Sweet and Savory Eats of Disney World

20150202_153609936_iOSWhen going to Disney World, there are so many things to see and do. But one of the most exciting things to do in Disney World is eat the delicious food. And in a place so large, you can believe me, there are a ton of great places to eat.

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We started our Disney World journey this time around at Epcot. We were so hungry that I think we stopped to eat at the first restaurant we saw at the World Showcase—La Cantina de San Angel. I tried the nachos—which were the best nachos I’ve ever tasted! What a great meal to start our trip with!

 

 

For dinner, we had a delicious dinner at Kimonos—a sushi bar located in the Swan and Dolphin Resort. Honestly this was the best sushi I’ve ever had too. 20150201_015823251_iOSKimonos offered wonderful and beautiful drinks—like the Kimonos Dragon, which had Bacardi Dragonberry Rum, passion tea syrup, fresh strawberries, champagne and flower petals. It didn’t stop there, though, the sushi itself was absolutely phenomenal.

We were huge fans of the rolls, but my favorite was the Jalapeno Roll. It was just so unexpected and unlike any other sushi roll I have ever had. If you’re looking for great sushi, a fancy atmosphere and maybe a little karaoke, this is the place for you.

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While they don’t serve dessert at Kimonos—when you’re at Disney—you can request everything. Our waitress found us dessert and brought it to the restaurant. We had a raspberry cheesecake, chocolate mousse cake and key lime pie. The key lime pie—in my opinion—was by far the shining star.

 

Our second day on the trip we headed to Hollywood Studios. We had a quick breakfast at our hotel and went for coffee almost immediately after getting to the park. The tastiest drink I had at Disney World was found in a little Joffrey’s Coffee stand called the Shakin’ Jamaican. We all agreed that frozen drink was one of the highlights of the trip.

One thing people talk over and over about are the Pretzels in Disney. Let me tell you—they are overrated to say the least. Last year, I had one in Germany in Epcot and I could have taken it or left it. Since then I’ve read over and over to try a Mickey Mouse shaped pretzel from the parks, so we decided to have one of those for lunch while in Hollywood Studios from Anaheim Produce.

Again, I wasn’t too impressed. The cheese cup that came with the pretzel was cold and odd tasting, and the pretzel itself was hard and unappealing. While the pretzel wasn’t very tasty, the margarita I had there was the best I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t recommend wasting your cash on a pretzel but if you’re in Hollywood Studios, you should definitely try out the frozen Margarita from Anaheim Produce.

For dinner, we hit up Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney. This is the kind of place you go for a pretty good meal and a really great environment. Everyone was happy with their meal, the service and the experience overall. It also offers a huge menu, which makes it a great spot for families who all like different things.

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For dessert we headed to Goofy’s Candy Company down the main street. They offer chocolate covered fruits, cookies, ice cream, popcorn, apples and a variety of candies. I chose a chocolate and Butterfinger covered Rice Krispie treat. Even if you don’t have any plans in Downtown Disney, you should definitely take the trip just to visit the store. You can even build your own treats. It’s such a fun spot for children and adults alike.

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Magic Kingdom isn’t just the biggest park at Disney, but it offers some of the yummiest food too. My absolute favorite thing I had to eat on this trip was the Cinnamon Roll from Gaston’s Tavern (which I am pictured with at the start of this post). This delicious treat was about the size of my head and probably contained about a billion calories or so, but it was divine. If there’s one area in this life I know a lot about it cinnamon rolls, and this one cannot be missed!

All day long, I could smell the cornmeal in the air. Sometime that afternoon one of the girls and I decided we had to hunt that smell down because it was clearly corn dogs. We walked around for the longest time finding them with no prevail. Finally, though, we got smart and Googled “corn dogs in the Magic Kingdom”. Sure enough, we found out Casey’s was the place to go—and boy, was it. They sell mini corn dogs that are both greasy and delicious. The French fries are nothing to really write home about, though.

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I’m realizing as I write this, we ate a lot of food Magic Kingdom day. I can’t skip talking about one of the most nostalgic eats in all of Disney, though—Dole Pineapple Whipp from Aloha Isle. I will be the first one to say that the Pineapple Whipp is definitely worth all of the hype. Both of the trips I took in the past year this was a must stop place. I don’t even know what Whipp is. It’s like an ice cream sorbet cross breed. I don’t even need to know the mechanics, I just know it’s good.

 

20150203_015806085_iOSIf you’re looking for a delicious ladies night out, I strongly recommend Bongos in Downtown Disney. That is where we had our last big dinner. This restaurant—owned by Gloria Estevan—serves exciting Cuban food in a pineapple-shaped restaurant.

This place is full of fun food and fun drinks in a fun atmosphere. I highly suggest trying something new and checking this place out. 20150203_021737438_iOS

The calamari and sweet plantains are out of this world, and you get so much food it’s insane. You will definitely get your money’s worth. The mixed drinks are crazy good too. I am so glad we tried something new.

At Animal Kingdom, we ate at Pizzafari. It was pretty mediocre pizza, honestly. But as my husband always says, pizza is pizza. It doesn’t matter how good or bad it is, it’s still good. I actually agree with that. I’ve heard a rumor all the pizza in Disney World is the same. I don’t know if that’s true or not.

Instead of pizza, I’d recommend stopping at Yak & Yeti instead. I went here my trip last year, and I regret not doing this time around. They have a sit down restaurant, as well as a quick service feature. Here you will get the best value for your money I’ve seen in Disney with large portions one person can barely finish. Plus, the food is really good.

20150203_205305223_iOSOur very last stop on the trip was at the Banana Cabana pool bar at the Caribbean Beach Resort. We wanted to try their world famous Pina Coladas while sitting by the pool before getting on a plane and heading back to the snow. These frozen drinks were such a treat and a great way to end our awesome vacation!

While I didn’t get a chance to go this time around, for breakfast, you should stop in at the Kona Café in the Polynesian. This thick toast is covered in cinnamon, stuffed with bananas and drizzled with strawberry sauce. How could that not be good?

2014-02-03 21.12.48If you’re looking for more fine dining options, I’m a huge fan of a couple of places from my previous trips that deserve to be highlighted too. Fulton’s Crab House at Downtown Disney. Not only do they have wonderful fish dishes, but they have a seafood tower that is life changing filled with crab legs, lobster, shrimp and oysters.

While I’m not an oyster fan, everything else was to die for. Another great option for fancy seafood is Nacroossee’s at The Grand Floridian. Not only is the food perfect, but you can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the restaurant. Both of them have great atmospheres that are perfect for a romantic night out. For steak, Shula’s at Dolphin & Swan is a must. While all these are great options, they are very expensive.

Places I would recommend staying away from are Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Beast’s castle and Sci-Fi Dine-In. These places jack up the prices for the experience you get in the restaurant. The Sci-Fi food was okay, but I’ve had better burgers at Five Guys and only paid a fraction of the price. The food at Be Our Guest, though, was pretty gross for the amount of money we spent. Yes, the Beast’s castle is quite pretty, but it isn’t worth having a less than mediocre meal.

In Disney World there are endless options on things to see and do. From the parks, to the spas, to the pools Disney is filled with countless options. When it comes to the food, there’s endless options there too. These are just my suggestions on places to go, but I promise if you do end up at one of these spots, you’ll leave with a smile on your face and a full belly.

 

*Photo Credit and a big thanks to Lindsay Duran who took many of the food photos

When you wish upon a star…you just may win a free vacation

20150201_155407788_iOSLooking back, that first phone call doesn’t even seem real. I can remember bits and pieces of it, but I can’t even remember the whole conversation, because it was such a blur. How often do you get the best news of your life? How often are you completely taken off guard?

A few months ago, that exact thing happened. The phone call I received was from a sweepstakes company telling me that I had won an all-expense paid trip to Disney World for myself and three friends.

At first, I didn’t get too excited—I just couldn’t believe something like that would happen to me. As soon as I began receiving legal documents, though, I knew that it was for real. I had really won.

The Sweepstakes was called the “Coffee to Castle Sweepstakes,” and it was hosted by Joffrey’s Coffee (the company that provides most of the coffee in Disney World). Not only did we get 16 park hopper tickets, but we received free air fare, a hotel room and a gift card for coffee while on the trip.

The months leading up to the trip were miserable—we were all just so excited about the trip. No one was more excited than me—I couldn’t take it.

20150131_135407687_iOSBut then, finally, January 31st rolled around. At the early time of 2am, we rolled out of bed and packed up the car to begin our journey to the Columbus Airport. Two hours later, we were landing in beautiful Orlando Florida where the temperature was about 40 degrees warmer than Ohio and the sun was actually shining.

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I can’t believe how wonderful of a trip we had and how little we had to pay for. It was so great to go all out at Disney World with little expense. We even got to stay at the Caribbean Beach Resort on Disney property which provided us with some of the most beautiful pools at Disney World, along with free transportation wherever we wanted to go.

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While the package alone was amazing, the best part of the trip was spending it with three ladies I love so incredibly much. My recommendation for any woman out there is that every once in a while, you would treat yourself and take a girl’s trip. There’s nothing like having some girl time with ladies you truly love. I haven’t laughed that hard in so very long. I will cherish the memories I made with these gals for a lifetime.

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People ask me all the time how exactly I won a free vacation. Well for those of you who are interested, I recommend the site www.sweepstakesfanatics.com. I actually check the website every day to find sweepstakes to enter into. The other great place to look for specifically Disney trips is www.mousesavers.com.

I know it sounds completely crazy, but now if you ever find yourself wasting three hours of your life filling out applications, you can use the excuse that you actually know someone who won once. That should give you the motivation to press on. I know I’m not giving up on the sweepstakes anytime soon.

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I am so glad I took a crazy chance and entered in the “Coffee to Castle Sweepstakes,” because I defied some odds and got to take a wonderful trip with my girlfriends.

Joffrey’s Coffee helped make my dreams come true and gave me an opportunity I’ll never forget. If you find yourself in Disney World, take a break and grab a cup of coffee from Joffrey’s. You may not win a free vacation, but I can promise you, you’ll have a great cup of Joe.

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