Friday, June 28, 2013

Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival Review 2013 ...

On our way home from SC my husband begged me to stop at Busch Gardens,VA for the Festival. It was their first one ever that BG had. We were there the second to last weekend it was open. Compared to SC humidity the weather was a dream in low 80's! We didn't pre-pay for tickets so just bought them at an electronic kiosk at entrance of park.It was SO easy! I had our tickets in less than one minute. I don't understand why other people were standing in a HUGE line to buy tickets from a person? Hubby forgot something in the car so he went back to get it while I looked at the map & took pictures. A friendly "Team Member" came over to explain to me their awesome new app on the iphone. It has a feature on it where it knows the EXACT GPS of your car in their parking lot! We used it & thought it was really cool. It also showed footsteps inside park showing you how to get to certain attractions. The Hershey park App SUCKS so this was a huge exciting thing to see!The tram was WAY smaller than the WDW ones. The " Team Member" was very helpful & friendly with explaining everything though!

We then went into the Food & Wine tent. My husband wanted to sign us up for the Wine Boat Cruise. I will write a separate review with pictures on that as well. He then purchased a wristband for any & all purchases inside the park. They put a $50 minimum on your card but you can spend any amount all day. We checked at the end of the day on how much our balance was & it came to $150. Not bad for all the drinks & food we had!

Our first stop was Italy! I saw Salted Caramel Gelato stand so decided to get that along w/ some free ice water. My hubby got us a cheese plate from the F&W Kiosk along w/ some wine in Italy. We sat in a nice cool shaded area for a bit to relax. The only other time I've had gelato was at Tony's in MK. This gelato at BG was far superior! The cheese plate was great! We were fighting over everything. The strawberry compote was amazing. It was $12 for the cheese plate & $7.99 for his wine. My gelato was around $4.50

The first items in the booklet that I saw that I had to have was at the Canada kiosk. It was a hot day but I still wanted to taste the soup. It was VERY good & I could've eaten a huge bowl of it! I didn't really care for the brulee. I didn't think the maple crunch went with the pumpkin personally. The Pear beer was the best beer I've ever had!

We then decided to share a flight of beer in Germany. They had two different ones to choose from. I really liked 2 of the beers but the other 2 were just too bitter for my taste. I love a lager personally. You do get HUGE portions compared to WDW for a flight.We ate at the Germany "show" for lunch. They only have a traditional German show at dinner. The lunch show was more aimed towards children with the Grimm's fairy Tales characters. They did cover songs like "Material Girl" & other Madonna & Michael Jackson songs & Cyndi Lauper.... They had acrobats & some people dangling on ropes. Nothing as great as the Lion King Show at DAK though. NEEDS to be updated for sure. It was VERY dark when we were taking our seats. My hubby bumped his knee into a bench & when we were leaving his leg was covered in blood. We went to First aid & they were very sweet & helpful.
You sit in Picnic benches just like Biergarten but not as nice.Think Cafeteria Style. There is a pizza line,sub line & traditional German line. Although I got the Traditional Sampler which included ribs,chicken,brats, & german potatoes. We both shared a HUGE pickle which was amazing! If was way too dark to take any pictures though. :( When we were in line they had these cast iron kinda shelves on the line. When a team member was putting up some more samplers for guests to take the WHOLE cast iron shelf FELL less than 1 inch from my feet! I was wearing sandals & if I wasn't quick enough I would've been SERIOUSLY injured!  A manager immediately came over to see if we were okay. My tray fell when this happened along with my husbands. He had to go back in line to get us another pickle & our carrot cake. The guests in line were nice & let him get the new things we needed. The manager quickly picked up the mess on the floor & apologized. We were not offered any coupons or free lunch. I think if that happened at Disney we would've had a free lunch! Our lunch was $45 for the both of us.

I made him do it :) 

Cake in line at German Show Buffet

 My favorite kiosk from the festival was the crepes! We shared a hazlenut & banana crepe. I've had a crepe at Epcot before & it was NOT good. We were fighting over this one! I wish I had my own. They made all of them fresh to order & brought them out to you. 

Marsh liked the cherry wine he sampled. He gave me a taste but I found it way too tart & terrible. HA I hate wine though.... We went to the Irish Dance show & it was wonderful! I highly recommend you go see it. The singing & Dancing was excellent & up to Disney Standards. They allowed no photography so I didn't get any pictures. :(
My husband LOST his hat in the water at the log flume ride & was quite upset for a few hours LOL We filled out a report @ Lost & Found. She said they only clean out that water once a week..... We haven't heard from them yet but I did go ahead & buy him the same exact hat last night online as a surprise. :) He NEVER reads my blog so I am safe posting it :) I was mean & took a picture of his hat in the water .:) He even bought our picture on the Log Flume to see if his hat was on his head in the picture. Did you you know it is only $5 for a ride picture at BG?!
They had a knock off Soarin ride that we went on. It does not lift you it is just in a theatre & was kinda weak.....
All in all the "team members" all day were very helpful & friendly. It surprised me because at Universal & Hershey Park it is quite the opposite. I say give this park a shot! The scenery is very woodsy & pretty too!
(My husband did drink a lot more than showed but that would be too many pics to post ;))

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Cherry wine

His poor hat....... LOL ;)
Fake Soarin 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Best 5 Disney Snacks Under $5...

These are my picks for best snacks under $5 at Disney.

#1 Carrot Cake Cookie $3.99

You can only get this delightful treat at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Writer's Stop or the Candy Store near Tower of Terror. I couldn't find the name of the store online. This was by far our FAVORITE snack we had the entire trip. We will get another for sure. I heard recently they started adding these to the Dessert parties Disney offers.....

#2 Milk Chocolate Salted Caramel $3.99

You can find this amazing piece of candy at Karamell-Kuche in Germany at Epcot. The aroma in this store is pure bliss! There is always a line here & now I know why! My last trip I had a regular caramel & wasn't impressed so this time I tried the salted chocolate one & it was heavenly. My husband & I were fighting over it. I was shocked because he rarely loves sweets. You can easily get 5 bites out of this huge piece of candy. I might get my own next time...... ;)

#3 Apple Crisp $3.79

We ate here last trip with some friends who were on the Disney Dining Plan. One of them didn't want the dessert so gave it to my husband as he's a huge fan of apple crisps. He said it was one of the best ones he's ever had. Sadly I forgot to take a picture so had to borrow someone else's. You can find these in Magic Kingdom at Columbia Harbor House which is in between Fantasyland & Frontierland.

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#4 Onion Rings $ 3.79 

These are on my to do list for next trip. Who doesn't love a good helping of crispy wonderful onion rings?! I have not heard one bad thing about these bad boys. You can find them at Animal Kingdom at Flaming Tree BBQ. 

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#5 Corn Dog Nuggets $4.49 

I'm a big corn dog fan so these are definitely on my list too! You can find these in the Magic Kingdom at Casey's Corner. I am dying to try! Looking at this picture makes my mouth water! 

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Blue Sky Engineering: Attractions that Never Were Lego Sets by Jeff

Jeff won ALL of these medals on his last Disney Cruise for winning the Disney Trivia Contests!!! Go Jeff!!!!

My dear friend Jeff will write for my blog from time to time. It is his dream to be an Imagineer someday. This is what Jeff came up with today!!!

While looking for Disney-themed Lego sets, I noticed that there are very few licensed ones out there.  There have been a couple Pixar-related items.
Toy Story:

A discontinued Mickey line:

Some of the larger Duplo line includes some Disney princess-themed sets:

The latest are part of the release of the Lone Ranger film.

A brilliantly themed Lincoln Logs version of the Wilderness Lodge:
This is probably a better construction toy than are Lego bricks for this particular rendering.  It's more "in character."

The "My Own Creation" crowd have made reproductions of various Disney theme park attractions.
it's a small world:
Sleeping Beauty Castle, Main Street and Splash Mountain:
Disneyland's New Orleans Square, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean:
WDW's Haunted Mansion done in "micro" style by using a minimum number of bricks (I often find these more impressive than the ones using thousands of bricks):

But, there's an even greater possibility than re-creating existing attractions.  One could have Lego renderings of attractions that were planned but never built.  There's a handy website detailing many of them.
The never-built section includes some ideas that never got very far.  Others have enough to put together a model:
Edison Square:
The Western River Expedition:
My personal favorite never-built is the futuristic castle:

The "Never-Built" Lego set series could be very long.  Disney routinely designs, redesigns, scraps, resurrects and reimagines attractions, rides, resorts and even entire areas.
Another line could be all the extinct attractions as featured here:

I have no knowledge as to why there is such a limited number of licensed, co-branded Disney/Lego items.  The Lego Imagination Center sits inside the Downtown Disney area and was even expanded relatively recently.
So, why not offer more sets?  Even an idea book with instructions to make a few theme-park items from standard parts could allow park visitors to re-create some magic upon their return home.

ºoº Jeff C. ºoº

Friday, June 21, 2013

Top 5 Ice Cream Options ( In My opinion :) )

Photo courtesy of 

All of these are totally my opinion. :) It is a nice warm day today so I thought I'd talk about some of my favorites & some new things I'd love to try!

#1- StoryBook Treats Chocolate Fudge Sundae at Magic Kingdom $4.29-$4.99

They have a few different sundaes to pick from. I love soft serve sundaes myself. I always get the chocolate sundae with hot fudge EVERY trip! I always make time for this one! I am a huge chocoholic. The hot fudge is SOOOOOOOOO good! If you love chocolate you will love this place. They have a brownie sundae & Strawberry shortcake sundaes as well. I discovered this place when it used to be called Mrs. Potts when I worked in Fantasyland & it has been my favorite ever since.

#2 Ghirardelli Gold Rush Sundae at Downtown Disney $8.95

 I normally go for the banana split here but decided to change it up last trip & was SO glad I did! This sundae is great for any peanut butter fudge lover! Monika & I were both a fan of this sundae. I will go back to this one for sure! You order your sundae at the register & then they give you a number & they bring it out to you.

#3 Plaza Restaurant Banana Split at Magic Kingdom $7.99

I am a huge banana split fan & try to sample them if I can everywhere & anywhere. :) This sundae blows the Ghirardelli one out of the water! I'm hoping to get one on my next trip. I haven't had one in awhile but the awesomeness of the sundae is imprinted in my memory & I hope it still lives up to what it once was!

Photo courtesy of

#4 Aloha Isle Dole whip at Magic Kingdom $3.49

I know most people are obsessed with these babies but I'm more of a chocolate person. I do love these don't get me wrong!!! When we were on our honeymoon in Hawaii we went to the Dole Plantation & I was so excited to find a dole whip! :) If you aren't much of a chocolate fan you will absolutely love these! They also have a citrus swirl which I'm dying to try next trip.

Monika & I enjoying our Dole Whips.

#5 La Glace France Ice Cream at Epcot $3.99 and up

As soon as I saw this on the Disney Blog I knew it would go on my next to try list. I am VERY interested in the Salted Caramel version at this shop. You can get assorted liquors on our ice cream if that is your thing but it will cost more. Has anyone tried it yet? Opinion please?! :) 

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What is your favorite ice cream at WDW?? 

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Brown Derby Review...

I have posted a previous review on the Brown Derby but the menu has changed since then. If you are interested in reading my old review which also talks about the other Brown Derby in Albany,NY then click this link:

This was my second time dining here & my hubby's first. This is a very nice signature restaurant. I have always had the best service & food here. It is quite pricey but I think the food is worth it. My favorite alcohol drink is served here & I always get two. :) The waitress was nice enough to write down the drink recipe for me. To try & recreate Peach Tree Punch click here: ( I made them on NYE & they were SO good!)

On my first trip to BD Monika found out her ONE glass of wine was $18! Knowing that my hubby is a huge wine person I let him know of that before he ordered. BD has an extensive wine menu. He ended up finding a half bottle of wine a little more than $17. I cannot remember the exact price. He really enjoyed the wine & said it was worth it. I believe he got 3 glasses out of the bottle. 

Large Wine/Drink Menu

We both decided to try the potato leek soup as our appetizer. It was VERY creamy & wonderful. It was even better than the soup at Rose & Crown which I like a lot. We both ordered the filet mignon with corn risotto. It was truly superb. I have had a filet mignon here both times & both were high grade quality. We were too full for dessert. Now that I think about it I have never had dessert here?! I'm not a grapefruit fan & they are famous for the grapefruit cake but you can get it at Starring Rolls in DHS now. My friends were at WDW same week as us & shared some of their pictures with me so I will post their dessert pics & they loved everything they ate as well. Since I have been here two times in a row I might try a new place next time but I will eventually be back! If you're looking for a good drink & steak this is your place. I dined here both times at lunch time as soon as they opened so it was peaceful & quiet.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Our Trip To South Carolina....

Bridge in Charleston

We drove down to SC from WV last Friday for a week. We stayed in Edisto Island,SC which is one hour away from Charleston,SC & only 10 minutes away from Botany Bay, SC. We had the BEST BBQ & food of our lives. I gained 6 lbs alone! The banana puddin is to die for down there & the crab OMG! HAHA I'm drooling just thinking about it. I took all of these pictures myself. I highly recommend that everyone go to Charleston & Botany Bay at least once in their lives. The humidity was a KILLER for us. The day we went to Magnolia Plantation it was 104 with Humidity & the mosquitos are HUGE down there! We relaxed on Edisto Beach for a few days & toured Charleston a few days walking around downtown & looking at the historic houses, Fort Sumter, & hung out w/ some friends we have down there as well. In Edisto we went to the Reptile Zoo & State Park & just relaxed. Edisto Beach is the best place to go to relax. There are NO fast food places & it isn't built up at all. We will go back for sure! If anyone has any questions about the area or the pictures please ask away! Our friends made us all homemade items from their farm/garden ranging from pork,potatoes,green beans,& sweet corn( I had 2 because they were SO good)! Can you start to see why I gained 6 lbs? Hopefully it is just water weight & will come off quickly :) I found a hidden Mickey on the steps up to Fort Sumter & I showed my hubby & he shook his head & said "Only you would see that" All in all we had a great trip. On the way home we went to the Food & Wine Festival at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg,VA. I will share my review & pics on that this week!

What are your Summer plans this year???
Hidden Mickey at Fort Sumter :) 

Home Team BBQ Grits,Mac n cheese, & pulled Pork Cornbread too!

Historic Charleston
Gator we saw in pond at Magnolia Plantation 
Botany Bay,SC 
Magnolia Plantation 
This is my favorite picture I took :) 
Our friend's backyard!

Homemade Peach Ice cream in Edisto Island,SC It was SOOOOO good!

Botany Bay,SC


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