Category: Dining Reviews

#TripReportTuesday – Dining with Dinos

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Keeping up with our Animal themed day, we had made reservations at T-Rex Cafe located in Disney Springs, which back then was known as Downtown Disney.

Since we were staying at Saratoga Springs we had plenty of transportation options in getting to Downtown Disney. You can take a bus, boat or my favorite option when it is available: Walk! Of course we chose the walking option.

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Here is the boat option:2015-05-11-15h09m15 As we were walking, we saw some lucky folks taking one of the new amphicar rides! How fun! I love this view!2015-05-11-15h06m30The path we took led us to the Marketplace side of Downtown Disney and T-Rex is more toward the middle between Marketplace and the West Side, so we walked some more until we saw the giant T-Rex Fossils! We quickly checked in and were told to enter the restaurant where we would be called shortly.

2015-05-11-15h23m55The inside of this restaurant is so cool! It is like Rainforest Cafe except with Dinosaurs. They are actually both owned by Landry’s Restaurants and not Disney. When you first walk in, there is a giant T-Rex animatronic and a decently sized gift shop with all the dinosaur merchandise one’s heart could ever desire!2015-05-11-15h28m04There are different themed dining rooms. The underwater one holds the bar, but there are also dining tables to be found within it.2015-05-11-15h28m10There is also a fern forest room toward the back of the restaurant. This one is my least favorite because it looks too much like Rain Forest Cafe and just doesn’t have the same WOW factor as the other rooms!2015-05-11-16h38m56The ice cave room is my favorite mainly because the baby Woolly Mammoth is just so stinking cute!2015-05-11-16h38m052015-05-11-15h34m522015-05-11-15h39m26 2015-05-11-15h39m54I wished I could take the little Woolly Mammoth home!2015-05-11-16h38m15We were seated in the middle of the restaurant, in the volcano/lava room so we had a pretty good view of all the dining areas from here. On of the fun things about this restaurant is that ever 20 minutes or so, a meteor shower takes over the restaurant with very loud and eye catching effects. Be warned it gets really loud to the point of not being able to carry on a conversation, so if you are looking for a quiet meal, skip this place! 2015-05-11-15h28m18 2015-05-11-15h34m42

Once we were seated, we perused the huge menu! No matter the pickiest of eaters in your group, there will be something they can eat within the menu because there is a great variety! Check it out HERE.

They have a good cocktail selection here, so I decided to indulge a little and go with a Cotton Candy Martini because when you are on vacation, this is what you do.

Here is the menu description of the drink I got, they also have a tropical fruit version:

Candy Apple Cotton-tini

Featuring Sobieski Vodka, DeKuyper Sour Apple Pucker Schnapps and a splash of sweet & sour

Below is a picture of the drink. The cotton candy has obviously became part of the drink, but when they bring it out it is all fluffy on top! Please don’t mind that I look exhausted and hungry in this picture. You can also see the souvenir drink shaker that this drink came with.

2015-05-11-15h42m08 As mentioned, the menu is extensive, but I had finally settled on the meatloaf/mashed potato meal which I think is a seasonal or special offering because I do not see it on the menu. It was really tasty and filling though!  I think Justin ended up going with a New York Strip steak because he was feeling carnivorous given his surroundings.

Overall, our experience at T-Rex Cafe was a great one! The servers were attentive, the menu has plenty of options and the food is prepared well. I don’t know of anywhere else on Disney property that you can get a cotton candy martini, so that is a bonus!

If you have any dinosaur fans in your group, make sure to get reservations to this place! We have since returned to T-Rex Cafe and it was still wonderful and even have reservations for this summer when we have family coming down for a visit, mainly because one of the children in our party is a die-hard Dino fan! I cannot wait to experience this place with him!

After our meal, we walked around the restaurant a little bit, checked out the shop and decided to walk by the Boathouse restaurant to check out an amphicar launch! I so want to do this one day!

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The plan for the rest of the evening was to head to Hollywood Studios for some Fantasmic and Extra Magic Hours. Join us next Tuesday!

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#TripReportTuesday – A Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue Review

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It’s Tuesday, so that means a new installment of the trip report!

I was so excited to get ready for our dinner because we were doing a true Disney classic for the first time: The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue! This dinner show musical comedy held at the Fort Wilderness Resort & Camground is one of the country’s longest running dinner shows as it opened in 1974!

Here is what we were in store for from Disney’s website:

Frontier-Style Family Fun

Join the Pioneer Hall Players for 2 hours of rousing Wild West dancing, singing and zany vaudeville comedy.You never know what to expect when Claire de Lune, Johnny Ringo, Dolly Drew, Six Bits Slocum, Flora Long and Jim Handy hit the stage. But you do know that it’s not going to be dull! Get ready to clap your hands, stomp your feet, sing along and have a good ol’ time at rustic Pioneer Hall in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.

In between skits and song standards, chow down on buckets of all-you-care-to-enjoy fried chicken and smoked BBQ pork ribs, as well as a tossed green salad, baked beans, fresh-baked cornbread and strawberry shortcake.

Unlimited draft beer, wine and sangria are included for Guests 21 years of age and up (proper ID required). Soft drinks are also included.

Doesn’t that description just sound like so much darn fun!? Not only was I excited to see the show, but also visit Fort Wilderness because this was the first Disney resort I stayed at when I was 4 years years old, I just don’t remember it!

The show is held at Pioneer Hall, but in order to get there, you have to take a bus from within the resort because the campground is so big and spread out! I definitely did not take this into account in my planning, so we just made it! Make sure if you book, you give yourself plenty of time to get to the resort and use the in-resort transportation! I think the bus ride to get to Pioneer Hall can take up to 20 minutes depending on when you catch the bus, so just plan ahead! When we arrived to Pioneer Hall, we were one of the last people to get there and pick up our tickets so we didn’t have much time to explore because just as we picked up our tickets, they were opening the doors and having people be seated.

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A hostess brought us to our table which was so close to the front it felt like we were on the stage. When you make your reservation, you choose which section you wish to be seated in and there are 3 different categories. Category 1 is the main floor, Category 2 is in the back and some upper balcony looking straight on to the stage, and Category 3 is on the balcony to the sides of the stage. We had chosen Category 1 and really lucked out with our seats! We were also right next to the piano!

2015-05-10-16h16m02 2015-05-10-16h16m08Here was our view looking behind our table, you can see the balcony seating above and can see how jam packed this show was! Even though it has been going strong since 1974, it is still very popular, so definitely make reservations if you have your heart set on seeing it! They put on 3 shows a night: 4:00, 6:15 and 8:30. We were doing the first showing, but I am sure the others are just as packed!2015-05-10-17h03m38

Since they have to put on 3 shows a night, they start the show right away and soon the talented actors took to the stage and it was seriously hilarious! I did not know what to expect, but that was half the fun! I don’t want to give to give too much away, but I love how they use the audience interaction. There really never is a dull moment in this show and you will definitely be entertained the entire time!2015-05-10-16h28m59 2015-05-10-16h29m10 2015-05-10-16h30m16 2015-05-10-16h30m44 2015-05-10-16h29m40 2015-05-10-17h14m27

In between all the rootin’ tootin’ fun, your servers are bringing you literally buckets of fried chicken, ribs, mashed potatoes, corn, beans and salad. All of which is incredibly tasty!

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One of the most fun parts of the show is the way they present dessert! It is a whole production centered on Strawberry Shortcake and even your servers get in on the action! So much yum!2015-05-10-17h31m16

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Be prepared because this show is LOUD! And when you think it can’t get any louder, it does! And when you think it can’t get any funnier, it does! 2015-05-10-17h45m532015-05-10-17h35m19 2015-05-10-17h35m46

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We really enjoyed the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue and were glad to cross it off our Disney Bucket List and I know we will definitely visit it again soon! The food is good and plentiful, but the actors are what make this show so great – I wish I had an ounce of their talent! If you are looking to kick back, have fun, laugh and just have a wild and loud time, book this dinner show!! If you are looking for a more quiet, laid back atmosphere, then this is definitely not for you!

I came across this great article on The Disney fan club site,  D23, which commemorates Hoop-Dee-Doo’s recent 40th Anniversary. There are some great old photos, a fun video and lots of history about the show. I have linked it HERE! Go and check it out.

See you next Tuesday when we head back to the Magic Kingdom for the evening (do we even go anywhere else?)

 

 

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#TripReportTuesday – Bonjour! Breakfast in Beast’s Castle

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Happy Tuesday! Time for another installment of our May 2015 trip report!

Our early departure from Magic Kingdom the night before was kind of a bummer, but I think it was right choice because I felt great when I woke up and ready for our breakfast at Be Our Guest. We had a busy day ahead of us because we were checking out of Coronado Springs and using our DVC points to stay at Saratoga Springs for 4 more nights before sailing away on the Disney Dream.

Since we were checking out and heading to breakfast, we made a couple trips to the car to pack everything up, it is amazing how much we accumulated in just 2 short nights! Given we were going to check in to Saratoga Springs after our breakfast, we opted to just drive to Magic Kingdom.

This was the first time we parked at the Ticket and Transportation Center since we started staying on property in 2009! If we stay on property, we always take the bus to the Magic Kingdom since it drops you off right in front of the gates. Of course, if we were staying at one of the Magic Kingdom Resorts, we would monorail, walk, or boat over depending on the resort. For anyone that has never visited, when you drive to the Magic Kingdom, the parking lot is at what is called the Ticket and Transportation Center which is still 1.5 miles away from the Magic Kingdom. You are transported to the front gate via monorail or ferry boat. During extremely busy times like Christmas, they also offer bus service. Since we hadn’t parked here in what seemed like forever, we opted to take the ferry and it is such a beautiful and peaceful ride to the Magic Kingdom! It definitely takes a little longer than the monorail, but we were still early for our reservation, so it was the perfect time for it! Plus, the weather was absolute gorgeous!

While on the ferry, we got our first views of the new DVC Polynesian Villas & Bungalows!2015-05-10-09h12m202015-05-10-09h16m09Grand Floridian looking perfect with not a cloud in sight!2015-05-10-09h16m40I love this view from the ferry! You can see the Magic Kingdom Train Station, castle and a monorail pass every few minutes. It really is beautiful and you feel like you are being transported to another world, which is exactly what Walt wanted and the reason it is 1.5 miles from the main parking lot!2015-05-10-09h18m32As we arrived, it was approaching our Be Our Guest reservation for breakfast. We had only been to Be Our Guest for multiple dinners, never breakfast as this was a fairly new offering and I knew I wanted to try it especially because at the time, we didn’t know if the breakfast would be offered permanently.

We made it to New Fantasyland, checked in and were immediately led inside.

2015-05-10-10h21m26Breakfast is considered a quick service offering but it certainly feels more like a combination of quick service and table service in that you order from a kiosk pictured below, then pick a table and are brought your food. They know exactly where you are because of your MagicBand or you are given an enchanted rose which helps the servers locate your table. Something else to note is that beverages are self-served during breakfast unless it is something bottled such as milk or orange juice, as these will be brought to you.

Here I am ordering at the kiosk obviously excited! 2015-05-10-09h44m19Once we made our selections at the kiosk, we were led to our table in the Castle Gallery. This is the least exciting of the 3 rooms available in the restaurant, however, we had always eaten in the Ballroom which is the iconic room where Belle and Beast dance the night away in the movie! There is also the West Wing which is the Beast’s study where you can find his enchanted rose. The room is filled another fun enchantment as well if you watch the painting above the mantle closely. We have yet to eat in there! As for the castle gallery, it still is a beautiful room filled with larger than life paintings depicting Belle and Beast’s love story. There is also a beautiful gigantic music box in the center of the room. To read more about the Castle Gallery, Disney Parks Blog did a feature on it HERE.

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Soon, our food began to arrive on the cutest little meal cart. To begin, they serve you a tray of pastries. Which for two people, they certainly give you tons of options! I think we had already dug into some before I took this picture.
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Then our main dishes came out!
I knew exactly what I was getting when I saw this on their menu when I made the reservations 180 days out!

Croissant Doughnut

Fried Doughnut topped with Banana-Caramel Sauce, Pastry Crème, and Chocolate Ganache served with fresh Fruit and a selection of pastries
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OK-definitely not the most healthy of choices, but like those toffee Heath bars, anything banana/caramel calls to me!
Justin decided to go with something different and we decided we would share our plates. This is what we usually do when trying someplace new.

Eggs Florentine

Puff Pastry Shell filled with Scrambled Eggs, Cheese, and fresh Spinach served with Country Ham, Roasted Plum Tomatoes, and a selection of pastries.
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Both of these dishes which were delicious!! What I really liked about this breakfast was that the options were different from your regular breakfast fare that you can find around the resort. While, I love things like Mickey waffles, I am happy to see those not on the menu because they are standard around Walt Disney World and you can get them almost anywhere! Everything on the menu was unique to Be Our Guest and I think that is what stood out most to me. The menu is not very extensive, but the fact that the choices are unique definitely make up for it. Check out the official menu from Disney HERE.
The nice thing about this breakfast is that you pay for your meal when you order so once you are done, you can just leave your table without needing to wait on a server to settle the bill. We were definitely impressed with the breakfast here and cannot wait to return. I’m very happy that they decided to keep this as a permanent option!
See our happy, smiling faces?
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A quick check of the My Disney Experience app showed that Splash Mountain had a short wait, and since technically check in at Saratoga Springs wasn’t until 4:00 PM, we decided to give it a go. However, one cannot pass the Tangled potties and not use them! Seriously, the best themed bathrooms in the world.2015-05-10-10h26m42
It was getting pretty warm out, so a go on Splash Mountain was just what we needed to cool us a down a bit and it is always an amazing trip down into the Briar Patch! I love how the kid behind me is so not impressed. Maybe he’d rather be on Carousel of Progress or something or he doesn’t appreciate the awesomeness that is Brer Rabbit!
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Since we were going to return to the Magic Kingdom after dinner, we thought it would be wise to go get checked in at Saratoga Springs. We knew our room would not be ready since it wasn’t even lunchtime yet, but we decided we would do some swimming until it was time. Some photos from the front area of the resort!
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As expected, our room was not ready and they would text us once it was, so we grabbed our bathing suits out of the car and headed to the Main Pool in the Springs area of the resort. This pool is convenient because it is close to the lobby area, which is also close to Artist’s Palette which is their quick service food & shopping locations.
After a little swimming and because we were still pretty full from breakfast, we split a meal for lunch to hold us over until dinner. We still hadn’t received a text message, so we decided to join along in some of the poolside games. The recreation staff were leading poolside Disney BINGO, which was so much fun! They give you these big laminated cards and pieces used for marking. On the cards are various characters – sometimes you had to match a movie quote to the character, other times they would just shout out the character or just give a fact. In addition to BINGO, they also played music trivia where they played a very short snippet of a Disney song and you had to guess the character and name of the song. Also, lots of fun! I love that the poolside games are open to everyone. We saw lots of adults playing along with their kids and some even without!
Finally, we received our text message telling us our room was ready. We were placed in the Paddock section of the resort, which is what we had requested, so we moved our car to that area and started lugging all our stuff to our new home for the next 4 days. Here’s some pictures of our Studio room:
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Next up was to get ready for dinner and another first for us: The Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Fort Wilderness! I was so excited to finally see this Disney classic!
More on Hoop Dee Doo next Tuesday!
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