Dining

Menu Monday: Snacks Around the World Showcase – France

by on August 25, 2014

It’s time to continue to make our way around the World Showcase, sampling packaged snacks that we generally wouldn’t try in our daily lives. If you have been following along, we have already hit JapanCanada, and United Kingdom, trying snacks from a lollipop to chips. There’s more to discover, so let’s head to France to find a French snack to sample!

the iconic spaceship earth from Epcot.

It’s a great day to look for snacks!

Before we go, since we’re on a snacking challenge, let’s make sure we remember the rules:

Snack Rules

  • No snacks over $10; preferably less than $5
  • As unusual as possible
  • Something I personally would eat

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Hidden Details of Animal Kingdom

by on August 23, 2014

There are many reasons why the Disney Parks stand apart from other theme parks around the world, but one of the biggest has to be Disney’s incredible attention to detail. You can see the extra mile in the form of details just about everywhere on Disney property, from attractions to parade costumes to resorts to transportation to even the bathrooms! Personally, I love the details. They are not only appealing to the eye and fun to find, but almost always meaningful to the history of an attraction or to the story the Imagineers are trying to tell. For today’s post, let’s take a look at the hidden details of Animal Kingdom!

Expedition Everest Height Measurement

Expedition Everest Height Measurement

Over at Asia’s Expedition Everest, be sure to notice the special height measurement for young riders. Only at Disney would the measurement be a giant, wooden Yeti foot! I’ve always thought that Expedition Everest has one of the most clever, detailed themed queues, and this fun detail just proves it!

Inside of the Dinosaur attraction, look up to see red, white, and yellow pipes running through the queue. Chemical combinations are printed on those pipes, which isn’t anything special, unless you realize the combinations are actually the chemical names for ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard! Weird, right?

Animal Kingdom Harambe Sign - A Glass Slipper Vacation

Animal Kingdom’s Harambe Village

Animal Kingdom’s Africa is meant to look and feel as if you have just walked into a real African village called Harambe. Disney Imagineers really went to new heights with the details here, as Harambe appears lived-in and authentic with thatched roofs, posters for the village’s Harambe Wildlife Preserve, handpainted signs on the sides of local businesses, and so much more. This particular sign welcoming you into Harambe features ads of the village’s establishments, and the lights above it are even rusted to show age.

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SATURDAY SIX: Top Six Counter Service Restaurants at the Universal Orlando Resort

by on August 23, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Top Six Counter Service Restaurants at the Universal Orlando Resort. Last year we looked at the overall top six restaurants on property, and because both the Three Broomsticks and Fast Food Boulevard made that list, they were ineligible for this one. Speaking of which, later this year when The Cowfish opens in CityWalk we may have to revisit our original list because there have been some pretty impressive venues (including Antojitos and Vivo) who have made quite an impression since their debut. However, today we are looking resort wide for the counter service restaurants that we love the most, starting with….

# 6 – Thunder Falls Terrace (Islands of Adventure)

Thunder1

Thunder Falls Terrace

 

Located in Jurassic Park, Thunder Falls Terrace has several things going for it. The first is its menu. Unlike your typical theme park counter service, this location eschews traditional fare like hot dogs and chicken fingers and instead has items such as charbroiled ribs and rotisserie chicken. It is also one of the only counter service locations where you can get a mixed green salad made in front of your eyes.  There are several large seating areas inside (along with  tables outside as well) with one area has a fantastic view of where the Jurassic Park River Adventure boats splash down. This is even more fun to watch when guests walk by this area not realizing they are about to be in the Splash Zone and get soaked.

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Menu Monday: Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar

by on August 18, 2014

Trader Sam's drinks - Natalie Reiner

The Shipwreck on the Rocks and the Polynesian Punch in their souvenir mugs at Trader Sam’s. The Navy Grog, being off-menu, doesn’t have a souvenir option.

For such a hot spot for Disney super-fans, Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar sure has an unassuming location.

Sharing a building and patio with the Disneyland Hotel’s counter-service dining location, Tangaroa Terrace, Trader Sam’s could easily be overlooked amidst all the drooping palms and towel-clad children running to the monorail water-slides. But word is out: Trader Sam’s, a tiny little bar named for the head salesman of the Jungle Cruise, is a can’t-miss highlight of any Disneyland vacation.

Inside, louvered “windows” look out on tropical islands, a la the Enchanted Tiki Room, and tiki gods gaze down from the rafters and walls. Notes and aged photos pay tribute to Disney films, Imagineers, and Cast from over the decades. Just in terms of exploring the archives and deciphering the inside jokes, Trader Sam’s is Disney-nerd heaven.

And so Trader Sam’s has become part of the Disneyland trip for in-the-know fans. One morning that I was there, in fact, every single person in the room was a Walt Disney World Cast Member or Cast Member-alumni–including myself, and the bartender.

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Menu Monday: Inside the Disneyland Corn Dog

by on August 18, 2014

What makes these so special?

Why is this so delicious? Photo - Disney Parks Blog

Food. It is the most important experience you will have on a vacation. Whether you are traveling to Walt Disney World or Paris, the food you eat will shape your entire traveling experience. So, why is it that foodies always insist on people trying the Disneyland corn dog? It is just a corn dog after all, right? Well, this is not no ordinary corn dog, my friends. This is a piece of crunchy, delicious heaven. Even TouringPlans’ Researcher and blogger Guy expresses that…

Disneyland corn dogs are legendary among Disneyland locals for a good reason. They are giant, cheap, and most importantly delicious! They are hand dipped right before serving so you will hardly ever get a stale corn dog. Believe the hype.

Guy is not the only one that raves about the corn dog at Disneyland, L.A. Weekly’s Pulitzer Prize-winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold has stated that the corn dog at Disneyland is the best he has ever eaten.

So, what makes these corn dog so dang special? Well, it is actually pretty simple, and Gary Maggetti, Director of Food and Beverage for Disneyland Resort and Disney World, explains the originals of the Disneyland corn dog and why it is so magical in the video below.

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Favorite Park Series: Disney’s Magic Kingdom

by on August 17, 2014

Magic Kingdom

We made it!

We did it. We made it to the end of my Favorite Park Series. To read my highlights on Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, here ya go!

Now, let’s see what puts the ‘Magic’ in Magic Kingdom.

Memorable Moments 

“Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy” – Walt Disney.

Indeed, these memorable words are embodied in the ambiance and attractions of Magic Kingdom. Main Street, U.S.A., is reminiscent of small town America, with Ma and Pa general stores full of delicious goodies and fun souvenirs. Adventureland creates exotic experiences such as boarding the Jungle Cruise and joining the crew on the fan favorite, Pirates of the Caribbean. Make your way over to Frontierland and enter the Wild West. Hold on to your cowboy hats

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Observations from Downtown Disney Part 2 (Disney Springs, World of Disney, T-REX)

by on August 12, 2014

In part one of this photo tour of Downtown Disney we covered the West Side and all the walls surrounding Pleasure Island. We start off part two with one of the only references to Disney Springs that you will see in the entire Downtown Disney area. Even the concept art doesn’t have “Disney Springs” on it. Several lampposts outside of Fulton’s Crab House were emblazoned with the Disney Springs logo earlier this spring.

 

DIS1

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Snacks Around the World Showcase – United Kingdom

by on August 11, 2014

Welcome to Menu Monday. If your diet started today, we apologize. The TouringPlans Blog is trying out themed days for our content – starting with a consolidation of food and restaurant reviews on Mondays. Let us know what you think by email blog at touring plans dot com.

We’re making our way around Epcot’s World Showcase, finding interesting packaged snacks to try.  We have already visited Japan and Canada, and tried some red bean paste buns, crackers, and a maple lollipop so now it’s time to try a United Kingdom snack!  What will we find to munch on there?

Epcot Spaceship Earth

No time for Spaceship Earth! It’s time for a snack!

 

Snack Rules

  • No snacks over $10; preferably less than $5
  • As unusual as possible
  • Something I personally would eat

Let’s go and see what we can find!

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Anything But More Chicken Fingers: A Tour of Healthier Kids Meals at Disney World Resorts

by on August 11, 2014

t_logo_fbWelcome to Menu Monday. If your diet started today, we apologize. The TouringPlans Blog is trying out themed days for our content – starting with a consolidation of food and restaurant reviews on Mondays. Let us know what you think by email blog at touring plans dot com.

A challenge many vacationing families face is the seemingly static food offerings for the youngsters. Hamburgers and fries, chicken tenders and tater tots – those are the options you will find almost everywhere. Stop at your typical restaurant off the interstate on the way to Walt Disney World, and one, if not both, of those will certainly be among the kids’ selections.  It can be frustrating, but if you have elementary school-aged children, a cycle of repetitive fast food is sometimes almost a necessary evil.  By schedule, convenience, or even vacation, we’ve all been on a run of eating out just a little too much, to the point where the mere sight of your eight-year-old popping down one more chicken nugget drives you to your wit’s end.

You wonder, possibly even aloud: “Am I going to have to make the kids drink nothing but water for the next month to flush all of the grease from their digestive systems?”

Well, good news! While many of the kids’ menus at Disney also feature these good ol’ standbys, a little exploration of your resort restaurants will open up the meal options for the children.  Here are some of my clan’s favorite healthier choices at restaurants found at Walt Disney World resorts.

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Menu Monday: Best Sandwiches in Disney World

by on August 11, 2014

Welcome to Menu Monday. If your diet started today, we apologize. The TouringPlans Blog is trying out themed days for our content – starting with a consolidation of food and restaurant reviews on Mondays. Let us know what you think by emailing blog at touring plans dot com.

Sandwiches are pretty darn close to being the world’s most perfect food. No wonder they’re Anna and Hans’ favorite food (I mean, they’re always finishing each other’s sandwiches…). They aren’t expensive, cover most of the main food groups, can be simple or gourmet. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t like sandwiches. Even the pickiest eater can usually find a sandwich they enjoy. So, whether your have a family of picky eaters, frugal penny-pinchers, or just sandwich connoisseurs, here’s a list of the top ten places to find the best sandwiches in Disney World.

*If you’re looking to save some dough, be sure to ask the cast members at each dining location if they give discounts to DVC members, Annual Passholders, or if they accept the Tables in Wonderland discount. This information changes regularly, so it’s always good to ask to make sure you get the best bang for your buck!*

 

Earl of Sandwich - Full Montagu.

Earl of Sandwich – Full Montagu.

Earl of Sandwich (Downtown Disney): For me, no Disney vacation is complete without a visit to Earl of Sandwich, in the Marketplace of Downtown Disney. They have a huge selection of sandwiches which are priced around $6. With a choice of numerous side dish options and a beverage, you’re looking at spending a little less than $10 for a very tasty and filling meal. I can think of no better way to spend an afternoon than with my favorite Earl of Sandwich (The Full Montagu), a patio table and people-watching as families hustle and bustle into the World of Disney in search of vacation treasures.

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