Friday, 15 June 2018

Top 5 snacks and quick-service restaurants at Walt Disney World

I've been back from holiday for four weeks and I haven't blogged about the food yet. Can you believe it? I certainly can't, so I thought it was about time I rectified this situation.

I'm going to start by blogging about my top 5 snacks and quick-service restaurants on this trip, then I'll blog separately next week about our favourite table service restaurants.

We made good use of our Disney Dining Plan as always (read my quick summary of how it works here), although we did struggle to use all our snack credits this year. It turns out that a table service meal, quick-service meal and two snacks per day is sometimes too much food even for us. However, we spent our remaining snack credits on Ghirardelli chocolate so we felt quite smug about having so many left over.

Brace yourselves for photos of my top 5 snacks...

Mickey-shaped cinnamon bun at Animal Kingdom 

My all-time favourite Disney snack. Churro! 

Giant pink doughnut... I ate this at 9am. 

One of many trips to Beaches & Cream for our ice cream fix

Warm Wild Berry Buckle with pepper-berry gelato from Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival. One of the new things I was determined to try on this trip!  

After seeing the size of the snacks, I'm sure you can understand why we struggled to use up all our snack credits! 

We did well with our quick-service credits and managed to space them out evenly throughout our trip. Quick-service restaurants are ideal when you want a more casual meal which you can eat as quickly or as slowly as you want to, and there really is something to suit everyone. Don't be fooled into thinking you'll get a small portion though... see below! 

These were my five favourites this year: 

We tried Blaze Pizza in Disney Springs for the first time and it was goooood. 

Orange chicken at Lotus Blossom Cafe in Epcot's China pavilion.
I look forward to this every year! 

Another holiday staple for me - Mickey waffles for breakfast at The Artist's Palette 

One of many trips to D-Luxe Burger. BEST BURGERS EVER. 

Colossal breakfast at Be our Guest in the Magic Kingdom 

Are you really hungry now? I definitely am... no change there then. Keep a look out for more mouth-watering photos of food next week!  

Friday, 8 June 2018

My birthday celebrations

Another year, another birthday... I seriously can't believe it's June already. At the risk of sounding like a carbon copy of everyone else, where on earth has this year gone?

My birthday fell on a dreaded Monday this year so I decided to do most of my celebrating the weekend before. The week leading up to my birthday weekend was pretty dull weather-wise, but the sun came out just in time!

We took Jessie for a long walk on Saturday afternoon then went to Etc for an early dinner. Although I've only been to Etc a couple of times, it's quickly becoming one of my favourite restaurants for special occasions.

The sun was still blazing when I was getting ready so I decided to wear one of my brightest outfits to make the most of it.

When you take a look at what I ate and drank on Saturday evening, it's easy to see why Etc has become a firm favourite...

Lavender Fizz - a gin cocktail 

Sweet potato confit, crispy chorizo and sage 

Cauli-meflower (chargrilled cauliflower steak, spiced red lentil dhal, tempura purple sprouting broccoli, caramelised grapes and curry oil)

Etc Berry Mess 

Banana Daiquiri 

'That all looks amazing!' I hear you say (hopefully). And you'd be absolutely right. 

On the Sunday, we took Jessie for another long walk then drove to Joe's Ice Cream on Wellfield Road for the first time in years. I'd never dream of ordering a tub of plain vanilla anywhere else, but I can't resist Joe's vanilla ice cream. It tasted just as good as we remembered, if not better. 

As always, the weekend flew by and it was business as usual on Monday. I had 5 meetings so it was a long day in work, but I had lots of lovely birthday wishes and a couple of cards from my colleagues. I also brought doughnuts and cookies in to the office, and it would have been very rude of me not to sample a few for myself as the birthday girl.

I opened my presents from Neil (and Jessie!) when I got home from work, then we went to Romeo's by the Sea for a quiet meal. We were home by 8:30pm and finished off the evening by sitting down to watch an episode of Homeland, our new series of choice.

Thank you to everyone for your lovely gifts, cards and messages. I had lots of pink and Disney-themed presents and cards as always, and I'll continue to post lots of my gifts on Instagram over the next few weeks.

I'll leave you with one happy thought... 200 days to go until Christmas Day. You're welcome!

Friday, 1 June 2018

Walt Disney World in 15 photos

We've been back from Walt Disney World for two weeks and it already feels like a distant memory. Time goes much slower in the real world than it does in Disney World!

As always, we had an amazing time. We managed to fit lots of new things into this trip as well as all our old favourites, including these ten new things I identified in my last blog post. I can't even begin to describe how much I love going back and how much I miss it when I'm not there.

Don't be alarmed by the title of this blog post... I obviously took more than 15 photos during our time away. In fact, it's probably not much of an exaggeration to suggest that I took ten times that amount.

However, I decided that summarising our two weeks with one of my favourite photos from each day would be a good post to ease myself back in to the blogging routine.

Day 1 - The welcome view from our balcony when we finally got to Saratoga Springs

Day 2 - We spent our first full day at the Magic Kingdom. It's one of our traditions!

Day 3 - We love the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Day 4 - View from California Grill's observation deck. Our first signature meal of the holiday!

Day 5 - A beautifully sunny day at Animal Kingdom

Day 6 - My love for the Move it! Shake it! Street Party knows no bounds

Day 7 - Our first experience of Pandora - The World of Avatar at night

Day 8 - A sunny morning at Hollywood Studios

Day 9 - Breakfast at Be Our Guest to start off a scorching day 

Day 10 - Cocktails and a beautiful sunset in Disney Springs

Day 11 - Another trip to Epcot to admire the Flower and Garden topiaries

Day 12 - A stroll along the Boardwalk followed by a meal at the Yachtsman Steakhouse 

Day 13 - The day with the crazy tropical weather, starting with a boiling hot morning at Typhoon Lagoon

Day 14 - Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom on our last night

Day 15 - One last wander around Disney Springs before catching the Magical Express to the airport

So there you have it... Walt Disney World in 15 photos. It took me a shameful amount of time and three different stints on the laptop to decide on these 15 photos, by the way.

Keep a look out for more holiday blog posts over the next few weeks!

Friday, 27 April 2018

10 new things I'm looking forward to at WDW

There are just six days to go until my sixth holiday to Walt Disney World!

When people ask why we keep going back there, my first instinct is to say 'I don't question your life choices, why do you feel the need to question mine?' However, I'm far too polite so I painstakingly explain that there are always new things popping up there and we also love re-doing all the things we've already done.

It's a huge place and it's absolutely impossible to fit everything in to two weeks. By the time we get to the last three or four days of the holiday, we have to keep a list of things we've got left to do to make sure we don't miss anything out. And, inevitably, we never manage to do it all which always gives us an excuse to go back.

I thought I'd blog about the ten new things I'm excited about experiencing this year, just to prove that every holiday to Walt Disney World is different and that there are always new things to appreciate.

1. Pandora - The World of Avatar

A brand new land in Animal Kingdom with new attractions, views and food offerings! 

2. Happily Ever After 

We only just missed out on seeing the very first Happily Ever After nightshow last year, so I can't wait to experience it for the first time this year.

3. 'Up! A Great Bird Adventure' show

Another new attraction at Animal Kingdom. I think we'll be spending lots more time there this year to fit in all these new things! 

4. Outdoor kitchens at Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival 

Although we've tried a few drinks from the stalls at the Flower and Garden Festival, we've never tried any of the food on offer. I'm determined to try a couple of items this year, and we can use our snack tokens to do so. 

5. New restaurants

I blogged about the new restaurants we'll be trying this year a few weeks ago, and I'm getting more excited about them by the hour. 

6. Animal Kingdom Lodge 

I've never been to Animal Kingdom Lodge and I'm really looking forward to exploring the resort after we've eaten lunch at Sanaa. 

7. Meet Goofy

I've walked past Goofy tens of times in his various meetings spots but I've never stopped to have my photo taken with him. That's going to change this year! 

8. Prince Charming Regal Carousel 

I can't believe I've never been on this ride... this is the closest I've got to even photographing it! I absolutely have to try to fit it in this year. 

9. Blaze Pizza

I've heard lots of people raving about this quick-service restaurant in Disney Springs, so it's been put on our 'must try' list. 

10. Boardwalk Bakery 

Again, I can't believe I've never bought anything from the Boardwalk Bakery after walking past so many times. This is going to be the year I finally buy something from there! 

Have you got any last minute tips on any other new things I could try this year? Let me know! 

Friday, 20 April 2018

My holiday shopping wishlist

There are just 13 days to go until we're back in Walt Disney World... where has this year gone?!

As a general rule, I don't particularly enjoy shopping. However, shopping while on a Disney holiday is a completely different ball game and adds an extra element of pre-holiday excitement. I've got quite a few things on my shopping wish list for Florida next month.

I wrote a blog post about my holiday shopping wishlist last year, and it actually helped me to (mostly) stick to my must-have items rather than buying anything and everything. Consequently, I've decided to go the same thing this year!

Firstly, I've been coveting lots of things from the amazing stores situated in Disney Springs and at the parks...

Thanks to Instagram, I really want to bring home
some kind of pink/rose gold spirit jersey.

I'm hoping to treat myself to a small Dooney & Bourke bag
to use in the parks.

We'll be buying a few Disney-themed dog toys for Jessie on our travels. 

Capitals were completely necessary there. 

How cute is this beautiful Minnie Mouse plush from
the Flower and Garden Festival?

I'm on a mission to collect all the Disney dogs.
I might add Nana to my collection this year!

We want to get a cute Ratatouille-themed print for our
kitchen (just not one that costs as much as this one).

I always add to my fridge magnet collection whenever we go on holiday. 

I need to wear a lanyard every day in my new job...
perfect opportunity to buy a Disney pin!

Although lots of the items I bring home from Florida tend to be from Walt Disney World itself, we also enjoy visiting the many shopping outlets nearby. '60% off' signs are very common in these outlets and I love a good bargain. With this in mind, I've got a few non-Disney items on my list.

I'm on the hunt for a little black bag, so I'll be scouring the Kate Spade outlets. 

I'm in desperate need of new gym/running clothes, and Under Armour
is much cheaper in the US than in the UK.

I shouldn't really buy any new Ugg boots, but... 

I might blog about my holiday purchases when I get back... do you think I'll stick to this wishlist?