Disney World Blitz: Parklife Part IV

Rides Collage

And here we are, finally – “FINALLY!” they all cried – at the end of my Disney World travelogue (Editor’s note: Lies!) a tale that has taken longer to tell than it did to experience all that excitement and wonder in the first place.  Ah, but half the joy (or at least a solid one-third of the joy) is in the storytelling after the fact – and there’s still tons of fun fuel in that particular tank. 🙂

So, baby baby, it’s ride time!  Let’s get down to this thing.  Day two was largely spoken for by our 13 rides through the Haunted Mansion.  But on day one we worked it like the rent was due, or at least like we had 14 hours in the world’s most popular theme park – no time for dilly-dallying, we’re here to DISNEY!  And here are the attractions we enjoyed, roughly in the order in which we experienced them.

Peter Pan's Flight Collage

A fairly hard and fast rule among my little flamly growing up was if your weirdo kid didn’t drag you on the Haunted Mansion as the first run of the day, then that inaugural ride had better well be Peter Pan’s Flight.  A 1971 original (that has gone through precious few updates over the decades) Peter Pan’s Flight is a sweet, gentle lark; my mom always clapped with joy when we’d burst through the Darlings’ bedroom window and set sail over London.  And my favourite part of the ride is technically not even part of the ride – just a little table set for teddy tea tucked in a tiny nook just outside the Darlings’ bedroom.  I sighed with contentment when I glimpsed it after a 13 year hiatus.

It's a Small World Collage

The easy joke about It’s a Small World, another ’71 original, is that it’s insanity-inducing, although I’ve never found it 1/1000th as annoying as everyone says it is.  And neither did Mr. Finger Candy, on his first It’s a Small World voyage – it was closed for refurbishments when we were last down on our honeymoon.  He actually said he found it pretty tolerable.  See, that’s what happens when you get old and you cherish each and every moment you can spend sitting on your butt in a theme park, even if you have to endure thousands of vaguely demonic-looking animatronic figurines singing the world’s most relentlessly cheerful song at you in 89 different languages in order to do so.

239

Out of focus?  Or did I accidentally drink the It’s a Small World Water?  No, definitely out of focus – I wasn’t arrested after tearing off all my clothes and declaring myself the Lizard Queen. 😉

Haunted Mansion Two Collage

Straight chillin’ in front of my dream home, the Haunted Mansion.  And I got as close to actually living there this time as I have any other visit – 13 rides (actually 16 over two days) took a not-insubstantial amount of time.  Gave me plenty of opportunity to choose a room, though, should the Mansion break down and, in the most likely of scenarios, I’m forced to live there until the end of time.  It’s actually behind the last door on the left as you climb the hallway of M.C. Escher-esque infinity staircases.

Pirates of the Caribbean Collage

I’m a Pirate, wikid!  Pirates of the Caribbean is never not a good time, not even when the ride breaks down and you spend 35 minutes watching the pirates yo-ho, yo-ho in static silence.  But more on that awesome experience in a bit.  Otherwise, the day’s first ride on Pirates went off without a hitch.  Unless you count the fact that Mr. Finger Candy did NOT buy that awesome tri-cornered hat, even though I begged him to because he’s wanted one his entire life.  Hey, I shouldn’t be the only one fulfilling my childhood dreams here!

I really liked the new-ish Jack Sparrow update to the end of the ride, and I was pleased as punch to see that Disney has not yet removed The Redhead (as in “We wants the redhead!”)  Pirates is long overdue for a pretty major tonal shift – the multiple references to physical and sexual violence (the pirates “wants” The Redhead because she’s the hottest piece being sold at auction) cast a perplexing, momentarily unwelcome pall across an otherwise goofily enjoyable ride.  Anyhow, I was glad to get one last glimpse of The Redhead in her native, 1973 state before she and her auction-mates are rightfully retrofitted into a girl pirate gang.  I can’t wait until they round up all the men and then sit around drunkenly speculating on their price per pound – “Shift yer cargo, dearie, show ’em your larboard side!”  Squid pro roe, pirate dudes, it’s your time to be objectified for the next 40 or so years!

Little Mermaid Collage

Journey of the Little Mermaid was a new ride for both of us, and oh, what fun!  I’ve never been the biggest Little Mermaid fan (Prince Eric is a stone cold moron, easily the dumbest guy in the Disney canon) but I love, love, LOVED this attraction, classic Disney dark ride styles.  The gigantic Under the Sea set piece was fantastic, and the even gigantic-er Ursula animatronic?  Ca c’est encroyable!  She’s mended all her ways, you know – repented, sympathized and made a switch.  True?  Yes.

Little Mermaid Collage 2

I loved Journey of the Little Mermaid so much, I even liked the lineup, which winds below Ariel and Eric’s castle in a series of underwater caves at “low tide.”  And my husband liked it so much, he…oh my.  And it’s not even Hug a Merman Day!  Well, I’ll try not to be too jealous, though they do make a pretty fetching couple.

Jungle River

Jungle River Cruise!  And I have no cute on-ride photo from this attraction, because we were too busy guffawing like a couple of hyenas at the guide’s round-the-jungle boat trip of sad trombone jokes.  I also guarantee you that on any given ride, we will be the only people laughing; nobody gets this ride!  I also think it’s one of those ones that’s totally lost in language translation – not sure how much non-English speakers would get out of “Eating zebra would be like white meat, dark meat, white meat, dark meat…” jokes.  My favourite bit, though, is when animatronic hippos attack the boat and the guide drives them off by leaning over the side and shouting things like, “I love you!  I’m ready for a commitment!  Could you possibly dress more like my mother?!”  Heh.  Also, who’s not laughing at THE BACKSIDE OF WATER?  Everybody but us, that’s who.

Big Thunder Collage

We hit up Big Thunder Mountain, a zippy coaster, twice our first day, including one incredible end-of-night ride that’s remarkable both for being unbelievably gorgeous (what a sight to see the first stars of the night just begin to pop into existence over the fake buttes of Big Thunder as all of Disney lay glittering beneath us) and also for being the straw that totally broke these camels’ backs – hot on the heels of two other pretty intense coasters (the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain) this is the ride that did. us. in.  Not so for the little girl who plowed into us as we exited the ride, bellowing, “Sorry, sorry, but I’m on a mission!” as she entered the lineup for her seventh straight run.  I feel nauseous just typing that.

Right, so how much would you all hate me if I said it looks like I may have to split this final ride post into…two posts?  Because – everybody sing it with me now! – IT’S THE STORY THAT NEVER ENDS!  Really, by the time I finish up this tale, we’ll be due for another trip to Disney (this is an actual possibility; we are looking at another visit, and soon.)  But this only encompasses about half of the rides we rode the first day, and there’s so much more to show and tell.  So I hope to see you back here for more Disney fun, next time with the added bonus of a conclusion!

Advertisements

Happy Birthday, Mickey!

Birthday Mickey

Well now, what’s this utter madness here – actual nail art on this nail blog and not some long-winded tale about my recent Disney vacation that has taken exponentially longer to spin out than it did to actually experience it?  😉  At the very least this Mickey mani is well within my all-Disney wheelhouse these days.

The main Mouse’s birthday was actually yesterday – 89 years young.  Doesn’t look a day over a well-plasticized 50, though.  Happy belated, Mickey!

Fall Fun Series II: Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Happiest of Thanksgivings to my American friends, particularly the other participants in the Fall Fun Series.  I hope you all have the most wonderful of weekends!  Here in Ontario we’re supposedly due for a bit of very un-Fall-like wonder – a wonderland of snow, as the song goes.  Also freezing rain and probably hail.  Oh, it’s a bloody wonderland, alright!

But for those of you still enjoying autumn’s delights, here’s a delicious trio of scrumptious scents from my recent Sniff My Tarts order – I guarantee you they’ll keep everyone in the Fall spirit, long after the leftovers have been packed away.

Piped Hearts Fall Labelled

Honey Gingerbread – Homey, sweetly spiced and bearing absolutely no trace of that unpleasant sulfuric note common to honey scents, this comforting fragrance would play equally well in the winter holiday months.

Apple Cider Latte – Holy crow, I LOVE this scent!  That fruit-and-coffee combo that I initially thought I hated strikes once again!  Coffee haters, fret not, the latte note in this blend is virtually undetectable, working its slightly astringent, slightly creamy magic behind the scenes to bolster the juicy sweetness of the tart apple cider.  Next time I place a custom order with Sniff My Tarts, I will absolutely get a decorated sheet cake in this stupendous scent (it actually smells pretty fantastic alongside Honey Gingerbread, and I think pairing it with Ice Cream Scoop Bread or Vanilla Waffle Cone would also do some pretty outstanding things for this juicy cider scent.)

Pumpkin Marshmallow Latte – A complaint that comes up over and over again regarding pumpkin (latte/pie/milkshake/muffin) scents is that they rarely smell like actual pumpkin.  Most of them invariably smell like the spices we use to dress up the humble orange gourd.  But this lovely fragrance smells just like sticking your face over a steaming Pumpkin Spice Latte – that fresh, almost vegetable-like note mingling with mounds of creamy, dreamy fluff, tied together with a ribbon of smooth-as-silk spiced coffee.  Another great latte scent; Sniff My Tarts does them very well.

Disney World Blitz: Parklife Part III

“They see me ridin’/my Buggy/Magic Kingdom ’cause I’m just a nerdy girl at Disney/just a nerdy girl at Disney/look at me, I’m a nerd at Disney!”  No, not how that song goes?  Huh, strange. 😉

Welcome, friends, to the third and penultimate installment of my is-it-ever-going-to-end? series on our recent anniversary trip to Disney World.  Today we finally get down to the good stuff, the rides!  If you’re at all interested in hearing me blather on about our stupendously gorgeous accommodations and the tasty nibbles we picked up whilst running the theme park gauntlet, you can find those posts here and here.

Outside the Mansion

First, as detailed in this post, we rode the Haunted Mansion 13 times on our 13th wedding anniversary, which falls on Halloween.  HUGE, crazy accomplishment, this – a lifetime bucket list item nicely checked off (one that’s been cooling its heels on my list since I was a wee, weird little lass of just two years old.)  We actually rode the Mansion 16 times over two days.  It’s my favourite spot on the planet; sounds a bit a lot strange, but nestled in the dark in a jittering little Doom Buggy, passing the hall of endless staircases as the Ghost Host intones not-so-dire warnings about the restless spooks who inhabit the Mansion, I am complete.  Giant goober alert here, but our last ride, I cried.  It all felt very overwhelming.  See, Disney nerd!

That was our second day at the Magic Kingdom.  Thirteen runs through the Haunted Mansion ate up the majority of the day, but we did find time to squeeze in a couple of non-Mansion rides, in addition to a mid-day repast at Gaston’s Tavern.  I wish the big tool himself had made an appearance; Gaston’s just the worst, and I love him for it.  But this lady waits for no man, not even the super bulgy, dim bulb variety, and I had places to be, bucket lists to conquer!  Next time, Gaston, next time.  Maybe we’ll even sit in your chair together.

Throne Alone

But our first day at the Magic Kingdom, we hit it HARD – 8 am to 11 pm, TAKE! NO! PRISONERS!  You know, except for the 40 minutes or so we were held hostage on a broken-down Pirates of the Caribbean, but more on that (surprisingly fun adventure) in the next, final installment!

Smudge Out Castle Shot

Our first day at the Magic Kingdom we banged out 17 rides.  We also dropped in on a couple of stage shows, caught the midday parade, watched most of the evening’s fireworks display, shopped up and down Main Street, got stuck on Pirates for the better part of an hour AND made our inaugural visit to Gaston’s.  So how did we cram all that fun into one day?  Well, here’s a few tips:

1: Be as serious about your footwear AND care as Lieutenant Dan screaming into Forrest’s face about fresh socks.  You won’t get anywhere if you’re hobbling around with sweaty, blistered tootsies, so plan ahead and pre-game your feet – comfy shoes (Vans for me, Chucks for the Mr.) and adhesive callous pads applied to known trouble areas kept us up and comfortably pounding the pavement from rope drop to park close.

2: Abandon any notion of sleep or peace or rest.  That goes double for you lazy sods all crashed out in the middle of the day on the Hub grass.  You’re at Disney – why are you napping?!  Just come to terms with the fact that to experience all that Disney has to offer, you’re going to have to temporarily sacrifice the routines and comforts of home.  We certainly did – I don’t know what else you call being up and on your feet from park open (8 am!) to close (11 pm the first day) each day.  Bonkers?  Yeah, that works!

487

3: Work those FastPasses.  Disney hands out a large – but limited – number of jump-the-line passes every day for nearly every attraction in the park.  You can book three FastPasses per attraction, per guest, per day; a particularly useful little perk for those rides with stubbornly long wait times (Peter Pan’s Flight, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train) that hold fast throughout the day.  And not everyone knows this, but after you’ve used your third and final FastPass of the day, you can then begin booking additional FastPasses, one at a time.  And once you’ve used up that fourth FastPass, you can then book a fifth, and so on, until they’re shooing you out the front gates with brooms!

4: Most importantly, stay flexible.  If you roll up to the Mine Train at 9 am to find it offline, with a two-plus hour lineup already snaking around the entirety of the ride, say, “Oh, bugger this, we’re not starting our first day in a friggin’ two-hour lineup!” (actual quote) and move on.  With the exception of one 30-minute wait for the Mansion on Halloween, we never waited any longer than 15 or 20 minutes for any ride, and many of them were virtual walk-ons.  But we maximized our ride time precisely because we were willing to move – as in move on to something with a slightly more manageable wait time.  And invariably, we’d come back a short while later to find the wait time halved or better.  This is also how we wound up walking at least seven miles our first day; we crisscrossed the park more times than I can count!

Magic Kingdom Docs

5: Also, in as much as you can, stay out of the sun, particularly if you are of pasty, Celtic-Canadian descent.  I ended our first day at the Magic Kingdom with a chest redder than Sebastian the crab and Merida’s hair combined.  Wear sunscreen.  Buy some dorky matching hats, if you must (and we really did!)

Need Sunscreen

Jack and Sally Hats

Okay, so it would seem I didn’t actually get around to really talking about any of the rides this time, but I think I’ve given you a good overview of how we accomplished so very much in such a short amount of time (“Really dragging this out, ain’t you?” some of you may be thinking.  And the answer is yes, YES, I AM!  I had the very best time on this impromptu little trip, and I’m going to storytell it into the ground, yo.)  Next time – the last time, though definitely not the last Disney time – we finally go ridin’!

Plucky Duckies

Plucky Duckies Collage 4

Today’s little wax haul comes to you courtesy of The Melting Duck, fine indie purveyors of rainbow-splashed, mica-dusted mini shapes and gigantic wax duckies.  I’ve been smitten with their huge assortment of adorable shapes, unusual colour combinations and pop culture-influenced scent blends for some time now; Halloween seemed the perfect time to test these duck-filled waters (shame my order didn’t actually arrive until the week after Halloween.  Shamer still that at least part of my order was to be a Halloween gift for friends.  Still, knowing my pals, I think they’ll have no problem tucking these guys away until next Fall should they feel that strongly about the very serious issue of seasonal melting. 😉  Me?  I’m jumping in straight away!)

This was such a fun package to open; this was my first order with The Melting Duck, and everything I pulled out of the box (“Whhhaaaattt’s in the booooooooxxxxxx?”) made me grin with delight.  Such detail, such whimsy!  First, let’s examine those plucky little duckies a little further.

Plucky Duckies Collage 3

Except these duckies – The Melting Duck calls them Demented Ducks – are really not so little.  Weighing in at just a little under eight ounces per duck, there’s quite a bit of waxy goodness here.  And look at the mindful little details – the swirls and layers of colour, the very demented-looking googly eyes, the tiny Jack-o-Lantern glitter embedded in the middle duck’s wing.  Adorable!  Because you can’t get a good sense of the scale of these massive shapes as measured against each other, here I’ve set a Demented Duck in Heads Will Roll, a pumpkin cupcakes and candy corn blend, beside a favourite 60 ml bottle of perfume from Solstice Scents.  They’re so big, it’s totally quackers (wah-waaaahhhhhh.)

Plucky Duckies 3

I actually chose just two scents in ducky format, Heads Will Roll and Briarcliff, a pumpkin, vanilla and marshmallow blend.  But a few days before my order went out, The Melting Duck said that owing to a bit of a pouring snafu, a scent I had chosen in the mini shapes – Duckin Donuts, a coffee-and-pastries blend – would no longer be offered in those shapes; would I be at all interested in some Demented Duckin Donuts?  I was, and so that’s how this charming little coffee brown duck (and a couple of his melt-mates) wound up rounding out my trio of fabulously fragranced foul.  I’m so glad I nabbed this one, too – had contemplated the refund The Melting Duck nicely offered, but chose to move ahead for my husband, who would mainline coffee in all its various forms if only he could.  He loves his mocha scents, and he’s going to love this one, too, because it’s a goody – smells JUST like the inside of a chain coffee shop, right down to the pleasant, comforting fragrance of fresh brewed coffee and glazed, yeasty pastries.  On an ounce per ounce basis, this very plump duck and the three cups (already melted one) worked out to more wax than I would have received in the bakery bags of mini shapes; an appreciated little bit of overage for the manufacturing goof.  Twas a nice touch.

Plucky Duckies 5

I also picked up two bakery bags of mini shapes (plus a couple for friends, which I had to hold myself back from photographing, because they’re not mine!)  I chose a couple of very unlike me scents, All Hallow’s Eve (the purple, black and orange shapes, a sweet and creamy blend of candy corn, pumpkin cupcakes, buttercream crunch cake and caramel corn) and Ghost Stories By the Fire (the orange and grey shapes, a candy-sweet, almost floral blend of Marshmallow Fireside, Earl Grey tea and vanilla ice cream) – unlike me in that I’ve had quite a bit of trouble with pumpkin scents this season (headaches) and also because both fragrances contain scent notes that typically send me fleeing (candy corn, Earl Grey tea, Marshmallow Fireside in anything aside from all by its lonesome.)  But I really like both of these blends – actually, I like all the scents I chose, even the ones I gave away – probably precisely because they’re not my usual.  It’s good to change things up every now and then. 🙂

Plucky Duckies Collage 1

Ugh, and how stinkin’ cute are these little shapes?  I die for the wee little duckies in both blends, but the Dia de los Muertos skulls, baby broom and grinning Jack-o-Lanterns of All Hallow’s Eve are outstanding.  Such lovely design work, it almost seems a shame to melt them.  But melt them I will – I’ll just try not to stare directly at the duckies while it’s happening.

Plucky Duckies Collage 2

If you’re interested in getting in on all this sweetly scented ducky action, you can join The Melting Duck’s Facebook group to stay up-to-date on future pre-orders and new releases.  They actually just held the final pre-order of the year for a number of holiday-themed blends, although I managed to abstain; I’m pretty flush with wax at the moment.  But no doubt they’ll be back and raring to go in the new year with all sorts of adorably fun shapes and colours and scents, and we’ll be there then!

Disney World Blitz: Parklife Part II

Continuing my ever so long-winded (detailed!) account of my recent trip to Disney, I thought we’d dedicate this installment to nearly everybody’s favourite subject matter, food!  Which we actually ate precious little of; save two special meals, we subsisted on park food and many, many, many bottles of Dasani (Florida water: Don’t drink it!)  Pretty sure we both ended the first 14-hour day at a calorie deficit, between the seven-plus miles of walking and the all-Mickey pretzel diet.

Disney Food Collage

The night we arrived we took a boat from our resort, the Port Orleans Riverside, to Disney Springs, Disney’s shopping and entertainment promenade, for late night dinner reservations at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’.  Homecomin’s cuisine is classified as Southern-Floridian.  I’d just call it delicious – think light and crispy fried green tomatoes, fried chicken and biscuits, mac and cheese, moonshine.  Homecomin’ actually makes their own, and I enjoyed a rather potent cocktail that left me feeling 12 shades of plastered for precisely 23 and a half minutes before all whoopsy effects dissipated completely.  It was the most bizarre buzz I’ve ever encountered.  Must have been offset by all the fried chicken and mac and cheese I put on top of it.

Dinner

Yes, we sat on the same side of the table like a couple of boners!  It was unseasonably cold the night we arrived, and we had to huddle together for warmth!  This restaurant was so lovely and cozy, though, with a big, roughhewn bar looking out over the artificial – though no less lovely for it – springs of Disney Springs, as twinkling lights reflected off the gently moving water.  Though I did not try them, Mr. Finger Candy assures me the deviled eggs were delicious.  Here he is providing a bit of impromptu dinner theatre for our fellow diners.

160

Entre-park, we ate quite a few Mickey pretzels.  I mentioned before that I had a rough flight experience on our way in; that nauseous feeling stayed with me for about the first 18 hours of our trip, and Mickey pretzels seemed like a nice, plain, safe food to soothe the savage tummy beast.  They’re also low in fat, though loaded in salt (flick it off if you must, though I just shoved it back and then chased it with a litre of Dasani.)  Also a classic, iconic Disney snack, and a first for both Mr. Finger Candy and I.  Looking like a wiener while eating in public is NOT a first for him, as evidenced by the last two photos!  Also please note that he is wearing a Beauty and the Beast bandage.  His choice.

317

Another item we went back for multiples of was LeFou’s Brew, an apple juice-based beverage served at Gaston’s Tavern.  I quite hilariously attempted to make my own version of LeFou’s Brew last year during the Fall Fun Series, and it was an unmitigated disaster – deeply unpalatable.  And what was I thinking; I hadn’t even tried one yet!  Having now enjoyed a couple of these delectably refreshing treats – icy apple juice enhanced with toasted marshmallow, topped with a mango-passionfruit foam to mimic the creamy head on a pint of beer – I can tell you that I had it wrong, oh so wrong.  Legit LeFou Brews are SUBLIME – they hit that lemonade sweet spot without, you know, actually being lemonade.

658

And not for nothing, but you can only find LeFou’s Brews at Gaston’s Tavern, which is more than all right with me – behind the Haunted Mansion, it’s my second favourite spot on Disney property.  We spent so much time there, it almost started to feel like “our place”!

Gaston's Collage

Part of the joy of Gaston’s Tavern – aside from the many, many, many mounted deer heads and antlers, which the Man of the Tavern really does use in all of his DE-CO-RA-TING – is that it’s dead quiet.  Tucked down in a little alcove between Be Our Guest and the Journey of the Little Mermaid, few people seem to know about this charming little spot.  We nabbed the same corner table both visits and had plenty of time to goof around in Gaston’s gigantic, pelt-covered chair and worship at the portrait of the big lunkhead himself.

Gaston Worship

Speaking of Beauty and the Beast, a major highlight of our trip was an early morning breakfast at Be Our Guest to celebrate our Halloween anniversary.

Be Our Guest Collage

Housed in the rock facade beneath the Beast’s forced perspective castle, Be Our Guest is an interactive restaurant in every sense of the word.  And it runs like the talking furniture-staffed, well-oiled machine that it should thanks to the wonder of those ubiquitous MagicBands that seemingly control all aspects of your Disney experience.  Not that I’m complaining.  I’ve made my peace with Disney’s surveillance state oversight.  We’re all going to be owned by a major corporation one day (brought to you by Carl’s Jr.) – why not one dedicated to the pursuit of childlike fun and impeccable service?

Be Our Guest works a little something like this: Book a reservation through the My Disney Experience app for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or all three if you’re feeling particularly flush and would like to dine in all three different diningrooms.)  If your mealtime falls at the very start of the dining day, the staff will come outside and applaud as you enter the restaurant through the gigantic, lion-guarded wooden doors of the Beast’s castle.  “I think they’re applauding our breakfast!” I said to my husband, with no small measure of delight.

Be Our Guest Main Ballroom

Inside you’ll be handed a menu and directed to a cashier to place your order.  After you’ve paid and tapped your MagicBand (or paid by tapping your MagicBand) you’ll be directed to sit anywhere you’d like, either the main ballroom, modeled after the ballroom where the Beast and Belle have their grand dance, the library, where statues of the main characters greet your arrival, or the West Wing, where we dined, because it’s awesome.  Dark, intimate and atmospheric, the West Wing is where the Enchanted Rose lives, in a little alcove framed in tattered tapestries.

Enchanted Rose

When a petal would fall – and they did – thunder would rumble and lightning would streak across the darkened room.  So dark, in fact, I couldn’t take any good photos of our breakfast once it arrived, although there was no shortage of other fantastic things to look at while we dined.

Beast Portrait

And when our breakfast arrived, after 10 minutes of letting our eyes adjust to the darkness of the nearly abandoned West Wing, it appeared as though by magic, born on a glass covered, wheeled cart by a smartly dressed steward.  Ooh, and everything looked so fantastic, couldn’t wait to tuck into the little plate of mini breakfast pastries they dropped off and…but hey, wait, how *did* they know where we were sitting anyways?  We were tucked away in a dark little room in a restaurant that seats hundreds with no flag or other table identifier.  So how did our breakfast magically find us?!

The answer, of course, is another miracle to lay at the feet of those MagicBands, your one-stop tracking tech.  Basically, we were low-jacked from the moment we tapped our Bands to enter the restaurant.  That gave them our names and our location, so when our food was zipped straight from the kitchen and directly into the West Wing, the server not only knew where our unmarked table was, but also that we were Sandra and Mr. Finger Candy.  This actually happened a few times across the park, most notably on It’s a Small World where one of the end-of-ride signs bid adieu specifically to my husband – notable in that we did not scan our Bands on It’s a Small World, so how did they know to say goodbye to my husband on that particular boat?  This is where Mr. Finger Candy points out that the newest generation of MagicBand has a range of 40 feet.  The technology behind all this is scary impressive (also kind of scary.)

And how was the food itself?  Great!  Delicious, actually.  I had heard that Be Our Guest was a lot like Planet Hollywood – you go there and get a pool-sized, overpriced drink, maybe a gigantic, pool-sized dessert or an appetizer, but the food is not why you’re there; it’s so you can poke around and gawk at all the fun memorabilia that lines the walls and hangs from the ceiling.  But our breakfasts were yummy – something bechamel and cheese sauce-covered for my husband (Croque Madam Without the Ham, as we called it, because Mr. Finger Candy is a vegetarian) and a two-egg, hash brown and all-meat platter for yours truly.  Maybe it was the sustenance deficit from the day before, or perhaps it was the heat stroke (I got a terrible, terrible burn on my chest the day previous) but our breakfast at Be Our Guest was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten.  It was just a really special dining experience (made all the cooler by the cute couple beside us who were also there celebrating their (first) anniversary, the male half of whom was Disneybounding as Ruffio from Hook.  They sort of treated us like the elder statesmen of Halloween weddings; it was really charming.)

Pizza Collage

The third and final evening we were there we had pizza delivered to our room, because sometimes when you’ve been on your feet for 32 out of the last 36 hours, those feet just. stop. working.  I couldn’t have dragged myself anywhere.  Growing up, room service was something my family never, ever did.  As such, my adult adventures in room service dining always feel vaguely illicit, like I’m really getting away with something by eating pizza in the middle of my bed while Hocus Pocus plays on an endless loop on the TV.  Actually, I guess that really is getting away with something, at least something very fun.

I hope you enjoyed some of these tasty Disney morsels.  I know I certainly did!  And please join me next time as I finally discuss the the whole point of a theme park vacation, the rides!

Fall Fun Series II: Crazy for Cranberry

Cranberry Collage

Yeah, sometimes the ol’ Alliteration Generator just completely goes on the fritz and starts spitting out the laziest, most common words it can find.  Cranberry Craze?  Sounds like a flavour of Mountain Dew.  Crazed for Cranberry?  Sounds a bit like a mental health concern.  So basically there’s no unique, alliterative way of expressing my love of cranberry except to say I’m – sigh – crazy for it.

Except…am I?  I mean, I like Bath & Body Works’ Frosted Cranberry scent as much as the next person during the holidays, but otherwise, it’s not really my jam.  For that, I actually prefer lingonberry sauce or my mom’s spiced red currant jelly – excellent on all manner of roast beast. 😉 But cranberry scents?  Eh, I guess, for the Fall and Winter months, if you insist.  It’s not a scent I ever gravitate towards outside of the festive season, and even then, not so much.

Which is, I suppose, why I still possess this nearly two-year-old old bag of Cranberry Marmalade-scented Mini Melters from Rosegirls.  Also because – hoo doggy!- she’s STRONG.  Deeply spiced and a whole lot astringent, this cranberry is here to party.  Spice-haters and those with sensitive sniffers need not apply (this includes me; this wax makes my nose itch and tickle quite fiercely.)

But I thought I could turn this scent into something a little more palatable through the judicious use of more Mini Melters, and so that’s precisely what I did, whipping up two yummy blends – one bakery, one fruity-sweet – that let this nice, but bit-too-much, seasonal scent really shine (also, why all the ice and snowflake imagery in this, the Fall Fun Series?  Because late Fall in Canada actually means early Winter; we’ve already had a couple of didn’t-stick snowfalls and many, many mornings of frost.)

Cranberry Vanilla Bean Smoothie Collage

The addition of Rosegirls’ Vanilla Bean Noel and Marshmallow Smoothie scents proved to be the perfect bakery foil for Cranberry Marmalade’s dark spice notes, combining to create a creamy-dreamy, caramel-topped treat studded with tart, lightly spiced dried cranberries.  I basically made a scone without the scone part!  And it’s scrumptious; Vanilla Bean Noel is fast becoming a blending favourite.

Spiced Cran-Apple Punch Collage

As seasonal ciders and punches are my favourite things to see on a holiday party table, I thought it would be nice to create a spiced punch sort of scent.  Except actual punch (or Koolaid) scents and I are no bueno; they provoke headaches and sneezing fits in both my husband and I.  And so I both tempered AND sweetened-up the Cranberry Marmalade scent with a tiny touch of Cotton Candy Frosting, before adding a rather inspired dash of Apple Clove Butter.  I feared the addition of the Apple Clove Butter might push this scent blend into total spice overload, but my worries turned out to be unfounded – Apple Clove Butter is subtly, subtly spiced, with none of the sharpness of Cranberry Marmalade and all of the smoothness of actual apple butter.  It’s a lovely, juicy scent, and paired beautifully with the other two fragrances, creating something that really did smell like a gently wafting crock pot of some festively fruity concoction.  Yum!