Archive for November, 2011

Sweet Treats Down By The Boardwalk

by on November 24, 2011

Becoming a Disney Vacation Club member was one of the smartest moves my wife, Cheryl, ever made for me.  The truth is though that it took me two times through the presentation to buy in.  While I’m every bit a fan of Disney’s Old Key West Resort, at the time it didn’t wow me because I wanted to feel closer to the parks not secluded.  Then the following year, DVC started offering Disney’s Boardwalk Villas and I was hooked.  Well… okay Cheryl was already making a down payment while I was busy deciding that I was hooked.

What sold me on Boardwalk was… well… everything it had to offer.  Its close proximity to both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  The option to walk, bus, or boat to the parks.  Walking distance to other awesome resorts with even more ammenities: Disney’s Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts, and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin.  It has this fantastic theming that has always made me feel completely at home, and, now that I’m a runner, a few times around Crescent Lake is a great way to start the morning.  And let’s not forget the Boardwalk itself, designed to look like those found in both Atlantic City and Ocean City.

Boardwalks typically house various shops, eateries, and candy stores. Candy shops are famous for being found on boardwalks, with their most famous treat being Salt Water Taffy – originating from Atlantic City.  Despite legends, this taffy, while containing both salt and water does not contain ocean salt water. They’re also home to many outdoor carnival games and various street performers.

And that’s why at Disney’s Boardwalk you can find several places to eat and shop as well as games and street performers, but only one candy store: Seashore Sweets.  This shop is designed to have the authentic look and feel of a candy shop on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.  And, as with any good boardwalk candy store, you can find Goofy’s Salt Water Taffy and other “Confections Served with Affection”.

From the outside in, you can see the strong theming Disney has given to this candy shop.  The story goes that the shop is owned by the Sweet Sisters, hence the name Seashore Sweets (get it? there are two of them).  Now since this shop is supposed to be in Atlantic City, these two sisters are former beauty pageant winners.  Why?  Well Atlantic City is the birthplace of the Miss America Pageant.  As such you can find all sorts of memorabilia from the Pageant inside the shop – including a pageant crown, sceptre, robe, and trophy, as well as several statues of past contestants.

In addition to candy (available by the pound!!!) there are also several other items to be had in and around the shop including 8 flavors of Edy’s ice cream as well as soft serve.  You’ll also find some a really great selection of fudge flavors as well.  There’s also cupcakes, brownies, rice crispy treats, cookies, soda, and other items from Disney’s various park snack collections.  Whether you’re looking for a hunk of fudge, some cool ice cream, or a sweet treat, this definitely a place to visit.

Hand-Scooped Ice Cream
* Regular Cone or Bowl *
Single Scoop – $3.29 (DDP)
Double Scoop – $3.89 (DDP)

* Waffle Cone *
Single Scoop – $3.69 (DDP)
Double Scoop – $4.29

Sundae with 3 Toppings – $4.59
Shakes and Floats – $5.49
Additional Scoop – $1.00

Soft Serve Ice Cream
Regular Cone or Bowl – $3.19 (DDP)
Waffle Cone – $3.59 (DDP)
Additional Topping – $0.50

Beverages
Fountain Soda – $2.19 (DDP)
Frozen Slush – $3.69 (DDP)
Coffee Regular or Decaf – $2.09 (DDP)
Hot Tea – $2.09
Resort Mug – $13.99 (refillable)

Treats / Candy
Fudge, Cupcakes, Brownies, Cookies, etc. – $3.95 (DDP)
Rice Crispy Treats – $3.95 (DDP)
Bag of Cookies – $9.95
Cup of Chocolate bites – $11.95

Bulk Candy
1 / 4 pound – $3.25
1 / 2 pound – $6.50
3 / 4 pound – $9.75
1 pound – $12.95

And more!!! (prices and items vary)

* DDP = Disney Dining Plan Snack Credit

What about you?  What’s your favorite DVC resort?  Disney resort?  Do you like the Boardwalk?  Have you stopped into Seashore Sweets?  Do you want to now?  How about that fudge?  A little nosh? 4 out of 5 dentists disapprove.

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Losing Your Stuff at Walt Disney World: What to Do When Something Goes Missing

by on November 23, 2011

You did a masterful job of packing for your trip to Walt Disney World. You brought everything you need. You’re off in the parks, enjoying your trip, then oooooh, you get that sinking feeling that something is not right. You had your phone/camera/jacket/hat/ticket right here and now it’s GONE. What do you do?

First, don’t panic. While not everything that’s lost at Walt Disney World is recovered, many, many mislaid items are returned to their rightful owners every day. Let me walk you through some of my “lost at Disney” experiences and tell you what happened and how we recovered.

Replacement

In my recent post about packing for a Disney vacation, I mentioned that you should take a photo of the back of your park tickets and any travel documents. I can verify that this is a worthwhile tip because earlier this year, I did lose a park ticket. Luckily, I had taken a photo of the bar code on the back. I brought the photo, still on my phone, to the guest relations office at the park. They scanned the code and immediately printed me a new ticket. No questions asked. Easy peasy.

Copy your tickets for rapid replacement if lost

  • Moral of the story: A quick photo can save you time and possibly lots of money.
  • Bonus tip: If you’re in super scout mode, you could take photos of your tickets with two different devices (in case you lose your phone with your ticket). An alternative to this include photocopying the tickets and leaving a copy in your room. You may also want to write your phone number of the ticket as another means of contact.
  • Bonus tip II: It also makes sense to photograph the contents of your luggage. This can facilitate claims if your bags are lost by an airline.

Immediate Return

I was dining at Animal Kingdom‘s Restaurantosaurus, back when it was still a character meal. I had my camera out on the table so that it would be at the ready when Donald and Goofy stopped by to “chat.” Great fun was had by all. The meal ended and we left.

We walked over to Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama, and I attempted to take some photos of my girls enjoying TriceraTop Spin. Ack, no camera. I realized that I must have left in the restaurant because we hadn’t been using it anywhere else recently. I ran back, described the camera to the hostess, and she brought it out to me a moment later. Whew, crisis averted.

Bring a Sharpie to label your acquisitions

  • Moral of the story: If you know you had the item recently and haven’t traveled far, retrace your steps and ask for cast assistance.
  • What we did wrong: Every time, and I do mean every time, you make a major change of venue in the parks, do a 2-second survey of your stuff. Pat your pockets and verify that you have your wallet, phone, camera, or whatever else is mission critical for your stay. The sooner you’re aware that you’ve lost something, the more likely you are to find it.
  • Bonus tip: I had actually put a name/number label on the camera. I had extra permanent stickers around the house from marking my kids’ gear for camp. You could also use a Sharpie or other marking device. It’s not pretty, but it’s better than having things disappear.

Return a Few Hours Later

On my most recent trip to Walt Disney World, my daughter lost her phone. We knew that she had it when we rode Test Track at 2:00pm because we used it to take photos on the attraction. When she went to use it at 3:30pm, when we were at UK pavilion at the other end of the park, it was gone. We had covered more than a mile of walking, so the phone could be anywhere. Since we were in World Showcase, we stopped by Guest Relations at the International Gateway. The cast member there told us that approximately every two hours, lost items from throughout the park are brought to the main Guest Relations office at the front of the park. She said that we should wait a bit longer and then head down there.

At 4:30pm we were at the main Epcot Guest Relations, described the phone to cast members, and within three minutes had it back in our hands. We had to fill out a claim form, verifying that we were reclaiming possession of the item, and then we were on our merry way again.

  • Moral of the story: If you’ve lost something and haven’t left the park, go to the main park Guest Relations office and describe your item. Keep checking back throughout the day.

Lost and Found is found at Guest Relations

Return the Next Day

This particular scenario hasn’t happened to me, but I did learn from Guest Relations that if you lose something in the parks, but don’t realize it until the next day, your next step is to contact the central Lost and Found office, which located near the Transportation and Ticket Center. At the end of each day, the collection of lost items from each park is sent to this central location. You can also call central Lost and Found at 407-824-4245. It’s worth checking back several times.

Return Several Days Later

It’s possible to lose an item at Walt Disney World even if it never leaves your room. A few years ago, against my better judgment, I let my daughter Josie bring Pinky on vacation with her. Pinky is her “lovey” – the most favorite stuffed bunny that she’s slept with every night since she was six months old. Having had experience with a lost lovey in another situation, I insisted that Pinky stay in our room at the Grand Floridian while we toured the parks. We came back to the room in the evening, and Pinky was gone. After ripping apart every crevice of the room, it became apparent that Pinky must have made her way out with the housekeeper.

My husband called the front desk and was eventually connected with the housekeeping manager. He explained the situation and learned that it is not uncommon for items left in or on beds to accidentally make their way into the hotel laundry when the sheets are being changed. We also learned that laundry at Walt Disney World is gigantic and centralized. The manager told us that it was impossible to know exactly when our particular load of sheets would be washed, but that it could take up to a week to make it through the system. Filters in the drying system are cleaned frequently of guest t-shirts, socks, and stuffed animals that were collected in error. We were told to check back.

After much searching, Disney found Pinky and returned her to us

And every day for a week, my husband called back the housekeeping manager. A full week later, Pinky was found in the laundry filter. Two days later, Disney FedEx-ed Pinky, looking a little hungover from her journey, to our home wearing a glamorous tiara and pink sunglasses, with a photo and note of apology from Cinderella. This was an honest mistake with, luckily, a happy ending.

  • Moral of the story I: If an item is absolutely irreplaceable, don’t travel with it.
  • Moral of the story II: If you do bring an irreplaceable item with you, do not leave it out in the room. Put it in a drawer or suitcase when you’re out. People think to do this valuables like computers, but the idea applies to anything.
  • Moral of the story III: Don’t give up. Keep pestering the Lost and Found folks at Disney. Even better, get the name of a specific cast member who can champion your cause. They really do want to help as much as possible.

Disney Contacts You

In the inverse of the above situation, I purposely left something in my hotel room on a recent trip. I had attended Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Part of my costume was a baseball cap that I knew we would never use again. It was in fine shape, so I left it out on the table in the room in hopes that it would eventually get donated somewhere.

Disney may contact you if they find something you've lost.

I was home for a few days when I got a postcard from the Pop Century telling me that they had an item left in my room and that I could contact them to claim it. While I didn’t need the hat back, I felt good knowing that someone was looking out for me.

  • Moral of the story: If there’s something you’re done with at Disney that you don’t want to take home, but still has value, leave a note. A typical example of this might be a novel you’ve finished and won’t reread. The note tells the housekeeper that you don’t need your item returned.

So folks, have I been unlucky to lose so many items at Walt Disney World, or lucky to have found them all? What have your experiences been with missing items in the parks or resorts? Let us know in the comments below.

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Lunch At The Liberty Tree Tavern

by on November 23, 2011

Liberty Tree Tavern Lobby

Since this week is Thanksgiving I thought I’d take a look at a Walt Disney World restaurant that may spring to mind when you think of turkey and other fall favorites: Liberty Tree Tavern located in the Magic Kingdom‘s Liberty Square. The colonial America-themed eatery features menu items you may associate with autumn in the Northeast. Seasonal staples like chowder and pot roast take center stage all year round here. Not only is the food tasty, but the atmosphere is a lot of fun for those of you who are history buffs (like me).

The decor here fits into its Liberty Square setting with the look of a colonial era house. The restaurant’s lobby looks like the kitchen of a large colonial home with a large cooking fireplace, candle chandeliers, and cooking utensils hung on the walls. The celebration of American history continues throughout the dining rooms. Historical figures are featured in each room throughout the restaurant; each is themed to the likes of George Washington or Benjamin Franklin. The spaces are intended to be cozy with beamed ceilings and pieces of furniture and artwork one may have found in a home of that time.

I had only been to the Liberty Tree Tavern one other time for dinner years ago when guests were greeted by Disney characters wearing bonnets and powdered wigs. Although the characters have gone, dinner here is still served family style with turkey and all the trimmings among other goodies. I thought it was pretty good, but not amazing, so I wasn’t sure what to expect of lunch. Lunch is a whole different story here since this meal is served a la carte, allowing guests to select their favorite items off the menu. Many dishes have kitschy colonial names such as the Liberty Lamb Stew. This is Disney, so everything is themed. Don’t let the cutesy names fool you–most of the entrees are hearty New England fare, so you should arrive hungry!

Crab and Spinach Dip for Two

There are a few appetizers to choose from, including the Declaration Salad (your basic green salad) and New England Clam Chowder. On the day we dined here my normal eating schedule was a bit thrown off since I had been outside the main gate waiting for the park to open by 7 a.m. I had already had snacked on corn dog nuggets from Casey’s Corner, so I wasn’t ready for a big meal when we sat down to lunch. The solution to my problem was to order the Crab and Spinach Dip for Two as my entree. Crab is one of my favorite foods, so I was looking forward to giving this a shot, and it did not disappoint! It was warm, cheesy, and full of crab meat. If you were actually going to have this as an appetizer, I definitely recommend sharing, but it was great as an entree for me that day.

Since I ate with several friends we had a lot of different entrees served around our table. The New England Pot Roast looked delicious, and those who had it confirmed it to be yummy. The Pilgrims’ Feast (a.k.a. turkey) comes with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and a vegetable. The Freedom Pasta dish consists of fusilli, chicken, and veggies in a creamy sauce. Colony Salad was a hit with its grilled chicken, apple slices, pecans, cheddar, and dried cranberries. The Angus Chuck Cheeseburger (what, no cute name?) can be topped with bacon and cheddar or mushrooms and provolone cheese. We also had someone with us who has special dietary needs, so the chef was kind enough to come to our table and discuss her needs. She really enjoyed her quinoa burger with tofu-tzatziki sauce on the side. This is the standard vegetarian dish, but it was tweaked to her needs. I don’t think anyone in the bunch was disappointed with his or her selections!

The signature dessert at lunch time is the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake, which consists of vanilla cake with a toffee filling and caramel sauce topped with vanilla ice cream. Some of my fellow diners decided to try it since they had heard good things. Unfortunately, they thought the dish was just okay, and probably wouldn’t order it again. Another sweet option is Martha Washington Cake, a chocolate cake with “liberating” chocolate-coffee icing. If you’d like a fruity finish to your meal, you may want to try Johnny Appleseed’s Cake or the Fruit Crisp.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Liberty Tree Tavern. I had usually heard it was just ok, but nothing to write home about. However, I really enjoyed my lunch and will make a point of returning in the near future. Not only was the food tasty, service was good, and the setting is fun way to get a glimpse into this country’s history.

How about you? Have you dined at the Liberty Tree Tavern lately? Let me know what you thought about this restaurant in the comments!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers and their families!

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“I Feel the Rhythm, Mon!” Caribbean Beach Resort Review

by on November 22, 2011

Last month I stayed at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort for five nights with my husband and two of our friends. Caribbean Beach is the first and only moderate resort I’ve stayed at on property. My last visit was in 2008, just before the room renovations. My feeling about it then was that the grounds were beautiful but the rooms needed an upgrade. I gave it a few years and here in 2011 I tried again.

I’ll be honest, check-in was remarkably slow. I used Online Check-In, and while that line moved quickly, once I got up to the counter everything slowed to snail’s pace. The cast member taking care of me wasn’t “earning her ears” but certainly seemed like she needed to be brought up to speed on the current system. Her basic communication with me was dull and unpleasant. The room was ready for us, but it wasn’t attached to our Key to the World cards. She had a hard time figuring that out. On top of that, our room request (Jamaica) wasn’t honored. While this didn’t bother me so much, where we did get placed irked me. Martinique building 21 is the absolute furthest building away from a bus stop and Old Port Royale. The walk was insanely confusing (and I’m good with maps) at first, but after a few trips to the bus stop we got the quickest path down.

We were placed in room 2140 on the second floor. I was really excited when I saw that we had a corner room. I just like having the extra window. The room was very tidy and clean upon my first inspection. My only negative comment about the room is that the furniture seemed too worn to be still used in the room. The bathtub also seemed a little dingy. Not dirty, just dingy.

As far as the other details of the room stay, I’d have to say that there were some flaws but nothing that ruined my visit. The sound was pretty standard for most Disney hotels. I could hear other showers running from our bathroom but that doesn’t personally bother me much. The sound that did bother me was the air conditioner. It was excessively loud and I think it would bother a very light sleeper that needs quiet. The lighting in the vanity area was decent, and I appreciate the full length mirror on the bathroom door. The thing I disliked most about the room were the pillows. They were very small, and some of them were odd shaped so it made relaxation a little uncomfortable. C’mon Disney! Invest in better pillows!

My group didn’t even set foot in Old Port Royale on account of the torrential rain we encountered on our vacation. You’re probably thinking, “But the walkways are mostly covered!” This is true, but when the wind is blowing the rain, the walkways get VERY slippery. So slippery, in fact, that my husband fell down a flight of stairs in our building. While it provided a good laugh at the time, he could have seriously gotten hurt. I was afraid to even walk from our room to the bus stop let alone all the way to the food court just to grab some ice cream. We also didn’t make it to the pool, but I can pretty much say that it’s still as awesome as last time.

Overall the bus service at Caribbean Beach Resort was decent. Epcot buses were consistently the worst: there just weren’t enough of them running, and of course that was the park that we visited the most. Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom both had plenty of buses running. Disney’s Hollywood Studios had a couple of longer waits but nothing extreme. On a night when Fantasmic was cancelled, we had to wait about ten minutes for the first bus to show up, but once that one did, two others came right after. That’s killer efficiency. While on the buses I noticed something really weird. The most popular bus stop was by far Martinique. It seemed like the other sections of the resort were practically unoccupied compared to Martinique.

I think that it’s going to be a little while before I stay at Caribbean Beach Resort again by choice. There are just too many flaws for me to go out of my way to spend my money there. Hopefully with a few customer service improvements and some updates it’ll be able to bring me back.

What do you think of this resort? Have you had more success? Let us know in the comments!

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Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar Improvements!

by on November 22, 2011

With the season of giving approaching quickly, we here at TouringPlans.com are doing our best to give you even better tools to plan your Disney vacations. Following on the heels of our Optimized Touring Plans, we are proud to announce that our Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar has just gotten better, too, by utilizing projected park hours.

One of the most common criticisms we receive about the Crowd Calendar is that it changes too darn much. The reason it changes is that Disney adjusts park hours (for details, see this blog post) at least once per month based on attendance estimates generated from internal data. Although TouringPlans.com also predicts crowd levels, we do not have access to all of the information that Disney uses for its estimates. Therefore, to be as accurate as possible, we use Disney’s park hours as factor in our crowd level predictions. So when Disney changes park hours, our Crowd Calendar generally changes. Those of you that utilize our Crowd Tracker have probably noticed.

Over the past few months we have been collecting and analyzing years of Walt Disney World park hours. The result is a full projection model that predicts all elements used in the Crowd Calendar. While it will not totally eliminate changes to the Crowd Calendar, it will even out many of the fluctuations, making the Crowd Calendar more reliable looking into the future.

You may have noticed many changes to our Crowd Calendar numbers since this change has just gone into effect (especially if you had signed up for our Crowd Tracker). Please rest assured that all of this is done solely to increase our accuracy and increase your knowledge as you plan your Disney vacations.

If you have questions or comments, please let us know.

Finally, note that we plan to allow you to see our totally unofficial, projected park hours, but we are not quite at that point yet.  We will certainly let you know when that happens.

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Breakfast At The Wave… Of American Flavors

by on November 22, 2011

One of the hidden gems in Disney dining has to be The Wave…of American Flavors at the Contemporary Resort.  I have enjoyed every meal I’ve had here, and I can never understand why there don’t seem to be more people in the dining room each time I visit.  As if the dinner wasn’t yummy enough, within the last year or so The Wave added breakfast to its service, and I have to say I think it is one of the best breakfast deals on property.

The buffet option cost me $18.49 whereas Chef Mickey’s (which is also at the Contemporary) will set you back about $35 per adult.  You’re really paying for the character experience at Chef Mickey’s, but even considering that the price is steep.  While most food is expensive at Walt Disney World I think you really get a lot of bang for the buck at The Wave.  Guests may also use one table service credit for this meal, but you may consider paying cash for it to get the most value.  Folks who have a Tables in Wonderland card may also apply it to your tab to get a 20% discount.

Now that we’ve discussed pricing, let’s get to the good stuff: the food! As an added bonus to the great bargain, the food is great as well.   A lot of the standard Disney breakfast offerings can be found here such as eggs, bacon, and an assortment of fruit.  However, you’ll also find menu items unique to this location such as sweet potato pancakes and whole grain mickey waffles.  I think it’s safe to say this may be the healthiest buffet on property (although there are plenty of not-so-healthy items too).  The spread also includes smoked salmon with an assortment of vegetables for lighter fare along with pastries and other goodies for those looking to indulge.

If buffets aren’t your idea of a great breakfast there is also an a la carte menu.  Maybe an egg white frittata sounds like the perfect wholesome breakfast?  The Wave is the place to get one.  Also served are sweet potato pancakes, smoked salmon, and key lime eggs Benedict as a la carte options if you are not in the mood for the whole buffet.  I certainly think I could handle a plate of those pancakes especially with the honey-pecan butter served along side them.

Every time I’ve had breakfast at The Wave I’ve opted to go for the buffet.  The sweet potato pancakes are delicious and I really like that there are some healthier options on their menu.  After a few days of eating junk in the parks it’s really nice to have a plate full of fruit and whole grain waffles.  Don’t get me wrong, I usually slip a couple piece of bacon in there for good measure, but I love being able to have a meal in Disney World where I feel satisfied, but not gross.

Not only is the food terrific at a good price, this restaurant is easy to get to via Disney transportation even without staying at the Contemporary Resort.  Simply make your way to the Magic Kingdom and either hop on the monorail or take the short stroll over the hotel.  If you have your own car there is plenty of parking to be had for diners; just follow the signs for the Contemporary Resort after going through the Magic Kingdom parking gate.  I really like to start my day at The Wave with a good breakfast before trekking around the Magic Kingdom all day.

Another great thing about breakfast at The Wave is that it seems to be off the radar for most Disney World guests.  We walked up to the hostess stand without an advanced dining reservation and had no problem getting a table.  My friends and I sat right away without any wait and since we all knew we wanted to do the buffet service was quick and easy.  Hopefully this post won’t blow the secret and make it tough to get a table!

How about you?  Have you had breakfast at the Wave…of American Flavors?  Let me know what you thought about it in the comments!

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WDW Park Hour Updates for December

by on November 21, 2011

It’s about that time again…time for Walt Disney World to update its park hours.  It is December’s turn, so if you’re planning a trip next month you probably want to check this out.  If you are curious about the manner in which Disney releases park hours (and why it changes them two weeks prior to the start of the month), it is all explained in this blog post.

(If a date is not listed here, there is no change from the previous hours)

Sunday, December 4: 

Tuesday, December 6:

Wednesday, December 7:

Friday, December 9:

Saturday, December 10:

Sunday, December 11:

Monday, December 12:

Tuesday, December 13:

Wednesday, December 14:

Thursday, December 15:

Friday, December 16:

Saturday, December 17:

Sunday, December 18:

Monday, December 19:

Tuesday, December 20:

Wednesday, December 21:

Thursday, December 22:

Friday, December 23:

Saturday, December 24:

Sunday, December 25:

Monday, December 26:

Tuesday, December 27:

Wednesday, December 28:

Thursday, December 29:

Friday, December 30:

Saturday, December 31:

========================

As always, we will be updating the changes on the Touring Plans site very shortly.  You can also expect some slight changes to the Crowd Calendar as a result of the shifting hours.  Disney extends hours when it expects a slightly higher attendance, so our Crowd Calendar may move to reflect that expectation.

Thanks for shopping Touring Plans for your park hour needs!

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Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe at Epcot – Not Just Burgers and Fries!

by on November 21, 2011

A constant refrain I hear from friends or family who go to Disney and come back is “all they have to eat is burgers and fries.”  This is the one thing they could say that is guaranteed to drive me nuts, because I know that they just didn’t try to find the unique places to eat.  Inevitably, I point them to one of my favorite quick service locations in all of Walt Disney World, the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in Norway.

A simple glance at the menu of Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe takes that “burgers and fries” notion and puts it to rest.  Like any good bakery, there are a number of baked goods available.  There’s the sweet pretzel, in both almond and chocolate varieties, which is very tasty.  The rice cream is pretty nice as well.  Oh, and the cream puff, the Danish and the veiled maiden are good, too.  Like any Disney counter service restaurant, there’s also cookies of a staggering variety.

My favorite dessert, though, is the school bread.  Oh, the school bread, I could write sonnets about it.  Basically a yeast donut style bread, the school bread surrounds a sweet, creamy filling that pops out the top, surrounded by frosting and coconut shavings.  It’s sweet, usually very soft and chewy and is delightful with a cup of coffee or glass of milk.  Desserts at Kringla will cost you $1.99 for the wonderful school bread, up to $4.29 for a sweet pretzel.  In comparison with the prices at other Epcot restaurants, everything is quite reasonable. 

Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe is not just about desserts, though.  It’s got some great options for a light lunch as well.  Everything is sandwiches, but what different style sandwiches they are.  My personal favorite is the ham and apple sandwich on a wheat style bread.  Nice thin slices of ham and fresh green apples topped with cheese does not sound appealing, but it really does go together well.  In addition to the ham and apple sandwich, you can find the Norweigian club with turkey, ham and bacon, a roast beef sandwich, the more eclectic salmon and egg sandwich and the chef’s selected sandwich of the day.  The sandwiches will run from $6.99 to $7.99 depending on which you pick.  Again, for the size of these sandwiches, that’s a pretty good deal.

Every Epcot restaurant also has a wide variety of drinks, and Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe is no exception.  Aside from the usual soft drinks, milk and coffee drinks, there are some great unique choices here.  Try the Voss Artesian water if you’re looking for some different style bottled water.  The Carlsberg beer is a good one, as is the Viking coffee, which is a coffee that includes Kamora Coffee Liquer and Bailey’s.  During the holiday season, the Viking coffee is one that I make sure to grab. 

The atmosphere in the bakery is also quite nice.  It’s well themed to a Norweigian countryside, including an oven outside for baking the sweet treats inside.  Complete with ornate tables, a roof thatched with grass, and a stone and wood exterior, it melds seamlessly into the Norway pavilion.  Every time that I head to Epcot, Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe is on my must see list.  Even if it’s only for a quick school bread, this is one place I have to stop and have some unique food, very different from burgers and fries.

 

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Test a Touring Plan Meet Announcement

by on November 21, 2011

For your entertainment, TouringPlans.com will host a “Test a Touring Plan” meet at Magic Kingdom on Saturday, December 10, 2011. We will gather at 7:30am. Look for folks in cranberry-colored TouringPlans.com shirts on the west side of the plaza between security and the turnstiles.

This meet is meant to give attendees a small taste of what it’s like to be a TouringPlans.com researcher. The active part of this event will last about two hours, so you need not worry about blisters, hydration, battery depletion, and other common ailments that real researchers encounter. And you’ll be done in time for the first official Reunion meet of the day.

We will divide into groups, and each group will receive touring instructions for the two hours that the park is open. You will collect data and submit it when done. If possible, bring a smartphone and a pencil (we’ve found that ink runs when it gets wet; hence the pencil recommendation).

The results of our test will be shared in a blog post, and surprises await for those who complete the exercise. Stay tuned to the blog for RSVP information.

Update: You can RSVP via Plancast effective November 30, 2011!

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TouringPlans.com Friend Feed – November 21, 2011

by on November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving week means we are only days away from a feast with the family at my house.  I hope all of you have some great Thanksgiving plans ahead of you as well.  So let’s pass the cranberry sauce and take a quick look at the podcasts and website that TouringPlans.com sponsors in this week’s Friend Feed.  What’s going on around the Disney community?  A lot!

Did you know Disney made a Thanksgiving movie?   Neither did I, until we watched it for this week’s Disney Film Project Podcast.  Check out what happens when Disney meets a historically inaccurate Thanksgiving in Squanto, A Warrior’s Tale.

Thanksgiving signals the start of the holiday season around Walt Disney World, and the Be Our Guest Podcast previewed the holiday events on one of its shows this week.  Listen to the hosts talk about the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, the Candlelight Processional, Holidays Around the World and lots more to get you in the holiday spirit.

It was a similar show this week for WEDway Radio, whose hosts put their own spin on the holiday preview.  Being the historical guys they are, Matt and Nate had to take a look back at the evolution of the Candlelight Processional.   That alone is a good reason to listen to the show, as you can get a great idea of how this holiday tradition has evolved through the years.

Disneyland kicked off the holiday season with the opening of it’s a small world holiday this past week.  Disneyland Live covered the event and captured a military family joining Disney to turn on the lights in a fun ceremony.  Check that out and more over at Disneyland Live.

In addition to the holiday decorations and events all around Disneyland, construction continues this week on Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.  Dateline Disneyland has pictures of the latest progress to spring up in the faux Radiator Springs, as well as some fantastic pictures of the decorations all around both parks.

Lots of people will be visiting Disneyland during this time of year, and many will have a limited time to do so. Mousetalgia‘s show this week deals with visiting Disneyland in a day.  How do you balance the commando touring, relaxation and ability to soak it all in with such a short time frame?  Besides having one of our Touring Plans, listen to this week’s Mousetalgia to get some great tips.

One day excursions must be all the rage these days, as this week’s MousePlanet Disneyland Update brings news of a new one day trip by Adventures by Disney.  Lights…Camera…Magic! is the name of the new trip, and it involves leaving from the Disneyland Resort and seeing the sights of Hollywood.  Check out the Disneyland Update for more details on that and other goings on around Walt’s original park.

The Disney magic is not just confined to the West coast, though, as this week the Disney Store in Times Square staged a big stunt with augmented reality.   Check out the details on how Cinderella Castle made the trip to New York City in this week’s MousePlanet Walt Disney World Update.

 

WDW Today usually has really great topics, but I have to say this past week’s show on 1 attraction and 1 restaurant to close at Walt Disney World was one of the best.  Listen to Len, Mike, Mike and Matt talk about the restaurants and attractions on their hit lists, and learn a little bit about the guys in the process.

With 2011 coming to a close, it’s time to start planning for trips and activities in 2012, right?  Lou Mongello began the process on the WDW Newscast this week, looking at the schedule of events for D23 members that the official Disney fan club released last week.  There are some interesting events planned, so if you’re not a D23 member, go check out Lou’s video and see what you might be missing out on in 2012.

The history of Walt Disney World has always been of interest to me, so I was delighted to see the series on the first year of the resort continue in this week’s AllEars Newsletter.  Looking back at that first year, I’m surprised things kept going!  Get information like this in your inbox every week when you subscribe to the AllEars Newsletter.

 

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