Dec 22

Birthday Dinner at Artist Point

Laurie is back with another review of one of her favorite restaurants…….see what she has to say about Artist Point.
I could have chosen any restaurant in Florida for dinner but none compares to Artist Point for awesome food and staff that I know can provide a memorable dinner. My favorite entrance into the lodge is through the lower entrance that leads to the pool. I enjoyed a lovely fun scooter ride past trees that brings back memories of being a girl on the living room floor playing with Lincoln logs. I scooted through the lower level entrance into Western American grandeur. There is a ramp up to the lobby that I love going down on my scooter. At the top of this ramp is a ramp up to Artist Point, bathrooms, and Territory Lounge. I went into the lobby to find a place to charge the scooter, which a nice lady from the front desk found me a plug. I love sitting in the cartoon area to watch cartoons while checking e-mail.My next stop was ice tea at the Territory Lounge and to enjoy the warm Pacific Northwest theme. Then it was down the ramp to the hostess station and back up the ramp to Artist Point. The first thing you see is a room with good but not bright lighting and hardwood floors. I walked past the hostess desk to my two top table that overlooked the trees on my right and straight ahead was the geyser and more awesome natural beauty. I was in a very comfortable chair but guests who need a bit more room can ask for the banquet seating along the wall. The banquet seating provides a bit more privacy. I like how the tables are spaced so that guests are not elbow to elbow with other guests.

What? Menu? I was too busy taking in the Northwest themed room’s artwork, decor, soaring columns, and the view out the window. The chef came by to go over my diet which I cannot have wheat gluten, most soy, and some chicken egg products. The menu is market and season driven so you never know what my be the newest item to try. I chose whiskey glaze confit natural bacon for my appetizer and the entree was half of the “Berkshire” pork tenderloin and half of the seared diver scallops. I was asked what temperature I wanted on both entrees which is rare as most places do not ask how you want your scallops done.

Out came a white rectangular plate with rolls, a tiny pot of fennel and garlic infused olive oil, and real butter. I started with the warm oil that sang of herbs that made for a delicious bite. I am a bigger fan of butter on rolls but I sat there staring at the black shining crystals of black Cypress sea salt. I later found out that this mild salt is white Cypress sea salt that has charcoal added. Black sea salt is touted as a detoxifier and deacidifier but I just know that it was a wonderful companion to the buttered rolls. I was having fun sampling the crystals of black sea salt.

I ordered the “Whiskey glaze confit natural bacon” due to the grammar and wording of the item. Is it with a glaze type of sauce or is it glazed? Normally I see “duck confit” so what is done confit style? Finally the “natural” bacon got me as how do they make natural bacon? Out came a white rectangular plate with an orange colored whipped thing and the big chunk of bacon topped with a sunny side up quail egg. I thought “silk” meant whipped but it refers to the silk squash plant that I never had before. I dived into the squash for smooth whipped squash with slivered almonds for pure squash bliss that I would love to see as a side dish. The bacon sat on a pool of sweet glaze that I sopped up with my bread. Not everyone would like the bacon because it is rather fatty like pork belly. It was pure bacon goodness that was enhanced by the glaze. The quail egg just sat there doing nothing special but for me it was so nice to eat an egg. Overall this is one dish I would love to do again.

The scallops came with corn risotto, fennel jus, 2 blistered cherry tomatoes, citrus pistou, and a huge piece of Serranno ham. The ham was not crispy but more chewy and very strong in flavor as it sat there on the plate like an oversized sail. The large chive topped large scallops were perfectly cooked. I loved that the risotto had corn for additional texture and flavor. Next I dug into cheddar polenta that was very finely ground and full of Cheddar cheese goodness. They use Beecher’s Flagship Reserve Cheddar cheese which has less moisture, more salt, and a richer taste. The Berkshire pork tenderloin was flavorful and properly cooked. On the dish were two pearl onions, black mission figs, and baby fennel each like a birthday present with its own unique experience. Overall each item on the dish was a palate pleasing treat and I cannot decide which to have again as both were BODACIOUS AWESOME.

The shock was staff bringing out flourless chocolate cake with a candle in it. HAPPY BIRTHDAY was written on the plate and a glowing Tinkerbelle was on the plate. Being alone on your birthday is not so bad when you are spoiled rotten by the staff of Artist Point. The dark chocolate cake came with a raspberry sauce. This was one of the best cakes ever with nuts, dark chocolate, and the rasperry sauce. A woman stopped to take a picture of my cake before I dug into bliss. The best part was the bacon brittle which is sweet and crunch like peanut brittle. The best part is sucking the candy off the brittle to end up with a mouthful of chewy bacon goodness. I was like a kid reveling in the soft dark chocolate then a bit of brittle then a taste of the lettering of the plate. This was the grande finale to an awesome birthday dinner. I wish they sold the bacon brittle as it was the best part of the dinner.

Dec 22

Grand Floridian Cafe Review

Laurie is back again with another review for us.  This time she ate at Grand Floridian Cafe.  See what she had to say.  It was also a pleasure to finally meet her in person.  Thanks for meeting with me, Laurie.
The cafe has big windows with a lovely view of the pool, good lighting, comfortable seating even for this Pooh sized lady, niches for some privacy, and great decor.  The bad news is that scooters are not allowed to park in the foyer so the scooters and strollers are left out on the porch.  I parked mine down the hall and walked. .
November, 2013 when I finally got to meet up with my awesome friend, Tabitha.  She popped in for a few minutes to chat and introduce me to her delightful son.  The waitress asked them if they needed anything but she declined as she was doing the dessert party in the Magic Kingdom.  The Grand Floridian Cafe had changed as the carpet had bits of debris and the seater did not have someone clean under the table when I said I saw a dinner roll. The cafe is the family restaurant for guests staying at the Grand Floridian Resort unless they want to pay a bit more for the character buffet.  Overall the kids seem to be better mannered here than in most family restaurants.  I told the chef I was no gluten and no soy which had to be repeated over and over.  The gluten free GNI roll came out a huge pair of pats of butter with sea salt.  I asked for the shrimp cocktail appetizer and the pork chop with grits.  The entree came but not the appetizer.  I got the impression that I was at fault for not ordering the shrimp.  I have a set way of ordering and am very clear on what I order.  I loved the dairy laden grits which were finely ground and smooth except for the tiny bits of corn.  The pork chop was done the way I like it, was flavorful, and had a good sear on it.  I could eat that entree every day.  The entree paired two great items to form a delicious hearty dish.
The sad news was the shrimp salad which arrived just before Tabitha showed up.  The menu said it was “Fragrantly-poached Shrimp served with Locally-sourced Tomato-Avocado and fresh Verde Sauce – $12.99”.  I stared, blinked, and tried to figure out what was sitting there in a corner waiting for me to finish my entree.  The bottom of the salad bowl was a pool of oil then a layer of diced tomatoes, a layer for shrimp, and a ring of avocado slices.  The thin avocado was breaking up and still had medium green rind on it.  The tomatoes did not have the stem area removed. Based on what I tasted the “verde sauce” was supposed to be the Italian version not Hispanic green salsa.  It was a muddled green sauce that did not sing of anything but oil, a bit of kick, and more oil.  Definitely not a true Italian green sauce.  I had to pick out tomatoes, avocado, and shrimp from the pool of oil.  The shrimp were firm and tasty while the tomatoes and avocado were a nice accompaniment. There was the poor knife skills, muddled sauce, and lake of oil that makes me wonder what is going on in the kitchen.  They made a wonderful pork chop and grits entree so what happened to the appetizer.  Another problem was that they brought out iced tea while I was on my second sip.  The drink sits there as the ice melts and is a waste of money, time, and man hours.  The waitress was very nice and good at her job.  I did not like how she wedged between my table and the neighboring table to take their order.  Did she have to stand on my left side to shout to the people on my right side to see if they needed drinks.  That was very impersonal and not professional as she was not going up to them to see if they needed anything not just drinks.
RECOMMEND
Grand Floridan Cafe offers great food, lovely decor, disabled access, very good lighting, and great service.  This was a quiet relaxed meal with a smooth service that did not leave me waiting for things as the timing was spot on.  Despite my limited diet they were able to provide me with bread, butter, appetizer, entree and several desserts which I regret passing up.  The issues mentioned above can be overlooked or by a guest telling staff to stop yelling across their table.  My experience there was top notch almost on par with fine dining locations.  I was disappointed by the shrimp dish which was poorly thought out.  I would gladly eat here again.

Nov 26

One Man’s Dream

I have so much information that I want to write about in my head from our recent trip, I just don’t know where to start.  To add to that I hate writing so this is usually the last thing I really want to do.  I love talking about Disney but to actually sit down and put it on paper (well, computer), just isn’t my thing.  But I will do that so I can share the many things that I learned or got to see with all of you.  So I am going to start with an attraction that you may or may not have visited before.  Read on to find out more……….

IMG_3944On our most recent trip to Disney World my son decided he wanted to go into One Man’s Dream in Hollywood Studios.  To be honest, I have never been in there before because I was in too big of a hurry to ride rides.  But since I am now a homeschool mom, I thought well this is a good way to get a little history.  So we went in and walked around the multimedia gallery exhibit and stayed to watch the film.

 

As you can see from this picture (and yes, I blurred his face), my son has changed the name of the attraction to be Two Man’s Dream because he said he is going to make a park too.

IMG_3943

I never knew how much failure that Walt Disney encountered before he actually made it with Walt Disney World/Disneyland. The museum was amazing.  It showed the many different things in Walt’s life and also how he started the Disney company.  We also learned that Oswald was Walt Disney’s first “mouse” but it was claimed by another company and he lost the rights to it (I hope I got that tidbit of info correct).

The one thing in there that amazed me the most was the miniature replica they have of Fantasyland.  IMG_3949Yes, they say that it is the biggest expansion in Disney history but until you actually see that tiny model, you don’t realize just how big that expansion really is.  This picture really doesn’t do it justice.

IMG_3945I was impressed that even though he had many failures in his career, he never gave up.  His life is truly amazing. If you have a chance, stop by and see this exhibit.  Have you been in there?  What did you think?  What impressed you most?

 

 

 

Oct 15

NEW Kona Cafe Autumn Menu and Changes at Downtown Disney

Laurie is back for another review.  This time she headed to Kona Cafe and then to Downtown Disney to see what has changed.  Check out what she has to say about the new menu at Kona Cafe and her tips and best places for a burger at Downtown Disney.
And may I just apologize now for the spacing of this article.  I can’t seem to get it to space correctly no matter what I do!  It was correct earlier and now it isn’t.
KONA CAFE MENU CHANGES
New: Steamed Pork Buns with apple slaw $7.49; Maui Onion Soup and White Bean Soup with mushroom duxelle and Creme Fraiche $5.99; Jasmine Tea-infused Cheesecake with Orange-Ginger Balsamic vinegar with a low-glycemic options; TartWarm Apple Tart with cinnamon gelatto and bacon-macadamia nut brittle $5.49
GONE: Polynesian Barbecue Pork Ribs; Thai-spiced Watermelon soup; A Sweet Ending to Your Celebration…White Chocolate cheesecake; No sugar added apple stacker.
Other Changes: Fried Rock Shrimp is now Fried Shrimp; lamb chops are now curry-crusted with roasted fingerling potatoes, Swiss Chard, and a mango compote; pork chops now come with wild mushroom bread pudding, braised red cabbage, and an espresso-cranberry veal reduction; pan-roasted chicken now comes with roasted pumpkin, purple potatoes, and coconut-curry sauce.
NOTES: Brian was the sushi chef so things were perfect and Amber was in charge so everything was perfect. The Maui onion soup comes with a big lump of mushroom duxelles with a pool of creme freche. This is the perfect soup on a cold day. This was a wonderful medley of tiny bits of beans, Maui onion, and chicken stock. I would be happy with just the soup. The mushroom duxelles is a finely chopped paste of mushrooms, shallots, garlic and other ingredients. It just sat there in the bowl and did not have a star quality. I feel it is me and not the mushrooms as it had good flavor and texture. They are very good with special diets and can provide an awesome vegan dinner. Come on in for hearty winter dining. My doggie bag was an entire chicken dinner. The herb crusted airline chicken has flavorful, tender breast meat with a very good sear. The pumpkin is served as the squash it is in cubes along with purple potato pieces which both were cooked to roasted perfection. There is a coconut curry that is sweet and creamy with a dash of heat.
Now on to DOWNTOWN DISNEY NEWS.  I am saddened to see that Captain Jack has left Downtown Disney. The restaurant sits there dark as she waits to be torn down and his marina will be closed with no word of it returning. Facing Planet Hollywood you will see a path going back to Village Lake and Flights of Wonder. From Flights of Wonder there is a path into Pleasure Island heading east/right to Raglan Road. The path straight east to Portobello has long been closed. Time to say farewell to Fuego by Sosa Cigars which was a bar for cigar smokers, Curl by Sammy Duvall, Apricot Lane store, West End Stage, and the kiosk across from Paradiso 37 that sold alcoholic drinks. When Harley Davidson moved to the West End it was replaced by Apricot Lane boutique. 
bridge
The path goes from Flights in Wonder to Paradiso 37, Raglan Road, and Paradise Pier Dock then around to Portobello. The path will be made in the lake to detour around construction.  However, I recommend the path along the parking lot. Adventures Hut is still open with a classical music trio playing, AWESOME!
WARNING:  Avoid Downtown Disney if you are driving as the entire parking lot in front of Cirque Soleil is closed. I spent 20 minutes trying to find a parking space at 4 pm.
BATHROOM WARNING: By Flights of Wonder is the first bathroom heading east toward Pleasure Island. On the island you climb a steep hill to the Adventures Club bathroom which will be closing. You can duck into Paradiso 37 and Raglan Road restaurants for a bathroom break but at times these are very crowded. I try to avoid using the bathroom unless I am eating at that restaurant. Down the hill and around Raglan Road east far far way to the path that runs next to the Lego store on its east side is the next bathroom. Soon Paradise Island will have no public bathrooms and detours that can make it hard to get around during busy times.
2010 saw McDonald’s in Downtown Disney turned into Pollo Compero, Fresh-A-Peel, and BabyCakes NYC. Fresh-A-Peel has been replaced by Bodie’s All American. There is a bar run by Pollo Compero that sells alcoholic drinks as well as fruity concoctions.
Now for the review. I like the theme, decor and good lighting. A major problem is that guests must pay then come back through the check out line to pick up their food. For a stroller, scooter, or wheelchair user that requires begging guests to let you get back to pick up your food. Guests mill around the counters waiting for their food so it can get packed and hard to walk around. Guests with allergies and other dietary concerns should ask for fresh toppings, lettuce and gloves. The employee uses gloved hands to grab ingredients out of the bins then mixes the salad with his gloved hands.  Even though he wears gloves every ingredient is cross contaminated. NOTE: staff told me that they are moving to a bigger location eventually.
BODIE’S BODACIOUS BURGERS is one of the best burgers I have ever had. Mine came with no sauce and no bun. It was dripping juices onto the lettuce leaf wrap then I bit into the 
Bodie'scheeseburger. It was strange at first as I rarely get an awesome burger. The meat is very loosely packed into a patty which means the burger retains its juices inside. PERFECTION!! The toppings bar has, among other things, pico de gallo, onions with cilantro, ranch dressing, fry sauce, chipotle honey mustard, bbq mayonnaise, jalapenos, melted nacho cheese, and salsas. The fries are gluten and soy free because they are cut on site and cooked in canola oil. I am going back for more of the fries. The building offers burgers, hot dogs, Italian sausage, fried chicken, and grilled chicken. They offer salads that can be turned into a wrap. Sides include potato chips, black beans and rice, yucca fries, French Fries, coleslaw, and sweet plantains. Adults can try the Chocolicious shake with Bailey’s Irish Cream. BabyCakes offers donuts, loaf cakes, and cupcakes for dessert. Be warned that they have great kitchen, great staff, great food, and overall it is one of the best burgers I have ever had. I recommend taking the food outside to enjoy the sites – it is very loud inside so anyone with sensory issues would not find this a great place to hang out.
Ghirardelli Soda Fountain – Review – I rarely have not finished something that is dessert. The place is well decorated and has great lighting but it is hard to navigate anything with wheels in their restaurant. The place is packed with guests waiting for their orders. I ordered a sundae that was supposed to come layered with toppings at the bottom and a sundaesquare of sea salt chocolate but it did not arrive. It was caramel and fudge then ice cream then whipped cream to make the worst sundae ever. I did like the sea salt sprinkled on top of the whipped cream. Normally a sundae is ice cream then toppings then whipped cream. I dug in to mediocre ice cream then a glob of caramel and fudge which were tepid at best. It was not a decadent intermingling of dairy and sauce but dairy and a glob of sauce. A true sundae should have sauce as an accompaniment where they intertwine flavors in your mouth. THUD is the best way to describe the caramel and fudge sauces.
WARNING – a manager warned me that if I have severe food reactions then I should not eat in their restaurant. Ghiardelli uses a lot of soy in their chocolate candy and the restaurant uses a check list.

Oct 05

2013 Food and Wine Festival – Danger, Delights, Updates, and Disappointment

Laurie is back with an update.  She got sick from one of the food booths so she wanted to give everyone a warning about what she found out.  Just be careful and be sure to speak to a chef if you have allergies!

DANGER – I found out that the souffle was not gluten or soy free. I spoke for a long time with a chef who went into details about soy in the batter and dusting the souffle with wheat flour. This kind of error could ruin a vacation and even kill someone. I spoke to a chef while making my list of safe foods. I did what I was supposed to do, not just guess that a souffle is safe. There should be a master guide listing every ingredient and how things are to be cooked safely. There should be an ingredient book that lists every ingredient used. When the recipe is changed a copy of the change should be put in the recipe book.

DISAPPOINTMENT – Currently any guest asking about ingredients that have allergies, medical, or sensitivity must have a manager or chef come out to speak with the guest. For Disney run booths this can be a few minutes or up to 15 minutes. 10 booths can mean an hour or more just sitting around waiting for someone to tell you that you cannot eat there. If someone does not have my list they might end up going to Hawai’i, Japan, China, and Terra to be told then cannot eat there and have sat around waiting for nothing to eat. France, China, and Japan are harder to understand and are not run by Disney.

TIPS: Recipes change, cross contamination happens, and staff at times does not know basic kitchen safety. Do not assume that a drink or dish is made with the same ingredients as grandmother, chefs, and cookbooks use. The Belgium booth uses beer in their batter and wine in the compote topping. Some booths use margarine or butter blends so you have to check those for soy and other oils being used. Canada’s cheese soup has chicken stock, bacon, flour, worchester sauce (fish and citrus), and beer so not vegetarian, not Halal, and worst is the worchester sauce which may have soy, wheat, and fish in it depending on the company. Cookbooks are designed for home cooks who are cooking for the family of a dinner party. Festival dishes are designed to be made for thousands of guests which may change how a recipe in a cookbook is used at the Festival.

UPDATES: I went back again to speak with chefs. Here is the list of updates so far that I have, some good and some downright scary. Florida – The beef slider without a bun is soy and gluten free but there is risk of cross contamination both on stage and backstage in the kitchen. Hawai’i – The poke salad is made backstage so it is contaminated by soy and wheat. Ireland – The soy and wheat are in the bread of the cheese plate but they can hold the bread. New Zealand – The mussels are soy and gluten free BUT the garlic butter is a soy blend and there is wheat bread topping. Hold butter for soy free or hold bread for gluten free. Refreshment Port – The fritters have both soy and wheat in them. Hops & Barley – The lobster tail is gluten free BUT they use soy blend butter so not soy free. CHEESE – SCARY NEWS is that they use a spray that contains soy on the almond crusted souffle and dust it with wheat flour. I spoke with two chefs and the second one was way more savvy. The cheese plate is soy free and gluten free if they hold the bread. Germany – The bread is made offsite and comes with a warning about soy.

DELIGHTS – SCOTLAND, the cauliflower is just like a mashed tater dish in texture tiny bits of cooked tender cauliflower. The salmon comes with malt vinegar which helps cut the fish instead of lemon. IT WAS AWESOME, flaky, moist, with skin on, you can smell it being cooked fresh right there in the booth.  It is awesome perfect salmon that rivals the best restaurants in America. Cannot forget the cute sprig of microgreen topping the cauliflower. The best part is that it is soy free and gluten free.

GREECE, The Griddled Greek Cheese is a half inch slab of cheese that is mild enough not to overpower the dish. The pistachios an obvious welcome crunch and there are sweet notes of honey that accompany the cheese in a positive way. To have it soy free and gluten free you have to hold the pita bread. I folded mine over and ate it with glee. The Chicken Gyro without pita with tzatziki sauce has grilled chicken seared with a nice brown crust. It is a good flavored meat topped with lettuce, tomatoes and raw red onion pieces. The tzatziki sauce had hints of cucumber and was rather light, very close to real tzatzik. Major problem was the raw red onion made me stop and I am a raw onion eater. VERY strong.

ARGENTINA, Beef Skewers with a boniato puree. The chimichurri sauce has soy so I skipped it. I ate three of them because tho boniato puree was so much liked whipped potatoes and the beef was lightly spiced, flavorful, and tender. I am going there regularly since I did not have a reaction and it is as close to comfort food as one can get. I think Scotland and Argentina are awesome and worth repeating.

RFRESHMENT PORT – the orange Dole whip was a nice treat.

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 28

Soy and Gluten Free Booths at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival

Laurie gives us the low down on the Soy and Gluten Free Booths at this year’s Food and Wine Festival.  Thanks for sharing with us Laurie.

 

This is a guide to what may be available for guests who cannot have soy, gluten/wheat, or both of those items. I asked the chefs or managers what was soy free then what was gluten free then what can they change to make items allergy free.  BE SURE YOU CHECK THE FOOD ITEMS.  I had some reactions to a few things and I am writing up an update!

Some items are made backstage thus they cannot be changed. Again this is a guide and you must speak with the chefs at the booths. Some booths require you going to another location to ask questions. Some guests avoid any cross contamination while others like me can tolerate cross contamination, items made on the same line, or even the item. It takes detective work as I am able to have soy lecithin so the NO SOY may not apply to me. The NO DAIRY may not apply to someone with lactose intolerance. Have fun and use this guide to help plan your trip.

ARGENTINA – Beef Skewer is gluten free, to be soy free you have to hold the sauce.

AUSTRALIA – both the lamb and shrimp are gluten free and soy free.

BELGIUM – nothing is soy free or gluten free, the items offered are on waffles. The chef said not soy free but the cook in me wonders why so ask at this booth to make sure there are no soy free items.

BRAZIL – the pork belly and the scallop are gluten free, the brine on the pork belly has soy and cannot be held.

CANADA – The trout and the beef are soy free and gluten free, the soup is soy free but not gluten free.

CHINA – Major language barrier where I do not feel comfortable with the information given. Everything has soy and gluten according to staff.

DESSERTS & CHAMPAGNE – everything has soy and gluten in it but soy free persons should double check with a chef.

FRANCE – Major language barrier and staff could not grasp that I needed a chef for allergies. I went across the path to Les Chefs de France where a pastry chef and main chef came out eventually. The Boeuf Bourgnion (braised short ribs) is made back stage so they are not gluten free or soy free. The escargot (snails) are assembled back stage so the bread bowl cannot be held but they are soy free. The creme brulee is gluten free but not soy free.

GERMANY – the bratwust is soy free, hold the bun to make it gluten free. Wether’s soft caramels use soy lecithin and glucose syrup (from corn or wheat). The apple ones have milk, soy, and wheat warning on the website.

GREECE – griddled cheese is soy free and gluten free, the chicken gyro is soy free but there is a risk of cross contamination, the chicken gyro can be served without the pita to be gluten free. The have yogurt which is not made by Greeks and is something you buy in the store. Some of these yogurts use carmine ground up for their color.

HAWAI’I – nothing is soy or gluten free.  The poke salad is made ahead of time thus exposed to soy and gluten.

IRELAND – the warm chocolate pudding is gluten free but the leavening agent has soy. The cheese on the cheese plate is gluten free and soy free but the chutney may have soy. The bread used on the cheese plate has both soy and gluten.   They can hold the bread so that it is soy and gluten free.

ITALY – Everything has gluten but the staff says everything is soy free. CHECK if you are soy free as this is another outside run booth where staff often has no clue on what is in the food. Disney run booths use Disney cooks from their restaurants who seem to be better trained.

JAPAN – very nice persons with a major language barrier. They use fake crab that uses eggs. The sushi rice must have had 20 ingredients thus not authentic. Everything has soy and gluten in it. I was lucky enough to see their ingredient book to verify the fake crab and ingredients.

MEXICO – Go across the path to the restaurant and get a chef. He will bring over corn tortillas. There is a communication barrier here. The chef said everything has gluten and soy. If you want Mexican food it is better to eat at the restaurant. This is nothing like the taquerias of Los Angeles.

MOROCCO – nothing is soy free or gluten free, the meat may have dairy in it. At the Garden Festival this year I had the chicken leg confit and the pita sandwich with no bread. The food was great so one might have to try on another day to see if things are straightened out.

NEW ZEALAND – The venison sausage is gluten and soy free.  Mussels are soy free if you hold the garlic butter as it is a blend with soy oil, also hold the bread crumbs, is made on stage.

POLAND – nothing is soy free or gluten free. They have a bread dish and the kielbasa dish with a pierogie. I am going back to check on this one to see if there is away around the limitations.

SCOTLAND – Haggis is soy free not gluten free, bonoffee is not soy or gluten free, Salmon is gluten and soy free but the side may have cross contamination of gluten.  The salmon comes with malt vinegar that you can ask to hold. AWESOME FISH DISH!!

SINGAPORE – the lemongrass chicken curry and rice are soy and gluten free, the mahi mahi comes with a sauce that has soy and gluten.

SOUTH KOREA – the only gluten and soy free item is a hot dog with kimchi/Korean spices.  The hot dog is soy and gluten free only if you hold the bun and slaw, just the hot dog is safe.

TERRA – NOTHING soy or gluten free.

The following booths are ones I have not verified enough information or feel the information was wrong.

AFRICA – my notes are missing but the beef is supposed to be gluten free but not the spinach cheese pocket.

CHEESE – the almond crusted blue cheese souffle is soy and gluten free. I need to check on the cheese plate as it should be gluten free if they can hold he bread.

FLORIDA – shrimp ceviche is gluten and soy free.  The soy and gluten is in the slider bun so hold that for soy and gluten free however there is risk of cross contamination both on and back stage.

HOPS & BARLEY – the lobster tail is soy and gluten free, according to the chef everything else has soy and gluten, need to verify this information.

REFRESHMENT PORT – the Dole whip is vegan, dairy, soy, and gluten free. They use sweet and sour sauce on some dishes so those are not SF or GF.  The fritters have soy and gluten in the batter so check with them but the manager was sure about the soy.

Have you eaten at any of these?  Did you try anything with soy or gluten free?  Give us your opinions or tell us if we missed something.

Sep 27

Tips for Those Who Just Do Not Want to Wear the MagicBands

  • Laurie is back with some tips for the MagicBands……..

    Tips for those who cannot/won’t wear MagicBands.  It is not true that the bands fit all guests comfortably. I put my MagicBand on the second to last set of notches then I put the band on a soda pop can. The band was loose enough to turn but still snug. If a guest has severe edema or is a powerlifter they may find that the bands do not fit.

    A concern for some parents is what to do if the child will not wear the band. The MagicBand works even if a guest is not wearing one. Guests can keep their MagicBands in their purse, pockets, or backpacks. I keep mine attached to the handle of my scooter because I tend to remove anything on my wrists. Parents can use clips to hold the MagicBands or attach the MagicBands to the stroller handle as these photos show. magic bandWhen I am without my scooter I put my MagicBand on my purse strap or tote bag strap. I was having dinner last night when the waiter took my MagicBand, tapped it and handed me a device to enter my security code. At the end of dinner, I settled the check and left without having to dig in my purse for my wallet to store my room key or credit card. It is hard for me to enter my hotel room while holding a room key but with the band I can slip it on my hand or toss it on the bed when I come into the room. The best thing about the MagicBand is that there are no identifying marks to indicate who you are, where you are staying, or how long you are staying. There is a security code that guests enter into the system when they register if they want to charge things to their room.

Sep 15

My Day at Animal Kingdom on It’s 15th Anniversary

It is my pleasure to have Laurie back guest blogging with me again!  She was able to attend the Animal Kingdom’s 15th Anniversary and here is what she had to say……

I took a public bus to TTC then the Disney bus to Animal Kingdom.  A major storm stretching from Tampa to Orlando had been pouring rain off and on since the night before.  Arriving after 1pm I missed the opening festivities.  Inside the park I was given an anniversary button and map.  I headed straight for Tusker House hoping to get a dinner reservation. The previous night’s rain had left the park with a fresh clean look.  I was shocked that they were going to take me immediately but being a singleton makes it a lot easier for me to get into restaurants.  There is Dawa Bar for drinks including nonalcoholic ones.  The restaurant and bar are heavily detailed with African themed decorations and architecture.  The food stations give the feeling that one is in the court yard of a hotel in Northern Africa with rooms set aside for dining.  One can spend an hour or more just looking at those artifacts like masks, artwork, woodwork, artifacts, and barrels of fake food that make this place unique.  Yes, those are fake peanuts, fruits and vegetables in the barrels and baskets around the food service area.

Tusker House1ATusker House is a family restaurant with comfortable wood seats and tables which made it easy to go back to the buffet. I like that they have wide aisles that make it easy to get around in a wheelchair.  The lighting is just a tad dim in places but most guests should not have a problem with the lighting.   Talk to your hostess if you have issues with lighting or need a bit of privacy due to difficulties with noisy or crowded areas.  During character meals the characters dance around the room as the kids follow along while shaking percussion instruments.  Even at dinner this is a family restaurant so expect running kids and families chattering as they eat with gusto.  The chef walked me through the buffet because I cannot have soy or gluten/wheat and makes special dishes in the kitchen if that is needed. They will bring out fresh from the kitchen dishes if one is concerned with cross contamintation.

I started off with a dessert which was a dark chocolate flower filled with strawberry mousse and the cutest tiny striped swizzle stick. It was good but it did not knock me over with anything but berry mousse and heavy dark chocolate.Tusker House pic  I decided to try side dishes next.  I loved the delicious saffron infused root vegetable medley of cabbage, squash and unidentified root vegetables.  Most of the veggies were cooked to the proper firmness but some were less cooked and crunchier.  The mashed potatoes were flavorful with bits of skins but I really loved the roasted potatoes. The basmati white rice with toasted almonds, cardamon, cinnamon and lemon is a light dish that would be good for light eaters. The curried rice with golden raisins is served cold with a good curry flavor that is not overpowering.  The yellow rice was a gentle dish with the soft red pepper then POW you are hit with raw green bell peppers like shooting off fireworks in the library.  There also was a corn and carrot medley dish that was properly cooked but the flavorful green bean dish was sauteed into submission.  The delicious sweet plantains have a fruity banana flavor even if they look more like roast potatoes. Apple and endive salad with blue cheese crumbles, spiced walnuts, and apple vinaigrette with Ocean Spray Craisins BRAND dried cranberries was an interesting salad with lots of crunch but I did not see the walnuts and cheese.

I turned to the meat dishes where I found fresh salmon  with salsa-like tomato chunks, which, in my opinion, the fish did not need.  The spit roasted chicken had skin on it that was full of herbs and wonderful flavors that I wish I had started off with.  The turkey and roast beef are carved for you thick or thin with bowls of honey mustard and horseradish sauce available.  The horseradish sauce is just dairy and horseradish root which is a sign that they are allergy friendly as some places use Worcestershire sauce.  I loved the honey mustard sauce because it has stone ground mustard for a nice kick.   The turkey is moist and tender with deep flavor.  The beef was well done on the edge and rare in the middle with some gristle but that was the best part.  The pair of meats had me sucking for more flavor, one of the best meats I have had in a while.   They have a sandwich fixings station with sliced turkey, sliced ham cold cuts, and Swiss and American cheesses that are equal in taste and quality to Boarshead.   I tried the excellent stone ground mustard and ate 3 crunchy dill pickle wedges but I skipped the mixed field greens with vinegar and oil dressing and the side of shredded cheese as there was no more room on my plate.

ChutneyMy final stop was at the spicy South African preserves station for chutney.  The mango chutney chutney was sweet and fruity then POW the kick hits you.  The mango chutney would be great with white meat such as turkey or pork. Next was the apricot chutney called blatjang that was a sweet medley of raisins and apricots. The final one was the mixed fruit churtney that was sweet with at least 5 dried fruits with something like bits of nuts but not sure what it was.  This has to be my favorite part of eating here as I loved adding the churney to white meat but it could go well with vanilla ice cream.

The friendly staff will keep your drink glasses filled, carry trays if you need help, open doors, and find you a spot that best suits your limitations.  The staff took time to explain what was on the buffet as I am not familiar with African food.   I highly recommend this restaurant to families, large groups, disabled guests, and those with dietary limitations.  They have a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes and they can handle most dietary restrictions such as religious, medical, and allergies/sensitivities.  I find them a bit short on the bread and desserts available to me as a gluten and soy free guest.  The only soy free option was oil and vinegar but I think the honey mustard that comes with the meat would do fine as a salad dressing.

I left on my fully charged scooter for Lion King because it was so late in the day and rain was coming.  The place was not very crowded considering it was the 15th anniversary.  I just missed the show but was given permission to enter.  I declined as I cannot leave my mobility scooter in the rain.  I headed over to the kiosk for an over flowing cup of vanilla-chocolate swirl ice cream.    I sat aside waiting for the next show when I got hit with a deluge of melting ice cream.  The nice lady from the kiosk was outside cleaning up so she handed me a wad of napkins.  I was happy as a kid licking as fast as I could.  Finally I hid next to the bathroom until show time was near at hand because a rain storm hit hard.

I love the winding drive down the queues through trees.  The doors to the theater was open which made me happy as it was still drizzling and storm clouds were surrounding the park.  I was put on the left side of the giraffe section.  I cannot wait to see the new theater as it is hard for guests in the first section of the bleachers to see over guests in scooters.  Disabled guests sit on bench seats on flat ground in front of the bleacher seats.  This means three rows of guests must see through the people sitting in front of them.  Sometimes guests in those seats are stuck behind a scooter or wheelchair and other times behind a tall person.  Being in a scooter means I get to sit on the side with a good view.  I got a lot of exercise from clapping, swaying, singing, and bouncing to the lively music.  I had an awesome time and one of the tumble monkeys shook my hand.

I left the park as fast as I could because of the high winds and and incoming rain.  Overall it was an awesome 15th Anniversary celebration even if I missed all the festivities.  What more could I want besides good food, ice cream, talking with guests, nice cast members, and the Lion King show.  I have many happy memories from that day.  IT WAS AWESOME!

My name is Laurie Smith and I have lived in Kissimmee, FL since March, 2012, so that I could learn about WDW and help people enjoy WDW.  I love to watch cooking shows so I can learn about food.  I love exploring new places, eating out, cooking, helping people, and playing online games.  I have been going to Disney parks since 1960.

Sep 15

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, is it worth it?

I had the opportunity to go to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party on our last trip.  So was it worth the extra ticket cost?  In my opinion, YES!  It was fabulous.  I know it is expensive but if you can afford to do it, then do it.  Some ways that you can help with cost.  Instead of buying a ticket for that day, let this be your ticket.  With MVMCP tickets you can get into the park as early as 4:00 p.m.  Go to Downtown Disney for the day and then head to the party at 4:00.  Go visit some of the resorts and explore or have a pool day and then head over.  There are lots of things to do before you go to the party.

We were waiting on our room to get ready over at the Polynesian so we didn’t head to the party until about 4:45.  It was still crowded from all the people that were already at the parks.  We had dinner reservations at Be Our Guest so we just headed that direction and enjoyed hanging out in Fantasyland until our dinner.

During the party they have special t-shirts and pins just for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  Of course if you miss getting yours you can bring your ticket back to the park the next day and show it to a cast member at one of the shops that was selling the merchandise and you can get it then.  However, you may be out of luck on some of the sizes or out of luck on the pins (I know this because I missed getting it the night before and they had sold out of the adult shirts and were out of a few of the pins).

We watched the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade at 8:15 p.m. (that one was VERY crowded so we watched it again at 10:30 p.m.).  The second time we got to see EVERY bit of it.  Wonderful parade – not to be missed.

We also watched Holiday Wishes.  Those fireworks were unbelieveable!  I took so many pictures of the fireworks that night.  I kept thinking this is the last one and each time it was better.  Honestly by the time we watched the 2 parades and the fireworks, we didn’t have much time left to find characters and ride rides.

But let me tell you, after 10-10:30 p.m. the crowds were so thin in the park you pretty much had the park to yourselves.  It was FANTASTIC!  All of the rides we did ride, we pretty much walked right on.  I think at the most it was a 10 minute wait.  We closed the park down that night.  We had about 15 minutes left before the park closed and our son wanted to ride Peter Pan.  So what did we do?  We took off RUNNING (yes, I said running – when can you run in Magic Kingdom?) to get to Peter Pan before they closed.  We did make it – and walked right on.  After that we slowly made our way to Main Street and took some AWESOME pictures of Cinderella’s Castle with no one in the picture but us!

After we finished with our picture taking we headed over to Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant (they had were open until 12:30 a.m.) to get our FREE hot chocolate and cookies.  We leisurely walked down Main Street and ate our cookies and drank the hot chocolate and then headed out to call it a night.

The only thing that would have made it better was a listing of what characters were where.  Thankfully we were able to find a cast member that could tell us some of that information.  The main ones we wanted to meet were the Seven Dwarves since they are not usually out.  This night was by far the best night of our whole trip.  We had a great week at Disney but to be able to spend that much time in the Magic Kingdom with SO LITTLE of a crowd, it was so worth it to me and I would do it again!

Aug 31

Things to Do at Disney World That You Might Not Know About

If you haven’t had the time to really research about Disney, you might not know about some of the fun things to do.  So I thought I would suggest some.  If your favorite thing to do isn’t on here be sure to list it below.

  1. Pirates and Pal Fireworks Cruise
  2. Dessert party and special seating for the fireworks in the Magic Kingdom called Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party
  3. Specialty Cruises
  4. Pirates League
  5. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
  6. Grab a late night dessert at a Signature restaurant (time it right and you can watch the fireworks at some of them)
  7. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party during the early fall right up to Halloween
  8. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party early November until right before Christmas
  9. Enjoy a movie outdoors at the resorts
  10. Campfire and singalong at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
  11. Grab a fishing pole and fish over at Port Orleans Resort
  12. Take a carriage ride at Fort Wilderness (sleigh rides during the Christmas season)
  13. Go to Downtown Disney – this is free, no park ticket needed
  14. Go on a hidden Mickey hunt – this is free and I know it is at the Wilderness Lodge and I am sure it is at other resorts too.  Ask at the front desk of the resort

These are just a few of the things you can do.  Did your favorite make the list?  If not, please feel free to add it here.

 

 

Aug 29

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – Tips and Tricks

It is my pleasure to welcome Megan!  She has some awesome tips and tid-bits for navigating the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  I hope you find her suggestions and tricks as helpful as I did!  Thanks Megan.

 

Tips and Tid-Bits for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party:

Let me preface this by saying, we are generally cheap when it comes to “frivolous” extras at Disney.  We don’t do Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, we don’t buy the obligatory princess dresses, we don’t even buy the awesome Disney balloons but we do splurge on MNSSHP.  It is absolutely worth the extra money, BUT it is more worth it if you do it correctly, fully informed, and with a plan for the night.

Before you leave home:

Weeks, even months, in advance decide on what costume you will wear.  I am not a person who likes dressing up but dressing in costume for MNSSHP makes the total experience.  The characters’ and cast members’ interaction with you (with your costume) is partly what makes the night so much fun.  Play along with them!  Last year we saw a wide array from people completely clueless and not dressed up at all to amazingly elaborate costumes ranging from classic cereal box characters to Harry Potter.  There was a guest hanging out at the Villain Mix and Mingle dressed as Captain Hook and his costume was far more believable and detailed than Disney’s Captain Hook who was on stage.  Be sure to think practically about function when deciding on a costume.  Photo0139FourBySixIt is still hot in September and October and you are going to be walking miles through Magic Kingdom and riding rides. You don’t want pieces of your costume flying off on Space Mountain or to have to end the night early from wearing non-practical shoes. If you enjoy dressing up then this is your opportunity to go all out and, on the other hand, if costumes are not really your thing then think of fun ways to create a simple clever costume (such as white t-shirt made to look like a Fast Pass using fabric markers.) You can go as elaborate as you like or as simple as you but bottom line is DRESS UP.  You will be glad you did.

Buying tickets:

*NOTE: This does not work for October parties as the closer to Halloween it is, the more likely parties are to sell-out.

I am completely a Type A planner, but we do not buy our MNSSHP tickets before we leave home.  Why?  Because the party goes on as planned no matter the weather.  Even if it is pouring rain, the party will go on, but I do not want to pay $200+ to be walking around soaking wet in a costume.  The headless horseman does not ride on rainy or wet nights either.  Here’s how we work the system so-to-speak: you can still buy party tickets at the advance rate up until the day before the party so we check the weather the day before the party and buy tickets online from our resort room (or you can do this at the concierge desk or MK’s City Hall.)  This year we are at Disney for a week, which means we are there for 2 parties (Tuesday and Friday.)  We will check the weather Monday night and if it looks good for Tuesday night then Tuesday is the party we will attend.  Weekday parties always are less crowded. If the weather for Tuesday looks iffy, then we still have the option of attending the Friday party instead.

During the party tips and recommendations:

First partygoers get in at 4pm. The schedule and ticket says the party starts at 7pm but they let ticket holders in at 4pm. You want to eat supper very early so as not to spend precious party time eating later. Last year we ate at Cosmic Rays in Tomorrowland at 5pm and it wasn’t busy yet but when we walked by later the line was out the door. Not all restaurants are open during the party so the few places which are open get packed quickly.  If you are going to make it to midnight, you need to prioritize eating first before the party officially starts.

If meeting the Seven Dwarfs or Jack & Sally is a priority for you then immediately after eating, you need to get in line for them.  The line for the Seven Dwarfs often starts forming as early as 5:30pm while the characters don’t come out until 7pm.  Unless seeing the Dwarfs or Jack & Sally is on your Disney bucket list then I would suggest skipping them or else be prepared to spend a large chunk of time in line.

I recommend you see the first Villain Mix and Mingle (in front of castle) at 7:45pm then get out of there before the first parade starts.  SKIP the first Boo to You parade at 8:15pm–the vast majority will go to this parade, but you want to be riding rides or meeting characters while everyone else is watching the first parade.  You want to go back to the castle by 9:15ish to watch Hallowishes fireworks.  After the fireworks are over, STAY TO THE LEFT (you will be swimming up stream as everyone else heads to the exit) and head to Frontierland to watch the second parade at 10:30pm.  The parade starts in Frontierland so as soon as the parade passes you can be among the first people back on rides while everyone else on Main Street is still waiting on the parade.

You’ll thank me later:

My #1 most important tip is do NOT waste time trick or treating!  Wait until after 11pm to go to candy stops and they will fill your bag full.  Cast members were begging us to take extra bags with us. One CM let me stand at his barrel and pick out all the Snickers I wanted and he gave our daughter every Reese’s PB cup he could find. The candy line next to Peter Pan’s Flight about 8pm is my version of Hades on Earth.  Because you’re smart and know these tips, you can walk by waving at all the silly people standing in line for candy knowing you will get bags full later.  All the people with screaming small children stand in lines for 30+minutes JUST to get candy early in the party, but if you wait until the end of the party the CMs are trying to give away everything they have.  After 10:30pm the park is nearly deserted to the point that we were feeling a little like the Kingdom Keepers!  The party ends at 12am, but, a la Cinderella, you do not have to be out of the park by midnight.  You can be standing in line for a ride at 11:59pm and they will let you ride and likewise if you are standing in line to meet a character. They do not rush you out of the park at midnight on the dot so take advantage of every minute of party time you have—you paid for it!  Get your money’s worth.  Plus it is really fun and makes for great photo ops to be walking down an empty Main Street.

There is so much more I could go into such as Photo Pass opportunities (Haunted Mansion has a must-do photo) during the party and the Dance Parties (ugh we skip these!) but hopefully this has given you a good overview of MNSSHP so that you can make the most of your time at this fantastic special event.

Everyone was seething with jealously when she went on break and stopped to take a quick photo with our girls.  Talk about once-in-a-lifetime photo!

IMG_6374

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My name is Megan and I  am blessed with 1 husband, 2 daughters (11 and 7) and 3 dogs.  I grew up going to Disney and love sharing tips and tricks with friends and family so they too can have the most magical Disney experience possible.  Along with going to MNSSHP again this fall, l am excited about experiencing the International Food & Wine Festival for the first time this year.

Jul 30

Disney Can Bring Even Strangers Together

Alyssa is back to share about how her son met a stranger and they had Disney in common…..

Taking a small break from food to tell you about our very nice wait time for a flight.
So today we are at the airport getting to go to CA to visit family & my son first sees Disney bags! He really got excited about them.bags He then asked me if he could go throw away his trash so I said yes. So he does and on his way back he, having no qualms about anything, walks up to the lady with the Disney bags who is sitting across from us and asks her “Did you go to Disneyland or Walt Disney World?”
Well folks my son has crossed over officially to the Disney side.  My shock aside, the nice woman turned to my son and politely told him she and her family just came back from Walt Disney World.  He then asked her “Did you have a good time? How did you book your trip, my mom writes for a Disney blog you should read it”. Yes, my face was bright red and my mouth wide open :O  But my goodness, if that woman didn’t look him in the eye and say “We had a lovely time, we used a vacation planer, that is very nice, is she good at it? If she is, you can give me the site” so for next thirty minutes this lovely lady talked to my son all about Disney until our flight came in.
So what I am getting at here is, have you, or someone you know ever made contact with a stranger over your love of Disney?
And what is it about Disney that we love so much we feel comfortable enough to walk up and talk to strangers?  I have made many friends through Disney, as has our son. On our last trip to WDW he made a few friends in the park and he still keeps in touch with them. What about you?
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”
 ~ J.M. Berrie, Peter Pan
My Name is Alyssa, I am a mother of a 7 year old boy & the wife of a man who proudly serves the US in it’s Army.  I am from CA the home of “The Happiest Place On Earth”.  My first Disney trip was when my mom was six months pregnant with me.  And from then on once to twice a year for 27 years we have made the long trek to Disneyland or even Walt Disney World.  I am a Disney addict, my whole family are Disney addicts : ) We live, breath, bleed Disney : )  I love doing crafts of all kinds, & teaching our son through Disney.

Jul 25

Walt Disney World Food! Part 2

Alyssa is back with Part 2 of her Walt Disney World Food.  If you missed Part 1 be sure to check it out Disney Food – ‘Ohana.
So after we left ‘Ohana we went to our hotel & passed out.
The next day for dinner we went to Raglan Road also known as the BEST FOOD EVER!!! 1If I were to rate this place from a 1-10 I would give it a 30+. Raglan Road is based off of a song written by poet Patrick Kavanagh sung by Irish singer Luke Kelly.  Click here to hear him sing. It is an Irish owned and operated Pub & Restaurant. It has been operating in Disney since 2005. All the fixtures and fittings have come in from Ireland and assembled in Disney. The Chef Partner is Irish Celebrity Chef Kevin Dundon of Ireland. The food, the atmosphere, the people, everything about this wonderful restaurant was amazing!
3Any who we got there around 8 pm and waited about five minutes to be seated. We had amazing seats close to the stage where they were playing live music. They had traditional Irish dancing! It was all such a wonderful experience to be had by all. It was our son’s birthday week so he asked the band to play one of his favorite Irish songs and they did just for him, that just added to our night. The young ladies who where the dancers had the little old ladies at the table next to us dancing, pulling them up out of their seats and having them do an Irish jig! It was truly cute!
My husband started his evening with a Flight of beer Guinness, Smithwicks, Kilkenny, Magners, Cider, Carlsberg.  According to him, all were pretty good.
6
Now, as for our food my husband had ordered their Mighty Mixed Grill – Lamb chop, Guinness banger, sirloin steak, black pudding, chicken drumstick & bacon all on a lovely bed of mash potatoes.
7
I ordered the It’s not Bleedin’ Chowder! – It’s the freshest thick cuts of seafood & potatoes in a white wine infused cream broth. It is nothing but thick yummy goodness!
Our son ordered Macaroni Cheese-
Macaroni pasta with Dubliner cheese with a side of fruit. His Mac & Cheese was so rich & creamy & made with real cheese.
For dessert:
9Our son got the Strawberry Delight– Vanilla ice cream with pavlova, cream. Fruit coulis and fresh strawberries.   (Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert that has a crisp and crunchy outer shell, and a soft, moist marshmallow-like center.)
10
My husband ordered Dundon’s Delight-
Raspberry pavlova with vanilla pod ice cream and raspberry sauce.
And I got what is now my all time favorite! Ger’s Bread & Butter Pudding it is amazing! Deliciously light & fluffy, with delightful dipping sauces. I was lucky enough to try this dish and out of all our trip I never came across anything like it nor anything as good. All so I have been talking to a wonderful lady who works at Raglan Road and she 11was kind enough to give me the recipe for this amazing dish.  It is posted below as well as the Raglan Road site where you can find out more about the restaurant. So Raglan Road is a must if you are looking for good people and great food. I would recommend calling ahead to find out when they have live music and/or dancing and make your reservations soon as possible this lovely place packs quickly.
 
Here are the lyrics that inspired Raglan Road the restaurant.
On Raglan Road of an autumn day I saw her first and knew that her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue; I saw the danger, and I passed along the enchanted way, and I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.
On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion’s pledge, The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay -
Oh I loved too much and by such by such is happiness thrown away.
I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign That’s known To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone And word and tint without stint for I gave her poems to say. With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May
On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow that I had loved not as I should a creature made of clay -
When the angel woos the clay he’d lose his wings at the dawn of day.
 
Ger’s Bread & Butter Pudding 
1 loaf               Pullman or Texas toast
1 lb                  Kerry gold butter softened
1 lb                  Sugar
1 qt                  Crème anglaise (see below)
1 cup               Raisins soaked in Irish mist or water
  • Combine the sugar and butter, spread evenly on the bread slices to make sandwiches, stack together and cut off the crust.
  • Cut the sandwiches in ½ on an angle (from corner to corner)
  • Butter the inside of 8 oven proof cups or preferred baking dish. One by one dip the “sandwiches” in the anglaise and place in the baking dish, layer the bread and a sprinkling of soaked raisins as you go until done
  • Bake covered in a Bain Marie at 375 degrees for 35 minutes until it rises a bit. Remove the cover and bake an extra 10 minutes until slightly brown.
  • Carefully remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly serve warm or at room temperature with anglaise and caramel sauce
Sauce Anglaise
6 each              Egg yolks
2 cups              Sugar
1 each              vanilla bean split or a teaspoon vanilla extract
1 qt                  Heavy cream
  • Heat up the cream and the vanilla bean on the stove until it almost starts to boil. Meanwhile combine the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk well.
  • When the cream reaches the almost boiling point turn off and remove the pot from the flame. Temper the yolks, by ladling a small amount of cream to the bowl and mixing well. Then add the yolk sugar mixture to the cream, whisk well so that it does not curdle. Place over a low flame for 2 minutes whisking until it starts to thicken. Strain and allow cooling to room temperature.
Caramel sauce
½ lb                 Bitter, chilled
½ lb                 Brown sugar
1 cup               Heavy cream

Combine the sugar and butter in pot and cook over a medium high flame. Whisk well to combine, when sugar is melted and it starts to boil turn off the stove, remove from the flame and whisk in the cream to combine. Allow to cool to room temperature. 

My Name is Alyssa, I am a mother of a 7 year old boy & the wife of a man who proudly serves the US in it’s Army.  I am from CA the home of “The Happiest Place On Earth”.  My first Disney trip was when my mom was six months pregnant with me.  And from then on once to twice a year for 27 years we have made the long trek to Disneyland or even Walt Disney World.  I am a Disney addict, my whole family are Disney addicts : ) We live, breath, bleed Disney : )  I love doing crafts of all kinds, & teaching our son through Disney.

Jul 19

Life with Grumpy

It my pleasure to welcome another regular writer here.  Shellie will be writing for “Mouse”cation on a regular basis too.  I can so relate to her Grumpy!  I have one myself.  See if you have one in your family.  This fits my husband to a tee.

Welcome to my first blog post.  I decided to give this whole blog thing a try for a couple reasons.  The two biggest are because I love to write and I love Disney.  I do.  I love Disney a lot actually.  I grew up about an hour and a half away and was fortunate enough to visit fairly often.  Some of my best childhood memories are the trips to Disney, especially with my Nana.  She was the kind of person who would ride the teacups 14 times in a row because I asked her to, the kind of person who rode Thunder Mountain railroad for the first time ever with me because she was afraid I would fall out if I sat alone, the kind of person who would buy me ice cream on Main Street for breakfast.  She is the person who taught me to never grow up.  What better place than Disney World right?

Now, I want to pass on those same pixie dusted magical moments to my own family.  Except for one little thing.  I fell in love, with the greatest guy a girl could ask for, he’s awesome!   He’s just like Prince Charming, except maybe more adventurous like Aladdin, with a little bit of Tarzan’s ruggedness.  Practically perfect in every way, but one.  When it comes to Disney, he is exactly like Grumpy.  Grumpy hates Disney.   I was shocked!

Picture this: I am in the earliest planning stages of my oldest son’s first magical trip to Disney World.  I am also newly pregnant.  This means I am watching Wishes on You Tube and crying my eyes out thinking how the trip will be absolutely incredible.  I decide to let Grumpy in on my plan for one last little trip before I turn into a real life pumpkin with arms and legs.  He looks at me, kind of screws up his face and says, “Really, I don’t even like Disney World.  That’s really what you want to do?”.  Holy Cow!  After some begging and pleading and potentially quite a few hormone induced crying jags, he relents.  Yes!!!

I skip off and book our super fantastic vacation.  In my mind I am picturing my oldest meeting Mickey and Captain Jack for the first time, soaring high above Neverland on Peter Pan’s Flight and of course, watching Wishes and tearing up still.  (What is it with that little girl’s voice that makes me cry?!?)  I start planning our outfits, because looking cute in all my Disney pictures is important.  This took an unusual amount of effort since I would also be 6 months pregnant and wanted to look as not bloated as possible.  As I was making shirts for my son and me, Grumpy walked in the room.  “Daddy, where are your shirts?” my son asks.  Grumpy replies, “I don’t have any matching shirts.”  To which my son replied with one of the wisest things a 3 and a half year old boy could ever say, “Its ok Daddy, you just have to believe.”  Not only did he guilt Grumpy into matching shirts, but he gave me a great idea.  I am going to get Grumpy to believe in Disney, in all the magic and fun only a Disney vacation can bring.  It was my mission.  So, for all of you out there with a Grumpy in your life, here’s some of the things that won him over.  Mostly.  Well, not completely, but he at least likes Disney now.  This mission is on going, but considering we have gone back every year since, I chalk this one up as a victory.

Grumpy loves all inclusives.  He loves the idea of going on vacation and having it all paid for.  He really likes eating and snacking when he wants and not feeling like he’s being nickel and dimed.  He loved the dining plan.  More than once he mentioned how it was like our last all inclusive vacation, just give them your card and eat.  And there is a lot of food to choose from.  And it’s really good.  Grumpy didn’t know there was anything other than hotdogs and popcorn at Disney World.   He was getting happier by the minute!!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrumpy enjoying a Lapu Lapu at the Poly!

Grumpy loves relaxing.   His ideal vacation would be spent in a hammock, on a quiet beach, sipping an adult beverage.  So I carefully chose to stay at Caribbean Beach resort where he could have exactly that.  Every afternoon we took a nice long break at the resort.  My son napped, I soaked up some air conditioning in the room and my husband found a quiet hammock and a cold beverage.  Who would have thought that such an oasis existed just minutes from the magic Kingdom?!?  This Disney vacation thing is pretty cool right?

Grumpy hates crowds.  Since my son was only in preschool, we decided to travel in early May.  The parks were truly almost empty.  Plus, being the Disney fanatic that I am, I did a little research on the best days to visit each park.  Short lines equal an even happier Grumpy.  Now we were making progress!

Grumpy wants to see value.  He wants top notch customer service.  He wants to be catered to when he is on vacation.  He wants people to go out of their way to help make his day a little bit better.  Sounds an awful lot like every Disney cast member I have ever encountered.  He loved that we didn’t have to schlep suitcases because the Magical Express delivered them.  He loved that mousekeeping always left the room extra clean and even changed their cleaning schedule around my son’s naps.  He loved that folks would kneel down to my son’s level when they spoke to him.  The resort and the parks were always clean.  Grumpy was coming around!

Disney is magic.  It just is.  And when you are a boy of three and a half and Peter Pan is your hero, Disney World is truly the happiest, most magical place in the entire known universe.  After watching Wishes from the Seven Seas Lagoon, the pirate from our ship walked off the dock with us and he gave my son his eye patch (a real pirate eye patch!) because he could tell he was going to be a “real pirate” someday.  Then my son met Peter Pan.  I will never forget how Peter spent what seemed like forever answering my son’s questions about his adventures with Captain Hook.  He showed Peter his new eye patch that proved he was ready to fly off to Neverland.  I thought my son would burst as he gave Grumpy an excited hug afterwards.  I remember Grumpy looking at me over the top of that little blonde head and whispering that this was a pretty cool moment that could only happen at Disney.  I just smiled and said “Grumpy, is that pixie dust in your beard?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmy little pirate with Peter

 Shellie earsBorn and raised in Tampa, Florida, Shellie grew up visiting Mickey.  She loves all things Disney, but especially Tinkerbell, Captain Jack and Cindarella’s stepsisters Drizella and Anastasia.  Shellie is almost as passionate about fitness as she is about Disney and is running the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2014.  She visits Disney World as often as Grumpy will let her.