Thursday, April 24, 2014

Disneyland and California Highlights

If you follow me on twitter or instagram, you'll know I just got back from a short but super fun and fantasmagical trip to Disneyland and California. :D


I have so so so so so SO many things I can't wait to share...like...


...that fully adorable pink castle! Also...


CARSLAND.


I am still not over how amazing it was.  I've probably talked about plenty of different Disney things in superlatives, but this was above all the rest: JUST. BLOWN. AWAY.


And then seeing it AT NIGHT.  I can't even.


We swung by Flo's for lunch, of course.  It was heavenly.


I'm thinking I should really just move to Carsland and become a Motorama girl.


Speaking of Disneyland deliciousness, I spotted some very festive Easter cupcakes!


...but you knew there'd be cupcakes, right?


Also this fully amazing customize-your-own ice cream bar from Clarabelle's.  We grabbed one to nosh on while we waited for...


WORLD OF COLOR.  Another totally-blown-away Disneyland experience.


HOW IS THERE NOTHING LIKE THIS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD YET??!?  But I'll save my thoughts for a longer post.  For now I just wanted to share a few trip highlights.


Like the Disney characters in it's a small world - LOVE...


...and the darling miniature princess castles of Storybook Village...

 

...and classic Disneyland attractions galore!  That's Matterhorn boarding on the left and Space Mountain on the right!


One of my favorite merchandise finds was this INSANE frilly pink Minnie hat/ears.  It was like a tutu for your head.  I wasn't quite confident (or crazy) enough to buy it.


We didn't get a chance to meet the Frozen sisters - the Anna and Elsa line was already 4 hours long at 8:45 in the morning. :O  It was the day before Easter, but STILL.  That's as crazy as Epcot!  It was fun to spot Olaf on the roof though - he even moved!

We were only at Disneyland for two days, but we packed in so much fun!  One of the most pixie dusted moments was riding tea cups WHILE the fireworks were going off and Tinkerbell was flying beyond the lanterns right overhead.


I can't even wait to show you guys the vlog.  I can't wait to get started on all the videos...Disney and non-Disney!  We had some other California adventures as well...


...like dinosaurs at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum!


We attended a family wedding, and I got to hang out with my favoritest cousin. :)  We got to see some friends at Disneyland too - shout out to Laura and the gang! - and I even met a blog reader (Hi Erin!).

  

Then there were burgers and fries from In-N-Out (SO DELICIOUS), fun times on the beach, and the most delicious croissants in LA at La Maison du Pain.

Lots of California pixie dust, coming your way!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Where in WDW: Game Central Station

Video Gamers, this #WhereinWDW trivia post is for you!


Do you know how to get to Game Central Station?  You'll be surrounded by circuits and consoles...and be careful.  You might even spot a cy-bug!

\

The elegant lanterns in last week's post can indeed be found at the Nine Dragons restaurant in Epcot!

Test Track Photo Finish E-Postcards

It's funny to think of little things at WDW that have changed throughout the years...


An important EPCOT stop for my family used to be Innoventions West and the email photo postcards.  This was in the days before touch phones, when you couldn't share a photo from the parks instantly from your device!  At the IBM booths you could get everyone in the photo, pick a funny background, then email it to family or friends.

It was a tradition that we would always stop there and grab a shot of everyone.  We were sad when they got rid of it...there was another photo email spot at Innoventions by the firetruck, but it wasn't as fun.  And you have funny video e-postcards you can create and send at Mission Space, but what we wanted was the family picture.


So it was a pleasant surprise when, on a recent trip, we found a similar email photo opportunity in the gift shop of Test Track!


I miss the cheerful yellow and black of the old Test Track, but I have to admit that the new one is really cool.  It makes me feel like I'm in the movie Tron. ;)


There are so many fancy new screens to use...while in line, you can design a simulation test car and see how it compares against the actual car you're going to ride in.  Then after the ride, you'll find lots of futursitic games...


But if you're looking for the photo op, keep going until you get to the room with the cars...


People have always liked to pose by the cars in the Test Track showroom, but now there are cyber postcards that you can pose for and email for free...one of the "sets" even has a mini Epcot ball!!


The new service is called "Photo Finish."  There are several different sets with different cars and backdrops to chose from.


Some of the scenes have a car, some do not.

 

There are futuristic cities, race tracks, provinicial towns...and of course...


Spaceship Earth!


To get started you touch your MagicBand or ticket to one of the kiosks in front of your desired set.


Here you'll enter the email you want the picture sent to...you'll also get to customize the scene you'll be posing in front of!


For the photo op we chose, you can actually chose a world other than Spaceship Earth to be projected onto the sphere, but why would you do that??  You can also pick what you want to appear in the sky behind you...


I think Dart picked the space cruiser!

 

You make your choices at the kiosk while in line, then head to the panel at the end.  You scan your MagicBand, then the scene you picked will be loaded...


I loved the big giant screens where you can get set for the photo, review the shot, and take another if you need to.  I'm so glad they brought back the email postcards.  They're so much fun!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Lovely Strawberry Soup and 1900 Park Fare Dinner Buffet

I thought we needed a pastel and pretty something for this Sweet Treat Monday...


 ...and 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Resort was the first place that came to mind!  They have a scrumptious dinner buffet here, featuring the one and only...


Strawberry soup!  I could drink this stuff by the gallon.  It is so amazing.  But there are tasty offerings too, so why don't we have a look at the whole buffet?

 

I love the decor, with all the carousel horses...and bunnies...

 

...and seahorses and camels!


Make sure you look up to check out the big music box set into the wall - so cool!


I guess we should save the desserts for the end, shouldn't we?  They're strategically placed as the first thing you pass...you're walking by to the main buffet line and you have to do a double take. ;)  But let's be good and check out the real food first...


Every good Disney buffet should have really good bread, and these slices are lovely.  They're exactly the same as the bread served upstairs in the Royal Palm Club Level!


Here's the kid's area - chicken nuggets, tater tots, pizza, green beans, mac and cheese.


Disney chefs always dream up such interesting leafy creations!  Here we have classic caesar salad, grilled vegetarian salad, marinated cucumber salad, and mixed greens..



...also vegan noodle salad and watercress salad.


Even the salad dressings are interesting - those first two are mango and chili cilantro!


More "nibblies" as Samantha Brown might call them - pot stickers and samosas.  YUM.


Half the fun of buffets is getting to try foods you wouldn't normally eat at home.  I rarely have sushi, so I loved getting to sample it at 1900 Park Fare!  I believe there were three types - a california roll, a vegetarian option, and a standard option.


Here we have Spicy Durban Chicken, Asian BBQ ribs, Vegan Edamame Salad, and Tomato Mozzarella Salad.  I know Tomato Mozzarella is really simple to make at home, but for some reason it's always SO much tastier at Disney!


There was so much deliciousness it was kinda overwhelming - here we have Tajine Beef and Moroccan CousCous!  I somehow didn't get a photo of it, but there was also a carving station with prime rib.


This is the startch section: rolls, chicken, mashed potatoes, Vegan Tabbouleh (isn't that a fun word?), and potato salad.


Lemon-scented jasmine rice (sounds so fancy), Vegetarian Orzo Pasta, and Orange Glazed Salmon.  TOO MANY CHOICES.  And I couldn't even really take in all the options until I found my favorite fare at 1900...


Be still my heart: STRAWBERRY SOUP.


You guys.  I could marry 1900 Park Fare's strawberry soup.  That's how much I love it.  Future Kill Refurb Marry topic: Disney soups.  It needs to happen.


There are lots of awesome dishes at 1900 Park Fare, and it's a fantastic character meal (we haven't even gotten to that yet!); but I would come here just for the soup.


It's creamy.  It's fruity.  It's utterly pink.  It's perfection.


Strawberry soup and THE strawberry!


I did manage to find room for a few things other than strawberry soup, as you can probably tell from my plate. ;)  And of course I had to sample the desserts...


Chocolate Mousse Cups...


Mini Carrot Cake...


Back in December they had a seasonal dessert - pumpkin cheesecake!


Very nice - and I think that's a cranberry on top!


There was a whole additional sideboard of desserts that I forgot to photograph - it had bread pudding, cobbler, and cookies.  There's a glimpse of it in the video...


The fruit tarts must have been popular...and so were the key lime tarts!

 

I did not expect to like this, but I LOVED it.  The chocolate crust was amazing, and that whipped cream on top was so unique!

 

Now you might have a few interruptions from the royal family as you eat!  Lady Tremaine, Drizella, Anastasia, Cinderella, and Prince Charming all come around.  The idea is that you've been invited to a royal banquet, so the characters are all impressively announced, and Cinderella and Prince Charming even have a short dance!

The evil stepsisters and stepmother were just fabulous to chat with...although I do feel like they've been even more riotous in previous years, screaming across the restaurant to each other and running around.  This time they were more subdued...and the characters did seem a little rushed, going from table to table.  The interactions were still great, it just felt like they were on a tight schedule.

To tell the truth, I wanted to come to 1900 Park Fare largely because of the characters, to get their opinions on snagging a prince!


The stepsisters had some pretty hilarious tips to offer.  And I thought it would be fun to get Prince Charming himself in the video too...


He was so funny, telling me how he met Cinderella because she lost her shoe.  "What kind of slippers are you wearing?" he asks.  "Oh yes, those are very easily lost."  LOL.

 

And of course it was lovely to see Cinderella as well - her dress is so gorgeous.  The Fairy Godmother did such a good job. ;)


It was such a fun dinner.  Ahhh...now I'll be dreaming of strawberry soup all day... ;)

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