Always Looking Up

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Epcot’s Italy

Going through my pictures it’s clear to spot a recurring theme; I am always looking up. Yes I do love the lighting fixtures in all their splendid varieties. I love crystal chandeliers and rusty candle holders. I’m not sure if there is a light that I don’t have a picture of in all of WDW and most of the resorts. Every time I find a new one, it’s like Christmas!

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The Beach Club

It’s not just the lights that I love. It’s that they are always so perfectly themed to their location. They fit. They may enhance the entire scene (Haunted Mansion) or they may just fade into the background (path lighting at the Polynesian) but they have a purpose to illuminate and enrich. It’s the attention to detail where Disney has me wrapped and lighting is just one aspect of that.

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Artist Pallet at Saratoga Springs

I always wish I could take better pictures. I wish I could capture how the lighting really effects the surroundings. I do know that I won’t stop looking up and sometimes I may trip. I apologize for bumping into other guests and thank my family for catching me so I don’t fall flat on my face. I’m sure if I did they would help me up again after they stopped laughing!

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Tony’s Town Square Restaurant – Magic Kingdom

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Tony’s Town Square Restaurant is in a wonderful location with a great view of Main Street. It is adjacent to the Town Square Theater that features meet and greets with Talking Mickey Mouse and Tinkerbell. The interior is beautiful with touches and details from Lady and the Tramp. The fountain in the middle is great selfie spot!

We went for dinner with just adults. There were six of us and we were able to get same day ADR’s. Always check the MDE app because you never know when someone will cancel.

We started with the Calamari. We got two orders and needed them both! Did you know that calamari is the national appetizer of Rhode Island? It was perfectly seasoned and cooked well but not overcooked as can happen with calamari.

We had the Chicken Parmigiana, the Shrimp Scampi and the Cannelloni. All the dishes were prepared well but some of the portions were rather small and not unlike you could get at any Mom & Pop Italian restaurant. They lacked a wow factor. They were fine but we all expected much more.

Deserts were fantastic. We had the Tiramisu, Chocolate Cake and Pistachio Crème Brulee. They were all well worth the wait! They were all truly works of art! The presentation and flavor were perfect.

The service and atmosphere were great. The entrees needed some help but all in all I would give it a 3.5 out of 5. Glad we went but don’t necessarily have to go again.

PD

Work and play all in the same day. (why not?)

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One of the benefits of being married to a cast member is you don’t have to wait for a day off to enjoy the magic. The magic never ends!
When most people get out of work the last thing they want to do is hang around. Not true of the cast members in this family. They just change out of their costumes put on a fresh shirt and shorts and join us back at a park for some relaxation and sometimes a bite to eat. There’s no need to worry about FP+ or ADR’s. This is time to enjoy the atmosphere and sit at some of our favorite places to people watch.

The tables outside of Plaza Ice Cream (with the yellow and white umbrellas) are a great spot to watch shows and parades and share a Mickey Kitchen Sink. Sharing is optional. Walk across the street and get a hot dog at Casey’s  or stop for a latte at Starbucks. Doesn’t get any better.

Then we head home rested and ready to start a new day with a smile!

Enjoy!

PD

Port Orleans Riverside

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Port Orleans Riverside is the larger sister resort to Port Orleans French Quarter. This resort was formerly known as Dixie Landings. POR is a moderately priced old south themed resort with two distinct sections: Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend.

Alligator Bayou is rustic style lodges with a more woodsy. The roofing and coloring of the buildings vary and add to the rough feeling. In Magnolia Bend are grand white manor houses. Each one with different pillars and wrought iron accents. Definitely a grand atmosphere with the rose gardens and fountains. There are a total of 2050 rooms with some accommodating 5 people with a murphy bed. Some of the rooms have been turned in the Royal Rooms with magical touches such as fiber optic enhanced scenic headboards.

All rooms are equipped with a mini-fridge and free wifi. The rooms feel very spacious (315 sq ft) and beautifully decorated, of course. They do have handicap accessible rooms, rooms with two double beds and with king sized beds. Unlike the French Quarter, there can be a hike to amenities.

POR has five “quiet” pools that are open 24 hours. There are no lifeguards on duty. There are changing rooms and rest rooms available at all pools. Ol’ Man Island is the themed pool located in the Alligator Bayou section. It is open from 9-10 with lifeguards on  Muddy Rivers Bar is adjacent to the pool and has plenty of covered seating. There are hammocks available also. A kiddie pool and spa are in the same area. It can get quite crowded at times.

Bike and paddle boat rentals are available and there are fishing excursions on the Sassagoula River. There is a boat that will take you to Downtown Disney (Disney Springs). Take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the both Riverside and French Quarter! How romantic is that?

Riverside Mill is the food court at POR. The Mickey waffles are available and I highly suggest the Pasta station where you can pick out your own mix. There is plenty of seating available and the views from inside are wonderful especially the water wheel. Boatwright’s is a table service restaurant with seating under a semi-constructed boat. The food is fantastic and the atmosphere makes it a really fun meal.

You are welcome to use all amenities at French Quarter also. There is a nice walking/running path that encompassed both resorts. I think the resorts compliment each other well and make a wonderful first or last day filler.

Enjoy, I know that we did!

PD

1900 Park Fare – Grand Floridian

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1900 Park Fare is a buffet restaurant located inside the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. You will want to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the scenery before your meal. The sheer opulence of the GF takes a while to soak in. Walk around the grounds and check out the Alice in Wonderland themed children’s play area.

The restaurant is open from 8am to 9pm and WDW park passes are not required. You can get to the GF via car, boat, bus or monorail depending on where you are coming from. I have enjoyed meals at just about every time here and have not been disappointed. Not on the same day! The characters that you will meet do change from time to time. I have seen Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, the stepsisters, Alice and Mary Poppins.

The children’s section of the buffet is lower and has Mickey head shaped plates. There’s no judging adults who use those plates, just in case you were thinking about it. The selections are what you would expect – breakfast has mini Mickey waffles, potato puffs, cheesy scrambled eggs etc. For dinner there are the staples of chicken nuggets, pizza and macaroni and cheese. Children do not have to stay in that section and can choose from the entire buffet.

The main part of the buffet for breakfast include lobster topped eggs benedict (super fantastic), a carving station for ham and usually some sort of hash and scrambled eggs. Dinner includes carved striploin and turkey breast, a fish dish or two and all the sides you can imagine. There is a nicely loaded salad bar and soup selection also.

At breakfast you can also expect fruit and pastries as well as bagels. Deserts are out pretty much all the time and should not be skipped! They will have an assortment that includes brownies, cheesecake and flan. Again, no judging if you start with the desert!

Have fun and enjoy your meal!

50’s Prime Time Cafe – Hollywood Studios

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50’s Prime Time Café in Hollywood Studios is a blast from the past! Think of all the comfort foods that you would have at Grandma’s house. Not only is the food familiar but so is the decor! From the formica tabletops and patterned wallpaper to the milkshakes and green beans, 50’s will give you that sense of deja vu all while you watch the reruns of classic television shows.

They have different varieties of milkshakes that are rich and made with real ice cream. I have tried the Peanut Butter and Jelly, Strawberry and Peeps Milk Shakes. Each one was beyond my expectation and the Peeps tasted just like the beloved Easter treat!

Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken is crunchy and moist and perfectly paired with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Gravy and seasonal veggies. I got lucky and got carrots. I’m not a green bean fan. Cousin Ryan’s Vegetable Lasagna is filled with creamy and cheesy yumminess. Mom’s Old-Fashioned Pot Roast is a meal worthy of Sunday dinner. The portion is very generous and you will not leave hungry!

If by some chance you have room for desert, the Traditional Warm Apple Crisp A la Mode can’t be better! The Pineapple Upside Down Cake is not too large but also a great ending.

I’ve eaten at 50’s many times and have never had less than a great meal. I find that the more engaged you are with your server or “cousin” the more fun you’ll have. I could sit in there forever finding cookie jars and knick knacks that were at Aunt Shirley and Aunt Millie’s houses!

Enjoy!

PD

Bringing Home A Piece Of The Magic

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Going on a magical vacation to Disney is always nice but once you’re home a part of you wishes you were still there. I always make it a point to bring a little of the magic home with us. For my girls that meant a new stuffed toy from the latest Disney movie. For me it was a new Christmas ornament.

There are so many different items from pins, towels, blankets, Mickey ears the list is never ending . Let’s not forget pictures  I have frames and boxes full of them. We can spend hours looking thru them and reliving every moment like it was yesterday.

So the next time you are in Disney and you don’t want that magical feeling to end grap a new Mickey Mouse coffee mug and get that happy feeling each morning with your morning cup of joe.  I guarantee it will bring a smile.

Enjoy!

PD