The Best Things I’ve Ever Eaten – Disney World Version

I periodically pour over the Disney World restaurant menus, always searching for new things I’d like to try, but I always have a list of my favorite things.  I’m sure you have a list of things you love, like Lou Mongello’s carrot cake cookie obsession from the Writer’s Stop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (I really try to love it, Lou, but it hurts my teeth to even think about it’s sweetness!) – and I want you to share it with me!  Here are some of my favorite things to eat at Walt Disney World:

Smokey Portobello Soup – Artist Point
Artist Point mushroom soup

At Christmas time last year, our waiter accidentally brought a bowl of this smokey, rich, delicious soup to my mother-in-law, who doesn’t eat it.  The waiter offered to leave it on the table, but  my MIL told him to take it back, as we all already had our appetizers (most of which were the soup).  I thought my middle child would burst into tears, as she watched the creamy bowl of mushroom goodness being walked back to the kitchen.  It embodies the taste of a rustic home in the heart of winter, and the flavor will keep you warm your whole trip.

Bobotie – Boma

bobotie

Minced meat, spices, flavors of sweet and savory, all baked into an egg mixture – oh my goodness.  This very traditional South African dish is an explosion of flavors that leaves my mouth very happy.  It’s comfort food at its finest.

Kakigori – EPCOT

kaki-gori

It’s August.  In Florida.  Where there is only one way to describe the heat.  Hell-like.  I’ve always thought I could survive the depths of Hades, having done the “EPCOT death march” at the peak of summer.  The big difference?  There is no Kakigori in hell.  This absolutely heavenly refresher is shaved ice, with your choice of a variety of sweet syrup, much like a traditional snow cone.  There are two big differences between the Kakigori and the snow cone you might get at your local fair or carnival.  The ice in Kakigori is shaved so finely, you don’t get any of the big, chunky, brain freeze pieces you always get in a snow cone, and it doesn’t glue itself all together as it melts, as a snow cone sometimes does.  The other difference is the syrups.  These seem not as cloyingly sweet as some you might find for a snow cone, and the flavors are brighter – tangerine, melon, and strawberry – much closer to fresh fruit than the snow cone flavors.  I like to taste the rainbow – and dream of cooler days!

Braised Pork – Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom

be-our-guest

Let me tell you, my little Mouseketeers, this is one of the best bargains on Disney property.  Served only during lunch, the pork is cooked like a Coq Au Vin, which is a traditionally French dish made with chicken and red wine, simmered in a pot until tender and delicious.  This dish hits the tender and delicious part spot on, and the serving is a full and generous portion – especially since this is lunch!  You’ll get the wonderfully flavored pork, a healthy portion of mashed potatoes, a gravy filled with carrots, onions and mushrooms, and another side dish of green beans.  Easily a $30 entree at a sit down restaurant with fancy napkins and French waiters, go for a late lunch (no reservations required!!) and make this your dinner.  You’ll have room for a late night Dole Whip snack!

So what are some of your Disney favorites?

 

 

Magic Bands, FastPass+, ADRs, OH MY!

Remember, back in the day, when you could just show up at Walt Disney World, ride the rides, eat nice meals, have a great time, and go home?  Yeah, me neither.

For as long as I’ve been planning Walt Disney World vacations (approximately 7, 459 years), I’ve had to get up at the crack of dawn at some distant light year from the actual vacation to book a dining reservation at a restaurant for which I personally have no fondness, but I have deemed it an experience my children MUST have to prevent them from ending up in years of therapy for the mental cruelty they suffered at the hands of a negligent mother.

But as if that fun and excitement wasn’t enough to give you hives, there’s more!

Bands-2-500x283

You have, no doubt, heard of the latest technology rolled out at the Disney theme parks.  The aptly named “Magic Bands” have debuted, and boy oh boy are they fun!  They come in pretty colors, you can add little charms to them, a cutie patootie frame around your Mickey head – what’s not to love?  They even have your name on them!  Adorable!

But the responsibility that comes as a Magic Band owner! While planning for a recent vacation, I spent the better part of my days trying to make sure everything for our upcoming vacation is going to be magical for my family.  I spent hours on the phone with Disney IT, when somethings weren’t working out right, and I went back into My Disney Experience dozens upon dozens of times, trying to make sure I wasn’t overlooking things.

And as the vacation date loomed, I didn’t feel ready.  For the first time, I was afraid our ability to navigate the park without stress was going to be impeded.  I worried that the FastPass+ selections I made were not really the ones my kids want.  I feared the kid who could easily ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster a half dozen times would be disappointed when I had to drag her away after one ride, not having the ability to snag FastPasses throughout the day.  It’s like the old fashioned ticket books!

disney-magic-band

Well, I can say that the vacation wasn’t a total disaster, but it was super stressful.  My husband declared it “not fun” to have my head buried in my cell phone as we tried to make adjustments to our FastPass+ selections, made 60 days in advance, to accommodate our schedule.  My kids were disappointed I couldn’t snag extra FastPasses to come back to things like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster or Toy Story.  And we did race through a meal or two in order to make sure we were able to run to our FastPass+ attractions before our time was up.

I am confident that in time, this will be an awesome system.  I loved, for example, not carrying a bag with me, because I didn’t have to store keys or passes or FastPasses.  I breezed right through the “No Bags” line like I’d done it a hundred times before.

But I did need a vacation from that vacation.  The stress of making sure we were where we needed to be so we could enjoy things killed some of the enjoyment.

Or maybe I’m not so good with the winds of change?

K is for Killer Bees – and Other Scary Things a-to-z blog challenge

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cK

 

I cannot remember when I first heard of killer bees, but I know I was young – a little kid – and I was terrified.  I remember hearing that they were coming to the United States from wherever killer bees lived at the time, and I had visions of armies of bees, rowing tiny bee boats across great oceans to get to the shores of the US, where they would turn us all into zombies.  Scared spitless.

But killer bees are not the only thing that terrified me.  I sat through the movie The Exorcist and felt nothing.  The movie Carrie?  I couldn’t go to bed.  My bed and Bean’s bed were in the same room, and at the time, they were pushed together to make one giant bed.  I was convinced in my sleep that Carrie’s cold, dead hand would come up between the crack where my bed and Bean’s bed connected and kill me in my sleep.

I’m lucky after seeing the movie Jaws that I could even sit on a toilet.  I was never a huge fan of swimming in the ocean, but once I saw Jaws (which I did see, in the theater, six times), I was much more content to watch the waves roll from afar.  I still am.

As a grown up, the things I’m most afraid of involve my kids.  Terrified of bad things happening to them.  It’s an enormous fear when they start driving, when they go out on a bike ride, when they go into a school where someone else’s child may have a violent agenda.  Mom fears are the worst.

Africanizedbee

But, I’m still afraid of Killer Bees.

J is for Jelly – a-to-z blog challenge

A2Z-BADGE-0002014-small_zps8300775cJMy family has some weird food tendencies.  The first weird food thing I can remember was my sister, Bean, who would skip tomato sauce on her pasta in favor of Russian dressing – which she also put on steak.  Blech.

Then there was Brighid, who for the first nine years of school took a peanut butter sandwich – no jelly – for lunch.  She wouldn’t eat lunch meat, and claimed a thermos didn’t keep things hot enough to eat by lunch time.  I thought her teachers would think I was a crummy parent, so one day I decided to switch it up and send her with cream cheese on crackers as her lunch.  She ate that for snack and then had chips and an apple for lunch.  Mother of the year went to someone else that year.

Eilis doesn’t like soup – unless it’s smokey portobello from Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

J_babypbj

Granuaile doesn’t eat potatoes, unless they are mashed.  No, you cannot bake them, take the “potato” out of the skin, and mash it – apparently, it tastes like dog turd sprinkled with used cat litter that way.

J_toast_w_jelly

But the weirdest food phenomena in my house is Jim and his jelly.  He has eaten jelly omelettes (not in my house, because I can’t make an omelette).  He likes his toast with butter and jelly.  And while we’re on the subject of butter – he puts butter and cream cheese on his bagels.

I’m not immune to flavor oddities – I like pretzels with my ice cream; cream cheese with my potato chips; and raisin gravy on ham (even though I hate raisins in every other way imaginable).

And I despise jelly.  Except on peanut butter.  But it has to be on the opposite side of the bread and spread thinly with the back of a spoon.

What are your weird food favorites?