Monday, May 27, 2013

The Color Run

Have you heard of the Color Run?

If not, watch this:

Basically, it's a 5K, and you get color thrown on you throughout the course.

Sounds like fun, right?

Not to me.

Here are my concerns and how I overcame them:

1.  It's called the Color Run.
I am too old, too fat, and too out of shape to run anywhere.  I don't run because I can't run.  Believe me, if I could run, I would totally do it.  However, at this point in my life, "run" is not in my vocabulary unless it pertains to diarrhea.  As in, "I have the runs."  Luckily, you don't really have to run.  You can walk at your own pace.  There were old people, little kids, people in wheelchairs, and everyone in between.

2.  The Color.
They throw a chalk-like powder on you throughout the race.  People would say, "That looks like so much fun!" To me, that did not look fun.  I'm just being honest.  I thought it looked totally stupid.  Even with the cool video.  Who wants stuff thrown on them that will possibly cause them to look like an evil smurf?  Truth:  I did have a small, blue Hitler-esque mustache that I could not remove until I took a shower later that night.  However, running through a gauntlet of color is surprisingly fun.  Who knew?

3.  We were going to go in May.
Sometimes it's hot in May.  We've talked about my sweating problem before, so I was nervous about what I would look like.  The people in the video look happy & colorful.  I pictured myself as a melting rainbow blob of jello.  Thankfully, the weather was great.  Had it been 90 degrees out, I would have melted.  And not in the Pinterest-y melted crayon artsy-way.  More like a brown blob of warm, lumpy gravy.  But it was great weather, so all was well.

4.  The travel dilemma.
4 of us were driving down together Friday night and staying in a hotel, then meeting up with our other friend, her mom and her adorable baby girl.  4 women plus 1 bathroom equals questionable sleeping and bathroom arrangements.  The drive also had potential for disaster because 4 women trapped in a car for 2.5 hours could be a recipe for disaster.  But any crisis was quickly diverted when we discovered the custom mixed CD that the former owner of the car left behind.  Do you know anyone who knows ALL of the words to "Ice, Ice, Baby"?  Because I do.

I would definitely participate in this again.  It was a ton of fun!  I highly recommend!

Here are some pics:

My race nails!

Waiting in Baltimore traffic.

Team Not That Kind of Rainbow

Pretending to be awesome

Backdrop courtesy of Porta-Potty

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Disney Food

Disney Post 6 of 6:  Disney Food
(see bottom of this post for links to other Disney posts)

We chose to purchase the Disney Dining Plan, which includes 1 quick service meal, 1 table service meal, and one snack per person per day.  If you are unfamiliar with the Disney Dining Plan, you can read about it here and here.  The Dining Plan isn't for everyone, but for our family of 3, it was great. 

If you are a food lover, the best blog out there about dining at Disney is The Disney Food Blog.  It features restaurant reviews, Dining Plan FAQ, links to menus and great tips on where and what to eat at Disney.

One thing I will say is that not all of the reviews and comments I read on various blogs held true.  I remember reading some negative things about 1900 Park Fare and being unsure if I should make a reservation.  It turned out to be wonderful in every way, so if there's a place you want to try, go for it. You can preview all of Disney's menus before your trip, which is a great way to help make your decisions in advance.  Note that you can make reservations 180 days out, and the most popular restaurants and time slots fill quickly.

Our first Disney food item of our trip was the Dole Whip.  The Dole Whip apparently has somewhat of a cult following, so I knew I wanted to try one.  I got the float with pineapple soft serve and pineapple juice.  It was a little tart for Superfrydad, but I thought it was perfect.  Superfrykid got plain vanilla soft serve, and .  Both counted as a snack on the dining plan, which was great. Orange soft serve was also offered, and I would have liked to have tried orange and vanilla swirled together.  But alas, I could only choose one, so I went with the classic pineapple. 

Our first dinner was at Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Resort.  We really enjoyed this restaurant on our last trip, and since we were staying at the Wilderness Resort, it was convenient.  The food was okay, but it wasn't our favorite meal of the trip.  It's rowdy and fun, and worth checking out if it suits your family's style.  Having eaten there twice, I would probably choose another place to eat on our next trip. 

Most of our breakfasts were at our resort's quick service cafe, Roaring Fork Snacks.  They had Mickey Waffles with chocolate chips or strawberries, pancakes, breakfast croissants, and lots of assorted other breakfast items.  

At Hollywood Studios, we had lunch at Sunset Ranch Market, a quick service/counter service place.  We had burgers and chicken tenders with fries.  The adult meals came with dessert, so I decided to try the Lemon Meringue Cupcake.  It was huge!  The lemon cake was pretty good, the icing/meringue on top was pretty good, but the lemon filling in the middle was awesome!  You can see the chocolate cake in the back to the right.  We gave it to a kid at a table next to us because it was just too much food.  

Dinner at Hollywood Studios was at the 50's Prime Time Cafe.  Superfrydad got the combo with fried chicken, meatloaf, and pot roast.  It was served with mashed potatoes and vegetables.  I got the fried chicken with potatoes and collard greens.  Superfrykid got chicken tenders.  The food was good, our server was funny & the atmosphere was super retro cool.  

The next day was Animal Kingdom day.  We had lunch at Yak & Yeti....Honey Chicken with Rice & Broccoli.  It was delicious & was big enough to feed all 3 of us.  We had dinner at Rainforest Cafe, which was Superfrydad's favorite meal of the whole trip.  He got steak, shrimp scampi & coconut shrimp with garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli, which is his kind of food.  He wasn't really a fan of the Asian food at lunch, so this made him really happy.  Superfrykid was a little afraid of Rainforest Cafe.  It's a little dark and the animatronic animals were a little on the creepy side for her.  I thought it was great, but if you have a child who is afraid of everything, this might not be the place for you.  

Thursday was our best day food-wise.  We started out with a character breakfast buffet at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Resort.  We arrived a few minutes early for our 8:10 reservation, but we went ahead and checked in with the hostess.  They take your picture when you arrive with a nice background, but no character.  Later, they come to your table and offer the photo package for around $30, I think.  I was determined to NOT buy the package, but the picture was actually a really good one and I am disappointed that I was a cheapskate & did not buy it.

Getting ready to go to the hostess stand
After having our picture taken, we were instructed to stand in line by the doors, which were closed.  One of the hostesses came up to us and asked if Alaina would like to help "open" the restaurant for the day.  This consisted of saying the magic word - supercalafragilisticexpialidocious.  When Alaina yelled the word, the doors opened and Mary Poppins was there, waiting to lead Alaina into the dining room.  

Receiving her instructions

Waiting for her moment.

Opening the doors & seeing Mary Poppins!

Mary Poppins leading her to our table.

Her official certificate, rose and light up Tinkerbell toy.

Mary Poppins came back to visit later.

I'm not sure Superfrykid stopped smiling until a few hours later.  She was so excited to be picked to open the restaurant with Mary Poppins and it was one of those "magical moments" that Disney is known for.  The food at 1900 Park Fare was delicious.  They had pretty much any breakfast item you could ask for, and more.  They have a specialty item that I don't think you can get anywhere else at Disney - the strawberry soup.  I had to try it, even though I was a little skeptical.  I am happy to report that it was very good!  
Looks like Pepto, tastes like fresh strawberries with cream.

This is one experience that we will definitely do again when we visit Disney.  The characters were great - Mary Poppins, Alice & the Mad Hatter, Pooh & Tigger.  The Grand Floridian lobby and grounds are beautiful.  We took the monorail to the Magic Kingdom straight from breakfast, which was convenient.  

Lunch at the Magic Kingdom was at Pinocchio Village Haus.  It wasn't my first choice, but it was raining and it was close, so we went for it.  It was actually pretty good.  Superfrydad got a flatbread pizza, Superfrykid got macaroni & cheese, and I got a chicken caesar salad.  We had chocolate gelato for dessert, which was ok, but we were too full to appreciate it.  No pics from this meal, because my camera and phone were both in ziplocs and I was too hungry and lazy to get them out.  

It rained a little during the day when we were at the Magic Kingdom.  By late afternoon, we had accomplished our to-do list, and the sky was dark, so we decided to head back to our resort for dinner.  However, just as we were about to leave Main Street, the rain started coming down, so we ran onto the porch of Tony's Town Square.  We did not have a reservation, but I stopped by the hostess counter to see if we could get a table and wait out the rain.  She said that they could seat us outside on the porch and we were seated within a few short minutes.  As we were looking at the menu, the afternoon parade came through and we had great front row seats!  Superfrykid got steak kabobs, which was the best kid's meal of the whole trip.   Superfrydad got chicken parmesan and a caesar salad, both of which were delicious. The bread was also really yummy!  I got mushroom ravioli with a garlic pesto cream sauce, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and crispy leeks.  I asked for the cream sauce to be served on the side, and I'm glad I did.  The sauce was really rich and delicious, but a little bit went a long way.  It was my favorite meal, by far.  
Mushroom ravioli with spinach, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts and crispy leeks.  Garlic pesto cream sauce not shown.

Chicken Parmesan

Kid's steak kabobs...halfway eaten

Many of the reviews I read on Tony's Town Square said the food was just okay.  I found it to be excellent.  I'm sure there are better restaurants with fancier food or more exotic choices, but for our family, this was a great choice and we will definitely go back.  The service was excellent and sitting out on the porch was delightful.  

On our final day at Disney, we went to Epcot.  It was the Flower & Garden Festival, so there were character topiaries everywhere and so many beautiful flowers.  It rained on and off a good bit, so I didn't get very many good pics.  

English Garden in the UK - the flower teapots were so cute!

For lunch, we stopped by the Coral Reef Restaurant, so see if they had any available tables.  We waited about 20 minutes, but were finally seated at a table with a great view of the giant fish tank.  While we were there, we saw a diver inside as well as sharks, a giant turtle, and lots of cool fish.  The menu was a little pricey for lunch, so I got an appetizer as my entree.  Spicy shrimp, very much like Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill.  I thought they were really good.  Superfrykid got grilled chicken breast with french fries, vegetables, and a fruit cup for dessert.  Superfrydad got steak with potatoes and vegetables.  The bread before the meal was delicious, too.  Not sure if this is the best choice in Epcot since there are so many other unique restaurants, but it was definitely a relaxing and enjoyable lunch.
Superfrykid & me at the Coral Reef Restaurant - blurry photo taken by Superfrydad.
We went to Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles in France for a snack.  Superfrydad got an eclair, Superfrykid got a chocolate chip cookie & I got an apple tart.  All of them were wonderful, but the apple tart was my favorite by far.

Snacks from the French bakery...yum!

For dinner, we went to Teppan Edo, a Japanese Hibachi style restaurant.  The food was excellent, and we were seated with 2 very nice couples. 

In Japan after a great meal at Teppan Edo.
I can't say enough about the Disney Food Blog.  Reviews, recommendations, menus, tips and so much more! 

Disney Post 1 of 6:  Disney Planning 101 with KWTF
Disney Post 2 of 6:  Packing Must Haves and Road Trip Tips
Disney Post 3 of 6:  Magic Kingdom
Disney Post 4 of 6:  Hollywood Studios
Disney Post 5 of 6:  Animal Kingdom
Disney Post 6 of 6:  Food at Disney

Disney: Animal Kingdom

Disney Post 5 of 6:  Animal Kingdom
(see bottom of this post for links to other Disney posts)

Animal Kingdom is probably our favorite Disney park.  Some bloggers will say that this is the park to skip if you only have a few days to spend at Disney World.  I disagree.  I think Animal Kingdom is not to be missed.

First off, we went to see the Festival of the Lion King.  It's a live show with singers, dancers, acrobats and really cool giant puppets.

Not the best photo, but I was busy watching the show & not worried about the quality of my pics.

We went on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride, which is a jeep ride where we saw hippos, crocodiles, lions, giraffes, elephants, a rhino and lots of other exotic animals.  

Kilimanjaro Safari Ride

A giraffe.  Did you know there are 2 kinds of giraffes?  I don't know which one this is.  

I don't know what this is, but it has some big horns.

Baby elephant!

By day 2 at Disney, Superfrykid was posing like a pro.

I like to call this my "ode to National Geographic" picture of a random yellow bird.
After the Safari, we waited for a really long time while Superfrykid got a personalized leather bracelet.  Then we went to see "Flights of Wonder", which is a bird show.  Sounds dumb, but it's one of our favorite things at Disney World.  It's funny, it's interesting, it's cool and it's not very crowded.  And you get to see a bald eagle (and lots of other neat birds) up close.

We had Yak & Yeti counter service for lunch.  I got honey chicken with rice and broccoli.  It was really good and the serving size was huge.  Enough for the 3 of us, for sure.

Finding Nemo was next on our list of things to do.  It's a musical with giant puppets, and was our favorite thing from our last trip four years ago.  We enjoyed it again and so did Superfrykid.  Plus, it's inside out of the sun and the rain, which is always a plus.

We saw Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade, which was fun, but I wouldn't be disappointed if I missed it.
Superfrykid got a lift from dad to see the parade.

We asked an elderly foreign man to take our picture.  He pointed the camera into the sky and he was so shaky I was afraid he was going to drop my camera.  Also, his wife would not move out of the way, so this is the picture he took.  We got a big laugh out of them.

Other pics from Animal Kingdom:
The gorillas might have been my favorite animal we saw.

Very big gorilla and his big tub.

Eeyore  & the fam

Safari Donald & the fam

Last pic of the day.....notice my evil queen shirt?  I'm not the princess type.  Evil queen suits me better.

Disney Post 1 of 6:  Disney Planning 101 with KWTF
Disney Post 2 of 6:  Packing Must Haves and Road Trip Tips
Disney Post 3 of 6:  Magic Kingdom
Disney Post 4 of 6:  Hollywood Studios
Disney Post 5 of 6:  Animal Kingdom
Disney Post 6 of 6:  Food at Disney

Disney: Hollywood Studios

Disney Post 4 of 6:  Hollywood Studios
(see bottom of this post for links to other Disney posts)

We visited Hollywood Studios on Monday, April 29, 2013.  We chose this park to visit based on the Crowd Calendar at EasyWDW.

All of the blogs I read suggested to get to the parks early to take advantage of the shortest lines of the day for the most popular attractions.  We did this successfully at Hollywood Studios by getting there right before it opened and walking very quickly to Toy Story Midway Mania.

We got in line and waited for about 10 minutes.  The line moved quickly and there are lots of fun things to look at while waiting.

 We got FastPasses before we got in the standby line, so we were able to ride it again later with almost no wait at all.   This is a big deal because if you don't get there early & all of the fastpasses are given out, the standby line wait time for Midway Mania gets to be 90 minutes.   The ride is over very quickly, but was one of our favorites in all of Disney World.

Mr. Potato Head talks and moves - awesome animatronics!
Me & Superfrykid in our 3D glasses.
Superfrykid ready to shoot some targets!
After Toy Story  Midway Mania, we went over to the Magic of Disney Animation and were able to be 3rd in line to meet Wreck It Ralph & Vannelope.  If you haven't seen Wreck It Ralph, I highly recommend it.  I wasn't too interested in seeing it when it first came out, but it's really a fun movie for kids and adults.  

Then we were off to see Beauty & the Beast, which is a live musical.  It's one of my favorite shows at Disney and Superfrykid LOVED it when she was 4 and again this past time at age 8.

We stopped and watched the performance by "Mulch, Sweat, and Shears", which sounds corny, but was actually a really great band.  They played some fun rock and roll classics, and we were glad we happened to be walking by when they played.  This is probably an underrated thing to do at Hollywood Studios.  If you happen to be going to HS, don't miss out on these guys.

One of Superfrydad's favorite shows is "Lights, Motors, Action!", a stunt show featuring fast cars, motorcycles, and stunt guys.  Lightening McQueen makes an appearance, too.

We also saw the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular Show, which is a lot of fun.  Once you've seen it a few times, it's not quite as exciting.  But it's appealing to all ages and you can take food and drinks in, which you can't do at all shows.  I didn't get any great pics of Indiana Jones OR the Disney Jr. Live on Stage show.  The Disney Jr. show featured Mickey & friends, Sophia the First, Jake & the Neverland Pirates, and Doc McStuffins.  Superfrykid insisted that she was too old to go see this show and wanted to go see The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction instead.  I tried to tell her that she would probably be scared of Pirates and would love the Disney Junior show, because, after all, she does watch Disney Junior.  A lot.  But what do I know?  I'm just a 37 year old mom who clearly doesn't know her daughter.  So we went to The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow, which had a long and very annoying line.  Superfrykid cried and buried her head into me during 95% of the show.  Even if you are a fan of Pirates of the Caribbean, this was the biggest waste of time we spent in Disney World.  The animation and special effects are cool, but not impressive enough that I would be disappointed to miss it.  After we left The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow, Superfrykid agreed to go see Disney Jr. Live on Stage, which she loved.  And she also apologized to me and acknowledged that I know everything was right.

Ketchup with the Frys - me, Superfrykid & Superfrydad

Disney Post 1 of 6:  Disney Planning 101 with KWTF
Disney Post 2 of 6:  Packing Must Haves and Road Trip Tips
Disney Post 3 of 6:  Magic Kingdom
Disney Post 4 of 6:  Hollywood Studios
Disney Post 5 of 6:  Animal Kingdom
Disney Post 6 of 6:  Food at Disney