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I do not like celebrating my birthday! I love my family and friends and I don't care that I'm getting older but I hate being the center of attention. This is probably also why I blog vs vlog!
I couldn't travel for my birthday this past July because we were already heading to California for the family trip. Greg came up with the idea to go to the newly opened Zuma since we love the one in Miami. In the end, we were a party of 6 plus my new nephew.
My sister and brother in law were stuck in traffic so we ordered a couple of cocktails and small bites. Once we were all seated we all opted for the Omakase. Here's where the restaurant failed. The staff came out to say that because of my dairy allergy I would need to order a la carte because (and I quote) "the chef would like the Omakase served as it's meant to be." I've eaten twice at Zuma Miami and both times I've had a dairy-free Omakase experience that was amazing. I ended up taking several packages of Lactaid to get me through the meal. Considering this was my birthday dinner I wanted to go all out.
A few days later a manager from the restaurant called me (due to my Instagram post) and was hoping to find out what happened. While it was a nice chat and I received an apology there wasn't any compensation.
Now on to the food. Each dish was plentiful, beautiful, and seasoned well. I found the salad to be the least exciting and the main course to be the most exciting. I didn't think Zuma's amazing dessert displays could be outshined but the platter of truffled steak, crab legs, and corn definitely did!
I would definitely return and recommend Zuma and I'm hoping that the small service hiccup will be corrected for the future.
We received text messages that our rooms were ready. We had 4419 and 4420. Our rooms had a large entryway, 2 queen beds, a couch, a chair, as well as a dining area. The bathrooms differed between our rooms. The sinks were just outside the bathroom in our room while the entire toilet and shower area was large and tiled. For views, we could see the resort itself, the Polynesian Resort, as well as the Magic Kingdom! Our rooms were right next door to the lounge and while this was convenient it definitely was noisy as well. There were loud guests in the lounge after 10 pm, there was staff entering a closet right outside our room, and the movies on the lawn was right outside our balconies.
In the end, these were great rooms and they were kept immaculately. The downside to staying at the Grand Floridian Resort was there weren't any special touches. We didn't really receive any towel animals, for our 20th anniversary we only received buttons (previous trips we were given pictures or cards), and other than the lounge staff everyone else seemed to just get their job done.
We sat at a table by the pool and Barry greeted us right away! Before we ordered Barry asked for Jose to come over to help me with my allergen ordering. We ordered cocktails, lobster sliders, and burgers. My lobster slider was chopped up lobster, mayo, and fennel on a gluten free dairy free bun. Accompanying my dish was house cooked chips. After eating we enjoyed the main pool as well as the kid's splash area. All of my pictures of these areas have my friends kids in them so I can't share them but it's a wonderful spot. The pool is large and warm, there are plenty of chairs, plenty of umbrellas, lifeguards nearby, towels, and the splash area is a blast for small kids!
On Friday morning, we had plans to go to Epcot for the day but that didn't happen. Our friend ended up with a stomach bug or food poisoning and didn't get much sleep as a result. We decided to let him hang in bed and we'd take the kids to the pool for the day.
The first step was to head to the concierge and cancel our dinner plans at the Boathouse and to make dinner plans locally at Narcoosee's. Once that was finished we swam in the main pool for a while. This was actually what we all needed. The sun was shining, the pool was warm, and there was a light breeze!
A little while later we packed up our stuff and headed to the splash pad area. Our friend was feeling a little better and so we all asked Barry for some menus. We basically ordered the same exact thing as the day before and it was just as good. I also appreciated Jose stopping by our table again to make sure I was enjoying my dairy free lunch. Very thoughtful!
When it was time for the kids to nap Greg and I headed to Disney Springs. We spent some time browsing for souvenirs for family members. I found the cutest Tinkerbell cup for my mom (a tradition I keep every time we go to Disney World).
Our main reason for visiting Disney Springs though was to shop at Sprinkles Cupcakes. A few days ago I ordered 6 of their special Game of Thrones cupcakes and 2 vegan red velvet cupcakes. We skipped the main line and went to the pickup counter and within a minute had our cupcakes in hand and headed back to the Grand Floridian Resort.
For dinner, we crossed the resort to Narcoosee's. When we checked in for our reservation we ended up having a short wait due to our need to use the stroller and have a faster paced meal. Once seated at our table our server came over with waters and took our drink order. My starter of poached and chilled shrimp was good but definitely not as good as the dish I had at Jiko. Two of us ordered the scallops for our entree and both of us agreed that they could have used a little more cook on them. We all agreed nothing was bad at Narcoosee's but we wouldn't return.
The next post will be about our drive and overnight stay in Hilton Head NC.
After using the gym of our hotel we got ready to continue driving south. We didn't really make too many exciting stops along the way because we were looking forward to spending time with family.
We arrived at Elon University and my cousin showed us around her dorm and the campus. We were happy to help her move some stuff to storage since she's heading back home this month after finals.
We were getting hungry and we decided to try Simply Thai for dinner. We checked in with the host and shown to a table. I was glad we were eating early because the restaurant got very busy while we were there.
Our starter was the lettuce wrap which was delicious and had a good kick from spices. The three of us then ordered sushi for our entrees. Everything was fresh and for the most part really good. The downfall to the meal was the sashimi summer roll. Inside rice paper was 3 kinds of fish, mango, and avocado. Unfortunately, the rolls were in a soup spoon filled with ponzu & mustard sauce. If I didn't drain the sauce, the rolls would have been soggy and I would have eaten a week's worth of sodium. With that being said I would return to this restaurant next time we're in the area.
After dinner we braved the frigid temperature and bitter wind for the 5 minute walk up to the Boston Opera House. We showed our tickets for Charlie and the Chocolate factory then made our way to the D entrance. Our seats offered us a great view of the whole stage and we were on an aisle with a few empty seats next to us! It was perfect! As we were looking around we noticed a lot of kids and started to worry that this show would be more geared to just kids.
Charlie and the chocolate factory is definitely a show for everyone! The scenes are adorable, the cast our incredibly talented, and the wit is definitely for adults but appropriate for kids. We highly recommend this show!