18 September 2014

Aquatic Playground

For so much of Walt Disney World’s history guests were bound by the restriction of 12, 24, or 36 shot film rolls. To get some of those perfect shots, the ones you wanted all your friends and family to see, guests were often left to the merciful hands of the postcard photography gods. Walt Disney World never let us down, with postcard after postcard of magnificently timed and/or staged photos that captured the perfect view.

Summer may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have one last splash through our favorite water park. Even if it is extinct! A while back we looked at one of the postcard booklets from Fort Wilderness’ formative years. The booklets that contained mini postcard stubs to take home with you after you had sent the perforated postcard off to a friend or loved-one. This time out, we’re taking a tour through the early years to see just what the swimmin’ hole had to offer!

Shooting the White Water Rapids at River Country begins slowly. But soon, guests are caught up in a slippery race with a splashy ending in the Ol’ Swimmin’ Hole.

A daring leap into the Ol’ Swimmin’ Hole from a good old-fashioned tire swing. It’s just one of a wealth of childhood dreams that come true in River Country.

Whoop-‘N-Holler Hollow in River Country certainly lives up to its name. Packed with slippery twists and turns, it keeps guests whoopin’ and hollerin’ with glee.

Guests prepare to make a big splash at the climax of their slippery race down the White Water Rapids in River Country… a grand plunge into the Ol’ Swimmin’ Hole.

River Country’s quiet beaches are havens for sun worshipping and picnics. Nearby, Cypress Point Trail showcases Florida’s natural splendor.

The Play Pond is a favorite aquatic playground for little splashers. An entire section of River Country overflows with child-size slides and wading pools.

Shooting the White Water Rapids in River Country makes hearts race, as guests whoosh through a waterfall and plunge into the Ol’ Swimmin’ Hole.

Huck Finn’s spirit lives on at the Ol’ Swimmin’ Hole in River Country. Tire swings, white water rapids, twisting-turning slides, and spacious beaches abound.

16 September 2014

The Cup That Will Transport You - Part II

The missus, also known as Aileen Sheehan-Wilson, has now made it through six of the various types of Joffrey’s Disney coffee blends of the fifteen that are available. Which has meant more than her fair share of late nights, contemplating why she wasn't able to get to sleep... Should we tell her it's all the coffee we're giving her?

It is worth noting that she has tried each of the reviewed blends on multiple occasions to ensure that there wasn’t just something funky going on with our coffee pot that day. As was the case with the first batch, we chose whole bean and ground the coffee for ourselves. The reviews will include Joffrey's description and Aileen's review. Now, back to Aileen!

California Grill (Dark) – This is how you fit a melting pot in a coffee cup. We blended 100% Specialty Grade Arabica Beans from Central America, Indonesia and Africa for a restaurant that serves up seasonal multi-national cuisine inspired by the Golden State for diners in the Sunshine State within view of a castle world famous in every state. We love it for its delicate aroma, rich full-bodied flavor and lingering finish. Pair it with the warm Valrhona chocolate cake. It’s a California dream.

What Aileen Tastes: 
I was very happy with this coffee. It had a bright flavor despite the fact that it was a dark roast and definitely made me think of the sunny weather in California. For me, there wasn’t a lingering finish as the description suggested, but it had a well-rounded flavor that would pair well with the fresh seasonal flavors associated with California cuisine. It would also be a wonderful dessert coffee.  It was my second favorite of the three.

French Bistro Blend In-Room (Dark) – Inspired by Europe’s finest bistros, this full-bodied dark roast is a rich blend of 100% Specialty Grade Arabica Beans. It has just enough spiciness to get you going and plenty of joie de vivre to keep you coming back for more.

What Aileen Tastes: 
I truly enjoyed this roast. It was a huge surprise for me that it was my favorite, since I usually hate in room coffee. In fact, I was shocked that Disney and Joffery’s chose to put a dark roast in their rooms, since many shy away from what they think will be an extremely bold coffee. However, I am here to tell you that while this roast was somewhat strong with a touch of spiciness, it was also extremely smooth and well balanced. I am thrilled it will be offered in room and I hope the prepackaged filters filled with coffee truly include the amount of Joffery’s suggests in their instructions. I actually plan to re-order this coffee at a later date.

Tusker House (Dark) – Tusker House is a pretty bountiful place. So we gave it a French roast that’s just as generous. Blended with some of our favorite single-origin 100% Specialty Grade Arabica Beans then roasted to a dark brown hue, this coffee is as full of flavor as the overflowing Tusker buffets you’ll experience morning, noon and night. Its robust aroma and smoky finish make it an excellent encore to the spit-roasted meats, savory samosas and spicy Tandoori—while touches of chocolate and caramel make capable cohorts when taking on the seemingly endless assortment of muffins, breads, cobblers and pastries. It’s the prefect cup for a place of plenty.

What Aileen Tastes: 
This selection still didn’t beat the Flying Fish Espresso on my overall scale but it was enjoyable.  It definitely had a bold and spicy flavor that included a smoky finish, but I did not taste the touches of chocolate and caramel listed in the description.  Overall, this coffee missed the mark with my morning oatmeal, almost overpowering my slightly bland breakfast, but I do think that it would pair quite well with the spicy foods served at The Tusker House. I would place this coffee squarely in the lunch and dinner category, solely based on my personal taste test.

Today’s Cup of Disney Rankings:
1 – French Bistro
2 – California Grill
3 – Tusker House

Overall Cup of Disney Rankings: 

1 – French Bistro
2 – California Grill
3 – Flying Fish Espresso
4 – Tusker House
5 – Artist Point
6 – The Wave

Previous Reviews:

10 September 2014

Throughout Our Journey

Estelle and Melissa, from This Happy Place Blog and Mouse on the Mind respectively, are back with Kill, Marry, Refurb this month with a topic I just couldn’t refuse: transportation. When people think about transportation at Walt Disney World the mostly think about the monorails and the bus systems, but there is so much more to consider when you are talking about such a wide open topic.

For those of you who may need a reminder, Kill, Marry, Refurb is based upon a game of a similar name, though the switch to ‘Refurb’ here is appropriate and, shall we say, more family friendly. The gist is that you have a given topic and you have to choose one item in the category to get rid of (Kill), one that you love (Marry), and one which you think needs some TLC (Refurb). Sounds pretty simple right?

Kill – Monorail Wraps

I get it, Disney has a ton of properties now and the monorail gives them a great way to advertise about upcoming feature films. Just the sound of a monorail attracts guests’ attention. The size of the monorails give designers a ton of room to work with, which provides the opportunity to think outside of the box in terms of what goes into the advertisement. I’m also the first to admit that I was smitten with I first saw a light cycle zooming by onboard the Tronorail, but with time I’ve had a chance to reconsider. The monorails are a staple of Disney transportation, they cut a striking silhouette, everyone has a favorite stripe color they look for, and they deserve a bit more respect that to be used as a moving billboard.

Marry – Watercraft

I don’t carry if it is a ferry, one of the Friendships, or, my personal favorite, the motor launch, the watercraft of Walt Disney World is one of my favorite ways to travel. If you are traveling across Bay Lake, Crescent Lake, the Seven Seas Lagoon, or down the Sassagoula River, there is no better way to travel. There is no question there are quicker ways to get about, but none are quite as elegant. They also fill guests with a since of nostalgia, one of Walt Disney World’s founding principles. Plus, when you consider the fumes surrounding the bus stations, the chance to feel the wind in your hair and breathe in some fresh air is an experience that just can’t be beat.

Refurb – Transportation and Ticket Center

The Transportation and Ticket Center used to be the central hub through which all guests passed through on their way to parks, resorts, and all their adventures in between. In fact, the multitude of ticket booths had, in their heyday, lines pouring away from their windows. It was the first stop and the most exciting place to be as you decided where to go and how to get there! These days it is a sparsely populated area, where many of the once bustling areas now sit all but abandoned, and is a place that most guests see as a nuisance, if they pass through it at all. It may be time to demolish some of the ticket booths, spend a little money on revitalizing the area, and give the Transportation and Ticket Center a purpose once more.

What would you Kill, Marry, or Refurb when it comes to Walt Disney World transportation?