ESPN Club

The ESPN Club at The Boardwalk in Disney doesn’t get a whole lot of recognition, but for three sports loving boys, it was one of their favorite restaurants at the resort. The restaurant is filled with sports memorabilia and lots of televisions to watch all the games that are playing at that time. The meal itself was very good, and our waiter was excellent. I especially appreciated how kind the waiter was with our boys, answering their endless sports questions patiently, and bringing celebratory apples (A’s request) for A’s birthday.

B picked the ESPN burger…

And I chose the fish and chips:

J selected the hot dog:

And A loved his birthday apple slices!

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Current favorite Disney souvenirs

Part of the fun of going to Disney is finding some new souvenirs! As I discussed in a past post we had a set amount of souvenir money for each kid. It worked out great. Especially for math loving A who decided to evenly split his money among each park. A carefully considers a variety of items before he decides on a final purchase. Like this classic Mickey Mouse to add to his Mickey Mouse collection:

J on the other hand is very decisive, he sees what he wants and immediately makes a choice like this guy:

Just kidding. While very lovable, this almost life size Stitch was out of his price range. He instead settled on this:

Pluto with the keys!

We also love the wall of Tsum Tsums at Big Top Souvenirs:

And all the plush animals in Animal Kingdom:

It’s always fun to have a memory to bring home of our trips! I have found through our many visits that the office supplies are very enticing, but can be a bit overpriced. In addition, the books are usually very overpriced, and unless it is a Disney exclusive, I’ll suggest the boys save that idea, and I’ll order it off Amazon for Christmas or a Birthday. In contrast, the plush animals and many home goods are priced pretty reasonably. Happy souvenir shopping!

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Orlando Stopover before Disney

We’re a good ten hours from Disney World, which means that it’s either one very long driving day, or we split it into two days. We’ve made various halfway stops on our trip down, but on this particular trip we drove almost all the way in, stopping at Lake Buena Vista. We ate at Shake Shack for dinner (one of my favorites):

 

One of my life quests is to get the unique concretes (ice cream) at every Shake Shack. I’ve got three so far (DC, Austin, Orlando):

Then we marveled at the huge (and I do mean huge) Ferris wheel, at the outdoor entertainment venue where Shake Shack is located. There is also an awesome pirate themed miniature golf, that we decided next time we should take into consideration!

We stayed at The Embassy Suites Lake Buena Vista, which was very nice. It does always make me laugh that B wants to get a suite because most of the time the boys end up wanting to sleep in the same room as us instead of taking the pull out sofa in the separate room.

This would be a great option if you were visiting both Universal Studios and Disney World! However, our sights were set for Disney!

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Disney Snack Round-Up

From classics to new finds, I’ve rounded-up some of our favorite snacks from our Disney trip! We share a lot of snacks on our trip, just because some are typically large snacks, and also to cut down on the sugar overload. I’ve marked through the post snacks that we’ve split, or got individual servings, to give you a better idea of the portions.

First up, the dole whip. You will not ever find a Disney trip that I don’t get a dole whip. Ever. We typically buy two and split them.

Second, classic Mickey bars. The boys always request these, and our favorite spot to eat them is anywhere shaded. We buy individual ones for these because they get messy really fast and they aren’t that big.

Third, Mickey pretzels. These are always good, which is why we make a stop for one on every trip. We typically get three and split.

Fourth, Gaston’s cinnamon roll. My recommendation is to ask them to warm the roll (it’s supposed to come warm, but ours didn’t). We got one and split it, it’s very sweet.

Fifth, Mickey cinnamon roll. This was less sweet than Gaston’s cinnamon roll (which I liked), but I didn’t like the chocolate sauce that much, plus it melted super fast. We got one and split it, but it wasn’t nearly enough. I’d get two.

Sixth, the Mickey rice krispie bar with m&ms. This is the ultimate sugar rush, but delicious! We got two and split them.

Seventh, the shaved ice in Epcot Japan. These are huge, we got one and split it.

Eighth, the school bread in Epcot Norway. This is a spice-flavored, creamy bun, and it is not super sweet. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but it’s worth getting once just to see what all the hype is about. We got one and split it.

Pastries in Epcot France. Definitely get your own. Not that they aren’t shareable, but typically you won’t want to share (featured are the duo and parfaits aux fruits):

And finally, these apple cider donut holes were my favorite. I’d maybe share it, but I think you could get individual ones and easily eat them all. These may be seasonal, but I found them at the Isle of Java spot in Animal Kingdom:

Happy snacking!

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Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe

Nestled in a corner of Frontierland is Pecos Bill’s. We stopped here for lunch after we finished our morning in Adventureland, and before our fast passes in Frontierland started. I had visited Pecos Bill before, but hadn’t been in quite a few years because I was unsure how well the boys would eat the premade tacos. Obviously I should have checked the menu and reviews more closely because this was actually the perfect spot for the boys.

A and I split the beef tacos, and what you get on the tacos is just that, beef. Then you can make your way over to the toppings bar and add whatever you want to your tacos. This is an awesome way to split a meal and make it customizable. So as you can see we made our own choices…

J was on a macaroni and cheese kick this trip, so that was his choice:

We also saw some country bears on the way out!

Here’s a breakdown of our Magic Kingdom plan focusing on Adventureland and Frontierland:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean 
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Dole Whip Snack Aloha Isle
  • Pirate Adventure Kiosk
  • Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse
  • Lunch: Pecos Bill 
  • Thunder Mountain 11:40-12:40 FP x 2 A &B
  • Splash Mountain 12:35-1:35 FP x 2 J & N
  • Tom Sawyer Island
  • Haunted Mansion FP x 4 1:35-2:35
  • Peter Pan FP x 4 2:40-3:40
  • Finish pirate scavenger hunt

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The Beach Club Review

When I was a kid going to Disney my family always stayed at an Epcot area hotel. My parents liked the convience of being able to walk into a park, or take a boat instead of dealing with the buses. Since it was A’s 10th birthday celebration we decided to stay at The Beach Club for our trip, because A’s favorite park is Epcot. I was interested to try The Beach Club since it had been probably about twenty years since I have stayed there. Here is a breakdown of our experience!

We stayed in a garden view room, which I liked because it was quiet and not too far from the entrance to walk to Epcot. I was not pleased with our first floor room, so I requested to change it and they moved us to the second floor, which was much better.

Our room overall was very nice, but I will say it was a bit dated and they didn’t put a dust cover on the box spring, which was odd. The boys loved that they didn’t have to share a bed, and I liked the larger balcony to sit out on in the mornings before we got started with our day.

The Beach Club is the closest resort to walk into Epcot and I have to say, you can’t really beat that convenience. We walked out the first night to watch the fireworks and just stood on the bridge.

It’s also a short walk to The Boardwalk resort, where we got Ample Hills ice cream, and wandered into some of the shops.

The pool at The Beach Club is also one of the best pools of all the Disney resorts. It has two water slides, a lazy river, and a sand bottom. It also can only be used by guests of The Beach Club and The Yacht Club. They also have a good arcade that kept the boys occupied until our room was ready.

The Beach Club has an east coast feel, so it doesn’t have much overt Disney decor. However, we really enjoyed the welcoming and family friendly atmosphere. The resort has a character meal, two restaurants, a lounge, and a quick service area with muffins, Mickey waffles, and other pastries. Several mornings we grabbed items from the quick service area for breakfast.

Every cast members we encountered was great, and we loved being able to walk into a park. If you are considering one of the deluxe Epcot resorts this would be my choice!

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Yak and Yeti

Friends, I was so excited to go to Yak and Yeti! We had avoided it for several Disney visits because I wasn’t sure how we could make it work with the boys’ food allergies. However, I did quite a bit of research and managed to find options for all of us. This was also where A discovered his love of dumplings…

And he’s been obsessed ever since! While we were enjoying our appetizers, we checked out the menu. Look how fun the kid’s menu is!

B got the burger (yes, they have a burger) as did the boys….

I chose the sweet and sour chicken, with fried rice and it was excellent:

But let’s be honest. There’s one reason that I came to Yak and Yeti, and that’s for the mango pie:

It was absolutely perfect. Creamy and sweet, but not overly sugary. It was the perfect ending to the meal! Afterward we wandered back out and ventured into Pandora at night, which was a great way to end the evening!

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Be Our Guest

This was one of our most highly anticipated dining reservations, in part because when we went to Disney in 2017 we had to cancel our reservation due to the boys getting sick. We rebooked it for this trip, and it’s definitely one you want to get a reservation for. The standby line to get in the restaurant was long. Let me re-emphasize that by saying that was the line to be put on a wait list, not the actual waiting time. Anyway, we ordered ahead through mobile order (one of the few restaurants right now that requests you do that), and then walked up to an outside stand and got a rose, that we then brought inside, and then you pick a table. Somehow they know how to find you, even though I think we returned the rose. We picked the room with the dancing Belle and Beast because that seemed like the obvious choice:

The paintings on the wall were also lovely:

We waited about ten minutes and then our lunch arrived. I got the roast beef sandwich with consommé:

B got a carved turkey sandwich:

And the boys got assemble your own pasta, which they loved:

It was all very good! This is one of the pricier quick service meals (let’s face it, part of the reason you’re eating here is to see the inside of the Beast’s castle because it’s the only way to see it), but we all really enjoyed the food, and the boys liked that it comes on a fancy cart straight to the table. I would definitely add it to your trip list for these reasons and because I wouldn’t be surprised if it eventually becomes table service for lunch.

In addition this was our food reservation heavy day (we had three). If you want to go to several restaurants in the Magic Kingdom area, here is an idea of what we did:

  • Breakfast: Ohana 7:50 a.m.
  • Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • It’s a small world 
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Lunch: Be Our Guest 12:20 p.m.
  • Seven Dwarves 1:05-2:05 FP x 2 B & J
  • Little Mermaid 1:10-2:10 FP x 2 N & A
  • Carousel of Progress
  • Space Mountain 3:10-4:10 FP x 2 B & J
  • Tomorrowland Speedway 2:30-3:30 FP x 2 N & A
  • Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor 
  • Buzz Lightyear 4:35-5:35 FP x 4 
  • Dinner: Ohana 6:50 p.m.

This worked really well because it was on a Saturday and the park started off not too bad and then got really crowded. It was so crowded that after we had dinner at Ohana we headed back to our hotel because we didn’t feel like fighting the crowds again to see the fireworks. Happy trip planning!

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Ohana 2018

I did a review of the dinner at Ohana two years ago, however, I’m reviewing it again because one of the main questions people have about Disney dining is the consistency. I can say that we’ve had dinner at Ohana three years in a row and it is consistently great. The service has always been spot on, the atmosphere is wonderful, and the food is really fresh and delicious. In case you haven’t been to Ohana for dinner here is a run down of the food. Located within The Polynesian Resort, Ohana dinners are served family style, so there isn’t a menu to pick and choose from.

You start with ‘Ohana Pineapple-Coconut Bread

And then they bring out Mixed Greens Salad with a Lilikoi dressing

Then you get a Pork Dumplings tossed in Garlic-Ginger Sauce And Honey-Coriander Chicken Wings

And then they start bringing out all of the meats cooked over an oak fire grill

Our favorite is the sweet and sour chicken and the peel and eat shrimp (the sirloin steak is fine, but we have found that sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s just okay):

And then when you finally think you can’t eat anymore…

They bring out bread pudding with ice cream and warmed caramel sauce

And you definitely eat all of that too. We love Ohana and no matter what reservations we make at Disney, it’s always on our list. This is definitely a place to make an advanced dining reservation and if you are staying at a Disney resort, you want to put it as one of your first places to reserve.

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Flame Tree Barbecue

I have to share our favorite quick service restaurant in Animal Kingdom, and maybe all of Disney. The boys liked it so much the asked to go back there for dinner on our next trip. It is situated near Discovery Island in Animal Kingdom, and it has all outdoor seating. While the outdoor seating may be a bit of deterrent, there is tons of it and several areas with roof tops and shading. We made use of mobile order for this meal and it was a great idea because it was quite busy that day.

B and A split the ribs, chicken, and pork sampler platter:

J got a hot dog

And I had the pulled pork French fries

The food is simple, straightforward, but so delicious! It is really good barbecue, and the switch-up from typical pizza or chicken nuggets for lunch was great. Here’s a breakdown of how we set-up our day at Animal Kingdom:

  • Wilderness Explorer Books
  • Kilimanjaro Safari
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch
  • Jungle Juice Slush @ Tambu Tambu- Snack
  • Pretzel – Snack
  • Gorilla Falls Trail
  • Lunch: Flame Tree BBQ QS 11:00
  • Kali River Rapids – FP x 4 12:25-1:25
  • Dinosaur 1:50-2:50 FP x 2 B & J
  • Boneyard
  • Snack- Apple cider donut holes
  • Navi River Journey 3:05-4:05 FP x 2 N & A
  • Flight of Passage x 2 3:25-4:25 FP x 2 B & J
  • Expedition Everest x 2 4:40-5:40 N & A
  • Maharajah Jungle Trek
  • Flights of Wonder

We ordered lunch at the Gorilla Falls Trail, And then set it to be picked up about 11:15. As you can tell from our list, A is not big on the faster rides, so we split up our fast passes to reflect that. There are times that B & J used A & I’s magic bands, and A and I would grab a snack or get in a character meeting line. I plan the routes so we spend as little time as possible trekking back and forth across the park. Happy planning and eating!

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