With over 100 table service restaurants at the Walt Disney World resort, it can be pretty difficult to choose a favourite. But we’ve narrowed down the list to our top 10 – based on the ones we’ve actually been to! It’s a delicious show.
This year Fan Expo returned to Vancouver for their second year, and I had a chance to attend! Held at the convention centre in downtown Vancouver, I have to give this con props for having the prettiest locale.
Like last year, my mission was to hunt for all things Disney!
The con took place over two days, April 20 and 21. Tickets were available on site, but you can also pre-buy tickets. Doing it that way lets you bypass general admission, and if you buy the premier pass you get to use a separate entrance all together. Remembering the insanity of last year’s lineup, I bought a two-day pass.
Doors opened at 10am on the Saturday, but knowing the line from last year I aimed to be there a little later so that I wouldn’t have to wait so long. Unfortunately, the line wrapped around the building. I lucked out, a friend spotted me, and the folks behind them were kind enough to let me in the line. I only had a 30-minute wait to get inside. My friend who spotted me had already waited an hour. I heard later from another friend who waited over three hours to get in – yikes!
The con took place in Convention Centre east, which had much more space than last year’s which happened in the west building.
This year’s con featured Stan Lee, Nichelle Nichols, the full cast of Continuum, Amanda Tapping, James Marsters, Tia Carrere, Sean Astin, and many other big names from scifi, fantasy, comics, anime, and horror.
I spent much of the con in the vendor’s hall, which was twice the size of the previous year. There wasn’t much relating to Disney specifically, other than some of the animation art books. Given that Stan Lee was going to be there, there was a lot of Marvel merchandise. The Trekkie in me was really happy to see lots of Star Trek items – even a booth solely dedicated to Trek – at this year’s con. I was able to snag a Star Trek Enterprise Trek Tek set, which includes a phaser pistol and communicator to go with my costume.
The 501st Legion was there again this year, raising funds for Variety. A friend of mine had her picture taken with the storm troopers. There was also a Delorean there, and for a donation to the Michael J Fox Foundatin you could have your picture taken in the driver’s seat.
This year I saw a lot more costumes than we did last year! I need to learn to be quicker at taking pictures, because unfortunately I missed a lot of great ones. There were also a tonne of Marvel related costumes, which is no surprise given the guest of honour.
After grabbing a bite to eat, I made it my mission to see Stan Lee’s Q & A panel. I waited an hour in line, and I’m glad I did – it was pack! The legendary Marvel creator was amazing on stage. He’s got a great sense of humour.
I headed home after that, planning to come back the next day to catch Nichelle Nichols on stage. But when Sunday came I was feeling a little run down, and given that I was set to fly to Philadelphia the next day, I decided to skip it and stay home.
Can’t wait until next year! Hopefully KP will be able to join me again next year, since she wasn’t able to this year.
Following up Friday’s post about my first and last ride at Walt Disney World, I stumbled across this video of a ride on the Orlando International Airport’s people mover.
Enjoy… and welcome to central Florida!
I’ve got lots of memories associated with Walt Disney World, some stretching back to my first trip. But one that stands out frequently doesn’t actually involve anything on WDW property, even though I consider it the first and last ride of every Disney trip.
It’s Orlando International Airport’s (MCO) people mover.
The terminals at MCO are not actually attached to the airport proper, as the airport is designed using a hub and spoke system. The four airside terminals are connected to the main landside terminal by a raised Westinghouse People Mover System.
I hold many vivid memories riding that people mover. I remember waiting next to the pink neon lighting, watching for the next people mover tram to arrive. I loved these people movers so much, that I’m sure we’ve got some photos tucked away somewhere of me watching them arrive.
The trams are painted white with a sleek coloured stripe on the side, that always reminds me of the Walt Disney World monorail. Between riding the people mover and hearing the voice welcome you to central Florida, this was the moment when I felt as though I’d truly arrived at Disney (even though we weren’t on property yet).
You can imagine one of my disappointments when, on my first trip to MCO that took me through a US connection hub, the lights for the people move station were white!
If you haven’t had the chance to fly into Orlando International, I recommend it – not only for the memory, but because it’s a lovely airport to travel through!
Are you an airport nerd like me? Check out these posts by others about Orlando International Airport!
History of Orlando International Airport
B-52 Memorial Park at Orlando International Airport
McCoy Air Force Base on Wikipedia
Travelling with a toddler changes your experiences of the park. It gave me the chance to experience places aimed specifically at little kids because in the last fifteen years I haven’t been to the parks with someone under the age of ten.
One such place was the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventures at Disney Hollywood Studios.
Originally opened in December 1990, the backyard set from the Honey I Shrunk the Kids movie has been recreated as a playground and splash area for little ones. There are caves to explore, big spider webs to climb up, and grass blades to slide down. Water sprays out of a giant super soaker, and also pours down a green wall.
I’m sure I experienced this when the attraction first opened, since I would have been the prime audience for it. I vaguely remember the large blades of grass, but apart from that I don’t really recall visiting the movie set.
This trip changed that. With my little niece with us, we needed a place where Grandma or Grandpa could take her so she wouldn’t get bored while waiting for the rest of us when we went off to ride Star Tours and the Tower of Terror. The movie set was perfect!
Even though the movie set is aimed at kids four and older, even at twenty months Nat at a blast. There were several play structures that were small enough for her to run through. The giant ant made sounds.
Her favourite part? A wall shaped like a leaf that had water dripping down it into pools. Nat had a blast splashing around in the little puddles, feeling the water as it dribbled down the wall, and getting spray by the misters.
If you’ve got a little one, I definitely recommend checking the movie set out. Even if you don’t, I would still say you should pop your head in just to see the attention to detail put into the attraction.
The Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure located in the Streets of America and is open during the park’s operating hours. Check your times guides, as it may close earlier in the off-season.
- If your child loves water, make sure you pack an extra set of clothes
- The attraction can get busy in the afternoons. Not to the point you can’t access it, but if you dislike feeling like a sardine, aim to experience this in the morning.
- Being a playground, the movie set can also get hot in the afternoons after the sun has beaten down for most of the day. Another reason to visit it in the morning.
Disneybounding, I love it. Have you heard of it? Probably not. But if you have been to a Disney park I bet you you have seen it, even though you might not have known what you were looking at. We all know that adults are not allowed to dress up in full costume in the Disney parks; the one exception being the Halloween parties. But we all secretly want to wear the outfits of the princesses, our heroes and even the villains. So how does one accomplish this without trying to pass as a 8 year old? This is where Disneybouding comes in. The idea is you take the essence of the Disney characters costume and make it your own.
For example, you love Peter Pan, but trying to wear the full tights and green garb wont get you past the entrance turnstiles. Your solution, wear green jeans, a brown t-shirt and grab the offical Peter Pan hat and people are going to know you are trying to immitate the character, without actually being him. Best of all, you will be allowed in to the park! Be sure to go and meet the character you are emulating, it will cause a lot of jokes and laughs to be had as they will most definetly recognize what you are trying to do.
For the most part on my last trip to the Disney Parks I tried to let my brother and sister-in-law choose where we ate, as this was their first trip in a long time to the Parks (and my sis-in-law has never been!). I offered up suggestions when asked – and asked that we had to at least go to the Biergarten – but otherwise it was up to them.
One of the places they wanted to try was Les Chefs de France. Admittedly I’m not a fan: I’ve gotten food poisoning from there twice. But it was up to them, and I was willing to give it another try.
We didn’t do any pre-trip planning for meals, instead deciding day-of or a few days before where we would eat. We’d then log into the Advance Dining Reservations online and were usually able to get a seating for six no problem.
Admittedly I found the menu a bit pricy, so I ordered one of my favourites, Soupe a l’oignon Gratinee (French onion soup), and the Tartes des Chefs a la flame Alsacienne (a flatbread topped with crème fraiche, onions, and bacon).
The soup was what you’d typically expect for a French onion soup. I was pleased to see they used real Gruyere cheese, since a lot of restaurants skimp out and only use mozzarella. I found the soup salty though.
The tartes was a big surprise! My expectations of it weren’t high, but it turned out to be pretty tasty. The combination of crème fraiche, onions, and bacon reminded me of a dish I regularly make at home. The only issue with this is that it’s quite rich, so as a meal for one person it was too much – keep it as an appetizer as it’s meant to be!
Three of my family all ordered the Filet de boeuf grille, sauce au poivre vert Gratin Dauphinois et haricots verts (grilled tenderloin of beef with green peppercorn sauce original potato gratin of Savoy and green beans). Unfortunately not a one of them was overly wowed by their steaks.
The other in our party was brave and ordered the Canard aux cerises, puree de patates douces et patissons (Duck breast and leg confit with cherries, sweet potatoes puree and patty pan). It was moist and tender, but nothing to write home about.
The best part of the meal was Chef Remy, the main character from Ratatouille. Part of the Living Character initiative, Remy goes around table to table on a rolling gourmet food cart pushed by the maitre d’. Not only was my 19-month old niece mesmerized by Remy, but so was the rest of our table! The comedy routine between Remy and the maitre d’ will have you busting a gut with laughter. Remy commented on everything from what we were having for dinner, to Canadian beer, to flirting with the ladies at our table.
Overall we weren’t impressed with Les Chef de France, and ended up skipping dessert and grabbing it outside at the Food & Wine Festival.
My review of the place is two out of five stars. I’d say give it a try to see Remy and try the tartes; but there are better sit-down restaurants at Epcot to try!
Happy Family Day!
It’s been a while since we’ve had a proper Media Monday post. Today I thought I’d feature a ridethrough of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Magic Kingdom. I shot this on my most recent trip in November 2012.
“Hang on to them hats ‘n glasses…”
One of the items on my Disney to-do list for the last trip was to try Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure at Epcot. It’s something I’d passed over on previous trips, even when it was known as Kim Possible’s World Showcase Adventure. It sounded fun, so when I met up with my friend John (who had played it before) we decided to do a few missions.
Guests need to locate one of several field station kiosks to check in. We went to the first one you come across at the walkway between Future World and the World Showcase (you can also find assignment stations at Norway, Italy, and the International Gateway). There you meet cast members dressed as Organization Without a Cool Acronym (OWCA) agents. They will ask you who your team leader is and, using your park pass, assign your team a FONE – Field Operative Notification Equipment. You then choose a letter of the alphabet to use as your code name; we became Agent E (E for Epcot, of course!).
The adventure starts when Major Monogram contacts you and gives you instructions on your first assignment. There are currently seven countries you can go on assignment to – Mexico, France, Germany, Norway, United Kingdom, Japan and China.
You have to follow clues given to you through the FONE to activate various elements and eventually foil the evil plots of Dr Doofenshmirtz.
Some clues you have to find a picture, sometimes you have to deduce the location from what’s been said. Sometimes the locations you go to will have the clue. Eventually you finish enough clues to help foil Doofenshmirtz’ plan. The missions took John and I about a half hour each to complete. With kids it’ll take a bit longer, so plan accordingly!
You can either go on another mission, or return your phone to one of the drop boxes.
Though I only had time to complete two assignments – the UK and Japan – all in all I had fun with Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure! I’ve never seen Phineas and Ferb, but the concept of trying to help Agent P save the world was fun. The special effects are really cool to see. Admittedly sometimes the story itself was dry, and the phones can be a bit slow, but it was worth it just to go on the adventure and see the effects play out. Even though it’s aimed for kids, I think adults will get a kick out of it.
I’m definitely looking forward to trying more missions on future trips!
Note: Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure’s hours of operation are different than park hours, so make sure you check your times guide!