Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year and Happy Disney Trip!

This will most certainly be my last post of 2010 (there's less than five hours left!), and I'd like to thank all of you for making it a wonderful year.  2010 was the year I discovered the Disney community.  2010 was the year I started this blog.  2010 was the year I met tons of amazing people on Twitter and some in person!  2010 was the year I had my most epic Disney trip to date.  2010 was the year I faced my fears and conquered Splash Mountain.  If I have ever spoken to you on Twitter, if you have ever commented on this blog, and even if you've read it without commenting, I am very thankful to have connected with you this year.  Here's to hoping 2011 will be even bigger and better!  I hope I get to meet even more of my Twitter friends and blog readers!  I hope my Disney trips only get more epic!  And I hope my circle of friends and readers grows even more so than it has already.

And speaking of 2011 being bigger and better, I'm kicking it off with another trip to Walt Disney World in just TWO days!  Follow me on Twitter (@discollegeblog) because I'll be posting tons of pictures!  I won't be blogging during this trip at all, but I do anticipate having TONS to blog about when I get back.  So I'll see you all then, and I hope you all have a very happy new year!
 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review: Pecos Bill's

Pecos Bill's Ordering Kiosk
I let my sister choose which counter service restaurant I should blog about today, and she chose Pecos Bill's because it's one of her favorites.  And it's one of mine too!  Previously to our most recent trip, I had only ordered burgers there because they're delicious!  But on our last trip, in August, I decided to switch it up and order the infamous "bowl of meat" (more commonly known as taco salad).

Pecos Bill's can get crazy crowded, especially during busy times of year, but the place is huge.  They're one of the few places on property with ordering kiosks (see blurry picture to the left), and I found them very easy to use.  We simply pressed the buttons for what we wanted, and scanned our card through since we were paying with dining plan credits.  Then we took our receipt up to the counter, where they were already putting together our meal.  As I said, I ordered the taco salad, and James ordered the pulled pork sandwich.  Since we were on the dining plan, we were able to order desserts as well, but they weren't great.  The only two choices were yogurt and carrot cake, so we settled for the yogurt.  It was good, but it was nothing exciting.

Blurry photo of my bowl o' meat.
Of course the main event of Pecos Bill's is the fixin's bar.  And the main event of the fixin's bar is the hot cheese.  I love the hot cheese, and I put tons of it on my taco salad.  In fact, as a result of the fixin's bar, be warned that if you order the taco shell, you will be given a large bowl of meat in a big tortilla bowl.  They expect that you'll top it yourself, so don't be alarmed if your taco salad looks a little naked.  I decided to put lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese on my taco salad, while James just took some ketchup for his fries.  Other toppings bar options include other condiments, grilled onions, and pickles.

I have nothing bad to say about our entrees at Pecos Bill's because they were awesome!  In fact, the only negative I could think about for this restaurant is the "meh" dessert options.  But that's certainly no reason to skip it, and most people don't get desserts at counter service restaurants anyway.  Entrees at Pecos Bill's range from $7 to $9, and you can see the menu here on allears.net.

What do you think of Pecos Bill's?  Love it?  Hate it?  Say it Peeeeee-kos Bill's like Matt Hochberg?  What do you usually order?  And do you love the hot cheese as much as I do?  Let me know your thoughts on Pecos Bill's in a comment, on Twitter (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!

This post was featured in the fifteenth DisMarks.com Disney Blog Carnival! Click the link to see more great Disney articles!
 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review: Tangierine Cafe

Please excuse me if this blog starts to resemble the Disney Food Blog for a week or two.  I am by no means stealing AJ's terrific blog idea.  The thing is, I have a trip coming up in eleven days, and I still have a few topics left over to blog about from my August trip.  And all of those topics are counter service restaurant reviews.  They've all been left so long because I tried to space them out, so the blog wouldn't become a food blog.  But now the clock is ticking, and I'd like to get all or most of the reviews done with before my next trip.  So here's the first part of our two week counter service series: the Tangierine Cafe.

I deemed the tables cute and took a photo.

I was excited to try the Tangierine Cafe because I'd heard many great things about it.  I was also a little wary because I'd never had Moroccan food before, and I can be a very picky eater.  Nevertheless, after our 12:50 ADR at Le Cellier, we were finally hungry again around 8 pm, and since we were waiting around in World Showcase for IllumiNations, I figured it was the perfect time to try this restaurant. 

The first thing I noticed about the Tangierine Cafe is that it's very dissimilar looking to the other counter service restaurants in Walt Disney World.  Inside, it looked like what I assume a take out restaurant would look like in Morocco.  The second thing I noticed was the absolutely adorable tables and chairs (see the above picture).  Anyway, I wasn't feeling overly adventurous, so I decided to try the chicken platter.  James was slightly more adventurous, trying the chicken and lamb combo platter.  Both platters came with hummus, bread, couscous, and a green salad type thing.  The meats were covered with a white sauce.  Also, since we were on the dining plan, our meals came with a dessert of baklava.

My chicken platter.
James' chicken and lamb combo platter.
We took our meals to an outdoor table and sat down, listening to MoRockin in the background.  My favorite part of my meal was the hummus and bread.  The couscous was good, but I wasn't a fan of the green salad.  As for the chicken, I didn't love the white sauce too much.  Also, the chicken was a little too moist for me (although that might have partially been because of the 99% humidity that day).  I wasn't a huge fan of my meal here, and neither was James.  Maybe we're just not Moroccan food people, but we weren't thrilled.  That said, nothing was bad.  It just wasn't our style.  I know for a fact that many love this restaurant, but I guess it just wasn't for us.

Tangierine Cafe is located in Epcot's Morocco pavilion, and the counter service meals range from about $9 to $14 or one counter service dining credit.  The menu can be found here at allears.net.

What do you think of Tangierine Cafe?  Do you love it?  Hate it?  Never tried it?  What do you usually order?  Let me know your thoughts on this Moroccan eatery in a comment, on Twitter (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!
 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Spotlight: Goofy's Candy Company

Gawrsh!  Now that finals are over, I am back again!  Getting ready for Christmas, and getting ready for my next trip to Walt Disney World in less than TWO weeks!  What a wonderful time of the year!  That said, I still have some stuff I wanted to write about from my LAST trip in August, and one of those things is Goofy's Candy Company!

Have you ever been to Goofy's Candy Company?  If you love sweets like me, it's awesome!  There is a ton of candy and sweets, and my favorite part is the make your own treat section.  You can choose your treat base to be an apple, marshmallows, pretzels, and more!  My favorite is the "fudge cookie," which is essentially a giant Oreo.  Yum!  You can then have it dipped in milk chocolate, white chocolate, or caramel.  Then there are topping such as peanuts, M&Ms, and sprinkles.  The first topping is included, and additional toppings cost extra.  Then your treat gets drizzled with even more chocolate!  So delicious!

My make-your-own treat! A fudge cookie with milk chocolate and M&Ms!
To make your own treat, simply go to the counter at Goofy's Candy Company in Downtown Disney, fill out a form, and pay for it.  Then you get to watch the cast members make them!  Prices range from around $3 to $6 for a treat with a dip and one topping.  I believe only the marshmallows (you get four on a stick) are included as a snack on the dining plan.  But the other snacks are totally worth paying cash!  Mine was delicious, and I ate a little each day when we would get back to our resort at night.  I highly recommend them!

Have you ever made a treat at Goofy's Candy Company?  What are your favorite treats and toppings?  Do you buy other sweets and goodies instead?  Let me know what you think about this yummy shop in a comment, on Twitter (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!
 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wanted: Counter Service Suggestions

A while back, I wrote a post about how counter service restaurants in Walt Disney World can help you expand your horizons, and I do think that I did expand my horizons on our trip.  I tried Tangierine Cafe, Yakitori House, Earl of Sandwich, and more!  Reviews of all these counter service restaurants are coming in the future, but for now, I'm gearing up for my January trip.  Which means I'm back to thinking about counter service and trying new things.  I'd like to try some more new counter service restaurants on this trip, but I really don't know what's the best.

In Magic Kingdom, Pecos Bill's is always our fallback, but I have eaten at Cosmic Ray's as well.  I know that Magic Kingdom isn't known for it's food variety, and I'm not even sure that I want to give up our semi-traditional visit to Pecos Bill's (I really do love it there).  Then again, who couldn't use a change now and again?  As for Epcot, I've tried Electric Umbrella, but I'm looking for something a little... more than that.  I thought Tangierine Cafe and Yakitori House were both okay, and I'm not a fan of the Lotus Blossom Cafe.  But even if I skip all those, there are so many other choices in Epcot!  It's so hard to choose!

I have even less counter service experience in Hollywood Studios.  I've honestly, as far as I can remember, only eaten at Backlot Express because there's really nowhere to eat when it's a million degrees in August!  I'm definitely up for food suggestions here, since January will hopefully make outdoor seating more desirable.  As for Animal Kingdom, I don't recall ever eating counter service here, and I'm not sure that we'll even be in Animal Kingdom for a meal on our upcoming trip.  But I'm open to suggestions to eat here as well!

So it's up to you, readers, to help me out here.  What are your favorite counter service restaurants in the parks?  In the resorts?  In Downtown Disney?  Anywhere!  I'm open to any and all suggestions, so I can make a mental list of places to try.  Let me know your favorites in a comment, on Twitter (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook! 
 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

January Trip Schedule!

 It's true, another trip is rapidly approaching for us!  We have a tentative schedule, but it could change at the drop of a hat with my indecisive self in charge of it.  Let me know if you'll be in the area when I'm down; I'd love to have some kind of tweet up!  Anyway, on with the schedule!

Sunday, January 2:  It's cheaper to fly in on the 3rd, but the 3rd is my birthday, and I insisted that it would be a no travel day.  We're flying in on Southwest, and hopefully we'll be at the resort and checked in by 2:30-ish.  We'll probably hit Epcot first and eat at Via Napoli or Beaches and Cream for dinner.  We want to explore the Boardwalk/Beach Club area (especially the Christmas decorations!), and then we'll head over to the Studios for the Osborne Lights.  After our fill of the Lights, we'll probably head over to Magic Kingdom evening extra magic hours for a while until we head back to go to sleep.

Monday, January 3:  My birthday!  I decided that my birthday would be our Epcot rope drop day, since Epcot is my favorite park.  We'll spend at least the first part of the day in Epcot, and then play the rest by ear until dinner.  Thanks to all the suggestions from my readers a while back, we will have dinner at the California Grill, which I am totally excited to try!  Hopefully it'll be a great day!

Tuesday, January 4:  This is our Magic Kingdom day since we have an 8:30 am ADR at Crystal Palace (although I'm secretly aiming to arrive closer to 8:15, so we can get in the park sooner and, after breakfast, on rides sooner).  I may face my fears and ride Space Mountain, and I may not.  Regardless, it will certainly be an excellent day!

Wednesday, January 5:  Hopefully we'll start this day with a Keys to the Kingdom tour!  We haven't booked it yet (James should be booking it tomorrow as his birthday present to me!), but we're hoping for the 9 am tour on this day.  Other than that, we have no concrete plans besides an ADR at Yachtsman for dinner!

Thursday, January 6:  This might be the only day that we really have packed.  We decided that we didn't need a whole day for the Studios (we don't do the big, scary, time-consuming-line rides) or for Animal Kingdom, so we're going to combine them.  We'll hit the Studios first for Toy Story Mania (which was closed during our August trip), Muppets (which was closed from technical difficulties on that trip), and hopefully some of the shows that we didn't get to see in August (because it's far too hot to sit in those outdoor theaters in August).  Then we'll head over to Animal Kingdom to see Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo (both of which I've never seen!).  We're not sure exactly when we're going to transition from the Studios to the Kingdom or even if this plan will work.  For all we know, we'll need a nap after the Studios part and hit up Animal Kingdom another day.  We'll see how that goes.  We also have dinner that night at Kona, and I was hoping we could catch the Electrical Water Pageant after, since we've never seen it.

Friday, January 7:  This is James' 21st birthday, so I decided that his birthday present from me would be dinner at Bistro de Paris (because he loves French food, and it's a present because I would be paying cash, since they don't accept (our free) dining credits).  Other than that, it's up to James.  We really have no plans for the day unless he decides to try to drink around the World.  If he does, I'll be following him around, watching and making sure he doesn't make any bad decisions.  Epcot does have evening extra magic hours this day, so we may be hanging out there for a while.

Saturday, January 8:  Our last full day... already?  This is really an open book day, but we'll probably spend some of it at Epcot since we have a lunch ADR at Le Cellier (the only restaurant on this trip that we've already been to... well except Via Napoli and Beaches and Cream, but we wouldn't use dining credits for those anyway).  Originally I had a dinner ADR at Biergarten for this day (and I still do, but we're not sure if we're going to use it), but we loved our lunch at Le Cellier so much in August, we just needed to go back!  Other than the lunch and the possible dinner, Saturday is really an open book.

Sunday, January 9:  Now it's time to say goodbye...  Disney's Magical Express will be picking us up bright and early to take us back to reality.  Hopefully by then we'll have another trip in our minds, to distract us until next time!

So that's our trip!  IllumiNations will certainly be in there somewhere (possibly multiple times), and I also really want to see Yehaa Bob.  I'm sure we'll also want to go to Downtown Disney for a bit.  We'll play all that stuff by ear, though.  Again, if anyone will be around between January 2 - 9, let me know!

What do you think of my trip schedule?  Too planned?  Not planned enough?  What do you think of my ADRs?  Let me know your thoughts in a comment, on Twitter (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!
  

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Check it out: MouseVent

Hello lovely readers!  Sorry it's been a while.  Life has temporarily gotten the best of me, but seeing as how I have another Walt Disney World trip coming up in 27 days, I need to finish the blog posts about my August trip!  About time, right?  But before all that, I have something a little more time sensitive to write about today...


Have you heard of MouseVent yet?  If you haven't, you certainly need to read this!  MouseVent is an "audio advent calendar for Disney fans."  For those of you who aren't Christmas-celebrators, advent calendars are countdowns to Christmas where children often get some type of candy or treat on each day leading up to December 25th.  In this case however, every day in December until Christmas day (December 25), there is a new audio clip from your favorite Disney personalities.

MouseVent contributors so far have included the Inside the Magic podcast, the Wedway Radio podcast, and the Disney-famous Yehaa Bob Jackson!  With a line-up like that, how can you go wrong?  Even if you don't celebrate Christmas, you should listen to MouseVent!  To listen to MouseVent, either visit mousevent.com each day or subscribe on iTunes.  Subscribing is easiest since the new podcasts will download automatically.  You can also follow MouseVent on Twitter and read an interview with MouseVent creator Alan Hooper at my friend's blog, The Dragyn's Lair.  I'm loving MouseVent so far, and I hope you'll check it out and enjoy it as well!

Have you been listening to MouseVent?  Are you going to start now?  Who have been your favorite contributors so far?  Let me know your thoughts on this innovative advent calendar in a comment, on Twitter (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!