Congrats to Chef TJ

Anyone who has a food allergy or dietary restriction has heard of the legendary chef TJ Sudiswa. 

Recently he was honored at the FARE National Food Allergy Conference in Orlando with the Outstanding Professional award for all the work that he has done to help those with food allergies at the Walt Disney World Resort. 

Chef TJ is currently cooking up delicious creations at Trails End and Hoop Dee Do Musical Review, both at the Fort Wilderness Resort. 

Being a newcomer to the vegan community I quickly learned about his impressive creations that would often make omnivore dining companions drool with envy including homemade soups, cheese bread, nachos, dessert towers and more. 

A wonderful blog for the vegan community, Vegan Disney World, shares their experience at Trails End with Chef TJ. Just try not to get too hungry while reading it. 

Photo courtesy of Vegan Disney World.


I can tell you, I have our October reservations booked and I can’t wait to experience this dining masterpiece. 

Congratulations, chef TJ! 


How We Spent our Weekend

I apologize for not having a blog on Monday. We were spending a lot of time together as a family that there just wasn’t enough time to post yesterday.

This also lead to a great point. While we all love Disney, our lives also have other aspects.

So here is a look at ours.

Friday

Friday was a pretty fun day for us. After work we went out to eat with my parents and Lily had her first ever ice cream cone. (I know. What kind of parents are we to wait this long for our child to have an ice cream cone?) She picked out her own flavor, rainbow, and loved it.

Lily Ice Cream

It was a little messy, but really worth it.

Saturday

Saturday was a really busy day. I was invited to two bridal showers and I unfortunately had to make a choice. While I was at the one shower, Lily and Kev were spending some daddy daughter time.

She met Geoffery giraffe and had her picture taken, visited the bookstore and was spoiled by her daddy.

Lily and Geoff.png

Lily and Geoffery hanging out.

Sunday

This was such a fun day for us. A little known fact about me is that I hate bugs. But, this summer I am making the effort to try and get outside more and embrace nature since our Lily loves the great outdoors.

So, this summer we are going to attempt camping. But, just like in the movie “What About Bob” we are taking baby steps and had our first camping experience indoors.

We bought a six-person tent and new air mattress at Walmart and spent Sunday night camping out in our living room.

I do have to say that our tent, Ozark Trail brand, was super nice and easy to put up.

Kev and tent.png

Tent construction

Daddy lily and tent.png

We loved the tent and referred to it as “our house.” It was so big we couldn’t get the entire thing open.

Even though we didn’t sleep outside, we did go out to our fire pit to make s’mores and burn off some extra energy before we settled down for the night.

Firepit.png

Our fire pit going strong.

 

Monday

Monday was the day that we had our cookout and spent even more time outside.

After our camp-in, which went surprisingly well and we got a pretty nice night’s sleep, we went up to the mountains for some of the best pancakes. Then we decided to take a walk around Ohiopyle to see the waterfall and the new visitor center.

 

After our time exploring the mountains, we came home and put out our inflatable pool together and spent a long time splashing around until we got so tired it was time to come in take our nap. We finished the day with a small cookout and playing with our toys including our trains.

We had such a wonderful time over the weekend, and I am sad to see it come to an end. Today, we both went back to work and our regular schedule is put back into action. But, it is nice to know that we have the rest of the summer ahead of us to explore and have many fun adventures.

What are you most looking forward to this summer? Leave your message in the comments below.

 


Weekly New Roundup

This week there was a lot of new excitement through all the parks. A new restaurant and night time entertainment kicked off at Animal Kingdom, an additional track opened on a popular attraction in Hollywood Studios and a new rumored restaurant was announced.

Tiffins’ Grand Opening

This week Animal Kingdom saw a lot of attention as it ushered in a new area of night time entertainment at the park.

On Friday, Animal Kingdom’s newest restaurant, Tiffins, opened. This new addition added another table service restaurant to the park.

FNO849672

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

 

The menu for the restaurant is a little more for the adventurous eater, but there are some items that are a little more tame.

The following menu items are available at Tiffins according to the restaurant’s listing on the Walt Disney World resort website.

Appetizers:

  • Lobster-Popcorn Thai Curry Soup
  • Black-Eyed Pea Fritters
  • Archaeologist Salad
  • Sustainable Seasonal Fish Crudo
  • Marinated Grilled Octopus
  • Flash-fried Icy Blue Mussels
  • House-made Head Cheese and Chicken Liver Pate
  • Salad of Roasted Baby Beets

Entrees

  • Chermoula-rubbed Chicken
  • Berkshire Pork Tenderloin
  • Grilled Head-on Prawns
  • Wagyu Strip Loin and Braised Short Rib
  • Pan-seared Duck Breast
  • Berbere-spiced Lamb Chop
  • Hoisin-glazed Halibut
  • Roasted Market Vegetable Curry
  • Whole-fried Sustainable Fish

Kid’s Appetizers

  • Archaeologist Salad
  • Black-Eyed Pea Fritter
  • Soup of the Day

Kid’s Mickey Check Meals

  • Roasted Chicken
  • Pan-seared Sustainable Fish

Kids’ Meals

  • Braised Short Ribs
  • Vegetable Pasta

Desserts

  • Passion Fruit Tapioca Creme
  • Lime Cheesecake
  • Sorbet Tasting
  • South American Chocolate Ganache
  • Calamansi Mousse

Kids’ Desserts

  • Caramel-Chocolate Cake
  • Fresh Fruit Salad

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

  • Zingiber Fizzie
  • Tealaves Iced Tea
  • Powerade
  • Hibiscus Henna
  • Vitaminwater

Specialty Cocktails

  • Night Monkey
  • Lamu Libation
  • Anapurna Zing
  • Hightower Rocks

Draft and Bottled Beer

  • Kungaloosh Spiced Execursion Ale Draft-USA
  • Xingu Black Lager-Brazil
  • 33 Export Lager–Vietnam
  • Beerlao Dark Lager–Laos
  • St. George Lager–Ethiopia
  • Singha Lager–Thailand
  • Safari Amber Draft-USA
  • Exploration Beer Flight
  • Beerlao Lager–Laos
  • Palma Louca Pale Pilsner–Brazil
  • St. George Amber Lager–Ethiopia
  • Tiger Lager–Singapore

 

Both Tiffins and Tusker House are part of The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic Dining Package.

New track added to Toy Story Midway Mania

In order to cut down on the super long wait time that people were experiencing with Toy Story Midway Mania at Hollywood Studios, which could reach over 100 minutes, a third track was added.

toy-story-mania-gallery00.jpg

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

 

So far, things have been going well. The major test will be in a few weeks when the summer season is in full swing.

Rumor Watch: Rizzo’s Pizza

A rumor has been floating around that the former Pizza Planet, located in what is being called Muppet Courtyard, will be reopened and redesigned as Rizzo’s Pizza.

It will feature a heavy Muppet theme surrounded around the cheesy rat, Rizzo and his pals.

We will have to wait and see if this pans out.

With all the news coming out what are you most excited about? Leave your comment below.


Attraction Spotlight: Muppet Vision 3D

 

 

muppet-vision-3d-gallery00.jpg

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Resort

Ever since the transformation of Hollywood Studios has been taking place, there has been a lack of attractions in this particular park.

 

Gone are the Streets of America, The Animation Studio, the Backlot Studio Tour and others.

Many of the attractions that were a part of the opening day festivities in May 1991, that gave the park it’s unique behind the scenes of Hollywood flair, are now long gone.

One attraction that has withstood the test of time is Muppet Vision 3D.

This full-sensory 3D video, located in what is now being called Muppet Courtyard, is a hit with audience members of all ages.

Falling inline with the premise behind the park, the story-line of the attraction has Kermit the Frog take the audience on a behind the scenes tour of the Muppet’s newest developments in 3D technology featuring Muppet favorites such as Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Bean Bunny, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and more. The audience is also introduced to the character of Waldo, a 3D fairy.

The attraction also makes use of auto-animatronics, full costumed characters and fun sensory experiences like bubbles and water squirting.

muppet-vision-3d-gallery02.jpg

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

 

While some of the 3D films at Walt Disney World can be a little intense for some Mousekatots (I’m talking about you, “It’s Tough to be a Bug”), this one is tame and really a lot of fun. Not giving anything away, but at the end there is fun and spirited cannon battle. This could be a little intimidating to some of the more skittish toddlers, but  it is played off more playfully than threatening.

One of my favorite parts of this attraction is the pre-show area. It is made to look like the Muppet studios and it is full of bad puns and sight gags. Always, remember to look up. You will miss a lot of the charm if you don’t look everywhere.

While there are Fastpass+ available for this attraction, it really isn’t necessary. With the park being devoid of a lot of attractions currently the park really isn’t that busy. Also, since the attraction has been around for many years, people don’t feel the need to see it every year. However, this could change with the opening of Rizzo’s Pizza at the former Pizza Planet location.

1928285_503483469797_7373_n

Photo from our honeymoon in 2007

 

All-in-all this attraction is one that should be placed on your to-do list with your Mousekatot. Who doesn’t love the Muppets?


Tiffins now open

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Parks blog

To coincide with the new nighttime offerings at Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney Resort opened their new adventurous dining experience, Tiffins.

Located on Discovery Island at the back of Pizzafari, Tiffins will add another table service restaurant to the park.

The menu looks like it would be better suited for people with more adventurous palates. It appears some of the items that were available at the Skipper’s Canteen in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom were taken from that menu and added here.

Some menu items include marinated grilled octopus for an appetizer, grilled head-on prawns, roasted market vegetable curry, Chermoula rubbed chicken and more.

For the little ones in your dining party, there is pan seared sustainable fish, braised short ribs, vegetable pasta and more.

For the complete menu, keep an eye out for out Weekly News Roundup on Sunday.

Are you interested in trying this restaurant? Leave your comments below.


Tot Five: Magic Kingdom Toddler Bites

Low blood sugar is an enemy of parents everywhere. One minute your little tot is an angel having their photo taken with Cinderella and the next minute they are in full meltdown mode throwing themselves on the ground of Main Street U.S.A.

This is why you have to be prepared and have snacks packed in your day bag. But, if you forget or your toddler is not feeling the granola bar that you packed earlier, then you need to know where the best places are to find something to feed your “hangry” Mousekatot.

Here are my tot five suggestions for best snacks in the Magic Kingdom for toddlers.

1. Pretzels

IMG_3623-001.jpg

Photo courtesy of disneydining.com

A soft pretzel is a really good choice for your toddler. They are huge, filling and create little mess. Plus, the Magic Kingdom offers various varieties through out the park.

The Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland offers a sweet cream cheese pretzel. Cool Ship, also in Tomorrowland, has Mickey pretzels.

Back in Storybook Circus, near Fantasyland, you can purchase a Mickey Pretzel along with cheese sauce at the pretzel cart. The pretzel and cheese combo can also be round at the Churro Cart in Frontierland.

Just a tip, avoid purchasing your pretzel at the pretzel cart in Storybook Circus. It costs an extra $.25 here.

2. Mickey Ice Cream Bar

1927612_506825487367_106_n

Our Mousekadad showing off his Mickey Ice Cream Bar.

There is nothing more iconic than the Mickey Ice Cream Bar. Just watching, and photographing, your toddler eating this melty treat makes for great photos and great memories.

The easiest way to find the Mickey Ice Cream Bars is by looking for snack carts positioned throughout the Magic Kingdom.

Some of the locations including the refreshment cart at the castle hub area, popcorn and ice cream cart at the Storybook Circus area, Maurice’s Amazing Popping Machine in Enchanted Forest, popcorn and ice cream cart menu in Adventureland, nut and ice cream cart in Adventureland, frozen treats cart menu in Frontierland and popcorn cart in Tomorrowland.

3. Fresh Fruit

FFC436631

Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog.

If you are looking for something a little healthier for your Mousekatot there are plenty of options available including fresh fruit.

Some of the freshest, sweetest and most refreshing pineapple comes from Aloha Isle in Adventureland. (This is also where you can find the famous Dole Whip.)

Prince Eric’s Village Market in the new Fantasyland section of the park sells lots of whole fresh fruit including our Mousekatot’s favorite, bananas.

For something that is a little more like a dessert, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in Tomorrowland offers no-sugar-added mango gelato.

4. Uncrustables

Disney-Resort-Food-Court-Grab-and-Go-22-600x400.jpg

Photo courtesy of DisneyFoodBlog.com.

The Smucker’s Uncrustable sandwiches, that are pretty much pocket sandwiches filled with peanut butter and jelly, are a big hit with our toddler.

These sandwiches can be found at all the various counter service restaurants throughout the park.

The best part is if you are on the dining plan, these sandwiches count as a snack option, which is great for a quick, light lunch for your little one.

5. Mac and Cheese

friars-nook-gallery00

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

While Mac and Cheese is considered more of a meal than a snack, I think it is very important for parents to know where they can find this favorite meal time treat.

The best place to find mac and cheese in the Magic Kingdom is at The Friar’s Nook located in Fantasyland.

The counter service offers traditional macaroni and cheese, and more exotic flavors like pot roast and barbecue chicken macaroni and cheese.

So, next time your Mousekatot is having a meltdown, just take a deep breath, don’t panic and find the nearest food cart to help restore the peace.

What is your toddler’s favorite snack in the Magic Kingdom? Leave your comment below.


Refurb Schedule

Every so often, Disney needs to shut down some of their attractions for a brief period of time to add a little more pixie dust or to fix any issues that might be happening.

This can put a bummer on your vacation if your favorite attraction is closed during your time in Walt Disney World.

Luckily, if it isn’t something that just popped up, Disney is good with releasing their refurbishment schedule ahead of time so you can plan accordingly.

Here is the most recent list of scheduled refurbs for Walt Disney World.

Magic Kingdom

  • Meet Cinderella and a visiting princess at Princess Fairytale Hall: Opening June 21
  • Swiss Family Treehouse: July 6-Sept. 25
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: Aug. 8-Nov. 19
  • Liberty Square Riverboat: Aug. 15-Aug.22
  • it’s a Small World: Aug. 22-Aug. 16

Epcot

  • House of the Whispering Willows Gallery: Opening June 17

Hollywood Studios

  • Pizza Planet: Opening Nov. 2
  • Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream: July 16-July20
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid: July 24-July 28
  • Muppet Vision 3D: Aug. 15-Aug. 23

Animal Kingdom

  • Dinosaur: July 25-Sept. 30

Blizzard Beach

  • The whole park: Oct. 23-Dec. 25

 

12140926_745642436287_588551039092864867_o.jpg