Getting Out Of My Comfort Zone At WDW

I love Walt Disney World. It’s my happy place. I love Florida and have never regretted moving here for a moment.

One difference between here and New England is the lakes. I grew up swimming in the spring fed lakes up north. I’ve fished and gone tubing and enjoyed it so much. I’m Florida, not so much. I’m not a fan of wildlife. I can handle the lizards, tolerate the love bugs and view the cranes from afar.

I thought Small World and Living With The Land were close enough for me. Then we were at the Polynesian Resort and Joe stopped and looked around the marina. He raised the challenge and I figured it was time to get out of my comfort zone.

I loved it! The sights were stunning and the different points of view were eye opening. I thought Bay Lake Tower was a round building. It’s more like a horse shoe. The Grand Floridian is truly regal and Fort Wilderness Lodge is majestic.

I’m so glad that we tried something new. It really goes to show that after countless visits to the World, there’s still something new to do. Sometimes you just need to put your fears aside.

Gina PD

Wasted Spaces at WDW – Epcot

Wasted Spaces at WDW – Epcot

Enclosed within 47 square miles, Disney World is roughly the size of San Francisco. There are 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 4 golf clubs, 2 mini golf parks and countless Disney resorts and Good Neighbors. Sounds like that space should be pretty full but there are untouched acres, empty spaces and under utilized areas in otherwise populated spots.

Epcot has room for several more countries tucked in greenery between existing sponsor countries. Rumor has it we will hear more about a new addition at the D23 Convention this year. My guess is Brazil but Joe would like Portugal.

The Wonders of Life Pavilion was home to classic attractions such as Body Wars, which was kind of like Star Tours if Yoda was a doctor and Darth Vader was an infection. The Making of Me was a film narrated by Martin Short that was literally about making babies. Sad that I missed that! Now the building is the seasonally used as the Festival Center. We saw recently it was getting a paint job. Hopefully this will be totally rehabbed.

The Odessey and Inoventions are also just waiting for the next great update. I think of the endless possibilities for them. Getting off Spaceship Earth into a new area stressing our global community would be super.

What would you put in the empty or seldom used spots in Epcot?

Art Smith’s Homecoming at Disney Springs

Art Smith’s Homecoming at Disney Springs

There are countless restaurants in Disney Springs, from food stands (Poutine), to quick service (Polite Pig) to great table service (The Boathouse). You will be able to find whatever you want for whatever you are in the mood for and whatever budget you want to stay in.

We were in the mood for a good home cooked meal but it was my turn to cook thus we turned up at Disney Springs. We had heard of Homecoming and Joe is a big Art Smith fan. He follows him on Instagram. Joe’s a huge foodie.

We were not disappointed. We went for early Saturday dinner and had no reservations. We had actually figured on BBQ at the Polite Pig. We only waited 20 minutes.

The whole restaurant runs like a finely tuned machine. The staff is large and seems to work together perfectly. The tables were turned quickly but we didn’t feel rushed. The drinks were replenished and the meal was served and cleared away promptly.

I had the catfish and grits with an apple ale. It was perfect. The fish was fresh and crispy. I’m from New England, so grits aren’t really my thing but these made me change my mind. They were reminiscent of creamy polenta. I would eat them daily!

Joe had the fried chicken and mashed potatoes with sausage gravy. First of all, he couldn’t finish it. That just doesn’t happen, like ever. Joe said it was the best fried chicken he’d ever eaten. The mashed potatoes were creamy but the gravy was just perfection.

We didn’t have desert.

We highly suggest Homecoming to all the foodies out there!

There is a Passholder discount.

Gina & Joe

Breakfast at Boma – Animal Kingdom Lodge

Breakfast at Boma

This is a buffet with a twist. Yes, there are Mickey waffles, bacon and scrambled eggs but there is so much more. There are no characters but children will still enjoy Boma.

The location is in the Jambo House of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and it is stunning. The African themed resort is colorful and is enhanced by the backdrop of the savanna. Definitely take time to walk around and spot the animals roaming around.

I give this 5 stars!


These are a Few of My Favorite (WDW) Things

These are a few of my favorite Walt Disney World things. I have made my favorites list before but these things change from time to time. It’s hard to choose when there’s so much to love but here I go.

Favorite Resort – I’m going with the Yacht Club Resort. It’s location on Crescent Lake so close to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios make it so desirable. The neighboring resorts are great for a meal or just a visit. The Yachtsman Steakhouse has fine dining and impeccable service. The rooms were recently remodeled and have clean classic lines. Always a pleasure.

Favorite Character Dining – This one was close but I’m going with the Garden Grill in the Land at Epcot. The food is served family style. I like that the menu changes with the seasons and some ingredients are grown right on site. The characters come to visit each table for pictures and autographs. Oh yeah, the restaurant spins so your view changes throughout the meal.

Favorite Holiday – another tough one. Disney makes all year feel like a holiday but Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party blew me away! We got enough candy to last a month. The parade was beyond what I’ve come to expect. The character interaction was perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing!

Favorite Show – For the First Time in Forever: a Frozen Sing Along Celebration is a must do each time I visit Hollywood Studios. Sometimes I go in just to see Ben playing Eric, a royal historian.

Favorite Epcot Festival – Festival of the Arts is the most understated of the festivals. It doesn’t draw as many people as the Flower & Garden or Food & Wine. I feel like I can enjoy it more with additional elbow room. The Odyssey building really shines with the vintage style artwork. The food and wine are still there but it’s just got style!

This list will always be evolving just like Walt Disney World does.


Feeling Fancy at WDW – the Waldorf Astoria

Feeling Fancy at WDW – the Waldorf Astoria

Joe and I have a goal to stay in all the resorts in Walt Disney World. We have stayed at All Star Music and Movies, POP Century, Art of Animation, Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter, Coronado Springs, Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Yacht Club. We have also stayed Good Neighbor resorts – Hilton Buena Vista Palace, Hilton Bonnet Creek and now the Waldorf Astoria. There are aspects of each resort that we love!

The Waldorf Astoria is Amazing! The name alone evokes vintage charm and decadence. Though the original opened in New York in 1893, this version was completed in 2010 and has a Florida flare. There are just under 500 rooms and it’s sister resort, Hilton Bonnet Creek, has about 1000. They are connected by convention space. The pools are reciprocal and incredible. The Hilton’s has a lazy river and the Waldorf’s is super elegant and serene.

There are several different options for dining. We kept it simple with evening drinks and a light breakfast at Peacock Alley. We also enjoyed the food and service at Oscar’s.

Joe and I stayed in a Deluxe King Room. The bathroom was huge and so well set up with a deep tub and separate shower. There was a comfortable sitting area with a sofa (pull out bed), chair with ottoman and great glass coffee table.

The touches like the crown molding, super lux bedding and great artwork made us feel like we had really moved up in the world. There is nothing I would change about the room. Even the view, facing Orlando, was perfect!

The guests were very varied with young families, business travels and all aged couples. There is a spa, fitness center and golf course onsite so there seems to be a lot of activity going on all the time.

It was great! It was a nice treat that I would love to repeat. It’s nice to see how the 1% vacation!

Gina PD

I Hate That I Love You – Part 4

I hate that I love you, again.

1. Crocs. I have always sworn that I would never wear a pair of Crocs. However, after heading over for a night in Walt Disney World still wearing my shoes from work, I took the plunge. I have bone spurs in my heel and walking too much in dress shoes is pretty uncomfortable. So I gave Croc sandals a go. I have to say, these are amazing!

2. Luxury. The Grand Floridian has always been the pinnacle of luxury, excess and excellence to me. Then I walked into the Waldorf Astoria at Bonnet Creek. This feels like old money. It’s grand but not gaudy, perfect. It’s elegant and timeless.

3. Jeans. I used to make fun of Floridians in their jackets and long pants at any temperature below 70. Well, it’s taken a while but now I totally get it. It’s because anything below 70 degrees is freezing. I freeze in my office, I freeze in the movie theater, I freeze everywhere.

Bonus – still not giving in to a fanny pack!


Living the #WaltLife

Living the #WaltLife or #DisneyLife means different things to different people. To some, it’s just puzzling.

To so many, it means that you grew up watching Disney movies, the Disney Channel and maybe even the Mickey Mouse Club. Add in some visits to Walt Disney World or Disneyland and some ears and it’s magic.

You may get the people that will bring you down. They will question why you are going to the same place year after year. They don’t see the magic. They may not know that this is your happy place. You can go there and have the best day ever – every single day! You can go to a Disney cartoon movie even if you don’t have small (or big) children.

To me, it’s knowing that I will spend each weekend with Dumbo or Olaf. I’m lucky enough that I can stop and see fireworks on my way home from work on any given night. I decorate in Disney, I have over 10 pairs of Minnie Mouse ears, I have the Dooney & Bourke purses and even wear Laila perfume from Norway. Date night is always at the Parks or Resorts.

Joe, my husband once said that Disney World was just a theme park, but it’s so much more. FYI he no longer feels that way. He works at the reservation center and can spout off more facts than anyone I know.

Enjoy the Magic!


My 2018 Disney World Resolutions

I’m normally not one to make New Year’s Resolutions. However,  I think change is good, so here we go…

My 2018 Disney Resolutions

1. Walk on the wild side. I don’t spend a lot of time at Animal Kingdom. I’m not sure why because I truly enjoy it. I never leave without a smile on my face. I’m  going to branch out and explore more and maybe even finish my Wilderness Explorers book.

2. Fireworks. I literally drive through WDW to get home 5 nights a week. I will occasionally stop off for dinner (Coronado Springs/Caribbean Beach) or at Epcot for the concerts. I need to stop more often and enjoy the view.

3. Go on a tour. I’m not sure if I want to go on a Safari or get the Keys to the Kingdom? We did Behind the Seeds at Epcot and really enjoyed it.

Hopefully I’ll keep my resolutions and continue to see the Magic in my World!

Happy New Year!

Gina PD 

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