Friday, February 28, 2014

Earl of Sandwich

In my opinion one of the best places to eat in downtown Disney has got to be Earl of Sandwich. It's a really neat little building. You will see the yellow wording on the outside of the building; it just leads you in.

Located next to one of the kids fountains and across from the toy store you will find this little gem. It is counter service and very economical. The menu is really easy, and they even serve breakfast. Sandwiches are either hot or cold and they now have wraps and salads. They have a nice array of grab and go items such as chips to go with your meal and they even have their own tea. They also have smoothies, parfaits, and fresh fruit for healthier options. Soups are also growing in popularity for those who want a lighter lunch or dinner; or add it to a sandwich wrap for a heartier meal. They didn't forget about dessert either. They have pudding, cookies, cupcakes and brownie bites for your sweet tooth. My favorite is the chocolate pudding.

The breakfast sandwiches start at 3.99 and the lunch/dinner sandwiches start at 5.99.The sandwiches are always made to order so everything is really fresh.

You will find a menu of sandwiches named after the famous guy John Mantagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, slapped together meat and 2 pieces of bread, and the sandwich was born.

My favorite sandwich is called the All American. It's is on an artisan roll with roast turkey, buttermilk ranch, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and roma tomato. My hubby's favorite is the famous holiday sandwich. It consists of turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberries. This used to be a limited holiday time only sandwich but has been so popular they now have it on the permanent menu.

There is seating inside, but at meal time it can get super busy so it's a good thing they also have outdoor seating which is so nice on a Florida day. It is also covered seating, so if we get our typical showers you can still eat under cover.

This is my family's must go to place to eat every time we go to Downtown Disney.

The whole sandwich

The All American

The Holiday Sandwich

Friday, February 21, 2014

We have teamed up with some AWESOME Disney Pals to bring you a fabulous Giveaway! Here is what you have a chance to win when you enter!

1 $100 Disney Gift Card brought to you by Magical Vacations by Me
1 $25 Disney Gift Card brought to you by Magical Vacations by Katy
1 DVD of Thor: The Dark World brought to you by Magical Vacations by Becky
1 Assortment of Disney Trading Pins brought to you by Lisa Petrarca – Disney Travel Specialist
24 ” Sorcerer Mickey Plush brought to you by Magical Vacations by Todd
1 You choose Mickey or Minnie appliqued t-shirt brought to you by Magical Vacations by Christy 
1 Mickey Hair Bow brought to you by Magical Vacations by Stephanie
1 Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide To Walt Disney World’s Best Kept Secerts by Stephen M. Barrett brought to you by Disney on a Dollaror
2 Disney Reusable Bags brought to you by Magical Vacations by April

Giveaway Details

The Giveaway begins at 12:15AM on Friday, February 21, 2014, and continues until 11:59PM on Sunday, March 2, 2014.  The winners will be selected from all the eligible entries on Monday, March 3, 2014, and will be notified via email to the email address specified in their entry information.  The winners will have 24 hours from the time the email is sent to them to claim their prize, and if they fail to do so, another winner will be chosen.  The winners may also be notified via social media avenues, but they must claim their prize via email.
The giveaway is only open to people aged 18 years of age or older living in the United States only.  To enter, complete the entry details you find in the Rafflecopter widget , and good luck everyone!  There are entries for every day of the giveaway, so keep coming back to get your maximum number of entries!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disney food magnets

Have you ever looked at your Disney snacks and wanted to somehow preserve them forever? Well, now you can! I saw these starting to pop up in the parks a few months ago and now they have a ton of them scattered around the park stores.They are so cute! Made of plastic, they cost about 12.95 each.

They have several different ones. I recall a Mickey pretzel, Mickey ice cream bar, Turkey leg, Mickey rice crispy bar, Mickey waffle, and churros. These are cool because they are life size, some of them look ready to eat!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Who's Who Wednesday: Scott Campbell

Disney and me, oh where do I start?!?  I have loved Disney ever since I was a young boy.  I will never forget our first trip to Walt Disney World in 1996.  I had spent every free second reading the Unofficial Guide, Birnbaums, and anything else I could get my hands on.  My family and I spent a week there in April and stayed at Dixie Landings.  To this day it is still my favorite resort on property!  We went back as a family in 1998 and I was just as excited as the first.  I knew from the time I walked through those gates the first time that I wanted to work at WDW, even if it was picking up trash.  The custodial CMs all looked so happy, so why wouldn’t I enjoy it?  My goal was to get to Florida sooner than later.  I graduated high school early and moved to Orlando to go to college at UCF for hospitality.  I majored in Hospitality Management with an emphasis on Theme Park Management, Lodging Management, and Timeshare Management.  My professors were almost all past executives from the largest hospitality companies in the world, many being from Disney itself!  I was able to learn from those that helped create the industry as we know it, and it is something I will always cherish.  I started working at the Swan and Dolphin during school.  Little did I know that my first job was at the busiest hotel in the world, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I learned so much there and it helped shape me into the leader I am today.  I have been managing hotels and restaurants for over 8 years now and love every day of it!  My wife and I (and our bundle of joy that’s due in July) are hoping to move back to Orlando so I can be closer to the magic again and get back to working for (or near) the mouse!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Being a Princess Runs in the Family

Walt Disney World, the happiest place on earth, home to endless joyous memories for millions of women and little girls who see themselves as princesses. However, being a princess isn't just about wearing a stunning gown and living happily ever after. Now being a princess can also have a new meaning. This new version of princess is an athlete, an active gal who just happens to run while wearing a tiara and maybe even a tutu. Thanks to the hard working folks at  runDisney, a group which takes the magic of Disney, integrates a healthy love of running, and creates race weekends which are exciting, empowering, and well, magical, there is an entire weekend devoted to this new type of princess.  The Princess Half Marathon Weekend is jam packed with a larger than life fitness expo, kids races, the Royal Family 5k, the Enchanted 10K, and of course the Princess Half Marathon. The race courses weave through the Disney parks, and beyond some of nicest race volunteers who have ever handed out water and gu, are the actual Disney characters ready and waiting to take pictures with runners. In addition to the official characters there are also all of the running characters. Oh yes, half the fun of running through Disney is wearing some type of costume, or at least a character inspired ensemble.
As a mommy runner, theses events give our family an excuse to take weekend Disney vacations, full of fun and celebration, and of course exercise! Tiaras, tutus, and sparkle are everywhere, and that’s just on the adult runners. My favorite day will be Friday, the day of the 5k, because once I cross my finish line with the familiar cheers of go mommy go, the real magical race will almost be ready to begin. Our family will regroup and head over to the kid’s races where I will park myself at the finish line to cheer for my absolute favorite princess, my daughter. She gets so excited at her races. There is always a character at her finish line waiting to give high fives and hugs, and she gets a medal of her very own. By the end we are both beaming with pride and ready to show off our race bling to the world.
Sharing this event with her is beyond special. She is only two, and already she gets it… Exercise is fun! That way of thinking is one of the most valuable life lessons; and the best part is, she learned it as a princess in Disney! Princess weekend just reinforces the fact that princesses can and should be active little girls and women. Just because you are a princess doesn't mean you have to sit and sip tea; and just because you are active doesn't mean you can’t be a princess! Thanks to runDisney, you can embrace your inner princess while wearing running shoes at any age. Only three more weeks to go until race day, and I can’t wait, because two generations of running royalty is definitely better than one!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day at Kona Cafe Red Velvet Pancakes

Many people ask me "Does Disney do anything special for Valentine's day?" Well, I know they don't usually do too much, but they do have some "unadvertised things", like at Kona Cafe, where we were given a pink piece of paper with our breakfast announcing a special Valentine's surprise. If you have a sweet tooth, especially in the morning, you are going to love this breakfast, and I am so happy they are doing it again this year. (The price may be different this year.)

Along with the famous pressed pot coffee which goes really well with this menu item, the Kona Cafe, just for Valentine's day, has added Red velvet pancakes with cream cheese topping. You receive 2 dark red pancakes along with sausage or bacon (I asked for ham ). Just beware it is really sweet, but ohh sooo yummy!!!

My review : The pancakes were super sweet, a little dry, maybe a tad bit too much chocolate for morning time. I actually added some of hubby's strawberry sauce from his tonga toast, it went really well together. The cream cheese topping is a dollop on top of the pancake. It was super "cinnaminy" and sweet, but it went well with the chocolate of the pancake.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Shades of Green, Disney's Military Resort

Being military can be a bit hectic at times but there are many things that can be amazing!  Disney has many perks for the military such as the armed forces tickets, which are park hopper tickets for a great price, that only military can purchase and use.  On our family trip last year we discovered an amazing military perk called Shades of Green.  Shades of Green is a resort on Disney property at Walt Disney World. It is home to the most beautiful golf courses and is right next to The Polynesian Resort. Prices for rooms begin at $95 and they actually offer discounts to soldiers who have been deployed in the last 12 months before their stay.  They have a variety of restaurants on property, ranging from buffet and a quick service to fine dining.  They have a gym on property and sell tickets at military prices at their ticket booth.  They have bus service to all the parks, but I suggest walking to the Polynesian and catching the monorail for the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  All active and retired military and spouses can stay there and can bring family with them. The resort has many fun family activities. During our stay there were carnival nights with make your own candy apples and a balloon artist at the buffet. Our kiddos actually wanted to eat there every night during our stay because of the different themed nights. They just recently remodeled one of their pools and the other pool is in the shape of Mickey! They also will have movie nights at the pool with popcorn and drinks. While Shades of Green is not a Disney owned hotel any longer it does not mean that it has lost its Disney spirit! The staff were incredibly helpful and friendly and the whole resort was full of Disney spirit.  Please let me know if I can help you out with any questions about Shades of Green! 

Magical hugs and Mickey kisses!

Example of planned activities.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cold Temps in Florida? YES, It Happens!

Its a common misconception many people have that it does not get cold here in Florida, but let me be the first to tell you it does!

I am going to the world this week and I'm preparing to be bundled up. It's dipping down into the 30's this week at night. 

If you plan on visiting in January or February chances are you may experience our Florida winter. It is short, but there are mornings where we are scrapping the ice off of our car windows.

I see a lot of northerners in the parks in shorts and t-shirts, and I see others running to buy jackets and sweatshirts in the store. How do you know its cold? The stores bring out the hats and gloves to the front of the store. They are basic black in color, so if you want something more festive be prepared and bring a set from home.

So how do you prepare for your trip during the "Florida Winter"? Number one is to watch the weather before you leave. Some people check the weather early and never check back, but Florida weather changes on a dime, so be sure to check the weather right before you walk out the door and make sure to pack appropriately. This is especially important if you pack ahead of time.

Number two: Dress in layers! Bring a sweatshirt and jeans at least. Many nights get quite chilly. Don't forget the kids... if they are in a stroller bring a blanket for them. If you or someone in your party are in a wheelchair you might want to bring a blanket of take a towel to cover your legs.

Number three: Stay away from rides like splash mountain and Kali River Rapids. Even if you're donning a raincoat why chance it? Walking around wet in the cold is not fun.

Number four: While visiting the parks consider renting a locker, that way you can stash your layers in there as it warms up during the day.

Number five: Don't forget the sunblock and chap stick. Yes, you can still get a small sunburn (or windburn) in January!

My favorite places to be when it is cold out is at one of 2 resorts... in my hoodie, with a nice cup of hot chocolate... sitting next to the fire place at Ford Wilderness Lodge or the Boardwalk Resort. They both have the best fireplaces around in my opinion.

Now that you are warm, can you imagine how some of the characters feel? Well, you will be happy to know even many of the characters have their winter outfits on if they are outdoors. Disney thinks of everything don't they? 

Please remember while in the winter one of the water parks are closed for rehab, one is always open, but if the temps dip too low that one is also closed.  See also number 3! (Darleen jumping in here... remember that if the temps are cold enough for the water parks to be closed due to the cold weather, many of the other outdoor activities may be cancelled, up to and including outdoor dining such as the Hoop Dee Do Revue, "Swim up" movies at the resorts etc... It's best to check before you head out to an outdoor event just to be sure it's still taking place.)

Monday, February 3, 2014

My DisneySide @Home Celebration, Part 1

I received free products in order to host my #DisneySide @ Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own.

   Not long ago I filled out a small survey from Moms Select about my participation in social media and Disney.  This was for the opportunity to be chosen as a host for a party showing my #DisneySide.  I had applied to host other Home Celebrations but never been chosen, so I wasn't going to get my hopes up this time. After finishing up the survey, I didn't think another thing about it until I saw a Facebook post from my friend saying she had been chosen.  I immediately hopped on my email to see if I had a letter as well. Bummed because I didn't see anything, I commented on hers to congratulate her.  A couple of days letter, I was cleaning out my spam mail and there it was. I had been chosen too!

    In the email, there was a link to a Facebook page where other host/hostesses would be gathering to discuss themes, package content and recipe ideas. Everyone was giddy with excitement about what our packages would contain. As the shipments started going out, everyone was posting their guesses. One post even stated how awesome it would be if we got American Tourister  suitcases! Yeah, wouldn't that be great?  We were notified that our packages would be shipped via UPS.  All members of the group that were receiving packages started signing up for UPS My Choice accounts so we could get notifications of shipments and deliveries.

    In the meanwhile, I began brainstorming what on earth my party theme might be. What things does my family enjoy most about Disney. Easy answer, food. We all have our own favorite Disney snack that we must have with each visit. Mine, of course is the chocolate caramel apple. My family and I decided to go with the theme of An Evening of Disney Snacks and Fun on February 22nd. We started making notes of not only our favorite snacks but also the most popular. I even took a poll on my Facebook page of the fan favorites. So far the menu consists of mini carrot cake cookies, Dole Whip punch, mini turkey legs, "grey stuff" and of course, the apples. We are still in the planning stages.

    In the Facebook group, photos started rolling in of what people were receiving in their boxes.  I tried so hard not to look because I wanted it to be a surprise. I finally got the notification of my 24 lb. delivery and waited for the UPS man to knock on my door. I couldn't get in the box fast enough.  Much to my amazement, the first thing I saw was a 21" spinner, purple American Tourister Suitcase! The suitcase was jammed full of party supplies for the perfect #DisneySide party! There were balloons, signs, recipes, game ideas, cups, plates and so much more.

    Our party is still in the planning stages with ideas for prizes, more games and even a Disney inspired photo booth.  Photos and another blog will be posted in the coming weeks as we work hard to make our guests feel like they are right in the middle of the magic!

I received free products in order to host my #DisneySide @ Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own.