Author Archives: Melissa

Kitschy Spots in Disney Parks: DinoLand U.S.A.

One of the most overlooked lands in all of Walt Disney World has to be DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  I love it in all of its roadside attraction glory.  It’s really cool to see something like this in the Florida parks, because it looks like it would be right at home on Paradise Pier in Disney California Adventure.

DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney's Animal Kingdom

DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Above is a quick photo I snapped the last time we were in DinoLand.  The garish colors and carnival barkers really give the area a totally different atmosphere than the rest of the serene, subdued park.  I know many guests don’t care for it, but I think DinoLand is a welcome bit of campy fun.

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Totoro Pop Tarts

I’m taking some liberty with today’s “Life Imitates the Art of Disney” installment.  As the Walt Disney Company is Studio Ghibli’s distributor in the USA, I think I’m allowed.  Let’s just call today’s post “Life Imitates the Art of Disney Ghibli.”

Totoro Pop Tarts

Today we’re visiting the YouTube channel of kawaiisweetworld, who teaches us how to make Totoro Pop Tarts!  This is both easy and adorable.  Watch her tutorial below:

 

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Mickey Mouse in Sleepwalkin’

Today I’m sharing my favorite of Disney’s modern Mickey Mouse shorts to date!  Sleepwalkin’ is a treasure trove of classic cartoon convention in a small, action-packed package.

Sleepwalkin' (2013) Title Card

Sleepwalkin‘ (2013) Title Card

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Dinner at Be Our Guest

The Magic Kingdom’s newest table service restaurant is touted as a can’t-miss experience, and Danny and I have been waiting for nearly a year to check it out.  While reviews on the food tend to vary, everybody is wowed by the massive restaurant’s detailed atmosphere and decor.  I’ll spare you my grainy, low-light photos of the ballroom, where we ate our meal, but will share some blurry shots of the food.

The napkins are folded to look like rosebuds.

The napkins are folded to look like rosebuds.

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Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k

One of the highlights of our honeymoon visit to Walt Disney World was our first runDisney event!  After doing a couple local races in our hometown this year, we were primed for Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k.

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Holiday Treats from Promenade Refreshments

The day after this year’s International Food & Wine Festival ended at Epcot, we noticed some new signage up at Promenade Refreshments.  The menu, which boasted some seasonal offerings, piqued our interest.  A manager and a handful of cast members happened to be carting supplies inside while we were passing, so we stopped to ask when the kiosk would be opening.  We were told that some items would be served as early as the next day, while others, like the cider, would be ready by that weekend.  We made a note to stop by again before we left town, and the day before flying home, we returned to view the crooked Christmas tree and try some goodies.

Promenade Refreshments in Epcot

Promenade Refreshments in Epcot

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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

This year we got to experience Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for the first time.  It’s one of the Magic Kingdom’s most popular ticketed events, and it’s full of great photo opportunities.  I’m not sure this will become a regular “must do” for us, but I’m glad we got to experience it.  I think that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is more our style, but the Christmas festivities are very cute.  I thought I’d share a couple of our favorite character photos and pictures of Cinderella’s Castle Dream Lights below.  Merry Christmas, everybody!

Dream Lights

Cinderella Castle

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - Minnie Mouse

Christmas Party - Ducks

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Listen to Melissa on the Disney Weddings Podcast!

DWP-Hear-Me-3001

Hi everybody!  This week I was a guest on Carrie Hayward’s Disney Weddings Podcast, and we discussed various options for preserving and displaying wedding photos.  This is advice that I think also transfers to other Disney vacation photos and mementos, so be sure to check it out!

photo-74

Also, for any Disney brides and grooms that may be reading, if you’re not already acquainted with Carrie, be sure to check out her blog, Disney Travel Babble, and her book, PassPorter’s Disney Weddings and Honeymoons.  Carrie possesses a wealth of information on weddings in Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and on the Disney Cruise Line, and her resources were invaluable to Danny and me in planning our own wedding.

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Enjoying Epcot’s China Pavilion

There’s a lot of discussion in the Disney Parks fan community, especially from the hobby photographers among us, about which areas of the parks are the most photogenic.  I had always overlooked the China pavilion in such conversations, but on our most recent visit to Epcot, I found that I kept returning to the area, camera in hand.  Below are some of my favorite photos from China.

Epcot - China Pavilion Detail

Epcot China Pavilion - Clay Warrior Detail

Clay Warriors in Epcot's China Pavilion

Epcot's China Pavilion

Gateway to China

China's Clay Warriors in Epcot

This crane hangs out in Epcot's China Pavilion in Walt Disney World every day

What is your favorite Epcot pavilion?  What areas of the Disney Parks do you think are the most photogenic?

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Lunch at Be Our Guest

On our honeymoon, we were invited to join the FastPass+ test for the Be Our Guest restaurant’s lunch service.  We didn’t make great use of FastPass+ on this trip, but we did use it to schedule what could otherwise be a substantial wait for a quick lunch. When we arrived at the entrance to the Beast’s castle, a FastPass+ sign was directing us to check in at the same spot where dinner guests with Advance Dining Reservations would check in for the evening table service.  The line to get in standby looked to be about a 30 minute wait or more.  We were whisked right past it. As part of the FastPass+ test, you can order your meals in advance when you make the reserve the FastPass+ time.  We think that it’s totally crazypants to try to decide what you want to eat for lunch 30 days in advance, so we skipped that feature.  Once inside, we waited only a few minutes to get to one of the ordering kiosks to place our lunch order.  We decided to try a little of everything, which turned out to be pretty expensive — almost $40 — for a quick service lunch for two. Once we ordered, we made our way to the dining room to select a table.  We were told that because we had Magic Bands, we didn’t need one of the cute RFID “roses” that most guests get while placing their order.  Sure enough, a few minutes later, a food runner located us in the West Wing.  By now you’ve either been inside Be Our Guest for yourself or have been bored to death by photos on other blogs, so I’ll spare you my grainy pictures of the dining rooms.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

We started by sharing the French Onion Soup, which was ridiculously cheesy.  In truth, it was kind of hard to eat because it was more casserole than soup.  Between the abundance of cheese and onions, there wasn’t much actual broth.  Danny gave up after only a couple bites, and I soon followed suit.

Croque Monsieur with Haircot Verts

Croque Monsieur with Haircot Verts

We each ordered a sandwich.  I got the Croque Monsieur with a side of green beans.  A sandwich with bechamel may not have been the lightest choice after that soup, but I destroyed that thing.  There’s pretty much no way that I’ll dislike any form of hot ham and cheese sandwich, but this one was particularly decadent.  The whole grain bread and the abundant layers of ham were the stars of the plate.  The veggies on the side were a little overcooked, but I ate them anyway because I needed something to make me feel ok about all the saturated fat I was ingesting.

Carved Turkey Sandwich and Pommes Frites

Carved Turkey Sandwich and Pommes Frites

Danny had the Carved Turkey Sandwich and French Fries.  He liked the carving-board style sliced turkey and the baguette, but thought that the dijon mayo either wasn’t strong enough or that there wasn’t enough of it on the sandwich for his tastes.  That would probably have suited me just fine, but Danny likes mustard a lot more than I do.

Lemon Meringue Cupcae

Lemon Meringue Cupcake

For dessert, we shared the lemon meringue cupcake.  The paper that wrapped around the cupcake was stiff and cylindrical, with a 90° angle where the walls met the bottom.  It seemed like it would be a bit of a task to take the paper off and eat this cupcake in hand, so we just dug in with forks.  As Disney cupcakes go, this one was pretty great.  The cake was moist, and was helped to be that way by a gooey center of lemon curd.  The meringue was a light topping that wasn’t too sweet.  We’re no fans of the cloying cupcakes that are found in various bakeries around the World, so this was a nice treat for us. Overall, Be Our Guest was a hit for us.  We were also able to have dinner there on our honeymoon, and that review will be up soon.  I think we would return for either meal, but especially for lunch.  We’ve always thought that the dining options in the Magic Kingdom are lacking, so Be Our Guest is a nice addition.

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