The Quest for the Best Float

Vacation is the perfect excuse for lots of desserts and sweet treats. On my recent trip to California, I made this my motto, and put an emphasis on finding the best float.

My quest began at Disney’s Soda Fountain in Hollywood with an orange soda and vanilla ice cream float. I have to admit, I was rather confused when it came out. The soda was served in a huge mug with a scoop of ice cream resting on the rim. I tried, without much grace, to get the ice cream into the mug, but the soda fizzed up and nearly exploded. When it did calm down, though, it was quite delicious and as close to a citrus swirl as I could get on the west coast.

My next float was from the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland. We were about to say goodnight to my new favorite theme park, but found an excuse to stay a little longer by getting dessert. This time I ordered a coca-cola and vanilla ice cream float. Once our order was ready, we took our treats to the curb. We people-watched and castle-gazed until park closing. It was the perfect way to end a perfect day.

My final float was in Carsland from the Cozy Cone Motel. I went with a coca-cola float again, and it came in a neat Cars souvenir plastic cup. It was a great escape from the heat wave that day.

In the end, the Gibson Girl float won first prize. I’m not sure, though, if it actually tasted better or if it was just the magic of the moment. Disney’s Soda Fountain won best appearance, and the Cozy Cone won best cup. This quest sure was a tasty one, and I cannot wait to return to California for more.

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Ursula’s Latest Victim

“A woman doesn’t know how precious her voice is until she’s been silenced.” – Ursula

We’ve all had that feeling.. you wake up and someone says “Good morning!” to you. You open your mouth to respond, but instead of a friendly hello, you sound like a groggy Grinch. As you may have guessed, I’m writing this from experience.

This has happened to me before, but perhaps not at a worse time. I sing constantly, but during the holiday season, I am always found around my house belting my favorite Christmas tunes. These two weeks are also especially important for my voice; I have a singing exam this week, and next week, I’m performing at the Candlelight Processional in Epcot.

I pray that my sore throat heals as soon as possible, but its a part of living up north and singing your heart out everyday. Perhaps feeling a bit like Ariel isn’t the worst thing in the world; after all, she did get her handsome prince at the end.. AND she got her voice back in only 3 DAYS!

Ariel!

Stay healthy, friends 🙂

Faith, trust, & pixie dust,

Lindsay

Juiced

A trip to the Walt Disney World Resort is an absolute sensory experience. Many guests seem to be pulled to one specific sense. Each sense is a like a spider web, catching tourists as its prey. Disney enthusiasts spend their free time trying to formulate the sensory experience that Disney is, but it often proves impossible to do it justice. Through this blog, I hope to bring to life the indescribable, or at least give a glance into the heart of Disney, rather than the brain. For a writer, emotions and senses are the greatest things to write about. For a travel writer, they’re vital oxygen that allow a memorable story to breathe. The unfortunate thing about Disney World (and most destinations, for that matter) is that you can’t always bring senses back with you, only a remembrance of what it was like. When one comes across the opportunity to capture a sense for good, the opportunity is often immediately seized. That explains why I joyously ran to the juice section of my local grocery store. My parents told me the rumors, but were they true? As I confirmed my hope, I quickly grabbed one (expensive) bottle of Disney senses, and rushed to the cashier, afraid that any second I would wake up from this lovely dream without paying for a sample to take home. But it was real. In my hand was a bottle of… GOP JUICE!

Okay, no, GOP juice is not its own religion, like turkey legs or Dole Whips, but it is a unique flavor that stuck with me from my most recent trip. February 20 was a warm, sunny morning at the Polynesian. We took the short, leisurely stroll from our room in Aotearoa to the Great Ceremonial House for our reservation at Ohana. Cast members presented my family with colorful leis, and after the usual 10 to 15 minute wait, we were seated. For my birthday, they gave us a table with a nice view of the castle. I gazed out at the castle, then back in the dining room filled with characters, while taking in the famous Polynesian aroma.

After a few minutes to soak in the atmosphere, our waitress came to our table and filled our glasses with a juice so orange that Orange Bird himself would be jealous. At first, I wasn’t too thrilled to try it. It looked very strange, very fake. However, I trusted Disney, and decided to taste it. Boy, am I glad I did! Every tropical flavor you could imagine invaded my taste buds, and I was even further immersed in my resort.

“What is this?!?!” I questioned our waitress.

“GOP juice!” My mom and I traded confused looks. GOP..? “It’s a popular beverage in Hawaii- a mix of guava, orange, and passionfruit!”

At that moment, it was love.

I can’t remember exactly how many glasses of GOP juice I had, but thanks to our lovely waitress, my glass was never empty. When I returned home, GOP juice became another missed memory, placed on the shelf with my favorite attractions, Adventureland egg rolls, and Epcot music. I knew in a matter of months I’d return to most of those things, but the juice was a different story. We didn’t go to Ohana on every trip. There was a hole in my stomach that I knew I couldn’t fill. Its only fuel was the flavor of sunshine itself. Then, the miracle happened.

“I have a surprise for you!” warned my parents. I couldn’t even imagine what it could be. My dad went to the fridge, and pulled out an illustrated bottle. I slowly read the label aloud, “Passion… Orange… Guava… POG… GOP!” Right before my eyes was an unthinkable dream come true! It was by far the most exciting part of my day, and probably week. It may seem lame, but it was a perfect reminder of how grateful we should be for simple pleasures. No, I wasn’t still in my room at the Polynesian, but at least it tasted like I was. Sometimes, that’s really all you need. (However, a personal pineapple soft serve machine would be a welcome addition to my life, to use in between cups of GOP.)

Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust,

Lindsay

For information on finding your own bottle of GOP, go to www.bolthouse.com!

The Fine Art of a Flavorful Meal- Artist Point

A calming quiet and an organic elegance; a hidden treasure for guests in a fast-paced routine. Nestled in the main building of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Artist Point defines signature dining at Disney. It is one of those restaurants at which you’ll memorize every second of the meal just because it is that good. The menu changes with whatever is fresh, in-season, and inspires the chef. The waiters there are incredibly knowledgable and seem as if they could prepare the entrees themselves. In between courses, guests can take in the rustic atmosphere featuring influences from the Pacific Northwest. Even though it is in the heart of a popular resort only a boat ride from the Magic Kingdom, you feel a million miles away in the rarely-crowded, quiet dining room. These are just a few of the things that make Artist Point one of my favorite things at the Walt Disney World Resort.

I’ve had the pleasure of dining here twice, and each meal improves with each visit. My first experience was on December 23, 2008. Before our meal began, I was left speechless as I entered the lobby of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for the first time. The Christmas tree had to be one of the grandest on property. Bells and chimes echoed in the background from the performance of a live bell choir. It was exactly the way Christmas at home felt. I had one of the best steaks ever that night, a specialty for Christmas week, paired with an irresistible mushroom risotto similarly found at Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada at Epcot.

Recently, on February 19, 2011, I returned to Artist Point for a birthday dinner. After a monorail ride from our resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, we took a short boat ride from the Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The dock led us down a forested path that set the stage for the the rest of the evening. A little voice in my head happened to whisper, “Lindsay, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Florida anymore.” I couldn’t even fathom how Disney managed to transport Yellowstone National Park to sunny, central Florida.

We explored the grounds for a little while. I was immediately attracted to the seemingly natural beauty of Silver Creek Falls.

Our reservation fast approached, and we found ourselves looking at personalized dinner menus again after a three year drought. Ordering was a difficult choice, but I decided I needed to try one of their specialties- buffalo. Before our entrees were served, our waiter brought us irresistible bread accompanied by butter with black salt. It looked strange at first, but after trying it, I couldn’t stop coating my bread with its unique flavor. Our main course soon followed, and it was time to face the buffalo. I’ve had a number of five star steaks in my day, and let’s just say that buffalo trumps over any cow I’ve ever eaten. It was sweet, juicy, and tender, with a flavor I had never experienced. Even better yet, it was served with marinated Brussel sprouts and a crock of macaroni and cheese.

My parents also had best-meal-ever quality dinners with snapper for my mom and salmon for my dad.

Although our stomachs tried to tell us otherwise, we decided we needed dessert. We wanted to try their specialty, the Artist Point Berry Cobbler, of which, to our surprise, the waiter informed us had been changed by the chef too many times to keep track. After one bite, I was ready to march into the kitchen and say, “Don’t change a thing- it’s perfect.” This past week my grandmother made me a delicious crumb cake, but all I could think of is how much better it would be with warm berries and homemade ice cream, just as I had on that lovely February night.

Many restaurants can boast that they have a knowledgable staff, superb food, or stunning views, but there are few that can say they have all three. The thing that brings elegance to Artist Point is that it doesn’t have to brag. It’s simply what it is, and it’s one of those hidden treasures at Disney World that has a special place in my heart. When someone mentions Disney dining, I often smile and think back to my last meal at Artist Point. I’m still telling my friends of my buffalo-eating bravery! Overall, Artist Point has managed to turn dinner into an art, and I’ll be counting down the days until I return to one of my favorite things at Walt Disney World.

Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust,

Lindsay