Review of Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco at EPCOT

Where: Restaurant Marrakesh

When: Saturday, 27 May, 2006

What: Lunch
Combination Appetizer for Two – Beef Brewat Rolls, Chicken Bastilla, and
Jasmina Salad

Roast Lamb Meshoui – a Moroccan tradition – roasted lamb in natural juices

Lemon Chicken – braised half chicken seasoned with garlic, green olives and
preserved lemon

Child’s Kefta – hamburger served on a bun with fries

Marrakesh Delight – fresh fruit salad topped with mint ice cream, toasted
almonds and orange blossom water

Approximate Price of Entrees: Total: Approx $90, including tax and tip.

Rate the following (1-5, five being the best!)

Food: 5
Service: 3.5–Waiter was new, but extremely nice, which compensated for the
slow service.

Atmosphere: 5

Okay for Children: Yes–separate children’s menu with familiar foods, and
the small children in our family enjoyed the music and belly dancing.

Okay for Couples: Yes–not especially quiet, but a nice setting for a
romantic meal

Be Sure to Try: Appetizer Sampler–good way to try out several of the dishes
featured on the menu.

Marrakesh Delight–good especially on a hot day; very light, cool, and
refreshing

General Tips: Try and request table near floor, where the belly dancing
takes place

We had reservations for noon, right when the restaurant opened, but the
entertainment did not begin until around 1pm. You may want to time your
reservation so you do not finish your meal before the entertainment begins.

Tip: The Berber Feast includes the jasmina salad, roast lamb
meshoui, chicken kabob and seasonal fruit salad for $23.95. You are
receiving your whole meal for one price.

The Sultan Sampler, for $19.95, can certainly be split with two people. It
includes a grilled brochette of either beef or chicken, a Beef Brewat Roll
and Chicken Bastilla served with vegetable couscous

Extra Comments: When we arrived, our waiter brought ice water for the whole
table, and then left us to cool off for a few minutes. He then came back and
took drink orders, and left again, and then came back to take our meal
order. By the time he took our meal order, tables that had been seated at
the same time as we had been, were already eating their entrees. He was very
nice and interacted well with the children. He made sure all of our needs
were attended to. He gave Eilis a complimentary dish of ice cream and
cookies, and did not charge us for the apple juice for the baby. However, it
was paced a little slower than we would have liked, and the meal took us an
hour-and-a-half, which is quite a bit of time out of the theme park day,
especially with small children.

The wait staff and the hostess were extremely child-friendly. The hostess
introduced herself to Grace by scooping her up from behind, which was a
little frightening to our stranger-shy thirteen-month-old. Pretty much
everyone, wait staff and hostess, were pretty kissy and cuddly with the
kids. It was very endearing to see this aspect of the Morroccan culture, but
for some families, it could be considered a little too familiar.

We have always enjoyed our meal here, but we almost always overlook this
restaurant when making our ADRs. The food is always different and unique,
the show is enjoyable, the service is friendly, and it is a nice break to
the theme park day.

Disney Memorial Day Trip Report – the Last Day

Sunday, May 28th

It’s check out day today, and I am already tired from anticipating the long
drive home by myself.  Jim, however, has started a family tradition that
takes us into a park on our last day until noon or so, so that he ends up
being OHSD (Our Hero, Super Daddy).  Of course, not to be outdone, TDGM
(That Dimwitted Goofy Mommy), decided to head to Universal Studios on our
way out of Orlando so the kids could ride the last few rides and enjoy the
waning moments of their vacation.

Despite difficulty sleeping (long story, but the gist of it is Grace sleeps
with Jim and I, and when Jim is not on the other side of her, I get nervous
and sleep very lightly, worrying that she’ll fall out of bed.  Even though I
had a guard rail and three pillows between her and falling to certain death
on the carpeted floor a foot and a half below, I slept with one eye open
most of the vacation.), I was up, packed and dragging kids by their feet as
they dug their nails into the furniture out the door of the hotel to begin
the journey home by 8 AM.  I made a couple of stops, and pulled into
Preferred Parking at Universal Studios at 8:30 – half an hour before they
opened.  Because of the charge for the Express Passes on the holiday
weekend, the only way to really do the rides at Universal if you are not a
Universal resort guest is to get there first thing in the morning.  This has
worked out well for us the last couple of trips, and it works out well this
time, too.

Brighid and Eilis ride Jimmy Neutron; Twister; Men In Black; Back to the
Future; and ET before 10:30, and Gracie is dripping with sweat.  I have
forgotten to bring the sippie cup in the park with me in all of that super
mom nonsense I was trying to pull off this morning, so I tell the girls we
are going to pack it in, grab some drinks, and head back to the car.  I
promise them we’ll get lunch on the way out.

We bid a fond farewell to Universal Studios for the time being, and head on
back to our car in Cat in the Hat.  Have I mentioned I hate this parking
lot?   Honestly, the car stays much cooler than it does in the huge lots at
Disney, but it just seems to zap my energy to leave the park and have to
walk 600 miles to my car – and that’s if I pay to upgrade to Preferred
Parking!   The moving sidewalks make it easier, but you can’t use them if you
have a stroller.  No way to treat a fat chick, I’m telling you 🙁

We are in the car, have some great lunches in hand, courtesy of the
McDonald’s on Sand Lake Road (if you have never been, it is truly an
experience all it’s own), and we drive through to Florence, SC, where we
stop for the night.

I won’t bore you with the details of our overnight stop or uneventful trip
home.  But we did arrive home today, Memorial Day, in time to grill a few
steaks, have some corn on the cob, and enjoy being back home with Jim.

Disney Memorial Day Trip Report Day 4

Saturday, May 27th
I will start today’s trip report with a quote from Helen Keller:

“Grief can’t be shared,
Everyone carries it alone,
his own burden, his own way.”

And this is how the day went for my darling little Granuaile.  We realized
on our trip from the parking lot into EPCOT center this morning, we lost the
only binkie we brought with us today.  And then, this afternoon, as we were
within alarm setting distance to the car, we realized we left her favorite
sippie cup at the restaurant at lunch time.  She missed the binkie most –
and I found her quite a few times today sucking on her tiny fingers in
desperation.  But she will miss the sippie cup more as time goes on.  She
loved that one and the pictures of the princesses on the sides.

The plan today was to get up early and head into AK for the EMH, then move
over to EPCOT.  How do you people do this???   My kids barely got out of bed
in time to make it to EPCOT at a reasonable hour!

We headed into EPCOT at about 9:15, and we hopped right on Space Ship Earth.
    Just what I needed after that walk across the parking lot – an air
conditioned nap!   I love this park!   Today is our last day at Disney, and
the kids want pool time, so we plan to make it a short day again.  We don’t
get fast passes for anything so that we don’t feel obligated to be anywhere,
and on the way out, I’m sorry I didn’t get at least one for the kids to do
Test Track because Eilis could have held out for one more ride.

After Spaceship Earth, we headed over to the Living Seas for Turtle Talk
with Crush.  WE LOVED IT!!   Brighid and Eilis went up to the front to sit on
the floor, and I stayed in the back with Grace.  During the show, my cell
phone, which was in the bag Brighid had, started ringing, and Crush asked if
that was someone’s “Shell Phone”, and told her to “totally answer it, Dude!
They’ll never believe you’re talking to a Turtle!”

There was NO ONE at Journey Into the Imagination, so we had the whole car to
ourselves.  That was nice, and it’s such a cute ride for the little kids.
We fast passed Living with the Land and then headed to Restaurant Marrakesh
for lunch.

We arrived a few minutes before our 12 o’clock ADR, and the hostess played
with Eilis and Grace while we waited.  If you are not comfortable with your
kids being cuddled and kissed by total strangers, this may not be the place
to eat.  The hostess introduced herself to us by coming over and scooping
Grace up out of the stroller to play with her, and then when she seated us,
she hugged and kissed Eilis and thanked her for playing with her.  Grace
also got a few kisses on top of her head by the waiter and one of the CMs in
one of the shops.  I didn’t feel uncomfortable with it at all – it was
somewhat endearing – although if they are both sick with colds in a day or
two, I’ll regret allowing them to be so cuddled and cooed over.

After a great lunch, we headed over to the shop in Japan and wandered around
a while.  I always love going in here, and it reminds me of my sister.  She
used to love to do the pearl thing, and I can’t help but feel her close to
me when we stroll through this shop.

We worked up just enough of an appetite and a sweat to get a Kaki Gori – my
all time favorite treat at Disney.  We sat and enjoyed it while listening to
a performance by the Volunteers, a band of active Army guys.  This is not
your Daddy’s military band!   I remember being dragged as a kid to hear all
kinds of military bands, but none ever played Huey Lewis; Steely Dan; or
Tears for Fears.  GREAT band!!

We took the boat back across to do some shopping for an antennae ball for
Pop-Pop at Mouse Gears before we left.  There was no line at Space Ship
Earth on the way out – there never is – so we hopped on that for one more
ride before heading back to the hotel.

Back at the hotel, we enjoyed a bit of time in the pool, and then a NICE
dinner from the food court.  We haven’t really eaten the real food at the
food court before, and we are pleasantly surprised with our dinner.

We are now packing up to get ready to leave – hence the reason I’m trip
reporting 🙁   I hate the thought of leaving!

HIGHLIGHT – the GREAT lunch at EPCOT
LOWLIGHT – RIP our favorite sippie cup and our beloved binkie 🙁

Disney Memorial Day Trip Report Day 3

Friday, May 26th

The Streak Is Alive!

On each of my last three trips to Disney, someone has gotten sick.  I was
tempted to keep all three of my kids in a plastic bubble in the weeks before
this trip to keep them from getting ill, but the thought of cleaning the
fingerprints off of the plastic convinced me to take my chances with them in
the real, germ filled world.

At exactly 12:03 AM, 3 minutes after the emergency walk in clinic has closed
for the night, Eilis wakes up crying with ear pain.  She has just done 20
days on antibiotics for recurring ear infections, and I fear this is what it
might be.  I phone the front desk and ask if there is another clinic
anywhere else where I might be able to take her to get a prescription, and
they tell me no, but they will be happy to phone paramedics for me.  Back in
November when I was here, Gracie was having trouble breathing, so I did have
them call paramedics, and they were both really cute and very nice, but my
thought is that sending a paramedic for an ear infection, no matter how cute
he might be, was overkill.

I get up, get dressed, and plan on going to the ER with her, when it occurs
to me that I might be able to phone home and ask our pediatrician what to
do.  I call ahead back to the front desk and ask for the phone number for a
close pharmacy so that if our ped gives me a prescription, I can give him a
phone number to call it in.  The ped tells me that it might not be an
infection, since she has no fever, and he gives me another possible cause
and tells me to keep her on Motrin for 48 hours for the discomfort, and as
long as she is fever free, that should help.  When 48 hours is up, we’ll be
on our way home, and they will meet me at the ER at home if she isn’t any
better.  Of course, I have no motrin with me, and head out the door to go to
Walgreen’s, when I take a chance and see if they keep an emergency supply at
the front desk, even though the gift shop is closed.  THEY DO!!!   Good to
know!   By 12:45, Eilis is resting comfortably, and I am wide awake watching
bad TV until 3:30.

The alarm goes off at 6, and I bleary eyed walk to the shower while the kids
sleep.  Sleep is overrated, I tell myself, and when I was their age, on
vacation with my dad, he’d have us up and out the door by this time of day
to make the most of the trip.  My kids are too soft!

We have made an ADR for Crystal Palace, and I toyed with the idea of heading
over to AK so Eilis can ride Kali River Rapids, but with the expected heat
today, I decide park hopping may not be an option, especially if Eilis is
not feeling well, and we head to MK.  By the time the place opens, we are
there.  Eilis feels fine today, but I make her take the Motrin anyway.  And
now Gracie is suffering from a runny nose 🙁   We’ll deal with it as needed
– there are things to do!

The crowd is really manageable, and we ride Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride, the
Jungle Cruise, and Big Thunder Mountain in pretty quick succession.  We have
discovered something about Grace that I’m not especially proud of.  I ran to
get drinks when the kids were on Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride, and as I am
heading back, I hear this God awful screaming banshee of a kid as the ride
comes to a stop.  Thank God, I think, that that is not my child.  Oh no.
That is my child.  Brighid is walking off of the ride with Gracie SCREAMING
and holding her arms back, trying to wiggle out of Brighid’s arms to get
back on the ride.  I do a quick look around to see where I can hide and act
like these are not my children walking towards me yelling, “Mom, Mommy,
Mom!!! Can you take this baby???”   Darn.  I am the only “mom” looking person
in the vicinity.

Grace continues to scream and reach back towards Aladdin as if we are
kidnapping her, and by the time we are in the very short line for the Jungle
Cruise, I am hoping a security guard will believe that I have kidnapped her
and come get her from me to try to find her real parents.  No such luck.
But once we are on the Jungle Cruise, she is settled and happy again.  Whew.
    We have a brief version of the same reaction after she exits the Jungle
Cruise too, but I keep reassuring her that we are going to see something
else and ride another ride, and she eventually seems to understand that
getting off of one thing leads us to something else more wonderful and more
magical.

Brighid and Eilis ride BTMR, and then we head over to Buzz Lightyear, for
which Brighid has already acquired Fast Passes 🙂   We have not had to wait
for anything yet, and Buzz is a great ride.  I am on my way to controlling
the universe, despite having a baby in my lap, when my laser gun stops
working 🙁   I try to reach around and use the one on Grace’s side, but her
chubby little hands are clasped pretty tightly around it, and I end up
sitting there actually enjoying the ride, looking at the different targets I
could be hitting.

There is just enough time to do the Tomorrowland Transit Authority ride
before heading to lunch, and as it has done with her sister’s before her, it
lulls Grace to sleep.  By the time we are actually seated at Crystal Palace,
Gracie has had a nice 30 minute nap, and she is hungry and in good spirits
for lunch.  Until the characters come near her.  She is just about climbing
out of the high chair, but then as soon as they go away, she is yelling for
them to come back, putting her little hands up in the “Come back, come get
me” pose.  Poor Tigger actually thinks she means this, and turns around to
come back to her, only to have her jump out of her skin when he gets close.

I had originally planned to leave after lunch and take the kids back to the
hotel for some rest, but the lunch rejuvenates the lot of them, so we press
on.  Eilis is rattling off the things she’d like to do and like to ride,
when she sees the hair wrap people.  She decides this is what she wants to
do.  Brighid runs off and grabs fast passes for Splash Mountain – Eilis’
first time!! – while I wait in line for a hair wrap with Eilis.  By the time
we have our turn, it is almost time for our fast pass, so we head over to
the mountain.  Eilis has BEGGED to do this ride, and she does really well,
except she is too anxious about the big drop to appreciate the story inside.
    At least I think that.  But when we are off the ride, she runs to Brighid
to tell her the whole story of Brer Rabbit and the briar patch and the great
ride, except for the big hill at the end.

The crowds are pretty thick now, so we decide it’s time to head out.  We
make a few stops in a few shops, and we are in the car about 4 PM.

Back at the hotel, Eilis lays down for a nap, and we try to decide what to
do about meeting my in-laws for dinner.  Eilis is now saying her ear hurts,
and Grace is dozing off, so we call the in-laws and ask if they want to meet
here for pizza, so we order pizza in the room and entertain the grandparents
until after 9 PM.  I bathe the littles and they are both asleep by 10 🙂

Without starting a war, I do want to say something about towel animals.
When we arrived on Thursday, as we were walking to our room, virtually EVERY
window we passed had some cute towel thing going on – with stickers, sparkly
things, kids’ toys staged with the towel things.  Eilis is excited to see
what her window has when we get back to the room, and Brighid, who has been
the recipient of towel animals before, is equally as excited.  When we get
back, only two windows on our floor on our side of the building have no
towel animals.  One of the two is ours.  I tip housekeeping daily, and I
leave the room pretty much cleaned up, so I know there isn’t a lot of work
to do when a housekeeper comes to our hotel room.  I know towel animals are
not a guarantee, and I completely appreciate that when the housekeepers are
busy, they probably haven’t got the time to do them.  But it’s really
disappointing to a 5 year old to walk past towel animals, towel clowns,
towel birds, and even in one window, a towel basket filled with towels, then
to get to her own window and find nothing.  I decide I must take a course in
towel animal folding so that I don’t have to deal with this disappointment
in the future 🙁

HIGHLIGHT – Eilis’ first ride on Splash Mountain
LOWLIGHT – Eilis’ sore ear and the empty window

Memorial Day Weekend Disney Trip Report

Cast of Characters – Mom Anna (41), and DDs Brighid (14); Eilis (5) and
Granuaile (1)

Wednesday, May 24th and Thursday, May 25th:

I drop Brighid off at school at 8, and Eilis at 9 for her end of year beach
party.  I drive home hoping Gracie will fall asleep so I can pack the car
without worrying about her, and she does!!   I pop Grace into her crib, and
load the car.  I can’t believe it – I’m all set and ready to go!

I get Grace out of her crib at 10:50, change her and we head over to pick
Eilis up, since she gets done at 11:30.  Brighid can’t get out of school
until 12:15 in order for it to count as a full day, so we stop at McDonald’s
to pick up lunch, top off the gas tank, and then head over to pull Brighid
out of school.

My biggest fear – getting to the DC area at rush hour – is mostly averted.
We arrive just about 3 in the area, and traffic is just starting to build.
We have no dead stops, but there are a few delays – not enough to be
frustrating, though.  YIPPEEE!!

As we’re driving, I’m trying to figure out how late I should stop to keep
some kind of bedtime schedule with the kids, and figure I’ll be in
Lumberton, NC by 10 or 10:30, so we’ll stop there.  Brighid phones ahead to
a Marriott Fairfield Inn (gotta collect my reward points!), and we stop for
dinner at a Cracker Barrel.  Oh My Goodness – service couldn’t have been any
slower if the guy had molasses on his shoes, and to further complicate
matters, not one, but both elderly women at a table near us suffer a spell
and an ambulance has to be called.  We are kind of pinned at our table while
they get the one woman on a stretcher to load her in the ambulance, and I
thank God the other woman decides her spell is just anxiety from the other
woman taking ill and we don’t have to wait for another ambulance to come and
get her – our table is literally in the middle of the action – the manager,
other waitstaff, EMTs, and if the other lady needed an ambulance transport,
I figure we are stuck there at least another half hour.

I’m regretting now making the reservation in Lumberton, because it is 8 when
we get in the car after dinner and I’m tired. I ask Brighid to check which
exit number it is, and what a lucky break – she booked the wrong hotel and I
only have to drive to Fayetteville!   It’s about 25 miles closer to where we
are!

We check in just in time to see the end of American Idol (Yay, Taylor!), and
the kids are too excited to sleep, so we end up awake until after midnight.
I have a wake up call in for 4:30, but the call never comes.  I wake up
myself at 5:05, and we decide to skip the showers and race to get ready.  We
are in the car by 5:30.

Traffic is not too bad the rest of the way, and we arrive to check in a All
Star Movies at 2:30.  Our room is not ready – and I guess a lot of rooms are
not ready because there is a long line of people sitting and standing
against the wall with luggage.  We head for the food court and grab lunch,
and by the time we are finished, the room is ready.  We are in the Fantasia
building, much to Eilis’ dismay.  She wanted Toy Story.

We get our stuff unpacked, make the calls to the hubby and my mom to let
them know we’ve arrived safely, and then to the in-laws to make arrangements
to meet them for dinner tomorrow night.

The kids hit the pool while I hop in the shower.  I think we may run over to
EPCOT, but the kids are tired and crabby.  We decide to order pizza and hang
out at the hotel.  We get a knock on the door, and it’s a beautiful gift box
of goodies from the Princesses for Eilis to congratulate her on her
preschool graduation (Peggy’s Sweets comes through in a great way!), and
Eilis now has to call Daddy, and Dram, and Nanny to let everyone know of her
great package.

It gets to be about 8, and the baby is so tired she is stumbling as she
walks.  Okay, she is just learning to walk and would be stumbling anyway,
but trust me, she’s tired.  I get the two littles in bed and flip through
the dials to find the bedtime stories that Eilis loves.  Guess what?   NO
BEDTIME STORIES!!!

So, the wake up call is in, I’m providing bedtime stories (but I’m really
tired, so I cut to the chase, the Wolf eats everyone and ends up in a clinic
for treatment of Bulimia, the end, goodnight), and we are heading to the
Magic Kingdom early tomorrow.

Highlights – the goodie basket; the great traffic; the good luck on booking
the wrong hotel; and Taylor winning American Idol.

Disappointments – Hubby had to cancel at the last minute due to work
obligations; NO BEDTIME STORIES – that’s a biggie.