Adults

Menu Monday: Mixology Class aboard the Disney Magic

by on March 2, 2015

Sailing aboard a Disney Cruise offers an ocean of opportunity to indulge. There are so many wonderful experiences waiting for you to enjoy, especially on 7 night or longer sailings. A series of adult beverage seminars is one of the more popular experiences offered on longer sailings. These seminars are a fantastic way to explore new tastes or learn more about a favorite beverage. On my recent cruise aboard the Disney Magic I finally decided to experience a beverage seminar for myself. After experiencing the seminar, I can safely say it is a good value and I am here to tell you why.

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A Tale of Two Runners and runDisney

by on February 15, 2015

To the shock and utter amazement of those that know me well (and even myself), I am contemplating signing up for a runDisney event in 2016. I have scoured every inch of the runDisney website and read many other people’s blogs about their experiences. However, I had concerns about what hotel was the right one to stay at for these events, so I asked two previous runDisney racers: Dave Russ, a casual runner who mainly does 5ks to support local causes, and Jordan Viebranz, a more seasoned runner who loves sharing his experiences and motivating others to participate.

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What runDisney event(s) have you participated in?

Dave: I did the Tower of Terror 10 miler in 2014.

Jordan: I participated in the Goofy Challenge this year. Last year (2014) I participated in the 10k and the full marathon.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

by on February 14, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Each of Walt Disney World’s onsite hotels have their own unique feel, and that rings true from the value end (such as Art of Animation) through the moderates (including Port Orleans French Quarter) and all the way up to the deluxe resorts like The Contemporary. That said, no hotel in Orlando stands more by itself as a one-of-a-kind original experience than Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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Located directly next to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park (and absolutely nothing else,) many guests consider Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL) too far out of the way to consider staying at. While the wait for the Disney buses may be a little bit longer than other resorts on property, today’s edition of the SATURDAY SIX is going to count down six reasons we feel everyone should consider staying at AKL as part of their next vacation, starting with…

# 6 – Indian-style Bread Service at Sanaa

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Sanaa bread service. A first ballot hall of famer for Disney food. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Animal Kingdom Lodge is broken up into two parts, the main hotel (Jambo House) and the Disney Vacation Club wing (Kidani Village.) In these two areas there are three of Disney’s best restaurants including Boma and Jiko at Jambo House, and Sanaa at Kidani Village. Unlike many restaurants at WDW that have dumbed themselves down in order to maximize profits as part of Disney’s Dining Plan, AKL’s restaurants deliver an experience that is true destination dining. The standout of these three venues is Sanaa’s bread service. With five different types of Naan bread available and up to nine different accompaniments to go with it, this is a bread service like no other.

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Menu Monday: The Best World Showcase Pavilions for Drinking

by on February 9, 2015

Enjoy the details in Epcot's World Showcase - Torii gate in Japan (Photo by Sarah Graffam)

Whether you’re attempting to drink around the world or simply want to stop in at one of your favorite spots in World Showcase, there’s no denying that Epcot is a great place to kick back and have a few. A lot of that has to do with the fact that you can take in the sights and sounds of different cultures from around the world in a single day. Many park guests have made it their mission to have a drink in every single one of the World Showcase countries in one day, which isn’t a task to take lightly. If you’d rather just sample a drink or two and need help prioritizing which countries to hit up, you’re in the right place. Below you’ll find my list of the best countries to drink in at World Showcase in Epcot. When I originally set out to do this list, I was going to rank all the pavilions from best to worst but found that a lot of my descriptions were the same because frankly there isn’t that much to do in a lot them drinking wise besides take in the architecture, walk around the gift shop and move on. With that in mind, I decided to limit the list to the five best pavilions.

I based my rankings on five categories. Each category is scored on a 5-point scale, so there is a total possible score of 25 points. The categories are:

Drink Selection

This category focuses on the amount of different drinks available in the pavilion and whether or not they’re any good.

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How to Have a Perfect Day at Castaway Cay

by on February 6, 2015

It’s the most loved port for any Bahamian or Caribbean journey aboard Disney Cruise Line. Disney’s very own private island is touted as Shangri La or Neverland and I have to say, I agree. A Disney Cruise is magical on its own, but a visit to Castaway Cay makes the experience truly enchanting. After over ten visits to this paradise of an island, I’ve developed my own routine and experienced many of the wonders around the island to know how to make a perfect day at Castaway Cay.

Let me start by saying up front that the perfect day at Disney’s private island is going to be a little different for each person. A family traveling with young children will have a different itinerary than a family with teens, and of course adults on their own will have a whole different agenda. But, the basic principles are the same.

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Healthy Habits at Walt Disney World

by on February 4, 2015

Photo Credit - Savannah Sanders

Hollywood Studios Walking Path

Getting and staying healthy is a popular resolution this time of year. But what can be a struggle at home may seem nearly impossible or just not at all fun when you’re on the road.

Healthy habits at Walt Disney World?! That’s crazy talk.

When I go on vacations, I love to indulge myself. It’s all part of the experience! However, on my last trip, I tried to make an honest effort to keep up the healthy lifestyle I strive to live at home.

I spoke with a primary care physician at the Mayo Clinic, who gave me an insight into the do’s and don’ts for maintaining personal health and wellness. Here were his recommendations:

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Add a Little Romance To Your Disney Valentine’s Day

by on February 1, 2015

Aaaaaah. It’s almost Valentine’s Day again. That ever so romantic day where millions of people in love buy each other roses, chocolates, and mushy cards. But what do you do when you are spending the day in the most magical place on Earth? You celebrate Disney style of course.

I know you are thinking this is probably full of Mickey ears, parades and fireworks right? Well, it could be. Or you could plan for some truly romantic Disney magic to encompass the day. Here are my top picks for romance in Disney.

Pirate's Passion ©Disney

Pirate’s Passion ©Disney

  • Order flowers, chocolates, champagne, or even a tiara to be delivered to your resort room. Disney Floral and Gifts has it all! Call 407.939.4438 or order online at disneyfloralandgifts.com. I suggest the Pirate’s Passion. Hint hint if you are reading honey!!
  • Book a massage for your sweetheart at one of Disney’s eight spas. Or be adventurous and try a couple’s massage offered at Mandara Spa at the Dolphin or Senses at either the Grand Floridian or Saratoga Springs. Call 407-WDW-SPAS to make reservations.
  • Treat her like a princess when you dine at Cinderella’s Royal Table. There are several special event packages you can choose from, but my favorite is ordering the chocolate slipper. If eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table seems too childish, other locations include the Grand Floridian’s table-service restaurants (Citricos, 1900 Park Fare, Grand Floridian Café, Narcoosee’s, Victoria and Albert’s) or during afternoon tea at the Garden View Lounge. The slipper must be ordered in advance by contacting crt.special.events@disney.com.
  • Splurge for dinner at one of Disney’s Signature restaurants such as Victoria and Albert’s or the California Grill. (Ed. – Book far in advance if you wish to dine at any restaurant on Valentine’s Day. There is currently no availability for parties of 2 at any signature restaurant on Valentine’s night.)
  • Looking for some fireworks in your evening? Take your sweetie on a Wishes or Illuminations cruise. The fresh night air, your own private cruise, inspiring pyrotechnics: what girl wouldn’t swoon?
  • More of a land lubber? Got an equestrian side to you? How about a horse drawn carriage ride at either the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds or Port Orleans French Quarter. When my husband surprised me with this one year I almost cried.
  • Kiss everywhere. I recommend kissing in every country in Epcot. Take selfies or ask someone else to take photos for you. Flowers die, but you can remember the romance a lot longer with pictures.
Snogging in England

Snogging in England

This list is nowhere near complete of all the romance to be found in the Disney parks.  For more ideas, check out a few other TouringPlans blogs on the subject by Stacey Lantz and  Lisa Gilmore.  Whatever you choose to do I’m sure the day will be filled with pixie dust simply because you are together in the most magical place in the world.

Did your sweetheart do something romantic for you while in the parks?  Share your romance story below.

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Using an Electric Scooter (ECV) at Walt Disney World

by on January 22, 2015

Renting a scooter can help your senior keep up.

Your chariot awaits!

My mom, Terri, has two autoimmune diseases: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Rhematoid Arthritis (RA). Because of this, walking for long periods of time (especially in the hot sun) causes her pain, dizziness and exhaustion. We have visited Walt Disney World many times and each time, she did her best to explore the parks on foot. However, as her diseases progressed, walking became more and more difficult for her. She tried to walk slower and take more breaks, but we could still see the pain in her eyes. My mom is a selfless and caring person, so she felt guilty. She felt she was holding us back and letting us down. She saw us changing plans to accommodate her and so she started making excuses to stay behind in the room to prevent any inconveniences.

Time for a Change

I noticed her attitude change, and explained that she was neither an inconvenience nor letting us down. I don’t see her as a woman with two diseases. I see her as my loving mother. My family and I love spending time with her and were so sad to see her missing out on the fun. I spoke with my Dad and we approached the subject of an electric scooter, or electric conveyance vehicle (ECV). At first, she declined. She was embarrassed because she thought she would be the only one using one. She thought getting around would be difficult and using Disney transportation would be a hassle.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter

by on January 17, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. Regular readers of the Saturday Six know how much we enjoy staying onsite at the Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World, and while Disney is challenged to compete with some the amenities that Universal can offer its guests, where it does shine is the overall amount and unique hotels on property. Universal has a total of four onsite hotels (soon to be five with the opening of Sapphire Falls in 2016) while Disney has five value resorts alone, not to mention all the moderate, deluxe, and DVC resorts on property. Today we are going to look at our absolute favorite moderate: Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.

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Port Orleans French Quarter.

 

Disney’s Port Orleans is broken up into two sections: French Quarter, and Riverside, the latter of which is the much larger of the two resorts. While Riverside certainly has its fans (in fact we’d probably consider it our extremely close second favorite moderate,) we prefer Port Orleans (POFQ) and here are six reason why, starting with…

# 6 - Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory

French Quarter doesn’t have a table service restaurant (although Riverside’s Boatwright’s Dining Hall is a short walk away,) but it does have a fantastic counter service with the Sassagoula Float Works. Set up like a mall food court, there are several different stations offering Louisiana-inspired dishes such as Po’Boys, Jambalaya, Gumbo, and Beignets. For lunch you can not go wrong with one of the various Po’Boys (our favorites were the pork and beef versions) along with a side of bean salad or house-made chips. As we wrote about in our review of the Fantasy Fare food truck, Disney makes surprisingly good chips. For dinner you gotta go with the Jambalaya or Pot Roast, and any time of the day is good for an order of beignets. Made fresh-to-order and covered in powdered sugar, these beignets are one of the best treats at WDW.

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Pork Po’Boy with bean salad from Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory.

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Universal Dining: The Cowfish in Universal CityWalk

by on January 5, 2015

The Cowfish was the final piece of Universal CityWalk‘s year long renovation that brought eight new dining venues to the resort. Cowfish joins Red Oven Pizza Bakery, Antojitos, Hot Dog Hall of Fame, Bread Box, Vivo Italian Kitchen, Cold Stone Creamery, and Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt as the new kids on the block, joining longtime CityWalk restaurants such as Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and the Hard Rock Cafe. Cowfish is located in the former home of Starbucks, who moved downstairs to the main strip of CityWalk, next to Cold Stone Creamery.

While Cowfish arrived last, it was possibly the most anticipated of CityWalk’s new locations from the minute they were all announced back in 2013. A one-of-kind dining concept that melds pan-Asian cuisine with the good ol’ American burger, Cowfish was bringing something completely unique to the table. While many were expecting a mouth watering and innovative menu, what no one saw coming was the amount of humor and interactivity that debuted with Cowfish, including its photo-op outside the restaurant that allows guests to saddle up and ride a cowfish.

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The Cowfish. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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