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Trip Report The GRAND Birthday!

becca_

Well-Known Member
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Hahahah your mother and JB are both winning the worst photo award this time!! I'll be sure to report back in a week and show you what kind of faces GJ made on our trip ;)😂
 

Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
After our terrifying mine ride, Mom asked if we could take a break so she could check her phone. Numerous “Happy Birthday” texts and voicemails had been accumulating throughout the day.

“Let’s go to the Tangled rest area,” I suggested.

“The what?” asked JB.

“The Tangled toilets,” I replied.

JB looked perplexed. “Do I have to untangle it to go?” :hilarious:

We used the facilities and then found a nearby place to sit. Mom checked her messages and JB made a phone call. I took the opportunity to excuse myself for a few minutes.

I had to meet a friend. Again. :inlove:

He was traveling solo this time. And he was right around the corner.

View attachment 356094

@Tony the Tigger and I were able to have a longer chat today. My touring buddies didn’t even miss me.
💕💕💕

But I have to get back to the gym before our next photo shoot!

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Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
Friday, con’t

I reconvened with Mom and JB in the spot where I’d left them.

“Wanna do Small World before moving on?” I ribbed JB.

His facial expression indicated he had no interest whatsoever.

“Well, we can start walking towards our next Fastpass then,” I said. It didn’t cross my mind that our path would lead us right into a large group of spectators watching the Festival of Fantasy parade. When it became clear that we were trapped, we decided to stay put and enjoy the floats.

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Princess Everleigh couldn’t hang.
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Maleficient is hands-down the best part of FoF for me. I’m happy she’s returned in all her fiery glory.
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What a great ending!

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A wave for you, @MinnieM123!

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Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
When the parade ended we made our way here:

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You may recall I coerced Mom into riding two days earlier ~ when it was cold and I knew the water jets would be turned off. We had fun since we were merely “splashed” (hence the name!) and not “drenched.”

Today was warmer, though far from the temperature where a drenching might be refreshing. Common sense would dictate that people are unlikely to want to get soaked when it’s only in the 60s and the sun isn’t shining.

But whomever was in charge of the water jets thought differently. The cannons were on.

“I have a poncho in my bag,” Mom said to me. “I don’t need to wear it, but I think we should spread it across the seat so our bottoms stay dry.” I nodded in agreement. Wet pants are the worst!

Mom and I entered the line before JB. We would soon learn he had not heard Mom’s poncho comment.

We didn’t get any Ziploc bags, as there wasn’t a CM nor a supply of them. JB didn’t know about the Ziploc giveaway, but he later said he noticed several people in line wearing ponchos and thought someone was giving them out. He figured we’d get our ponchos before we boarded our log.

Silly man!

When it was our turn to climb aboard, Mom handed me one end of her poncho and we set it down over the already-wet seat. The words, “Where did you get the poncho?” had barely escaped JB’s lips when our log began to move and we were off!

We managed....barely....to escape the big water cannon that is poised at unsuspecting passengers before their ride even begins. There was some incidental splashing, which led to complaints about microbes from JB.

Once inside the mountain we became immersed in the story. There are so many great animatronics and details in this attraction! As we started our ascent up the final hill, Mom said to me, “I can never keep my eyes open on the way down.”

“Sure you can!” I encouraged her.

“I can’t!”

Mom was right. She couldn’t.
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I ended up ducking down like Mom when we hit the bottom. This, of course, propelled all the bacteria-laden water onto JB....who, unfortunately, had forgotten to close his mouth.

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“This is all your fault, Peggy the Poncho Hog!” JB teased my mother.

The selfie smile shows how quickly he forgave her.

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Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
The birthday in the Magic Kingdom was coming to a close. Though we hadn’t made a full 8 hours like we did on Wednesday, we were close. Mom had to get back to our room for scheduled FaceTime calls with the grandkids.

I suggested taking the boat since the GF is the first stop.

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JB also needs a little work on his selfie pose. 😉

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We would have still been waiting for this monorail....instead we were preparing to dock!
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I went to JB’s room so we could hang out while Mom took her calls. A beer may have been consumed. And feet were definitely propped up and rested (while JB listened to my lecture on the need for proper footwear when touring WDW.....dress shoes ain’t it!)
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
My wish for Mom’s birthday dinner was either Artist Point (for the new Snow White character meal) or California Grill.

My multiple attempts to score an ADR for either were futile.

JB tried once and had his choice of two reservation times.

So where did we go? (@Swissmiss and @slipperalwaysfits have been so patient! :angelic: )

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Our trek was not without difficulties. We had a unusually long wait for a monorail at the GF station and the platform was packed. Then we boarded an overcrowded train. I figured most passengers would disembark at the MK....which they did.....but did not think the monorail would completely shut down while in the MK station.

“Folks, we’re going to need to do a reboot before we can be on our way,” announced our driver.

“Gee, I hope we don’t get stuck here for 22 minutes!” JB commented dramatically.

It wasn’t 22 minutes, but we were delayed long enough to arrive late for our ADR. Since the reservation was in his name, JB checked us in. He did not make any table location requests nor did he mention it was Mom’s birthday. I did not hold out hope for a table with a good view, especially since Happily Ever After was minutes away from starting. I was just glad we’d managed to get into California Grill at all.

We were escorted up the elevator to the 15th floor and were immediately met by a host who led us to our table. The three of us had to pick our jaws off the ground. A window table with a perfect view of the Magic Kingdom! Honestly, it couldn’t have been any better.

This is a crappy picture which doesn’t do it justice.

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“Wow!” was all JB could muster.

Our server Nicole appeared to welcome us and take our drink order. She encouraged us to peruse the menu before HEA began and said she would bring bread for us to nibble on during the show.

“You’re welcome to go out on the observation deck to watch the fireworks, but we pipe the music in here too and it looks like you already have a prime view,” smiled Nicole.

I asked Mom what she would like to do. “Oh, I’m staying right here!” she beamed.

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So we perused while we waited.

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Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
Nicole brought us the sourdough bread with sun dried tomato dip. Knowing this dip was coming, I requested butter in advance, which she also brought.

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The sourdough is fine.....but.....
wait for it.....you know it’s coming.....
I have to vent.....PLEASE BRING BACK LAVENDER FOCACCIA!

(There. I feel better now.)

Nicole also had our drinks. Though Mom is not a teetotaler, she rarely imbibes. I thought she might have a glass of Reisling tonight to celebrate, but she only wanted water. JB selected one of the featured red wines. For myself, instead of wine, I ordered a Tropical Lifesaver. This sweet drink was recommended to me last year by a bar server at CG, who said it was her favorite and unique to CG. I found it quite tasty and ordered it again on a subsequent visit to CG.

Nicole was unfamiliar with a Tropical Lifesaver and I couldn’t tell her what was in it (no idea!) but said the bartender should know.

What she put in front of me looked like a Tropical Lifesaver.....
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....but did not taste like a Tropical Lifesaver. All I could taste was bourbon :depressed: which was definitely not in my previous drinks. Not wanting to make a fuss, I slowly sipped at it throughout the course of dinner.

Happily Ever After began. Enjoy these two crappy pictures.

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JB declared HEA “Spectacular!”
I didn’t argue. :inlove:
Mom was thrilled as well.

When Nicole returned, JB asked her what the best appetizer was. She immediately recommended the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli. JB ordered one for himself and one for Mom and I to share.

ONE being the operative word....
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$16 for ONE ravioli. It was good, but not $16 good. I think the flatbreads are a better value.

But both JB and Mom raved about the ravioli so I kept my mouth shut.

My entreé was a no-brainer. Oak-grilled filet all the way! I did not expect JB and Mom to also order the filet. Family ties run deep! Oh well, it meant I only had to take one entreé picture.

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(Note how full my drink glass still is!)

Wait....what’s under that luscious filet?
Could it be?
YES IT IS.....risotto!

I have pined for CG risotto ever since it was removed from the menu. Tomato, black truffle, cheese....all flavors that had kept me wanting more. This was “Parmesan-Farro Risotto”. I was unfamiliar with Farro but Parmesan is cheese, so it had to be delish, right?

It was.....okay. Turns out farro is a grain (like rice) that is very high in fiber with a nutty taste, with undertones of oat and barley (thank you, Google). As such, it did not have the smooth creaminess usually associated with risotto. Mixed with the butternut squash purée it was palatable (rather than delectable.)

Our filets were outstanding. Mom and JB said it was the best filet they’d ever tasted.

Nicole came to clear our plates. She asked if we’d like to see a dessert menu and without hesitation JB answered, “Absolutely!” Over the course of our meal Nicole learned it was Mom’s birthday and said Mom would receive the complimentary birthday dessert in addition to any dessert Mom might order off the menu. I was secretly hoping Mom would order something off the menu so that I could eat the amazing Boston Cream Cupcake, which has been the complimentary celebratory dessert for ages.

“Oh I don’t need to order anything from the menu,” Mom told Nicole.
DRAT!

But Mom still looked over the dessert menu with me.

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Warm chocolate lava cake? Good. I’m sold!
Until Mom said, “Tuvalu, you need to order the s’mores. It comes with toasted marshmallow ice cream!”
Um...ok....

“I’ll have the warm chocolate cake,” JB said to Nicole. (Of course he will!)
I ordered the s’mores, hoping Mom would want to share and then I could have some of her cupcake.

Only she didn’t get a cupcake.

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“Confetti Cake is our new birthday dessert!” Nicole announced before singing Happy Birthday to Mom. Mom devoured the cake. She let me have a bite. It did not compare to the Boston Cream cupcake.

Meanwhile I gazed lustfully at JB’s warm chocolate lava cake.

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Here is the s’mores I “had” to have.

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Notice anything missing? Those dark brown pieces ARE NOT chocolate. They are “house-made graham crackers.” Or as I would call them “house-made no-graham-flavor crackers.”

BUT WHERE IS THE CHOCOLATE?!!? I’m sorry, but chocolate is a crucial ingredient in s’mores.

Oh I know where the chocolate is.....it’s on JB’s plate.

Sigh.

And for the record, “toasted marshmallow ice cream” is not as good as it sounds.

However, California Grill was a HUGE hit for Mom and JB, so I can overlook my little disappointments. Nicole was an excellent server, the food was good and view to-die-for. JB and Mom said they would definitely go back to CG.

You know I will. 😉

We browsed BVG (Bay View Gifts) before boarding the monorail back to GF. Once in our room, Mom said she’d had the BEST birthday.

I couldn’t have been happier.
 
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fractal

Well-Known Member
Nicole brought us the sourdough bread with sun dried tomato dip. Knowing this dip was coming, I requested butter in advance, which she also brought.

View attachment 356670

The sourdough is fine.....but.....
wait for it.....you know it’s coming.....
I have to vent.....PLEASE BRING BACK LAVENDER FOCACCIA!

(There. I feel better now.)

Nicole also had our drinks. Though Mom is not a teetotaler, she rarely imbibes. I thought she might have a glass of Reisling tonight to celebrate, but she only wanted water. JB selected one of the featured red wines. For myself, instead of wine, I ordered a Tropical Lifesaver. This sweet drink was recommended to me last year by a bar server at CG, who said it was her favorite and unique to CG. I found it quite tasty and ordered it again on a subsequent visit to CG.

Nicole was unfamiliar with a Tropical Lifesaver and I couldn’t tell her what was in it (no idea!) but said the bartender should know.

What she put in front of me looked like a Tropical Lifesaver.....
View attachment 356671
....but did not taste like a Tropical Lifesaver. All I could taste was bourbon :depressed: which was definitely not in my previous drinks. Not wanting to make a fuss, I slowly sipped at it throughout the course of dinner.

Happily Ever After began. Enjoy these two crappy pictures.

View attachment 356672

View attachment 356673

JB declared HEA “Spectacular!”
I didn’t argue. :inlove:
Mom was thrilled as well.

When Nicole returned, JB asked her what the best appetizer was. She immediately recommended the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli. JB ordered one for himself and one for Mom and I to share.

ONE being the operative word....
View attachment 356669
$16 for ONE ravioli. It was good, but not $16 good. I think the flatbreads are a better value.

But both JB and Mom raved about the ravioli so I kept my mouth shut.

My entreé was a no-brainer. Oak-grilled filet all the way! I did not expect JB and Mom to also order the filet. Family ties run deep! Oh well, it meant I only had to take one entreé picture.

View attachment 356674
(Note how full my drink glass still is!)

Wait....what’s under that luscious filet?
Could it be?
YES IT IS.....risotto!

I have pined for CG risotto ever since it was removed from the menu. Tomato, black truffle, cheese....all flavors that had kept me wanting more. This was “Parmesan-Farro Risotto”. I was unfamiliar with Farro but Parmesan is cheese, so it had to be delish, right?

It was.....okay. Turns out farro is a grain (like rice) that is very high in fiber with a nutty taste, with undertones of oat and barley (thank you, Google). As such, it did not have the smooth creaminess usually associated with risotto. Mixed with the butternut squash purée it was palatable (rather than delectable.)

Our filets were outstanding. Mom and JB said it was the best filet they’d ever tasted.

Nicole came to clear our plates. She asked if we’d like to see a dessert menu and without hesitation JB answered, “Absolutely!” Over the course of our meal Nicole learned it was Mom’s birthday and said Mom would receive the complimentary birthday dessert in addition to any dessert Mom might order off the menu. I was secretly hoping Mom would order something off the menu so that I could eat the amazing Boston Cream Cupcake, which has been the complimentary celebratory dessert for ages.

“Oh I don’t need to order anything from the menu,” Mom told Nicole.
DRAT!

But Mom still looked over the dessert menu with me.

View attachment 356676

Warm chocolate lava cake? Good. I’m sold!
Until Mom said, “Tuvalu, you need to order the s’mores. It comes with toasted marshmallow ice cream!”
Um...ok....

“I’ll have the warm chocolate cake,” JB said to Nicole. (Of course he will!)
I ordered the s’mores, hoping Mom would want to share and then I could have some of her cupcake.

Only she didn’t get a cupcake.

View attachment 356675

“Confetti Cake is our new birthday dessert!” Nicole announced before singing Happy Birthday to Mom. Mom devoured the cake. She let me have a bite. It did not compare to the Boston Cream cupcake.

Meanwhile I gazed lustfully at JB’s warm chocolate lava cake.

View attachment 356677

Here is the s’mores I “had” to have.

View attachment 356678

Notice anything missing? Those dark brown pieces ARE NOT chocolate. They are “house-made graham crackers.” Or as I would call them “house-made no-graham-flavor crackers.”

BUT WHERE IS THE CHOCOLATE?!!? I’m sorry, but chocolate is a crucial ingredient in s’mores.

Oh I know where the chocolate is.....it’s on JB’s plate.

Sigh.

And for the record, “toasted marshmallow ice cream” is not as good as it sounds.

However, California Grill was a HUGE hit for Mom and JB, so I can overlook my little disappointments. Nicole was an excellent server, the food was good and view to-die-for. JB and Mom said they would definitely go back to CG.

You know I will. 😉

We browsed BVG (Bay View Gifts) before boarding the monorail back to GF. Once in our room, Mom said she’d had the BEST birthday.

I couldn’t have been happier.
California Grill hit a homerun for your Mom! Very Happy for her, and you and JB!
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
I would so agree with you about being disappointed with the risotto - I have been known to get a bit peeved when a chef tries to get “creative” with risotto and make it with something other than ... risotto :banghead:. If it’s not made with rice, then call it something else!
Preach it, sister! I couldn’t agree more.

I was also surprised when I ordered the "ravioli" and got a "raviolo" because "ravioli" is plural! Your photos are making me excited for my next CG visit!
I learned something new! Thanks @bee!
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
What a fantastic birthday for your mom!! I'm glad you had an overall better California Grill experience than we did! I know we had chocolate sauce on our s'more dessert, not sure what happened to yours! And that cake was good, but I never had the cupcake to compare it to! I'm jealous of your fireworks view!
I went back and reread your TR. It did look like you had chocolate on your s’mores....maybe there was a “tweaking” between your dessert and mine? And I had forgotten about your less-than-stellar experience, so I was sad for you all over again!

California Grill hit a homerun for your Mom! Very Happy for her, and you and JB!
Thanks @fractal :geek:
 

dizfan917

Well-Known Member
You DID have a perfect view of HEA from that table. I know that because we sat at the table behind JB the last time we visited for dinner in July!! I was disappointed with my shrimp appetizer and it kind of threw off my whole experience. My family even mentioned that I didn't "seem like myself". It's ridiculous to let something be such a disappointment when it's just food, but I know exactly how you feel!

My brother and I disagree, but I'm favoring JIKO these days while he is still sold on CALIFORNIA GRILL.

Most importantly Mom had a great time! Hooray! :geek:
 

Darstarr

Well-Known Member
I would so agree with you about being disappointed with the risotto - I have been known to get a bit peeved when a chef tries to get “creative” with risotto and make it with something other than ... risotto :banghead:. If it’s not made with rice, then call it something else!
Ummmmm, actually, risotto is the method of preparation. Yes, traditionally arborio rice is used but you can use almost anything. I use to make a potato risotto that caused grown men to cry. Truth!
 

Tuvalu

Premium Member
Original Poster
You DID have a perfect view of HEA from that table. I know that because we sat at the table behind JB the last time we visited for dinner in July!! I was disappointed with my shrimp appetizer and it kind of threw off my whole experience. My family even mentioned that I didn't "seem like myself". It's ridiculous to let something be such a disappointment when it's just food, but I know exactly how you feel!

My brother and I disagree, but I'm favoring JIKO these days while he is still sold on CALIFORNIA GRILL.

Most importantly Mom had a great time! Hooray! :geek:
We are simpatico then! I will soon be able to compare Jiko with CG when I dine there for the first time next trip.
 
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