Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Destination Disney - 5 Favorite Snacks

Last week we discussed our favorite restaurants in Disney World, this week is all about those snacks we use to hold us over until we get to those fancy restaurants.  From the amusement park classic to special treats specific to The World, all are yummy and I couldn't think of a better way to "ruin" my dinner.

Let's eat!
 5.  Popcorn

I'm not sure why, but as soon I step foot into Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom, I need popcorn!  Those classic vendor carts just start screaming my name.  The delicious smell of buttery, salty goodness whisks me right off my feet. A small box would probably do, but I always break down and buy the big souvenir bucket.  Before the day's out, it's usually well polished off.  Mmmm...
4.  Cookies from Goofy's Candy Co.

Back in January of 2005, I visited Goofy's Candy Co. in Downtown Disney and fell in love... with a baked good.  Mine had chocolate and peanut butter chips, and I swear, some were little Mickey shaped chips.  I haven't seen those adorable chips since but I'm still loving those crispy delicious cookies.

Photo courtesy:
3.  Mickey Ears Ice Cream Bar

One cannot visit Disney World without enjoying one of these bad boys!  A hot Orlando day + crispy coated vanilla ice cream shaped like our iconic Mickey = *sigh*.  Need I say more?
Photo courtesy:
 2.  Blueberry Muffins

I'm pretty sure all the resorts have the same blueberry muffins, but I remember one particular one at Disney's All-Star Movies Resort.  I ate one every-single-morning.  Biggest, most delicious blueberry muffin I've ever eaten. 
Photo courtesy:
1.  Birthday Cupcakes

Nothing tastes sweeter than celebrating a birthday (or any other special occasion) at Walt Disney World!  Well, the special treats you get come in a close second.  They're touching and tasty all at the same time.  It's almost heartbreaking to eat that chocolate Mickey disk on top, but I did it.

And be sure to check back next week for our family's 4 Favorite Souvenirs

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Destination Disney - 6 Favorite Restaurants

Who's ready for some Disney Dining?  This week I'm listing my family's 6 favorite Disney World restaurants.  When it comes to Disney World, it's just as important to me that the atmosphere be as amazing as the food.  These six spots fit the bill!

On with the countdown...
 6.  Sci Fi Dine-In Theater at Disney's Hollywood Studios

This restaurant goes all out on the atmosphere!  Seated in booths that look like classic cars, with the "starlight" shining down, you eat your meal while watching clips of old science fiction movies and uber classic commercials on a big screen.  Some are incredibly (though, I'd imagine, unintentionally) funny!  The food is drive-in style, burgers, fries and insanely yummy! milkshakes.  They also have sandwiches, pasta, salad, etc for those that want more than just a burger.  Just don't skip the milkshake!

5.  Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe at The Magic Kingdom

This spot is a quick service restaurant but one of my family's favorites!  Located in Frontierland, it's a great spot to get your lunch then sit outside to watch the parade go by and MUCH less crowded than Mainstreet USA.  Plus, the burger bar is awesome!  It has all the basics plus stuff like sauteed mushrooms and melted cheddar, which makes a great topping for your fries!  (These same fixings are available at Cosmic Ray's but that place is so crazy busy, we try to avoid it!)


Photo courtsey:

4.  Tusker House at Disney's Animal Kingdom

We love Donald's Safari Breakfast at the Tusker House!  The buffet is gi-normous and delicious!  Everything you could possibly think of that you want for breakfast... they have it!  Plus we love that, even though there are multiple dining rooms, there was always a character in our room (unlike the newly renovated Chef Mickey's.. grrr).  Plus, if you make a before-park-opening reservation, you can finish your breakfast and then be first in line for Kilimanjaro Safari.  Plus, plus and plus!

3.  50's Prime Time Cafe at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Another in Hollywood Studios with a fantastic theme and atmosphere!  Styled to look like kitchens of the 50s, this one is a feast for the eyes and belly!  Watch out for "Mama" (aka, your server), she can be pretty bossy so bring your sense of humor!  No hats at the table!  You'll want to remove your hat in honor of the delicious food though.  Tastes like home cooking at it's best!  There are TV throughout the restaurant playing old black & white sitcoms.  And one of the best parts?  Your menu is on a Viewmaster!

2.  O'hana at Disney's Polynesian Resort

I think this one has come up in more than one of my lists!  My family loves the Best Friends breakfast with Lilo & Stitch.  The food is delicious!  Served as a "family style" buffet (which means they bring LOTS of food to you), you get all the normal breakfast foods (including those famous Mickey Mouse waffles) and the yummiest juice I've ever had.  They do parades with the children and the view is amazing!  Magic Kingdom and Cinderella's castle sit right across the Seven Seas Lagoon.

(right: Anniversary cupcake we recieved during a visit to O'Hana)

1.  The California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort

This one makes #1 on mine and hubby's list!  The kids have yet to visit, but that'll be remedied soon.  Delicious food.  The staff is professional and friendly.  And the view?  A-ma-zing!  Especially if you plan your visit during Wishes.  They dim the lights and play the music right in the restaurant.  Hubby and I get different entrees (he's a steak guy, I'm a chicken girl) but we both agree that the Three Cheese Flatbread is amazing!

Also, if you don't make your reservation during Wishes, just hang onto your meal reciept and you can return to watch them later that evening.

(right top: Anniversary desserts we recieved during a visit to The California Grill. bottom: Their delicious flatbread!  Photo courtsey: (we eat it too quickly to get any photos!))

And be sure to check back next week for our family's 5 Favorite Snacks

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rapunzel Tangled Birthday Party

The hair.  The Mother.  The frog.  Err, chameleon.  What's not to love about Rapunzel?  For Sami's 4th birthday we got all Tangled up in fun!  Join us, won't you?

birthday photos

  Here's a small selection of the adorable birthday photos we got this year.  Isn't her dress just fantastic?!  It was made by Marsha at the Esty shop, Sissybugs Sewcrazy Boutique.  It's incredibly well made too, so she will be wearing for years, I'd bet!

the invitation
Many thanks to Grealish Greetings for the tower SVG and inspiration for Sami's invitation.  Maybe I should also thank you for my carpal tunnel.  *wink*  Those tiny braids nearly did me in.

the cake
The tower cake was made of a 9" round, 2 layer cake, topped with donuts, a muffin and ice cream cone.  I got the inspiration for this cake from Dreaming of Stitches.

dessert table
The dessert table had an "art" theme, since Rapunzel loves to paint.  Speaking of painting, how much do you love my background?!  I painted that baby all by myself.  *swoon*  The curtains add to the inside-of-the-tower effect and there are lanterns across the ceiling as though they're coming off the painting.  The food tags are sitting on popsicle stick easels.  I used Ikea frame to add quotes from the movie to the table.

"Apple Cake Pops for Maximus" (inspiration: Fredellicious) and "Paint Brush Pretzel Rods" (inspiration: Peas & Thank You's)

 A paint palette full of colorful cupcakes (inspiration: Mama Urchin) and "Painted Popcorn" (recipe)

 "Magic Golden Flower Punch" (aka Golden Wedding Punch), "Paint Brush Rice Krispie Treats" (inspiration: Little Things Creations) and "Paint Palette Sugar Cookies" (inspiration: The Celebration Shoppe).

"Jell-O Boats" (inspiration: SuperMom Moments), "Mini Pies" and "Marshmallow Pop Paint Cans".

i *do* like ducklings
Welcome to the Snuggly Duckling, where you'll find the best (root) beer on tap.  The sign is homemade.  The movie quotes are in Ikea frames.  The food... in frying pans, of course.  Even the paper plates have been transformed into frying pans.  The inspiration for these came from Me and My Insanity.  And if you look close, you can see a pair of ceramic unicorns (*clink*).  I purchased these from Etsy seller Nonconformity.

"Pretzel Ducklings" (inspiration: Stop Lookin' Get Cookin'), cheese & crackers, "PB & J Ducklings", "Braided Pizza Sandwiches" (inspiration: Squidoo), "Braided Ham & Cheese Sandwiches", strawberries, blueberries and grapes, root beer.  I wanted to make hazelnut soup since it's Rapunzel's favorite but I knew a household of 4, 5 and 6 year olds so I put butterscotch pudding in little cups and sprinkled it with hazelnuts.

If you'd like to print my signs for yourselves, you can find them here.  Frying PansDreamMy BirthdayBest Day.

stuff to do
Each child got a 4x4 canvas, which I put contact paper initials on.   After they were finished painting, we removed the contact paper and their initials shown clearly.  I got the inspiration for this from Oh Amanda.

Photo ops!  Rapunzel's tower and Flynn Rider's wanted poster, with noses, since they can't ever get it right.  Both photo ops were handmade.

 Inspired by Martha Stewart, this is a new take on the pinata.  Each child pops a balloon and candy, toys and confetti come out.  It was a HUGE hit!


 Pacal party blowers (instructions:  Watercolors with personalized liners.  Hats for Princesses or Ruffians.  The princess hats were inspired by Little Things Creations.  The Ruffian hats are party hats from Hallmark's How to Train Your Dragon collection.

Got a couple extra minutes?  I'd love for you to be one of my "100 people surveyed"!

Destination Disney - 7 Things to do OUTSIDE of the Parks

It's week four of the Destination Disney challange.  This week we're listing our 7 favorite things to do outside of the Disney parks.  Let's face it, it's hard to beat being INSIDE the parks, but there are a lot of fun things you can do OUTSIDE of them!

On with the countdown...
7.  Titanic - The Experience

This attraction, loctated on International Drive in Orlando, is one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had.  You "become" a passanger of the RMS Titanic and venture through recreated rooms, see artifacts and hear touching and incredible stories from 100 years ago.  Almost 100 years ago to the day, as a matter of fact.  To learn more, please visit their website.

6.  Universal Studios, Orlando

Ride some of the other movies, at Universal Studios, Orlando!  I haven't visited in a few years because my kids are a bit young (which means, nope, haven't seen the Wizarding World yet), but Universal is still one of my favorite things to do in Orlando, OUTSIDE of the Disney parks.  Terminator 3D, Jaws (which I hear is closing soon, boo!), Twister, Men in Black... are just a few of my favorites!


5.  Electric Water Pageant

The few times I've caught this lighted boat parade, set in the Seven Seas Lagoon, I've really enjoy it but it seems that I miss it more often than not!  Haha!  Leaving the Magic Kingdom after Wishes, by ferry, one can see the boats making there way off the lake.  If you set up shop on the beaches of one of the Lagoon resorts, you can see both Wishes and the Water Pageant.  Now, if I can just remember to do that!

4.  Downtown Disney

 Always, always a stop for our family, Downtown Disney is like a park without the ticket.  Shopping, dining, entertainment, we usually make Downtown Disney our first day or last (sometimes BOTH!) as we don't want to "waste" a park pass for just a 1/2 day visit.

3.  The Spirit of Aloha

Not only is this show fun for the entire family, but the food is YUMMY!  Just entering the Polynesian puts you right in the mood for a luau.  The show is sweet and funny and full of songs and dancing and, like I mentioned already, the food is SO good!  We've done this show a few times and I'm sure we'll do it many more.

2.  Character Dining

There are lots of character dining experiences INSIDE the Disney parks but also many OUTSIDE of them.  O'hana is our family favorite but you can also visit 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian, Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary, Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club... just to name a few.  Not only is the food and atmosphere great but you can get those hard-to-aquire autographs SO much easier than inside the parks.

1.  Watching Wishes from The California Grill

My very favorite thing to do outside of the parks is making our dinner ADR at The California Grill so that we can watch Wishes right from our seat.  The view is spectacular plus they dim the lights and feed the music right into the restaurant.  When you make your ADR, request a seat near the windows and arrive a little early so they can accomodate the best they can.  We've never NOT gotten our window seat.  Plus, the food's delicious and the staff is great!

Wasn't that fun?!  Check out previous lists - Top 10 Disney Attractions, 9 Favorite Disney Characters, 8 Favorite "Lands".
And be sure to check back next week for our family's 6 Favorite Restaurants.