Friday, October 11, 2013

Foodie Friday: House of Blues Downtown Disney


House of Blues Front Porch


I have been wanting to eat at House of Blues for many years. A few weeks ago I got my chance. We didn't have any reservations, but we went to the desk, and 30 short minutes later we were seated. Let me start with the outside. House of Blues is nestled way in the back of the West Side in Downtown Disney, right across from La Nouba. The outside is done in a super rustic feel with the cutest man made articles all over the place. There is a store, a place outside that has live music (around dinnertime this really sets off) and you can enjoy the outdoor bar and a free concert outdoors, for those who want to just "hang out" and "get their drink on".


Outdoor Bar and concert area



Metal artwork outside






We were there for dinner. As we walked into the building, the art work was wall to wall! Some very imaginative artists had fun. The inside was wall to wall art of many flavors and colors. It was really neat.


Inside


House of Blues is known for its spicy cajun food, and the menu said it all. I had a hard time finding some not so spicy foods, as I am not a lover of spice. So what did I got for? For the appetizer we tried the street tacos with blackened chicken and adobo spices, which equaled what? I needed 2 sodas to put the heat out...but they were soooo good!!!!


Street Tacos

On to our meal. After going over the menu 100 times we were starving, and we decided on the Buttermilk chicken. We had a short wait for our food to come out and our waitress was quick to bring refills.


Menu

We got our meals, and I was like is that all for me?? You got a huge, I mean huge, plate of food!!! The chicken came with homemade coleslaw and red rose garlic mashed potatoes. Man, those were both totally yummy. The chicken, I swear you got a whole entire chicken!! It was piled high on that plate!



Yummy Buttermilk Chicken!


Daughter's "Kids Meal" cheeseburger sliders

There was no way we could do dessert, but they looked really good.

So, pros and cons:

Pros: The artwork, gives you soooo much to look at! The food was hot, and the general atmosphere was happy.We got in without reservations!

Cons: I felt rushed, we were not offered appetizers or dessert. I felt like they needed us in and out as fast as possible.

They take the Disney dining plan, Tables and wonderland (minus the Gospel Brunch), and is considered a table service meal.

 So, will we go back? Absolutely!!

 Hours are 11:30am-11pm Sun-Thurs and Fri-Sat 11:30am-1am

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tower of Terror 10-Miler 2013


 

Tower of Terror 10-Miler

October 5, 2013 

2013 was only the second year for the Tower of Terror 10-Miler so I was already excited to be participating in something brand new here at Disney. I’d heard from a review last year that the race was okay, but crowded, hot, and not very well planned. I knew with that information Disney would do better this year, so once I finished work at 6:15 I changed into my race clothes (my lucky Nikes that I wore for my first half-marathon), my first half-marathon tank top and some shorts then waited for one of my friends to meet me. They had already blocked off the roads and were setting up the area when my friend met me. Marissa was running in honor of her charity Project CF. We made our way to the parking lot where set-up and corrals were being held and found a food truck! We met up with another girl from the Disney College Program, Lauren. Lauren works recreation at Port Orleans and she is an absolute princess. Lauren had already ran the 5K that morning and was here for the 10-miler that night as well! Eventually we split up and Marissa and I checked out the dance floor where they had a host jamming out and the entire crowd dancing. Stretching and fun all in one; Marissa and I decided we would come again next year just to watch all these people dance to Gangnam Style. 

There were some really great costumes. I saw a variety such as Drizella/Anatasia, 101 Dalmations, Ursula, Jasmine, Syndrome, Incredibles, Mickey/Minnie, Jafar, Aladdin, and more. Marissa and I were too busy to find costumes for the race but we enjoyed everyone else's. Around 8pm we stopped for the bathrooms and had to wait about 30 minutes just to go because the lines were so long. Around 9:20 they called everyone to their corrals. I started in H and Marissa started in J. At this time, my roommate Katie had just gotten off the bus and made it to her D corral. The corrals are set from A-J, A being the fastest runners. 

They started to move us towards the start which was at the side entrance to Hollywood by Cast Services and the television parking lot. At 10pm they started the wheelchairs and every 5 minutes let another corral go, so by the time H came around it was about 10:20pm. They shot off fireworks and entertained us with music and finally the race was on!  Basically the race began at Hollywood Studios, moved through the road around Animal Kingdom to a forest/dirt trail, through ESPN, and back to Hollywood Studios. They had music playing most of the way, both villains music as well as top 40 hits. 

The following characters were out for the race: Jack/Sally, Facilier, Lotso, Hades, Queen of Hearts, Hag from Snow White, Ghosts from Haunted Mansion, Grave Diggers, Stitch, hyenas, Captain Hook, Big Bad Wolf, and more. The characters were spaced out perfectly for the course and while the bigger named characters (jack/sally, hag) had a longer line, most lines were pretty short and easy to move through as everyone was trying to quickly get back to the race. Water and Powerade were distributed at exactly the right times and there was a lot of fog and even a giant spider hanging from the highway above at Animal Kingdom! Medical tents were scattered and on the final stretch you took the path backstage of Hollywood Studios, through streets of America, and back outside to finish just behind the Tower of Terror. At the end you were met by Bellhops and Bellhop Goofy to congratulate you where you received your medal, food, water, and a box of goodies. 

Overall I really enjoyed the race. At first I didn’t stop for characters because of the fear of being swept, but by the time I was at mile 8, the sweepers were still at mile 6.5, so walk/run is completely doable and even speed walking is probably a fair idea. The characters I eventually did stop for were Facilier, Captain Hook, Lotso, Hades, Hag, Ghosts from Haunted Mansion (THE BEST), and the grave diggers. I really enjoyed that they had the ghosts from Haunted Mansion, who were fantastic, and the grave diggers. It gave a special feel to the whole event. The medals are also gorgeous, and even glow in the dark. The only thing that wasn’t necessarily up to expectation was the finish line. Instead of a big celebration it was more of “you crossed, the end” and you kind of wander aimlessly until you see someone with medals. Everyone was very supportive however so the volunteers and the runners made it a ton of fun. You also had to walk quite a ways uphill just to return to the park which was open until 4AM for a party with villains. Some Quick Service locations, rides, and stores were open back up for the event. Lauren and I met back up and ate Backlot express and decided that we didn’t feel well enough to stick around, so at 3:15, the three of us headed out. I finished with a time of 2:44! I DEFINITELY recommend this race. I’m absolutely hooked now and really would love to come back next year for another race if I am able to!