Thursday, March 31, 2016

Disney World February/March 2016 Review #2

This review is all about food! Probably my favorite part of a Disney vacation. Yes, I love the rides and shows, but I really look forward to all the wonderful food Disney property has to offer!

Disclaimer: I don't claim to be an expert, but I do feel like I have gone enough times to give adequate reviews. Also, these are just my personal opinions from my experiences, so please keep that in mind when reading my reviews. I would always suggest you experience these things for yourself!

For this trip, we got to try a lot of new places, which is always so fun! I apologize ahead of time for the picture quality as I took these pictures with my phone.

On our first night, we had a dinner reservation for Boma. I've been wanting to try this place for awhile now. Boma is located at Animal Kingdom Lodge and is a buffet with african style food. We arrived about 15 minutes before our reservation time, which was 6:30pm. We got seated about 15 minutes after our reservation time, it was VERY busy. The wait didn't bother us too bad as we were able to explore outside for a while. The one thing I love about Animal Kingdom Lodge is they have a savannah with different animals freely roaming around, so we were able to watch the animals while waiting for our table.

The service was amazing! Our server was really awesome, explained the buffet to us since this was our first time there, was great with our kids, and very attentive to our drink refills.

The food was phenomenal! The way the meats were flavored, oh my goodness! My favorite was the curry (I got two bowls of it) and the hummus (I wanted to take some home with me!) After our dinner, my husband actually said he wanted to eat there again that week (we never did, but wanted to it was that good) Our server also explained that the menu changes daily, so next time we go, it might not be the same food. We have very picky eaters as well, we tried to get them to try some of the new food, but they weren't having it. They do have a kids bar for those picky eaters with chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. We definitely would do this restaurant again. 

The theming was gorgeous and perfect for the food type offered there.

My first plate of food. Loved the ribs and roast beef with the mustard type dipping sauce.

This is that curry I had two bowls of.

I never made it to the desserts bar, but my husband did and we found a hidden Mickey.

On our second day we had a lunch reservation at Beaches and Cream. We've gotten take out ice cream from here before, but never had the opportunity to actually eat there. This place was so cute, reminded me of a small diner. We got there right at our reservation time and we were seated immediately. They gave our kids crayons and pages to color which helped keep them entertained for most of the time while we waited for our room. Our server was just ok, she didn't seem to have the Disney magic you would expect, just that she was working a job. The food seemed to take awhile to get to us, it didn't seem too busy and we didn't order complicated things. When we got our food, we were not disappointed! I didn't get a chance to take a bite of my husbands hot dog before he ate it all, but my grilled cheese and tomato soup was the best I've ever had! Of course our meal wouldn't have been complete without ice cream. I'm not sure if we would eat here again just because there are so many different dining options on property, but we would defiantly do an ice cream pick up.

The Ice Cream Sundae my husband and I shared

This was the kids ice cream, how cute it that!?

On our second night we also had a dinner reservation at Via Napoli, located in the Italy pavilion in Epcot. We've been to this place before and it is the best pizza we've ever had. They cook all of their pizzas in a wood burning fire place. We had a reservation at 8pm and were getting pretty hungry around 6:30. We got there a little before 7 and asked if they could maybe get us in a little early. Even though they were very busy, we waited about 15 minutes and got a table. So an hour before our reservation time! The service was excellent, as always, and the food was amazing! 

The only picture I got of our food because we were so hungry and I forgot to take a picture before digging in and my phone ended up dying. We also got dessert which was soooo good. I can't remember what it was though, some kind of dough balls with chocolate dipping sauce and whipped cream.

We didn't have any dining reservations planned for our third day, but were able to snag a last minute lunch reservation at Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom (About two hours before the reservation time). We've been to the Crystal Palace before, years ago before we had kids. Crystal Palace is a character dining buffet. The characters you get to see are your popular characters from the 100 Acre Woods: Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Tigger. The atmosphere is so fun.

 Being pregnant, I've had some weird cravings, all I really wanted that day was lemons. Crystal Palace has an AMAZING pomegranate lemonade I didn't know about until the server brought it to me when I asked for lemonade. The food at the buffet is pretty general, but still delicious. I had a huge piece of salmon (that I drowned in lemon juice even though it didn't need it, but pregnancy cravings win) and the green beans were soooo good, I went back for more. They also had some really yummy desserts too.

Tokyo Dining was the last of our reservations that we had planned for the week. I've been wanting to try this dining experience for a long time (being Japanese and all). This is located in the Japan Pavilion in Epcot. We had a reservation at 6:30 and started getting hungry around 4, so we started to head over to the restaurant to see if we could get in early. They immediately got us inside and we only had to wait for 5 minutes. We requested a table next to a window so we can see the world showcase. So we got in two hours early! There was only a handful of people in there. The service was also AMAZING!

It was so hard to decide what to get, because I wanted one of everything. Being pregnant, I'm not allowed to eat raw fish (even though I am a huge sushi fan) so I went with the bento box. It was a nice variation of different foods. I had to substitute the sashimi for noodles, but it was no problem. My husband got a a sampling of sushi, which looked delicious! We got a kids meal for our boys to split, and they even spit it for them and put them in different monorail plates. It was so cute! Even my picky eaters ate the chicken and rice and even ate most of my rice! I can never leave the Japan Pavilion without having my favorite, green tea ice cream either!

How cute are these kids meals!? (This was just half the serving as they split it for us)

 One thing I love about Disney is you can get snacks and quick service food anywhere. You don't have to go to a sit down restaurant to have good food. I got to try some new things, and of course get my "usual". I will talk about the food I actually remembered to get pictures of. (Many quick service I forgot to get pictures of).

Fish and Chips in the UK pavilion in Epcot. I was craving this for days while on our vacation because of the smell every time we walked past it. I finally got a chance to get it and oh my, I will defiantly be getting it again! The batter on the fish tasted so different than other fried fish I've ever had, it felt light, so I didn't feel like I was filling up on batter and grease. 

We make a Starbucks stop every day while on property (since they have one at every park) I wasn't really in the mood for coffee that morning so I decided to get some tea instead. They had a special Shaken Mango Green Tea Lemonade (again with the lemon craving) that was delicious!! I actually got this more than I got coffee this trip.

Located in Magic Kingdom is a quick service called Sleepy Hollow. We've never eaten at this place before, but I've heard all about their waffles. Sadly the chicken and waffle sandwich I was planning on trying this trip was no longer available, but the nutella waffle sure was! This will be a breakfast I get for every trip now! The fruit was so fresh and everything together just tasted soooo good!

Every visit to the Disney Parks, I HAVE to get a churro. It is my favorite snack on property. I defiantly got my fair share of churro's that week.

Most people will call this a crime, especially with how often we visit the parks, but we have never had a dole whip before. So this trip, we were determined to see what the fuss was about. And the verdict? We weren't fans. I know, I know, call us crazy! Our kids loved it, but my husband and I could have gone without. I know it was suppose to be pineapple flavored, but it tasted like a Pina Colada to us and we are not coconut fans at all. I'm glad we finally tried it, but probably won't again.

I've also heard a lot about the macrons in the France pavilion, so of course I wanted to try it out! This one was raspberry filled! My two favorite things to mix together, chocolate and raspberries. I'm not sure if it was suppose to be so cold (they had them in a fridge) so it was kind of hard to bite through, but still good! (I imagined them to be like a chewy cookie for some reason) The chocolate was very rich. I think I need to try some other flavors before I determine if I like them enough to keep getting.

We can never leave Disney without getting a caramel apple. We love to get the ones dipped in white chocolate. So delicious!

Thanks for staying with me and reading this whole review! I know it was a lot! I hope it can help a fellow Disney lover when it comes to dining reservations!

~Alison Shane~

If you would like to book your own magical vacation to try these restaurants and snacks yourself, click here.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Disney World Review February/March 2016 Part 1

With a new Disney trip comes new reviews! With a week long trip comes lots of new things! For this blog I will be reviewing the two different resorts that we stayed at; Caribbean Beach Resort and Coronado Springs.

We started our vacation at Caribbean Beach Resort and stayed for four nights, then moved to Coronado Springs for two nights.

Disclaimer: I don't claim to be an expert, but I do feel like I have gone enough times to give adequate reviews. Also, these are just my personal opinions from my experiences, so please keep that in mind when reading my reviews. I would always suggest you experience these things for yourself!

We arrived a little bit before 8am and had already done online check in. (We drive through the night so our kids sleep) Since check in was not until 3pm, my husband went to see if we could get into our room early. Unfortunately, they didn't have any clean rooms available that early, but they put us on the priority list. We would receive a text message when our room was ready and room number. We then left to go get some breakfast off property and headed to the grocery store to get some things we knew we would need throughout the week while we waited for our room.

After getting back to the resort we still haven't received a text so we decided to walk around the resort and explore it a bit. The resort is seriously breathtaking. Pictures do not do it justice at all. We let our kids play on the playground for a while and then walked back to our car. (We only saw half the resort as it is so large)

We already had some fastpasses planned for Animal Kingdom as we knew we would be getting there early. So we decided to freshen up a little in the car and headed over to Animal Kingdom for our fastpasses. We received a text sometime between 10 and 10:30am saying our room was ready, so we finished out our fastpasses and headed back to the resort.

When we got to the room, it was on the ground floor (which we requested) it was very clean and the theming was pretty cute too. Two queen size bed, and two sinks (a must for us). We noticed it did not have the pull down bed like the website had advertised and we promised our oldest he would get to sleep there. We also did not have any cell phone signal while in the room or anywhere near the building. So my husband called the front desk to see if we could get switched to a room with the pull down bed at the very least (we know they can't do anything about cell phone signal) Come to find out, not all the rooms came with the pull down bed, so if you are wanting it, make sure to request it. They told us they would call us when a new room was ready, so we decided to take a nap while we waited (we did drive through the night after all).

About an hour later (could have been longer, we were asleep so concept of time wasn't really there) we got the call that our new room was ready. It was on the second story and in a different building, which was ok as long as we got that pull down bed. This room was even nicer than the one were were just in and seemed bigger, and we even had cell phone service as well. The beds were comfy too!

Even though we had to wait a little bit before getting into our room after we arrived, we were still many hours ahead of the check in time and even though we had to change rooms, they did everything for us without question.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the inside of the room, but here are some from around the resort

Here are some pictures of the lobby area where you check in.

This is the food court, gift shop, guest services, and arcade. Our room was about a 5-7 minute walk away.

 The pool area. I didn't get the chance to take a picture of the kids splash pad, but my kids loved it and didn't want to leave.

You can rent bicycles. They also had beaches through out the resort with chairs and hammocks.

On our check out date for Caribbean Beach Resort, we packed up our stuff early and headed to the parks. We did online check in again for this resort so we just had to wait for a text when our room was ready.

Tip: Disney will move your luggage for you when doing a split stay like this. We decided not to do this as we didn't have enough cash to give a tip, we just kept our luggage in our car. (Not mandatory but appreciated) 

I can't remember the time we got a text saying our room was ready, but it was before 3pm, I believe. When we got to our room, we noticed that it was a lot quieter than Caribbean Beach Resort, which was a nice change. It had just two queen beds (which didn't seem as comfy) and seemed smaller than the room we were just in. There was only one sink in the bathroom, which made getting ready in the morning a little difficult, but we managed. Since Coronado Springs is the Resort that has the convention center, it was more business attire than family oriented. Instead of a table to sit at, there was a desk.

Here are some pictures from around the resort. The lobby, food, stores, and convention center were all in one building, but spread out enough that it wasn't all on top of each other. Our room was a bit of a walk from the food, so we always drove.

The property itself was very beautiful to walk around.

He had to walk a bit to get to "The Dig Site" which is where the pool, kids playground, and arcade was located.

Overall, both resorts were very nice and had the Disney high quality you would expect. The resort that best suited our family was the Caribbean Beach though and we will definitely stay there in the future.

Thank you for reading my review on these two Disney resorts from our February/March 2016 stay. If there is something specific you would like me to review, please let me know!

~Alison Shane~

If you need help planning one of these magical vacations for yourself, I'd love to help you. Just click here.