Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming Lunch Review

This new restaurant located at Disney Springs in The Landing area is a clear winner.  It is open, spacious, bright, and really has the feeling of comfort.  It felt so homey and cozy, but also fresh and new.  The décor is beautiful and it is so cool to look into the open kitchen.  The chairs were very comfortable and felt plush while looking casual at the same time.  You could easily dress up for a night out on the town with drinks or wear your shorts and sneakers while taking a break from the parks.


We had a party of 4 for lunch and we all thought the Church Lady Deviled Eggs sounded good. It is 6 full sized eggs so it is easy to share with a larger group.  You may be thinking, really deviled eggs?  But I assure you these were so, so delicious!  The flavoring was just right and the eggs tasted so fresh!  These were a winner all around at our table!

My choice for entrée was the Fried Chicken Sandwich.  This is a buttermilk-brined for 24 hours and double battered chicken topped with hot sauce, aioli, lettuce, and bread and butter pickles.  This was really good!  I think the toasted bun just brought it all together so well.  It was fresh and filling without weighing you down for a busy day.  For a small upcharge I changed the homemade chips for the Iron Skillet Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Cane Sugar, and I must say it was a great choice!  These sweet potatoes were just awesome!  They are swimming in butter and sugar so don’t think they are a healthy option but get them anyway you will enjoy them!

JAMIE: One of my favorite meals of the entire trip. A+++! I had the same chicken sandwich as Jillian and it was something really special. The long process that goes into making this chicken really does show in every bite. I had the french fries with it and everything came out piping hot and perfectly prepared. I’ll definitely be returning, ASAP.

TARA: LOVED IT! I really enjoyed this lunch and I was excited to try it. I had heard mostly great reviews but was a tad concerned. I had read a few from Southerners that they may fall short on a few items being truly Southern cooking. I definitely did not find this to be the truth – but in fairness I avoided the item that seems to get the bad reviews (green beans). Instead, I had the Chicken Salad and it came with a house dressing that was a mix of ranch and vinaigrette. The dressing was wonderful and very tangy. The salad was fresh and a favorite salad that I get often so I was curious how it stacked up and it came out on top. And just to add to the glowing review of the deviled eggs – they are a must now every time I visit. I am not a huge deviled egg fan but these were definitely special!

CHRIS:For lunch I had the HFK Barbecue Bun sandwich. This was their chopped pork with sweet and spicy barbecue sauce, topped with southern slaw and served on a brioche bun. The pork was perfect, seasoned and cooked just right and served with their sweet and spicy barbecue sauce (which in hind site I wish I asked for an additional side of barbecue it was that good!). In lieu of chips I ordered an additional side of their southern slaw, which lived up to its southern name! Portions were a perfect size for lunch!

The service was great, our waitress was quick to refill our glasses before they were empty, but never hovering around.  She was helpful and able to answer all our questions about the menu as well as suggest food choices for us.

This is definitely a great family restaurant or for a night out.  The kids menu is small but you could always go with a couple of the sides for kids also.  I cannot recommend this restaurant enough and you HAVE to get the deviled eggs!

The Ganachery at Disney Springs

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Ever since I heard of it’s opening in late 2015 I have been dying to get to Disney Springs’ The Ganachery. This is more than just a chocolate shop, it’s a decadent chocolate experience. The Ganachery is a small shop, but packed full of awesome. As soon as you enter you are able to see the chocolatiers creating magic in the kitchen through a giant show window, working on each of the 16 flavors offered here.

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Experienced employees wait behind the counter to help you narrow down your choices in chocolate. I decided to go with a box of 6 of the ganache collection, for a cost of $15. There are also boxes of nine for $21, boxes of twelve for $27, boxes of sixteen for $36 or individual pieces of ganache for $3 each. When I was there a few of the chocolate choices were: Chipotle Pepper, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Cinnamon Apple, Egyptian Sea Salt, Caramel, Passion Fruit, Raspberry, Gianduja (hazlenut), Milk  Chocolate, Coconut, Vanilla, Peanut Butter and 65% Dark.

Each bite of chocolate was more amazing than the last, but I think my favorite was the Egyptian sea salt! I can’t wait to go back to the Ganachery and try more flavors.

Have you been to The Ganachery? What did you try and what did you think? We’d love to hear!

Morimoto Dinner Review

For our November Dole Whippies girl trip kickoff we started with dinner at one of the newer Disney Springs restaurants. We’d heard a little of the buzz of Morimoto (including from Tara, who’d been lucky enough to try it this past summer!) but were excited to try it ourselves. Morimoto is Japanese master chef Masaharu Morimoto’s first pan-Asian (Japanese, Chinese and Korean) cuisine restaurant featuring open kitchens and 20 foot chandeliers in the 2 story dining room. From the menu you can choose from sushi, dim sum, different meats, noodles/rice, and vegetables. For dinner we each got something of our own, and a few things to share. Here’s our take on the food from Morimoto!

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Jamie: I ordered the Kanikama Rangoon- krab meat and cream cheese spring roll, apricot sweet chili sauce. These were like crab rangoon but in a spring roll. They were really good, but the sauce was even better! I could have eaten that sauce on everything. I also shared the Pad Thai (sweet tamarind sauce, stir-fried flat rice noodles, egg, bean sprout, scallion, fried tofu, pickled turnip) with Shannon and it was pretty good. The tofu in it was much better than I expected it to be! Overall I thought the meal was great, and a very good way to kick off our trip!

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Jillian: I started with the chicken dumplings, something I will usually order at Chinese restaurants and there were great!  Better than your average, but not out of this world.  I also had the spicy tuna sushi roll.  This was really good!  My only wish it that I had ordered two!  These are easy to share or have as an appetizer!  I really enjoyed this meal!  It is a great addition to Disney Springs.

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Shannon: I ordered the vegetable Pad Thai.  It was delicious!  Not the best Pad Thai, I’ve had, but very very good.  I am not a fan of tofu in general, but as Jamie said, the tofu in this dish was very enjoyable.

I had wanted an order of egg rolls for an appetizer, but sadly, they were all out for the day.  Our server said they make the egg rolls fresh in house and they only make a certain amount per day.

Overall, I thought this restaurant was pretty good.  Maybe a bit on the expensive side and not necessarily somewhere I would take my passel of kids, but a good date night place.

Tara: Morimoto is a good option for Disney Springs. This was my second visit there in the past few months and both times found it good. I will say this trip the food was yummy and I enjoyed the food more this visit but the service could have been better. I think this was a one server issue though and not a restaurant issue. I was disappointed they were out of all egg rolls (I mean this is an Asian restaurant in the US – I would think egg rolls would be a staple!) I did have yummy sesame balls though and lived them. I give it overall a solid B.

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Podcast Episode 116: Things To Know Before You Go

Whether it’s your first visit or your 50th visit to Walt Disney World, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks we think you should know before you go.  We talk about tickets, dining, park touring tips, FastPass, and more!

Happy listening!

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Paradise Pier Review

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Recently I visited the Disneyland Resort and had the opportunity to stay in all three of their onsite hotels.  In this last installment, I’ll give you my review of the Paradise Pier hotel.

Paradise Pier was previously a different brand of hotel that Disney purchased and put their own spin on.  It’s directly across the street from the Grand Californian, and while not far from the parks, is the furthest Disney property from the park gates.

This hotel overlooks Paradise Pier in California Adventure park, hence the name.  Of course, that’s only on the one side of the building, and unfortunately my room was on the opposite side.  It was still a lovely view of the city.

This hotel has a seaside feel.  The rooms were clean and comfortable, but lacked the charm of the Disneyland Hotel and the sophistication of the Grand Californian.

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img_20160825_202853Located onsite is PCH Grill, a character buffet.  I didn’t have a chance to try it, but the decor looked very fun.

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One cute little thing they had off the lobby was a little room for kids to wait while the adults check in to the hotel.  There’s a screen for watching Mickey cartoons set inside a replica of a sand castle.  Cute little beach chairs made an adorable little room.

img_20160824_121624This hotel also has club level accommodations and a club level lounge.  Unfortunately during my time there the pool area was being renovated. I did see a portion of it and it was your standard hotel pool.  Nothing really special.

Overall, this was my least favorite of the three Disneyland resorts.  The location isn’t great and there isn’t much of that Disney feel to me.  It is the least expensive of the three, however, for the price difference, I think the Disneyland Hotel is a better choice.

Trip Report Day 1: It Begins…with a Bang and a New Restaurant Experience


Okay, ladies and gents and all you other swashbuckler out there. Here we go. Day 1. If you are a cruiser (or just play one on TV) you all know Day 1 is not embark on your cruise day EVER. Why? Because you never, ever travel to your port to board your ship on the day the ship leaves. Why? Because you hate to be stranded in Baltimore waving at the webcam as it sails away because the mechanical delay or storm delay. There are so many other reasons (like the airline misplace your bag – happened to me 2 years ago prior to boarding Dream and lucky for me they brought me my bag in Port Canaveral before my ship sailed the next morning but I would have sailed without clothes if I did not buffer a day). So, what have we learned or reminded ourselves – buffer a day and travel to port early. Okay, so Day 1 is traveling to Florida. We have two staterooms that are important to this Trip Report. Stateroom 1 is me and my crazy Husband Scott and in Stateroom 2 is our best friend Chris and his two crazy teenager boys, Tom and Ben. Chris and I basically are the adults with 3 children on these trips (and laugh and love every minute of the silly!)
01ff01c4b90215e3bc9f64074ca4ddee34828cacdcSo, Chris, Tom and Ben traveled down to Florida from the Northeast early Friday morning so they could do a few things prior to us arriving (maybe tour a University as we all bribe and push the teens to go to school there so even more excuses for Disney trips!) Scott and I flew down and arrived mid afternoon and were picked up in the rental van that Chris had reserved. Here is what we did – we rented a minivan via Budget at MCO (Orlando’s airport) and used it to tool around Orlando that day and night and then drive us to the port on Saturday morning. The Budget car rental location is 1/2 mile from 01617ed0581e21282c9cfbb1f3e5df476786813e57port and has constant shuttles, once we got there we only waited 3 minutes for a nice, air-conditioned shuttle that took us to Disney’s port and some other people to their Carnival cruise which was docked next door. So, for us the minivan rental and transport saved us time and money from Disney’s transportation and private transport because we only paid $120 (includes taxes) for the rental and we needed it not only to get to PC but also to get to our Orlando hotel
because horrors we did not stay on property that night. WHAT? I know. But, we did get a 01261b032aa5a3d02bb855ae53ba45a92c7baee86fbang up deal and stay at the Hilton that is right next door to Disney Springs…literally 3 minutes over a walkway. I was hesitant and not overly excited. But, we are Diamond Hilton members and have lots of points and needed to burn some and this was a good time to do it because we were not going to a park. So, burn away and it turned out great. The property was great and convenient and recently (last 2-3 years is my guess) renovated. We had two rooms next to each other and because we are Diamond
we had private access to the Diamond breakfast that was a full buffet and very yummy (and empty so no waiting for breakfast – but that is Day 2 so let’s not skip!) Anyway, the Hilton is a great option and the rates (if we paid) that night were around $100 and that was a great deal. Also, the service was A+ and most of the peeps there were previous Disney Cast Members so very helpful and very service oriented.

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So, rental car check, Hilton check in check, off to Disney Springs for a new restaurant experience that is Morimoto Asia. I will do a full review later but for now here is the mini

015102c7dd8401be958dc8ac88adcfb3c77bad1f2dreview. It is an upscale Asian restaurant that looks a bit like a night club (with lots of metallic and crystal strings making cylinder lights hanging down. It is two stories and lots of room for tables and guests. We had an early reservation at 5:30pm and we arrived a few minutes early and was sat right away and plenty of seating at that time. It filled up pretty good around 6:30 and was full by 7pm. We all tried lots of different items from sesame balls which were awesome and a first, to Orange Chicken (old stand by that was good), to Singapore Laksa noodles (curry coconut and chicken soup) that was a hit with the Curry lovers. The one thing we all agreed on was Churro Fondue was a huge pleaser and made the experience go from good to great. It is not going to be the least expensive meal you have and it is probably going to be a good but maybe not great meal, but worth a try!

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After dinner we walked around Disney Springs for a while and then went and took the 0150b50ec2729832aac73768e727d86e469980fc6eteenagers back to the hotel (they were tired teenagers tire way too quickly) and then Chris, Scott and I went out running a few last-minute errands to CVS, grocery store, and dropping off some goodies for a client staying at Pop (see I stalk you even while you are on vacation! haha).

After that, back to the room to watch some of Jurassic World 3 and realize the main raptor “Blue” reminds us a lot of our cat Walter. Good or bad it is the truth and it did make us miss our little Devil but we got lots of good texts and pictures from him and his brothers all week letting us know how they were doing and how they wished they were on the cruise!

Then we ran down stairs to the awesome market in the lobby and grabbed some ice cream (because it is vacation!) and made a few last calls to family.

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Off to sleep and ready for Day 2! Get on the ship and get started finally! JEEZE.

 

Want to see the Pre-Trip Report and catch up? Click HERE

 

Trip Report: The Who, What, Whens and Hows of our Disney Extravaganza Trip

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So, I am really excited to write my very first real trip report! I have wanted to do this so many times before but really it is a big undertaking that you plan a bit in advance and make sure you take lots of notes and pictures as you go! Otherwise not a great report, eh?

Scott dancing around like he did all week!

Scott dancing around like he did all week!

Who: My husband – Scott, one of our best friends and frequent podcast guest – Chris, two teenage boys that belong to Chris – named Tom and Ben (they have also been podcast guests if the names sound familiar!) Oh and me – one of your Dolewhippie ladies!

We all went together on the Disney Dream about two years ago on the 4 night and loved it. Ever since then we wanted to go again and do another cruise but a longer one! We decided to go on the 7 night Disney Fantasy and depending on schedules and availability we really wanted the Eastern Caribbean. One thing that we did this time, that was different from last time, was we decided we did not have to have connecting rooms and so therefore I could take advantage of a special Travel Agent rate. The reason I share this is because it also means we could not book or plan until the rates became available which is about 6-8 weeks or so prior to sailing. We

Tom, Chris and Ben ready to go in Tortola!

Tom, Chris and Ben ready to go in Tortola!

had limited time, based on so many different schedules, and so we had narrowed it down to one week we could go. So if a TA rate did not come out for July 30th sailing then we could not go. BOO! So we waited and watched and half planned (just in case!) and luckily I called on the right day and we got a balcony room and then went to book the second (regular rate) stateroom and got lucky by finding a GTY rate for a Verandah room so hooray savings all around! We hoped to be close but with a TA rate and a GTY rate your stateroom is assigned and you can not request anything at all, not even to be near. So, all we knew was both staterooms were on the Fantasy on July 30th and would have a balcony. We were thrilled!

We left and flew down to Orlando on July 29th (definitely arrive at least a day prior to sailing) and had a fun pre-cruise night at Disney Springs and ate at a new and now favorite restaurant (keep reading the trip report to find out more!)

We sailed on the Fantasy July 30th through August 6th and when we disembarked on the

Bay Lake Tower for a night!

Bay Lake Tower for a night!

6th we headed to Walt Disney World for two park days and one night at Disney. We stayed at a new to us resort which I have a review of coming (I will give this one away as it was Bay Lake Tower – so keep reading if you want to here what I thought and you may be surprised).

We left Orlando on Sunday night and went home to a lot of dirty laundry, happy fur babies and were so exhausted we could barely make it to the bed. It was an amazing trip and so many new and special things it definitely was an extravaganza! I hope you keep reading because there are so many things we did that were awesome and will definitely help you when planning your next Disney trip.

 

 

Podcast Episode 100: Our 100 Favorite Disney Things

Can you believe it’s already our 100th episode?!  We love podcasting and we’ve had so much fun along the way.  For this special episode we made a list of 100 Disney things we love.  We hope you love them too!  Stick around to see what we have in store for the next 100 episodes!

Happy listening!

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Hint:  If you’d like an additional entry into our giveaway, you’re going to want to join us for this episode. 🙂

Unique Dining Outside of the Parks – Part II

Tired of the same old restaurants in the parks at Walt Disney World, or just looking for something new?  Check out the first installment check it out here to learn about unique dining options in the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Resort areas. **LINK** 

Animal Kingdom Resort Area:
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ndscape of Flavors located in the Art of Animation is one of the few quick service restaurants on my list of unique dining.  It makes the list due to its lunch and dinner menus where you can custom make any different types of meals such as pasta, omelet, burgers, and salads.  It is fun to custom make your own pasta with sauce and meat choices.  It is sure to win over even the pickiest of eaters.

 Dine with Animal Specialist with in the Animal Kingdom Lodge is a 4 course lunch at Sanaa where you can learn all about the animals that are just outside the windows of the restaurant!  This is a truly intimate lunch that is limited to 12 guests.  Once you are finished eating you will head into a secure area for and up close and personal encounter with radiated tortoises. 

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Photo via Disney.com

Wanyama Safari is available only to guests of Animal Kingdom Lodge and features a 90 minute tour with unique vantage points for observing the animals.  It is limited to 12 guests so you will have a very personalized tour.  Prior to the safari you will have a reception with the chefs and cultural representative from Jiko and then conclude your safari with a fabulous dinner at Jiko.  This is a one of a kind dining experience.

Disney Springs:
If you are in the mood for some fantastic food by a famous chef you will want to see Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs.  There is a large sushi menu and plenty of Pan-Asian food for every palate. The menu is extensive with lots of seafood but plenty of steak, noodle and chicken dishes.  Don’t miss this fantastic restaurant.

Wolfgang Puck Express is an easy choice for a single table service credit with amazing food.  People always rave about the macaroni and cheese as well as the bacon wrapped meatloaf.  Not to be mistaken with Wolfgang Puck Grand Café, the express is just a smaller version of the main restaurant by the celebrity chef. Here is a great review we have!

Boathouse

Photo via Disney.com

The Boathouse is another recent addition to Disney Springs, right on the water front.  You cannot beat the location and ambience at Disney Springs and the food is pretty darn amazing too.  They feature American, seafood and steaks and have gotten a reputation for the gigantic Gibsons S’mores Baked Alaska that serves four!

What other restaurants would you add to the lineup of unique offerings outside of a Walt Disney World park?  Let us know!

Podcast Episode 84: Spring 2016 News

It’s news time again!  Time for us to catch you up on all the new things that are happening around Disney Parks, including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Springs and beyond!

Happy listening!

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