Capt. Cook’s


The Polynesian was really our second resort on our last Disney trip. We can now say we’ve eaten at every restaurant on property except for the Spirit of Aloha dinner show, which the boys now have on their bucket list for one of our future Disney trips (which they are always, always planning).  Before the Villains After Hours Party on our last night there, we had a quick dinner at a Capt. Cook’s before heading into the park.

One of the things about Capt. Cook’s that makes it unique is that it’s open 24/7. It’s one of the few restaurants on property that does this, which makes it very convenient for those that are arriving to their resort late at night. We were not eating late, but it is nice to have the option, and we considered walking back through and grabbing muffins after the Villains Party, but we were pretty exhausted.

The theming here is in keeping with most of the resort, but I really enjoyed the poster-like vacation wall decor:

There is also a microwave at this station, and there was plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. We sat indoors because it was raining that afternoon. The boys ordered their standard meals:

 

Macaroni and cheese and a cheeseburger.

I ordered the Hawaiian flatbread:

The topping placement was a little haphazard, but it was very tasty and a significant amount of food. The boys each had a small piece of my flatbread in addition to their meal.

B ordered the turkey sandwich:

It had lettuce, tomato, and bacon on whole grain bread. B said it was good and not dry (which is a good recommendation from him because he doesn’t use mayo or mustard on sandwiches).

After we were done, we headed upstairs, hopped on the monorail, and traveled to Magic Kingdom for the Villains After Hours! While Capt. Cook’s is probably not a “must do” food place, it’s a great choice if you are monorail resort hopping on a whim, staying at The Polynesian, or just looking for a place to that is quick service with unique choices. Our menu choices were pretty standard, but you can check out the more adventurous fare here!

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The Polite Pig

To say Disney Springs has grown since Downtown Disney was first created would be the understatement of the year. Every time we go to Disney there are new shops and restaurants to visit. However, we have some that are our standard favorites, and I’m sharing one of those today along with a few tips for heading to Disney Springs during the warmer months. First up, let’s talk about one of our favorite lunch places, The Polite Pig.

We have visited The Polite Pig before, and there are three things that make it one of our favorites. First, it’s fast casual, but they bring the food to you. I like this because we don’t have to wrangle trays trying to get to our seats like a lot of quick service in the parks. Second, the prices are super reasonable for the amount of food you get. A lot of the meals are shareable, and the boys will usually get a kids’ meal and then eat some of the brisket off of my plate. Third, like one of our favorite restaurants at home, there isn’t a “waiter”, but there are people who will come and refill your drink and check on you during your meal (side note: you can tip these servers when you pay at the front when your order, so if you’re wondering what the tip area is for, this is it).

On this trip I ordered the brisket and cauliflower:

B got the pulled pork sandwich:

A got the kids’ pulled pork sandwich:

 

And J got the chicken fingers and fries:

All of our meals were tasty, flavorful, and I probably could’ve eaten another helping of cauliflower. My only regret was we went too early to get one of the famous Gideon Bakery chocolate chip cookies that they have (you can usually get them after 4:00 p.m.). Oh! You also can pick from a selection of sauces with your meal. And when you’re done, they bus the table, so you can just get up and go.

Now, on to a couple of extra tips! It gets really hot at Disney Springs from May-October, so I always suggest getting there when they open at 10:00 a.m. shopping a bit then having lunch and leaving to go back to the resort pool (our favorite plan). Or set-up a table service reservation for 7:00 p.m. then wait until late afternoon (around 5:00 p.m.) and head there, do some shopping and then go to dinner. It tends to be super crowded at night, so we opt for the earlier option quite a bit more. If you stay at Port Orleans, you can take the boat!

However, if you are driving over to Disney Springs, choose your parking garage wisely. All of the parking garages are free, but because of the size of Disney Springs some are more convenient than others depending on where you are eating/shopping. For example, The Polite Pig is right next to The Lime Garage.

We parked there and did some shopping and then had lunch! After that we headed back to the resort and had a calm afternoon because we were headed to Villains After Hours that night. Disney Springs is definitely a great way to spend some non-park time and The Polite Pig is a great place to eat while you are there! For our previous review of The Polite Pig check here.

My sunnies, shirt, shorts, and shoes.

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Flame Tree Barbecue Review

We’ve been to Disney enough at this point that we now have “stand-by” repeat restaurants. One of these is Flame Tree Barbecue. We love it in part because the food is consistently good and in part because it has different offerings than your standard quick service hamburger. Located in a Discovery Island on the way to DinoLand U.S.A, one of the things to note is that all the seating is outside, but there are several areas under covering, and it is a lot of seating. The seating areas are also well themed:

Our favorite spot is the lower level that overlooks the water, and has a view of Expedition Everest:

This area does get crowded because it is well shaded! I definitely recommend using mobile order at Flame Tree Barbecue and if you can, have one person grab a table and drop a pin to their location while another person picks up the food. And now that I mentioned food….

B and A always split the rib, chicken, and pulled pork platter:

And this year J branched out and got the chicken drumstick:

I had the pulled pork with macaroni and cheese and onion rings:

The boys ate both my onion rings, so I definitely should’ve ordered a side of those.

And we topped it off with their seasonal cupcake:

This was one of my favorite desserts of the whole trip. It was a great balance of spices, cake, and apple, and also a good frosting to cake ratio. I also liked that this was very easy to eat. Some of the specialty desserts I’ve found to be very instagram worthy, but not easy to actually taste.

As you may have read before, Disney food spots can be inconsistent with their quality and experience. However, we have found that Flame Tree Barbecue is pretty much spot on every time, making it our go to lunch spot at Animal Kingdom!

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Teppan Edo

Based on what I had read before visiting Teppan Edo, your chef can make or break this experience. And our chef definitely made the experience of this restaurant. That and the Yum-Yum sauce, ha! Our chef was funny, personable, and did a great job portioning out the meal without onions for B.

 

To give a little background, Teppan Edo is a hibachi grill-style restaurant in the Japan pavilion of Epcot. Situated upstairs from the enormous Japan store, Mitsukoshi, Teppan Edo features both a section serving sushi, and then another section for the hibachi grills. Like most restaurants of this kind, unless you have a party of eight or more, you will most likely be seated with another family. The kids typically receive soup and a smaller meat serving (choice of chicken, steak, or shrimp). This was by far, J’s favorite meal of the trip. He was giggling the whole time at the chef’s jokes, and ate up everything on his plate!

Adults receive salad, and a large selection of meat offerings (I picked scallops, B picked shrimp and steak). You also receive rice and then vegetables and noodles with the meal.

Afterwards we did some shopping:

And the boys picked out two new stuffed animals that are so Kawaii:

Totoro and Ei! The boys were very excited! The Japan pavilion is one of our very favorites in Epcot, we are looking forward to the new restaurant opening this year!

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One of my favorite parts of this trip was our monorail loop resort hoping. We had a lazy morning and then headed over to the Polynesian Resort and rode the monorail to The Grand Floridian. In all my years of going to Disney, I don’t think I’ve ever been inside The Grand Floridian, so I was excited to explore the resort!

They have lovely gift shops with a variety of Disney (and other) souvenirs:

Many Minnie and Mickey themed mugs:

And J, our always decisive souvenir chooser, picked out an emoji slap bracelet:

They also have several grassy outdoor expanses to just play games and lounge:

And of course, views of the castle:

After exploring for a bit we settled on Gasparilla Island Grill for a quick lunch.

This quick service stop features booth and table dining, with a variety of sandwiches and desserts. It also has some pretty fancy lighting:

But enough about the chandeliers, on to lunch! The boys got their standards which was a hot dog and macaroni and cheese:

 

 

And B got his standard turkey sandwich:

I constantly give Disney props that they get his food correct, with no sauces or things he cannot eat.

I got the roast beef and cheddar sandwich on a pretzel roll:

Friends. This sandwich is enormous. You could easily, I mean easily, share it. It also was really good. It had sautéed red onions, a rich yellow cheese sauce, and finely sliced roast beef. And the bread was fluffy soft.

The boys would also want me to tell you that they have the coke machines with “a million flavors”. After finishing our lunch we explored dessert. This mocha chocolate chip cupcake was a front runner:

But we couldn’t resist the whimsy of the carousel horse cupcake:

This is very instagram worthy, but was kind of tricky to eat. The horse is hard white chocolate, and the inside cupcake is a moist confetti cake. The buttercream was okay, but I kind of wished we’d gotten the mocha chocolate because I favor a chocolate cupcake more.

Overall, we really enjoyed our morning at The Grand Floridian! I would definitely suggest visiting here on your next trip. We also have Citricos and Grand Floridian Cafe on our list of restaurants to try!

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Villains After Hours Review

This was a last minute decision for our trip. Anticipating the hot summer weather in Florida, we decided to forgo the daily park ticket and instead go at night. I would only suggest this if your kiddos are good with staying up until 1:00 a.m. (or later). The Villains After Hours Party at Disney World runs from now until August on select nights (you can check here for more details). It’s similar to some of the other after hours parties (and annual pass holder after events), but it features specially themed treats, a stage show, and the dragon, Maleficent, makes appearances throughout the park. Here’s a peak at the map:

 

Let’s start with what we loved about it!

First, short lines. I mean walk onto Peter Pan short. We rode Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, Tea Cups, Buzz Lightyear, and Haunted Mansion all within the “party window”, but we also rode additional rides before that because you are allowed in at 7 p.m. (3 hours before the party actually starts).

Second, drinks, Mickey treats, and popcorn are all included in the cost. You can just walk up to any of the carts and the cast members will hand it to you. That was great (especially when I needed a second box of popcorn after riding Space Mountain with J).

Third, fun light theming of different rides:

 

Fourth, there are themed snacks for purchase, which the boys were very excited about.

We tried the headless horseman brownie:

This was a basic brownie, the theming is basically that one chocolate on top. It was made well though and is big enough to share.

We also tried the dragons breath:

The theming of this one was fun! The spun candy on top was VERY hard to eat, but the boys enjoyed the soft serve with cherry sprite type soda. Think a Shirley Temple with vanilla soft serve.

Last we tried the Hades Temptation:

So, besides being nearly impossible to carry without spilling it, this was very tasty. It again had kind of a cherry/berry slushie taste.

So, now that we’ve talked about what we loved, let’s talk about a few things that were just okay.

First, villain encounters. They kind of make it seem like although you won’t have the opportunity to do meet and greets with the villains, that they will be walking around the park. This is the only place we saw them:

Second, the theming of the rides for villains was waaaayyyy over stated. If you tell me there’s going to be a themed Pirates of the Carribean, I’m expecting Jack Sparrow. Although, this guy was humorous:

 

Last, the transportation back to the hotels is by bus. For our experience (I say that because that type of thing is always subject to change), there was no monorail or boat option. We had to get on a bus after the party that went to the Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian. It took awhile. Overall, I think the after hours experience is a great idea. I would suggest trying it. However, if you want a spooky themed experience (depending on when you are going), I would suggest Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The tickets are similar cost and you can check out our experience with that here!

 

 

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Kona Cafe

Also known by my kids as “not Ohana”, Kona Cafe open air table service restaurant on the second floor of The Polynesian serves up Asian style eats with a Polynesian twist. Despite the fact that this is not Ohana, our meal was very good, and I would recommend it if you are staying at The Polynesian, one of the other nearby resorts, or you want to take a break from The Magic Kingdom and head over here for dinner.

First up, we got an appetizer of potstickers, because that seemed to be the theme of this trip:

They were pan fried (my favorite), and I can honestly say I’ve never been served potstickers like this. They were pull apart and were definitely a filling way to start the meal! A loves potstickers:

In addition to our order of pot stickers, we were also snacking on the Hawaiian bread with macadamia nut butter that comes with the meal:

 

You all. Come for the rolls. They are delish! Anyway, while we were eating those we checked out the menu:

As you can see the menu contains a wide-range from sushi to burgers. You also can watch them making the sushi if you are sitting close enough, which we were:

B ordered the sashimi sampler:

We found the prices for both the sushi and sashimi to be very reasonable. The sashimi was light, and B probably would’ve ordered a side…if he hadn’t had an extra helping of rolls.

I ordered the Mahi Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato:

It was weird. The Mahi was also a little dry. And there were big pieces of barely toasted bread underneath….it was just a little odd. I would probably order something different if we went again.

And the boys ordered pasta and a burger:

Both were good. Oh and a heads up from our resident kid foodie:

If your kiddos also get dessert, just a heads up. The yogurt parfait is just a scoop of yogurt on a plate. Get the ice cream instead.

Afterwards, we headed outside to watch the fireworks:

At The Polynesian they dim the lights and play the music from the fireworks show at The Magic Kingdom, so its fun to view it from the beach!

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Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs

Can one dream about a meal? By far this was one of our favorite meals of the trip. I’ve read mixed reviews, but let me tell you, our server was fantastic, our meal was fantastic, and I really loved how the kids’ meals, menu, and options were so unique!

The atmosphere is upscale, but like most Disney restaurants, people were in a variety of dress from casual to cocktail-ish. The sushi kitchen is upstairs and it was fun to view it from below.

We started off with pork dumplings for our appetizer because those are A’s absolute favorite. These would probably be my only complaint. For eleven dollars there were only four, and they were barely filled. They were also steamed, and I prefer mine slightly pan fried (this I knew when we chose them, so that’s on me). For the cost, I would pick something else. They also don’t tell you on the menu how many you get, and I assumed we’d get at least six (again, I should’ve asked this before ordering). On the plus side, it came in a fun steamer and the boys tested out their chopstick skills before their lo mein came.

 

 

On to better things! Starting with the kid’s menu, because it was awesome. It had three origami papers and instructions for making three basic origami items. We spent (okay maybe, I spent) almost all the way until our dinner came working on the fish and frog.

 

And while we were working on those, we were sipping on fruity boba tea. J was unsure, but A was totally converted. He’s been asking for boba tea again ever since.

 

They both ordered the kids’ shrimp lo mein, and there wasn’t a noodle left.

So, now for the grown up meals. B is a big fan of sushi and sashimi, so he ordered Jyo Sushi Combo, and the only potential issue for his allergies was the sushi roll. Our server was great and easily requested to have his roll swapped (the combo is a “chef selects” so it depends on the day what you get). It was almost too pretty to eat!

I opted for the buri-bop which is the famous dish that Morimoto created to win one of the Iron Chef competitions. They prep it by the table, and unfortunately I didn’t take a picture before it was mixed. It was sooooo good. I mean. It was a combination of yellow tail, rice, egg, veggies, and other tasty items. As a side note this does come in a 400 plus degree bowl, that stays that hot pretty much the entire time you eat it. So this is not a meal you’d want to eat near small kiddos who might grab the bowl (or irresponsible adults who might do it “too be funny”, just saying).

And finally, we ended the meal with hidden Mickey sorbets for the boys!

We really loved our overall experience at Morimoto’s and would definitely go again!

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Shades of Green Review

For our recent trip to Disney we tested out The Shades of Green resort, and I’ve got that review for you today! First up, a few important pieces of information about the resort. It was originally a deluxe resort that was later purchased by the government. This means that you (or someone in your group) have to meet the qualifications on their website.

It is a hotel on Disney property, but not a Disney hotel specifically, so they use different buses, etc (more on that later). I’d always been reluctant to try it because I was worried it wouldn’t be Disney enough, when we are quite used to the Disney resorts. However, for this stay we decided to test it out and see what we thought!

The resort is lovely. It has spacious rooms many of which sleep up to five. It’s a quiet property, and we had a nice view of the golf course.

We stayed in The Palm Wing on the second floor, and I liked it so much, I would specifically request that area the next time we go.

There are two outdoor pools, one that has a zero entry area, and the other has a water slide that J LOVED:

The food is very reasonably priced (there are several restaurants and a Starbucks). Picking up Starbucks and reading my book in the morning was one of my favorite things to do during our stay!

The self-parking is only 9 dollars a day (cheaper than the Disney value resorts). It’s also an easy drive over to Disney Springs. Quick tip…we always parked at the Lime Garage because it is close to some of our favorite shops and restaurants. If you’re driving, check which garage is closest to your favorites to cut down on walking!

For transportation, they have buses that go to the ticket and transportation center, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. You can also walk to the Polynesian Resort (it’s about a fifteen minute walk to the monorail), and take any of their buses or the monorail. In addition they have a tram at times that will drive you down to the end of the property and cuts about seven minutes off the walk.

We loved getting a chance to take the monorail more than we usually do, and did quite a bit of resort hopping more than other past trips.

Overall, of all the Disney resorts we’ve stayed at their bus transportation was by far my least favorite. And it’s not that they aren’t efficient about it, the buses run when they say they will. However, instead of running every twenty minutes, like the Disney resort buses they come essentially twice an hour….which means that you need to carefully plan park entrance and exit to minimize wait times. Also, their bus stop is not with the other Disney bus stops…it’s usually a secondary area with a very small overhang….no big deal if it’s not raining, except in Florida, where huge rain storms can (and did) pop up at any time. You can take The Polynesian bus and walk, but we found that the buses for The Polynesian and Grand Floridian (they share a bus), were usually also packed.

 I would recommend considering taking advantage of the Minnie Van service (especially if you are going to or leaving Animal Kingdom), because you are saving money with the lower cost of the room and parking. If you have people in your group that either have trouble standing for long periods, or small kiddos, this would be a life saver. If we stayed at Shades of Green again we would definitely budget for that in order to save some time…and tantrums on the behalf of seven year olds who you made hike a park all day in 95 degrees and then have to hike home.

Overall, the resort is a great option for qualifying government and military families. You can find out more about the resort here! Happy trip planning!

 

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