Favorite Disney Snacks – Churro!

Disney churro fans, this post is for you.  I’ve only recently joined your ranks, but am proud to count myself among you as a lover of this deceptively simple yet delicious and popular snack food.

Favorite Disney Snacks – Churro!

RM-ChurroLet’s go back in time a bit to the beginning, shall we?  The churro’s origins, while not exactly shrouded in mystery, are a bit controversial.  One story has the churro born of Portuguese sailors and the discovery of a certain recipe in China for a food called Youtaio (fried flour stick).  The Chinese, being very secretive with their cooking methods during this time, left the sailors to figure out the precise cooking technique on their own – their efforts resulting in the very first churros.

The second prominent story (and my personal favorite) holds that churros were invented by pastry-craving nomadic Spanish shepherds.  Pining for baked goods, these clever shepherds – who, according to this version of history, were tending Churra sheep, invented a sort of bread stick that could easily be prepared and fried over a campfire.  These bread sticks were often rolled in cinnamon sugar and their shape was said to resemble the horn of their beloved livestock, the Churra.Churro-DHS

It wasn’t until later that the standard churro preparation changed to have the churro batter extruded into hot oil through a star shaped tip which creates the crunchy on the outside / tender on the inside texture we now adore.  These snacks caught on and became so popular, they made their way to the New World with Spanish explorers and are still a staple of Spanish street foods – especially for breakfast (dipped in chocolate).

I’ve heard that in much of the United States, churros can be found at state fairs, local carnivals and amusement parks – not true in our neck of the woods.  We get elephant ears, roasted corn, candied apples, cotton candy, funnel cakes, and a staggering variety of deep fried foods like Snickers, Twinkies, and the like.  Until a couple of years ago, I’d heard many Disney fans wax poetic about churros, but thought they looked rather plain and boring compared to the other awesome Disney snacks I love.  I realized, though, that to be a well-educated, trusted and faithful sharer-of-all-things-Disney, I’d have to broaden my snack experience…so I purchased my first churro.  It was at the Frontierland churro stand in Magic Kingdom and I remember it well.  Since that day, churros have become one of my favorite Disney vacation foods.

First of all, the churro is highly portable.  Easy to eat while walking, very compact and neat, churros do not melt, crumble, or spill.  Perfect for being not-too-sweet, but still tasty and satisfying, a warm churro is practically the definition of comfort food.  The texture is wonderful and while easy to consume is neither too chewy nor too fluffy.  Clean-up’s a breeze – just dust a little residual cinnamon sugar off your fingers and chin.

Interesting churro tidbit – When enjoying Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen earlier this year, we noticed many similarities between this amusement park and Disney parks at home.  This included many of the same snack choices…including churros!Tivoli-Churros

Churro fans!  Raise your hands!!!  Tell me your favorite churro moments – where’s your favorite churro stand?  When do you most like to enjoy this snack?  What makes the churro one of your favorite Disney vacation foods?

WDW – Best Top of the World Views!

Ever wondered where you can find the best views at Walt Disney World?  Want to take in the most scenery?  See the big picture?  Here are a few of our favorite spots:

WDW – Best Top of the World Views!RM-Expedition-Everest

Expedition Everest (Animal Kingdom) – Hands down (or hands up, if you prefer), this attraction offers the very best (in my opinion) view of any other Disney World attraction.  As my little tea train sets off on an amazing Himalayan adventure, I look forward to so many special moments along the way.  Among these is the spectacular view offered on the way up the Forbidden Mountain.  The going is slow enough for guests to take in the breathtaking, really spectacular scenery.  There’s so much to love about this attraction, this view is often overlooked (hahaha) and underappreciated.RM-PeopleMover

The PeopleMover – If you have not taken a spin on this Tomorrowland attraction (Magic Kingdom), you do not know what you’re missing.  It’s a tour of Tomorrowland and a tunnel of love all in one.  You’ll go inside for some fantastic behind-the-scenes looks at Tomorrowland attractions and outside for a bird’s-eye view of others.  A smooth, relaxing ride, exceptional scenery, and a couple of kiss-stealing opportunities – what more could anyone ask for?  Some of you may remember the old Skyway gondola ride in Magic Kingdom (1971 – 1999) , it was (to me) once the very best way to see the World.RM-Top-of-the-World-Lounge-View

Top of the World Lounge – This little corner of the World is especially reserved for Disney Vacation Club members and guests.  Like the next location on this list, it offers exceptional Magic Kingdom views and is a fantastic place to end the evening at Walt Disney World.  The interior is a tribute to the monorail offers a unique and different atmosphere.

RM-California-Grill-ViewCalifornia Grill – Yes, you can see Wishes from the balcony of this signature dining restaurant atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  The views from the windows that surround the dining room are always awesome – with or without Magic Kingdom fireworks.  I particularly love sunset while enjoying the Cali Grill’s excellent food and service. (Full review here.)Twilight-Zone-Tower-of-Terror

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – It’s a fleeting view, but whoa!  It’s a haunted hotel, you’re in a crazy service elevator with a mind of its own and there – for a mere moment at a time, your elevator allows you a glimpse outside from high atop the tower!  Scream all you want to, but do try to keep your eyes open so you won’t miss the view!

Cinderella’s Royal Table – The one and only time we went, our table was in the middle of the room and it was dark outside.  My friend Heather and her family LOVE this Magic Kingdom dining experience, though, and find the views to be particularly enchanting.  Catch all the details here.

Where are your favorite views at Walt Disney World?  Your resort room balcony?  Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse?  Characters in Flight?  Tell me what I’ve missed.



Walt Disney World – Baby’s First Haircut

Happy Saturday, Disney Friends!  Today’s post, crafted by Nick (from Disney Musings) and selected just for you by yours truly is about one of the very best memories you can create at Walt Disney World.  It often seems that there’s an overabundance of special activities for little girls and few for the little gentlemen in our lives.  If you’re planning a visit to Walt Disney World and would like your child (or grandchild) to have their first haircut in Magic Kingdom, here’s what you need to know…

Walt Disney World – Baby’s First Haircut

By Nick

On our trip to Walt Disney World last month, we were fortunate enough to bear witness to our friends Kandi and John’s son’s first haircut at the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom.

For those unaware, this is a fully functioning barber shop located between the Car Barn  and The Emporium just as you enter the Magic Kingdom.

The prices are very reasonable, in my opinion.

Grayson’s first haircut was only $18, and included the “My 1st Haircut” Mickey ears hat seen in the first photo.

Kandi and John even asked if they could have a PhotoPass photographer on hand to capture this momentous occasion, and one was free. I’d assumed he would come, take a couple of quick shots and be gone, but he stayed through the entire haircut!

Grayson was handed a Lightning McQueen toy to keep him occupied during the haircut, and he was very good the entire time.

Have you ever gotten a haircut at the Harmony Barber Shop?


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Disney Dining – Try This Not That

RM-Yak-&-Yeti-Restaurant-ExteriorDisclaimer:  I’m the least picky eater I know.  I like nearly all foods.  I shy away from fried foods as they tend not to agree with me (although I think they taste great), I’m not eating tuna-noodle-casserole or black licorice – not really a problem since I can’t think of a single person I know who would happen to accidentally serve those to me should I be a guest in their home.  I suppose, actually, under those circumstances, I’d give the consumption of my personal culinary kryptonite my best try so as not to be considered rude.  My mom taught me better than  that.  And back to the point of this post.

Disney Dining – Try This Not That

Let’s assume for the purposes of today’s sharing-of-Disney-advice that we’re all adults.  I’m talking to you as a grownup, not to those of you trying to please little ones with park food, okay?

  1. Try the Roasted Pork Shank (NOT the Turkey Leg) – What they have in common:  fatty, roasted, savory meaty goodness.  What the Pork Shank has over the Turkey Leg is that it’s texture is better, its seasoning is more delicious, and Gaston’s Tavern (Magic Kingdom, Fantasyland) is far superior in atmosphere than anyplace offering the Turkey Leg.  You’ll still feel like Medieval royalty, don’t fret.RM-Gaston's-Pork-Shank-and-Lefou's-Brew
  2. Try the Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel (NOT the plain Mickey Pretzel) – Oh, stop it!  Mickey is cute and iconic and delicious, I’ll give you that.  The Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel is just SO much better (and unique versus what I can get in my local mall’s food court).  If you like a little spice in your snack, this one’s for you.RM-Jalapeno-Cheese-Pretzel
  3. Try Italy or France for Ice Cream (NOT the ubiquitous ice cream cart) – I’m not saying you should go an entire Disney vacay without a Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar or your beloved Dole Whip.  I’m just saying, give the “Gelati” gelato stand in Epcot World Showcase’s Italy Pavilion a try (our favorite: Espresso Gelato “Affogato”).  Or the L’Artisan de Glaces shop in France – YUM!  The beauty of these more exotic frozen treat options is that they have something for everyone.  You will not be disappointed.RM-Epcot-Italy-Gelato-Affogato
  4. Try Yachtsman Steakhouse (NOT Le Cellier) – Both are beef-lovers’ hot spots in the Epcot area.  Yachtsman’s is a short walk from Epcot via the International Gateway (a.k.a. the backdoor) at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.  Le Cellier is in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion.  The problem with Le Cellier is that it’s overcrowded and overrated (our opinion, which is heartbreaking since in the early years, this was a must-do for us).  For the price, Yachtsman’s menu, atmosphere, and service are superior.  Both restaurants are considered “Signature Dining” locations – so if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, they’ll cost you TWO Table Service credits.RM-Yachtsman-Filet
  5. Try Il Mulino (at The Swan) (NOT any other Italian restaurant on Disney property).  We loved everything about this place and can’t wait to go back.  It’s not Disney-owned, but IS easy to get to – and worth the effort and the price.  You can read my full review here, but let me just say – if you’re looking for a casual, grown-up evening out without pressure to eat quickly and leave and you want delicious food, great service, and a complimentary swig of limoncello to top off  your meal…this is the place for you.RM-Il-Mulino-Interior

What are your best suggestions for an eat-this-not-that Disney food or restaurant?  Would you choose Kona Café over ‘Ohana?  Sanaa over Jiko or Yak-n-Yeti?  School Bread over a Croissant Doughnut?  Tell me!  I’m 92 days away from needing to know!