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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

There are a few restaurants in Walt Disney World that are very difficult to get “advanced dining reservations” (ADRs) for because they are a very coveted dining experience.

One such place is Chef Mickey’s located in the heart of the bustling Comtemporary Resort situated on the monorail line.

There are a couple of factors that contribute to making this dining location so popular including the fact is it is on the monorail line, is a buffet and features a character meal with some of the most popular characters on property.

Menu

Chef Mickey’s is open for all three meals and features a buffet that is sure to please all sorts of pallets.

Breakfast

Seasonal melons and fruit, smoked salmon, quinoa salad, hard boiled eggs, ham and cheese scramble, carved ham, tofu scramble with spinach, chef’s specialty pancake of the day, Mickey waffles, Minnie muffins and more.

Brunch

Peel-and-eat shrimp, assorted salads, yogurts and toppings, barbecue pork ribs, baked salmon with seasonal garnish, chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese and more.

Dinner

Fresh mixed fruit salad, baked chicken, carving station selections, chef’s selection of pasta, seasonal bread pudding, create-your-own sundae bar and lots more.

Dinner and a Show 

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World 

In addition to being visited by the characters table side, there is also some music, dancing and even napkin twirling that takes place that makes the experience so much fun.

Cost

The cost of Chef Mickey’s is pretty much on par with other character buffets within the resort.

For breakfast and brunch for an adult it is $41 and for a child it’s $25. Dinner is $50 for adults and $30 for children.

If you have the dining plan you can use it at Chef Mickey’s.

When to make reservations

You will want to make reservations right when you reach 180 days out. Like I said earlier, it is a hard ADR to secure, but it can be done.

Breakfast is the most coveted and dinner is a close second, so you might want to try for brunch during an off eating time. Another benefit of brunch is you get to taste both breakfast and dinner foods.

Does Chef Mickey’s seem like a restaurant you would like to try out? Leave your comments below.

For more tips about where to grab something to eat at Walt Disney World, pick up your copy of Mousekatots.

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June Book Bag

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Even though it might be time for kiddeos to be putting away their school books and learning might be far from one’s mind, it still doesn’t mean that you remove reading from your routine.

Here are a few of our selections for the first month of summer reading.

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This really funny book is about two chopsticks who are inserparable until one day the one has a break. This results in the one needing to rest so it can get better and be useable again.

While the one chopstick is resting the other one goes on adventures and learns that sometimes it is OK to be on your own.

Full of wonderful puns and kitchen humor, this book is a fun read for both kids and adults.

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Because our little Mousekatot is going to be taking some dance classes this summer, I wanted to introduce her to the art of dance through a fun book.

The Angelina series has been around for awhile, and has even spawned a series that is currently available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant video.

The series involves a sweet little mouse named Angelina that takes ballet lessons and the different mice that dance with her and the various life lessons they learn.

I high recommend this book as well as any others in the series.

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This is our second round for “Oh No, Little Dragon.” Lily absolutely loves the story about this little dragon whose spark goes out when he swallows water during a bath. While he tries everything to get it back it comes from a very sweet source.

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Mo Willems is one of our favorite authors. (We are obsessed with the “Elephant and Piggie” series.) When I saw this at the library I had to pick it up.

This rhyming tale is about little Nanette who gets a very important job of bringing home a baguette for her mom. When the temptation of the tasty baguette gets to be too much what will Nanette do?

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Peppa Pig and her family go camping in this book.

Not only do they have the most magical camper that also turns into a boat, but they also spend time sleeping under the stars and doing all sorts of other fun camping activates.

Since we just went camping a few weeks ago, Lily has been very interested in the subject.

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I am all about books that help little girls learn about their full potential.

This is one of those books. It talks about a young Ada that is different because she wants to learn more about why things are the way they are, which can sometimes be a challenge to her parents.

In the end everyone figures out how to embrace their own true self.

Recently, we had checked out “Carnival of the Animals” from our local library.

It came with a CD that Lily loved to listen to while figuring out which animals were represented by which instrument.

Because she liked it we bought her a copy of that book as well as two other ones that have CDs with them.

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I like to pretend that I am going to read a book. So this time I really wanted to read “And Then There Were None.” So far, so good.

Do you have any books that you like to read during the summer months. Leave a comment below.


Pandora’s Box

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Photo courtesy of thedisneyblog.com

If you haven’t heard yet, Pandora, the world of the Avatar films, has been having a soft beta opening this past week.

A group of lucky guests have had the opportunity to explore this incredible, new world situated in Disney’s Animal Kingdom before it opens to the public on May 27.

Here is a round up of some of the early reviews on what people are saying.

To Eat

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When it comes to food, Pandora has two options that have items for both the timid and adventerous palate.

The first is the Satu’li Canteen, a quick service restaurant.

The food looks amazing, and what I have heard it tastes just as good, too.

Being a vegetarian, I am happy that they have plenty of options available that would qualify as a full meal.

One of the best deals here are the different bowls (slow roasted sliced beef, chopped woodfire chicken, sustainable fish bowl, or the chili-spiced crispy tofu bowl). Chalk full of vegetables and Boba balls, you get a pretty good bang for your around $12 buck.

Another option, if you are looking for a quick beverage (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) can be found at Pongu Pongu.

There are a ton of exotic looking drinks here to wet your whistle including the Mo’ara Margarita in a Souviner Mug with a Glowing Unadelta Seed for $18.25.

To Buy

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Photo courtesy of WaltDisneyWorld.com

Inside of Pandora there is one store that sells souviners called Windtraders.

Here you will find cultural artifacts of the Na’vi, science kits, specialized apparel and even some of the region’s more colorful creatures.

To Do

Let’s face it, the main reason why people are in the area is to experience the attractions that this area has to offer.

The first is the Na’vi River Journey.

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Photo courtesy of WaltDisneyWorld.com

Think of this attraction as a sort of high tech Small World. You go on a boat where you look at the amazing flora and fauna and the super sophisitcated animatronics.

People have been saying this has been blowing guests away. It is beautiful and you swear that the animatroics are real people.

The other attraction in Pandora, Flight of Passage, has been blowing people away for a wide variety of reasons, not all of them good.

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Photo courtesy of WaltDisneyWorld.com

On this ride you board your very own banshee and take to the skies of Pandora.

While on the ride vehicle you wear special glasses and view a large screen that is similar to Soarin’.

People who have been on the attraction have been raving about how amazing the experience is and that is like none other in the entire resort.

However, the Disney community has also been up in arms over the attraction as well.

When the rider steps onto the vehicle they have to sit on it like a motorcycle. Then a support comes up and pushes against the back while two braces come behind the calves and they also push forward.

The problem is that many people who are either tall or of the “Winnie the Pooh” shaped variety are having a difficult time fitting onto the ride and are subsequently being asked leave the ride.

One early previewer said that she had estimated 22% of the people that were slated to ride were asked to leave.

Another person said that in one group four out of 12 and seven out of 12 were asked to leave.

Some people are saying that because of the calf area being tight, people with either larger calves or taller people couldn’t fit properly into the restraints.

Supposdly, cast members are taking note of how many people are asked to leave the vehicle and the reason, so there is hope that this issues will be fixed in the future.

Are you looking forward to visiting Pandora? What are you most looking forward to?


Happy Camper

This past weekend we decided to plan a small weekend getaway.

We were looking for something close to home, but still something that made us feel like we had escaped reality for a little while.

Luckily the Uniontown KOA is pretty close and was the perfect fit for us.

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We rented a a cabin for the weekend that had a large bed in the main room and a bunk house off to the side with a sliding door that could be closed or kept open.

On Friday it unfortunately rained all night and we weren’t able to cook out. So we went out to eat and then stopped at a restaurant and then went to get groceries for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday morning it started of a little cloudy but turned into a beautiful day.

We started off the morning making pancakes on the fire pit, However, we just couldn’t get the logs to catch fire so we decided to move the griddle to to the grill to finish everything.

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They actually turned out really well after we got the hang of how long we had to cook them. Even Lily enjoyed her plain pancakes that were made before I added the blueberries.

One of Lily’s favorite things was the playground that was in the campground. She made several trips throughout our trip to the playground where she would spend so much time exploring everything and just enjoying the finally beautiful weather.

After paying a visit to the camp’s gift shop and purchasing a little disk of wax with wood shavings, the fire started right up.

Luckily we were able to make our dinner of veggie dogs with crescent rolls, foil pack veggies and grilled cheese for Lily right over the campfire. It was delicious and I am so happy we were able to do that.

Afterwards we made s’mores which Lily just enjoyed eating the graham crackers with chocolate.

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It was the end of a perfect day.

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The next day we woke up to a beautiful morning and ate breakfast before we left to join our mothers for a great Mother’s Day meal later in the day. 

Breakfast was made on the grill again that included oatmeal and cinnamon rolls.

We had a wonderful weekend and we can’t wait to do it again sometime soon.

How did you spend your Mother’s Day weekend? Leave your comments below.


“Daddy, Can I Stand Near the Crocodile?”

This past Saturday the weather was so depressing. It was raining, cold for May and just a horrible day.

Luckily, we had some fun activities planned for the day.

The first stop we made was to the huge Cabella’s store in Wheeling, W.V.

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When we walked in I didn’t realize that there would be a bunch of animal dioramas and an aquarium.

Lily loved looking at the aquarium the best. She thought that the fish were swimming over to say hi to her. She loved them so much she just had to have a stuffed rainbow trout.

We were also really into all the different animal displays and wanted our picture taken near the crocodile. She was really upset that she couldn’t get closer the crocodile.

Our main goal was to get some stuff for our upcoming camping trip. We grabbed a wire cook top and a griddle we could put over the fire and a few other odds and ends.

Lily also got a Mickey Mouse fishing pole that came with some foam fish and a foam fish hook that she has been using in the house, but can also use it to fish in her Nana and Papa’s pool this summer.

We are not hunters or fishers, in fact as I have mentioned before, we are both vegetarians. But, I can still appreciate all of the great camping options that Cabella’s has to offer and the fact that they are very serious about conservation.

After a long day I think we were rather tuckered out.

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Where is some place that you have never gone before but were happy that you tried it out? Leave your comments below.


Best Bites: Snacks Magic Kingdom Edition

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

When you are treking all over Walt Disney World you can work up quite an appetite.

In between meals you can be wanting a little something but not a full meal. Luckily, there are a lot of places within Walt Disney World to pick up a quick bite.

However, not all snacks are created equal. This is especially true if you are on the dining plan where you receive two snacks per night booked at the resort.

A few years ago, Disney changed what was considered a snack on their dining plan.

One of the easiest ways to identify a snack is looking for a little white and purple box next to the item. If you have this, then you know it is a snack.

However, any single serve item is considered a snack (box of popcorn, ice cream bar, etc.)

But, a smart vacationer knows how to use the snacks to their favorite.

For example, you can use a bottle of water for a snack credit or you can use it on a cup of chili at Columbia Harbor House.

Below, are my top choices for how best to use your snack credits in the Magic Kingdom.

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Breakfast 

Liberty Square Market: This location has a variety of fresh fruit available, yogurt and even a Mickey pretzel. It opens at 9 a.m.

Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies: This quick service restaurant offers smoothies that would make a quick breakfast on the go. It opens at 10:30 a.m. (This however is not on the dining plan so you will have to pay out of pocket.)

Main Street Bakery: Here you can use your snack credit to get your Starbucks fix for the day. The bakery opens at 9 a.m.

Lunch/Dinner

Aloha Isle: This is my personal favorite, Dole Whip. This creamy (yet vegan) frozen treat is an icon of Disney cuisine. You can also get a pineapple spear. This location opens at 10 a.m.

Columbia Harbor House: This, in my opinion, is the biggest bang for your snack buck. Here you can get a cup of vegetarian chili, New England Clam Chowder, Steamed Vegetables and coleslaw. Columbia Harbor house opens at 11 a.m.

The Friar’s Nook: Sometimes when it is really hot in WDW you will want something that will cool you off in the middle of the heat. Here you can get a frozen lemonade that should do the trick. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m.

The Lunching Pad: Another location to get your Mickey pretzel fix. This location opens at 10 a.m.

Those are just a few of my favorite ways to make a meal out of a snack in the Magic Kingdom. For more tips on using the dining plan pick up your copy of Mousekatots.

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Eating in the Burg: Kaya

This past weekend we had the opportunity to have a wonderful, but rare, date night. We had the opportunity to see the Pittsburgh stop of the “All Hail” tour of the podcast “Welcome to Night Vale.”

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But before we took in the amazing show, we went out to eat.

Since I am a vegetarian, and Kev is most of the time (although he wasn’t this weekend), we had to find a place that was near the theater but also had a couple of veggie options.

I was surprised how little options the restaurants in the Cultural District had. A lot were closed on a Sunday evening, but a lot didn’t even have an option that didn’t contain any meat.

Luckily, we decided to head to The Strip District because it wasn’t that far away.

In the strip there was is a great restaurant named Kaya that features Caribbean cooking, and luckily for me a lot of great vegetarian options.

During the month of April Kaya highlighted the island of Cuba to feature their cuisine and drinks.

We decided to kick off our dinner with the Cuban themed beverage Kaya Libre, a combination of rum, lime and Mexican Coke.

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I ordered the Trumpet Mushroom, Ramp & Asparagus Paella: squash, tomatoes, green beans, wild mushrooms, roasted red pepper, greens, pineapple. It was so delicious! The mushrooms had a great meaty texture and the asparagus really brightened the dish.

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Kevin decided to continue his culinary tour of Cuba and decided to order two tasting plates: Ropa Vieja Jubilee Hilltop Ranch flank steak, sofrito, peppers, onions, green olives, rice and Mojo Pork Black beans, cilantro, jalapeño, pickled red onions.

He said that both dishes were really great and full of good flavor. He said he liked the Ropa Veija just a smidge more than the Mojo. He said the seasoning of the Ropa was a little more up front.

With the drinks and dinners, it was a wonderful meal full of flavor and I didn’t feel like I was being cheated because I am a vegetarian.

If you are ever in The Strip District you should check out Kaya. You won’t be disappointed.

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