Our First Video!

Hello fellow Disney fans! I am super psyched that we finally uploaded our first video to our travel vlog channel, Why We’re Not Home. It introduces us and why we love to travel so that you can get to know us a little before we take you on our journey with us. If you would like to check it out (and maybe subscribe…hint, hint) you can follow this link! I look forward to our vlogging and can’t wait to hear what you think!

Have a magical Disney day,

Amanda

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Best (and Worst) Food in Disney

Okay, it’s been a while since we’ve posted anything on food in Disney. Since our last vacation (2014) they’ve added quite a few new restaurants and foods at the existing quick service stops. It was fun to try the new foods and I can’t wait to share them all with you, good and bad. Here we go!

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Nine Dragons

This restaurant is subpar. It’s good if you want average Chinese food. I ordered General Tso’s chicken buns and they were good but probably not something I would get again because there was too much sauce. Just a personal preference.

Le Cellier Steakhouse

I have always wanted to eat here so Dad made reservations for my birthday. The food was delicious but there wasn’t enough of it for the price we paid for it. I had the filet mignon for $54. It definitely wasn’t worth the money we paid for it, as good as the food was. I would recommend it for a date night though.

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Hollywood Studios-

The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge

I’m not going to go into detail on the hidden lounges because it is our little secret ;). However, this lounge was so good that it deserves to be on this list. We enjoy the food at The Hollywood Brown Derby but the lounge allowed us to save money while still eat a decent meal. The derby sliders were fantastic and we even got to try the famous grapefruit cake (not all it’s cracked up to be) and the banana toffee cake (totally worth it!). I can’t wait to go back!

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50’s Prime Time Cafe

The ambiance is so fun and enjoyable! The food may not be the best, but the people and ambiance make it worth a trip. On the menu, you will find old-fashioned meals such as fried chicken, Grandma’s chicken pot pie, old-fashioned pot roast, meatloaf, and others. Just imagine you’ve traveled back in time to the era of the Dick Van Dyke show and are having a meal with your family. The servers will remind you that you don’t eat with your elbows on the table and that you don’t waste food. So we don’t love the food, but it’s always fun to eat there (even if it’s just a milkshake).

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Satu’li Canteen

After a not-so-great experience waiting in a crazy long line for that stupid Pandora ride (yeah, we’ll talk about that later), this food was such a pleasant surprise. If you only go to Pandora to eat, it will totally be worth your time! The slow-roasted grilled beef bowl was simply delicious. The meat was cooked perfectly and the salad underneath was so good. Definitely the best quick service in the Animal Kingdom!

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Harambe Market

This was our first time visiting this little market area. It was such a neat area to eat and the food was pretty good and decently priced. We ate the tikka masala chicken and enjoyed it. It is really filling so it kept us going for the rest of the day.

The Magic Kingdom-

Columbia Harbor House

We stopped here for lunch and the food was decent. We had the tuna sandwich and it was good but the chips were way overcooked. Overall, it wasn’t too bad for a quick service meal.

Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen

This restaurant was so cool! The decorations were awesome. It looks like you are eating in a library that you would imagine Jane and her father (from Tarzan) would have in their home. The food was also very good. Josh got the whole fish and enjoyed it. I really liked the noodle bowl. I think that this restaurant is good enough for another visit.

Be Our Guest

We really enjoy this restaurant, however, it is a little pricey for dinner. Julia decided to celebrate her birthday here for dinner. Unfortunately, we were seated in the West Wing (it’s dark, the rose is there, and thunder & lightning flash and crash) instead of the ballroom. It ended up being a pretty cool room, however, I think we all still enjoy the ballroom much better. Anyway, the food was good. I got the pan-seared chicken and it was pretty good, just a little pricey. I think that it’s a great restaurant if you are really into the ambiance, but the food is not amazing enough to justify the prices. Lunch is good though. The prices are definitely better and the food is good. I recommend the potato leek soup.

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Paradiso 37, Taste of the Americas

We were very disappointed with this restaurant. I honestly, don’t remember what I ate but I remember thinking that it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. The service was also pretty slow. Anyway, it won’t be a redo for us.

Planet Hollywood Observatory

I can’t believe how bad this food was! We were looking forward to great burgers but we got something you could get at a fast-food restaurant. They didn’t even taste that great. I don’t know, I guess if you like that kind of food. The ice cream guessing was pretty fun and yummy (still not worth going just for that though).

Frontera Cocina

This restaurant serves traditional Mexican food that is simply divine! Dad brought me and the boys here for my birthday and we loved the food. I got the caesar salad which had a Mexican flair but the best part of my meal was the flautas. They were delicious! We will definitely be going back here next time. Pricing is good.

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Wolfgang Puck Express

Another great quick service! We really enjoyed the food here and will probably go back another time. The food is healthy and simple which makes it great for a quick, delicious lunch.

Morimoto Asia

Now, this was great Asian food! It was my first time having real ramen and it was delicious. I had watched the Food channel the night before and they were making ramen so I thought it would be cool to try. All of the other foods looked good too! I think this will be another restaurant that we will be adding to our favorites list.

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Resorts-

Grand Floridian Cafe

We ate here twice this trip, once for breakfast and once for lunch. Lunch was very good! I had smoked salmon with all the fixings and a bagel and it was the best! Breakfast was for my birthday and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The lobster benedict was pretty good but the pancakes with strawberries, cream, and sugar cookies were the best! I totally recommend eating here.

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Ample Hills Creamery

Best ice cream ever! I can’t remember the last time I have had such delicious ice cream! I had the peppermint pattie and the ooey gooey butter cake in a cone. I am obsessed with birthday cake flavors but I don’t like the fake flavors, so the ooey gooey butter cake was so good because it wasn’t flavored. It had real cake pieces. The peppermint pattie had chunks of delicious patties, perfect for a hot day.

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Boma

We love Boma! It has amazing foods from all around Africa. This time we went to breakfast for Julia’s birthday. The food was still very good. It is definitely more expensive because it’s a really nice buffet. If you go for breakfast, try the French toast bread pudding! It is amazing!

What do you think? Did any of these reviews surprise you?

I hope that you have enjoyed this post! If you have any questions, feel free to share below.

Have a magical day,

Amanda

Getting Sick In Disney

Getting sick is no picnic, and getting sick in Disney World is even worse. It’s a lot easier to get sick when you have little kids in your family because they are constantly touching things and putting their hands in their mouths. Even if you don’t have little kids, you can still get sick because it’s a big place with lots of people who have germs.

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Unfortunately, our whole family got a mild case of the flu the second week of our vacation and had to take a few days to recover. It wasn’t the end of the world though because of these simple things:

  • We took Oscillococcinum for the flu symptoms and it kicked it right out of us. This is the best homeopathic for the flu as it works right away and very effectively. We try to avoid things like Tylenol and Benadryl.
  • Washing your hands regularly is very important. Imagine what kinds of germs are on the bars in the rides, on the menus at restaurants, and even on the benches outside. Keeping your hands clean will help you avoid illness.
  • Boosting your immune system with Vitamin C when you feel a cold coming on is the best way to avoid it getting worse. We love Airborne chewables and tablets that you can dissolve in your water.
  • Bring tissues with you. If you get a head cold, you’re going to need them.
  • Rest! This step is so very important for keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Make sure you are getting enough sleep at night and that you are building rest days in your schedule. I recommend that you take a rest day every two days if possible to renew your energy levels. Going to the parks nonstop can be stressful on your body and will end in fatigue and sometimes grouchiness.

If you are afraid of getting sick in Disney, make sure you are taking these precautions. Pack Vitamin C with you, hand sanitizer, and tissues. I will share a post on how we plan our vacations soon to help you with your vacation planning.

Am I missing anything? What do you do if you get sick in Disney?

Have a magical day,

Amanda

The People Of Disney World

Every time we go to Disney, we meet so many different people. Annoying people, kind people, silly people, ticked off people, people who speak different languages, you name it! It is through these people that we are influenced to either have a good day or a bad one. As an annual pass-holder, you get to see a mix of people every single time. Today I am going to share the types of people we discovered.

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  1. The first-timers. You can always tell when someone is coming to Disney for the first time. They will carry huge backpacks with them, maybe an extra purse, a stroller (if they are a family), and they will not be prepared when it comes to bag-check at security. Yes, this is annoying, but hey-it’s Disney and you’ll get into the park eventually. However, I will recommend that you limit the number of things you bring into the park, not just for the fast-tracked pace at security, but for your own comfort. You won’t want to carry around that much baggage on a hot day in Florida where all you’re doing is riding rides, walking, squishing in with people in line, and, oh yeah, more walking. Believe me, I’ve been there, done that (and it’s not fun). I do love seeing those 1st-timers though! It makes me just so excited and happy for them!WP_20170908_11_31_14_Pro.jpg
  2. The really great, take things as they are, cast members. These people were so great and made our trip even more special because of their positivity and awesome attitudes. We were able to talk to a few cast members that were just joyful and happy to be working in such a magical place. They didn’t love the fact that there were so many people, but they did their job joyfully nonetheless. I recommend that you talk to the cast members and interact with them. It’s all too often that they are neglected and not seen as a crucial part of the Disney magic. We learned a lot by just talking to them and learning about their stories.bet838382LARGE
  3. The foreigners. We saw so many Spanish-speaking people this time, as well as Australians, people from the UK, Asians, and Canadians. It is always neat to interact with fellow Disney-goers who are from different countries. We met a lot of great people from various parts of the world! I will admit, some who didn’t speak English were hard on the cast members because they didn’t understand what they were saying, which made it hard on us waiting in lines. There were also difficult Labor day vacationers who just didn’t listen or respect the people around them. Just remember you are in Disney! Decide to see the best in people even if they are being a little difficult (believe me, you will run into difficult people everywhere, not just in Disney).th.jpg
  4. The locals. Floridians, like all locals to touristy areas, must get a little annoyed with tourists invading their state. I understand because we live in a beach town where tourists come every summer. It ends up getting so bad that the locals don’t even go to the beach while the tourists are here because there is literally no space for us. I feel like the locals are similar to the annual pass-holders because they go often and are used to low crowds. These types of people are somewhat easy to pick out of a crowd because they know where they are going. They practice what I call, the Disney walk when they need to get somewhere quick (walking fast while bobbing and weaving through the crowds like a pro), they don’t bring bags into the parks allowing them to pass seamlessly through security, they run straight for the pass-holder entrance, and they enjoy the scenery of the parks slowly-not having to rush around to get their money’s worth.s-l1000
  5. The ones earning their Mickey ears. These cast members were just so happy! My guess is that they were Disney College Program members who were just starting their jobs. Their excitement about working in Disney was infectious. It didn’t matter if they messed up, they still kept a smile on their faces that made me happy. Congratulate these awesome people the next time you go, I guarantee it will make their day!

I’m sure there are much more different people in the parks but these were the ones that really stood out. I loved getting to talk with the cast members more and the people waiting in lines with use. It makes vacation more fun to be able to connect with the people around you, to share the joy of being in Disney together.

What kinds of people do you notice in the parks?

Have you ever held a great conversation with the cast members?

I look forward to the many more kinds of people we will meet on our next trip!

Have a magical day,

Amanda

New Disney World Discoveries!

Okay everyone! We are back from our exciting and super fun vacation to Walt Disney World and I have so much to tell you. I am so excited to get started with sharing my new findings including new foods, new rides, and new adult experiences that I didn’t know about until this trip.

This will probably be a series, so make sure you keep checking back! Today I am going to share with you some bathroom tips and the best coffee for your morning caffeine fix (Weird mix I know, but I figure they both happen in the morning, so…).

Do you remember that post I wrote back in March about the cleanest bathrooms around Disney? Well, I have changed my point of view on this subject. Honestly, who is going to hold it until they find the cleanest bathroom? When we were in the parks, it didn’t occur to us to find the cleanest bathroom, we just wanted a bathroom.

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Pretty much every bathroom in Disney has clean stalls and not-so-clean stalls. Some are super clean and some are sub-par. I recommend that you use a toilet seat cover and maybe a layer of toilet paper if you’re really cautious. As long as you wash your hands afterward, you’ll be totally fine.

Now for the coffee. I love coffee, but unfortunately my dad has spoiled us for really great coffee. There is definitely bad coffee to be found in the Disney parks and believe me, I found it. If you’re not a coffee connoisseur, this part may not seem important to you.

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The best coffee I found in Disney came from Starbucks. I tried a quick service spot in Animal Kingdom and it came out of one of those machines they have in hotels. I paid $5 for a cup of coffee that wasn’t even filled all the way to the top. At Starbucks, at least I’m assured that my cup will be full and worth the money I pay for it.

If you want to risk it and go for a quick service spot, I recommend Joffrey’s in Epcot, or anywhere you can get something with a little Kahlua or Irish Cream (they hide the bad coffee).

So anyway, I had no idea about the coffee and I didn’t remember a lot about the bathrooms. In my next post I will be sharing my findings on food and entertainment. I hope these posts will help you plan your next vacation to Disney! Don’t forget to check out our Disney vlogs here.

Have a magical day,

Amanda

We’re Here!

Woohoo! We’re so excited to finally be in Disney once again after 3 long years. Today we got to experience the “new” Hollywood Studios and, I’ll be frank, it is such a huge disappointment that we felt very sad walking through the park. The fact that all of the old Hollywood stuff is gone is just sad because that was our favorite part of the park. Celebrating the old Hollywood movies that set the scene for Hollywood today was so special, historical, and fun.

Anyway, we also rode the new and improved Soarin’ Around the World and it was beautiful and very enjoyable! I was disappointed when I found out they were changing it, but I think they did such a great job. Love the new scents (though I miss the orange scent) and the scenes!

If you would like to see our first video, it’s live now:

We look forward to the rest of our vacation here and hope you will be joining us for all the fun!

Have a magical Disney day,

Amanda

The Countdown Continues!

As you all know, we have been doing a Disney vacation countdown the past couple of weeks, getting us ready and excited for our upcoming trip, and I thought I might share some of the best ones so far.

One of our very first countdown sticks was to make Mickey Mouse pancakes. So Amanda made us some delicious Mickey pancakes. Yum!

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The second best countdown stick was our Mad Hatter Tea Party where we all wore silly hats and drank the Matter Hatter tea from the Disney parks. We were also joined by the Cheshire Cat and the White Rabbit. Can you spot them?

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Me and Amanda completed another stick by making Disney princess inspired hair bows to wear in the parks. We also planned our Disney bounding outfits for the trip and we made our own Epcot passports. Yep, we are going all out this year!

These are the highlights of our 34 day countdown so far and it has been a lot of fun! I hope you all have a fun and happy weekend. 🙂

See ya real soon!

Julia

And…The Countdown Begins!

Yah! Sunday marked the first day of our 34-day countdown to vacation. We started off the countdown with watching Tangled then Monday we watched the new version of The Jungle Book. Today was my favorite so far because we picked two pretty awesome sticks (we cheated and did two and we’ll just add more later). I created our Epcot passport cards that we will take with us and check off the things we would like to do in the park. We also watched Lilo & Stitch while eating some homemade (healthy) dole whip. It was pretty delicious!

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By the way, Josh is holding our pet sugar glider. His name is Gizmo and we swear that Stitch was totally based off of them. Just look up a picture and you’ll see what I mean.

Hopefully some videos will be coming your way soon! Until then, I hope you enjoy our posts and will continue to keep checking back for new, fun updates. Let us know if you have any suggestions or comments.

Have a magical day,

Amanda

The Countdown Is Beginning!

As you all know, our vacation to Walt Disney World is coming up! We are so excited to get there and finally see Mickey and his friends again. Do you remember my post about Disney crafts? Well, Julia and I made the countdown Popsicle sticks in a jar. We were going to do a 30-day countdown, however we didn’t want to start in the middle of a week, so we added just a few more.

Our first countdown stick starts on Sunday the 23rd. I can’t wait! Anyway, with the countdown, comes YouTube videos. We are hoping to film a video at least once a week sharing our countdown fun and some get-to-know us videos. We want to build a relationship with our viewers before we take you on vacation with us ;).

If you don’t remember, our YouTube channel is Why We’re Not Home. Make sure you subscribe to get updates on more videos being uploaded! The Howard vacation will be shared with you as we show you our favorite parts of Disney, new things we’ve never tried, and some challenges.

If you have a challenge to share with us, please let us know! We are open to doing silly and fun things in any of the parks so please challenge us.

If you have any suggestions on food to try, places to visit, or anything else, please let us know!

I hope you are as excited as we are to get this YouTube channel started! I’ll keep posting to keep you in the know about everything.

Until the next post,

Have a magical evening!

Amanda

Princess Spotlight: Ariel

It has been a while since I’ve posted a princess spotlight. This week I’ve been thinking about Ariel a lot because I am listening to The Little Mermaid on Broadway (pretty cool, I’ve linked it if you want to give it a listen).

Anyway, Ariel was never really my favorite princess, and don’t get me started on Eric. However, she is a Disney princess and I feel it my duty to include her in my princess spotlight series. I will admit that she has beautiful qualities, so let’s explore them shall we?

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The Little Mermaid was one of the Disney movies that we watched over and over on our VHS player when we were little. I think that I watched it and liked it more after I did a dance performance to it at InSync Dance when I was about 6.

Ariel is an independent, headstrong, and determined young mermaid who could sing beautifully and was known as the prettiest princess of the sea. She loved to daydream and spend her time adventuring and discovering new treasures from above.

She loved her family but wanted more than what was in the castle walls (sound familiar?). Ariel always viewed humans as interesting creatures and always wanted to learn more about them and their ways. She always kept an open mind when it came to new people and their different ways of life.

Ariel was always loving and friendly, patient and kind, reckless but smart. A couple of times you see that Ariel is willing to make sacrifices for those that she loves, even if it means that she may not be able to live the way she dreams. You can see her grow as she makes bad decisions throughout the film. She becomes more understanding, less childish, and more confident in herself.

My favorite parts of the movie are definitely the musical numbers. I think I remember all the words to every song :). What is your favorite part of the movie? What are your favorite character traits of Ariel’s? Did you like The Little Mermaid?

I hope you have enjoyed this post. Is there anything that I missed? I look forward to writing another soon! Have a happy Independence Day on Tuesday!

Have a magical day,

Amanda