Thursday, October 16, 2003

What Would George Do? 

(Day 4, Walt Disney World Vacation)
Every now and then a cast member at Disney (that’s what they call their employees) makes you feel as though Pixie Dust flowed through their veins. We met George K. on one of our fist WDW trips about 5 years ago. At the time, he was a waiter at Spoodles, one of our favorite places to eat breakfast. Besides just being a darn good waiter and a pleasant human being, George always seemed to go the extra mile, whether it be an extra smile, remembering that I always wanted a Cappuccino with raw sugar, or bringing me specially Mickey-shaped pancakes (which were not on the buffet). For a couple of years, each time we went to Spoodles, we were lucky enough to ask for George’s section, and be seated there.

Spoodles has booths with very high solid backs. When you are sitting in a booth you cannot see who is sitting in the booths next to you at all. One morning, we arrived at for breakfast and were seated at George’s station in a booth. It was early and the place was pretty empty. George came to greet us, and then left to get our drinks. I told my husband that I was going to the bathroom and would be right back; in the meantime, he headed for the buffet. On my way back from the ladies room I got a plate of food and sat down where George had placed my Cappuccino. I was sitting there for about 5 minutes or so, wondering why my husband hadn’t returned from the buffet yet. I decided to start eating anyhow (no need for food to grow cold!).

I glanced over towards the buffet and saw George heading towards me with my pancakes. He got about 5 feet from my table when he stopped in his tracks with a puzzled look on his face. He looked at me, and the he looked at the table behind me. He repeated this several times, as though trying to figure something out. I figured he was trying to remember where the pancakes were going. Then he started to laugh.

Walking to the booth behind me, I heard him say (in his lovely European accent) “So, you are sitting here now?”

Apparently, my husband had forgotten which booth we were sitting at and was already halfway through his breakfast sitting in the booth behind me! He just thought it was taking me a very long time to return from the ladies' room and fill my breakfast plate! George never let us forget this morning, and we laugh about it every time.

Last year (2002) we arrived on Columbus Day Monday. We had reservations to eat at Narcoosie’s at the Grand Floridian to celebrate our 15th anniversary, but when we arrived and studied the menu, we decided that we were not in the mood for anything they were offering that night. So we decided to head over to the Magic Kingdom and see if we could get into Tony’s. As it was prime dining time, we were doubtful, but decided to try anyhow, since it was only a Monorail ride away.

The Magic Kingdom was packed. We walked up to the podium at Tony’s and were told that they were not taking any more walk-ins that night. We were disappointed, but figured we’d just head to Casey’s for a hotdog. (Hey, we were at the Magic Kingdom...no need to get bummed!) On the way out of Tony’s we saw a familiar face serving food on the veranda – George! We caught his attention and stopped for a second to say hello. He’d left Spoodles a couple of months before and had been working at Tony's ever since. He asked us if we were eating here that evening and we explained that seating was not available. He told us to wait a minute and when he returned he brought his manager with him and introduced us. He then proceeded to ask her if she could please find us a table in his section because we were special guests of his. So she did!

We were seated almost immediately right on the veranda at a romantic table for two. We were able to catch up with George, ask about his family, get teased about the Spoodles booth incident, and enjoy a wonderful Italian dinner. On top of that, we had the perfect seats to watch that evening's SpectroMagic Parade stream by (about 15 feet from us) while we ate dessert. Speaking of dessert, George overheard us toasting to our anniversary and insisted on treating us to dessert. His manager decided to give us 20% off the entire check as well! Talk about pixie dust! Our cups runneth over with it, thanks to George.

So this is why we went out of our way yesterday to go to where George works now (Wilderness Lodge Canyon Café) and give him a What Would Walt Do pin. He’s worth the trip! He loved the pin and especially enjoyed that we’d come all the way to the lodge to visit him. He asked where we were eating that night and we told him Artist Point, which is another restaurant in the Wilderness Lodge. Don’t you know it, when it came time to order dessert, our waiter said “George asked us to give you a complimentary dessert, on him, tonight.” That’s George!

Today we shopped and sunned…a relaxing day. (Other than the challenging bus rides with particularily vexing parental units, which I will elaborate on tomorrow!).
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