November 24, 2009: Akershus

Everyone was tired and slept in late this morning.  They were supposed to be out and away super early to get to rope drop but they didn’t make it according to my Twitter feed, if it is accurate.  Madeline and Emily came to the door to get Dominica and Liesl and Liesl got so excited to see her cousins.  She loves having her cousins around.  She is going to be very happy once we are in Texas.

The gang is off to Disney Hollywood Studios (formerly known as Disney-MGM Studios) today, which is most everyone’s favourite park.  I am hanging back today and just working from the hotel.  I’m not scheduled to try to meet them or anything today.  I’m not really into DHS so I’m not concerned about skipping it altogether.  I love the Great Movie Ride but other than that I am pretty happy to skip just about everything there.  If I am in DHS there is plenty that I am willing to do but if I can avoid an entire trip out there, all the better.  If I skip it enough times then I can entertain myself while there on a future trip.

I ate lunch by myself at the hotel restaurant, the grilled salmon salad again.  I really like that and there is very little else for me to eat on the menu. It works out okay.  I am making use of the Disney Dining Plan.  This is the first trip that we have gotten the Disney Dining Plan.  Overall, we don’t like it, but it was a special promotion and we got it for free and then added some upgrades.  With ten people it does make most things simpler and I do appreciate that.  But it causes you to do weird eating things that involve eating when you don’t want to and getting way too much food most of the time because “you already paid for it.”

This afternoon the girls went to the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique to get Madeline and Emily’s hair done before going to the big princess dinner in Norway at Akershus.  While they were doing that, the boys all came back to the hotel to get a break for a while.  Today was a busy day of logistics with people going from one park to another and others going to the hotel and then everyone needing to go to EPCOT tonight.  Way more traveling than normal and traveling in Disney can be very exhausting.

It was my job, after work, to get Dominica’s dad, Bennie and Garrett from the All Star Music to EPCOT’s World Showcase to meet the girls at Norway.  We did pretty well getting to EPCOT in plenty of time. Just as we arrived it started to rain, for the first time since we got to Florida, and so we started to rush to get there somewhat dry.  The girls called, though, and needed us to meet them with the ponchos and other gear at the International Gateway between the UK and France as the girls’ hair would be ruined in the pouring rain that they were experiencing in Downtown Disney.  It never rained that hard where we were.

We got the International Gateway and waiting there until the rain stopped.  Dominica called and said that they were not going to make it in time for the reservation so sent us on ahead since the rain had abated so that we could check in for our reservation.  Going to the International Gateway instead of directly to Norway roughly doubled the total distance to Norway so we had quite a walk left to do – about fifteen minutes of additional, hard walking to get over there.

The girls ended up arriving just a few minutes late and we were able to get right in to our dinner seating.  Dominica and I are very excited about eating at Akershus, this is a restaurant that we have always wanted to eat at but they never appeared to have much vegetarion, or pescatarian, selection so we have always avoided them.  But now with the character dinner they appear to have a wide food selection.

The food ended up being amazing.  Totally, unbelievably awesome… especially for a fish lover like me (which is amazing because I didn’t even like fish until I was in my early twenties!)  The meal started off with the Tastes of Norway (or Flavors of Norway or some similar sounding name buffet) that included several meats that we didn’t look at, some cheeses including Jarlsburg Swiss cheese (which is the standard food at any meal with my family in Ohio) and an amazing array of fish like two types of herring, two types of salmon and peppered mackerel.  All of the fish was really good.  I loved the herring, including pickled herring, but Dominica could not bring herself to eat that.  Something about pickled fish was just too much for her.

Everyone really enjoyed their meal at Akershus, even those who do not eat fish.  My dinner was the salmon so I had a total of six or more different fish by the time that I was done.  All quite excellent.  I will be coming back here again even if I do not have anyone in tow who is interested in meeting the Disney princesses.

After dinner we took the girls on Norway’s Maelstrom ride which is incredibly short.  The “come visit Norway” movie that normally shows after the ride was out of service this evening which really gave us a chance to see just how short the ride itself was.  The movie really makes you feel like it is much longer.

After that it was time to get back to the resort.  By this point I have done some math and we have discovered that doing our “park hopping” for dinner plans is costing us roughly five hours per meal!  We had never guessed that it would be like this.  From the time that I leave the hotel until I return doing nothing, or nearly nothing, but having dinner it takes an average of around five hours.  That is insane.  This is a major lesson learned for us.  Switching from one park to another just to have dinner is really not an option especially if going back through the hotel.  Because of inconsistencies in the bus ride you have to allow massive margins on the travel to dinner and you are normally stuck in big crowds on the way back since EPCOT, the only place with serious food, closes during the later dinner hours so anyone eating there is leaving at the same time as you, it just takes forever to do anything.  We seem to lose roughly three hours for the travel round trip and two hours for the meal itself.

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