Crazy holiday weekend at WDW

Sometime in the fall – a crazy plan was hatched through facebook.  A bunch of our friends from our ABD trip to Peru all started talking about WDW over the holidays.  Two groups of them already had overlapping trips planned, and somehow the talk of the Jingle Jungle Cruise created a domino effect, such that a big group of us were all going to come out the same weekend!  Crazy.

In another great stroke of luck, my good friends Beth and Noel were also out there for most of that weekend (with Beth’s family) – so we got to catch up with them as well.  An extra, added bonus was connecting with Karl and Elly (from our curling club in Connecticut) who were vacationing with other curling friends – Ken and Teresa.  This is what I love about going to WDW now – it’s really my happy place and a place where I connect with so many friends.

Derek and I both arrived on Thursday, but he arrived quite late – so really Friday was our first day out.  We headed to Animal Kingdom for the morning – and caught the safari.  Because of the cooler temps, lots of the animals were not just out, but also active (like the hippos – actually out of the water!) and the rhinos were ambling across our path:


Afternoon had us at the spa getting our beaten-up feet taken care of.  Then we met Noel and Beth for dinner at Flying Fish Cafe – one of our favorite restaurants.  We had a really lovely dinner – good wine, great company, delicious food.  I have to admit – it’s been awhile since we were there, so I can’t remember the exact dishes that we had.  I had the thunder fish special (I believe) and Derek had scallops on risotto.  They were both delicious.

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We finished off the night with the Caramelized Banana Napoleon – this was spectacular.  Light and airy, not overly sweet – perfect.IMG_1552

I have been so lucky this year to have been able to see Beth so many times and really for the four of us to have had so much fun throughout the year.  I’m hoping we can still do much of the same even though we’ll be living much further away.

Saturday brought drinks around the world with Beth’s family in honor of Beth’s dad’s birthday and retirement!  We could only join for the beginning (since we had late lunch plans with the ABD folks) – but we still caught several stops.  Canada brought some strong “Tea Breezes” – there was a lot of alcohol in these (Grey Goose Vodka), but you could barely taste it – very dangerous!  Then we went to the pub in England:  can you tell which drink is mine?


Our last stop before leaving them was France where we shared the glace martinis – gelato topped with your choice of liqueur.  We shared three different martinis – different ice creams and two different liqueurs (Grand Marnier and a Coconut Rum).  Here’s a picture of two of them:


Then we left them to their merry ways (and reports have it that they were very merry) and met up with our ABD Peru friends for lunch at the Brown Derby.  We met up with the entire DeBenedetti/Tylinski clan (Laura, Michael, Katherine, Christian, and Roman) and our friends from LA (Deb, Monique, and Karen).  So much fun.  The bunch of us wandered around Hollywood Studios til it got dark and then we went to see the Osbourne Spectacle of Lights together.  Much searching for the cat ensued, but it was found with difficulty – as it wasn’t lit that night!  Laura gets the kudos for finding it!


Sunday – we checked out some gingerbread decorationsIMG_1561

and eventually found our way to Splitsville (luxury bowling lanes in Downtown Disney) to say goodbye to Beth and Noel.  Yes – I drank this fruity concoction – beach bowl, or something like that:


Sunday night, we met the ABD gang at Kona Cafe for dinner, and then the Debenedetti/Tylinski clan hosted all of us at their Grand Floridian Villa for a party.  Gil had just arrived that day, and he was able to join us too.  IMG_1563 IMG_1567

We had such an amazing time – we all laughed and laughed – my cheeks and sides ached afterwards!  It’s amazing to get together after a year and a half and pick up where we left off.  I’ve started working on all of them to do an ABD trip to Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos together in 2015.

Monday was our final day.  The two of us headed to the Magic Kingdom – taking the ferry across:


It was a pretty brisk day – so we were bundled up – here we are waiting for Pooh:IMG_1577

We did a group ride on the Jingle Jungle Cruise – well, we did two, because our first skipper was so bad.  To be honest, our first skipper was about how Derek and I had always experienced this ride – but the Tylinskis love the Jungle Cruise and were very disappointed.  They talked to the manager and we got on the boat of the best skipper – and it was a huge difference!  He was actually funny!  And we laughed!  Group picture in front of the castle and then lunch at the Liberty Tree Tavern.  It was sad to say goodbye to all of them – but truly a treasure to have shared such a fun weekend.


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