Monday, August 22, 2016

Universally Awesome! April 2016 Trip Report, Day 2: Wizards and Simpsons and Bilge Rats (Oh My!), Part 7

Need to see Part 6?  HERE IT IS!

At around 6:30, we made our way back to the boat launch, and, just as we arrived, it started sprinkling a little.  After the security check, we grabbed a seat under an awning.

The best part of the Mushfam:

Sheri and I:

The boat arrived, and we were on our way!  I hopped on the Cowfish app and tried again.  I knew I was in range, so I checked in…or, at least, I tried to check in.  Though I had created an account, something was messed up with the app and wouldn’t let me get in.  I expected a wait of 45-60 minutes, and the rain was coming down pretty hard now.  Grrrrrrr.

We docked at City Walk, and we walked at a brisk pace up to Cowfish when the lightning started.  The other three went inside while I put my name in and explained that I wasn’t able to get the app to work; our host said that it almost never works for their Orlando site.  I let it slide when he said it was only going to be 10-15 minutes before we would be seated.  Actually, it was only about 5 minutes before we made our way up to the top floor next to the windows overlooking Islands; the boys hadn’t even gotten their digital fish customized yet (I’ll let you figure that one out).  It was a deluge outside, and City Walk was rapidly becoming deserted.

Our server presented us with menus, and we put in our drink order.  The boys got milkshakes, while Sheri got a Blue Moon and I ordered a Dogfish Head IPA.  We also put in an appetizer order of crab Rangoon dip.

The dip had a panko crust on top, and the wonton chips were drizzled with a sweet chili sauce.  Great start to the meal!!

For the entrée, Eric ordered the Dynamic Duo, which was a burger topped with braised short rib meat.  Sheri, Aaron, and I each got Bento Boxes.  All came with mini burgers, sweet potato fries, edamame, and Thai cucumbers.  Sheri opted for the ½ firecracker roll (tempura shrimp and crab (kani) wrapped up and topped with salmon and yellowtail, which is then topped with two roes (Masago and Tobiko), spicy mayo, and scallions. 

Aaron and I went the Nigiri route: tuna, salmon, and shrimp for me, and Aaron opted for two salmon and one shrimp).

It was good…definitely a bit odd eating a burger with sushi, but it worked!  It was definitely a bit pricey, but, given the uniqueness, and, coupled with beverages and an appetizer in a theme park, I think it’s in-line with expectations.  I had heard of spotty service, but we did not find this to be an issue at all.

If you do decide to eat here, do yourself a favor and hit the restroom.  I nearly died laughing at the audio that was in there.  The best way to describe it is to think of what a “redneck-to-Japanese (or Korean)” audio book would be like!

We were happy to see the rain had subsided by the time we were done eating.  I wanted to do a little bit of research and suggested we take the boat to the Hard Rock Hotel and then walk to Portofino Bay.  The other three just wanted to get back and get off their feet, so we split up and glared at each other in different boat queues.  I made it to the Hard Rock and was able to wave to them as they went by on their way to Portofino.  I hopped onto the grounds of the Hard Rock and started looking around…

When I went around to the front and upstairs to the main entrance, I heard Prince’s I Would Die 4 U …keep in mind that the day was April 22nd, and the artist passed away the previous morning.  This one hit me a little bit, considering I live in 70s-80s music.  I still remember getting so much grief from my friends on the school bus when I thought Nikki started to “cry” instead of “grind”, and I fully expect it to be brought up again at our next high school class reunion (yes, I'm still holding a grudge to Andrea, Debbie, Jill, Aaron, Alan, Crystal, Jeni, Tim, Tracy, Doug, Aaron, and Harold LOL).  Prince’s music was a huge impact on me, and, no matter what people thought of his lyrics and videos, the guy had more musical talent than pretty much anyone I've heard of.  He played everything, sang everything, and produced everything.  Every song was so different yet so well-done.  Hearing one of his song - that song - made me pause for a moment while walking along the corridors of the Hard Rock Hotel.  I don’t think there was any intent in the song (it was probably just in the queue of the music), but man, any other song would have been preferred.

Pictures around the Hard Rock:

I think this would be a good hotel for people like me without the younger kids.  Those who want to take a trip down memory lane from the Classic Rock and 80s-90s eras will find a lot to look at.  I think that a lot of it would be lost on the under-30 crowd.  With the restaurants located throughout the country, it’s not an entirely unique experience.  Still, it’s a cool place, and it’s one that I could see myself staying at.

Cool Guitar Fountain at the Entrance

When I started my way down the path towards Portofino Bay, I heard the fireworks starting for the nighttime show at Studios.  Every couple of minutes, another barrage could be heard as the night-time sky lit up for a brief instant.


Sheri and I texted a bit as I made my way past the boat launch.

I seeeeee yyoooouuuuuuuuuuuuu, Wiiiiiifffeeeeyyyyy!  (center of the picture)

Before going to the room, I stopped by the front desk and asked if they by any chance had a toothbrush for a tween that forgot to pack one.  They said it happens ALL THE TIME and gave me a free one.  When I made it back to the room, I threw the toothbrush at Eric who finally got the grime out of his mouth properly.  It was around 9:30, and we were all in bed, though I should have graded some papers.

It was a fantastic first day in the parks!  We couldn’t wait to see what the next day brought!!

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