Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mickey's Halloween Party: Jolly Holiday Bakery




























For three years I had been looking forward to going back to Mickey's Halloween party and never got a chance until this year. I had originally gone in 2010 and absolutely loved it, not only all the Halloween decor and themes but being able to wear a costume in the park, and a full on costume not just a inspired one.

Although I didn't have it complete, I still wore my Elsa costume from the upcoming Disney film, Frozen.



















Because of the short amount of time there I didn't eat all that much, also a lot of the restaurants and dining areas were closed. Jolly Holiday, Cafe Orleans, and I think Pizza Port were all still open, as well as the Corn Dog Cart. I didn't want too much, and I couldn't resist a trip to the Jolly Holiday Bakery, so the last stop of the night was there.

They offered special Halloween cookies, cupcakes, drinks, and cheesecake; not as much as one would hope, but they were still fun to see. I got the pumpkin spiced latte and the pumpkin cheesecake.



The latte was exactly how the Starbucks pumpkin spiced latte use to be: the coffee flavour overpowers the pumpkin and spice flavours. I don't like coffee- a tea drinker true and true- so it is possible that my tongue is not trained yet to pick out the pumpkin flavour from the coffee, but as far I can tell, there wasn't much pumpkin.

Then the pumpkin cheesecake. Disney knows how to make the perfect cheesecake, from original to bananas foster to pumpkin, just perfection. The spices related to a pumpkin pie were very much present but the pumpkin sweetness can still come through and makes the cheesecake even creamier. Even the little dollop of whipped cream on top had spices in it and I really wish there was more of it.

But again remember that the crust is not gluten free, so avoid eating that if you have an allergy. Likewise I noticed that the other gluten free treats at Jolly Holiday were missing in actions: the original cheesecake and the flourless chocolate cake. I wish they would at least continue to offer the chocolate cake during the holiday seasons so that there will be more options for those with allergies and don't want to wait around for a gluten free sandwich.

If you can get tickets- many of my friends got sold out- then I strongly urge you to visit Mickey's Halloween Party. It is a lot of fun and they really go all out, not just the cast members but guests too. I saw many creative and well done costumes there, which just makes people watching in Disneyland all the more entertaining.

-Charlotte

Facebook Page

A week or two ago I started a Facebook page to coincide with my blog to keep more up to date information about dining at the parks.

Disney Eats Facebook Page

And coming soon will be my review for Jolly Holiday Halloween treats!

-Charlotte

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New Orleans Square: The Blue Bayou [2]













Our last meal at Disneyland finally arrived. We had our last reservation for dinner at Blue Bayou at 4:30 PM so we didn't eat lunch that day because of the early dinner. We checked in and they asked about dietary restrictions and wrote that down on the reservation ticket before we went to wait. I think this was the first time I saw the Blue Bayou waiting room empty of people and we were actually able to sit on one of the benches in there. It didn't last long because we were quickly seated and our waiter got our drink order.

At Blue Bayou and Cafe Orleans they have never ending mint juleps, lots and lots of refills, and in the past I got five in one seating. I've been trying to beat that record so this evening was no different. As soon as I would get a mint julep I would pretty much chug it, because I loved them and the past three days I had only gotten one mint julep so I was dying for some. The only problem I had was that they weren't getting refilled fast enough. It was at the point that they might as well have just left the pitcher on the table, but alas they did not.


Our waiter was amazing, thought he seemed slightly frazzeled/busy, but still took his time to do his job properly and make sure everything was great for us. He brought out the regular bread and then, when we informed him of our dietary restrictions he brought out some gluten free bread.




 It was warm and the texture was perfect. It was probably a brown rice bread and it has that toasty flavour that went well with the spread of butter on it that melted into the spongy texture. It was ridiculously filling though so I only ate half before my meal came and I forced myself to finish it after my meal because it was so good. I would have taken the other two home if I had a sanitary way of doing so. Grace and I were very happy.


Our waiter also informed us of what we could and could not eat, just like at other restaurants. He said they had us covered and could pretty much make anything into gluten free except the lamb, probably because a marinade for the lamb. I love the jambalaya, I always get the jambalaya, so I got the jambalaya. The spices in it are always just amazing and the fish was moist and flaked throughout the dish so it was in every scoop, and the shrimp was perfectly cooked. The one thing that bothered me this time around was how salty it was. Never before was it so salty and of course it wasn't until I was almost done with the meal that I realized how salty it was and try as I wanted, I just couldn't finish it. That's when I finished off my piece of bread to try and get rid of some of the salty-ness.

I love having the bread, you really miss the little things like bread and butter before a meal when you can't eat it, so that made me so happy, especially since the bread didn't taste like gluten free bread. And the mint julep total was four, I tried and I could have beat my old record but they really weren't coming fast enough.

And the rest of the day was spent doing the things we had on our list to do and somethings that weren't on our list:





Cruella de Vil













Soundsational Parade












Mad T Party








Even were able to go on all three rides in Carsland in about an hour.




 
My friend talking to a fellow cast member.




















And another friend was our dispatch cast member when we got into our car at Radiator Spring Racers.





 That extra person isn't a single rider, she is a friend who joined us at Mad T Party and Carsland after she got off work.






 We finished in Fantasyland. Night time is the best time to go for this because it isn't as crowded so you can take funny pictures like we did.



























































It was a great trip and we all had a lot of fun. I don't know when I will be returning, I am hoping for Disney Expo, but this trip kind of made me broke, just a poor college kid after all. There are still a few places I haven't eaten at, like Club 33! Yeah, right...


-Charlotte









Main Street U.S.A.: The Plaza Inn [2]

It was our last day in the parks and there was a long list formulated between all of us of stuff we wanted to do and I was in charge of leading us through the crowds and getting us to the areas we needed to be at on time and when it was least crowded. I am good at that so I didn't mind, when I am with people I tell them they don't need the Disneyland app on their phones because they have me.

So this morning we had to finish off our character dining at The Plaza Inn. Yet another buffet style breakfast with pretty much all the same food as at PCH Grill. I have been here once before: review is here and it was what I expected, only this time it was nice to be inside the park when it opened and not having to rush from the hotels through Downtown Disney to get there. They did raise the price though, just like Disney seemed to have done everywhere else, when I went there a year ago it was $25 this time around it was $32, so not entirely happy about that but it was okay.

As I pointed out in other reviews from this trip, Disney dining has become more aware of dietary restrictions and when we first checked in and paid they asked if there were any in our group and we told them of our gluten and gluten/soy allergies and they wrote that down on our ticket and said they would send a chef to our table.

We got a table in the back, and I took the seat right next to the noisy family that often blocked my seat so I couldn't sit, that was fun. We sat down and of course the characters started coming around first thing, this was the only place where there wasn't a waitress to take out drink orders so once seated you can immediately go get food. We stopped and took some pictures though first.















After all that the chef came around to our table, I want to say her name was Allison and she was this nice chef who really wanted to make sure Grace and I had enough food to eat. We just ordered some gluten free waffles and while everyone else got their food, we waited for our waffles, that's when Hook came around and we took a picture with him.


 Our waffles came and I was excited because I hadn't had them before. I got the same meal as last time I was at The Plaza Inn, so nothing exciting there, but the new thing was the waffles. I was almost tempted to get the pancakes as well, but that would have been too much food.


They were Mickey shaped like the regular ones, and it isn't in this picture but I did get some syrup to pour on these, they also offer powdered sugar to sprinkle on top as well. They were interesting. The flavour was great, a hint of grain with some sweetness from the syrup, they tasted fresh and healthy, but in a good way. The only odd thing about it was the texture. I think the base flour for these is rice flour because the texture was, for lack of a better word, squishy. If anyone knows what mochi is (Japanese rice cake) it was that exact same texture except for the crispy crust where it was in contact with the waffle pan. Others might be put off from it, but I didn't mind I was use to that texture (because I do eat a lot of mochi); they were also incredibly dense so eating all four after having my other food was a challenge, but at least I knew I was going to be full for a while.




Afterwards we went on Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Where we found Nemo...



 And then we got to see the one thing I had been dying to see. The Ironman suits! My love of The Avengers still goes strong so this was like a dream for me.







And about five minutes later I got to do the other thing I wanted to do that day...



 And yes Wendy Darling was my inspiration for my outfit that day. Since I wouldn't have been allowed to wear my actual Wendy costume in the park, I took the ribbons from it and added it to my light blue dress.







For a last day in the park, this was a pretty spectacular morning. At least for me it was, and I'm sure the others had fun because we got to go to the new Fantasy Faire as well as meet Rapunzel.







-Charlotte

Paradise Pier: Ariel's Grotto

When you have someone in your group named Ariel it really is just a no-brainer that you should go to Ariel's Grotto right? Well that was our logic, also it was another character dining experience that we weren't going to pass up, especially since it was the princesses.

Everyone in our group (except me) are obsessed with the princesses, yes even the guy, Adam (he likes Rapunzel), anything with the princesses, anytime we saw the princesses, anything with the princesses on it, we were there. It was highly amusing. So here is the breakdown of princess love:





Gaby loves Princess Aurora











Grace loves Princess Snow White












 Ariel loves Princess Ariel










Adam loves Princess Rapunzel











And I like Princess Tiana, but I wasn't as crazy about her as the others are with all the princesses. When we saw Tiana in New Orleans Square that morning they immediately freaked out and made us get in line, they thought I was going to get as excited as them since she is my favourite but I don't think I am capable of getting as excited as they were. We still got photos and had another amusing conversation about my name being Charlotte with Tiana.


So dining at Ariel's Grotto was to be expected and it was where we went for lunch on July 4th. Of course we had reservations and only waited a little bit before we were led down the stairs and took pictures with Princess Ariel before being seated.



I loved the decor in the restaurant it felt like you were under the water, my favourtie thing were the jellyfish lights that were above each table, I love jellyfish and really want a light like that. There was a lot of glass because that has the glossy underwater feel and lots of great sea life detailing.

























Now on with the food! It was yet another flat rate price type of thing and it comes with a three course meal. The first course is a tower with fruit, cheese and prosciutto, and a salad as well as a sourdough flower (which I am certain was provided by Boudin Bakery). Once more I noticed how Disney dining is becoming more aware of dietary restrictions because when our waiter came to take our order for the second course (which is included into the flat rate price) he first asked if anyone has a dietary restriction. We informed him of a gluten allergy and a gluten/soy allergy so he went and got one of the best chefs ever.

When first looking over the menu I had to bring up the interesting issue of the seafood cuisine. It makes sense in a place with an under the ocean theme but that theme expands to being Ariel's Grotto, Ariel was a mermaid and made friends with all the creatures under the ocean (except that shark) so really if you think about it, all of the seafood on the menu we are eating are Ariel's friends...right?

Well I love seafood so I didn't care, but I'm sure if you brought that up to other people like little kids, or Ariel (I was tempted to ask her) they would be disturbed. The menu had a variety of seafood based dishes and I couldn't resist the temptation that was ciopinno. It is a tomato based soup with all matters of seafood from fish to lobster and mussels. Being from Northern California I know ciopinno from San Francisco to Monterey Bay and I had to try Disney's version.

When the chef came out he explained what we could and could not have. Basically they can make anything into gluten free, so whatever we wanted they could change things up for us. I was able to get the ciopinno with no problem at all.



The food arrived and it was honestly both what I was expecting and what I wasn't expecting. In Fisherman's Warf or in Moss Landing you get a big, huge bowl full of soup, I know that seems redundant but that really is just how enormous the portion is. This was, well small, but I kind of was happy that it was or else I would have been there all afternoon eating it while the others waited, especially since we kept stopping to take pictures of the princesses.

All of the seafood in it was fresh and perfectly cooked so it was still moist and it had absorbed all of the flavour of the broth. I don't like lobster, but I liked this lobster because of the broth that went with it. They described it as slightly spicy, and ciopinno is spicy, but this was very mild, I would have liked it to have bit more spice. My only complaint was that I wished there was more of the soup, as you can tell from the image it looked more like a sauce than a soup. It was really good but I still would rather have the original in San Francisco.

And now an intermission for the Princesses:





 And with that, I have now officially met ALL of the Disney Princesses! I just needed Mulan and Belle.

Now with the dessert. Back when the chef first came to our table he talked to Grace and I about our options. The dessert they usually give out is a platter with cupcakes, cookies, chocolate cake, and some berries and so close to nothing that we could eat, but the chef informed us of other choices for those with dietary restrictions. They had a brownie, a cookie, and sorbet they could give us. The brownie did have soy in it so I couldn't eat it and he said the cookie 'was a gluten free cookie and it tasted like it'. I love that he was honest about that and while others might not know, sometimes gluten free things have an off taste or are just crumbly because they don't have that gluten to hold it together so immediately Grace and I understood what he meant by 'tastes gluten free' and we stayed away from that. I wanted the sorbet anyway so I was happy with that, Grace got that as well.




It came in a frosted glass with a rim of sugar and the sorbets were lemon and raspberry with a slice of lemon, a few berries, and some mint leaves. It was creamy and tart yet with the sugar on the side it added the little bit of sweetness to it. In all honesty I think this was the perfect dessert to go after the seafood dishes instead of all those cookies and cupcakes it was light and really summed up the meal perfectly. So they can have their baked goods, I'll take my sorbet.

And we got all of that for about $40.

We then went and had fun for the rest of our Fourth of July:




Said 'hi' to some of my friends working in A Bug's Land.



My friend Chris always has a way to get me on her Red Car Trolly.





Found out that I was most like The Evil Queen from Snow White in Beast's Library.


Ate dinner at the Village Haus, which I reviewed already: here.



Watched Fantasmic. It was fantasmic.


Then watched the Fourth of July Fireworks. Last year I watched them while sitting on my bed in my apartment while watching Captain America: The First Avenger.




And we ended our evening with Grace being the rebel spy.







I know this was a long one, but Ariel's Grotto really had great food!

-Charlotte