Category: places we go

Disney World Thoughts – The Food We Ate

Oh hello strawberry shortcake! Yum. The photo above is from one of our very favourite places to eat in Disney World. The Garden Grill, Epcot.

I thought I’d pop in with a few food thoughts from our recent trip. I wrote a huge post back in 2017 about this and all of this still stands true although I am no expert on this subject. While I was planning this years trip I discovered a couple of great You Tube channels (All Ears and The Disney Food Blog) and they both have an amazing amount of information about all things Disney including lots of food related details. I picked up several tips from them.

This time around we again had upgraded our ‘free’ dining plan to the one where you get one quick serve, one table serve and two snacks each day. I also made our table service reservations 180 days in advance. Yep 180 days before you go, if you are staying on Disney property, you can book your table service meals. I said it back in 2017 and it’s worth repeating, having a framework of meals to work your days around is a great way to plan these trips. Knowing you have food all sorted helps smooth any other wrinkles that are bound to pop up with this type of holiday.

Not the best photo but I don’t care about that. All I’m thinking about is how delicious that ‘bread pudding’ was. And of course Mickey waffles have to be on chosen too.

We ate at four character breakfast buffets. Breakfast buffets are the star in the dining plan crown. You meet characters and have a huge array of great food to choose from. And the value for money is good. I just happened to notice the cost of Chef Mickeys.for breakfast…. $50! For breakfast! They are not all as expensive as this one and you meet the big five guys/gal here so I get why it’s expensive but $50….. It isn’t the best food but a great way to eat and meet but only if you are on the dining plan or rich!

As well as Chef Mickeys we also did Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club Resort (Minnie, Pluto Donald and Daisy), 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian (Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Mary Poppins, Alice and the Mad Hatter) and The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom (Winnie, Tigger, Piglet and Eyeore).

At Cape May it was upscale food. Very well presented food in a lovely setting. They had a cooked to order omelette station and build your own breakfast burrito as well as all the other delicious breakfast goodness.

1900 Park Fare had the signature strawberry soup which was like a strawberry smoothie but more liquid. It was delish but oh so sweet. They also had a made to order omelette station. Definitely Gav’s favourite thing.

The Crystal Palace had a good range too and an ice cream self serve station. Oh yes I ate chocolate soft serve for breakfast.

Gav was interested to find as many non alcoholic speciality beverages as possible and had done his own research online before we arrived. The first we found was Le Frou’s Brew at Gastons Tavern in Magic Kingdom.

It’s frozen apple juice with a foam ‘head’ of passion fruit and mango. Oh my gosh. It was sooooo sweet. Way too sweet for us. And that’s saying something.

We also found the strawberry dole whip float (there was a photo of that a week or two back in a photo a day post) and our very, very favourite was the frozen mint julep lemonade from Casey’s corner. No photos of that one but truly it was very good and we are trying to recreate it here at home.

Above is the Cheshire cat tail from the Cheshire Cafe in Magic Kingdom. Basically a chocolate french pastry like a croissant but with that colourful icing to resemble the Cheshire Cat! It was very good and a great use of a snack credit.

Something we did not plan to do at all was eat at the International Food and Wine Festival. This goes on in Epcot from September to late November. After wandering around Epcot one afternoon and seeing all the amazing food choices we decided to alter our plans and make eating ‘around the world’ one of our evening meals. We used a combination of snack and quick serve credits (you need to check that they are willing to do this) to sample around ten different cuisines. Such an unexpected treat.

Here is a warm Irish stout dip with brown bread from Ireland.

A trio of dips with naan bread and a mango lassi from India.

A black pepper boursin souffle from the Cheese Studio. This was really delish!

A trio of artisan cheese and butternut squash ravioli from the Wine and Dine Studio.

And perhaps out favourite was from Earth Eats.

The Impossible Burger and Impossible Cottage pie. Really tasty and all plant based!

I would definitely include this festival in any plans. It was such good food, beautifully laid out with large planters full of vegetables, herbs and flowers. My only grumble would be all the disposable single use plates etc. Many were recyclable and they had separate places to dispose of them but most folks were dumping all their used plates in the same bins.

On to another delicious burger at De Luxe Burger in Disney Springs. This was a fav last time we came and is still one of our top choices. We even used the mobile ordering on the Disney App! I impressed myself with that one.

I went all gourmet and had cornflake encrusted French toast at the Wolfgang Pucks quick serve venue, also in Disney Springs.

And of course we had to try the Mickey shaped Biegnets from our neighbour hotel Port Orleans, French Quarter. These were A-MAZ-ING!

And finally because this post is going on and on! We shared a classic dole whip on our last morning. So. so good.

All in all the food in Disney is good. There is a vast range of choices to suit all tastes and you can find healthier food too. We just didn’t. Ha, ha, ha!

Been Adventuring

The weeks slipped away and all of a sudden we’re back from our holidays and I didn’t write a single blog post! It was a full on fun packed couple of weeks in Disney World and a quick road trip to South and North Carolina. I’ll be back soon with stories of crossing things off the click tick list and our adventures!

A Camping Trip

My brother in law was running in Snowdonia National Park the other weekend so a few family members got together there for some camping. It’s been about three years since Gav and I pitched the tent! Time flies…..

We stayed near Bala and visited the freshwater lake, supposedly the oldest in the world! And saw a steam train.

And went for a slow walk down a country lane my the niece and her niece. (Aka my great niece. Blows my mind saying that every time!)

She’s a cheeky one.

Some rain and some sun. And some lovely light.

Found the most amazing ice cream parlour. It’s worth the 3 hour drive to have another one.

And after all that we were mighty tired….

The Click Tick List – Photograph Duddo Five Stones

I love it when something on my list gets done so easily! When I updated my list last year I added a visit to this stone circle into the mix because I adore an ancient monument and it’s in Northumberland where we visit often, so I figured it would be easy to do. And it was!

We spent my birthday in a lovely country hotel near Alnwick and took a drive to find this 4,000 year old ring of stones.

And although it was very windy the sky was a bright and a beautiful blue with lots of sunshine making the taking of photos a dream.

The position of this circle is up on a high ground so it gives you a wonderful view of the surrounding landscape. To the south are the Cheviot Hills.

The stones are sandstone which has become eroded by the weather over the years leaving the deep cut channels.

There were originally seven stones and you can see the gap to the west of the circle where the two missing stones would have stood.

Oh yes a little dog in the photo too. Gav was hiding behind that large stone because I asked him to get out of my shot but the pooch crept back in….

And of course it wouldn’t be right to leave this place without a self timed photo.

It was only a quick visit but this reminded me of how much I love to do this kind of thing. As long as the walk from the car isn’t too long. We used to trek about all over looking at monuments. Really glad I added this to my list and now crossed it off!

Click Tick List – Photograph 100 Gardens – Orto botanico di Pisa

When we went to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower we also wandered through town and popped into this University Garden. Said to be the first botanical garden attached to a ‘University’ and formed in 1544 although not on this current site.

It was worth visiting but did seem a little run down. The specimen beds seen in the photo below didn’t have many specimens in them and there were overgrown neglected paths and areas.

But like I say worth the visit anyway.

And we came across this very interesting screen…..

Looked like it was protecting this pine tree from the sun!

And there was a small area with annuals and a sweet wildlife ‘hotel’.

Loved that brick gateway.

Not the best we have seen but another added to my total!

Click Tick List – Photograph 100 Gardens – Villa Reale di Marlia

Sharing another wonderful visit to a Tuscan garden today. Full of character, follies, pools and even a disused swimming pool, the gardens of Villa Reale were a treat. And the amazing thing was we only saw four other visitors while we were there.

Even the walk from car to garden was even lined with cyclamen.

Perfect vista looking towards the main villa.

The garden itself was sprawling and beautiful with different areas such as the potted citrus garden below.

The light of course was amazing with that blue sky contrasting the greens and architecture so well.

A pretty knot garden tucked away at the side of one of the many buildings on the estate.

Sculpture and urns, topiary and fountains it was all packed in.

Along with the largest Hibiscus I’ve ever seen!

Truly lovely afternoon spent meandering and of course another added towards my 100!

Click Tick List – Photograph 100 Gardens – Boboli Gardens

Florence. A truly beautiful city packed with culture (and people!) and a garden from the book. So we had to pop along and visit it right?

The gardens stand behind the Palazzo Pitti and have a long history. They are also vast so we took a photo of the map to help us with our orientation.

Home to amazing sculptures, some were part of a modern exhibition, beautiful buildings and incredible architecture.

And the views out onto the landscape were just as pretty as everything inside.

Oh and we became statues ourselves for a moment……. We are the two on the left!

This last area of the garden was our favourite as it was more in keeping with a herbaceous border. Filled with Dahlias and other perennials.  Gav caught me taking this photo with my phone. I let him wield the big camera that day.

A lovely few hours spent in a very lovely Italian garden.

The Click Tick List – Sail on the Grand Canal

This is one of those things that I added to my list because it felt easy-ish to accomplish, after all Italy isn’t too far from me yet it also felt like something that I’d never do. Perhaps this was because I couldn’t see us parting with the money to hire a gondola!

Enter then the Vaporetto. A water bus.

When we were planning our summer trip to Tuscany I added a day trip to Venice into the mix. It is not close but it was closer than Leeds so I thought we could make the train journey and I could cross something off my list.

The ride on the Vaporetto was the main event. And Gav did an amazing job of planning where we should get on and off the bus and then how to spend the rest of the afternoon. It worked out great.

We visited Venice on another day trip about 20 years ago and I admit that I didn’t like it all that much. Yes, it was beautiful and quirky but oh so crowded. Still I wanted to go back and take that boat trip and I am so glad I did because I fell in love with the quieter streets and the bridges, oh the bridges!

But this story is not about the bridges. This story is about the canal and all its beautiful buildings lining the waters edge. We hopped on board at the train station.

Loved that traffic light in the picture below!

Seeing the city from the water was perfect and I guess this is how it should be viewed.

Managed to snap a reflection of us while we were docked.

After thirty minutes or so we came to the San Marco basin where the canal opens up into a bigger area of water and where we disembarked.

The building in the below photo is the Doge’s Palace with the domes of San Marco’s Basilica in the background.

And to finish us off one of the perfect little bridges. Oh yes, the large white bridge at the top of this post is the Rialto Bridge a spectacular and grand example which has shops actually on it!

So there we go a memorable trip on a water bus that can be crossed of the list!

Travel Time

Just popping in to say we are in Tuscany enjoying cappuccino and gelato! Be back soon.

The Click Tick List – See the Terracotta Warriors Exhibition in Liverpool

I stumbled on the information for this exhibition quite by accident earlier in the summer. Somewhere in the depths of my memory I knew I’d heard of this archeological find but didn’t know much about it.

We headed off last weekend to see what it was all about.

This was the first time in over ten years that the Warriors (they have been called the Terracotta Army too) have come to the UK and the curators at the World Museum in Liverpool have put together a stunning exhibition.

Both breathtaking and terrifying we walked alongside the stories of how the sculptures were made and buried with the Emperor to protect him in the afterlife.

The detail was remarkable, each figure lifesize and unique. They estimate that there are 8,000 soldiers plus horses and chariots. They are still excavating this tomb that was discovered by chance in 1974.

I would love to see them in situ (just search instagram or the internet for an idea of the scale of this tomb) but I know I’ll never go so this will have to do.

Well worth the visit.