The Cabins at Fort Wilderness – Resort Review


There’s a well-kept secret of sorts on Disney property…a standalone cabin that will hold larger families (up to 6), with a fully-equipped kitchen, 2 full size beds, and a set of bunk beds, and a private parking pad.  Where can one find this fabulous gem?  At Disney’s Fort Wilderness, right close to the action in the Magic Kingdom area!  Just a short boat ride away from good ol’ MK, these little wonders are perfect for families who like some space to spread out, needs more beds for more little bodies, or just want the convenience of a kitchen to prepare meals every day.  We stayed in a cabin as a family of 5 and found the layout to be ideal for us.

Let’s start with the bedroom.  There’s a full size bed and twin bunk beds here, along with a small vanity area with electrical outlets, so one can get ready in the morning here instead of the bathroom.  There’s also a (very) small closet here.  You’ll also find a small chest of drawers, flat screen TV, and nightstand between the bed and bunks.  My husband took the full-sized bed, while my then 9- and 7-year-old sons took the bunks.

FTWMeanwhile, on the other side of the bedroom door (yes, a door! yay!), there’s a hallway with a bathroom (full size, long vanity, shower/tub combo), a housekeeping closet, and then your kitchen.  The kitchen is fully equipped, right down to paper towels, dishes, utensils, dish soap (but they will do the dishes for ya!), coffee, creamer, etc.  Truly everything you could need to put together a meal.  To the side of the kitchen, you have an eat-in dining area with a large table with seating for 6.

Moving into the living area, you have a full size Murphy bed, sofa, small table and chairs (child size), and another flat screen TV.  I co-slept with my then not-quite-2-year-old daughter in the Murphy bed and found it very comfy.

Once outside, you have a private deck with grill and a private parking pad.  The resort itself is vast.  They have an internal bus system that most find very confusing.  We decided to make it easy and rent a golf cart, which you can do up to 1 year in advance, but we got lucky and got one on-site.  The golf cart was great fun for the kids and a lifesaver for us.  We were able to park right by the marina and take the boat to Magic Kingdom every day without a long walk.  We thoroughly enjoyed tooling around on our cart but be aware that it does add about a good chunk of change to your total cost.  (Carts are currently $59 per day, pre-tax.)

I would absolutely, positively, 100% recommend a cabin to any family looking for a little more space and a little more bang for your buck!

Wolfgang Puck Express at Downtown Disney Marketplace – Restaurant Review

If you’re looking for a great place to spend your quick-service meal credit at Downtown Disney, Wolfgang Puck Express gets my vote every time.  Not to be confused with the other 56 adaptations of Wolfgang Puck at Downtown Disney, this review is all about the MARKETPLACE location, right near Goofy’s Candy Kitchen.  In addition to some seriously good flatbread pizzas, they also happen to have the best mac & cheese in the world.  Yes, I said the world.  Definitely in all of Disney World, but maybe even in all of the WORLD world.  It’s that good.  Just look at it….


Seriously divine.  My mouth is watering just THINKING about their mac & cheese.  Anyway, carb love aside, it really is a great use of QS credit and I think you’ll find they have something for nearly every palate.  Bacon-wrapped meatloaf sandwich anyone?  Oven-roasted salmon with cauliflower puree, marinated tomatoes, and broccolini?  Creme brûlée with fresh berries or vanilla bean cheesecake for dessert?  Yes, yes, and yes.

Another GREAT feature of this restaurant is that they bring your food to you just like a table-service restaurant, but it’s still considered a quick-service option.  Someone will wait on me, bring me the best mac & cheese EVER, and I only have to use a quick-service credit?  YES PLEASE.  Be sure to come back and thank me later 😉

Restaurant Review – Leaky Cauldron at Universal Studios Orlando



I was fortunate enough to dine at this fabulous quick-service restaurant on a recent FAM (familiarization) trip to Universal Studios and I will proudly recommend it to ANY Harry Potter fan I meet who will be visiting Diagon Alley!  The food is truly very good — not your typical theme park fare at all.  I enjoyed a wonderful lunch consisting of Cottage Pie, Sticky Toffee Pudding, and Fishy Green Ale to drink.  Yes, I said fishy when referring to a drink!  Don’t worry, dear reader, I haven’t lost my ever-loving mind…’twas just a cheeky name for bubble tea.  The “bubbles” were blueberry flavored and the drink itself was a super sweet cinnamon-mint concoction.  It was quite tasty but proved WAY too sweet for my liking.  I was only able to drink a tiny bit of it.  The Cottage Pie was incredible.  Large chunks of veggies and tender beef in a delicious gravy were topped with buttery, flaky pastry.  YUM!  The Sticky Toffee Pudding was also wonderful but, again, too sweet for my palate.  I wasn’t able to finish it, even with a child-size portion of the Cottage Pie.  My Cottage Pie (child portion) and Sticky Toffee Pudding both rang in at $6.99, while my Fishy Green Ale was $4.99.  I would absolutely skip the Fishy Green Ale on a return trip, and stick with my absolute favorite, Pumpkin Juice ($3.99).


IMG_9253I’ll definitely visit Leaky Cauldron again with my own family.  I have 2 sons who would be absolutely delighted with all of the wonderful details in this restaurant.  I feel they did an excellent job of staying true to the Wizarding World and skimped on no detail!






Side note:  If you’re a beer lover, be sure to hop around the corner to The Fountain of Fair Fortune and try a Wizard’s Brew or Dragon Scale.  Being a stout fan, I ordered the Wizard’s Brew and cannot wait to return and have another!

Resort Review – Universal Orlando Loew’s Portofino Bay

Have you ever been to Italy?  I haven’t, so I might be totally off base in saying this, but it FELT like I was there the whole time I was at Universal’s Portofino Bay Resort.  From the beautiful entrance with luxury cars and Vespas parked outside, to the stunning harbor, to the opera singers serenading me from the balcony each night at dusk, I felt fully immersed in la bella vita.

IMG_0909Once inside our room, we were even more pleased!  The room was very spacious, with 2 queen beds, a full size dresser, table and chairs, mini bar, and HUGE luxury bath with whirlpool tub, standalone shower, and large vanity.  The bathroom has a large window over the tub that can open into the bedroom, as well as speakers that will pipe in the sound from the TV while you get ready.  We requested a crib for our daughter and were very pleasantly surprised to receive a full-size portable crib with bedding, a Fisher Price DVD, and a Johnson & Johnson travel size baby care kit.  Very nice touch!

You can also enjoy fantastic dining on-site at Portofino Bay at their signature restaurant, Bice.  There are also quick-service options available, a character meal offered on select days of the week at breakfast, a fantastic little wine bar, and a gelateria to enjoy.

The resort also features 3 themed swimming pools, one of which offers a Roman aqueduct themed slide.  There’s a splash area for toddlers, Bocce ball courts, jogging paths, and a full game room arcade, as well as many retail and gift shops on property as well (and Starbucks too!!!).  Be sure to check out the nightly Musica della Notte show with live Italian music on the Harbor Piazza!

Overall, I think Portofino Bay is an excellent choice if you’re visiting Universal Studios on your trip to Orlando.  You’ll enjoy wonderful on-site benefits including Universal Express Unlimited ride access that lets you skip the regular lines in BOTH theme parks (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure) FREE of charge — a benefit that alone is worth up to $89 per person, per day, early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (1 hour before the theme park opens), complimentary water taxis and shuttle buses to both parks and Universal CityWalk, priority seating at select restaurants throughout both parks and CityWalk, resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card, complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel, and complimentary scheduled transportation to nearby Wet ‘n Wild, SeaWorld, and Aquatica.

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Nursing around “The World”

This might not be the most popular post ever simply because it doesn’t apply to a wide audience, but it is one that is definitely helpful if you’re taking a breastfeeding baby to Disney World. I’ve taken a nursing baby to Disney several times and I’ve found some great spots to discreetly and quietly nurse your little one, and hope this will come in handy for another momma!

First and foremost, EVERY one of the 4 main parks has a baby care center with a dedicated, private area for nursing moms. You can also purchase diapers, wipes, formula, food, and just about anything else you might need for baby here. There are changing tables, highchairs, a full kitchen with a microwave and sink, and an area with a TV and comfy places to sit. Should you find that you don’t want to stop the fun for a visit to one of the centers, however, there are PLENTY of quiet and comfy places you can nurse in the parks!

Magic Kingdom:
it’s a Small World (ride time: 10.5 minutes; ask to sit in back of boat)
Carousel of Progress (length: 21 minutes – air conditioned!)
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover (ride time: 10 minutes)
Hall of Presidents (length: 22.5 minutes – air conditioned!)

Top of the “mountain” in the Canada pavilion (public but usually secluded)
Impressions de France theater show (length: 18 minutes – air conditioned!)
Ellen’s Energy Adventure (length: 45 minutes – air conditioned!)
Living with the Land (length: almost 14 minutes – air conditioned!)

Hollywood Studios:
One Man’s Dream (length: 25 minutes – air conditioned!)
Great Movie Ride (length: 18.5 minutes – can be loud)
Writer’s Stop (coffee shop; quiet with comfy chairs, air conditioned!)

Animal Kingdom:
Festival of the Lion King or Finding Nemo: The Musical (both 30 minute stage shows in the air conditioning)

Any of the locations above are excellent places to nurse on the fly! Taking a nursing baby to Disney World shouldn’t be something you fear…it is very easily doable!

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Seven Dwarfs Mine Train review

On our last trip, we were able to ride the as-of-then-unopened Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride during a “soft opening” day and it did NOT disappoint!  The line was crazy long and Fast Passes were not accepted, as it was not officially open yet.  We braved the line and the heat and were so, so glad we did!


The queue was wonderful all by itself, with lots of well-placed fans and plenty for little hands to do while they wait.  As we have all come to know and love, Disney gets the theming right every single time.  The attention to detail is outstanding here!



 Once you board the train, you’ll quickly realize this ride bears a striking resemblance to its much bumpier cousin, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  The ride here, however, is much smoother and it feels quite a bit zippier.  The height requirement for this ride is also lower than for Big Thunder — just 38″ to Big Thunder’s 40″.

Without giving too much away, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled and take in all of the scenery.  There are incredible views of the dwarfs hard at work in the mine and you might also get a glimpse of Snow White herself if you really look for her!  My family can’t wait to ride this one again on our next trip.  Be sure to FastPass this ride — wait times can get really long and FastPass distribution is often filled quickly!



Want to see a real-life video? Click HERE!

Food Trucks at Downtown Disney


There are lots of changes happening at Downtown Disney — a Starbucks recently opened, the new Marketplace Co-op opened their doors, construction for Disney Springs abounds, and FOOD TRUCKS have arrived!!!  The Disney Dining Plan is accepted at all four of the Downtown Disney Food Trucks, which are:

  • Fantasy Fare “Delightful Dishes from Disney’s Magic Kingdoms Around the World”
  • World Showcase of Flavors “The Best of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival”
  • Namaste Cafe “Tasty Explorations inspired by Disney’s Animal Kingdom”
  • Superstar Catering “Favorite of the Stars of Disney’s Hollywood Studios”

While I wasn’t able to sample any of the offerings this trip (we had reservations at T-Rex and I was stuffed!), I did take a few pictures and grabbed a menu so I could share with our readers!

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The day we visited, only two of the trucks were there – Fantasy Fare and World Showcase of Flavors.  Both saw a steady stream of visitors and were cranking out some seriously yummy looking dishes.  Here’s the menu for all 4 trucks:


I can’t wait to head back and try the Butter Chicken from Namaste Cafe!  What dish is calling your name?

Meeting Anna and Elsa at Fairytale Princess Hall

IMG_0718Everyone knows that the Frozen ladies are THE hot thing right now, and we were lucky enough to get to meet them on our recent trip.  The standby wait time when we arrived for our Fast Pass reservation was just over 3 hours.  THREE HOURS.  The line was chock full of little girls just itching to meet their favorite princess and queen and I was ever so thankful that I nabbed a Fast Pass for my little one!!!  We were in and out in less than 20 minutes, a good 5 of which was spent interacting with the Frozen girls and Aurora (the visiting princess with Anna & Elsa that day).  At press time, the ladies now have the arena to themselves and there is no longer a “visiting princess” featured with them.

The characters interacted beautifully with one another, and with my daughter.  She was full entranced by Elsa’s beautiful train and thoroughly enjoyed the fuss they made over her shirt.  Overall, this was definitely a highlight of our trip but I would certainly recommend a Fast Pass for this meet & greet.  You won’t find this die-hard Disney fan waiting in a 3 hour line for much of anything!

L’Artisan des Glaces review


After a beautiful evening stroll around World Showcase Lagoon, we stopped in L’Artisan des Glaces, a fairly new boutique style ice cream & sorbet shop in the France pavilion of EPCOT.  One of the key things worth noting here is that you can have liquor added to some of your selections, making this a fabulous stop for the kids AND for the grown-ups!

IMG_0849The decor is very aptly themed and adorable.  There are 2 identical freezers showcasing the selections, so don’t be afraid to move on down to the second one to take a peek…we found most people stopped at the first counter, but both cases are the same.


The flavor selection isn’t extensive, but it covers all the bases, and some twists are added as well.  There’s a chocolate macaron sandwich, a brioche ice cream sandwich, and adult selections such as an ice cream martini.  Scoops of ice cream or sorbet are served in cups or waffle cones, and are reasonably priced at just $3.99 for a single scoop.  We chose the vanilla single scoop & the chocolate macaron sandwich.  Both were delicious, but the macaron sandwich was the clear winner.  And just look at that adorable newspaper it’s served in!  Disney nails theming every time!!

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1900 Park Fare Character Breakfast Review


This was one of the few character meals on Disney property that I’ve not yet had the chance to do, so I was very excited to snag a last minute reservation for breakfast the night before.  I enjoyed this meal with just my 2-year-old daughter in tow, and we both absolutely loved this experience.  The food was very good, and the character experience was invaluable.  Characters that typically appear include Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter, and Mary Poppins.  We were delighted to find Tigger & Winnie the Pooh in attendance on the morning we dined as well.


Breakfast selections for the older set were extensive and included a made-to-order omelet station, hand-carved meats (hickory smoked ham on this day), croissants, bagels and delicious spreads (salmon & dill, Boursin, and plain cream cheese), highly acclaimed strawberry soup (YUM!), fresh fruit, biscuits with gravy, sausage, and bacon.  Mickey waffles were there for the kiddos as well as after-breakfast treats.


Immediately upon being seated, a waitress came by offering pineapple/orange/guava juice, which I was thrilled to recognize as “POG” juice from ‘Ohana.  If you’ve never had this treat, be sure to put it on your must try list for your next trip!  We were quickly greeted by Tigger and Pooh in quick succession.  Tigger clowned around with my daughter for a few pictures and kissed her little head…very sweet.  Pooh was slightly less interactive, but we still managed a couple of good shots.


IMG_0863After we got our food, Mary Poppins came by and spent a good bit of time gushing over my daughter.  They were both wearing red & white and MP commented on my daughter’s great taste more than once.  Alice was next, followed by the ever funny Mad Hatter.  He took lots of time being silly and taking pictures with us.

All in all, this stands out as a new favorite character dining experience for us.  We will definitely return to 1900 Park Fare on our next trip to Disney!