Monday, February 27, 2017

I'm officially a runDisney Princess!

It's been quiet for a few weeks on the blog as I've prepared for and traveled to Walt Disney World for my very first Princess Half Marathon Weekend.  I'll be posting more details on each of these experiences in the weeks ahead, but I wanted to take a minute and give you a quick weekend recap from my trip.

Where We Stayed - For this trip, I was back on Disney property and stayed at Coronado Springs Resort.  The moderate level hotel is also a Convention Center and as such boasts several dining options, a spa, and beautiful grounds.  We were only here for two nights, but enjoyed our stay.  It's definitely one I will recommend to friends and family in the future.

Where We Ate - We had two new dining experiences on this trip.  We visited Chef Art Smith's Homecoming in Disney Springs for dinner one evening where we were delighted by some down home southern cooking.  And on Sunday, we enjoyed the Gospel Brunch at House of Blues - also in Disney Springs.  The Gospel Brunch, which features a buffet of New Orleans favorites and a gospel concert, had been on my "must-do" list for a while now and it didn't disappoint!  I also had the pleasure of introducing my friend Christine to California Grill.  If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know that dinner while watching the fireworks from California Grill is one of my favorites and I was excited to do it again.

What We Did - We ran the Glass Slipper Challenge!  When you spend less than 50 hours in Walt Disney World and run both a 10K and Half Marathon, there's not much time to do anything else.  Both races were a lot of fun.  In typical runDisney fashion, characters and entertainment were everywhere you looked.  And the bling. . .oh, the bling!  It was a fabulous weekend of race medals - my new favorites in my ever growing collection.  Princess Half Marathon weekend had a very different vibe then my previous experiences at Wine and Dine.  It felt "crazier," but I guess that's what happens when you have 20,000+ women running in tutus!

As you can see, it was a short trip, but I was able to pack in many new experiences.  I can't wait to share them with you in the weeks ahead and I'm already counting down to our next trip in November - a return for runDisney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend events!!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Disney News Update!

This week featured many big announcements in the world of Disney!  Here are some of the highlights in one place.

Image from Disney Parks Blog
Animal Kingdom Openings - Opening dates were released for the long awaited Rivers of Light Nighttime Show and Pandora: The World of Avatar.  Rivers of Light will open officially on February 17 - just in time for President's Day weekend.  You can book FastPass+ reservations for seating at the show and there are also dining packages with Tiffins and Tusker House that are available for booking at this time.  Pandora: The World of Avatar of Avatar will open on May 27, 2017 - Memorial Day Weekend.  First looks at this new land are amazing with lighted walkways, floating mountains, and so much more.  The movie featured breathtaking scenery and Disney imagineers have worked hard to replicate that in the park.

Star Wars Land Update - Disney also announced that Star Wars Land will be set to open in both Disneyland Resort and at Disney's Hollywood Studios in the Walt Disney World Resort in 2019.  Reports have shared that the out-of-this-galaxy experience will feature character interactions, a new Star Tours, and the chance to be Han Solo and take control of the Millennium Falcon.  My two little padawans are going to love this!

Image from Disney Parks Blog
Goodbye Wishes - For the past 14 years, guests at Walt Disney World Resort's Magic Kingdom have ended their magical day with the Wishes fireworks show.  This park classic will bid farewell on May 11th and an all new show, Happily Ever After, will begin on May 12th.  The new show promises to bring even more shows topping magic to the Magic Kingdom with projections, lasers, fireworks, and of course classic Disney music!

Beauty and the Beast meets Disney Cruise Line - Disney will unveil a Beauty and the Beast stage show on board the Disney Dream beginning in November.  No doubt capitalizing on what is sure to be a wonderful live action film this year, the stage show is sure to bring this "tale as old as time" to life in the grandest of fashions.

Ticket Price Increase - As I was prepping this blog post, more information hit today about ticket price increases for Walt Disney World.  It looks like some of the most notable changes will be increases for single day and annual passholders, no more water park and fun option, expiration dates on all tickets, and an increase to premium parking rates.  More information on all of this can be found in numerous posts online today, including this article from the Orlando Sentinel.

What a whirlwind few days! Hope everyone has been able to keep up and I can't wait to see what new fun awaits in the wonderful world of Disney!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Can You Handle The Kitchen Sink??

There are several things that any Disney fanatic will tell you should be on your "must conquer" list at some point during your Walt Disney World vacations.  In November, we tackled one of my bucket list items - the Kitchen Sink Sundae at Beaches and Cream.  Beaches and Cream is located poolside at Disney's Beach Club Resort just outside of Epcot.  It's a great place to visit on your Epcot park day as you can easily exit Epcot through International Gateway, turn to your right, and you're just a short 5 minute walk away.

While Beaches and Cream serves a full menu of lunch and dinner items, they are best known for their ice cream.  The decor is reminiscent of a 1950s soda shop and features diner favorites, such as grilled sandwiches and fries.  We had dinner in Epcot and then made a 7:30 reservation for Beaches and Cream to grab dessert prior to going back for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.  Reservations are tough to grab for this restaurant as the inside seating area is extremely small.  There is a "carry-out" side of Beaches and Cream if you can't get a reservation inside.  They feature a smaller version of the kitchen sink sundae then what you'll find inside, but they host a full compliment of ice cream flavors.
Upon being seated, our server quickly greeted us and we shared that we were here with one thing on our mind - the Kitchen Sink.  He was happy to fill us in on all of the delicious details.  We have a picky eater in our family and our server even offered to "deconstruct" the sundae a bit and put some of the ice cream in a separate dish so that Brody could enjoy a plain treat if all of the sundae toppings were too much.  After placing our order, it was just a short wait for the arrival of our dessert.  And it arrived in grand fashion.  The lights in the restaurant dimmed and sirens went off to signal that a brave table was attempting to conquer The Kitchen Sink.

So what's in this sundae you ask?  It features ice cream, whipped cream, hot fudge, cake, brownies, sprinkles, candy, and so much more.  The full list of what's included can be found on the Disney Parks Blog.  It was heaven in a bowl. We didn't quite finish the masterpiece - actually we didn't even come close, but it was enjoyable down to the last bite that we could manage.  At $32.00, the Kitchen Sink is a heavy hit to the budget, but when you think that it can easily serve a family of 4+ as opposed to paying for four individual desserts and that it's probably a splurge for a special occasion, it really isn't too terrible of a price for you get.

What do you think?  Can your family conquer the Kitchen Sink?  Don't forget one of my favorite sayings for all of your runners out there. . ."I run Disney so I can eat Disney!"

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