Kathy’s Birthday 2006
My birthday was Thursday and we had a million ideas on how to celebrate – there probably are a million different ways at WDW. But it was a Thursday and it seemed too soon to take the day off. So, sigh, I would have to work. But we did have ADR at Artist Point on Friday so that we could really enjoy the meal. We’d play the actual birthday by ear.
Driving past the walkway to the Magic Kingdom on the way to work reminded me of the last few birthdays when we celebrated at the Magic Kingdom. I called Rich and told him I guess other people would be celebrating my birthday at the MK today. He urged me to make it a short day. So I did. My grandmother had also died just a few days before so there was a lot on my mind and heart. I ended up just relaxing at home in the afternoon while Rich finished working. Afterwards, we headed for the Boardwalk self-park – planning to be spontaneous at Epcot.
Just as we parked, a huge thunderstorm began and we sat in the car for awhile, wondering if it would pass. It didn’t seem to, although the rain lightened up a bit. We stepped out of the car with our umbrella but it was raining too hard. We got back in the car and headed for the Beach Club, planning to have an informal meal at Beaches & Cream. By the time we valet-parked at the BC, the rain had let up. We wandered around the BC, noticing a short line at the Cape May Buffet. Don’t let that short line fool you – the hordes sitting around the lobby had pagers, waiting to be called. Without an ADR, tonight’s meal might be tough. We knew our best bet was to head on over to Beaches & Cream.
We were seated immediately and each had a Turkey sandwich – fries for Rich and onion rings for me. We pondered the dessert choices – observed 2 tables getting the “Kitchen Sink,” were tempted to get our favorite “No Way Jose” but ended up splitting a “Mickey Mouse Sundae” with hot fudge topping. It was all fun.
Afterwards, we walked on over to the Boardwalk, people-watching and absorbing the fun atmosphere. At the Boardwalk Bakery, we picked up 2 pieces of cheesecake (delish!!) to take home for our birthday dessert along with our favorite Sparkling Shiraz. It was a small but fun celebration and we were looking forward to the “real” celebration at Artist Point the next night.
Pulling up to the Wilderness Lodge is an amazingly authentic experience. We are taken back to all of our favorite National Lodges of the West and it makes us nostalgic every time. The haunting sounds of Native American tribal music when you enter Artist Point is a spiritual experience. This is one of our favorite restaurants, but we must say tonight there seemed to be more kids than ever before. Perhaps because it was a weekend night in the summer.
The past 2 years we’ve dined there mid-week. And we also noticed, again, the guests who do not adhere to the “business casual” dress code – but wear shorts instead. The good news for me was that business casual was dressing down from the “formal business” attire I have to wear working at Disney. Within minutes of arriving at the podium we were seated at a table for 2. The sun set while we were dining, lending a romantic glow to the evening.
Now, on to the meal.
Kathy – Braised Penn Cove Mussels with Fennel and Grilled Sourdough Toast
Rich – Smoky Portabello Soup with Roasted Shitakes and Chive Oil
Kathy – Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Fire Roasted Corn, Sauteed Spinach, Red Wine Reduction, and Blue Cheese Fritter
Wine: Kiona Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State)
Rich – the Signature dish – Cedar Plank Roasted Wild King Salmon with Spring Vegetables, Herb Dumplings, and Sage Brown Butter Vinaigrette
Wine: Witness Tree Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley
Dessert – We skipped our usual Berry Cobbler this time because the wine, so rich in berry flavor, was dessert. Besides, we still had one of those lovely pieces of cheesecake from the Boardwalk Bakery left over and more of that Sparkling Shiraz.
The food was amazingly delicious again. It reminded us of how much we miss Pacific Northwest cuisine. It’s an amazing place with rich seafood, meat, berries, wine, dairy, and beer. For a foodie, there aren’t many places better.
We walked around the Lodge after dinner, including the gift shop, and were completely taken over by the Northwest spell. Disney does such an awesome job of attending to details – something they’re known for – and they don’t do this any better than at Wilderness Lodge.
We picked up our car at valet (the discount on this meal and the free Valet Parking have already paid for the DDE card), noticing the pleasant warmth of the evening and the flickering lights all around the portico blending in a little California with the Northwest mystique, although the humidity was all Florida.
It was another magical evening and I must confess, even though we live a couple of miles from property, there is just nothing better than being on property.