2002: Going home

Friday Evening – Jiko

Well,  last night (Fri), we all got dressed up,  even Katie put on her best dress.  We took Katie down to Simba’s Clubhouse, and then we went for a drink in Victoria Falls.  I had a strawberry daiquiri and Phil hummed and ha’d, and hummed some more and had …. a beer.
After our drinks, we headed down to Jiko and went into the restaurant.  This is a stunning restaurant,  all the light fittings look like a flock of birds. I can’t begin to describe it, so I’m going to cheat and show you a photo.

We started with Kalamata Olive Flatbread and breads and dips.  While we were eating we pondered the wine list,  we must have looked confused because the waitress asked us if we would like a recommendation.  We had no idea what to order,  so we said sure.  She brought over a couple of glasses of white wine for us to try, and we agreed it was delicious, so we had a glass each of ‘Broken Stone’ – they were huge glasses,  not like pub measures,  so one glass was plenty for the meal. Mind you at $9 a glass, one was all I was having!
For the main courses,  I’m going to copy the descriptions in here,
I had
Pan Roasted Monkfish – with vegetables of the moment, crispy parsnips and tomato butter sauce $24.25
And Phil had
Berbere Braised Lamb Shank with toasted couscous, baby spinach and berbere sauce $23.00

My Monkfish was absolutely delicious, and Phil’s lamb was enormous – there was a huge bone sticking out of the bowl – definitely a carnivores meal.  For dessert I chose
Pistachio Creme Brulee – with layered chocolate bottom $6.50 while Phil opted for the Chai Tea Rice Pudding – creamy rice pudding with cinnamon and cardamom spiced tea $6.00.  I have to say that although I enjoyed my Crème Brulee,  the dessert menu didn’t really inspire a chocolate lover like myself,  but everything we did have was delicious.
The meal cost us $102, and although it was expensive, the whole experience was so superb, that I felt it was worth it.  It was a fantastic meal, in a superb environment – the attention from the waitress was perfect,  always there when we needed her, but not intrusive  – definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

Today (Saturday) is our last day.  We finish as we have started, with a lie in,  and head to MK about 11am.  It was pouring with rain when we caught the bus, but by the time we got to the Magic Kingdom it had stopped.

The plan in MK was Buzz and to meet Mickey,  who we hadn’t see yet.  We got a FP for Buzz and then walked around to ToonTown to see Mickey in the Judges Tent.  We didn’t  have a very long wait, and then we had a lovely visit with Mickey.  After Mickey, we took a look in the other tent, and decided so see Pooh, Tigger  and Eeyore.  Again, the wait wasn’t too bad and we had a nice visit with all of them.
After our pictures with Pooh, and some shopping, we headed back to Buzz, stopping just long enough for some Mickey Bars (I’m glossing over a couple of temper tantrums slightly – let’s just remember the good times, eh)
We made it back to Buzz just in time for our FP, and went into the queue which for a FP queue was actually quite long.  Anyway,  we were soon fighting the emperor zurg, and I was still trying (and failing) to get the elusive 100,000 points.  I did hit a jack in the box, who was worth 30,000 points,  so you might want to watch out for him.
After Buzz, Katie wanted to do ‘the one with the burnt dinner’, aka Carousel of Progress,  ‘It’s a great big beautiful tomorrow’,  after COP we took a ride on the TTA – we’re just chilling out and taking it easy because it’s our last day and we’ve already done everything we need to,  sometimes it’s nice just to take it slow.

After the TTA, we head out of the park for the last time (sob), and take the Monorail over to Epcot.  As we entered Epcot, I spotted a CM wearing a lanyard, so I went to look at her pins – as I approached her, she ran away.  I thought it was a bit odd,  but just continued to walk into the park,  I suddenly realised she was right behind me and I jumped a mile.  Phil and the CM thought it was hysterically funny.  We looked at her pins,  but I find it hard to trade, because I love all my pins,  so I just seem to buy new ones.
By now it was 3.30, and we wanted to eat lunch in Mexico,  so we headed into Guest Relations and managed to get a PS for 3.45.  This proved to be a good move, because when we got there, they were no longer seating walk ups for lunch, but we were shown straight to a table.   I really enjoyed the San Angel Inn,  the location is superb, right next to the river, and the atmosphere, like a warm starlit summers evening, is just perfect.  We had a nice meal, and I had a strawberry Marguerita – I was thinking of you Angel J Yummy.,

When we came out of the pyramid it was raining again – very hard – we donned our poncho’s and umbrellas and strolled towards America.  We tried some funnel cake, and while we were munching away it stopped raining.  There was a new show opening that day, called ShockWave, and it was nearly showtime, so we decided to take a look.  It was an interesting show,  a bit like a Marching Band performance but on a stage not a field – having marched in bands for 7 years, it was interesting to see this new twist,  but their were relatives of the performers sitting near us, whooping and hollering as if they were in a football field, which personally, I found really irritating.

Immediately after the show, the TOD parade came by, so we watched that before getting the boat back to Future World.  We walked to Test Track, but it was closed,  so I will have to return next year to ride that,  and we decided to leave the park.  As we passed MouseGear,  I remembered that it was Father’s Day in the morning,  so Katie and I popped in for some fudge and a pin for Phil.
One final ride on Spaceship Earth, and we left the parks for the final time… Sob.

And there endth my notes – I don’t seem to have written anything about our final evening, or the trip home.  I know we had another look around the resort,  I bought some more pins, and then we went up to the room and Katie listened to stories on the tv for a while.
In the morning,  we had to pack up and head out quite quickly as we were driving back to Miami to catch our flight home.  We had breakfast at McDonalds near AllStars and it was pouring with rain, so we got drenched just running into the restaurant.  We then drove back to Miami through some incredible storms – it was really scary heavy rain, which just suddenly stopped as it we had put up an umbrella over the car – very odd.
We got back to Miami in plenty of time,  dropped off the car, and took the shuttle back to the airport.  When we went to checkin,  we were told that we had been pre-selected for extra security and had to go to a different line to have our bags x-rayed.   This was a complete nightmare, and very disorganised.  One of our bags had to be searched as Phil’s fudge was deemed a suspicious item,  and eventually  we were allowed to go – we were probably waiting about an hour while they x-rayed our bags.
We went through security and into the pit that is Miami airport – no shops, barely any restaurants,  I think it’s a disgrace,  but anyway , we found somewhere to wait, and then when we were ready to board, those of us with the extra security mark on our boarding passes had to have all our hand baggage searched,  our shoes removed and we were wanded with a metal detector – even Katie, who was not allowed to have me near her while they did it, which I thought was petty.

Eventually we boarded, and I remember not a lot of the flight, except Katie finally fell asleep on the floor by my feet,and the stewardess told me I had to move her – which I was a bit annoyed about, considering it had been very hard to get her to sleep in the first place.  We managed to lift her up onto my knee without waking her, which was a minor miracle, and she slept all the way to  Amsterdam.
We had an uneventful change in Amsterdam,  boarded the flight to Newcastle, and had some breakfast.  Just as we were coming into land, Katie said ‘I don’t feel well’ and promptly threw up everywhere.  Since we were landing, there was literally nothing I could do to help her,  we had to sit there with seatbelts on, while she was sick.  Fortunately, we landed about 2 minutes later,  so I just apologised to the stewardess and we left!
Phil’s mam and dad had both come to pick us up,  so we managed to squeeze 5 of us, and all my shopping into his dad’s car,  and we were home by 10am.

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