A Final Look Back at Our Disney Vacation

Here’s one final look back at the Disney portion of our vacation, focused specifically on a few pictures that didn’t seem to fit anywhere else, starting with me at Epcot’s World Showcase at the two places in the world I’d most like to visit: Germany and England (with Eeyore, of course!):

I managed to get a selfie with each of my daughters on a ride they really liked (the teacups, Dumbo, and the carousel):

And another pair of pictures of me at the Magic Kingdom…same day, but with an outfit change!

I think that’s about it for things I wanted to share…it certainly was the trip of a lifetime!

Tasty Tuesday–The Tenth Disney Dinner

Our tenth Disney Dinner was all about taking a second chance on the rib recipe that didn’t turn out earlier in the summer, but before we get to that, a drink I put a lot of effort into coming up with, the Frozen Sunshine from Disney’s Beach Club Resort. The more Disney Dinners we had, the harder it was to find drink recipes that didn’t include alcohol, or that could at least have the alcohol substituted out. I went through pretty much all of the recipes in our cookbooks, so I turned to the internet for copycat recipes, which is where I found this Creamsicle in a cup!

I was still upset about the “Disney Disaster” we had previously, so I gave the hoisin chili sticky ribs from Delicious Disney based on Chef Morimoto’s recipe from his restaurant at Disney Springs, Morimoto Asia, another shot, substituting baby back ribs for spare ribs. They were perfect…definitely the best ribs I’ve ever made!

For dessert, we had Mickey Mouse-shaped beignets with lavender sugar. Can you have too many Mickey-shaped treats?!?

This was a fun meal, and I really enjoyed the redemption when making the ribs!

Tasty Tuesday–The Ninth Disney Dinner, Star Wars Edition

Our ninth Disney Dinner was A Big Deal, because I tried to recapture the magic of something we tried at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios…but first, something new and something a little scary, the Sarjenn Snowcap, a cola slushy topped with sweetened, condensed milk. I wasn’t really sure how it would taste, but in the end it was very similar to a cola float, and very good.

The star of the meal was Batuuan Ronto Wraps, a popular item at Hollywood Studios. We shared a Ronto Wrap our first day at the park, and Turkey liked it so much, he bought his own for dinner the second day we were there. The Galaxy’s Edge version has both sliced pork and a sausage, but we had ours with just the sausage, and it really wasn’t missing much.

For dessert, we had Cavaellin Spice Creams, which were pretty much gingerbread cookie whoopee pies filled with orange cream cheese frosting.

It was fun to really have a little bit of Disney at home!

Tasty Tuesday–The Eighth Disney Dinner

I planned our eighth Disney Dinner to coordinate with a very special day…Dole Whip Day, something we were especially excited about since we had recently tried an actual Dole Whip! But first, the drink. I made Cinderella’s Midnight Magic Punch, which was delicious, pretty, and extra fun with the rock candy stirring rod!

The main course was Monte Cristo sandwiches with currant jelly sauce. I have wanted to make Monte Cristos for years, but the idea of it was always too intimidating. They really weren’t bad to make, though, and they were really, really delicious!

And in honor of Dole Whip Day, a “Frozen Pineapple Treat Inspired by Dole Whip.” I think we were all skeptical, because we liked the Dole Whip we had a the Magic Kingdom so much, and we knew it wouldn’t be quite the same, but we all agreed that it was a pretty decent facsimile!

This was an especially fun Disney Dinner because it included something we had actually tried on our trip…stay tuned for the next one, where the main course is a replica of a meal we had a Hollywood Studios!

EARidescent Evenings

Time for one last look back at the beautiful “EARidescent Evenings” at the parks of Walt Disney World in celebration of the 50th anniversary. The color scheme is so pretty, and everything just glows with happiness!

We didn’t see the Animal Kingdom in the evening because we spent less time there in general, and they’re not open as late in the first place, but I assume the Tree of Life has something fantastic, as well! It’s a perfect visual representation of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration!”

Sartorial Saturday–Inspired by Architecture

I’m not sure that I’ve ever purchased an accessory inspired by architecture before, but this Loungefly Disney Contemporary Resort handbag certainly is!

I love that the bag has the a-line shape of the main building of the resort, plus a whimsical print that combines Mickey and Minnie with mid-century details (the perfect reflection of the resort, which is also celebrating an anniversary this year!). And if you look closely, you’ll notice that the handle is in the shape of the monorail that travels through the building!

It’s a Small World

Do you have any idea how excited I was to see the bright colors of “It’s a Small World” in Fantasyland?!?

I’ve already shared some pictures of Mary Blair’s work at the Contemporary Resort, but the Disney World attraction she’s most famous for is “It’s a Small World,” and I couldn’t wait to ride it!

Although the original ride was created by WED Enterprises (now known as Walt Disney Imagineering), at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, it wasn’t actually made for Disneyland…it was built for the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. Following its successful run there, it returned to California and became a beloved attraction at Disneyland. The ride was also added (with some variations ) to Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland.

I don’t know much about cruises, but in my opinion, it really is the “Happiest cruise that ever sailed.”

Mary Blair’s distinctive use of color is so obvious throughout the ride:

Even at the end of the ride, when the spirit of international unity is so evident, her fingerprint is unmistakable:

I really didn’t want to say goodbye!

“There is just one moon
And one golden sun
And a smile means
Friendship to ev’ryone
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It’s a small world after all.”

Tasty Tuesday–The Seventh Disney (Breakfast for) Dinner

I planned our seventh Disney Dinner to coincide with Bastille Day, so I had an excuse to make S’mores French Toast Sandwiches (or “delicious hot schmoes”) as found in Hollywood Studio’s Toy Story Land. Since it was such a decadent meal, we didn’t have dessert, but who needs it when dinner looks like this?!?

For the drink, I used the recipe for Keshian Spiced Milk from the Star Wars Life Day Cookbook…it was very much like a horchata, and very tasty!

Normally I wouldn’t make something like this for dinner, but for a special occasion, it was fun, and it may even return to the table as a dessert in the future!

The Magic of Mary Blair

One of the things I was most excited about doing when we were at Disney World was stopping at the Contemporary Resort so we could see the Mary Blair Grand Canyon mural:

The mural is 90 feet tall (!!!), consists of 1,800 hand-painted tiles, and took 18 months to create. It is really hard to comprehend just how massive and detailed it is without seeing it for yourself!

Here’s a zoomed-in (and therefore slightly blurry), look at one of the most famous parts of the mural…the five-legged goat. Mary Blair included it reflect a Southwest Native American belief that nothing made by man can be perfect because man is imperfect. This reminded me a lot of the way quilters will often turn a block in their design, and I think it’s a really cool way to acknowledge the beliefs of the original inhabitants of the area the mural represents!

The scenes representing daily life in the Grand Canyon are whimsical and beautiful:

My only sadness (ok, two sadnesses) is that A.) I didn’t have someone take my picture in front of it; and 2.) That I didn’t photograph the signature tile with Mary Blair’s signature on it. I guess I’ll just have to go back and see it again someday!

Galaxy’s Edge

It’s time for the blog post I’ve both been looking forward to and dreading…the one focused on our time at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios at Disney World!

I like Star Wars, but I never get the words right. I’m the one who famously asked “Why does that guy have Luke Skywalker’s haircut?” at the end of The Mandalorian, season two. So I’m not really sure what I’m going to screw up looking back at our adventures at the Black Spire Outpost on Batuu (I hope I at least got that part right!), but I’m still excited to share the details of this amazing section of the park!

If you are looking for an immersive experience, one that puts you right into the universe of Star Wars, this is the place for you…it’s actually like being in a whole other world!

Our first stop was Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, because we had an unbelievably long list of lightsabers we wanted to buy before any of them sold out for the day (14 total, if you’re keeping track). I especially like that Dok-Ondar is an Ithorian, one of my very favorite species in Star Wars due to their humorous necks!

At Ronto Roasters, you can see a pitmaster droid hard at work turning a side of Ronto on the spit:

The Ronto Wrap is as delicious as it looks (so delicious, in fact, that I made a copycat recipe from the official Walt Disney World anniversary cookbook when we got home!):

We stopped by the Creature Stall, where we saw an adorable sleeping Loth-cat:

We went on “Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run,” where we took the Falcon on a smuggling run to Corellia for Hondo Ohnaka. I don’t want to brag, but as one of the pilots, I got to engage the hyperdrive!

One of the big highlights of the day was going to Savi’s Workshop to build lightsabers (if you’re keeping track, this brought our total up to 21 lightsabers purchased or built in one day!). This was an amazing experience…I had no idea what to expect, but I found it strangely moving, especially when Yoda spoke to us from the Force.

If you’re wondering how it works, after you’re admitted to the assembly room, you choose your Kyber Crystal (mine is, of course, purple). They then bring you a tray of lightsaber parts based on the style you chose before entering the building (I picked Protection and Defense). The staff there is great, both at telling the story and at helping with the assembly…some of the pieces can be a little challenging to put together (or at least they were for me, but I wasn’t too proud to ask for help!). Once they check to make sure your lightsaber hilt is complete, they have you put it into a slot in the table, and that’s where the connection to the blade is made. The moment everyone turns their lightsaber on in the darkened room is really special, and we all loved it.

Here’s a look at our family’s collection…no two are exactly the same!

We had to be aware of our surroundings, because there are Stormtroopers wandering around looking for trouble…I mean Jedi…no, maybe I mean trouble!

The details in every part of the design of the park are excellent:

We also went to the Droid Depot to build our very own droids. There are tons of options in a great selection of colors, with the base models being based on R units, BB units, and C units. You can make your droid look like it’s from one of the movies, or you can make it look completely unique (I based mine on Roald, my favorite Animal Crossing character). The building process goes like this…after looking at the day’s available options, you go to a conveyor belt and pick the pieces you need based on the droid series you chose (they give you a card that shows what you’re looking for). After you have everything in your basket, you head to a droid-building station, where they walk you through putting it together, then activate it and teach you how to control it. They’re quite talkative, and interact with other droids nearby!

This is a sample of the eight total droids our family built:

We had to wait until our last day at the parks to finally ride “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” (apparently it breaks down a lot). This was probably the longest line we stood in on our trip, but it was worth it…like everything else in the park, it was completely immersive, and you really felt like you were in trouble with the First Order officers who were gathering people for interrogation. There were familiar faces in this ride, including an appearance by BB-8, and we also met a new R5 unit who aided us in our escape.

It was a really cool ride, and not too scary (not even for me, the thrill ride coward), and there were so many great details…we even got to go under a walker!

Everything about the experience at the Black Spire Outpost is awesome!

I loved our time at Galaxy’s Edge, and I’d love to go back someday!