The food is our favorite part!!
We had to wait until 180 days prior to our trip to book our restaurants (I know, its crazy, planning meals 180s day ahead of time!!) At the 180 day mark, I called the dedicated line for Victoria and Albert’s, spoke with a fabulous Cast Member, and we were booked for my 40th birthday dinner on October 3 at 8:30. Given that it’s the day after a huge race I can look forward to two more things: I’ll be super hungry and I’ll fit in what ever dress I choose to wear
We have some favorites in Disney; California Grill and Jiko are probably the top two. So we booked Cali Grill on a night that we’ll be able to view the fireworks in Magic Kingdom, and Jiko for our last night. The first night, as you know, we planned to arrive from separate destinations at 8:30PM, so there is some question as to whether or not we can make a dinner, even at our hotel restaurant. We took the a chance and booked Flying Fish at 9:45 and just hoped we would make it.
Park tickets are the next thing to tackle, and I planned and plotted and spreadsheeted way to many times! Under normal circumstances I would prefer to have a 10 day park hopper that never expires. I would probably even spring for the plus options (water parks and the like), just in case. But I have a ticket with plus options from like 5 years ago and don’t really need those now, however, Jake doesn’t have one and I think we should go to a water park in October. Because I want to. So here’s the plotting part. Just as I was thinking about this, I got an AmEx offer in the mail for their Blue Sky card. So, the blue sky thing gives you credits toward travel purchases, not frequent flier miles, actual credit on your statement. And, and this is where the tickets come in, if you spend $500 in the first 60 days of having the card, you get $300 in credits as a bonus. Plus you don’t pay interest on purchases for the first year. So my thought was to buy the Disney tickets for $1000 on the AmEx, get the $300 credit, apply the credit to the plane tickets I’ll be buying later and take a couple of months to pay the tickets off as they won’t be adding interest to that purchase.
So I did it. The tickets were $1043.91
Good Heavens, think of the all the Diet Coke (2000 cans or so) that would buy, or race entries (4 or 5 big ones), or tanks of gas (roughly 35), or square footage of new floor in the kitchen/dining/living room (200, okay, so not much…that explains concrete subfloor as our design choice), or days at Disney World (at least 20).
We have two 10 day park hoppers that never expire, one with plus options, one without (because one of us still has plus options on a ticket…). I was leaning towards no plusses at all and just buying admission for Jake to a waterpark, but then realized that the $50ish more for 10 plusses worked out pretty well even if you only use two of them. And I put in on the new AmEx Blue Sky card, so I got 300 bonus dollars toward travel expenses plus no interest on purchases for 12 months! I think we win all the way around. Except maybe that we have to actually pay $1043.91. But see how I made it sound practical and budget conscious and credit card savvy?
Now we wait….The Food and Wine Festival announcements start early, but don’t become specific until August. I can’t tell you how excited I am to hear that Belgium and South Korea have been added to the tasting booths. Belgium? South Korea? Excellent Food? Damn straight, sister!! I’ve been to both countries, actually doing a fellowship in South Korea two years ago, and I’m pretty sure I’m the only person I ever met who GAINED WEIGHT in Asia. 8 pounds in 3 weeks. And not that bloated cruise ship weight gain, this was real actual pounds. Belgium I shouldn’t even have to explain (waffles, anyone?).
Obviously, we’re hoping for waffles.
And South Korea? Don’t get me started!! Bulgogi please, love love it. Those little sticky rice paste balls filled with honey? Yeah, those had better be there (I think they were the culprit of the weight gain). But my A Number One Top Of The List would have to be Bibimbap. I’ve spent the last two years at home sampling bibimbap, trying to make it myself, wandering Korean grocery stores, and pretty much failing. And then I stumbled into Asahi Sushi in Clinton Township, Michigan. They serve bibimbap in a hot stone bowl with the fried egg and everything. Its perfect. And its less than a mile from my office. (I’ve got a good embarrassing Korea story too, but its unrelated to food–while out running one morning in Seoul, I tripped and fell. One of those epic kinds of falls, where you try to catch yourself for a really long time, but your head is getting closer and closer to the ground and you continue to stumble forward. THen you actually fall, but really you skid across the sidewalk because your momentum carries you. And you are the really tall blonde girl in a country full of South Koreans…).
So, you can see I’m super excited for FWF and these food additions.
Part 3: life altering (and therefore vacation altering) developments…