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

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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.

Menopause and the Mouse

Hot flashes are not fun! They are especially not fun in the extreme Florida heat. 

Unfortunately there is no cure all. But there are some suggestions that could help. Some of these suggestions are really for everyone who wants to stay a little cooler.

1. Bring a cooling towel. They help. In a pinch, even a resort face cloth will help. 

2. Stay hydrated. I can’t stress this enough. I really like how quick service and even the Starbucks in the park Supply you with nice free ice water. Bring a water bottle and keep on filling it up.

3. Find a cool spot to relax in. This could be an air-conditioned ride Like the Carousel of Progress or the big hallway near Club Cool in Epcot.

4. Moisture wicking clothing. Don’t judge leggings too harshly.  Just make sure they are not transparent!

Finally, just know that everyone else is glistening too!

The Spirit of Aloha at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

The Spirit of Aloha dinner show is fantastic! We went to the 8:15 pm show. There is also a 6:15 pm seating. Located at the Polynesian Resort, the wonderful venue is nestled in greenery on the path towards the Grand Floridian. 

The island cuisine is served family style and you can request more of all or any part of the meal. This also includes soft drinks and some beer and wines.

The meal begins with a platter of pineapple, salad and noodles. The lime and coconut dressing is tangy and so fresh tasting.

The main meal consists of steamed vegetables, sticky rice, pulled pork, spare ribs and chicken. The meat is not overly sauced but has a little bite. 

The dessert is a pineapple upside down cake. Super moist!

The show is great! It’s very interactive and truly fun for all ages. There is dancing, singing and audience participation. There is familiar music and expected hula and fire dancing. This is all put together in a charming story narrated by Auntie. I’m sure this show updates and will eventually include Moana touches.

Take your time and walk around the Resort. It’s worth a late night stroll. I highly suggest Spirit of Aloha! I would definitely do this again.

Gina 

Eating Around the World – Epcot

Yes, we’ve all seen the great themed t-shirts endorsing drinking around the world. Some are so clever for wedding parties, fraternities and families. I like the shirts with maps of Epcot – just in case you get lost. However, I’m not much of a drinker and end up being the designated driver.

I prefer eating around the world. Sure it’s easier during festival time and they do take up a good portion of the year. Throw in a curve ball and eat around any park!

If I’m going to eat around Epcot here are my can’t miss dishes:

1. Germany – Macaroni and Cheese Curds. OMG! This is pasta, creamy goodness. It’s beyond words. You can get this at the Bier Garten Buffet and also right outside at the quick service counter.

2. UK – Fish & Chips. This is nothing fancy but wicked good. Again this is served inside at the Rose & Crown and quick service. The fish is perfectly breaded and fried. I actually prefer to sit outside.

3. Morocco – Chicken Shawarma. This is our go to meal. The Tangerine Cafe is a quick service that also serves a great roasted chicken meal. 

4. Desert in France – L’Artisan Des Glaces. You can’t go wrong with ice cream! This is super premium and wonderfully flavored. It’s rich enough to share but who wants to do that!

All of this food can be paired with an adult beverage but doesn’t have to be. No matter what you do, enjoy!

Gina

Pandora: World of Avatar

It’s finally here! After what feels like decades, Pandora: World of Avatar has finally been opened to the public! The new land based off of the highest grossing movie of all time, Avatar had high expectations and in my opinion, far exceeded them.

To take it all in was exciting. It was like stepping into the movie. Details upon details made the experience borderline overwhelming. I loved every bit of it. I loved how the imagineers were able to make it seem like you were walking through an almost foggy, dense, overgrown area without feeling trapped. 


The area is pretty crowded right now given the anticipation and excitement over the expansion so be prepared to wait in longer lines for the two rides featured in Pandora. The two rides are Na’vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage. Na’vi River Journey is a boat ride through the land of Pandora. I have not been on this ride yet so I don’t have many details. I have been on Avatar Flight of Passage. The ride was very built up as a “Soarin x10” type of experience so I went in there with high expectations. 


They matched my expectations plus some. It is a ride similar to Soarin but takes it beyond with the feeling that you are alone riding this banshee through Pandora. If you don’t look around while riding you will completely forget that you are sharing this ride with 48 people(I think). I would consider this ride a ‘must fastpass’ type of ride. The wait has been starting at around 3 hours but if this is the type of ride you really enjoy I don’t believe you would be upset or underwhelmed if you waited in line. 


I found this entire experience to be very immersive and captures everything that made the movie the hit that it is. I have already spent 2 full days in a row in Animal Kingdom since the expansion opened which is something I can honestly say I have never done. This was exactly was Animal Kingdom needed to bring it from the “half-day maybe” park to the “first stop or more” destination it is now.  


Enjoy!

Courtney(@pdcourt)

MegaCon Orlando 2016 – pictures

I went to my first comic book convention – MegaCon. I will admit that I had a preconceived notion of what I would see. However it was so much more! More sci-fi, more anime, more artists and more everything!

I thought I would be Disney cute and wear my princess tiara shirt and an actual tiara. Well, I was probably one of the most conservatively dressed people there! The highlight of my day was definitely seeing Stan Lee! At 94 years old, he has been elevated to almost god-like status in this community.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!!!

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Universal Studios & Island of Adventure 

As a child, taking vacations to Florida really just meant Disney World. Only once in my 30 previous vacations to Florida did I go to Universal Studios or Island of Adventure. Fast forward to moving to Florida, the day I moved here was the day I got my Disney Annual Pass but it took me 2 years 9 months to finally go to Universal.  Being a #DisneySnob, I was not overly excited but really wanted to see what it was like.


I was not disappointed at all. The parks were beautiful. Walking around Unversal Studios made me miss my Streets of America in Hollywood Studios even more. It was really like walking down busy streets in a bustling city. Something new for me was the rides and shows are literally right next to each other, you can go from ride to show to another ride to another show without really adding many steps to your trackers. This made everything flow pretty nicely. 


Though everything is really close together there are still plenty of places to relax and get refreshed. Pictured below is a stage area where you can sit on the turf. They will sometimes play trailers to their upcoming movies but overall it’s pretty quiet(except for the roller coaster) . It was just a nice spot to relax at. There is also a street in the park that is a quiet street, you can’t be rowdy on it. It is meant as a quiet walk through to settle down some restless kids and cool off. 


Though I mostly only have pictures of Universal Studios(forgot my phone day one), my favorite of the two parks was Island of Adventure. The Jurassic Park area was really cool and immersive. The River Adventure ride is so fun and I REALLY wish I had a child with me so I could have gone on the gliders. And, even though I am older, I rode every ride in Seuss Landing. I just couldn’t stop myself. Plus, I got to see my beloved Marvel Superheroes! Now, I would love to talk about the crown jewel of Universal, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

 

This area was really like entering a different world. I really felt like I was in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. The attention to detail that was put into everything just blew my mind and don’t even get me started on the Butterbeer! 


Taking the train was really something. I thought it was going to be a basic train ride just connecting the two lands but not at all. I actually saw my train leaving the station and transitioning into arriving at Hogsmeade. It was absolutely incredible. 


Going back to the detail, it felt as though I could stay just in the WWHP for days. It was truly incredible. To submerge myself more into the area, I purchased an interactive wand. The wand allowed me to cast spells at marked windows and feel like an actual wizard(!!).


The rides in this area are awesome. They also have a ride for Harry Potter fans of all ages, or rides for different intensity levels. 

To wrap up my two days at Universal I would like to say that even though through my time there I definitely did a lot of comparing to Disney World, they are really not the same at all. Most of the rides featured in both parks are definitely geared towards an older crowd. So if you have young children I really don’t recommend anything more than a day at the parks. Also, if you are prone to motion sickness or have back and neck problems a lot of the rides, and even some shows, may be a little difficult for you. 

When you purchase a pass, if you would like the whole Harry Potter experience, get the 2-parks 1-day option on your ticket(essentially their park hopper option) or else you cannot ride the train in between the two lands. I also did not think their express pass was needed. The longest we waited in line was 35-40 minutes and this was considered a “moderate” day in the parks. Universal also has an app like Disney. It helps with wait times and getting virtual passes(essentially a fast pass but you actually NEED one to ride the Jimmy Fallon ride). I will say, the wait times are highly inaccurate on the app but it gave me an idea of where everything was(it had rides shut down that were up and 1 hour long waits for rides that had a 20 minute wait) I do think Universal is a must for families who have thrill seekers or Harry Potter fans. Even if you don’t have either of those, it still may be worth a day trip to experience something different than Disney. 

Courtney (@pdcourt)