My Disney Mother’s Day Experience

Sometimes, when your kids prove that they’ve been listening and learning the best things in life from you it’s pretty magical.  It’s what we hope for during all of that other stuff…you know…potty training, ballgames, homework, dance lessons, laundry, nagging, emergency room visits, late-night-worrying, and the rest.  Parenting mistakes were made to be sure – some big, some small.  Turns out, in spite of all that, kids can turn out to be very awesome humans in spite of your having had no manual for raising them.  Our children are adults now and on Mother’s Day, they went all out to give me an experience I’ll never forget.Disney Mother's Day Experience

It started Saturday night as Megan, Grant, Joseph, Lyndsey, Raymond and I were out at a party for our nephew’s upcoming wedding.  Joseph and Megan told me that when the party was over, they were both spending the night at our house.  Knowing we were planning to run together in the morning, I thought this was just a fun and happy convenience.  I envisioned staying up watching movies and hanging out.  They had other plans and I was told to go to bed.  Never one to pass up the opportunity for a good night’s rest and only a little disappointed, I did as I was told and wondered what they might be up to.

My Disney Mother’s Day Experience

Sunday morning, everything looked the way it had when I went to bed.  We grabbed some breakfast and hit the road for our weekly long run.  I was still clueless what the rest of the day would hold.  When we got home, I played outside with Junior for a while, took a shower, and was informed at that time to “stay out of the kitchen”.  This was going to be challenging!  The kitchen is very much the heart of our home.  I love to cook and when we’re all together, we tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  Together.  I turned on the TV, found a movie, and settled in to wait.  From time to time, I secretly took pictures of what I could see of the kitchen action (there were some serious game-faces).My Disney Mother's Day Experience

There was a LOT of activity going on in the kitchen.  To keep me out, I was served my favorite Epcot beer, Innis & Gunn, in a Rose & Crown pint glass.  After a while, I was brought a big spread of cheese, crackers, spreads, and prosciutto.  Junior faithfully stayed by my side, but it wasn’t easy.  For either of us.  The WAITING!  The MYSTERY!

Raymond, who’d been working outside for most of the afternoon, came in and set the dining room table.  I asked for someone to bring me a bottle of water and the response from Joseph was, “I can’t right this second, I’m flambéing something.”  Now I was imagining flames shooting everywhere and the potential for catastrophe, because, hey!  It’s what moms do, right?  I stayed right where I was (I should get major points for that) and before long, dinner was served.

The made-from-scratch bread looked familiar and when I found out there was a dipping sauce made from a Guinness reduction, I was on to them!  We were eating food from Raglan Road!!!  This Disney Springs restaurant has been one of our all time favorites for many years.  We have had so many great dinners there!  Those memories are precious to me and clearly Megan and Joseph know it.  I was blown away and very excited to sit down and dig in.  (Clearly, in my excitement I was unable to take a clear picture of the bread.)

My Disney Mother's Day ExperienceAside from Irish Brown Bread, there was an incredible Cashel Blue Cheese Salad with fresh raspberry vinaigrette, Lamb Pasta Ragout (this dish has like 17 different ingredients) and finally, Traditional Bread and Butter Pudding for dessert (incredible!).  Pictures do NOT do this meal justice.  My Disney Mother's Day ExperienceIt was ALL so delicious!!!  Joseph as master chef with Megan as his sous chef spent five hours cooking up this amazing meal…just for me.  After we finished eating, I received The Raglan Road Cookbook as a gift.My Disney Mother's Day Experience

From their earliest childhood, we tried to teach our children to value experiences over things.  It’s a fact: Creating happy memories will mean more in life than accumulating stuff.  I think they learned exactly what we intended and I couldn’t be more proud.  (Thank you Megan and Joseph!  I love you!!!)



Disney at Home – Duplicating Recipes

The Wave EntrancePart of (I should really say much of) our Disney vacation happiness is about the food.  Favorite restaurants, favorite dishes, trying new places – oh, boy, do we love to eat at Walt Disney World!  What’s best about all this dining is when a particular dish really surprises us.

Disney at Home – Duplicating Recipes

Last December when Raymond and I were on our post-Christmas R&R, I booked dinner at The Wave (Contemporary Resort) for our last night.  I knew we’d be tired and want to be close to our room at Bay Lake Tower.  We’d never eaten in The Wave before, but had enjoyed snacks and cocktails in the lounge more than once.  We knew the food would be good and were looking forward to the relaxing atmosphere.The Wave Menu

As expected, we were exhausted, but had been having a fantastic trip.  We arrived for our last dinner practically sleeping on our feet.  If you’ve never been to The Wave before, it’s a lot like being in a cellar – no windows, cozy if a bit dark.  The service is absolutely top notch.  We ordered soup for an appetizer and, if I remember correctly, we both ordered fish for our entrees.  I’m positive we ordered a bottle of wine from the cocktail menu.The Wave Menu Cover

The soup was a most pleasant surprise and made the entire meal for us.  In fact, it was one of the most delicious soups we’d ever had.  The ultimate comfort food – creamy soup full of sausage, gnocchi, and spinach.  As we were exchanging Mmmmmm’s, I made the offhanded comment that I could probably recreate this amazing deliciousness at home.  We enjoyed the rest of our dinner, made the short walk back to Bay Lake Tower and crashed.  The next morning we headed for home.

Fast forward about at week and Raymond says, “Hey!  Weren’t you going to try to make that soup?”.  Yes!  I had planned on that and I made my grocery list right then and there.  I’ve cooked Disney dishes at home before, but always found a recipe online to use.  This time I didn’t even search for a recipe, I made it up as I went.  How hard could it be?The Wave Soup Recreation in Progress

Turns out not really hard at all.  I stared by browning spicy Italian sausage which I drained and set aside.  While the sausage was browning (I added red pepper flakes to make it spicier), I defrosted, squeezed dry, and food-processed a package of frozen spinach (the food processing part was a total waste of time).  After that I whipped up a simple roux of butter and flour.  Then I stirred in a healthy amount of both chicken broth and real live honest to goodness cream.The Wave Soup Recreation Begins

I added the spinach and sausage and one store-bought package of gnocchi to the pot and let it all cook together for about half an hour.  This gave the gnocchi time to become soft and all the flavors to blend together.  While all that was going on, I toasted up some garlic bread as an accompaniment.  The original version from The Wave had a crunchy toasted cheese topping which I’ll try to recreate in the future.The Wave Soup IngredientsThe Wave Soup Recreated

While the soups didn’t look exactly the same, the flavors were nearly identical.  I was very proud of my soup!  I will most definitely be making it again as soon as the weather starts to cool off a little in the fall.

Have you made a Disney dish at home?  What’s your favorite Disney recipe?

Disney’s Polynesian – Tonga Toast in Kona Café

Disney’s Polynesian – Tonga Toast in Kona Café

by: Nick

Have you ever tried Tonga Toast, which can be found at the Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Resort?



Tonga Toast is a classic, as it has been served at the Polynesian since 1971. It’s sourdough bread, stuffed with banana and deep fried.

It’s served with a delicious Stawberry Compote.

I first had this delicious entree almost 20 years ago, and I’ve only had it twice, mostly because it’s a bit of a trip to get to the Poly for breakfast, but we may have to put it into regular rotation.

The recipe from Magical Recipes:

Tonga Toast
  1. 2 or 4 slices sourdough bread, cut 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
  2. 1 banana
  3. 1/3 cup sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1/4 cup milk
  7. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  8. oil or shortening for frying
  9. whipped butter and/or syrup
    Strawberry Compote
  10. 10 large strawberries
  11. 1/4 cup sugar
  12. 1 teaspoon vanilla
Tonga Toast
  1. Cut a 1-inch pocket in one side of each bread slice.
  2. Cut banana in half crosswise, then split each piece lengthwise.
  3. Remove peel and stuff 2 pieces of fruit in each pocket of bread; set aside.
  4. Mix sugar and cinnamon; set aside.
  5. Mix well the egg, milk and vanilla.
  6. Heat about 4 inches of oil in a pan to 350 degrees F.
  7. Dip stuffed bread into egg/milk mixture and let it soak a few seconds to let penetrate bread.
  8. Fry bread on both sides in hot oil until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  9. Drain on paper towels or wire rack.
  10. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve.
    Strawberry Compote
  11. Slice 6 strawberries and place in small pot.
  12. Add sugar and vanilla, stir.
  13. Cook over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes until mixtures starts to boil.
  14. Place 4 sliced strawberries in a blender or food processor.
  15. Add cooked strawberry mixture and blend until smooth.
  16. Serve warm or cold.

Is Tonga Toast one of your favorite Disney dishes?

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My Disney New Year’s Resolutions 2015

RM-Happy-New-Year-2015Happy New Year!  Thanks for stopping by. Let me take this opportunity to tell you how much it means to me that you are taking time out of your day to visit.

Last year was the first time I ever made New Year’s resolutions.  Normally, I don’t believe in them.  I think if you want to make a change, you should just do it.  Why wait? Why ruin a perfectly good reason to celebrate with crazy plans for losing weight, getting in shape, or being nicer?  Life changes are best made when it’s time and individually, we all have to be ready and know when the time is right.  So, for my first foray into the world of resolutions, I made them based on my passion – Disney!  And you know what?  It was a brilliant idea for me.  I was able to follow the plan.  I did indeed do each and every thing I set out to do (read those resolutions here).  Except for one recipe and the fact that I expected to like #9 at least a little, they went really well!  On the heels of that success, I decided to use the exact same format for this year’s commitments.  Don’t mess with success – it’s a great motto!

So without further ado, I give you…

My Disney New Year’s Resolutions 2015:

1. See These Movies:RM-Cinderella-Movie-Poster

  • Cinderella (3/13)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (5/1)
  • Tomorrowland (5/22)
  • Inside Out (6/19)
  • Ant-Man (7/17)
  • The Jungle Book (10/9)
  • The Good Dinosaur (11/25)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (12/18)

Mural in Maelstrom / World Showcase / Epcot2. Take a Cruise – Last year’s #2 was “Book a Cruise”, so now it’s time to set sail!  In June, The Fam and I will fly to Copenhagen to board the Disney Magic for a cruise through the fjords of Norway.  Whatcha wanna bet there’s a bunch of Frozen tie-ins on that cruise? ‘S okay, we’ve braced ourselves.  Adventure is out there!  Stand by for more on this as the port excursions become available for booking. Of course, I’ll report back on all the deets!

3. Complete a runDisney Event or Three:  Glass Slipper Challenge, here I come.  In addition, based on my very own husband’s advice, I’m registered for the Disney Princess 5k.  Yes, I’m planning to run a 5k, 10k, and a half marathon over three days – sounds easy compared to the Dopey Challenge, doesn’t it?

4. Make More Disney Friends!  You guys are GREAT!  Many of you who regularly read this blog, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and listen to…see #7, have become like family to me.  I know I’ll get the opportunity to meet some of you in February when I’m touring the World completing resolution #3.  If you are going to be at Walt Disney World during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend, holler!

5. Try These Restaurants:

  • Kona Café:  I’ve even stayed at the Polynesian Village Resort before, but have never eaten at the Kona Café.  I hear it’s not to be missed!
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse (Yacht Club Resort):  I’ve never been to the Yacht Club, but I’ve heard raving reviews about the Steakhouse.  I’d like to see how it compares to another popular steak place, Le Cellier (Epcot, Canada Pavilion).
  • Il Mulino (The Swan):  It’s Italian and I love Italian food.  Since the last time I ate at Tutto Italia in Epcot was a huge disappointment, I’m pining for some delicious Italian fare on Walt Disney World property.  I have high hopes.IMG_2320

6. Find and Trade for The Missing Pin:  It’s the Toy Story Midway Mania pin set and I’m missing the beaver pin.  I don’t know how realistic this goal is, but maybe if a few of you fellow pin fanatics are on the lookout, you could help me find my missing pin.

TheDisneyExchangeLogo7. Work on My Podcasting Skills:  As you may or may not be aware, just two short weeks ago, I became a podcast host!  Blogging and podcasting are often mutually exclusive, but I fancy myself a master of multi-tasking and hey, when you have as much to say about Disney as I do, it’s a lot easier to talk than to write.  Not only that, but my co-hosts, Nick and Dave, are just awesome guys who love Disney as much as I do!  Please give The Disney Exchange a listen and let me know what you think.  Too long?  Too short?  Too broad? Too specific?  What topics would you like to hear us discuss?

8. Try These Recipes:

  • Tonga Toast (Kona Café):  World famous breakfast food!  Found the recipe here.
  • Jiko’s Macaroni and Cheese:  We love Jiko!  I usually make risotto when Raymond grills his famously delicious steaks, but a bed of Mac & Cheese would be awesome and if it tastes like Jiko’s?  Perfection!  Here’s the recipe.
  • Irish Brown Bread with Guinness Reduction:  Whoa!  If I can pull this off, I will be a hero.  The Fam loves Raglan Road and the bread and dipping sauce are certainly part of why we love it!  Here’s the recipe.

9. Taste a Citrus Swirl – Last year’s #9 was to try a Dole Whip for the first time.  If you missed seeing how that turned out, watch the video here.  I’m not ruling out the chance that I may enjoy something Dole Whip-ish, so I’m going to give the Citrus Swirl a try.  We shall see.

10. Make More and Better Videos – Last year, this resolution was to take more and better pictures.  I’m pretty happy with the result of those efforts.  Now it’s time to work on my video skills.  Between my GoPro and iPhone, I’m pretty sure I’ll have at least a few new Disney vacation videos to share with you in 2015.

There they are!  Now it’s your turn!  Did any of these resolutions make it onto your list?  What Disney plans are on your 2015 calendar?