For my birthday my friend booked an appointment for a massage at the Mandara Spa at Disney World. I opted for the first time of the day so that Greg and I could spend the rest of the day together. Greg and I both drove over to the Dolphin hotel and valeted the car (which was validated by the spa). I checked in and a staff member showed me around the spa. Once inside you will find a men's and women's changing room with lockers, showers, steam rooms, and other amenities. The next area is a relaxing area for before treatments. I sat back and relaxed with a nice cup of coconut hibiscus tea. My masseuse welcomed me and showed me to my room where I enjoyed a light Balinese massage. After my massage, I was given a complimentary glass of champagne and shown to another relaxation area.
To continue the celebration my husband booked us a cabana by the pool at the Waldorf. The staff showed us to our assigned cabana, showed us the stocked fridge, menus, and helped settle us in.
The cabana was relaxing and I loved being able to get some shade since it was a hot and sunny day. There were a few things that I feel could be improved upon. The first thing is that the fridge comes with complimentary soda and 2 bottles of water. Once you drink those waters the staff bring you tap water. For the price of the cabana, I feel like bottled waters should be given throughout the day. A staff member asked us when we would like to receive our fruit plate. I don't know if he didn't tell anyone or what happened but 11:30 a.m. came and went and we ended up having to ask someone else about it after 12:00 p.m.
The poolside restaurant staff are wonderful. The server was always coming by the cabana area for drink and food orders. For lunch, we enjoyed a couple of different cocktails, the Asian salad with shrimp, the edamame, and the peel and eat shrimp. The drinks and food are pricey but we couldn't complain.
We made it inside the hotel to relax before dinner right before a pretty strong rain shower.
Today was all about relaxing! We slept in and eventually made it down to the Peacock Alley for some coffee and fruit.
After breakfast we decided to spend the day by the pool. We were greeted right away by the pool staff even though they were helping some one else. We found a couple of chairs with an umbrella and the staff put covers and towels on them for us.
A little while later we decided it was 5 'o clock somewhere and we ordered a round of drinks. We both enjoyed the Preserved Bulleit. When it came time for lunch we were still enjoying our time by the pool so we ordered from Aquamarine. We started with Shrimp Cocktail and then I enjoyed the Asian Chop Salad with Shrimp and Greg enjoyed the Tuna Tacos.
In the late afternoon we decided to head to Disney Springs earlier than our reservation time at Morimoto Asia. We did a little shopping for friends and family. We bought some toys, some vinyl dolls for Greg to paint, and some Guinness Glaze. While we were shopping inside Raglan Road we decided to enjoy a drink and watch the singers and dancers.
Finally it was time for our dinner at Morimoto Asia. We had a reservation booked through Molly for the Omakase. When booking the Omakase you need to email or call for a reservation, provide your information, and then leave a 50% deposit. Our experience was amazing however it didn't start out that way.
We we arrived at the restaurant the first check in desk didn't have our reservation. The second check-in desk didn't have our reservation either. 10 min later and only a small apology we finally got seated. However now the staff didn't know about my allergies and I had to explain them to our waiter. Sadly the restaurant doesn't offer a sake or wine pairing but our sake flight was a generous pour.
The next small disappointment was when I was given a Dirty hand towel. Our waiter was very busy so it took a few minutes to get his attention but it was finally replaced. Our waiter was very fun. Chef Yuhi Fujinaga's and Chef Alex were wonderful to us. All of the dishes we received were beautiful, innovative without being to flashy, a perfect balance of flavor profiles, and abundant in portions. Our Omakase included:
Gooey duck, Oysters Caviar and Uni, Skipjack, Clam, Snapper, Another sushi (can't remember which), Smoked raw fish (can't remember which one), Lobster soup, Braised fish, Scallop and Peeking duck, Yellowtail rice stone bowl, Wagyu beef, Yuzu palate cleanser , and Matcha panna cotta, My dessert wasn't originally planned. there was a miscommunication about my allergy to the pastry chef. I was given the panna cotta but then our waiter and I spoke up about my allergy. I was then given Strawberry sorbet, watermelon soda, and boba. Unfortunately it was sweet upon sweet, upon sweet.
This meal has surpassed all of our other Omakase experiences (Morimoto NYC, Nobu, Oishii, O Ya, and Zuma Miami). We would go back and do it again in a heartbeat.
Day 3 - Epcot and Disney Springs
This morning we had tickets for the three of us to go to Epcot. For breakfast we opted to go to Peacock Alley in the Waldorf Astoria. I was thrilled to see that they offered fruit cups as well as dairy free coffee options.
We drove to Epcot and opted for the premium parking. The small added cost is well worth it. There was a rather large line for getting into the park. Luckily none of us had bags so we got to bypass most of the crowds. Once inside the park we decided to see if there were any rides that the lines weren't to long. Our first ride was Mission Space. We decided to go the less intense green team since my friend gets motion sick. The green team worked in our favor as the wait was only 5 minutes! We then tried to get on Test Track and Soarin'. Unfortunately, the waits for those rides was over an hour each and the fast passes weren't available until the evening hours.
We gave up on going on rides and decided to go to the World Showcase. Our first stop is always Mexico. We head down to La Cave del Tequila for some margarita's. We spent a relaxing and fun time having a couple of margarita's along with chips and salsa. My favorite is the Cucumber Margarita (Tequila blanco, orange liqueur, caramelized pineapple juice, muddled fresh basil, agave nectar, muddled cucumber, served on the rocks with a Tajín chili powder rim).
Next we wandered through each of the countries checking out their stores, bars, and restaurants. A couple of the highlights were the Beijing style candied strawberries, buying perfume in Italy, and seeing the lovely garden sculpture of Tink/Peter Pan.
We decided to have lunch at The Rose & Crown. We did have reservations and were seated right away. For lunch we enjoyed beer, cider, scotch eggs, potato leek soup, and oven roasted fish and chips (dairy and gluten free). The service is friendly, I was offered the option to speak with the chef, my allergies were accommodated, and the food was very good.
We continued on our way around the World Showcase. I don't know how but my friend who is originally from New England has never tried maple candy! Luckily Canada was nearby and so we purchased some for her to try. Naturally she loved it! Who doesn't!!
We left the park and headed back to our hotel to cool off and get changed for dinner.
We took a car from our hotel to Disney Springs. Tonight we decided to sit on the outdoor deck of Paradiso 37 for before dinner drinks. We had no idea that we would end up having a lovely experience to go with our drinks. I ordered a Pineapple Caipirinha. Next thing we know the Caipirinha cart pushed by a lovely woman came our way. They custom make your Caiprinha in front of you. On our 2nd round the bartender suggested combining fruit flavors. I opted for a pineapple and mango Caipirinha and it was amazing!!
For dinner we had reservations at STK. We walked over to the restaurant and were seated right away at an outdoor table. Our waitress was wonderful! She was funny, vibrant, professional, and cared that we were happy with our meal. To start our meal we ordered the wedge salad and the beef tartare. The tartare was amazing with it's bright flavor, hint of heat, and crips to enjoy it on. Our entrees came out and my Dry Aged Delmonico came out cold. Our waitress took it back right away. A few minutes later and someone else brings my plate back. I look down and my $63 steak was cut in half and reheated. I called the waitress back over and she agreed that this shouldn't have happened. A few minutes goes by again and the manager comes out and explains that he asked for it to be rushed and that's why the chef cut it in half and reheated it. I explained that this was awful service, a disservice to me and to the steak. Once I received my new steak it was hot, tender, and delicious. Our waitress took $20 off of our bill for our inconvience which I thought was really nice. We ended up adding that $20 to her 20% tip since she was so wonderful.
We left Brunswick early in the morning so that we could maximize our time in Orlando. 4 hours later and we pulled up to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando.
Our reservation was for 6 nights in a Deluxe Suite. Before our stay we contacted the concierge department in regards to booking a pool cabana and ordering a fruit platter to our room. I wrote them back and on Saturday I received a response saying that they were closed on Saturdays. On Sunday we didn't receive a response nor did anyone say anything while we checked in. Needless to say we didn't receive our fruit platter nor did we decide to purchase the cabana.
It was around 11 a.m. when we went inside to check in. Our room wasn't ready yet so we visited the Peacock lounge for a drink and snacks. We received a text that our room 930 was available. We were pleased to find out that we got an upgrade to a luxury suite. This was our third stay at the property and our first upgrade. The room was a lovely layout and very clean except for the sofa bedding which had a bright red stain on it. Our friend met us at the hotel and we opted for lunch poolside. We ordered the Asian salad, tuna tacos, and Caesar salad. The food was good however the drinks were just okay. We decided to relax back in our room for a while. That evening we went out to dinner. When we arrived back at the hotel around 11 pm. We walked into our room and were instantly disgusted by a fried fish smell. We called downstairs and were told that someone would come by to fix it. Housekeeping called us and said that could spray air freshener. We found that the scent was coming from the vent near the front door (air freshener won't solve this problem). We called again and couldn't get through to the front desk. We decided to walk down stairs. After a long wait we were given a room on 4th floor which would be larger. We felt it was a little odd though when the Bellman escorted us to make sure the room would be okay. During our walk to the new room the bellman was the only person who finally admitted that room 930 was above the kitchen. The new room was handicapped, very narrow layout, and felt claustrophobic. We went back downstairs to explain that this wasn't acceptable. Finally we were given a a room smaller than we had and 100 credit. We packed our stuff and made our way to the new room. The new room was fine but it was on a lower level than the room we originally booked, lower than the upgraded room, and did overlook a rooftop.
The next morning housekeeping rang our doorbell at 8:30 and wanted to know when we would be out of the room. The housekeeping manager Angie called during the day to express an apology for our experiences. We came back to a bottle of red wine, chocolates, and extra amenities. The next day someone else called to check on our happiness. Unfortunately the staff are all trained to ask what would make you happy to correct the issues. We agreed that we felt that this question is inappropriate.We were the ones wronged, you know the value of our loss, and yet you want me to tell you what I want? Okay comp all my extras, give me back my 130k points, etc. We would never ask for compensation however if you ask how our stay is going we will tell you (especially for this being our 3rd stay and for 6 nights). The other offering is a free breakfast. I have a dairy and gluten allergy and never eat breakfast. In the end Angie called again to check on us. We explained our feelings about their procedures and she went above and beyond by working with the front desk staff to remove our daily fees.
The highlights of the Waldorf Astoria is valet staff are definitely efficient and friendliest of the resort, the women at the coffee bar are always smiling and warm, the coffee is very good, peacock lounge is always a nice spot for drinks, pool chair attendants are fast and friendly, and room service is lovely.
We checked out of the hotel very early in the morning and the process of bell service, check out, and valet was nice and smooth.
We would still return to the Waldorf Astoria thanks to the beautiful surroundings and the special staff like Angie.
This evening we went to Downtown Disney for drinks and dinner with our friend. We first opted for the Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar. The drinks were delicious. We ordered the Himalyan Zing - Gochujang Pepper Sauce wings. While the wing sauce was flavorful and not too spicy things wings themselves were unappetizing. I'm not sure if it's because of my allergies but the fat wasn't rendered and the skin was very chewy.
For dinner we had a reservation at The Boathouse. We opted to sit outside on their beautiful deck. The wait staff were definitely some of our favorites! The staff was warm, concerned about guest happiness, and a few of them were hilarious! The chef did come out to discuss options for my dairy allergy. Our octopus appetizer was chewy and stringy and our waiter sent it back when we weren't in love with it. A new one was sent out and it was much better. Our entree's were fried fish, swordfish, and tuna. They were all prepared well, very flavorful and were large portions.
Valentines Day at Oishii