Friday, March 30, 2012

Foodie Friday-Recipe Swap: Tonga Toast

Here’s what you’ll need: 1 cup sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 loaf of sourdough bread (8 inches, unsliced) 2 bananas, peeled 1 quart of canola oil, for frying
You will also need a large, heavy pot or pan and a candy thermometer for the frying. Don’t be afraid if you haven’t tried this kind of thing before, it’s not difficult if you’re prepared ahead of time, and I will walk you through all of it Here's what you'll do: 1. Put the canola in a large, heavy pot and turn the burner onto medium high to begin warming the oil. Clip your candy thermometer to the side of the pot and keep a close eye on it. You want the oil to reach 350°F for frying, but you don’t want it to get any hotter or it will burn your toast. 2. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together. I put the mixture into an 8x8 Pyrex dish, which worked well for tossing the fried toast. 3. Slice the bread into four 2-inch slices. Don’t be afraid to break out the ruler here, folks! I sliced off the ends of the loaf, and then cut what remained into four sections. It’s really thick.
6. When the oil is at 350°F, carefully place one slice into the pot (I used tongs for this), and let it cook for approximately 1 minute, until light brown. Then carefully turn it over to cook on the other side. Mine took a little less than a minute on each side, so keep an eye on it. Remember to keep an eye on your thermometer and adjust the burner as necessary! 7. Remove the fried toast and toss in the cinnamon sugar mixture. 8. Repeat for the other 3 pieces. Leslie’s Notes: This can be served plain or with maple syrup (or any other kind of syrup you like, for that matter!) From start to finish, this entire process took me about 15 minutes, so it really was quite quick and easy. The toast fries up fast, so you want to have everything in place - the cinnamon sugar in a dish that is big enough to accommodate the toast, a plate to put the finished product on, etc. You don’t want to walk away from the frying at any point, and you don’t want the kids too close by when you do this, in case of splattering. Similarly, you want to use tongs (preferably 12 inches or longer) and to be gentle with the toast in the oil so you don’t splash and burn yourself. Finally, remember to keep an eye on the temperature on your thermometer so you don’t burn your Tonga Toast! This dish was a huge, huge hit in our house. All 3 boys and my husband raved about it, and this lead to a discussion of whether we can try the real thing on our next trip to Walt Disney World! The portions are quite generous - 3 slices was enough for all 3 kids and my husband, leaving one left over.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Who's Who Wednesday: Ariel

Ariel is a mermaid who appeared for the first time in Disney's movie The Little Mermaid. She is also considered the fourth Disney princess. Ariel's character is very curious and strong-willed. She is loyal to her friends and loves her father, King Triton. She has always been voiced by Jodi Benson. In her first movie, she became human to marry the man of her dreams, Prince Eric. Arial has appeared in several other Disney films including, The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, which also features her daughter, Melody and Mickey's Magical Christmas. She has also starred in her own television programs The Little Mermaid and Little Mermaid's Island. And, believe it or not, Ariel also has several of her own video games for many different gaming systems. These include The Little Mermaid, Little Mermaid II: Pinball Frenzy, Disney Princesses for Gameboy Advanced, as well as the new Disney Universe and Kinect Disneyland Adventure, just to name a few! We can find Ariel all over Disney parks. Ariel's Grotto appears at several parks. The Voyage of the Little Mermaid live show is at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Tokyo Sea. She also has an appearance in Fantasmic!, Disney's Hollywood Studios' nighttime spectacular. Ariel is featured in the newer attraction at Disneyland California Adventure ride, The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure. You can also find her available for meet and greet sessions in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom, at the Akershus Royal Banquet in Norway at Epcot and at the Cinderella's Royal Banquet restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. A few trivia facts about Ariel: She is the only Disney Princess to not be born a human. Ariel is the only Disney Princess to have a child of her own. When she is dressed as a mermaid, she doesn't wear hair accessories.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Castles

If you are someone who has been to Walt Disney World but never spent time in Disneyland, you might assume that overall things are pretty much the same. The spot where the differences are most evident stands at the end of Main Street in both parks. The castle at Walt Disney World has been seen in pictures from more than forty years. It has become the symbol of Disney pictures and dreamed about by children for several generations.

The castle in Walt Disney World stands 190 feet (just below the height that requires a red blinking warning light) and is surrounded by a moat and features numerous spires and turrets. The castle is said to belong to Cinderella and features mosaic wall designs as guests wander through to begin their journey into Fantasyland.

In Disneyland, Sleeping Beauty’s castle stands only 77 feet tall. It is surrounded by a moat where guests may be treated to sights of elegant white swans swimming around. Inside the castle is a set of stairs that leads to a set of dioramas featuring the story of Sleeping Beauty. This feature did not open until 1959 when Walt Disney recognized that this space was wasted. The dioramas have been updated through the years and now mirror the original style with updated technology. During the history of this feature, it has remained closed for years at a time.

The castle uses the forced perspective design with its smaller features in the more elevated features. The castle is a combination of pink and blue. There is a working drawbridge that has been opened only twice. The first time was opening day in 1955 and the second time was the reopening of Fantasyland in1983.

When turning the corner onto Main Street from behind the train station, the frequent guest to Walt Disney World may wonder what happened to the castle. The width appears to be about the same in both structures, but the difference of more than 100 feet makes their stature drastically different.

With so many wonderful memories attributed to both locations, I wouldn’t change either. It is great to capture the reaction of the first time guest on film. There is typically an audible gasp that is great to catch with a video camera. The opportunity to see either castle is the start to a magical day.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kilimanjaro Safari Expedition

 Jambo! This is one of the rides at Animal Kingdom that you will NOT want to miss. A FastPass is a must for this attraction. I have been on this ride so many times. I have ridden in the morning and afternoon, and have come to find the opportune riding time to see many of the animals is between 2-3 PM. Make sure to pick up your FastPass in the later morning hours for this return time, you won't be dissapointed!

 The safari takes place in Africa, one of the places I dream of going one day. You are at the Harambe wildlife reserve and board your open air jeep that looks like it just came out of the mud pit! If you want the bumpiest of rides, sit in the back. This ride is never the same twice.

 You take off and it seems like your flying through the reservoir , but top speed of these jeeps is only 10mph. You begin to round the corner, and if you are lucky, you start to see a few animals. My advice is this; sit down, hold on, and have your cameras ready! Depending on the castmember leading your trek and how busy the park is are, they don't stop for you to take pictures. Have the camera on and ready to start snapping!

 There is so much to see on this ride. There is no telling how many animals you will get to see on this ride. The lions are so cute, but are usually sleeping on what looks like pride rock from the Lion King! Not only will you can see animals A-Z, from Antelope to Zebras.. Crocs, hippos, rhinos, elephants, giraffes, and all in between, there are watering holes, the gorgeous Savannah, and something the Baobab tree. The tree looks like its upside down, with its roots growing on top. It's an actual  tree found in Africa. The 20 foot termite mounds are really cool , too!

 Your jeep will begin to cross a rickety old bridge. It sometimes shows it's wear, and gives way, a little bit. You sure don't want to be gator bait, so the drivers gets outta there pretty fast!
My favorite part is when they turn on the radio and Hapa Dunia is played. This is actually the Lord's Prayer in Swahili.
The ride holds 32 passengers, has no height restrictions and is handicap accessible.
Be nice to the tour guide on your two week journey, and Kwa Herini everyone!!!!

 Be sure to walk the Pengani  Forest after you ride this ride, you get to see even more animals.

 Insider secret, every morning the preserve people put out what is called browse on hidden areas, to make the animals come closer, so you can see them better.

 For the adventurer you can take a backstage tour called the Wild Africa Trek: It costs 189.00, its a 3 hour tour  for children 9 or older, and you must weight less than 350 lbs, and yes, they do weigh you in..This trip takes you off the beaten path of what you would see on the regular safari, up and close to hippos, and gators! Boma for lunch.yummy!! You will be walking on small rope bridges just feet above gators!!Yikes!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Addicted To Mickey: Foodie Friday: Disney Recipe Swap

Addicted To Mickey: Foodie Friday: Disney Recipe Swap: We have had enough talk about this recipe swap idea and it is time to put it into action. The way this is going to work, hopefully, is goin...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Who's Who Wednesday: Abu

Abu! Bless you? NO, Abu is Aladdin's pet monkey from the town of Agrabah. He is infatuated with shiny objects and is often caught stealing them when he is into mischief with Aladdin and their pal Iago. He is quite fiesty but also good-hearted and brave, being the truly loyal companion of Aladdin. He would also risk his own life to save that of his dearest friend. Abu has appeared in several feature films, including Aladdin, The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves. He has also starred in a few television shows like Hercules and The House of Mouse. Abu and Aladdin have also appeared in several video games. Frank Welker is the voice of Abu. Abu isn't seen often in the parks other than in shows and attractions. At Wald Disney World,Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, you can catch him in the nighttime show Fantasmic! Seldomly, you can find him in Adventureland, Near the Magic Carpets, at Walt Disney World and in the Aladdin Musical at Disney's California Adventure.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Off We Go - Plane Rides with Kids

After having two young children on multiple plane rides for varying lengths of time, I have become very skilled at meeting their needs. When both my son and daughter
were under one year, we took them to Disneyland in California for their first
time. Flying from Boston to Los Angeles can be an intimidating adventure. Some
of the key elements with infants include being sure that they are well fed and their
diapers are changed regularly. With short attention spans, it is not the amount of things that you have but rather having a few different types of things should be enough. My children enjoyed a few board books and a small stuffed item or a puppet. Mirrors can be great as well. Be sure whatever book you bring that it is something that you plan to read over and over again.

With toddlers, the trick is allowing them to move at the airport for as much time as possible. Some airports now have activity stations or small indoor playgrounds for children which can be great particularly if you have a layover. Since my children were just over one year old, I have allowed them to help with the packing of their activity bag. The trick that I have learned here is to have a bag that they can wheel through the airport that converts to something with a strap or a backpack. My kids have always started through the airport excitedly wheeling their bags. After one seven hour layover, they were not interested in the wheels anymore and I was stuck carrying the bags.
Within the carryon bag, we have always tried to include some small books, coloring books and crayons.
I have found that the crayons shaped like triangles are great for cramped spaces to avoid the roll factor.
I have also encouraged them to pack their favorite stuffed animal or doll. The carry-on bag also needs to
include enough space for any souvenirs purchased. This helps define the items that will come home with us.
With children who have just been toilet trained, the issue is the fluid intake versus the frequency that they need to use a restroom that was hardly designed for one person. Avoid salty snacks. I have always tried to take my children as soon as the “fasten seat belt” lights were turned off.
These are a few of the survival techniques that we have used in getting to Disneyland and Walt Disney World without a lot of extra issues. We have found that they have worked well. I have even found that having some
small items packed in my bag that are saved for the return trip can help as well.

Monday, March 19, 2012

It's A Small World After All..

t's a world of laughter
A world of tears
It's a world of hopes
And a world of fears
There's so much that we share
That it's time we're aware
It's a small world after all
There is just one moon
And one golden sun
And a smile means
Friendship to ev'ryone
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small world after all
It's a small, small world.

You know the song, if not, you will be singing it all the way back to your hotel..289 colorful dolls and animals all harmonizing to the same song, in 5 different languages,spanning over 100 nations,25 countries, this ride is geared to all ages, it is a must do at Disney!

 What could be better than seeing hundreds of dolls from all directions singing and dancing all around you? They are so cute and colorful, can you spot the only two dolls from the USA?Hint : Its an Eskimo, and cowboy.

 This is an enjoying ,relaxing boat ride, the boat can hold up to 20 guests, This ride is so nice when it is 90+ degrees in the FL sun. The kids like it because there are no drops, nothing scary and it is really colorful. This ride is wheelchair accessable. 

 Be sure to watch the end scene, where you will learn at least 50different ways to say goodbye!

 This ride opened on October 1.1971

Friday, March 16, 2012

Foodie Friday: Recipe Swap- 50's Prime Time Cafe's Grandma's Chicken Pot Pie

2 c. chicken tenderloins, uncooked 1 c. broccoli tops 1/2 c. carrots. cubed 1/2 c. celery, cubed 1/4 c. leeks, diced 3 T. butter 3 T. flour 3 c. milk OR half and half 1 c. Parmesan cheese, grated 2 chicken bouillon cubes 1 pastry shell for double crust pie 1 egg, beaten Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In boiling salted water, simmer chicken tenderlions, broccoli, carrots, celery, and leeks until chicken is fully cooked and vegetables are tender, but still firm (about 15 minutes). Drain well and set aside. In a medium sized skillet, melt butter and add flour. Cook for 5 minutes and add milk or half-and-half. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened (about 10 minutes). Dissolve chicken boulillon cubes in 1/4 cup warm water and add to sauce. Blend in grated Parmesean che3ese and remove from heat. Add cooked chicken and vegetables and mix well. Pour mixture into a deep-dish pie plate and cover with pie dough. Seal edges well and brush top with beaten egg. Bake until crust is golden brown and the filling is hot (about 45 to 50 minutes). Submitted by: Dawn Mathis Losch

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Who's Who Wednesday: The Triplets

Huey, Dewey and Louie are triplet white ducks that are the nephews of Fab 5 member Donald Duck. They were born to his sister Della. Their given names are Hubert, Deuteronomy and Louis Duck. These boys are quite mischievous and love playing tricks on their uncle. Huey appears to be the leader of the group. Dewey, the smart one and Huey are the masterminds behind the schemes they play on Donald. Louie is the sweet one that just happens to go along with his brother's pranks. The three have appeared in several Disney movies, including Mickey's Christmas Carol and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Their television appearances consist of Mickey Mouse Club, Duck Takes and many more. They were also in a series in the 1990's called Quack Pack, where they played teenagers. Clarence Nash voiced the boys in their cartoon shorts. You may recognize this name as the voice of their uncle Donald. The trio is rarely seen at any of the parks other than Disneyland Paris, They also appear on the Disney Fantasy cruise ship hosting the AquaLab, a variety of water "experiments" designed to drench the entire family!

Epcot's International Flower and Garden Festival

Spring is in the air at Disney's Epcot from March 7th-May 20th 2012. Epcot welcomes the International Flower and Garden Festival. This is a wonderful time of year to enjoy Epcot, the temps are still warm enough to enjoy, the bright colors are everywhere, and the smells of flowers are filling your nose with sweet scents!!

 Your experience starts just as you enter the park, with picturesque topiaries, great for even better pictures in front of the park. You walk in the park and flowers are everywhere. There are so many topiaries in shapes of Disney characters, which also make for great photo opportunities. There is a butterfly garden where you walk through a chain curtain and actually see tons of butterflies. They have a neat set up where the butterflies are actually being born. There are little pods where the butterflies have not yet come out of there cocoon. If you're lucky, you may even experience the birth of one. If you enjoy butterflies, you will love this exhibit.

 There is so much to see during this wonderful time of year. One thing my family loved is being able to ask as many questions as we wanted and get great answers. Stars from HGTV appear on stages with various demonstrations, there are seminars, planting pointers and you can even take a guided tour(60.00).

 My son had a blast because he loves gardening, my daughter loved the many character topiaries and I just loved the vast array of colors! It is really cool that each pavillion has a little something different that goes with each country.

 Then, of course, there are the flower power concerts. These are great! They are in open air seating, where you can sit, eat and just take a load off while you are entertained by some really great performers.


 This year they have added even more great things to the festival: Bambi's Butterfly house has expanded, the Sounds of Nature exhibit where you can just to relax and listen to nature's music. The kids can enjoy the play structures in the imagination walkway and a kid garden this year!

 Don't think this is just for old people and gardeners, there is plenty to enjoy for all ages. I recommend seeing this yearly beauty at Epcot. You won't be dissapointed .

 Check out my pics from the last few years:O)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Ride Review: What is the Matterhorn?

For anyone who has never been to Disneyland, the Matterhorn may be a foreign concept. The actual Matterhorn is one of the largest mountains in the Alps and it sits on the border between Switzerland and Italy. In 1959, Walt Disney and his company released a movie titled Third Man on the Mountain. For any live action Disney fans it features James MacArthur who was also seen in Swiss Family Robinson and Kidnapped as well as Janet Munro who also starred in Darby O’Gill and the Little People and Swiss Family Robinson.

Guests familiar with the Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, will recognize the term Matterhorn from the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride in Fantasyland. This mountain structure is 147 feet and is exactly 100 times shorter than its European inspiration. There are waterfalls
visible from the ground. At different points during the day, guests are able to see mountain climbers working their way up the side of the mountain. If you keep watch, you might even be able to see Mickey Mouse attempting this climb.

The Matterhorn Bobsleds ride was the first roller coaster at Disneyland and the first tubular steel roller coaster in the world. The ride is about five minutes long and takes you quickly through the mountain past different scenes including that of the snow monster who dwells in the mountain.
The ride has some similar features to the rides that came after it including Big Thunder Mountain and Expedition Everest. The bobsleds are similar in design to the rockets from Space Mountain.

There are two tracks and two different lines for this ride. During the busy season, both lines
will operate separately. When the park is less crowded there is only one side of the ride operating. If the length of the lines is equivalent, pick the side closer to Fantasyland (not Tomorrowland) for a slightly longer and curvier ride.

The Matterhorn has been closed since early January and will remain closed through mid-June for both external and internal renovations. The ride will be getting a new fleet of bobsleds which will include lap bars instead of seatbelts.