Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival ~ Bacon Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

There were plenty of great choices at the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival. A favorite with many (since it seemed to sell out fast) was the Bacon Macaroni and Cheese from the Bacon Twist Kiosk. And why not? As everyone knows, bacon makes everything better.
This tasty offering was a basic macaroni and cheese, topped with crispy smoky bacon pieces and crunchy onions. Simple. Why didn't I think of this before?
So when I got home I decided to duplicate this dish. I started out with a decent quality box mix (I used the Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese with Bacon. Never hurts to have more bacon, in my opinion) If you wanted to really be fancy you could make macaroni and cheese from scratch. Then you simply top it off with bacon pieces you've fried up and French Fried onions. Don't mix it in,. you want to keep the crunch factor.
As you can see it couldn't be easier, but it's a nice way to elevate macaroni and cheese from standard to craveable. I'll have this again.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Disneyland ~ Beauty and the Beast ~ Red Rose Taverne

Disneyland has transformed Pinocchio's Village Haus quick service restaurant into the Red Rose Taverne, to celebrate Beauty and the Beast. There's no word on how long this overlay will stay in place, but I wouldn't be surprised if this cutely themed change stuck around for awhile.

For the most part, this is the same restaurant with a Beauty and the Beast flair added. Were there already this many teas sets strewn about? Not sure, but this restaurant has always had a lot of nick knack  type items to look at, and that remains.
There are pretty rose stained glass windows inside and well done wall murals. Attached to the end of the restaurant is a gift shop chock full of Beauty and The Beast items.
Of course, there's new food offerings as well, the most interesting of which is the Beef Poutine, which is essentially meat and gravy over waffle fries.

The meal choices are fine, but let's face it, the real star is the introduction of the famed Grey Stuff to Disneyland for the first time. Previously only available at Walt Disney World in the Be Our Guest restaurant, this fan favorite is a big hit at its new home. Frankly I think it's better at Disneyland, since you get more of the mousse substance. At Walt Disney World the mousse was served on a rather hard brownie. Here there's a crisp cookie on the bottom and a raspberry center. Yummy.
Another new dessert is the Lemon Rose cake. This is mousse like with a gelatin jiggle, and fine, but doesn't have tons of flavor.
This is also the place folks were buying the Rose cup. It was sold out the entire time I was there. With all things Disney, there was a mad rush to own it. It didn't really appeal to me just being a plastic tumbler with a rose stuck in the middle, so it wasn't something I was in search of.

This is a fun edition to Fantasyland, and certainly worth a visit if only for the Grey Stuff.

Do you want to know how to make the Grey Stuff at home? I duplicated the Walt Disney World version here.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Pirates & Pals Fireworks Voyage ~ Walt Disney World

If you're looking for an extra special event to highlight your Walt Disney World vacation, you'll find there are many choices. One of the favorites is the Pirates & Pals Fireworks Voyage.
This is not simply viewing the fireworks on a boat in Bay Lake, but a Pirate party with plenty of snacks, a dance party, character encounters, and surprises.

The festivities begin at the Contemporary resort. You'll check in, have time to pose like a pirate and enjoy some activities with the kids. Then the pirate crew appears and invites you to the party!

And a party it is. Any good party has a yummy cake, and that is the case here.

 You can also choose bagged snacks like popcorn, apples and the like (bring a bag to stock up on a few extras), and help yourselves to chips and salsa. Of course there's plenty of drinks to choose from as well. Go easy, since there's no restrooms on the boat.
Beware the kid favorite snacks at easy reach of the littles, such as cotton candy and huge pirate chest of chocolate gold doubloons.
Don't be so overwhelmed by all the treats on the festively decorated table in the middle of the room that you miss these gems in a small freezer along a wall.

This is a freewheeling party with plenty of dancing and room for active children to burn off their new sugar highs. Captain Hook and Smee are on hand for interaction and photo opportunities.
The real star of the party is when your Pirate host begins to round you all up for the main event. Much like the Jungle Cruise ride, your fun factor is determined by your Pirate host. We had 'Patch', who was wonderful with kids and adults alike.
You are gathered up, reminded several times that there are no restrooms on the boat and off you go on a parade to the dock, where you have have yet one more chance at a restroom since there are "no restrooms on the boat!"
You board your boat, not a pirate ship at all, but the usual Disney boat shuttle transport, Smee wishes you well, and off you go. From now on it's all about how your Pirate host relates to the group. This is a lot of fun as there's jokes and singing and maybe even a dance. There's trivia and sword play.
The fireworks are fun to watch, and the music is piped into the boat. You have a nice overview of the show, but it's not the in your face experience you'd get in the park.
Then it's back to the dock with little surprises for the kids.
Is that it? No! Peter Pan himself greets you at the dock waving his lantern to welcome you back.
You are then treated to some Pan time, and he isn't stingy with the interactions. He played with the kids, adopted myself and my daughter as his mother, posed and signed autographs, all with the Photo Pass person snapping away.
The experience at the time of writing was $72 per adult and $43 per child, before tax.
This was well worth it and very memorable. Give it a try.