Saturday, March 31, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
One of the best parts about a trip to Walt Disney World is all the food! There is lots of food there. And when you spend a week there it gives you plenty of opportunity to try many different foods. The theme parks, resorts, and Downtown Disney entertainment district all offer a variety of unique counter service and full service restaurants. Let me tell ya about some of the yummy stuff I ate while we were visiting a few weeks ago!
In our opinion, Character Dining is the way to go in Disney World. You get gourmet food in a buffet style that allows you to get yourself and the kids fed quickly, plus you get to visit with some Disney characters who walk around the restaurant and stop at each table for pictures, autographs, and some personal one-on-one time with each family. We always visit the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom where you get to dine with Winnie the Pooh and his buddies. The food is wonderful with everything from fresh fish and a carving station to great salads like Moroccan couscous, Romaine blue cheese salad, and a black bean and mango salad. It's all really good. Probably my favorite thing on the menu is the Fire Roasted Corn Spoonbread. Wow! It's good! I forgot to take a picture of it because I was too busy shoving it in my mouth, but here's the recipe for it if you wanna try it yourself. If you make it, call me and I'll come over and test it out for ya!
In Epcot's World Showcase, each of the countries represented has at least one spot where you can sample native dishes. My favorite is Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada. I've eaten there on every visit to Disney since I discovered the place about 10 years ago. The restaurant is kind of fancy if you can look past the people in shorts and Donald Duck tank tops. The food there is outrageous starting with their Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup. Wow-we-wow-wow! My friends, that is some good soup! It's so good a few years ago I bought the cookbook with the recipe for it and gave it to my wife's grandmother so she could make the soup for me. (Her grandmother is an excellent cook!) Instead of buying the book, I could have just looked here for it, but oh well.
Le Cellier is also the home of one of the best burgers I have eaten...and I've eaten quite a few! They have a Grilled Angus Chuck Burger that comes topped with bleu cheese and is served on a fresh made muffin. It is a delight!
Pictured here is a drink Elias had at Le Cellier, it's a sour apple soda that glowed! Pretty cool! It cost something like 7 or 8 bucks, Elias took two sips of it and wanted apple juice. The drink had enough sugar in it to kill a horse!
Let me also say that for dessert, their Maple Creme Brulee is like inviting Tinker Bell to dance on your tongue for the evening. Fantastic!
Chef Mickey's in yet another favorite spot for us. Here you get to have your meal with the big cheese himself, Mickey, along with Donald, Goofy, Pluto, and Minnie all inside the Contemporary Resort. Mickey serves up breakfast and dinner and both are fantastic. The dinner is home to one of the best things I've ever put in my mouth, Parmesan Mashed Potatoes. But this year, we went for breakfast which features a mountain of good food. Joey, here on the left, is showing off his plate of goodies. They have a breakfast pizza which is awesome, and a peanut butter and jelly pizza which is also out of this world. They have three types of scrambled eggs, veggie lasagna, cheese blintz, Mickey waffles, bacon and sausage, and Joey's favorite: all you can eat Krispie Kreeme donuts!
One of the nicest places we ate at during our week in Walt Disney World was at the highly coveted Cinderella's Royal Table. This is a dining room on the second level of the Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle and is literally the hardest spot to book a table. Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance and every morning when a new day opens up for reservations the reservation call center is slammed with calls first thing in the morning until the entire day's worth of seating is filled up...I'm told usually in about 20 minutes. Beyond that, you just have to keep checking back for a cancellation and I was lucky enough to have a reservation agent that spotted a cancellation while I was on the phone booking other meals.
The appeal of Cinderella's Royal Table in that not only do you get to meet Cinderella but you also get to dine with an assortment of other Disney Princesses. In our case it was Snow White, Jasmine, and Belle. Of course, Tanner had no idea what was going on and Elias didn't want to talk to any of the princesses because "he's a boy, not a princess!" Anywho, the menu is pretty fancy. Above you can see pictured my Entree Royal Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Cabernet sauce served on a bed of Mustard Cheese Grits and topped with crispy onions. Needless to say, it was a meal fit for a King!
Check out the dessert Cinderella's chefs cooked up for us. Warm blueberry Buckle with Lemon ice cream & finished with creme fraiche. I don't know what creme fraiche really is, but let's just say I'd put it on almost anything! Also pictured is the kids dessert, a scoop of ice cream with Mickey sprinkles and a chocolate crown. Elias ate his crown and the rest of us fought over Tanner's!
So, there's some of our eating adventures in the Happiest Place on Earth! I could probably go on for another two or three hours if you'd like me to! Just ask!
Friday, March 23, 2007
While walking down Main Street towards Cinderella's castle, on the right hand about midway down, there is a small outcove among the shops. This area used to be known as the Flower Mart but is now mostly vacant except for a few tables and chairs and perhaps an ice cream vendor or artist. One of these windows advertises the services of a contractor by the name of Elias Disney. He was Walt Disney's father, who was actually at one time a contractor. Walt was given his father's name as his own middle name making him Walter Elias Disney. This is where my wife and I got the name Elias, because I really wanted to name my son after Walt Disney and my wife wouldn't go for Walt or Mickey. (or for that matter: Donald, Huey, Louie, Prince Charming or Goofy!)
So there's Elias' name up in lights (sort of) for all of Disney World to see. It's kind of become a tradition for us to stop by and say hi to the window, and on this last trip Elias even recognized his own name up there! I guess my other son, Tanner, will have to wait for an ALF amusement park to be built to have such an honor.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Over at the Disney/MGM Studios we finally got to see the Lights, Action, Motors Stunt Car Show. It had just opened the last time we were there, but it was also well over 100 degrees the last time we were there and we knew a stadium that holds several thousand people would be a fairly miserable experience in extreme heat. The show is pretty good, you have to walk close to a mile to get from the entrance to your seat but they blow up enough stuff in the show to make it worth your while. At the Studios, the kids also got a chance to see Lightning McQueen and Mater (from CARS) upclose. Both Elias and Tanner were completely awestruck when they saw the race car and tow truck face to face. (They did look just like they do in the movie!)
I've also got to give some props to little 41" 3-year old Elias who now has some major thrill rides under his belt. He rode Test Track, which goes from 0 - 60 in a matter of seconds...he liked it even though he wet himself in the process. Elias also took on the 5-story drop of Splash Mountain. He was laughing when the ride was over while also saying, "Ha Ha! We're not going to do that again are we?!" He even had a blast on the Tea Cups, which I stopped riding in my teens because it makes me sick!
Of all the new stuff we did, and all the classic and favorite attractions we experienced my favorite moment from the trip came on Sunday night, our first full day at the Magic Kingdom. Elias went crazy while riding Pirates of the Caribbean. As soon as our boat splashed down the little drop and we entered the town where the pirates are running amuck, Elias went wild yelling at all the pirates and waving an imaginary sword at them. He was having the time of his life! When we got off the ride he was still yelling and screaming about all the pirates and he was talking in his own little gruff pirate voice. When we entered the obligatory end-of-ride gift show, I bought Elias a pirate hat, sword, and hook for his hand. While I was trying to pay for it all he was running around the store yelling for Captain Jack Sparrow and calling me Captain Daddy.
I got Joey a cheap little sword as well, and he played with Elias (in full pirate gear) in the plaza outside the giftshop for a good 15 minutes sword fighting and yelling pirate-y things. It was a blast! I've included a handful of pictures here from our pirate adventure! I'm slowly getting all our pictures up over in the Photo Album so check them out when you have some time. Obviously, I've got a few more Disney World themed posts planned for the next several days!
Friday, March 09, 2007
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Monday, March 05, 2007
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Friday, March 02, 2007
It's rare that my memory banks can stump the Internet, but I wasn't able to find a single image of these Snoopy's Choice meals anywhere online. There is barely a mention that the food ever existed! I was able to find this picture in a book called Peanuts The Home Collection: A Collector's Guide to Identification and Value. I tried to zoom in on the Snoopy's Choice products, but I'm no William Randolph Hearst when it comes to the ol' scanner and Photoshop and all the stuff! My zoom in here on the left offers nothing more than a larger, grainier look at Snoopy pointing to some unrecognizable food. For a really good tie-in, the microwavable food should have come in little red dog dishes! That would have made it all even cooler!