Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

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Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is One of Hollywood Studios Most Popular Restaurants. Read More About It!

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

Even though Hollywood Studios is one of the most popular theme parks at Walt Disney World, they don’t have a ton of restaurants. And the restaurants they do have are difficult to get into. But none are harder to get than the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater!

The Setting is EVERYTHING – Top-Notch Disney Imagineering Theming!!

Located in Hollywood Studios, this unique “drive-in” restaurant features booths shaped like cars, dim lighting, and science fiction film clips on a drive-in movie screen. For starters, this is niche dining, and if you’re looking for a great dinner conversation, this is not the place for you! The cars seat 6, in rows of 2, so you can really only talk to the person next to you. And it’s dark. You may doze off, not that I would be ashamed because a nap is a nap, but if you don’t want to fall asleep, maybe, again, this is not for you!

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
Like Noah’s Ark, you’ll go 2 by 2
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Interior

It really does seem like you’re at a drive-in, but the film clips play on a loop and you WILL see them over and over and over and, likely, over again. Yes, it does get old. But it’s still an incredibly fun experience. The film clips are not scary. They’re more cheesy 50’s-type clips with corny aliens. When in doubt, pack a tablet, and let little ones blow off steam however they like!

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Cars Interior
Seriously, the inside of this restaurant is amazing

The Food – Introducing a BRAND NEW Menu!!

APPS AND SALADS
Sci-Fi Smoked Wings

As of June 2, 2022, there is a brand new menu, and it looks absolutely incredible! Start your meal with the all- new Sci-fi Smoked Wings. These wings come tossed in a porter barbecue sauce with a house-made pineapple and poppy seed coleslaw. YUM!

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Photo: Disney

Or maybe you’ll want the Spinach and Artichoke Dip. This plant-based blend of spinach, artichoke, red peppers, cauliflower, cashew cheese, and oat milk is served with house-made chips.

If you’re anything like me, you sometimes just want a nice, big salad. Like the Black Garlic Caesar Salad. Featuring petite romaine, grilled hearts of artichoke, chopped Applewood smoked bacon, shaved parmesan cheese, then covered with house-made black garlic Caesar dressing, and served with a tasty, toasted crostini. Then there’s the Grilled Chicken Citrus Salad. This delicious salad combines romaine lettuce, spinach, and arugula with rainbow tomatoes, candied pecans, cranberries, and feta cheese, and is topped with a house-made citrus vinaigrette and grilled marinated chicken.

BURGERS
Feature Film Burger

Holy moly, these burgers…. First up, the Feature Film Burger – Surf & Turf. LOOK AT THIS BEAST!! This unique twist on a classic is a signature blend of beef and house-made seasoning served on a brioche bun. It is then topped with a shrimp and crab cake, pepper jack cheese, chipotle hollandaise sauce, grilled onions, heirloom tomato, arugula, and house-made vinaigrette.

Pork on Pork Burger

I’m sure my husband would love that, because he is a connoisseur of Disney crab cakes on both coasts, but surf is not for me. HOWEVER, this Pork on Pork Burger is another story!! This is a grilled house-made pork patty topped with roasted pork belly, white sharp cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, cabbage slaw, and a house-made Carolina mustard sauce. OOOOOOOOH BABY! Gimme gimme gimme!

DESSERT
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Desserts
Photo: Disney

The Red Planet is a delicious white chocolate cheesecake with blueberry compote on a graham cracker tart with a matcha sponge and gold candied pecans. For a more tropical option, we have the Out-of-this-World Sci-Fi Swirl. This dish features a pineapple mousse with passion fruit cosmic swirl and a spiced lime spaceship garnished with space dust and blood orange coulis.

My Review

Film Clip

So, if I’m being completely honest, while I enjoyed the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, it wasn’t really something that made me want to go back again and again. It was more like a “well we did this once, that’s enough” situation. But this new menu has me second-guessing myself! I’ll be looking to add this one to an upcoming trip, for sure! What about you? Do you want to try the new foods?!

Would you like more information about Disney products? No problem, I’ve got you covered here!

Ready to book your Disney World vacation?! Contact me today for your free vacation quote! Now booking through October 2023!!

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Non-Park Day Activities

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Read Time:9 Minute, 27 Second

Here are 10 Non-Park Day Activities you should work into your next Walt Disney World Vacation!

Walt Disney World is 27,000 acres or 40 square miles. This is the same size as San Francisco, or TWO Manhattan Islands, for perspective. In other words: Walt Disney World is BIG. There are TONS of things to see and do other than theme parks (of which there are four). How do you know what to do? You get a travel agent (aka ME) and talk about Non-Park Day Activities! Here are ten Non-Park Day Activities to think about for your next Walt Disney World Vacation!

Enjoy Your Resort

Non-Park Day Activities
Boardwalk Luna Park Pool

It’s easy to fall into the line of thinking that “I paid too much money to just sit in a hotel,” but when you go to Walt Disney World, half of your trip OR MORE is just paying for that hotel! ENJOY IT! Every single resort has at least one place to eat, and all resorts outside of the Value Category offer at least one Quick Service Restaurant and at least one Table Service Restaurant. It is not inconceivable to plan an entire day of activities JUST at your hotel.

Explore the pools! Yes, plural. There are multiple pools at each resort, and some of them are pretty awesome, with waterslides and even water playgrounds. You will also find an arcade in every resort, too. Need more? You can watch “Movies Under the Stars” on the lawns and, if you pick the right resort, catch the nightly fireworks at one of the parks WHILE you’re watching the movie! Check the lobby every day to get the list of daily activities offered at your hotel, and pricing, if necessary. And when in doubt, grab a nap! Remember, you’ll be walking 8-12 miles PER DAY. Your body, and your kids, will thank you!

Tour the Skyliner Resorts/Do the Skyliner Bar Crawl

Non-Park Day Activities

Yep: Bar Crawl. There are 4 hotels with Skyliner stops, so it has become “a thing” to Skyliner Resort-Hop. There are several ways to do this, even combining EPCOT and Hollywood Studios stops, with Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and the Riviera. You could simply look around the resorts, do the Bar Crawl, or, even more intriguing, do a DESSERT crawl!

Tour the Monorail Resorts/Do the Monorail Bar Crawl

Non-Park Day Activities
The Contemporary

The Monorail Resorts are absolutely iconic. Even if you’ve never been to Disney World, you’ve probably at least heard the names. The Contemporary, the Polynesian, and the Grand Floridian are the massive, and pricy, resorts that surround the Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon. Even if you can’t afford to stay there, they’re worth a visit, especially at Christmas time! You could plan a bar crawl, stopping at such amazing Lounges as Steakhouse 71, Trader Sam’s, and Enchanted Rose. Maybe you like to eat? Well, from California Grille, to Kona Cafe, to Narcoossee’s, you will not be disappointed with food options at any of these resorts!

Looking for an out-of-the-box arrival day activity? Did you know that you can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from ALL of the Magic Kingdom area resorts? Whether you choose the observation deck at the Contemporary, or the beach at the Poly, or luck into an amazing dinner seat at Narcoosee’s, enjoy the fireworks without the massive crowds. You can also take in the Electric Water Pageant, too! And there’s plenty of shopping at these massive hotels. Plenty of Non-Park Day Activities for all!

Read more about the Bar Crawls of Walt Disney World!

Visit the Wilderness Lodge

Non-Park Day Activities
Wilderness Lodge at Christmas

I will not apologize for my unabashed devotion to the Wilderness Lodge. It is my absolute favorite and I’ve yet to find a place that I love as much as this. So NATURALLY I am going to advise you to take a visit to the Lodge! Themed after the Pacific Northwest, this place has all the charm of the US National Parks, including a Geyser that does shoot water into the air on the regular! The food options here are PLENTIFUL. Starting outside with Geyser Point, this “lounge” offers amazing food and drink options in a bar setting, though technically a quick service restaurant. It’s worth the trip just to eat the Bison Burger. If you’re looking for another great lounge, head inside for the Territory Lounge!

Non-Park Day Activities

Head inside for two amazing table service options! First, if you’re into all-you-care-to-enjoy food and a fun atmosphere, Whispering Canyon Cafe is the place for you! Looking for an upscale, unique character dining experience? Try Storybook Dining at Artist Point, where you will dine with Snow White, Grumpy, Dopey, and the Evil Queen!

Non-Park Day Activities
Wilderness Lodge

Take the time to enjoy the GORGEOUS lobby. And see if you can find some of the secret, private lounging areas. And no, I won’t just tell you because I enjoy my privacy! Now, I’m going to tell you ONE semi-secret location. If you head out to the Boulder Ridge DVC Villas, and walk into the main building, you will find the Carolwood Pacific Room. Not only is this an amazing place to chill out and relax, it also has some of Walt Disney’s Trains. You simply MUST see this room! To read more about the Wilderness Lodge, click here!

Visit Fort Wilderness

Non-Park Day Activities

No, Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness are NOT the same place. Fort Wilderness is a campground with tent and RV sites, plus cabins. Wilderness Lodge is a fancy hotel themed to the Wilderness. Having said that, Fort Wilderness is a vacation in and of itself! This resort by far has the most to offer its guests!

Let’s start with dining. If you’re after a dining event, look no further than the Hoop Dee Doo Revue! Returning in June 2022, this is one of the oldest dinner shows in the country! It’s menu includes all-you-care-to-enjoy chicken and ribs and more delicious “cookout” foods, INCLUDING STRAW! BERRY! SHORT! CAKE! It’s fun for kids and kids at heart! You may, instead, want something slightly less high maintenance, so head next door to dine at Trail’s End! There is also a quick service location and a “take out” restaurant, as well as a general goods store that sells kitchen necessities for the kitchens located in the cabins, or for those that are camping. You can even grab a moonshine cocktail at Crockett’s Lounge!

For a more in-depth look at the activities at the Fort, I will do a more thorough review later, but for now, some activities available include: archery, horseback riding, pony rides, fishing, bike rentals, jogging trails, canoe and kayak rentals, basketball and volleyball courts, segway tours, and more! And you can even see the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Electric Water Pageant!

Visit the Boardwalk Area

Non-Park Day Activities
Boardwalk Area

Let’s next head over to the Boardwalk area! This is another resort-area that has a lot to offer guests that are NOT necessarily staying at these resorts. Between the Boardwalk Bakery and the pretzel cart, the pizza window to the Margarita stand, there are plenty of awesome food and beverage options! Rent a Surrey Bike (also at a discount with your Magical Extras on your vacation package – talk to me, your travel agent, for more details!) and take the scenic view of the Boardwalk! Or maybe you want to see the Harmonious fireworks while having an ice cream treat from Beaches and Cream on the Beach at Beach and Yacht Club.

For adult fun, you can visit AbracadaBar or Jellyrolls. Stay tuned for more Boardwalk fun, too, as the Boardwalk gets a glow up!

Visit the Animal Kingdom Lodge

Non-Park Day Activities
Animal Kingdom Lodge Savannah

Yet ANOTHER amazing resort to visit on a non-park day: Animal Kingdom Lodge. In this instance, you can just sit in a rocking chair and watch giraffes walk by. Evidently, this is a rare thing? But that’s not all! Animal Kingdom lodge also offers some unique dining opportunities. When you visit the Lodge, plan to eat at either Jiko, Boma, or Sanaa. Here, you can enjoy African-inspired cuisine in a beautiful setting. Then, head out to watch the animals roam the savannah! You can also use night vision goggles to watch the animals at night!

Head to Disney Springs! Shopping, Eating, and MORE!

Non-Park Day Activities
Disney Springs

Disney Springs has a TON to offer, I just wish it wasn’t so far away. Here, you can eat an amazing meal at places like The Edison, the BOATHOUSE, Raglan Road, and more! The food options are vast and plentiful! My favorite? The BOATHOUSE! For those that don’t want an expensive sit-down meal, you could go to Chicken Guy, Polite Pig, D-Luxe Burger, and more!

If you’re looking for unique ways to see Disney Springs, consider a ride in an Amphicar or the Aerophile! In both instances, you can receive discounts, too! Also available, catch “Drawn to Life,” an all new Cirque du Soleil show.

Non-Park Day Activities

Additionally, you can get all (or most) of your shopping done in one convenient place! Visit the LEGO Store, World of Disney, Marketplace Co-Op, Uniqlo, Vera Bradley, and so much more, and feed your inner shop-a-holic!

If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, Disney Springs, again, has you covered! Grab a cupcake from the cupcake ATM at Sprinkles! Likewise, visitors with food allergies can visit Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC for all their gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, vegan, kosher baked goods. You could also head to Everglazed for some delectable donuts, or Gideon’s Bakehouse for half-pound cookies! Need something cold? Head to Marketplace Snacks for Dole Whip Nachos! And back from hiatus, you can ALSO Create Your OWN Treat at Goofy’s Candy Company!

Disney Springs also has bowling! Head to Splittsville, where you can bowl and dine as a family. Also, this is one of the discounts available in your Magical Extras! To see more about Disney Springs, visit here!

Waterparks and Sports

In addition to more than 25 hotels and 4 theme parks, Walt Disney World also has 2 water parks. In order to access these, you will need a ticket, which is sold as a day pass, part of the water parks and sports ticket option, or park hopper plus ticket option. There are also 2 miniature golf courses, PGA-level golf courses, and Foot Golf!

Book Character Dining or Fine Dining

Sometimes, you don’t want to give up your time for a character meal while in the parks, so what better way to get a taste of the parks by visiting a character meal at one of the Disney Resorts? All the fun, none of the heat! We recently did this very activity on our non-park day at DisneyLAND, and it was wonderful. We never felt rushed and DEFINITELY ate our money’s worth! Or maybe you want to have one night where you get all dressed up and go out for a fancy dinner. This activity is also perfect for non-park days!

What do you plan for your Non-Park Day Activities? Let me know in the comments! Are you ready to book your next Walt Disney World Vacation? Contact me today for your free vacation quote!

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Lamplight Lounge: A Review

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Read Time:4 Minute, 29 Second

Read my Review of Lamplight Lounge

Lamplight Lounge - what a view!
Dining with a View!

Unlike Walt Disney World, the Disneyland Resort does not have a massive variety of table service restaurants. But the restaurants they do have are fairly popular, and some even have a cult-like following! After spending a ton of time examining menus, we all agreed that we wanted to try the Lamplight Lounge. Inspired by Pixar, of which we are big fans, this location offers lunch and dinner daily, with a brunch added on weekends. Guests can make reservations 60 days in advance. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Hours/Offerings/Cuisine

Lamplight Lounge exterior

The Lamplight Lounge is located, appropriately, on Pixar Pier. You will need valid park admission and a park reservation in order to eat here, IN ADDITION to your dining reservation. Dine on a menu full of American cuisine, including vegetarian and plant-based options. Lunch is served 11:30-4:00 Monday through Friday, with Dinner being served from 4:00 until 8:30. Saturday and Sunday, start off with Brunch from 9:00 to 1:00, followed by Lunch from 2:00 to 4:00, and Dinner from 4:00 to 8:30.

Theming

Lamplight Lounge themed after Pixar

The theming is PERFECT. Every inch of the restaurant has touches of Pixar, both subtle and in your face. As fans of Pixar and all Pixar movies, we LOVED this. And, as it is located on the Pixar Pier, it perfectly suits the area. We ate in the outdoor part of the dining area, with an absolutely “INCREDIBLE” view! (Get it? Incredible?) Aside from it being a tiny bit chilly, it was amazing. There are shared table spaces (where we sat), sofa-seating with a large coffee table, bar seating, a tables. I didn’t think I would like the shared table but it is big enough that we were not forced into uncomfortable conversations with strangers. If ratings were based entirely on theming, I’d give this place a 15/10.

Lamplight Lounge view
INCREDIBLE View

The Food

Lamplight Lounge Lobster Nachos
Lobster Nachos

Where to start? The food is fantastic! Starting with the appetizers, which they call “Bites,” I would describe it as upscale bar food. A Caesar salad, but with Brussels sprouts. Lobster Nachos (which are definitely a meal, if you choose to do so), Salmon Poke, and more. We started off with the Potato Skins, listed on the food allergy menu as safe for gluten/wheat, fish/shellfish, and peanut/tree nut allergies.

Lamplight Lounge - potato skins

These potato skins were CHEF’S KISS! They are described as crispy Yukon Gold Potatoes with brown butter-caper yogurt, smoked paprika aïoli and manchego cheese. I have never in my life had potato skins this good. And that smoked paprika aïoli? DELISH! I definitely ordered more of that!

Regular Menu vs Food Allergy Menu

Regular Menu Left
Lamplight Lounge food allergy menus
Allergy Menu

The menus are identical, and I did not see anything that food allergy diners couldn’t order in some way. There are 2 appetizers and 3 entrees that safe for gluten/wheat allergy diners, but only one kids meal item. I honestly don’t know what they can accommodate for kids on-site, because I haven’t ordered off a kids menu in ages, but Burger Sliders are the gluten/wheat allergy item, for what it’s worth. The availability is consistent with other Disney Restaurants. Always check the menus online and on the app before you commit to a location!

The Main Course

Lamplight Lounge allergy al pastor pork chop

First up, marinated al pastor bone-in pork chop. This had oaxaca cheese polenta, pineapple relish, charred onions, roasted red chili butter, and green chili sauce. Marked as safe for gluten/wheat, egg, fish/shellfish, peanut/tree nut, and soy allergies, this was incredible. The pork chop just fell right off the bone! The flavors were amazing. And don’t get me started on the sauce. The best thing I can say is that the portion size was perfection. It was just right and I felt full, not stuffed and bloated.

Lamplight Lounge salmon PLT

The Salmon PLT is grilled salmon with crispy pancetta, lettuce, roasted plum tomato, lemon-bacon aïoli on toasted focaccia, and served with fries. Husband says the ratio of pancetta to salmon was perfect, and the sandwich was delicious. The fries were well seasoned and not too overly salty.

Cheddar Burger, plain, and fries. I mean, she’s a teenager, so you get it. “It was really good.”

Food gets a 9/10. There could stand to be a few more options to choose from, but supply chain being what it is, we really liked this restaurant.

Drink Menu

Non-Alcoholic Drink Concoctions
Cocktails

The drink menu, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, might be my favorite thing about the menu. Everything is, again, Pixar-themed, and if I could have tried everything, I certainly would have. Instead, I only had the Scream Canister, but it was just what the doctor ordered. There is also a great selection of mostly local beers and wines. You will not only leave full, but you will leave with your thirst quenched!

Final Verdict

From the setting to the decor to the food and drink, I can honestly say this was my favorite restaurant in Disneyland. I would give it 5 stars, 10/10, perfect marks! That waterfront dining was unbeatable. I highly recommend everyone eat here at least once when visiting Disneyland!

Are you ready to book your next Disneyland vacation?! Contact me today!

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Mint Juleps & Mickey Beignets!

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Head to the Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square to Enjoy Mint Juleps & Mickey Beignets!

If you’re anything like me, you want to know where to go to get the most unique food offerings a place has to offer. Well, if you’re heading to Disneyland, you will want to head to the very back of New Orleans Square. That’s where you will find the Mint Julep Bar. As there is no alcohol in Disneyland Park, this is not actually a “bar,” but this food kiosk is the only place you can find the refreshing mint juleps & Mickey beignets!

What is a “Mint Julep?”

Mint Juleps & Mickey Beignets

You’re probably wondering what the heck is a mint julep, you crazy person? Well, it is described as “a refreshing mint drink with a hint of lime flavor” on the Disneyland Website. Basically, club soda with mint and lime. It is the perfect refresher for a hot day.

But What the Heck is a “Mickey Beignet?”

Mint Juleps & Mickey Beignets

A beignet is a fried dough doughnut coated in powdered sugar. A MICKEY beignet is a beignet shaped like Mickey Mouse! Everything tastes better when it’s Mickey shaped!

Unique Offerings and Seasonal Must-Haves

As is tradition, Disney offers seasonal flavors of both the mint juleps and the Mickey beignets. Currently, guests who visit the Mint Julep Bar can order a Passion Fruit Mint Julep and Sugar Cookie Mickey Beignets! Other flavors include pumpkin and gingerbread beignets and watermelon mint juleps.

Tell Me More Tell Me More!

Beignets are available in 3-packs and 6-packs, and you can also order an assorted 6-pack, that will come with regular and seasonal beignets. As for the beverages, you can order the seasonal or traditional mint julep, either in a plastic cup or a take-home stainless steel tumbler. Coffee, tea, Coca-Cola products, hot chocolate, and bottled water are also available. And, in the case of having someone who can’t or won’t eat beignets, you can also order Cuties! And this location offers mobile ordering!

So tell me, do you love Mint Juleps & Mickey Beignets?! Go here for more information about Disneyland Resort and to talk about planning YOUR vacation!

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Disney’s Polynesian Resort

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Everything Disney’s Polynesian Resort Has to Offer

Today, let’s take a look at one of the two original Walt Disney World Resort hotels: Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Themed after the South Pacific, the Poly is located right across the lagoon from the Magic Kingdom. It is accessible via monorail, boat, or walkway. See EXQUISITE views of Cinderella Castle and catch Magic Kingdom’s fireworks show, as well as the Electric Water Pageant. It is classified as a Deluxe Resorts and also offers DVC Villas and Bungalows.

NEW! Moana-Themed Rooms

With the re-opening of the resort on July 19, Disney unveiled their new Moana-themed rooms!! And they are SO cute! The details are subtle and tasteful, which fits into the Deluxe theme of the resort. These rooms sleep 5, featuring 2 queen beds and 1 pull-out daybed. You can reserve a Standard room (which just means you’re not particular and, for a discounted rate, you might just end up with a theme park view room by luck of the draw!), Theme Park view, lagoon view, or pool or marina view room. You can also book Club-Level rooms, that include a Club Lounge that offers food and drinks and a private concierge staff to provide a higher-level of service for a much higher price.

Dining Options

There are 2 table service restaurants available at Disney’s Polynesian Resort: ‘Ohana and Kona Cafe. They are both located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House. I have already written about both restaurants so read about them here:

Disney's Polynesian Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Resort – Capt Cooks

Capt Cooks is a quick service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can also get some grab and go items here, and mobile ordering is available.

Pop up to Kona Island, near the monorail, for coffee and pastries in the morning and a selection of sushi and mini desserts throughout the rest of the day.

Disney's Polynesian Resort

If you’re after a Dole Whip (with or without rum), then you need to head down to Pineapple Lanai! The Poly also has 5 bars/lounges, and they’re all unique and spectacular!

The Poly also has 5 bars/lounges, and they’re all unique and spectacular! If you are up for the Monorail Bar Crawl, you cannot fail by choosing any single one of these bars! Read more about the bar crawl here!

  1. Barefoot Pool Bar
  2. Oasis Bar and Grill
  3. Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace
  4. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto
  5. Tambu Lounge

Finally, the Polynesian is home to the Spirit of Aloha Luau dinner show, but that is unfortunately still unavailable. If and when it comes back, I highly recommend it! It is great fun and definitely not something you see every day!

Recreation

There are two pools available to guests of the Polynesian. The Oasis Pool is just that: a quiet pool that is an Oasis. And then there is the Lava Pool.

Disney's Polynesian Resort

The Lava Pool has a volcano, a waterfall, zero-depth entry, and a 142-foot long waterslide. There is also a play area for kids under 48″. There are also Oasis Patios for rent, first come first served.

Close by, you’ll find the beach. While you can no longer swim in the lagoon, you can sit on the beach, even in a hammock, if that’s your style, and the beach is a GREAT place to watch the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom and catch the Electrical Water Pageant. You can also watch Movies Under the Stars, which is usually found at every resort, and can be a fun way for kids and kids-at-heart to unwind and relax after a long day in the parks.

Boat rentals and fishing are available from the nearby Marina, as well as volleyball and a jogging trail.

Shopping

BouTiki is one of my favorite shops in all of Walt Disney World. If Hawaiian Shirts are your thing, this is the place for you! Or head up to the Moana Mercantile on the second floor, where you’ll find toys, games, clothes, and snacks and drinks (including alcohol).

And there you have the Polynesian, in a nutshell. This is such a fabulous resorts and I am absolutely LOVING the Moana rooms! Have you stayed at the Poly? Contact me today to get started on your vacation!

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Ale & Compass Restaurant

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Read Time:3 Minute, 3 Second

RESTAURANT REVIEW: A True Hidden Gem!

As I searched for breakfast reservations for our trip back in 2021, I panicked when I realized a bunch of our favorite breakfast spots were not open. As I did some research, I discovered Ale & Compass at the Yacht Club, and am I glad that I did! This place is fantastic, and we all enjoyed our food and the atmosphere. Check out my review for Ale & Compass Restaurant!

Ale & Compass – Location, Atmosphere, and Theming

Ale & Compass Restaurant - Yacht Club

Ale & Compass is located on the first floor of the Yacht Club, just off the lobby. The setting is coastal and meant to feel like dining in an Eastern Seaboard Lighthouse. Above all else, it certainly is incredibly laid back, quiet, and relaxing. The food is described as New England “comfort food” and classic seafood dishes.

Bonus points in the location category, because the Yacht Club is located in the BEST location on property. Since the Beach Club, the Yacht Club, the Boardwalk Inn, and even Swan and Dolphin, are all walkable, these hotels really do feel like one big resort. As a result, you can easily walk to each one and enjoy all the restaurants each has to offer. In fact, the entire reason we ended up with reservations here was that we were staying at the Boardwalk and spending the day at Epcot, which meant we could easily just walk the entire day. Second bonus points: the cost. This was our least expensive meal and involved the most amount of people (7) over 10 days.

The Food

Alright, so we got down to the brass tacks, let’s get into what really matters: THE FOOD. We have only been here for breakfast, so I’m going to focus on just that meal.

Ale & Compass Restaurant offers a breakfast buffet. For $23, you get a buffet of seasonal fruit, assorted yogurt parfaits, assorted breakfast pastries, house-made granola, cheddar biscuits and country gravy, and warm cinnamon rolls. But wait, there’s more! In addition to the buffet, the $23 also includes a choice of a main entree! That right there is the absolute BEST value in all of Walt Disney World! Coffee, tea, juice, or soft drink is also included.

Ale & Compass Restaurant – the Entrees
Ale & Compass
Crab Cake Benedict
Ale & Compass Salted Caramel Apple French Toast
Salted Caramel Apple French Toast
Dark Chocolate Waffle
Dark Chocolate Waffle
Breakfast Protein Bowl
Breakfast Protein Bowl

The entrees are FANTASTIC. I’ll just say that. With a menu consisting of 10 main entrees, including vegetarian and plant-based options, and great variety, there is something for every type of eater. There was not a crumb left on any of our plates, either!

Ale & COmpass – Food Allergies
gluten free American Breakfast

Since , I have celiac, I have to order from the allergy menu. And because of this, I usually speak to a chef. If I have dined somewhere before, so that I feel totally comfortable, I just order. But this was my first visit to Ale & Compass, so I met with the chef.

Following our talk, I opted for the American breakfast, a simple eggs and bacon, with a side of fruit. And, to my immense delight and surprise, I WAS OFFERED GLUTEN FREE TOAST!! And since my daughter only eats plain waffles, I ate my toast with all the goodies meant for her dark chocolate waffles! This was light and fantastic, and helped make this one of my new favorites!

So, to recap….location? Great. Atmosphere? Great. Food? FANTASTIC. Value? THE BEST. You’ve got to add this to your list! Have you dined here? Let me know!

Ready to book your vacation? Contact me today for your free, no obligation vacation quote!

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California Food and Wine Festival

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Read Time:2 Minute, 14 Second

Returning March 4, 2022, to Disney’s California Adventure, the California Food And Wine Festival promises tasty delights, California-inspired libations, entertainment, merchandise, and SO MUCH MORE!! Running through April 26, 2022, get your vacation booked now and take in all the best that California has to offer!!

California Food and Wine Festival Special Returning Attraction

California Food and Wine Festival - Soarin' Over California

I am so excited to say YOU WILL ONCE AGAIN BE ABLE TO RIDE SOARIN’ OVER CALIFORNIA!! Soarin’ is one of my FAVORITE rides and I’m so excited to once again experience the original version!

California Food and Wine Festival Marketplaces

  • Avocado Time – Indulge in flavorful medleys that make your mouth sing.
  • Berry Patch – Hail the big berry for top billing!
  • California Craft Brews – Cheers to a round from California’s best local breweries.
  • Cluck-a-Doodle-Moo – Rally for these sliders, wings ‘n’ beer—a sports fan’s dream!
  • D•Lish – Enjoy delicious sweet and savory dishes sure to delight!
  • Garlic Kissed – Stop by to savor mouthwatering dishes and specialty beverages.
  • Golden Dreams – Tempt taste buds with well-seasoned eats and nectarous drinks.
  • I Heart Artichokes – Partake in the thistle—prepared in 2 different ways!
  • LA Style – Feast on favorite southland food-truck flavors.
  • Nuts About Cheese – Let us introduce you to wine’s best friends.
  • Peppers Cali-Ente – Snack on hot ‘n’ spicy fare with a Cali twist!
  • Uncork California – Sip vino by the glass or try a flight.

Festival Family Fun

California Food and Wine Festival Disney's California Adventure

There’s something for everyone at the California Food and Wine Festival! Let’s look at some of the family-friendly options happening this year!

alice’s wonderland bakery unbirthday party

First thing’s first, Alice’s Wonderland Bakery is a new tv series on Disney Junior. It features Alice, the great-granddaughter of THE Alice, and her friends, Fergie, the white rabbit, Hattie, and Rosa, the Princess of Hearts.

Alice's Wonderland Bakery

Alice is a young baker who works at the Wonderland Bakery. So Junior Bakers, head to the Hollywood Backlot Stage in Hollywood Land, and take part in special baking demonstrations and decorating with special guest chefs!

Meet chef goofy!
California Food and Wine Festival - Chef Goofy

Who doesn’t love characters? Head to the Hollywood Backlot where you can catch Chef Goofy!

You can also catch some live music or catch the Jammin’ Chefs at Hollywood Land, who might even be joined by Chip ‘n Dale!

Take in Culinary Demonstrations on the Weekends!

Hone your culinary chops and learn the tricks on some incredible visiting chefs. Read the details here!

Food and Wine Festival MERCH!

As always, amazing Food and Wine merchandise will be available for purchase. And returning for another Disneyland Festival: don’t forget to pick up your Sip and Savor Pass!!

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Quick Service in Magic Kingdom

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The Magic Kingdom isn’t where you go just for the food. Its magic lies elsewhere. But you have to eat, right? So what should you do when you need a quick bite after Big Thunder Mountain? These are the best quick service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom for when you’re just too hangry to go on!

Best quick service in magic Kingdom
Quick Service Pinocchio

If you ask me, the BEST quick service restaurant is Pinocchio Village Haus, located right next to it’s a small world in Fantasyland. Serving American classics, like pizza, chicken tenders, and salads, this place is a diamond in the rough. The highlight is getting a window seat overlooking it’s a small world. If you score one of these coveted tables, make sure to wave at all the boats as the embark on the Happiest Cruise on Earth!

This is my overall number 1 favorite quick service in Magic Kingdom, because it has something for everyone, INCLUDING those with food allergies. The pizzas are GREAT for my celiac tastes. The crust is perfectly crispy, not cardboard-like, which is super hard to come by. Usually, a gluten free pizza crust is burnt and too hard for any human being to actually chew. The allergy-friendly chicken tenders are AMAZING. AND the portion sizes are big enough for people to share. My mom and I split a pizza, chicken tenders, and fries. It was the perfect amount of food for two!

best quick service seating and atmosphere

If you hate stalking people as they eat to get their table, Cosmic Ray’s is the place for you! They have TONS of seating, inside AND outside, and I have never had an issue finding a place to sit down. And if you’re looking for a place that your kids will actually eat the food AND be entertained? You’re going to want to sit by Sonny Eclipse! And finally, the food is REALLY good! Like…surprisingly good. And it’s a pleasant surprise! In fact, eating here last summer for the first time in ages, it quickly snuck up my list to be a close second to Pinocchio!

The menu is, again, American classics, like burgers, chicken strips, chili, hot dogs, and a very nice-sized allergy menu. This restaurant even offers a plant-based burger.

Quick Service Cosmic Ray's Sonny Eclipse
Sonny Eclipse
Best quick service restaurant that won’t go away

I say this in jest, as Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe has gone through many, many changes over the years. It used to be burgers with an all-you-can-eat toppings bar, which, don’t get me wrong, was completely awesome, but in 2015, Pecos Bill went through a change from burgers to burritos! Seeing as how this restaurant is located in Frontierland, representing the American Old West, this seems like the absolute perfect place to have a Mexican restaurant (aside from, you know, Mexico).

In its current iteration, you can get everything from fajitas, to nachos, to rice bowls, to salads, and even burgers. The worst part about this location is finding a seat, but the current protocols, which I, personally, hope they continue forever, will only let you into the restaurant if you have an order. This makes seating a little easier to find. And, like I said, I hope it lasts forever! Again, this place has something for everybody, including plant-based options, kid-friendly foods like burgers and mac & cheese, and a robust allergy-friendly menu.

Best Quick Service with Secret Seating

There’s not REALLY secret seating, people just tend to not go up there. I don’t know, I don’t make the rules. Anyway, this Liberty Square staple is New England-themed, with seafood, chicken, and sandwiches. Sit upstairs. Maybe even take a lil nap. You’ve earned it.

best quick service that finally got mobile ordering

DO NOT FRET, gluten-eaters! I have not forgotten you! While I, personally, cannot eat here, I recognize this place is the absolute best. Just LOOK at that waffle! I make it myself at home, and it is truly delicious! And now that they have mobile ordering, it’s a game changer. That means the lines are much shorter and you won’t suffer waiting for this delicious waffle for breakfast! Unfortunately, food allergy friends should avoid this place, but for everyone else, MOBILE ORDER IMMEDIATELY!!!

Did you favorite make the list? If not, what is YOUR go-to quick service restaurant in the Magic Kingdom?

Ready to book your vacation?!

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Disney Springs: The Best Eats, Treats, and Shopping!

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Do you go to Disney Springs or do you skip Disney Springs? It used to be a skip for me, always. And then, I began to really explore! It has SO much to offer, and it is so much more than just a mall! The restaurants are great, the snacks are unbelievable, and the shops are incredible! Here is my collection of the best eats, treats, and shopping available in Disney Springs.

Disney Springs: The Best Eats

As always, I’m just here for the food! Disney Springs has SO many fantastic restaurants to eat at, both table service and quick service. Most of them are not Disney-owned, and, because of this, many of them have reservations available on Open Table, in addition to the Disney reservation system. Also, since they are not owned by Disney, they are not all as accommodating with food allergies. Personally, I have never had an issue, but I have read about people who have, so I would advise doing your research!

  1. THE BOATHOUSE. This is, hands down, my FAVORITE dining location at Disney Springs. The location, the atmosphere, the food…I just love it.
  • Price range: $$-$$$
  • Indoor and Outdoor seating available
  • Seafood and Steak
  • Sunday-Saturday: Lunch and Dinner
  • Saturday & Sunday 10-2: serving Brunch with live entertainment
  • Advanced Dining Reservations strongly encouraged
Disney Springs Polite Pig

2. The Polite Pig. This quick service restaurant, located right next to the elevators of the Lime Parking Garage, is the best quick service meal you will ever have. As the name suggests, bbq menu and mostly pork. Oh, and bourbon….lots of bourbon!

Disney Springs Homecomin

3. Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’. The BEST southern comfort food around! Open daily for lunch and dinner, and open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Advanced Dining Reservations STRONGLY recommended.

4. Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant. If you like Irish food, this is the place for you. This is a much better option than Rose & Crown in Epcot, in my opinion. Weekend brunch, lunch and dinner daily, and LIVE ENTERTAINMENT!! Advanced Dining Reservations strongly recommended!

Disney Springs D-Luxe Burger

5. D-Luxe Burger. Just…..the best burgers I’ve ever had! Plus, they offer mobile ordering. So if you’re getting hungry trying to find your way out of World of Disney, you can order yourself a burger and pick it up after you leave!

Disney Springs-The Best Places for Treats

Need a snack? For me, with Celiac, the FIRST place I want to go is Erin McKenna’s! But that aside, here is my collection of the best places to go for a snack!

Disney Springs Gideon's Bakehouse
  1. Gideon’s Bakehouse. This place is so popular it has a VIRTUAL QUEUE. 3-words: HALF. POUND. COOKIES.
Disney Springs Erin McKenna's Bakery

2. Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC. If you have food allergies, this is the place for you! They are vegan, kosher, and gluten free. They have everything from basic chocolate chip cookies, to homemade whoopie pies, to whole cakes. And they are all tasty and amazing.

3. Sprinkles. Love cupcakes? This is the place for you. They even have a cupcake vending machine.

4. Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop. Ghirardelli chocolate and ice cream. Need I say more?

5. Everglazed Donuts.

Disney Springs-The Best Shopping

The best part about Disney Springs is that you can easily get your souvenir shopping done and over with on the first day!

Disney Springs The Lego Store
The Lego Store
  1. World of Disney – a MASSIVE Disney Store! Shirts, Shoes, dresses, toys, stuffed animals, phone cases, dolls, puzzles, board games, Ear headbands, nuiMos, kitchen decor, home decor, you name it, they probably have it! AND they now feature scan and go, so you don’t have to wait in long lines to check out!
  2. Disney’s Days of Christmas – it’s Christmas ALL YEAR LONG! Walls and walls full of Disney Christmas Ornaments and other Christmas decor make this a very popular shop!
  3. Basin – amazing bath and body supplies.
  4. The Lego Store – the best part about this shop is wandering around and taking in all the amazing Lego sculptures!
Disney Springs the Lego Store
The Lego Store – Sorcerer Mickey

5. Marketplace Co-Op – currently the home of the Walt Disney World Vault Collection, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World!
6. Vera Bradley – Vera Bradley bags full of Disney style!
7. Super Hero Headquarters – All your Marvel goods in one place. Marvel Avengers Campus may be stuck on the West Coast, but Marvel goods are here in Florida!
8. The Art of Disney – amazing works of art, all the way from postcards to framed original art.

So did your favorite make the list? You can read more about Disney Springs here! What is your go to arrival day activity?

Ready to book your trip? Contact me today!!

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Character Dining at Tusker House

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Character Dining in Animal Kingdom: Tusker House Restaurant

Character Dining Check In

Character Dining is slowly returning to Walt Disney World and Disneyland, although it is a modified experience, but anything is better than nothing! One of the most popular Character Dining experiences is located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, at Tusker House Restaurant. Tusker House is currently an all-you-care-to-enjoy family-style meal featuring African-inspired food, and hosted by Safari Donald Duck!

Tusker House Restaurant: The Basics

Tusker House Character Dining
Directional sign for Tusker House Restaurant

Tusker House offers Breakfast (8:30am-10:30am), Lunch (11:00am-3:30pm), and Dinner (3:35pm-7pm) (hours current as of February 2, 2022. Check the Walt Disney World website or app for most recent operating hours). Previously a buffet, the restaurant is now a family-style all-you-care-to-enjoy meal. Breakfast is currently $42/adult, $27/child, while Lunch and Dinner come in at $55/adult, $36/child. This includes your food and non-alcoholic beverages like coffee, tea, water, and fountain drinks. Non-alcoholic specialty drinks, cocktails, beer, and wine are extra. Advanced Dining Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance and are strongly encouraged!

Tusker House: The Food

Breakfast pastry platter at Tusker House for Character Dining

For this article, I’m going to focus on breakfast. I’ve eaten lunch and dinner at Tusker House, but that was pre-Covid. So breakfast starts with fresh fruit, with a honey yogurt sauce/dip. You also get a breakfast pastry plate. This includes Safari Bread, Multigrain Croissants and Cornbread served with Whipped Butter, Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread, and Strawberry Preserves. Again, everything is all-you-care-to-enjoy, so you can order more of any and all items!

For the main course, you will enjoy Simba and Mickey waffles, eggs, bacon, sausage, and chicken curry.

I will say that, while the food is nothing earth-shattering, it is good. However, we were a group of six, and this was what was initially brought to us. The youngest in our group was 15. Do you think this is enough food for 6 adults? Yes, I realize that it is all-you-care-to-enjoy, but we had to order more before they even set the plate down!

Tusker House for Food Allergies

Tusker House Food Allergy pastries
Allergy Pastry Platter
Tusker House Food Allergy Fruit Plate
Allergy Fruit

As with all other Disney-owned restaurants, they are great with food allergies. If you’re new here, I have Celiac, and I cannot eat gluten. I mark this on all my dining reservations, and communicate with the hosts and my server. When I don’t feel comfortable or have a specific question (like ordering a secret menu item), I ALWAYS ask to speak to a chef. So the first thing is that I receive my very own breakfast pastry plate and my own fruit, in case there is any cross-contamination with the normal eaters. It’s obviously nowhere near as exciting as the gluten-filled pastries, but since it’s rare I can have any of this, it’s perfect.

Tusker House Food Allergy Skillet

When the main course is brought out, a separate skillet is brought out, a separate skillet is brought out for me, including gluten free Mickey Waffles, eggs, bacon, ham, and breakfast potatoes. I don’t like curry, so I told them I didn’t want any, but it was available if that’s something your allergy diner enjoys. Unlike the skillet for the whole group, this has MORE than enough food for one person in it! Apparently they should apply this food-to-mouth ratio to the bigger portions!

Characters!

Character Dining-Mickey Mouse
Mickey
Character Dining-Safari Donald Duck
Everyone’s Number 1, Donald Duck
Character Dining-Daisy Duck
Daisy
Character Dining-Goofy
Goofy

Here, Donald Duck is the star of the show! Join Safari Friends Donald, Daisy Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Goofy. They are roaming around the restaurant while you eat, and are available for socially distant photos. They will not sign autographs, but we received a card with all of their autographs on it as a keepsake. Personally, I much prefer this style of Character Dining, because it’s much faster, less hectic, and you’re not standing up every 2 minutes. I love a good Donald Duck hug as much as anybody, but I much prefer the socially distant version of Character Dining!

Character Dining: Final Verdict

While this has always been one of our favorite dining locations, the switch from buffet to all-you-care-to-enjoy really soured our opinion. It was still good, as far as breakfast food goes, but the basic offerings, in our opinion, was not worth the price. Beware that you are completely paying for characters here now. The food is ordinary. What do you think of the new version of character dining at Tusker House?

You can read about other Animal Kingdom dining options here.

Are you ready to book your vacation? Contact me today for your free, no obligation vacation quote!!

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