I’ve Got ONE Superpower and it’s Disney-related!

If you take your organizational skills for granted, stop it!  Right now.  Some of us are born with skill-sets completely lacking in anything that remotely resembles orderliness.  I am one of those people.  Organization escapes me.  Not that I can’t do it, it just doesn’t bring me joy or even the tiniest bit of satisfaction.  “A place for everything and everything in its place.” – What does that even mean?  The concept is completely lost on me.  Forget the KonMari Method…I find clutter to be oddly soothing in a way I’ll never be able to explain.I've Got ONE Superpower and it's Disney-related!

I’m not lazy, I simply choose to focus my efforts on things that are rewarding.  Things like cooking, running, reading, random craft projects (hello, countdown calendars and stateroom door decorations), and learning new things.  I don’t mind grocery shopping or vacuuming or giving Junior a bath, but I’d rather visit the dentist than actually tidy anything.  I’m also a terrible procrastinator, but that’s because I really do work better under pressure most of the time.  Now that you know some of my worst character flaws, you’d think it would be difficult for me to pull off a successful Disney vacation, right?  Ha!  Turns out ALL of my normally non-existent organizational ability awakens with laser-like focus when it’s time to make trip plans.I've Got ONE Superpower and it's Disney-related!

I’ve Got ONE Superpower and it’s Disney-related!

I can plan a Disney vacation with military precision.  I often begin the process a year (or more) in advance and no detail is too small to escape consideration.  I make lists and scour the internet for new restaurant and attraction reviews.  I have not a single qualm about booking scores of dining reservations 180 days in advance.  I plan park arrival times, park-hopping options and know exactly what the park hours will be each day.  I even plan to be unplanned for big blocks of time because some of our happiest vacation moments have occurred during those hours.

Honey, where IS my super suit?

I plan food kiosks to try during Epcot’s festivals.  I make notes about what craft beers are available where.  Our FastPasses are booked during the first moments of the 60-day window and I even have a carefully considered strategy for those choices as well.  Packing lists?  You betcha!  It matters not if there are only two of us traveling or more than half-a-dozen, I’m up to the challenge.  The planning brings me nearly as much joy as the actual vacation and this may sound weird, but I’m not bothered in the slightest if after we’ve arrived for our vacation things don’t go precisely as planned.  Hurricane Matthew comes to mind…our plans were completely blown for a day and a half and we still had SO MUCH FUN!I've Got ONE Superpower and it's Disney-related!

Mention the possibility of a Disney getaway to me and I spring out of a virtual phone booth ready to get to work.  I can’t explain how or why these über-organizational tendencies appear only for trip-planning, but as far as superpowers go, I’m not complaining.  I’m busily working right now on three up-coming visits to Walt Disney World and a Disney cruise.  If my family is bothered by any of this, they love me enough to keep it to themselves.

How about you?  Do you have a Disney superpower? 

Disney Dining – 50’s Prime Time Café

50's-Prime-Time-Cafe-MenuLet’s be honest – Disney’s Hollywood Studios is our least favorite park restaurant-wise.  The counter service options leave a lot to be desired and table service dining is generally underwhelming.  A couple of exceptions being the Hollywood Brown Derby’s patio dining and 50’s Prime Time Café.  One is perfect for some delish snacks or light meal and a glass of wine, the other is great for some classic American comfort food in an awesome mid-century setting.

Raymond and I recently enjoyed lunch at the 50’s Prime Time Café (we hadn’t been there in years) and were tickled by the kitschy décor, the 1950’s TV show clips, the funky service, and the home-cooked-meal menu.  For one table-service credit on the Disney Dining Plan, Prime Time’s a great choice for families and those of us old enough to appreciate the nostalgia.

Disney Dining – 50’s Prime Time Café50's-Prime-Time-Cafe-Christmas-Tree

We arrived a few minutes before our reservation, checked in at the podium and were free to roam around the waiting area.  Because it was the week between Christmas and New Year, the crowds were extreme and finding a place to sit was impossible.  Raymond found a quiet corner to stand in and I wondered around taking in the adorable seasonal decorations and homey atmosphere.  We didn’t wait long before we were called to be seated.50's-Prime-Time-Cafe-Wall-Decorations

If you haven’t heard about 50’s Prime Time Café, it is one of the unique Disney restaurants that creates a total immersion experience.  You are propelled back into a typical home in the 1950’s – complete with a grown-up (your server) making sure you mind your manners, eat your veggies, and have a good time.  50's-Prime-Time-Cafe-WaitressI couldn’t stop looking around!  I kept spotting things I grew up with either in our house or at an aunt’s, uncles, or grandparents’.  On my previous visit, I did not take the time to appreciate the carefully curated artifacts!50's-Prime-Time-Decor

The menu mainly consists of plain old American fare – popular dishes once the mainstay of those long-ago dinners where the entire family gathered around the dinner table together and talked to each other.  Back in the days when kids were called in from playing outdoors to wash up and dinner hit the table promptly at 6:00 pm.  No smart phones or cable TV…just hearty food prepared without benefit of a microwave oven.  Hard to imagine isn’t it?50's-Prime-Time-Dining-Room

Raymond and I decided to share an appetizer and entrée so we’d have more room for the dinner reservation we had that evening.  We chose the “Fried Herb and Garlic Cheese served with Raspberry Sauce, Grapes, and Apples” for $8.99 and “A Sampling of Mom’s Favorite Recipes -Golden-fried Chicken, Fork Tender Pot Roast, and Traditional Meatloaf with all the fixings” for $21.99.  50's-Prime-Time-Fried-CheeseThe appetizer was just okay…we ate it, but probably wouldn’t order it again.  I’m guessing it was the raspberry sauce which struck me as very artificial tasting.  The entrée was excellent!  50's-Prime-Time-EntreeThis place knows how to make fried chicken, pot roast, and meatloaf!  They all tasted exactly the way we wanted them to.  The veggies were great too (and I got all the green beans!)!

We think 50’s Prime Time Café is a great place for a hearty meal.  If you have meat-and-potatoes fans in your family, they’re sure to find something enjoyable on the menu and if you grew up in or just after the 1950’s, you’ll feel right at home.  It’s a fun time-travel experience for everyone!

What’s your pick for best table service restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?  Have you eaten at 50’s Prime Time Café?  What did you think?





Can Walt Disney World be Romantic?

Magic-Kingdom-Boat-Dock-SelfieI was listening to the latest episode of one of my favorite Disney podcasts, Mighty Men of Mouse, (if you don’t already listen to Dutch, Kip, and Russ, you should) and found myself pretty fired up about an article the guys were discussing.  The article’s author, Brooke, proposed that young couples who consider a Disney World vacation a romantic getaway are ridiculous and should be mocked…reviled even.  I wonder does Brooke realize how many honeymoons are spent at Disney resorts?  I pity her refusal to see Disney World as anything but fast food, lame attractions, screaming children, and sweating.  Shame on you Brooke – you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Can Walt Disney World be Romantic?

(From the Merriam-Webster online dictionary) Simple Definition of romantic

  • : of, relating to, or involving love between two people

  • : making someone think of love : suitable for romance

  • : thinking about love and doing and saying things to show that you love someoneClam-mobile-selfie

Even though I’m a baby boomer and not a millennial, I feel I have the experience with both Disney World and romance to make a few observations of my own.  I’m certainly secure in both my adultness (if that’s not a word, it should be) and my nearly 28-year long romance with the same man (and absolute love of my life).  While we might not consciously think “Oh, we should do THIS, it’ll be SO romantic”, we have enjoyed (and plan to continue enjoying) many romantic moments at Walt Disney World – a place we DO consider perfect for a romantic getaway.

With Valentine’s Day just two days away, this is a great time to share some suggestions (in case you, like Brooke, have a difficult time envisioning the more grown-up side of Disney) for adding romance to your next Disney vacation.EPCOT_BACKSIDE 4_7072200359

Share – There’s something romantic to me about sharing dessert.  Nothing says “I love you” like offering up the first or last bite of something delicious, rich, and decadent.  Or an appetizer or snack even.  With so many wonderful flavors to try at Disney World, this has become one of our favorite things to do!  In Epcot’s World Showcase, there are sweet and savory treats perfect for sharing in every country.Bay-Lake-Tower-Sunrise

Take in a sunset (or sunrise) – At home during our busy workweek, we are rarely together for either of these two daily events, but at Disney World, it’s a different story.  Florida dawns and dusks are spectacular.  If we have an evening dining reservation, we try to plan our route to the restaurant to take advantage of the view.  Sunrise or sunset spent in quiet contemplation with your favorite person on Earth?  Very romantic!RM-Enchanted-10K-Sunrise

Grab a quiet moment – There are plenty of places to avoid crowds and yes, screaming children too, for a few minutes of solitude.  It’s easy to get swept up in doing all the rides and attractions and forget the simple joy found in discovering a secluded corner from which to watch the World go by together.  We like Tomorrowland’s PeopleMover, the benches in World Showcase facing the lagoon, and the beaches on Seven Seas Lagoon (for enjoying Wishes from afar or watching the Electrical Water Pageant float by).  Some of our favorite memories are of enjoying a glass of wine together at some of our favorite Disney lounges.RM-Brown-Derby-Patio-Wine

Go on a date – So many romantic options available!  Couples massage at the Senses Spa (Disney’s Grand Floridian), dinner at one of Disney’s amazing Signature restaurants, or even a Segway tour at Fort Wilderness can be romantic because we’re together doing something new, special and unique.  We’ve splurged on specialty wine-pairings during Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival and had a wonderful time at each.  One thing we’ve never tried, but think would be amazingly romantic is one of Disney World’s Specialty Cruises.  Top date-night favorites for Raymond and I include Jiko (Animal Kingdom Lodge), California Grill (Disney’s Contemporary Resort), and Citricos (Grand Floridian Resort and Spa).RM-California-Grill-Patron

Take a walk – The places to explore are endless (hand-holding optional).  We love strolling along the Boardwalk and around Epcot’s World Showcase.  One day we took some time to explore Fort Wilderness (before and after our Segway tour) and had such a great time!  The walkway between Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and the Grand Floridian is very special and romantic.  We purchased a “Walk Around the World Brick” way back in 1996 – following the path from Magic Kingdom towards the Grand Floridian, we can locate our little piece of the World and remember how buying that brick was so hard on our finances back when Megan was four and Joseph was one.  IMG_1981We are also reminded of how much we love each other and our now all-grown-up children and what wonderful, magical memories we’ve made at Disney World through the years.  To me, there’s nothing more romantic than that.

*Sorry for all the cheesy, lovey-dovey pictures! Due to today’s subject, it could not be avoided*

It’s your turn!  Has Disney World been a place for romance in your life?  Or is it just a sweaty amusement park full of screaming kids, fast food, and not-so-thrilling rides?





Disney World – Chosen for Extra Security Screening

Epcot in SummerYou may have heard about Walt Disney World’s new park security screening involving the use of walk-through metal detectors.  In December of 2015, Disney began to randomly screen guests entering Disney World’s four parks.  Initially, this screening is (was?) being conducted by a third party company until Disney is able to hire, train and implement their own in-house screening process.  Certainly for many Disney fans, this latest reminder of the outside reality of mass shootings and other acts of violence signaled a certain loss of innocence for Disney World and Disney park guests – an intrusion on the carefully crafted magic that makes a Disney vacation particularly special.  I have something to say about this based on recent experience.

I’ll admit it – when I first heard about metal detectors being installed near the bag-check areas of Disney World parks I was sad.  The units would detract from the beauty of the park entrances, the reminder of the real world would negatively impact my enjoyment of the Disney Bubble.  Heck, the lines would move slower and take much longer.  Nothing good would come of this…except safety and added peace of mind, that is.  This is the world we live in today.  How horrible would it be if our favorite vacation destination became tainted with tragedy?  I’m all for this new security screening and, after having experienced it myself, can tell you it is absolutely no big deal.Chosen-One-Pin

I was chosen for extra security screening.  Raymond and I came down the monorail ramp, making our way to the entrance for Epcot.  As is our custom, Raymond went on through the entrance for guests without bags while I headed for the bag-check area.  Once my bag had been inspected, I started forward looking for Raymond when I security guard addressed me by saying, “You’ve been chosen for extra security screening, Princess, please step this way.”  I was asked to place my bag on a table and step through a metal detector (with no wait).  I retrieved my bag and was on my way in mere seconds.  This was no major inconvenience – nor even a minor one.  It was a less than a minute of time and absolutely no big deal.  The screening personnel were professional yet friendly and being called “Princess” didn’t hurt my feelings either.Disney-World-Security-Screening

I’ve heard much feedback on social media about Disney’s newest security measures.  Many remarks involve mixed feelings and criticisms about the process.  I’m all for anything necessary to keep my family and our memories safe.  I hope Disney continues to develop and implement whatever screening processes are necessary in the volatile and complex world we’re living in today.

What are your thoughts on the new Disney World metal detectors?  Should Disney be doing more?  Is this newest protocol too much?  Please leave a comment.