The Force is Strong at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2015

You can feel the power of the force when Star Wars Weekends returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios® at the Walt Disney World® Resort every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 15-June 14, 2015. This galactic event is filled with special … Continue reading

Two Exciting new Dining Venues to open at Disney Springs in 2015

Two new dining experiences have been announced for Disney Springs at Walt Disney World® Resort. Chef Masaharu Morimoto, from “Iron Chef America”, will open a one-of-a-kind dining experience in the heart of Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia will be the Japanese … Continue reading

Sunset Cove Restaurant–a sure hit for my family

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Saturday was a lazy day for us, and that also lead to Me not wanting to cook dinner. I had seen many people post about Happy Hour and nights out at Sunset Cove, but I also knew they catered to families as well. After doing a little research on-line we headed off to dinner. The restaurant is located in Bowleys Quarters, Maryland for those unfamiliar with this area if you don’t like the Chesapeake Bay then don’t visit here. The restaurant is actually located at Maryland Marina, so you are surrounded by boats and the Cheasapeake. We arrived around 5pm and were seated out on the “beach” right away, plenty of picnic tables and tiki bars all around. I wish we had known that the water adjacent to the restaurant is open for swimming! My girls got in with clothes on as it is about 4ft deep with soft sand bottom, our next visit they are wearing bathing suits for sure. There are no specials on Saturdays but they do have live music from 6-10, we loved the band playing for the night “Under the Covers”. If you are seated on the beach during prime hours there is a 2.5hour time limit for your table, that is actually really generous. We never felt rushed at all.

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When my toes are in the sand I want a cocktail, I went with a creamsicle crush. Loved it! We began our meal with the Crab Nachos (come on I live in Maryland, I love crab anything). These were really good! The cheese melted on top had Old Bay cooked into it not just sprinkled around. The serving was plentiful and we chowed down. Next up main courses, I had the Rockos Tacos, a huge filet of rockfish (again it’s the state fish here of course I ordered this) grilled to perfection and served with mango salsa and wasabi cucumber dressing. You get 2 tacos per order and 2 sides of your choice. This is a HUGE meal for $12.99. Oh yeah I forgot to mention for a place on the water the prices are fantastic. My oldest daughter ordered 1lb of steamed mussels for dinner, they comes in a white wine broth with literally a loaf of French bread to soak up all the yummy sauce. I wouldn’t know how they taste because they were gone by the time I asked. Miss M got her usual a hot dog and chips, yeah she wont be my food critic. Hubby went with pork chops, who the heck orders pork chops when you eat on a beach? He said they were good and loves the mashed potatoes. All in all a really great meal with the perfect Maryland Summer atmosphere. As they say on the website “It’s a stay-cation every day at Sunset Cove”, I would agree!

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If you are looking for a great place to dine and unwind then visit Sunset Cove, located at 3408 Red Rose Farm Rd, Bowleys Qtrs MD 21220. You can also visit their website for more information as well http://sunsetcovemd.com/

Have you dined here? I want to hear your reviews!

New Italian Restaurant to Debut at Boardwalk Resort at Walt Disney World

I was just talking to my girlfriends the other day about where we would “carb-load” the night before the 2015 Princess Half Marathon. I think the brand new Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort will be just that place!

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A “trattoria” is an Italian restaurant serving simple food, and “al forno” is Italian for “food baked in an oven,” and this new spot will showcase Old World techniques, including handcrafted mozzarella made daily, cavatelli (small dumpling-shaped pasta) and a variety of Neopolitan-style pizzas baked in wood-burning ovens. Neopolitan pizzas, by the way, are pizzas in the classic style of Naples, Italy, with simple tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella.

A beautiful Italian flywheel slicer slices paper-thin Italian meats, served with a variety of olives and caponata. Satisfying pastas, velvety seasonal risottos and fresh seafood and vegetables will celebrate the delectable diversity of Italian cuisine with authentic ingredients and recipes from Italy’s various regions.

Italy is just half the size of Texas but has wonderfully diverse cuisine, and Trattoria al Forno will showcase dishes from Italy’s various regions – for instance, braised beef Bolognese with house-made cavatelli from Bologna, semolina tagliatelli carbonara from Latium (more specifically Rome), pork chop alla Milanese named after the city of Milano. And you’ll find classic Italian favorites: chicken breast alla Parmagiana with tagliatelle pasta; shrimp with garlic, capers and anchovy butter with polenta; whole roasted fish with roasted vegetables; baked lasagna; grilled steak; slow-cooked lamb shank with polenta; and eggplant rollatini.

A seasonal risotto will always be on the menu, and vegetarians will appreciate the ruffled campanelle pasta with green beans, roasted potatoes and Genovese pesto.

Add a classic Italian dessert with an after-dinner cappuccino for a perfect ending. Look for tiramisù, lemon panna cotta with almond crunch and berries, gelatos, and the signature bomboloni (Italian donut holes) with dark chocolate and vanilla gelato.

Wines will be 100 percent Italian from historic wine regions including Tuscany, Veneto and Piedmont, with over 60 offerings by the bottle and more than 25 wines by the glass – Chiantis, Super Tuscans and fine Italian white wines such as Prosecco, Pinot Grigio and Moscato. Signature cocktails and Italian beers and sodas round out the drink menu, with a signature-blend Italian coffee roasted just for Trattoria al forno.

We can’t wait to share more information and photos, stay tuned. Reservations will be accepted in several weeks – we’ll be sure to let you know the date. Thanks to the Disney Parks Blog for giving us this great update!

Will you be dining at this new Italian Restaurant?

Universal Orlando Resort Now Offering 2 Dining Plans

Trying different restaurants is part of the fun when you are on vacation at Universal Orlando Resort. However, that can also be quite costly at times depending on where you want to dine, or what you would like to snack on. That is where the Universal Dining Plan comes in. If you are on the dining plan you can actually SAVE MONEY! The best part about the dining plan is that you can actually choose the amount of days you would like to use it, as it is not required for a length of stay.

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Universal offers 2 plans a Regular plan that includes table service meals, or a Quick Service plan that includes well quick service meals. I have broken down the difference between the two, this way you can decide what you would prefer on your next Universal Orlando Vacation. You must have a vacation package to add either plan to your visit, these cannot be bought in the parks.

Regular Dining Plan Details- valid at over 100 Restaurant on Universal Orlando Resort Property

Adults: $51.99 per person (ages 10 and up)
•1 Table Service Meal
1 entrée
1 non-alcoholic beverage
1 Dining Plan dessert
•1 Quick Service Meal:
1 entrée platter
1 non-alcoholic beverage
•1 Snack
•1 non-alcoholic beverage

Children:(ages 3-9) $17.99 per person
•1 Table Service Meal
1 children’s entrée
1 non-alcoholic beverage
1 Dining Plan dessert
•1 Quick Service Meal
1 children’s entrée platter
1 non-alcoholic beverage
(children’s entrées are
available at select locations)
•1 Snack
•1 non-alcoholic beverage

Quick Service Dining Plan Details-this is great for those that are really focused on park days from open to close

Adults: $19.99 per person
•1 Quick Service Meal
•1 Snack
•1 Non-Alcoholic Beverage

Children:(ages 3-9) $12.99 per person
•1 Quick Service Kid’s Meal
•1 Snack
•1 Non-Alcoholic Beverage

Here are the snack and beverage options for both plans

Snacks:
•Churros
•Pretzels
•Regular Size Popcorn
•Fruit Cup
•Whole Fruit
•Vegetable Tray
•Fruit Bites
•Applesauce
•Novelty Ice Cream Bar
•Soft Serve (regular cup or cone)
•Regular Size Cotton Candy
•Slice of Cake / Individual Pastries
•Cookie

Beverages:
•Fountain Soda – Regular size only
•vitaminwater®
•Powerade®
•Bottled Soda
•Coffee
•Bottled Water – Nestle®, Keeper Springs or Perrier™
•Milk
•Juice
•Hot Cocoa
•Hot Tea
•Starbucks – Coffee (tall)
•Starbucks – Tea (tall)
•Starbucks – Hot Chocolate (tall)

Universal offers many options depending on the type of vacation you want. These plans are a great value and can save you up to 30% when dining in the parks or at CityWalk. And with new restaurants being added every day at Universal Orlando Resort the dining possibilities are endless!

Are you ready to “Vacation Like You Mean It” at Universal Orlando Resort? I know I am, and will be adding the dining plan to go with it!

Dining Review of Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge

I love to use resources for my blog, and one of the best resources is other Disney Bloggers. I can’t visit every resort, restaurant, snack stand and whatever else in-between so I look to others for a hand. This week we have an amazing review of Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge by my friend Brooke from Jambo Everyone. If you haven’t visited that site I would HIGHLY recommend it, especially if you wan’t to know everything about Animal Kingdom Lodge and Theme Park. You can visit them at http://jamboeveryone.com/Jambo.html

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Unless you are staying at Kidani Village in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Sanaa can be difficult to get to, but is well worth the journey. Located on the ground floor of the resort, Sanaa serves up African style cooking with Indian flavors. Unlike the restaurants at Jambo House, Sanaa offers diners a view of the savanna, as well as being only a doorway away from an outdoor overlook. Which makes waiting for a table enjoyable for any animal lover. In fact, guests are encouraged to visit the bar and take a drink out onto the overlook while waiting for their tables. There are rocking chairs and benches set up around an outdoor fire pit. Night vision viewing of the animals is also available here on most nights from sundown to 9:30 p.m. using the provided night vision goggles.

The word Sanaa translates from Swahili to “work of art” and it is indeed just that. The theming and decor alone are amazing to see. There are brightly painted columns around the dining area that look almost like pots stacked on top of each other. Many of the tables that do not feature the savanna overlook, have museum-like pieces of art on display in nooks along the walls. Make sure to look up at the intricately crafted colorful lamps that adorn the dining area. They are fashioned after the African weaver birds’ nests and are truly a unique sight. These lamps also take on a whole new romantic atmosphere when dining later at night.
Sanaa offers a lunch menu similar to its dinner selections with sandwiches available as well. They also feature a cultural tour; giving guests a detailed showing of the various museum pieces found throughout the hotel and the restaurant. The tour concludes with a sampling of their famous bread service. Guests must sign up for this tour at the front desk of the hotel.
bread service.jpgAs for the dining experience itself, the staff here is extremely helpful. The menu is certainly different and our waiter was well trained on getting the right meal to meet each person’s tastes. For a starter, we had the Indian style bread service with mango chutney, roasted red bell pepper hummus, and red chile sambal as our choice for dipping sauces. There are 9 in total to choose from.
jambohouseThen for our entrees we opted for the Slow Cooked in Gravy. This was a pick and pair combo that you could build your own meal. Diners can pick 2 of 6 available slow cooked meat choices paired with their choice of rice. We had the butter chicken, braised short rib and the shrimp with green curry sauce along with basmati rice. While the braised short rib is not as good as the one in Jiko, the butter chicken, was tender chunks of chicken in a sweet and buttery reddish-brown gravy, and the shrimp in green curry sauce, which was another sweetly spiced dish, was out of this world. Our son had the tomato soup with paneer cheese as his meal and really enjoyed the smoky flavor of it. For picky children, there is more basic fare. Our daughter enjoyed her grilled chicken and fruit combo. Although I have yet to try the dessert options here, I have heard many good things about the Chai Cream and it is a definite must do for me when I go back.
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I have to say the bread service is unlike any appetizer I have ever tried. It is a crave-worthy option and one that I am happy to say is served up until 11:30 p.m. at the bar. On our last visit, we had an evening flight and as soon as we boarded the Magical Express to take us over to Kidani, both my husband and I were planning what type of dipping choices we were going to get, as this was going to be our first stop. We arrived at 10:45 and quickly left our bags with the bellhop the hoofed it downstairs for that late night snack. And it was perfect!

Do you love Animals and Disney Vacations? If you answered yes than click on the link below to get your FREE Disney Vacation quote today, a portion of the trip goes to conservation efforts! http://jamboeveryone.com/Conservation.html

Written by Brooke McBride of Jambo Everyone

The Disney Dining Plan–is it for your family?

Many guests inquire about the Dining Plan but not all guests purchase the plan.

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I personally love the Disney Dining Plan–it’s one less thing I have to worry about while I am on vacation. And Disney Dining can be VERY expensive (have you looked up the cost for 1 character meal?). When you purchase the Dining Plan with your package you can save up to 30% on dining costs. The plan most people get is Basic Dining this includes 1 quick service, 1 table service and 1 snack per night per person, as well as a refillable resort mug for your stay (these mugs alone are $15). This is the plan that can get you the most bang for your buck for sure! The cost is 55.59 (ages 10 & up per night) and $17.16 (ages 3-9 per night).

I just went to Disney and I paid out of pocket since I was only there one day, here is what I spent on dining

Lunch at POP Century: (quick service meal)
Mediteranian Flatbread
Fountain Soda
Total with tax: $11.17

Dinner at Tonys Town Square in Magic Kingdom: (table service meal)
Shrimp Scampi $21.99
Coke $3.50 (yikes I know!)
Pistachio Creme Brulee $7.99
Total with tax and tip: $45

Lefeou’s Brew in New Fantasyland (snack credit)
Total with Tax: $6

Total for the day: $62.17!! Using the dining plan would have saved me $6.58. If that is your average daily cost (playing it safe) a family of 4 staying in Disney for 1 week will save almost $200 on the Dining Plan vs paying out of pocket.

Another Option is the Quick Service Dining Plan : 2 quick service meals, 1 snack and 1 refillable mug per guest. The cost is $37.58 per night ages 10 and up and $14.32 per night age 3 to 9. This plan is great for those that don’t want to do character meals or sit down dining and just eat when they please. Keep in mind that Disney Quick Service is amazing, you can be on this plan for a week and never eat a burger, pizza or hot dog (if you so choose)

And have you seen the snack list I compiled?? There are some expensive treats on there! You don’t want to pay out of pocket for all those goodies for the kids (and yourself). We almost always have snack credits leftover and head over to Goofy’s Candy Shop to get the kids goodies before we head home (did someone say souvenirs)

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So next time you want to go to Disney think about the type of eaters in your family. The Dining Plan will almost always save you money!

Contact me for a FREE Quote for your next Disney Vacation!! http://www.destinationsinflorida.com/jennifergreene

 

Dining reviews in Animal Kingdom!

 Disneys Animal Kingdom Dining: 2 counter service options that offer the most bang for your buck (or dining credits)

 

Flame Tree BBQ is located near the Discovery Island Bridge to Dinoland. Flame Tree has beautiful views of Expedition Everest over the Discovery River, this is especially nice when the sun is setting over the mountain. All seating is located outdoors but there are some pavilions to shade you from the Florida sun. The BBQ menu features ½ Rib Platter with baked beans & cole slaw, 1/2 Smoked Chicken Platter with baked beans & cole slaw, Rib and Chicken Combo with baked beans and cole slaw,Pulled Pork Sandwich w/slaw, and Smoked Turkey breast as well as a Barbecue Salad (crispy lettuce, garbanzo and pinto beans, cheddar cheese, corn, and crispy tortilla strips). For dessert you can choose from Key Lime Mousse or Chocolate Mousse. On my last visit I had the Rib/Chicken Combo, my goodness is this a HUGE meal! Certainly enough for 2 adults to split, if you are on the dining plan you can use 1 quick service credit and save a credit for another meal. The BBQ was a wonderful sweet flavor and you can find the not so secret recipe in a few Disney cookbooks. Flame Tree’s children’s menu offers a baked chicken drumstick with two sides, a hot dog or a PBJ Sandwich. You can also order fries or onion rings and assorted beverages. This location is open for lunch and dinner and does accept the Disney Dining Plan for 1 Quick Service credit.

 

Next stop is Amandupur for Yak & Yeti counter service, this is another outdoor location for dining. Open for lunch and dinner, the Yak and Yeti Counter Service restaurant serves LARGE portions of Asian cuisine in cute little take-out cartons. Offering meals such as Honey Chicken, Sweet & Sour Chicken, and Beef Lo Mein vegetarians don’t really have options here. They also serve an Asian Chicken Sandwich and Mandarin Chicken Salad. Side items are Egg Rolls, Fried Rice or Fries. The children’s menu offers Cheeseburger or Chicken Tenders served with carrots and fresh fruit . Dessert options here are Chocolate Cake, Frozen Lemonade or Chocolate Mousse. The Frozen Lemonade is a great choice on a hot Florida Day. Yak & Yeti is located close to two of Animal Kingdom’s most popular attractions, Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids, because of this the Yak and Yeti counter service restaurant can get busy during peak dining times. This location is 1 Dining Plan quick service credit, however the portions are very large and can easily be split between 2 people.

Both restaurants can be very cost efficient if you are paying out of pocket for your meals while in Disney. I highly recommend either restaurant when dining in Animal Kingdom for the cost, quality and portions. And don’t forget to keep the camera out as both of these locations have amazing views of the park! So sit back, relax and enjoy the meal as well as all of the gorgeous scenery that Disneys Animal Kingdom has to offer.

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Jennifer is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida Travel, offering FREE concierge planning services
Contact her for a FREE no obligation quote when planning your next Disney Vacation
http://www.destinationsinflorida.com/jennifergreene