Don’t Miss the Grand Marnier Slush at Epcot

Disney Recipe: Grand Marnier Slush from France Kiosk in Epcot

One of my favorite things at Walt Disney World is the Grand Marnier Slush from the France kiosk in Epcot. This is one tasty treat you won’t want to miss … if you are of age. Please be careful though is this is one of those drinks where the booze is hard to detect and it’s VERY delicious.

You can make this at home too. Here is the recipe for you …

Ingredients

  • 1 part Grey Goose Vodka
  • 1 part Grand Marnier
  • 1 part simple syrup
  • 2 parts Quickway sweet and sour mix
  • Ice

Directions

1.) Mix all ingredients in a blender until completely smooth. You can be a little more lenient with some of the alcohol to get it to your liking.

2.) To get the orange coloring such as seen at Epcot, simply add orange food coloring to the blend.

Now indulge!

Under the Sea … is the ride for me!

Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite rides. I really enjoy the movie and I also don’t do the fast/scary rides any more.  This ride just makes me smile and has such great music. You get to go on an adventure “Under the Sea” and you don’t even get wet. If you like the characters and music in this Disney classic you will love Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid.

On the lighter side….Disney’s Ohana Honey Lime Salad Dressing

I absolutely love trying new salads and new salad dressings.  It’s amazing what a difference in the taste of a leafy salad, when you change up the dressing!!!  I’m sharing my favorite Disney salad dressing here today!  I first experienced this at Ohana – located at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World in Florida.  A quick monorail ride from the Magic Kingdom, this restaurant is top on my list and well worth the stop!

Honey Lime Dressing

Ingredients

1/2 C honey
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 C cider vinegar
1/4 C lime juice
1/4 C diced onion
1 C canola oil

Method:

Place all ingredients except oil in food processor and blend until smooth. Slowly add oil until it is well incorporated into the dressing. Makes 2 Cups.

Summer Salad … Disney Style!

Summer is upon us!  If you are like me you’re always looking for a new dish to bring to all of your summer gatherings. Well you are in luck! I have one to share with you. And not only can you make this at home, you can also overindulge in it when you dine at 1900 Park Fare at the  at Disney World.

Broccoli Slaw

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb Broccoli florets
1/4 cup Cashew Halves
1/4 cup Cooked/diced Bacon
1/4 cup Red Onion- small, diced
1/4 cup Raisins
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 tbsp Sugar
A Dash of  Salt

Directions:

  1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a 4-quart pan.
  2. Add Broccoli florets and cook for approximately 3 minutes or until barely tender. Cool thoroughly in ice water. Darin completely.
  3. Cut bacon into small pieces and cook in sauté pan until crisp. Drain off excess grease and cool.
  4. Add small red onion.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the diced red onion, raisins, mayonnaise, sugar, and cashews.
  6. Add the thoroughly cooked broccoli and cooked bacon.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Mix gently but thoroughly.
  9. Refrigerate until served.

Enjoy!!

 

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror—Be Afraid … Be Very Afraid!

My favorite Disney ride is at Hollywood Studios – The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

It’s a great attraction to ride either day or night and is based on a haunted hotel in old Hollywood. We love the queue up to the actual ride. In true Disney fashion the excitement builds as you get closer and closer to the elevator. My kids love it and look forward to the ride photo every year – they even know where to sit now (and will wait for that seat) so they can pose for the best shot. I do recommend warning everyone it is a thrill ride and it’s going to be a bit scary and dark – you must be 40″ tall to go on the attraction. They do offer a FastPass+ which I highly recommend.

Will you make it back or will you stay forever at the Hollywood Tower Hotel . . .

A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

One of my favorite attractions at Walt Disney World Resort is the Carousel of Progress. This 20 minute carousel takes each guest back in time to learn about innovation and lifestyles of different time periods throughout the 20th century and into the early 21st. I am particularly fond of it, because it is one of the few attractions that Walt Disney actively had a part in creating – the Carousel of Progress first made its appearance at the 1964 World Fair, and has been widely adored ever since!

Every time I meander into Tomorrow Land in Magic Kingdom, I make my way over to this nostalgic attraction for a carousel ride of musical entertainment and a look into A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow!

 

Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of Rum!

What is my favorite ride at Disney World? Easy- Pirates of the Caribbean!! I can’t pinpoint what it is about this ride that makes it my favorite but it is a must do with every Disney visit.  You set sail on a voyage to a time when pirates ruled the high-seas and will escape through a shadowy grotto past the ghostly catacombs of fallen pirates. This ride is for everyone, any age and any height. There is one small drop down a waterfall towards the beginning of the ride so be prepared but after that just sit back, enjoy and sing along with the drunken buccaneers. Jack Sparrow pops up throughout the whole ride so be on the lookout, you just never know what he is going to be up to. When you are at Disney World next, head to Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom and try this ride out, you won’t be disappointed!!

Toy Story Midway Mania by Melissa (almost an expert)

My favorite ride at Disney World and Disneyland is Toy Story Mania!!!

At Disney World, this ride is located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  At Disneyland, this ride is located at Disney’s California Adventure Park.

I’m such a nerd that I researched and read up on how to get more points on this fun little ride!!!

Here are a few of the things I have learned about the ride and how to improve your score:
(Most of the high scores involve uncovering the secret targets on each screen)

  1. Hamm & Eggs screen – shoot the fox and the hens, while also shooting the two pigs above the fox.  When the two pigs go down, a cat appears.
  2. Green Army Men screen – in the beginning, two 2000 plates will shoot up in the valleys, hit them both before they disappear.  Higher value plates appear.
  3. Woody’s Shooting Gallery screen – this one is a team effort, Hit the 100 point target to open the 5 more targets, then you have to hit them all.  When you do, the targets pop open worth 2000 points each

Yep, I love this ride and am just a tiny bit competitive….ha ha ha!!!

  

Pandora – The World of Avatar is now open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park.

Explore Pandora

Exploring Pandora – The World of Avatar – is a must see experience now open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The land itself serves as an amazing attraction for you to explore and interact with, and the area’s two experiences – the thrilling Avatar Flight of Passage and the family friendly Na’vi River Journey – are already wowing Guests. But did you know there are actually many other ways you can have fun throughout Pandora – The World of Avatar?

Here are seven must-do suggestions on how you can have the most immersive experience possible during their next expedition to Pandora – The World of Avatar.

1. Match With A Banshee – Already a favorite experience, the land’s Windtraders Merchandise shop is home to the Rookery, a nook where banshees reside, waiting to be adopted and brought home with you.

2. Visit at Swotu Wayä (“Sacred Place of Song”) – Located in the heart of Mo’ara Valley, you can interact with a collection of instruments fashioned by the Na’vi. They are connected into the moon’s root system and as Guests play the instruments, the area just may respond with music and light.

3. Test Out A Na’vi Translator – Also found in Windtraders, this fun device helps you learn Na’vi words.

4. Dine at Satu’li Canteen – Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Satu’li Canteen offers one of the most interesting menus at the Walt Disney World® Resort. Featuring international-inspired cuisine, vegetarian options and specialty libations, it’s the ideal place to refuel on an expedition through the Valley of Mo’ara.

5. Help Regrow the Flaska Reclinata – One of the largest and most fascinating plants on Pandora, your Clients can help this rare plant “re-seed” itself on Pandora simply through touch.

6. Channel Your Inner Na’vi – Windtraders offers a selection of Na’vi inspired merchandise. Here, you can buy your own set of Na’vi ears or a Na’vi tail. Or get a Na’vi inspired look over at Colors of Mo’ara.

7. Get Camera Ready – Pandora – The World of Avatar is chock-full of unbelievable photo opportunities – from towering floating mountains, to surprising water falls and much more.

Disney Dancing Queens

Disney Dancing Queens

The ASU Dancing Devils is a sports club at Arizona State University. Their club was started 15 years ago and they haven’t traveled outside of the valley (Phoenix/Tempe area). This was a huge step for their club to not only travel, but to travel across the United States to Florida.

“Tammy was a huge part in the success of this trip! We definitely couldn’t have done it without her. She worked with us on finding the best deals for both flights and hotels. Tammy made my life a lot easier by staying very organized, and being able to answer any questions I had!! We appreciate everything that she has done for our team in order for to travel to Disney World!!”

– Megan Bonesteel, President of the ASU Dancing Devils


Walt Disney World – How to Navigate the Happiest Place on Earth

For those who have traveled to Walt Disney World before, it’s evident that having a plan in place for each of your days is a must. Without strategy, the happiest place on earth can easily turn into the crabbiest place on earth. Fortunately, our agents have the personal experience and knowledge and can share some useful tips to help you navigate your parks to optimize your time and experience!

Work your way backwards in the Parks

When you enter the park in the morning, the majority of the crowds are going to stampede to the first attractions they see – optimize your time, and head over to an area that is further from the entrance. For example, when you are in Magic Kingdom, head over to Frontier Land for a morning ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Splash Mountain. Take a ride on the People Mover in Tomorrowland. Most of the crowds are going to rush for the closest attractions, and most of those are in Fantasy Land. This is how I usually work the parks when I am there, and most days, it works incredibly well for myself and my travel companions!

Download Park Attraction Smartphone Apps

There are multiple Smartphone Applications that have the current wait times for Attractions at all four parks – I have used these multiple times on my Walt Disney World vacations, and they have proven themselves to be reliable and valuable. If you see that Space Mountain has a 10 minute wait, head on over!

Take Breaks

For those who don’t have the Park Hopper Option and only have one entrance to the park, it’s important to find a way to rest – fortunately, I’ve found that there are some attractions that allow you to rest and just enjoy the ride. Here are some of my favorites:

Magic Kingdom: People Mover, It’s a Small World, Mickey’s Philharmagic, Pirates of the Caribbean. Tom Sawyer’s Island (accessible by ferry from Frontierland), are all an incredible way to let the kids explore at their own pace, with no lines to stand in.

Epcot: Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land, and any of the World Showcase Rides. Checkout Mexico, America, France, China, and Canada for some really cool shows.

Animal Kingdom: Head over to Dinoland to relax in the Boneyard – this is a great place for the kiddies to play while you catch some shade!

Hollywood Studios: The Great Movie Ride.

Have a Travel Agent put together your trip

I cannot possibly cover everything about Disney in one blog, or even 100 blogs. Fortunately, we have many agents in our agency who can help you navigate these parks and put together your itinerary to ensure that your Disney Vacation runs smoothly. From your flights, to your hotel room, down to the meal reservations, we are here to help you through every step that leads you to an unforgettable vacation to the Happiest Place on Earth.

 

Disney Top Reads

If you are planning a first time trip to Disney, or perhaps you are a seasoned vet, this little list of our favorite books is a fun one to look through and read until your heart’s content!!!

Kingdom Keepers:  One of Melissa’s favorites, this one is a young reader style series of books.  Thirteen-year-old Finn and several of his friends become holograms at Florida’s Disney World and then find themselves literally pulled into nighttime adventures in the theme park. Ridley Pearson’s fantasy (Disney Editions, 2005) is fast paced and technologically savvy. Finn and his friends make repeated forays after hours into the very guts of such Disney icons as Tom Sawyer’s Island, It’s a Small World, Adventure Mountain, and other rides both tame and wild as they lay siege to Maleficent, an evil witch whose minions are at work to destroy the Disney mystique. The kids hang out at the park looking for signs and signals that will aid them in their nighttime quest for securing Disney power. Their parents are mildly suspicious, but Finn and his pals are fast talkers, willing to face their nighttime nemeses alone, rather than bringing in adult forces. Gary Littman reads with a variety of accents, some of which are less successful than others, and it’s easy to differentiate among both kids and adults. Given how much Disney has seeped into the very core of Americana, most listeners will be able to understand the references and will know for whom Maleficent is a foil. While the details about why one would become a hologram for Disney are slighted, the sleuthing aspect of the tale has universal appeal.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The Boys:  The Sherman Brothers’ Story: (DVD…not a book) An intimate journey through the lives of Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman, the astoundingly prolific, Academy Award®-winning songwriting team that defined family musical entertainment for five decades with unforgettable songs like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocous” from Mary Poppins, “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book and the most translated song ever written “It’s a Small World (After All)” from the Disneyland attraction.  The feature-length documentary, conceived, produced and directed by two of the songwriters’ sons, take audiences behind the scenes of the Hollywood magic factory and offers a rate glimpse of a unique creative process at work.  It also explores a deep and longstanding rift that has kept the brothers personally estranged throughout much of their unparalleled professional partnership

Birnbaum’s Official Guide: Birnbaum is the most respected and well-known name in Disney guides–and the only official guide. This updated edition of Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World Resort takes readers through Disney’s biggest resort with ease and flair and includes the most accurate, current information on prices and attractions.

Hidden Mickey’s Book: Camouflaged images of Mickey Mouse are concealed all around the Walt Disney World Resort. Author Steve Barrett adds to the fun of finding them by turning the search into six scavenger hunts, complete with clues, hints, and points to be scored. Barrett has searched Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland and all the rest of WDW to bring this guide to Disney World’s “hidden Mickeys” up to date with scores of new sightings of the cleverly camouflaged images. Disney’s designers have hidden them all around WDW―in the parks, shops, restaurants, and resort hotels―to delight visitors. Barrett offers a scavenger hunt for each of the four theme parks―Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom―as well as one for the WDW resort hotels, and one for everything else―Downtown Disney, the WDW water parks, the golf courses, and so on. Scavenger hunt for hidden Mickeys by following the “clues” in each hunt. Or consult the “Index to Mickey’s Hiding Places” in the back of the book to look for Mickey wherever you find yourself, without following a scavenger hunt. This new sixth edition includes over 1,200 hidden Mickeys in all, with complete descriptions of each one in the “hints” sections of each scavenger hunt. Compete with family and friends to see who can find Mickey first. Or simply enjoy spotting these clever hidden images on your own.

 

Enjoy reading our recommendations, and please help us grow this list!!!  We would love to know what your fav’s are!

 

Our Favorite Things: Magic Bands

Not only are we super excited about the introduction to PURPLE in the line up of free Magic Bands, but OMG have you looked at all the little trinkets and treasures you can add on to customize and pretty-up your Magic Band?

Here are a few of our fav’s!!!!

Bit Belts:  These nifty little things provide a secure way to fasten your Magic Band so you don’t lose it.  Oh yes, it happens to the best of us!!!  This is especially helpful if you’ve spent time and extra money on a custom Magic Band, you don’t want to have all of that go to waste!

Disney Store Magic Bands:  When you stay onsite and book your official package with us, you get the standard color.  If you decide to stay offsite instead, you can still utilize the amazing Magic Bands too!  Or perhaps you just want the coolest Magic Band on the block.

Wraps:  For a lesser expensive and still waterproof option to dazzle up your Magic Band, try Magic Your Band wraps and decals.

Decals:  There are tons and tons of fun decals out there.  Etsy is my favorite, I love the fun options.  I think my favorite is the Peter Pan gang flying around the Magic Band!!!

Enjoy customizing YOUR Magic Bands!!!!

Mandy goes to Disney World

In May 2016 I was fortunate enough to travel to one of my most favorite places…Disney World!! I am that girl who walks through the parks with a big smile on her face just happy as can be. I stayed at the Grand Floridian and wow, this hotel is nice! From the fragrant flower bouquets, friendly staff and being right on the monorail, this place has it all. Just a quick ride on the monorail and you are at Magic Kingdom, the happiest place on earth. While at Magic Kingdom I went on 2 of my most favorite rides- Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World.

While at Disney I also did site inspections at a few other hotels and one of the hotels was the Caribbean Beach. At this hotel they have pirate rooms and they are cool! If you have any little “pirates” in your family they would love to stay in one of these rooms. Something to keep in mind though is that if you are tall, this room type is not for you. There is no room for your feet to hang off the end of the bed and therefore you might not get the best night sleep. These rooms are also located in the last buildings at the hotel so it is about a 10-15 minute walk to the lobby.

Another hotel we visited was the Wilderness Lodge. If you like the rustic, outdoor feeling then this hotel is the perfect fit. We ate at the Whispering Canyon restaurant where they serve western fare. Be ready for a rowdy crowd and the foolish, outrageous and amusing behaviors from the wait staff.

When you are ready to plan your next Disney World vacation I would be happy to help and share of my hints and tricks with you!

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Laurie goes to Disney

I traveled to Walt Disney World in Florida 2016 and stayed at the Grand Floridian.
The hotel is beautiful and right on the monorail system so transportation to the Magic Kingdom was a quick breeze.  I enjoy the slower moving, classic rides and was fun to see the changes in It’s a Small World, the Little Mermaid ride, Pirates of the Caribbean and so forth.  Pooh is still my favorite character but wasn’t able to see him this trip.  Next time hopefully!

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