On Ellen’s Energy Adventure

RM-Universe-of-EnergyBefore I proceed with this post, I must disclose that I do not dislike Ellen DeGeneres.  I wouldn’t want anyone to be confused on that point.  I DO like Ellen.  Her Energy Adventure?  Not so much.  I’ve discussed in the past the Walt Disney World Attractions I could live without.  Today I’m taking that one step further by confessing this:  If there were a SINGLE attraction I would do away with at this very moment and replace it with something (anything!) better, it would be in Epcot’s Future World.  The attraction I find the weakest of all (although it is, undeniably and excellent place to take a nap)…The once-interesting and semi-entertaining Ellen’s Energy Adventure.

The problem?  It’s called FUTURE World.  Ellen and her buddy, Bill Nye (of Science Guy fame) embarked on the current version of their adventure in 1996.  NINETEEN-NINETY-SIX!!!  Let’s look at five good reasons for Disney to consider alternatives to Ellen’s Energy Adventure…RM-Ellen's-Energy-Adventure

1.  1996 was a long time ago.  Technology has come a LONG way since then.  Times were different.  Ellen and Bill Nye were a lot younger, sure, but advances in energy and the way humans think about fossil fuel and the future of energy was as different as the fashions of the time.  As an illustration of how much time has passed, I’ll share with you a picture of our family at Walt Disney World in 1996 and our family last May:RM-Magic-Kingdom-Parade-Watching-1996WDW Bus Stop at Old Key West

If ever there were a reason to update an attraction, it’s 19 years of technological advances.  Ellen’s Energy Adventure, unlike Carousel of Progress and It’s a Small World, is not a timeless classic.RM-Ellen's-EarthRM-Ellen's-Volcano

2.  45 minutes!  Hello!  This is a HUGE time investment during a Disney vacation.  There are practically an infinite number of better ways to spend this time than visiting 1996.RM-Universe-of-Energy-Exterior

3.  Future World as a whole is in dire need of modernization.  It’s not just Ellen’s attraction.  Compared to what Epcot once was, compared to the charm and beauty of the World Showcase…Future World (basically half of Epcot) has undeniably deteriorated to just a few interesting or enjoyable areas/attractions.  So much wasted potential saddens me.RM-EEA-Dinos

4.  It wouldn’t take much to “plus” the attraction (as Walt Disney would have said).  Ellen and Bill Nye could certainly make a return visit for another rousing discussion of energy or the space could be completely reimagined.  Makes no matter to me – Future World needs more “future” and the available real estate is right there in Universe of Energy.RM-Ellen-and-Bill-NyeRM-EEA-Dinosaur

5. The scenes I know nothing about.  Why is there an attraction in Epcot with scenes I haven’t experienced?  I fall asleep!  Every. Single. Time.  I have never, in the past 19 years, ridden Ellen’s Adventure and managed to stay awake for the entire attraction.  I always wake up for the dino part – it’s my favorite.

Are you a fan of Ellen’s Energy Adventure?  What changes would you make to Future World if you could?


Disney Around the House

RM-Dalmation-Tea-PotIf you’ve been visiting here a while, you might remember when I talked about adding a little Disney to your day.  Being the Disney fans that we are, we do tend to accumulate a few Disney collectibles here and there.  I know guests to our home (who know us at all) probably expect to see a lot more Disney than there actually is…Don’t get me wrong!  It’s pretty much everywhere, but it’s not as prevalent (or overt) as one might expect.  You mostly have to be looking to see it all – but love each and every item we do!  And, in the future, there will be more…of course, there will be more.

Disney Around the House

If you’re going to live in an empty Disney nest, I recommend you surround yourself with at least a few special objects, strategically placed, to bring you peaceful Disney happiness during those times when the chicks who have flown the nest are in low-maintenance mode.  These are the times you can most enjoy a carefully crafted home environment sans drama (while constantly checking the days on your Disney vacation count-down app).  I’ve been experiencing just such an interlude recently and have been thinking about adding a few more pixie-dusted touches here and there.  First let’s talk about what we’ve already got & maybe you can help me decide which of our new Disney prints I should have framed next.

RM-Mary-Poppins-PrintCome in through the front door and you’ll notice the Mary Poppins-inspired print Joseph gave Raymond for Christmas.  No pics of the living room or dining room which are both Disney-décor free (for now), but in the kitchen – which is certainly the heart of our home – you’ll notice the most Disney love.

RM-Remy-PrintThe Remy Print we, in a crazy moment of Disney happiness, purchased on a Disney cruise a few years back is near our kitchen table.  RM-Mickey-Dinner-PlateOf course we have Disney dishes – including (not pictured) salad plates in both white and red.  RM-Disney-Mugs RM-Disney-Juice-GlassesWe have some Mickey dish towels and a spoon holder, a Haunted Mansion bottle stopper, and, of course, a selection of Disney coffee mugs and juice glasses.  RM-Disney-Cookie-JarThe Disney cookie jar currently stores packets of hot cocoa mix.  RM-Mickey-TrayMickey is always around, ready to lend a hand!

RM-Pirates-PrintThe Pirates picture Megan gave me for Christmas is in our upstairs TV room.  RM-Disney-Curio-CollectionIn our library is our curio of all small Disney collectibles.  RM-Disney-Junk-DrawerAnd we even have a Disney junk-drawer for storing some of our pins and new Christmas ornaments (wrapped in tissue paper) that haven’t been added formally to the Disney holiday collection.

Raymond and I picked up a couple-few (that’s the technical term here in the South for two to six items) more prints that we haven’t yet framed.  RM-Disney-Kitchen-PrintsCurrently we’re in pre-vacation penny-pinching mode, but when we get back, I want to have one or two of these framed & located in their as-yet-undecided places of honor.  We have two kitchen prints (from Food and Wine Festival shopping) featuring Goofy and Donald.  RM-Disney-Mickey-PrintA new Mickey picture.  RM-Ursula-PrintAnd Ursula who will look absolutely fantastic in our upstairs bathroom.  Which one(s) should we start with?

Do you decorate Disney-style?  What are your favorite pieces?



Disney World Lounges – Five Great Places

RM-Brown-Derby-Patio-WineI’ve been hearing a lot about the new Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the Polynesian Village Resort and it sounds like a great place!  Really, it does – especially if you like a party atmosphere and cool mixed drinks served in exotic containers with flair!  I’m sure we’ll get there someday, but to be honest, it may be a while.  We have some favorite lounges at Walt Disney World and when happy hour arrives, we’d be hard-pressed to choose something new unless we’re on an extended vacation.  We usually prefer a place that’s quiet enough to allow for un-shouted conversation and we like having the option of ordering a snack to go along with our beverage of choice- which is nearly always a glass of red wine or a craft beer.  If you happen to find yourself in need of a quiet-ish corner to relax with a cocktail and good company, I offer you…

Disney World Lounges – Five Great Places

1. Victoria Falls – If you’re staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge or simply have an ADR (advance dining reservation) at one of the amazing restaurants there, make time to enjoy a few minutes at this little out-in-the-open spot perched just below the Jambo House lobby and above the restaurant Boma.  There’s a great selection of drinks and snacks and, if you like wine, you’ll find some wonderful African selections to choose from.  Excellent service, classy, detailed décor.  It’s a must-do for us on every vacation.RM-Victoria-Falls-Lounge RM-Victoria-Falls-Menu RM-Victoria-Falls-Lounge-Detail

2. Belle Vue Lounge – This is a quaint, retro, 1930’s-style spot off the Boardwalk, with a small bar and overstuffed chairs and couches that invite you to sink in and soak up the relaxed and very cozy atmosphere.  The Belle Vue Lounge is great as a destination on its own, but is also a wonderful place to spend a few minutes while waiting for a table at The Flying Fish Café.  Lively nighttime hotspots are plentiful on the Boardwalk – the Belle Vue is special for being relaxed and quiet after a busy day.RM-Belle-Vue-Lounge

3. The Wave – More often than not we stay at Bay Lake Tower, so once we’ve returned from the parks and have a bit of time to spare before we venture back out for whatever evening activities we have planned, we love to drop by The Wave in the Contemporary Resort.  We love the wine list, the quiet atmosphere (detecting a common thread here?), the excellent service, and the unique, fresh menu items.  Late lunch, happy hour, snack and a beer – this place is where we go when we want to escape for a few minutes.RM-The-Wave

4. Territory Lounge – Worth the trip to the Wilderness Lodge just to kick back for a few minutes and soak up the atmosphere.  A great excuse to hop a boat from Magic Kingdom to enjoy the gorgeous grounds, majestic lobby, and awesome happy hour spot.  It’s dark, cozy, inviting, and full of awesome Disney details.RM-Wilderness-Lodge-LobbyRM-Wilderness-Lodge-Territory-Lounge

5. Mizner’s – I honestly only care about stopping here when I can listen to the Grand Floridian’s Lobby Society Orchestra play right outside Mizner’s door.  It’s a nice place, don’t get me wrong, but the comfortable Victorian atmosphere’s not the draw.  The music is.  We think the Grand Floridian is one of the most relaxing places in all of Walt Disney World – add the music, a comfy chair, and a glass of wine…amazing.RM-Mizner's-LoungeRM-Lobby-Society-Orchestra

Honorable Mention – We’ve only been one time, but for an in-park happy hour, we loved the patio at the Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

RM-Brown-Derby-PatioWhich Walt Disney World lounge is your favorite place for happy hour?

Disney Dining – Flo’s V8 Café at Disney California Adventure

Saturdays With Nick!  For this week’s installment, I choked back some very unbecoming jealousy over Nick and his wife, Barbie, having visited Disneyland in 2013 to bring you an awesome dining review.  I’ve dreamed of going to Disneyland forever, but every time I mention it to Raymond, he makes some dire statement about California being the “onramp to the apocalypse” (if it’s not shaking, it’s burning or there’s a horrific mudslides or epic drought).

Never one to give up on a dream, I’ve devised a plan for possible 2017 implementation (we’ve already planned our 2016 Disney vacations) which would get me, finally to Disneyland.  I’m going to propose we visit Aulani (Disney’s Vacation Club property in Hawaii) and stop on the way there for a couple of days at Disneyland.  I’m pretty sure I can make this happen…I’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, we’ll just have to look back on Nick and Barbie’s adventures….

Disney Dining – Flo’s V8 Café at Disney California Adventure

A few days ago, I shared a video from Flo’s V8 Cafe at Disney California Adventure. Today, I’d like to share a more thorough review of the food.

I’d read that the food was good, but I had no idea just how good!
Let’s start with our first lunch.
This was literally the first place we stopped on our visit to Cars Land, as it was near lunchtime, and we were very hungry.

Upon entering, we were handed a menu by a cast member.

There are also displays of the menu choices in a case in front of the order station/ registers.

And, if that weren’t enough, they are also clearly displayed over the food counter.

I ordered the Pork Loin with Coca Cola BBQ Sauce. For sides I got the Roasted Corn Medley and cole slaw, for $11.49.
First off, several of my favorite words are in the entree name “Pork”, “Coca Cola”, and “BBQ”.
And this did not disappoint!  In fact, I honestly think Disney should be bottling and selling this sauce. It is excellent! I loved my meal.

Barbie ordered the kids Macaroni and Cheese meal, with a bag of carrots and a bag of apples. When asked if she would like the souvenir Lightning McQueen Racer, she said “No”.
I immediately said “Yes she does!” It’s awesome! The mac and cheese was very good too.

This cost $11.99.
We also got a strawberry milkshake, $4.29, and a chocolate milkshake in a souvenir cup for $9.59. Both were creamy without being too hard to drink through the straw. We also split an Apple Cheddar “Pie-O-Rama” for $4.99, also delicious.
We sat in a wonderfully themed dining room overlooking the Radiator Springs Racers attraction.
There is also ample outdoor seating.
So, how much did we like the food here?
We ate 3 more meals at Flo’s!
I’m running out of adjectives, so before I go any further, and this is going to sound like hyperbole, but I’m being honest, we loved everything we had, which was just about the entire menu by the end of our 5 day trip.
We shared a breakfast with my wife’s cousin, Jill, and Jill’s husband, Zach.
American Breakfast with scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, bacon and a biscuit for $7.99, and the Chicken Tamale Breakfast with chicken tamale, scrambled eggs, salsa verde and pico de gallo – $7.99
On another night, my wife had the Citrus Turkey Breast with Old Fashioned Turkey Gravy– $11.49 , with mashed potatoes and the corn medley.

I had the NY Strip Loin with Home-Style Beef Gravy – $11.99, with potatoes and cole slaw.

For dessert we split a Chocolate Mudd pie. Wow, is that rich!
At night, the neon makes Flo’s extra lovely!
We also had lunch with new friends, Tips From the Disney Diva writer, The D’land Diva, and her family, and tried the kids meal sandwiches. I suggest asking for gravy on the side, as they were a bit dry without, but the gravy makes them delicious! We split the Seasonal Fruit Pie, which was pear and cherry.
I really can’t recommend a meal (or 3) at Flo’s V8 Cafe more, so stop in if you need a fill up!
You can read all about Nick, Barbie, and their passion for all things (and places) Disney:
Disney Musings Blog / Disney Musings on Twitter / Disney Musings on Instagram / Disney Musings on Facebook


Have you been to Disneyland?  What was your favorite dining experience?