Disney Cruise Food – Palo’s Chocolate Soufflé

In my non-vacationing life, I rarely eat dessert.  When I’m on a Disney cruise, though, I tend to order dessert with dinner.  It’s expected.  In fact, on the occasional evening I’ve attempted to pass on dessert, our server seemed genuinely saddened by this and vowed to find something to tempt me.  I’ve ordered plain vanilla ice cream or a Mickey Premium ice cream bar from the children’s menu just to feel less guilty about my lack of a sweet tooth.Chocolate Souffle Presentation

When we dine in Palo, our favorite adults-only restaurant on the high seas, it’s a completely different story.  Palo serves THE Chocolate Soufflé – a delicious work of confectionary art that makes me inordinately happy!  Made-to-order, if you want this particular dessert, it’s best to let your server know early in the meal so the 20-ish minute cooking time can be taken into account (while you’re enjoying Palo’s amazing Italian dishes).Chocolate Souffle

Hot, straight from the oven, the Chocolate Soufflé is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and two small pitchers of sauce, one chocolate, one vanilla.  You get to choose how you’d like to combine the separate components to make the perfect blend of hot, cold, chocolate, vanilla, crispy, gooey fabulousness that is this dessert!Chocolate Souffle Closeup

After I pause for a moment to admire the beauty of my dessert, I take that spoonful of ice cream and smoosh it right into the center of the soufflé.  That blend of hot and cold is SO perfect, but won’t last forever so I immediately drizzle a little bit of both the chocolate and vanilla sauces right into the cavern I’ve made with the ice cream spoon and start eating.  Oh, boy, this is just the best dessert!  The crust on the outside, the gooey filling, the delicate powdered sugar topping – the blend of textures and subtle flavors really defies description, but trust me when I say it’s one of my most favorite treats in the world.  If you find yourself dining at Palo, save room for dessert and order the Chocolate Soufflé – you won’t be sorry.

Have you taken a Disney Cruise?  What was your favorite sweet treat?

Want to try Palo’s Chocolate Soufflé at home?  Here’s the recipe!

Being Optimistic on Disney World Changes

RM-Fantasyland-WallI’ve been pretty honest with you here at Living a Disney Life headquarters.  When I don’t like something, I say so.  Well, mostly.  I did refrain from saying how I really felt about Inside Out, didn’t I.  Don’t ask, I don’t want to talk about it (I can hear you gasping, btw).  Anyway, back to my point here.  In spite of how looooooong it’s taking (and going to take), I’m pretty stoked about the changes going on at Walt Disney World.  Between the actual officially-announced ones and the rumors and speculations on others, there’s a lot to look forward to!  I know you probably have your own favorite list of future attractions you’re looking forward to and I’d be delighted if you shared your thoughts in the comments here or over on Facebook.  I know I’ve mentioned why changes are necessary, but today…

Here’s a quick look at why I’m Being Optimistic on Disney World Changes:

1.  Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland expansion was pretty awesome and bodes well for other Treasures in the Queue for Under the Seachanges.  Those Disney Imagineers are geniuses and in spite of what I’m sure is a very tight and restrictive budget, I believe they can be counted on to bring their A-Game for the near future in Animal Kingdom and the distant future in The Studios ( or whatever the park’s name may become).

2. It’s recently come to light in this article (and in the Wall Street Journal) exactly what we can expect from the new Frozen Ever After attraction in Epcot’s World Showcase/Norway Pavilion.  In light of how much I enjoy the details (especially the queue) for Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid in Magic Kingdom, I’m remaining cautiously optimistic – I also completely understand that, at this point, resistance is futile.  Maelstrom is gone forever.  In spite of my feelings about the Frozen Sisters’ invasion of Princess Fairytale Hall, I’m willing to give this new ride a chance.  Maybe, if it’s clever, funny, and well-detailed, we will all find something to like about it.

RM-Construction-Walls-Tree-of-Life23. While Avatar was not my most favorite movie ever, I did like it.  Lots of folks complain about the movie’s theme being a common one (Pocahontas, Dances With Wolves, etc.), but I’m pretty sure I’ll love Pandora in Animal Kingdom when it opens.  The potential is there for unbelievably amazing effects…and that’s exactly what I’m expecting!  This has “win/win” all over it – I adore Animal Kingdom – the addition of Pandora and the new nighttime attractions will make the park that much more special.

4. I don’t care if I may never be able to afford a night in a Bora Bora Bungalow or a dinner at The Boathouse – Updates to the Polynesian Village Resort and Downtown Disney are much more extensive than a room category or single restaurant.  Big picture!  I love the Poly’s new look and expect I’ll be thrilled with Disney Springs as well.  Future resort, shopping, and restaurant changes can only enhance our food and accommodation choices and out-of-park activity options.

Most Importantly:  When Walt Disney World offers the perfect combination of traditional favorites and new experiences, I can more easily justify multiple visits per year!

Your turn!  What are your thoughts on the recent and future changes at Walt Disney World?


Disney’s Magic in Norway – Copenhagen Segway Tour

Segway-Tours-CopenhagenTo see Copenhagen and learn as much as possible (without taking a car or bus), we couldn’t think of a better way than by Segway tour.  The tour company’s business office was easy to find and, walking from the Tivoli Hotel, we even arrived early enough to find a table and relax for a few minutes at a nearby café.

Side note:  I don’t have a picture to show you of the “Copenhagen Downtown Hostel” next door to the tour office because it would have felt weird and ultra-tourist-ish to take pictures, but this very hip place had large mats of fake grass, giant lounge cushions, and outdoor heaters on the sidewalk/up against the building – it was packed with men…lounging, drinking beer, and napping.  We thought it looked like a very cool place.  Back to the story…

When it was time for the tour, we stepped into the small headquarters for Segway Tours Copenhagen and met our very nice guide (the only excuse I have for not making a note of his name is that I was suffering from jetlag).The-Fam-Segway-Tour-Copenhagen

I’m no great Segway expert, but all three of the tours I’ve taken on these fun little vehicles began the same:  Helmet-fitting and safety lesson first, followed by some Segway practice, and then the tour.  I was really happy to find that I could get a helmet with a GoPro camera mount on it and that the helmets were wired for sound – we would hear our guide talking through in-helmet speakers!  Our family was touring with another small group and we’d be zipping around Copenhagen mostly via the city’s extensive bicycle path system.  The number of bicycles in Copenhagen is staggering!  Luckily, we all managed to share the bike lanes safely.Copenhagen-Segway-Practice-Area

We had a tremendous amount of fun and adventure!  We sped (okay, a Segway can’t really “speed”, but you get the idea) around the city, stopping here and there for brief lessons on Copenhagen’s history, culture, economy, and monarchy.St-Alban's-Church-Copenhagen RM-Segway-Copenhagen Frederik's-Church-Copenhagen AmalienborgThere was an enormous amount of construction going on everywhere – Copenhagen is a very proud city and is constantly being improved.  The tour was fast-paced and we were amazed by how much we got to see!  Churches, castles, opera house, shopping areas, statues, gardens and so much more!

Have you seen Pitch Perfect 2?  At the end, when they’re competing in Copenhagen and the colorful waterfront buildings are shown – you know that part?  Nyhavn-Copenhagen RM-Segway-Tour-CopenhagenWe were THERE!  That area is called “Nyhavn” and it is absolutely gorgeous and incredibly crowded!

If you’ve never been on a Segway, I have to tell you – it’s a phenomenal way to sightsee and I highly recommend it!  Pros:  Easy to learn and maneuver, fun to ride, allows you to cover a lot of ground in a short time.  Cons:  It’s like standing in one place for two hours and can be hard on your feet and legs, you have to pay close attention to what’s going on around you and watch your wheels so they don’t run into anything – this is a hazard that can make you fall off!

I’ll continue our adventures next week with a recap of Tivoli Gardens and the first day of our cruise on the Disney Magic.  In the meantime, you can check out the YouTube video of random Segway tour scenes filmed on the helmet-cam here.

Link to Disney’s Magic in Norway – Copenhagen (Part 1).

Disney’s Magic in Norway – Copenhagen (Part 1)

Flying-to-CopenhagenAs promised when I posted this overview of our family’s experience on Disney Cruise Line’s inaugural sailing through the fjords of Norway, today’s post begins at the beginning – to cover the trip in greater detail.  The cruise sailed from Copenhagen, Denmark, where we arrived the day before as early in the morning as we could manage, in order to maximize our time to explore this beautiful city which happens to have fascinating Disney connections!

We took a few hops to get to Denmark – Jackson, Mississippi to Houston to Toronto to Copenhagen.  We left Jackson at around 9:00 am Thursday and arrived in Copenhagen at around 10:30 am the next day.  We knew we’d arrive jetlagged, but vowed to try to minimize it as much as possible by drinking lots of water, getting plenty of rest, and moving around frequently.  Personally, I was exhausted before our plane even took off, so I wore a maxi dress over (to hide) a pair of compression/sports-recovery tights to improve circulation in my legs and, once we changed planes in Toronto, I slept nearly the entire 8 hours to Copenhagen.  My ankles were swollen when we landed, but not nearly as bad as the last time we flew to Europe and I was feeling great and actually well-rested as our single day in Copenhagen began.


Bus from the Copenhagen Airport

We were greeted promptly in baggage claim by a smartly dressed Disney Cast Member who sized us up and asked if we were the Green Family – saying our first names carefully and welcoming us to Denmark.  Our luggage showed up immediately to be piled onto carts by two very kind young men and, in short order, we were all whisked off to our virtually empty, but extremely deluxe motor coach.  This wasn’t unusual – everyone we dealt with in every place we visited was extraordinarily professional and pleasant.  All spoke perfect, nearly accent-free English.  Oh, and the busses were really clean and new – some with actual tables surrounded by seats.  All with drop-down tray tables – which came in very handy!


View from Tivoli Hotel

The weather was good.  A bit chilly and breezy, but no rain.  After a fairly short ride, we arrived at the Tivoli Hotel, booked through Disney Cruise Line (as were the transfers to and from the airport), and found that one of our rooms was ready.  Tivoli-Hotel-ExteriorTivoli-Hotel-Room Tivoli-Hotel-Bathroom We took our luggage up to the sixth floor, changed clothes, cleaned up a bit, checked our street map and were ready to explore and, importantly, find a spot for lunch.  We didn’t order Danish currency (Krone) prior to arrival, having read that it would be more economical to use our debit card at one of the plentiful ATMs to get necessary cash.  Easy and convenient – an ATM was very close to the hotel.  Everything we wanted to see was within walking distance of the Tivoli Hotel…if you’re ever going to Copenhagen, we recommend it!  Even the view from our room, which we had no time to really enjoy, was very nice.

We’d decided, based on our excellent experience in Barcelona (prior to sailing on the Magic in the Mediterranean in 2013) that we’d book a Segway tour if Copenhagen had a company that offered one.  Sure enough, through a quick internet search months ago, we found and booked a 4:00 pm, two-hour tour with Segway Tours Copenhagen.  For $69 per person, this was an excellent value.  We generally do not enjoy seeing new places from behind the window of a car or bus – we want to feel like we’re part of the action while learning as much as possible.  The other thing we thought would be a “must-do” in Copenhagen was visiting Tivoli Gardens, so we pre-purchased all-inclusive tickets that bundled park entry, all-ride access, aquarium entry, and a meal for about $75 per person.


Bryggeriet = The Brewery

Somehow, having a solid plan – have lunch, locate the Hard Rock Café (we always try to find one and buy pins wherever we go), take the Segway tour, then hit Tivoli Gardens for the evening – helps keep you going when you’ve been traveling for 24 hours.  We’d packed lots of layers for the chilly weather and, ATM cash in hand and properly bundled up, we found an outdoor café that advertised burgers as the specialty.


Waiting for lunch to arrive.

Probably, we should have ordered those burgers, but once I mentioned trying the smorrebrod (traditional Danish open-faced sandwich) to experience the flavors of Copenhagen more fully, everyone else followed suit.  I’ve been kicking myself for forgetting to take pictures of our lunch ever since.  On our plates we were served several separate food combinations and plain bread on which to build our smorrebrod.  On the left side of the plate was a folded slice of beef and some pickled vegetables in sauce.  In the middle of the plate was a large piece of salmon with sauce.  On the right side of the plate was a small ceramic bowl of pâté, which appeared completely unappetizing, but tasted great.  On the upper left side of the plate was a piece of cheese.  I know there’s a very particular order in which all the items on the plate should have been consumed, but we did the best we could, with the pickiest among us avoiding the flavors they just couldn’t manage.  By the look of our plates “after”, you can see that hunger won out over any new-food apprehension we might have been feeling.  Some delicious beer completed our meal.After-Lunch-Copenhagen

Fortified, we were off to find the Hard Rock Café.  Along the way we noticed a 7-Eleven and a Burger King – two chains that would prove to be extremely popular in both Copenhagen and most of the ports we visited in Norway.  Copenhagen-on-FootWe noticed a small grocery story called Irma near the café so we decided, with time to spare, that we’d get the Hard Rock pins and pick up some bottled water and wine (for the cruise) at Irma, run all that back to the hotel and then find our Segway tour location. Crowded-Copenhagen Streets-of-Copenhagen

So far, the day was going perfectly!  Copenhagen was easy to navigate on foot, we’d gotten oriented, the weather was fine, our bellies were full and we’d procured beverages for the cruise.  Up next?  Our Segway Tour of Copenhagen.