Walt Disney World Snacking – 2017 Edition

There have been quite a few snack posts through the years here at Living a Disney Life.  There’s a good reason for that…Snacking around the World is an important part of a Disney vacation!  There are awesome tasty treats everywhere you go.  Let’s talk about a couple of this year’s new favorites and, of course, reliable old standbys.

Walt Disney World Snacking – 2017 Edition

New to us this year (If you’re on a Disney Dining Plan, these are one snack credit each.)

Salted Caramel Cupcake from Karamell-Kuche in Epcot’s Germany Pavilion.  It’s a beautiful and delicious choice for cupcake fans.  Moist, tender cake and wonderfully flavorful frosting.  If you’re like me and don’t have a sweet tooth, it’s a great snack to share.

Chocolate-filled Beignets from Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie in Epcot’s France Pavilion.  These were the perfect mix of traditional beignets (fluffy and coated in powdered sugar) with the added bonus of a not-too-sweet chocolate filling.  Delightful!

Perennial Favorites

Of course most of you are already familiar with the classics:  Mickey Shaped Pretzels, Citrus Swirls (or Dole Whips if you prefer), Churros, Popcorn and Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars.  These are, without a doubt, “the usuals” for us.

There are a few slightly less universally popular, but worthy repeat snacks for our family…

Yak and Yeti Local Food Cafes’ Eggroll – If we’re in Animal Kingdom and anywhere near Expedition Everest, I’m detouring into the queue for Yak and Yeti’s quick service counter.  The eggrolls come in single or double servings and are not only a great bargain, but are really fresh and delicious.  As a savory snack fan, these are currently my favorite.

Sweet Spells Carrot Cake Cookie – We will always miss the Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios which was closed to make way for new construction.  That special shop may be gone, but at least one of its best offerings lives on.  The Carrot Cake Cookie (big enough to share) puts a slice of carrot cake in a convenient sandwich form.  It’s huge!  I’ve never eaten one all by myself.

Refreshment Port Croissant Donut – Take into consideration that this type of treat is not one we normally crave, thus it’s a special vacation sweet!  Flakey, cinnamon/sugar-coated and warm, fresh from the oven(fryer?), if you’re headed into World Showcase towards Canada, grab one of these and see for yourself how yummy they are.

Candied Almonds – They seem to be available in several places now, but my personal favorite place to snag a paper cone of these tasty morsels is at a snack cart in Animal Kingdom.  They’re warm and crunchy, sweet and delicious.  These?  I’m not sharing.

Karamell-Kuche Caramel Corn or really anything else on the menu.  While the Salted Caramel Cupcake (mentioned above) was new to us, the offerings in this place are always tempting!  If you’ve never taken the time to check out this sweet shop in the Germany Pavilion, please take a minute to step inside.  While the Caramel Corn does need to be eaten on day of purchase (trust me, it is absolutely best when fresh), there are so many treats (I’m partial to a simple salted caramel square) can be purchased for later.

Still in Epcot – There’s a Gelato Cart in the Italy Pavilion that serves the Gelato Affogato we’ve loved since the very first bite.  It also has the added bonus of being one of the cutest-looking snacks in the World.

Have you recently discovered a new Walt Disney World snack?  Do you have a favorite not mentioned here?  What is it and where can we find it?  Our next Disney vacation is right around the corner.

 

Disney World Lounges – Geyser Point

It’s no secret – We love Disney World lounges.  The Resort Loop Pub Crawl is one of our favorite vacation activities.  So many great places around the World, it’s hard to decide which ones to fit into our vacation plans.

Disney World Lounges – Geyser Point

Because Megan and I were on the Quick Service Dining Plan back in June, I knew we needed to check out the Geyser Point Bar & Grill.  It’s new, it’s just a short boat ride away from Magic Kingdom at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and the food was on our dining plan – Win-win-win!

I’m sorry the rest of The Fam was not along for this experience.  I do believe Geyser Point (after only one visit) jumped straight to my second favorite lounge at Disney World!

A combination of elements is what makes Geyser Point so great.  The lake-side setting on the gorgeous grounds of Wilderness Lodge is wonderful.  The open-air seating and welcoming bar area give a great laid-back vibe.  The service is excellent and the food menu is priced right.  In fact, if you’re on the dining plan, Geyser Point is not the best use of a quick service credit.

The menu consists of a few sandwiches and salads – from lighter fare to more robust items.  I believe the offerings are still being fine-tuned.  Case it point:  I ordered a Grilled Salmon BLT that no long appears on the menu.  It tasted great, but was the only negative aspect of our dinner there.  The piece of fish on my sandwich was tiny, but the bread slices were huge!  I enjoyed the flavors, but left so much of the bread behind, our waitress asked if I needed a to-go box.  I made sure to tell her that the food was delicious, but suggested that if they continued to offer this menu item, the chef switch to a small bun of some sort.  Sadly, it seems Disney decided to do away with the sandwich altogether.

Megan ordered the Bison Cheeseburger (“Bacon, Tillamook Cheddar, Sweet Onion Straws, Lettuce, Tomato, Garlic Aïoli and Marionberry Barbecue Sauce served on an Artisan Roll with choice of Multigrain Salad or Waffle Fries“) and enjoyed it very much!

The beverage menu is the real draw for Geyser Point (to us).  Unique choices with something for every adult palate.  Want a fancy cocktail? Check!  Beer? Check!  Wine? Check!  The best part?  The super relaxing seating and excellent service.  We never felt rushed, we never felt hovered-over, but got just the right amount of attention.  We loved the open-air, casual vibe and the welcoming overall feel.  As a place to unwind at the end – or in our case, in the middle – of a busy Magic Kingdom day, Geyser Point fits the bill.

What’s my most favorite lounge in the World?  It’s the Nomad Lounge in Animal Kingdom, but Geyser Point is right up there!  I cannot wait to take the rest of the gang there next year – Megan and I know they’ll love it as much as we did!Have you been to Geyser Point Bar & Grill?  What did you think?  Is it on your list of places to try?  What are you looking forward to trying?

Disney Vacation Libation – La Cava del Tequila

A funny thing happened on the way to the Gran Fiesta Tour…

Disney Vacation Libation – La Cava del Tequila

Megan and I, on our Epic Mother/Daughter Disney Summer Road Trip, had so many opportunities to try new things!  One of the best was finally getting to find out what all the hullabaloo is about for the little bar inside Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion.  So many of my Disney friends love La Cava del Tequila and have waxed poetic about it repeatedly. Now we know why!  We enjoyed ourselves so much, we visited twice!

The first time we stopped in La Cava, we really were on our way to the Gran Fiesta Tour.  We’d just finished a delicious lunch at La Cantina de San Angel and thought a leisurely boat ride with the Three Caballeros sounded like a great way to digest a bit and relax in the cool, dark interior of the Mexico Pavilion.  As we were making our way to the ride, I remembered how much I’d been wanting to at least check out the offerings in this much touted corner of World Showcase.  Megan was totally on board and we headed on in.

First of all, the greeters are fantastic!  Friendly and helpful, they offered to find us a table, but we asked if we could just go to the bar instead.  Of course!  The service at the bar was just as great.  We were greeted by a very friendly young woman who was happy to make recommendations and share the drink menu with us.

We noticed right away that there were tequila flights set up on the back of the bar, so we asked about how those worked exactly.  Each flight consisted of three tastes of tequila (good, better, best), presented with salt, lime, and a shot of tomato juice to be taken after the first tequila sample (to cleanse the palate).  While the set up looked like a lot of tequila, the three servings amount to the equivalent of about a shot-and-a-half.  (Description – La Cava Tequila Flight:  22 Casa Noble Blanco, Partida Reposado, Ambhar Añejo)  Megan and I thought this sounded like a fun adventure and abandoned our plans for margaritas in favor of learning more about tequila!  We were very happy with our decision.

The next day, we found ourselves in Epcot again and knew we’d be heading back to the Mexico Pavilion for the margaritas we’d passed on the day before.  Our second visit to La Cava del Tequila was every bit as great as the first.  The margarita menu is awesome.  I knew from reading rave reviews that I wanted to try the Avocado Margarita which sounds kind of odd, but is ridiculously delicious!  I normally find margaritas a tad too sweet, but the avocado version is just exactly right.  Megan opted for the Passion Fruit Margarita and was very pleased with her selection – I tried a sip and it was exotic, refreshing, and very tasty!

So…La Cava del Tequila…Megan and I both give it a two-thumbs–up for service, atmosphere, presentation and flavor.  We will most definitely stop in again at the earliest opportunity!

Have you visited?  Are you a fan of La Cava del Tequila?  What’s your favorite Disney vacation libation to order there?

Disney Character Dining – Chef Mickey’s Versus Tusker House

Looking for a character dining experience at Walt Disney World?  Love Mickey, Minnie and the gang?  You have two choices:  Chef Mickey’s (Disney’s Contemporary Resort) and Tusker House (Disney’s Animal Kingdom).  Which one should you choose?  Both take one Table Service Credit on the Disney Dining Plan, both are similarly priced (Tusker House is slightly less expensive).  Both provide excellent character meet-n-greets with great photo ops.  Let me see if I can help you with a few pro’s and cons.Meeting Minnie at Chef Mickey's

Disney Character Dining – Chef Mickey’s Versus Tusker House

Chef Mickey’s Pros

Not in a Park – No park ticket required to meet the Fab Five in air-conditioned comfort.  Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto (dressed as chefs) make the rounds while you eat.  Because you don’t need park access, Chef Mickey’s is a very popular first and last day choice for many guests.

Easy to Reach from Magic Kingdom – Walk or grab the monorail!  Start the day with breakfast at Chef Mickey’s before heading to Magic Kingdom or take a break for a meal later in the day.

Pluto Fans Rejoice – If Pluto’s your favorite, Chef Mickey’s is a fantastic way to get a meet-n-greet with this lovable pooch.

Chef Mickey’s Cons

Very Basic Fare – Read:  Mediocre food.  Unfortunately, Chef Mickey’s popularity is more about the location and characters than the actual culinary choices.  If you’re picky and/or prefer pretty bland, meat-and-potatoes (or pasta) dishes, this may be a solid choice.  If you want more diversity in buffet choices with a few slightly more adventurous flavors, this is not the place for you.

Loud and Crowded – Big open spaces often full of screaming children.  It just seems crazy noisy to me all the time with lots of distractions.  Goes with the character-dining territory, I know, but Chef Mickey’s is extreme.

Tusker House Pros

Preferred by my Twitter Friends – In a recent Twitter poll I conducted with the simple question, “Which do you prefer?” and a choice between Chef Mickey’s and Tusker House, Tusker House won big (75% to 25%).

Convenient on an Animal Kingdom Day – Tusker House is a fun way to start the day and also a wonderful break for lunch or dinner.  Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy make the rounds dressed in their safari attire.

Delicious Flavors of Africa-inspired Dishes (plus plenty for less adventurous eaters).  I wanted to try everything, but had to settle for about a dozen different things to taste before I couldn’t eat another bite.  Our whole group of seven (included varying degrees of pickiness) walked away happy when we had breakfast at Tusker House one morning last year.

Daisy Fans Rejoice – She’s pretty special and if you want to meet her in a park, the lines are often very long (and cut off quickly).  In Tusker House, you’ll have her complete and undivided attention for a few minutes…very sweet!  I love her long eyelashes!

Tusker House Cons

Need a Park Ticket to Dine – Maybe because you have to enter Animal Kingdom to dine at Tusker House it makes it easier to get a reservation there than at Chef Mickey’s.  Seems to me demand is always higher at Chef Mickey’s.

Buffet Area gets Congested – This is basically due to nobody listening to instructions, but it happens anyway.  The hosts and hostesses explain up front that the design of the buffet is to encourage guests to walk up and help themselves to whatever looks delicious.  In reality, nobody does that, everyone forms lines.

Are you a fan of character dining?  Have you been to both Chef Mickey’s and Tusker House?  Which did you prefer?