Travel, Uncategorized

3 Things I will NOT take into Disney parks

We have traveled to WDW several times over the years, we started traveling when my boys were very little.  Now they are not so little anymore, they are in high school and college.  Our love for the Disney parks hasn’t changed at all, but what we take in the park has.  Now, I understand if you have babies or young children you will have to take in everything you need for your little one.  The tips on this blog post are for families with older children and adults.  The parks will get hot, you will walk many miles each day and it rains often in Florida.  So having said that, here are the top three things I would NEVER take or wear into the park ever again….

  1. Bottled Water – You can stop at any quick service restaurant and some food kiosks at any of the Disney parks and get free cups of water.  Unless you are adverse to drinking tap water or the water that Disney serves, don’t bother bringing water bottles.  Nothing will weigh you down more than heavy water bottles.  We have never been turned away when asking for water at Disney, the cast members are always more than happy to supply us with complimentary water even if we are not buying food at that moment.  Water bottles are too heavy, leave them at home or in your resort/hotel room. IMG_4238.jpg
  2.  Large Bag or Back Pack – Bless his heart, my poor husband has toted a heavy back pack throughout the Disney parks many times over the years.  He actually doesn’t mind so much carrying a backpack, but I’m not a fan.  It’s much too hot and heavy to haul all day long.   If you must take a backpack, be very careful what you pack in the bag. (NO water bottles!) I have small drawstring bags that my boys can carry on their backs for their phone, passes or wallet. IMG_7806 I like to use a small crossbody style purse or small bag.  The key is to keep it small and only bring essentials for the day.  I will bring a credit card, photo i.d., small travel size sunscreen, travel size antibacterial soap, chapstick and my phone. That’s it.  Nice and light.
  3. New Shoes – Never wear your cute new shoes into the parks.  You will be walking ALOT!!!  So. much. walking…. You will get hot and you may get wet if it rains or you ride a water ride.  I’m sure you don’t want to get your new kicks wet and smelly, PLUS you should wear shoes that are tried and true in terms of comfort.  Be kind to your feet and wear your most comfortable shoes that are already broken in.  If you must wear your cute new shoes, save them for a fun night out at one of Disney’s great restaurants.  But please don’t wear uncomfortable shoes, that’s the best way to wear yourself out and ruin your feet for the rest of  your vacation.

There you have it…my top three tips for now!  Let me know what you like to take in the park!!!

 

 

 

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Travel, Uncategorized

Three of my favorite Quick Service restaurants at Epcot’s World Showcase

IMG_4233Yorkshire County Fish shop – $11.49
There is only one entree option at this quick service restaurant but it’s a great one. The fish and chips are crispy on the outside, flakey on the inside and fabulously greasy straight out of the fryer… Certainly nothing healthy about it, but well worth the risk.  Just make sure to walk off all those extra calories – that should’t be a problem at Epcot! The fried fish is served with extra large steak fries and an assortment of condiments. Probably my favorite thing about this place is the outdoor patio seating. The tables are located to the right of the restaurant on the water. It provides a beautifully manicured view of the water and England Pavilion, just beware of the insanely hungry ducks and egrets lurking under every table. This is a nice stop for a quick snack to share with someone or enjoy for lunch or dinner. Our trip is not complete unless eating our beloved fish n chips at the England pavilion in Epcot!IMG_3276

Pro: Good food and ambiance
Con: Hungry birds galore!

IMG_4413Les Halles boulangerie patisserie: located in the back of the France pavilion in Epcot. It opens in the morning to provide a wonderful breakfast option. Add a piping hot cup of coffee or espresso and your in business. We usually eat here for a late afternoon “pick me up” snack. My favorite snack here is the mousse which costs $4.50. The mousse is chocolate, decadent and absolutely divine, it has a perfectly rich consistency and is absolutely delicious. The seating is not ideal at this quick service location in my opinion. It is an extremely popular restaurant and is usually very crowded. The inside seating area lacks some of the Disney ambiance that we have become accustomed to. You’re essentially dining in the France Pavilion gift shop. It’s quite difficult to even score a table at the eatery, it’s not unusual to have people pacing and waiting to lunge as soon as those with a table swallow their last bite. There are some quaint outdoor tables which provide a better Disney dining experience and has the beautiful Disney “esque” theming that we all know and love. This restaurant also offers a wide variety of sandwiches, quiche and an assortment of breads and cheeses as well.

Pro: Opens early with park opening – Most of World Showcase is closed until later in the morning but Les Halles opens early to provide a wonderful breakfast option.
Con: Seating is limited and difficult to obtain

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La Cantina de San Angel, located in the Mexico Pavilion: My favorite go to menu item here is the Tacos de Pescado – Seasoned Fried Fish, Homemade Corn Tortillas, Mexican Rice, Refried Black Beans, Slaw, and Habanero Aïoli – $12.50.  The portion sizes are not super huge, but definitely big enough for a decent lunch. The tacos taste fresh and the entree comes with all my favorite sides. I love the location, the tables are outside and several are right on the water with spectaculars views of the World Showcase Lagoon.  It’s a great location to watch the fireworks show, “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth”, if you can time it just right and land the perfect table. The lines can get very long at this quick service restaurant and tables are sometimes hard to come by but If you love Mexican food, you can’t go wrong here.

Pro: Great location on the lake and for watching fireworks
Con: Long lines to order

Travel, Uncategorized

Big Cedar Lodge – Truman’s Cafe

 

When we stay at the beautiful and historic Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri, I’m always excited to rise early in the morning with my husband.  I can’t wait for our lovely and peaceful walk, just the two of us, from our room within the quaint rustic lodge at the top of the hill down to Truman’s Cafe for breakfast. Our fresh country air stroll takes us down the side of the hill, past an array of wild flowers along a perfectly landscaped walking trail complete with glistening waterfalls. Most of our journey includes alluring vistas of Table Rock Lake as it shimmers in the morning sunlight off in the distance. There is a stunning little white chapel that sits proudly on the property which marks about the half way point to our final destination. This place really is that gorgeous!

IMG_6650Truman’s Cafe is one of the original structures on the property, it’s an absolute charming 1920’s tudor style home that’s been lovingly restored and expanded to provide guests with comfortable seating. As you walk the inviting little brick pathway to the front entrance, you are welcomed by a sweet cottage garden area filled with colorful flowers and a white picket fence. I seriously can’t think of a better entrance to a cafe… the entrance alone is worth the morning jaunt.IMG_6646

Truman’s Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch. Their menu is not necessarily extensive, but it is delicious and has everything you need to start the day. Whether its coffee and a pastry, a hearty breakfast with eggs, biscuits and gravy or one of their healthy parfait or smoothy options, I’m sure you will find something to get you fueled for the day. My order is usually the green superfood smoothie and a piece of their yummy veggie quiche and of course coffee! The lunch menu features panini’s, soups, sandwiches and fresh salads. For those of you that have a sweet tooth, there’s a custard and sweets menu as well as a great children’s menu.big-cedar-exterior

The cute little cafe is oozing with so much rustic country charm from the entrance all the way through to the back outdoor patio area. That is my favorite place to settle in and relax once we’ve placed our order. It sits up on a gentle hill overlooking the gorgeous lake and views of the many other historical buildings that make up Big Cedar Lodge. Just about every time we eat lunch there, we see couples or families enjoying a leisurely horse drawn carriage ride through the resort grounds, there is something here for everyone of all ages. Once finished with our delightful breakfast (or in some cases lunch) it is time to continue our walk on the endless trails that wind their way around this special place. We are happy, our tummy’s are full and it is time to plan out the rest of our day!

IMG_6636There is so much to see and do at Big Cedar. The lodge is a historical and meticulously cared for resort nestled in the Ozark hills that is owned by Johnnie Morris (Bass Pro Shop). This place has a grandness to it but still maintains a magical serenity and absolute charming family atmosphere from a forgotten time that keeps us coming back again and again!

Please check out their great website, bigcedar.com and plan your trip today!!!

Travel

My Favorite Quick Service Restaurants in Magic Kingdom

  • Columbia harbor house: located in Liberty Square across from the Haunted Mansion. This is a New England themed restaurant with fish n chips, lobster rolls and clam chowder on the menu. They provide a salmon option for those wanting something a bit more healthy as well as veggie chili and salads. Of course there is a great kids menu for the little ones. I really like this restaurant because of it’s menu but I also feel like it’s off the beaten path (even though it’s not) once I’m inside. I like the salmon but we are fans of the fried fish also. There is also plenty of seating available, with two stories of seating as well as an elevated area over the walkway between Liberty Square and Fantasyland with great views. I feel like I can find a little area upstairs to sit and relax away from some of the hustle and bustle of the crowd, get some great food and feel refreshed to continue our day in the park. It’s American seafood cuisine and offers the mobile orders option if you have the Disney App which can save you valuable time in the park!
  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe: My main reason I love this quick service restaurant so much is simply because of the location, it’s in Tomorrowland and located not far from Cinderella’s Castle. I enjoy dining here in the evening for dinner and getting a table where I can see the castle and enjoy the nighttime ambiance. They have American cuisine with hamburgers, BBQ sandwiches, chicken and a full kids menu. They offer a Caesar salad option and an extensive menu for those with various food allergies. My boys enjoy their Angus cheeseburger and the toppings bar with onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce and all the regular condiments located in the restaurant. I do not eat red meat so I would order the veggie burger however they no longer have it on their menu so if you are looking for a good veggie burger head over to Peco’s Bill Cafe in Frontierland. Because of it’s popular location the lines can get long and the restaurant gets crowded. Try eating at an off time to avoid some of the long lines and wait time. You can also order using your mobile Disney app.
  • Main Street Bakery: I love coffee, I love baked goods and I love Disney so it’s only natural that I would love main street bakery! The bakery is right on main street in a cute turn of the century themed cafe close to the parks entrance. This is a good option to start the day with a Starbucks coffee and pastry or breakfast sandwich. Or take some time out for a much needed afternoon coffee pick me up. Grab a cookie or cupcake and settle in to watch the parade on main street. In addition to all the wonderful Starbuck coffee and specialty drink options, there are all the favorite seasonal drinks available during certain times of the year!

For more information on Disney Dining options check out disneyworld.disney.go.com

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Travel

5 New Attractions I can’t wait to experience coming to Disney!

Guardians of the Galaxy – This will be a gigantic enclosed roller coaster based on the hugely popular (and one of our favorite movies) “Guardians of the Galaxy”. The coaster will be located in Epcot’s Future World and is slated to open in 2021.

Disney’s Skyliner – Walt Disney World is in the process of constructing a much needed new transportation option called Disney Skyliner, a gondola style lift system. It will be a new way to connect several resorts right to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios . This is rumored to be opened the fall of 2019, just before Star Wars, Galaxy’s Edge will open in Hollywood Studios.

Ratatouille – The Adventure in Epcot at the Frace Pavilion: This was such a cute movie and will be a great addition to the France Pavilion. I’m always excited when Disney upgrades and adds new rides to the World Showcase Pavilion, it’s one of my favorite places to visit at WDW. Apparently this will be a 4-D adventure that is similar to one already located at Disneyland in Paris. This ride is scheduled to open in 2021.

Star Wars, Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Holiday Studios: opening fall of 2019. We are particularly excited about this addition as my family are all huge Star Wars fans, so it goes without saying that we can’t wait for this one! Black Spire Outpost is the name of Disney’s newest and largest completely immersive land. Guests will be able to board the Millennium Falcon as well as other life sized Star Wars attractions from the movies. Of course there will be the favorite Star War’s characters on site to meet and greet. This will be a hugely popular new addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and will be extremely crowded upon opening. Make sure to plan for this while deciding when to visit.

Mickie and Minnie’s Runaway Railway – To be honest, I was very disappointed about the loss of “The Great Movie Ride”. That has always been one of our “must do” attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. However, I’m very pleased that a new Mickey and Minnie themed ride will be taking its place and I’m sure it’s going to be incredible. This ride will be based on a Mickey and Minnie cartoon short film that will take riders on a wacky railroad adventure. This attraction will be open the fall of 2019.  Visit disneyworld.disney.go.com for more information.