Laura and Lee's 2003 Spring Break

March 29 - April 5, 2003
Part 1

We recently returned from our spring trip to WDW, March 29-April 5. I normally write a pretty long trip report, but in looking back on this trip it doesn't seem like we really *did* a whole lot, so I'm just going to share some general impressions. (And some photos. :-) )

Crowds

The crowds were strange. Since it was in the midst of "spring break season" I was expecting crowds to be heavier than what we typically experience, but it was and it wasn't. It seemed like there were LOTS of people in the parks when we were at Animal Kingdom and the Studios, but at Animal Kingdom the lines weren't really that long - we had no trouble getting into the shows even when we walked in 10 minutes before they started. We had more trouble at the Studios - standby for Tower of Terror and RnRC were 45 minutes during the day - and we tried twice to get into Millionaire via standby and were unsuccessful.

Epcot, on the other hand, seemed *empty*...there just weren't very many people around, especially during the day. We saw a 12:40 American Vybe set - there were maybe 12 people in the audience. For Voices of Liberty at 1:00 there were 25-30. There were more people at night, but even at night we were able to get very good spots for viewing Illuminations 5-10 minutes before it started.

We only spent a couple of hours in the Magic Kingdom one morning, and it was getting too crowded for our tastes by the time we left - standby lines for Splash and Big Thunder were already 35 minutes by 10:30.

The Weather

My last few spring trips have had unseasonably warm weather, so I'm very happy to report that this trip did *not*. It was chilly (highs under 60) on Sunday and Monday, but after that it warmed up very nicely, and was in the 80-82 range Thursday-Saturday. VERY comfortable!!!

The Room

We stayed in a one bedroom unit at Boardwalk Villas. About 1/3 of the Villas are unavailable right now because of work they are doing on the exterior - lots of scaffolding. Unfortunately this includes about 1/2 of the rooms that have Boardwalk views, so we didn't get one of those even though I'd requested it. We were in a room that was allllllllll the way at the end of the hallway...our view was of the Dolphin and the canal. Though since we *were* at the end of the hall, we had an extra window on the living room side of the unit, and it had a straight-on view of the dreaded Swan. :-) We kept those curtains closed most of the time! :-) The room location wasn't too bad for us - there was a stairwell right outside our door which exited very near the path between the Boardwalk and the Studios, and we used that whenever we were going to the Studios or Epcot.

Another nice feature about the end of the hall is that it was pretty quiet - we only had neighbors on the one side, and we *didn't* have to listen to people walking up and down the hallway yelling to each other. Why is it that people feel it's necessary to yell to each other in hotel hallways??? We find that extremely annoying. And then there's the screaming out-of-control children who *run* up and down the hallways.

We *did* have to listen to the trucks that ran along the service road and the Disney boats that blew their horns each time they got close to the bridge, but those weren't as bothersome.

Food

We had three nice dinners - at Le Cellier, Boma, and Artist Point. We had our typical 15 minute wait for a table at Le Cellier, even though we had Priority Seating, but we had a nice dinner. We tried the "Salmon Three Ways" appetizer, and that was very good - it included smoked salmon, salmon cakes, and a seared salmon. And *warm* pretzel bread...mmmmmm. Lee had the mushroom filet and I had the pan-fried trout - but I didn't really do justice to it since I'd filled up too much on bread. :-) One of these days I will learn to just order appetizers and dessert and skip the entree! I ended up taking most of the veggies (roasted potatoes, green beans, and spinach) back to the villa with me, and we had those as part of lunch one day. For dessert Lee had the bread pudding, which he really liked, and I had the maple creme brulee. They've changed it - now in addition to having the burnt maple sugar crust on top, the creme brulee itself is maple-flavored. It was good, but I think I liked the original version ("regular" creme brulee with maple sugar crust) better. We had a very good server at Le Cellier, and she was fun.

temple reflect.jpg
Reflection of Siamang Temple
When we drove to Animal Kingdom Lodge for our dinner at Boma, we were amazed at how empty the parking lot was - typically we have to search for a parking space, but we easily found one since the lot was only (maybe) 2/3 full. Boma was also not as crowded as it normally is - we actually had two empty tables near us for most of our meal. I think this is our favorite Disney World restaurant...there are so many interesting foods that are good! Even though they have a lot of things there that I *won't* eat (due to the use of things I don't care for, like curry and red/green peppers), I always still find waaay too much to eat, and it's hard not to get out of there feeling stuffed. My two favorite desserts are the Zebra Domes (which they have again decreased the size of, I guess so it's a more manageable sample size) and the Chocolate Mousse Crunch, but I left room for them. :-) We finished dinner early enough that night that we had time to walk back into Epcot, see Illuminations, and then walk back to our room, and work off some of that dinner! It wasn't a typical Laura-speed walk, though. ;-)

We went back to Artist Point this time - we hadn't been there in a couple of years. We didn't even *need* priority seating at this restaurant - there was hardly anyone there. Our server only had two tables. We were there during prime dining hours (7:00-8:30), too.

We had a good meal, but I was a little disappointed in the menu. I normally get the cedar plank salmon, but this time it was served with celery root and swiss chard and I HATE celery. So I ended up getting two appetizers and dessert. The bread was disappointing - they used to serve it with roasted garlic and/or some kind of apple butter, but this was just plain bread and butter - and the bread wasn't even warm! Lee had the buffalo steak and he did like that - and the hazelnut sweet potatoes that came with it were very good, too. The desserts were ok...but what happened to the triple chocolate cheesecake??? That was SO good...I ended up with the capuccino creme brulee, which was ok. Lee had the chocolate bread pudding, and he liked that.

Sunday afternoon we met Deb Wills for lunch at Bongos at Downtown Disney. That was a good meal. I had the Pechuga de Pollo a la Parrilla, which was grilled chicken breast marinated in garlic and lemon with vegetables and tostones (fried green plantains). It was *really* good. Definitely something I look forward to eating again. I like the tostones better than the maduros (fried ripe plaintains), but Lee prefers the maduros. Lee and Deb both had El Hatuey, which is grilled steak "Churrasco" with "Chimi-Churri" sauce, rice, and black beans.

Lee and I got take-out from Wolfgang Puck Express one evening - though they messed up our order. Lee ordered the pepperoni and mushroom pizza *without* tomatoes, but the "without tomatoes" was interpreted by the kitchen as "without sauce", so they had to do it over...and the second time they didn't put any pepperoni on it, though we didn't discover that until we got back to the room. They also ordered (and charged us for) *two* sandwiches instead of one. Oh well. We just had the other sandwich for lunch the next day. :-) The advantages of a refrigerator!!! The butternut squash soup was still excellent, though!

One of our favorite places to eat is the Tangierine Cafe at Morocco - we actually had dinner there twice. We both had Shawarma platters the first time - chicken for me and lamb for Lee. The chicken was pretty dry, though. I had the Chicken Shawarma sandwich the second time, and the chicken was much better.

We also had lunch as Tusker House twice - it's definitely one of the better counter service restaurants on property. The second time we were there we were with Kenny, who ordered the "Animal Kingdom Meal Deal", and we did that, too. I think we all had the rotisserie chicken and mashed potatoes for lunch, and then with our ice cream coupon we got soft serve cones from the Tamu Tamu Refreshments place - those were much better than an ice cream bar would have been!

Other places we ate were Sommerfest (the counter service place at Germany), Yakitori House, and the UK Fish and Chips place. For breakfasts I got to have all my favorite pastries - the cinnamon yummy at the Boardwalk Bakery, the cinnamon roll at Tusker House, and the cinnamon pecan croissant from Fountainview (twice!). :-)

Let's see...we also had milkshakes from Beaches and Cream and Seashore Sweets, brownies from the Boardwalk Bakery (which are very chocolatey and quite good) and soft serve ice cream cones from Anandapur and Africa. I really like WDW's soft serve ice cream. I guess my only disappointment was that (now that the 100 Years of Magic celebration is over) they are no longer selling the 100 Years of Magic bars...but the Cast Member I asked said that it was originally called a Goofy Bar, and he thinks they are bringing it back by that name.


Part 2
Back to Laura and Lee's Vacation Page
Tigger and Stitch's Disney Invasion
Stitch Was Here


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Text and photographs copyright © 2003 by Laura Gilbreath. All rights reserved.

Laura Gilbreath lgil@cts.com
Last updated 5/29/03