The Year in Disney 

Another year is drawing to a close. I’ve enjoyed festivals and anniversaries at Walt Disney World. I’ve also celebrated holidays and with first timers. 

Walt Disney World hit it’s 45th Anniversary on October 1, 2016 but the discounts for passholders will continue until the end of this year. Gotta love the savings! 

In January, Epcot played host to it’s first Festival of the Arts. This was understated and showcased fancy PopTarts. I’m looking forward to see how this festival evolves.

May marked the opening of Animal Kingdom’s Pandora. It’s a whole new world! This is definitely the most saught after Fast Pass. The imagineers went above and beyond for this land.

In August, Grand Avenue opened in Hollywood Studios. This opened up the area from the Sci-fi Dine In to Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. BaseLine Tap House serves up specialty beers and light fare. PizzeRizzo is a quick service restaurant with Muppet movie theming. This area has food for everyone. 

You can’t  beat the Magic Kingdom for Halloween! The parties are full of candy, shorter lines and special meet and greats. If you are a fan of the Haunted Mansion, make a point to go because the parade is to die for (giggle).

Now we’re in the holiday season and each park is incredible! Don’t miss Jinge Bells Jingle BAM at Hollywood Studios. The show has been updated. Flurry of Fun is a projection show on the Tower of Terror choreographed with music, lights and SNOW! The park is retro at it’s best.

Now we’re starting to make plans for New Year’s Eve. We’ve been to different parks so maybe we could try a resort like the Boardwalk or the Grand Floridian. 

RIP: Great Movie Ride and Ellen

Hope your new year is filled with hope, not and Disney!

Gina PD 

Disney Springs: Blaze Pizza

Disney Springs has it all! From shops to dance parties any person of any age can find something to do. They also have plenty of options for food. No matter what you are in the mood for, Disney Springs probably has it. Recently, I was in the mood for pizza. So instead of just getting a regular pizza pie from my local pizza shop I decided to take the drive down to Disney Springs to try out Blaze Pizza for the first time.

Blaze Pizza is a modern pizza place. It’s set up like a cafeteria but incredibly clean and inviting. I would describe its service as Chipotle but for pizza. They do offer their own stylings of pizza such as pepperoni or meat lovers but the popular choice seemed to be the “Build you own” pizza

“Build you own” pizza is very easy and you are given so many options. The best part is you have no limits on how many toppings you put on. It’s a good option for the picky eater or someone who wants to be very adventurous with their pizza. Your food will also be done pretty quick. They advertise that your pizza will take 180 seconds and honestly, I waited a little less than that.

Regular crust, white sauce, mozzarella and gorgonzola cheeses, chicken and applewood bacon, sautéed onions and spinach

Overall, Blaze Pizza was a very good experience. The staff was friendly, even coming to your table and making sure everything was okay. The place was very clean and the food was excellent. On top of the great experience, I was able to enjoy a large lunch for $13 and even had leftovers!

Courtney

Art of Animation: Cars Suite

This week we had a lot of family in town to celebrate Thanksgiving and of course to go to Disney World. With 6 of us staying on property, we thought it would be a good idea to stay in a family suite. I have stayed in the All-Star Music suites before. I love them but we wanted to try something different so we booked an Art of Animation family suite. We were put in the Cars suites.

The rooms are bigger than the All-Star suites. The layout makes them roomier at least. With a large master bedroom and bathroom and living space that has two full/queen sized beds that tuck away during the day, the room seemed huge. Though the second(main) bathroom is a little small it’s still perfectly fine for a vacation. It was also very nice to have a microwave, small fridge and kitchenette sink in the room for leftovers and washing out mugs.

Like with the other “value resorts” Art of Animation is very immersive and bright. Just walking to the Cars buildings we felt like we were walking down Route 66 just as Lightening McQueen was in the Cars movies.

I would recommend these suites, also Nemo and Lion King themed to any bigger family. It’s worth it just for the extra bathroom and extra space.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Review 

The Epcot International Food And Wine Festival is coming to a close and as someone who tried something at every food post, I thought I would go through my small plates and desserts that should come back and others that may need to be retired. 

My favorites list is a little long but I suppose that’s a good thing for this event! 

The Fried Chicken with Cornbread was the first dish I tried. It’s really hard to mess up fried chicken so it was a safe first test of the festival. It was excellent! The cornbread was nice and warm and the chicken was perfectly crispy. For those that are less adventurous with their foods this is a dish that would make this event worth going to.

This is the carrot cake from the America food post. The glaze on top is a cream cheese glaze that if they were to bottle it up and sell I would buy an embarrassing amount of. It was so good. The cake was moist and had some ingrediants in it, like raisins and nuts that modern recipes tend to take out, which made the cake feel original.

This dish was the most surprisingly good to me. It is the Pork Belly from Brazil. The meat was tender and perfect but the best part of the plate was the bean mixture. It was just a good tasting plate and one of the few plates that I felt could be a meal. 

The macaroni and cheese was a crowd favorite but I am picky about Mac and cheese so I was apprehensive about trying. I am glad I did though. It was super cheesy so it made me forget about the fact that I don’t usually like breadcrumbs in my Mac and cheese and the bacon bits were the perfect addition to the dish. 

The Nitro Chocolate Almond dessert gets the award for coolest option at Food and Wine. It’s starts out as a smoky egg shaped hard chocolate and with a small whack of a hammer a smooth chocolate mousse is revealed. With some caramel drizzle and almond dust added next, this little dessert is deliscious and unique.

The pork slider with pineapple chutney seems to be a staple each year and deservingly so. It’s alway so fresh and has so much flavor, I really enjoy this one and hope it stays for years!

Canada has one of the best food posts this year. The bacon cheddar soup is rich and the pretzel rolls that comes with is the perfect “spoon” 

Also located in Canada, The filet mignon needs Barry any sides. It’s tender and themushrooms add a good tang without taking away from the flavor of the steak

Last on my list of favorite thing was the white chocolate peanut butter mousse. Though I wish it were bigger it was affordable enough to get two at the time. 

There’s honestly. It a lot of things this year I did not enjoy. The items hear seem to all have the problem with them for me. Texture. 

This one is the perfect example texture for me. This is the tenderloin from Africa. Though the beef tasted okay, the abundant amount of sauce and gritty potato that was with it just didn’t go well together. 

The beef stroganoff was meh for me. Though it had an okay taste, the stroganoff felt like little pieces of styrofoam. I could not even finish it. On a positive note, the pickles on top were excellent. 

The most surprising thing in this list of dislikes. I love Mac and cheese but the combination of pasta in, essentially, a bread bowl was just too much! Holy carbload!

I got this in Italy. I don’t remember what is was and the picture doesn’t jog my memory either. All I remember is struggling to swallow my first bite. The saucy stuff was borderline flavorless and the white stuff was gritty and somehow less flavorful than the sauce. 

So this year was fun. My first year of trying something from every food post. Though it was sort of expensive, about $200 all together, and I didn’t have alcoholic beverages. But it was nice to push my taste buds and enjoy the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. 

PD Courtney