Flower and Garden Festival Photo Overview

Epcot’s 22nd Flower and Garden Festival Started today March 4th 2015 -

Here are photos of the many topiaries scattered throughout the Park for this years festival!

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Park Entrance – You are greeted by Goofy, Daisy, and Pluto!

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Farmer Mickey and Minnie~

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Sorcerer Mickey!

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Monsters University Children’s Play Area!

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Anna and Elsa of Course are the stars of the Festival ~ They even have their own Magic Band!

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Snow White and The 7 Dwarfs of Course

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Lion King Favorites!

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Lady and the Tramp in Italy

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Belle and the Beast and Lumiere and Cogsworth in France

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Winnie the Pooh!

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Pan and Hook!

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And of Course the Crocodile!

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Bambi and Friends!

There you have it some of the many beautiful topiaries scattered across Epcot’s 22nd Annual Flower and Garden Festival – Stay Tuned for more photos from this years Flower and Garden Festival!

Tusker House Dinner Review

Tusker House Dinner Review – Animal Kingdom

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Tusker House is located in Animal Kingdoms African Village of Harambe – The theming of every area in Animal Kingdom (except dinoland…) is absolutely fantastic and Tusker House in no exception! Its themed after an African Village with tapestries that line the walls and ceilings as well as other African Inspired Details scattered throughout!

Atmosphere:

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Food:

Tusker House has a very large menu with many stations of food, from Mango Chutney and pita bread to Pork Loin and Tenderloin and an amazing bread pudding!

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Before I post photos of the different food stations I wanted to say that I was extremely impressed with the quality of the food that was served at Tusker House for dinner! This is a restaurant that I had not really ever considered and never heard much about. However I sincerely enjoyed every singe part of the meal! It had some more unique options for the most adventurous eaters but it also had standards like Mac and Cheese and chocolate chip cookies!

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Overall Rating:

Atmosphere: 9 Like I said earlier Tusker House is a beautiful restaurant that executes its theme of an African Village very well. The details from Harambe Village are carried into the restaurant perfectly making it one of the better themed in park restaurants in all of Walt Disney World – when you step into the restaurant you feel as though you just experienced another part of the incredible African land of Harambe!

Service: 9 Our waiter was on top of our every need – brought refills when we need them and answered any questions that we had

Food 9 – Tusker House’s Food Quality absolutely shocked me, generally buffets in Disney World are just meh at best but Tusker House was completely different. On top of higher food quality than normal they had some unique options that really added to the overall dining experience.

Overall: 9 Tusker House is becoming a character dinner in March and all I can say is that I hope that they can keep up the food quality because if they do it will be far and away the best Character Meal on property! This is a restaurant that is sure to please everyone and should not be missed if you are spending a day in Animal Kingdom!

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Trails End Dinner Review

Trail’s End Dinner Review – Fort Wilderness

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Trail’s End is a buffet restaurant for breakfast and dinner and is located in Disney’s Fort Wilderness and Campground resort! And it is connected to Hoop de Doo Review a fantastic dinner show (check out our review) Trails End is an interesting restaurant for many reasons – One is it is somewhat hidden and away from the rest of property, you can almost always get a reservation and not many people have heard of it… However in the “Disney Community” it is always regarded as one of the best restaurants in all of Walt Disney World and a real hidden gem!

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Atmosphere:

Trail’s End has a classic American Restaurant feel to me – Trail’s End has Deer Antlers on the Wall, Native American Photos a Canoe and many other “American” things – The theme ties into the Fort Wilderness resort absolutely perfectly!

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Food:

Trail’s End is a Buffet Restaurant that has a wide variety of offerings – To be quite honest I enjoyed everything that I had they seemed to make everything fresh and they continued to update the buffet with fresh food throughout the evening. I particularly enjoyed the Brisket, Mac and Cheese and strawberry Shortcake! The Fried Chicken and Ribs are their specialty (and they are good) however they are the same ribs I had at Hoop de Doo Review previously!

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Overall:

Food 8: The food at Trail’s End was good, it was exactly what I think of when I think of “down home American Standard food”… From brisket, Mac and Cheese, Fried Chicken, Ribs to Soft serve ice cream, cookies and, Strawberry Short Cake! I think that even the pickiest eaters can find something here to enjoy! Something else that I liked about Trail’s End is that they even had their own Bar Menu – you could order the standard Disney Drinks too however they also had a variety of specialty moonshine drinks this was a nice touch and added to the overall appeal of the restaurant!

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Service 8: Generally at a Buffet I find the service to be lacking however our waiter did a very good job! I never had to wait for a refill and there were 10 of us dining together he was friendly and on top of everything.

Atmosphere 8: The theme of Trails End fits in perfectly with Fort Wilderness! The entire time I was reminded of my time camping with my grandparents when I was a kid! It brought back some great memories! Like I have said may times in this review Trails End is not fancy but it executes what its going for perfectly! A down home buffet restaurant in the middle of an awesome campground!

Overall 8: I think that Trails End is defiantly a hidden gem when it comes to Disney Dining! Is it the fanciest restaurant on property? Not by a long shot however they serve quality food, provide great service and have great prices when it comes to a Disney restaurant! I think that Trails End is definitely a restaurant that is worth venturing too and one that I would recommend to absolutely anyone!!! You won’t be disappointed!

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Hoop Dee Doo Review – Review

Hoop Dee Doo Review – Review – Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds

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Hoop Dee Doo Review is a dinner show that is located in Disney’s Fort Wilderness and Campground resort! It is connected to Trail’s End (check out our review) Hoop Dee Doo is an interesting restaurant for many reasons – One is it is somewhat hidden and away from the rest of property, another is that it is one of the longest continuously running Dinner Shows in the whole country and finally its all you can drink! Yes a Disney Restaurant that is all you can drink…

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To start out your meal at Hoop Dee Doo you are welcomed by a Bell Ringing and the calls of “come and get it!!!” When you walk into the restaurant you are immediately transported to the Old West! Will Bison on the Walls and a huge stage in the front of the restaurant! When you are taken to your table you immediately receive Salad and Corn Bread – The corn Bread was fantastic… I think I could’ve eaten the whole loaf all by myself…

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After a couple of minutes your waiter or waitress will come over and begin getting your drink orders they will explain how the evening will work and ask if you have any questions… Of course I recommend ordering a Sangria why not right??? They also have a section of beers that are included as well as your standard Coke menu and some up-charge cocktails as well.

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The food was brought out at breaks during the show – so instead of talking about every single Item here is my overview of the food at Hoop Dee Doo! It is an all you can eat and all you can drink restaurant! Featuring down home comfort food! From Friend Chicken and Ribs to Mashed Potatoes and Gravy Hoop Dee Doo’s food reminds me of going to grandma and grandpas (or Ma and Poppy’s or Nana and Papa’s) house as a kid! All of the food is good however the Strawberry Shortcake was nothing short of amazing! I think it was worth the $70 price tag just to have it (okay I may be slightly exaggerating…) but it was awesome and is now one of my favorite Desserts on Disney Property!!!

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Instead of focusing on every single aspect of the show I can tell you that it was hilarious, fun, and overall a great experience! The audience participation really added to the experience and each performer was outstanding! I really cannot think of anything negative to say about the show! It is perfect for the youngest and oldest in your party because there is something going on at all times that appeal to everyone!

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One of the Final Acts of the night is the Famous Strawberry Shortcake Skit – The Waiters and Waitresses join the show carrying the incredible Strawberry Shortcake!!!

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Overall: 10

I will rate this Restaurant differently than I do others because it is a Dinner Show -

In short Hoop Dee Doo is fantastic, amazing, incredible and something that everyone should do! I think that it is honestly a quintessential Disney Experience that everyone should have! Quite honestly I can’t believe it took me so long to try it! Yes it is pricy at 70$ a person however I thought that the entertainment value of the restaurant plus the food is just something that you cannot get anywhere else on Disney Property. The level of talent that the performers had was excellent and the food was also very good. All I can say is GO! You need to book it for your next Disney Vacation!!! You won’t regret it!

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Flights of Wonder

Flights of Wonder Review – Animal Kingdom

Flights of Wonder is a show at Animal Kingdom. It does a great job at providing both entertainment and education or edutainment something Disney has been good at doing for many years now!

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Here is Disney’s description of Flights of Wonder

“Relax under the canvas canopy in this shady sanctuary that is what remains of the Maharajah’s rule. Behold the Caravan Stage: the “ruins” that are now the refuge for a dazzling array of birds. An entertaining and informative bird trainer welcomes you to this mystical place. With “help” from Guano Joe or Jane—the amusing explorer who fears birds more than a bit—the trainer introduces you to the fascinating natural behaviors and often humorous talents of at least 20 species of exotic birds. Some birds perform their antics onstage while others swoop over the audience to show off their dramatic wingspan. Raise your hand and join in when the bird trainer asks for audience participation. You might get a chance to snap the photo of a lifetime!”

They are very good at marketing their product… Anyway this is a fun show and the best part was that my little brother remembered when to raise your hand so I was able to go on stage with my camera and have an Owl fly right above me literally right above me it was a really cool experience! This is my first time in 20+ Walt Disney World trips that I was able to participate in a show something that I will never forget!!!

Its hard to describe the show so I will just show some photo’s. The whole “theme” of the show is that your on a tour and your tour guide runs into this bird presentation you then go and listen to the presentation. It is really interesting to learn about all of the birds and to be honest they make it funny so the entire family will enjoy the show! Here are some pictures of the show!

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It was incredibly awesome to have this huge bird fly right over my head! It was a unique sensation!

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Flights of Wonder is a great show! Something that I really enjoyed and recommend doing whenever in Animal Kingdom! Normally you would think a show just about birds isn’t entertaining however this is very entreating they use a little bit of humor as well as a lot of education really its going back to the roots of Disney’s Edutainment!

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50’s Prime Time Cafe – Review

50’s Prime Time Cafe – Hollywood Studios

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50’s Prime Time Cafe is located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park! 50’s has has a unique atmospheres that makes it one of the most detailed restaurants in Walt Disney World! Its rumored that the imagineers actually went to garage sales looking for little trinkets to add to the restaurant! Many of the tables look like old fashion 1950’s kitchens with booths that have TV”s playing old black and white movie clips! As well as many little details scattered thorough out the restaurant!

Atmosphere:

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Service Details:

At 50’s your Waiter or Waitress keeps you in check by making sure you keep your elbows off the table, always eat your vegetables and more! When the server participates in the act it really adds to the overall atmosphere of the restaurant! On this occasion our server was OUTSTANDING! She was yelling across the restaurant at people who were texting and making sure everyone kept their elbows off the table! She was absolutely hilarious!!!

Food:

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50’s has a classic all American menu with Pot Roast, Onion Rings, Fried Chicken and more! Its a great option if you have picky eaters as well because on the kids menu they have your basic Chicken Nuggets and Mac and Cheese -

The onion rings were very good I really liked the flavor of the batter – the onion rings were especially good with their specialty PB&J Milkshake – Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of the milkshake but it was good – it had more of a peanut butter flavor than a jelly (which is the opposite of the Fountain’s PB&J Milkshake which is also very good!)

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A Sampling of Mom’s Favorite Recipes – Crispy – Fried Chicken, Pot Roast, and Traditional Meatloaf – I couldn’t really decide what entree that I wanted to try so I went with the sampler this was an excellent choice as I got to try each of 50’s specialty entrees – The Fried Chicken was okay honestly pretty standard as well as the pot roast however I really enjoyed the meatloaf!

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Dad’s Brownie Sundae – I mean how can a chocolate sundae brownie covered with ice cream, whipped cream and M&M’s be a bad thing???

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Overall Rating:

Atmosphere: 10 – Themed after a 1950’s home 50’s Prime Time has one of the atmospheres in all of Walt Disney World! It really feels like you have stepped back in time!

Service: 10 – Our Cousin was absolutely hilarious!!! And she was also a pretty darn good waitress too! When the waiter or waitress is good it adds to the overall atmosphere of the restaurant!

Food: 8 – 50’s has a classic all american menu – the pot roast and fried chicken were okay by my favorite part of the entrees was the Meatloaf I thought it was very good ~ Also how can you beat a big Brownie Sundae for dessert?!?

Overall Score: 9 – 50’s Prime Time Cafe is a fantastic option for dinner or lunch when in Hollywood Studios! The food is pretty good, service is a lot of fun and the atmosphere is outstanding! I completely recommend it for everyone when visiting Walt Disney World! 50’s always comes to mind when I think of a classic all around Disney Dining Experience! Great Food, Service and Atmosphere!!!

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Sci-Fi – Dine In Theater – Review

Sci Fi Dine in Theater – Hollywood Studios Review

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Sci Fi Dine in Theater is located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Its theme is a 1950’s Drive in Movie Theater – The theme here is outstanding and one of Disney’s best themed restaurants anywhere on property!

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When you check in it looks like a backstage of a movie set  – there are lots of props and movie posters that are fun to look at  until you are taken to your “table”… each table is actually a 1950’s Style Car in front of a Giant Movie Screen showing clips from classic 1950’s movies! This place is a perfect restaurant for young and old! I believe it is one of the best restaurants on property for boys in particular – this would be a perfect place for a father and son to go while mom and daughter are at Akershus or Cinderella’s Royal Table!

Atmosphere:

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Menu:

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The Menu Consists of Burgers, Onion Rings, Milkshakes, a Steak and a couple of other items… I decided to opt for their Specialty Picnic Burger and a Sci Fi Specialty Milkshake – Chocolate Covered Strawberry!

The Burger is “a Flame broiled Angus burger topped with grilled hot dog, sauerkraut, sautéed onions mustard and ketchup! Yes thats right the Burger had a hot dog on it!!! I can’t say its the healthiest meal or the fanciest meal on property but it was very tasty!

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The Milkshake was very tasty! It had plenty of chocolate and strawberry ice cream and it worked as a perfect dipping sauce for my french fries!

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Overall Rating:

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Atmosphere: 10 – Sci Fi has really phenomenal atmosphere! The Cars, all of the props around the restaurant a and being able to watch pars of classic films makes Sci-Fi one of the best themed restaurants in Walt Disney World!

Service: 7.5 – The service was very good my food was brought out very quickly after I ordered (maybe 10 minutes after I sat down) My waitress was very friendly and brought me everything I needed without me having to ask.

Food: 7 – The food here was good – basically its menu is quick service restaurant quality (with a little higher price tag) however spiced up a little bit with the hand crafted milkshakes and the burgers are made to order.

Overall Score: 7.5 – Sci Fi is a great option if you are at Hollywood Studios (especially if you have little boys!) The theming is outstanding and lets face it the counter service restaurants in Hollywood Studios leave A LOT to be desired so if your looking for something quick with great atmosphere Sci-Fi is your place to go in Hollywood Studios!

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Liberty Tree Tavern Lunch Review – by Chuck Blades

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Located in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom Liberty Tree Tavern is a Table Service Location that offers pretty good food, service and atmosphere! Its theme goes right along with its name and Liberty Square location! Liberty Tree Tavern has a very traditional americana feel and menu. Each room of the restaurant is themed after an influential person in American history from Paul Revere to George Washington!

Atmosphere:

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The food is pretty good at Liberty Tree – I have heard that they’re menu has changed since this meal however I will still review it as is because Disney menus change so frequently!

Everyone receives one of these mugs they used to be Heavy Glass mugs that you could purchase however now they are cheaper plastic mugs…

IMG_5397I always order the New England Style Clam chowder! I am not from New England however I think the clam chowder is very good and is always a highlight of the meal for me its a must order on every trip to Liberty Tree.

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Another Standard on the Liberty Tree menu is the Pot Roast – to be quite honest this is average not great not terrible – if you have a chilly day in the park (yes it happens) this is a great meal to warm you up! However on hot summer days it definitely fills you up quickly!

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For Dessert I always ordered the Ooie Gooie Toffee Cake (Pictured Below) this was honesty one of my favorite desserts however I’ve heard that it is no longer on the menu which is extremely disappointing it was always a favorite of mine and I hope the Disney Brings it back soon!

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Overall Rating:

Atmosphere: 7 – The atmosphere is good not great – its a fun option in the Magic Kingdom which is very much lacking table service dining locations – It is themed very well for its location however its not really something special like say California Grill or Sanaa...

Service: 7 – The service hear is always standard – (Kind of the overall feeling of the entire restaurant) good not great I can’t say I remember ever having poor service but I can’t say I have ever had great service either…

Food: 7 – The food like the atmosphere and service is average not great not terrible honestly its just a standard restaurant – However I do enjoy the Clam Chowder (A tip though is that you can get it for cheaper at the Quick Service Colombia Harbor House Located next door to Liberty Tree)

Overall Score: 7 – Liberty Tree is a good option if you are on the Disney Dining Plan and you are looking for a Table Service location in the Magic Kingdom! However there are better options within walking distance  like The Wave located at the Contemporary Resort!

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Top 5 “Disney” Experiences of 2014

Top 5 “Disney” Experiences of 2014

As this year is rapidly coming to a close I thought it would be a perfect time to post about my top 5 Disney Experiences of 2014! This year I was lucky enough to visit Walt Disney World a couple of times as well as sail on Disney Cruise Line two times. Each of those trips provided memorable experiences that I will cherish throughout the future!

Here are my Top 5 in no particular order:

Palo – Dinner and Brunch

Palo was a restaurant that I had been looking forward to trying for many years and when I finally got the opportunity to try it in March it did not disappoint! Everything about the meal was superb from the service to the fantastic company, food and the overall atmosphere everything was perfect! Palo really sticks out to me when thinking about my “Disney” 2014!

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Mixology – Skyline Disney Dream

Being able to spend my 21st birthday on a Disney Cruise was pretty special and the fact that I got to spend it with 15 of my closest friends made it even better! One of my favorite moments from my birthday was our Mixology class! The class started out with complete chaos and confusion however ended with lots of laughs, a few drinks and some hazy memories ;) I can honestly say this was the best $15 that I spend in all of 2014 Disney related or not!

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Castaway Cay 5k

Anytime that I think about Castaway Cay I think of Paradise – One of my favorite memories from Paradise this year was running the Castaway Cay 5k! Running is not one of my strengths by any means however I really wanted to give it a shot before my first Disney Cruise of the year so I did it… Honestly it was an absolute blast running with friends and family really added to the overall experience as well! If your at all interested in running try the Castaway Cay 5k you won’t regret it!

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Boma – Dinner at Boma the night before my 21st Birthday

It seems that everyday gets busier and busier so slowing down and catching up with friends and family is something that is difficult to do. This is one of the reasons that I love vacation because I think vacation is perfect for slowing down and catching up. This year I was able to spend time with both friends and family in Walt Disney World and one of my favorite memories in doing so was a dinner that we had at Boma with a group of 15 – everything about the meal was great!

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Animal Kingdom Lodge

Animal Kingdom lodge has always been my favorite resort in Walt Disney World everything about it is excellent – This year we decided to spend one whole day just exploring the resort and taking in all of the activities – I never realized how much there was to do in the lodge, from fantastic dining and restaurant tours to Night Vision goggles and even little activities in the lobby Animal Kingdom Lodge was a blast! I really recommend taking a day from your Disney Vacation and going over to Animal Kingdom Lodge you won’t regret it!

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There you have it! My top Disney Experiences of 2014!

Thank you guys for reading my blog! Next year I know that I will have many more Disney experiences as I am going to be in Walt Disney World from January – May in the Disney College Program! Stay tuned for updates as we go into 2015!

Enchanted Garden Review

Enchanted Garden Review – by Chuck Blades

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Enchanted Garden is located on Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. In general I think that Disney Cruise Line does a phenomenal job at their rotational dining concept. They provide many unique dining experiences each night of your cruise!

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I believe that Enchanted Garden is one of the most beautiful Disney Restaurants anywhere! It is themed after the Gardens of Versailles in Paris, France. Enchanted Garden filled in the place of Parrot Cay (Now Carioca’s on the Disney Magic) when it was put the Disney Dream in 2011. It is the casual restaurant in the nightly dining rotation.

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Food -

Instead of going into detail about every single dish I will point out the best and worst parts of the night – The Best: the Pan-seared Sea Bass – quite honestly this may be my favorite MDR dish in any DCL restaurant it is truly fantastic! Good: North Atlantic Lobster Ravioli — Bad: Thyme and Garlic Brioche – something about this dish was a little off I would recommend skipping it and saving room for the sea Bass!

Thyme and Garlic Brioche – Filled with Chanterelle, Hedgehog and Black Trumpet Mushrooms and Leek Stew in a light Buttermilk Cream

North Atlantic Lobster Ravioli – With Roasted Garlic and Sweet Basil in a light Tomato Broth

Caramelized Sea Scallop – With Roasted Asparagus, Sun-dried Tomatoes, and Pearl Pasta, garnished with Caramelized Leeks and Veal Jus Reduction

Pan-seared Sea Bas – With Saffron and Fennel Risotto with a Sweet Chili Glaze

Esterhazy Cake – Almond Meringue soaked in Maraschino Liqueur and layered Pastry Cream

Rating:

Atmosphere:  9 – Like I said earlier Enchanted Garden is incredibly beautiful! My only complaint is that it is quite loud however most Disney restaurants are so it is to be expected…

Service: 10 – I have now been on 3 Disney Cruises and every single time our service has been top notch. Quite honestly I couldn’t expect better service anywhere, they do everything that is asked of them and more!

Food: 8  – The food is very good in Enchanted Garden! I absolutely love the Sea Bass and the Risotto. Its not the best restaurant I’ve ever been too however each meal I have had here has been pretty darn good.

Overall Score: 9 – Enchanted Garden is one of my favorite Disney Cruise Line restaurants – from the beautiful decor to the good food Enchanted Garden always provides a great experience.

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