Friday, 29 June 2018

It's cocktail o'clock at Walt Disney World

This post isn't entirely about cocktails, but I love to alliterate.

I've already blogged about my favourite snacks, quick-service restaurants and table-service restaurants from this year's trip. As those posts were obviously very food focused, I decided to write a separate post all about the drinkilicious beverages we tried at Walt Disney World this year.

Most non-alcoholic drinks at your resort and at the parks are included on the Disney Dining Plan as a snack. Each person gets two snack credits per day on the regular Dining Plan, so these drinks are a great way to use up your credits as well as quenching that humidity-induced thirst. 

You also receive a free refillable mug as part of the Dining Plan which means unlimited soft drink refills at your resort for the duration of your stay. 

As well as all the free non-alcoholic drinks, the Disney Dining Plan recently announced an exciting upgrade.  Your table-service credits now include one alcoholic drink along with your main meal and dessert. We like to have an alcoholic drink with our evening meals and have previously just paid the extra for them, so this was a welcome addition for us. 

Here are my top ten non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks from this year's holiday. Enjoy! 

We had two LeFou's Brews from Gaston's Tavern this year. They're absolutely massive and great value as a snack credit on the Dining Plan. 

We visited Dockside Margaritas in Disney Springs many many times. The cocktails are really tasty (I always order the Rum Runner) and the outdoor seating area boasts this amazing view. 

I ordered the 'It's Showtime Mojito' at Planet Hollywood. I was expecting it to be a bit watered down but it was actually very potent! 

South Sea Breeze cocktail at Nine Dragons in Epcot's China pavilion. Always a winner.

I don't even like tequila as a general rule, but this Frontera Margarita from Frontera Cocina was pretty spectacular. 

Night Blossom from Pandora: The World of Avatar. Basically a huge tumbler of colourful slushy sugar with edible beads on top, so obviously I loved it. 

No visit to the Flower and Garden Festival is complete without a Violet Lemonade. 

We love wandering around Epcot in the evening with either a Prosecco from Italy or a glass of wine from France. 

My standard cocktail order whenever we go to Shula's Steakhouse. Blueberry Martini! 

Glow-tini at the Yachtsman Steakhouse. You'd have thought the lure of this cocktail was all in the souvenir glowcube (some of it definitely is), but it does taste really good too. 

What are your favourite drinks at Walt Disney World? I'm forever on the hunt for tasty (and instagrammable) beverages! 

Friday, 22 June 2018

My favourite meals at Walt Disney World

After blogging about my top 5 snacks and top 5 quick-service restaurant last week, it's now time to salivate over my favourite table-service restaurants from this year's holiday.

As we were on the Disney Dining Plan again this year (read more about the plan here), our table-service restaurants came in two categories. The majority of restaurants at Walt Disney World fall into the standard category and are worth one credit per person. The remaining restaurants have the esteemed 'signature' label and are worth two credits per person as they're generally more expensive.

After much deliberation, I've chosen my top 5 standard table-service restaurants for 2018...

We discovered Animal Kingdom's Yak & Yeti last year and it was a firm favourite again this year. I would pay good money to eat this whole meal again right now. 

Nine Dragons in Epcot's China pavilion. Always a holiday staple for us! 

Frontera Cocina in Disney Springs was one of the new restaurants we tried this year. It was Mexican-themed and we'll definitely be going back there at some point. 

Via Napoli in Epcot's Italy pavilion is one of my favourite restaurants in the world. It never ever EVER disappoints. 

Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge was another new restaurant for us this year, and the starter alone catapulted it into my top 5. Best naan bread I've ever had, and I've eaten a lot of naan bread in my time.

Moving swiftly on to my favourite signature restaurants! Signature meals have to be planned very carefully as they're worth two credits each, and we decided to go to three this year. We also visited one restaurant which isn't on the Disney Dining Plan but is well worth paying for. All four restaurants were amazing so I'm going to feature them all, just because I can. 

I had steak at California Grill which isn't always very photogenic, but it tasted amazing nonetheless. And just look at that view from the observation deck! 

The Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club is one of the restaurants I get most excited about since trying it a couple of years ago. I think it might be my absolute favourite. 

We went to Citricos at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa on our last evening for a lovely three course meal. Everything about it was spectacular and it was the perfect place to spend our last night. 

We always love to visit Shula's Steakhouse at the Dolphin Hotel. It's not on the Disney Dining Plan and it's pretty pricey, but it's well worth it for such an amazing meal. 

Are you hungry yet? I'll be blogging about my favourite Disney drinks next week... watch this space! 

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!