Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Restaurant Spotlight: Ohana

Our first trip to Ohana was back in December 2005. It was our first trip as a family, and the first trip we thoroughly planned. I bought planning books. I did research on the internet. I joined an online community. It was our first trip on the dining plan and being exposed to all the awesome food at WDW.

When we were planning our meals, I used online resources to check out the menus. I liked the menu for Ohana. I like that it was family style. It sounded like a really fun place to go. And I was so glad I made that reservation! We've gone many times and experienced several menu changes, but it's always been awesome.

Ohana is at the Polynesian resort, and a very easy monorail ride from the Magic Kingdom. After checking in at the podium, there is usually a wait. It's such a busy place. Your "Cousin" will seat you and right away bring some pineapple coconut bread. Tasty!

There will probably be some kind of fun going on.

My kids adore any restaurant where they can get up and run around. There's no where I can think of at home where they can do that! Ohana has coconut races, limbo, hula lessons, maraca parade, and they also play music and bring up all the couples celebrating honeymoons or anniversaries for a special dance. A very fun and lively atmosphere.

And now we can talk about the food!!!

Your cousin will bring all the food right to your able- an awesome salad with a honey lime vinaigrette, then fried dumplings, chicken wings, noodles, shrimp, stirfried veggies. Everything is cooked in a Polynesian style and so so yummy!

Ohana is known for it's giant meat skewers- chicken, pork, and steak. They cook them on an open fire and bring them around on 3 foot skewers and slide the meat off onto your plate. Whatever you want. And they keep coming back. Very cool! (You can see the flames in the background!)

And then comes dessert. It's no secret that I have issues with bread. I'm picky about it. It's a texture issue. So when I heard the dessert at Ohana was bread budding, I was like "ugh." And it had a banana sauce. Double "ugh." But I gave it a chance. And Oh. MY. GOD! Delish!

The restaurant is just really really cool. Love the tikis!

Ohana also does breakfast and we had a really fun time! It's a character meal with Lilo and Stitch. The food was served family style, eggs, potatoes, sausage, bacon, waffles, etc, but with a Polynesian flair.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Just wandering around taking it all in.

I think many people go to Disney with a rush rush rush kind of attitude. Squish in as much as they possibly can. There are only so many days and a million things to see and do.

Unfortunately, most people can't afford to go to Disney World for as long as they'd like. I'd love to go for 2 weeks and be able to take things real slow, have more down time, more people watching and relaxing. But it's just not possible. So when we go for seven or eight days, there's a lot we need to pack into those days. There are so many things we adore at WDW and there's always something new to try too. We want to do all our favorites, and do them more than once, and do all the new things too. This last trip was tough with the new Fantasyland. We wanted to see everything! Didn't matter that we will be back in the future.

This August we are heading west and we know this trip will not be repeated anytime soon. We'll have five full days to squish in everything in the Disneyland and California Adventure parks. But I want to take our time too and make sure we see everything. Take the time to see all the shops, walk on all the little paths, really soak in all the ambiance. California is a cross-country flight for us, and this trip is pretty much double what it costs us for a trip to Disney World in Florida. We won't be able to repeat it anytime soon. We need to make the most of every minute there :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Restaurant Spotlight- Whispering Canyon Cafe!

I have no shame in admitting I ADORE dining in Disney World. The restaurants are like attractions, in my opinion. There is something unique about every single location. I truly feel you are not getting the full Disney experience by skipping table service meals all together. 

I decided to start a Restaurant Spotlight feature on my blog! Hope you guys like it!!

First up is Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge. This most recent trip was during the holidays, so the lobby was all decked out:

After a brief wait, we were seated right in the middle of all the fun. The atmosphere is just so so cool. Very rustic, and lots of hootin' and hollarin'. Great place to take kids cause no one cares if they're talking or laughing. We kinda stuck ours at one end, so the adults could have the other. It worked well. The kids seemed to enjoy being kinda by themselves while the adults had a lot of laughs.

We ordered some fun drinks. Me and my friend decided to try the Moonshine Margarita, and it was so so tasty! Love this pic with the CM photo bomb :)

And then came the food!! Whispering Canyon Cafe's dinner is a family style meal, all you care to enjoy, with down home southern cuisine. Sides are standard- beans, corn on the cob, veggies, potatoes- but you choose from the list of meats. We went with ribs, chicken and steak. Everything was outstanding. Like eat so much you nearly split your pants (Yes, totally sampling Young MC there!) When/if you get a refill, you can switch up the meats. We got the sausage and fish on our second go round. I am not a seafood eater at all, and I even liked the fish. Sausage was real good too :)

One of the most fun parts is the ketchup!!! My kids knew what to do, since they've eaten here before. I don't want to spoil it though, if you've never been. But make sure at some point during your meal you ask for ketchup ;)

Our kids adore any restaurant that allows them to get up and run around. Whispering Canyon Cafe does wooden horse races! That right there should give you an idea of what this place is like :)

Dessert was really good too, though for some odd reason I did not snap a photo of it. Maybe we were too eager to eat it, so there wasn't any time :) 

We really adore Whispering Canyon Cafe! The food and atmosphere are very fun. A great way to spend an evening. But I know it's not for everyone. If you like quiet and are turned off by kids kind of running amok for periods at a time, this may not be the place for you. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Matching shirts! Gotta have? Or make it stop?

I'll admit, the first few times we went to Disney World, I thought the whole matching shirt thing was kinda corny. Some were cute, but the plain boring ones with just some black screen printing were just blah.

But then my daughter saw the tie dye Mickey shirts and I did think those were pretty cool. She begged us to make them and I said okay. I looked up instructions online and bought supplies. The kit came with more than enough dye, so we decided to make a set of rainbow shirts, and then some in just red and green, since we were going at Christmas time. Thought it would be cute for a Christmas card photo in front of Cinderella's Castle. Easy peasy. Done.

And then my crafty brain started thinking of other ideas. And we ended up making 4 more sets of shirts, one for each park with it's icon on it. See the post here with those shirts.

So yeah, safe to say we were hooked! It was cute and we got so many compliments. Disney is a place where we can just let lose and be silly, and matching shirts fit in perfectly with that mentality. I finally got the appeal of the shirts! And it did make it easier to spot our family members in the crowd!

So for this last trip we started planning shirts way in advance. And Pinterest was awesome for ideas. SOOOO many cool things there! Click here to follow my boards! I have one board dedicated to all things Disney! We settled on five sets of shirts.

The first was our holiday shirts, a design I came up with all on my own! :) We've become really good at making our own stencils and really adding lots of cool touches to our shirts! This one was done by stamping the wreath with a couple different shades of green then adding the Mickey berries with puffy paint!

This next one was so easy to do and looked so so cool. It was my favorite! Just masking tape and fabric spray paint! After that I added the Mickey head in black.

This next one was inspired by a print I saw on Pinterest. Thought it was so so cool. So we kinda took it and made it into coordinating shirts. We made our own stencils and used metallic fabric paint. Not everyone got what the numbers were, but some people did and that made it all worth it! :) (The years the parks opened, in case you are wondering!)

Saw the silhouette idea on Pinterest, but we gave it our own twist! Each person picked their favorite character and then a quote from the movie!

And lastly is another design we came up with on our own. I originally had a different idea for a Peace, Love, and Mickey shirt that I had seen on Pinterest, but my very creative hubby came up with this idea. And I loved it! We've gotten some great compliments on it! This one was tricky though. Lots of different stencils and lots of steps, with plenty of waiting in between for the paint to dry. But so worth it!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Art of Animation was A. MAZE. ING!

Be prepared for a TON of photos!

When we originally booked this trip, way back when, we were booked for Pop Century. But then my parents needed to postpone. I was really bummed...but then I realized something awesome. Art of Animation would be open for the new date! SWEETNESS! So we rebooked for a Cars suite. And then my parents needed to back out completely. Bummed again. We couldn't afford the suite on our own....well...we probably could have, but it cut $1200 off our package to switch to a standard value resort room. And that's just too much of a savings not to. I was bummed to not be able to stay at the new resort. But then, they changed the projected opening date for the standard section at Art of Animation! The Little Mermaid rooms were supposed to open mid December 2012, but then it changed to mid September! Woo Hoo!!! I made the switch and I was so so excited!!

We arrived and were simply blown away. Even the lobby is breathtaking with all the drawings on the wall and the way the front desk area is lit up.

Our room was ready, so we headed over. The walk wasn't exactly short, but we didn't care. Room was so fun!

The resort is breathtaking. SOOOO much attention to detail. Every morning and evening, we had to walk through The Lion King section. Very very cool with the character statues, elephant graveyard, and foliage. Really felt like we were somewhere else.

The Little Mermaid section was so bright and colorful. We loved posing with Ariel's treasures and of course, the statue of Prince Eric!

The Cars section was amazing...like walking into the movie. We were instantly transported to Route 66 and Radiator Springs. Cars is one of our family's favorite movies, and we were in heaven!

And lastly, Finding Nemo. Very colorful and fun. The pool was awesome. Loved the giant scuba mask!

We had lunch at Landscape of Flavors and it was so so good. The variety of meals was wonderful. I had the portuguese sausage and it was really good. The decor in the food court was really pretty. A really great place to eat!

I think the only downside to staying there was the buses. Maybe it's because the resort is new and filled to capacity when we were there, but the buses were crazy packed. Our first night at Magic Kingdom, we took one look at the never ending bus line and hopped in line for Pop Century. We had a bit of a walk, but it wasn't bad. If you walk through Pop and take the Generation Gap bridge over (if that's even what they're still calling it.....), it's pretty convenient. In our opinion, far better than standing in line for an hour waiting for a bus. We did this several nights. It was just easier. And the views from the bridge were so so pretty :)