Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Some final thoughts on American Idol Season 7

It's been three weeks since David Cook was declared the Season 7 American Idol. In some ways, this was a good season, in others, not so much.

From the network's perspective, it was bad because ratings were down. However, it was great because I think this year had a fairly deep field. I liked that there wasn't truly anyone in the top six who was awful. Heck, even the top 10 wasn't all bad and there was nary a John Stevens, Sanjaya or Carmen Rasmussen to be found.

Even this year's whipping girl (KLC) was better than some of the top five singers from year's past.

As far as Fox is concerned, here are some of my random thoughts about the show:
  • The themes killed this year's singers. I've ranted about these before but this year's themes were worse than usual. The reason is simple: too many songs were too old. In order for the show (and the winner) to be relevant, they must sing contemporary songs. By starting the themes in the rounds of 24, they ensured that no one did a song from the last 10 years until well into the season.

  • The mentors didn't help. I'm sick of acts coming on the show just to shill for their latest CD, project or tour. I could care less about hearing what Mariah Carey has to say about the singers. I just want to hear them sing.

  • Each year, the judges pick their faves, but this year, it was worse than usual. And Randy, who is often the most level-headed, was the worst suck-up of all. I think there was a backlash against The Arch from the show's seasoned fans who are all to familiar with the way 19E manipulates the votes and they responded with a massive beat-down of their Golden Boy.

  • The results shows need to be shrunk back down to half an hour.

  • Get rid of the mosh pit!!!

  • Ratings weren't down because of the people on the show. They're down because fewer people are watching network TV (writer's strike) and because all the music on this season was for old people.

  • Stop the viewer phone calls!

  • The tour is either going to be a hoot or it will be gawd-awful. Between Brooke screwing up everyone's harmonies and Jason being too baked to take the show seriously, I see massive chemistry problems for this crew.

  • Lindsay Lohan is about six months away from appearing in a Dirty Sanchez video. I know that's not Idol-related; I'm just sayin'.

  • After this year's problems with Dadchuleta, I think we're finally going to see the minimum age raised to 18. That way teenagers who might otherwise crack under the pressure of the show (Leah Labelle, Jaclyn Crum, Camile Velasco) will be given another couple of years to mature and Fox won't have to let stage parents hang out backstage to harass the other singers and cost them money by inserting lyrics into the songs that aren't paid for.

  • Partnering with iTunes is the smartest thing Idol has done in a long time. Not only is it another way to make money, it practically guarantees that the Idol's first album will be ready soon after the show ends, thus eliminating the deadly layoff from the victory coronation and actual sales.

  • I still can't believe LaToya London didn't win season 3.

  • We need more Hollywood shows and fewer (bad) auditions.

  • I'm so happy so many people stopped by the blog this year and I hope everyone will be back next year.

  • Jennifer writes the best Idol blog on the Interweb. There are some other folks out there who are close, but this is her world and we just blog in it.

  • I'd seriously think about selling a good chunk of my Star Wars action figure collection if I could score tickets to the Idol finale next year.

  • I promise not to go on vacation near the end of the season next year. Maybe.

  • The 90 second limit is ridiculous. The kids should get at least 3 minutes each. If Fox still needs the same amount of filler/advertising/product placement, they should extend the singing shows (not the results shows).

  • To me a great theme would be "duets" where the singers double up and sing together. It will force them to develop chemistry that will 1) make the group sings tolerable and 2) show who has the chops to work and play well with others. Who wouldn't love to hear Rueben and K-Lo sing "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" or Clay and Danny try "I'll Cover You" (from Rent)?

  • We should all get together for an American Idol blogger's cruise. I'm thinking Crown Princess to the eastern Caribbean sailing on 11 January 2009 out of Ft. Lauderdale. I'll buy on steak and lobster night.

I think that's all I've got for now, but I'm sure I'll think of more as the long summer drags on.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The last of my Disney food porn

Here we are on the final day of our Disney vacation. When you go to Florida in May, you're playing the lottery. Sometimes you win big (highs in the low 80s) and sometimes you get screwed (heat index of about 110°). For the most part, we were lucky all week. The highs hovered somewhere in the mid-80s with lows in the 60s.

Saturday was the worst weather day for us and when combined with all the walking we had done all week, it was in many days the most exhausting. For this reason, I was happy we saved MGM for our last Disney day.

Yes, I know it's now called the Disney Hollywood Studios, but it will always be MGM to me, just as I'll always call the football stadium in Jacksonville "The Gator Bowl" and James T. Kirk will always be The Captain of the Enterprise.

Our day opened up by driving over to the Beach and Yacht Club for breakfast. We had the option of ordering off the menu or getting the buffet and we both opted for the buffet. It was the best breakfast buffet I think I've ever had. It has most of the usual breakfast buffet fare, but everything was fresh. Even the waffles and the grits.

Then we got in the car and drove over to MGM. We parked in the AAA Diamond area which isn't as close as it is in the other parks. Plus the guy on the tram gave us the wrong aisle number when we got on, so that meant a little more walking later in the day.

When we got there, we found out that Saturday was morning "Extra Magic Hours" for us. We bypassed the regular line and mapped out a battle plan. Although there are more things to do there now, MGM has always been more of a half-day park than the others. We left right after lunch and came back and still saw just about everything.

Who summons the Wizard?!?!?!

We headed straight for Star Tours, then did a couple of the other rides/shows/attractions. We did the backlot tour/stunt show, which emptied out into a display of villains.

We also saw the Muppet Vision 3-D show, the Great Movie Ride and the Beauty and the Beast stage show, which was a 90 minute movie compressed into 30 minutes of singing. It was actually pretty good and Belle was exceptionally hawt.

After that we headed over to the Sci-Fi Drive-in Theater for lunch. The food is nothing to write home about, but the atmosphere is fun. Each table is set up like a "car" and everyone faces a big screen where they show excerpts from sci-fi B-movies, black and white commercials and 50s-era public service announcements. Sorry the picture is so blurry but like I said, my camera sucks in the dark.

I had a spinach-artichoke dip appetizer and Mrs. High Lord had onion rings. For my lunch entree, I ordered a burger (which was overcooked) and she ordered a rueben. The food was so underwhelming, I didn't take any pictures. On the up-side, the air conditioning was working just fine, so no complaints there. MGM is not known for its cuisine and if there's ever a day to skip a table-service meal so you can go to a signature restaurant, let your day at MGM provide that extra meal.

For dessert, I had chocolate mousse tart with ganache and drizzled with fudge.

Eschewing the chocolate, Mrs. High Lord picked the cheesecake which was covered in popped corn, generic M&Ms and caramel.

Following the meal, we checked out the Lights! Motor! Action! Extreme Stunt Show which was pretty cool. Then with the heat overwhelming, we headed back to Coronado Springs to give Mrs. High Lord's knee/feet a rest. This was where our tram driver on the first ride screwed with us. He got the row right, but got the area wrong, so we ended up having to backtrack after being dropped off.

We got back to Coronado Springs and Mrs. High Lord lay down and I poked around the hotel. I also did the second dumb thing of the week (the first was losing my cell phone). I went over to the pool at Coronado Springs and jumped in while still wearing my pedometer, which ruined it. When I checked it (right after arriving back at the hotel), I had already racked up about four miles for the day, so I figure I walked a total of six to seven miles on Saturday, which was about our average for the week.

It was interesting to be hanging out in the hot tub. There were some folks who had just arrived and were planning out the upcoming week. Some others were in the middle of their vacation and were taking a well-deserved break. And there were a few (like me) who were clearly exhausted from all the heat and walking and were getting ready to depart the next day.

After our siesta, we showered and went back to MGM for dinner. We had four meals and something like 12 snacks left. The four meals would be taken care of at the Brown Derby but the snacks were a different story.

At one point on Saturday, I was standing in line for a Mickeycicle and a bottle of water when I asked the woman behind me if she was paying cash. She gave me a puzzled look (probably thinking I was hitting on her) and said she was on the dining plan. I was going to offer to buy her and her daughter a snack because we had so many to burn, but she thought everyone was on the dining plan because it was such a good deal. My generosity foiled, we just decided to burn our snacks with stuff to take home.

For dinner, we got the Fantasmic dining experience where we ate at the Brown Derby and then got to sit in a reserved section for the end of the night show.

I was so worn out that I didn't take a picture of my appetizer, which was a mushroom ravioli in a red cream sauce and lump crab meat. Just to taunt you, here's the "after" picture.

Mrs. High Lord ordered the lump crab cake (no picture). For my dinner entree, I had the duck breast with venison sausage that was very, very good. She had the grilled Atlantic salmon that was late coming out (so no picture). The manager came by and comped Mrs. High Lord a glass of merlot.

We both ordered chocolate desserts. Mrs. High Lord's was a chocolate mousse with a big strawberry on top with fresh whipped cream (top), which I had a flourless chocolate cake with assorted fruit.

Following dinner, we did the Sounds Dangerous show, which was high-concept but held in a crappy, worn-down venue, the Little Mermaid stage show (Ariel is also pretty hawt, although not as much as Belle), the Walt Disney tribute show and then went to get our seats at Fantasmic.

Along the way, I stopped for yet another Mickeycicle.

Fantasmic was well . . . fantasmic. It's a fun show, although it might be a little scary for young kids. On the plus side, both Jasmine and Esmeralda made an appearance on the riverboat at the end (like Belle and Ariel, they're pretty hawt).

We went back to the hotel where we found this guy in our window to greet us.

Then it was time to pack. Because Allegiant re-scheduled our flight, we had to leave SFB at 7:00, which meant we had to be there at about 5:30, which in turn meant we had to leave Disney at about 4:30. Blech. That's the price you pay for cheap airfare.

With something like 9 snacks still remaining, Mrs. High Lord and I walked over to El Centro and bought up a bunch of stuff to take home with us including trail mix, cinnamon rolls, rice crispy treats, candy bars, etc.

We went to bed then got up early, returned the rental car, checked in through security and were back in our house by 10:00 on Sunday. Thankfully, the boy didn't throw any parties (there was no evidence of any parties) and the house was still standing. I guess we may let him stay there again when we go out of town the next time.

I've got some final thoughts on our vacation, but I'll save that for another post. Suffice to say that we had a great time and a wonderful 10th anniversary.

It's time for another vacation!

I know that I haven't even finished writing up my last vacation, but we're already planned another one!

Since the Freedom of the Seas debuted for Royal Caribbean, I've wanted to see how the new ships stack up against the Voyager-class, which I've cruise on twice (Mariner of the Seas in November '04 and June '07). I had my eyes on the newest of the Freedom-class, Independence of the Seas. It runs a 6 day western Caribbean route and an 8 day eastern Caribbean itinerary.

I liked the 8 day eastern route because it's longer and the shopping is better. St. Thomas and St. Maarten are known for upscale shopping and more liberal customs allowances.

We had some prices from AAA, Royal Caribbean and Cruise.com, but Mrs. High Lord got talking with my brother-in-law's wife and they wanted to go on Princess Cruise Line's Crown Princess because the cost is lower. We've cruised with Princess before (Star Princess in November '05). There were some things I liked (excellent service, freshwater pools, good food) and some things I didn't like (crappy buffet layout, no ice cream machine, cramped room layout).

Because the rates are less on the Crown Princess (shorter cruise, smaller ship), we opted for a balcony cabin. The rate is about $300 more per person than an inside cabin and I'll let you know when we get back whether it was worth it.

At first, I had wanted to cruise in November, but my BIL might be working then (contract work for the US Army Corps of Engineers), so the women wanted to go in January. The other downside of that will be that it's during American Idol season, but at the beginning instead of near the end.

I'm going to try and talk my brother and maybe my mom into cruising with us, but if anyone else wants to go, come on! The more the merrier!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The High Lord's Disney Tour is almost at its end . . .

Our week was almost over. We've saved two theme parks for the end of the week. And we had five meals left. Actually, we had six, but we knew we were going to skip breakfast on Friday.

EPCOT has always been my favourite Disney park. Yes, I know they're calling it "Epcot" now, but it will always be the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow to me.

Betsy and Dave were coming down to meet us for the whole day. They had some unused days on some old passes that were about to expire, so they used their last day with us. When we were there the day before, we didn't see many of the attractions (I think Mrs. High Lord went on the Test Track, but that was about it).

Since Betsy will be late to her own funeral and her bad habits have rubbed off on Dave, we knew that we'd have some time at the beginning of the day. Our first stop was The Seas with Nemo and Friends (formerly The Living Seas). They've themed the entire attraction around Dori, Nemo, Crush et al but it's still much the same attraction that it was when they built it.

We went in and checked out The Living Seas. Aside from doing away with the fake "elevator" ride to Seabase Alpha, it hasn't changed much. There's a little bit of the Nemo theme, but it's still one of the best pavilions there.

On thing that is new is "Turtle Talk with Crush". Like the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, it's an interactive experience with an animated character on the screen that talks to kids in the audience. There are some scripted parts to the show, but they personalise it enough to make each show different.

After Turtle Talk, we headed over to The Land, where Betsy and Dave were waiting for us. The first thing we did was my new favourite ride at EPCOT: Soarin'. Mrs. High Lord suffers from motion sickness but even she liked it.

After that, we did a couple other rides in Future World. Spaceship Earth has been retasked. Walter Cronkite is no longer the host and AT&T is no longer the sponsor. Siemens has taken it over and the theme is no longer communication, but inventions. Many of the animatronics are the same, but they've added an interactive part to each of the vehicles.

We also did Ellen's Energy Adventure which is always funny. After that, we walked back to The Living Seas and had lunch. Since we had four meals left over, we decided to let Betsy and Dave use them.

For a restaurant in an ocean-based pavilion, there's a lot of non-seafood on the menu. Of course, the allure of the place is that the tables are all tiered and have a wonderful view of the tank.

For lunch, I started with the creamy lobster soup. Mrs. High Lord had a basic shrimp cocktail.

I usually don't like spicy food, but I had the blackened catfish. It had more heat than I like, but it had a good taste.

Mrs. High Lord ordered mahi mahi over jasmine rice with fruit salsa.

Although I skipped the salmon, Betsy had it in a barbeque "sandwich".

Dave had the pan-seared tilapia over green bean salad with tomato vinaigrette.

Another thing I enjoy about the Coral Reef Restaurant is that sometimes you get to see a diver in the tank. They always make it a point to wave to the people (especially the kids) enjoying their meal. Our server said the night before Mickey was in the tank swimming along. He said he's also seen divers hold up signs with marriage proposals on them for couples coming by to enjoy a romantic dinner.

You can't really see him (because my camera sucks in the dark), but the diver is in the window on the left with all the people standing around.

For dessert, Mrs. High Lord stuck with her chocolate theme and ordered the Chocolate Wave with brandied cherries.

I'm trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to be good . . . yeah, right! But in a vain effort to not fill up for dinner, I had a fruit cup with mango ice cream.

The service at Coral Reef was a little slow. I don't know if it was our server or if it was the kitchen, but when we left, there was a line a mile long waiting outside. Get reservations!

We left The Living Seas and hit the rest of Future World. Our first stop was Mission: Space which replaced Horizons. The Wonders of Life pavilion is closed because Disney can't find a sponsor. That's disappointing because it is home to one of the best shows evah: Cranium Command ("Where do you think you are, Buzzy? Disney World?!?!?!").

Since someone died on the ride from a heart condition he didn't know he had, Disney has instituted two versions of the ride: one with spinning and one without spinning. We did the non-spinning one because the line was shorter. So short, in fact, that we walked right on. You know a ride is going to be either fun or terrifying if there are motion sickness bags ready for you.

Mission: Space was okay; I liked Horizons and I thought the "interactive" part of the ride was a little hokey. Especially since I wonder if you can actually crash the spaceship. It also seemed a little strange that the 13 month trip (each way) was reduced to about 90 seconds.

After getting off Mission: Space, we went next door to the Test Track. Aside from being sponsored by GM (who is cutting back production and closing plants; I hope they go out of business), it's always fun. To save some time waiting in line and not getting a FastPass, we got in the single-riders line. Each of the cars seats six people in two rows of three, so there is often an extra seat. The four of us didn't mind riding alone, so we figured it was a faster way to go. The only downside is that we got stuck each riding with middle-schoolers on a field trip.

One thing that Betsy thought was odd was that we did everything in Future World without getting a single FastPass. There were simply no lines. That doesn't bode well for our economy if vacationing and discretionary spending are down. Of course, if you're looking for a deal, that's great news.

Having seen everything in Future World, we started making our way around the World Showcase. We hit the Mexico ride, which has been somewhat re-done; it now features the Three Caballeros but has many of the same animatronics. Following that, we picked up some margaritas at a kiosk.

We went to China and saw the 360° movie there. We skipped the ride at Norway but we did some shopping . . .

. . . and hung out with the trolls . . .

. . . before going on to Italy, Germany and Morocco. Our next stop was The American Adventure, where we caught the obligatory "I Love America" stage show/movie. We were getting close to dinner time, so we shopped around the Japan pavilion for a while before sitting down for our meal at Tokyo Dining.

On various trips to EPCOT in the past, I've eaten in Japan several times. What always amazes me is that they don't really gouge you on price. There is a little mark-up over a comparable restaurant outside of the parks, but unlike say France or Italy, the prices are very competitive, even at the sushi bar or the teppanyaki rooms.

We got our table and sat with a nice view of the sushi bar, which was staffed by four women (something I can't ever recall seeing before). The room was a little loud, but the food was fantastic.

I opened the meal with a seaweed salad.

Mrs. High Lord had the tempura appetizer.

Dave had the edemame.

Despite being in a Japanese restaurant, Betsy ordered the garden salad with ginger dressing.

For my main course, not only did I get one of the menu entrees, I ordered some sushi a la carte. Let me say that this was some of the best sushi I ever had. Check out the pix, but let me also say that even the nori they used was better than most sushi restaurants. It was fresh as evidenced that it literally disintegrated with every bite instead of being chewy (as it is at even good sushi bars).

We got a shrimp tempura and kanpy┼Ź roll.

And for me, the highlight was the Matsunoma Roll which is an omlette and avocado roll topped with eel. Check out the thickness of the eel on top. And unlike a lot of eel rolls, it wasn't a bunch of strips of eel laid out on an inside-out roll, it was one continuous piece.

For my entree, I picked the sashimi and tempura combination with a second helping of seaweek salad and steamed rice.

In another odd twist, Mrs. High Lord ordered the NY strip teriyaki with veggies, wasabi mashed potatoes and steamed rice.

Betsy and Dave both had tempura entrees; Dave had scallops and Betsy had shrimp.

Here are the four of us with dessert. Given how much I like Japanese food, I'm always surprised that there really aren't any desserts that strike me as distinctively Japanese. For that matter, I don't know that there are really any desserts that are distinctively Asian. A friend of mine has a little girl whose favourite dessert at Super China Buffet is the "Chinese Jell-O".

The other three all opted for the chocolate ginger cake (top) while I bucked the trend and had a fruit tart.

After dinner, we walked around some more, but were running out of time before IllumiNations. I have always liked the Canada movie, so I went there to see its newest itineration, narrated by Martin Short. It uses much of the old stock footage, but has new lines by Short and an updated rendition of the song.

I was the only one who went to the movie; Mrs. High Lord had enough walking for the day, so the other three staked out a spot to watch IllumiNations and got a glass of wine from France.

The laser show at EPCOT has always been my favourite show, but they've changed it since. It used to highlight all of the countries in the World Showcase, but now it's just fireworks and music.

While we were there, they had the annual Flower and Garden Expo (or whatever it's really called). There were lots of flower sculptures and a butterfly tent. I think my mom wanted to see that on Monday, but I also think she enjoyed the Animal Kingdom since she'd never been there before.

Here's a hundred year old bonsai tree.

And Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs near Germany.

EPCOT remains my favourite park, both because it's not overrun with kids (there are kids there, but not as many as at Magic Kingdom) and because I always learn something new. Plus they've got some great new attractions in Mission: Space and Soarin'.

I also enjoy the food. Next time, I'm going to hit Restaurant Marakesh and Le Chefs de France.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Disney Food Tour continues!

Thursday was another "down day". Before coming down, we decided to get together with Betsy and Dave on Friday and they wanted to go to EPCOT, so we put that off for another day. We also had made reservations for dinner at MGM/Hollywood Studios on Friday because Mrs. High Lord wanted to sit in the good seats for the Spectromagic show.

So we didn't plan a lot for Thursday. We made lunch reservations for lunch at Tutto Italia (formerly L'Original Alfredo di Roma Ristorante) and dinner reservations at the Flying Fish Cafe in the Boardwalk Resort, but we decided to change things a little bit.

Doing the math, we knew that we were going to have two meals left over. Wednesday afternoon, we decided not to go back to the Boardwalk. We didn't have anything against the Boardwalk, but we'd been there, and we also didn't want to use two meal credits at a place where we just wanted to get seafood. So Mrs. High Lord called the Disney dining line (407-WDW-DINE/407-939-3463) and the person there said the Flying Fish Cafe was good, but not two meals good.

So she changed our dining reservation to Raglan Road at Pleasure Island. We stuck with Italy in EPCOT because it has been a while since I'd been there. We also considered eating at Le Chefs de France, but decided not to go to a signature (2 meal) restaurant. Instead, we were going to buy our friends lunch and dinner because, quite frankly, it was too much food for us.

While at Narcoossee's on Tuesday, I accosted a nice young lady at the concierge desk at the Grand Floridian and had her make a reservation for me on the Segway Around the World Tour in EPCOT. They only had one spot open on Thursday and Mrs. High Lord declined the opportunity to go, so I took up the empty spot.

We skipped breakfast, instead using a couple of our snack credits to get a danish and a roll, then went over to EPCOT where I would check in for the Segway tour. Mrs. High Lord went off to check out the flower and garden expo and do some shopping and I made friends with the 10 people who were also on the tour.

One of them was a guy from Scotland named Brian who was vacationing in the Orlando area. He said the US economy being in the tank was great for him because the Royal Pound had a lot more spending power and it kept the crowds away.

After watching a safety video, we spent about 40 minutes familiarising ourselves with the Segways. Disney had them modified a little; their top speed is limited to 6 miles per hour instead of 12. They are also a little more forgiving to being out of balance. After about 20 minutes, only one of our group quit and the rest of us were off to explore EPCOT.

We drove through the crowds in Tomorrowland and then went tooling around the World Showcase. We stopped in a couple of places and the guide pointed out some interesting features of the place, but mostly we got to ride the Segways around. The main guide Carole made sure to lead us on an "obstacle course" of sorts, maneuvering around pillars, up ramps and even through some of the shops. The $95 fee for the course, was a little steep, but it was really fun. Plus, we got exclusive pins that would have been great if I were a pin collector.

After the tour ended, met Mrs. High Lord at the Italy pavilion for lunch. We were among the first there and walked right in. We elected to eat inside, which made Mrs. High Lord cold, but I thought was better than eating outside.

I had the carpaccio and Mrs. High Lord had the eggplant caponata, which she said was a little too sweet.

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For our entrees, I ordered sauteed prawns, salmon and halibut over veggies. The prawns and salmon were good, but the halibut was a little overcooked.

Mrs. High Lord settled on crab and tomatoes over linguine in a white wine sauce.

For dessert, I had a flourless chocolate cake with fresh whipped cream and raspberry topping.

In keeping with the chocolate theme, Mrs. High Lord ordered three cream puffs with chocolate sauce. They were very rich, but very good, too.

After lunch, we walked around the World Showcase some more. Mrs. High Lord picked up some plum wine at the Japan pavilion and I got shanghaid into being Sir Galahad in the World Showcase Players in the UK. I have escaped being drawn into this for several years, but it seems my luck finally ran out.

I was very sad that the Mime was left out of the play this time.

After lunch, we left EPCOT, knowing that we'd be back on Friday, so we drove over to my second favourite Disney Resort, the Wilderness Lodge. We had originally reserved a lunch at the Whispering Canyon Cafe, but canceled because we didn't want to drive all the way out there, but I just love walking around this place. From the atrium to the "geyser" to the bear prints in the sidewalk, the attention to detail there is absolutely top notch.

We left the Wilderness Lodge and headed back over to Downtown Disney for dinner. Before dinner, we went into one of the shops at the Marketplace and saw this onesie. I almost bought it for little Brooklynn, but didn't.

I'm not a big fan of pubs or bar food, but Mrs. High Lord wanted to go to Raglan Road for dinner. It was loud and looked like a fun place, but my feet were hurting and I wasn't in the best of moods. Plus, they seated us near one of the kitchen doors. The menu isn't high gourmet, but being one of the few restaurants at Downtown Disney/West Side/Lake Buena Vista/Marketplace, we went there. I was kind of upset that Fulton's Crab House wasn't on the dining plan.

At any rate, we opened the meal with the "forest of scallops" which counted as both our appetizers. It featured six deep fried scallops on forks and a small salad. Raglan Road was having kitchen issues while we were there. It took a while for our appetizers to come out and when it was time for dessert, they were out of something like three things. The server wasn't happy, but it was okay for us.

Since were were in a pub, I figured it was a good time to have the fish and chips.

Skipping the shepherd's pie, Mrs. High Lord instead decided on the ham over cabbage and potatoes. In keeping with the theme of kitchen mishaps, her meal came out sans cabbage so they had to bring out some extra.

One thing that struck us in the middle of this meal was that if the restaurant screws something up for people on the dining plan, what do you do? They can't comp us an appetizer or dessert, as they might for someone playing cash. The only recourse someone on the dining plan has to show their displeasure with a restaurant is to withhold or reduce the gratuity. Of course, that only penalises the server, who may or may not have had anything to do with what went wrong at the restaurant. I don't know what the solution is to this quandary, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

As I mentioned before, Raglan Road was out of three desserts, but luckily they had the chocolate dessert, which Mrs. High Lord ordered (of course).

I had baked cream puffs over strawberries.

Overall, dinner was a big aiiiiiight. I probably would not have chosen to eat there and I don't know that I'd go back. To me, a bar is still a bar and the food, while better than Buffalo Wild Wings, struck me mostly as Irish comfort food. Maybe we should have gone there on a night when they had music and dancing girls (and imbibed a pint or two).

Following dinner, we went back to Pleasure Island and took in the improv show at the Comedy Warehouse. It wasn't Carlin, but they were still pretty funny. After the show, we decided we'd walked enough so we went back to Coronado Springs and called it a night.

Steps for the day: 13,923, 6.592 miles