Adults

Menu Monday: The Fabulousness That Is Jiko

by on September 29, 2014

IMG_5151I’m not a fancy girl. If a restaurant employs someone to pull out my chair and place a linen napkin in my lap, then you can bet I’d rather be eating burgers. Over the years I’ve begrudgingly been dragged to nearly every restaurant on Disney property. While they’re all nice, only one has pulled me back over and over: Jiko – The Cooking Place isn’t just my favorite restaurant at any Disney Resort, but it might be my favorite restaurant in the universe! Of course, like all good things, I feel like I should share it with you. So sit back and prepare for the fabulousness that is Jiko!

Jiko can be found at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. When first approaching the lobby, you’ll notice that it’s just across a hallway from Boma – Flavors of Africa. You’ll likely hear loud drums and screaming children. Don’t be deterred: Boma is responsible for all the noise and craziness. That will make it all the more serene when you walk into the quiet calm of Jiko. Around the restaurant walls it looks like a beautiful sunrise. I wasn’t surprised to learn the interior of the restaurant was inspired by the opening scene of The Lion King. In addition to the large dining room, there’s also a smaller wine room for quiet, intimate dining. However, my favorite spot is at the bar. I know what you’re thinking, but it isn’t for the alcohol! :) At the bar a full menu is offered with more relaxed service. Every bartender we’ve spoken to has been at the restaurant for many years and gone out of his way for us. Not to mention there are no reservations needed at the bar!

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Disney Princess Dress (and other Costume) FAQ

by on September 17, 2014

t_logo_fbWith Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to take another look at the Disney Princess Dress situation. This is an update of my 2012 article on the state of the princess dress, with new photos, pricing, resources, and details on the all important FROZEN dress situation. So put on your tiara and polish your crystal plastic shoes, ’cause here we gooooo.

Do most girls wear princess dresses at Walt Disney World?

When you’re just walking around the park, you’ll see just a small percentage of girls ages about 3 to 8 wearing princess costumes, maybe 5%. However, there are some places at the parks where the percentage of girls in princess attire will be much higher. My non-scientific, personal observation is that something along the lines of 50-60% of the preschool and elementary age girls at the princess-themed character meals will be wearing princess dresses. Note that this also means that 40-50% of the girls there will NOT be wearing gowns. Very few girls older than age 8 or 9 will be wearing princess dresses at meals, or anywhere else.

Something on the order of 80% of the girls getting makeovers at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (BBB) will be sporting some form of princess attire. Similarly, something on the order of 80-90% of the children attending Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party will be wearing costumes. These might be princess gowns, but could just as easily be something else entirely.

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Why You Should Choose the Magic Kingdom’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour

by on September 12, 2014

For those of us looking to learn more about the Disney magic, or for a whole new way to experience the parks, Disney offers a variety of tours to enjoy. For example, there’s Epcot’s Behind the Seeds Tour, Animal Kingdom’s Wild Africa Trek, and the big favorite, Backstage Magic, where you enjoy a backstage look of all four parks! However, my personal favorite tour has to be the Magic Kingdom‘s Keys to the Kingdom Tour, a five hour behind-the-scenes peek of the most magical park of them all; and for anyone looking to splurge on a tour, it’s my top pick. Why? Read on to see why you should choose the Magic Kingdom’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour.

Keys to the Kingdom Tour - A Glass Slipper Vacation

Earpiece guests use during the tour in order to hear even in crowded places

1. Utilidors

So this is one of the Keys to the Kingdom’s biggest draws, so I’m starting with it! Yes, the Keys to the Kingdom Tour allows you the opportunity to check out the legendary Utilidors, the Magic Kingdom’s tunnels that run underneath the park. Now before your imagination runs off, let me be clear. These tunnels are not something you would see in an Indiana Jones film. These tunnels are technically the first floor of the park, as the Magic Kingdom is actually built on the second level; and these tunnels are where offices and utilities are located, as well as wardrobe for Cast Members. Also, the purpose of the Utilidors is to allow Cast Members to get from one side of the park to the other without breaking theme. You see, Disney is all about the details and putting on a show, and having a Cast Member dressed in Liberty Square garb wouldn’t look right in Tomorrowland, would it? Also, you should know that you only get to see a small portion of the Utilidors during the tour; but even so, it’s still awesome! Also during the tour, you will get a chance to venture backstage to see some park attractions and buildings from behind the scenes. During my tour, my guide took our group to see the warehouse where they store the parade floats. It was just as memorable as the Utilidors!

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DisneyBounding: What is it?

by on September 11, 2014

Here is Brain DisneyBounding as Mickey Mouse.

Brian DisneyBounding as Mickey Mouse.

One of my favorite things to do as a child was to dress up and pretend to be my favorite superhero: Batman. Fighting crime and saving the world was what I did in my spare time. That is why when I go to a Disneyland and see children dressed up as their favorite Disney characters, I get a little jealous. Who doesn’t want to pretend to be someone else for an entire day? Children get to dress up as their favorite characters and take a photos with them, but how about us adults? Is there a way for fun us to join in the fun as well? Well, there is a way, and it is called DisneyBounding.

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10 Reasons DINKs Would Enjoy Disney Cruise Line

by on September 9, 2014

I know what some of you are thinking. “Are you sure DINKs would enjoy Disney Cruise Line?” Wait. That wasn’t it? Oh, you’re wondering what a DINK is! Well that’s easy. A Dink is a Double Income No Kids family (and let me immediately apologize if there is another, inappropriate meaning that I am too old or naïve to know). It’s obvious why the first two letters in that acronym would like a Disney cruise. They have more money! But the second two letters may throw you off a little. For many couples without kids, Disney isn’t the first cruise line they would consider (or maybe even a cruise line they would consider at all!) when planning a cruise. Well they should! Because Disney cruises are fun for everyone, even adults with no kids. My disclaimer here is as follows: yes, I know there are lots of other great cruise lines and yes, I know there are good reasons to sail on those other cruise lines. What I am trying to say here is – don’t rule Disney out just because you don’t have kids. There are reasons people love it after all.

1. Adult-Only Pools – When you picture a pool on a family cruise line, you are probably picturing a pool full of screaming, playing, splashing children. Well, you will find those on every Disney ship! The good news is you will also find a pool that is blissfully free of children – the adult only pool. There are certain times of day when it can get crowded, but it’s all adults. Many cruise lines do not have adult-only pools, but Disney recognized there would be times where the adults would want a calmer setting than swimming children afford. The Magic and Wonder have a long rectangular adult pool for swimming with wide shallow ledges on the side, perfect for lounging in water that’s only a few inches deep. There are also two hot tubs adjacent to the pool for adults to enjoy. The Dream and Fantasy have a pool divided into three circular sections. One is rimmed with seats, one is deeper water, and one is only a few inches deep for sunning. There’s a bar on one side of that last circle as well. Additionally, both ships have infinity hot tubs. The Fantasy also has Satellite Falls which is a small wading-type pool built with a waterfall feature. Trust me, even on a crowded day, they’re 1000 times more peaceful than the kid’s pool.

2. Adult-Only Café – All four ships have an adult-only café called Cove Café near the adult pools. It’s a great place to relax and order your favorite specialty coffee and baked treats. The coffee and alcohol are an additional charge, but the snacks are not! There are magazine and books to enjoy while you relax as well. It’s a great little spot!

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La Cava del Tequila to Host Patron Party at Coronado Springs on Friday, September 12

by on September 3, 2014

On Friday, September 12, at 7:00 PM La Cava del Tequila (the tequila bar located Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion) will host a party at Rix Lounge at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Limited to 150 people, each $30 ticket includes a shot of Patrón Single Barrel Reposado, a Patrón margarita, and light appetizers. Guests can RSVP via email to CavadelTequila@me.com 

laCava

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Menu Monday: The Happiest Hour Around Walt Disney World

by on September 1, 2014

Disney World Happy Hour

Image via @danasnyder

If you dial back your flux capacitor to 2004 in Orlando, Florida, you’d see me enjoying a frosty cold one and munching on atomic hot wings after a long day of handing out towels at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club’s Stormalong Bay. As a Disney College Program intern, my favorite happy hour spot around Walt Disney World was the Miller’s Orlando Ale House in Lake Buena Vista. For a kid from Seattle, the $8 pitcher and 50¢ wings seemed like a great deal compared to prices back home.

I still recommend Miller’s Ale House as an amazing spot for wings outside Downtown Disney, but I figure everyone should have a few Orlando happy hour options after a long day in the parks. After a few questions on comment boards, a post on Reddit, and a bit of my own experience, here’s a list of some of the best places to celebrate the happiest hour around the “World.”

Downtown Disney Happy Hour Specials

Raglan Road

We all probably have a little Irish in us. If you don’t, it only takes a pint of Guinness to change that! As one of the most celebrated places to drink in Downtown Disney, Raglan Road should be your destination for Irish singing and dancing.

  • Happy Hour: Visit the Hole in Wall outdoor pub 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm – $2 off beer, well drinks, and glasses of wine.
  • Food Specials: The bar menu features exclusive pub grub from 11:00 pm till late (which I think means until they want to close for the night).

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TouringPlans #Everywhere – I’m Going to Vero Beach Resort!

by on August 22, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

Many, many months ago an article was posted announcing the coolest project ever. A group of Touring Plans bloggers was going to take the Disney universe by storm, dropping one of us in every location around the world for a first of its kind blogging event. It’s called TouringPlans #Everywhere, and much like all of you I was looking forward to reading about it. Imagine my shock and absolute delight when I was invited to join the event by heading to Vero BeachI’m still pinching myself, and the best part is I get to take you all with me!

So what have I done to plan? Well, I suppose writing this article is a start. To be fair, I’m planning a vacation to Tokyo Disneyland first that has been taking up most of my time. Also, since Vero Beach is just a couple hours away, it doesn’t feel like a vacation that needs a ton of planning. It feels more like a beach weekend where you don’t pack more than your bathing suit. I don’t want that to make it sound like I’m not excited, though. If you can believe it, when I’m heading to Vero Beach it will be the only Disney location aside from Hong Kong I haven’t visited! So let’s take a look at what’s there:

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Disney World: Getting the Most of Cast Members

by on August 17, 2014

What do the following three questions have in common?

Tinkerbell in a thoughtful moment. Photo by Thomas Cook

Tinkerbell in a thoughtful moment. Photo by Thomas Cook

  • Is the rain real?
  • Is Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?
  • What time is the Three O’clock Parade?

Answer: They are all questions I was asked as a Walt Disney World cast member.

I hope it’s clear that these questions are not exactly the best questions to ask a cast member. I don’t mean to imply anything about the guests who asked these questions, especially since the parade question is one I got asked once a week or so over a number of years.

This article is not about questionable questions. It’s about how you should ask cast members about park information. It seems like a simple issue, but any longtime cast member will tell you their many stories of frustrating guests and their questions.

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Favorite Park Series: Disney’s Epcot

by on August 3, 2014

Hello again! Welcome to Epcot. If you haven’t read my highlights on Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, please do so now.

Epcot scenery

Take in the beautiful scenery.

*Twiddles thumbs. Checks Twitter. Reads a blog post.*

Done? Okay, let’s ‘soar’ right in!

Memorable Moments

Pick your mode of transportation! Soarin’ is a popular ride that allows you to hang-glide over California, feeling the wind in your face whilst smelling the fragrance of zesty orange trees. (Fun Fact: The first model for Soarin’ was made out of an erector set!) Once you land on solid ground, hop in a Chevy at Test Track. Strap yourself in and brace yourself for the ride of your life! Put on your space suit, join the NASA team and shoot for the stars as you travel to Mars in your rocket via Mission: Space. To ease back into Earth’s gravity, swim underwater to the ‘clamobile’ where The Seas with Nemo & Friends take you “under the sea.” Finally, use those feet and travel indoors to Innoventions where you’ll find interactive and educational games the whole family will enjoy.

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