The Creative Princess: April 2011

Where to find Disney Info....


Some people have asked me where I am getting my info.  After all, the last time I went to Disney was 198something!  How can I possibly know and remember things since then!?

Well, I am going to let you in on a few of my FAVORITE sites and tell you why I love them.  You will be a Disney expert in no time (or at least think you are).

I started on the Disney website actually!  They have an AMAZING Moms Panel and trust me, every question you have has been answered!  Just do a search and away you go.

It was while I was looking around on the Moms Panel that I found AllEars.net.  You can find a LOT of info here.  They have reviews on restaurants, resorts, parks, just about anything that can be reviewed at WDW is reviewed at All Ears.  And they are HONEST reviews.  They also have complete menus.  Some of the menus have not been updated recently so the actual costs might be a bit off but, it is a great place to start when trying to budget for meals.

TheMouseForLEss.com has a lot of tips also but I mainly use them for their free printables.  You can find all kinds of printables.

MouseSavers.com is another GREAT site!  Lots of info here as well, reviews, discount codes, etc.

One of my all time FAVS though would have to be DisBoards  Oh! My! Goodness!  If there is anything you still have questions about after visiting all of the above sites, you will find the answer on DisBoards.  Hands down this was the most informative site.  I didn't know you could decorate your door/window while at Disney, didn't even know people would even think or want to do that.  But they do!  And now that I know this I think that is a GREAT idea!  I also learned here that while digging for pearls at either Epcot or DTD you should go for the ugliest, hairiest oyster you can find.  I also learned that the place that let's you dig for them in Epcot has the lowest prices but the DTD location has the best selection.  You will find honest reviews (sometimes a little too honest) about everything.  I do mean EVERYTHING! 

One more!

EasyWDW.com!  Again, the standard reviews and such like everyone else.  BUT!  This site breaks EVERYTHING down!  PLUS, there is another site that charges you for info regarding what are the best parks to visit on what days and how the crowd level looks.  Easy WDW gives you this info for FREE!

So, those are my top sites that I turn to should I ever have a question.

What are some of your favorite Disney info sites?

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Akershus Breakfast Potato Casserole



Breakfast Potato Casserole
Restaurant Akershus
Norway - Epcot

Ingredients:

1 ½ lbs Diced Potatoes
1 ½ lbs Shredded Potatoes
4 ounces Diced White Onions
8 ounces Shredded Cheddar Cheese
(Reserve half for topping later)
8 ounces Shredded Jarlsberg Cheese
13 ounces Béchamel Sauce
8 ounces Sour Cream
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
5 ounces Milk

Directions:
In mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix well by hand. Place in greased casserole or non-stick pan. Sprinkle with reserved cheese on top. Cover with waxed paper and then aluminum foil. Bake in 350-degree oven for approximately 40 minutes. Remove foil and paper for last 10 minutes to brown top if desired.

Recipe found at WDWMagic.com

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Downtown Disney


Have a half day/night or just want to take a break from the parks for the day?  Downtown Disney (DTD) is the place to go!

This is the place you will find GREAT restaurants, a movie theater, the largest Disney Store in the WORLD, Cirque du Soleil - La Nouba, Characters-in-Flight, House of Blues, and of course BabyCakes NYC!  Just to name a FEW!

How about some FREE things to do?
Check out the interactive fountains where the kids may enjoy playing and getting wet.  Depending on when you are going, you may just want to splash around as well!
The Lego Imagination Center has a 3,000-square-foot outdoor play area filled with thousands of LEGOs, plus some absolutely amazing and huge Lego sculptures for you to admire!
Check out the magic demonstrations at the Magic Masters shop -- learn a card trick!
There are a lot of FREE things to do as you walk around, window shop, check out some of the "street performers", there are also a lot of cheap things.
I am MOST looking forward to checking out the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & CHOCOLATE Shop!  HELLO!

What is your favorite thing to do in DTD?

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Le Cellier - Cheddar Cheese Soup



Cheddar Cheese Soup
Le Cellier, Canada - Epcot

Ingredients:

½ Pound apple wood smoked Bacon (cut into ½” pieces)

4 Tablespoons butter

1 Diced red onion (about 1 cup)

3 Diced celery stalks (about 1 cup)

1 Cup all purpose flour

3 Cups chicken stock

4 Cups whole milk

1 Pound aged white Cheddar cheese (shaved or grated)

1 Tablespoon salt (to taste)

1 Tablespoon pepper

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce

1 cup warm beer

Method of preparation:

The number one rule in Cheddar cheese soup is “Low and slow”. This recipe takes about an hour to make, and if you try to turn the heat up and rush it, you will only ruin your work

The number two rule is “Keep stirring”. This is a soup that can burn, and takes a lot of tender loving care. When in doubt, “Keep stirring".

1. In a large Soup pot (At least 1 ½ Gallon) render down the bacon. All you are looking to do here is to liquefy the fat in the bacon, you are not trying to brown it.

2. Add the Butter and melt it.

3. Add the Onion and Celery and sauté until onions to start to get translucent.

4. Dust this with flour and mix to form a roux. Keep stirring until all of the flour has been incorporated.

5. Add chicken stock, slowly, while constantly stirring. You are looking for something resembling a gravy at this point. It's going to be very thick.

6. Next add milk, again slowly, while constantly stirring. This should significantly lighten up your soup at this point.

7. Turn heat up slightly, it's time to melt the cheese. Add cheese very slowly in small amounts, while stirring constantly. Allow each portion of cheese to melt away before adding the next. Keep stirring.

8. Now add salt and pepper. Be very careful with your salt. There is a lot of salt in your bacon, and possibly even in your chicken stock.

9. Next add Worcestershire , Tabasco, and beer. Keep stirring.

10. Turn down the heat slightly and let simmer or serve. You can garnish each bowl with some finely chopped bacon and chives.

When you are reheating this soup (especially in a microwave) you need to remember the 2 rules. “Low and slow” and “Keep stirring” you want to be constantly stirring this to ensure it blends evenly.

Recipe found at WDWMagic.com

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Disney Restaurants - a million and one options!



Restaurants at Disney are just as different as the resorts!  Whatever you may you want, you WILL be able to find!

Maybe you are in a rush and need to grab a quick bite to eat, check out the Quick Dining restaurants around the property.  If you have the time try a sit down or character meal.  Planning something extra special or just want to go above the "regular" meals, if there is such a thing as a "regular meal" at Disney, try the Fine/Signature dining options.

There is truly something for everyone in your party.  From hamburgers and chicken strips to sushi and Australian Kobe Beef with Garlic-Potato Purée, you will find something to fit your needs.

Remember if you have a food allergy to let you cast member know when you make your advance reservations.

For our trip we have a nice mix of pretty much every thing.  We have a few character meals, a few sit down meals and a couple of signature meals.  I can't wait!

What is your favorite restaurant at Walt Disney World?

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Disney Resorts - What is best for you?


Disney Resorts are as different from each other as Mickey and Donald!

When I say there is a resort for everyone, trust me!  There is a resort for everyone!

Maybe camping is your thing?  Weither it is camping in a tent or RV, Disney's Ft. Wilderness has you covered!  Maybe you don't want to actually "camp" but still have that "camping" feel?  There are cabins at Ft. Wilderness!  Maybe you still want the feel but still don't want to "rough it" in a cabin?  Not to worry!  You can also stay at the Lodge!

See what I mean about something for everyone?  That is just ONE resort inside the WDW property!  There are SO many others!


Weither you want to stay in a Value or Moderate there is something for you and your family.  You can even stay in a top of the line Deluxe resort.  Of course the rooms get bigger and the resort gets nicer the higher you go, however you will still have a GREAT room no matter where you stay!

Are you a military family?  Disney has you covered!  Shades of Green is a resort just for military families!  You will find special rates and packages just for you at this resort.

Are you coming down with Make a Wish, you will stay off property at the AMAZING Give Kids the World resort.  I have been reading up on this resort as I have a friend going down with MaW in May.  I can not say one bad thing about this place!  They completely take care of your every need!

For our trip we will be staying at the POP Century, it is a value resort with perks!  Unlike the other value resorts, POP is in it's own section of the WDW property.  At the other value resorts they share buses between them, at POP you do not share a bus with any other resort.  Plus, it is home to the one and only Tie-Dye Cheesecake!  Hello!  lol

Opening next summer (2012) will be a NEW value resort!  Art of Animation looks AMAZING!  I can NOT WAIT for this resort to open!!  I hope to be one of the first few 1,000 to stay in it.  lol  One of the features of this resort will be family suites!  Each family suite will feature 2 bathrooms, a master bedroom and 3 separate sleeping areas!

What is your favorite resort?

Oh, the picture at the top is of the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

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Ohana's Pineapple Coconut Bread



Pineapple Coconut Bread from Ohana
Disney's Polynesian Resort



Ingredients


1 3/4 C. Water 1 Egg Yolk
2 T. Shortening
4 1/2 C. High Gluten Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/3 C Sugar
1 T. Instant Yeast

Pinapple/Coconut Mixture:

1 C. Crushed pineapple
1 C. Unsweetened coconut
1 C. Sugar
2 T. Cornstarch

Directions


Pinapple/Coconut Mixture:

1. Combine pineapple and coconut in bowl.

2. Combine sugar and cornstarch in separate bowl and mix well.

3. Add sugar and cornstarch mixture into pineapple and coconut mixture and mix well.

4. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Bread:

1. Combine all ingredients in order of recipe in mixing bowl, and mix with dough hook until
dough picks up on hook and the sides of the mixing bowl is clean.

2. Let dough rise until it doubles in size.

3. Roll out dough onto a floured surface until it is 2 inches thick.

4. Next spread pineapple/coconut mixture over the top of the dough.

5. Fold dough into itself and place in a greased 9" x 13" cake pan.

6. Cut dough into pieces with a pizza cutter and spread out cut pieces evenly in cake pan.

7. Let dough rise in warm oven (110 degrees F) - about half way up the pan.

8. Bake at 325 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

9. Let bread cool, cut and serve. 


Recipe found at WDWMagic.com

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Well, it's that time again....

 
My baby of my two babies will be 2 soon, REALLY soon.....this weekend soon!  We have decided to have a Red, Black and White Mickey Mouse themed party.  Sorry, I have this thing against bright obnoxious primary colors.  When I see those colors together it is like nails on a chalkboard.  So I have opted for red, black and white.

We are also going to be telling the girls about our Disney trip.  WooHoo!!  Can't wait to get THAT cat out of the bag!  You know I will let you know how it goes, may even get a pic or two or even a video of it.

No party is complete without some sort of cake.  I have been going back and forth for a month 3 months about the cake.  UGH!  I was first going to do cake pops in the shape of Mickey's head (then quickly came back to reality)!  Then I was going to have my VERY talented friend Kandi make it but she is on a much needed and deserved vaca this week.  So today, 5 days before the party, I have decided what I am going to do!

Growing up when we went to Freddie's I would ALWAYS order a Shirley Temple.  We now order them for the girls when we go somewhere special and fun.  There is a reason I am telling you this....give me a second....

I was searching one of my FAVORITE food bloggers, I just KNEW she would have SOMETHING, and found it!!!

(photo courtesy of cupcake project)

Isn't that CUTE??

Guess what it is??  Well, those of you that are my FB friends already know the answer but for those that aren't and don't.......


OMG!  I can not wait to make them!  How fun!  Her recipe calls for a homemade Grenadine that I also plan to make.  This should be fun!  I will of course let you know about the outcome next week, once I de-stress! 


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Packing for Disney


Where do I begin?  There is just SO much to remember!  Don't forget extra socks!  Extra shirts!  Extra undies!!  Oh the list just goes on and on.  Here are my top 10 things to take with you and are a MUST!

10) Bring take and toss sippy cups.  Some locations in Disney do not offer lids/straws which make it hard for the little ones to drink.  Be sure to bring some sippy cups for them that you do not care about throwing away or loosing.

9) Disposable Bibs.  If your child will be wearing a special outfit one day (maybe a princess costume?) and you will be eating before taking some prime pictures Disposable Bibs are great!  They are easy to pack, they are very small, and you just throw them away when you are done.  Plus, they will help protect that special outfit.

8) Don't forget rain ponchos!  If you have never been to Florida, let me just tell you now....it rains.....a LOT!  I don't care what month you are going in, it will rain at least one day while you are there!  Don't be caught unprepared, I warned you.  Head to the $ Store before you leave and stock up on ponchos.  They come 2 to a pack.  While they aren't the prettiest things in the world they will keep you dry, and it beats paying $10 for one at the park.

7) Take a bag with lots of pockets.  I purchased a little purse just to use for Black Friday.  It has TONS of little pockets and the strap is WAY long so I can wear it across my torso.  Little did I know at the time it will also come in handy for our trip.  While cruising disboards.com I came across a thread about what bags are the best and guess what!!  My little purse was in there!  AWESOME!

6) SUNSCREEN!!  It is VERY sunny in Florida.  Protect yourself and pack sunscreen!  Slather it on before you leave your resort in the morning and pack a travel-size bottle to reapply in the afternoon.

5) Disposable Washcloths.  You may not always be able to go back to your room to "freshen up" before dinner.  You can find these handy little washcloths in the baby department at your local Walmart or Target.  There are family restrooms at the parks that you can freshen up in.

4) Glow Sticks.  Some of the rides at WDW can get dark.  If you are like me and have a child that is a little afraid of the dark these will help.  Just keep them in your bag and when you get on the ride pop them out and let her hold one.  It will give just enough light to make her feel a bit more comfy but not too much light to detract from the ride.

3) Hand Sanitizer.  You may not always be at a place to run over to a bathroom and wash your hands.  Better take some hand sanitizer or little wipes with you.  Plus, you just never know who sat in that seat before you and what they were doing.  It may have been some snotty kid.  EW!  Ok so maybe the hand sanitizer is just for my sanity.  lol

2) Over the Door Shoe Organizer.  Yes, I know this one is a bit off the wall.  I thought so at first two when someone was first passing this tip to me.  BUT!  This is why!  If you have ever stayed at a hotel and know the morning shuffle then you know things get crazy and messy.  Label the organizer with one name per pocket.  Then make a label for things such as bows, first aid kit, shoes, etc.  This will also make it easy on mousekeeping by keeping things up and out of the way.  You can also add labels for shoes, socks, hair dryer, hair straightener, etc if you have enough spots.

AND.....................................................................DRUM ROLL PLEASE...........................................
My #1 FAVORITE tip is.....................................................

1) Zip-lock Bags!!  What?  Really?  Why?  Well, let me tell you!  When at home, while you are packing, go ahead and make out complete outfits for each child.  One pair of socks, one pair of undies, one bottom and one top.  Place the outfit in a zip-lock bag, squeeze the air out and pop it in your suitcase.  The first reason to do this is it will take up less space by packing like this.  Next, once you get to your hotel you are not trying to find missing socks or bottoms to match this shirt, it is already together, just toss the bag to your child and they will be dressed in no time with no fighting!  THEN!  On your way out the door to whatever park you are visiting that day, just pop and extra bag with outfit in your main bag (just in case you know).  Your child is bound to get sticky or wet at some point I am sure, but lucky for you, you have extra clothes!  Not only do you have extra clothes, you have a waterproof bag to put the other (probably wet) clothes in.  ;)  How genius is THAT?!?!

So, there you have it!  My top 10 things to make sure to pack for WDW!

What are some of your tips?

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Airfare to Disney


So, you have decided to fly to WDW rather than drive?  Freaking out that the cost to fly is going to be just as much, if not a lot more, than it is for your hotel, park tickets and meals combined?  Well, let me share a site with you.
A friend of my moms (she has the most AWESOME friends) who is also my friend led me to Allegiantair.com.  What I discovered there was fantastic!

I discovered that if we decided to fly that it would actually be affordable!  The last time I check it was going to be around $800 for all 4 of us, roundtrip.  Add in gas and 2 nights in a hotel and I am sure it comes out to just about the same, minus a few bathroom stops and a few hours.

The catch is that they only fly out of certain small airports, we would have to drive about 2 hours to the nearest departure city, and they only fly into a few destinations.  The other catch is they only fly on certain days.

HOWEVER!  $800 plus a tank of gas ($50) sure beats $2400 + a tank of gas to fly out of a bigger airport directly into Orlando's biggest airport.

Just in case you were wondering, we are still considering driving.  I will let you know what we decided.


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Disney Recipes!!!



Because I have a VERY picky eater in my little family I am worried about some of the food at Disney not appealing to her little appetite.  Over the next few months I plan to try one new recipe a week from the people at WDW to make sure Miss Mads approves, others I will be making just because I want to make sure I like it before we try it at WDW.  Don't know where she gets her picky-eatingness from!  :)

I have already shared one recipe, Tie-Dye Cheesecake, and plan to try it once my kitchen is back to normal.  I will review every recipe I try for you and also review it from our trip, just to compare.

Enjoy!  If you have a fav Disney recipe you would like me to try just let me know, I am open to "almost" anything.

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Pop Century Tie-Dye Cheesecake Recipe


One of the things the resort we will be staying at features is the famous Tie-Dye Cheesecake.  The ONLY place you can find it at WDW is at the Pop Century resort.

Doesn't it just look fun!? 

The "crust" is made of red velvet cake!  The cheesecake part is just like any other cheesecake, except you color it with food color.

Enjoy!


Crust (red velvet cake)*:
1/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 ounce red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 c buttermilk
1 c flour
1/2 tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9″ spring-form pan.
Cream together butter, sugar & eggs. Make a paste of cocoa and food coloring. Add the paste to the creamed mixture. Mix salt & vanilla in buttermilk & add alternately with the flour. Mix soda & vinegar separately, add last, folding in. Do not beat after adding soda mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool cake in pan.
Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
*You can also use a Red Velvet cake mix (think Duncan Hines)

Cheesecake Filling:
1 1/2 lb. Cream Cheese
1 1/3 c Sugar
5 Large Eggs
16 oz. Sour Cream
1/4 c Flour
2 teaspoon Vanilla
2 teaspoon Lemon Juice
NOTE: All above ingredients should be at room temperature before you begin.
Preparation:
Start by beating the cream cheese until light & fluffy. Keep mixer on a low setting throughout beating and mixing process. Add the sugar a little at a time & continue beating until creamy. Add one egg at a time and beat after each egg. When eggs have been mixed into the cream cheese add flour, vanilla and lemon juice, mix well. Add the sour cream last & beat well.

Divide the batter into 6 bowls and color each one:
Red, Purple, Yellow, Light Blue, Green, Orange

To assemble, drop large spoonfuls of the colored batters randomly on top of the red velvet cake still in the pan. Swirl each layer slightly. Place on the top rack in the middle of a 325 degree preheated oven for one hour and 15 minutes. When time is up, prop open oven door and leave the pan in the oven for one hour. After one hour, remove from oven. Let cool enough before the cheesecake is put into the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Once I get my kitchen back to normal I plan on making this.  I will let you know how it turns out!
Have you had the TDCC at POP or made it yourself?

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Disney Dining Plan vs Out of Pocket


Before checking the prices against each other we went ahead and booked the DDP (Disney Dining Plan).  We opted for the Deluxe option which allows you 3 sit down meals a day per person and also 2 snacks a day per person.  To me it just makes it easier to go ahead and put the plan on our trip and have all of the meals paid for before our trip and not have to worry about coming up with the cash once we are there.
In no partcilar order our Breakfasts include dining at:


For Lunch we have opted for:

And for Dinner ( I am REALLY excited about these) we will have:

Adding the DDP is a cost of about $72/per day for adults and $21/day for children.  Four our stay this comes to a total of $660.

Now, let's add up how much it would cost per day if we were not on the DDP and still going to all of the restaurants above.  I did look ahead at the menus and picked what I thought my family would enjoy and based my totals off of that.

The grand OOP total comes to....drum roll please.....$970!!!

WOWZA!

So, I would say we are getting a GREAT deal by purchasing the DDP!

Now granted, if we did not have the DDP we probably would not do all the restaurants we are doing and eat REALLY cheap.  But, both my hubby and I went in to this saying "We may never go back, it isn't that much more to add the DDP, we never eat like this and it would be really fun, SO!  Why not?"

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