A couple of weeks ago Bonnie & I made our way to the World for an abbreviated weekend to finally check out the Frozen festivities at the Studios. And of course, there were some eats (and drinks) along the way…

Sign

Must be fun! The sign says so…

You’ve likely seen all about the Summer Frozen Fun by now, so I won’t recount all the goings on…

The ladies love Kristoff!

The ladies love Kristoff!

We did happen to catch the parade as it was exiting the park near Star Tours (which is not a bad place to try and see it from), it was cute and actually better than expected.

And speaking of better than expected, I must admit I really did enjoy the Frozen Sing-Along (although like pretty much all the males in the audience, I didn’t do too much singing-along…). There are a couple of fun hosts in addition to Anna and Elsa, and it’s a blast to just watch the kids (and some adults as well) in the crowd who all seemed to be really getting into it!

I didn’t think too much of the Trading Post area with the skating rink and snow play area, but Bonnie and Mama Ginny (who along with her other half Papa Harry had joined us for the day) really though it was done well.

Snax

Which shall we choose???

And of course there was lots of merch and Frozen-themed eats to be had…

Snax

All Olaf, all the time (okay, it’s almost all Olaf…)

In several places you could get a variety of baked goods and sweets. Many, if not most, were Olaf-centric, and while they were all pretty cute, they seemed quite pricey (not that I should be surprised…).

Snax

Do some look like he’s screaming in fear of being eaten?

The Olaf cake pop here for example would be about two bites-worth (at least for an average adult, who I assume is not the primary target) for $4.19, or about $2.10 per bite…

Below the Olaf pops you can also see some Snowballs… we’ll come back to those later…

Buffalo Nuggets

Buffalo Nuggets

For lunch we slid into the Backlot Express. New to the menu since we’d been there last (which had been a while) were Buffalo Chicken Nuggets, which Harry and I both ordered. They weren’t bad at all – Disney’s nuggets are usually pretty good – and the basic Buffalo sauce was actually a bit hotter than I had expected. You can get both Ranch and Blue Cheese dressing at the condiment area, so there were dipping options for the chicken, even though there wasn’t any celery or other cruchy-things served with the nuggets (fries come on the side, I guess you could have gotten a side of carrot sticks instead to take the place of the traditional celery, but just a few sticks of those thrown on the side would have been nice, and for nine bucks or thereabouts I’m sure it wouldn’t really kill their bottom line).

Bonnie and Virginia both went with the old standby Grilled Veggie Sandwich (which I think is consistently one of the better sandwich options available in several locations around property).

Compare and contrast...

Compare and contrast…

Virginia made the genius move to order the childs version and the sandwich came at about two-thirds the size of the full version (you may not be able to tell that from the pic about due to the perspective). There was a smaller side of fries (and even my spud-loving wife admitted that she didn’t need to eat the full adult side of fries and the smaller version would have filled her fried potato cravings) along with a cookie and small bottled water (or milk if you want). It was plenty of food and for $5.99 a really good deal. Likewise, if two people both want the same sandwich, the full version is plenty big enough to split if you’re not starving…

Later in the afternoon our friends left us to our own devices, and we took that time to head back to our resort and relax a bit and have a bite to eat before coming back to the Studios for the Frozen fireworks later that night.

Outside the resort (we were staying the night at the Villas at Wilderness Lodge) near the bus stop I noticed a small sign with a QR code on it…

Give it a try...

Give it a try…

when I scanned the code with my phone it immediately went to the info and online booking engine for the signature restaurant at the resort, Artist Point. This is a simple and great idea by Disney, and I’m assuming there are also in place at other resorts (anyone seen them?). I also assume that they only put these out when they know that the restaurants in the resort are not full and could use some seats filled…

Territory Lounge Menu

Territory Lounge Menu

In spite of the temptation of Artist Point, we had planned to have some eats at one of our favorite places on property, the Territory Lounge. This cozy and nicely-themed room is right next to Artist Point. With comfy seating, a nice atmosphere and good, casual service I’m always surprised that this place is rarely crowded. And with the food coming from the kitchen next door, it has some of the best “bar food” you’ll find anywhere in the World.

Beer

Ummm… Beer

And in addition to the food, it has a real decent selection of craft beers…

beer

More beer…

so much so that I had to try more than one…

Literally everything on the menu sounded good to us, and we debated starting with two items, but we decided to share the fondue to begin with and if we were still hungry after that we’d try something else.

fondue

Fondue and beverages

The melty cheese was even better than we expected and we happily dipped the variety of breads into the pot. A couple of types of apples were also good with the cheese, but the best were the (oh-too-few) figs! We finished it off (with Bonnie debating about licking the bowl) and sadly had no more room for anything else on this visit.

We made our way back to the Studios and after an eerie visit to the Hollywood Tower Hotel, we decided to stake out a spot for the fireworks. By now Bonnie wanted a bit of something sweet so she went to get into line at Sweet Spells to see if any of the sweet snacks met her approval (did I mention the word sweet yet?). While she did this I got into a not-overly-long-but-incredibly-slow-moving line at the outdoor bar by the Brown Derby to try out one of the Frozen-themed specialty cocktails. After what seemed like an eternity without the line making much progress, I actually bailed out deciding that an over-priced cocktail wasn’t in the cards for me that night (yes, Dear Dedicated Readers, I of all people, passed on a margarita…).

As I met back up with Bonnie I found that she had selected a Snowball: a white sugar-coated Rice Crispie treat. We made our way towards the front of the park to be able to make a quick getaway after the fireworks and plopped our rears down on the curb to enjoy our sweet snack before the evenings pyrotechnics.

Well… “enjoy” wasn’t exactly what we did with the not-so-snowy snowball…  The sugar coating surrounding the crispies was so thick and hard that Bonnie was afraid she’d break a tooth getting through it! I tested the strength of my bridge and forced my artificial incisors into the rigid crust finally making my way to the insides. The rice cereal inside was, like the outside, overly sweet as to be actually unpleasant… so I think this will be the last snowball we try… now to check my insulin levels…

Oh yeah, the fireworks were great! Not quite to the level of the ones we saw at last years villains event in the Studios, but well worth braving the crowds for!

Popcorn

New Mickey Halloween Popcorn Bucket

The following day we took a boat over to the Magic Kingdom to check out the newly added waffle fries options at the Golden Oak Outpost.

Like we’d noticed at the gift shop at Wilderness Lodge, the Halloween merchandise was in full push mode in the Kingdom despite it still being August on this visit. I’m not usually a big fan of paying extra for the souvenir popcorn containers, but we both agreed that the new Haunted Mansion inspired Mickey bucket was awfully cute…

Golden Oak Outpost

Golden Oak Outpost

We eventually made it to the Outpost in Frontierland. Situated across the walkway from Pecos Bills, this location has gone through a few permutations since the exit of the McDonald’s fries several years ago, and just recently a potato-heavy bill of fare had begun to be offered.

Outpost Menu

Outpost Menu

We tried the first two options on the menu: Brown Gravy and Cheese Waffle Fries and the BLT Waffle Fries.

Waffle Fries

Waffle Fries!

The Gravy and Cheese Fries are a take on the traditional Canadian treat of Poutine, while the BLT version is somewhat reminiscent of the once-popular Figaro Fries that were served at Pinocchio Village Haus in Fantasyland.

The topped fries were not-quite-as-large-as-you’d-like for $5.99 each, but still after sharing the two servings we were sated for lunchtime. We really liked both versions (of the two I’d say I preferred the gravy option… when in doubt always choose gravy…) and are looking forward to coming back to try some of the other spudly items from the menu.

Well, that was it for our dining adventures during the abbreviated weekend at the World, hope you enjoyed coming along!

As always, we’re back to the kitchen, and soon we’ll be back to the World – I hear there is a little event coming up soon at Epcot…

See you soon!

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

I realized it’s been a while since we’ve done a “Weekend Eats” post, and it’s not because we haven’t been to the World, it’s just my usual slack posting schedule… so here, Dear Dedicated Readers, is a combo edition of several relatively recent visits to WDW, and a very recent trek to another off-property-property…

Brisket, Turkey "Ribs" and the amazing Maple Bacon Cupcake at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Brisket, Turkey “Ribs” and the amazing Maple Bacon Cupcake at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Even though I’d made a couple of trips to the Flower & Garden Festival (which you can review in the posts “A First Taste of Spring: Epcot Flower & Garden Festival Opening Day 2014” and “Second Helpings at the 2014 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival“), Bonnie hadn’t been yet by mid-April, so we made a day trip so that she could exercise her camera-muscles on the festival foliage, and of course sample some of the savory offerings…

And beverages had to be sampled as well...

And beverages had to be sampled as well…

There was an interesting “visitor” at Epcot on that day…

World Showcase food truck in, of all places, the World Showcase...

World Showcase food truck in, of all places, the World Showcase…

the Epcot-centric food truck that normally resides at Downtown Disney made a test appearance at the entrance to World Showcase. I was told by a management-type that it was a test run for that weekend to see how guests responded – if it did well we might actually see the truck (or trucks) show up again during the Food & Wine Festival (which sounds kinda crazy, but if they parked one or two closer to the entrance of the park it might just work).

Eggplant "Scallop" from Urban Farm EATS booth

Eggplant “Scallop” from Urban Farm EATS booth

We wandered, ate some good stuff, and after an all-to-brief visit, we made our way back home, but it wouldn’t be long before we were back…

The ever-youthful Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits

The ever-youthful Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits

the next weekend, to be specific, as Miss Bonnie graciously indulged my desire to see one of my childhood faves, Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits (and shockingly, after five concerts, Bonnie still doesn’t know the words to “Henry the Eighth”).

Three Cheese Manicotti from Primavera Kitchen

Three Cheese Manicotti from Primavera Kitchen

And during the weekend we did have some more of the goodies served at the kitchens of the Flower & Garden Festival.

Shrimp and Grits from Florida Fresh booth

Shrimp and Grits from Florida Fresh booth

The manicotti from Italy was a dish I hadn’t sampled yet this year – cheese-filled as advertised – good but not life-changing. The shrimp & grits was a favorite from Florida Fresh last year, and Bonnie deemed it just as good this go round.

Mmmm... margaritas....

Mmmm… margaritas….

Oh yeah, there was a visit to La Cava…

 

Epcot Flower & Garden Festival 2014 Walt Disney World Orlando Kouzinna Cat Cora

Kouzzina on Disney’s Boardwalk

Saturday morning of that weekend we had a “good-bye” breakfast at Cat Cora’s Kouzzina.

Turkey-Sweet Potato Hash - with Two Eggs and Arugula Salad

Turkey-Sweet Potato Hash with Two Eggs and Arugula Salad

The restaurant is scheduled to close the end of September after a five-year run in the former Spoodles location on the Boardwalk. I’ve always enjoyed the place, and had a really great experience and meal there during Food & Wine a few years ago, which you can see a bit of in the post “Who’s that strange man trying to fondle an Iron Chef?” (and no, I never followed up with a full post on that night…). I’ll be sad to see it go, and so to say farewell we decided to have at least one more meal there.

Classic Golden Waffle with Whipped Mascarpone Cheese, Honey, Chopped Pecans and Bacon

Classic Golden Waffle with Whipped Mascarpone Cheese, Honey, Chopped Pecans and Bacon

As we were seated and our server arrived with the menus I though she looked quite familiar – turned out it was the ever effervescent spikey-hair-blonde Holly who seems to always be on hand at the River Roost in Port Orleans when YeHaa Bob Jackson is on stage! She was a bit more subdued at a more sober breakfast service (although there were a couple of “eye-openers” on our table…) than during the raucous YeHaa Bob shows…

Mama Ginny and Papa Harry, who had never been there before, joined Bonnie and I for breakfast and liked it so much that they returned just a couple of weeks later.

Stacked Kouzzina Breakfast: Two Poached Eggs, Kalamata Olive Toast, Artichoke Spread, and Sweet Potato Hash with Bacon

Stacked Kouzzina Breakfast: Two Poached Eggs, Kalamata Olive Toast, Artichoke Spread, and Sweet Potato Hash with Bacon

The Stacked Kouzzina Breakfast, which Bonnie & Harry both had, was the real winner here – it’s a nice combo of somewhat unusual flavors for a breakfast meal and they both were happy members of the Clean Plate Club at the end of the meal.

Afterwards we made another trip to Epcot for some more Flower & Garden food and fun…

Lamb Brewat Roll with Prunces and Sesame from Taste of Marrakesh

Lamb Brewat Roll with Prunes and Sesame from Taste of Marrakesh

I really liked the lamb roll from Morocco – a crispy egg-roll-like-thing filled to the brim with shredded meat!

Quesadilla de Hongos con Queso from Jardin de Fiestas

Quesadilla de Hongos con Queso from Jardin de Fiestas

We also tried the mushroom and cheese quesadilla from Mexico with less than spectacular results… it was fairly bland, and we both agreed it wasn’t very “Mexican” to our tastes…

"Second verse, same as the first..."

“Second verse, same as the first…”

And yes, there were some more songs to enjoy that evening…

Home of the Don't-Call-It-A-Cronut

Home of the Don’t-Call-It-A-Cronut

On Sunday we found ourselves once again around the World Showcase and I finally tried the Croissant Doughnut from the Refreshment Port…

Outside the Cronut

Outside the Croissant Doughnut

this hybrid between a croissant and (you guessed it) a doughnut is better known as a Cronut, but that moniker has been trademarked, so hence the “Croissant Doughnut”.

Inside the Cronut

Inside the Croissant Doughnut

There are flaky layers inside the cinnamon-sugar coated outside, and yes, it’s pretty dang tasty, but at $4.49 I think it won’t be an everyday treat…

Lemon Scones, Pork & Apple Sausage Roll and Salad with Strawberries, Almonds and Stilton from the Buttercup Cottage

Lemon Scones, Pork & Apple Sausage Roll and Salad with Strawberries, Almonds and Stilton from the Buttercup Cottage

We ended our eating at Epcot for this weekend by having a trifecta of dishes from the Buttercup Cottage in the UK. We enjoyed all the items, and I liked the sausage roll a bit more the second time than I had when I first tried it.

The next weekend we found ourselves back in the World for Expedition Everest weekend – we weren’t participating in the race, but several friends were in WDW for the event, so we came to just hang out a bit… and eat some more…

The backside of Ankole Cattle

The backside of Ankole Cattle

We were staying at our favorite resort, Kidani Village, and made a quick trip over to Animal Kingdom late on Friday afternoon.

As it was close to closing time for the park by the time we got there, many of the quick-service eating locations were closing down, so we stepped into Yak and Yeti and quickly were granted a table.

We ordered a couple of adult beverages while we perused the menu and eventually settled on just having a couple of appetizers.

Seared Ahi Tuna (top) and Thai Chili Chicken Wings

Seared Ahi Tuna (top) and Thai Chili Chicken Wings

Neither were particularly memorable – they looked better than they tasted. The food wasn’t bad, just sorta there – we’ve certainly had better-tasting items there before. The marinated cucumbers alongside the wings were probably the best thing on the table (other than the beverages…). Our server was great though!

It still irks me a bit that they don’t take Tables in Wonderland – they do give a 10% annual passholder discount, but it’s only on entrees… gee, thanks…

Not quite sated, we headed to the bar at Sanaa when we made it back to Kidani.

Indian Style Bread Service

Indian Style Bread Service – Jalapeno-lime Pickle, Coriander Chutney & Tamarind Chutney with Garlic Ginger Naan, Spiced Naan and Onion Kulcha

You can order appetizers from the restaurant while at the bar (and I have seen them serve from the full menu in the bar as well in the past, even though they say they aren’t supposed to do so), so Bonnie had a glass of wine while I tried an IPA as we looked over the bar menu.

We settled on one of our absolutely favorite things, the bread service. You get to choose three of five great Indian breads, and three accompaniments for $9.99 (or you can have all nine of the saucy sides for two more bucks). Unless you’re carb-phobic, this is a great choice to start a meal for two or more, or like we did here share between two for a nice, filling later night snack. The naans are our number one, and are freshly made to order, they are pretty hard to beat with any of the accompanying sauces.

And yes, they do take Tables in Wonderland at the bar there!

We wound up going all over the place on Saturday to find sustenance…

DVC construction at the Poly

DVC construction at the Poly

After a quick trip to the Wide World of Sports to check out the race expo, we went over to the Polynesian Resort to see about the goings on there.

The addition of a Disney Vacation Club area to the resort had been announced quite a while back (and very obvious construction has been taking place for several weeks), but there had been many other rumors going around about some other changes to the resort, and as it happened, many of those changes had been officially announced the day before we got there (most notably to the adult-beverage-indulgers among us, the addition of a east coast version of Trader Sam’s!). We did our best to get info from several cast members there as to the exact location of where the new bar will be, but all, including a couple of managers, claimed ignorance as to where in the resort Trader Sam’s will eventually reside.

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Looking to fill our grumbling bellies, we made our way to the temporary location of the resort’s quick-service eatery, Captain Cook’s. The normal location for the restaurant (lower lobby level facing the pool) has been shuttered for a while undergoing a refurb – with the announcement of the upcoming changes (and the recent closing of the Wyland Gallery) we now wonder if Cook’s will actually return to it’s former location or wind up somewhere else in the resort. It’s old site sure seems like it would be prime territory for a new bar…

Capt' Cook's current lunch/dinner menu

Capt. Cook’s current lunch/dinner menu

We’ve enjoyed several items from Capt. Cook’s before (notably the Pork Nachos and Pork Sandwich). This day we tried a new item, the Thai Coconut Meatballs.

Thai Coconut Meatball on Rice

Thai Coconut Meatball on Rice

We also ordered a side of the chips – a seasoned combo of potato chips, tortilla chips and fried wonton skins. This isn’t on the menu, but if you ask they’ll gladly serve you up a nice plate of them.

Capt. Cook's Chips and Thai Coconut Meatball on Rice

Capt. Cook’s Chips and Thai Coconut Meatball on Rice

The meatballs themselves were fine, but I found the sauce to be way too sweet. Bonnie liked them a bit better, but after she added a bit of soy sauce we both found them more palatable. Also a few steamed/stir-fried veggies on the plate would have been nice. The chips were the hit of the table – I’d go back just for some more of those!

While in the neighborhood we met up with our friend Corndog Laura and took a quick monorail trip over to check out the DVC rooms at the Grand Floridian (they are pretty gorgeous!). From there we went back to Kidani, and as Laura hadn’t done it before, we took the cultural tour of Sanaa.

Bread service sampler at Sanaa cultural tour

Bread service sampler at Sanaa cultural tour

We were taken around the restaurant by a lovely young woman from South Africa and she gave us background on the details of the dining area. It’s a very interesting tour, and at the end they feed you! We (once again) got a sampling of the bread service, this time on the house!

In case you’re not aware, they give this tour for free every day at 4 PM. You don’t have to sign up, just arrive at the restaurants podium a few minutes before four. You don’t even have to be a guest staying at the resort, just show up!

Likewise they do a restaurant tour (also at 4 PM) over at Jambo House. Just make your way to the entrance of Boma and you’ll get a tour there (along usually with a sample of one of their great soups and a Zebra Dome or other dessert). From there they take you to Jiko for a tour of that dining establishment, and they usually wind that up with a sample of their signature Taste of Africa appetizer (which is also a bread and dips sampler). Definitely worth a trip over there (if you’re not already staying there), and a rare freebie at Disney!

As if we’d not had enough to eat for the day, we wound up heading over to the Coronado Springs Resort to check out the options at the Pepper Market. Laura went for the roasted chicken, while Bonnie & I shared a huge serving of nachos.

Market Nachos at the Pepper Market

Market Nachos at the Pepper Market

The big plate of chips was topped with chicken and beef (you can choose either or both), salsa, gooey-cheese-like-product and sour cream (jalapenos were one the side in deference to Miss Bonnie’s still mild palate). If you want a big plate of messy, bad-for-you goodness, that’s more than plenty for two people to split, this is a diet-busting deal for ten bucks. If only the beers alongside were a better deal…

On our Sunday getaway day, we went over to the Magic Kingdom to check out the final bits of construction on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (and hope for a soft-opening ride, but that wish was to go ungranted…).

We did however get shown a pretty amazing Hidden Steamboat Willie in the exit queue of the Little Mermaid ride…

Can you see it?

Can you see it?

it’s almost impossible to see from a picture, and you’d likely never notice it without it being pointed out to you, but when you see it, it’s down-right spectacular! We’ll be glad to show it to you sometime in the park!

For our final feasting of this weekend in the parks, we wandered into Pinocchio’s Village Haus.

Caprese Flatbread

Caprese Flatbread

Bonnie snagged us a seat overlooking Small World while I got us a Caprese Flatbread to share. Tomatoes, mozzarella and a Balsamic drizzle atop a flatbread crust, this was a very passable lunch (along with a side of fries to sate Miss Bonnie’s spud-addiction). It’s worth a try if you’re looking for something just a bit different in the Magic Kingdom.

Friar's Nook Menu

Friar’s Nook Menu

While there I took a peek at the Friar’s Nook menu and noted that the Blue Cheese & Balsamic version of Mac & Cheese (that we had quite liked on a prior visit) had been replaced with a Pot Roast one… we’ll try next visit…

So to continue (and conclude) this extended edition of Weekend Eats, we head off property proper to visit the east coast of Florida.

We’d long been talking about wanting to visit Disney’s Vero Beach resort, and when the Iowa O’Briens had planned a trip there and asked us to come along, we jumped at the opportunity.

Early morning on the Treasure Coast - view from our room at Disney's Vero Beach Resort

Early morning on the Treasure Coast – view from our room at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

The resort is fairly small, but nice and full of Disney-touches. Like most of the DVC resorts, you’re not hit over the head with characters and such (in fact, the only walk-around characters appear at one lone character breakfast on Saturdays), but there are enough details, Hidden Mickeys and the like to keep even the most rabid Disney-phile happy. And without the lure of the hectic parks nearby, this is a perfect place for a relaxing stay with a Disney touch.

As we spent most of our time either at the beach, the pool or just exploring the resort, (and since we’d also brought along some foodstuffs to have in our room) we actually spent relatively little time at the on-site dining establishments.

IMG_4453

That being said, we did visit the Green Cabin Room bar a couple of times, and really enjoyed our time spent there. Located on the second floor of the resort facing the ocean, the interior is dark and cool and chock-full of details and memorabilia of the ships that had sunk offshore of the Treasure Coast (so called because of the abundance of riches that is on the sea bed from the many shipwrecks).

Green Cabin Room Afternoon/Evening Menu

Green Cabin Room Afternoon/Evening Menu

Overlooking the Atlantic is a small outside deck with just four prime tables and a long bar by the window with hightop chairs. On our first visit we sat at the latter, the few tables all being filled.

Chicken Wings and Kettle Chips with Blue Cheese and Herb Dipping Sauce

Chicken Wings and Kettle Chips with Blue Cheese and Herb Dipping Sauce

We ordered the chips with blue cheese and dip along with an order of wings. The chips were good, but the cheese, while nice and strong flavored, was a bit skimpy. The fluffy fresh-herb dip was just right when you could find a nice bit of the blue cheese to pair with one of the crispy chips. The breaded wings were just average and came with a choice of three sauces (Thai Chili, Buffalo or Barbeque) – we asked for both the Thai and Buffalo and they gladly brought us ramekins of each for dipping. Despite the less-than-stellar eats, the beer was cold (and the wine expensive), the service was top-notch and it was a beautiful day with a great view of the ocean… life was good that day at the Green Room Cabin…

Artisan Cheese and Cured Meats Platter with Herb Flatbread

Artisan Cheese and Cured Meats Platter with Herb Flatbread

The next day we met the O’Brien Brood inside the bar for some more consumables. This time we chose the cheese and meat platter. Served on a long cutting board (which could have served well as a paddle in case one of or party decided to get a bit out of line) this was a nice selection of cheeses (a couple nicely stinky) and cured meats with warm flatbread and cool grapes on the side. Cheese plates are now offered at pretty much all the restaurants and resort bars in Property proper, but this one was a bit different, and a bit more hearty, with the inclusion of the meats. Bonnie and I scarfed it down with much glee and enthusiasm.

The drink menu here is the standard one used at all the bars on WDW property, with just the beers and wines varying slightly. The food menu is a bit more varied and complete compared to the ones at most of the bars on Lake Buena Vista property, there is even a separate bill of fare for lunch. All the food here comes from one floor down out of the kitchen of Shutters (the more casual of the two sit-down restaurants at Vero, the other being the more upscale Sonya’s).

We’re looking forward to getting back to the Vero Beach resort – we vowed to return sooner rather than later for another chill-out weekend – and maybe we’ll actually try the two sit-down restaurants the next time!

There you have it Dear Dedicated Readers, another (much longer than I expected) edition of Weekend Eats – hope you enjoyed the vicarious vittles!

If you enjoyed this post, please be sure to “like” and “share”!

We’re back to the World, and of course, the kitchen! See you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overheard at Disney…

January 22, 2014

A tram from the Magic Kingdom to the parking lot passes another (sans guests) on the side of the roadway that is having a flat tire replaced…

“What would make a tire go flat out here?” wondered a befuddled guest on board.

I’m guess Pixie Dust is supposed to protect tires…

Magic Kingdom Odds & Ends

September 20, 2013

Miss Bonnie and I made a trip to the World last weekend, and since it had been a few weeks since our last visit (and it seemed like it had been forever since we’d been there last!) we came across a few new/semi-notable things that I thought I’d share with you, dear Dedicated Readers… so let’s start off with a brief look at the Magic Kingdom…

You all know how much i love pictures of construction walls...

You all know how much I love pictures of construction walls…

There are construction walls around the left-hand side turnstile area at the entrance to the park – make that the former turnstile area – there are no longer any actual working turnstiles for entrance at any of the parks… they have all been replaced with the new “Mickey-Head” devices for use with Magic Bands or the plastic cards.

Seems like Miss Bonnie and I can hardly go anywhere without running into a clown...

Seems like Miss Bonnie and I can hardly go anywhere without running into a clown…

Although the Storybook Circus Giggle Gang have been appearing in (of course) the Storybook Circus area of the park, this was the first time we’d had the opportunity to catch their act.

DSCF4715

Three clowns performed a humorous golf routine in one area…

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while not far away Wowzer (with the help of a park guest) put on a fun plate-spinning act.

It’s a nice little diversion and we quite enjoyed watching both performances, especially Wowzer – hopefully they’ll stay around the park for a while.

Prince Eric's Village Market

Prince Eric’s Village Market

Nearby in Fantasyland (do we still have to call it New Fantasyland?), Prince Eric’s Village Market recently opened up across from the Little Mermaid ride.

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This small space features an assortment of healthy snacks…

DSCF4726

and a selection of (as the daily Times Guide notes) “exciting” beverages.

DSCF4722

The market butts up to the back of the still-under-construction mine train ride and a construction wall is just to the side around a building that I assume will be a gift shop for the Little Mermaid area.

New entrance signage to the Haunted Mansion

New entrance signage to the Haunted Mansion

Fastpass+ entrances are up all around the park, and the new entrance and signage is up at the Haunted Mansion. If you use Fastpass+ you have to bypass the cool cemetery area that had been added to the queue area a bit back, while the standby queue goes through it… if the wait isn’t too long I’d say go standby (even if you have a Fastpass) just to go through the cemetery – it’s worth the extra time…

Peter Pan ride queue area near the old restrooms

Peter Pan ride queue area near the old restrooms

While on the subject of queues, at Peter Pan’s Flight the old restrooms are gone and part of the queue is now closed off while the line is being updated.

New map of Never Land painted on the wall in queue area of the Peter Pan ride

New map of Never Land painted on the wall in queue area of Peter Pan

The construction walls had come down from around the Princess Fairytale Hall behind the castle…

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and we were hoping there might be some soft openings for the new meet-and-greet on the day we were there so we could get a peek inside, but no such luck…

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I guess the Princesses will have to wait for our next visit to have the pleasure of my company…  you’ve been warned Rapunzel…

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As you exit the park, if you head to the left (towards the buses or the ferry) you’ll see a new sign overhead…

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which gives the wait time for the next ferryboat – a very nice feature in my opinion!

There you have it, a quick look at some odds & ends from the Magic Kingdom, we’ll look at some other stuff from around the World soon, but for now it’s back to the kitchen!

See you soon!

Let’s play a game…

September 9, 2013

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or maybe two…

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A few weeks ago Miss Bonnie, Mama Ginny, Papa Harry and I got a chance to check out the two newest interactive experiences at Walt Disney World – A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas in the Magic Kingdom and the Wilderness Explorers in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I figured it was about time to share a some pics and a little commentary on the two games – this will be more of a “teaser” and mostly spoiler-free for those of you yet to try them out (but if you want more details and spoilery-info, just let Google be your guide, it’s all out there). So let’s start in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom…

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You “enlist” for A Pirate’s Adventure in a small building (which previously had been a camera/film store) in Adventureland.

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Your park ticket (and I assume also now Magic Bands) serve as your “talisman” to enlist…

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you are instructed which map to pick up…

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and told basically now to get the heck out…

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The small structure is chock-full of maps and details, so linger a bit if you have the opportunity.

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You’re given one of five maps (actually on the day we were there, there were only four as one of the adventures wasn’t working that day)…

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and told where to begin your quest…

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You touch your talisman to a designated symbol at each location and, well, things happen…

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You visit several locations around Adventureland during each adventure, and when you complete the map you can either stop or continue on to collect the other maps and finish other or all the adventures – if you do finish all the adventures you’re treated to a special “finale”.

Many of the locations are crammed full of details…

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hidden Mickeys…

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and other “Easter Eggs”…

And what's this a reference to?

And what’s this a reference to?

The effects here are more physical objects (a la the Kim Possible/Agent P games in Epcot) rather than the video screens of the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, and I like the way they were done. All in all we really enjoyed our day exploring this new activity in the Magic Kingdom, and according to one of the castmembers many of the effects are different at times (I won’t say how some of them are, just not to spoil things for those of you that would rather find out for themselves), so this looks to have a lot of repeatability factor. If this proves to be popular for the long-term (as I suspect it will), we may even see them adding other effects as they did in Epcot as the games there went along. Of course it would have been more fun if we could have had a bit of grog while we played…

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Over at Animal Kingdom is a much more low-tech, but no less interactive activity…

Wilderness Explorers Headquarters on the bridge between the Oasis and Discovery Island

Wilderness Explorers Headquarters on the bridge between the Oasis and Discovery Island

just like Russell from the movie “Up”, you can become one of the Wilderness Explorers and earn badges while treking around the park and (shhh, don’t tell the kids) actually learn something along the way.

A brand-new Wilderness Exploere being given his first instructions for one of the Troop Leaders

A brand-new Wilderness Explorer being given his first instructions from one of the Troop Leaders

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When you sign up you get your Wilderness Explorers Handbook, which has a few pages of introductory material…

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followed by many pages where you have to visit a specific area of the park and complete some requirements to earn your badge (sticker) for that page.

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Troop Leaders are at each location to help you in earning your badges…

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Miss Bonnie apparently being told to "talk to the hands" of one of the Troop Leaders

Miss Bonnie apparently being told to “talk to the hands” of one of the Troop Leaders

There are places to explore, and badges to earn, all over the park.

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There’s a wide variety of things to do (and learn)…

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including meeting someone from Asia!

Completed Gorilla Badge page

Completed Gorilla Badge page

There’s lots of cool facts and information presented at most of the badge locations…

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plus there’s plenty of hidden fun details in this experience too!

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You can earn as many or as few badges per visit as you want, and you can bring your handbook back each time you visit the park until you become a Senior Wilderness Explorer!

Really, really love this! It’s educational, and the kids (as well as the adults) were engaged at the badge stations – while earning the stickers may be the main motivation for many of the youngsters (okay, and the oldsters too) there will be lots of learning going on at the same time!

When we first visited, the Wilderness Explorers had been going on for just a few days, but the castmembers all said it had been very well received, and from what we saw it looks to be an early success, and I hope it continues to do well as this is one of the things Disney has always done well: “Edutainment”.

Badges? We need some stinking badges!

Badges? We need some stinking badges!

And if this continues and is popular, how long before we see WE sashes and actual embroidered badges for sale? If you have to earn them before you can buy them, I’m all for it!

Well there you have it Dear Dedicated Readers, an Eating (and Drinking) around the World look at the two newest interactive experiences at WDW… have you done either (or both) of them? What do you think?

Back to the kitchen… see you soon!

WDW Weekend Eats

July 14, 2013

Miss Bonnie and I recently made a brief, not-quite-a-full-weekend, trip to the World, and along the way we stopped by a few new/relatively new venues, and consumed a few new items, so it seems like it’s time for another edition of WDW Weekend Eats!

We’ll also look at a few non-edible, but food related items as we go along (so maybe it’s also a bit of a WDW Odds & Ends post too…), so let’s dig in shall we?

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We started our tour by meeting Mama Ginny and Papa Harry at the Magic Kingdom (and they would accompany us for the rest of our culinary adventures during the weekend) on Saturday morning. We made at stop at the recently refurbished Main Street Bakery, now sponsored by Starbucks.

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There’s been much online hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth ever since it was announced that the Bakery would be the home of the Magic Kingdom Starbucks, and especially once the menus were revealed and alas the much beloved Cinnamon Roll was no longer going to be available at this location.

Interior of the new Main Street Bakery

Interior of the new Main Street Bakery

Much of the pre-opening ballyhoo seems to have died down, and we all thought the refurb looked good and fit in pretty well along Main Street. The former indoor seating area is gone, replaced by dual serving lines (thankfully replacing the old single line that tended to creep along very slowly). Shockingly Miss Bonnie didn’t need an additional caffeine fix that AM, so we actually didn’t sample and of the goods there on this trip, but I’m sure we’ll make more than one or two stops here in the future months…

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At the refreshment cart that’s stationed near the hub we came across a Castmember holding a larger-than-life Mickey Bar sign (or is it a fan?).

If only they really had Mickey Bars as big as your head!

If only they really had Mickey Bars bigger than your head!

Okay, so now let’s actually get to some Weekend Eats, starting at Downtown Disney for lunch and some beverages…

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The newly rebuilt volcano is now on display atop the Rainforest Cafe…

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and just a few days prior to our visit they opened a new outside bar, the Lava Lounge.

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The bar area sits waterside and runs into the existing outside seating area for the restaurant. There are seats at the bar and several tables by the water.

Lava Lounge bar

Lava Lounge bar

As it started to rain just before we arrived, the bar area was already full, but we were soon seated at the adjoining outside seating section. One of the reasons we wanted to visit was that the Lava Lounge had it’s own new menu of appetizer items and drinks, so we asked to see that menu in addition to the standard Rainforest menu we were given and our server returned with a thick, surprisingly heavy bill of fare…

Lava Lounge Food Menu

Lava Lounge Food Menu

it turns out the bar menu is filled with liquid, some of which is red, so as you touch it the “lava” inside flows around – very cute!

Her’s a closer look at the menu items:

Lava Lounge Food Menu

Lava Lounge Food Menu

Lava Lounge Food Menu

Lava Lounge Food Menu

Lava Lounge Food Menu

Lava Lounge Food Menu

And on the opposite side is the specialty drink menu:

Lava Lounge Bar Menu

Lava Lounge Bar Menu

Lava Lounge Bar Menu

Lava Lounge Bar Menu

Lava Lounge Bar Menu

Lava Lounge Bar Menu

We ordered drinks while we made our food selections (and yes, you can get the specialty drinks sans the souvenir glass for less).

Cheetah Rita

Cheetah Rita

Harry went with the ceviche, Bonnie and I shared the pot stickers and the flatbread, while Mama Ginny opted for the Jungle Chop Salad off the regular menu. There were several of the margaritas at our table, and they were pretty good, but nothing out of the ordinary.

After we placed our food order, I asked our server if I could hold on to the menu for a bit longer while I took pictures – she hesitated a bit and then said it would be okay, but asked that I give it back as soon as possible. She then noted we could buy one for $20.00 if we so desired… “Some people collect menus…” she said (now who would do something like that?). I imagine that more than one of the lava-filled menus have already made their way into some guests bags and that was her hesitation to leave it with us…

Polynesian Pot Stickers

Polynesian Pot Stickers

The pork pot stickers were good, but like the margarita, nothing exceptional.

Krakatoa Flatbread

Krakatoa Flatbread

I liked the flatbread better, especially with the inclusion of the slightly bitter broccolini (aka broccoli rabe).

Seaside Ceviche

Seaside Ceviche

Papa Harry liked his ceviche, and it was an attractive presentation with the colorful tortilla chips scattered around the base of the glass (and yes, serving seafood in a martini glass has become a bit of a cliche…)

Seaside Ceviche

Seaside Ceviche

The large Jungle Chop Salad is advertised as containing: “Romaine and Iceberg lettuce, black olives, cucumbers,carrots, candied pecans, Blue cheese crumbles, dried cranberries and grilled chicken tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.”

Jungle Chop Salad

Jungle Chop Salad

And Mama Ginny was eagerly devouring and enjoying the salad until she came across an unadvertised ingredient… a not-too-small piece of plastic kitchen film… (and no, I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture of it!).

When this was pointed out to our server, she was appropriately apologetic, as was the manager who soon came to the table (well, we assume she apologized, but her thick accent of some unspecified apparently Eastern European origin made her words unintelligible to our Floridian ears). They offered to make Ginny another salad, but she had already eaten about as much as she was going to, and since it wasn’t like it was some sort of vermin or something she continued to dine even after she found the piece of plastic, so she declined the offer. In the end the salad came off our bill, and they gave us one of the signature Volcano desserts on the house (little of which was left at the end of our meal).

Volcano Cake

Volcano Cake

Our server was very personable, but service was a bit on the, well, not-exactly-speedy side… but considering they did get slammed with a lot of patrons all at once in the outdoor seating area due to a downpour, I’ll give them a pass on this… and we had no place to be in any particular hurry and we were enjoying the company, so it was no big deal…

All in all, our visit to the Lava Bar was well, okay… nothing special, nothing horrible (even considering Mama Ginny’s little extra in her salad). The food was fine, and for Rainforest not-horrifically over-priced, but this is certainly not “Destination Dining”…

The view is nice (but will likely get ugly for a while as the next door Cap’n Jack’s restaurant goes away in part of the Disney Springs renovation to Downtown Disney), so if you’re at that end of DTD and want a quick drink or bite while taking a shaded seat waterside the Lava Lounge might fit the bill… but I think it’s main attraction is going to be the location and view, as just a few steps away you can get much better food (and value) at Wolfgang Puck Express, or a usually pretty good margarita at the waterside Margarita Bar… not to mention the many other options that already exist around the Downtown Disney area (and more to come in the next couple of years).

On the way out we made a quick stop in Mickey’s Pantry and found a display of cleverly-named varietals from “Once Upon A Vine”.

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I looks like at least one of these will be featured at the booths during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival this year, so we’ll see how they are then…

From here we made our way to Epcot, with at least part of our trip there to check out the new ice cream parlor in France – but before we made it there we got a nice surprise…

Kabuki Cafe

Kabuki Cafe

We were heading first to the American Adventure Pavilion to take in one of that’s evenings “Sounds Like Summer” concerts, and as I am want to do I took a swing by the Kabuki Cafe in Japan.

Dedicated Readers may recall that when the building first was unveiled from behind construction walls, the menus on either side promised several savory items such as Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken), Sushi and Wafu Ribs, however just a few days later when the venue actually opened for service the “permanent” menus had changed and all these were missing… (you can go back and read all the details and intrigue in the post “Land of the Rising Construction Walls…“). Since then they have primarily provided flavored shaved ice, ice cream and beverages, but from time-to-time they have offered some savory items (generally during busy times of the year) advertised on small placards at the counter, so I usually will swing by just for fun to see what may be there at the time… usually I find nothing new, but on this day there was something Completely Different…

Updated Kabuki Cafe Menu

Updated Kabuki Cafe Menu

The Kakigori still took top billing, but now on the “permanent menu” was a selection of sushi! As everyone else went to take a seat, I grabbed one of each (and of course a Kirin) for Bonnie & I to sample.

California Roll from Kabuki Cafe

California Roll from Kabuki Cafe

Temari Sushl from Kabuki Cafe

Temari Sushi from Kabuki Cafe

Combo Sushi from Kabuki Cafe

Combo Sushi from Kabuki Cafe

The California Roll was the usual “safe” sushi, but had a bit of surprising roe inside…

Temari Sushi

Temari Sushi

The Temari Sushi is three round, bite size versions of Nigiri-style sushi, topped with shrimp, salmon and tuna.

The combo had two pieces of California Roll and two of the Temari. At $4.98, the price is not bad for Disney, and they also qualify for a snack credit if you’re on the dining plan. I though the quality was pretty good (comparable to other made-ahead/take out sushi) and even though the toppings on the Temari were a bit skimpy, we did enjoy these and are really glad they are now at Kabuki!

I spoke with one of the castmembers there – an older Anglo Management-type – and he told me they had just started serving the sushi the Sunday before and had so far been popular… as I walked away I also overheard him speaking to one of the other castmembers about how well the sushi had been selling… good news I think for us – if it continues to sell, maybe we can get a few more items added to the bill of fare – some spicy tuna roll for me please?

L’Artisan des Glaces in the French Pavilion in Epcot

L’Artisan des Glaces in the French Pavilion in Epcot

For dessert we went to the new L’Artisan des Glaces ice cream and sorbet shop in France.

Inside of L’Artisan des Glaces

Inside of L’Artisan des Glaces

In the location of the formerly crowded bakery, L’Artisan des Glaces is now a much more open space and offers up 16 flavors.

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And even an “adult” option…

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We tried a couple of flavors to see how they were…

Caramel flu de sel on top, Profiterole on the bottom

Caramel fleur de sel on top, Profiterole on the bottom

unfortunately when you order two different types, one gets slapped on top of the other, so it’s hard to get a good sample of the bottom flavor without the top one infiltrating it… it would be nice if they had a larger side-by-side dish…

Anyway, the ice cream was rich and nicely cool on a warm and humid Florida summer evening – it was good, but nothing transcendent…

Now you may be surprised to read that yours truly didn’t sample the adult version with booze atop the ice cream… no one else in our party seemed to be up for sharing one on this evening, and since they only offer a two-scoop option on the liquor-added version, I didn’t think I could (or should) consume that much ice cream on that night, so a review of that item from L’Artisan des Glaces will have to wait for another time… and yes, it would be nice if they offered a single scoop adult option!

This wrapped up our Saturday eats, so let’s see what Sunday offered up…

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Sunday found us in Miss Bonnie’s favorite park, Animal Kingdom, to explore the wilderness (more on that in a future post…).

Anandapur Ice Cream Truck

Anandapur Ice Cream Truck

In Asia, the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck has come back out from behind construction walls.

Anandapur Ice Cream Truck Menu

Anandapur Ice Cream Truck Menu

Looks like all the truck got was a new coat of paint, as there isn’t anything too exciting or new on the menu.

For lunch we chose counter service at Restaurantosaurus, deep in the heart of Dinoland.

Restaurantosaurus "Main Dish" section of the menu

Restaurantosaurus “Main Dish” section of the menu

Bonnie and I decided to split a couple of items – the mac & cheese hot dog and the old favorite veggie sub.

Mac & Cheese Hot Dog and Vegetable Subasausus

Mac & Cheese Hot Dog and Vegetable Subosaurus

The grilled vegetable sub was good as always, and the mac & cheese hot dogs was, well a hot dog topped with mac & cheese… the basic dog is pretty good, and the cheesy pasta passable, but it was helped by the addition of a few sauteed onions and mushrooms for the limited “fixins” bar.

Unfortunately Restaurantosaurus no longer offers the option of sweet potato fries… the cashier castmember said lots of people still ask for them, so maybe if enough people keep asking we’ll see them return.

Well, maybe that was a less-than-exciting culinary end to the weekend, but it was what it was… so there you have it Dear Dedicated Readers, another (briefer-than-normal) edition of WDW Weekend Eats… hope you enjoyed dining along with us!

Back to the kitchen, see you soon!

WDW Odds & Ends

June 16, 2013

Let’s just call this the “Random-Stuff-From-The-Past-Couple-Of-Months” Edition of Odds & Ends….

Rapunzel's Tower in the Magic Kingdom

Rapunzel’s Tower in the Magic Kingdom

nothing that’s too new or news-worthy, but some food, some drink, and some (hopefully) fun stuff from around the parks… so let’s get started!

"Tangled" Themed Restrooms in the Magic Kingdom

“Tangled” Themed Restrooms in the Magic Kingdom

If you’ve felt Nature Calling while you’ve been in the Magic Kingdom recently you may have visited the new “Tangled” inspired facilities in Fantasyland near Small World.

Hummm... what's inside that satchel???

Hummm… what’s inside that satchel???

This is without a doubt the best-themed toilet facilities ever at Disney… even if you don’t need to go, it’s worth the visit for the details…

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Posters for many of the Snuggly Duckling regulars adorn the exterior walls…

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And inside the gents room there are wanted posters…

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and there is a very cool detail from the movie on Flynn Rider’s wanted poster:

"They never get the nose right!"

“They never get the nose right!”

Above the sinks it looks like Rapunzel has left a cast-iron warning…

Be sure to remember to wash those hands boys!

Be sure to remember to wash those hands boys!

In the ladies, Rapunzel has painted the ceiling…

Of course, Miss Bonnie took this pic, not me...

Of course, Miss Bonnie took this pic, not me…

There is also a new seating area nearby…

which has some semi-hidden charging stations for your smart phones (or other idevice)…

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Charge me up!

Charge me up!

and while you wait for the electrons to flow, your little ones (or you) can hunt for Pascal and some of some of his reptilian pals…

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All in all an incredible example of Imagineering, and all (at least for now…) just for a bathroom…

For a few weeks this spring Annual Passholders were allowed to exchange their current cards for the new hard plastic ones that contain an RFID chip. This took place in the Odyssey building in Epcot…

Testing the new card for park entrance

Testing the new card for park entrance

We have a winner!

We have a winner!

During that time there were castmembers on hand to answer questions about the new Magic Bands and the upcoming MyMagic+.

Look at my band...

Look at my band!

Cast with the Mickeyhead-in-a-Circle logo on their shirts have been showing up in the parks and will be the go-to people for questions about MyMagic+.

Most of the MyMagic+ castmembers aren't as fuzzy in real life as this one...

Most of the MyMagic+ castmembers aren’t as fuzzy in real life as this one…

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In addition to getting the new cards and hearing the propaganda about the upcoming wristbands, we were also treated to a small display of artwork and park artifacts.

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Dedicated Readers should know I can’t go on too long without getting to some food… late one night while we were staying at Kidani Village I needed a bit of a nosh, so we stopped by the bar at Sanaa to get some take-away…

Lamb Kefta Sliders

Lamb Kefta Sliders

and came away with a trio of Lamb Kefta Sliders… accompanied by a nice marinated slaw, these little jewels were tasty and just right to quell the late-night munchies.

And on one trip we discovered a couple of food & beverage related tees:

"Food Critic"... guess that's me...

“Food Critic”… guess that’s me… woof!

Please really open this bar!

Please really open this bar! I’ll go!

Over at the Studios there is now a billboard (and some smaller posters) promoting one of my current favorite TV shows, the ABC daytime show “The Chew”.

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Hey Disney, you own this show, bring them to the World to film a few episodes! How about during Food & Wine (or for a Food & Wine preview)?

Oh yeah, here’s another cool shirt (and also a bit food-related…):

We all knew that Lord Vader is really just a big kid at heart...

We all knew that Lord Vader is really just a big kid at heart…

On one trip to Animal Kingdom, Miss Bonnie and I happened across an interesting event.

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Signs promoting tastings and bottle signings by South African winemakers were near the entrance to the park (and also were at other locations around the park, even the cash registers at Flame Tree Barbeque sported the signage).

Brochure from wine tasting at Animal Kingdom

Brochure from wine tasting at Animal Kingdom

Inside the Mombasa Marketplace in Harambe, a couple of small tables were set up at one side of the shop for the vintners to display their featured wines.

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Unlike other wine tasting or “wine walks” we’ve seen at events like the Epcot Food & Wine Festival or the Sundowner Celebration at Animal Kingdom, this was a one-one-one with an actual representative of the featured winery with only a couple of bottles being tasted at one time. On this day the first tasting ran from 11 AM until 1 on the afternoon, with the second going from 1 until 2:30 and the last one wrapping up at 4 PM with a different winery on stage at each session.

The procedure for the tasting was a bit awkward – guests had to go to one of the registers where the castmembers have a list of the wines being offered, you chose which of the wines you’d like and paid separately for each sample glass, then you take to receipt to the winemaker and he then pours your glass… as a couple of the bottles being offered were a bit pricey, the price per glass varied so in a way it made sense, but overall it seemed a bit over-complicated… but at least the first winemaker (and sadly the only one I got to visit with that day) did offer up a sample of the wine that I didn’t chose for me to compare and contrast even without me asking.

Pinotage and Kadette wines from Kanonkop winery

Pinotage and Kadette wines from Kanonkop winery

The glasses used were the same size used at Food & Wine, and most of the samples were about the same price range ($3 or so), but they did go up to $8 for a glass (which was the Kanonkop Pinotage, and yes I did try it – considering this bottle retails in the $40-range I didn’t think this was out of line – and yes, it was pretty dang tasty… and the Kadette was very drinkable…).

It would have been nice to be able to visit with each of the winemakers and sample all the wines at one time, but I would have re-visited the store throughout the day to try the others if we had been able to stay in the park later on that day. The event seemed to be sponsored by a importer/distributor of the wines (a representative of the distributor was at the table and when queried told us retail outlets for the wines), and the scheduling may have been partly their idea, but that’s just a guess on my part.

I asked the castmember at the register about the event, and she said “they do them from time-to-time”, but it had been about a year since the last one… how accurate that is I cannot say, but I hope that the next one isn’t another year away! Despite the unusual set-up, it was nice to be able to talk to the winemaker (at most samplings in the parks you’re just dealing with a castmember who’s reciting info from a script) and sample a couple of vintages I wasn’t familiar with – and this same concept would certainly work in other locations, some of the countries around the World Showcase in Epcot come to mind…

Now that we’ve had a glass of wine, let’s take a few more quick looks at some food starting with the usual good eats at Flame Tree:

Smoked Chicken with beans and slaw, Onion Rings and Smoked Chicken Salad from Flame Tree Barbeque in Animal Kingdom

Smoked Chicken with beans and slaw, Onion Rings and Smoked Chicken Salad from Flame Tree Barbeque in Animal Kingdom

Over in Epcot there are a couple of tasty and unique sandwiches now on the menu at Sunshine Seasons…

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a grilled veggie flatbread sandwich…

Oak-Grilled Vegetable Flatbread Sandwich at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot

Oak-Grilled Vegetable Flatbread Sandwich at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot

and an unusual Vietnamese-style pork sandwich.

Roasted Pork Banh Mi Style Panini at Sunshine Seasons

Roasted Pork Banh Mi Style Panini at Sunshine Seasons

One of the sides offered alongside the sandwiches that day was a cold Asian-style noodle – it was much like the curry-flavored Singapore Noodles we’ve seen during Food & Wine, and was simply yummy – I’d go back there just to get a bowl of these to go if they offered them on their own!

Let’s wrap up this edition of Odds & Ends with a look at a couple of ride vehicles – and not attraction ride vehicles, but ones belonging to park guests…

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Walking through a parking lot one day I came across this RV with a totally-tricked out golf cart in tow…

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that’s one hot Minnie-Mobile!

And speaking of hot…

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there’s this little red number…

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with one of the coolest car tags ever!

Okay boys & girls, it’s time to head back to the kitchen, so let’s call this a post… see you again soon!

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