Archive for August, 2009

WDW Today Episode 606 – Listener Questions

by on August 19, 2009

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Episode 606 of WDW Today is now available for download here.

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California Grill – A Very Special Treat

by on August 17, 2009

My favorite restaurant in all of Walt Disney World is California Grill.  With its outstanding food and wine selections, unparalleled service, its magnificent views of the Seven Seas Lagoon, Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Magic Kingdom and the Electrical Water Pageant, California Grill is a jewel in the Disney Crown. 

California Grill is located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary resort .  Check-in is on the 2nd floor.  You are then escorted up a special elevator with a cast member.  The restaurant is decorated with a modern flair: light woods, tall ceilings and open kitchen.  It’s fresh and very inviting  and in my opinion the BEST place to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Reservations are required for dining room seating. 

Because California Grill uses only the freshest ingredients, the menu changes weekly.  The flat breads are wonderful and great for a starter or a meal for a less adventurous eater.  I have always had excellent food at the California Grill whether it be corn bisque, summer salad, or valrhona chocolate cake.  I try to order something different each time I go.  Their sushi is outstanding.  The California Grill introduced us to sushi and the sushi I eat other places pales in comparison.  The Oak Fire Filet of Beef has been offered at most of our visits and is a family favorite.   The California Grill is a little slice of culinary heaven.

An added bonus of the California Grill is the wonderful viewing location for the fireworks show.  The lights are dimmed and the Wishes soundtrack is piped into the restaurant.  I have often had a window table, but my favorite place to view them is from the rooftop deck.  The soundtrack is also piped outside as well.  I promise you, it brings a tear to my eye every time.  It makes me  feel is though all is right with the world.  (Can you tell I’ve swallowed the pixie dust ;).   The cast members go out of their way to time your food with the fireworks.  You will not come back to your table to find cold food waiting for you.

If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, it will require 2 of your Table Service Credits as it is a Signature Dining Restaurant.  The Unofficial Guide does not suggest you use your credits in this manner.   While the atmosphere is upscale, it isn’t stuffy.  This is a special meal.  You may want to lose the regular park touring attire in favor of something a little nicer.  Disney prefers that you dress business casual at all Signature Dining locations.  Tank tops, swimsuits or swimsuit cover-ups, hats for gentlemen, cut-offs or torn clothing of any kind are not permitted.

 Calfornia Grill is an upscale dining experience that thrills all of the senses.  Well worth the cost and the highlight of our trips.  Calfronia Grill is always a special treat.

WDW Today Episode 605 – Downtown Disney Top 3’s

by on August 17, 2009

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Episode 605 of WDW Today is now available for download here.

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WDW Today Episode 604 – Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

by on August 14, 2009

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Episode 604 of WDW Today is now available for download here.

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WDW Today Episode 603 – Listener Questions

by on August 12, 2009

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Episode 603 of WDW Today is now available for download here.

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Hello From Disneyland Paris!

by on August 11, 2009

Just finished our third full day in Disneyland Paris. The Disneyland Paris park is beautiful, and combines the size of Florida’s Magic Kingdom with the detail of Disneyland. Frontierland, Adventureland and Fantasyland seem to be much larger here than in the US parks, and Big Thunder is perhaps the park’s main draw. And while I’m not a fan of how the US’ Dumbo rides are done (and done … and done), the one here is magnificent. The coaster rides (BTM, Space and Indiana Jones) are much more rough than in the US, and Americans will find many of the ride vehicles a tight fit.

The Studios park here is very small, even smaller than DCA, although not bad in any respect. The main attraction seems to be Crush’s Coaster, which is (roughly) the equivalent of the Animal Kingdom’s Primeval Whirl, larger, with actual Disney theming.

A couple of other things: We’re staying at the Adagio City Aparthotel in Serris, about a 25-minute walk from the park entrances. That’s only a few minutes more walk than the farthest Disney hotels, however. Air conditioning in the Disney hotels is not effective, and even though it’s only around 80F most days, Bob’s had to keep his windows open at night. Our hotel does not have A/C, and if I came back in the summer I’d stay elsewhere. At cooler times of the year, however, the Adagio is a great choice: inexpensive, walking distance to the parks, clean, friendly staff and right next to the largest shopping center in Europe.

Finally, at the last minute I balked at taking the RER from the airport to Marrne la Valee, and found Missions Transport. It’s a car service (like Tiffany Towncar or Happy Limo in Orlando), and they’ll wait for you at the arrival gate at the airport and drive you directly to your hotel. For families of three or more staying off-site or at one of the distant Disney hotels, it’s either less expensive or comparable to the RER (Paris’ metro/train service) or shuttle bus, and much, much more convenient. Highly recommended.

Heading into Paris soon. As they say in France, arrivederci! (Joke!)

WDW Today Episode 602 – Len’s Bus(y) Birthday

by on August 10, 2009

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Episode 602 of WDW Today is now available for download here.

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WDW Today Episode 601 – Mr Voice Takes On The World

by on August 7, 2009

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Episode 601 of WDW Today is now available for download here.

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Disney Ticket Calculator: Updated Prices, New Vendors

by on August 6, 2009

We’ve made some updates to our popular (and FREE!) Least-Expensive Disney Ticket Calculator.

First, we’ve updated the tickets prices from all the vendors, including the recent price increases made by Disney.

Second, we’ve added two new vendors, Orlando Fun Tickets and Kissimmee Guest Services. This brings the number of third-party ticket vendors up to five, with the others being Undercover Tourist, Maple Leaf Tickets, and Official Ticket Center. Of course, we also compare with the tickets you would pay at the Disney gate / If you hurry, you might be able to snag some remaining tickets that reflect the old Disney prices.

The Least-Expensive Ticket Calculator was recently mentioned in USA Today, and is a great way to efficiently choose the right Disney ticket set for you and your family. Go check it out!

WDW Today Episode 600 – Listener Questions

by on August 5, 2009

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Episode 600 of WDW Today is now available for download here.

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