This week is a bit of a follow-up to a couple of earlier blogs. Not only will you hear more about our recent dining-focused trip to the Disneyland Resort, but I’ve also got some more information about the Haunted Mansion Ghost Relations Department Ghost Post.
In my post about the Ghost Post, I noted that there was apparently content that could be unlocked in the Disneyland park. So, on a recent trip, we fired up the Phantom Radio app, which led us to Esmerelda, the fortune-telling machine on Main Street. (The app both told us to visit Esmerelda, and showed us her location on the GPS locator map part of the app.)
As we approached Esmerelda, she automatically began reading our fortunes. The machine produced a card with a very specific clue to a task we were to perform. In fact, since my wife and I each had the Phantom Radio running, we received two different cards with two different tasks.
We decided to follow my card first, which directed us to the Silver Spur. Now, we are pretty familiar with Disneyland, but did not really have any idea where the Silver Spur was. Since it had a fairly short wait, we decided to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad while using Google to try to figure out where to go.
Of course, we were completely overthinking the problem. When the Google search only gave us results for the steakhouse in Disneyland Paris, it occurred to me that the location function of the app would probably tell us where to go. And, sure enough, it directed us into a store in Frontierland.
At the back of the Silver Spur, we found a large music box. I followed the instructions on the card, and it began to play. When it was finished, the Phantom Radio played a conversation between the three hitchhiking ghosts and Ernst, about how he had been trapped away from the Mansion and how he was glad to be free and able to return.
While my phone then directed me to return to Esmerelda, we decided to follow the instructions on my wife’s card.
Knowing the Phantom Radio would direct us, we used the phone to find Fowler’s Harbor. Once there, we easily spotted the compass described on the card.
Once we had completed the task, we got another recording of the Captain thanking us and the hitchhiking ghosts for freeing him.
We returned to Esmerelda via horse-drawn trolley, and each of us got a new card, which were just the same ones we had received before. (This time, I got the Fowler’s Harbor card, and my wife got the Silver Spur one.) We repeated those tasks, so that all the clips would be unlocked on our Phantom Radios.
|We always find a reason to ride the horse-drawn trolley|
Having each completed the same two tasks, we were instructed to return to Esmerelda, where we each received a card directing us to the Haunted Mansion.
When we got to the Mansion, the Phantom Radio asked us how many people were in our party, and instructed us to show the app to one of the hosts or hostesses on the attraction, which we did.
We were told to wait in the Room with No Doors and No Windows (aka the elevator) after everyone else had exited. Cast members then escorted us past the line to the Doom Buggy loading area, where we were told to wait for a specific car, which was marked with a spider.
(My wife had purchased a Haunted Mansion doily headband with a bat to wear, and here we learned that cast members name the bats on their doilies. My wife named hers “Inky.”)
When we boarded it, we got a different soundtrack than the usual ride, with the ghosts in the grand ballroom thanking us for helping their friends return to us. At the end, instead of a hitchhiking ghost joining us, we heard the ghosts lamenting that they can’t follow us home.That was neat, since the story of the game is about the ghosts being trapped in the Mansion.
Overall, it was a really fun addition to the Ghost Post box. It’s not essential to the game or the mystery, probably, but it does give it some added value.
(At this point, I should probably explain the lack of actual photographs from this part of our day. My wife and I try to make a point of enjoying each other’s company and the things we are doing while on vacation, rather than focusing on our phones. Plus, I think part of the fun of an experience like this Ghost Post thing is actually doing it, rather than seeing someone else doing it. So I didn’t make as much of an effort to record everything as I suppose I should have. There are plenty of YouTube videos showing this Ghost Post scavenger hunt online, and I urge you to seek them out, if you are interested.)
Having spent the morning on the scavenger hunt, we headed over to the Disneyland Hotel for our lunch: the new afternoon tea offered at Steakhouse 55.
We were seated immediately, and our helpful server, Katy, explained the menu options to us. We chose the premium tea party, which added a glass of sparkling wine, a salad, and a farewell truffle to the classic tea party menu. (The third choice was the kids tea party, which, while we are both young at heart, wasn’t really for us.)
The tea party includes as many different teas as you care to order. My wife chose the Eros blend, because she thought it sounded delicious and she loved the mythological name. I went for the chamomile flower blend, as I wanted something soothing.
The meal started with a glass of sparkling wine, and then the tea arrived. The tea was served in individual pots, and the chamomile was exactly the gentle, relaxing blend I wanted to start with. My wife’s was bolder, but not overpoweringly so.
Our first course was a little gem salad, which featured lettuce, mint, oranges, and an avocado vinaigrette dressing. It was cool, refreshing, and delicious.
Next, the server brought out a three-tiered stand with our food. At the top were scones: two currant scones and two blueberry with lemon glaze.
To accompany the scones, we had lemon curd, blueberry preserves, and Devonshire cream. We are both suckers for scones with cream, so we had to ask for extra cream. The scones were light and fluffy and wonderful.
(For what it’s worth, the kids menu replaces these scones with a Mickey-shaped chocolate chip scone.)
The next tray featured our tea sandwiches. There were two each of the following: cucumber watercress, egg salad, tomato mozzarella basil, and gravlax. (Note that the photo only shows one cucumber; I didn’t think to take a photo until after I’d eaten one.)
Each sandwich was fantastic. I am hard-pressed to pick a favorite, although my wife leans towards the cucumber one. I love caprese salads, so the tomato mozzarella one satisfied that craving. I love egg salad, and this one was made with a bit of Sriracha, so that gave it some extra flavor. And I love gravlax and smoked salmon, so all these were irresistible to me.
(Again, on the kids menu, the more exotic sandwiches are replaced with a Mickey-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwich and ham and cheese sandwiches.)
At this point, we ordered a second glass of wine each, and a second round of teas. This time, I went for the Mountain Berry, because I thought the more fruity taste would go well with dessert. My wife ordered a caramel tea that I don’t remember the name of, because it seemed equally dessert-y. Both teas were excellent parings with the third tier: dessert.
Dessert included four macarons, two fruit tarts, and two chocolate-covered strawberries (one white, one regular). The macaron flavors—as I can recall—were raspberry (the one that looks a bit like a hot dog), banana (the yellow one), pistachio (the green one), and probably chocolate. I had the raspberry and banana ones, and they were light and delicate. The fruit tarts were wonderful, and the strawberries were ripe and juicy and perfect.
Finally, we received a small box of farewell truffles. We ate them before I remembered to take a picture, but here is the box they came in.
Overall, the Afternoon Tea is a fantastic new experience at Steakhouse 55. The food was great. We had initially worried that little tea sandwiches wouldn’t be enough to keep us full until dinner, but while each individual piece was small, there was more than enough to fill us up.
Even better than the food was the service. Katy was an extremely friendly and knowledgable server, explaining the differences between the different teas, how they were harvested and where they were from, and what all the different foods were.
The last couple of times we had visited Steakhouse 55 for dinner, we had been disappointed. It really seemed that one of our favorite restaurants was switching from a must-do to a don’t-bother. I’m still not ready to head back there for dinner, but this Afternoon Tea is something I know we will be doing again as soon as we have the chance.