Wednesday, January 28, 2015

snacking in disney...

One more Disney food post (because it's important). :O)

Along with the Dining Plan, you also get a snack credit per person x the number of days you are staying at the resort. Ours will be six each, as we are booked for six nights. Snack credits can be used one at a time or all at once. We usually do one per day (as we are already eating a TON of food). I have favorite snacks in a couple of the parks that I must get. Also, I try to make good use of my snack credit. I would not use a credit on say, a soda, which cost about $2.50,  when I could get a milk shake or smoothie that costs over $4.00. Here are some of my favorite snack choices in Disney....

my absolute favorite place to use snack credits:

the caramel shop in Germany (Epcot)
everything looks soooo good!
(and it smells amazing too)

they make the candy right there....
this caramel is d-e-l-i-s-h!

Another great choice, Kaki-Gori (shaved ice) in Japan (especially on a hot day!).

Then there are special holiday snacks....

a sugar cookie from the Grand Floridian at Christmastime....
or a Valentine's Day red velvet cupcake!!

Frozen Lemonade is good anytime...
I finally had a Carrot Cake cookie from the Writer's Shop (DHS) on one of my solo mornings!
The boys used most of their snack credits on milk shakes when we were there in 2010.
If you want to go the healthy route
you can always choose fresh fruit. I do this for breakfast a few times each trip.
A (ginormous) cinnamon bun for breakfast works too!
(with an iced mocha frappe'..also one credit)
I think this snack is the most popular...
Check out the "Best Food I Ever Ate in Disney" -- don't miss these!
I am not sure if I've ever eaten one in Disney....I must take care of that!
Peter's favorite snack (hands down) is a DOLE WHIP!!!!!

You can get these at Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom.
Nathan chose the rootbeer float there on our last family trip (2012).

These are just a few of my favorite snack choices. I almost always have a few credits left over on check-out day....but don't worry, you can finish them off with Mickey Rice Krispy Treats to bring home from the resort food court or gift shop.

Favorite Food Friday: Mickey Crisped Rice Treat

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

single digits!

I can't believe that we leave for Florida NEXT WEEK!!! I don't think I've ever been this excited to go to Disney...( but I think I say this every year)! I think we are going just in time too, as it looks like more winter weather is about to settle in. I love going this time of year, it seems we escape most of the snow /ice anyway. And the countdown always flies by....I get so busy preparing for the holidays, that February is here before I know it. :O)

With just 9 days until we start our long road trip, I have lots to do!

-travel folder/notebook

This is pretty much ready. I can do online check-in tomorrow. I made our mousekeeping envelopes, but need to put $$ in a few of them. Reservation numbers and times are confirmed. Fast Passes have been chosen. Magic bands and travel packet is already in my bag.

- packing

I have started to gather a few things that will get packed. Mom helped me clean the attic last week, so all summer items were found! I will start putting outfits together and pull aside everything I can. I'll get the suitcases out this weekend and start packing. Last year, I waited until the last minute (our house was in so much mess from the re-do), I promised myself I would never do that again, as I forgot a few things or felt like I had forgotten something the whole drive down! I used to be so organized, but with age, comes forgetfulness!

- get the house organized, finish projects, clean

I rarely leave for vacation without making sure we'll come back to a clean house!
This week, I'll get things organized, finish painting those kitchen chairs (finally??), and clean the house. I also have a hair appointment this week and a mani/pedi next Tuesday. I skipped the tanning bed this year, and know I'll probably be sorry when I get to sunny Florida and I pull out the capris & short sleeves! (and to think, I seriously considered going to the pool this year!). Probably won't pull the tags off my new bathing suit again this year either....(I bought it 4 years ago!!) :O)

- menu planning

I usually get creative with my meal planning right before we go on vacation. I try not to buy much and just eat out the freezer and whatever is in the pantry/fridge. This year is no different, I've come up with something for every day until we leave next Thursday.

Special Celebrations

Last year, we did our very first "special celebration" trip. We postponed our 2013 trip the year we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary, so last year, when making reservations, we decided to add a celebration to our stay and got anniversary pins. We absolutely loved it! Even Peter, who doesn't care for all the fuss, humored me and went along with everything. It was a very special trip!
Celebrate Your Anniversary at Disney World
The only other celebration I've done, is when we took Nathan and his classmates on a Senior Trip in Dec. 2012. I didn't get any pins, but others in our group got 1st Visit pins and the Seniors got Special Celebration pins.

Long story short, I am thinking about celebrating my birthday while in Disney. I will turn 50 on March 20th.
I wore a Happy Birthday button, as did my husband, for our visit to Disney World. It was amazing how may "Happy Birthday" wishes we received from park employees and complete strangers! Loved it!!!
I know it will be a little over a month away, but I think 50 is a big year and I think it's worth celebrating...don't you??

I haven't added it to our reservation yet, but thought about calling today. Peter thinks it's a great idea (especially since I'd be the only one wearing a pin this time)!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fast Passes at Disney

Fast Passes

I love the new FP+ set up! I can't believe that on our very first family trip in '08, I knew little about getting FPs. I still remember Nathan's face as we stood in a VERY long stand-by at Space Mountain and watched those with FPs just walk on by!!
As soon as we got off that first ride, we ran over to the fast pass kiosk and got our very first FP! Imagine Nathan's cockiness as we walked quickly though the queue, passing those waiting in the "slow" line! We still talk about & learn!

So now we have the luxury of choosing FPs before we ever leave home! I love that!

Here are our choices:

Magic Kingdom day #1

-Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean - attraction at Disney World...."Yo Ho Yo Ho A Pirate's Life for Me"
-Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road  - Disney World, Orlando #disney #bigthundermountain
-Splash MT.
Magic Kingdom: Splash Mountain

I tried to get one for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train...but no luck today. We may do stand-by if not too long. I am very anxious to try as it wasn't open last February.

Magic Kingdom day #2

On our second day at MK later in the trip, we chose:

-Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

-Meet TINK
(I know- but I would like to do a meet & greet this trip with a character I've never met. I'm sure Peter will be thrilled-bless his heart).
Meeting Tink for the first time. This is adorable.
Not sure if I can pull this off with Peter, but I'll try.
I found the perfect Tink costume while in Charlotte, too bad it didn't fit. LOL

-Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

The pros and cons of Walt Disney World's newest attraction (spoiler-free).

Can't wait to ride for the first time!

Epcot day #1

- Spaceship Earth

-The Seas w/Nemo
The Seas with Nemo and Friends Finding Nemo Ride at Epcot Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL

-Soarin' (our favorite!!!)
Best of Disney World's Epcot for Tweens and Teens: Soarin' | Family Vacations #epcot #teens

Epcot day #2


I only chose 1 FP, since we have limited park time on our second Epcot day.

Animal Kingdom

-Kilimanjaro Safari

-Festival of Lion King
Festival of The Lion King, Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World - one of the absolute best shows I've ever seen
(we missed this last year as it was relocating in the park- we are super excited to see our favorite show again).
I'll do Single Rider Line and skip the fast passes for Expedition Everest. I missed it last trip, so I'll have to make sure to ride at least once.

Hollywood Studios

-Toy Story Midway Mania

-Star Tours
Star Tours
(new to us. Peter is not too thrlled with fast or spinning rides...
and not sure what it does-hope he likes this ride).

-Tower of Terror 

(Peter will NOT do this one, and normally, I'm too chicken to ride alone.  
I'm feeling adventurous now, but I'll let you know how that goes!).

I didn't choose one for Rock n' Roller Coaster since I can do Single Rider Line and get on as many times as I want. I'll ride this alone---I love it!!!

Rock N' Roller Coaster - Disney's Hollywood Studios

Saturday, January 24, 2015

more disney dining- counter service

Along with planning table service meals for dinner, I like to choose a few counter service options too. Some of these we'll be sure to do, others may not work out due to where we are or what we are doing. Rarely, do we revolve our day around lunch. There is no need for reservations (can't make them anyway), since there is never a long wait for counter service!
A counter service credit on the Dining Plan consists of an entree, a dessert, and a beverage. We are not huge dessert eaters, so sometimes we'll grab a (wrapped) Mickey Rice Krispy for later. I will confess, I eat more cupcakes while in Disney than I do in a whole year! :O)

On our Animal Kingdom day, we've only ever done one of two choices, this year will be no exception....

Flame Tree BBQ
Yak & Yeti
On our Epcot day, I want to try Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles (in France)
I've been wanting to do this forever! France is my favorite country and we had an awesome dinner at Chefs de France a few years ago. We have to try the CS options here for lunch!!
Boulangerie Patisserie - DO NOT MISS THIS PLACE!!!! So many choices to satisfy your sweet tooth. #EPCOT
Boulangerie Patisserie. This is newest french bakery it opened earlier in 2013 @Epcot, France Pavilion
Ham & Cheese Croissant
Boulangerie, the bakery in France, World Showcase, Epcot. After you have lunch at Beirgarten in Germany, dinner at the hibachi in Japan, come to France and have something sweet!
.......and tons of pastry options for dessert!
Contempo Cafe' (Contemporary Resort)
This will be a first for us. I still haven't seen the Contemporary
(other than passing through on the monorail).
I looked at the CS options on the menu and it looked like a good choice.
So, on one of our MK days, we'll hopefully try lunch at Contemo Cafe' and take a little resort tour!
Contempo Cafe. Lobster roll at the Contemporary Resort
The Lobster Roll looks yummy!
and maybe a cupcake for dessert...
Dos Leches Cupcake from the Contempo Cafe at Disney's Contemporary Resort, Lake Buena Vista FL
Monorail entering the lobby of Disney's Contemporary Resort hotel - makes me so happy.
Min & Bill's Dockside Diner (DHS)
This may seem like an odd choice, but we have trouble finding good CS in DHS (other than Pizza Planet-which we've done numerous times).
Peter mentioned getting a turkey leg. I saw that you can get them at Min & Bill's, and the menu looked intriguing. We'll see about this one.
Front of Min and Bill's Dockside Diner at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney snack credit use: Turkey leg! You can find these in all the parks at Disney World, and in Disneyland. They are huge, filling, and my husband loves them. I've noticed a lot of people grab them right before they go sit in front of the castle to watch the evening fireworks.
Even if we don't end up doing lunch here, I'll definitely be trying one of their shakes (which btw, are one snack credit on the dining plan).
Review: Red Velvet Peppermint Shake and Other Holiday Snacks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios | the disney food blog
Trail's End -To-Go
I know, another weird one. BUT.....I have plans that take us to Fort Wilderness and we'll need lunch while we are there.
Trails End Restaurant - A full service buffet restaurant in Fort Wildness Campground - items include - chicken, sloppy joe, pizza, beans and other offerings. A breakfast buffet is also offered. I would recommend this restaurant for lunch. If you are on a dinning plan save your allotments for other restaurants and meals.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken House of Blues Orlando
Our last day may take us to Downtown Disney for lunch. I have no idea where we'll end up eating, although Wolfgang Puck is a favorite!!
Who knows where we will actually end up eating lunch....but these choices look so yummy!
(some pictures used for this post are mine/others came from Pinterest).