High­way In The Sky Dine Around

HIGH­WAY IN THE SKY DINE AROUND

WDW Magazine - - Contents - BY LISA CAMERON PIC­TURES BY LISA CAMERON

Who says Walt Dis­ney World is just for kids? With more and more spe­cial events be­ing added to their reper­toire, Walt Dis­ney World is be­com­ing a go-to des­ti­na­tion for adults. One event in par­tic­u­lar is the High­way in the Sky Dine Around. This unique, pro­gres­sive din­ing event, mod­eled af­ter the fan cre­ated “Mono­rail Crawl”, in­cludes fine food and drink from the re­sort’s Mono­rail ho­tels.

High­way in the Sky takes Guests around the mono­rail re­sorts for a pro­gres­sive din­ner. The event starts at Dis­ney’s Con­tem­po­rary Re­sort then heads to Dis­ney’s Poly­ne­sian Vil­lage Re­sort, Dis­ney’s Grand Florid­ian Re­sort and Spa and then back to The Con­tem­po­rary. Each re­sort will host a por­tion of your 5 course meal. From ap­pe­tiz­ers to desserts, Guests are treated to dishes that high­light the fla­vors of that ho­tel’s restau­rants.

I re­cently had the op­por­tu­nity to at­tend High­way in the Sky when my col­lege friend and I were on a girls’ week­end. We thought the ex­pe­ri­ence would fit nicely into our itin­er­ary of adults only fun. Donned in our Dress Shop dresses, we made our way to The Con­tem­po­rary to start our evening.

CHECK-IN

Check-in for the event takes place at The Wave at Dis­ney’s Con­tem­po­rary Re­sort. It was en­cour­aged that we ar­rive at 5:15 for a 5:45 start. A con­fir­ma­tion call was made by the or­ga­niz­ers 3 days be­fore the event to so­lid­ify in­struc­tions and di­etary needs. I re­quested a vegetarian din­ner and they hap­pily ac­com­mo­dated. Af­ter you check in, you are pre­sented with your lan­yard for the evening. Be­cause of my vegetarian re­quest, my lan­yard was white so they knew of my need at each stop. The event is de­signed to be a so­cial gath­er­ing. Par­tic­i­pants are en­cour­aged to mix and min­gle with the other guests through­out the night.

Once check-in was com­plete, we were wel­comed by the hos­pi­tal­ity staff of The Con­tem­po­rary and the head chef of The Wave. We were treated to a full-sized Bay Lake Sun­set, a drink ex­clu­sive to The Top of the World Lounge. It’s a fruity drink made from Stoli Vanil Vodka, Par­rot Bay Co­conut Rum, and Pineap­ple Juice with a splash of Gre­na­dine. An amuse bouche of Spring Pea Soup ac­com­pa­nied our cock­tail. I was taken aback at first by the size, but knew we were in for a long night ahead and had to pace our­selves. Pretty soon it was time to go. As with ev­ery stop go­ing for­ward, we were given a 5 min­utes heads up to use the bath­room or fin­ish any food or drink. With our 3 Cast Mem­ber guides, we were off to the Poly­ne­sian.

DIS­NEY’S POLY­NE­SIAN VIL­LAGE RE­SORT

Step­ping out of our own pri­vate mono­rail car, we headed into The Poly­ne­sian. Upon ar­rival we were wel­comed by their hos­pi­tal­ity staff and directed to the area im­me­di­ately to our right. We were pre­sented with leis and a gi­ant Mai Tai cock­tail. As we waited for our ap­pe­tiz­ers, we were ser­e­naded by the mu­si­cal stylings of a ukulele player from The Spirit of Aloha din­ner show.

Three small ap­pe­tiz­ers were served dur­ing our time there. Our first ap­pe­tizer was a Roasted Beet Salad with Golden Beet, Herb Goat Cheese, Pis­ta­chio Dust, Frisée Let­tuce, and a rolled up Radish un­der­neath a Vinai­grette Dress­ing. Here is where the dif­fer­ences be­tween the reg­u­lar and vegetarian menus be­gan to hap­pen. Though I am not ve­gan, mine was served without Goat Cheese. Though I ap­pre­ci­ated that they erred on the side of cau­tion, I did take the time to let our guides know that I would hap­pily eat cheese if it was of­fered to me. Next was a piece sushi from Kona. My friend was served a spicy tuna roll while I had a cu­cum­ber roll. Last was a Crisp Pork Belly served on a bed of Pick­led Veg­eta­bles. Mine was the same Pick­led Veg­eta­bles but with deep fried tofu. All our ap­pe­tiz­ers were equally de­li­cious, though we were be­gin­ning to feel the ef­fects of the large drinks and the small amounts of food. We were hop­ing that our next stop, din­ner, would be more sat­is­fy­ing.

DIS­NEY’S GRAND FLORID­IAN RE­SORT AND SPA

One thing worth men­tion­ing is that with Dis­ney’s new se­cu­rity pol­icy, we were re­quired to go through a bag check and se­cu­rity screen­ing at each stop. While I un­der­stand the need for ex­tra safety, we were be­ing guided by Dis­ney Cast Mem­bers through­out our jour­ney. There­fore, the need to do this at each stop seemed un­nec­es­sary.

We first stopped for wine and cheese at The Gar­den View Lounge. A char­cu­terie board of cheese and meats was served to pairs along­side a full glass of Iron Horse Fairy Tale Cu­vee. Again, be­cause I had re­quested a vegetarian meal, I was served a very nice to­mato and bean salad with roasted pine nuts. My friend was kind enough to share some cheese with me. Bread was avail­able to the both of us. By this point we had made friends with some of our fel­low trav­el­ers. It was nice to sit for a bit to chat. I wished this por­tion of the ex­pe­ri­ence lasted a lit­tle longer. Soon we were whisked off to din­ner at Citri­cos.

Hav­ing dined at Citri­cos in the past, I knew I was in for a de­li­cious din­ner. Luck­ily we were seated with our trav­el­ing com­pan­ions, but it was also nice to be seated with oth­ers who we hadn’t met pre­vi­ously. A huge bas­ket of Citri­cos fa­mous olive bread was wait­ing on the ta­ble along with sea salt but­ter. We had a choice of wines, ei­ther Lu­cente Ital­ian Red or Ston­estreet Es­tate Chardon­nay.

For din­ner my friend had a surf and turf se­lec­tion, Red Wine Braised Short Ribs over Mashed Pota­toes &Ti­lapia over String Beans. Both dishes were cooked per­fectly with ma­jor ku­dos go­ing to the Short Ribs. How­ever, the por­tion size was a lit­tle small for her lik­ing. Since we had small por­tions through­out the night, we were ex­pect­ing more for din­ner.

I was quite im­pressed with my Roasted Veg­eta­bles over Quinoa. A beau­ti­ful se­lec­tion of sea­sonal veg­eta­bles were roasted to per­fec­tion over a bed of red quinoa. Com­par­a­tively speak­ing, my por­tion was a de­cent size and I left feel­ing sat­is­fied. But there’s al­ways room for dessert.

DIS­NEY’S CON­TEM­PO­RARY RE­SORT

It was time for dessert and fireworks at the Con­tem­po­rary, out­side on the Fourth Floor Ob­ser­va­tion deck. We were treated to a duo of cakes, Florid­ian Blood Or­ange and a Flour­less Choco­late Pyra­mid. Of the two, the choco­late was my fa­vorite. The desserts were ac­com­pa­nied by tea, soft drinks, hot co­coa and cof­fee. You had the op­tion of hav­ing your cof­fee served with a gen­er­ous pour of Kahlua, Bai­ley’s, Frangelico or Go­diva White Choco­late Liqueur. We grabbed our sweets and found a prime seat on the over­look to watch Hap­pily Ever Af­ter. Un­for­tu­nately, Mother Na­ture had other plans that night.

A storm rolled in de­lay­ing the fireworks for about a half hour. Dis­ney did a great job of con­tin­u­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence by bring­ing the buf­fet in­side and al­low­ing us to con­tinue the party. When the fireworks in fact did start, it was down­pour­ing. We were each given an um­brella to use so we didn’t miss out on see­ing the fireworks. High­way in the Sky hap­pens rain or cold and guests are en­cour­aged to come pre­pared for such events. Also the fireworks ex­pe­ri­ence is sub­ject to change or can­cel without no­tice. It was dis­ap­point­ing, but we un­der­stood. As we left, we were pre­sented with a box of truf­fles and a Mickey crisp rice treat to go.

MY THOUGHTS

I loved the con­cept of High­way in the Sky. It put a new spin on the av­er­age pro­gres­sive din­ner. I liked be­ing able to meet with the hos­pi­tal­ity staff and chefs, and also learn about the his­tory of each re­sort ho­tel. The ex­pe­ri­ence brought to light just how much time and con­sid­er­a­tion is put into the them­ing of each ho­tel. Ev­ery­thing, down to the food, has to fit into the con­cept in or­der to cre­ate an im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence for each Guest. I also re­ally liked mix­ing and min­gling with new peo­ple. It was nice to spend the evening with Dis­ney fans and hear­ing other peo­ple’s sto­ries and ex­pe­ri­ences.

For the price, I ex­pected more, food wise. Hav­ing been to many spe­cial events in­clud­ing dessert par­ties and DVC mem­ber events, I went in with an ex­pec­ta­tion. At pre­vi­ous events, Dis­ney has al­ways gone above and be­yond to make sure Guests had more than enough to eat and drink. Be­tween the small por­tions and the lack of ask­ing for sec­onds, I came away feel­ing short changed. In fact, the next night we at­tended the Star Wars Dessert Party and came away feel­ing we got our money’s worth. Also, as a vegetarian, I paid the same price as ev­ery­one else, but seemed to get less.

An­other con­sid­er­a­tion is the drinks. While hav­ing a sig­na­ture drink at each lo­ca­tion was great, it would have been nice to have a se­lec­tion to choose from. I don’t usu­ally drink Vodka, but felt com­pelled to at least try my drink at the first stop. Also, non drinkers might feel slighted. Whether you have the cock­tail or not, you’re still pay­ing the same price. It would have been nice to see an al­co­hol free spe­cialty drink as well.

You could ob­vi­ously piece to­gether the same ex­pe­ri­ence on your own. But with High­way in the Sky, you’re pay­ing for the ease and ac­ces­si­bil­ity of din­ing in all these places. You’re also be­ing pri­vately es­corted and kept to a sched­ule so that you make it to the fireworks on time.

Over­all, I liked my ex­pe­ri­ence. I may con­sider do­ing it again for a Dis­ney date night, but I think some of the is­sues men­tioned above may need to be worked out first.

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