Friday, September 20, 2013

Food at Disney

 Now, onto the FOOD!
I love eating at Disney. 
We have done the meal plan both times we have visited, and I would do it again.
Yes, it is pricey, and you get a TON of food.
But I love the convenience of eating wherever we want, and getting the kids snacks when they request it.
Yes, there are ways to eat more cheaply, but non quite as convenient.
Over the 2 trips, here is a list of places we have eaten, with a small review after each.
Table Service:
California Grill  (Contemporary Resort)- Not worth using 2 meal points for this restaurant.  We will not return.
O'hana (Polynesian Resort) - Good food, but WAY TOO MUCH!  It reminded me of a Brazilian Steakhouse.
50's Prime Time Cafe (Hollywood Studios) - Great experience!  The kids loved eating here.  Our waiter was wonderful, really got into character.  The food was very good (I think the pot roast or fried chicken is the best).  Plus, the brownie sundae is over the top.
Sanaa (Animal Kingdom Lodge) - Good if you like African/Indian flavors (which we do).  My husband preferred this one over Boma.
Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge) - I enjoyed the variety of food (it is a buffet).  The soups were delicious!
Coral Reef (Epcot) - I would like to go back to this restaurant.  I was so full before we ate that I hardly got to enjoy anything we ate.
Liberty Tree Tavern (Magic Kingdom) - Rocky's favorite.  Thanksgiving every night, and they bring your more of whatever you want.
Whispering Canyon (Wilderness Lodge) - Again, great experience!  Make sure you ask for ketchup.
Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom) - Will not return.  Mediocre food, and poor service.  The only reason to visit is to see the Winnie the Pooh characters.
Chef Mickey's (Contemporary Resort) - Standard breakfast with the standard characters.  
Tusker House (Animal Kingdom) - Standard (safari) characters, with a good breakfast.
Our group at Chef Mickey's.

Quick Service: 
I can't remember all of them, but I will write the ones that were memorable.
Sleepy Hollow (Magic Kingdom) - Best waffle sandwiches!
ABC Commissary (Hollywood Studios) - I LOVED the quinoa salmon salad.
France (Epcot) - Great dessert and fancy grilled ham and cheese.
England (Epcot) - Delicious fish and chips.
Morocco (Epcot) - LOVED all of the food.
Last, but certainly not least, BE OUR GUEST!
We were unable to get in here for dinner (where reservations are required), but I waited for 45 minutes before they opened so we could at least have the lunch experience.
It was worth it.
We sat in the West Wing, which is dark and stormy.
Make sure you watch the portrait of the prince when a petal falls off the rose.
Besides the atmosphere (which is PHENOMENAL), the food was great (especially when compared with other quick service options).

Outside Be Our Guest before the doors opened.

In front of the rose (again, not sure about the gang signs).

The beautiful mosaic on the way out.

 As far as snacks go, there is one that is a must have - the Dole Whip.  
I stood in line for about 30 minutes to get one, and it was totally worth it. 
I got the float with a vanilla pineapple ice cream swirl.
I dream about those at night.

Disney 2013

We have been back from Disney for almost a week, and I still find myself in a post-Disney depression.
If I could go back right this instant, I WOULD.
While in Disney, everyone was happy.  We ate at great restaurants, and who doesn't like to start their day with a roller coaster ride?
Plus, it is a place I can have a "yes" week with my kids (say yes to most of their requests), as opposed to the "no" days of home.
I know that there are some Disney haters out there, and that is fine.  
You can think I am crazy.
But we all had a great time.
Here is our week in review:
We stayed at the Port Orleans Riverside hotel (a Disney property).  
The rooms were fine, amenities were fine.
But the resort was so full of people, it kind of made us crazy.
We used the Disney bus system to get from park to park, and for some reason, the lines from a park to our hotel were horrible!  No other resort had as long of lines as ours did.  Still can't figure out why.  So we have decided if we ever do return to the happiest place on earth, we will NOT be staying at the Port Orleans again.  
Day 1: Hollywood Studios.
My kids love HS.  They are both tall enough to go on the Rock'n'Roller Coaster, and it became a favorite of Caden's.  

In front the the Rock'n'Roller Coaster.  Not sure what the gang signs are for.
We also did the Tower of Terror.  Caden loved it, but after 2 times, Ciara decided it wasn't for her.
So we went and found some characters. 
We saw Wreck it Ralph and Venellope, and Sofia the First.
Ciara and Sofia
We stayed to watch Fantasmic, which is the HS night show with water, characters, and a few fireworks.
I had been told that this show was better than Epcot's Illuminations or MK Wishes.
I disagree.  
It was a good show, but I didn't find it as impressive as the other ones.
During the show, they have 2 families answer trivia for prizes, and we got to be one of the families.
The kids were able to answer all the questions correctly, and we won a LOT of popcorn.
They were joking around with what the prize was going to be, and at one point they said we had won a night in Cinderella's castle.  You should have seen the look on Ciara's face!  It took a lot of convincing on my part to get her to understand the truth.

 Day 2: Epcot
Epcot is not our favorite place.  There are only a handful of ride the kids enjoy.  
I, however, LOVE the world showcase.  
I love the food!
(I will do a food review in a separate post.)
We did run into Mary Poppins in England.

Ciara and Mary Poppins.
 Day 3: HS Again
The kids wanted to return and do the Jedi Training again (we did this last time when we were here with my family for Thanksgiving).
We rode the roller coaster and Tower of Terror again, many times, over and over.
Caden also began purchasing swords in almost every store we went to.

Day 4 and 5: Magic Kingdom
This is my favorite place.  It just makes me so happy to see the castles.
We saw many characters and princesses.
While doing Enchanted Tales with Belle, Ciara was selected to act out the part of Mrs. Potts.  She was so excited!
We went on just about every ride, some more than once (Space Mountain), and discovered that my children are HORRIBLE drivers.

Caden learning how to fight like a pirate from Jack Sparrow.

Ciara with Prince Naveen and Tiana.

The kids with Aladdin and Jasmine.
In front of Rapunzel's Tower.
We left the next day after a yummy character breakfast with some great friends (actual friends, not the characters).

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

From NYC To Disney!

Last weekend, we had to opportunity to meet up with my mom and aunt in New York City.
They fly in every year to attend the US Open.
Usually, they drive out to see us, but this year we decided to drive in to the city to spend some time with them.
Upon heading into the city, I had entered in the address into the navigation in my car.  
Unbeknownst to me, our hotel address (569 Lexington) has 2 NYC locations:
One in Manhatten (where the hotel is actually located)
and the other in Brooklyn (where my car took us).
We had a lovely tour of the city before we actually made it to the hotel.  
At one point, we passed a place called "Two Bros Pizza."  
There was only one guy working there at the time, so Caden asked, "What happened to the other bro?"
He continued to mention the "other bro" for days, speculating on what may have happened to him.
The next morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel (where Kohlschreiber was also eating!) and then headed out into the city.  American Girl was our first stop, followed by the Nintendo Store, Lego Store and FAO Schwartz.
After that, the girls headed to Broadway to see Newsies, and the guys headed back to the Nintendo Store.
We had such a great time!

 Rockafeller Center

 Playing the giant piano at FAO Schwartz.


And the coming week, we are taking the kids to DISNEYWORLD!
I am so excited, I can hardly contain myself.
The kids still don't know, and we aren't planning on telling them until we just load them into the car.  
I hope they are as excited as I am!

Summer Pics and the Beginning of School

Fun with Kippy (one of our favorite lifeguards) on the last day of the pool.
Caden and Kippy
Kippy and the girls.
Caden at Dunkin.  I have to question his fashion choices sometimes.
First Day of school (2nd and 4th grade)

 Ciara has had an easy transition to school.  She loves her teacher and seems to enjoy her classmates.
Caden has had a more difficult time.
For the first week, he cried every night and every morning and begged to be homeschooled.
This is not normal for him.
He LOVED school last year.
But I think his teacher last year set the bar so high that no one else will ever measure up.
If I could somehow bring back Mr Hostetler and make it so that he could just teach Caden for the rest of his school life . . .
In the meantime, Caden has gotten a little better about going to school.
But I do think one of his big problems is that he is truly bored.
He says all the books are too easy, and the math is really boring.
Since he was doing times tables last year and his math this year has consisted of adding 4+7, I can see why he is bored.  I am hoping things will pick up in the coming weeks.
If not, then I will have to do something about it.