Jul 15

Disney Food – ‘Ohana

Walt Disney World Food!
Back in February 2012 our family decided that we were going to go to Walt Disney World! What time of year we were not sure so we went to a travel service. As I am sitting there, talking to the travel agent about tickets she informs me that included with our Walt Disney World package we will be on the DDP, a DD WHAT? I put our room on hold & go on our merry way. Having no clue as to what this DDP thing is I get onto the Disney website & ask one of the live chat cast members who points me in the right direction. A DDP is short for Disney Dinging Plan. How it works, when you book your vacation you say what DDP you would like & you pay a set price, lets say $40 a day per person. DDP can save you a Minimum of 10% per person on dining at Disney. 
The DDP has five kinds of plans:
·      Magic Your Way Package Quick- Service Dinging
·      Magic Your Way Package Plus Dining
·      Magic Your Way Package Plus Deluxe Dining
·      Magic Your Way Premium Package Dining
·      Magic Your Way Platinum Package Dining
The food on these plans start at the Magic Your Way Quick-Service Dining that is 2 quick-service meals & trust me your meal is not cheap or small, 1 snack per person per night. You also get a mug you can refill at any quick-service restaurant & at your Disney Resort hotel. & The DDP ends at the
Magic Your Way Platinum Package Dining which you can click here Platinum Plan to see what it includes.
Now that we have discovered what the DDP is & that we have the Plus Dining package it’s time to make reservations! Sadly a lot of where we wanted to eat was booked but we got lucky on other places. We booked the following places:
‘Ohana
Raglan Road
50’s Primetime Cafe
Tony’s Town Square
Crystal Palace
1900 Park Fare
 So we finally get to the point of this blog! Walt Disney World Food! The first place we got to eat at was ‘Ohana located in the Polynesian & man it was yummy. Our dinner, which was a family all you can eat, came out in this order: 
1.   A large salad with a Honey Lemon dressing. It was green leafy goodness.  When eating, don’t fill up on the green, you will regret it! Ohana 1
2.  Hawaiian/Asian style wings, the wings were so juicy and the sauce they were covered in was finger licking good!  Pot-stickers, also so good a little tough on the edges but really good.  Mixed vegetables, all ways a good thing.  And low mien noodles, A little/lot oily but good I think I would have to put them in my two favorite appetizers for this meal.
3.  All meats for dinner were brought out on huge skewers: Grilled chicken w/Peanut Sauce, a little dry but the flavor was good.  Grilled Pork Chops w/ sweet and sour sauce, my husband is a pork snob and it blew him out of the water!  And then came the Steak, this steak was insanely good and was medium rare, perfect for everyone.
4.    And for the finale, the Pineapple/Coconut Bread Pudding…. it was epic! SOoo very Om nom, nom!
During our meal at ‘Ohana we got to see the firework show over the Magic Kingdom they turned down the lights & played the music to the firework show for everyone to hear. Ohana 4They also had the children get up and dance around the restaurant. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day at Walt Disney World!

A little bit about me:

 

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 01

“Mouse”cation’s Fan’s Top Five Favorite Snacks

I asked my fans on my “Mouse”cation’s Facebook page what their favorite snacks were and here is the list:

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1.  None other than the DOLE WHIP!

2.  Mickey Bar

3.  Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich

4.  Sweet Cream Pretzels

5.  These 3 tied – Caramel & Chocolate Krispy Treat, Popcorn and School Bread

Did your top snack make it?  If not, list it below.  Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Jun 18

A Trip to the Walt Disney Hometown Museum

 It is my pleasure to have Michelle guest blog for me again!  Thank you Michelle for sharing your visit to the Walt Disney Hometown Museum.                                        

     After several years of begging, I FINALLY convinced my husband (who is NOT a Disney nerd like me) to take a road trip to the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline, Missouri!  Early Friday morning we loaded up the car with kid and the necessary things needed for travel and hit the road for a 3 hour drive – Marceline here we come!!

     IMG_0151The museum is housed in an old Santa Fe Railroad Depot, fitting since the depot brought to mind so many memories of Marceline for Walt who came to Marceline from Chicago, by train, when he was just 5 years old.

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The museum is home to many personal letters written by Walt and family pictures

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     A piece of railroad track from Walt’s miniature Carolwood Pacific Railroad that ran through Walt’s backyard IMG_0162

     A  Midget Autopia car.  The attraction was opened in Disneyland in 1957 and in 1966 was dismantled and donated to the city of Marceline for use at the Walt Disney Park.

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     Mickey dolls that Walt gave to his parents on their 50th wedding anniversary.

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     And the best part?  I model of Disneyland!!! IMG_0211 IMG_0189 IMG_0197 IMG_0199

There is also a train viewing area to watch one of the many, many trains that come past the museum on a daily basis – we were told a train usually comes through about every 11 minutes and there’s sooo much more!!!!

     After finishing our tour of the museum, we then head a few blocks up the road to Main Street USA!    

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  You can certainly see where Walt was influenced to build Main Street USA in Disneyland……. I’d bet that back in the day, Main Street might have been the happening place, however now it is a lot of antique stores,IMG_0225 a café, The Uptown Movie Theaterand where there were 2 Disney movie premiers and some other small businesses.  For a Friday afternoon, the place was pretty quiet.

     By the time we finished our walk down Main Street USA, I had annoyed my husband and son with all my picture taking and it started to rain…… we headed back to the car and went to find the other Disney sites.  By the time we got to the Dreaming Tree it was pouring down rain and no one REALLY wanted to get out of the car – but of course I did!!  So I made the journey down the trail to see Walt’s tree and a barn (that was rebuilt in 2001) and of course snapped pictures all along the way!

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By the time I returned, I was soaked!!  However we had one last stop to make – The Disney Home!! 

It is a private residence and I believe the main portion of the home is original and it was added on to a few times over the years.  

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     My husband asked if it was worth the trip – I’m sure I looked at him like he had 2 heads!  Of course it was worth the trip!  It would be for any Disney enthusiast – despite all the reading……. And there’s A LOT of it!!  Oh, and the fact that we spent 7 hours in the car driving, never left the state and could’ve been halfway to Disney World had we went the other direction!!!  Plus, I got my Disney fix AND got a new t-shirt!  It was a good day!

My name is Michelle and I eat, sleep and breathe Disney!!  I am a stay at home mom of one very special boy!  In my free time I love to scrapbook our past Disney vacations, plan our upcoming visits and also help friends plan their Disney adventures!!!

Jun 15

“Mouse”cation Fan’s Top 10 Restaurants at Disney World

I asked what my Facebook Fans favorite restaurants are at Walt Disney World and this is what I got:

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1.  ‘Ohana

2.  Liberty Tree

3.  Le Cellier

4.  Boma

5.  Via Napoli

6. Sanaa

7.  Chef Mickey’s

8.  50’s Prime Time

9.  Be Our Guest

10.  Too many tied for this one.

Note that numbers 2-4 tied and so did 5-8 so those are in no particular order.  Did your favorite make the top ten list?  If not, what is your favorite place to eat?

Jun 11

“Mouse”cations’ Fans Top Ten Resorts

I asked on my Facebook page what my fan’s top ten resorts were in all of Disney World.  Here is what made the top 10 from my fans:

1.  Wilderness Lodge Resort

2.  Polynesian Resort

3.  Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort

4.  Pop Century

5.  Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

6.  Beach Club Resort

7.  Yacht Club Resort

8.  Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

9.  Fort Wilderness Resort

10.  Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

NOTE:  Numbers 7-10 all tied!  So they are in no order.

 

May 28

Baby Care Stations Around the “World”

 It is my pleasure to have Sonja join us here as a guest blogger.  She is a Florida resident.  Thanks Sonja for you help in explaining the Baby Care Stations around the “World”.
Hello fellow Disney Fans! My name is Sonja Burford and I love all things Disney! My husband and two sons (6 and almost 1 yr) and I visit often as we are Floridians and seasonal pass holders. My first trip with my husband was at Christmas 2007, and our oldest son was 10 months old. I wish I knew on that trip some of the things that I know now when traveling with my youngest. Of course, I don’t know it all, and that’s part of the fun of loving Disney, that I never will because they are always growing and changing, just like my kids!
We’ve taken my 11 month old three times now to WDW. On our most recent trip, another Mom asked me how old he was and how it is traveling the parks with a little one. My answer was  “not as hard as you think. Take time to rest and relax and use the baby care centers in each park!” Did you know that each theme park at WDW has a baby care center? This is a special area for families of little ones. I have never used the one in Hollywood Studios, but I’m told it’s the smallest of the four. Magic Kingdom’s is located next to First Aid, in between Casey’s Corner and the Crystal Palace (turn left at the end of Main Street at Casey’s as if you are heading to Adventure Land. It’s tucked into a little courtyard to your left.) At Epcot, you’ll find the baby care center again next to First Aid, on the backside of the Odyssey building (this building used to be a restaurant but is now used for special events; it’s between Test Track and the Mexico Pavilion.) In Animal Kingdom, the baby care center and first aid are just off the main path to Africa (pass the Tree of Life, it’s on your left behind the Creature Comforts gift shop.) In Hollywood Studios, the baby care center is on the left right after you come through the turnstiles.
Each of the baby care centers has several rooms. First is a changing room with several changing tables and a sink. I really like the changing tables at MK and Epcot the best because they are large and padded. There is a shelf underneath with large pieces of paper, so you can get a clean sheet with each use. There is also a playroom with a TV showing Disney cartoons. This room usually has tables and chairs, a few toys, and even high chairs. There is a separate private room for nursing moms, too! Finally, there is a kitchen area with a microwave, sink, water fountain and small store stocked with baby and kid items. Here you will find a cast member to assist you and you can purchase everything from medicine or formula to a spare outfit.
I have found these areas to be a life saver when traveling to the World with a baby. Often throughout the day, I take him there to cool off, let him get changed and have a drink or a snack in the a/c while big brother and dad ride some big kid rides. It’s great for him and me too. We are fortunate to have passes, so we don’t feel like we have to see and do everything WDW has to offer in one trip. But even if you do, when taking the little kids, remember to give them time to rest and re-group–even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes in the shade with a cool drink. It’s the best way I know to avoid the dreaded 3:00 meltdown!
I am 33 years old and a lifelong Floridian. I’m a work-outside-the-home wife and mom. My husband, six year old son, and almost one year old son travel to Disney as often as we can afford to! I love pin-trading, riding the rides with my kids, and getting to be a kid again every time we go! My must-dos every trip include The Haunted Mansion, Dole Whip, and Soarin’. Epcot is my favorite theme park.
 
 “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future!” Jeremiah 29:11

Apr 27

An Overall Review of the Disney Dream

Well, what did I think of my overall Disney Dream experience?  One word for you – FABULOUS!!  It definitely lived up to the Disney name!  I did not encounter one grumpy cast member.  They all went above and beyond and met and some exceeded my expectations. IMG_3006 The only thing I did notice on this cruise was that the ship rocked a little more than I have noticed before.  Thankfully I had my trusty Sea Bands and I was good to go.  My son even used one of them and he was fine too.  If you tend to get motion sick, get some Sea Bands from your local drug store and put them on.  No medicine just a pressure point in your wrist.  They really do work.

Upon arrival we were announced when we boarded the ship.  I felt like royalty.  The lobby is beautiful and the chandelier is amazing.  We went straight to our stateroom on Deck 7 and put our bags down.  We, then, headed to Deck 11 to eat in the Cabanas.  There was a wide variety of foods to choose from along with several desserts.  We picked a seat near the window so we had a great view.

Our son wanted to check out the kids area (Oceaneer Lab and Oceaneer Club). IMG_2515 So we headed there and we were able to check it all out before they were actually taking kids.  We stayed for a while then headed out to explore some more and get ready for the mandatory evacuation meeting.

Of course they have their rotational dining too.  Each night you get to eat in a different restaurant but your servers stay the same.  Our first night of dining was in the Enchanted Garden.  I have to say that this was probably my least favorite.  The place is beautiful and looks like a garden, but my meal was not the best.  I had chicken and it was just o.k.  We had wonderful servers – Romy was awesome and pointed out what he thought was the better choice.  We shared a table with another family from Massachusetts.  They were a family of mom, dad, two boys and grandmother.  Super nice family!  Their sons and ours hit it off.  They talked about the kids club and made plans to go after dinner.  So, needless to say that is where the three boys ended up for about 2 hours.

Each night we were entertained with a fabulous Broadway show.  We were scheduled for the main dining so our show was at 8:30 p.m.

Our second day we were in Nassau and we did the Dolphin Encounter at Atlantis along with the ruins.  I would highly recommend the Dolphin Encounter.  It was great and well worth the money.

Our second night we had dinner in the Royal Palace.  This was also Pirate Night.  I think that was the most fun of all of the nights.  The Pirate Party up on the Pool Deck was lots of fun and the fireworks?!?!  Where can you cruise to and have fireworks at sea?  Perfect way to end the evening.

The third day we were at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.  There is so much to do if you wish to.  If you would rather relax and do nothing you certainly can do that too.  There is even hammocks under some shade trees where you can catch a nap.  IMG_3039You can slide down Pelican’s Pludge or get some ice cream.  You can even schedule a shore excursion.  We were suppose to do a glass bottom boat tour and my husband was suppose to go deep sea fishing.  Unfortunately, when we docked it was too windy that all of those excursions were cancelled.  So we just spent a day on the beach having some fun.  My husband did rent some snorkel equipment and did some snorkeling.  We also had tubes we rented and had some fun with those.  If keeping fit is your thing, you can do that here too.  They have a 5K race at 8:30 in the morning.  I was suppose to be on the glass bottom boat so I didn’t sign up for the 5K race but did run/walk it that afternoon.  It was an awesome feeling when I hit that finish line and knew that I had just completed my first 5K and there couldn’t have been a better place to do it!

Our last night of dining was the Animator’s Palette.  This was MY FAVORITE!!  They spent 20 million dollars on this restaurant alone and it shows. IMG_3053 It was amazing and the food was delicious!  As I said it was my favorite – all around!

Along with the great shows, the spa and the pools there was also shopping, putt putt, kids clubs, adult only areas, fitness center, areas for the teens and movie theaters.  There was so much to do, just not enough time.  So, if you plan on taking a cruise any time soon, I would recommend at least a 4 night cruise – maybe you can fit in most of it then.  I will definitely be sailing with Disney again.  I just hope it is soon, I am missing it already.

 

Apr 27

Sanaa, An Unexpected Favorite!

I had never eaten at Sanaa until recently.  My husband didn’t want me to make many dining reservations because he didn’t want to be tied to a bunch of sit down meals.  (Side note – I will never do that again!)  So we find ourselves on our second day at Disney tired and wanting to eat but not a quick service meal.  We are a little cranky and tired from the day and we need to re-group.

So thankfully, I have some great fans on my Facebook page (“Mouse”cation).  One of them suggested that we try Sanaa.  She said you can usually get in even without a reservation.  So I decided to suck it up and try it.  I am a somewhat picky eater.  But for my husband, I decided to give it a try.  I wanted to make sure he was happy because at this point he wasn’t really happy and wasn’t loving Disney.

So here we are tired and hungry and headed to Animal Kingdom Villas.  We get there a few minutes before 5:00 pm and it isn’t open for dinner yet.  She said they would be opening in a few minutes, so we decided to go right outside to wait the 10 minutes or so.  IMG_0588We got to watch the giraffes, zebras and other animals walking around and just enjoy the Animal Kingdom Villa for a few minutes.  It is a very peaceful unique resort.

Well, it was finally 5:00 so we went back inside.  I requested a table by the window and were taken to a table with a perfect view for watching the animals.  We saw giraffes during dinner and some other type of animal and a bunny.  It was a great view.

We ordered the Indian-style Bread Service which was five (5) different breads accompanied with five (5) different “accompaniments” (dips).  We chose Red Chile Sambal, Coriander Chutney, Mango Chutney, Coconut Chutney and Roated Red Bell Pepper Hummus.  IMG_0597When the bread came, our son picked one up and took a bite.  Well, it bit back.  In an instant he was saying “HOT!” and reached for his water.  Needless to say I had to try it to see what he was yelling about and sure enough it had a kick to it.  I tried several of them and they all had a little spice to them.  I am not a spicy person so I asked what I needed to order that I wouldn’t be gulping water.

Our waitress was great and steered me to the Butter Chicken and the Beef Short Ribs with the Five-Grain Pilaf.  IMG_0601It was delicious!  Not spicy at all but just enough flavor.  My husband likes a little more spice to his meals so he chose the same Beef Short Ribs but got the Shrimp with Green Curry Sauce.  He said it was really good but did have a little kick to it.

I was pleasantly surprised at how good Sanaa was and it quickly became a new favorite of mine. It was nice to sit and relax and enjoy the view and unwind from a very busy day.  We were in a hurry to get to the Electrical Parade at the Magical Kingdom that night so we didn’t try dessert.  I will next time!  If you haven’t tried Sanaa, I would say hop on over there and give it a try.  You might find you don’t need a reservation, at least in the less busy times.

 

Apr 26

DISNEY CITY GIRL REVIEW

It is my pleasure to welcome Laurie Smith again!  She gives us the low down on Disney City Girl over on Playdom.  You can go over there and sign up – click here:  https://hiddenobjects.playdom.com/games/citygirl/signup

Disney City Girl

Playdom
Players are assigned a female character about 20 years old.  The goal is to participate in the daily fashion contest and to do assigned tasks.  Players assign their character with a job and decorate their apartment as they wish.  Disney City GirlSome items have stars to indicate the quality of the item when giving out friendship, fun, health, hygienne, and rest.  Pay to play players can avoid waiting for friends to gift needed items and to have a better gaming experience.

Unless a player has lots of friends the tasks can be daunting.  I have Jenna who is your game friend and two other players as friends.  To finish one task took me three days as I did not have enough friends.  I am stuck on completing one of the missions as I cannot get friends to donate the needed items.  I am a hardcore gamer with 1500 plus friends yet I have only 8 people who have tried this game.  I have learned to go to Jenna to get the most points from her computer. The point is that one must not go for the expensive apartment but just stick to the second level apartment while visiting friends to use their 2 and 3 star items.  I save money by using my friend’s 2 star treadmill instead of buying one myself.  The daily contest gives you Glam Points which can be used to buy furniture and clothing.  Mindlessly clicking on whatever is in front of you can get you lot of Glam Points.  One sad note is that you cannot sell excess items like bolts or good vibes.  Players cannot sell the clothes that come with the character.

This game can does have some strange things going on.  Characters whip into a towel for a shower or into an gym clothes to use the treadmill. “Relieve Self” is where the character sits on the toilet, waits, gets up and out pops nail polish and 2 EXP. The character goes for a salad and shakes the contents then guzzles down the contents.  This is the same action in one and two star fridges. I do not know anyone who guzzles salad. If one likes to dress up a character, do tasks, decorate homes, and do tasks then this is a game for you.  As a gamer it is a standard game where one does missions and tasks while working hard on using energy to gain items, reward points, experience, and money.  It is easy to play.  The graphics are well done and give the feel of a coffee shop or NYC apartment. With hard work and time one can get some nice items but there is not that much variety.  I wonder if in the future there will be 4 and 5 star items for regular players.  Pay to play really helps one get through this game as does having lots of friends.

Apr 26

Are Disney Cruises better than Royal Caribbean?

Well, I have been on 3 Royal Caribbean cruises and have loved them.  So, I was interested to see how Disney compared to Royal Caribbean.  We took our first Disney cruise the other day (April 18, 2013).  I am going to give you my honest opinion on what I thought of the Disney Dream.

Let’s start with our arrival.  We arrived at the terminal and were greeted by a cast member and she asked if it was just the three of us, to which I said yes.  She told me I could go down to the Concierge’s desk and check in.  So we got to by-pass the regular line – Magical Moment because we were not booked in a concierge’s room.

We got all checked in and boarded the ship and we had to wait about 5 minutes for our room to be ready.  I walked in the room and had 2 thoughts. IMG_2986 Wow this is nice but WOW this is a narrow room.  We were booked in a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah.  I have always stayed in a verandah room on Royal Caribbean because I am claustrophobic.  I like to have some space and a way out even if it is to jump in the ocean.  I have trouble sitting in a booth on the inside.  I can do it if I have to.  So this was one negative thing about the Disney Dream and for most it isn’t that big of a deal.  The entrance is very narrow.  My husband stood there and was almost shoulder to shoulder to the walls.

The queen size bed is the next thing to come after that narrow entrance and it doesn’t get much wider than that.  Two people could not go around the end of the bed. IMG_2987 I stuck our suitcase at the end to show you how much room is left from the end of the bed to the wall. Now please do NOT TAKE THIS as a put down.  This is just my opinion and remember I am claustrophobic so this sort of thing bothers me.  Overall, I loved the room.  I just wished it would have been a little wider.  I LOVED the split bath.  So very nice that I could get ready in the morning while my husband was taking a shower in the next “bathroom” without steaming up my mirror.  The other thing I noticed on the Disney Dream was that the toilet did NOT stink!  The last Royal Caribbean cruise we went on I almost gagged every time I went into the bathroom because the toilets smelled and it wasn’t because someone had used it.  There was a good amount of counter space, closet space and drawer space.

The next thing that I want to compare is the amount of things to do on the cruises.  Can I just say there is so much to do on a Disney Cruise that 3 nights was not long enough to do everything!  Believe it or not we never got in the pool.  We never rode the AquaDuck either.  That was the first thing that we were suppose to do but our son backed out after seeing that part of the tubing was dark (it goes through the smoke stack).  After that we were so busy doing other things that we just didn’t get a chance to go again.  There are shows on both cruise lines.  Both are VERY good. Our last Royal Caribbean cruise was a 4 night cruise and by the last day I was getting bored.  Now this was only a 3 night cruise but I know I would have things to do on that last day without being bored.  We could have played putt putt, gone to the pool, rode the AquaDuck and much more.  I am not one to sit around in the room and watch TV.  I usually am doing something.

Overall the food was good – there were things that were really good and others that were just o.k.  You will have to watch for my blog on our dining and find out which one was my favorite.  I did learn a thing or two on this cruise.  I will make sure my next room is NOT an adjoining room unless I know the people next door.  We had some ladies that were very loud next to us and even were ordering room service and talking at 1:30-2:00 in the morning and they were not quite.  I even heard one of them snoring 2 days in a row.  Other than that I never heard anyone on the other side of us.  You occasionally heard a toilet flush but overall the noise level was good.  We were even mid-ship right there with the stairs and the elevators.  Those never bothered us.

On Royal Caribbean you can get a beverage cart in your room – you pay extra for the drinks.  On Disney they have soda that you can get from the pool deck for free.  IMG_2495Bottled water did cost extra.  Something else I noticed was that you can get free ice cream up on the pool deck too on the Disney cruise.

My last thing that I want to compare is the our dis-embarkment.  On Royal Caribbean we were assigned a time of when we were to get off the ship and it was usually later in the morning.  On Disney, however, we were assigned a time when we could go to one of the restaurants and sit down for the buffet meal or go up to the Cabana at whatever time.  Our time for the restaurant was 6:45 a.m. (all guests on first dining had the 6:45 a.m. time and all guests on the second dining had the 8:00 a.m. time).  I would have much rather had the 8:00 time.  Needless to say, we did NOT make the 6:45 time and just grabbed some finger food at the coffee bar on Deck 4.  I did not like the early breakfast and the fact that EVERYONE had to be off the ship by 9:00 a.m.  We had no specific time slot to get off (which was nice if you have an early flight – but we had a 2:30 flight), so it was kind of go as you please but get off by 9:00.  The other thing was they started making announcements at 7:30 a.m. that the boat had been cleared and we were able to get off.  They made those about every 15-20 minutes.  Kind of annoying when you are hoping your child will sleep in a little (which he didn’t with all that going on).  That was the only other thing that I wasn’t too keen on.

Overall, I would DEFINTELY go on another cruise with Disney!  I think overall it beats Royal Caribbean especially for families.  There are adult only sections of the cruise but having a child of my own I didn’t experience much of those areas.  I did visit the spa.  Look for my experience on that in the near future.

Well, it has been a pleasure to share with you my thoughts about a Disney cruise.  Have you sailed with Disney?  With any other cruise line?  What are your thoughts?  Your comparisons?  Let us know……

Mar 26

A Look at Dining, from a Different Perspective

It is my pleasure to welcome Laurie Smith as today’s guest blogger.  In reading Laurie’s blog about how she picks a restaurant, I had to confess that I have never encountered any of this because sadly I have never looked at it from this perspective.  It gives me a new look on Dining from a Different Perspective……

What I look for in a Restaurant:

Lighting:  I look for enough light to read the menu and see the food.  It is not romantic to use your cell phone or cigarette lighter to read the menu.  Partially sighted guest have a hard time seeing their food, where to walk and read the menu in dimly lit rooms.  I have good vision but even I have been in places that I need a flashlight to see the menu and what I am eating.  I like to see what I am eating as I do not like cole slaw mixed with mashed potatoes.  Darkened rooms prohibit me from seeing if the meat is properly cooked, if there is a bug in my salad, and if that is the meal I ordered.

Seating:  In a restaurant, I look for at least some armless seats or banquets with movable tables. Guests with prosthesis, casts, and fused spinal columns can find it hard to get into and out of
booths that do not have movable tables.  Guests with wide midriffs or hips find seats with arms uncomfortable.  I hate Sci Fi Diner because I was crammed into a seat that pressed against my ribs.  I could not stretch out or move.  By the end of the meal, I was in a rush to leave and in pain from being stuck in one spot.  I am a fat lady nearing 300 pounds, so how would a 400 pound woman, a pregnant lady, or a barrel chested man feel in such tight quarters. The ease of moving a wheelchair to a table is
important.  Guests with autism, post traumatic distress syndrome,phobias, etc. do better in semi private dining areas and areas that do not have elbow to elbow seating.  At one restaurant in Anaheim, the tables were so tightly packed to the point that, service at the table next to me meant, the waiter’s rump was in my face or bumping my table.

Food:   I look for staff that understands cross contamination and knows how to deal with special diets.  I look for knowledge and ease of preparing a meal with limitations as well as variety of food available.  Vegans need protein like everyone else which means a green salad is not going to keep them going through the day.  Hoop Dee Doo Revue has a set menu but they have plain corn on the cob, vegeterian beans, plain baked chicken, plain ribs, plain salads, and strawberries for guests who
are vegan or cannot eat certain foods.  I had gluten and soy free cornbread, honey butter, barbecued ribs, baked chicken with side of barbecue sauce, buttered corn, meaty beans, and a bowl of whipped cream slathered strawberries.  At a restaurant in Kissimmee I was served salad with no dressing, baked potato with butter, and plain steak for dinner with no dessert.  Other people rave at the restaurant were I got the plain steak but for me it was just plain food.

Everything Else:  The final part is about the less important things.  The best themed restaurant is of no use to a guest who is embarrassed because they do not fit in a booth or to a guest who sits there with water and plain rice while their friends indulge in fine foods.  How can a partially sighted person enjoy the decor, if the room is so dim that the person cannot see.   If guests are packed in tight, then how can they enjoy their meal.

It is not hard to see the world from another person’s shoes.  Trying dining without soy.  For me that often means no salad dressing, dry sandwiches, no French fries, no side dishes, broccoli as a side dish instead of the carbs I need for doing parks, no tempting desserts, and no barbecue sauce or meat.  Try wearing dark glasses in a restaurant to see how the partially sighted experience a restaurant.  Put on a knee brace or back brace to see how hard it is to get into and out of restaurant booths.  Try using the bathroom while wearing a knee brace.  Try spending a day in a wheelchair and you will feel the bumps of cobblestones, the jarring stops when a wheel hits a hole or crack in the ground, and the bruises from hitting things. Try getting to a table through a restaurant with narrow aisles and guests sitting in the aisles, in a wheelchair.  Then you will know why, at times, I am so negative about some restaurants.

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.

 

 

 

Mar 17

The Polynesian, Does It Live Up To The Expectations?

We had the priviledge to stay at the Polynesian for four nights on our recent trip to Disney in early December.  I was so excited about staying here because I had heard so many wonderful things about the Polynesian.  We have stayed at the Grand Floridian and I loved being on the monorail.  It had been several years since we had been on the monorail so I was excited to be back.  Well, I must say that the Polynesian did not disaapoint!

It was beautifully decorated for Christmas.  This resort reminds me of Hawaii.  Everything is so nice and peaceful and it has a laid back relaxed atmosphere.  The white sandy beaches and volcano slide at the pool were wonderful too, although the pool was cold.

When we got there our room wasn’t ready so we hung out on the beach.  We had a nice view of the Magic Kingdom right there.  Disney’s system was down so it took getting our room a little longer than they had anticipated.  IMG_0834We had moved from the Art of Animation so our luggage was in transit too.  Our son wanted to play in the pool but we had no bags so he wasn’t able to do that.  However, the nice Cast Members at the front desk told us to go to the Bou”tiki” and get some swim trunks and bring the receipt back to them and they would take care of it for us.  And that is what we did.  We got him changed and he stuck his foot in the pool and declared that it was too cold.  But the swim trunks still came in handy because he went and sat in the sand and played until our room was ready.  My husband sat in a lounge chair and fell asleep.

When the room was finally ready we head over and got settled in.  The room was wonderful.  It had the 2 queen beds, good size bathroom area and nice plush towels.  We got changed (I remembered to IMG_0844keep out our shirts for the MVMCP event later that night) and headed out to the Magic Kingdom.  We were located in the Tokelau building which was a short walk to the Great House where we walked out front to catch the monorail.  First stop was at the Grand Floridian and the second stop was the Magic Kingdom.  I loved being so close to the Magic Kingdom and riding the monorail was fun for our son.

We had a couple of glitches but nothing too major.  I have decided that there is no sound proof rooms anywhere.  We heard a little noise from our neighbors that were in the hallways but not too bad.  We got back really late that night from the MVMCP (about 1:00 a.m.) and we found out our bags where not in our room yet.  So we called bell services and they had them brought right up to us.  We fell into bed and right to sleep.

The next morning came our one other glitch.  I woke up earlier than my husband and son so I decided to get up and get ready.  I went into the bathroom and shut the door and started to get ready.  Well, I was putting on my make-up when my husband got up.  My husband tried to open the door and couldn’t get it opened.  He whispered for me to unlock the door.  I told him it was unlocked and that is when the fun began.  I couldn’t open the door and he couldn’t get the door to open. IMG_0849 I was stuck in the bathroom.  Did I mention that I am a little claustrophobic?  I wasn’t stuck long but it was long enough.  By that time all that woke up our son.  He wanted to know what happened so we told him I was stuck.  My husband then gets in the bathroom to take a shower and our son decides to shut the door not thinking it would stick again and low and behold, now my husband is stuck.  He twisted the plate part back on and it works again.  We did stop by the front desk and let them know and they had it fixed by the time we returned that evening.

While we didn’t have a view of the Magic Kingdom we were just a short walk to the beach and we could see it from there.  Our room overlooked the quiet pool.  It really was quiet and I loved it.

We did try out all the restaurants while we were there.  Kona Cafe is now one of my favorites.  I had a Cafe Latte and it was so yummy.  Captain Cooks was a good place for quick serive.  And of course, what can you say bad about ‘Ohana’s?  IMG_1441We even ordered room service one morning.  I got to try my first Tonga Toast and I can see why people rave about it.  It is sweet but so good and I don’t even like bananas.  I just picked those off and ate the toast.  The Strawberry Compote they have on the side for the toast – VERY GOOD!

 

Mar 05

Three and Anxious? Good Combination for a Disney Trip?

It is my pleasure to have another guest blogger here.  Taryn shares her expericence with taking her 3 year old to Disney.  Find out how she dealt with an anxious child and how her expectations turned out to be totally different than what she thought.

My husband and I decided to take our son on his first Disney vacation last May (2012) because of course he was a big fan of Disney. He watched the Disney channel every morning and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVDs at night before bed. He knew all the characters and everytime he saw the Cinderella castle he’d exclaim “that’s where Mickey & Minnie live!” The idea of taking him on a big trip like this was a scary one, but I felt like it was going to be worth it. Not only was he only 3 years old (he actually turned three a few days after we returned from the trip), but he was also a very anxious child (and still is actually)! I remember a few weeks before the trip laying in bed contemplating if we should just cancel the whole thing and cut our losses (our flights were non-refundable).

TarynHowever, I decided that if we were going to go on this trip that I needed to be prepared as possible. I did a TON of research (bought books, read up on Disney online), planned out every little step to make sure it went as smooth as possible (through Touring Plans), and read A LOT of Disney blogs. I felt comfortable knowing that I did all that I could to make the trip a success and that the rest would be up to him! Sure enough… our trip WAS a success, but not in the way I thought it would be.

Turns out I didn’t know my son as well as I thought I did. His favorite attractions at Disney World were: swimming in the quiet pool at Coronado Springs, Disney Junior LIVE! On Stage in Hollywood Studios, Finding Nemo – The Musical in Animal Kingdom (which honestly we weren’t even planning on seeing, but a big storm pushed us right in and it was his favorite! I was worried he wouldn’t be able to sit through it but he was MESMERIZED!), seeing all of the animals at Animal Kingdom (Kilimanjaro Safari, but also – Pangani Forest Exploration & Maharajah Jungle Trek) & the Dream Along with Mickey stage show in Magic Kingdom.

I thought for SURE he’d love the rides, but most of them made him really nervous. He liked Toy Story Mania the first time (but started to get anxious the second time around), Kali River Rapids sent him Taryn2into a panic attack after being drenched (poor thing was the ONLY one wet… and he got DRENCHED), he was upset that Donald was throwing things at him during Mickey’s PhilharMagic and Peter Pan’s Flight terrified him because we were “flying too high.”

I think the moral of the story here is that you can be prepared as you want, but kids will be kids. You can never be exactly sure what they will enjoy and won’t, so try different things and be ready to comfort them if you need to! Even though he had a couple “not so great” experiences he absolutely LOVED the trip as a whole and still has been begging us to go back. He even started his own piggy bank savings so he can help pay for our next trip! I’m glad we went and wouldn’t have changed a thing!!

About me: My name is Taryn Lau.  I am a SAH Mom blogger.  I have been a SAH Mom for the past four years and am Disney obsessed! My son shares my passion, but we are working on turning my husband into a Disney fanatic as well. I’m sure we can break him! 🙂

Feb 19

A Must See At Disney’s Animal Kingdom-Kilimanjaro Safaris

It is my pleasure to have Kathryn as a guest blogger once again!  Thanks Kathryn for your review of Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Hi “Mouse”cation readers!  It’s Kathryn from Kathryn’s Kloset bringing you another fun filled Disney post.  Last time, I told you about my favorite place to eat breakfast, the Tusker House, inside the Animal Kingdom. Today, I am going to tell you about a must see attraction at Animal Kingdom, Kilimanjaro Safaris. As you probably gathered by now, we love Animal Kingdom.  Of course, the Magic Kingdom is number one on our list, but Animal Kingdom holds a very close second.

AnimalKingdom3

Kilimanjaro Safaris is an attraction for all ages. Disney FastPass is available for this attraction and I highly recommend taking advantage of it. I have not yet been one time where there is not a wait time for this attraction. Kilimanjaro Safaris is definitely one that you will want to put at the top of your must see list.

This safari gives you a tour of the African savannas and it is so close to being on a real safari that you will actually feel like you are in Africa. It is amazing, once you leave the gate in your open-air vehicle; it feels like you have stepped into another country. The vehicle that you will board is open on both sides and looks like it has been on one too many safaris.AnimalKingdom2 But quite the contrary, these vehicles are state of the art complete with tracking systems, that allows employees to see the vehicles every move from the official Kilimanjaro Safari tracking station. These vehicles are serviced on a daily basis and rotate throughout the day.

The safari takes about 20 minutes to complete and takes you on a ride through the natural habitats of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, along twisted pathways and there is even a bridge that looks like you will not make it over.   You will get to see over 34 different species of animals where your vehicle will make stops along the way for you to take pictures, so keep you camera ready to go, or just admire the scenery. Your driver on your safari will AnimalKingdom5keep you posted along the way of what is coming up so be sure and listen and keep your eyes peeled. You definitely do not want to miss a thing!

Another great thing is that Tusker House is just a short walk to the entrance to Kilimanjaro Safaris.  Two of my favorite things about Animal Kingdom so close together, make it easy to visit both the first couple of hours we are at Animal Kingdom.

Thanks, Tabitha, for allowing me to guest post on your blog once again!  Until next time….Cheers!

Feb 16

Rope Drop Anyone?

Have you ever been to Rope Drop?  What is it, you might ask?  Well, it is the opening of the park.  My family has never been to Rope Drop because we just don’t get up in time.  However, I have heard it was great!  My husband’s cousin was at Rope Drop the last time they were at Disney.  They got to Magic Kingdom EARLY and guess what?  They were chosen to be the Family of the Day.

See what she had to say about it and what the Family of the Day got.

“The park opened at 9 and I think we were there between 8 and 8:15.   It was the best experience ever – they took us for a ride up and down Main St. in the fire car and had the photographer take a ton of pictures. The host that opened gave all the girls a few pins and we got a certificate to
jump to the front of the line to see Mickey in Town Hall.”

Yes, this is them up on top at the Train Station welcoming everyone into the park!

Rope Drop