Mickey Waffles: Magical Cuisine

Mickey waffles are one of my favorite foods offered in Disney World. They can be purchased at all of the Disney Resorts and at most restaurants in the parks that serve breakfast. They come with either bacon or strawberry preserves, but I usually forgo both for extra syrup and butter! Mickey waffles are both a great start to a day in the parks and a way to bring the magic of Disney into your home!

Image

Whenever I miss Disney World, nothing cheers me up like making a batch of Mickey waffles! Michaela and I own a Disney character waffle iron which makes six mini waffles in the shapes of Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy. We make them several times a week! They’re delicious!

What do you do to bring Disney magic into your home? Have a magical day! ❤ Jessica

Advertisements

11 Countries, 1 Park

One of the reasons I love Epcot is because of the World Showcase. The World Showcase is a showcase of 11 of the various cultures, cuisine, and histories of some of the globe’s many nations. Walking through the different pavilions is a great way for families young and old to experience and learn about the many nations and cultures of the world. Each pavilion has different options for dining and shopping as well as attractions that are both entertaining and informative.

Mexico – The Mexico Pavilion offers two different dining experiences. The San Angel Inn is located inside the pavilion’s Aztec temple and offers traditional Mexican cuisine for both lunch and dinner. La Hacienda de San Angel is located across from the Aztec temple and offers zesty Mexican meals. The restaurant is open for dinner and offers great views of the World Showcase Lagoon. If Mexican food is not your favorite the Mexico Pavilion itself is not to be missed. Step inside the Aztec temple a discover authentic Mexican goods such as pottery, baskets, jewelry, and more. Don’t forget to visit Donald and his friends on the Gran Fiesta Tour. This relaxing boat ride attraction takes you on a trip with Donald as he explores the different parts of Mexico. Art enthusiasts should check out the Mexican Folk Art Gallery to view beautiful Mexican woodcarvings and bright artwork.

Norway – The Norway Pavilion is one of my favorites. Make sure to take a ride  Maelstrom, a boat ride into the history and legends of Norway. Norway is also home to Akershus, a royal banquet hall that  features character dining with some of the Disney princesses. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and offers a taste of Norway with dishes that are sure to satisfy the whole family. This is a very popular restaurant so I recommend getting and advanced dining reservation if you want to eat here. If all you need is a quick snack stop by the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe which serves coffee and a variety of pastries. Visit the Stave Church to view collection of authentic Norse weapons and artifacts. The Norway pavilion also features an array of shops that highlight Norway’s unique culture.

China – The China Pavilion offers a glimpse into one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Reflections of  China is a short film presented in circle-vision 360 that takes you on a journey to some of China’s most notable landmarks such as the Great Wall. Visit the pavilions art gallery where some of China’s great artistic achievements are available for viewing. The Nine Dragons Restaurant offers a variety of Chinese dishes including noodles and specialty seafood meals for both lunch and dinner. The Lotus Blossom Cafe is a quick service meal option that focuses on Asian dishes. Like all of the nations represented in the World Showcase, China has numerous shops selling authentic Chinese goods.

Germany – The Germany Pavilion is home to one of my favorite restaurants: the Biergarten. At the Biergarten you will dine on traditional German dishes such as different sausages and spaetzle while musicians provide traditional Oktoberfest entertainment throughout lunch and dinner. Sommerfest is a quick service option in the pavilion that offers well-known German dishes like bratwurst. Don’t forget to look through some of the shops in the pavilion. For a quick treat I recommend getting some caramel from Werther’s Karamell Küche!

Italy – The Italy Pavilion is a beautiful pavilion with architecture reminiscent of the city of Venice. The Italy Pavilion offers two sit-down restaurants. Via Napoli celebrates the fine dining of Southern Italy, serving authentic  Neapolitan pizzas and delicious pastas. Tutto Italia Ristorante offers traditional Italian meals featuring handmade mozzarella and pasta. Take a walk around the pavilion and  indulge yourself in some Italian candies! Throughout the day musicians, clowns, and acting troupes perform in the Piazza.

America – The American pavilion allows you to take a glimpse into our nation’s rich history as it immerses you into a colonial-like environment. The American Adventure takes you on a trip through the history of America using patriotic music and audio-animatronics. Be sure to see to the Voices of Liberty or the Fife and Drum Corps to listen to classic American tunes. The Liberty Inn Restaurant is a quick service dining restaurant that serves American favorites such as hamburgers and hot dogs. The America Garden Theater features different live shows and musical performances throughout the year so be sure to check your times guide to see if anything is playing while you are there.

Japan – In the Japan Pavilion you can take a stroll through a traditional Japanese garden featuring a beautiful array of ponds, trees, and shrubbery. The Japan Pavilion is also home to Teppan Edo, a restaurant in which Japanese chefs cook your meal right in front of you!  Tokyo Dining is another dining option that serves traditional Japanese dishes. Both of these restaurants are open for lunch and dinner. Throughout the day Miyuki, a Japanese candy maker, entertains those young and old as she makes traditional Japanese candy in front of you. Art lovers should check out the Bijutsu-kan Gallery for a glimpse into Japanese art.

Morocco – In Morocco Pavilion you can eat at Restaurant Marrakesh, which offers some delicious traditional meals from North Africa for lunch and dinner. Throughout the day Mo’Rockin, a six person musical group, blends music from across the globe for a fun-filled show that will delight the whole family. Be sure to check out the shops of this pavilion for authentic goods such as woven belts and brass pots.

France – My favorite pavilion in World Showcase places you on the streets of Paris, with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. There are two sit down restaurants in the pavilion. The first Les Chefs de France, open for lunch and dinner is a casual brasserie featuring French favorites. The second restaurant Bistro de Paris is slightly more upscale and is open for dinner only. It features traditional French meals and wines. This restaurant tends to be very popular so it is recommended that you try to get an advanced dining reservation. One of my favorite things to do in the France pavilion is stop by the bakery and pick up some bread and cheese for a quick lunch. Don’t forget to check out the French market for goods such as wine, soaps, and cosmetics.

United Kingdom – In the United Kingdom you can dine on English favorites at The Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room. There is also a quick service dining place across the street that serves typical English food such as fish and chips. Also be sure to check out the World Showcase Players, a hilarious improv  group who perform throughout the day. Check your times guide to find out when they will be performing. There are also quite a few shops that sell merchandise ranging from British teas to athletic gear.

Canada – In the Canada Pavilion take a  journey into this country in O Canada!, a film presented in circle-vision 360. Le Cellier Steakhouse is a popular dining option for many. Open for lunch and dinner the restaurant focuses on the cuisine of the different provinces of Canada. This restaurant is extremely popular so I highly recommend getting and advanced dining reservation if you wish to eat here.

Tips for Navigating the World Showcase:

1) Be aware that the World Showcase tends to open later than the rest of the park. So check out the other great parts of EPCOT before heading over to the Showcase.

2) If you have young children and are thinking of skipping the showcase for fear that they will not appreciate it, fear not. In each nation there is a Kidcot Fun Stop. These areas target young children allowing them to interact with cast members from other countries and do crafts that represent the culture of each country.

3)Another great option for kids is the Kim Possible Spy Game, which is soon going to be converted to feature Agent P (Perry), from Phineas and Ferb, instead of Kim Possible. This interactive game gives kids which allows them to travel to each pavilion and help  solve a mystery.

4) If this is your first time visiting Disney and you have young children, Epcot and the World Showcase is a great park to start at because the park is pretty laid back. Furthermore some young children might feel that Epcot is a step down after experiencing the Magic Kingdom. However this is just a suggestion.

5) The World Showcase is a great way to meet Disney characters. Check your times guide to see which characters will be making appearances in each country.

6) Don’t rush through the nations! Stop and take a look around you. Each nation has beautiful buildings that represent the architecture found in each country. Try and appreciate the little things that Disney does to make you feel like you are really walking through the streets of Paris or strolling through a Japanese Garden.

Hope this has helped you become more aware of the different and exciting things to do in Epcot’s World Showcase

Have a magical day!

xoxo – Michaela

Finding Princesses in the Parks

In honor of National Princess Week I have decided to dedicate a post on finding your favorite Disney Princesses in the parks. Currently there are 10 official princesses who are part of the Disney Princess line-up and they can be found throughout the parks.While almost all of the princesses can be found in the parades or in shows  here are some of the ways you can meet the princesses in person.

Princess Meet and Greet in Disney World

1) Snow White – Snow White can usually be found in both the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. In the Magic Kingdom she is sometimes found in the Town Square Theater at “Disney’s Storybook Princesses Meet and Greet”. **Fastpass is available for this meet and greet. Snow White is more often found in the Germany Pavilion of EPCOT. She usually makes appearances throughout the day, so I recommend checking the Times Guide to see when she will be around.

2) Cinderella –  Cinderella can usually be found in Town Square Theater at “Disney’s Storybook Princesses Meet and Greet”. There is usually a long line so I recommend getting a fastpass. There are also certain occasions where she can be found around the Castle however this is pretty rare.

3) Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) – Like Cinderella Aurora can usually be found in Town Square Theater at “Disney’s Storybook Princesses Meet and Greet”. She is sometimes found in the France Pavilion in EPCOT. I recommend checking your Times Guide to see if Aurora  will be making an appearance in EPCOT while you are there.

4) Ariel – Ariel can be found at the Magic Kingdom in the Adventureland Veranda. Check your Times Guide to find out what times she will be there on the day of your visit.

5) Belle – Belle is most commonly found in the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. In the Magic Kingdom a good place to find Belle is at Town Square Theater at “Disney’s Storybook Princesses Meet and Greet” with some of the other princesses. In EPCOT she can be found in the France Pavilion.

6) Jasmine – In the Magic Kingdom you can usually find Jasmine by The Magic Carpet’s of Aladdin ride in Adventureland. Also, she can typically found in the Morocco Pavilion in EPCOT. As with all meet and greets check your times guide to see when Jasmine will be making appearances.

7) Pocahontas -Pocahontas is one of the trickier characters to find. She is the only Disney Princess that can be found in Animal Kingdom. She is typically found in the Camp Minnie-Mickey Greeting Trails. However she can sometimes be found in other areas of the park. I highly recommend checking your Times Guide to see when Pocahontas will be making an appearance.

8) Mulan – EPCOT is the place to go if you want to meet Mulan. She is typically found in the China Pavilion.

9) Tiana – Tiana can usually be found in the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square. Check your Times Guide for her specific meet and greet times.

10) Rapunzel -Rapunzel has recently relocated from the Fairytale Garden by the Castle and she can now be found in the Town Square Courtyard. The line to meet Rapunzel tends to get extremely long so I recommend finding out what time she will be making appearances and get there early.

**Please note that  “Disney’s Storybook Princesses Meet and Greet” in Town Square is only a temporary home for the Disney Princesses. Upon completion of the Fantasyland Project they will be relocated to Fanstasyland. Snow White’s Scary Adventure will close and the area will be refurbished into a Princess Meet and Greet.

Dining With the Princesses

If you don’t want to wait in line to meet the princesses, you might want to look into a character dining meal. There are numerous character dining experiences that feature Disney’s leading ladies.

1) 1900 Park Fare – Located in the Grand Floridian this restaurant offers buffet style, American dining. The restaurant hosts Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner, where you can meet Cinderella, Prince Charming and other characters from beloved classic. This is a great option if you want to meet characters that are not typically found in the parks like Cinderella’s step-sisters. (Note that this restaurant offers character dining for other meals but they are not dining experiences with any of the princesses).

2) Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Located in EPCOT’s Norway the Royal Banquet Hall is a great way to meet many of the princesses. Breakfast consists of American favorites. Lunch and dinner features a Norwegian buffet of cold dishes with hot entrees available à la carte.

3) Cinderella’s Royal Table – This restaurant is located inside Cinderella’s Castle and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Numerous Princess’s come to greet you as you dine on American favorites.

* All three of these restaurants are typically busy and it is unlikely that you will be able to be seated without an Advance Dining Reservation.

Have a magical day!

xoxo – Michaela

Secrets of the Magic Kingdom: Kiss Goodnight

To see the “Kiss Goodnight,” wait approximately 30 minutes to an hour after the Magic Kingdom is closed. If there are Extra Magic hours for the Magic Kingdom park, the “Kiss Goodnight” will appear after them. This is a great way to end your trip to Disney World. The castle sparkles, magical music is played, and Mickey even will say a special goodbye to you! However, make sure to get to the bus stop immediately after the show so that you don’t miss the last bus!

Disney Hotels on a Budget

At the Walt Disney World Resort, there are many hotels with various themes and price points. In this post, I will cover the “Value Hotels” that can be found at Disney World. While other hotels may have bigger rooms and nicer restaurants, I personally believe that staying in the value hotels is a great option! When you are at Disney World, you will be spending the vast majority of your time exploring the parks. You will probably only be in your hotel to sleep! I’d rather spend my money buying food or souvenirs in the parks than on an extravagant hotel. Every value resort features a large dining hall/food court, at least one themed pool, an arcade, gift shop, and fun decorations and themes! When booking your vacation, you can choose between preferred and standard rooms. Preferred rooms, while being slightly more expensive, are slightly closer to the main building and bus stops and generally have nicer views.

  • The All-Star Movies Resort features great Disney movies including Toy Story, Fantasia, 101 Dalmations, Love Bug, and Mighty Ducks. When purchasing Disney vacation packages, the cheapest option usually is the All-Star Movies Resort. This is because it is generally the last stop on your bus ride back from the parks, which can be very frustrating when you are tired at the end of the day. There are several different buildings on the premises, each featuring a theme from one of the aforementioned movies. There are two pools, one themed after Fantasia and the other like the Mighty Ducks. Depending on the time of year, it costs roughly $85 – $150 a night and each room can fit four guests.

ImageImageImage

  • All-Star Music Resort, similar to the Movies Resort, costs around $80 – $150 a night for a room that fits four. When taking the bus back from the parks, All-Star Music is the second to last stop, right before All-Star Movies. This resort features several buildings themed after various types of music, including jazz, calypso, Broadway musical, country, and rock. There are two pools, one which is Calypso-themed and another which is shaped like a piano. Until the recently opened Art of Animation resort, the All-Star Music Resort was the only value resort to have 6-person family suites, costing $198 – $355 a night depending on time of year.
  • All-Star Sports Resort, last of the All-Star resorts, features various buildings with sports themes, including basketball, football, baseball, tennis, and surfing. There are two pools with surfing and baseball themes. Rooms for this resort cost $80 – $150 a night.
  • Pop Century Resort, more conveniently located than the All-Star resorts, costs $90 – $160 a night, depending on the season. There are several buildings featuring the different decades: 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. There are three pools located in this resort.
  • Art of Animation Resort recently opened in 2012. The entire resort is made up of family suites that fit up to 6 guests. The rooms cost $250 – $350 a night, depending on the season. Each suite is themed after a Disney animated movie, including Cars, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid. There are three pools located in this resort. Each room contains two bathrooms, a master bedroom, and three sleeping areas, including a convertible dining table.

What have your experiences been with Disney’s Value Resorts? Keep checking for posts about Disney’s Moderate and Deluxe Resorts! Have a magical day! ❤ Jessica

Living the Magic: Reasons to Stay in Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

Staying in a magical resort helps maintain the sense that you are living in the happy ‘Disney bubble’ and are isolated from the stressful, outside world. Here are a few reasons why it makes sense to stay in a Disney World Resort hotel:

  • When you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort, you can attend the park during exclusive Extra Magic Hours, which are hours before or after the park opens/closes for regular visitors. The lines will be much shorter and you will not have to push through bustling crowds. This is a great advantage that allows you to make the most of your Walt Disney World vacation!
  • Transportation to and from parks is available when staying at a Disney hotel. There will be several bus stops outside the lobby of the hotel and buses will arrive approximately every 20 minutes to take you to your desired location.
  • Transportation to and from airport is also provided. When booking your vacation, you only need to provide your flight information and the Disney staff will send a bus to pick you up and take you directly to your hotel. Also, they will handle your luggage and place it in your hotel room. It is completely hassle free!
  • If you are shopping while in the parks and you do not want to carry your purchases with you for the rest of the day, you can have your purchases sent to your room. This is very convenient! All you have to do is fill out a short form that the cashier will give you, and they will take care of the rest! However, make sure that you allow at least a full day for the items to arrive. Do not have this done on your last day in the park, otherwise you may not receive your purchases in time.
  • When you stay in a Disney hotel, especially when you have children, the maids will arrange your belongings in fun arrangements, which will delight children and adults alike! When I was a child, I bought a husky stuffed animal in Canada, and the maid arranged it so it was posing with toothbrushes like light sabers! Your towels will also be shaped in the profile of Mickey Mouse, and, during the holidays, festive towel decorations will be placed in your window!

Image

  • In general, the scenery, food options, and recreation options are wonderful Some of the best restaurants in the park are located in the resorts. The Grand Floridian is home to Victoria and Albert’s, an AAA 5 Diamond Rated restaurant, and the Beach Club Resort offers an ice cream dish so big that it fills a real kitchen sink! All of the resorts have themes, including movies, the beach, and rustic wilderness. All value resorts have a pool, arcade, and gift shop. Other resorts offer bike and boat rentals, hiking trails, movie night events, dinner shows, spas, fitness centers, fishing trips, and many more fun options, depending on the resort.
  • All of the hotels have been certified to be environmentally friendly, so you are supporting an organization that helps save the environment!
  • While the deluxe hotels can be extremely pricey, you can stay in a Value Resort for a very price competitive cost! Depending on the season and type of room, value resorts cost between $85 and $140 a night for a room that sleeps four.

I hope that these tips helped! Feel free to share your personal experiences staying in Disney hotels! Keep checking the blog for posts outlining the specific resorts. Have a magical day! ❤ Jessica

Vote for Your Favorite Rollercoaster!

 

See our previous post The Fast and Furious of Disney Parks for more information on these fun rides!

I Believe! Magical Experiences in the Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom, true to its name, is the most magical location in Disney World! It is the perfect place to meet the beautiful storybook princesses and get a hug from your favorite mouse. In this article, I have included my favorite experiences in the Magic Kingdom.

  • Character Greetings take place throughout all of the Disney World parks, but my favorite place to meet the princesses is in the Town Hall in the Main Street, U.S.A area. At any given time, you will be able to meet Mickey, Minnie, and three princesses, usually Belle, Aurora, and Cinderella. You can even get a fast pass for the character greetings Town Hall! The wait can vary from 5 minutes to over an hour depending on the time, so check the wait time before getting a pass. You can meet your other favorite characters in various locations around the Magic Kingdom. Snow White usually appears outside in the Main Street, U.S.A. area while Ariel is often seen in Adventureland. Tiana is located in Liberty Square and Rapunzel has a photo area made specifically for her and Flynn in  the garden to the right of the castle . Make sure to grab a park guide when entering the park so that you can check when your favorite characters are appearing.
  • Dream-Along with Mickey is a magical show that takes place on the stage in front of Cinderella’s castle regularly each day. Pick up a Times Guide when entering the park for a specific schedule. As this show is only 20 minutes long, it is a perfect opportunity to rest your legs. This spectacular experience includes Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Cinderella, Peter Pan, and many other lovable characters. The show begins with happily with a fun musical number, but mid-way through, Malificent appears and threatens Mickey. She declares that she will turn all of the happy dreams into nightmares! Mickey encourages the audience to chant “I Believe!” so that he can save the magic and Malificent’s evil plan will not succeed. The show ends happily with another great, upbeat musical performance. Visitors of all ages will not be able to stop smiling while watching this enchanting show! Even if you aren’t able to see the entire performance, try to place yourself in view of the back of the castle. At a point in the show, you can see Captain Hook and Peter Pan chasing one another around the castle!

Image

For information on nighttime shows and parades in the Magic Kingdom, see my previous posts From Fireworks to Family Fun: Nighttime Shows in Disney World and The Complete Guide to Disney World Parades. Have a magical day! ❤ Jessica