Monday, July 30, 2012

Kringla Rice Cream

This week I have a slightly different chilly treat to share with you all.

It isn't the typical smoothie/ice cream/milkshake.  In fact, you might say it's a bit international...a bit, Norwegian to be specific.

 

Ah, Norway.  How I love the Norway pavilion.  I love everything about it, from the trolls to the grassy roof to LAILA, of course.  Yo the Yeti loves it too.


Our chilly treat shall be found in Kringla!


...and it goes by the name of...


RICE CREAM!  Or, rather, rice pudding topped with strawberry sauce.


I have tried rice pudding at Akershus before and always liked it, and one day I decided to try the Kringla kind.  They bring it out of the fridge, so I'd say it qualifies as a "chilly" treat, as it's nice and cold and refreshing on a hot Florida day!

Also, at $2.29, this treat is fairly reasonably priced and you get a good amount.  As an aside: during the Food and Wine Festival, the Scandinavia booth sells a rice pudding just like this, only it is twice the price and half the size.  I suppose it could be fancier rice pudding, but it looks the same as the Kringla version.


I'm usually not a fan of berry "toppings," but this one went very nicely with the creamy rice pudding. 

It was an entirely tasty, chilly treat!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Spectacular Ceiling

As the one and only Pooh Bear would say, Happy Windsday!

(...or is it Gopher who says that??)

ANYway, it's time to find a thoughtful spot to comtemplate this week's trivia photo!



Somewhere in Walt Disney World you will get a sore neck staring up at this absolutely gorgeously ornate ceiling.  Where might it be??

...and the answer to last week's query...



The lovely lilac-filled window box can indeed be found on your way from Fantasyland to Liberty Square.  It is outside the windows of the second floor seating at Columbia Harbour House

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

An Illuminating Evening

It is no secret that I absolutely adore Wishes, the Magic Kingdom fireworks show.

But when it comes to the other parks nighttime spectaculars, that is, Fantasmic and Illuminations, I have to admit I've been remiss.  I've only been to see Fantasmic once in my months at Disney, and I can count the number of times I've seen Illuminations on one hand.

But the other night I decided to give Epcot's fireworks a better chance.  You can see (and hear) them every night from the balcony off of the Boardwalk club, and those colorful bursts were tempting me over to watch Illuminations in person! ;)


One evening I got out of work at 7, which was perfect timing.  I skipped over to Epcot, grabbed some dinner from the Mexico Pavillion (that guacamole is DELISH!), and found a spot by the railing between Mexico and Norway.  I was over an hour early, but I wanted to make sure I did Illuminations right!

With Wishes you can arrive at 10 minutes to showtime and still find a place around the Hub or on Main St.  But the spots around World Showcase Lagoon really fill up, and it's not as much fun watching through tree branches or a sea of heads.


I had a rather fun time people watching and just admiring the evening settle in over the pavillions.  Before I knew it it was time to see some Reflections of Earth!


I love that voice at the very beginning of the show, when all the torches get blown out.  And the way the torches are blown out is so magical, gives you chills!

 



I didn't bring a tripod or my good camera that night, but my little elph held its own and got some pretty good pics!


The soundtrack for Illuminations is truly wonderful.  I've been listening to it ever since!


The globe is opening!


My favorite part of the finale is when all that wealth of glowing white roman candles shoot up in a gorgeous arc and just keep going and going.  I won't even try to share a picture of it.  It's one of those moments that film just can't capture. ;)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Auntie Gravity's Stellar Smoothies

A good smoothie can be a hard thing to come by, even at a place with such culinary delights as Walt Disney World.

You see, a smoothie of the highest order must be chilly and icy -- yet also creamy and, well, smooth. 

Sometimes Disney tries to pass off icees and slushies as smoothies.  This is no good.

Sometimes you get a smoothie that is too thick, and is more like a milkshake.  Or a smoothie that has too many chunks in it.  It's called a smoothie.  Not a chunkie.

Now there are, in fact, many delicious smoothies around the Disney property.  But there is one place in particular where I have never been dissapointed in a smoothie.  The real fruity flavor and perfectly smooth yet chilly consistency have always been to the highest standard.

This place is in Tomorrowland, and it is called Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies.


I have never met Auntie Gravity, but she sure makes an amazing smoothie.  Her small establishment is located right next to (in fact rather inside of) Merchant of Venus.  In addition to smoothies, she provides floats, soft serve, and sundaes to the hungry populace of Tomorrowland.


My favorite has always been the tropical.  A marvellous mix of orange, pineapple, and mango.  It's like Auntie Gravity compressed those fruits with some magic futuristic machine into the most perfect chilly concoction ever.  It's so fresh and refreshing and delicious.  The first sip or two will probably give you brain freeze, but it's so worth it!

The only thing that makes a tropical smoothie more delicious is...


...enjoying said smoothie whilst riding on the TTA.  Yes, I know, you're not supposed to sneak food on...but I have lots of cast member friends who call the TTA the "snack train."  lol.  We're bad.

Sipping a smoothie while whizzing around Tomorrowland is relaxation of the future.  And that forbidden flavor only makes it more delish! ;)

Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm with the Band

One of the most wonderful things about Walt Disney World, as we all know, is how very many different experiences there are to be had.  Every time you go, no matter how many times you've been, you discover something new.


One afternoon at the Magic Kingdom I was delighted by such a new discovery.


I had come to the MK on a day off, but I didn't have a whole lot of time and couldn't decide what to do.  Wandering thus, I found myself in Liberty Square, when I noticed these dapper gentlemen in red and white walking past me.



The Main Street Philharmonic!  I had never seen them perform before -- only in passing, so I found a spot beneath a shady tree outside the Hall of Presidents to watch the show.

I was expecting to be mildly entertained and to check it off my list-of-things-at-Disney-I've-done/seen.  I was not expecting to love it, but I did!

The band members stood in front of the Christmas store and struck up their first song...but half-way through, the tones of another trumpet came from across the way, behind me in front of HOP.


One of the trumpeters had been hiding over there and surprised us all!  It was a really fun touch -- and when he finished his solo, he positively leapt across the pavement to join the rest of the band!


The red and white flowers of Liberty Square matched their uniforms!

These band members had so much personality.  In between songs they were cracking jokes and making fun of each other.  A couple standing amongst the crowd was getting a picture of themselves with the band in the background; and two of the trumpets, still playing the song, walked over and posed right next to them!  There was also a rogue photopass photographer snapping shots of the crowd and of the kids dancing, etc!

They really encouraged the audience to be a part of the show too -- a lady got up and started dancing with them.  And when they played When the Saints Come Marching In, they wanted us to all sing along -- one guest even burst out in a solo, singing the echo part!  It made for such a fun atmosphere!



There was lots of jibing between the sections -- something I remember well from my marching band days at ND!  A trumpet myself, I cheered for them of course. ;)

The Main Street Band only has brass instruments (they explained they didn't need the others...a tongue-in-cheek disdain of winds seems to be a universal characteristic of brass instrumentalists, lol!).  At one point they announced they were going to play John Phillip Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever.

Piccolos have an important part in Stars and Stripes (you know, the part that goes doodloododoodo dooooooo...lol), but the Main Street band explained that the sousaphones were going to bravely take on the piccolo part.  And you know what -- they did a STELLAR job with it!!  In every song they played they sounded fantastic.

 



If you see the Main Street Band passing by, I'd highly recommend stopping to watch their show.  They give a magical performance!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Windowside Flowers

Those were fantastic guesses on last week's trivia, and it was a hard one!  That starry scene is actually from Voyage of the Little Mermaid.


At the very beginning of the show, the ceiling looks like stars and the screen behind the stage shows the sea...it's such a gorgeous moment!

Alright.  Let's see how you do with this week's teaser!  Have you seen these sweet flower boxes anwhere around the "World" before??


I'll give you a hint: you can have your lunch up behind those windows!  Good Luck!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ice Cold Coffee with a Shot of Castle

Here in Florida...I have discovered a new love.

It's called iced coffee.

There's something very cosy yet rejuvenating about coffee.  It can be a sort of buck-you-uppo.  Coffee banishes headaches and gives the day new promise.

But hot coffee in Disney's heat and humidity is not so refreshing as coffee ought to be.  Then.  One day a friend introduced me to a revelation.  It was the french vanilla iced coffee at the Main St. Bakery.

My friend swore by it, so I decided to give it a chance.


Creamy and ice cold with that zing of coffee.  Perfect!


And a little extra shot of Magic Kingdom castle nearby doesn't hurt either! ;)

Chasing down a New Dream

Well, I have some news to share with you blog readers today.


I’ve decided to leave my job at Disney. 

Working at the heart of the magic has been a wonderful experience; and I have learnt so, so, SO much over the course of my almost-a-year here.  I had always wanted to be a cast member, and I'm so glad that dream came true.

I've really missed being near my family, though, and I also really missed doing more creative work and writing.  I could have stuck around and worked my way up to a creative position with Disney, but I realized that I don’t have to be writing for Disney to be happy.  I just want to be writing.

So now I’m going to be back at home - I got the opportunity to work on a freelance project, writing a local interest/travel book about my area.

I am so excited about the new project, but I will certainly miss the hustle and the bustle of the Boardwalk.  I'll miss interacting with guests and popping into the theme parks and resorts every week, but I feel like this is the right time to come home, and chase down a new dream!

Ironically, leaving Disney is good news for the blog.  Now I’ll actually have time to post all the stories and photos that I’ve been piling up during these months!
 
My love for Disney certainly won't be limited by being away from it...and I'm sure I'll be back on vacations.  My brother will still be working at Disney, and you gotta visit your family, right?

In fact, I'll be going on a Disney vacation this summer right after I finish!  My family is coming down to Florida soon, and we're going to have a fantastic trip together.  I’m kinda excited to go back to being a Disney guest - though I'm sure there'll be times when the cast member in me comes back out!

I may be leaving Florida, but I'm bringing the pixie dust with me, and there is plenty more of it to come!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Pepper Market Is Now a BUFFET??

I KNOW!  I couldn't believe it when I first heard it a few weeks ago, but it's true!  Coronado Springs' Pepper Market eatery now serves a buffet breakfast and lunch.

One afternoon my brother and I went over to investigate this buffet business...


There are so many palm trees at Coronado.  I love it!


And it's so colorful here!


ARRIBA!  The festive air was catching. :)



The breakfast buffet goes from 7 to 11, and lunch is from 11:30 to 2:00.  $14.99 for breakfast and $16.99 for lunch.  Those are pretty incredible for Disney buffet prices, and I've heard that you can use counter service credits from the dining plan for the buffet! 


The dining space was fairly empty that day, and I asked if we could be seated under these cool awnings by the window.



I love this little corner of the Pepper Market...the chairs in tropical pastels, the star lamps above, the palm trees right outside the window...I could sit here all day!

LOVE this decor.
 


But we aren't here to look at coral-and-aqua-colored furniture!  Let's get to the food!

Black bean salad and cucumber salad...


More salad materials...I always like the look of the fresh greens and funky vinagrettes at the salad portions of buffet, but I don't like to have salad at a buffet because stomach space is at a premium and must be reserved for more delicious things. ;)



The pasta sounded so good on the sign but were slightly uninspiring in themselves.  They weren't untasty, but they were a little dry...I think they'd been sitting out awhile.


With its more expensive buffets, Disney does a good job at keeping things well-stocked and fresh. But when you get to the good deal buffets like the Pepper Market or the breakfast buffet over at The Wave, it's best to go early or the food isn't at its peak. My brother and I went towards the end of the lunch hour.
This was the kiddie selection...fries and chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, spaghetti, and a dish of something else that could be chicken or some kind of potato...or something else entirely...I can't quite tell...

Some savory side dishes and the carving station...the selection and amount of food on this buffet was very impressive, especially considering the price and considering it's Disney!

 
Once you got beyond the pasta and pizza, appearances began to improve.  The Sandqich Station was quite impressive.  They had basically every hot sandwich and cold wrap that is on the menu over at Cafe Rix, and they were quite tasty.

The selection of Mexican food was also quite good...they had make your own fajitas and/or tacos, with beef, chicken, beans, and spanish rice.
There were also quesidillas and spicy burrittos.  The burritos were really good...pretty spicy, but flavorful, with a soft tortilla.



But, oh.  Friends.  We haven't even gotten to the desserts yet!  Look at all those trays of BREAD.  They had bagels, bread for toast, muffins, croissants, cookies, and more.




And it was kinda fun to look at the price board and know that you could have whatever you liked, it was included!  But my absolute favorite part was this beautiful case:




These were the same cakes they have at Cafe Rix, only a little smaller, and you could get as many as you wanted!!!




....strawberry shortcake...




...this was chocolate, and they also had the oreo cake that I tried a few months ago.


YUM.  YUM.  I totally double-fisted on the cake.  Also notice that little bit of fried deliciousness on the right hand plate.


They had little churro-type donuts that were really tasty!



But I think the cake was my favorite.  ;)


I would give the Pepper Market lunch buffet very high points for value and selection.  You just do not see that much food for $17 at Disney World.  The quality isn't as high as other Disney restaurants, but it's still quite good.  I'd say it's definitely worth a try!
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