JenSop: The Singing Travel Pro!

Idealist. Dreamer. Singer. Explorer.

My Favorite Things!! – Disney edition!

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Well, I know a lot of my Disney posts lately have been from the “giving information” standpoint.  I’ve given some of my opinions, but I’ve also mostly tried to write from the perspectives of various types of travelers and guests – not just me.

But tonight I thought I’d weigh in a bit as to what MY favorite things are at Disney World.  Just me.  An adult who goes to Disney, without kids.  Although some could say that there’s a lot about me that would qualify me as a big kid anyway.  What can I say, I LOVE Disney and every time I go, there are just certain favorite things I want to do, see, or eat and drink.

This is my list:

DRINKS:

This may sound like a crazy place to start, but I really enjoy drinking at Disney.  Yes, I’m talking adult beverages.  And there are so many yummy wonderful options.  (And Disney provides your transportation, so you don’t have to worry about who will be designated driver.)

Let’s start in Epcot’s World Showcase.  Every country has a restaurant, and they almost all have bars.  Bars with yummy drinks.  I’ve got two fave destinations now in that category:

*First, the wine kiosk in the France pavilion for my Grand Marnier slushie.  (It’s located right near the water’s edge.)  I must have at least one Grand Marnier slushie on each trip.  (They also have Grey Goose vodka slushies, but I prefer the Grand Marnier ones.)  You can stroll around World Showcase while drinking, or time it so that you can watch the acrobat show right there in France.

*Second, the tequila bar in the Mexico pavilion.  They not only have great tequila (and I’m not usually a tequila fan), but the margaritas are awesome.  (If you don’t want to stop at the bar inside, there’s a margarita stand outside of the pavilion if you want to keep moving while drinking.  But I recommend going inside!)  On my most recent trip, I tried a Horchata, which I had only ever heard of before in that Vampire Weekend song.  It was really good.  It kind of reminded me of chai tea – hints of vanilla and cinnamon and other spices.  A new favorite was born!

*If you go to the Polynesian Resort, you can stop at the bar and have a Lapu Lapu.  (You can also get them as a drink when you’re eating at the restaurants in the Polynesian resort as well.)  This tasty concoction is served in a whole pineapple and is super strong.  Prepare to feel your drink after just the one.  Drink two, and you just might have to stumble your way to the monorail.

As to other recommended bars that I really like?  The one at Sanaa in Kidani Village resort is really nice.  I also LOVE California Grill, which is perched atop the Contemporary Resort – there’s a nice bar and lounge area in the middle of the restaurant.  Enjoy the spectacular view, while having a drink and munching on an appetizer.

FOOD:

Part of the fun of Disney for me is going out for some awesome meals.  I have my own favorite restaurants that I like to visit as much as I can.  But I can’t do all my faves on every trip (there’s just too many.)

*Top of the list is Sanaa in the Kidani Village part of Animal Kingdom resort.  (Kidani Village is the 2nd building, next to the original Jambo House.)  I CAN say that I have been to this restaurant on every one of my trips ever since it first opened.  (Sometimes more than once in a trip.)   The food is a mix of Indian and African fusion dishes, with their shrimp offerings being some of my favorites.  The bread service for the appetizer is to-die-for (GET IT), and my favorite dessert is the chai cream.  (It tastes like chai tea latte in a mousse form.)  Love it, love it, love it.  Add to that, the restaurant’s beautiful whimsical decor and the view of the savannah and all its animals right there for your viewing pleasure.  This is my favorite restaurant at Disney.  Period.

*Next is Le Cellier in Canada in Epcot.  (French pronunciation: Sell-YAY).  Amazing steakhouse.  So seriously good.  The filet is delicious.  Also the pretzel bread and the beer cheese soup. Eat it – eat it all!   (This restaurant is now TWO credits on the dining plan, so plan accordingly.)  Also, it’s REALLY hard to get reservations here.  This is one of the restaurants that you want to reserve six months out. Yes, you read that right.

*I’m a big fan of the Cape May Cafe for dinner.  (Located at the Beach Club resort.)  No, it’s nothing fancy or anything – it’s a buffet.  But, it’s all you can eat seafood!  Crab legs!  Shrimp!  (Lots of non-seafood stuff too, though.)  Eat your unlimited crab legs while sipping on a delicious mojito.

*For an amazing ambiance to go with your dining experience, go to San Angel Inn, inside Mexico in Epcot.  No matter the time of day, you are dining in a Mexican village at twilight, next to a river, with a temple and volcano in the distance.  The food isn’t spectacular, but it’s decent.  This restaurant is all about the ambiance, period.

*And best counter service restaurants?  (Basically, “fast-food” style, but that’s where the comparison ends.  It is NOT typical fast food.)  Columbia Harbour House in Magic Kingdom – really good food and never crowded.  Tangeriene Cafe in Morocco in Epcot –  the lamb and chicken shawarma platter is excellent.  (Don’t forget the baklava!)  And Yak and Yeti in Animal Kingdom – the honey chicken is really yummy.

*For the best use of a snack credit, go get a Dole Whip Float in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom.  Pineapple soft serve in pineapple juice.  So good.  Heaven.

RIDES and EVENTS:

Well you know I couldn’t skip one of the most important things!  I freakin’ LOVE rides!  And the rides at Disney are the best ever.  Why?  Because they all have a storyline, sets, characters… it’s immersive theatre in ride form.

Fave rides and experiences….

Magic Kingdom:

Pirates of the Caribbean (boat ride that inspired the movies!)

Haunted Mansion (light-hearted “scary” fun!)

Space Mountain (mild roller coaster in the dark)

Splash Mountain (super long log flume ride based on “Song of the South”)

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (wild west themed mild roller coaster – “The wildest ride in the wilderness!!!!”)

Wishes Fireworks – fireworks over the castle complete with musical score!

Main Street Electrical Light Parade – the best classic parade ever!  EVER!

Epcot:

Soarin’ (feel like you’re hang-gliding over the landscapes of California)

Test Track (design your own car and then put it through the full ringer of tests)

Illuminations – fireworks, water, explosions, music, awesomeness!

Animal Kingdom:

Expedition Everest (take a train ride up Mt. Everest looking for the Yeti – full out roller coaster in and around the mountain)

Kilamanjaro Safari (see all the real animals of the safari!)

Dinosaur (take a bumpy ride back in time in search of your dinosaur target)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

Tower of Terror (take a ride in a “service elevator” in a haunted hotel)

Rockin’ Roller Coaster (full on roller coaster, in the dark, with loops, while listening to Aerosmith)

Star Tours (visit the many planets and worlds of the Star Wars franchise – ride it more than once – no ride is ever the same)

Toy Story Mania (test your aim and see who gets the highest score!)

Those are the biggies, but other important things can’t truly be described, they have to be experienced.  Stop and take in every detail.  Look around corners for the special touches.  Listen to the sounds around you.  Seek out the hidden Mickeys.

As someone who’s been going to Disney her whole life, there are certain things that are more than special.  The nostalgia I feel every time I go brings out the little girl in me – the one who never grew up, and who will always believe in magic and fairy tales.  She’s still here.  When I walk into the Magic Kingdom and see the castle at the end of Main Street… I hear the music… I smell the smells… wow… it makes me smile and takes my breath away every time.

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Author: JenSop

One of my favorite quotes is, "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." I guess I've been a dreamer all my life - I set my sights high and then I try to reach the sky. Some might call me a naive idealist, but that's just the way I am. I believe in always taking the high road, I believe in true love, and I believe in treating people the way you want to be treated. If you put good out into the world, good will come back to you! Being the dreamer that I am, I pursued singing as my primary life's calling - I've got two degrees in classical voice under my belt, and I sing just about anything under the sun. I also love a good adventure. Over the past few years, I've done quite a bit of world traveling, and have even lived abroad for stretches at a time: mostly in Vienna (Austria) and Croatia. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and I became a travel agent who specializes in Disney vacations. (Seriously, I KNOW Disney - I've been going regularly since I was a little girl - and I LOVE it!) And with all my experience traveling and living in Europe, I'm becoming quite the specialist in that travel category as well. (And this year, I've started working as a Tour Director in Central Europe!) As to the other juicy details of my life - I'm originally from Pennsylvania, I'm engaged to an awesome Croatian man named Miloš who is the BEST adventure partner a girl could ask for. (He's also an expert on knowing how to make me smile.) He's truly the love of my life! I've also had all kinds of other jobs along the way, besides singer and travel pro. (Which is pretty standard for those of us who went to school for music.) I've worked part time weekends as a Disney Princess look-alike for children's parties. I've been teaching for almost 20 years, and have lots of experience in retail and customer service. Oh, and I should also probably mention that I'm a huge Lord of the Rings/Star Trek nerd! :-) Let's all go along for an adventure, shall we?

4 thoughts on “My Favorite Things!! – Disney edition!

  1. What about BOMA at the Animal Kingdom Lodge? Is that no longer there??? It was such a great buffet….has it changed?

  2. Thanks & thanks for all the great tips!!

  3. Pingback: Disney: All you need to know! | JenSop: The Singing Travel Agent!

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