Monday, May 26, 2014

One Day of Food in Epcot

Epcot is the best place to eat in Walt Disney World.  But, it can be a challenge to decide

Where Do I Eat?

Counter Service Restaurants

  • Boulangerie Patisserie - France Pavilion - pastries, sandwiches, coffee, and more
  • Cantina de San Angel - Mexico Pavilion - nachos, tacos, margaritas
  • Electric Umbrella - Future World - Park fare - burgers, flatbreads - SO many better options
  • Fountain View Cafe - Future World - STARBUCKS!
  • Kringla Bakeri og Kafe - Norway Pavilion - pastries, sandwiches, and more
  • Liberty Inn - American Adventure - Burgers and standard mediocre American fare
  • Lotus Blossom Cafe - China Pavilion - Just say no
  • Sommerfest - Germany Pavilion - Hot dogs, pretzels - decent and quick
  • Sunshine Seasons - The Land Pavilion - Tons of options - one of the healthier bets with great variety
  • Tangierine Cafe  - Morocco Pavilion - Shwarma, couscous, hummus - one of the best option
  • Katsura Grill - Japan Pavilion - Teryaki, Sushi
  • Yorkshire County Fish & Chips - UK Pavilion - Fish and Chips

Table Service Restaurants

  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall - Norway Pavilion -  Princess Character Meal/buffet
  • Biergarten Germany - Germany Pavilion - Buffet of German fare - beer!
  • Chefs de France - France Pavilion - Fancy French Food
  • Coral Reef - Living Seas Pavilion - Seafood
  • Garden Grill - Land Pavilion - Family Style "All You Can Eat" with Mickey and Friends 
  • La Hacienda de San Angel - Mexico Pavilion - High Quality Mexican - delicious!
  • Le Cellier - Canada Pavilion - $$$ Steakhouse, Cheddar Cheese Soup, Poutine - YUM!
  • Monsieur Paul - France Pavilion - Fancy French Food
  • Nine Dragons - China Pavilion - Expensive mediocre Chinese food
  • Restaurant Marrakesh - Morocco Pavilion - Kabobs, Couscous, belly dancing
  • Rose and Crown Pub - UK Pavilion - Huge variety fish and chips, curry, beer
  • San Angel Inn - Mexico Pavilion - More standard Mexican fare inside the Pavilion Pyramid
  • Teppan Edo - Japan Pavilion - Japanese Steakhouse
  • Tokyo Dining - Japan Pavilion - Sushi
  • Tutto Gusto - Italy Pavilion - Wine Bar, small plates
  • Tutto Italia - Italy Pavilion - Standard Italian fare - pastas!
  • Via Napoli - Italy Pavilion - Pizza (amazing) and pasta

Fan Favorite Snack Options

  • School Bread - Kringla Bakery - Norway Pavilion
  • Bavarian Pretzel - Kiosks and Sommerfest - Germany Pavilion
  • Kaki Gori - Shaved Ice - Kiosk in Japan Pavilion
  • Caramel Popcorn - Karamelle Kuche - Germany Pavilion
Many of the counter service options have great snack options, so pop in the restaurants to have a look!  Or, check out the many kiosks to see what's available!

What are your favorite snacks at EPCOT?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Disney Cruise Line 2015

Disney Cruise Line has finally announced their 2015 itineraries!

Hawai'i Sailings

Explore the Hawaiian Islands with two special 10-night cruises in September 2015. The Disney Wonder will sail through the breathtaking beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, where your Clients can experience the famous beaches of Waikiki on Oahu, see the views from high atop the summit of Haleakala Crater on Maui, take in the lush tropical gardens and waterfalls of Kauai and, on Hawaii Island — the Big Island, explore the natural wonders of the world's most active volcano.

San Diego to Baja

Disney Cruise Line will return to the West Coast in October 2015 for one month, offering six cruises from San Diego aboard the Disney Wonder. Ports of call include Cabo San Lucas, known for its white sand beaches, and Ensenada, Mexico. For those Clients looking for a perfect weekend retreat, we also offer a relaxing two-night Getaway Cruise.

Galveston to The Bahamas

Starting in early November 2015, Disney Cruise Line will have a limited-time Galveston homecoming for the holiday season, offering a seven-night itinerary on the Disney Wonder to Key West; Nassau, Bahamas and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.

Port Canaveral and Miami to The Bahamas and Caribbean

Sail from Port Canaveral and Miami to The Bahamas and Caribbean on a variety of itineraries. All 3-, 4-, 5- and 7-night cruises include a stop at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.

Get onboard credit for just booking with Guru Travel!  Email me, for more information and free travel planning services!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Frozen on Ice

Feld Entertainment, Inc., Brings the #1 Animated Movie of All Time to Life with Disney On Ice presents Frozen in Fairfax
Tickets On Sale Now for Touring Skating Spectacular
Featuring Dynamic Sisters Anna and Elsa, Appearing for the First Time in a Live Production

[FAIRFAX, VA., May 20, 2014] – Feld Entertainment, Inc., the worldwide leader in producing live touring family entertainment, today announced that its 34th Disney On Ice spectacular will bring the Academy Award® winning and number one animated feature film of all time, Disney’s Frozen, to life.  Disney On Ice presents Frozen visits Baltimore from October 22nd to October 26th for 9 performances at the Patriot Center; tickets go on sale today. 

The Academy Award® winning tale will be told live for the first time in this production, capturing the dynamic between two royal sisters, Anna and Elsa.  Anna, a girl with an extraordinary heart, embarks on an epic journey to find her sister, the magical Elsa, who is determined to remain secluded as she finally feels free to test the limits of her powers.    Rugged mountain man Kristoff, his loyal reindeer Sven, the lovable and hilarious snowman Olaf and the mystical trolls help Anna along the way in this story about love conquering fear.  Audiences will get to sing along with such musical masterpieces as “Let it Go,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Fixer Upper.”

“In our more than 30 years of producing Disney On Ice shows, Feld Entertainment has been waiting for a film like this,” says producer Nicole Feld.  “While it might seem obvious that Frozen is well suited for the ice, this Disney On Ice production will touch audiences emotionally through innovative show elements and world-class skating.”

Frozen directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee add, “Seeing audiences around the world embrace Frozen has been the experience of a lifetime.  And to now have the chance to consult with the talented team at Feld Entertainment and watch their creation come to life on ice, is thrilling.”

In Disney On Ice presents Frozen, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse take the audience through the magical story based in Arendelle, with special appearances by beloved Disney princesses and favorite characters from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story and Finding Nemo and Disney’s The Lion King, who come together to prove that true love is the greatest power of all.  Director Patty Vincent says, “Our goal is to showcase these heartwarming characters in a way that allows the audience to cheer and sing along throughout this emotional journey.”

To create a completely immersive experience for the audience, the set design will encompass the space from the ice surface up through the air, drawing everyone into the story and closer to the characters. Families will feel that they are trekking up to the North Mountains with Anna, Kristoff and Sven, and they will tangibly experience the storm inside Elsa.  Elsa’s magic will be enhanced by state-of-the art special effects while her emotions will be conveyed through powerful skating. 

Fairfax, Va.
Patriot Center, 4500 Patriot Circle, Fairfax, VA 22030

Date and Time of Performance:     
·      Wednesday, October 22nd @ 7:00 p.m.
·      Thursday, October 23rd @ 7:00 p.m.
·      Friday, October 24th @ 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
·      Saturday, October 25th @ 10:30 a.m. 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
·      Sunday, October 26th @ 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

         Tickets start at:                                 $20
           To order tickets by phone:               (703) 993-3000
            To order tickets online:               <> <>

For a complete list of tour dates, visit the Disney On Ice website ( <> ) and stay current on the latest developments through social media, including instructions on how to access presale codes for tickets as early as May 20th:

·      Facebook  ( <> )
·       Twitter  (@DisneyOnIce/@NicoleFeld (show’s producer twitter feed))
·      YouTube  ( <>
<> )

The Best Disney Attraction

Have you noticed my excitement for my upcoming trip to The Disneyland Resort?  Flights are booked, hotel reservation made (Grand Californian!) and even one dining reservation is set (Napa Rose).

Photo from Guest Post from Picturing Disney's Melissa

There are several things I can't wait to do there -
 - Take pictures  of the Windows of Main Street for my collection
 - Go on the tour "Walk in Walt's Footsteps"
 - Explore the 3 Disneyland hotels
 - Ride Radiator Springs Racers

Picture courtesy of Disney Travel Professionals 
Everything I have read and heard about Carsland - I've heard that this attraction is the best attraction, possibly ever.  It's been compared to Splash Mountain for it's incedible storytelling and the racing!  It's not just Test Track!  

I can't wait to enter Radiator Springs and drive around Carburator County.  

I'm excited to experience it all - so I can write about it, and be able to help other people plan their own Disney vacations!  I would love to help you book a Disney trip!  Remember, all services are completely free and come with extras!

Monday, May 19, 2014

One Day of food in the Magic Kingdom

Planning my upcoming trip to the Disneyland Resort makes me really want to break down vacations to a different level.  As a complete newbie to Disneyland, I've thought of a question that a first timer may be asking

What do I eat?

There are several places to get food at each park and resort at Walt Disney World.  There are also many must trys and a few other do not eat here restaurants.  Here are my suggestions!

Counter Service Meal Options 

  1. Be Our Guest - counter service for lunch only
  2. Casey's Corner - hot dogs
  3. Columbia Harbor House - unique options such as hummus and fish sandwiches
  4. Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe - lots of options, but different foods have to be ordered at different plces - soups/salads and burgers can't be ordered at the same place
  5. Diamond Horseshoe - open seasonally
  6. Pecos Bill's Tall Tale Inn and Cafe - 
  7. Pinocchio Village Haus - flatbreads, soups, and sandwiches
  8. Tomorrowland Terrace - open seasonally
  9. Tortuga Tavern - open seasonally
My advice:
I generally eat nearby to where I am in the parks - 
  • Tomorrowland - Cosmic Rays
  • Main Street/The Hub - Casey's Corner
  • Frontierland - Pecos Bill's
  • Fantasyland/Liberty Square - Columbia Harbor House
Other tips:
  • If it says - open seasonally, skip it
  • Pinocchio Village Haus is highly recommended.... to avoid.
  • Be Our Guest probably has the best food, but the lines can be crazy! Try to get FastPass+ 

Table Service Dining

  1. Be Our Guest (dinner only) - New Fantasyland
  2. Cinderella's Royal Table - Inside Cinderella Castle
  3. Crystal Palace - Located in the Hub
  4. Liberty Tree Tavern - Liberty Square
  5. The Plaza Restaurant - Located in the Hub
  6. Tony's Town Square - Town Square, near the entrance of the park
My advice:
  • Getting an ADR for Be Our Guest is seemingly impossible - even at the 180 day mark, it's often booked up.  But, if you can get it, go for it!  It's delicious!
  • Cinderella's Royal Table also generally books up about 180 days out but is easier to get than Be Our Guest!  This is a Princess character meal is a great experience for little princesses, but is VERY pricey
  • Tony's Town Square is a fairly overlooked (and mediocre) Italian restaurant.  It's an easy reservation to get - often the Cast Members are out front trying to guilt people in to eating there.  Not great, but if you're craving for some spaghetti..
  • The Plaza is my go to - it's not terribly expensive, fairly easy to get reservations, and has pretty good food!
  • Crystal Palace is a Winnie the Pooh themed buffet - people love eating here for breakfast before the park opens to walk down Main Street, U.S.A. with zero crowds!

Disney Favorite Snacks:

  • Dole Whip - find at Aloha Isle in Adventureland - a pineapple custard type substance is a fan favorite - the float version is also popular
  • Citrus Swirl - find at Sunshine Tree Terrace -  an orange version of Dole Whip!
  • Mickey-shaped pretzel - need I say more?
  • Turkey Legs/Pork Shanks - Turkey Legs are available in kiosks in Frontierland and I swear I've seen them in Tomorrowland, too.  The Pork Shank is only available at Gaston's Tavern in New Fantasyland - for anyone that likes big hunks of greasy meat...
  • Nutella Stuffed Waffles - Sleepy Hollow Refreshments in the gateway to Liberty Square - Nutella and strawberries in a waffle - win
  • Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars - these are in all four parks and resort hotels, but they're so delicious, they're worth a mention!

Can't Miss -

The restaurants that is all the rage now is Be Our Guest.  If you can get in, go.  Or, just go in the morning and get the tour!  It's beautiful!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Favorite Food

I wanted to join in Favorite Food Friday with a simple picture - 

Need I say more?  Okay, maybe this:

Thanks Sean for the fun blog hop!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Music on Main Street U.S.A.

Welcome to those of you joining me from My Dreams of Disney and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 2nd stop on our Magical Blogorail.

I have a thing for Main Street, U.S.A.  It may be my favorite place to be in all of Walt Disney World.  Between the Windows of Main Street that are dedicated to retired Cast Members, the Characters of Main Street that liven the place up with their performances throughout the day, the vehicles of Main Street, and best of all, the music, I love Main Street.

The Dapper Dans - the Barbershop Quartet - is always awesome.  I love their uniforms, their smiles, and I loved being there for Limited Time Magic when they had Boy Band Week!

Walking a bit further down the street, you can catch Casey's Corner Piano Man strumming the ragtime style piano - playing anything from Scott Joplin to Disney tunes.  He'll often be up for a quick chat or at least a nice hello while he's playing!  He didn't even mind having a silly 18 month old trying to play, either!

Everything from the specialty ensembles, including the Main Street Saxophone Four and the Characters of Main Street to the music piped in gives me the happiest of Disney feelings!  The piped in music is anything from turn of the century music to instrumental versions of The Music Man (hey, that movie was based in the turn of the century) and it is often in playback in my house!

What's extra special is when the Main Street Characters Join in with groups - I've seen the Characters, the Dans, and the Sax Four all together and it is magical!  Definitely my favorite music in the parks!

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Rolling with the Magic.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

**2nd Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog** You Are Here
Final Stop ~ My Pixie Dust Diary

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Disneyland's Resort Hotels

Disneyland Resort Hotels

If you've been reading this blog for a while, or know me, you know that I am a Walt Disney World person.  I've spent more days at the parks, researching, reading and listening about Walt Disney World than I care to share.  But, The Disneyland Resort is new to me.  I've only been to California twice - once last August for a half marathon in San Francisco, and once in high school on a VERY long layover after a trip to Australia.

Disneyland has 3 Resort Hotels

  1. The Disneyland Hotel
  2. Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
  3. Disney's Paradie Pier Hotel
All 3 of Disneyland's Hotels are "Deluxe" 4 or more stars 
Photo Courtesy of Disney Travel Professionals

The Disneyland Hotel

Known for it's Monorail Pool, the Disneyland Hotel is one of the 3 great hotels of Disneyland.  It's within walking distance to Downtown Disney, which unlike Walt Disney World, is in walking distance in between both Disneyland Park and California Adventure.  Disneyland Hotel also has amazing headboards with firework/light up pictures, making even bedtime a magical experience.

Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Photo Courtesy of Disney Travel Professionals
Created by the same architect as Walt Disney World's Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge, this luxury resort is the fanciest of the 3 Disneyland Hotels. From the Grand Californian, there are rooms with views right into the California Adventure theme park and an easy entrance into directly into the park!!  Grand Californian is also home to the Mandara Spa - perfect for some nice R&R!

Disney's Paradise Pier

The newest and "least expensive" resort, Paradise Pier is still considered (and priced as!) a Deluxe resort!  It has a more laid back and relaxed environment to the other resorts.  It is furthest away from Disneyland Park, but has great views of California Adventure, and with the cut throughe entrance of the Grand California, cuts the walk time down to the parks!
Photo Courtesy of Disney Travel Professionals

Perks of Staying on Disneyland Property

  • Disney Magic and Service
  • Extra Magic Hours
  • The best pools around!
  • Lots of dining

Interested in visiting Disneyland?  Email me for a no-obligation price quote - fee free!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Traveling with Kids - Days in the Parks

I'm working with a client in planning a trip for this fall (who doesn't want to take advantage of Free Dining??) traveling with 2 little ones.  The question at hand was - how many days is enough or too much with little ones?

How Many Days is Enough?

There are 4 theme parks at Walt Disney World:
  1. Magic Kingdom
  2. Epcot
  3. Hollywood Studios
  4. Animal Kingdom

Magic Kingdom is easily a 2 day park, Epcot can be anywhere from 3/4 of a day to a 2 day park, and both Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom are 1/2 - 1 day parks.  So, to do them all, having 4 park days is a must!  

Avoid Rushing

Trying to cram in a Walt Disney World visit in 3 days I compare to going on a diet - you know, the night before you give up sweets, you eat brownies and ice cream.  Or, have a big meal the night before the 'diet begins.'  Cramming in the goodness before you have to set restrictions.  Disney in 3 days or less will be restrictive, unless you're a park regular or only interested in the Magic Kingdom.

Take More Breaks

With more days in the parks, leaving the park for a couple of hours to take a nap or relax at the pool is less of a loss!  You'll have more chances to go back the next day.  Same for rain or bad weather - with an extra day in your schedule, you'll be less affected by bad weather or circumstances than if you only have 2 or 3 days!

Park Hop

If you are really strapped for time and don't want to spend the extra days in the park and on vacation, consider the park hopper!  I love to hop over to EPCOT for meals but and always want the opportunity to walk down Main Street, U.S.A. again, if I need a little extra magic!  With park hoppers, you have the flexibility to do half days, quarter days, or even head to a different park after earlier park closures, which happen on hard ticket even nights (Halloween Party, etc...) or Animal Kingdom early closings!
Another excuse to park hop?  More freedom for dining reservations!  

In Conclusion:

To me - the more days you can spend, the better.  A shorter trip, no one can really adjust and everyone rushes around!  Spend that extra day, relax, and have fun!!

Email me, for free trip planning services and to help you decide!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Free Dining!!

Free Dining is Back at Walt Disney World!

Booking now through August 8, Walt Disney World is offering FREE dining plans to guests on MOST nights from August 31, 2014 though December 23, 2014!

Arrival Window:

Aug. 31-Oct. 3, Oct. 26-Nov. 1, Nov. 9-20, Dec. 12-23, 2014

For more information on Disney Dining Plans, check out this great informative guide!

Email me: for more information and a FREE, no obligation price quote!!! 
Remember, all Guru Clients get a FREE Swag bag, free vacation planning, itinerary planning, and more!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hanging Out at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

The African-themed Deluxe resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, opened in 2001.  The Lodge is two separate buildings - the original, Jambo House, and the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) building, Kidani Village, which opened in 2008.

Located a short distance from Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, this resort is often considered "far" from the other 3 theme parks, but for me - it has so many positives, we stop there almost ever trip.

Dining at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

AKL has 3 amazing sit down restaurants and 1 very unique counter service restaurant.
  1. Sanaa - African cooking with Indian flavors
  2. Boma: Flavors of Africa - A buffet with a sampling of unique foods and more standard options for the pickier eaters
    • Located at Jambo House - there is also a bar located near the entrance
    • Zebra domes - a fan favorite - is a regular dessert choice on this buffet
    • Tons of options including different soups, salads, a carving station, and so much more
  3. Jiko: The Cooking Place - A Signature restaurant with a fancier and more intimate setting
    •  Located at Jambo House, this restaurant also has a private wine/lounge that can be for a more casual wine/pairing meal, or order from the entire menu at the bar
    • Food ranging from flatbreads to an oak-grilled Filet, this menu is outstanding
    • Great for an intimate date night - there is a kids menu, but I wouldn't bring mine here!
  4. The Mara: The only counter service at AKL
    • Located at Jambo House
    • Not just standard burgers- The Mara offer flatbreads, soups, zebra domes
I love the food at Animal Kingdom Lodge, but there is much more to see and do!

Enjoy the Savannahs

If you're staying in a savannah view room (at a premium price), you can wake up and watch in the morning, but even if you're just visiting the resort, you have plenty of ways to watch!
  1. Take a walk out on the patio while you're waiting for a dining reservation, or just having a tour of the resort
  2. Visit Jambo House at night, follow the walkway past the pool and find the night vision goggles - offered free to check out the animals at night
  3. Enjoy the other free activities the resort has to offer - we enjoyed roasting marshmallows!

Another perk that we love - especially when waiting for a dining reservation - is the great playground!

If you are staying at this beautiful resort, make sure to pick up a daily activities guide to find out when you can tour the resort, tour the kitchens, catch a movie, or join in a pool party!

Interested in a quote of this beautiful resort?  Email me for a no-obligation price quote and receive all the perks that come with booking with Guru Travel!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinco de Mayo

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!  Does anyone else love Cinco de Mayo?  I may not know much about The Day of the Battle of the Puebla, but I do have great memories that revolve around Cinco de Mayo and eating delicious food.

If you like Mexican food like we do (my husband loves taco night...), you may have tried the 2 restaurants in the Mexico Pavilion in the World Showcase.

La Hacienda de San Angel

The newest restaurant in the Mexico Pavilion, La Hacienda de San Angel is one of our favorite restaurants at Walt Disney World.  The food is not the standard Mexican fare you will find at La Cantina (counterservice) or even a local Mexican restaurant.  It's a bit fancier - in fact, the only tacos you can order are on the appetizer menu, or a fancy seafood blend.  

When we first tried La Hacienda, we booked same day and had an amazing meal.  We highly recommend the Pre Fixe meal for two - wow that chorizo is phenominal! 

Are you looking for something a bit more standard?  Walk inside the pavilion to San Angel Inn where you can sit watching the volcano, watch the passengers on the Gran Fiesta Tour, and feel like you're dining underneath the stars in the fun environment!  

At the San Angel Inn, you'll find the more standard fare: tortilla soup, steak tacos, and chicken enchiladas.

Inside, you'll also find a Tequila bar that many people speak of highly, though I haven't tried it yet.  When I'm looking for a quick taste of Mexico, I drop by the drink stand for a Fiesta Margarita - a combination of frozen lime, mango, and strawberry margaritas.  Delicious!

Have you eaten in the Mexico Pavilion?  Which is your favorite?