• 31May

    Our chefs at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa , in Hawai‘i are always creating delicious island-inspired dishes. Always a menu favorite, poke, which means “cut piece” or “small piece” in Hawaiian, is the perfect seafood starter to share. To bring a bit of the Hawaiian Islands into your kitchen, check out the fun video and full recipe below for Tuna Poke with Avocado Mousse! Tuna Poke with Avocado Mousse Serves 6 as an appetizer TUNA POKE 1 cup soy sauce 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger 2 tablespoons sesame oil 2 tablespoons yuzu juice Juice of 1 lime 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, plus additional for garnish 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 1 teaspoon wasabi powder 1/8 teaspoon sugar 2 pounds fresh sushi-grade tuna, cubed Freshly ground black pepper to taste AVOCADO MOUSSE 2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded 2 tablespoons heavy cream Lime juice Salt, to taste White pepper, to taste Garnish Rice chips FOR TUNA POKE: 1.

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    Recipe: Tuna Poke with Avocado Mousse at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

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  • 11Feb

    Epcot is a brilliant backdrop for millions of blossoms, classic topiaries, celebrities and live entertainment at the annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival from March 6-May 19. But for some of us, the all-new food and drink offerings are the stars of the spring show. “What a natural progression (it is) to go from the garden to the table,” said Michael Jenner, Epcot Park Event Content Development Manager. “That progression is showcased with raised garden beds around the marketplaces that will be growing some of the produce and herbs in the dishes,” says Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann.

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    From Garden to Table at 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World Resort

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  • 04May

    No doubt about it – there are a lot of t’s to cross and i’s to dot when planning a Walt Disney World vacation with kids. But, the process doesn’t have to leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed at times. Here’s a plan that takes you through the process from start to finish. Up to a Year in Advance Disney Travel Guide . Consider purchasing a Disney travel guide.

    Go here to read the rest: Walt Disney World with Kids: Trip Planning Timeline

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  • 04May

    We love Top 10 lists. And ours change on a whim, especially when it comes to Disney dining. A delicious dish goes on the menu.

    Read the rest here: Top 10 DisneyWorld Dining Locations for Spring 2010

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  • 04May

    Citricos, one of  Disney World’s signature restaurants, specializes in a fusion of Mediterranean and French cooking with a Floridian touch. Think braised short ribs with creamy polenta in a blood orange demi-glace or a a cheese trio that includes a fresh lemon ricotta from Central  Florida.  The food is inventive, but accessible, so even picky eaters are sure to find something on the menu.   Recently, we’ve heard a lot of good reviews about Citricos, so my husband and I decided to go there for our anniversary.  Citricos, which means citrus in Spanish,  located on the second floor of the Grand Floridian. We arrived a few minutes before our reservation, which was at 6:00, and were seating within a few minutes.  Keep in mind this was during a slower time of the year; if you’re going during a busier season, consider showing up earlier than we did.  The dining room is large but warm, decorated with shades of brown, yellow and cream and accented in bright blue. You may recognize some similarities to the décor of the California Grill and Flying Fish, as they were both designed by the same designer.   In keeping with the Mediterranean theme, there are wrought iron accents and mosaic tile floors.  It’s very pretty room with comfortable chairs, a view into the kitchen, and large windows that overlook one of the resort’s pools.    I’m picky about bread and I’ve had some pretty sad excuses for bread in restaurants.  In fact, I feel like good bread can really set the feeling for the entire meal.  Fortunately, this bread was really good.  We were served two types:   An kalamata olive bread and a multigrain bread.  It came with a dish of butter covered in sea salt which gave the butter a nice flavor a bit of crunch.  I could have easily made a meal out of the bread alone, it was that good.

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    Citricos: Hit and Miss at The Grand Floridian.

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  • 14Apr

    “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.” – Walt Disney Growing up, I was the kid who enjoyed school. I even grew up to be a high school math teacher. Timed multiplication worksheets and memorizing state capitals didn’t bother me but it did seem meaningless to some of my classmates – they just didn’t see the point. And, looking back, I can’t say I blame them. After all, it’s hard to see how knowing Montpelier is the capital of Vermont will help you write software code for the coolest real-time game engine or design the next skyscraper. That first year teaching I had trouble understanding why sixteen year olds didn’t find factoring to solve an algebraic equation or effectively using the Pythagorean Theorem as satisfying or interesting as I did; maybe because I was trying to educate my students more than entertain them. After all, you can make sines and cosines only so interesting but I certainly was more successful as I brought more hands-on, dare I say fun math activities into my classroom. Walt was on to something. As a teacher, I also had to contend with the coolness factor. Unfortunately, not all aspects of pop culture celebrate learning or excellence in school. And that’s a darn shame because knowledge gives you the tools to pursue your dreams, whatever they may be. Walt Disney World as a Classroom To me, the best classroom is one that combines book learning with the philosophy that experience is the best teacher; the collaboration of the two contributes to real understanding. What better classroom than Walt Disney World? I was thrilled to stumble upon the The Disney Youth Education Series (Y.E.S.). Y.E.S. makes learning relevant by integrating National Education Standards and real world applications in accredited educational programs. How cool is that? Specially trained Disney Cast Members facilitate these 2-3.5 hour programs which bring students backstage at some of their favorite attractions all in the name of learning and fun. Students will see first-hand how theories and principles in different disciplines are deftly leveraged by Imagineers to create attractions that both entertain and educate Walt Disney World guests, just as Walt Disney had hoped. Some students may be relieved to know that there is no actual “classroom.” Instead, knowledgeable and engaging facilitators will find a quiet spot within the park to explain the program’s core concepts. Then, it’s off to the rides! Something for Everyone Science and technology are an essential part of many Walt Disney World attractions but bits and bytes alone can’t create the magic and fantasy that is so intrinsically Walt Disney World. The arts and the Disney culture are as much responsible for the success of the Happiest Place on Earth as the natural and physical sciences. This is good news for students and their teachers; the Disney Y.E.S. is comprehensive and offers nineteen programs in four different areas, Arts and Humanities, Leadership and Careers, Natural Sciences, and Physical Sciences. In short, there is something for everyone. Programs are geared to a specific age range and are available for students from grades K through 12 although the choices are more limited for children in the primary grades. Here’s a sampling of the offerings. Disney’s Wild by Nature “Walk on the wild side and explore the fascinating and surprising world of animal behavior! Through data collection, animal observations, select attractions and hands-on activities, students learn how animal research is helping.” Disney’s World of Physics: Energy and Waves “Experience the Magic Kingdom® Park through the mind of a Theme Park scientist! This interactive adventure studies select attractions to showcase the physics concepts of optics, acoustics, and magnetism in a real world context. Special hands-on examinations bring this program to life with a unique Disney touch.” Magic Behind the Show: Improv & Teamwork “Think on your feet. During this entertainment adventure, students participate in improvisational activities, practice and develop performance and team-building techniques, and come to know one another as members of a creative team. Using their new knowledge, they perform a unique improvisational production.” Disney’s Leadership Excellence: The Inside Track “Go to the head of the class. Your students – tomorrow’s business leaders – investigate proven management strategies employed within The Walt Disney Company, see how effective leadership produces innovation, and identify tactics they can adapt to help promote their own personal and professional success. This program offers practical training for students who aim to be productive leaders in their communities and careers.” So, How does it Work? If you’re part of a youth group of ten or more, you’re in. Reservations must be made at least six weeks in advance and up to a full year prior to your group’s preferred date. Each program requires a theme park admission ticket but Disney comes to the rescue by offering significantly discounted ticket packages that include admission to one Y.E.S. program. Additional programs may be added for $26 each. Unfortunately, existing annual passes and other Disney tickets will not be eligible for entry – tickets must be purchased through the Y.E.S. program. Help…

    Continue reading here: Say Y.E.S. to a Disney Education

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  • 06Apr

    I can almost hear the murmurs now, “Why would she bring a baby to Walt Disney World?” It’s true, in a few weeks my son will be fifteen month old and taking his first trip to Walt Disney World. So, why would we embark on a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth with a child who will not enjoy most of the rides, indulge in some of Disney’s best snacks, say “Hi” to Mickey, or even remember the trip? Necessity. With three generations traveling to the “World”, we simply don’t have anyone crazy enough to watch the baby for a week while we play in the sun. And, our son will surely enjoy Disney World’s fanciful sights and sounds, even if he’ll have to rely on photographs to tell the story of his first trip. Traveling with a baby requires some extra planning and preparation, especially in the areas of sleeping and eating. After all, what does a baby do most? Not one to be without a plan, I started my baby in training for Walt Disney World about 10 weeks out from our Disney trip. The goal? Make my son as comfortable as possible with the logistics of traveling. The Training Plan Sleeping Prince Our son is a great sleeper. In his room and crib, that is. Things take a turn for the worse when he’s in the Pak ‘N Play. To him, the portable crib is his nemesis – a device designed solely to curb his adventurous spirit. After all, he should be able to open drawers, unroll toilet paper, and empty the trash can while mom’s in the shower, right? When we’re on our vacation, he’ll be using one of Disney’s Pak ‘N Plays to sleep, a reality for which he is sorely unprepared. What’s a mom to do? My husband and I started “sleep training” for our little one. First we simulated an unfamiliar hotel room by moving our Pak N Play into a different space than he’s used to sleeping in. Then, we chose to tackle the overnight sleep, when he falls asleep very easily, before naps. The Progress Success. We had a few rough nights in the beginning but it wasn’t long before he was sleeping like a champ overnight in the Pak N Play. After we increased the nighttime trainings to twice a week, it was time to move on to naps; he quickly acclimated. I can breathe a sigh of relief that our biggest traveling challenge won’t be so challenging after all. Leave the Bottle, Take the Pacifier My vision of a relaxed family vacation most definitely does not include baby bottles, which are bulky to pack and time consuming to sanitize. It was an easy decision to completely transition our little guy from the bottle to sippy cups before our trip. What about the pacifier? It stays for now. My son only uses it to sleep and I don’t want to make too many changes before the trip. Also, now that the bottle is kaput, the pacifier will hopefully help soothe him and his little ears on our flight. I also bought Earplanes® , a product that is designed to reduce ear pressure but do I see him wearing them the whole flight? No. I give it about two minutes before he’s trying to tug them out of his ears. The Progress Mission accomplished. Dinner is Served Food is a big part of our Disney vacations so I want to make dining out with the baby as effortless as possible. We have a multi-pronged plan on this front: straws, portable high chairs, and table manners. First up are straws. Although bottles are a thing of the past, my son hasn’t gotten the hang of using a straw yet. Is it crucial for our trip? No, but it would be nice. No worrying about packing sippy cups in our theme park bag or cleaning them every night. Fortunately, I can purchase sippy cups in the Baby Care Centers if I forget them. Unlike at home, restaurant high chairs don’t have a tray and kids eat directly at the table. Lucky for us, portable booster seats which are secured to dining chairs are inexpensive and easy to find at stores selling baby products. The little man can now “pull up a chair” and get used to eating finger foods from our table at home instead of from his high chair’s tray. My ultimate goal for eating at Disney is making sure we exit the dining establishments with all their dishes intact and without having to be followed up by a cleaning crew. You can decide whether I’m a germaphobe or exercising common sense but I won’t be placing my son’s finger foods directly on the restaurant table. Sadly, a napkin, paper kids’ menu, or worse still a plate under his food is a disaster waiting to happen. In the blink of an eye, he’ll tug his “prize” and proudly wave it around for all to admire. That is, when the other guests aren’t ducking from the food that just went flying. I’ve decided to bring self-adhesive, disposable placemats and a combo plate/no slip placemat. The Progress I’m sad to report that no progress on the straws has been made. Really, how do you teach a one year old to use a straw? On a brighter note, using a travel high chair and items to assist with eating from the table has gone very well. Hat Head Disney World is not a Hat Optional destination for my kids. But, keeping a sunhat on a 1 year old can be an exercise in patience. He takes it off and he giggles, I put it back on; he takes it off and he giggles, I put it back on. You get the idea. Bucket hats are just too tempting and easy for my…

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    Baby in Training for Walt Disney World

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