Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Vegetarian Dinner At O'Hana

   We've had Ohana on our shortlist of restaurants at Walt Disney World for years...it was inevitably cut off by more veggie friendly spots over and over again. Its not that we didn't want to eat there...it was just never a huge priority. However, as our list of restaurants got smaller and smaller, we finally made our advanced dining reservation AND WENT TO OHANA FOR DINNER!!!!

   O'Hana is located on the second floor of the great ceremonial house of Disney's Polynesian Village.  This table service restaurant is very popular, and we recommend getting your advanced dining reservations far in advance.  One reason we had never been prior is the lack of availability...so if you want to eat here, make reservations a priority. 

   The atmosphere here uses the rest of the resort as a jumping off point.  Obviously its neither actual Polynesian themed...nor the over the top kitsch of mid-century tiki restaurants...but a whole other thing specific to this resort.  Its so hard to explain what it is. It's just special and nostalgic and perfect. 
   The meals at O'Hana are served family style, with an emphasis on grilled meat and seafood.  As vegetarians, this lead to a lot of apprehension.  Would we get enough variety of quality food to justify the cost of this (not cheap) restaurant? 

   Our meal started with O'Hana's famous pineapple coconut bread and a mixed salad.  While I'd like to say that this bread lived up to the hype, it was fine, and totally unforgettable.  A very soft sweet bread, but nothing all that special. 
   The salad is another thing all together.  All Disney family style salads are the same, and there isn't very much in them to make them special...but I love them none the less.  In the same way that I love the salad at Hoop Dee Do, I love the salad at O'Hana.  Iceberg lettuce for life. 

   The noodles and stir fried vegetables are also included as part of everyones meal as well.  The noodles were cooked well, and very lightly seasoned with teriyaki and pretty basic. The perfect carb for a meal like this.
   The veggies were super bright and fresh.  They included tons of broccoli, which weren't over cooked at all.  I was happy to see the inclusion of American Chinese food veggies as well...think baby corn, water chestnuts, and mushrooms.  I could make an entire meal off of these veggies alone.

   As vegetarians here is where our meal differed from the rest of the table.  While everyone else was getting skewer after skewer of different grilled meats, we were given chips and dip.  Yes. Chips. And. Dip.  
   Don't get me wrong.  At this point in the meal, between the salad, noodles, and veggies I was pretty stuffed. However, I think its pretty silly to present something like this as an entree.  I would absolutely love to see grilled tofu or something along those lines.  This exact dish is served at the nearby Tambu Lounge as an appetizer for $6.00..so I think its ridiculous to present it here as an entree, considering that we are paying the same price as meat eaters.  Anyway, it tasted fine I guess. 

   Thank god the O'Hana bread pudding actually managed to live up to the hype.  Served a la mode, with bananas and caramel sauce, this bread pudding was totally decadent.  As it came out we weren't sure we would be able to finish it...but had no problem at all. In fact, we ordered a little extra.  This is the kind of dessert that Disney does right. Simple and sweet, totally unpretentious, nothing fancy at all.  A Seriously yummy treat. 

   In addition to the whimsical and perfect interior, entertainment is provided in the way of Auntie. She is an angel sent from heaven to lay you and flirt with your dad.  Between her, the strong tiki drinks, and the relatively good food, this was one of my favorite Disney World meals.  The only downside would be the very lazy vegetarian option...but with atmosphere like this its hard to harp on something so little.  We really enjoyed our time at O'Hana. 

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

It's A Small World Celebrates 50 Years At Disneyland...

   Tomorrow It's A Small World will celebrate 50 years at Disneyland.  Though the attraction is a little bit older than that, it found its home at the happiest place on earth in 1966 and has been a perennial favorite among guests ever since. This attraction remains a must do for us on each and every Disney vacation whether we're at Disneyland or The Magic Kingdom. Congratulations on this milestone of themed entertainment.

   Before anyone yells at me, yes, I know the above footage is of It's A Small World in Florida. But whatever, you get the idea. Truth be told, we prefer the one in Florida. Not because they haven't integrated Disney characters into the ride, but because we prefer the "flooded" show scenes.  Have a terrific day. 

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Golden Hour Imagination Photo Shoot...

   The last night of our recent trip was spent in traditional fashion.  After traveling around World Showcase, we planned on heading back to the hotel by 8:00...to miss the Illuminations crowd, pack, and enjoy Animal Kingdom Lodge one last evening.  As we were walking out of the park I noticed that the light of day had hit magical perfection. The golden hour.
   Not one to ignore a good photoshoot opportunity, I dragged Adam over to the Imagination pavilion, which had already closed.  Here we enjoyed a few minutes being silly and taking photos.

When you guys finally convince Adam to record his Disney record, THIS WILL

Imagination pavilion is only good for selfies, for real. 

Let's get stale flavored popcorn and ride Spaceship Earth, k? 

Handsome Adam.  These fountains have seen much better days. 

I'm actually in a coloring book. 

Does anyone even know what this Fastpass Entrance is currently used for? Anything? 

This is my favorite picture of all time. I'm pointing at where I'd rather
have Adam stand to take my picture.  This is a common directive. 

   I ended on a high note with Club Cool...because one can never take enough pictures in front of Club Cool!  This was such a magical few minutes before heading back to the hotel for the evening. It just goes to show how many special moments aren't centered around attractions, or food, or shows, or whatever.  Just being in Walt Disney World is perfection. 

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Fried Green Tomato Sandwich at Rosie's All American Cafe

   On a recent visit to Disney's Hollywood Studios, not wanting Tune In Lounge onion rings for dinner yet again, I convinced Adam to stop at Rosie's to try a "new to us" sandwich.  I was happy to visit this spot after a loooooong time avoiding it.

   Rosie's is just one option in the larger Sunset Ranch Market complex of restaurants.  This area makes up the better part of the left hand side of Sunset Boulevard, and accounts for most of the counter service options currently in the park. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Our Rainy Day At WDW

   Everyone has expectations for their Disney vacations. Usually these tend to be optimistic expectations. Even the most dour of visitors hope for the best.  We will get to go on these attractions, and eat at these restaurants, and the weather will be nice, and there will be no problems cause we're on vacation and we're awesome.  Well friends, after a string of impossibly nice days at Walt Disney World we were in the position of dealing with an absolute wash out in the parks.
   We noticed the dark clouds on the weather forecast for that particular day weren't going away.  We collected ourselves and reset our expectations to accommodate the change.  And guess what?  We ended up having one of the best days of our vacation.

   To put this rainy day into perspective, we woke up to the sound of thunder at 6:30AM, and the deluge didn't let up until well past dinner time.  As we sat on our balcony at Animal Kingdom Lodge that morning we had some decisions to make.  Do we spend the day at our resort relaxing?   Knowing us we would be bored in just a few hours. Do we tour other resorts, staying indoors most of the time? This seemed like an obvious choice, but we had just done that the day before! Do we brave the parks, like, for real? Duh! We had a few loose ends to tie up at Disney's Hollywood Studios so we decided that was an obvious choice.  
   There is nothing I hate more than being in wet clothes. It feels so icky.  I knew that there would be no avoiding it on this super wet day, so we made the unheard of decision to venture into public wearing swim trunks and flip flops with changes of outer wear in hand.  

   I know dressing like this isn't optimal, but it really worked in our favor.  We saw many families walking into DHS wearing socks and tennis shoes, surely soaked within seconds.  There is absolutely NOTHING WORSE than wet socks in a theme park. 
   Hollywood Studios was absolutely dead.  We took the opportunity to meet up with Donald and Daisy before finishing up what we needed to do in this woeful place. (specifically, I needed to get my Starbucks DHS mug...) We decided to take a boat over to Epcot, as it seemed the most appropriate mode of transportation on such a gloomy day. 

   Entering the park through International Gateway always throws us off a little bit. We were specifically there to watch American Adventure, but walking in that direction feels off to me.  Regardless, being indoors for almost an hour was a good chance to dry off completely while enjoying one of our favorite attractions.  
   We continued to stroll around an empty World Showcase, sampling a few Flower and Garden specific items.  Finding yourself alone in World Showcase is always a treat, especially during a festival.  Even though we were were being rained on, it was actually a lot of fun. Plus beer...beer is always a good thing in the rain. Trust me. 

   After our jaunt around World Showcase we visited Ellen's Energy Adventure, which allowed us to dry off completely again.  (long attractions is where its at on a rainy day...) Because the park was so desolate we visited Baymax whose line was the shortest we had ever seen it.  Maybe a rainy day isnt so bad after all? 

   We didn't let the weather alter our plans too much.  We insist on a midday break in which Adam naps and I swim.  Luckily the lack of lightning in the area dictated that the pool remain open and we didn't have to forego that sacred tradition. There is something super amazing about sitting in a jacuzzi at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in the pouring rain, with the eerie background music playing in the background. 
   As our dinner reservation at Skipper Canteen was getting closer and closer, we realized we had to go back out in the rain. This time we had to wear normal street clothes though, because I didn't want to be one of those people.  Ducking in and out of shops along the way, and taking refuge under the Sunshine Tree Terrace we were able to make it to dinner without being completely soaked. 

   Needless to say, we had a lovely meal at Skipper Canteen (read a review here) and BEHOLD! By the time we were done the rain had finally ceased! We were able to enjoy the Magic Kingdom sans wet clothes. 
   I know this was kind of a weird blog post, and isn't our usual type of thing.  I really felt the need to document this day.  Looking back it was clearly a highlight of the trip, and we both agree that the rain didn't actually ruin anything. It just changed it.  Next time the weather presents a problem to you vacation plans, take a deep breath, look at your schedule, and say Heck, we can TOTALLY do this!

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Cheese Fries and New Toppings Bar at Restaurantosaurus

   Oh dear readers! Today is a day to rejoice! For we, the Disney Hipster community, FINALLY have a reason to go back to Restaurantosaurus! This beloved Animal Kingdom quick service restaurant has been without a worthwhile veggie option for a few years now. (yes, we've tried the black bean burger...but don't like it at all.)  But huzzah! There is something new on the table...

   Restaurantosaurus is a massive quick service restaurant in the over the top and campy Dinoland USA portion of Disney's Animal Kingdom.   The theming here is extensive and ridiculous. I wont get into the convoluted and amazing backstory, because there are other blogs that do a much better job of that. (Jack Spence wrote a wonderful piece for Allears.com

   This place gets packed very early at lunchtime.  If you don't want to wait in a line, get there shortly after opening.  The line moves fast and is very efficient.  If your familiar with Disney World counter service restaurants the ordering service will be no surprise. 

   Recently the restaurant went through a pretty big menu change.  Along with the change came a MAJOR upgrade to the already existing, but paltry, toppings bar.  There is the standard lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions. However you can now find many more substantial items like crumbled blue cheese, olive tapenade, veggie chili, arugula, and guacamole! These are some serious options...

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ten Photos From This Trip That Make Me Smile Really Hard

   Let's get this out of the way right off the bat: This was the best Walt Disney World vacation we've ever had.  It had a lot going for it.  A good friend of our spent the first three days with us, and showing her around the place we love added such a great new layer of excitement and appreciation.  We had a few new dining experiences as well...including both Ohana and Narcoossee's.  Plus we went on the fantastic Wild Africa Trek at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  To top it all off, besides one washed out rainy day, the weather was ABSURDLY BEAUTIFUL.
   We always try and "take it easy" on WDW vacations, considering how often we go. However we took it VERY seriously on this trip and spent a good amount of time relaxing by the pool at Animal Kingdom Lodge.  We were really able to take in the over the top beauty of our resort.
   I'm sure that most of you followed along with us over on Instagram...so I decided to share ten photos (that I didn't post on instagram) that will forever make me smile! These are the type of photos that will remind me of my wonderful vacation every time I see them.

Besides being tons of fun, our friend Brenda acted as impromptu photographer! I love this
because Adam and I rarely get our photo taken together. 

Watching "Aunty" flirt with my dad was the highlight of my life.  The food at Ohana
was very good...but the atmosphere was amazing.  Such a great time. 

Usually I spend quite a bit of time hanging out with the leaky tikis. This time Brenda
and my sister Jenna got in on the action too. 

You know you're doing "vacation right" if you find yourself
enjoying a beer sitting on the ground at Epcot. Thats the rosy glow of happiness. 

I'm pretty stone faced in photos generally...but the photo above caught me in a rare moment
of unadulterated happiness. I love how I'm on my tippy toes. I heart Chewie so much. 

Me and my dad playing dress up in Canada. Why cant the Canadian colors be 
grey and white? I'd wear this sweater so hard. 

Ok...so you dont get to pump the cheese yourself...but liquid cheese is available
in a few places again! Including Restaurantosaurus, which is amazing because we havent
had a reason to go there in years! Toppings bar for the win! 

The weather during our eight day trip was absolutely perfect...except one day where it
rained from 5AM to 8PM.  And I mean RAAAAAINED. But guess what?  This was actually
my favorite day of the entire trip. We had so much fun.

OMG! Wild Africa Trek was so amaaaaaaaaaazing! 

Ok...not the best photo.  I KNOW that this isnt actually dangerous, but
I was legit scared crossing the crocodile bridge.  WHY ARE THERE SO

   Thanks again to everyone who followed along on our trip via social media...it really does make our bad reportage worth it.  And an extra special thanks to everyone who went out of their way to say hello in the parks and grab the new #crewstewcrew buttons...you guys are all so adorable. Seriously, our readers/listeners are an attractive bunch.