Located in the new Pandora area of Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Walt Disney World
Brief view of the Banshee Rookery where you can purchase your very own Banshee.
Located in the new Pandora area of Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Walt Disney World
Brief view of the Banshee Rookery where you can purchase your very own Banshee.
Just wanted to share a photo I took at the Country Bear Jamboree show. There is no flash photography allowed, but as you can see you can still get good photos without a flash.
It is a cute show, funny too. The songs are kinda ridiculous, but in a good way. It is really bizarre. The song “Blood on the Saddle” that Big Al sings is especially odd, it was written by Tex Ritter, who is John Ritter’s father (John Ritter as you probably remember was Jack Tripper from Three’s Company), just a bit of useless trivia.
If you haven’t ever seen the show, you should check it out. This is a short clip of one of the characters.
Tucked inside Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness, you will find Crockett’s Tavern. It’s a small bar that serves beer, wine, mixed drinks, as well as some food. It is strictly bar seating, there are roughly 8 seats available if my memory serves. Their menu is limited, but it is a satisfying nonetheless. We enjoy their pizza and chicken wings, and we’ll come here just for pizza and beer sometimes. They are open until about 10 pm each night. For Disney food their prices are pretty good, a large cheese pizza is about $15 before tax and tip.
The pizza itself has a thick crust, the dough is slightly biscuit-y, the sauce and cheese is good, and it’s really filling. I can usually only eat two slices. Their chicken wings are huge, they don’t separate the pieces, so you have a wing/leg combo. Their blue cheese is really good. I’ve been known to dip my pizza crust (for families with dogs, this is often called a pizza bone) in blue cheese.
Crockett’s Tavern Menu:
Smoke-House Nachos – with Shredded Beef Brisket, House-blended Cheese, Salsa, Pickle Jalapeno, and Chive Sour Cream $11.49
Uncle John’s Taters – A blend of Fried Peppers, Onions, and Potato Skins tossed with Parmesan Cheese, and topped with Chive Sour Cream and Green Onions $11.99
Chicken Wings – with Celery Sticks and Blue Cheese Dressing served with your choice of Buffalo, Garlic-Parmesan, or Honey Barbecue Sauce $9.49
Smoked Cheese-stuffed Jalapeno – Wrapped in Campfire Bacon with Peach-Pepper Jelly $7.99
Cheese Pizza $13.99
Pepperoni Pizza $15.49
There have a couple beers on draft, usually a seasonal Sam Adams and Yuengling, other beers available in the bottle, and a full bar.
If bar food isn’t your thing, Trail’s End offers a full dinner buffet.
The Fort Wilderness settlement area is off the beaten path and surrounded by lovely pine trees. If you are there during the day, you can see some of the ponies over at Triple D Ranch, you can watch fireworks from the lakeside, you can also watch the Electric Water Pageant. There are even wagon rides (I believe adults wagon ride is about $8 each) and carriage rides available (I believe they are $45+).
Do you have a favorite restaurant or bar at Disney? A favorite comfort food?
Pressed Pennies are a great affordable Disney collectible, there are many different designs, and many different machines located on Disney property. The cost of a pressed penny souvenir is 51 cents. You will need two quarters and one penny, you’ll get the penny back once it is pressed. These are great for adults and children alike, anyone who enjoys Disney collectibles.
Each machine usually offers three different designs, you may come across some machines that offer four designs. Some machines have to be hand-cranked – and the selection of the design has to be pre-aligned to the one you want before you start cranking. If you are going to use the manual hand-cranked machine be sure to double check you have the right design at the arrow pointer before you insert your money and start cranking. For the automatic style machines, like the one pictured above, you simply press the button for the design you want.
The variety of designs is amazing – you will be surprised at just how many different ones there are, and at about 50 cents each, it is the most affordable collectible Disney offers.
If you want to get fancy with it, Disney sells pressed penny books in their gift shops. With the book, you can organize and store your pennies.
I carry around an Altoids box in my purse that is filled with quarters and pennies in case I see something I want. I’ve read that the newer pennies are silver colored when smashed, if you want a solid copper penny you should search through your pennies for something from 1984 and before – these were solid copper. You can probably see the differences in penny colors from a few of them in my photo, some look streaked with silver.
Next time you visit Walt Disney World be sure to look around for these Penny Machines. Happy Collecting!
If you ever get tired of the same old Disney vacation, try finding some of the smaller places on Disney property. Places like this, the Muddy Rivers Pool Bar, which is located on Ol’ Man Island at Port Orleans Riverside Resort at Walt Disney World Florida. This outside bar is great, it’s surrounded by trees and water, the bar is conveniently located pool side.
What is great about visiting some of the out of the way places at Disney World is that they aren’t so crowded so even if it’s a Friday or Saturday night, most people are congregating in Disney Springs and the Theme Parks.
When the weather is right, this outside bar is a perfect spot for relaxing. I ordered a frozen favorite – a Piña Colada, a mixture of coconut milk, rum, and pineapple. Price $8.75 before tax and tip.
A Deluxe Studio at the Villas at The Grand Floridian Resort is one of the best deluxe studio accommodations you can get on Disney property. Depending on personal preference, some may argue it is the best (for the deluxe studio category), based on location, proximity to Magic Kingdom, monorail access, upscale amenities, plus factoring in the room decor, large flatscreen tv, newness, extra large bathroom that has a spa shower as well as full bath, kitchenette, and can sleep 5 (couch folds out into a bed, and there is a murphy bed). I love the tile work and interior design, their choices of fabrics and colors really make me feel comfortable and relaxed. There is also some Mary Poppins themed artwork in the room, which ties in the the Mary Poppins Penguin Fountain in the Grand Floridian Villas lobby.
The Grand Floridian Resort is the feather in Disney’s Cap, it is rated 4 Diamond’s by AAA. It is also home of Victoria and Albert’s a restaurant of distinction, which has been rated by AAA Five Diamonds as well as other glowing reviews and highest ratings from guides, making it a true gourmand’s delight. But, most people aren’t coming here just for V&A, 99% of guests are here for a Disney Vacation, for theme parks, thrills, good eats, character hugs and autographs, and more. They have a great pool area, with quick service food and bar, and they have a new kids splash and play area in Alice in Wonderland/Mad Hatter theme.
If your travels take you to Walt Disney World, keep in mind there are many different accommodations available, and you don’t need to spend a lot on a room to still have a great vacation. But from one Disney fan to another, this is something to put on your bucket list.
Looking for healthier alternatives at Walt Disney World? You can usually find salmon on the menu at most places. At Artist Point a dish like this (below) will run about $40. Unfortunately, the side dish here changes with the seasons, and the bed of greens/arugula wasn’t a great choice for a $40 dinner. Looking back now, we should have asked for an alternative side dish, and I’m sure they would have given a choice of something else.
This meal is from Columbia Harbor House and is about $13, for the price, it’s pretty decent. You can ask for double broccoli if you do not want the couscous, get your extra dose of vitamins!
The salmon from Sunshines Seasons, is also priced about $13, it comes with green beans. The sauce is made from tomato and onion and it went well with the salmon. You could choose to get plain if you prefer. Overall, this was a really nice quick service meal.
This last example is from ABC Commissary. The portion seems a little small on the fish, but the whole salad was filling. I wasn’t hungry after eating the whole thing. Fish was nicely done for quick service. The dressing was a little too tangy. This one cost about $12. As with all Disney menus, you may find they change the menu and switch up the dish. At ABC Commissary they now have an Asian salad with choice of protein, so it’s going to look different than this one here.
(from my disneyforaday.wordpress.com blog)
I recommend trying the quick service meals, as they are portioned decently and priced a lot lower than the table service meals. While they may not be gourmet – they certainly are better than average fried junk food.
Ever been faced with deciding whether or not to ride on certain rides? I think a lot of people are faced with a fear of certain rides, roller coasters come to mind, perhaps the Tower of Terror? Soarin’? I think this is still common among a lot of adults, it’s not just children at all.
I really enjoy trying new rides, but some look too intense – Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Everest…
I’ve had a really bad time on some rides, in particular Kumba at Busch Gardens pretty much ruined my desire to go on any type of coaster at all. My head got bashed from side to side on the safety harness bars. It was horrible.
I made the mistake of going on Primeval Whirl at Animal Kingdom. I was scared, the ride spun so much and I felt like I was being pushed out of the seat while simultaneously being squeezed to death.
A while back we tried Soarin’. I had such anxiety before going on the ride, while on it I felt uncomfortable in the seat, like I was not seated securely enough. While I was glad that I did ride on it, I did not feel like it was something I would like to do again anytime soon.
Since then I’ve went on some “kiddie” rides and enjoyed them, like Aladdin’s Carpets, Flying Dumbo, Goofy’s Barnstormer and even the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train! The Barnstormer is only about a 63 second ride, some parts are a little rough, but I laughed a lot and had a smile when I got off the ride, so that’s good. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is about a 2 minute ride and was pretty smooth, with some G forces around the bends, the ride went fast – slow – fast – slow, and was fun, also was smiling as it pulled into the station.
I have had conversations with others about which types of rides they like or don’t, and it is not uncommon at all for someone to be apprehensive about certain rides. Some friends don’t like heights, some don’t like things that spin in circles, some don’t like fast rides, some don’t like inversions, or drops, or too much movement. For a lot of people it’s not really a fear, per se, of the ride, it’s more about how the ride effects them, like dizziness, nausea, pain or discomfort. It’s okay if you don’t want to ride something, chances are – you aren’t the only one. For instance, Star Tours is just too jerky for my taste.
Luckily, Disney has a variety of rides and shows to suite most anyone’s sensibilities, and if you feel like you might want to get out of your comfort zone you can always ask others about their ride experience. These days you can even watch YouTube videos of most rides – this is a great, safe, way to experience the essence of a ride without any of the negative side effects.
Is there a ride that you just won’t go on? Ever conquered a fear of a certain ride?
We just tried Morimoto Asia and I wanted to do a short review.
Atmosphere. While the place was nice and new, I liked some aspects of the modern design, but not others. There is an industrial feel to it that makes me feel uncomfortable. We had to dine in the bar area because it was too late for regular dinner. Their bar area isn’t designed well, most of the seating is on small hard wood stools around small high top tables, the stool was uncomfortable and slightly unstable, considering they just opened the restaurant in the last couple months, those chairs shouldn’t feel rickety. The late night menu consisted of sushi and appetizers mostly.
Prices. Some of the pricing is downright shocking. There are things on the menu for crazy/stupid high prices. Alcohol was definitely overpriced. This is not a place I would want to go to order sushi dinner and sake. A three ounce pour of sake was $12?! Most house sake is usually in the $10 for about 8 ounces. So at that price $12 for 3 ounces which is $4/ounce, 8 ounces would be comparable to $32. That is just outright ridiculous. We can easily go through 4 (10 oz.) bottles of sake at dinner with friends, so at a reasonable place also on Disney property that would be $40 (and our local place only charges $7.50 per 8 ounce carafe), at Morimoto Asia that would be $128 equivalently. They are pricing their sake like it’s hard liquor. No thanks. We asked if there was a house sake, and the waitress said that was the house brand. In other words, I won’t be having sake with sushi here, and that is pretty lame.
Food. Chicken Dumplings – skip it, for $10 for 4 dumplings, it wasn’t worth it. I’d guess it was the same for the pork or vegetable dumplings as well. The dipping sauce was tangy, I think it was a combination of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. These dumplings seemed like what I can buy at my local Asian Grocery, which I have made at home in a steamer basket at had similar results. I was hoping these would have been something more special. We like the chicken potstickers at Nine Dragons in Epcot better.
The sushi, I would recommend trying a roll or two, they were good. Portion was small-ish, about 6 pieces on most, some were 5 like the Soft Shell Crab roll. Overall the sushi tasted good, fresh. The wasabi seemed stronger than most places. They offer tempura crunch for a $2 up-charge, and they do offer white or brown rice for the roll. We stuck with white. I think I’ll probably go to Tokyo Dining instead since their sushi is just as good, cheaper, and their sake is also better priced. (Plus Epcot has fireworks at night, so that is a bonus.)
Service. Although eager to please, the service was not top notch. There were a lot of mistakes made. Lack of communication or common sense being the main source of all of the problems. Mistakes with sushi presentation, separate orders were just plated all together. Despite the lack of customers at this late hour, our service seemed extremely slow. Our bills were also made out incorrectly, it took 3 times to straighten it out and each time took about 5-10 minutes, and I’m not even sure if the first two tickets were voided properly. I’m going to have to check our credit card, which is a hassle. When a customer has to go through such hassle to get a bill corrected multiple times something isn’t right.
Overall. I would go back again to try a regular dinner service, however I’m my expectations have been considerably lowered, and my overall excitement about eating here is gone. Curiosity satisfied.
February 25, 2016
I had gotten a reservation for the DVC 25th Anniversary Party back at the beginning of February by calling Member Services. Luckily there was still space available at the time and I didn’t have any trouble. Although there was no fee for this event, space was limited.
Event check-in was simple, a section at the front gate was dedicated the Event entry, where they check your credentials and provide each attendee with a special wrist band. Event programs were provided as well, the program just outlined where the character meet and greets were and where the refreshment stands were set up, the location of the dance party, and which rides would be open. Party was scheduled to start at 9:30. Magic Kingdom officially closed at 9:00 pm to regular theme park guests. DVC attendees and their guests could enter as early as 7:00 pm and enjoy the whole park before the party started. Once the party started, Adventureland and Frontierland would be closed.
Magic Kingdom was crowded during the regular park hours, which is completely normal. We headed over to Adventureland, but stopped to watch the Castle projections for 5 minutes, then kept walking towards Pecos Bill’s. I was interested in trying something off the new menu, but the lines at Pecos Bill’s were really long; 4 registers open, but still at least 8 people deep at each line. No thanks. Decided to go to Columbia Harbor House instead. Got there, a few people blocking the entrance just trying to figure out if they were eating there or not, and asking the cast member at the door if they needed a reservation (internal monologue – “pfft, reservations, what are you talking about?!”). WDW must be confusing for newbies. Evasively walked past so they didn’t get in front of me and got in line. I’m grumpy when I’m hungry.
Ordered a Tuna Sandwich with Broccoli – yay! Was excited not to eat fries. Ordered a Clam Chowder to share, husband ordered the Salmon dinner. Went upstairs and got a table in the front section that overlooks Liberty Square. I had to eat very slowly as I have been dealing with tooth pain. Seemed like everyone around was wearing DVC party wrist bands.
Around 9:00 we headed right for The Haunted Mansion, to our surprise the line was already halfway through the graveyard section – this is much longer than we are used to, usually late at night the line is so short. Once we were actually the only two people in the stretching room – that was amazing, I’m going to remember that the rest of my life. We decided to just wait, we got in after 5-6 cycles, seemed like 15-20 minutes. When we left, we headed towards Fantasyland to see what was going on. The lines were long at Peter Pan…
There were some tables set up near the Carousel with loads of people crowding them, these were the refreshment tables and I couldn’t really get a good look at them.
We decided to walk further, we had just ate anyways, and we saw Prince John, Robin Hood, and Friar Tuck! These characters are pretty rare, I have never seen them in the parks before, and we really love that movie, so we got in line. We had to wait about 35 minutes, they had to take a short watering break for about 5 minutes. Overall it wasn’t that bad of a wait, they were really cute. I didn’t get to interact much, just get in place and smile for the camera and done. But, it was fun to watch them. Friar Tuck had been blessing people and making the sign of the cross. Prince John was kissing some hands.
Next, we walked over to the Be Our Guest area, more refreshment tables with no waiting. There were three kinds of potato chips, Baked Lays, Classic Lays, Miss Vickie’s BBQ Kettle Chips, chocolate chip and sugar cookies. Lemonade and Zephyrhills Water to drink. We helped ourselves to some Baked Lays and drinks and sat down. All the while just thinking about how incredibly cool this was to be there, all these people were DVC members (or guest of DVC members), wow. The weather was a little nippy but not too cold that it was causing any discomfort, we had enough layers on to keep warm.
We wanted to keep walking around and see what else was going on. We headed towards Gaston’s and saw an ice cream cart and the cast member was giving out FREE ice cream?! What?! We walked up to see if that was indeed the case, and sure enough, Free Mickey Bars, Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches, Mango and/or Strawberry bars! Wow. We excitedly asked for two Mickey Bars and then found a nice spot near Ariel’s ride to eat them. Nearby a castmember was giving out DVC 25th Anniversary buttons, so we each got a button, a nice keepsake to add to my button collection.
We then walked towards the Circus area, and saw there were a couple characters, which happened to be Darkwing Duck and Launchpad. Pretty neat, haven’t seen either one of them before in person. We still hadn’t seen the dance party, so we went over to Tomorrowland where the DJ was, and to my surprise I saw Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Goofy! All of them together, that was cool. I took a little video of them dancing.
Over towards Buzz Lightyear’s ride, we spotted Beymax! The line wasn’t very long here. He was so cute, especially when he was walking, he was taking such tiny steps, it was adorable.
We went back around through the center hub and went back to Haunted Mansion and saw the Cadaver Dans! Didn’t even know about them at all! I have never seen them before. When I got home I did some research and found out they only perform during the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and they roam around, which is probably why we have never seen them before. Definitely worth watching. Was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen at WDW.
We had a little time left before the fireworks at 11:30 pm, so we headed over to the center hub to pick a spot. As you can imagine, although it was still crowded when everyone gathered at the hub, it was a tiny fraction of the amount of people on any given day. We got a really close spot, the closest we’ve ever been! Check out the video of the fireworks here:
After the fireworks there was about 20 minutes left, we headed back to Haunted Mansion, grabbed an ice cream at the nearby cart and wandered around, while we were near the Seven Dwarf Mine Train, I had the urge to get in line, never been on it before! I had to ride solo, since my husband doesn’t like fast rides, plus since neither of us had ridden it, we didn’t know what to expect. So, I would be the one to test it out. With two minutes to midnight, I got in line and in less than 15 minutes got onto the ride. The line queue was really cool, loved the gems. The line queue itself was LONG, REALLY LONG. The ride itself only takes about 2 minutes, and it goes fast – slow – fast – slow. It’s kind of like Big Thunder Mountain, not really scary. I did manage to get video of the ride, but it was so dark you can’t really tell what is going on. It was fun, I got off the ride with a smile on my face. The guy in front of me in the car said that this was his 5th time riding it.
It was an incredible night, my feet are still killing me, we walked a lot, but had a lot of fun. Best part is there will be another party next week, we’re bringing two of our friends, I hope they have a fun time. I’m also curious if the characters will be the same or if they will be different? We’ll see.
Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.