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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Does this excite you?


Okay I love Disney and all that as much as the next guy. I love Disney souvenirs. But this seems a little overboard! Really a thousand dollars?

http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2011/10/two-great-new-items-together-from-disney-theme-park-merchandise/

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Eating At Disney Part Two


In Eating At Disney Part One I covered some of the basics, categories of food (snack, quick service and table service), the Disney Dining Plan and a few of my favorites at the Magic Kingdom. If you missed part one find it here. In this section I will cover the Epcot.

Epcot is the place to go if you want variety. While the food in Future World is pretty standard the options at the World Showcase are out of this world. Okay they may not be from out of this world but they are from all over the world! Unfortunately for those of you who want opinions on these international options I am very adventurous when it comes to rides but not so much when it comes to food.

The facade of the Liberty Inn at Epcot's World Pavillion. Nothing fancy hear just good old American fast food but still a fine place to eat.

If you want something that is standard American fast food I recommend the Liberty Inn. Its in the World Showcase opposite Future World. The menu is pretty simple, burgers and hot dogs and fries. I know its not an amazing choice but I like my food simple. Maybe next time I will venture out and try some of the more exotic foods.

Now if you want character dining you only have two options. One is Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. I have never personally eaten there so I cannot say too much about.

The only other option you have in Epcot is The Garden Grill.  I have eaten at the Garden Grill and my family and I agree. We love it! The food is served family style and brought to your table. In other words they bring out bowls and platters of food. They also keep bringing it out till you are full! Your feast generally includes a beef, poultry and fish as well as the sides. It was great stuff when we were there last, a flank steak in mushroom sauce.

The Garden Grill is a great place for a character meal in EPCOT. I love the food and the view into the Living With The Land ride.

Mickey Mouse makes his rounds to the table as do Chip and Dale and possibly others. Speaking of round, one interesting thing about this restaurant is that it spins around! Not like a merry-go-round, well at least not that fast, but it does rotate. It is situated on top of the Living With The Land attraction and you get some views into the attraction itself! I heartily recommend this to you. Reservations are highly recommended if you want to enjoy the Garden Grill.

My last recommendation for your Epcot dining enjoyment is Le Cellier. Cellier is french for cellar and this restaurant located in the Canada Pavillion will make you think you are really in a cellar. My wife and I tried to get in here once without a reservation because we wanted something special. That did not work out at all so I recommend you make your reservation early!

On our 15th anniversary trip my wife got us reservations here no problem. Of course she made them the first day we were eligible! We were glad we did. We were taken to our table in the “cellar” and the firs thing the waitress did was bring us some bread sticks. They were not traditional bread sticks though. They were things like poppyseed and my personal favorite, pretzel! For an entree my wife had a New York strip and I had filet mignon. It was one of the best steaks I have ever had. This should not have surprised me, Le Cellier is known as a place to go for beef eaters!

LeCellier in the Canada Pavilion. My wife and I both had great steaks and the pretzel bread is worthy of being sold by itself!

The cast members at Le Cellier, as they are at most of the pavillions if not all, were actually from Canada. Our waitress was superb! Check it out if you haven’t had a chance to yet.!

Avatar at the Animal Kingdom


Some months ago I read some rumors about a possible expansion at the Animal Kingdom. Of course, as you might imagine, Disney lovers generate a lot of rumors most of which end up to have no more form to them the hitchhiking ghosts in the Haunted Mansion. Occasionally they are right or at least kind of right.

The rumored expansion at the Animal Kingdom involved Australia. That made since to me. They had Africa and Asia why not the only continent that starts with A and has a wide variety of animals, Antarctica is kind of lacking  you know. Then the official news came out that it was indeed going to be an expansion with an A in the name but that name was Avatar. At first I was very excited about any expansion and in truth I still am. But, you see, I didn’t care for Avatar. In fact I have never seen it all. Still its more to do at the Animal Kingdom and it can’t be all bad can it?

Anyway, Disney teased us again today by saying something about the expansion without saying anything about it. You can read more here: Avatar Land Update.

While on the subject of this Avatar Land, what is your opinion?

Even Now Walt Gives Us Hope


“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” Walt Disney

Thinking about skipping your dinner reservation…something to consider


Disney is going to start charging you if you fail to cancel your reservation 24 hours in advance and don’t show up. The charge is $10 per person. While I don’t like the idea of the charge I do understand it. When my wife and I took our last Disney trip there were some places we just couldn’t get a reservation for, like Boma. Who knows how many people, if any, had reservations there but decided not to eat there. Could have been a table for us!

Details here

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/the-daily-disney/os-cfb-tourism-disney-1017-20111016,0,694387.story

I would rather wake up at…


I woke up this morning in severe need of a Disney fix! I was daydreaming about how nice it would have been to wake up at the Animal Kingdom lodge. I could have strolled over to see some giraffes, zebras, ankoli cattle or thompson gazelles on the way to morning coffee and breakfast. Then off I would have been to the park with extra morning hours, the Animal Kingdom. By now I could have ridden Everest probably twice and hit Kilimanjaro Safaris at least once. I know it seems awful early to have done all that but I am big believer in making the most of those extra magic hours. On our last extended family trip my wife and I had ridden the Rocking Roller Coaster 5 or 6 times before most people had entered the park.  Of course we were using the single rider line.

If you could have wakened this morning at Disney, which resort would you have it and would you have made the morning extra magic hours?

Eating At Disney-Part One


Food may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Disney World. It is not number one on my list either but hey you have to eat and if you have to eat why not at Disney World!

There are a lot of options for eating in the various parks at Disney World, the resorts and Downtown Disney. Some of them are relatively inexpensive and some of them come with a royal price tag, like Cinderella’s Royal Table.

Your eating options are broken down into three main categories: snack, counter service and table service. Snacks range from popcorn to fresh fruit with my personal favorite funnel cakes thrown in. Then there are the favorites Mickey shaped ice cream and dole whips. Counter service is mostly typical fast food fare but in the Animal Kingdom also includes bbq chicken and ribs that are very tasty. Table service means everything from buffets to the aforementioned Cinderella’s Table. Table service may also include opportunities to meet different Disney characters including the Big Cheese himself.

To help keep costs down Disney offers dining plans.  Those plans go from very basic burger and fries plans to the very luxurious. The prices, as you might expect, correspond. The plans are listed below for your convenience:

My wife I took a trip in 2009. At the time we had no children and decent jobs. It was also off peak season so we got very good rates on our hotel and perks like extra days on our theme tickets and a gift card. Since it was our anniversary gift to each other we decided to splurge and get the 2012 Magic Your Way Package Plus Dining package as well. That meant we got one snack, one counter service and one table service meal per day for each of us. We kept track and we really did save money this way. The only down side was we had to have reservations for all the table service meals and though we did save money on what it would have cost had we paid separately, we would have saved even more if we had skipped some of the table service meals and ate at counter service instead. That being said, we did have some great meals we probably would not have splurged on if we were paying for each of them individually. So before you go all out with a dining package, I recommend really weighing the pros and cons. If you have any questions, be sure to ask. I will be glad to give my opinion.

Now that we have looked at what types of meals are offered as well as an option to pay for them lets talk about the food itself.

I have eaten at a lot of Disney establishments but by no means all of them. There’s just too many places to eat and to be honest I am not the adventurous type, when I find something I like I go back again and again.

At the Magic Kingdom I recommend Peco’s Bills Cafe. Its just standard burgers and fries but they have a fixings bar that includes sauteed onions and mushrooms. Maybe it’s just me but that makes all the difference. My niece’s birthday is very close to mine and on more than one occasion when asked what we want for our big day, we have both answered Peco’s Bills! I am not sure how much the food has to do with it as opposed being in the Magic Kingdom. (Note: We have never gotten what we wanted!) If you are looking for something more sit down I recommend the Liberty Tree Inn for those families who are not interested in characters. The food is typical American with roasted beef, pork and ham for entrees and stuffing, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese for sides.  A salad and dessert are included. The food is served family style and brought out till you can’t stuff any more in! If you do want characters, Crystal Palace is hard to beat. The characters are Pooh and his friends. The food is great, several carved meats and all the sides you can imagine. The food here is served buffet style but its much better than the typical buffet you might find in the real world. The characters come right to your table and will pose for pictures as well sign autograph books.



To be continued!

Which park is your favorite?


I know I am getting into dangerous territory here but it can’t hurt to ask can it? After all everyone is entitled to their own opinion even if it is a hard thing to consider.

First lets consider the merits of each park. Magic Kingdom has all the classics and Wishes! EPCOT has the International Pavilion and cast members from all over the world (I love meeting people from other countries and cultures!) Hollywood Studios has the Rocking Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror (Although I refused to ride the tower the first time I went to the Studios.) And Animal Kingdom has…well animals!

I was talking to my wife one day about which one was our favorite and we came to the same conclusion, Animal Kingdom. We are both animal lovers. The environment is immersive. In fact you can almost believe you are in Africa at times. Especially if you are there in July or August!

Don’t get me wrong, with the addition of our newest family member, Magic Kingdom is high on our list! In fact if we could take him to just one park it would be the Kingdom. After all when you get down to it, the Magic Kingdom is Disney World to most people and it’s so kid friendly.

So what are your thoughts?

A Few Pics From our 2009 Trip to the Animal Kingdom


In 2009 my wife and I celebrated our anniversary in style at Disney World. Here are a few pics.

My First Disney Trip


I do not remember a whole lot about my first Disney visit. But I do remember a few select details.

One of the most memorable things is asking my mom why we couldn’t go upstairs in the Castle. Her simple statement to stop two young boys from pestering her to death about it, “There’s nothing up there!” Years and years later I even told my wife there was nothing up there because I believed my mom. When found out there was indeed something up there, Cinderella’s Royal Table to be exact, I had to tell my mom. Her reply, “I know but we couldn’t afford to go up there!” Maybe not the most honest answer she could have given us, but hey it worked right?

I also remember riding 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I know I am dating myself but I am not done yet! I even remember E-Tickets! And all the others too. So that tells you I am old.

Other than that, I don’t remember much except wanting to go back! And I have but not nearly enough. in fact, I would move right into the Castle if I could. Or any of the resorts. (My first choices are Animal Kingdom Lodge followed  closely by Port Orleans Riverside if anyone at Disney is listening and cares!)

Unfortunately I cannot live in Disney World! I have checked. They won’t let me. So since I can’t be there all the time, I do the next best thing. I talk about it all the time! That gets boring to some people and annoying to others. I know what you are thinking. What’s wrong with them! I have no clue but since they won’t let me talk Disney to them all the time…I am going to talk to you about it all the time! Thanks for stopping by…

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