Friday, May 31, 2013

Foodie Friday- Biergarten Lunch Buffet


My husband and I recently said we were going to try a new Walt Disney World restaurant every time we go.  Since it was Mother’s Day, it was my choice and for some odd reason I picked Biergarten in the Germany Pavilion at Epcot.  Why is this odd?  I am a very picky eater.  I usually order off of the kids menu at Disney restaurants and my love for German food is more like how one loves slugs.  BUT it was a place I have never been to, so why not!

Our reservation was for noon, which is when the restaurant opens for lunch.  We were in the first group called.  I was surprised and a little intimidated when I discovered that you dine as a group.  All of the tables seat 8 and our group was made up of all couples.  (Yes, it was Mother’s Day, but part of my gift was a day without kiddos)

We were introduced to our server who took our drink order and explained how the buffet worked.  I was pleasantly surprised by the selection that was “non-weird” food for me to eat.  I especially loved the meatballs, roasted chicken and baked macaroni and cheese.  I was excited for the desserts, but only really liked the vanilla pudding.  My husband, who will eat pretty much anything, really enjoyed the sausages and potato salad.  One couple sitting with us was actually from Germany now living in Orlando and said it's the closest thing to authentic German food around.


The inside of the restaurant is beautiful.  It is set up like a theater with rows of tables on different levels looking down towards a stage where there is music and entertainment.  We were told (after over an hour of being there) that the dancing was going to start in about 15 minutes, but we were ready to go before then.  I was a disappointed that we missed the entertainment and thought it was strange that there wasn’t anything going on for the first hour and a half.

The price of the lunch buffet was $21.99, which I thought was very reasonable for a table service buffet.  I will definitely add this restaurant to my list of places to try again.






Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Who's Who Wednesday: James P. Sullivan



James P. Sullivan, top Scarer of Monster’s Inc. continuously holds the record for collecting the most screams of children, which powers the city of Monstropolis. Sulley’s job, like many other monsters, is to enter closet doors to the human world to scare kids and play off their fears of monsters in their closet.

With that said, you’d expect Sulley to be a pretty frightening and rugged monster, but we who have watched the movie, know that Sulley is just a soft, big, furry guy with a true heart and sweet intentions. Hardworking, friendly, laid back, and lovable, Sulley and his best friend, Mike Wazowski, possess many of the same qualities, which leads them to the top of the scaring pack. 

 
With bright blue and purple fur and a kind demeanor, it’s surprising that Sulley could scare anyone, but with a flash of his teeth, his furrowed eyebrows, and the swing of his tail, Sulley turns into a ferocious beast. 

 


As we mentioned in Mike Wazowski’s character overview, Sulley’s main problem in Monsters Inc.comes in the form of a lizard named Randall Boggs, who’s jealous of Sulley’s success. Randall cheats the system by scaring after hours, and accidently let’s a human child through the door into the monster world. Suddenly, Sulley is pulled into the dilemma, when the child, Boo, becomes attached to Sulley, whom she calls “Kitty”. With his friend Mike, Sulley must find a way to return Boo.
 
So, where can you find this big guy? Head over to Hollywood Studios for possible meet and greets or catch him in the parades and shows at WDW & DL.

Remember, that the prequel to Monster’s Inc., Monster’s University, will be released June 21st. So, if you are interested in how Sulley and Mike’s friendship began and their time living in a college dorm, hit the theater next month! 


Photo Credit: Disneywikia & Pixarwikia

Friday, May 24, 2013

Foodie Friday: Double Review Lotus Blossom & Tangierine Cafe


If there was a drumroll specifically for a meal, it should be playing now…because this is about the best meal that I enjoyed on property in December: Tangierine Café! 

Since I became a vegetarian I’ve been a lot more experimental in what I try despite being a ridiculously picky kid in my early years. Since we were on the dining plan and strolling through EPCOT, we needed to find someplace to eat. I’d always loved Morocco, the shops, the atmosphere, the entire culture so I was interested in seeing what their restaurants had to offer. We found Tangierine Café which I had heard about before and I noticed there was a vegetarian platter. My family is a little less adventurous so they headed over to Lotus Blossom after I ordered my meal. The vegetarian platter is a Falafel, Tangierine CousCous Salad with Hummus, lentil salad, marinated olives and Tabouleh. My desert was a slice of Baklava. The total for my meal came to $10.99, but since we were on the DP we used a Quick Service Credit. 

Tangierine Café is located in the front of Morocco pavilion, they are open 11:30 to 9 and accept quick service dining credits. Since it’s a counter service restaurant they do not offer reservations. I was very impressed by the outside structure and decoration of the building, both the outside and inside made me feel like I’d stepped inside of Agrabah. There is a small dining area outdoors that is covered by a awning and there is also a few tables located inside the restaurant. Guests just move down the line to order their main course and at the end there is a bakery type section where you can order desert. 

The tile on the walls was beautiful and the building was covered in very earthy tones. However, it is quite small so when it gets crowded, it really does get cramped. I did not sit to eat at the restaurant as we moved on to Lotus Blossom to order my family their food. 

Lotus blossom is larger and more outdoors so there was more room. They have a large outdoor section and there is plenty of room. My family ordered two Orange Chickens with Steamed rice for $8.49 each and my mom ordered Seasame Chicken Salad for $6.99. Lotus Blossom offers Red Bean or Ginger Ice Cream. The ginger ice cream was sweet and had a strange taste but we enjoyed the red bean ice cream. Lotus Blossom is located in China, open at 11, and accepts QS credits. Since it’s also counter service, reservations are not accepted. 

We all grabbed our lunches and had a seat in the side area of Lotus Blossom. My brother and father had the orange chicken and thought it was good enough, I never really got their opinion on it, but it looked decent. My mom had the sesame chicken salad and didn’t really care for it. She said that the chicken tasted fake and she wouldn’t order it again. My meal ranks behind my favorite, Columbia Harbour House Lighthouse Sandwich. I enjoy couscous at home, though I don’t make it very flavorful, but the couscous mixed with the tabouleh and lentil salad was delicious! I’d never had tabouleh, lentil salad, or falafel before. Falafel is a fried patty made of chickpeas or fava beans, hummus is also a dip made of chickpeas. Hummus was not really my favorite food (though that’s since changed), but the flavor was on spot and really was delicious on all the food. You were given a flatbread to make a kind of sandwich, so I mixed a lot of the food up and made myself a burrito of sorts. I don’t much care for olives either but the marinade made the flavor of them more bearable. I expected the meal to be more warm and soothing but it was actually very cool and more refreshing than anything. It was light and it filled me up without weighing me down. The amount of vegetables present certainly makes you feel better too! 

The baklava was sweet, sticky, and a little too much for me to handle so I split it. It’s hard to cut in half so be prepared to get a little messy if sharing! Overall I absolutely loved Tangierine, despite the size of the place and returned there for the same meal once more before we left. The architecture was beautiful and gives you more authentic choices and options for food than most restaurants, it was nice having a veggie meal that wasn’t just a frozen patty. The staff was friendly and fast about serving. In regards to Lotus Blossom, my mom says it’s decent, however if you’re looking to indulge in some new and interesting cuisines, head elsewhere!

Restaurant photos from wdwinfo.com
                                                                                             

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Who's Who Wednesday: Mike Wazowski



“Put that thing back where it came from, or so help me!”

Can you name the character who said this?!

Mike Wazowski of course! Our green, one eyed friend is patiently waiting for his new movie, Monsters University to hit theaters on June 21st, so let’s take a look at Mike’s first screen debut. 

Hot-tempered, hardworking, funny, smart, but uptight. Mike is certainly a complex character! Best friends with the best scarer in all of Monsters Inc, Sulley, he and his pal work around the clock in Monstropolis to keep the city up and running, capturing energy through the screams of human children whom they find through the mass labyrinth of doors to the human world at the company. Mike is not always so work-focused, however, and is extremely fond of his lovely girlfriend Celia Mae, a Cyclops. 

Mike is pulled into one of Monstropolis’ biggest disasters when Randall, the sneaky and sly chameleon, accidently lets in a human child with whom Sulley is now entangled with when he finds Randall cheating the system as he scares off-time. Interrupted on his date with Celia by Sulley, Mike must compose himself and his friend in order to return the little girl to her room, while stopping Randall from his other evil plans; this is where Mike’s rule-following and intelligence shines. 

Despite his straightforward, obvious solutions to problems, Mike doesn’t necessarily see the emotional sides to problems which causes tension when Sulley becomes attach to the human girl. In the end Mike and the Monsters Inc. company decide to produce energy with children’s laughs rather than screams.
Monsters University, is a prequel to the first film, depicting life of Mike and Sulley when they first meet and become roommate in college. The film is set to release June 21st and soon we’ll get to see how Mike’s relationships developed and how his personality changed when he entered University! 

Mike and Sulley can be found at Hollywood Studios, but they are usually seen in parades and other shows. Mike and Sulley also have their very own show at Magic Kingdom called Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor where guests can interact with live monsters who tell jokes and keep the crows laughing!

 Check out Monsters University's education webpage to check out the campus! http://monstersuniversity.com/edu/

Images from: Disneywikia & Pixarwikia

Friday, May 17, 2013

Foodie Friday: Tables in Wonderland - Dining Discount Card


I am now a proud owner of a Tables in Wonderland card.  I had been thinking about purchasing this Walt Disney World dining discount card for a couple years now, but I always thought that I would never make up the money spent on it.  Well, I took the plunge and am glad I did!  For Passholders or DVC members, the price is $100.  For Florida residents, it is $125.  We have dined at 'Ohana four times so far this year and at Whispering Canyon twice before I got the card and each time my bill was over $100.  Tables in Wonderland gives me 20% off of my bill, so I would have already made up my $100 cost for purchasing the card.  I am keeping a running tally of how much it will save me over the next year to show my husband that this was a smart purchase for us.

Since purchasing the card, we have been to Kona Cafe for breakfast and Whispering Canyon Cafe for dinner.  We will be having dinner at 'Ohana this weekend and again next week.

Guess what?  It's good for free valet parking when you dine at a participating restaurant!  ($15 value)  I never valet because I am cheap, or frugal to be nice, but why not since it's complimentary!  It is especially helpful with two small kids and not having to drag them through a resort parking lot and valet saved me last weekend when it was raining.

With two meals under my belt (literally) and two uber fancy valet services, I am already more than halfway to making up my initial $100 spent to purchase the card.  After my dinners next week, I will be purely saving until June 2014.  I can already see the dollar signs in my husband's eyes.

Is Tables in Wonderland right for you?  Check out the participating restaurants HERE.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mickey's Toontown-- Disneyland




One thing that now noticeably differentiates Disneyland from the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World is the existence of Mickey’s Toontown.  This section of Disneyland that sits behind “It’s a Small World” is a wonderful area for children to explore.  There are often characters waiting to be created by children.  










The houses of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Chip and Dale sit tucked into the back corner of the park.  The houses of Donald, Goofy and Chip and Dale are play areas for children.  It can be a great area to allow children free after being strapped into a carriage.  Minnie’s house is more of a traditional house tour giving a glimpse of how Minnie may live.  After roaming through Mickey’s house, families have the opportunity to meet Mickey Mouse as he prepares for one of his famous cartoon roles.

In addition to the houses of the Fab Five, there are two rides in this section of the park.  They include Gadget’s Go Coaster and Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin.  Gadget’s Go Coaster is a small scale roller coaster that has a minimum height requirement of 35”.  Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin features Roger Rabbit, Jessica Rabbit, the Weasels and “Dip”.  This ride has a deceptively long line that winds through dark ares.      

There are a few spots to grab a snack or small meal as well.  Three connected stands sell items such as pizza, salads, hot dogs, ice cream and sandwiches.  Tables are available near the center of Mickey’s Toontown to enjoy a quick bite to eat or watch kids play in the toon play area which features a toon jail, sound machines and toon cars.  

If this an area you want to explore, it is in the very back of the park.  The train does have a stop for Mickey’s Toontown.  This area does open later and close earlier than any other section of the park.  Even without kids it is a fun area to walk through and you are guaranteed to see Mickey Mouse.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Who's Who Wednesday: Hades



Not all Disney characters are heroes, and Hades is here to show it! This Greek God of the Underworld has a taste for evil in Hercules (1997), the main villain set out to steal the throne of Mount Olympus, from his brother Zeus. Hercules is set around the life and tales of the Greek Gods, so it’s not surprising that Mr. Hades is less human-like than us. Blue-skinned with flaming hair, sharp teeth, and a long flowing gray cape that turns to smoke at the bottom, he certainly is a frightenin
g and cunning antagonist. Hades is a bit like Donald Duck in his very hot-natured, losing his temper quite quickly. He is one of the most sarcastic of all the Disney characters, selfish and mean, setting out to destroy Hercules (Zeus’ son) and doing so by enlisting the help of Megara.

 


As a Greek God, Hades does not seek immortality, because he already has it! His search for power leads him to his sidekicks Pain and Panic, both aptly named for their traits, but they fail him at destroying Hercules as a baby. Hades, with his angry personality, has a difficult time handling his minion-like sidekicks. Hades is also owner of the three-headed dog Ceberus, a violent and scary guard of the Underworld. Hades job, while not constantly looking for ways to take control, is to bring the passed on souls to the heart of the Underworld or leave them in the River Styx where they are trapped for eternity. 

Hades powers are fire and chains of smoke, which correspond well to his title of lord of the Underworld. Hades also appears in Hercules: The Animated Series, House of Mouse, and Kingdom Hearts Series. Hades is very rare at Disney parks so don’t expect to run into him too often, not that you’d want to!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Caribbean Beach Resort - Pirate Rooms

I'm a sucker for anything pirate, so it was a great surprise that my husband booked us in a pirate room at Caribbean Beach Resort for my birthday!  This was my first time staying at this resort and it won't be my last.

My son was super excited as we walked through the door.  He immediately jumped on the bed and pretended like he was steering the ship.  The pirate ship beds are awesome looking, but definitely fell short of being the least bit comfortable.  I previously heard about how rough a nights sleep is on these and I have to agree.

The overall theme of the room was great, but I felt it was lacking detail when you compare it to a Royal Room at Port Orleans.

Curtain to separate the bedroom from the bathroom
I LOVE this wall picture
Dresser drawers
The barrel has a hidden mini-fridge inside



The bathroom wall, so cool


I loved staying in this resort and I enjoyed the pirate room, but I probably will not be booking one again until the mattresses are changed.







Friday, May 10, 2013

Foodie Friday- Be Our Guest Dinner

   
    Upon arriving at check-in in front of the majestic castle of the Beast, you are given a pager and told to wait on the bridge. There is a gorgeous view of waterfalls beyond the castle and protecting gargoyles adorn the bridge. When your pager alerts you, your host/hostess leads you to the dimly lit dining hall with a candleabra.  The first thing you notice is the beauty and splendor of the entry (restrooms are located here) and of each room.  We were seated in the great ballroom with gorgeous chandeliers and painted ceilings. The tables are set for a princess's (or prince's) dinner. The napkins are folded on the plates to look like rose buds
    After being seated, your waiter greets you with a wine list and menus, some bread and offers appetizers. We didn't have any wine but instead chose Sprite, tea and lemonade. The adults had French onion soup and salad to start.  The salad was your typical garden salad with choice of dressings.  The soup was really good but not anything I would pay extra ($6.99) for again. It comes in a ceramic bowl and is topped with croutons and Gruyere cheese that is bubbling over the top. 

    While we were waiting for our meal, Beast came out for a visit.  He does a quick walk through each of the rooms and then meets with guests in the study for photos. Guests are also allowed to tour through each of the rooms, the West Wing, the Ballroom, the Enchanted Rose Room and the Study. We waited to take the tour after our meal. We did however take this opportunity to visit with the Beast. 




The Beast himself in the study

The West Wing

The mysterious Rose Room

    My friend and I both chose the grilled strip steak with garlic and herb butter as our main meal. The steak comes cooked as ordered and is served with Pomme Frites, basically some REALLY YUMMY french fries. We both enjoyed the entire meal, I loved the garlic and herb sauce that came with the steak. This meal is listed at $29.99.  The girls were eating off of the kids menu and had grilled chicken  with whole grain macaroni and marinara sauce.  They both said it was okay but not the best.



    On to dessert! Heaven better look out! The options for this evening were cream puffs and cupcakes.  The adults chose the strawberry cream cheese cupcakes and the girls went with the triple chocolate.  How can you go wrong with chocolate? I will say that it was good but the strawberry cream cheese was GREAT! It was so moist and delicious and even topped with a huge fresh strawberry.  I loved the little candy pearls that were used to decorate the cupcake. The cupcakes are about $3.99 each. Since my friend was celebrating her birthday, we got to try the gray stuff. Is it delicious? Well, we weren't impressed.  The only decription we could come up with was Oreo Cool Whip, the cupcakes were so much better.
Don't believe us, ask the dishes!

    The restuarant is open for lunch as a quick service and no reservations are needed but if you plan on dining for dinner, reservations are highly recommended and it requires 1 table service credit if you are using the dining plan.
  Read more about it here Be Our Guest Restuarant