Dinner with a Cast Member & Resort Tour – 2012 New Years Celebration in Walt Disney World


Welcome to another trip report part of our New Years Celebration 2012! If you’re just joining you can catch up by reading the past reports! Also if you wish to view all the photos from this day you can view them on Flickr!

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012
We were awake by 8:30 am and decided that we wanted to have breakfast in EPCOT instead of the food at POP Century. Sunshine Seasons was our choice for breakfast. It’s very delicious and offers a different variety of food compared to POP.

After breakfast, we grabbed a Fast Pass for Soarin’. The wait time was already up to an hour by this point and Fast Passes into the afternoon. Once we were done we walked over to Mission: SPACE and did the “less intense” version of the attraction. Yes, I’m a bit of a wuss but I just ate so I didn’t to chance bacon and eggs ending up all over myself and the others in my spaceship. Grabbed a Fast Pass for Test Track on our way to World Showcase.

Next was walking through World Showcase and slowly touring the Pavilions. It never gets old going through them. While we were in the Japan Pavilion I picked up some Japanese chocolate, LETS GET CRUNKY! We also thought it’d be a great idea to see if we can get into Teppan EDO for dinner. This trip we didn’t make many reservations and figured we’d try our luck at doing reservations on the fly. We got lucky and we had a table for 7 pm!

Crunky

Let’s get crunky!

By the time we finished touring all the pavilions our Fast Pass was ready for Soarin’. The standby wait time was well over 90 minutes and all the Fast Passes were distributed for the day. Very glad we got there when we did. I did notice that they added video games (similar concept as Space Mountain) for the Standby line. It did look like fun, but I’d rather go on the attraction than trying the video game out.

We wanted to try something different this time around, doing some Resort touring. We’ve done the parks many times and haven’t had the chance to go and visit the various Resorts. Maybe we’ll find one we want to stay at during our next visit. There was plenty of time before our table reservation at Teppan EDO. We walked over to The Dolphin and walked around. While there we did notice a wizard, who was clearly on winter vacation from Hogwarts, walking around in his Gryffindor robe. The Dolphin was very beautiful inside and very high-class. While it was a very nice resort it wouldn’t be a place I’d want to stay. It felt almost too stale and since it’s not owned by Disney, it lacks the theming you see at other resorts. Regardless it’s a very nice resort and it’s worth a look around at the very least.

The Dolphin

The Dolphin

Lobby Fountains at the Dolphin

Lobby Fountains at the Dolphin

Decided to skip The Swan and take the boat to Hollywood Studios to catch a bus to Port Orleans French Quarter. We have good friends who are staying at the resort for their Honeymoon (he proposed to her in Disneyland during the Fireworks show) in September. They asked us to take some photos and we were more than happy to! It’s a beautiful resort and it was extremely quiet (from what we saw and heard). Did notice that it was almost overrun with chipmunks everywhere, but since I love chipmunks it didn’t bother me. It’s hard to explain the fine details of the resort, instead of trying to explain and fail miserably I’ll show you in pictures!

Before we left the resort we went to the gift shop to see if we can find anything we haven’t seen anywhere else. Did happen to see the Holiday 2 Vinylmation set, we haven’t seen it anywhere by this point. We cleaned it out…

Empty Vinylmation Box

Empty Vinylmation Box

After spending a ton of money on Vinylmation we headed back to our own resort to have a nap before our dinner reservation.

We arrived at Teppan EDO right at 7pm and had to wait about 20 minutes before we were seated with the other guests who would be joining us at our “table”. For those that haven’t experienced Teppan EDO its teppan-yaki style, meaning your chef cooks everything right in front of you on a hot surface and you eat it right there! Our chef was extremely skilled and it was quite the site to watch her cook our food. She even made a volcano out of onions! We both had a short conversation in Japanese after she found out I spoke it. That was a lot of fun and I got to practice some of my vocabulary!

Teppan EDO Menu in Japan Paviliion

Teppan EDO Menu in Japan Paviliion

Beside us was a couple that were talking among themselves, we eventually asked them where they were from and the normal conversational questions you ask someone you just met. They were husband and wife and they were talking about Tokyo Disneyland and how he was just there and got to visit the park on business. Turns out he is Matthew Davidson a Cast Member and is 1 of 4 people who design the costumes for Disney Parades! Parades are by far my absolute favorite part of visiting any Disney Park. He told us that he was the person that designed the costumes for Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade, and the Christmas version Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade. We explained to him that we just saw the parade the day before and thought the costumes were excellent!

Onion Volcano

Onion Volcano

He then explained to us about why he was visiting Tokyo Disneyland. Turns out he is helping with the 30th Anniversary Parade that will be debuting in 2013. How incredibly amazing is that?! I’ve told him that I’ve visited Tokyo Disneyland before and that the parades were my favorite part of visiting, they are extremely detailed and there’s a lot of emphasis on them in Tokyo. He’s very excited about the chance to work on the costumes and said that I will for sure have to check it out when it’s happening. Looks like I’ll be visiting Tokyo Disneyland in 2013 for sure now!

His wife was also a Cast Member, she worked in the parks for a short period and wanted to get into the Animation Studios, but that was at the time when they closed the studio down. Both of them were extremely polite and were more than happy to answer questions we asked. We didn’t ask too many as we didn’t want to bombard them as they were trying to enjoy a night out. We had a conversation about Tokyo Disneyland and how money is no object to them. If Walt Disney World spends 10 million on a project, Tokyo will go ahead and spend 30 million for the implementation (these are just random figures). Tokyo has a very high attention to detail. If you love the detail in the American parks, if you ever visit Tokyo you will see what I mean. I made sure to thank him for all the great work he has done on the parades and how much I really appreciate them. (Check out my Tokyo Disneyland Trip Reports)

Delicious chicken and beef with Shrimp, Garlic Soy, and Mustard sauce.

Delicious chicken and beef with Shrimp, Garlic Soy, and Mustard sauce.

We were very fortunate to have had met Matthew and his wife. I truly believe things happen for a reason! If we hadn’t made that random reservation earlier in the day, none of this would have happened. Some times it’s best to just go with the flow and not plan every waking minute of your vacation, you’ll be surprised what can happen!

To continue the great night we’ve been having so far we went and got some Kirin Draft from the Japan Pavilion just outside of Teppan EDO. We then headed over to the Germany Pavilion and picked up some chocolate covered marshmallow drizzled with caramel. It was a bit chilly this evening resulting in not too many people hanging around for Illuminations. We got a great view right at the entrance to World Showcase.

With a belly full of delicious Japanese food, beer, and German Chocolate it was time to head home for the night. Had to get some rest for our Chef Mickey reservation the next morning at 7:30 am. Before heading to bed I did manage to get some pin trading done!

What a fantastic day, the highlight being dinner with Matthew Davidson! Make sure to come back soon for the next edition of our New Years Celebration Trip Report! Another first where we head to Chef Mickey’s for a delicious breakfast.

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