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TOP 10 TABLE SERVICE RESTAURANTS by Sheila Nowell

I know there are top 10 lists for Disney food all over the internet… So I’m following the crowd. 🙂 I thought I’d post my TOP 10 Table Service Restaurants.  Some people don’t see why dining is necessary at Disney, but I am now a firm believer that Dining is a must-do experience if you are able! Sadly, we haven’t had the opportunity to eat at more than 5 at a time, so we’ve only had 15 meals to speak of. 😦  So…I’ve included a Top 10 “Can’t Wait” list, too. 🙂

TOP 10 TABLE SERVICE RESTAURANTS/EXPERIENCES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD

10. CHEF MICKEY’S at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

This place is so popular with my clients. We had it for breakfast and it was alot of fun!  Very colorful and energetic.

9. 1900 PARK FARE at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

We went here for the Wonderland Breakfast. We had alot of fun meeting Mad Hatter, Alice, and Mary Poppins, even!

8. CINDERELLA’S ROYAL TABLE at Magic Kingdom

I have eaten here twice – once in 2000 on my honeymoon, and once in 2002 with my 6 month old, husband, parents, and sister.  Both times, we walked up to be seated with no reservation. That is rare nowadays!  I know we ate for lunch or dinner each time, but I don’t remember much more about it other than it’s a great experience to eat in a castle!  We plan on trying for a coveted breakfast reservation for this year to take our girls for their first time!

7. AKERSHUS ROYAL BANQUET at EPCOT

This is a WONDERFUL alternative to Cinderella’s Royal Table.  There are princesses EVERYWHERE!  We went for breakfast and had a great time walking to our reservation before rope drop!

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6. WOLFGANG EXPRESS DINING ROOM at Downtown Disney

It’s been a LONG time since we have enjoyed this (2003, I believe), but the atmosphere and food were wonderful!

5. SPIRIT OF ALOHA DINNER SHOW at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

If you read my Top 10 Attractions list the other day, you know that I love culture. This show has SO much culture in it!  I loved the fire shows, the dancing, everything!  And Polynesian food is full of sweetness…of the two dinner shows we have done, this is by far our favorite!

4. 50S PRIME TIME CAFE at Hollywood Studios

I love home-cooked comfort food, so this was a great option for us. I also love the simple-ness of the “past” so the 50s kitchen atmosphere is perfect here.  I look forward to dining here again someday, after I’ve tried the 3 other restaurants I haven’t had yet!

3. CORAL REEF at EPCOT

Mmmm.  We ate here way back in 2008 and it was unforgettable. I love aquariums and sea life. The aquarium wall had me in a trance most of the time, and I loved it when the diver came up to the window with a message for one of the guests!  The food was excellent, as was the service.  It was an “unforgettable” kind of meal.

2. LE CELLIER STEAKHOUSE in Canada at EPCOT

It’s REALLY hard to enjoy a steak. I like them well done. No pink at all. BUT…I also like it juicy and “chewable.”  Most places just don’t get it right for me.  This place, though, we perfect. Yum!  I also loved the cheese soup, the pretzel bread, and the Glow-Tini. 😉  My family is begging me to go back here this fall. I am having a hard time saying no…

Glowtini at LeCellier

Glowtini at LeCellier

Bread Plate at Le Cellier (Pretzel bread is DELISH!)

Bread Plate at Le Cellier (Pretzel bread is DELISH!)

Cheese Soup at LeCellier WOW

Cheese Soup at LeCellier WOW

1. LIBERTY TREE TAVERN at Magic Kingdom

We ate here for dinner – family style – and enjoyed every. single. bite.  Everything from the salads to the dessert was wonderful.  In fact, it was our “last meal” before leaving the next day, and I am so thankful because it left us with a great taste!  LOL I want to try it for lunch, too, but it will be hard to not go back for dinner!  🙂

The salad at Liberty Tree Tavern dinner

The salad at Liberty Tree Tavern dinner

The mugs at Liberty Tree Tavern

The mugs at Liberty Tree Tavern

TOP 10 “I CAN’T WAIT TO TRY IT” RESTAURANTS

I read alot of reviews for dining, and am choosing between these for our next trip!

10. MICKEY’S BACKYARD BBQ at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Disney has 3 Dinner Shows.  We have been to the other 2 (Spirit of Aloha and Hoop-Dee-Do Musical Revue), so I’d like to “even out” the score. 😉  This one is outside, picnic-style, but I don’t want to go in the fall…we had our share of mosquitoes at Hoop-Dee-Do in September…lol

9. WHISPERING CANYON CAFE AT Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

I love to laugh. I love joking around with people. So I’d like to eat here and see how the waitstaff are when our neighboring table asks for ketchup. 😉

8. CALIFORNIA GRILL at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

I do have a taste for fine dining, and the recent updates to this restaurant have my interests peaked.  I don’t think I want to take the kids, though…

7. WORLD SHOWCASE at EPCOT

I have WAY too many places I want to try at EPCOT.  The top picks, for now, are Via Napoli, Biergarten, Teppan Edo, La Hacienda, and Rose & Crown.  Once I get those out of the way, I want to do all the others, too!

6. BE OUR GUEST at Magic Kingdom

It’s all about the experience. 🙂

5. OHANA at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

I love Bread Pudding. I hear Ohana’s is the place to go…

4. KONA CAFE at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

The waiter at Crystal Palace told us that Kona Cafe is the #1 Breakfast spot in all of Disney World.  I really really really want to try the Tonga Toast.  🙂

3. HOUSE OF BLUES GOSPEL BRUNCH at Downtown Disney

I love me some Black Gospel choir music.  I was saved to this type of music. 🙂  My kids are well versed in it, too. LOL  So, I REALLY want to go to the Kirk Franklin’s Gospel Brunch here on a Sunday someday.  Like, BAD.

2. RAGLAN ROAD at Downtown Disney

I love Bennigan’s, but they pulled out of my city a decade ago.  I also love Irish dancing.  Put the two together, and I picture some very entertaining meals at Raglan Road!

1. YACHTSMAN STEAKHOUSE at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Yes, I want to see if this one is as good as Le Cellier.  I have heard wonderful things, and hope I can talk the family into this one instead of Le Cellier this fall (although I think I’m losing the battle…)

 

So, what is your favorite table service restaurant at Disney?  Any recommendations?

TOP 10 Disney World Must-Dos by Shane Nowell

Shane’s Top 10 Must Do List – Walt Disney World Florida

1. Splash Mountain, Magic Kingdom

Splash Mountain, located at the Magic Kingdom, became a family favorite from the very first time. There is something for everyone on this ride, whether it is the 5-story plunge down the mountain or the colorful scenes and sounds, this ride will be your family’s favorite too! Be sure to fast pass this ride during peak season as it is a Disney favorite among park goers, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing one of Disney’s best rides.

2. Expedition Everest, Animal Kingdom

For thrill seekers like me, Expedition Everest is a must do, even my 6-year old cannot wait to do it again. Be sure to watch out for the Yeti!

3. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Hollywood Studios

Kicking Aerosmith tunes, a blasting takeoff, and … in the dark? Yep, a must do!

4. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Hollywood Studios

This is not just a ride, but an experience; The cast members bring this haunted hotel to life.  Hold on to your seat, maybe your kids too, the drop is a killer!

5. Toy Story Midway Mania!, Hollywood Studios

A must do family attraction featuring your favorite Toy Story characters, and big screen digital midway gaming. This is another to be sure and fast pass, though, as the waits can be HOURS long!

6. Festival of the Lion King, Animal Kingdom

Looking for an immersive experience  while taking in one of Disney’s best shows? Then head to the Festival of the Lion King, and you might just become part of the show! Stunts, music, songs, characters….Hakuna Matata!

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7. Le Cellier Steakhouse – Epcot Canada

For steak lovers like me, head to Le Cellier Steakhouse. The service is top notch, the food is magnificent, and the steaks are fall out of your seat unbelievable! Be sure to plan ahead by looking over the menu before you go to avoid sticker shock.

8. Spirit of Aloha Dinner show, Polynesian Resort

Hula dancing, Fire dancing, Hawaiian Leis, a great show, and mouth watering food! I can’t wait to do it again!

9. World Showcase at Epcot

Stroll through the world in an afternoon, and munch on some FOOD! One of the best ways to experience Epcot’s World Showcase is to eat around the world. As you stroll along be sure to walk in and out of the market areas to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and goodies from each country.

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10. Kali River Rapids, Animal Kingdom

Need to cool off? … In the mood to get wet? … Need I say more?

Are you ready for your next trip to WDW?  Get in touch with Shane!  He can be reached at Shane@MagicalMomentsVacations.com or 309-261-0125!

TOP 10 “MUST DO” LIST AT DISNEY by Beverly Braunsdorf

Hey guys! Beverly here. Sheila asked me to do a post about my Disney top ten list. I first thought to my self… Pick only ten things? How? After lots of thought I finally made my list and here it is for you guys to read. I hope you enjoy my list, and hopefully I help you put a few new items on your must do list!

10: Monsters Inc. laugh Floor. My daughters love these cute and lovable monsters so when we saw the sign for this show we all knew we had to try it. I am so glad we did; we texted in our joke, (What do you call fake noodles? Impasta! lol I know, so funny!) and they used it in the show…. Warning! After seeing this show, hearing the phrase “that guy” will never be the same… I still smile every time!

9: The Mad Tea Party (the tea cups): So, I don’t know if it is just Disney nostalgia or my own childhood ideas of Disney. My first trip, outside of my childhood imagination, was not until I was 26 years old. You can imagine how many times I would spin the tea cups like crazy in my daydreams, so seeing my kids spin for the first time is something I will remember forever!

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8: Enchanted Tales with Belle: This is an interactive play where you get to be a star alongside Belle! It is an amazing experience especially for any Beauty and the Beast fans.

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7: Ariel’s Grotto (meet and greet): As a child I would watch The Little Mermaid (on VHS mind you) about 5 times everyday… It was, and still is, my favorite Disney movie. I first met Ariel as a princess with her dress and feet and that was all well and good, but when I (yes as a GROWN WOMAN) met Ariel with her fin, tears wailed up in my eyes, and I got butterflies in my tummy and I almost could not speak… It was amazing!!!

6: Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage in Hollywood Studios. This show is what I would imagine and actual Broadway show to be like. It is like being right there in France with Belle, Gaston, Beast and all the enchanted dishes. So cool…a definite must see!

5: Animation Academy: in a tiny little studio ( no kidding, I think it is room for 30 people only) tucked way behind everything in Hollywood Studios is this little gold nugget. This is a 30 min show where an actual Disney animator teaches you the secrets of how to draw Disney characters. So fun! If you have an artist or someone who wants to be an artist in you family, you must not miss this!

4: Pick a Pearl: Located inside a store in the Japan Pavilion in the World Showcase at Epcot. I cannot begin to explain the excitement of this experience!! My daughters both took part in Pick A Pearl on our last trip… It started off so quiet and simple where you try to pick the perfect oyster from one of these 2 tanks on either side of the counter. After you pick the oyster, the fun begins… They really make a big deal for every single person doing this!! It is so cool… It is less than $20 so if you are at Epcot, don’t miss out!

3: Splash Mountain: Ok, so after reading the rest of my list, you may have gathered that I am not much of a thrill junkie… But man oh man do I LOVE Splash Mountain!!! On our first trip we rode splash mountain about 10 times… And sadly, on our most recent trip, it was closed for refurbishment… So I am excited to ride again on our next trip.

2: The Norway Pavilion. I needed a place showcase Akershus (my favorite Disney Restaurant), Maelstrom (my favorite ride/show in the World Showcase) and the Elsa & Anna Meet and Greet (my favorite Epcot meet and greet)!! So, yes, technically it is not ONE thing, but I am a rebel when it comes to Disney – I do what I want!

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1: Celebrate the Magic/ Wishes/ The Electrical Parade… Looking back, I could have just went with Magic Kingdom after dark, but in sticking with my rebellious side from the previous post, I am going to talk about all 3 right here in my number 1 spot!!! So here goes…I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Celebrate the Magic castle show… It is simply amazing!!! Secondly Wishes, oh how I love Wishes…. So beautiful! And finally, the Electrical Parade… This is so cool… Light up the night with lit parade floats… These 3 things should be on your list if you will be at Magic Kingdom!
Thanks so much for reading my post, and watch for my next post where I post my “Top 10 List for Each Park.” Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed my post. I can’t wait to get some feedback from you guys!!

Meet Beverly Braunsdorf!

My Travel Lobby is growing!  Shortly after starting My Travel Lobby in 2013, Sheila found herself busier than she ever imagined…and busier than she could handle with her other “hats” of life.  In January 2013, she decided to expand her business and hired two wonderful team members to work along side her.

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Beverly Braunsdorf with Mickey Mouse!

Sheila met Beverly in September 2013 and almost immediately felt a connection.  Beverly had the same passion for Disney and alot of other similar values and traits.  After communicating almost daily with Beverly, Sheila knew she’d be a wonderful team mate!  Here’s Beverly’s introduction:

My name is Beverly Braunsdorf. My first trip to Walt Disney World was at age 26!  I  am so excited to be working my dream career along side Sheila Nowell!  I specialize in Disney Destinations, which includes Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Lines, Adventures by Disney, and Au Lani.  I have tons of Disney favorites.  My favorite ride is Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom.  My favorite restaurant (so far) is Akershus in Norway at Epcot.  My favorite show is Beauty and the Beast in Hollywood Studios.  And my favorite meet and greet is meeting Ariel in her grotto in Magic Kingdom because it’s the only place to meet her while she is still a mermaid!

 I am from a tiny town in Georgia famous for Sweet Vidalia Onions.  If you have not guessed it yet, that town in Vidalia, GA!   I was born and raised here in Vidalia, and I love it. Saved by grace as a young child, I am a passionate follower of Jesus! I met my loving husband, Jeremy, at age 17 and married him at 18.  We were baptized on the same day with our families there for us!  I have been blessed with 2 beautiful little girls Chloe (8) and Cadence (7). Every time I look at these beautiful little girls I see the face of God!  I am a simple country girl.  We love our pets from horses to hamsters – we have a heart full! Our family made a choice early on that we would homeschool our children, and we absolutely love it. I spend my weekends crafting. I love to scrapbook, paint and recently while at Animation Academy at Hollywood Studios, I learned that I love to draw, too!  

Beverly is an amazing woman with a sweet and friendly personality and spirit. You can reach her at Beverly@MagicalMomentsVacations.com or by phone at (912) 253-0179. You can also follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FreeVacationPlanner.

Disney Dining Plan!

I’ve been to Disney 6 times in 12 years. The first 3 times, we stayed in a rented vacation home. This was GREAT because we had a private pool and ate breakfast at the house.  However, we rarely ate lunch or dinner there because we are the type of people that want to get our money’s worth at the theme parks by staying until close.

We heard about the Disney Dining Plan about 8 years ago, and decided to give it a try.  However, in order to take advantage of it, we had to stay at the resort.  When the FREE DINING promotion was announced for November 2008, we jumped on it!

And now we have stayed at the Disney resorts and participated in the dining plan ever since.

On our last trip in May, we had some AWESOME meals lined up.  (I tend to stalk the DIS boards for reviews fairly often, so I was confident we would!) We finally got to try the popular steakhouse in the Canada Pavilion at EPCOT’s World Showcase – Le Cellier Steakhouse. We had the famous pretzel bread, Cheese soup, Glow-tini, and Filet Mignon. Every last one of them lived up to their reputation!

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Most definitely the BEST steaks any of us have ever had, hands down.

We had breakfast with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy at the Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. Great buffet!

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We enjoyed Flame Tree BBQ, a quick service restaurant at Animal Kingdom with a KILLER view of Expedition Everest.

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We at at BOMA – Flavors of Africa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner. It’s a neat buffet with lots of African food mixed in with some American cuisine, too.  They are famous for “Jungle Juice.” You have to try it!

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On my daughter’s birthday, we had breakfast at the Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom. The waiter was a “singing” waiter and got down on his knees and sang an old 70s love song to her. She was REALLY embarrassed, but it was awesome! (and check out that plate of food on the guy behind her head!)

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There were alot of other places we tried, but the best dinner, hands down, was Liberty Tree Tavern in the Liberty Square area of Magic Kingdom. It was absolutely DELICIOUS. We WILL be back…oh yes, we will!

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The Disney Dining Plan is SO worth it.  For our family of 5, we prefer to order freely off the menu’s and not worry about price. And it’s a good thing, too. That meal at Le Cellier was almost $300.  I am NOT kidding.

There are a few options for the dining plan.

If you are the theme park enthusiast who doesn’t care about dining and just wants the food to refuel and then run again, you’ll want the Quick Service dining plan. No fancy restaurants, just “fast” food (Disney-style).  I’d love to tell you where the best ones are in each park!

If you like to enjoy as much as the theme parks as you can, but want to enjoy your vacation, too, with some great cuisine and a welcomed 1.5-2 hour break, go with the regular dining plan…you get one counter service meal and one table service meal per night of stay.

If you really like to eat, and you really like your breaks, go with the Deluxe dining plan. You get 3 meals of any type you would like per day, plus 2 snacks. I recommend this for people who don’t care to race for the fast passes and hit every show and ride. You’ll be doing ALOT of eating on this plan…but hey, you are on vacation, right?

There are a few other plans, as well, with all you can “drink” (adult beverages), and more.  I’d love to tell you about them.

What’s been your favorite Disney restaurant?  Are there any you have been wanting to try that I could tell you about?  We have a “bucket list” for our next trip, and can’t wait to try more new things!

And, we’re off!

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I am so excited, it’s beyond crazy.

Since May 29, I have been working my tooshie off in training, preparing, planning, and dreaming about my new career.  I wanted everything to perfect for my new customers and clients.

Sometimes, my perfection gets in the way, though. Even though everything isn’t as awesome as I’d like it to be, I needed to launch my business off the ground. Because, frankly, it wouldn’t ever happen if I didn’t just go for it!  So, as of Tuesday, we are LIVE!!!

Happy Dance!

My awesome friends and family have been liking and sharing my facebook page, and I’ve already received 6 requests for vacation quotes.  Bring it on!

I have BIG plans…I’m collecting lots of fun prizes, gift cards, and more and will be smothering my followers and clients with incentives and giveaways.  So, if you haven’t liked my Facebook page yet, what are you waiting for?

Here we go!

(Oh, and if you haven’t noticed…I added a snazzy “request your vacation quote” tab to my page, too. Fill it out…you know you want to!)