Saturday, May 2, 2009

Food and Wine Festival

Last night we decided to go back to DCA to do the Wines of the World "walk". They had four stations set up, each representing a different country or region, with a choice of three wines at each. I was given a "passport" containing a brief description of wine making in each country, that was stamped at each station. I didn't write down the names of the wines I sampled, but I remember that I tried Trumpeter, a white wine from Argentina, a Pinot Noir from New Zealand, and two other reds - one from Italy and one from the "Old World". The samples were thimball sized, but it was fun to walk through and hear a little about each of the wines.

Before going back to Disneyland for the fireworks, we decided to have a full-sized drink and something to eat in the lounge at the Napa Rose, the "fancy" restaurant at the Grand Californian. We ordered the Sizzling Beach Stone appetizer, which included shrimp, beef ribs, and chicken, garnishes and dipping sauces, and was artistically presented in a wooden box.

We walked to the monorail station in Downtown Disney to ride into Disneyland for the fireworks. I love the Disneyland monorail. It has been recently refurbished with shiny new trains and it carries you past DCA and right into Disneyland after making several loops over Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. We rode a couple of rides and then decided to make a full circuit of the park on the Disneyland Railroad before the fireworks. We were held for about 20 minutes between the New Orleans Square and Mickey's Toontown stations at the rear of the park because there was a mechanical problem with the train in front of us. When we finally arrived at the Toontown station we were told we'd be held there another 10 minutes, so we got off and started to walk, but we didn't make it back to Main Street before the fireworks started, and by then we were caught in the crowd couldn't find anywhere to stop where we could see, so we just left and went back to the hotel.

Today we spent the whole day enjoying DCA and the Food and Wine Festival. We started with Soarin', a glider ride over California - exactly the same as the ride at Walt Disney World, but still wonderful. We improved our scores over yesterday's on Toy Story Midway Mania. The park was not as crowded as I thought it would be for a Saturday during the Food and Wine Festival. I took lots of photos of the flower arrangements and landscaping in the Golden State area. They have a lot of beautiful container arrangements set up for the Festival and it looks really nice. We managed to catch several of the street performances today, including High School Musical 3, Drawn to the Magic (a musical tribute to Disney animators), and the Miner Forty-Niners, a hillbilly band.

We also attended a seminar about wines from the Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite). Tables for the seminar participants were set up on a patio at the Golden Vine Winery, with three samples for each of us to try. The Rothschild representative described each wine and the vineyard where it was produced. We were given a booklet with detailed information about the wines and the history of each vineyard. We tasted a white bordeaux (Reserve Speciale Bordeaux Blanc 2007), and two reds, Blason d'Aussieres AOC Corbieres 2006, and Amancaya Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec 2007. After the seminar I got a glass of Hill Family Merlot (Napa Valley) to sip while we strolled around the park and watched the entertainers. We saw celebrity chef Cat Cora doing a cooking demonstration in Sunshine Plaza. The more time I spend at DCA, the more I like this park, particularly the Golden State and Hollywood Pictures Backlot areas. With all the changes planned, DCA should be even better in the next few years.

We had dinner reservations at the Blue Bayou Restaurant in New Orleans Square, so after a break in our room, we walked through Downtown Disney and into Disneyland. The Blue Bayou overlooks part of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (which unfortunately, has not been running so far this trip) and simulates an outdoor, lantern-lit patio. We both ordered the Jambalaya, which was good and spicy. We shared a sampler plate of three creme brulees for dessert (good, but SO sweet and rich). After dinner we rode the Haunted Mansion, watched the Swing Dance Party for a while, and browsed the shops on Main Street until it was time to stake out a spot in the middle of the street for the "Remember...Dreams Come True" fireworks - a great show highlighting many of the attractions in the park.

Tomorrow is our last day at Disneyland. We'll probably spend some time in both parks and we've also signed up for the "Art of the Craft" tour of the Grand Californian.

Click here for more photos.

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