Posts Tagged ‘walt disney world’

Menu Monday: Beaches & Cream Soda Shop

by on December 8, 2014

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop

©Disney

Recently my boys and I returned from another fun-filled adventure in Disney World. As with all great Disney vacations, one of the things we strive to include beyond the attractions are some delicious sweets. At home we don’t eat many extravagant desserts, so when we are on vacation the sky is the limit when it comes to tasty treats. One of our favorite stops is Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. When we first tried this restaurant several years ago, we were enticed by stories of mountains of ice cream and the legend of a famous sundae. Now we keep returning, not only for these enchantingly sweet concoctions, but for the ambiance and other delectable dishes that Beaches & Cream continues to offer.

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Review of a Disney’s Beach Club One Bedroom DVC Villa

by on December 4, 2014

While Disney World offers a vast variety of different resorts to choose from for guests staying on property, the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Villas offer even more options and experiences, particularly when it comes to room sizes! During my last few trips to Disney World, I had the opportunity to enjoy stays at several different DVC Villas; but today, I’m zeroing in on Disney’s Beach Club Villas in this review of a Disney’s Beach Club One Bedroom DVC Villa. 

Disney's Beach Club Resort

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

First of all, the Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s own timeshare program where members purchase and use points for their vacation experiences. It can be difficult to understand, but Disney Vacation Club (DVC) 101: What is DVC? can help fill in the gaps. If you are not a Disney Vacation Club Member, the good news is that you can still stay at a DVC Resort! You can do so by booking through Disney, just as you would any other resort; however, other guests like to rent points or even buy points from other members, but you definitely want to make sure that the seller is legitimate and reliable.

Earlier this year, my family and I booked a stay at one bedroom DVC Villa at Disney’s Beach Club. This resort is very popular and has one of the best locations at Disney World in that it’s next door to its sister resort, the Yacht Club, as well as the Swan and Dolphin Resort. Across the water, there is the Boardwalk Inn Resort and the Boardwalk itself with it’s dining, shopping, and live entertainment to take advantage of. But wait! It’s get even better! The Beach Club is also a short walk from Epcot, and a somewhat longer walk, or boat ride, to Hollywood Studios. In fact, during my stay, I could see the fireworks from Epcot’s Illuminations from the Beach Club grounds.

The Beach Club features a light and airy, beach theme with a vintage flair. Pastels and little seaside details can be found all throughout the resort, from the carpets to the light fixtures; but one of the things the Beach Club is most known for is it’s pool, Stormalong Bay. Many say it is the best pool on Disney World property and I would agree!

The smallest villa offered at the Beach Club Villas is a Deluxe Villa, which sleeps up to four adults. It’s similar to a standard resort room, just with more amenities. The next size villa is a one bedroom, which is what I’m focusing on today. This villa can also sleep up to four adults, but it offers more space than a Deluxe Villa. Finally, the largest villa offered at the Beach Club is a two bedroom villa, which can sleep up to eight adults.

My family and I had stayed at the Beach Club before, but never in a villa so we were excited to enjoy a whole new experience at this gorgeous resort.

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Decoding Disney World Name Tags

by on December 2, 2014

Disney World Name Tag

Disney World Name Tag

My most exciting moment becoming a Cast Member was receiving my Walt Disney World name tag. I had been taught since I was little to seek out those white ovals for help and I was proud to wear one myself. You will probably see hundreds of these name tags during your vacation and it turns out there’s a lot you can learn from pausing to take a look.

Let’s start with the basics. A Walt Disney World nametag will always be placed on a Cast Member’s top left side, over the heart. The name is featured prominently in center, with the Cast Member’s hometown listed below. Cast Members love meeting people from our hometowns, so make sure to say hi if you see a familiar place.

Learning and Training

When a Cast Member is being trained, a red ribbon that reads “Earning My Ears” will be attached to their name tag. They will have a trainer with them; the trainers wear Jiminy Cricket pins over their nametag. Be extra kind to these Cast Members—they’re still learning.

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Menu Monday: Best Counter Service Restaurants in Animal Kingdom

by on December 1, 2014

This is the second installment in a series on the top counter service restaurants at Walt Disney World. The first article addressed the best and worst counter services of Magic Kingdom, and now we’ll take a walk on the wild side as we review the best counter service restaurants in Animal Kingdom. Keep in mind that to dine at any of these locations, you will need a valid park ticket for admission. Additionally, with some of the construction and updates occurring around Animal Kingdom, not all of these locations may be open or accessible during your planned trip, so be sure to check the Disney Dining website for a full list of open dining options.

To refresh your memory, here is the grading scale I’ve used to determining how each counter service location has earned it’s ranking:

  • Value (portion/cost ratio) = 10 points
  • Flavor = 10 points
  • Originality = 5 points
  • Atmosphere = 5 points
  • Grand total = 30 possible points

So, let’s dive in!

Flame Tree Barbecue – Discovery IslandFTB Sign

Flame Tree Barbecue has long been a popular recommendation among Disney vacationers, and for good reason! It’s got a menu that pleases practically everyone in your group, prices that aren’t so difficult to swallow, and after years of visiting this location, I’ve never been disappointed. The quality has remained consistent and delicious. So, swing by Discovery Island for some finger-licking deliciousness.

Value = 10/10

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Enjoying Disney World While Pregnant

by on November 30, 2014

Photo - Angela DahlgrenWhile five months pregnant with our baby girl, my husband and I decided to celebrate with a “baby moon” at Walt Disney World in July 2013. I was nervous at first, but quickly realized there are so many ways to enjoy Disney with a baby bump!

Note: Make sure you check with your doctor before embarking on your Disney vacation. Ask about any restrictions and advice they may have. Your health and safety comes first!

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

I can’t stress this one enough. Florida, especially in the Summer, is HOT (well, hot for this Minnesota native), so it is imperative to make sure you’re drinking enough water. Whenever you see a water fountain, take a drink! Carry a water bottle with you at all times. Ask your wonderful husband or partner to “spring” (pun intended) for a cold bottle of water available all around the parks. Getting enough H2O is crucial for you and your little one.

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Choosing the Right WDW Discount

by on November 26, 2014

As a frequent Walt Disney World traveler, and also not a Florida resident, I’m sufficiently addicted to Disney vacation planning books, podcasts, blogs, discussion groups, and other research areas that can help me sustain my pixie dust addiction without breaking the bank or going in debt. During my years of research, I’ve heard lots of claims of which Disney discount is “best”, and while I trust many of the sources I frequently research, I’ve learned that not all discounts pack the same punch. Depending on your party size, your frequency of visiting the parks, and your touring style, some discounts are better than others. In this article, I’ll review the most common (and often reoccurring) discounts available and analyze how those discounts can apply differently to different Disney vacationers.goofy discount

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Menu Monday: Birthday Fun at Teppan Edo with Review

by on November 24, 2014

Photo - Tammy Whiting

For those of you who don’t know, Teppan Edo is a delightful restaurant found in the Japan Pavilion located in the World Showcase at Epcot. That was a mouth full, wasn’t it? Here you can enjoy teppan-yaki-style cooking prepared right at your table by a talented Japanese chef. It’s not just a meal, but a fun and unique experience. Trust me, it’s something to put on your culinary bucket list!

Teppan Edo is my favorite place to eat in the World Showcase for two reasons: the memories and the overall experience. The first time my husband and I went to Disney World together, it was our favorite dining experience of the trip. We were with my parents and Michael’s aunt and uncle. Michael had raved about this place as he had been there once before. With such positive reviews coming from a Disney Curmudgeon, I knew this was definitely a place I had to try.

Following our arrival, we waited in the “lobby” for a short time before being seated. As we walked down a long hall way, I could peak into each room to see wait staff and chefs tending to their guests. I couldn’t wait to get started!

Now, the grill is centered around family-style seating so if you’re an introvert, you may have to keep an open mind. My parents could talk to a wall, so they plopped right down next to a middle-aged couple from New York. Yes, they had a New York accent. Yes, I couldn’t get enough of it. We soon learned that they were teachers like my mom, so they all had plenty to gab about.

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Video: 2014 Jingle Cruise at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

by on November 18, 2014

2014 Jingle Cruise

All aboard the 2014 Jingle Cruise at WDW’s Magic Kingdom with two complete POV videos (images by Seth Kubersky)

‘Tis the season to deck the jungle with holly — and hammy jokes — as the 2014 Jingle Cruise is now underway at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Last week, the seasonal overlay to the Jungle Cruise returned for a second annual run, this time with some notable upgrades.

Last year’s inaugural Jingle Cruise was criticized for confining the custom scenery largely to the Jungle Cruise’s boathouse queue, and for some jokes that were staler than fruitcake. As you can see in the following Jingle Cruise POV videos, more holiday decor has been installed along the riverbanks, and the spiel has been adjusted appropriately to reflect the additions.

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Menu Monday: Best Counter Service Restaurants in Magic Kingdom

by on November 17, 2014

Be Our Guest RestaurantPicking your favorite Walt Disney World counter/quick service restaurant is like picking your favorite child, sure on some days you may like one more than the other (come on, we’ve all been there!), but overall, you just can’t choose a favorite! Dining in Walt Disney World has become a favorite past time among repeat guests. And now, more often than not, first time guests have their own “bucket list” of restaurants to eat at or snack to try. With this increase in demand and expectation, Disney has responded by adding more restaurants and expanding the menus of their current restaurants. These adjustments also come with price increases. As Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin from ABC’s Once Upon A Time always reminds us, “all magic comes with a price” even Disney’s pixie-dusted munchies. But fear not intrepid traveler and foodie, you can indulge your taste buds and save your budget with the counter/quick service restaurants available at every Disney Park and resort. But with literally, over a hundred to choose from (seriously, 102 – I counted!), I’m here to help you select the best of the best, park by park and even among the resorts. This article will focus on the counter service options of the Magic Kingdom. The focus will be on restaurants that offer a full meal option. Though there are many additional locations I could have included in this list, I narrowed it down to exclude those counter locations that really only sell snacks. After watching hours of Master Chef and Chopped, I’ve devised a ranking system that will incorporate four criteria into the ultimate calculation for the best counter service meals.  The criteria are:

  • Best value (portion/cost ratio) = 10 points
  • Flavor = 10 points
  • Originality = 5 points
  • Atmosphere = 5 points
  • Grand total = 30 possible points

Be Our Guest – New Fantasyland

This latest addition to the Magic Kingdom dining line-up has everyone crazed to make dinner reservations or snag the elusive lunch FastPass+ option. The menu is a bit pricier than other counter service option, and it’s only available as a counter service during the lunch hours (10:30am to 2:30pm). Starting at 4pm, Be Our Guest is considered a Table Service restaurant where prices increase and the menu changes a bit.

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Traveling with a Disney Curmudgeon

by on November 16, 2014

Photo - Pixar.wikia.comThey live among us. They look just like you and me. They are….the Disney Curmudgeon.

Disney Curmudgeon (Dis·ney cur·mudg·eon): noun. 1. A person who possesses a strong dislike or disinterest of all things Disney.

I know my fair share of Disney Curmudgeons. In fact, I live with one. My husband, Michael, doesn’t share my obsession and love of everything Disney. He is a great sport (He dressed up as Smee and Mickey Mouse for me, so he must be!) and there are some aspects of Walt Disney World he really does enjoy. However, whenever I bring up a future Disney trip, his eyes say, “Really? again!?,” but his mouth smiles and says, “We can see about that honey.”

Although it may be in my nature to throw the book (and by book, I mean the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World) at him and spend hours explaining why Disney World is the best place ever, it would result in a negative outcome on both sides. Instead, working with him and catering a little more to his needs can reduce the stress and make our vacation much more enjoyable.

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