16 January 2020

Who Says We're Not Going Anywhere

Let’s get off of our high horse and share a little knowledge when it comes to the carousels of the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland. The Prince Charming Regal Carousel, at the Magic Kingdom, and the King Arthur Carousel, in Disneyland, both feature a wide array of beautiful crafted and uniquely decorated and named horses. Yet, one horse on each carousel has a special story to tell.

At Disneyland, that horse is Jingles. Jingles can be found quite easily as it sits on the outer ring of horses and is covered by a copious number of jingle bell straps, a blanket with Mary Poppins’ umbrella on it, and a shield that includes the number 50 and a silhouette of Mary Poppins herself, amongst other icons. Jingles has always been considered the lead horse, but in April of 2008 it was officially dedicated in honor of Julie Andrews. The horse was also featured in Saving Mr. Banks as the horse that P.L. Travers, portrayed by Emma Thompson, rode when she visited Disneyland with Walt Disney, aka Tom Hanks.

Meanwhile, a coast over at the Magic Kingdom, a horse with a laurel of roses with a golden ribbon trussed up in its tail is the horse of Cinderella. It sits in the second row of horses, near the carousel’s traveling bench, so its presence isn’t as pronounced as Jingles. All of which only makes it that much more special to find and take a ride with.

Here is where I’ll make a personal plea, whether you’re visiting Disneyland or Walt Disney World, search out these special horses and take a spin around the carousel, however, when you’re done find a small child in the next group and share the secret with them. My wife and I did this very thing last year, and while a trip on the carousel is always a nostalgic good time, it was the light in the young girl’s eyes when we told her the story and showed her where the horse was that made that morning truly magical for us. I can almost certainly guarantee that it will do the same for you.

13 January 2020

Elegant Yet Unpretentious

When I’m at Walt Disney World, I tend to shy away from sit-down breakfasts. I’m much more of a get up and crash the gates, get as much done as I can, and then relax someplace cool once the heat of the day rises up, which leave little time to sit down and enjoy the most important meal of the day properly. Typically, we reserve sit down breakfasts for the morning we arrive or the morning we are departing. The tradition has served us well, but there’s a meal at the Grand Floridian Café that may cause me to reconsider my time-honored by pass of breakfast.

Chicken and waffles are nothing new to most diners, heck even Walt Disney World has been serving up the southern favorite in some form or fashion for the better part of a decade. The history of the dish goes back even further, taking root in the 1800s in Philadelphia, before moving south and west by the early 1900s. The finer points of its history, and where the best version of the dish can be found, is altogether another topic, but suffice it to say that the Grand Floridian Café has found a way to put their own spin on this classic meal.

The Grand Floridian Café’s version is listed simply as Buttermilk-Fried Chicken and Waffle, and comes with a hand-breaded, boneless chicken breast, a malted waffle with cherrywood-smoked bacon, and is covered with a sriracha-honey drizzle. The portion size is ridiculous. The waffle is larger around than my face. The chicken breast is larger around than my face. Together, the main components are almost the size of my head. The chicken and waffles are definitely large enough to share, and yet everyone who tries it intentionally tries to hoard it for themselves, because it is just that tasty.

The waffle is wonderful, with a crispy outside and fluffy inside that neither burnt, nor doughy. The bacon in the waffle tends to slip by my palate, particularly when I have a bite that also includes chicken, which why wouldn’t a bite have both waffle and chicken, but the smoked flavor from the cherrywood comes through. The chicken is juicy, with a breading that is crispy and well-seasoned. While pieces of it may slide off due to the inclusion of the drizzle, or as you saw your way through the breast, the breading does a nice job of maintaining its consistency. Last, but certainly not least, the sriracha-honey drizzle provides a back of your through tickle heat, while also being sweet enough to make you forget all about wanting to add maple syrup to the mix.

If there is a secret to the Grand Floridian Café’s Buttermilk-Fried Chicken and Waffle, it is that you aren’t just resigned to ordering it for breakfast, as it is also served up during the restaurant’s lunch time. The chicken and waffles are large and will definitely put you in a food coma, making it a hearty way to start your day or the perfect pre-nap meal. No matter when you seek out this dish, just be sure that you do!