Thursday, 11 January 2018

My Top Five Quick Service Meals // Walt Disney World 2017

Last week I shared a list of my top five table service meals from our trip to Walt Disney World in 2017 and I had so much fun putting it together that today I wanted to share my top five quick service meals from the same trip. Any excuse to talk about food, eh?! 

Quick service meals are such a convenient and simple option when you're holidaying at Walt Disney World. Perfect for families who are on the go! I love the huge range of food that is available at quick service locations, I find that it's so much more varied and appetising in Orlando than it is in Paris. 

Whilst we had the Dining Plan on our package in 2017 which included both table and quick service meals, I definitely think that when we next book a trip we'll try the quick service only package. There are so many dining locations that I still want to try. Especially at Disney Springs! 

Once again, I'm listing my top five not just in terms of food quality and atmosphere but also considering the experience of dining as a family with a young child. We love the fact that there are so many places that offer something a little different for children, whether it's new tastes or a unique atmosphere. Quick service dining with kids at Disney doesn't have to be chicken nuggets for every meal (as much as my daughter would love that)! 

Ok, let's begin! 

PizzeRizzo 
Location: Disney's Hollywood Studios

Yep, you read that right.... I'm listing PizzeRizzo as my number one! PizzeRizzo is a Muppets themed quick service restaurant in Disney's Hollywood Studios that serves your typical fast food style pizza but what I loved about this place was that every aspect of our experience here was just very, very good! No long lines, our order was prepared freshly, lots and lots of seating on two levels, air conditioning, clean bathrooms, fun theming and most importantly, the food was delicious! The caeser salad was spot on and the pizza was exactly what I was craving. It might be standard theme park fast food but if that's something you're craving then I'd really recommend eating here! 

The Muppets theme is something I'd love to see so much more of in here but what there is, I really do love. Upstairs at PizzeRizzo is the most bonkers little area complete with dancefloor, disco lighting and the cheesiest wedding tunes. Miss E had an absolute blast dancing up there to 90's pop classics which I found highly amusing!

Miss E had the cheese pizza here from the children's menu which was the exact same pizza as the adults, just a little smaller. Her meal came with applesauce, carrot sticks and low fat milk. She really enjoyed this meal! 

The only thing I didn't like about this restaurant is that it closes at 4pm meaning that with all our booked plans and reservations, we didn't get to eat here until the end of our holiday. It was so good though, I can't wait to go again! 





Satu'li Canteen
Location: Pandora, Animal Kingdom

Satu'li Canteen was the quick service location that I was most excited about trying in 2017 and oh boy, it did not let me down! You'll find this restaurant in Pandora - The World of Avatar and predictably, the menu is unique like no other. 

Between the three of us, we tried the slow-roasted sliced grilled beef bowl (incredible and so fresh!), the cheeseburger steamed pods which came served with the most delicious rainbow vegetable crisps and crunchy vegetable slaw and the children's cheeseburger pod meal. We also devoured the infamous blueberry cream cheese mousse (blue on the outside, purple on the inside.... magic!), the chocolate cake and washed it all down with their special drink, the Pandorian Sunrise.

Everything was so fresh and well cooked. It was so good! The theming is beautiful here too, I love the hand woven details and all the 'natural' Pandorian elements. Absolutely stunning.

Finally, I was super impressed that Miss E demolished the cheeseburger pod meal, she's usually quite hesitant about food that looks 'different'! Well done, Disney!  





Blaze
Location: Disney Springs

Our first visit to Blaze pizza was a revelation and I shall not lie, I am counting the days until we return here. The pizzas were beyond incredible! The day we dined here was horrendously rainy but tucking into custom made quick fired pizzas washed down with fresh juice drinks under the canopy outside was one of my favourite memories of our 2017 trip. I don't know why, it's just something that really stands out for me! 

The decor in this restaurant is simple, modern, super light and airy. I really love everything about this dining location. As each pizza is freshly made in front of you, the line for food was predictably quite long but it's very much worth the wait. Arrive earlier than you want to dine if your child is prone to getting hangry! 

We shared three pizzas and three drinks between us (there is no children's menu here so if you're on the dining plan, children get a full size pizza meal). I don't even remember what we ordered but I seem to remember we ordered signature pizzas and added additional toppings. They were all incredible. So fresh and tasty.... actual pizza heaven




Gasparilla Island Grill
Location: Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Hopping on the boat over to the Grand Floridian is magical and is literally the nicest, most relaxing way to start a Magic Kingdom day! I am vowing to stay at this resort one day, it's just beautiful. 

This dining location went through a refurb in 2017 and I just love everything about eating here now. They have coke freestyle machines (ice cold vanilla ginger beer was a winner for me!) and the varied menu offers something for everyone. I went for the artisan burger, my husband had the Mahi Mahi "Reuben" which came served on marble rye bread and Miss E went for the children's hot dog meal. All of which were absolutely gorgeous. Best burger I had on our 2017 trip by far!  

We made the most of the gorgeous weather and sat at the tables outside to enjoy the ambiance of the Grand Floridian marina. They give you buzzers here and the food is prepared freshly and brought to the table, such a nice touch for a quick service location.

Such a gorgeous restaurant and a beautiful experience for a quick service meal! 





Casey's Corner
Location: Main Street USA, Magic Kingdom

Finally, Casey's Corner. We all know this place is an absolute all time favourite for me whether it's at Disneyland Paris or Walt Disney World, Orlando. For me, this is the epitome of 'Disney food' and no trip is complete without a meal at Casey's. Or three! 

My obsession at the Disney World Casey's is the macaroni & cheese all beef hot dog. It hits the spot every time. Again, there's no children's meal here so kids can tuck into a full size meal on the dining plan at no extra cost. Miss E loves a plain hot dog here whilst my husband always goes for the speciality foot long hot dogs. He's never defeated by them, they are so good! 

I love sitting under the striped umbrella's at this dining location, taking in the magical atmosphere of Main Street USA. If you time your visit here, you'll get a decent view of the castle stage too. Honestly I weep at the sights and sounds of Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire and I get emotional just thinking about sitting at these tables watching a parade go past. 

Let's face it, Casey's Corner is always going to make my top five list when it comes to quick service dining! 





What are your favourite quick service dining locations at Walt Disney World? Let me know in a comment below! 
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Monday, 8 January 2018

Some goals for 2018

Now that all the fun of the festive period is over and Miss E is back having fun at nursery, I am finally ready to say a proper hello to 2018! Better late than never, eh?! 

I'm not usually one for setting personal goals or making resolutions for the new year but I thought that it might be fun to put together a list of some of the things we want to do over the next 12 months. I'm a list maker at heart and love having things to look forwards to so for me, this is basically just an excuse to write another list! 

Also, it will be nice to look back at the end of the year to see what we managed to tick off (hopefully all of it!).

So without further ado, here's what we are planning for 2018!


Get my bedroom back

Our radiator falling off our wall at the end of 2017 was the beginning of a shit storm of repairs and work that needs doing to our house so our ultimate goal is to get this room finished and liveable as soon as possible. I've just finished scraping a billion layers of wallpaper from the walls so next up is damp proofing and fresh plaster. And I cannot wait. 

Walt Disney World

Yep, this one is already booked for April so I'm not sure if it counts but I am counting down the days! In 2018 we return once more to Florida and I am so excited, it is unreal! I'm excited about seeing some new stuff this time including the Epcot international Flower and Garden Festival. It might be our last trip there for a while with Miss E starting school in September so we really want to make the most of every last minute there.

Visit somewhere new

I'm super lucky that my mama travelled around with us loads when we were little and there's not much of the UK that I haven't seen but there are definitely still pockets of our country that I haven't properly explored yet. So this year I want to do that, whether it's in day trip form or a holiday! 

Disney Magic

In 2018 I want to pop over to Liverpool to see the Disney Magic cruise ship when it arrives in September. It's something that we were going to do in 2017 but I was horrendously poorly so we missed out so this year I am determined! 

Knee tattoos

A personal one for me but getting my knees tattooed is definitely on my list of things I want to see happening in 2018. It's the area I am most freaked out about getting tattooed (the swelling, the pain.... argh!) so I think I'd rather get it done sooner rather than later! 

More date nights

Whether it's a nice meal out, a trip to the cinema, nights out seeing our favourite bands or even just a takeaway at home. In 2018 I want more of that, please! 

Disney on Ice

Yeah, more Disney. I know! We have missed out on Disney on Ice for the past few years as we've always been on holiday when it arrives in Sheffield so this year it is something that I want to make a priority. Miss E goes wild whenever she sees the adverts so I just know she'd love it! 

Enjoy the summer

As mentioned above, 2018 will see the last summer before Miss E starts school in September and so I want to make the absolute most of the summer holidays this year! Days out, weekends away, lots of time in the garden and maybe even taking her to a festival. I want her to have the best time ever! 

London

My husband and I used to love taking trips to London for a few nights and it's something we've not yet done with Miss E. I find the very thought of navigating tubes and huge crowds with an over enthusiastic four year old to be the stuff of nightmares but there are so many things I'd love to do there with her. Shows, shopping, museums, etc! 

2018, let's do this!

Thank you so much for reading! What are you excited for or planning to do this year? I'd love to hear so please let me know in a comment! 
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Thursday, 4 January 2018

My Top Five Table Service Meals // Walt Disney World 2017

In 2016 I put together a list of my top five table service meals on our holiday in Walt Disney World. It's not something I had done before but as Disney food is one of my most favourite things, I thought that it would be fun to do the same for our 2017 trip!

Once again this year we added the Dining Plan to our package which gave us one table service meal, one quick service meal, drinks and two snacks per day in addition to the refillable resort mugs for the duration of our stay. We really do find that this plan works perfectly for our family as we love the flexibility it gives. The Dining Plan allows us to eat right across the vast range of Disney restaurants from counter service and snack carts all the way up to signature dining. It's perfect if you like your holidays to include great food experiences! 

We really, really enjoyed our food at Walt Disney World this year. We only had one let down and that was Be Our Guest. I've since read a lot of reviews relaying the same complaints we had so I feel reassured that it wasn't just me over hyping it after we had such a good time on our previous trip! We've since cancelled our 2018 reservations there as I don't want to have an experience that bad again. Agh! 

So, lets put my only negative aside and move onto my top five table service meals from our November 2017 trip. As with last year, I have listed these as my favourites not just in terms of food quality and service but for the experience of dining as a family with a young child too. Eating out with small humans can prove quite a challenge sometimes but Disney sure know what they are doing when it comes to pleasing children! 

Ok, let's do this!  

Boma - Flavors of Africa
Location: Jambo House, Animal Kingdom Lodge

Boma was my absolute favourite dining experience from our 2017 trip, hands down. As I have mentioned in a previous blog post, we haven't visited any of the restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge before because I didn't want to visit the resort until we could actually stay there too so maybe i'm biased, but Boma was a dream. I loved everything about this lively buffet restaurant which was complete with live drumming, authentic flavours and absolute attention to detail. 

We initially only had one reservation here for our trip but after visiting we did a bit of rearranging so that we could eat here again, and again. It was so good! 

Breakfast was my favourite, mostly because of the delicious tropical juice, the full bodied Kenyan coffee that just kept flowing, the sticky buns and most importantly, the bread pudding. Let me tell you, bread pudding and vanilla sauce for breakfast is an actual dream come true. Absolute perfection!

The infamous Zebra Domes are well stocked at Boma and the evening buffet was lively and loud with a vast selection of enticing food waiting to be devoured. I loved sampling some of the more authentic dishes; the soups, the entrees, and yeah.... all the Zebra Domes and all the bread pudding! Kiddo loved trying out some new foods as well as sticking to the old faithfuls; chicken bites, pasta, salad and mac n' cheese.  

Boma was so, so good! We've booked a return visit for 2018 and my mouth is watering just thinking about it!






Sanaa
Location: Kidani Village, Animal Kingdom Lodge

Sanaa was the very first table service meal on our 2017 trip and let me tell you, it gave me the highest expectations for the remainder of our holiday because it was superb! Again, very much worth the wait. Sanaa was a personal favourite for my husband and daughter too, our meal here was just magical in every way. 

Our server here really made this meal super special, giving us incredible detail of our chosen dishes and letting us know which items we could swap and add as a bonus to our meal on the dining plan. More food, always good!

Sanaa has the mot peaceful setting with views straight out onto the exotic animals roaming the lush Sunset Savanna outside. The actual restaurant displays traditional artisan and market goods such as woven baskets and beaded geckos. So much to look at! Kiddo loved watching the tortoise being fed just outside the restaurant. Such a magical experience! 

The food here was heavenly. Of course, we ordered the infamous Indian-style bread service with all nine accompaniments. This was a meal in itself and all of us loved it.

The potjie inspire entree is something that I am still dreaming about. Ben and I ordered the same here and we both fell in love, especially with the butter chicken! 

The children's menu here is varied with something for even the pickiest eaters. A highlight here though was the paint your own African Shield Brownie which kiddo had an absolute blast decorating!    




 

Minnie's Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine 
Location: Echo Lake, Disney's Hollywood Studios

The most fun I've ever had at a character meal? Definitely! We've eaten at Hollywood & Vine with the Disney Junior characters before and thought it was great although nothing super special but Minnie's Seasonal Dine was a whole new level. It was so much fun and the food was so, so good! 

Here we met Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy who were all dressed in their festive finest.  Santa Goofy is the best! Their outfits were gorgeous (I loved Daisy's green velvet ensemble!) and I loved the fact that all of the characters were on top form, entertaining diners and interacting with each other in the most magical way! So full of energy and mischief! 

The food here was delicious and so much fun. It's a buffet style restaurant and I was thrilled to see that the food was themed.... I possibly might have overdosed on those Christmas desserts. They were so good! 

Also, I don't know what it is about Disney mashed potato but it is just out of this world. Honestly! 

I can't wait to return here for the spring version of this buffet. We have booked our 2018 reservation with the Fantasmic! package too so I'm really looking forwards to that! 







Yak & Yeti 
Location: Asia, Animal Kingdom

Yak & Yeti is the only restaurant that I have carried over from my 2016 favourites. If you're looking for somewhere to sit down and have a damn good meal in Animal Kingdom then I can thoroughly recommend it! This restaurant is lively, loud and the decor is gorgeous. I love everything about it, but especially the food! 

The menu at Yak & Yeti is pan-Asian inspired and is varied enough that even the most fussy eaters will find something to try! 

This year I went for the chicken tikka masala, a bit of a safe option but the flavours in this dish were spot on. It was absolutely delicious. I also had the fried pineapple and cream cheese wontons for dessert which came complete with honey drizzle, fresh fruit and vanilla ice cream. I could have eaten this a million times over as it was perfection. That perfect mix of warm and cold together, sweet and savoury. H e a v e n! 

Kiddo loves eating here, the children's menu is nicely laid out with pictures of all the food which really helps as she's not a reader yet. She really enjoys circling everything she wants and handing it to the server to place her order!







Coral Reef
Future World, Epcot

Finally we have Coral Reef over in Epcot. We had a bit of a strange server here (literally don't think he said a word to us other than taking our order and also tried to bring our desserts half way through our main course!) but still, I'm listing this in my top five favourites. The food and the atmosphere of this restaurant really did it for me! If dining inside an actual aquarium complete with divers, sharks and tropical fish doesn't impress you then nothing will! 

The food here was so good. SO good. Coral Reef was the only place we dined at this year that you could eat a three course meal at no extra cost on the dining plan. Also, the cocktails here were gorgeous. We really indulged here and I have no regrets! 

I went for the lobster mac n' cheese for my main which was just lovely. I had been craving a good seafood pasta meal and it really ticked the box. Also, the portions were huge. And the meal came with bread too. We sure were full after eating at Coral Reef! 

Kiddo went for the crispy fish & chips here for her entree which was pretty much an adult portion. Also, her seaside cupcake dessert was so cute! Coral Reef is such a good place to eat with children, and no entertainment needed as watching all the fish and divers swim by was just the best! 






What are your favourite restaurants at Walt Disney World? Let me know in a comment below! 
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Sunday, 31 December 2017

Goodbye 2017

Oh, 2017.... What a year it has been! I swear it only feels like two minutes since we were saying goodbye to 2016. This year has absolutely whizzed by! It has been a year of far too much illness in our house and far too many things breaking all at once. Six whole months of repeated tonsillitis for me and playing constant catch up at home. 2017 has not been the best of years, I tell ya! 

I've been looking through my photos and instagram though to remind me of the good times and despite the illness, we still actually managed to do quite a lot. From kiddo starting nursery to amazing holidays at Butlins, Blackpool, Bluestone, North Wales, Manchester and Walt Disney World, Florida.  Countless trips to the cinema, lots and lots of live music, circus fun, adding more tattoos to my collection, eating out loads, indulging in plenty of cocktails, selling my life on eBay and most importantly, making lots of happy memories for kiddo! 

Just like I did last year, I wanted to share just one photo from each month as a small snapshot of our year. Also, a little reminder to me next year to take more photos.... I barely took any this year! The difference in kiddo from January to December is amazing, she's grown so much.

2018, I am so ready for you!

Whatever you are getting up to this new year's eve, I hope that you have a super time! It's going to be a takeaway, a glass of something and some good TV for us. 

See you in the new year! xx












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