The Wonderful World of Disney World Dining!

I’m a BIG Disney fan as you may all I know. I had asked my friend Kate (who I met on a Contiki tour to Europe back in 2008) and who is also a Disney fanatic as well and is actually lucky enough to work for the Mouse at Walt Disney World if she would like to write a guest post here while I am in South Dakota for the rest of the week for my cousin Erin’s Wedding (Yes, I know we have the same name! She was actually named after me and has a middle name after another cousin or so we say anyways šŸ˜‰ Who better to ask than her about tips on places to eat while at Disney World? I would LOVE to take a trip to Florida and visit Disney World again (as well as go on a Disney Cruise again!!!) I hope you enjoy her ideas and tips on how to plan out your dining adventures while in the parks at Disney World! Thanks Kate for the great ideas!

Disney World Dining Tips
By Kate

Planning a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort can at times be a daunting task. This is with good reason, with 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping district, over 20 resort hotels and countless (and I mean countless) numbers of dining options, itā€™s no wonder people sometimes get overwhelmed. After countless family vacations and years of working at the parks, I can offer one small piece of advice. If you are anything like my family you will treasure this little nugget like it is real gold. Base your day on food. Iā€™m serious. I know, Floridaā€™s hot and the thought of eating a big, heavy meal before going on Space Mountain might not sit well with some, but trust me. The dining options the Walt Disney World Resort offers are some of the best meals and experiences your family and you will have while visiting. The only sad part is, as one of my friends said on her first visit, you canā€™t hit them all.

Regardless of the vast options, there are simple ways to go about eating your way through the parks. First, know that several dining options are available, from fast food to fine dining. With something that will please everyoneā€™s palette, from traditional Italian, to world class steak houses, authentic Japanese sushi and even standard mac and cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids, everyone can walk away happy and satisfied. Second, when planning, donā€™t automatically assume that Day 1 will be at Magic Kingdom, Day 2 at Epcot, etc., check out what dining options are available and plan your day in that park. For example, if you choose to eat in Italy at Epcotā€™s World Showcase on Day 3, plan on visiting that park as well so that you arenā€™t running from park to park just to make a dining reservation. Speaking of Italy, the dining options in Epcotā€™s World Showcase offer some of the best and most authentic cuisine. Hereā€™s another tip, I always ask my waiter or waitress what their favorite dish is, or what on the menu seems most like ā€œhomeā€ to them. In Norway I once tried a dish that resembled a personal meatloaf all because the waiter said it reminded him of home and his mom. It was delicious! Remember the waiters and waitresses are from that country. They will not steer you wrong, I promise!

While some of the sit down restaurants offer pricey dishes, even the thriftiness of vacationers can find something to revive their energy after a long day of park hopping. One way to get the most ā€œbang for your buckā€, is combining dinner and a show such as the Fantasmic Dining Package. The set price includes an appetizer, entrĆ©e, dessert, beverage and priority seating to the nighttime show Fantasmic for each person in the dining party. What better way to introduce a first timer to the park than a filling, gourmet meal followed by an exciting show? The savings comes in the combination of paying a set price versus a la carte pricingĀø and you also get the benefit of preferred seating.

Big sit down meals are not the only option. If thatā€™s not on the agenda, no worries, there are still plenty of tasty options throughout property that you can enjoy. At the Magic Kingdom donā€™t miss getting a Dole Whip in Adventureland. This tasty pineapple treat is refreshing and one of the most popular items in the park. Caseyā€™s on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom offers delicious hot dogs and fries (cracker jacks too!) at a reasonable price and right across the street in the ice cream parlor is the most delicious sundae served with a mountain of hot fudge in a waffle bowl. Thatā€™s a great meal! If you had to ask me what my favorite find in the Magic Kingdom was though, Iā€™d have to say a hot baked potato at the fruit stand in Liberty Square. At just around $3, this potato comes with all your favorite toppings and is definitely satisfying. Even the resorts have great options. The Polynesian has a fantastic sushi bar on the upper level of the main building and the new quick service restaurant at the Art of Animation Resort puts a new twist on a sandwich with the Surf and Surf burger. Itā€™s a crab cake topped with fried popcorn shrimp. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

I could really talk for days about all the wonderful dining options the Walt Disney World Resort offers. While I might have glossed over the options, there is some advice that will work much better than any restaurant recommendation I can give. Sift through the menus on the Walt Disney World website, most restaurants offer them. Choose something new and exciting for at least one meal. If youā€™ve always wondered about escargot, then book that reservation at Chefs de France! The Cast will do everything in their power to make sure you have an enjoyable dining experience and I can bet you wonā€™t be sorry for exploring something new on vacation. Bon appetit!


On the GREEN Carpet with The Odd Life Of Timothy Green #OddLifeMovie

Here are some photos from the other night at the Ā green carpet Hollywood premiere of The Odd LifeĀ of Timothy Green! Coming toĀ theaters on August 15th! I cannot wait to see Jennifer Garner in this. I LOVE herĀ movies.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is an inspiring, magical story about a happily married couple, Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton), who canā€™t wait to start a family but can only dream about what their child would be like. When young Timothy (CJ Adams) shows up on their doorstep one stormy night, Cindy and Jimā€”and their small town of Stanleyvilleā€”learn that sometimes the unexpected can bring some of lifeā€™s greatest gifts. This is bound to be a very heartfelt movie that will tug at your heart strings.


Ā Jennifer Garner


Ā Jennifer Garner & Joel Edgerton

Ā CJ Adams

PHOTOS: Walt Disney Studios


Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park

If you have not yet been to Disney California Adventure Park, then you should make sure to put that on your list of things to do the next time you are in the Orange County or Los Angeles area. If you are an annual pass holderĀ like myself, then what are you waiting for?? If you are sadly blocked out for the summer, then make sure to go the first day you are able to! It is well worth it. Disney got it right and did a marvelousĀ job designing this land, tailoring it so that there is something for everyone here. It’s NOT just for kids…. šŸ˜‰

This was my first time to California Adventure since they finished construction on the park and opened up Cars Land, so I still have much left to explore and see myself. This is a list of my “Must-Do’s” and “Must-Sees” thus far while you are in the park.





















1. FAST PASS/RIDES– if you get to the park early enough in the day, as soon as you enter the park make sure to get a Fast Pass for the Radiator Springs Racers ride! Otherwise if you get there later in the day like we did around 6:30pm, go eat dinner first. The line will die down a little bit and it will save you at least an hour or so! The line for that ride was 195 minutes when we got there. After we had some dinner and drinks and looked around a little, the line had died down to 120 minutes! Notice the wait time listed on theĀ right tire!Ā LOL šŸ˜‰ *Radiator Springs Racers is an AWESOME ride, so make sure to hit up that ride! It’s especially awesome when your car wins like ours did! šŸ˜‰










































2. FOOD & DRINKS– Be sure to try some of the amazing food and drinks offered in Cars Land! We ate at Flo’s for dinner and then grabbed some treats at the Cozy Cone for the long line awaiting us at Radiator Springs Racers. I had a vegetarian potatoĀ bake with pasta salad. It was very light and refreshing for a warm evening. My friend had some SangriaĀ (they have a few wine choices at Flo’s to choose from), which I had a taste of. It was pretty good! My FAVORITE drink I found though was at the Chili Cone QuesoĀ at the Cozy Cone! They have a Vodka PomegranateĀ LimeadeĀ drink, can you say YUM!!!!??? You MUST try it. The Chili Cone Queso was good too, and I am not even a Chili person. So that says a lot.





































































3. LIGHTS AT NIGHT– Be sure to stick around until the sun goes down to see how awesome Cars Land is at night when it lights up! It is sure to awe you, and will give you tons of photo ops for you photographers out there!



































































































4. DJ Dance Party– Perfect for kids, or if you just want to listen to the music, people watch and enjoy a drink outside by Flo’s it’s fun for everyone.




























5. STARBUCKS– You can use your pass holderĀ discount AND your StarbucksĀ card to get your StarbucksĀ fix at California Adventure. The mark up on price isn’t too horrible either. There was about a 32 cent difference between what my Grande Mocha Frap would cost me at the local Starbucks near my house and what it cost at Disney.

6. TREATS– You MUST try some of the delectable treats offered in the shops on Buena Vista Street, the main street when you first walk into California Adventure. Chocolate Covered Brownie Truffle Micky Ears? Don’t mind if I do!! šŸ™‚













































This is just a tiny glimps of what Dinsey California Adventure has to offer. I hope to add more to this list as I get a chance to explore the place more in depth. Will you be making a trip to Cars Land anytime soon? Or maybe you have gone already? I’d love to hear all about it!

Day 17: Celebrate!!

A couple years ago (Dec. 2009)Ā the whole family (including my uncle, aunt and cousins from Minnesota) went to Disneyland to help CELEBRATE my granpa’s 90th birthday!! To CELEBRATE his 90th birthday he wanted to go on Space Mountain!!! Here he is on the Space Mountain ride. If you look closely, he looks awfully bored, doesn’t he?

Magical Times with the Mouse

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved Disney. A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G Disney! The movies, the princesses, any of the Disney characters, Disneyland, and as I’ve gotten older that has expanded to going to Disney World and on the Disney Cruises. IĀ cannot wait to go on the newest addition to the cruise ship family; the Disney Fantasy. I’ve only been saving up my DisneyĀ dollars since 2005 after I went on my first cruise on the Disney Wonder to celebrate graduating from college with my BA and Teaching Credential! I want to go on a trip of a lifetime on my next cruise, and want to go allĀ out,Ā which is why I haven’t gone yet. Here are a couple of pictures that show my love for the mouse.Ā Some things never change….. šŸ˜‰










Mickey & I when I was 2 years old.








28 years (and a few friends later, that were met on a Contiki tour in Europe, who all happened to work for the Mouse on the east coast at Walt Disney World!) with the famous Mickey.

Day 5– In Progress. June Photo Challenge











Tea Cup ride ad Disneyland…. In Progress. šŸ˜‰

Oh… and if that makes you dizzy, then check out the short video I have of this same tea cup ride!!! šŸ˜€