Review: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Treats

I can say this much about our pal, Mickey Mouse

"Celebrate the Season" with Mickey and Minnie!

“Celebrate the Season” with Mickey and Minnie!

He sure knows how to throw a Very Merry Christmas Party!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

"Celebrate the Season" stage show

Celebrate the Season stage show

Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Jack Skellington Sandy Claws character meet

Jack Skellington as “Sandy Claws” character meet

Frozen Holiday Wish

Frozen Holiday Wish

Frozen Holiday Wish

Frozen Holiday Wish

From the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, to Holiday Wishes Fireworks, to all the fun in between, including character dance parties and appearances, special stage shows, and a whole, huge [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Crystal Palace in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Welp, boys and girls — it’s time to head into Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and take in lunch at Crystal Palace! This is a beloved character spot for many Disney fans, and a must-do character experience for lots of you.

Me? I hadn’t been to Crystal Palace in foreva…not since an ill-fated late-night visit a couple of years ago when the food was AW-FUL! Yep, it was the end-of-the-night dregs of the buffet and we were pretty much just grossed out. (Have you ever seen a buffet about 15 minutes before a restaurant is about to close? Not pretty.) We ate very little and left as soon as we could. Sad, since we do love dining with Pooh and friends.

But it was time to revisit the 100 Hundred Acre Wood — after all, we’d had lots of great meals here previously — and I made reservations with some friends for lunch.

We have tons of shots to show you, so let’s get started!

Atmosphere

You’ll find Crystal Palace to the left of Main Street USA’s end, just as you approach Cinderella Castle. The beautiful glass building, inspired by ornate conservatories of the late Victorian Age, is a slice of Disney history as well. The restaurant has been around since opening day in 1971.

Entrance to Restaurant

Entrance to Restaurant

And here’s a tip if you’re looking for an extra-special experience during your Disney vacation: try and book Crystal Palace for an early breakfast. You’ll be one of the first guests into the Park when you do this, and visiting a nearly empty Magic Kingdom is an event to remember.

Once you step inside, you’ll see whitewashed walls that carry the bright, light decor throughout. Artwork depicting inspiration for the architecture as well as photos of lush palms cover the walls.

Artwork and Framed Photos

Artwork and Framed Photos

The soaring atrium above is gorgeous — especially on a sunny day!

Crystal Palace Atrium

Crystal Palace Atrium

After you check in, you’ll wait for your table outside on the shaded veranda. But once you step in, pause a moment to take it all in.

Dining Rooms

Dining Rooms

Tons of windows and glass domes allow for plenty of natural light in the two dining areas.

Dining Room from Another Angle

Dining Room from Another Angle

And really — look up. Because the windows are really stunning. I love the beautiful stained glass detail.

Stained Glass Windows

Stained Glass Windows

The decor puts you in mind of a Victorian conservatory, with its outside-but-inside feel. Lush flowers and what reminds me of patio furniture finish the area.

Evening Light

Afternoon Light

Crystal Palace is, of course, a character dining experience, and you’ve stumbled onto a party!

Center Atrium -- Up Close

Center Atrium — Up Close

In fact, visit here, and you’ll take part in a Friendship Day Celebration with Winnie the Pooh and his friends.

Banner -- Up Close

It’s Friendship Day!

Just check out these gorgeous flower topiaries of the whole gang!

Pooh and His Hunny Pot

Pooh and His Hunny Pot

Eeyore Topiary

Eeyore Topiary

The sweet little figures appear to be made of dried roses, and foreshadow the characters you’ll meet while you dine.

Piglet Topiary

Piglet Topiary

Bouncing Tigger Topiary

Bouncing Tigger Topiary

And beautiful hanging arrangements of tropical flowers complete the classic conservatory feel.

Fresh Flowers

Fresh Flowers

Seating is standard and fairly comfortable. Heavy, padded chairs share the space with booths, but some tables are situated a bit too closely for our comfort.

Seating for Two

Seating for Two

Seating along windows gives you a glimpse of guests waiting to be seated! But beyond them, you’ll also see a beautiful view of [Read more…]

Review: Cronut a la Mode in Disney World’s Epcot

Last December, we were thrilled to report that Epcot had jumped on the cronut wagon!

Epcot’s Refreshment Port (if you’re walking from Canada, you’ll find the Port immediately before the paths that take you into Future World) quietly introduced them with this unassuming sign listing “Croissant Doughnut.”

Cronut Menu Sign

Cronut Menu Sign

Of course, “Croissant Doughnuts” is quite an apt description for these fried pastries formed out of rings of croissant dough (plus, as I mentioned in the previous post, the name “cronut” is trademarked — so legal stuffs and whatever).

We tried ‘em. We loved ‘em. But guess what!!

Not only are the cronuts still in full swing at the Refreshment Port… you can now get them A LA MODE.

You need to approach the counter to see this option: it’s on a small sign near the registers, so you can’t find it on the regular display… at least, not yet.

Specialty Cronut Menu Sign

Specialty Cronut Menu Sign

Just take a look!

Cronut a la Mode

Cronut a la Mode

The ice cream is a generous portion of vanilla soft serve. If you want ice cream with every bite, you’re set!

Of course, I had to get the regular (non a la mode) cronut for a side by side comparison… all in the name of proper research, of course ;) .

Cronut a la mode compared to regular cronut

Cronut a la mode compared to regular cronut

Everything that we love about the cronut to begin with [Read more…]

Review: Iced Coffee Float at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies

It’s a hot afternoon in the Magic Kingdom. Ice cream is calling your name, but you’re also in need of a little caffeine jolt. Well, I’ve got just the treat for you… today we’re checking out the Iced Coffee Float at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies!

Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies

Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies

Not familiar with Auntie? It’s OK — lots of people just walk right by on their way from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland.

You can find this spot in Tomorrowland across from the Tomorrowland Speedway. The menu features – as the outdoor sign indicates – smoothies and ice cream. You can read our review of both a smoothie AND an ice cream sundae here!

Ice Cream and Smoothies sign

Ice Cream and Smoothies sign

It’s also an easy place to grab a piece fruit or a muffin before your race to Space Mountain in the morning.

The Iced Coffee Float has been on my “To Try” list for a while, but I must confess to rarely stopping at Auntie’s, typically in favor of visiting Sonny Eclipse at Cosmic Rays’s or grabbing a Gourmet Cake Cup at Cheshire Café. But one day I was particularly in need of a caffeine boost, so I strolled in to Galactic Goodies to place my order.

Outside Auntie Gravity's

Outside Auntie Gravity’s

You’ve got two choices to make upon ordering your Iced Coffee Float. First, the Iced Coffee: French Vanilla, Mocha, or Latte (the Latte, while still being “lightly sweetened,” is the least sweet of the bunch). Second, the ice cream: Vanilla, Chocolate, or Twist soft serve.

I walked out to the casual seating area…

Outdoor Seating

Outdoor Seating

Cool Umbrella

Cool Umbrella

…with my Chocolate and Vanilla Twist Mocha Ice Cream Float!

Iced Coffee Float

Iced Coffee Float

This treat is just a [Read more…]

Review: Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland

It’s time to take an ice cream break! And I know just the place — Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!

This cool spot offers up soft serve for guests who are looking for a little refreshment between attractions…but they have some other fun menu items too! Time to check it out.

Atmosphere

Auntie Gravity’s is located in that thoroughfare that meshes Fantasyland into Tomorrowland. You’ll find this little spot directly across from the Tomorrowland Speedway.

The signage with the name of the location hangs on the wall of the building — viewable only from the Fantasyland side.

Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies

So if you’re searching for Auntie Gravity’s and coming from Tomorrowland, keep a look out for the ginormous “Ice Cream and Smoothies” sign that hangs overtop both doors leading into the shop.

There’s not a lot of atmosphere to speak of in the small space! There’s just enough room for a few counter-service stands and a walk-up window to get your goodies.

Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies -- Outside

Once you get your eats, you’ll head back outside to a group of tables just beyond the doorway. Keep on the look-out for PUSH, the talking trash can in this area! (You can also take advantage of indoor seating at Cosmic Rays, which is just next door.)

Eats

Auntie Gravity’s is purely a snack stop, so it’s great for a midday treat or after meal dessert most of the time. But one of the more unique options you’ll find here is the Iced Coffee Float, a fan favorite. I’ve only seen these at a few other locations, like Sunshine Tree Terrace.

Ice Cream Treats Menu -- Click to Enlarge

The exception to the “find no meals here” rule is [Read more…]

Inside Story: Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

When you find yourself in the middle of Disney’s Hollywood Studios in need of something cold and creamy and delicious, I’m going to give you some odd advice: look for the big, green dinosaur.

Gertie's Head as She Chomps on Leaves

There, among the jungle trees, you’ll see a gentle giant, chomping on vegetation. And you know you’re in for a treat. (If Gertie’s is open for business, that is.)

Gertie's, Open for Business!

If you’re lucky, Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction will be open, and serving up wonderful spirals of chocolate and vanilla (or swirled!) soft serve in cups and cones, both sugar and waffle. You’ll also find some of your favorite premium ice cream bars, as well as other snacks, like fresh fruit and trail mix.

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

But the best part about Gertie’s isn’t the ice cream. You can get that anywhere. What’s awesome about this place is the animation history you can encounter!!

Many of you probably wonder who in the world [Read more…]