Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dining Dining Dining

Dinner at Garden Grill

I am currently planning meals for our February 2013 trip. We got the free dining special, which makes it all the more sweet. I've made a few changes to our park schedule. In the past, I always put us in the parks that had the Extra Magic Hours. But I'm finding myself getting more and more irritable in crowds (ones of the reasons we go in February), so I've decided to put us in parks without the EMH to see if I could get even smaller crowds. But with this new schedule comes the dilemma of where and what to eat!

I've already got two places reserved. The Garden Grill because hello, it's The Garden Grill. It's our favorite. It's where I first met Mickey Mouse! And Be Our Guest because it's new. It's in the new Fantasyland and HELLO IT'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. I mean, come on. I feel lucky to have gotten a reservation!

So that leaves three table service meals. Nothing in Hollywood Studios appeals to me outside of 50s Prime Time Cafe, and I haven't really wanted that in a while. I've heard not so great things about the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, so I've never gone there. Hollywood and Vine is just meh, and The Hollywood Brown Derby is too hoity-toity, in my opinion. OK I just don't want to spend the two dining credits. ;) So what we typically do is grab lunch at the ABC Commissary (I love everything about that place), and I book a resort restaurant for dinner. However, I can't think of a resort restaurant that I'm very excited about this time, so that means I'll have to research. I already know what I don't want, and that's Chef Mickey's. Blech. Last few times there was so blah and I felt like I was inconveniencing them. It just seems like a terrible restaurant to work in and the employees and even the characters seem miserable. I also don't want Whispering Canyon Cafe, because it's just too loud. And I didn't really like the meal I'd ordered when we went in 2011.

I am considering Kona Cafe again--I did really like my meal and their dessert selection is amazing. I'm also considering Boma. I've eaten there before and I enjoyed it enough. I feel like my culinary horizons will be expanded enough with Be Our Guest, though, so I'll have to think about that.

The problem is that I'm kind of a picky eater. I want to try new things, but it has to be within certain parameters. I don't want onions, mushrooms, weird seasonings, or strange sauces. This limits my menu selections a lot, but it's rarely crippling. I can usually find something, or I can usually ask for them to leave the offending menu items off my dish. But I like to try at least one new place every trip, but we have some favorites as well.

If you have any suggestions for table service meals (especially in resorts), please comment. I would love to hear them.

Counter service meals are way easy for us. In Magic Kingdom, we love Columbia Harbour House. I also truly enjoy Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe. It really depends on what I'm in the mood for (or if one is closed!) for us to decide one over the other. CHH almost always wins, except, as I said, if they're closed.

In Epcot, we usually end up at the America pavilion for some boring old chicken breast nuggets and fries. I don't know... something about being in the midst of all those different foods we can try from other countries makes us run right for the boring stuff. I'm going to try to make an effort to eat lunch at one of the other countries this time. Try something new. As I said, at Hollywood Studios, ABC Commissary wins. And at Animal Kingdom, I have a hard time deciding between Pizzafari and Flame Tree BBQ. Both are super yummy. I guess it'll depend on what we're in the mood for. We typically eat lunch VERY EARLY at Animal Kingdom--I'm talking 10:30am.

Now for the fun part. SNACKS!

This part is easy. Look at these cookies. LOOK AT THEM. Oh my God.

Mickey Cookies

If those babies aren't tempting me, there are Dole Whips of various varieties, those chocolate and candy covered marshmallows, churros, crepes, assorted baked goods from the World Showcase in Epcot, and more. Funnel cakes in Hollywood Studios--why am I just now learning about this? Adam and I always have snack credits left over, and we end up using them to pick up bags of gummies and things to bring home.

Dining at Disney is definitely Adam's favorite part, and it's one of my favorite parts as well. I'm excited for what's in store for February 2013!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

166 Days

Cinderella Castle

That's right, folks. 166 days until our next visit to Walt Disney World!

I know it's time for me to start looking at another trip when I start having dreams about being at Disney World but something weird is in effect as well. Like, I had a dream that we were going on a spontaneous trip, but that I'd forgotten to pack my camera and my bathing suit. Well, I had my pink point and shoot camera, but not my nice Rebel T3. Or I dream that I'm on a coaster and it's at Disney World, but when I wake up I realize the coaster wasn't actually at Disney World but in my dream it was...

ANYWAY

The point is that I'm going back and I'm super excited! Last week of February, 2013. Flights are booked and dinner reservations for that first night are booked at Be Our Guest, the new restaurant based on Beauty and the Beast. Of course I have to fit in Garden Grill, Columbia Harbour House, and ABC Commissary while we are there as well.

We've stayed in Port Orleans French Quarter the last three times. I really like that resort. It's small and pretty and easy to get around. But I was thinking of trying something new. I don't want to lose the intimacy of POFQ, so it's a hard choice to make. We'd save around $300 if we tried Art of Animation and stayed in The Little Mermaid rooms, but Adam doesn't really want to do value again (and I'm OK with that). I would be interested in Caribbean Beach (but it sounds HUGE and I don't really want huge) or Coronado Springs. Hmm. Anyone have any suggestions?

Anyway, I'm very excited. I get to obsessively look at my favorite Disney blogs and message boards again. I get to plan and unplan meal reservations. And I get to dream of my trip. But the trip is more than four months away so I'm trying to be calm about it. I'm so very blessed that I get to go again to help break up my wintertime blues. :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fashion At Disney World

Jo-Lynne over at Musings of a Housewife has posted a helpful tutorial on proper fashion at Disney World.

I have to admit, I've had my fair share of Disney fashion disasters. I could have used a post like that many years ago. Instead, I have a parade of some embarrassing and maybe not so embarrassing photos to share with you.

Look at this mess:

August 2001
Me in Epcot
Nothing cute about this.
Although compared to the people around me...
I guess I'm not so bad!


May 2005
To be fair, I think I did OK on this trip.
I wore a lot of pink.
It is one of my favorite colors, after all. :)

The Incredibles

Belle

Me, Dale, and Aidan


September 2008
Adam and I went to Disney World for our honeymoon.
I think I did really well here.
(If you ignore the bridal ears)

Hunny Bear Pooh Love


August 2009
This is the year I ran into some trouble.
BIG trouble.
I have no clue what I was thinking, buying those shorts.
Or what Old Navy was doing, selling the ugly ass things.

Working It
NO NO NO NO!!!!
The shirt.
The hair.
The shorts.
THE POSE.
ALL SO VERY WRONG!!!

The Fam and Belle
This shirt could have been cute....
IF I HADN'T BEEN BUSTING OUT OF THE THING.

Up!
I have no words.
Only shame.


January 2011
This was a tricky time of year because the weather was SUPER unpredictable.

Hanging with New Orleans Royalty!
This is mostly what I wore, give or take a hoodie or heavy duty coat. Me & Minnie Mouse
I mean, I know it looks crazy.
But a sister had to keep warm, you know what I'm sayin'?


June 2011
Summer time. When I knew it'd be hot
...and I could redeem myself for the ugly ass Old Navy shorts!
By now, I'd learned some stuff.
NO MORE UGLY shorts. ABSOLUTELY NEVER ALLOWED.
Also no shapeless, boxy tee-shirts!
It's possible to look cute and be comfortable!
(Although I refused to give up the Keens.
Ugly as those suckers are, they're really comfortable and much cuter than Crocs.)

Aidan and Me
LOVE my look here!

Hanging with Aurora
Meh. Not bad, but definitely not great either.
I'm trying, dang it!

Look! It's Stitch!
I remember this day.
I was quite cranky at parts.
Probably cause the tank top was a lot less flattering than I'd hoped.
Oh well.


February 2012
This was the trip when my luggage got lost.
Unless I wanted to spend a fortune in gift shops
...my choices were very limited.

Mickey and Minnie
You're going to laugh.
But this was my favorite outfit from that trip.
I do adore this striped sweater!

Hearts from Chip
I think I look pretty OK here too, thanks to my friend Keri, who brought me clothes! NICE clothes!

So there you have it. I wouldn't take ANY fashion advice from me, because clearly, I'm too hit or miss with the whole thing. Instead, hop on over to Musings of a Housewife and listen to Jo-Lynne. Although I disagree with her opinion on that adorable Mickey Mouse shirt, everything else is SPOT ON.

And darned if composing this didn't make me homesick for a Disney Park. ANY Disney Park. Soon, my friends. I'll be back there soon. :) Til next time! :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Wishes


There's no question that I think Disney World is amazing. I wouldn't keep going I hated it, right? People often ask me what I like the best, but I don't think I've ever broken it down in a blog post. Therefore, inspired by this week's All Ears newsletter, I decided to make a list of my favorite things to do at Disney World.

Arriving. There's nothing like getting to Orlando International Airport, hopping on that little tram, and rushing down to the Magical Express. Once you're on that bus, the vacation really begins. They play a video as you take the long journey to the resort, and then once you drive under that gate, the rest of the world falls away. All I can think, when that happens, is, "I"m here! I'd better check in on Foursquare! YAY I'm here! And I have XX number of days left! YAY!!!" The anticipation is delicious!

Eat! I love the food there. Our favorite place is Garden Grill, but I also really like Columbia Harbour House, ABC Commissary, and Pizzafari. Yummy!

Dinner at Garden Grill


Listen to the announcements on the buses. I love it when they say "You'll be home soon." The funny music they play on the buses when we pull into Magic Kingdom. And I always laugh because they're so formal, calling the buses motorcoaches and saying they "depart" instead of "leave". In Chicago, I am no stranger to buses and they definitely don't call them motorcoaches here!

Take in the atmosphere. I love to smell the scents, hear the music, look at the people. So many different types of people. Every time I go, I am more amazed at the things Walt Disney thought of, and the things the Imagineers continue to do. Just little things, like the ground changing as you go from land to land in the Magic Kingdom, to there never being more than 30 steps between trash cans because Walt actually counted how many steps it took people holding trash before they'd throw it on the ground. That meticulous attention to detail amazes me because that means there's always something new to discover on a Disney trip.

Meet the characters! I've definitely calmed down from this, but I used to be a HARD CORE character meeter. I used to stalk them. Now that I've met most of the characters I wanted to meet, I don't see any reason to stand in long lines now... unless it's someone rare. For example, on Valentine's Day, the princes were out with the princessess. So even though I'd met Aurora and Snow White before, I'd never met Prince Philip or Snow White's prince.

Snow White and Prince Charming


I'll also go meet a character if there is barely any wait, and I ALWAYS have to meet Mickey Mouse at least once when I go to Disney World. I mean, how can you go and NOT meet Mickey every single time, right?

Mickey and Minnie


Experience the attractions. There are a few attractions that are must-dos for me. Like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. I missed it my last trip, as it was closed for refurbishment. There are some that I just have to do at least once, like the Carousel of Progress.

See the parades. I used to wonder why people would sit and stake claim on parade spots up to an hour before the parade even started. I mean, they could be riding rides or seeing shows or buying stuff, right? But then, one night, I lined up to watch Spectromagic. And THEN I GOT IT. Just so you know, Spectromagic was this huge light parade that ran nightly, sometimes twice nightly. IT WAS EPIC. And let me tell you, that's a heck of a parade to experience as your first one. The music STILL GIVES ME CHILLS and I even have it as my ringtone.


full spectromagic video


Everything is lit up. The costumes! The floats! Everything. It's beautiful! And when they replaced it with the Main Street Electrical Parade, I was like "OK. I've never seen this one, so I'll give it a shot, but I hope they go back to Spectromagic before long!" Well, they're still running MSEP, so I have no pressing need to stay late for the Magic Kingdom parade until they bring Spectromagic back. I love that parade so much that I bought the soundtrack as soon as I could.



So yeah. Parades are the thing. Especially when you get to BE IN THEM!!!

Jammin' Jungle Parade


Shop. Duh! Gotta get some souvenears (you see what I did there?) and pick up postcards to send to friends and family back home, right? I buy at least one new pair of earrings every trip. I also collect pins, ornaments, and magnets commemorating that particular trip. I always get one for the year we're there for sure, but if I fall in love with a new attraction or something, I'll get a pin for that as well. I love to look around the shops and let myself get tempted to buy things I don't need. :)

Being immersed. There are many reasons we stay on site at Disney Resorts, even though it's usually cheaper to get a suite off site. Those reasons are a.) Dining Plan b.) Disney transportation c.) Extra Magic Hours d.) Total Disney immersion. That means no chain stores or dirty sidewalks. No fast food chains to tempt me or dog poop all over the place. It's a complete and total escape and I LOVE IT.

I hope to get back really soon!

Rockin' Out With Phineas and Ferb


That's all I can think of for now. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a few of my favorite things about Disney World!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

New Disney Ship Christened!

I know, I'm like 4000 years late with this but yay!



I've never been on a Disney Cruise. I KNOW RIGHT? What is up with that?

Adam says he has no interest in going on a Disney Cruise, to which I say WHAT? How can you not be interested in having food available 24 hours a day?

Maybe he's not interested because there is no Haunted Mansion on the ship, and he's not into islands and beaches and things like I am. Because I can think of plenty of things I'd want to do on the ship AND on the island excursions, and I think a cruise would be a lot of fun. In addition, I think I'd feel less pressured to do too much because a cruise is supposed to be relaxing. Laying by the pool on deck? Yes please!

So maybe one day I'll be able to talk him into going on one, but I won't let that stop me from eventually getting on a Disney Cruise myself, even if I have to go on my own or if I have to talk a girlfriend into going with me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's The Tri-ip Report

(sang to the tune of Morning Report)

** NOTE: I am aware that there is some jacked up text showing up about halfway down my post if you view it on its own page. Google shows that other people are having the same problem and there doesn't seem to be a solution that works for me as of yet. ANNOYING. But if you read it on the main page, it's OK. I don't know either. **

Cinderella Castle


So. Yea. Disney World happened.

AND IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!


I'm going to cheat and copy/paste most of this from my personal blog, so if you've already read this, you can skip it. But if you haven't, then I must insist you indulge because although it is long, it is worth it.

Cinderella Castle


Seven trips and it never gets old. Even though I spent the first day half crazed out of my mind due to lack of sleep and being hopped up on energy drinks. Magic Kingdom was as magical as ever, with rides, yummy food, fireworks, and of course, Mickey Mouse. 'Cause it's just criminal to go to Disney World and not visit Mickey Mouse at least once, right?

*warning, lots of pictures ahead!*


Balloon


Wishes


Mickey and Minnie


We experienced the PeopleMover, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Carousel of Progress, Mickey's Philharmagic, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor (where I got to be on the big screen and use my psychic powers to convince the monster onscreen that he could know which number I was thinking of), and it's a small world.

Characters met: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pirate Goofy, Ariel, Belle, and Cinderella.
Restaurant: Liberty Tree Tavern (dinner) and Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe (snack)

Challenges appeared that evening when I realized that my luggage hadn't turned up (typically, Disney will retrieve it and bring it to our rooms, but there were some snafus early in the process, and in this case, the process completely broke down). The next morning, I still had no luggage and I was developing a migraine. We nipped that in the bud with a cocktail of Bayer, Extra Strength Tylenol, and an energy shot. By the time we got to Hollywood Studios to meet my friend Keri, the headache was gone.

Keri and Me
keri and me


I was too chicken to ride Tower of Terror (also, my stomach was queasy from aforementioned drug cocktail) so I passed on it. I did, however, ride and LOVE (as usual) Rock N Rollercoaster.

Rockin Rollercoaster!


We watched the Pixar's Countdown to Fun parade, which wasn't as good as the Block Party Bash used to be, but it was still neat.

Countdown to Fun Parade Countdown to Fun Parade Countdown to Fun Parade


We experienced Rock N Rollercoaster, Star Tours, the Beauty and the Beast stage show, and Muppet Vision 3D, which is the best 3D show in the parks (although I do love me some Mickey's Philharmagic!)

Restaurants: ABC Commissary (lunch) and Kona Cafe in the Polynesian (dinner)

Day Three = still no luggage. Disney was on it, though. They were going back and forth with Southwest, and I finally had to come to terms with the fact that my stuff might be gone forever. Keri had brought me some clothes, and because I was running out of underwear that I'd packed in my carry on, I knew that I'd need to buy stuff later that evening. Whatever. We headed to Epcot and the first thing we did was grab Fast Passes for Soarin'. Then we got in line because Soarin' only had a 25 minute wait which is UNHEARD OF. That attraction almost always has at least an hourlong wait. At least. And we got to ride it twice in one day!! ROCK ON.

Spaceship Earth


While I was in line for Princess Aurora and Prince Philip (the princes were out!!), I got a call from someone who had my bag! It had gotten picked up by someone who thought it was a friend of theirs, and was in Gainesville. The girl I talked to was very sweet, but between us two, the airline people, etc., we realized that I'd not get my bag back in time to finish out my vacation. Oh well. I continued to have fun anyway.

Me at Epcot


Princess Aurora and Prince Philip


Imagination Pavillion


Duffy Bear


America, Frick Yeah!


Epcot


Mickey Mouse and Me


Sad Face
at dinner, we had the most scrumptious red velvet dessert
this is me with the last bite
i really didn't want it to end


We experienced Test Track, Mission: Space (Green, for Less Intense), Maelstrom, Captain EO, The American Adventure, Ellen's Energy Adventure, and Soarin' (2x!). I also got some Jammie Dodgers!!

Jammie Dodgers and a Fez
jammie dodgers and a fez
now i am ready to take on the world
(end doctor who reference)


Characters met: Princess Aurora & Prince Philip, Snow White & Prince Charming, Mickey Mouse, Pluto, and Chip & Dale
Restaurants: Bakery in Norway (for a snack) and Garden Grill (dinner)

Day Four, we headed to Animal Kingdom. I always forget how much I enjoy Animal Kingdom until I'm there. It's the prettiest park of all of them, with all its greenery and wild animals. Love watching the animals.

Tree of Life


Safari


Safari


Safari


Expedition Everest is an AWESOME roller coaster. Just sayin'.

Expedition Everest


Of course, the highlight of this day was the fact that THEY ASKED ADAM AND ME TO BE IN THE JAMMIN' JUNGLE PARADE.



We'd just had lunch at Pizzafari, and I said "Let's go to Camp Minnie-Mickey." There wasn't really anything we wanted to do there, but the Festival of the Lion King is there and a show was about to start. We were debating going in (it really is an excellent show) when a cast member named Robb (who happens to be really awesome, dontchaknow) stopped us, asked if it was just the two of us. We said "Yes," and he asked, "Would you like to be in our parade?" We had to be back at the hotel at 5pm, so time was of concern. But the parade started at 3:45pm, so we were all good. Once it sunk in, I was like...



Because being in a Disney parade is a dream come true for me. No, seriously. You guys. I have wanted to be in a Disney parade since 2005, when I saw Spectromagic for the first time. Sadly, Disney isn't running Spectromagic anymore, but that parade is the MOTHER of all parades and it's also my ringtone. Anyway, I would LOVE to be a parade dancer, and I think I'd kick some butt at it, but I'm probably way too old for something like that. But still. Eeeeeee!!!

Jammin' Jungle Parade


Jammin' Jungle Parade


Jammin' Jungle Parade


Jammin' Jungle Parade


So yeah. THAT HAPPENED. And one of the cool things is that one of the dancers--I'd recognized her from other shows at Disney World. She seemed flattered and amazed that I'd done so. :)

Jammin' Jungle Parade
sara's the dancer on the left end
she's the one I recognized from other disney shows
crazy, huh?
it was so neat to meet her


So, in Animal Kingdom, we experienced the Kilimanjaro Safari, Rafiki's Planet Watch (where I got to hold poop!), Expedition Everest, and I GOT TO FREAKING BE IN A PARADE AT FREAKING DISNEY WORLD, Y'ALL.

Poop!
i'm holding poop!
(don't worry, it had been baked and coated)
no stinkies here


So, despite the lost luggage, I had an AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING trip! And if I had to choose between not having lost luggage and having just an OK time, or losing the bag and being in a parade, I'd lose the bag every time. Hopefully it won't come to that again, though.

My bag is safely with me now. Disney got UPS to pick it up in Gainesville and they overnighted it to me. So I won all over.

And I cannot wait to get back to Disney World!!!


Cinderella Castle


And just in case there weren't enough pictures in this post, there are loads more here: [LINK]

You know you want to click it! :D

Thanks for reading.

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