Disney Dining

When I first started visiting Disney food was not a priority for me. The only thing that mattered were Mickey Bars and the Orange Bird (who has recently returned to Walt Disney World!). Now granted I was only seven. Even so as I got older and returned to the parks I never expected much of the food. The only sit down place I recall trying as a teenager was the San Angel Inn, and other than the ambiance and the fact I tried calamari there for the first time, I don’t recall much.

On the first trip with the DH again I didn’t expect much of the food. I hesitate to even write this, but in my mind though it was Disney it was still “just” an amusement park when it came to food (gasp!). I expected overpriced fast food, and to be fair we stuck to the counter/quick service restaurants, but even so we were pleasantly surprised at what we encountered.

Our first day a blissfully cool breeze drew us into Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe for lunch at the beginning of July. We were completely impressed with the options, portions and taste of this counter service restaurant.  One platter would have easily filled us both, and we’d gotten two!

Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe was another stop on that trip, as well as Sunshine Seasons. Both places impressed us. My husband loved (and makes us return each visit) Pecos Bill’s fixin’s bar, and I adored Sunshine Seasons vegetables options (so much I was disappointed not to have the carrots available during on next visit).

So, our trips began being impressed by the quick service meals. There were healthier options than I expected, and tastier considering this was a place trying to make food to serve the masses. But then, we booked our next trip and heard the Dining Plan was free! This sent me in a scurry of investigations. If you’ve been clicking on the links above you’ve been taken to either AllEars.net, or The Disney Food Blog. The later is, in my humble opinion, the most dangerous Disney site I’ve ever encountered. I mean what else can be said about a site that introduced me to The Cupcake Crawl? It also made me realize that I’ve been missing out on things like Dole Whips, Waffle Sandwiches, and Tonga Toast.

My husband and I spend a great deal of time discussing the attractions we want to experience, and the characters we hope to meet, but now thanks to these pages and the Disney Dining Plan we spend almost as much time talking about the food. It may have taken us awhile to catch on, but now we agree, the food is as much a part of the experience as the rest of the trip!

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Always Counting Down

I have been to Walt Disney World 9 times.  This August will be my 10th.  While I currently have a count down on my iPhone to our arrival date, I also have another count down in the back of my mind.  Our next trip is planned for November of 2013. 

I was very lucky that my parents took me to Disney as a child.  In fact during one of my more recent trips while watching some families trying to maneuver with children in various stages of energy levels, hunger and heat I called to thank my parents for taking on that brave endeavor not only once, but twice!

The memories of those trips inspired more trips.  As a senior in high school I was ecstatic to learn our senior class trip would be to Disney World.  This was then followed up with a trip several years later while in college with my family once again. 

And then I thought my Disney trips were over.  After graduating college there were two great hurtles.  The cost being the first.  There is no denying Disney is expensive. 

The second was my DH.  He did not like amusement parks.  He hated roller coasters.  No amount of coaxing, pleading or begging convinced him that it was worth it spend any of our hard earned cash on Disney. 

I despaired of ever visiting the House of the Mouse again.  This couldn’t stand!  And then there was a glimmer of light.  Our family planned a reunion in Florida, only a hour from the parks.  I sweetly informed my husband that if we were going to be that close, I was going.  Being the wonderful sport he was, he agreed, though clearly not expecting to enjoy a bit of it. 

But there is something about that Disney magic!  Even in the blistering heat of July,  over one of the highest crowd level weeks in the summer there is something to be said for faith, hope and pixie dust.  As we left the Magic Kingdom that night after the final fireworks, slowly strolling with the crowd towards the exit at park closed he turned to me and said, “So, we’re coming back tomorrow open to close, right?”

And now, ever since that fateful day we are always counting down.  It may not be every year (though we’ve been extremely fortunate and managed a few years to even go twice!), but there is always a count down to the next trip.  The thought is always there.  The planning is always there.  No matter how many times we visit our favorite Mouse, or hear those wonderful words “Welcome home,” as we check in may there always be another count down yet to come!

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