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Trip Prep: Something’s Roasting (On an Open Fire)

Somehow it’s almost November. Somehow I am just about at the 2-week mark before my trip.


I’m not going to fight it. Nope. My trip preppin’ continue with FOOD. Sweet, delicious food. (Be sure to check out Alex’s take on pretty much the most important part of vacation.)

I’ll admit I don’t have many big food plans. (Part budget, part Food & Wine opportunities.) But here are a few of the spots I’m looking forward to checking out:

The Landscape of Flavors at Art of Animation

The lunch/dinner menu is the one that catches by eye more with a lot of stir fry and tandoori shrimp, sausage, and squash! Sure, there are the basics like pizza and burgers but I like that Disney has taken some care with the food situation at the newer value resorts. It definitely inspires me to make this a stop, instead of leaving it up to the parks to fill me up.

A return to Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater and ‘Ohana

It’s always fun to revisit eating spots too. I can’t remember the last time I went to Sci-Fi but it was always a top stop during family trips. (I can’t get enough of that movie loop!) It’s been about six years since I’ve been to Ohana, and, unlike my first trip there, it will be nice to be with a big group. I know there have been a lot of changes to the menu lately, and, of course, ambiance isn’t at a high because of the Polynesian renovation so I’m definitely curious. (But hey, I get to drink out of a pineapple. Win!)

Food & Wine stops

Working on my Kill Refurb Marry post this month REALLY helped with my Food & Wine wishlist. Most of the time I don’t prep ahead of time and I think that was part of my failure at making the most of the festival last year. It gets so crowded and so frustrating that I’d rather just avoid it. But not this year. Gimme some Desserts & Champagne, let me say hello to the Puerto Rico kiosk, and try the new escargot offering in France. (Man, I’m bummed my old standby is gone.) Sidenote: is anyone confusing Food&Wine with the Flower&Garden festival now? I swear, my brain can’t handle both.

Some other food thoughts:

  • Give up on the Citrus Swirl (the line at Sunshine Seasons always takes forever) and just get a Dole Whip.
  • Will I have time for a Waffle Sandwich at Sleepy Hollow (Magic Kingdom)? I hope so.
  • Are we there yet?

Waffle Sandwich at Sleepy Hollow in Magic Kingdom

Hope this post made you hungry… I’m going to have some crackers now and pretend it’s a Food & Wine delicacy.

Catch up on my Trip Prep posts: going to disney world!trip checklista non-runner at a half-marathon

Say hi to my vacation twin: Alex at Practically Imperfect to hear about her Wine & Dine trip AND her Cruise. (Still jealous.)

Jenn @ Fairest Run of AllOctober 23, 2014 - 10:32 am

I will totally split a Sleepy Hollow waffle with you. I like all flavors!

My Happy Place: Fantasia Gardens (Disneyland Paris)

Very happy to be whisked away to Disneyland Paris today with a post from our friend Q, who last chatted with us about the charming Cape Cod area at Tokyo DisneySea. Once again, he brings attention to a spot in the Disney Parks that you might not immediately think to look for. Thanks so much, Q! – e

Let me take you to a place nearly every single guest of Disneyland Park at Disneyland Paris passes without soaking in its beauty and romance, as they rush to exciting adventures in the nearby magic kingdom.

Welcome to Fantasia Gardens — another happy place of mine that leaves me captivated — as it sits resplendent in front of the fanciful Victorian ‘Disneyland Hotel’ (Paris) before you pass underneath and head into Disneyland Park.

Whether snow-covered in the coldest parts of the Marne-la-Vallée winters or ablaze in colourful abundance of the spring, Fantasia Gardens is a beautifully landscaped garden with intriguing winding pathways that meander through mini woodlands and ponds. After crossing small stone bridge-ways and walking along the paths nestled amongst the trees, four stunning and romantic gazebos appear.

Fantasia Gardens Disneyland Paris 6

Sit and relax, people watch, or wait to meet your group or partner for your imminent adventures on the ornate park benches as you relish the natural beauty of the gardens. Grand staircases offer views of the magical landscaping, and the excited guests preparing for their dreams to become reality.

When not frozen in the colder months, trickling streams bubble down rocky waterways and birds bathe in waterfalls as leaves fall gently to the ground below. Fountains spray from the gleaming lake, with the famous Floral Mickey smiling from across the way. The gardens and pathways on the outer edges are often deserted, and perfect for catching a quiet moment of reflection.

Fantasia Gardens Disneyland Paris 5

At night, Fantasia Gardens turns into an enchanting place, gently lit by elegant cast-iron light poles, and the hundreds of glowing popcorn lights that adorn the Disneyland Hotel, the stunning garden gazebos, and the trees throughout the gardens.

It’s the perfect farewell after experiencing a day in Disneyland.

I visited Disneyland Paris, the jewel of Disney’s Magic Kingdom Parks, in February 2013 and February 2014, and though it didn’t snow during my stay, it was very cold (weather I adore after our brutal Australian summers). Fantasia Gardens wasn’t in full bloom because of the time of year, but even without flowers everywhere, the gardens completely bewitched me. After finding a few other pictures online, I could only imagine basking in the breathtaking beauty of these gardens during a Parisian spring, summer, or autumn.

Fantasia Gardens Disneyland Paris 2

I would give anything to have a yard big enough to landscape (perhaps with a trickling stream!), along with a gazebo as beautiful as those in the Gardens. It is for sure a Happy Place for me that I remember fondly, always dreaming of the day I can return. When I think of it, view pictures of it, or watch the rare video footage of it, I am overcome with a sense of peace.

At the Gardens, you may be only a few seconds away from entering “worlds of history, discovery and ageless fantasy” but, for me, they are more than their location. They offer their own kind of magic.

Note from Q: for more info on the history of Fantasia Gardens, check out this wonderful piece from Designing Disney.

markOctober 22, 2014 - 2:50 am

Great post! I love love love Fantasia Gardens and always make sure to leave some time to just sit, take it all in and people watch during a busy day in the parks. Even now as an AP of Disneyland Paris, it doesn’t get old. I can assure you that spring and summer are absolutely breathtaking- the flowers are magnificent during the warmer months! Make sure to plan another visit for Swing into Spring!

Hook, Line and… | Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz

HookHook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz
Part of Disney Hyperion series.
Release Date: 9/16/2014 | Pages: 304
Age group: 8-12 years old (Middle Grade)
Find on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Big thanks to Disney Hyperion for supply a galley of Hook’s Revenge for an honest review.

If you’ve ever wondered about Captain’s Hook’s possible offspring, then here’s your chance to dive into Heidi Schulz’s version of the story with the spunky, fearless Jocelyn, daughter of the infamous Hook.

You see Jocelyn was born with a spirit of adventure in her bones but finds herself learning how to be prim and proper in a boarding school. She dreams of life on the ocean, and learning about the father she’s never met. Imagine The Little Princess with a little Disney magic thrown in.

A major highlight for me was Jocelyn’s budding friendship with Roger. She’s never really had a friend on her side, and when the two meet and dream of faraway places together, it was pretty adorable. But like most stories, a wrench is thrown into their plans and the two friends are forced to learn a lot before their joint daydreams can be realized.

Jocelyn must also deal with her father’s reputation and figuring out what kind of person she wants to be. Not so easy when you are a kid and there’s a lot of pressure from those around you to act a certain way, but, from page one, you know that Jocelyn will find her way even if she gets herself into a few messes first. (She really, really loved to be messy.)

With some quirky and fun illustrations from John Hendrix, Hook’s Revenge is the kind of read to pick up before bedtime for the kid at heart and the kid in your life. For the big kids there are plenty of grown up jokes (the narrator is pretty excellent) to keep you chuckling and for the kids, it was great to have such a strong young lady at the helm of this quest. To me, this is the best way to present a middle grade book because you want it to be an experience for everyone reading.

What can I say? I was hooked. (Har, har. Stay tuned for book 2, The Pirate’s Code, out in 2015.)

What others are saying about Hook’s Revenge:

  • “…it wasn’t a re-telling of Peter Pan. It was a full blown, “this is what happens after the fact”, dealing with the family of one the notorious literary villains of all time. It was wonderful. Quirky, funny, quick, witty, and more.” – Jeff, MiceChat & Communicore Weekly
  • “This is middle grade fiction at its best. Clever, riotous, fast-paced and bewitching with an imaginative premise, a cast of sincere, lovable characters and a message both profound and deeply felt, Hook’s Revenge is a book I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to even the most reluctant of middle grade readers.” – Jen, Pop! Goes the Reader

Stop Smoking, Beaker! | Muppet Monday

Yesterday we barely made it to 60 degrees in New York City, and this morning, it’s going to be less than 46 degrees.

Is it time to pull out the winter jacket?

Well… maybe not. But maybe it’s time to bring out the Nose Warmer. If only if it wasn’t one of Dr. Honeydew’s inventions.

Where the future is made today… and another example of Honeydew and Beaker never learning their lessons.



I had an idea for another Muppet movie when I was rewatching this. (Disney, call me!) What if all the Muppets switched roles and suddenly Beaker was the inventor and Honeydew was the trusty sidekick who got tricked into too many horrible experiments? It would be pretty wacky and hysterical to see that kind of swap, right? How about Janice as Miss Piggy? Rowlf as Foo-Foo? Kermit as Scooter? Gonzo as Sam the Eagle? OMG. That last one made me giggle.

Well, back to the nose warmer. I could use one of those but perhaps I’ll stick to doubling up on scarfs or covering my face with my fluffy gloves. That is, until Honeydew makes this one actually work (or Beaker secretly fixes it because we all know he’s a genius. Shhh!).

Hope you all stay warm this week! Happy Muppet Monday!

SallyOctober 20, 2014 - 4:18 pm

My mom had a nose warmer in high school. Looked like a tiny knit cone that tied to your face. At first that’s what I thought you were talking about, but thankfully Honeydew put a happier thought to those words.

It’s Fall | Happy Reads & Recap

A little later than my normal posting scheduling, but I wanted to wave and say hi! Hope you all had a great weekend. James and I headed over to Flushing Meadows Park today for another fun New York Pavilion event and we finally got to go INSIDE the Pavilion. It was super cool, and I will have a post about it shortly. Sidenote: it was the first COLD day in New York today too. Guess fall is finally here, huh? Here are a few blogs to keep you warm tonight (ha ha):

What happened around here this week:

And I can’t forget this gem!

Have a GREAT week and thanks for stopping in!