by Kimberly LaPaglia | Feb 13, 2018 | Disney, Disney Holidays, Disney Springs, Epcot, Holidays, Walt Disney World
Springtime at Walt Disney World
The Florida sunshine is simply gorgeous (and warm!) during springtime at Walt Disney World. Flowers, smiles, and magical experiences are blooming in every park and resort.
And as spring arrives, pastel colors explode! It’s a whimsical time to visit the Happiest Place on Earth.
Stop by Contempo Café for delicious treats!
Also, springtime in Walt Disney World brings the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Spring Break, Easter, and the Star Wars Half Marathon. Plus, Mother’s Day and more!
Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival
Even before the official start of the season, Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival gets underway. I can’t wait to see what’s blooming next year!.
Find out what’s blooming at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
Here, you’ll want to dig into the tasty bites at the Outdoor Kitchens. Or listen to a concert. My favorite part of the festival? The stunning topiaries! This event is fun for all ages.
You won’t want to miss the topiaries at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
Spring Break Brings Crowds
Spring Break is a popular and thus crowded time to visit WDW; this makes the month of March very crowded. You’ll find springtime touring less chaotic from around the second week of April to mid-May. Of course, the timing of Easter is also a factor.
Still, Spring Break is a great time to visit Walt Disney World. If you’re traveling from a colder climate, you’ll really appreciate the warm, Florida sunshine. You can explore the theme parks day and night or opt to relax by your hotel pool. With so many things to see and do, this is a Spring Break location that promises fun for all ages.
Easter at Walt Disney World
Look for treats, eats, and customized baskets. Buy a pre-made basket or build your own! You’ll find Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny greeting guests in the Magic Kingdom. Look for other Easter activities at the resorts.
Purchase pre-made Easter Baskets.
Cookies and Candy for your Easter Baskets!
The sweet aroma will lure you into the Disney bakeries, including Main Street Confectionery.
Don’t pass up the seasonal cookies!
Don’t miss a smorgasbord of shopping, dining, and entertainment at Disney Springs.
Vera Bradley bags are great for Easter and Mother’s Day gifts.
Look for colorful merchandise.
Star Wars runDisney Event
Runners will want to start prepping for this event usually held in April. Get your race on!
Spring Activities at Walt Disney World
Find a place to picnic. We love these outdoor tables at All-Star Music Resort.
- Swimming at your resort pool.
- Visit a water park.
- Have an outdoor picnic.
- Watch an outdoor movie.
- Go fishing.
- Sit by a campfire.
- Watch your resort’s activity schedule for Easter festivities.
- Rent a boat — cruise on a lagoon, go fishing, or take a fireworks cruise.
Outdoor Activities at Polynesian Village Resort
Spring in Walt Disney World is rejuvenating! Are you ready to say goodbye to winter hibernation, boots, and heavy coats?! If so, plan a weekend or week-long stay at the Walt Disney World resort in Central Florida.
What’s your favorite time of the year to visit Walt Disney World? Do you have a favorite spring activity that you must do on every WDW trip?
by Kimberly LaPaglia | Oct 29, 2017 | Disney, Disney Springs
Cherry Tree Lane
Based on the upscale London address in Disney’s Mary Poppins, Cherry Tree Lane is a source of must-stop shopping fun at the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World.
While the square footage of this store is small, there are a lot of tempting items for purchase lining the shelves. From pricey Dooney & Bourke handbags to unique jewelry, Cherry Tree Lane is THE place to splurge on a souvenir or gift.
You should stop by Cherry Tree Lane!
The Dress Shop at Cherry Tree Lane
The Dress Shop is a collection of nostalgic Disney designs for adults. Perfectly created for grown ups, dresses and accessories feature designs from popular Disney attractions.
Look for designs inspired by Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, “it’s a small world,” The Haunted Mansion, and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Other creations showcase classic Disney characters, including Minnie Mouse, Snow White from Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” and Alice from Walt Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland.”
Inspired by The Hollywood Tower Hotel.
Dresses range in sizes from XS-XL. There are some styles that go up to 3XL, so keep checking for your favorite dress pattern.
Haunted Mansion items.
Vera Bradley Handbags
Also, Disney designs are offered on Vera Bradley bags.
Choose from several Vera Bradley Disney patterns.
Dooney & Bourke Handbags
Next, you’ll want to peruse the Dooney & Bourke handbags with beautiful Disney patterns. On my recent visit, I spotted this Bambi bag. It’s adorable, right?!
Adorable Bambi bag by Dooney & Bourke.
The stock changes frequently, so stop by when visiting Disney Springs.
Dooney & Bourke displays are nestled within The Dress Shop items.
Stop by Cherry Tree Lane and look at the Dooney & Bourke collection.
Pet Merchandise for Your Dog
Even your favorite furry pal can find stylish accessories at Cherry Tree Lane!
Accessories for your dog!
This is one of my favorite places to shop at Walt Disney World!
Author P.L. Travers brought magic to 17 Cherry Tree Lane with the arrival of Mary Poppins to this fictitious address in London. Shopkeepers at The Dress Shop at Cherry Tree Lane in the Marketplace Co-Op of Disney Springs send shoppers on their way with nostalgic outfits.
Cherry Tree Lane Tips
- Annual Passholders get a discount here. Don’t forget to show your AP!
- Avoid weekends; browse on a weekday morning.
- Check out shopdisney.com for at-home shopping.
Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter, or comment below. What dress or accessory is on your wish list?
by Kimberly LaPaglia | Oct 1, 2017 | Disney, Disney Restaurants, Disney Springs
WDW Table Service Review: Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’
You must add Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ restaurant to your next Walt Disney World itinerary. Bless your heart; this is southern comfort food served with innovative style.
Michael and I booked a meal at this cozy Table Service Restaurant — Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ — located in Disney Springs.
Lunch at Homecomin’!
Repeat visitors may have noticed the subtle name change here. The restaurant debuted as Homecoming and then took on a more southern sound, Homecomin’. Indeed, Chef Art has brought his culinary skills back to his Floridian roots. In Jasper to the north of Disney World, Chef Art’s mom, Addie Mae, used local ingredients like sugar cane and citrus in her homemade recipes. You’ll find cake on the menu if you have room for dessert; Chef Art baked cakes for Central Foods in the 1981 Magic Kingdom college program. Welcome to Homecomin’!
An outdoor patio (and screened porch) welcomes guests to sit a spell while drinking beverages from Shine Bar.
Large Dining Table.
Beautiful view of Disney Springs from screened porch.
Inside, some of the rustic chandeliers boast the wonders of russet potatoes. I’m a starch, lovin’ spud fan so I was already digging the farmhouse ambiance.
Russet Potatoes. Yes, please!
With a late lunch reservation, we were seated quickly inside the quiet restaurant. As the dinner hour neared, the restaurant filled up and the noise level increased. Still, it was a relaxing meal with attentive service.
The dining room showcases local farmers.
You’ll notice that some tables offer pretty views of Disney Springs.
Tables in Dining Room.
Inside and outside, guests will find mentions of Florida Sunshine and local ingredients throughout the decor.
The open kitchen window.
While waiting for your table or prior to exiting the restaurant, look for personal artifacts adorned on the restaurant walls.
Letter from WDW to Chef Art Smith.
While the ambiance is comforting, the food also sets the mood for an experience to relish.
Homecomin’ Food and Beverages
Local farmers are key to the fresh ingredients showcased on the menu. As you’ll see, this restaurant’s menu is Florida-inspired.
Beverages include shine on tap, crafty moonshine, resort cocktails, wine, moonshine flights, and beer (drafts, cans, and bottles).
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Beverage Menu.
My husband and I both ordered the Thigh High Chicken Biscuits as our entree.
Thigh High Chicken Biscuits
Drizzled with hot honey, three biscuits are filled with Chef Art’s famous fried chicken thighs plus bread and butter pickles. These were absolutely divine.
Thigh High Chicken Biscuits.
Drizzled in honey!
Typically, southern dinners showcase an assortment of sides that are usually no less delicious than the main course. The choices we made at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ did not disappoint. We opted to share the Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Momma’s Mac and Cheese. Both were easily shareable due to the hefty portions and rich flavors.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
These were a game-changer for both of us. We wondered throughout the meal how a simple dish like mashed potatoes could be elevated to such divine quality. Yes, they are as creamy as they are unforgettable.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes.
Look at that gravy!
Momma’s Mac and Cheese
Please, just order the mac and cheese. First of all, this dish is visually stunning; the family seated near us had to ask what it was so they could order it too.
And every forkful is filled with tender macaroni brimming with cheese.
Momma’s Mac and Cheese.
It’s impossible to describe the mouth-watering adventure that our taste buds were treated to during this meal. We both agreed that all three of our choices were some of the best food that we’ve ever tasted. We truly left wondering how these simple, southern specialties could be so different from anything we’ve previously tasted. Every bite was savored and yes, we’re going back for more very soon!
Recommendation and Tips
Portions are hearty. Share some or all elements of your meal.
Dine early to beat the crowds.
Order an appetizer as your entree; as a picky eater, I’m always a fan of restaurants with apps that are entree-worthy.
Ask your server about the restaurant, Chef Art Smith, and local ingredients. We found out that Chef Art Smith is as generous and kind in person as he is portrayed in the media.
Chef Art stops by about twice per month.
The restaurant features local farmers.
Check out the merchandise.
Disney Restaurant Facts
- Disney Springs/The Landing
- American Cuisine/Vegetarian Items Limited
- Kids Menu
- Casual Table Service/Grab and Go Items Available
- Some Dining Plans Accepted
Have you dined at Homecomin’ yet? What should we try on our next visit? Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter, or comment below.
by Kimberly LaPaglia | May 18, 2017 | Disney, Disney Food, Disney Parks, Disney Restaurants, Disney Springs, Walt Disney World, WDW Resorts
Ten Memorable Walt Disney World Snacks
Here’s a quick list of ten of my favorite Walt Disney World snacks. To be fair, there are plenty more that could be added to this scrumptious inventory. For today, I’m sharing ten really memorable snacks that I’ve enjoyed on multiple trips and sometimes more than once during a single WDW vacation. 😉 Kids and kids at heart will want to find their own best-loved eats and sips!
My new favorite calorie splurge is the elegant Raspberry Eclair at Amorette’s Patisserie in Disney Springs. Tart and fruity with a white chocolate decoration, I’m not kidding when I say that I’m absolutely craving every gorgeous bite of this treat.
Choose your favorite flavor of gelato at Vivoli il Gelato in Disney Springs. My pick is always the Piccola Copetta – a choice of two flavors in a cup. My choice scoops? Peanut butter (when available) and chocolate.
Savor your favorite flavor of gelato.
Chocolate and vanilla gelato.
For a Magic Kingdom treat, I head to Sunshine Tree Terrace and dig into a Citrus Swirl. The orange slushie blended with vanilla soft serve is SO refreshing.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake
Originally sold at Starring Rolls Cafe, the Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake has gone through many variations. However you dress it up (Darth Vader!), it’s still chocolate and smooth peanut butter buttercream — and this mixture makes my heart swoon. You can find it now at other locations in Disney’s Hollywood Studios such as Backlot Express.
Join the dark side!
Peanut Butter Cookie
Found packaged as Minnie’s Bake Shop cookies or in Disney World bakery cases, the peanut butter cookie is thick and chewy with satisfying peanut butter chunks. Choose from Peanut Butter or Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.
Cookie at Goofy’s Candy Company.
Minnie bakes awesome cookies!
I adore the Chocolate Croissant at Gaston’s Tavern. It’s also found at several other locations, including some resort food courts. As a breakfast item, I find this snack decadent — hey, it’s vacation, right?!
For a thirst quencher in the Florida heat, nothing’s better than a frozen lemonade. Also, the Magic Kingdom’s Cheshire Cafe has an amazing frozen slushy – raspberry lemonade.
Port Orleans French Quarter fans are already in the know about the beignets. Get them for a snack, dessert, or breakfast! Of course, they are messy but these deep-fried pastries are worth it. Wear that powdered sugar proudly!
Messy but good!
Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich
You’ll find this comforting goodness at several quick-service locations in Walt Disney World. I like it with chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream for old-fashioned, simple flavors. Yum!
Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich – big enough to share!
Peanut Butter Brownie
Nestled in the exotic Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Mara boasts a counter-service menu with some unique items. I’m partial to the Peanut Butter Brownie (yes, I love peanut butter!).
More peanut butter!
I hope you’ll find at least one snack from this list to try on your next visit to Walt Disney World.
Share your memorable Walt Disney World snacks! Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter or comment below to let us know what to try next!
by Michael LaPaglia | May 8, 2017 | Disney, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Springs, Walt Disney World
Shop and Dine at Disney Springs in Walt Disney World
Our amazing week on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas was followed up with a day long stop at the now nearly completed Disney Springs in Walt Disney World. As a shopping and dining complex (similar to CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort), Disney Springs can be a one-stop location or an all-day venue. It’s a great place to hang out on your Disney Arrival Day!
Transformation at Disney Springs
It is astounding to see the difference a little less than a year makes. During our last visit in 2016, the renovations and additions to Disney Springs were about three quarters of the way complete. Visits up until that time allowed us to enjoy the recently completed Orange Parking structure, dine at The Boathouse, sip drinks at Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar, and gain an overall appreciation of the scope of the project.
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar.
This visit in early February 2017 allowed us to savor even more of Disney Springs. While the list of new eateries and retail outlets is certainly too lengthy to review here, we’ll continue to take a closer look at individual Disney Springs’ offerings in future articles. Sign up here!
The primary highlight for us was enjoying the architectural and design details that have been added and integrated into the area (okay, we enjoyed some tasty eats too 😉 ). We parked in the Lime Garage and walked out into Town Center. What a pleasant surprise! The Landing was completely obstructed by construction walls last year.
Convenient parking at Disney Springs.
We shopped at the UNIQLO retail outlet to take a look at the much ballyhooed T-shirts and other exclusive offerings. I was able to get my hands on a unique Marvel Iron Man shirt! Yep, I highly recommend browsing this store for themed shirts.
Mickey shirts at UNIQLO.
By far, the most impressive aspect of the Town Center area lie in its design and architectural details. Those details allow for an immersive experience into the entirety of the Disney Springs thematic approach to shopping and dining.
Plenty of stores to browse at Disney Springs.
The retail outlets located here can be found at most upscale shopping centers and other areas, but it is the visual impact related to the details and design that make it special. It is clear that you are on Disney property.
Gorgeous fountain at Disney Springs.
Love the architectural details at Disney Springs.
One highlight of this area was the D-Living store. At the time, this store was all decked out in Beauty and the Beast decor and merchandise. It was a fun store to browse through! Note that D-Living is closed until May 11, 2017 when it will unveil a new theme and matching merchandise.
D-Living featured a Beauty and the Beast Theme.
Wolfgang Puck Express
For lunch we had an unadventurous, but thoroughly enjoyable pizza at Wolfgang Puck Express.
One of our favorite lunch stops is Wolfgang Puck Express.
Delicious cheese pizza at Wolfgang Puck Express.
Next, we headed over to Amorette’s Patisserie. The rave reviews that this establishment has boasted since opening is certainly well deserved. An absolute joy to experience and our choices — a Mickey Dome Cake and Raspberry Eclair– were memorable. 😉
Raspberry Eclair and Mickey Dome Cake. Yum!
Star Wars and Rogue One Merchandise
It should not be surprising to anyone that I was most eager at finding Star Wars and Rogue One merchandise. I was very pleased to see the entire middle wing of Once Upon a Toy dedicated to Star Wars and Rogue One merchandise!
Star Wars Merchandise.
In fact, Rogue One icons, posters, and other visuals were in display all across Disney Springs. As if there wasn’t any doubt, it is now entirely clear that Star Wars will be a huge influence over all that is Disney for the foreseeable future. I will not voice any complaints about that!
Star Wars Displays at Disney Springs.
There will be lots more to see, eat, drink, and purchase at Disney Springs during future Walt Disney World visits. I am most looking forward to returning and dining at The Edison when it opens later this year. For now, our family plans to spend a day at Disney Springs in early June. Yes, I’m counting the days!
Looking forward to The Edison!
Plan a visit to Disney Springs in Walt Disney World — and don’t be afraid to bring the kids!
What do you enjoy most about Disney Springs in Walt Disney World? Do you plan to stop by Disney Springs on your next vacation to Walt Disney World?
by Kimberly LaPaglia | Mar 31, 2017 | Disney, Disney Food, Disney Restaurants, Disney Springs, Florida, Walt Disney World
Disney Springs Tips for Parents: Taking the Kids
Whether you’re visiting Walt Disney World for a week-long stay or passing through Orlando on a jaunt to the Space Coast, Disney Springs deserves a spot in your itinerary! Yes, even with little kids in tow. Let’s look at some Disney Springs tips for parents…
For starters, you’ll want to visit at a less busy time and since those little ones are known to be early risers, I would suggest getting to Disney Springs by the 10am opening time. Visit some of our suggested stops, then choose a place to dine for lunch.
What’s the attraction? Well, there are LEGOS to build, boats to transport tired feet, a carousel to ride, splash fountains for cooling off, and Mr. Potato Head figures to create! And you’ve barely opened your wallet for those activities.
Ride the Marketplace Carousel
Tip: If you know your child won’t be satisfied playing with the LEGOS without buying a new set that isn’t in your budget this time, then skip it and continue to a less stressful activity. You know your little one best!
I always want to write amphibicar for this attraction. But no, it’s an amphicar. Everyone loves to stop and watch these totally adorable vehicles make their way from dry land to splashdown in Lake Buena Vista.
Actual rides are pricey but it’s free fun to watch. Boat tours run 10am to 10pm, weather permitting. For $150, you’ll get a 20-minute voyage. Sorry, a captain drives the boat; you’re just along for the ride. Ask about the $25 off special for those lunching between 11am and 3pm. Lunch and launch!
Don’t you want an amphicar? I do!
Grab a nearby Gelato at Vivoli il Gelato and enjoy the view!
Why choose only one flavor of gelato?
Disney’s Pin Traders
If you have a freshly-minted pin collector, a die-hard trader, or a little one that likes browsing shiny things, Disney’s Pin Traders is a stop the whole family can enjoy.
Mecca of shiny pins
Pin collecting can be fun for the whole family.
Find your favorite pins
Build Your Own Lightsaber
Star Wars Galactic Outpost and Once Upon A Toy offer a fun diversion for padawans.
Stop by and build your own lightsaber
Both locations boast create your own lightsabers at kid-friendly stations.
Play time for padawans
Most of the time, I see kids playing here for a bit and then leaving. I’m not sure real little ones even know they are available for purchase. This could be a budget-friendly stop if the “this is just a play station approach” works for your family.
Characters in Flight
I’m not fond of heights but if you are a-okay at 400 feet up in the air, this ride on a tethered helium balloon affords tremendous views of the area (or so I’ve been told).
Ascend 400 feet
Current prices are $20 for adults and $15 for kids. Kids under age 9 must be accompanied by an adult 18 or over.
You can ride the elevator if you have small kids in strollers, otherwise I recommend taking the ramp walkway to the top. Tire out those kids; that’s what I’m thinking. Up top, you’ll have a fantastic view of Disney Springs.
View from the rooftop at Coca-Cola store
It’s free. And it’ll save you some steps from one end of Disney Springs to the other. Three docks are available: Marketplace, The Landing, and West Side. Plus, a soothing boat ride could result in a pleasantly sleepy child. 😉
Sassagoula River Boats
Tip: For a longer voyage, take the Sassagoula River Cruise over to Port Orleans French Quarter. We recommend stopping by the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory for a shareable treat of beignets.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Make an appointment 180 days in advance for the very popular Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for your royal offspring ages 3-12. Girls love the glittery princess makeovers and boys enjoy showing off their knight or pirate transformations.
Magical transformations take place inside
When I see a little princess shimmering, I can’t help but tell her how beautiful she looks. Say “Hi Princess” and enjoy the smile you’ll get in return.
Save a bundle by packing a princess-like dress or other costume from home. Packages begin at $59.95 for princesses and rise to $199.95 if you purchase one of their gowns. Knights run $19.95.
Music Concerts and Dance Parties
Look to the Fountain Stage for musical entertainment.
Musical groups perform at Disney Springs
Grab a nearby snack and take in some music by school-age performers. I’ve seen many little ones dancing at the Marketplace and Fountain stages; it’s a great place to burn off some wiggles before heading back to your resort for a mid-day rest.
Get up and dance
For YEARS, this store was a must stop for our family.
Playing at LEGO table
From life-size LEGO figures to build your own creations, this store is pure eye candy for LEGO lovers.
Indoor and outdoor fun at the Lego Store
Stop by for great photo ops.
World of Disney Store
Toys, stuffed animals, character crayons, and more pull the weariest of shoppers into the World of Disney store. And that’s just the merchandise. The décor is also amazing in this world’s largest Disney character shop! Go early; it gets insanely crowded.
Fun with birthday funds
Once Upon A Toy Store
Yes, this toy store is fun to explore.
It’s fun exploring Once Upon A Toy
Plus, you’ll find hands-on activities (build your own lightsabers, droids, and Mr. Potato Heads); purchasing these creations is optional.
Build your own Mr. Potato Head
Don’t forget to pose with Buzz Lightyear in front of the store.
Buzz is so cool
Food is Fun
You’ll want to have a pretty good idea before you arrive Disney Springs as to what you want to spend for snacks and dining.
Mickey Dome Cake at Amorette’s Patisserie
Once there, you’ll be inundated with tasty temptations.
Food trucks are fun
One of our favorite hang-outs is Goofy’s Candy Co.
Look for fun and tasty treats at Goofy’s Candy Co.
Here, the bakery case is filled with delightful treats. Wander in a bit further and you’ll find some make your own creations available.
If it’s a rainy day, we recommend catching a movie at AMC Disney Springs 24. For extra points with the kids, choose one of the Dine-In Theatres.
See a movie on a rainy day
Whether you venture inside to rent a lane or find an outdoor seat to sip beverages out of a souvenir bowling pin, Splitsville is an entertaining venue.
Splitsville offers indoor and outdoor entertainment
Plus… there’s so much more at Disney Springs! Keep an eye out for the T-Rex Cafe, Rainforest Cafe, Sprinkles Cupcakes, a small train ride, splash fountains, a Marvel Super Hero Headquarters store, gorgeous lake vistas, and the list goes on.
Note: All prices are subject to change. Tax is usually additional.
What does your family enjoy at Disney Springs? Share in the comments below.