Friday, March 30, 2012

Solo Trip Recap Part 4: The Mara (and Flashback Friday)

Although I had been to Boma before, I hadn't tried any of the other eateries available at AKL.  I decided to take advantage of them while I was staying there! 

So after I got back from Harry Potter World (which, if you're not interested in anything at Universal except the Harry Potter part like me, you can finish in the first 2 hours of the morning and end up back at your resort with no plans or other park tickets), I decided to relax by the pool with some munchies from the Mara. 


I've never tried the Disney World flatbreads before.  I know they come highly touted but they look like cheap mall food to me.  And that's pretty much what they are.  It wasn't BAD, but, shrug.  I'm not impressed. 

I also grabbed a yellow cake/vanilla frosting cupcake (not pictured) while I was there (I rarely try the classic cupcakes because I'm so busy trying the fancier ones).  Then I checked out. 

THEN I remembered that the Mara sells Zebra Domes.  I had tried them at Boma, but I figured it was time for another go.



They're fine.  I don't really like the cake bottom - it tastes just like spongy, unflavorful swiss-roll-type cake.  I think the amaretto is a tad too strong and I'm not a fan of white chocolate regardless of the form.  But still, not bad.  Just . . . meh.  Which is how I felt about them at Boma so at least I'm consistent.  They also got a little melty in the sun by the pool. 

Thanks to Deb at Focused on the Magic for hosting this week's Flashback Friday Blog Hop - now hop on to the next stop!


Focused on the Magic

Monday, March 26, 2012

Solo Trip Recap Part 3: Dinner at Citricos


So I checked in at AKL and immediately hit up the Studios for a Marble Cupcake from Starring Rolls and a gourmet Mac N Cheese hot dog from Fairfax Fare.  Oh yeah, and to ride some rides and stuff.  :)  After finishing my day at DHS, I headed over to the Grand Floridian for dinner at Citricos!  I had never eaten here before and figured now was a great time to try it out!

Citricos Entrance

After a very short wait, I was seated by a lovely Brazilian hostess.  We chatted about the hordes of Brazilians in the parks that day (seriously, who was watching Brazil because the entire country was obviously at Disney World?).  It took a loooooooooong time for the waiter to come to me.  I feel like he had too many tables.  The wait was kind of ridiculous.  Fortunately I wasn't that hungry yet. 

The bread and butter were delicious although I failed to take a picture of it.  And right after I placed my order, what should happen right in front of me (I was not at a window table but was facing and window with no one in my field of vision) but Wishes! 



Yep, I could enjoy the fireworks while enjoying my bread and butter and drink! (Keep scrolling even if you think the firework pics are boring - there are food pics below!)







At last my beet salad appetizer came.  OMG it was delicious.  The tangy goat cheese plus the sweetness of the beets (golden, pink, and almost-black red) was refreshing and just delectable.



And here is my duck entree.  It was good but I think it paled in comparison to my appetizer.  The haricot verts were meh.  The duck was cooked perfectly and the mashed potatoes (?) was good too.  They must have changed the menu because I don't see it offered online anymore.  It was yummy but not memorable.

I was too full for dessert (quel tragique!) so I waddled over to Epcot for a Test Track ride before heading back to my room at AKL, full and sated but thoroughly exhausted.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nearly Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

Welcome to another Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop. 
Thanks to the Info Mouse Blog and Deb at Focused on the Magic for hosting.

Here we have the Gourmet Truffled Mac N Cheese Hot Dog from Fairfax Fare at Hollywood Studios. 

 
Gotta say, I wasn't a fan.  It was REALLY hard and messy to eat.  And the truffled flavor tasted really synthetic.  I get that if they had used real truffle oil it would have been prohibitively expensive for most people, but I think they could have just cut it out entirely and been just fine.



Also, I waited on a fairly long line to get the hot dog and right as I got to the window (after some super annoying guests ahead of me - guys, always know what you're going to order when you get to the window.  Don't chat with your friends on line and then hem and haw for 20 minutes when it's finally your turn.  I may destroy you if you are ahead of me and do this) they ran out of hot dogs!!! 

So I had to wait and wait while they got more.  Grrrr, not happy.  But at least I tried it.  Now I gotta try the other gourmet hot dogs offered!




Focused on the Magic







Monday, March 19, 2012

Recent Disney references on network TV

On the most recent episode of Cougar Town, one of the characters who sings with an a capella group was working on making their way to Disney World to audition - and on the episode they sang many Disney classics including "When You Wish Upon a Star" and "I Got No Strings".  The episode culminated in a romantical moment featuring "Kiss the Girl" and a dancing red crab (Sebastian is that you?).

On the most recent episode of The Office, Nellie Bertram (played by Catherine Tate) refers to herself as Tinkerbell - a fairy giving out wishes - and has everyone in the office clap to show they believe in her.  Robert California (ingeniously played by James Spader) asks Jim if he wants to take the family to "Disney Town," to which Jim corrects, "land . . . . World."

Is Disney secretly infiltrating our network television shows?  Is this the executives' subtle pricking of our subconscious to get the audience to remember to book that next vacation?  I suppose we'll never really know . . .

Note to Self: Disney World To Do List

You may have read my Disneyland To Do List and my WDW bucket list.  Here is the running list I have going for things that are probably a little more achievable than some of the things on my bucket list.  I try to cross things off the list with each trip.  And yes, there will be some overlap between this and my bucket list, but I think of this as a more realistic "To Do" list than a "Bucket" list.  And yes, a lot of them revolve around food.  :)  Enjoy!
  • Magic Kingdom:
    • Pre-opening breakfast reservations at Crystal Palace
    • in the queue for Splash Mountain, listen as you pass by the little houses hanging in the trees -  some critters talk to each other, maybe even Chip and Dale
      • Eat dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant - in all 3 of the rooms
      • Pirates Adventure Collectors Cards
      • See Happily Ever After in park
    • Epcot
      • Tangerine Cafe: brownie cake
      • Bocconcini (fried mozz) at Via Napoli
      • Chocolaty Churro Sundae by Test Track
      • Cannolli Cupcake: Gelato Stand, Italy Pavilion, World Showcase. 
      • SSE options:
        • Did all of HEALTH May 2016 
          • surprise/plan
          • vitamins/no vitamins
          • goal/coach
          • party/adventure
          • country/city
          • bikes/car
          • extreme sports/nature trek
          • get help/take charge
          • cocoa/soup
          • human touch/high tech  
        • HOME:
          • tech/
          • city/
          • cooking/
          • clothes to buy/
          • tv/
          • car/
        • Need to do all of Work and all of Leisure
      • Studios
        • After you exit the ToT library there are fuse boxes on the left side, pull the lever
        • Fantasmic 
        • Once upon a time store: listen carefully to hear the radio broadcast from the actual Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiere being played throughout the store
        • Try each and every cupcake at Starring Rolls and on my Cupcake Encyclopedia
          • Marble and Butterfinger are done already!
          • Red Velvet
          • A new chocolate cherry one!  I scooped AJ!
          • Peanut Butter Chocolate
      • Animal Kingdom
        • New Harambe Village beef kabob flat bread and warm malva spice cake
        • Expedition Everest
          • as you are walking to enter the attraction the screens will say your name
          • Everest at night
        • Tree of Life night show 
        • Opening announcement
        • MAYBE: French Fries with Pulled Pork and Cheese at the Flame Tree Barbecue
        • Mini Chocolate Silk Cake at Yak n Yeti Counter 
        • House-Smoked Kobe Style Brisket Poutine at Nomad Lounge
      • Typhoon Lagoon
        • Crush n Gusher
        • The donuts  
      • General/Out of Parks
        • Try each "tour" offered
          • Magic Kingdom Park
            • Disney's Family Magic Tour
            • Disney's Keys to the Kingdom Tour
            • Disney's The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour
            • Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour
            • The Ultimate Tour of Thrills (15% discount)
          • Epcot
            • Gardens of the World (offered seasonally)
            • The UnDISCOVERed Future World
            • Disney's Dolphins in Depth
            • Epcot DiveQuest
            • Epcot Seas Aqua Tours
            • Tea Tour during Flower and Garden
            • Treasures of Morocco Tour
          • Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park
            • Wild by Design
            • Backstage Safari
          • Multiple Theme Parks and Backstage Areas
            • Backstage Magic
            • Disney's Holiday D-Lights (offered seasonally)
            • Disney's Yuletide Fantasy (offered seasonally)
        • Miniature golf at Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland
        • Grand Floridian
        • Beaches and Cream
          • Chocolate and Neapolitan Kitchen Sinks 
          • Adult milkshakes (s'mores)
        • Boardwalk 
          • Jellyrolls
          • Abracadabar
          • Dancehall  
        • Wilderness Lodge
          • Portobello Soup
          • at the front desk ask for a copy of the Hidden Mickey Hunt. It is a two page sheet which gives clues are where to find various Hidden Mickeys at the Wilderness Lodge, several of which are cleverly hidden in plain sight. 
        • Yehaa Bob
      • MISSED
        • Okonomiyaki, from Katsura Grill
        • Camp Minnie Mickey (RIP) - Herb and Flora talking bushes
        • The Viewfinder menu (discontinued 4/15) at 50's Prime Time
        • Opening ceremony at Epcot 
        • Veiled Maiden from the Kringla Bakeri in Norway
        • Cheshire Cake Cups (did vanilla and berry); still no mocha 4/15, gone totally 5/16
        • Ladybug release Thursdays at GF
        • GF key (asked twice while staying concierge May 2017)
        • Boardwalk Bakery
          • Pull-apart brioche
          • Blackberry macaron
        • The new macaroni and cheeses at Min and Bills
      • DONE BUT WOULD REPEAT 
        • Use my Disney Visa points to make myself one of those custom charm bracelets  (need to add more) 
        • Bread pudding from Ohana (but I should try this again) 
        • Brownie frosting sandwich at Earl of Sandwich 
          • Did at Disneyland but would do again
        •  

      Tuesday, March 13, 2012

      Nearly Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

      This may be my least worded Wordless Wednesday yet. 
      Marble Cupcake from Starring Rolls.  I housed the WHOLE THING.  AMAZING.







      Focused on the Magic





      Monday, March 12, 2012

      Solo Trip Recap Part 2: Animal Kingdom Lodge

      You guys, I cheated.  I cheated on my beloved Polynesian Resort.  As you may know, I have a loooooooong history with the Poly (almost 30 years!).  But this time, this past January, I was going to Orlando on a work trip that was not part of my overall plan.  So I figured it was a one-off right? 



      I had visited the Animal Kingdom Lodge for the first time when I went to Boma with my sister almost a year prior and thought it was really beautiful.  I figured, since this brief trip didn't really "count", why not mix it up by staying at another Disney resort for the first time. 

      Now you know I am a Deluxe resort kind of girl.  I briefly considered the other Deluxe hotels.  My main requirement was that the hotel be as far from something I could replicate or have replicated at home as possible.  Basically, you should know that my entire vacationing canon is "Always be doing things you cannot do somewhere else."  So one by one the other Deluxe's got rejected:
      • Beach/Yacht Club: Been to real beach and yacht clubs.  I live on the East Coast about 2 hours from the Hamptons
      • Boardwalk: the Jersey Shore is a mere 1-2 hours away
      • Grand Floridian: Pretty much just your basic fancy hotel
      • The Dated (I mean the Contemporary): too ugly
      • Wildnerness Lodge:  I visit upstate New York (full of woodsy arts and crafts style architecture) at least once a year
      This leaves the Poly (I am too far from the Pacific islands, tragically) and Animal Kingdom (equally far from Africa).  Since I was trying to branch out, AKL it was.



      The lobby was as beautiful as I remember.  The dining options are awesome - I did Jiko, Sanaa, and the Mara this time.  I checked out the animals which was cool and my room was fine (didn't bother with a view, didn't get a free upgrade).  Even the buses weren't too bad except on the first day (being used to a monorail resort, I was worried about being so limited to buses). 

      This is how they keep the animals and the peoples separate :)  invisible fences!


      BUT, it wasn't the Poly.  The AKL doesn't have my childhood memories, the Poly does.  I can't walk around the AKL and remember when we did this, or how much I loved that.  It was nice but I might as well have been in any other nice hotel.  The reason I go back to WDW time and again is to relive my childhood and the Poly is too big a part of that to not include it in each and every visit.

      I'm glad I tried the AKL, but I'm never cheating on my Polynesian Resort again.

      Monday, March 5, 2012

      Note to Self: Disneyland To Do List

      Despite my recent trip to Disneyland, I of course have more things I want to do there! Call it a bucket list, call it a to-do list, whatever. It's going to happen:

      Disneyland

      • The Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour
      • Ride the Lilly Belle (train car)
      • Mary Blair Doll in Small World:
        the short blonde hair and groovy floral dress. riders’ backs are turned toward the side of the tower she sits on as the boat passes by. So next time you pass the Eiffel Tower, turn around and look up!   One of the children in the Western Europe section of Disneyland’s attraction is designed as a tribute to Mary Blair. As you pass the Eiffel Tower, look back and you’ll see the Mary Blair doll with short blonde hair wearing a yellow dress with flowers.
      • Napa Rose
      • Tomorrowland Skyline Lounge Experience
      • The Matterhorn Macaroon Donut at the coffee cart in the hub near the entrance to Fantasy Faire
      DCA:
      •  Brioche French Toast @ Flo's V8
      Missed:
      • Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular 
      • Grab a copy of the Buena Vista Bugler in DCA (tried twice, but they're discontinuing it they said)


      What's on YOUR Disneyland to do list?  Post in the comments!

      Thursday, March 1, 2012

      Flashback Friday / Vintage Photo Alert!

      Welcome to another Flashback Friday Blog Hop! 
      Thanks to Deb at Focused on the Magic for hosting! 
      Here we have some pics from my very first trip to WDW, back in 1984 when I was 1.5 years old. 
      Under Spaceship Earth

       
      River Country (I think - if you can place it elsewhere let me know!)


      Focused on the Magic