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Danny and Jackie - Oct 09 - Day 4 Eve - Coral Reef and more

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Danny and Jackie - Oct 09 - Day 4 Eve - Coral Reef and more
« on: November 09, 2009, 12:44:34 PM »

As dusk falls we make our way over to the Coral Reef restaurant via Spaceship earth. It's actually a couple of years since we last rode this iconic ride which I am so happy to see is now straddling the entryway in full unmarred glory as intended. The Mickey Arm appendage has finally been removed which seemed to not only give the impression there was an unfinished bit of scaffolding permanently attached to the side of the geodesic sphere, but also seemed to reduce the scale from an impressive 18 storey to Mickey's golf ball.

We are also absolutely delighted to find the refurb has also given the timeline ride inside a whole new breath of fresh air. Dame Judi Dench is a perfect host for us English peasants. The new lighting, animatronics, and projections (the wall paintings in the cave in particular being a superb piece of visual story telling). Also the new music, general clean up, re costume and extra scenes (the Greek classroom fits in seamlessly) work beautifully. This has to be the most sympathetic to the original - breath of fresh air I have seen injected so far into a classic Disney piece of ride history; and they have done so without changing the fundamental nature of the ride; nor felt the need to introduce characters. Well done.

The artwork above is a rendering from the WDI archives showing the Michelangelo and Sistine Chapel section. I really hope most of these original imagineers are still around to ride this restored version.

We make our way over to Coral Reef for dinner around 7.15, we're a little early but looking at the amount of people hanging about in reception I doubt dinner at 7.20 is going to happen. In fact, they're running at least 20 mins behind which does seem to be a recurring theme in all restaurants for dinner despite the fact the parks seem pretty quiet. We take a seat under the trees outside as its a barmy night and wonder what's going on behind the portable hedge that has now appeared between us and The Living Seas and the passage way to Soarin. In fact we were only allowed in this section of the park because we had a reservation tonight. Technically Epcot is closed but they normally allow you to wander around and take photos. There are a lot of security personnel (who all seem to be at least 80) about as well tonight and it seems they are setting up portable bars and DJ booths, when I get past the hedge to take the picture above. It turns out Microsoft are taking over the park for the rest of the night for the Launch of Windows 7. Let's hope they don't spot that all of the tills and reservation systems in Epcot still seem to be running XP.

Eventually we are seated. The Coral Reef is a restaurant we have visited on every trip though oddly never at dinner always at lunch. I have never heard of Tile fish and Margie our server, describes it as a snapper like fish so that's ordered for myself, Jackie orders the Sea Trout. I have to say the menu does seem a little more varied than it was previously though sadly the Lobster starter seems to have disappeared. There seemed to be rather a lot of Southern influenced dishes in previous years which was fine the first time but Blackened catfish and grits did start becoming about the only white fish on the menu some years when we visited. Now there's a good choice of fish and meat dishes, though perhaps it's just more varied at dinner.

My only small criticism with the Coral reef is that I do find it an extremely noisy restaurant. Always a slight problem in some American restaurants anyway where for some reason a game of who can shout loudest seems to be a common table game; for some reason this venue does seem to be one of the worst. Perhaps those glass aquarium walls bounce the sound around even more.

When the food arrives there's a little confusion as the busboy describes my dish as snapper. Well I suppose Margie did say tile fish looked like snapper! Anyway Margie arrives sorts out the dishes and brings the wine, a nice bottle of Casa Grand Pinot Grigio. The Tile fish is served with a dark red wine and port sauce which works quite well, it does have just a hint of sweetness to it from the port but the meat's quite firm and strong and can stand up to it. Jackie's Sea trout is cooked more simply with a buttery sauce but is delicious all the same and nicely seasoned. We finish with the baked cheesecake and strawberries for myself and Jackie has the Creme Brulee.

As we leave the DJs are blasting out Michael Jackson classics, the Microsoft Suits are walking around like broken animatronics, Jackie on the other hand dances her way out of Epcot..

Tomorrow its time to head to the MK for the first time this trip. We're looking forward to seeing the how the refurb work has gone in the haunted mansion.
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