Jul 24

WDW Arcades

This past year saw an end to WDW arcade games that feature gambling. It is considered in Florida a form of gambling when a person pays to play a game in hope of winning something. Most common is the claw machine seen in Toy Story. These games too often are rigged by vendors or have such low odds that winning is impossible. Also removed where any games that offered prizes such as Skee Ball.

WDW arcades use a point system with games activated by a card that can be refilled and can be shared by family members. Price is 1.25 to 2 cents per point. Games that I saw ran from 15 to 80 points. Guests must plan their purchases as the cheapest rate is the $25 card. 25 purchases of $1 each gives you just 1,250 points compared to the one purchase that gives you 2,000 points.

Old games like Pac Man start at 15 points and go up to 80 points for an ESPN racing game. Kiddie games can hit 50 points, pinball machines at 50 or 60 points, and most racing games that are not the elite are 60 points. I am an old gamer who played pinball back in the 1970’s when Tabitha wore frilly socks. Back then the games were well maintained by men who knew the games and could fix any of them. Nowadays I find most pinball machines just don’t have that well maintained feel of the old machines. My advice is to consider the amount of joy versus the cost.

$ 1 = 50 points
$ 5 = 275 points
$10 = 600 points
$20 = 1250 points
$25 = 2000 points

Pop Century arcade was remodeled. No more lounging on ottomans and no more redemption booths. Scattered through the arcade are hard bench seats that are meant to not be comfortable. One used to be able to crash in there while the kids spent time having fun. There is a gray patch in the carpet where the redemption area was located. Gaming is fun and my life for nearly 40 years so for me there will always be the thrill of seeing games especially pinball machines.

Jul 18

Hot Weather and Your Electronics, A Strong Reminder!

Phones, kindles, laptops, iPods, cameras, and other electronics have a temperature range usually of 0º and 35º C (32º to 95º F). They can usually be stored at 0º and 35º C (32º to 95º F). High heat in a car can go from 60 to 100 degrees. In triple digit weather the dashboard can be hot enough to grill chicken and burgers. Other things not to leave in a hot car are makeup, crayons, food, drinks, and anything that cannot stand high heat. Don’t risk loosing your travel memories when your electronic device or camera is fried. Be vigilant about the sun as I have seen kids in strollers covered with sunscreen and shade but some part of their body has bright sun on the baby. People set their camera down for a few minutes and come back to find a fried camera. Ipods are more sensitive to heat at the sun beats down on their case which is the Ipod’s means of cooling itself.

Higher ambient temperature can lead to a dim or black screen, a warning about cooling your device, refusal to charge, loss of camera flash, and weak radio signals. Higher ambient temperature conditions and activities that may cause the device to alter performance and behavior include:

Leaving the device in a car on a hot day.

Leaving the device in direct sunlight for an extended period of time.

Using certain features in hot conditions or direct sunlight for an extended period of time, such as GPS tracking or navigation in a car, or playing a graphics-intensive game.

Laurie, me, froze her Ipod last year while in central Florida. Pictures disappeared and the screen went black. It is easy to fry electronic devices in central Florida. Hot cars, using while in the hot sun, excessive usage on a very hot day, laying down on hot surfaces, and power hungry apps can shut down digital cameras, iPhones, iPods, laptops, and anything electrical. Check your battery use to see what is pulling on your battery as sometimes turning off an app can stop battery drain and overheating. Airplane mode can also help slow down heating. Remove case and accessories as those hold heat, avoid charging as that adds heat, lower screen brightness, and turn off GPS.

Try to carry Morphy or other batteries and charge indoors such as during lunch. You can charge with Morphy while indoors at a ride, line, show, or restaurant. I carry mine in my purse. Medical devices have warnings on temperature which you must heed.

DO NOT put your device in a fridge as the condensation can be worse than the heat. Wait to warm or cool the device before using again. Have patience!!! Frozen iPods have been know to shatter the screens. I have held my Ipod over a air vent and have placed damp compresses on the case where water cannot enter. Prevention is the best solution. In cold weather put the devices in your coat near your body.

Jul 18

Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Frozen Additions and Other News

Starting July 26, 2015 guests aged 3-12 can be beautified for the Coronation Day revelries at the Ice Palace Boutique. Much like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutiques but with a Frozen theme.

The three packages include reserve seating and access to the Ice Palace Cafe for the child and up to 5 of her guests. The cafe and the boutique are located across the street from ABC Commisary but I am not sure if that is the old Jack Sparrow building or the Sounds Dangerous building. We will let you know when details come out.

Packages are $75 for regular package to $240 for a package that includes a costume. This should end on September 7, 2015 but who knows what lies in store for the Studios.


The things I can’t wait to see are the new gelato shop in DTD, the changes in Animal Kingdom, and the Food and Wine Festival.

I am eager to go to the Food and Wine festival as this year is the Chew Lab named for the show. Next Eats will feature trends in food such as liquid nitro chocolate almond truffles. I am looking forward to afternoons sampling cheese.

In Animal Kingdom, the Zuri’s Sweets Shop is offering bags of four savory flavors of popcorn: Harissa, African Spice, Curry, and Ras El Hanout. $5.95 will get you Chili Pepper, Coriander, Paprika, Red Pepper, Dehydrated Garlic, Cinnamon, Caraway, ginger and other spices and herbs. This is on my list of things to try this year.

Joffrey’s Tea Trader Cafe offers baked goods, tea, and some merchandise. They are neighbors with Vivoli il Gelato and BabyCakes. Vegan and regular baked goods with gelato and tea make for a wonderful evening treat while listening to the musicians.

Victoria & Albert is adding a 10 course menu which is small plates of food so that guest can try more varieties of food. “Disney Family Culinary Adventure” is coming to The Contemporary Resort for guests ages 9 and up, who will get to experience WDW restaurants first hand.

Boardwalk Bakery is offering, for $8.95, a maple waffle cone filled with scrambled eggs, cheese, and bacon with side of fruit. Tabitha will have to try that for me as it sounds yummy.

Brown Derby Lounge adds new dishes that include a Grilled Bloody Mary-marinated Shrimp and Chorizo and Heirloom Tomatoes on Toasted Ciabatta bread, Corn Bisque served with a Corn and Lobster Fritter; and Crispy Bites that are Parmesan and Goat Cheese Risotto Sticks.

Tragic news is the loss of plastic cheese aka “liquid cheese” for nachos. I don’t know if this will ever return other than offered by staff with a meal. It is rumored that people were getting burned by the vats and by the liquid cheese. Disney is good at fixing such things. Write WDW and demand your cheese if it means a lot to you.

May the Food be with you!

Laurie Smith
Food Explorer