Animal Kingdom During a Pandemic

I will be the first to say that Animal Kingdom is not my favorite park. Honestly, my favorite thing about it is the Dinosaur Chip and Dale meet and greet. True story mom and I literally went to Animal Kingdom met Chip and Dale at their first meet and greet and then left and went to Magic Kingdom. Don’t get me wrong the rides and experiences are great, but it’s not something I have to do every trip. Anyways, this is a debate for another time.

The best thing about Animal Kingdom is we knew it wouldn’t take the whole day. Park opened at 8:00, and we made a point to be there around 9:00/9:30 to let the rope drop rush dissipate. To avoid the crowd we decided to go towards Dinosaur and make our way counterclockwise around the park instead of hitting up Pandora first. In the end, I stand by going that way because we were able to ride Dinosaur 4 times in a matter of 20-30 minutes. The “wait time” was truly us just having to get off the ride and walk through the queue again. Expedition Everest was a little more of wait, but I think it was about 15/20 minutes max, so we were able to ride that twice before moving on to Kali River Rapids. Our longest wait of the day was surprisingly at Kilimanjaro Safari. Truthfully, the only reason I believe it took longer was because we entered the queue at the beginning of their sanitation period, so there was about a 15 – 20 minute delay as they cleaned all of the jeeps. Once they began getting cars loaded, the line moved a lot faster. Safari they were loading every row of the jeeps, but I felt comfortable since there was a high divider separating each row, and we were in open air. Finally, we made it to Pandora – the rest of my family went and rode the Navii River Journey while Jeremy and I ate a quick lunch at Saulti Canteen before getting in line for Flight of Passage. I would say the entire queue and pre-show took about 30 minutes. We were the first group to board after a sanitation, so that added a little extra time to our wait, but it was nice to sit on newly cleaned seats. We were able to get the whole park done in about 5 hours which was great, but then it kind of sucks because you can’t park hop, so you have to plan to relax by the pool or visit Disney Springs if you’re looking for a more “full-day” experience.

Our biggest “issue” happened while we were dining at Flame Tree Barbecue, and I truly don’t think I would describe it as an issue but more of an inconvenience is finding a table eat. If you have never eaten at Flame Tree – it is an outdoor dining experience, so there are little pavilions and courtyards spread out with tables underneath them. We love eating there because the food is great, and you can also eat on the water. Once we received our food and found a table, we were frustrated because we could not find a cast member to come wipe it down after the family before us left which made me feel a little uncomfortable. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a cast member in sight who could wipe down the table. Thankfully, we came prepared with Clorox wipes, so we were able to use ours and wipe down the table and chairs before eating. Ideally, I just wish there had been cast members kind of nearby/wandering the dining area to wipe down the tables between guests. Overall, we had a “wild” time!

Magic Kingdom During a Pandemic

“Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy”

One of my traditions when I visit Magic Kingdom is to admire and acknowledge that plaque under the train station before officially going into the park. I love it because it represents the whole Disney company and what Walt stood for, but this trip it felt so applicable. I haven’t been shy admitting that I have been struggling these past few months with my mental health, so entering Magic Kingdom for the first time in a few months truly felt like a chance to step away from some of my anxiety and just truly enjoy myself for a day. Granted, we are still in a pandemic, so I always enter a situation hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. Magic Kingdom was our 2nd park to visit on our trip, so I already had some expectations from the day before at Hollywood Studios. Although, each park is truly it’s own experience in the Covid-19 world. So here’s my take on Magic Kingdom during a pandemic.

The first thing I was adamant about was not getting to the park right at rope drop. I had read on various Disney Facebook groups that during park opening it always seemed to be more crowded and created a bottleneck situation which for me was an absolute no go, so we arrived about an hour after park opening which was perfect! Our bus over had a few other families on it, but I felt super safe and spread out enough. There was absolutely no one at the health screening, security or turnstiles which was really great. When we walked under the train station, tears immediately began to fill my eyes as it just felt so good to be home again. Then, I turned around and various princesses were greeting above the crowd *can we just talk about Disney magic y’all?!*. Main Street was almost like a ghost town, even Starbucks didn’t have a line in the early morning – it was that quiet!

Our day revolved mostly around hitting all the rides we could as my nephews were with us. We managed to ride 15 rides throughout the day, and we did not stay the whole park day – we left around 4:00 in the evening. All of the queues felt super safe, and people were following directions. The nice thing we noticed about Magic Kingdom is the “Incredi-Squad” which is Disney’s version of the mask control. It was nice to notice them wandering throughout the park ensuring everyone was following the rules. One cast member told us she felt like a glorified hall monitor for adults, but hey gotta do what ya gotta do. Dining at MK was a little bit hectic because we did not mobile order our lunch at Tomorrowland Terrace early enough, so we had about a 45 minute wait, and it was next to impossible to find a table available. I think this is just due to the fact that one all the tables are socially distanced, and Casey’s Corner and Crystal Palace are closed and Be Our Guest is only offering a higher priced fixed menu for lunch which isn’t usually the case. At the end of the day it truly wasn’t a big deal, and didn’t derail our experience at all. I think it’s just we are so accustomed to how we used to do things, so it’s just a matter of adjusting to these new standards.

When it comes down to the overall park experience, I will say Magic Kingdom ranks best right now along with Hollywood Studios. Some reasons I feel this way are that magic kingdom is so spacious, so I felt super safe the entire day, and I never felt I was in a situation where I immediately needed to step back even shopping in the Emporium. Another reason is that the entertainment experiences were the best at Magic Kingdom with the random character cavalcades and greetings from the train station. It added that extra bit of pixie dust throughout the day. Honestly, anytime I heard the music near Main Street I would run to see what characters were coming out next. I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into Magic Kingdom during these weird times, and I hope you will follow along as we venture along to Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Animal Kingdom soon!

Princess 2020 Recap

Welp, here we are!  Almost a year since my last post.  I find it kind of ironic my last post was talking about my most recent surgery and here we are 11 months later talking about running 22.4 miles around Disney World, yet again.  A lot has happened since then.  The one way I would describe it would be a rollercoaster of great highs and super lows.  I plan to do an update post to let y’all know what’s happened in the last few months, so be on the lookout for that either this week or next!  But on to what you’re here for Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2020!  How is it possible that I waited so long for this weekend for it to go by in 2 seconds?!  Not complaining because I have some of my best memories from last weekend.

I flew into Orlando on Wednesday night after my class because who needs school when you have Disney right?!  The next morning was dedicated to shopping at the Expo knowing it would be crowded.  We weren’t there as early as I hoped cause sleep.  I think we got there around 10:00 and the expo opened at 9:00.  Thankfully, I preordered the weekend jacket, so we were able to bypass the extremely long and slow line to get into the merchandise area! Pro tip – preorder merchandise for race weekends if getting the merchandise is REALLY important to you.  It is a much faster way in than waiting in the regular line.  While I did not actually see the line, I am using a friend as a point of reference.  She got there about 30 minutes before mom and I, so there’s your reference point, and mom and I were done shopping and checking out when they were let into the merchandise area.  The expo was super crowded, but also keep in mind we were there the first morning and it’s princess weekend – the busiest weekend of the year for runDisney!  Once I bought way more than I said I would, mom and I went and met the footmen in front of Cinderella’s carriage.  The line was semi-long.  I’d say about 15 minutes, but it was worth the wait because it was such a unique and fun experience!  The rest of the expo went along the same as always!  Each race weekend, I am noticing that runDisney is making an effort to add more photo opportunities throughout the different areas, so I definitely suggest taking advantage of these photo ops – they make for the cutest pics!

Let’s talk about the 5K now, L O L.  I feel like that just sums up the whole morning.  The forecast kept showing showers and cold, and Mother Nature made sure to deliver on it.  Mom, a friend, and I were the three good fairies from Sleeping Beauty, but nobody saw our costumes because we had so many dang layers on.  I personally had on leggings, a throwaway jacket, a blanket wrapped around me, and a poncho.  It was rough yall.  The rain and wind never let up throughout the entire course.  I will say, and I’m sad to say it but that was my worst runDisney race to date.  And to be clear it wasn’t runDisney’s doing at all – the weather just truly made it miserable.  Please enjoy these rough pictures of mom and I walking the course.  I am honestly so surprised that Photopass was able to link these to me because I was not concerned if they could see my bib number or not – I just wanted to get back to the room as quick as possible!

 

Thankfully, we came prepared the next morning.  After we finished at the parks Friday – we headed to Walmart and the outlet malls to pick up some cold-weather gear because the rain the day before brought in a cold front.  Oh Florida, I loathe your bipolar weather.  The cold weather gear helped, but I won’t lie y’all it was COLD, and I had to stop mom from going back to the Swan to our room when we were on the boardwalk loop of the 10k way too often.  We had such a better time than the day before though.  We didn’t stop for many characters except towards the end of the course we spotted Flora and Fauna.  They had a pretty decent sized line, but so worth it because when have you ever seen them in the parks before?! Unfortunately, Flora had to leave before our turn, but we still got our picture with Fauna!  Sidenote to add that mom and I ran as Cinderella and Fairy Godmother.  I feel like my mom being Fairy Godmother is SO fitting because she has always made my dreams come true, and I am so thankful to share these experiences with her.

Finally, the half!  Truthfully, the only training I did for this was a 30 minute run the Monday before I left to make sure my body still remembered how to run.  I have been dealing with injuries on and off since Dopey in January, so training just wasn’t in the cards for me.  I also went into the half with this mentality that I just did 26.2 miles in horrible conditions – the half was going to be a piece of cake, in comparison.  I am so happy to report that it stayed true.  This was my favorite half marathon I have ever run!  Everything fell together – the weather was PERFECT running weather, I had no pain, and I was just genuinely excited to enjoy the run.  I will say this is the first half marathon I have felt confident in my abilities since I had hip surgery in March.  There has been this anxiety filling my head ever since my surgery every time I go for long runs that something bad is going to happen, and I feel like this was the race I needed to get into a new mindset.  My one disappointment was that there were no princes on the course.  I have been kicking myself in the butt because I didn’t stop for the huge group of princes on the course last year, so I was determined to stop for the picture this year and of course, they weren’t out.  Other than that little missed opportunity, this was my favorite runDisney race to date, truly.

Now I am going to answer some questions I got through my Instagram stories!  Thanks to everyone who submitted!

  • Best tips for registration?
    • Honestly, just signing up as soon as possible especially for Princess.  If you are an annual passholder or Disney vacation club member you get to sign up a week early, so definitely take advantage of that if you can!  Also, you could buy a bib before they go on sale by booking a vacation package through a travel agent, so you could get your registration, tickets, and room all in one!
  • Are there multiple balloon ladies for different paces? Massive fear of being swept!
    • Nope!  The balloon ladies are the very last ones to cross the start line, and they will hold the 16 min/mile pace from that point.  Also, don’t fear being swept.  I learned especially during the marathon running is all about the mindset you hold.  Just believe in yourself and follow your training, and you’ll be good to go.  I will be doing a whole post about the Dopey Challenge with an injury – I walked at least half of the marathon, and I was so scared of being swept, but I wasn’t! So if I can do it, so can you!
  • Do you cross-train as well as run train?  And how many times a week?
    • So I  have been with my coach (@runningwithstrength) for over a year now! She sets my running and cross-training schedule each week based on what I’m training for!  Typically, I’ll run 3 or 4 days a week and cross-train 2 or 3 days with a rest day on Sunday!  I wholeheartedly recommend cross-training.  So crucial for helping prevent injuries but also the strength helps when you run too!
  • Best or most memorable moment?
    • I feel like it’s too basic for me to say the whole half marathon even though it’s 100% true, so I’ll pick my favorite moment from it.  Obviously running down Main Street headed towards the castle is everything.  I get chills just thinking about it right now, but it was extra special this year because my mom was waiting at the end of it.  Last year she couldn’t attend Princess because she broke her leg.  It was the hardest thing to not have her there when she is always there.  I ended up facetiming her while I ran down Main Street, so she could be there with me.  We both ended up bawling like babies, so to have her there cheering me on was everything for me because I would not be running if it wasn’t for her and her constant support.

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Walt Disney World Swan Hotel Review

Happy Saturday friends!  Mom and I are finally home from our runcation for WDW Marathon Weekend, and we had the best time, but I am excited to be back home and in my own bed again.  Also, sleeping in is pretty nice too! Everyone on my Instagram story poll answered that they were interested in a review of our stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, so here it is for ya!

I’ll start this review off by saying we normally do not stay on property.  My parents are Marriot Vacation Club owners which is similar to the Disney Vacation Club, so we usually stay at the Marriott vacations clubs in Orlando.  They are always super nice, spacious and conveniently located to the park, but there is something extra about staying on property.  Recently, Marriott purchased the company who owns the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels, so we were able to redeem our Marriot points while staying on property.  Best of both worlds!

Truthfully, this trip was booked super last minute.  We could not make any definite plans until I knew what I was going to be doing for graduate school, so we booked towards the end of November, and to our surprise we had no issue getting a room for Marathon Weekend.  We chose to stay on the Swan side because it was cheaper, and in the end, I am glad we did but more on that later.  Unfortunately, I got 0 pictures of our room since I decided to write this review after we destroyed the room with all our stuff, so I apologize about that, but you can enjoy these selfies we took in the mirror of our room!

LOCATION

The Swan Hotel is almost right in the center of the Walt Disney World Resort.  It is towards the back side of Epcot, across the street from Hollywood Studios, right down the road from Animal Kingdom, and an easy 10-minute ride to Magic Kingdom!  It has great and easy access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios through the Boardwalk and sidewalks!  Going to and from Hollywood Studios we either walked or took the boat.  It was maybe a 10-minute walk or a 5-minute boat ride.  We loved the fact that we had the option to walk because one night the line for the boat leaving Studios was super long because the park had just closed, so we decided to walk back to our room and actually managed to beat the boat back!  Overall, I would definitely say this is one of the more accessible Disney resorts I have stayed at in relation to access to the parks which is a great plus when booking your resort.

RUNDISNEY BENEFITS

The purpose of this trip was so that we could run in the races for the WDW Marathon Weekend.  Both mom and I participated in the 5k but only I participated in the 10k on Thursday.  This resort was perfectly located because of its access to the Boardwalk.  From our hotel, you only had to walk over one bridge to be on the Boardwalk.  This worked out perfect for the 10k since the course ran a loop around the Boardwalk.  Mom was able to sleep in and wake up just in time to catch me running past the hotel, and she was able to go back to the room and get ready for the day while I finished the race.  We did not book this hotel because of its location in reference to the race, but it ended up being a HUGE bonus.  It is definitely something we are going to keep in mind when we travel back for race weekends.  Although, it needs to be mentioned that runDisney does not always keep the same courses, so the race you’re running is not guaranteed to pass by the Boardwalk!  A plus was also how close we were in relation to Epcot which was the starting line for both the 5K and 10k.  It was about a 5-minute bus ride each way, and I would guesstimate that it would be about a 10-minute bus ride to a Magic Kingdom start line!

VERSUS DOLPHIN

The one thing we noticed throughout our stay was the people roaming our hotel in business suits.  It was kind of funny to see mom and I walking in from our 5K decked out in our Minnie Mouse costumes while all the men were in nice suits to spend a day at a convention.  Two completely opposite ends of the spectrum. We noticed them roaming, but they weren’t everywhere.  We ran over to the Dolphin side during our stay to grab a drink from the supermarket type store, and we walked straight into a cocktail hour full of businesspeople galore.  The Dolphin hotel had a larger selection of fine dining which is more acclimated to businesspeople attending a conference where as the Swan had a character dining location.  From that, I would assume that the Swan is more geared towards families visiting Disney World and the Dolphin was more for conference and convention attendees.  Granted, we did not stay at the Dolphin, so I don’t have a comprehensive review to give of that side or a full opinion, but like I said this is what I saw during our stay.

QUALITY

The resort itself was beautiful!  If I were to place it based on a Disney quality scale, I would say it would probably fall under the Moderate category.  Our room has a resort view, so we faced the Dolphin side but from our window, you could get a glimpse of the Boardwalk and the fireworks.  Down at the end of our hallway, there was a large circular window which had a beautiful view of Epcot and Illuminations every night! Next time, mom and I agreed we would try to request a park view.  There were rooms directly to the left of our rooms which had balconies which probably had perfect views of Epcot, the Boardwalk, and Illuminations!  Our room was a standard room with one King bed and a large pull out couch.  The one thing I really liked was the bathroom had two separate areas.  The first area was a sink with a mirror and the closet directly behind it.  The second area was where the bath, toilet, and second mirror/sink area was located.  Having the two mirrors and sinks was extremely helpful every morning when mom and I were doing our makeup and hair for the day!  Overall, it was a pretty standard room!

BENEFITS

The part I was most excited for about staying at the Swan was all of the great benefits you receive as a guest.  It is not classified as a Disney World Hotel but because it’s on property, you receive all the same benefits as a guest in a Disney World Hotel.  We were able to book our fast passes 90 days in advance to get all the best rides, we could use extra magic hours, and utilize Disney Transportation.  We had the option to take buses to Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, and the water parks.  The boat was the offered mode of transportation to get to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.  You could also walk to Epcot or Hollywood Studios if you wanted to, and it wasn’t a bad walk by any means!  In regards to RunDisney, we also had all the transportation options available to us too.  So they had buses available to and from the Expo throughout the days and times it was open, and race day transportation starting at 3:30 A.M.

Overall, Mom and I really enjoyed our stay at the Walt Disney World Swan hotel.  It had great perks in regards to playing in the parks and participating in the races.  The rooms and hotel were great quality, and the staff was all so helpful and kind.  And you can’t beat being able to watch Illuminations from your hotel every night!

2018 Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend

Now that I have finally recovered from running 19.3 miles and the time change, I have finally had time to sit down and recap my experience at runDisney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend.  I had been anxiously awaiting this weekend because it was going to be my first half marathon and my first challenge.  For anyone who doesn’t know running or runDisney, the Two Course Challenge was where you participated in the 10k (6.2 miles) on Saturday and then ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) on Sunday, totaling up to 19.3 miles in two days!  Yes, I paid for this, and yes, I sometimes think I’m a little crazy, but you do it for the bling!  The medals were gorgeous, but we’ll get to that later!

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Expo:

Mama Judy and I flew into Orlando Thursday afternoon, and then we booked it to the expo to pick up my race bib and shop for all the adorable merch!  Also, I needed to get to the expo as soon as possible because I forgot my running shoes at home.  Yep, I somehow made it all the way to Orlando to run a race without my running shoes.  For someone who had their packing list written out a week before, this was a major fail.  As if my anxiety wasn’t already racing, this only made matters worse.  Once we got to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, we went to the Hoka booth immediately.  My priority was to get new shoes, and if we didn’t have enough time to pick up my bib, we would come back on Friday.  Thankfully, they had the style and size of the shoes I needed, and I had shoes to run in for the weekend!  The expo wasn’t too crowded, and the flow of traffic to pick up your bib worked really well.  A recommendation is to come to the expo with your waiver filled out and ready to go.  You are able to print and fill it out before entering the expo, but I like to have it done ahead of time.  Next stop was the merch (INSERT HEART EYES)  I honestly loved the theming for this year.  All of the merchandise was super cute!  The colors were gorgeous, and I was able to shop without a huge crowd.  We were in and out of the merchandise within like 20 minutes!  It was great.

10k:

 I managed to get to bed around 8ish the night before the 10k, but goodness that 2 A.M. alarm came on too early.  Thankfully, the excitement and adrenaline gave me an extra boost to get going.  Mom and I made it to Epcot around 3:15 A.M., but we didn’t realize that they didn’t open up bag check or start running the buses until 3:30 A.M.  Mama Judy and I chilled in our warm car until we finally saw movement at bag check.  Once we made it through, we headed to the Ticket and Transportation Center, the meet and greet with characters had already begun.  You had the option between Sebastian, Lumiere, Chef Mickey, and Chef Minnie, and Chef Donald and Chef Goofy.  We hopped in line for Chef Donald and Chef Goofy.  The lines were moving fairly quickly, I was able to meet them in about 15 minutes.  My mom and I hopped in line to meet Sebastian, but the line was queued at over an hour, and the characters would be leaving at 5:00 A.M.  I decided to move into my corral since we wouldn’t make the meet and greet anyways.  The run itself went great because the weather was perfect.  It was cool but not too cool.  I will say I was disappointed with the course – the first 4 miles were all on main roads and overpasses.  We only ran through Epcot for the last half of the course.  There were several characters out on the route, but I chose not to stop for any meet and greets because I wanted to keep up my steady pace for a Princess Half Marathon Weekend proof of time.  After finishing, mom and I met up and hopped in line for some characters.  We were able to meet Sebastian and Chef Minnie and Chef Mickey before heading out for the day!

Half Marathon:

Mom and I were dragging this morning with the time change and back to back early wake-up calls.  We made it to the TTC and decided not to wait for any characters since it was almost time to head to my corral.  As the race volunteers were moving my corral towards the starting line, it started to sprinkle, what a great start to the morning!  I really enjoyed the course map for the half.  It was a nice mixture of back roads and overpasses and parks.  The first part we ended up at was Animal Kingdom, and I came in right at sunrise.  It was beautiful to see the sun rising over Pandora.  From AK, we headed to Hollywood Studios (my favorite park) which was a relief because I knew Epcot was right around the corner.  During my walk interval outside of Studios, an elderly couple asked me what I was doing, I said running a half marathon, they then proceeded to ask me if paid for this, I responded yes, and they both looked at me which this confused expression and said you’re crazy.  That was probably a highlight of my first half marathon!  My favorite part of the race was running through the Boardwalk for several reasons.  It’s flat and wide open so runners can space out. Also, the atmosphere on the Boardwalk is the best – you have the family and friends of runners out there cheering, and the resort guests on their balcony’s watching and cheering too.  Epcot was a struggle, but I pushed through it to get to that last finish line.  Once I fit the 13-mile marker, I started to tear up this was such a long and hard working journey.  Then as I rounded the corner for the finish line, I saw Mama Judy taking pictures and yelling how proud she was of me.  That moment and pure exhaustion did it, I started crying, but I knew I had to pull it together to get that instaworthy finish line picture! #judgeme There were several character stops throughout the course.  I stopped for Louis from Princess and the Frog being a NOLA girl, and Mushu at the China Pavillion in Epcot.  Characters I remember seeing were Marie, Green Army Men, Flik, Oswald, Elvis Stitch, Russell for UP, Daisy Duck, Pluto, the Penguins from Mary Poppins, Dino Chip and Dale and Edna Mode.  The characters available after the race were Chef Minnie and Chef Mickey, Lumiere, Chef Donald, and Chef Goofy!  We only waited for Lumiere because I didn’t think I could stand up any longer, and I was dying for a warm bath!

After Party:

After sleeping all day and taking a nice relaxing and warm bath, mom and I headed to Epcot in the sprinkling rain.  I had hoped the weather would clear up because I wanted to take some nice pictures with my medals.  Alas, that was not the case.  Mother Nature was not working in my favor.  Because of the time change, it got dark at like 5:00 P.M. – i.e. no natural lighting available for pictures, and it began pouring down rain.  We conquered Frozen Ever After, Soarin’ and Character Spot and a stop at the Canada food both for some cheddar soup.  From there, we decided to cut our losses.  The rain was coming down hard and it didn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.  As much as we wanted to enjoy the party, it was just not worth pushing through the rain for.  Hopefully, I’ll be back for Wine and Dine Weekend again to enjoy the party!

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Epcot International Food & Wine Favorites

You voted, and I will deliver!  During our Fall Break trip, we set off the majority of a day to spend at Epcot to sip and dine our way around the World Showcase and all of the various booths.  I had been reading up on blog posts discussing the festival favorites and new offerings for this year, but I also knew we would have to figure out once we got there.  We didn’t eat breakfast that morning because we knew we would be getting our fill in.  Before we ventured off, I went through the festival guide at the front of the park and highlighted what I wanted to get, and then Jeremy did the same.  This is where my OCD kicks in.  I wanted to make sure we hit all of our favorite stops and did it in the most effective way. L O L judge me!

Our first stop was at the Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar at the Festival Center.  I was SUPER hyped up for this being that I am a basic white girl and I love my mimosas.  We ordered three: the tropical mimosa, the frozen mimosa, and the blood orange mimosa.

My rankings for them would be:10764401616_IMG_2269

  1. Tropical – the tropical was by far my favorite.  It was fruity and still refreshing at the same time, but it still gave you the nice little buzz.
  2. Frozen – This one was okay!  Honestly, the White Claw Natural Lime Hard Seltzer in it was an awkward taste I didn’t enjoy.  I had hoped I would like it more because I love icees, but I would pass on this one again.
  3. Blood Orange – Jeremy ordered this one, and I was not a fan.  I didn’t enjoy the blood orange flavor neither did Jeremy.  We both voted for the Tropical as the top contender.

 

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Next up was the Taste Track near Test Track!  Jeremy ordered the Pancake Milkshake, and we weren’t sure what to expect with this one, but Jer said it was honestly just a glorified milkshake with sprinkles on top.  He said if put to a taste test with a vanilla milkshake, he wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

 

 

To continue on our drink adventure, we went to the Light Lab near Club Cool!  I was excited about this just because the inside is really cool from what we experienced last year.  We ordered the Phosphorescent Phreeze Flight to split!  It was cute how it was presented.  I would compare it to an icee with much less sugar.  The best flavor was the blue, then the purple, then the yellow.  Overall, the drinks weren’t great, but the experience in the room was cool.

 

We finally decided to get some food at Flavor From Fire near Epcot Character Spot.  The smells walking around the area were just amazing.  You can smell the barbeque in the air, and it was so appetizing.  Jeremy ordered the Piggy Wings.  He really enjoyed them and wished you were served more.

 

Next up was one of my favorite offerings that was brought back from last year’s festival.  At Coastal Eats, we ordered a Baked Shrimp Scampi dip which is served with some French Bread.  It was just as good as I remembered it, although I think we got more shrimp last year.  Definitely recommend it if you’re a seafood fan!

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We decided to actually adventure out past Future World and into the World Showcase to eat some more.  Our first stop was the Germany Pavillion for an Apple Strudel.  I was super pumped for this one, and I was sufficiently let down.  The strudel part was undercooked and mushy.  Plus, the apples inside of it were very plain and lacked any cinnamon seasoning at all.  We also got very little vanilla sauce to dip it in, so I was rather sad after leaving Germany.

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From Germany, we headed to the Italy pavilion to get some real food rather than dessert.  We were going to order a Fritto Mista, but the cast member said it would take twenty minutes to prepare, so we ordered the Mezzi Rigatoni.  Honestly,  I am so glad the Fritto Mista wasn’t ready because the Mezzi was amazing! The sauce was a little spicy, but it was a nice little kick.  Also, the pasta was cooked amazing!  I would have loved to order that as a regular entree!

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Our last stop before we both entered into a food coma was at the Refreshment Port for Jeremy to try the Sweet Potato Poutine which he raved about after devouring it.  We got to enjoy our last food and wine meal on the honorary festival tables, a lovely nearby trashcan.  This is one of our favorite festivals to attend because I love sweet treats, and Jeremy loves food in general!

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Have you attended the Food and Wine Festival before?  What’s your favorite festival offering?  Let me know in the comments!

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Mickey’s Not So Scary Round 2

We’re back for Round 2 of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party!  We knew going on a Friday night meant more crowds, but we were prepared to deal with it the best we could.  Also, before getting to the party Jeremy and I agreed to take it easy because we were exhausted from the last two nights staying out so late, but nevertheless we persisted!

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Our costumes for Friday night were my favorite!  Snow White and Grumpy!  Jeremy told me when I started planning our costumes that he would not dress up like a prince, and it took some arm turning, but he agreed to go as Grumpy, and it was adorable.  I also carried my Poison Apple popcorn bucket as a purse to use throughout the night which was the perfect touch of detail.  This night we had primarily three goals: meet all the characters, eat all the specialty treats and ride all the specialty attractions!

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We were able to redeem ourselves from the night before and ride Space Mountain with all the lights off.  Of course, Jeremy and I were in the last two rows, and we were behind a lady who had blinking pumpkin earrings.  Thankfully, she realized a bit into the ride that her earrings were bright and distracting, so she turned them off.  It was crazy to go on that ride without any lights.  Even though it’s usually dark, it was kind of spooky to not be able to semi prepare yourself for what was next.  The music they played was similar to just Rock, I guess. It would have been more enjoyable if they played Halloween music with all the lights off.  We were also able to go on Pirates of the Caribbean with the included live actors.  There was a pirate in the jail interacting with guests in the queue and another pirate letting all of the riders know he was in search for Peglegged Pete.  At first, I was like okay random, but then once on the ride, you find another pirate, and it is none other than Peglegged Pete!

For characters, we were able to meet Mickey Mouse in Town Square, Stitch dressed up as Elvis, and the Seven Dwarfs!  This was my first time meeting Mickey since they removed his voice at Town Square, so it was bittersweet.  Stitch dressed as Elvis was a new offering this year, and I loved it.  I have never been a huge Stitch fan, but I loved this specialty costume.  He was so cute!  Finally, the main event for us was meeting the Seven Dwarfs.  First off, I love that they moved their meet and greet inside Storybook Circus.  The AC was much appreciated in the 90-degree heat in October, and it also helped prepare in case of rain which we didn’t run into, but we have in previous years.  We went to meet them right before the fireworks, and we waited maybe 20 minutes.  It was so worth going later because we beat the huge crowd of people the dwarfs always attract.

Now for food.  This was Jeremy’s favorite part.  We were able to try four Halloween Party specialties.  The first was the Jack Skellington Cake Push Pop at Sleepy Hollow.  Honestly, I was hyped up for this treat, and I will admit I was disappointed.  It was awkward to eat because it was similar to a cupcake, but you had to push it up to eat more.  It was a hot mess to try to eat.  It was good, but I would have preferred it just as an individual cupcake.  Next up was the Muenster Smash Burger at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café.  This was right up Jeremy’s alley but not mine since I like my cheeseburgers plain.  His overall review was not bad.  The pictures were a lot nicer looking than the actual product.  From my point of view, the black bun itself looked unappetizing.  It was a combination of a burger, tater tots, cheese, and Sriracha aïoli.  We then opted for a chill treat, the Maleficent Dessert at Storybook Treats.  It was so cute, but with the heat, it began to melt immediately.  The flavor was okay.  If you like lime, then this is the treat for you.  It was good, but I am not a general fan of the flavor.  And finally, we tried the Worms and Dirt at Peco Bills Tall Tale Inn and Café which I was super excited for because I love these kinds of things.  We caught them right before they closed at 11 which surprised me since the party didn’t end til 12.  It was good, but it was nothing special.  Just pudding, gummy worms, and chocolate cake crumbs.  The cutest part was the tomb headstone for Master Gracey from Haunted Mansion.

Overall, we had a great night, but like I said we decided to take it easy especially since we had eaten around the world at Epcot earlier that day.  Check back next week for our top picks from Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival!

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