Monday, October 28, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia!

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday #DisneyTrivia: Space Mountain

Welcome to another round of Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia!  Be sure to check out Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, My Dreams of Disney, Disney Babies Blog, and Heidi's Head for more awesome trivia!

My little piece of trivia today comes from a Disney World bus driver, believe it or not.  We had an awesome Magical Express driver on our way in and he decided to play the Disney Trivia with us.  Thanks to so many of you awesome bloggers who post on Tiggerific Tuesday, I knew a lot of the answers already (don't worry, I didn't hog the spotlight!) but this one was news to me:

Did you know that Goofy's original name was Dippy Dawg?  It was changed to Dippy the Goof, and then just Goofy.

Do I look like a "Dippy Dog" to you?

Thanks for joining me today.  Be sure to check out all the other blogs participating in this fun hop and learn lots of fun Disney Trivia!

Also, be sure to tune in here later in the week!  I'll have some trip reviews and pictures for you!

Annnnd...We're back

Hi Everyone-

We have returned from our 6 day jaunt to the happiest place on earth.  This was a trip filled with lots of firsts for us.

First time getting celebration buttons.  The "just engaged" buttons were adorable and got a lot of attention
First time at the Pop Century Resort (a LOT more about that later)
First time going to Micky's Not So Scary Halloween Party
First time seeing Fantasmic
First time going to the Food and Wine festival
First time at lots of new restaurants (I'll have some vegetarian food reviews for you soon!)

And also: we were testing Fastpass+, mydisneyexperience (not the app, it's not supported on any of my zillion devices, despite them insisting they could "help me with it") and we also had everything linked to our magicbands.  We also went all out and bought the Photopass+  for this trip (I'll have some really important tips about that for everyone that might be helpful too).

This trip also marked a not so wonderful first.  This was the first trip (of many I've taken) in which I was significantly less than satisfied with the patron service and the way (some) Disney CMs handled issues that arose (or, in some cases, created issues for us). So, this was the first trip to Disney World in which I felt upset enough to ask to speak to Guest Services.  I'll have a little write-up about our experience with that as well.

C-ya real soon!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia!

Today is Tuesday, and that means it's time for some Tiggerific Trivia!  This fun an informative hop is co-hosted by Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, My Dreams of Disney, Heidi's Head, and Disney Babies Blog.  Be sure to check everyone out so you get your full dose of Disney trivia for the week!

Some of you might already know my trivia fact for this week, but you may not know the why behind this fact!

If you've ever ridden Kilimanjaro Safaris, you've seen the lions lyin' (ha!) around on the rocks in the middle of the safari.  Your guide may even tell you that the rocks they are on are actually air conditioned!  According to my favorite trivia book, Little-known Facts about Well-known Places: Walt Disney World by Laurie Flannery, the reason the rocks are air conditioned is because the lions originally came from Oregon and had a hard time adjusting to the Florida heat.  Because of this, they often retreated to the shady areas, which were out of view of visitors.  The air conditioners served to make the lions more comfortable and keep them out for everyone to see.

Here's a look at those lions hanging out on the rocks:
Lionesses "chillin" on the cool rocks

The King of the Jungle, around 10:30am

And, 5 hours later:
All he's managed to do today is roll over!

Thanks for joining me for the hop!  Now go check out everyone else's fun facts!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Vegetarian Food Review: Columbia Harbor House

Welcome to another vegetarian food review from our last Disney World trip.  The first full day we had in the parks was spent at the Magic Kingdom (of course!) and lunch this day was at Columbia Harbor House. Vegetarians can  rejoice at this location, because Columbia Harbor House has a lot of great options for us leaf-eaters to order straight off the menu with no adjustments! (Not something I'd say at too many Disney quick service locations) This includes veggie chili, a salad with no chicken on it (!) and sides of broccoli and couscous. I'd read a lot about the Lighthouse Sandwich, and it sounded like it would be pretty tasty, so I gave it a shot.  The menu describes the sandwich thusLighthouse Sandwich - hummus with tomato & broccoli slaw on toasted multigrain bread with potato chips.

As you can see, it's a pretty tasty looking sandwich.  There is a really good helping of tomato on the sandwich (not just a piece or two, it's a sizable serving of tomato, and it was pretty flavorful tomato too).  The multigrain bread is slathered with hummus (in the best way something can be slathered), and the broccoli slaw is very tasty and fresh.  While the menu says the bread is toasted, mine was a little soggy on the inside (probably from the tomatoes).  It wasn't so soggy that it was inedible, but it didn't exactly taste like toast.  That aside, this is a really good vegetarian option at Magic Kingdom! My one regret about this meal is that I didn't order the chili to go with it.  On the Disney Dining Plan this is a Quick Service meal credit, and it comes with Disney chips (fairly unremarkable) and choice of a dessert.  They have standard Disney chocolate cake or strawberry yogurt as dessert options (although the most recent menu update has "seasonal cobbler" listed as a dessert as well!).   

For those of you with meat-eaters in your life who may want to have lunch with you, this is also a good place to meet their needs.  Nathan had the fried shrimp platter (with fries and coleslaw--although he had the option of fresh broccoli)

Never fear, though, there are many un-fried options on the menu that are a little different from the typical burgers and pizzas that you see at other locations, and might be a good choice for a group craving a quick lunch so they can get back to the Mountains, but are looking for something a little different from standard Disney quick fare. You could have a tuna sandwich (Anchors Aweigh Sandwich - white tuna with lettuce and tomato on toasted multigrain bun with potato chips), A grilled Salmon plate (Grilled Salmon - served with couscous and steamed fresh broccoli) and a unique sounding salad (Broccoli Peppercorn Salad - mixed greens, garden vegetables, chicken, broccoli, Parmesan cheese, tossed with a creamy peppercorn dressing).

For me, Columbia Harbor House is a must try!  One of my goals on our next trip is to get my hands on that veggie chili (do note that the veggie chili is not on the Disney Dining Plan) I'm thinking about it and a side of broccoli dumped over the top of the baked potato from Liberty Square Market, what do you think?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop- actually mine has a lot of words!

Hi All-

It's Wednesday, so it must be time for the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop over at Focused on the Magic.  The theme this week is our October calendar shot.  I've never been at Disney World in October, so I don't have any of the fun Halloween or fall decoration pictures that other lucky bloggers have, but I did come up with this:

Dumbo was Disney's 4th animated feature, and it opened October 23, 1941.  It's the shortest animated feature at only 64 minutes, but it was designed to be short and simple to be financially successful following the expensive Snow White (which was also financially successful, as we all know), Pinocchio, and the very expensive Fantasia.

Thanks for joining in on the hop!  Be sure to check out Deb's page to see other October Calendar Shots
Focused on the Magic

Monday, September 30, 2013

Disney Food Review- Vegetarian option at Animal Kingdom Lodge's The Mara

While I'm preparing for our next trip (I actually just realized we're going to be there during the Food and Wine Festival!  How could I have missed that!?)  I thought it might be fun to do a little trip review of our last trip (of what I remember about it before I became a walking flu virus).  In honor of my realization about the Food and Wine Festival, I thought I'd talk a little bit about vegetarian food options and what I ate while we were there. For this past trip, we stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  I know a lot of people don't like how far away Animal Kingdom Lodge is from the other parks, (there are reports that the buses are slow to arrive, and take a while to get from point A to point B) but (except for one night when it took an hour and a half to get to Downtown Disney some back way that was full of traffic at rush hour) we never found that to be an issue and really enjoyed everything about our stay there.

It's a pretty amazing hotel, with amazing views, and no matter what room you're in or what you can or can't see from your room windows, the common viewing areas are great and are pretty centralized. Here's a picture of the Lobby from the bridge that's strung across the top floors so you can look out onto the savanna:

And here's a picture of Nathan standing on that bridge looking out over the savanna like Simba (everything the light touches will be his!)

One more!  Here's a picture of my new Giraffe-y friends in one of the common viewing areas:
I think he's saying "cheese"

But this is all just to set the stage for the really important stuff.  It being the Animal Kingdom Lodge, I had high expectations for the variety of food options that would be available at all locations, including the counter service location, The Mara. Animal Kingdom is my favorite park to eat at as a vegetarian because of the wide variety of foods and food cultures represented there, and I hoped the hotel would be as good as the park is.  I had my sights set on the falafel sandwich as soon as we got off the Magical Express.  I wanted it to be delicious, and I wasn't disappointed!
 served on a warm pita with sun-dried tomato hummus, cucumber, tomato, and mixed greens with mint yogurt sauce

There are lots of greens and veggies (tomatoes, cucumbers)  in that soft pita bread, and two good sized falafel. The hummus that's slathered on the bottom helps hold everything on the pita.  This is not your standard falafel; it's much softer in texture, and doesn't exactly "hold together well"   It was a challenge to eat, because of the size and the softness of the falafel, but with a fork and a knife, you can tackle it (I wouldn't take it as a to-go item, or you might end up wearing it).  The yogurt mint sauce wasn't a prominent flavor, so if you don't dig mint (I don't, really) don't let that stop you from ordering this one.

You get a side with this sandwich, and I chose the couscous.
not the most appetizing picture, is it?
I didn't really enjoy the couscous, and didn't finish it.  The texture was great, and there were veggies and raisins mixed in, and it would have been really good, but it tasted like it had been slathered with teriyaki sauce, which was a weird and unexpected flavor for couscous, particularly in conjunction with the raisins.  I'm not sure if that was just a weird batch that day and the bottle slipped out of someone's hands, or if they're trying to make what might be seen as an "unusual" side be a little more universally appealing with a more familiar taste profile, but to me, this went the other way and was less appealing than the fresh-tasting side of couscous I envisioned.  The other side option is just Disney french fries, though, so I probably would still go with the couscous, but it wasn't my favorite.

Overall though, this is a great vegetarian option--particularly if you're tired of veggie burgers and salads as options at other counter service places.  The Mara also has an interesting vegetable flat bread available, that is more than the typical "Margarita pizza" style you find at a lot of the park counter service locations.  I've never tried this option but the menu describes it like this: olive tapenade topped with four cheese blend, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions and arugula.

If anyone has had the flat bread, feel free to post and let me know how it was!

Tiggerific Trivia Tuesday Blog Hop

Hi Everyone-

It's Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia Time!  It's co-hosted by 4 awesome blogs, so be sure to check them all out: today I'm linking to Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, but be sure check out Heidi's Head, Disney Babies Blog and My Dreams of Disney.  You can link up on any one of these amazing blogs!

Did you know that the Prince Charming Regal Carousel is the oldest attraction in Disney World? It was originally crafted in 1917 and was called the Liberty Carousel.  It started it's life in the Palace Garden Amusement Park in Detroit, Michigan and was then moved to Mapelwood Olympic Park in New Jersey in 1928.  It stayed in Jersey until Disney bought it in 1967 and had it totally refurbished (hand painting each horse!)  There are 90 horses on the ride and as of 2011 there are still 72 horses that date back to the original 1917 craftsmen!

Here are a few fun pictures of the Tremaines Riding the Carousel with some unsuspecting young guests just after the park opened this day!

This fun fact comes from Little-Known Facts about Well-Known Places: Walt Disney World by Laurie Flannery.

Thanks for joining the hop.  Be sure to check out all the other fun trivia!

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia: Walt Disneys Silver Buffalo Award

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Guess what came today?

As I mentioned in a post yesterday, we're going to be part of some of Disney's "beta" testing of their new elements.  When we initially booked our trip, I didn't think we'd be involved in the testing because there was no information about it or any sort of formal invitation.So imagine my surprise when I logged in to make a payment in August, there is was: a notification asking me to customize my MagicBands.  I was surprised (I had assumed we'd be formally invited) but we were game for an adventure, so I plunged ahead.

Well, we followed the prompts, customized our MagicBands, and then just forgot about it. I was assuming Disney would explain it to me when we got there; but guess what came yesterday?

Disney did send along an official invitation to MyMagic+ explaining how everything worked and asking us to provide feedback at the end of our stay.  It was pretty concise (one page front and back) outlining the steps we needed to complete to have our MagicBands customized in one of many colors and mailed to us (thanks to the blogging world, I already knew all this stuff and had done all of these steps-thanks Disney Bloggers!)

So I figured I'd sit back and wait for our customized MagicBands to come to me, should be a while, right?  Nope.  I got home from work today to find:

And here they are, our MagicBands:
Mine's the cute orange one!

The top part of the bracelet is a little rigid (where the RFID tag is) and I don't think it's something I would put on and wear straight through the trip (a quick Google search confirmed for me what I suspected- bands ARE waterproof and hypoallergenic, so you could wear them all day, every day if you wanted to). It is, however, pretty darn cute, and it's reasonably comfortable to wear because it's not unlike a watch.  There's an easy way to size them (you can pull off part of the band to make it slightly smaller for little wrists), but you may need a help to put it on if you're less-than-coordinated when it comes to doing things one-handed.

The MagicBands did come with a leaflet warning those with Implantable Pacemakers or Cardioverter-Defibrillators that the RFID chip might cause interference with their device.  It also lists the typical recommendations manufacturers of these devices provide, although they strongly recommend speaking to your doctor and your device manufacture to rule out possible interference. There is also a warning for those using other medical devices, including insulin pumps, neurosimulators, hearing aids, etc., advising them to speak to their doctor as well.  If you or someone in your party has any of these devices, be sure you read the leaflet carefully so you know what questions to ask to make sure everyone stays happy and healthy during your trip.

I'm excited to see how these work in the parks. I think I'll feel a little like a super hero just touching my wrist to the hotel door and having it magically open!   Has anyone used them yet?  How does it work for the Disney Dining Plan?  Do you have to take off the band for them to scan, or do they bring something to you?  What about for Quick Service places or for snack credits? Does anyone know?

Wordless Wednesday- Well, Almost

Hi Everyone.  It's Wednesday, which means it's time for the Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop over at Focused on the Magic.  Today's theme is brought to you by the letter O.

O is a tough one, (although I'm sure Roy O. Disney wouldn't think so if I asked him!) Here are a few that I came up with:

Orange Lantern in the Courtyard in Japan.

Oswald doesn't even get a shout-out in this Epic Mickey promo over in One Man's Dream
(Maybe those O's cancel each other out?)

Walt's Office, where all this began, preserved over at Hollywood Studios

Opaki backsides

Thanks for joining in on this fun hop.  Check out Deb's blog for more fun Disney O words:

Focused on the Magic

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hello, Hello. I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello!

Well hello again, blogger world!  I have been away for such a long time (seriously, it's been almost a year)!

When last I left we were preparing for a trip to Disney World in January 2013.  I have no excuse for what became of me between October and January, it's one of the facts of life that these things happen, I guess.

But, the good news is, we went to Disney World in January, took lots of pictures, and had lots of adventures.  The bad news, well, the bad news is that, even though we stuck it out for as long as we possibly could each day, after the end of the second day I had a full blown fever-and-chills case of the flu (lame, I know).  Because of this, we cut our Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom days very short, but the upside is that we had two great days in Magic Kingdom and Epcot and spent some quality time at our room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in Jambo House (we almost never spend time in the hotel room on an average trip, we're always too busy going and going and going...).  And really, if you're going to be stuck feeling rotten in your hotel room, the room to pick is one that overlooks a savanna full of giraffes, zebras, and two cranky cranes that seemed to only like each other.

  This flu lingered on and on (Nathan got it too); well into the second part of our trip in Jacksonville.  And I even had it for almost three weeks after we came home!  The uber-flu had some hand in my absence from posting in the early weeks post-trip, it's true, but the really reason for my absence (besides the usual excuses like a new job at work, blah blah blah lame excuses, etc.) is this:

Yes ladies and gents, I'm engaged!  We actually got engaged in Disney World--on the Tower of Terror, in fact. Now, I know what you're thinking-  He gave her THAT ring on the Tower of Terror?!  What if something had happened to it?!  Actually, this is the ring I got after we got back from Disney.  The engagement ring he gave me on the ride looked like this:

Yep, that's a Mickey Mouse head ring he bought at a gift shop.  How cute is that?!

 However, it was, hands-down, the day that I felt the worst, so the fun was, well....less fun then it could have been. I actually couldn't sit through dinner that night at Boma. I had one bowl of soup and had to go up to the room and go to bed. Thankfully we were in our hotel, so  I could go right to bed while Nathan decided to stay and eat alone--doesn't that sound like a romantic engagement dinner?

Also, Nathan proposed on the very last day of the Disney leg of our trip (I think he was hoping I'd feel better before we left Orlando), so the full blown celebration effect we could have had was lost on us.  At least, it was lost on me (I mean, I was excited, but you know how it is when you're flat-out sick?)

But, to celebrate properly and bask in the joy of being engaged in Disney World, we're going back!!!! Yes, you heard me right, we're actually three weeks or so away from another WDW trip!  Can you believe it?!  This time we'll be in the beta test of a bunch of Disney's new projects (MyMagic+ perhaps?  FastPass+?), we'll be attending MNSSHP for the first time, seeing Fantasmic for the first time, and eating at a bunch of new places.  I'll be sharing more about our last trip, and talking more about all the cool things we're getting ready for on this trip soon, I promise!

In the meantime, stay tuned for more fun blog hops, and maybe even some more book reviews from Disney's publishing arm (while I haven't been writing, I have been reading!).

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia Blog Hop

Welcome to Disney World Delights triumphant return to the blogging world  (well, okay, maybe it's more like my under-the-radar return to the blogging world) with this week's edition of the Tiggerific Tuesday blog hop.

I'm linking up through Heidi from Heidi's Head, so check out her page all her friends who are co-hosting this hop. Jennifer from Disney Babies Blog, Mike from My Dreams of Disney, and Jodi from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse.  Here's a little tidbit I just learned while watching a planning DVD for our upcoming trip in October.

Did you know Donald Duck's middle name is Fauntleroy?

 Donald Fauntleroy Duck

Apparently it's a reference to his sailor's hat, in connection to Little Lord Fauntleroy suits, or so they say.

This was revealed in Donald Gets Drafted--a 1942, nine minute long, film produced by Walt Disney Productions.  In this short cartoon, Donald is drafted to fight in World War II.  It was the first of a five-part series in which Donald was in the Army.  This film obviously came after the 1941 attach on Pearl Harbor, which was a contributing factor to the US entering WWII.

Check out all the other fun trivia and join the hop!

Tiggerific+Tuesday+Trivia Tiggerific Tuesday #DisneyTrivia: Is Mickey Mouse Left  or Right Handed?