The Very First Disney With Me Giveaway Par-tay, sponsored by FTJ by Rebecca!

Please ignore the “Par-tay”, I got carried away. I hope you won’t think too poorly of me. 😛

Anyway yes, I’m FINALLY doing the giveaway I said I’d do back in APRIL once I hit 100 “likes” on my FB page.  I wanted to wait until I had some stuff worth giving away.  Yes, it took me this long to feel like I was giving away things worth getting.  WELL!  I’m going to stock up on some really great Disney World specific merch when I get there next month (I totally just wrote “when I get home”, Freudian slip?) but for now, here’s a pile of little but fun Disney things. 🙂  So there will be another giveaway coming soon but FOR NOW…

*ahem* I’m partnering with Fairytale Journeys By Rebecca Kelly (don’t laugh, she’s awesome) to do this very first giveaway!  There are multiple ways to enter and you don’t HAVE to like my FB page but you know.  If you have Facebook that would be nice.  I’M nice!  That’s why I’m making it possible for people to enter WITHOUT liking my page!  Because I care about YOU, the reader! ❤

Anyway, this totally awesome tiny little giveaway will run for the next week and end very soon, so enter now while you can!  Tweet, comment, and… follow on Twitter, I think that was the last one… if you’re already following me on Twitter or FB all you have to do is click those buttons! 😀  Have fun, Internet! I love you!  Ahhh, I’m feeling magnanimous today, and also smug that I got to say “magnanimous”. [/linguistics nerd]

I’m going to forget to actually post the giveaway at this rate. Here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Since I’m on a free WordPress blog I can’t embed JavaScript which means you’ll have to take the link to the giveaway.  Please take the link and enter anyway! 🙂

Edit: I promised I’d put up pictures of the prizes so here we go:

 

Disneyland Fun Book - inside it's a colouring/activity book. Great for kids or for really hardcore colouring fans.

Disneyland Fun Book – inside it’s a colouring/activity book. Great for kids or for really hardcore colouring fans.

 

Choice of one of these two notebooks... they are smaller than they look in this pic btw. Not standard size.

Choice of one of these two notebooks… they are smaller than they look in this pic btw. Not standard size.

 

Choice of one of these two New Fantasyland Lithographs; either Ariel or Belle.

Choice of one of these two New Fantasyland Lithographs; either Ariel or Belle.

 

The light didn't like me on this but it's a "7-piece sketchbook set" with a Monsters U theme. :D

The light didn’t like me on this but it’s a “7-piece sketchbook set” with a Monsters U theme. 😀

 

The bottles are soft plastic, BPA free; your choice of Minnie, Avengers, or Cars.

The bottles are soft plastic, BPA free; your choice of Minnie, Avengers, or Cars.

 

TAKE A PICTURE OF ALL THE THINGS!

TAKE A PICTURE OF ALL THE THINGS!

 

(…In case it’s not been made clear, I run FTJ by RK.  You don’t HAVE to be a client or follow that page to enter the giveaway! Just saying… I would appreciate it. ^_~)

Saturday Blog Showcase: My Disney Addiction

No, not mine.  Not that I’m pretending like I don’t have one. It’s just that in this case, “My Disney Addiction” is in fact the name of the blog and not me talking about my own preferences/personal issues.

The blog is run by Rhiannon, and here is why it’s a great read and not just another Disney blog: Rhiannon has a sarcastic streak and a great sense of humour, so she manages to blend snarky wit into her posts without coming off as if she I actually whining or griping about Disney.  The Disney love is clear, even when there is something she’s not thrilled with.

Topics-wise, the blog is somewhat familiar – I mean that in a positive, cozy way, not a “bah, same old stuff” dismissive sort of way – as Rhiannon is addicted to pin trading, overplanning (yeah for overplanners!), and Disney dining (or sometimes Disney drinking) so there are posts on those topics.  Only they’re not done like generic “here are some tips for anyone reading!” posts. They’re done kind of as if the writer thinks they are for that purpose, but they’re actually really individualized.  You know you’re not reading a “travel tip” blog, you’re reading someone’s personal blog.

I can’t explain it, really.  It’s just FUN. 😀  It’s kind of what I kid myself I want to write like, you know, fearlessly witty and fully yourself!  …Except that myself is not fearlessly witty and I don’t drink a whole lot or anything.  Oh speaking of fearless, check out the post on Boma Mustard (this is my current favourite post) as an example of both the Disney Food Blogging posts AND Rhiannon’s love of foods hot enough to eat away at your stomach lining.  The current most recent post as of this writing is about her Must-Do List at Disney – a well-loved topic!  But I guarantee it’s not a retread of other people’s lists (and bears pretty much nothing at all in common with Stacy’s Must-Do video on Resort TV).

For a bonus good time, always read Rhiannon’s tags.  They’re like Easter Eggs. ;D

Poll: What MUST you do before a Disney trip?

This isn’t really the world’s most serious poll topic.  Actually, I had an AWESOME idea for a poll topic earlier this week and I can’t remember what it was now. At all.  This is what happens when you turn 25! (Which happened 10 years ago, so I’ve had plenty of time to degrade since then. ^_~)  Anyway!  Let’s hear it for place-holder polls!

And, here are the results of last week’s poll!  Because I just now thought to check. 🙂  For the favourite duck character to meet at the parks, Donald won… kind of.  He tied with his nephews, at 2 votes each!  Darkwing Duck got one vote (and that was me, so BUST it!) and Ludwig Von Drake got one (which I cannot argue with, because he is a genius, make no mistake).  But nobody loves Daisy!  And NOBODY loves Uncle Scrooge?  This is UNCLE SCROOGE, you guys!  SCROOGE MCDUCK!  Wh-wha…?! This is my face right now, people:
whwha

Well. I mean, of course, only 6 people voted… so I guess I can’t really complain… not to mention it’s not as if *I* voted for Scrooge, but I still… I just kind of assumed… Given that he’s a long-lost friend and all!

And no, Scrooge is not especially happy about it, either.

And no, Scrooge is not especially happy about it, either.

 

Y’all better vote on this poll or Scrooge is going to jump all over you with that cane, that’s all I’m sayin’. 😉

Top 5: Really Controversial Top 5 Topics

So, my first “Top 5” list was “Best Disney Princesses”.  That being such a matter of personal opinion, it got me thinking about how many controversial “Top 5” lists there are out there and how choosing the wrong topic could be playing with fire.  And THAT made me want to do another Top 5 list! XD  So these are my best choices for “too controversial for a Top 5 list” topics… got any to add?

#5: Worst Disney Princesses

I have to say Cinderella looks kind of confused. It's not raining, Cindy!  You're inside!

I have to say Cinderella looks kind of confused. It’s not raining, Cindy! You’re inside!

Actually, in retrospect, I’m almost surprised that “Best Princesses” wasn’t too controversial. LOL! Every princess has at least one fan and at least one hater.  But *I* love my picks and that’s all that matters! 😉  No, but there are certainly plenty of blogs that could get away with a “Worst Disney Princesses” list and either not offend its readers, or just not care… I’m not going to go there.  Would it surprise you to know that I probably could find 5 princesses to put on the list? I’m not 100% sure I could do 5 but I know I could do 3.  No, I’m not going to say who. 😉

#4: Politicians Who Are Like Disney Characters

I figured this was kind of a safe one. *lol*

I figured this was kind of a safe one. *lol*

I mean this is just asking for trouble. 😉 I actually can’t think of any examples off the top of my head, I was just fishing for some topics likely to offend someone. XD

#3: Disney Attractions That Should Be Replaced

This is actually a fun topic, and a lot of blogs have covered it – podcasts, too.  It’s a topic I don’t find offensive at all, because it’s all in fun, and even when one of my favourites is mentioned I usually react with “LOL nooooo!” 😉 However, like I said in #5, I like to keep it positive.  It’s just not the direction I want my blog to take, but that doesn’t mean I don’t *have* opinions, I  just end up not – OH OKAY GET RID OF STITCH’S GREAT ESCAPE already.  There. I said it. I regret nothing. 😉

#2: Disney Films I’d Like to Forget About

*cough* I didn't say anything. (OK, OK, I haven't seen this movie. It's just the one that most people agree on, is all.)

*cough* I didn’t say anything. (OK, OK, I haven’t seen this movie. It’s just the one that most people agree on, is all.)

Guaranteed to offend SOMEONE.  Every single one of my least favourite Disney films has at least one hugely die-hard fan. So I tend not to speak out about the ones I dislike. *g*

#1: Reasons Why “Song of the South” Should/Should Not Be Released

I still haven't seen this. Guess there's a good chance I never will.

I still haven’t seen this. Guess there’s a good chance I never will.

I just… ’nuff said. XD

Review: The Garden Grill Restaurant

 

To be honest, I'm not 100% sure if this is still the logo. But it works.

To be honest, I’m not 100% sure if this is still the logo. But it works.

 

As far as character dining experiences go, one of my all-time favourites is the Garden Grill in Epcot.  I’ve been two times, and both times were terrific!

Now one thing I’ll say up front, before I delve into the review, is that I am not a picky eater.  I can be happy with somewhat mediocre food so long as the experience is unique or exciting over all.  (We’ve all heard about me and the Sci-Fi Dine-In.)  So when it comes to Garden Grill, I’m definitely ranking it based more on the character interactions than on the actual MEAL.

With that said, read on for some specifics!

This is how they bring out the dishes, btw. :)

This is how they bring out the dishes, btw. 🙂

Garden Grill, as I said, is located in Epcot.  Specifically it’s in the Land Pavilion, on the same floor as the entrance; you enter, walk past the Circle of Life, and the restaurant is just before the escalators that take you down towards Soarin’, Living With the Land, and Sunshine Seasons.  As I also said, it’s a character dining experience with visits from Chip and Dale, Pluto, and Farmer Mickey.

One novel aspect of the restaurant is that it rotates – very slowly, throughout your meal.  It’s such a slow rotation that it’s not at all disorienting and you can’t even really feel the motion; you just see your view changing, bit by bit, the whole time.  Usually you’ll get a little over one full rotation in the timespace of the average meal.  Another novel aspect of the restaurant is that it actually overlooks part of the Living With the Land ride; there is a balcony section you’ll rotate past, and when you look out over that balcony you can see the boats going past, and the buffalo and farmhouse scenes.

The character interactions have been top-notch, both times I’ve eaten there; the first time was without kids and the second time was with.  Both times, we got a lot of attention, particularly from Chip.  In fact, I’d say our best actual experience was with just me and my husband and Chip; Chip messed with my husband incessantly.  He put packets of sugar onto his head and at one point he picked up a pile of sugar packets, opened each, and started pouring them one at a time into my husband’s lemonade.  Staring at him the entire time. “You gonna stop me?  Does this bug you?”  OMG I died.  He also gave us his “agent’s” name and phone number when Dan asked if Chip would come live in our Christmas tree that winter.  “Mickey M” and a “Big Cheese” 800 number. XD  Dan also got complimented on his Pink Floyd shirt by Pluto, who apparently has a classic rock taste in music. 😀

The munks are such huggers.

The munks are such huggers.

Our second visit was a birthday dinner (slightly early) for my daughter.  We were given VERY attentive service from the waitress, who towards the end brought out a birthday card signed by all the characters; visits from the Disney friends were all excellent.  Man, my daughter was so beyond thrilled to meet Mickey, she just loved him! And she’d already met him twice that trip! 😀 But this was our first character meal, and having him come to the table to hang out with us was like, new and different. 😉  I still feel like the chipmunks were the top of the experience; they were charming, danced with my daughter and played with my son who was 18 months at the time.  They really seemed taken with him.  Pluto was also super sweet with him and a super-hugger for both kids.

No meal is complete without a Mickey!

No meal is complete without a Mickey!

Funny story: at one point the kids and I got up to look around the full restaurant and see all of it without waiting for it to come by (haha), and as we walked, my daughter saw Mickey arrive at a table of other kids.  “MICKEY!” she squealed, and if I hadn’t caught her around the waist and lifted her off the ground she would have run off to him and tackled him. XD  OH THE EXCITEMENT!

So regarding food; well, I like it.  It’s not amazing food, this is not one of their high-end restaurants, but it’s food I enjoy.  You can find the most up-to-date menu here from AllEars.net.  The restaurant is a Family-Style meal, meaning it’s fixed price, fixed menu (although they will always accommodate allergies or dietary restrictions; it’s recommended that you ask in advance!) and that you can ask for more of anything you want seconds on – or thirds, fourths, etc.

Peekaboo!

Peekaboo!

I believe that all – and if not all, definitely most – of the food served at the Garden Grill is actually grown in the Land.  I guess probably not the turkey or beef (lol), but the fish are raised there, and all vegetables are from their greenhouse.

The bread basket comes first, and is pretty standard.  I remember it being pretty tasty, but I am generally easy to please when it comes to bread. 😀 I can actually go without the maple butter, as I’m not a fan of sweeter spreads on my bread products. (Conversely I rarely put butter onto pancakes, ick.)  Most everything else comes all at once.  The meats are good. We had tilapia for the fish.  They consistently have beef, turkey, and fish, but the presentation changes; rather than “red wine butter” we had a cranberry relish, and instead of “lemon caper sauce” we had gravy and stuffing with the turkey breast.  The fish was breaded.  It sounds like they’re trying to move away from the “country style” food presentation here and make it more of a classier selection.  Not having had any of the new presentation I can’t comment, but I’ll miss the gravy and stuffing.  On the other hand, the caramelized onion mashed potatoes actually sounds really good, as does the red wine butter with the beef. (Again, I’d rather avoid sweetened stuff with dinner for the most part.)

The childrens’ meal when we were there was not turkey breast as above, but chicken legs, served with sweet potato French fries, and macaroni and cheese.  (The broccoli was the same.)  There’s a clear effort to health-up the kids meals in effect now since they’ve subbed out rice pilaf for the mac and cheese, turkey breast for the chicken legs, and fruit cup for the sweet potato fries.  I know I’m not the one eating it, but I won’t miss the mac&cheese (though my m&c-loving daughter sure would), but I do kind of miss the sp fries.  My daughter didn’t care for them but my son did and I was happy to eat the rest. 😉

Now to be honest, I don’t remember our dessert. Currently it’s bread pudding, and skillet cake with vanilla bean whipped cream; I’m wanting to say there was something to do with berries when we went but I might be making that up.  However, I know for a fact that they used to have a special kids-only dessert, a variation on dirt and worms; they definitely had that on our first visit, though we didn’t get it since we were kidless.  On our last visit the kids got a kind of cookies-and-cream… thing; they came with two oreo-style cookies and a blob of what I thought at first was cookies and cream ice cream, but came to realize was a kind of whipped cream instead.  Now, I’m not clear on whether this was their standard kids’ dessert of the time or if they were doing this as a birthday special for my daughter; hers came with a candle in it 😀  But either way, it was CRAZY popular.

Definite success on the cookies n' cream.

Definite success on the cookies n’ cream.

Any dessert that gets you messy will be popular with this guy.

Any dessert that gets you messy will be popular with this guy.

 

So. I love this restaurant and will definitely go back, not on my next visit (not enough time for a sit-down meal), but the next family visit.  It is always worth it, and I highly recommend. 🙂

Promotional Consideration!

Code words for “Travel Agent Post!”

If you’ve been following for a long time you know that I’m not only a Disney fanatic but also a travel agent specializing in Disney vacations – I’m affiliated with Fairytale Journeys, an Earmarked/Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. (Disclaimer: I’m NOT affiliated with Disney. Very few of us independent TAs are unless you count our undying devotion and belief in what we’re promoting. *G*)

Anyway, from time to time I offer promotions for particular kinds of bookings.  Some are bigger than others; a few days ago on a whim I decided to do a quickie but biggie.  From now until the end of August, I’m offering a shipboard credit worth at least $50 for any Disney Cruise line booking to the first person who contacts me to book.  ANY!  With the potential for MORE than that, depending on the final cost of the cruise fare!  It’s not dependent on where you go, when you go, how many people are sailing – you will get at least $50 in shipboard credit from me.

This could be yoooooouuuu! Img (c) Walt Disney Co.

This could be yoooooouuuu! Img (c) Walt Disney Co.

But this only goes to the first person who contacts me before September 1, 2013.  You don’t have to book by then, just contact me, and if/when you do book I’ll have a note in your file about the credit and make sure it’s applied for your trip.  Most amenities on the cruise ships are included, but you can use this for shopping, for spa treatments, for cocktails, and more!

The second and third people to contact me about booking a cruise will receive $25 each (or more, again depending on the total cost, but that first $25 is guaranteed!) if they book.  This is a special offer and is not standard with all cruise bookings, so you’ll want to act now to take advantage of it!  If you’re on the fence, you can contact me with any questions you have, and I’ve got materials I can send you (Disney’s Cruise planner DVD, brochures, and so on!) if you’d like.

Literally the greatest thing I can think of right now. Img (c) The Walt Disney Co.

Literally the greatest thing I can think of right now. Img (c) The Walt Disney Co.

There is NO bad time to take a cruise!  However, just as a hint, you’ll get the best fares around January-February, and in October.  Coincidentally, October is a great time to go, because this year they are holding Halloween themed parties on all four Disney Cruise ships, and a full-on Halloween cruise experience on the Disney Dream!  For an ultimate experience, you can book a land and sea vacation with a Disney Halloween cruise and a Walt Disney World stay… Tickets for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party are still available, as are plenty of delicious experiences at Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival!

Contact me for quotes; you can email me at rebeccak@fairytalejourneys.com, message me on Facebook, or leave a comment here!

A quick aside: I don’t anticipate having any bookings that would not qualify for the $50 credit; however, there are always unanticipated situations that pop up and I reserve the right to not apply this offer if such a situation arises. This would be in a case where, for some reason, the credit ended up costing me significantly more than what I would earn on the booking.  Again, I don’t anticipate this situation occurring but in case it does. Thanks for understanding!

Saturday Blog Showcase: Princesses and Pixie Dust

This week’s Saturday Blog Showcase is Princesses and Pixie Dust, written by a Florida local with a really fantastic, gorgeous name!  (If you didn’t guess, her name is Rebecca.  No relation.)  Becca embraces Disney with gusto and writes about whatever pops into her head, and really… I like what pops into her head. 😀

 

The most recent posts include spending a day solo at Animal Kingdom, an Ode to School Bread, Becca’s favourite moments from the recent Disney Songbook event with Alan Menken and Richard Sherman, and (my personal favourite) “How to Disney-fy Your Sick Day”. There are quite a few more, don’t think otherwise, I’m just scratching the tip of the iceberg (aka what is on the main page as I write this).  Princesses and Pixie Dust is a new blog, and so there’s not a giant overwhelming amount of content, but rather just enough to sink into … rather like a nice warm Disney bath.  (Disclaimer: I may or may not be kind of cold at the moment and thinking of warm baths in general. Back to the showcase.)

 

Stylistically speaking, the strongest appeal about Becca’s writing style for me is that she likes lists and she illustrates them beautifully.  Each of her posts is full of a number of photos and, when applicable, videos; and she structures them numerically.  You might have noticed I like that kind of thing. (Maybe.  A little.  Or have you not noticed that yet.)  It not only makes it very clear, but there’s something really… I don’t know, engaging about it.  I like following a train of thought that way.  But it also gives a very thought-out structure to the posts.  I especially liked it with the Disney Songbook post, where it did more than just list highlights, it draws attention to WHY they are highlights.

 

So, if you’re looking for a new Disney-themed blog to devour (like I often am), check this one out if you haven’t yet.  It’s fun, simple yet informative, and well… you kind of can’t go wrong when it’s written by a Disney lover.  (And I’m sorry you got sick right before your planned trip, Becca! Least you got to make up for it!)

Poll: Favourite Duck meet and greet character?

 

I just got to thinking. I love the duck characters – all of ’em.  But hypothetically, if I could meet any one I wanted, who would I most like to stand in line for hours to shake hands with, possibly hug, and very potentially gush over ridiculously? (Darkwing.)

 

How’s about you?  Donald is the easiest on this list to find, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be your fave! 🙂

 

I don't recall seeing Ludwig Von Drake on DuckTales but whateverrrrr.

I don’t recall seeing Ludwig Von Drake on DuckTales but whateverrrrr.