Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone.  I hope you have a joyous day filled with friends & family.

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs and it seems especially poignant this year.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dining Review: Biergarten

When we went up to visit Epcot the other week, we had lunch at Biergarten as part of the Candlelight Processional package.  We opted to do the package so we would not have to wait in line for over an hour to see the Processional.

In case you're unfamiliar with the package, here's how it works:  there are a limited amount of lunch and/or dinner packages at the restaurants in Epcot.  They are a fixed cost and give you an appetizer, entree, and dessert, as well as a soft drink...or in the case of Biergarten, a full buffet.  Most of these packages get snapped up pretty quickly regardless of their obscene prices.  Since we had decided only earlier in the week to do the Processional, our options were limited.  Biergarten was one of the selections, which worked out well for us since it was at the top of our list (a mere $35 per person for lunch instead of $60.  Yes, I'm serious.)  Biergarten normally runs about $25, so it wasn't a terrible deal - especially since $10 per person more meant we were guaranteed seats.  The package includes guaranteed seating at the Processional as well as a special place to watch Illuminations that evening.  We did not stay for Illuminations, so I can't comment on that.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Anniversary Trip: Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure

Since we had gotten our fill of tasty snacks at Food & Wine Festival the day before, we decided to head over to Universal for the last day of our trip instead.  Shake things up a bit.

We had done some research and knew that we would at least get Seasonal Passes to Universal - if you go twice in a year, it's worth it.  We decided that morning to get Geoff a full Annual Pass.  Mainly for the parking since we may go up just for lunch/dinner at City Walk.

After we had our passes in hand, our first stop was Harry Potter Land!

Islands of Adventure

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Anniversary Trip, Food & Wine Booth Reviews

After our big breakfast, we hopped on the monorail and visited the Magic Kingdom.
Magic Kingdom
Unfortunately New Fantasyland was doing Cast Previews, so Geoff wasn't able to check it out.  We hit all of our favorites, and around 1pm were heading over to Food & Wine to hit up the booths.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Recipe: Cereal Niblets

One of the things we have always made at the holidays is Chex Mix.  But not just any Chex Mix!  The recipe we use is one my Nans (Great-Grandmother) wrote down off of the Chex box when they first printed it on the back...so to our knowledge this is the original Chex Mix.  On the recipe card I have, she calls it "Cereal Niblets," and here's how you make it...

It's super simple, you'll need the following:

For the cereal mixture, Pretzel Sticks, Cheerios, Rice Chex, Wheat Chex, and Cocktail Peanuts.  For seasoning, you'll need Garlic Salt, Celery Salt, Season Salt, Worcestershire Sauce, and butter.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas at Epcot

Yesterday Geoff and I headed up to Epcot for a day full of Christmas cheer!

Epcot decorated for the Holidays
The plan for the day was to essentially enjoy the special Holiday entertainment around Epcot - no rides!  For anyone who is not familiar with what Epcot does at the holidays, they have Storytellers around the World Showcase that tell of the Holiday traditions in that country.

I called earlier in the week and made a reservation for Biergarten that included the Candlelight Processional package for the 5pm show.  We arrived at Epcot just before that and headed straight to the Biergarten for lunch.  I'll do a review on that meal soon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dining Review: Kona Cafe

As I mentioned in my last post, I partied a little too much at Party for the Senses and spent most of the next day in the hotel room.  Geoff went to our tequila pairing lunch, but I stayed behind.  I did venture out of the room that evening, but we just strolled around the Boardwalk and Epcot - nothing exciting I'll have him do a write up on the lunch at some point, but in the mean-time, I'm going to continue with our Anniversary trip the day after that!

On Monday morning, I woke up starving.  Our original plan was to go to Kona on our last day (Tuesday), but we decided to go to the Dark Side on Tuesday instead (Universal.)  I tried getting a reservation on my phone before leaving the Swan, but nothing was available.  We decided to give it a try and worst case scenario we'd just eat at Captain Cook's downstairs.

Om nom nom
We grabbed a cab from the Swan to the Polynesian.  We didn't feel like messing around with moving the car or having to go to the Magic Kingdom and then over to the Poly, so we opted for the cab.  In no time at all we were pulling up to the Poly!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Anniversary Trip: Party for the Sense

It's no secret that Food & Wine Festival is my favorite time of year at Disney.  Geoff and I decided to take advantage of the fact that it is held over our Anniversary and headed up for a long weekend from October 27-30.  Of course, the weird part about this vacation is that the day before we closed on our house and on the 27th we spent the morning at Ikea buying furniture.

Then it was vacation time!  We checked into the Swan and had a really nice room (especially since it was just a standard room) on a high floor.  If we craned our necks we could see Hollywood Studios.

We spent some time in the room, then headed out to explore and head over to Epcot.  Our plans for that night were to attend Party for the Senses!  We did Party for the Senses 2 years ago, I did a write up for the Disney Food Blog at that time.  So, would this experience live up to the last??
 Party for the Senses!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dining Review/Disneyland Day 6: Storyteller's Cafe

Finally the last day of our Disneyland trip came.  Of course, we didn't have the shuttle picking us up until later in the morning, so it was first time for a character breakfast!

We opted for Storyteller's at the Grand Californian.  Geoff and I did this breakfast when we came and I really liked it.  My favorite part about it is that you can order off the normal menu instead of the buffet!  Plus there are some more unusual characters that are present instead of the same ones you see everywhere.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dining Reviews: Carthay Circle, Cozy Cones, and Paradise Garden Grill

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  What's more fitting on Thanksgiving than a food post?!  First up on the Reviews:

Carthay Circle

Outside the restaurant

When you enter the restaurant, the downstairs has the lounge area along with the hostess stand.  We checked in and had to wait a few minutes before being taken upstairs to our table.  We were seated in the main room, close to the waiter's stand.  I'm kind of glad we were seated there.  After our meal we took a walk around the rest of the restaurant, and while still nice, we liked the atmosphere of the main room the best.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Disneyland Day 5, Part 2: A QUAKE!

When I last left you, we were just checking in for our lunch at Carthay Circle.  They really nailed the decor inside.  It was absolutely beautiful.

Carthay Circle

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Disneyland Day 5: California Adventure

Sorry for the extended break.  We're now almost settled in to the house.  We have some furniture coming today and then we can finish unpacking!

To continue our trip out West, we're now on Day 5.  This was our last full day, so we planned on catching some things back at California Adventure.

Since we were staying at the Fairfield and had no plans for breakfast that morning, I walked over to the McDonald's and grabbed us our favorite guilty pleasures.

Once we were ready, we headed over to California Adventure.  Since we had already done Radiator Springs with a Fastpass, we decided to try our luck just walking over to it when the park opened that morning.

Streetmosphere was out greeting guests
Of course, Radiator Springs wasn't going to open until later that day.  Foiled again!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


It's been a busy few days for us!  I meant to have this up sooner, but unfortunately didn't have a chance...I also had to re-shoot the video a few times.

So it's now official: we closed on our house Friday!  Horray!  We were one of the few people able to close this past Friday since the county was under a Tropical Storm Warning (thanks to Hurricane Sandy.)  But by some miracle, our insurance company allowed us to close.  Then we hurried on down to HHGregg and bought appliances...because, you know, we didn't spend enough money already.

So without further ado, here's a video of our house tour!  We hope you visit soon!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Disney Dining Review: Plaza Restaurant

When my Mom and I were up at the Magic Kingdom, we also decided to make a lunch reservation at the Plaza.  I haven't been in a while, and it's one of my Mom's favorite spots for lunch at Disney.

Plaza Restaurant
First off: the atmosphere is fairly quaint.  It's turn of the century Victorian (like the rest of Main Street.)  There aren't a whole lot of a tables in the restaurant, but it's still not that difficult to get a reservation last minute.  For reference: we made ours on the Thursday before.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Fantasyland Dress Rehearsal

Sorry it's been a while since my last post - life got in the way!  We're closing on the house this Friday and then we're off on our Food & Wine Anniversary Trip!  It'll be quite a busy weekend.

On October 13, my Mom and I decided to head up to the Magic Kingdom.  We were already planning on it, but then we found out that there was a good chance they would be doing New Fantasyland Previews!

We were pretty excited.  We were going to try to get spots in the Annual Pass Preview weekends in November, but with us moving, it wasn't the best timing.  Now we didn't have to!

After meeting a little after 9am, we headed directly back to the new area, walked past the pretty new castle walls...

And saw this fantastic sight waiting for us:

It's official!
There were a lot of cast members out and about, welcoming guests into the new Land.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Food & Wine Booth Reviews

When I last left off, we had just visited Florida Local.  Our next stop was to another US Tropical State - Hawaii!

Pork Slider - Hawaii
First - for the pork slider.  Geoff took his fork and stole the pineapple on top.  Insert sad face here.  The slider was good, but nothing wowed me about it -- maybe because it would have been better with the pineapple!  Though I forgot to grab a napkin at this both and the pork was juicy enough that I needed it.  I'd give it a solid 3.  Not my favorite item, but it wasn't bad.  Just not that memorable.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Food & Wine Booth Reviews

My whole plan for stopping at Epcot last Thursday was so I wouldn't be tempted to go back again until we were there for our anniversary trip.  That plan failed in spectacular fashion.

On Sunday, Geoff and I headed out for more Food & Wine fun.  The problem with hitting Food & Wine on the weekend is that it gets crowded - fast - with crazy locals like us.

So we were there in time for the booths to open at 11.  This plan worked great - it took a good hour for the World Showcase to start getting crowded, and even by the time we left around 12:30, it wasn't terrible.  But it was HOT!

Beef Skewer - Argentina
Our first stop was Argentina.  Geoff wanted to have the beef skewer with chimichurri sauce.  It was really tasty, the sauce was flavorful and the beef was nice and tender.  It was served on top of a bonito puree.  I'm not sure what bonito is (Wikipedia and Google tell me it's a fish, but it didn't taste anything like fish.)  It tasted like potatoes.  I would give it a 4.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Disney Dining Review: ABC Commissary

Happy October!!

The other week Geoff and I went to Hollywood Studios for the day.  We had some trouble coming up with a place for lunch and eventually decided to give ABC Commissary a try.

In fairness, ABC Commissary doesn't have the best reputation.  I haven't been in years because I've never been impressed with their food.  But we wanted to be indoors, and at the Studios, that severely limits your options.  Considering the last time I was there I went to the Backlot Express, we decided to give ABC Commissary a shot.
Menu board
When you walk in, there are seating areas to your left and right, with the ordering up ahead.  We had a fairly early lunch, so there wasn't really any line to order.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Food & Wine Booth reviews

The Food & Wine Festival at Epcot officially started on Friday.  In years past, they've done previews on Thursday.

I spent the past week in Puerto Rico for work.  On Thursday my flight landed at an awkward time.  If I went straight home, it would be the end of the work day by the time I got home.  Since the weather was nice, I decided to stop by Epcot and see if they were doing the preview again this year.

Lucky me! They were!
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year <3

Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Home: Part 10

We are so close to completion!  Almost everything has been done inside, now it's just touch up work in there.

Paint, sidewalk, pavers, mail box!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Dining Reviews: Mint Julep Bar & Naples

I was absolutely terrible about taking pictures on Day 4 of our trip.  So I'll only review what I have pictures of.

In lieu of lunch, we opted for 2 snacks: Dole Whips and Mickey Beignets.  I knew you could get Mickey Beignets at Cafe Orleans, but I also had heard they were available at a Counter Service location.  Which began our mission: who sells them?!

We eventually found them at the Mint Julep Bar.  So yes, this review is of the Mint Julep Bar, but no, we did not get Mint Juleps!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Disneyland Day 4: Part 2

After our relaxing visit to the Tiki Room, our next stop was over at Big Thunder Mountain!  Again, we essentially walked right on.  It was a very minimal wait.

Big Thunder

Monday, September 24, 2012

Disneyland Day 4!

The next morning we decided to treat ourselves to a nice breakfast.  I had heard that Steakhouse 55 did a decent breakfast, and that the restaurant itself was neat to check out.  Since Disneyland didn't open until 9am that morning, we took our time getting ready and then walked over.  We had no problems getting in without reservations (still weird to be able to do that at Disneyland!) and enjoyed a good breakfast...but I totally forgot to take pictures, so I forgot what I had.  There were pictures of old movie stars on the walls and the one waiter talked to us about who they were.  Definitely would recommend if you want a nice breakfast.

Once we were done, we headed over to the monorail station!  Since we were on the other side of Downtown Disney, we took the opportunity to hop on the monorail to get into Disneyland that morning.  The monorail takes you right to Tomorrowland instead of the entrance like at WDW.

Mona Monorail!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dining Reviews: Napa Rose

Since it was my Mom's birthday, we planned on going to Napa Rose as soon as we booked the trip.  This was my birthday present to my Mom.

For those of you who have never been, Napa Rose is located at the Grand Californian Resort.  There's a nice lounge area, as well as the restaurant.  It has an open kitchen and there is an option to book seats at the Chef's Counter (I was tempted.)

We checked in and were escorted directly to our table.  Ironically, it was the same table Geoff and I had when we went back in 2010!  The restaurant has an upscale rustic feel to it.  The Grand Californian itself is very similar to the Wilderness Lodge at WDW, and the restaurant feels the same.

One of the things Napa Rose offers is their "Vintner's Table" menu.  Essentially a price-fix menu, but you don't get to choose what you order, it's all or nothing.  We decided going in that unless we really disliked something, this is what we were going to do.

Vintner's Table Menu
 Of course, I don't like olives, I don't care for peaches, I tried pate once and it wasn't my favorite.  And sweetbreads?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dining Reviews: Cozy Cones, Flo's V8, Cocina Cucamonga

Like the day before, we explored the Park a bit before taking a break for breakfast.  Today we decided on a more substantial breakfast so we checked out Flo's V8 Cafe in Cars Land.

I had also heard of a new frozen apple juice drink that you could get at one of the Cozy Cones, so I wanted that to go along with my breakfast.

I went off to secure my juice and my Mom got in line to get our breakfast.

Cozy Cone

Monday, September 17, 2012

Future Home: Part 9

Geoff and I took a swing by the new house this past weekend.  There were a lot of new things to check out!
Sidewalk framed, primer painted

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Disneyland Day 3: Part 2!

After breakfast, we headed over to ride Soarin'.  My Mom couldn't get over the fact that the posted wait was just 10 minutes!  We cut that down even further by doing the single rider line.

Up until now, my Mom still was missing her Birthday Button!  So we decided to head back up to Guest Services and see if they got any in.  They did!  And everyone rejoiced!

Birthday girl

Friday, September 14, 2012

Disneyland Day 3!

Monday was a big day.  On the agenda was the race for Radiator Springs Racers Fastpasses (pun intended), Napa Rose for dinner, and of course, Mom's birthday!

The Parks were opening to the general public at 9am that morning, with Early Entry offered for people staying on-property at a Disney hotel.  I had heard that they would open the gates a half hour early to allow people to line up for Fastpasses.  So we got in line at about 8:15am and sure enough, at 8:30am, they opened the turnstiles.  I knew exactly where I was going, so I booked it down Buena Vista Street and got in line.  I did pretty well:

My spot in line 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dining Reviews: Wine Country Trattoria, & Clarabelle's

For dinner on our first night, we called from our hotel at 5:30pm to make a reservation for 7:30pm.  Not something that you can really do at WDW!  We arrived at Wine Country Trattoria about 15 minutes early and checked in.  They let us know they were running a bit behind (which we could tell because we waited in a line for a good 10 minutes to check-in!)

So we went next door and grabbed a glass of wine to wait.  I had a glass of Prosecco and my Mom had a white wine...I think it was Pinot Grigio.
Plastic glasses, the height of sophistication!
It wasn't long before we were paged and our table was ready.  We had a nice little two-top out on the patio.  It was a gorgeous night and probably our favorite thing about Wine Country Trattoria was being able to sit outdoors and enjoy it (sounds ominous, huh?)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dining Reviews: Jolly Holiday Bakery & Hungry Bear

After we ran around Fantasyland and caught a few other rides, it was time for breakfast!

A stop at Jolly Holiday Bakery was needed!

Window at the Bakery. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Future Home: Part 8!

I'll interrupt the Disneyland postings for today.  We're getting closer and closer to seeing a complete house!  Last weekend we stopped at they had all the insulation and sheet rock up.  We went back this weekend and they had mudded the house!  It didn't look too different this week, so I didn't take a lot of pictures, but last week it certainly looked different!  It feels more real now, we have defined rooms.  It feels more like a house.  I'm really excited to see it finished!  (Also excited to get out of the apartment and stop stressing about moving!)

Outside: Stucco done! Tiles on roof

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Disneyland Day 2 - Part 2

Well, I left you with a mean cliff hanger, so I'll get right back into things!  We hopped over to California Adventure to do a little exploring.  On a side note, I love how easy it is to park hop at Disneyland!
Buena Vista Street
First, I can't get over how different the entrance to California Adventure is!  Buena Vista Street is amazing.  It is so much better than it was before, it just felt more alive.  And so much more "Disney."  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Disneyland - Day 2

One of the best things about going to the West Coast is that for the first day, you're still on East Coast time.  We woke up around 4am and got out of bed at 4:30am...willingly!  By 6:15am we were ready, so decided to head over to the parks and wait for opening.

With our tickets, we had one Early Entry which was available on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  Early Entry gets you into Disneyland 1 hour early and they open Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.  We were a little up in the air on whether to use the Early Entry on Tuesday or on Sunday, but since we were up so early, it made the decision a little easier!  On Sunday, the Parks opened at 8am, which meant Early Entry got us in the park at 7am!  

We were the first people lined up at the turnstile.  There was no grand rope drop ceremony, just a family pulled out of line that counted down to opening.  There was also maybe 100 people who entered the park right at 7am with us.  It was like having a private Disneyland!  (Everyone was over at California.)

Entering Disneyland

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dining Review - Uva Bar and Bubba Gumps

As promised, here's a review for our meals that we had at Disneyland!

We started off with a snack at the Uva Bar.

The Uva Bar is located at the center of Downtown Disney.  It's all outdoors.  As you see in the picture, it's affiliated with the restaurant "Catal," but it has its own separate menu.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Our trip to Disneyland

We're back!  We had a fantastic trip.  I'll do a day by day breakdown of the highlights of our trip and then also some dining reviews.

We left bright and early on Saturday, August 25.  We flew Delta since I had the vouchers and just held our breath that everything would go alright.  On Friday, we checked in and they had moved us from the middle and aisle to window seats...thanks Delta.  Luckily we were able to switch and that was the biggest snag on the flight.  While I don't think I'll go out of my way to book Delta, if it's the best option, I would consider them.  Domestic only.  I still won't fly code-share with them.  (If you want the full story, click here.)  Anyway, we connected through Salt Lake City and arrived at John Wayne Airport (okay..really Santa Ana/Orange County...but I like that it's called John Wayne airport) a little early.  We very easily found Super Shuttle, which I had pre-booked and a van was waiting to take us to our hotel.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Catching up!

It's been a while since I've done a post about what we've been up to that wasn't about Disney or building our house.

We've been enjoying the Florida sunshine.

Kidding.  Actually, as much as people have thought we were crazy for moving to Florida right before summer, it hasn't been that bad.  It's amazing how much you really get used to the heat and humidity.  Living on the coast helps, most days are usually a good 5 degrees cooler than the center of the State and we've had a number of days where it was warmer in Rochester than it was here in Melbourne!

Disney Dining Review: Backlot Express and Starring Rolls

The other weekend I went up to Hollywood Studios with a new friend.  (Yay for new friends!)

For lunch, we went to Backlot Express.  Counter Service options at Hollywood Studios always seem to leave a lot to be desired in my opinion.  And seeing as how it was hot out (it IS August in Florida!) the number one requirement for lunch was anywhere we could eat indoors.  And I vetoed ABC Commissary because...ew. I've never had anything I liked there.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Disney Dining Review: Captain Cooks/Aloha Isle

A few weeks ago I decided I needed a little Disney magic in my life, so I went up to the Magic Kingdom for the day.

I got there right at opening (which is my #1 tip for anyone heading to Disney!) so I enjoyed the atmosphere as the Magic Kingdom was waking up for the day.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Future Home Part 7: A Preview!

I swear we've been doing more here in Florida, but this seems to be the most exciting thing happening in our lives right now.

We stopped by the house again this afternoon after we finished work. We have vents and electrical!  Geoff took a video, so here's a guided tour of our house:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Future Home Part 6

A lot has happened since my last post.  It actually looks like a house now!

These are from July 13.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Planning for Disneyland

Planning for a WDW vacation is intense.  There are 4 parks, they're all spread out, if you want to eat at a specific place and time...you should probably book reservations 6 months in advance.  

Disneyland? It's a totally different animal.  There are 2 parks, they're so close you could throw a football between the two of them, and there's really no great need to book reservations more than a few days in advance (if that!)

With that in mind, we really haven't done that much planning for our trip.  As I mentioned in my last post, it's just not needed!

Yesterday my Mom stopped by for lunch, so I took advantage of that and made our dining reservations in case a time wasn't available.  Turns out that wasn't needed.  We had our pick of times!  So we booked 3 things: Napa Rose for her birthday (Monday of our trip), a late lunch at Carthay Circle to take advantage of the World of Color package (Wednesday), and breakfast at Storyteller's before we caught the shuttle back to the airport.  We're planning on checking out somewhere in Downtown Disney for dinner on the night we get in.  If anyone reading has any suggestions, we're open to hear them!

The biggest thing now is trying to figure out our plan of attack for Cars Land.  Since we're not staying on property, we won't have Early Entrance tickets to California Adventure.  For this year, Disney is offering an extra hour in the mornings to Annual Pass holders (you need to sign up ahead of time) and hotel guests....every single morning it's one or the other.  Which means the general public (us) is an hour behind every day.  The good news is that we're early risers and have 4 days to figure it out!  

The next thing we'll be watching for is park hours.  They're released about 6 weeks ahead of time, so we should be seeing them soon!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Future Home Part 5

A lot has been done since my last post about the house!

In case you missed the other posts, they're here:

Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4

We went and picked out our granite.  Unfortunately, the one we had originally picked was discontinued!  So we went up to the granite place in Orlando to pick out something new.
To refresh, the original choice

New choice (same that's on the actual counters in the picture above.)

Tropical Storm Debby had thrown a little bit of a kink in our building.  In order to pour the concrete slab, they needed a dry day.  Instead of any dry days, we had a number of days in a row of rain.  So then the ground had to dry out!

Luckily, after she moved out we had a number of really dry (and HOT) days, so they were able to pour the slab last week.

Slab poured, concrete blocks ready!
This is what it looked like yesterday, they're ready to start the actual building of the house!  I'm so excited.  We can't wait to move in.  The apartment is nice as far as apartments go, but we're ready for a larger kitchen and Bandit's ready to have a yard of his own!

We've been going around to furniture stores and we're starting to narrow down our choices for a new bedroom set and patio furniture!

Now all that's left is to sell our house in Rochester...so if anyone wants to buy a townhome...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Disney Dining Review: Tutto Gusto!

Last weekend I was feeling a bit of Cabin Fever.  It happens whenever I have a full office week instead of traveling.  So Saturday we went furniture shopping (please, try to contain your excitement) and Sunday I decided I really wanted to go to Epcot.

Yes it was raining.

Yes that rain was being caused by a Tropical Storm.

Still, I thought it sounded like a fantastic idea, so I was off!  I have been wanting to try Tutto Gusto since it opened at the beginning of May.  So once I got into the park and secured a poncho, I made my way back to World Showcase.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Disney Dining Review: 50s Prime Time Cafe

One of the great things about living close to Orlando is having the ability to go up and meet my parents for lunch.  It's nice to see them more frequently than I have the past few years.

So my Mom and I recently decided to head up and have lunch together at Hollywood Studios...after all, it was the one park I had yet to visit!  We debated whether we should just get counter service or if we should sit down for lunch.  Well...I'm not a huge fan of the Studios' counter service options, so sit down it was!  We're both big fans of 50s Prime Time, so I checked if there were any openings and there were a few for lunch (just 2 days before.)  

For anyone who hasn't been, as suggested in its name, 50s Prime Time Cafe is set in the 1950s.  The decor matches the time frame and all the staff are cousins, brothers, sisters...some kind of relative.  And Mom does the cooking.  The drink menu is referred to as "Dad's Liquor Cabinet" (which I love!)  My Mom gets a kick out of the decor since it looks identical to the house she grew up in.  My Aunt & Uncle live there now and no joke, if Disney ever needs to replace something, I know where they can get it!  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Future Home Part 4

We're meeting with the builder tomorrow for a pre-construction meeting.  We've officially got our permits now!  (Everybody say, "Woo!")

Geoff and I swung by the lot this afternoon and it's now framed out!

Past posts about building our house:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Time for a hair cut!

Bandit hasn't gotten a haircut since we lived in Rochester.  He was looking pretty shaggy.
Ahh! I can't see!
So we finally found a groomer.  Now he's looking very dapper!
I adore his little underbite!

Friday, June 15, 2012

I'm going to Disneyland!!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter probably already know this, but I didn't post it on Facebook (yet.)  I was looking at all the news coming out of California Adventure and thought "it's a shame flights are so expensive to California, I'd love to go and see all the new things."  Geoff and I had talked about the fact we had to use the credits Delta gave us for totally screwing up the flights for our honeymoon (you can read about that here) but we didn't have anywhere in mind.  The credits expire at the end of October, and Delta (even when asked directly) was not very clear on whether that expiration date was a USE by date, or a FLY by date.
So long big letters!
So all that led me to look on Delta...how much *was* a flight out to California?  Verdict: $302.  With our credits we had 2 at $300 and 2 at $75.  So the flight would be free: CHECK.  The only real snag was that Geoff had absolutely no interest in going.  Well, the dates I was looking at were over my Mom's birthday and the one thing we could do with the credits was transfer them.  So I floated the idea out to my Mom and she was interested.  She has never actually been to Disneyland.  Last year she was at a conference in Anaheim and took people to dinner at Napa Rose, but she hasn't been to the parks.

Next on our list was a hotel.  My Mom travels a lot and has a ton of Marriott points.  So she's using points for our hotel (I'll let on where we're staying after we get back! Promise!)  A plus: Marriott has a program that if you use points for 4 nights, you get the 5th free.  So we extended our trip another day.  Obviously.

The weird thing about Disneyland is that it requires far less planning than a trip to Disney World...so I'm currently just waiting for park hours to be released and then we'll book our dining (well, some of it...it's not as necessary to have reservations at Disneyland as it is at Disney World!) We got 4 day park hoppers, and I managed to get them at a discount on the pre-price increase price! Woot! (From aRes Travel.) We're flying into John Wayne airport (also known as Orange County, but I like John Wayne better) and I booked the Super Shuttle to take us to and from the hotel.

So long Golden Gate!
I'm super excited to check out Cars Land and Buena Vista Street at California Adventure!  All the pictures this week with the previews and the opening are just making me that much more excited!  For dining, we know we definitely want to go to Napa Rose.  We also want to try the new restaurant, Carthay Circle Theater on Buena Vista Street.  Other than that...we have a lot to figure out!


On Monday night, after listening to all the cool stuff that was coming out of WWDC, Geoff and I decided not to wait any longer and purchased an Apple TV on Amazon.  5 seconds later...we were done.  Amazon makes it far too easy to spend money! 

On Wednesday, this little beauty arrived:

It's all set-up now.  I'm excited with what we'll be able to do with it!  

In other words: NEW TOYS! YAY!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Last weekend we headed up to Philly for one of my friend's weddings.  It was the first time using MCO (Orlando Airport) as our home airport.  It was weird.  I'm so used to seeing the airport for the first time when I'm going to Disney! Not leaving the area!

Our trip up was uneventful, we arrived early and our bag was coming off the carousel less than 5 minutes after arriving in baggage claim -- in the Philadelphia airport.  After I picked my jaw up off the ground, we collected it and were on our way...sort of.  We collected the car (a red Prius!) and then promptly sat in traffic. At least we were reminded why we wanted to be in Melbourne and not Orlando!!

As a side note: I loved the Prius.  Right now I have an AWD SUV...which was nice in the snow belt, but a little over-kill in Florida.  When the car is paid off, I'll probably be looking for something with better gas mileage.  The Prius surprised me, I thought it would be a little weak, but I liked driving it and the gas mileage was awesome...3 gallons of gas for the entire weekend!

Geoff decided he wanted a real Cheesesteak, so we headed out to get some tasty sandwiches.

Om nom nom
I got a chicken cheesesteak as an attempt to keep it a little healthier...but really, who was I trying to fool?  It wasn't the best I've ever had, but it hit the spot.

The wedding was Friday evening, so we had time to kill during the day.  We headed to the local Wegmans (obviously) and realized that even though I thought the new Publix might be a decent replacement...it's not.  It's not even close.  I seriously miss my Wegmans!  We picked up lunch and brought it to my Nana and Ba.  We were able to visit with them for a while, and my Aunt Donna stopped by as well.  It was great to visit!

Before long, it was time for the ceremony...I didn't take any pictures.  I'm not entirely sure why.  The ceremony was outdoors and it was a gorgeous day!  They seriously couldn't have asked for anything nicer.  At the reception, there were people there I haven't seen since I graduated High School.  It was great to be able to see familiar faces...it was like a mini-reunion!

Our flight out on Saturday wasn't until later in the evening, so we had time to kill.  We headed over to Plymouth Meeting (which is so much different than it was 5 years ago!) and of course hit up Chipotle...the second thing we miss most!  We then spent the rest of the afternoon window shopping, for exciting things like furniture, grills, ceiling fans and patio furniture! Woo! We're super exciting.

At the airport, we stopped at Chickie & Petes so I could introduce Geoff to Crab Fries!  Dinner of champions.
Crab Fries. And yes, most of the pictures I have from the weekend are food.
Our flight was delayed, but not by much.  When we got in, our bag was no where to be found though.  No need to worry...there was a Southwest flight coming in from Philly at practically the same time.  Our bag decided to take that flight instead.  It was a little troublesome that the representatives for AirTran at Baggage Claim immediately thought to check the Southwest flight.  I think that means they have a problem...

We stayed with my parents Saturday night into Sunday since they had Bandit.  My brother also came by on Sunday.  It's nice to be close enough to family to be able to visit on a random weekend.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Future Home Part 3

We got an email over the weekend that our house was still in permitting.  Apparently the government is taking their sweet time approving everything (the hurricane codes were changed right before we put down our deposit.)

In the email the builder said they would do as much with the lot as possible without a permit so when they do receive everything, they'll be able to hit the ground running and not have any further delays.

So I decided to swing by and see if they had done anything.  And they did!

Woot!  They started preparing the lot.  Not much, but it's a start and that makes me very excited!  The rest of the neighborhood is really coming along too.  It's amazing to see how much has been done since we put down our deposit.  I'm really looking forward to watching the progress on our home!!

Past posts about building our house:

Part 1
Part 2