Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Epcotiversary: France (Our Last One!!)

Welcome to the very last installment of Epcotiversary! I'm sad to see our (almost) year of celebrating our monthly anniversaries come to an end-- but excited to celebrate our ONE YEAR of marriage with a special trip in May. 

As luck would have it, the last country left to pull from the cup was France. This worked out really well. We decided to celebrate our last Epcotivesary with a fancy meal at Monsieur Paul, and boy, was it awesome. 

My baby bump seems to get bigger by the minute, which was really obvious in this Lilly dress. 

We decided to park at the Beach Club and walk in through the International Gateway. We parked all the way over next to the DVC units and took the shaded sidewalks toward Crescent Lake. 

 Sadly, I didn't take any pictures of the food. John is very tolerant of so many things I do, but he does tend to get a bit annoyed when I'm constantly photographing stuff for the blog. With this being our last Epcotiversary, and a special 'fancy' meal, I made the decision to put the camera away at the beginning of dinner and live in the moment, enjoying our special time. 

As you can see, we snagged a coveted window seat. Our reservation was for 5:30, when the restaurant opens, so we had first dibs at seating arrangements. I did ask when we checked in if we could wait for a window seat; if you have a later reservation and this is important to you, I'd recommend checking in a bit early and be willing to wait. It really adds to the charm to watch the world go by on the sidewalks below. 

Ok, onto the food. I figure you can find food photos elsewhere, such as on the Disney Food Blog. I will tell you what we had though. 

John went with the prix-fixe option, which started with a delicious pasta amuse-bouche. He then chose the lobster appetizer which we both shared. It. Was. Awesome. He also selected the New York Strip for his entree, which was super yummy. His dessert choice was the La mille-feuille (puff pastry, pastry cream, berries, light lemon cream, strawberry sorbet) which was very light and flavorful. All around A+.

I chose the red snapper for my entree and the Le moelleux for dessert (warm chocolate and almond cake with raspberry coulis in the center, hazelnut crust, hazelnut ice cream). You guys, I could cry over this dessert it was so good (hello, pregnancy hormones talking). 

There was also a bread service, which was delicious. Overall, we really, really enjoyed our meal and would recommend this restaurant for a special event. It wasn't stuffy or overly fancy, but very tasty and offered a nice respite from the bustling theme park below. 

After dinner, we had a little photo shoot outside of the France pavilion (one of the perks of the new, increased AP prices is the included PhotoPass- we're taking advantage of it!)

Much to John's chagrin, we hiked alllll the way up to the front of the park to get our usual Spaceship Earth Selfie. The sun was just starting to set, and there was a nice cool breeze. It was a lovely evening to send off our Epcotiversaries. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dressing for a Disney Cruise: Embarkation Day Part 2

Ahoy! We last left off on the first half of our Embarkation Day on our Disney Fantasy Honeymoon Cruise, which you can check out here. 
After exploring the ship a bit more, we decided to take a chance and see if our state room was ready.  Lo and behold, it was! This was around 1:30 pm.

I know I've already spoken about how great Tammy at Storybook Destinations was in helping us book our trip. Our state room sealed the deal with how helpful it is to have a knowledgeable agent assist with booking. 

She recommended the location of our state room, on the starboard side of the ship. She also suggested we try to get as close to the front as possible, to help reduce movement and engine noise. After doing plenty of research on my own regarding state rooms, her suggestions seemed sound, so we booked this specific room. It couldn't have been better. 

Since it's located at the front of the ship, the elevator bank we used deposited us literally right into the adult-only pool. It was a quick two minute trip back to our room to refresh our drinks, grab a magazine, etc. The views pulling into the various ports were lovely from this side of the ship, and we didn't have a lot of traffic in the hallway because we were so close to the front. I'd recommend it 100% and would book the same location again.

Tammy also included this adorable Mickey top hat door magnet in her welcome packet. We found the 'Just Married' magnet online. 

We had dinner reservations for Palo that evening; our reservation reminder was tucked next to our door. 

Port adventure tickets and more were already in our room. 

Tammy even went as far as to have a plush DCL robe and champagne and chocolates in the room upon our arrival. Boy, did we feel spoiled. 

Could this cruise start off any better?? Thank you, Tammy!

We filled our Tervis Tumblers with some adult libations and headed up to check out the Sail Away party. This particular concoction was sweet tea vodka, lemonade and iced tea from the (unlimited! free!) soda machine. It is stated not to drink your carry-on booze around the boat; I feel as long as you stay respectful and discreet, enjoy yourself. 

It was crazy windy as we headed out of port. 

We headed back to our room to allow plenty of time to dress for dinner. We ordered a cheese plate from room service (complimentary!) and enjoyed it on the veranda with some wine we carried on board. 

We made our way to Palo and enjoyed a nice, quiet dinner-- the perfect way to kick off our Honeymoon cruise. Of course, we ordered the infamous chocolate souffle at the end of our meal. They also brought out a little 'dessert plate' with a sweet message written in chocolate. 

Palo was good- very good actually, and considering it only costs an additional $25 per person (yes, on top of what you've already paid for the cruise, but still, you'd pay that for a typical meal at TGI Fridays) it was well worth the price. I'd probably do it again on a cruise longer than three nights, just to get a break from the crazy main dining rooms, but we enjoyed Palo brunch MUCH more. More on that in a later post. 

Lilly Pulitzer Dress, old. Similar hereI also LOVE the vintage feel of this one! // Jack Rogers Monogrammed Sandals

We returned to our room and found our first towel animal of the trip. I brought these pillowcases from home. It was a great first day, and it was only just the beginning of what would be one of the best trips we've ever had!

Helpful tips

* Booking a stateroom in the front of the ship helps reduce movement, reduces foot traffic in the hallway in front of your room, and is the most convenient for accessing the adult-only areas. Starboard side provides beautiful views when pulling into ports and Castaway Cay. 

* Staterooms on the higher decks (9 and 10) can be prone to noise from above, as the activity decks, shuffleboard, and more are right above them. The lower you go, the more movement you may feel. Deck 8 was just right for being up high enough, but not too high to be a far elevator (or stairway) trip away from almost anything. 

*Your stateroom attendant should check on you fairly soon after entering your room. Don't be shy about introducing yourself and asking for anything you may need to make your stay more comfortable. Our attendant, Rosello, was the bees knees. We asked for extra hangers, some ice, and a few wine glasses and corkscrew upon arrival. He promptly returned with everything. We gave him a generous cash tip on the spot for his service, and to keep us in his good graces. ;) He took great care of us the rest of the trip. 

* We loved having our Tervis Tumblers for toting around the ship. Apparently, sunscreen can permanently damage the finish on them, so we opted to get the handles. Lids are a must to prevent spills while walking around.

*Sodas, lemonade and iced tea are complementary and are located in the fountain machine on either side of the main pool. 

*If you're booking dinners at Palo or Remy and want to time it to catch the sunset, be sure to check the Navigators to get an idea of what time the sun goes down each night. These can be found with a quick Google search. Many are also found here

* We opted to dine at Palo our first night to give us a relaxed, romantic start to the cruise. Again, this is one of many ways that a Disney cruise can be very adult-friendly, if you know how to schedule and plan.