the Haunted Mansion. Afterwards it was back to Tomorrowland Speedway and I took Debs for a spin! I am hoping it will still be opened when we visit with my nephews in October. I didn’t see a timeline for it yet. The ultimate dream for a little kid is to drive a car, I hope the Tron Coaster isn’t a huge letdown or too adult/teen oriented. We decided to do ride Wedway, Carousel of Progress and Buzz Lightyear. After that Mom need a break and we headed back to the room.

    The room was not done yet, so we waited for a while, but the staff must have been switching over that day. Of course this was the one morning that we didn’t call and request and early clean. We are out of that room by 7:30-8 and back by early afternoon. It is pretty nice if you have a strict schedule you like to keep. I do not normally worry about the beds being made, but towels and trash always need changed. I ended up calling and getting towels.

    Polynesian photos & California Grill Dinner
     
  6. Courtney6682

    Courtney6682 Well-Known Member

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    Can't wait to hear about your trip to Cali Grill! :D
     
  7. LowesChevy

    LowesChevy Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Polynesian

    I took the opportunity to take some photos around the Polynesian. We tend to do split stays, so staying 1 week here you become fully immersed in the resort.

    We were in Niue-the little guy near the Great Ceremonial House. Turned out to be a great spot plus incredibly quiet with the exception of during the day the maintenance carts would constantly pull over in between the buildings. This one of the buildings sans an elevator however! We felt really bad the one night a family was checking in and they were looking for the lift and we had to tell them there wasn’t in this building so they had to lug their belongings up the stairs. Pack light or get luggage help if you get Niue.

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    More photos to come and even some videos! Need to upload them

    Cali Grill coming soon
     
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  8. 93boomer

    93boomer Well-Known Member

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    Great pictures!! Sorry about the bad dinner experience. Looking forward to more pictures!
     
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  9. LowesChevy

    LowesChevy Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    California Grill & The Contemporary

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    People trash talk the Contemporary a lot saying things such as lack of theming, boring theme, reminds them of a regular hotel room, blah, blah blah. For those of us who have grown up with Disney, the Contemporary is no less magical than any other resort. “Retro futuristic” may not be your decorum of choice, but we certainly like to call it home at BLT. When we are not resort guests we certainly still love to visit the California Grill too!

    The CG has had its growing pains. We have had bad experiences there with less than standard service and waiting excessive times for a table, but I really thing the last refurbishment did them well. Restaurants are built and designed to pull off a certain menu and when things are changed over the years the kitchen spaces become less efficient. Restaurants need some r and r just like we do once and a while. I honestly felt like CG had become greedy and overbooked a lot-several times, like 5 times, we waited over at least an hour past our adr, which is completely unacceptable. ADRs are not reservations, but you learn from your mistakes and change your habits, they chose not to. The new look is modern and sleek, gone are the 90s fashions and colors.

    We checked in and were immediately taken upstairs to be seated. Previously we had been seated near the MK viewing area, but as of late the wine room has been our spot. Sure enough we seated there with a gorgeous view of Epcot/DHS area. I do not mind it over here, it is quieter and Star Wars fireworks at 8:15. Another new feature at the restaurants is to welcome you back! How lovely and a glass of champagne on the house-you bet!
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    Saad was over shortly after we were seated to get us refreshments and cocktails. I picked mom out a glass of wine and we enjoyed the view. He briefly explained a few different items on the menu new and old and left us to decide a few minutes. Well I cannot turn down a charcuterie board just as Big Daddy can’t pass a cheese plate. He did get the beet and goat cheese salad, another favorite of his. Mom went with the harvest salad with champagne vinaigrette, apples, goat cheese and raisins. In house charcuterie and meat curing is a huge trend in the culinary world right now as most of the signature restaurants are offering their take. The rillette was excellent and the duck liver pate is my all time favorite, but the jowl and the venison terrine were bland. The jowl is served cold and the fat is just a taste of nothing. The venison I can understand because the game meat is lean, but neither one was seasoned enough. Overall really great appetizer to share because the portion was huge! Hopefully my Bro and I can get it in October. Dad loved the beet salad and the harvest salad was also good. I will commend their portion sizes on their starters and apps—appropriate portions to share, unlike many of the tiny portions the signatures serve.
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    For dinner I went with the duck confit and fig flatbread, nom nom! Big Daddy and Mom both had the filet. The flatbread was unbeatable, another great sharing dish. I can’t pass up duck often since I only seem to be able to find it when we travel. The beef was done perfectly and was hot. Everything I look for in service. I took a doggy bag and saved room for dessert, which maybe I shouldn’t have pushed myself, but it was chocolate I craved! Strawberry fritters and chocolate pudding cake we received. I found the pudding cake almost too sweet! I like my semi sweet chocolate and this had a lot going on, but darn chocolately. Fritters of any kind are delicious fyi.
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    Service was great and the food excellent. Still good in my book California Grill

    Service: 5 stars
    Food: 5 stars
    Choices/Variety: 5 stars
    Overall: 5 stars

    Be Back: Can’t wait!
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  10. RedNoseMickey

    RedNoseMickey Well-Known Member

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    Loving the report. Did you get a picture of the flatbread at CG?
     
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  11. LowesChevy

    LowesChevy Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Whoops! thank you-they are both added now :D
     
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  12. RedNoseMickey

    RedNoseMickey Well-Known Member

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    That looks really delicious!
     
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  13. LowesChevy

    LowesChevy Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    thanks! Yea, it happens everywhere unfortunately! Really stinks at Disney though :eek:
     
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  14. LowesChevy

    LowesChevy Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    It was fabulous-hope they have one similar this fall!
     
  15. LowesChevy

    LowesChevy Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    2/14: Disney Hollywood Studios Day take 2!

    Since we drive over to DHS, I planned on us getting breakfast at IHOP for a change of pace. I happen to love the ‘Hop and they have Big Daddy approved hash browns and like near perfect eggs every time, ah this guy! Kona Café didn’t quite cook the whites all the way the other morning and gag. It was fast and it was good-off to the Studios!

    OMG for the 2nd time, the parking booth was slowwww. You either pay the $17 or you don’t? What is the hold up? Lol. We ended up in the far lot, but the tram is there for you to have and to hold on to. The park was congested at the front, but it didn’t feel overly busy.

    Letting the “World” know who the two time Wiener War champ is “This Girl”

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    First we stand by rode TSMM. Then rode and directly from my trip notes “Rode Great Movie Ride for the last time.” That rumor turned to be completely true. For being one of the original attractions from MGM Studios and not changing much at all, I am kind of looking forward to a change. Sad to see what will happen to the Gruman Theatre façade, but at least the BAH is gone!!! Mwhahaha. In general I am excited about the changes, but they are so far away from being complete! DHS needed to begin a rebuild more like 5 years ago.

    Stand by for Tower of Terror, another attraction with bad rumors flying around it, only had a 20 minute stand by line. Woohoo! It is probably my favorite ride, not wild enough to make me sick and just wild enough to stir you up into a frenzy. Plus the queue and backstory are amazing. I will be heartbroken if this gets changed into some crappy movie overlay. I know the Twilight Zone is owned by CBS and the generation of guests who are familiar with the actual concept are getting older, but come on! At least Guardians of the Galaxy is going to be at Epcot, although I do not care to see UOE get turned into a movie franchise related ride in Future World. Snow White’s Scary Adventures got an upgrade into the Seven Dwarves Mine Ride. UOE needed an upgrade, but I am not sure about the way Disney is going about it. If Mission Space is any indication of their last effort to “thrill ride” up Epcot, it better be good.

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    Star Tours stand by time was around the time our reservation for Mama Melrose was at, so we wandered around a bit and did Muppet Vision 3D another time. Soon it was time to eat.

    Mama Melrose coming up!
     
  16. LowesChevy

    LowesChevy Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Mama Melrose

    Mama’s has been our favorite lunch spot at Hollywood Studios for a long time. We have recently been dining at the Hollywood Brown Derby, but disappointed the last couple of times with service. Prime Time Café has really heavy options for lunch, that I enjoy, but my dad doesn’t necessarily want meatloaf and mashed potatoes at lunch! At least HBD had some great appetizers and starters that could be a meal. I know Disney wants the most revenue for every meal, but sheesh. Sometimes I want a nice hot sandwich or big salad like other chain restaurants offer. At times I wish our heavier meal was at lunch instead of dinner, but it just feel weird not to eat a hearty supper.

    Mama Melrose is usually packed to the brim. I really hope it doesn’t get chopped, but it is also encouraging that DHS is going to have a new restaurant opening on the Grand Avenue expansion, wherever that will pop up. Food trends tend to lean to small plates and appetizers for sharing, but the dining plan presents a roadblock for that concept. Spoodles on the Boardwalk had the tapas concept, but I feel that it didn’t jive with the introduction of the dining plan and was changed over to Kouzinna. Many people do not want to sit down and eat a protein, starch and vegetables every meal. Some guests do not even want starches especially with paleo and low carb eaters. The signature restaurants have many options for appetizers or starters, but regular restaurants are limited. I can see why guests have negative feedback for restaurants when they end up eating a dish they didn’t want in the first place with the dining plan. Just saying dining times are changing and the dining plan needs to change as well.

    It was busy, but we didn’t wait too long to be seated only a few minutes. The ambiance is dark and gives you a chance to cool down and get out of that sun for a while. Courtney greeted us shortly after we were seated to get our drinks and introduce herself. Immediately after we ordered our food she brought share plates right to the table. I like where this is going! We had our drinks and shortly after that our two salads for sharing arrived along with those new, but no less factory tasting, breadsticks arrived lol. I know they cannot bake fresh bread for every restaurant, but those things are straight from the Piilsbury factory. Can we get a loaf of Italian out here?!

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    Two salads-the Cesar and there is always a mixed greens salad. They tend to change up the garnishes every year like cherries or nuts, different dried meats or cheeses. This one was a Mediterranean style with tomatoes, cucumber, artichoke hearts, and feta. The salads are larger enough for the three of us to barely finish two. The flatbreads change with the year too, but you will always find a plain margherita and this year we got the Italian meats with hot salami, pepperoni and prosciutto. The flatbreads came out hot and tasty. Mama Melrose’s food runner system was working well today. Courtney was sweet and funny and did a fabulous job. Great lunch, can’t wait to come back.

    Service: 5 stars
    Food: 5 stars
    Choices/Variety: 4 stars
    Overall: 4.5 stars
    Be Back: For sure!

    Later Flying Fish, maybe…da da dan
     
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  17. LowesChevy

    LowesChevy Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Air conditioning issues…drat

    We found a parking spot, which had become increasingly difficult in the parking lot and I snapped a few pictures walking through. The room was on the warm side when we got back so I flipped the air on, but nothing was happening. I killed two air conditioning units in Arizona last summer so I kind of knew that this wasn’t a quick override fix. I called maintenance and of course only one fella was working today. I was nervous because it was going to take a while and we had a reservation at Flying Fish so it was going to take a while to travel there and I didn’t want to have to drive due to the parking situation, but we do have the option at least.

    So Steve showed up and worked away and found the problem. I didn’t want to move rooms, what a pain with two nights to go especially. It took a while, but he was really friendly and helpful and even brought a fresh stack of towels since he had to use one to clean up. At least I knew I wasn’t crazy, our filter was all jammed up! He had it back to new and chilling within less than two hours. Well to make our ressie we needed to drive over to the Boardwalk, but again at least we had that as a backup.

    To the Fish!
     
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  18. LowesChevy

    LowesChevy Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Off to the Boardwalk & Flying Fish

    The Boardwalk self parking and Grand Floridian self parking really battle it out for worst lots ever, especially when you have to cross the street at the GF. We got lucky with it being ‘low” season in all that there were some empty spots near the convention entrance. We stayed at the Boardwalk Villas and Inn side finally over the last couple of years and enjoyed it. My major complaint being the mega hotel feeling—our MB didn’t work to get in the room and back to the lobby we went, annoying. Long corridors and fewer elevators make a long day longer. The Villas were actually being renovated while we were there at the time and the workers started work a little early and it was noisy during the day. I would definitely stay again at some point because of the convenience of Epcot and DHS.

    It was cloudy this evening, not cold, but cool. This woman totally bombed my photo hehe.

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    Flying Fish

    Flying Fish recently underwent a major rehab and we were excited to check out the new digs. Well first Izzy wasn’t working tonight, so we missed out on him altogether. We were seated in the area overlooking the Boardwalk garden area, but not in the back section. We were seated basically out in the open. We were watching the staff set up a large table, but they set the table all the way to the wall with no way for the far side of the table to get in unless they climbed down the eight seats from the other side. We did tell them about it before they seated guests though!

    Our server came over and did the introduction and talked about the menu a bit.

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    Salad: plant city strawberry salad-strawberries not quite ripe. Kurobuta pork two ways was good and interesting. A nice starter, recommended.

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    The appetizers were fine, we enjoyed them, but the entrees were amateur hour. The salmon was cooked well, but the risotto was still crunchy and raw. The chicken had the most peculiar taste and mom didn’t care for it at all, except the mixed vegetables were lovely. I even tasted it and thought it was crap with a side of nasty barbeque sauce. Honestly it was bad. I ordered a special grouper with buerre blanc. The sauce was velvety and delicious as any butter and wine sauce should be, but beets and fish and cauliflower? It’s just weird, but chefs are loving romescu and cauliflower right now and I hope this trend ends soon.

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    They removed the chicken from our bill, but you were still served a lackluster meal. The service wasn’t great, so that didn’t even sweeten the pot at all. A great server can save the meal, but she did nothing but tread water. Mom probably would have been happier staying at the room eating an Uncrustable. I hope others have better experiences than us.

    Service: 3 stars
    Food: 3 stars
    Choices/Variety: 4 stars
    Overall: 3.5 stars

    Be Back: negative ghost rider the pattern is full
     
  19. amjt660

    amjt660 Well-Known Member

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    Top Gun reference!!!
    Sweet!!
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    Max
     
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  20. LowesChevy

    LowesChevy Well-Known Member Original Poster

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    Last Full day

    Wednesday: 2/15 at Epcot

    Overall our week at WDW had grand weather. Cooler than what we are used to at night, but not a bother hauling around a long sleeve or lightweight coat. Today was on the windy side and a weather front was making it’s way into the area. It was still warm enough for just t-shirts to start the day though. After breakfast at Kona, we walked over to the TTC to make our way to Epcot.

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    Omelet today

    The above card was a new program WDW started to welcome back guests to a restaurant. We also received a card from California Grill as well. A kind gesture to give returning guests.

    We toured all morning soaking up our last hours of fun till this fall. It was off the WS starting with Mexico. I have a lot of videos of the choppy water on the high seas World Showcase lagoon-it was really choppy! By France we decided to have some lunch at the Boulangerie. I wish guests knew how to walk through queues, if there is no CM there proceed. If there is a sign with instructions follow them. The line is free flowing and you pick a side, tell the lovely CM what you would like and move on down the line.

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    Mom and dad ordered the jamon buerre with ham and I opted for a croissant jambon fromage. Another family was leaving and they invited us to take their table. We enjoyed our sandwiches immensely and were surprised with how good the quality of the meal was. A great value for a counter service meal imho. The pastries are just fabulous. We found a family looking for a place to sit as we were leaving and returned the favor of inviting them to sit. I love the newer improved Boulangerie, but wish there were more spots to sit without making the place a huge cafeteria of course. Leaving this as an option for lunch next year!

    It is time to head back to the room and pack up a couple of suitcases and take a rest. I am going to snap a few photographs of the GCH too before heading back to the room.
     
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