Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ten Trips to Garden Grill

Garden Grill is my favorite restaurant at Disney World. It's a family-style all-you-can-eat place, with fresh vegetables, succulent meats, and the best character interaction in the parks. Instead of going to a buffet, they bring the food to you. And the restaurant rotates, so guests are looking over the ride "Living With the Land" for part of their meal. This restaurant also has the best character interaction in all of Epcot and possibly Disney World.

Dinner at Garden Grill

The menu changes ever so often, but they tend to keep a few favorites: turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy; some sort of beef; some variety of fish; and a type of cobbler for dessert. They're often accommodating when I ask if I can have some of the macaroni & cheese from the kid's menu. They used to use Stouffer's macaroni & cheese, but this year they seem to have come up with their own recipe.

Dinner at Garden Grill

I've been on ten trips to Disney World, and managed to eat at Garden Grill on every single one. Check out this picture history!

I Finally Met Mickey!
August 2001 - my first Disney trip and my first time ever meeting Mickey Mouse!

Me and Mickey!
May 2005

I Get a Kiss from Dale
September 2008 - on my DisneyMoon with Adam

Ronni and Chip
August 2009 - Chip and me.

Me & Mickey
January 2011

Us With the Boss!
June 2011

Me and Chip
Valentine's Day 2012.

Dancing with Pluto
February 2013

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June 2013

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November 2014

Interesting to note how the outfits have changed over the years! Mickey got a completely new makeover from when I first saw him. At one point, the chipmunks wore overalls. See?

Me & Chip!

Some things that have not changed though: amazing service, delicious food, and awesome characters. I will continue to go back to Garden Grill.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Jammin' In The Jungle

Animal Kingdom

previous posts:
epic disney world!!
a magical day.
two worlds.
a slow start for hollywood.

Our last day at Disney World took us to Animal Kingdom, which is painfully underrated in my opinion. Of course, there is the safari, and Dinosaur, and Expedition Everest, but it's just a beautiful park in itself. It's one of those parks I'd like to just go and hang out in and read or something, except there's too much to do and see to just sit! Ha.

We'd had mild weather all week, and this Friday was the first day we'd gotten to experience the true Florida summer sun. Even I wasn't prepared for it... but I still loved it.

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We didn't ride much at Animal Kingdom. Aidan and I rode Dinosaur. I was really impressed he wanted to ride it--it's kind of a scary ride! I still have to close my eyes at parts... but we still had fun.

We spent some time over at Rafiki's Planet Watch. I like to go over there because I get to do things like make Falandos hold a big pile of poop.

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All four of us did the safari, and there were lots of animals out. Our Fast Pass time was later than I'd normally have it, so I was worried. I needn't have.

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We finished the safari just in time to see the Jammin' Jungle Parade! YAY! Now that I know most of the dance steps, the parade dancers like to come over and dance with me. It's really cool!

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It's Sarah!
yay, sarah! she's one of my favorite disney performers.

This was our last day at Disney World. :( After finally making our way back to the park, it was a mad dash to meet our car (this time an Escalade!) and head to the airport. Where the travel snags started again.

Our flight was to leave at 7:45. Imagine our shock when we saw that our flight had been delayed until 11pm. And as we stood there, the numbers flipped until after MIDNIGHT. Well. We figured we'd just relax, shop, have dinner... except randomly, they gave us another flight, which left at 8:15. I was convinced we were going to miss our flight. It was 7:45 already. Security was taking FOREVER. Talk about stress... trying to make it our gate on time.... where they weren't even boarding. We made it home OK. Hungry, tired, and sad that the trip was over, but happy we had a few days together to talk about it and relive it through our pictures and stories.

So naturally, we'll be planning next year's trip soon....

That's all of the trip reports for this Disney vacation. If you want to see all the pictures, just click here! :)

Till next time!

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Day in Hollywood

Hollywood Studios

previous posts
epic disney world!!
a magical day.
two worlds.

Thursday morning was a slow start for us. We slept in, took our time getting ready, and then, when we were finally on our way out the door, the rain came down with a fierceness. THEN, a friend of mine, Joey, who used to live in Chicago but had relocated to Orlando wanted to have lunch with us. So we hung around the resort and waited for them.

We played in the arcade while we waited for Joey and the gang. With our package, we got some free play time, but Falandos and I went ahead and splurged for a bit more. I'd never done that before--I feel like Aidan plays enough video games that it's stupid to go to freaking DISNEY WORLD and play more, but because we were waiting and it was rainy, we both went for it. Aidan racked up the tickets.

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aidan playing fruit ninja

We had a great lunch, catching up, making new friends, hanging out. I'm not a huge Hollywood Studios geek, so I didn't mind not getting to the parks super early in the morning. (Really, the only reason to do that is to get on Toy Story Midway Mania, which Aidan and I both said wasn't a "must do", and for Tower of Terror, which gets a resounding HELL TO THE NO from Aidan.)

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lunch with friends and family

We got to Hollywood Studios and the clouds were looking crazy ominous. We made our way to the Animation building and proceeded to spend hours inside, meeting characters, drawing pictures, and people watching!

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That's Incredible

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By the time we got out of there, the rain had cleared up! It was a beautiful evening with perfect weather and low crowds. We rode the Great Movie Ride, went on the Backstage Tour, and saw Muppet Vision 3D. Then, it was time for dinner at 50s Prime Time Cafe.

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cutest mommy ever!

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aidan finishing up his drawing before diving into that big ole pile of friend chicken

My mom said this was her favorite meal out of the three table service restaurants. The food was yummy, the atmosphere was fun, and we LOVED when Falandos got reamed out by "Mama."

After dinner, we enjoyed the outside some more. The crowds were pretty non-existent. Aidan and I rode Star Tours three times in a row with barely any wait. He even got to be the Rebel Spy on one of the "flights"!

We finished off our night in the gift shops, of course!

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When we got back to the resort, Aidan wanted to use up the last of his arcade points. He did and hit a lucky jackpot on one of the machines and got a TON of tickets! He got to pick out bunch of little cheap toys and candy, which made him pretty happy.

It was a low key day, but it was really fun, relaxing, and fulfilling. We all had an awesome time. :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Two Worlds

Epcot - Spaceship Earth

previous posts:
epic disney world!!
a magical day.

Our second day at Disney World consisted of a trip to Epcot! It looked to be another wishy washy weather day, so once again, we all lugged along our ponchos and raincoats. I even brought my umbrella.

We started the day in The Land, where I got us Fast Passes for Soarin'. Then we went on Living with the Land, which my mom thought was really cool. Living With the Land is a favorite of mine because I love hearing about all the food they grow there, and the research they're doing. And seeing everything growing is also really cool.

We walked around and did things as we were exploring--saw Captain EO, went into one of the Innovations buildings, and met some characters at the Character Spot. Now, back in MY day, the Character Spot had loads of characters to meet, even though it still felt rushed. But now, there are fewer characters, so the line goes quicker, but I was disappointed that Goofy wasn't there, or Donald Duck, like they used to be.

But I wasn't that disappointed. We still had fun with Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto, who were all sweet.

Meeting Mickey Mouse

Meeting Mickey Mouse

Meeting Minnie Mosue

Meeting Pluto

Of course, we tasted the sodas at Club Cool. I got video of Falandos tasting the infamous Beverly, but my camera would NOT FOCUS so I didn't upload it. The the rain caught up to us. It poured for quite a while, and we hung out under the awning at Club Cool until it let it. Then we made our way to World Showcase. We stopped in some countries along the way, and we also ate at the America Pavilion because that's easy. The rain had let up enough for us to sit outside and enjoy our lunch.

We played in some of the stores in the countries, but we didn't have a lot of time to really explore. I remember last time I was there with Adam, we found places in the countries that we'd never seen before.

I had to take a photo from the bridge over the lagoon. I was so used to seeing this particular section of the park in February, when it looks like this:

Prettiness in Epcot

That it was neat to see it all green and lush in June:

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We made our way back to Future World, where we took pictures and Aidan and I got Fast Passess for Mission Space. Then we headed to The Land again, because I do like the pavillion even though it can get crazy in there. Plus, it was time to redeem our Soarin' FPs!

Soarin' is when one of my favorite moments of the ENTIRE trip happened. We took off, and I glanced over at my mom. I have NEVER seen such a look of pure awe and joy on her face in my life. It was ADORABLE. On the other hand, Falandos looked like he wanted to poop his pants, and his reactions were cracking up the little girls on the other side of him. Riding Soarin' with them was definitely one of the Top Five moments of my trip. I'll never forget the look on her face.

The rain started full force, so when it came time for our FPs to be redeemed, Aidan and I braved the elements and went over while my mom and Falandos stayed in The Land and watched that Circle of Life movie and people watched. Aidan and I had a blast, splashing in puddles and walking barefoot. The rain had scared a lot of people away, and plus, Epcot is so spread out that walking barefoot feels really good and liberating. I'd NEVER walk barefoot in Magic Kingdom--I'd get my toes crushed in a heartbeat.

By the time Aidan and I made it back, it was time to check in for dinner at The Garden Grill! :) I was really excited for this because this was my mom's time to FINALLY meet Chip & Dale, her favorites!!

Here she is with Dale. So cute! :)

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I also adore this picture of Aidan, Chip, and Falandos!

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We had a wonderful dinner, and then we just randomly explored a bit more. Rode Spaceship Earth, went to some shops, and then ended up catching part of Illuminations. We were on our way out the park, but the fireworks started and well, if you leave in the middle of fireworks at Disney World, there is something very strange about you. So we didn't get to see the huge display with the Earth and stuff, but we saw the high, loud stuff and that was just fine.

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aidan sitting with my mom during the fireworks

My mom said that Epcot was her favorite of the parks, and that Soarin' was her favorite attraction. Despite the rain, it really was a pleasant and relaxing day. :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Magical Day

Giving 'Tude

No matter what, I always like to start my trips to Disney World off in the Magic Kingdom. I mean, it's the Magic Kingdom! That's where Cinderella Castle is and that's where the magic really begins. With all the music and beautiful "lands" and the yummy scents. Magic Kingdom is the most crowded and congested park, but it's also the one everyone thinks of when they think of Disney World.

So of COURSE we had to go there on our first day. We got there just when it opened and when we walked through those gates, all was right with the world.

Falandos and I have the sort of relationship where we tease each other relentlessly. So when he asked "Can I just say something?" while we were walking down Main Street, I was expecting him to say something smart. But instead, he grabbed me and hugged me and kissed my cheek and said "Thank you." That made me feel like a million dollars.

We took loads of pictures!

Magic Kingdom

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Magical

Celebrating!

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After all that, we headed back to the new Fantasyland to ride the new Little Mermaid ride. Everyone liked it. Then we made our way over to Storybook Circus, where Aidan and I rode Dumbo while Mommy and Falandos hung out in the souvenir gift shop. Oh, we also made a stop to meet Minnie and Daisy!

Meeting Daisy Duck

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We met my friend Dara for lunch, and then headed to the Hall of Presidents. After that, we got stuck under an awning to wait out some major rain!

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It could have been a bummer, but it wasn't. We just waited it out and hung out and chatted. We dodged the rain a lot as we made our way back over to Tomorrowland for Carousel of Progress, the People Mover, and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, which has been updated to include Monsters University stuff!

We ended up missing the parade, but with the weather so bad, I wonder if it even showed. We were watching part of the Dreams Come True show but it got rained out. Eeek.

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Falandos and I got Dole Whips. Yum. Not sure what we were thinking, having them so close to dinner, but who can resist them right? I had one for breakfast once....

We ate dinner at The Crystal Palace. My mom loves her hot sauce and managed to get a tiny bottle.

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We had fun meeting our friends from the 100 Acre Wood!

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After Crystal Palace, we headed over to First Aid and the bathroom. I'd taken a yucky fall and needed a Band-Aid. By the time we got done, it was raining AGAIN. Aidan really wanted to ride Pirates, so we braved the rain drops and went for it. My mom and Falandos were wary of Pirates--for some reason, they were under the impression that it was outside and they were sick of being wet. When I explained to them how the "waterfall" worked, they were still a bit wary but went for it. (Falandos was actually terrified, but don't tell him I told you that.)

My mom LOVED Pirates of the Caribbean!

Then we made our way to It's a Small World, and watched Wishes, from behind the castle. Then we made our way to the front of the park--we were all getting tired and we were pretty tired of the damp.

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But as we were leaving, a Cast Member stopped us and talked us into staying for the Main Street Electrical Parade. Which Falandos really, really loved.

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the one picture i really liked!

Attractions Experienced:
The new Little Mermaid ride (I can't remember the name for the life of me!)
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
Mickey's Philharmagic
Peoplemover
Carousel of Progress
Pirates of the Caribbean
Dumbo
it's a small world

We didn't ride a whole lot, but we still had a lot of fun. And for your viewing pleasure...here's a short (44s) video of some of our morning at the Magic Kingdom!


And with that, I bid you good-bye for now. More soon! :D

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