Wordless Wednesday ~ Here's Looking At You Kid


Blizzard Stew

Through the night the wind howled and the snow piled up. We woke to a Dickens bitter cold day. The TV news peeps told us all to stay home. Well yea, we're buried under a foot of snow with 50 mile an hour winds. Good day for Blizzard Stew


Merry Day After Christmas

Christmas is over and we're bracing for a major snowstorm here in the northeast. Airlnes have cancelled flights. For a few tweeps that means more time in Walt Disney World. What a great place to stranded.


Here Comes Santa Claus

Here Comes Santa Claus, originally uploaded by _debs_.
Here comes Santa Claus right down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom during MVMCP parade. The most magical parade of the year with dancing reindeer, marching wooden soldiers and every character dressed in their hoilday finest.


Dream Along Fireworks Fanfare

, originally uploaded by _debs_.

Howdy from the Block Party Bash

 by _debs_.
Jessie & Woody give a great big wave from high up on their float in Disney's Hollywood Studios Block Party Bash. The parade features more than 20 Pixar characters, acrobats and performers on trampolines......... 

The Block Party Bash Parade, originally uploaded by _debs_.
Mr Potato Head waving to fans quipping jokes as he toddles along the avenue.I've watched this parade from many locations and I haven't found a bad spot yet unless you're in the sun. The American Idol side of the street provides plenty of shade. The Block Party Bash - final performance was 1/1/2011.:(Pixar Pals Cavalcade will debut 1/16/2011. Featuring four additional characters : Remy and Emile from "Ratatouille", and Carl and Russell from "Up."


Wordless Wednesday

The World Showcase in EPCOT

Partners Statue

The Partners bronze statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse is one of the most popular photo spots in the Magic Kingdom. I find it almost impossible to walk by day or night and not take a picture of it. It was expertly sculpted by Blaine Gibson who was also an animator on many classic Disney films. Next time you're in the Magic Kingdom stop and take a closer look at some of the details. That is after you've taken a few pics. Upon closer inspection of his tie clasp you'll notice the letters STR. The letters STR represent The Smoke Tree Ranch, a development in Palm Springs, California, where Walt Disney had a vacation home.


Foodie Friday Sweet Treat!

Fresh from The Magic Kingdom's Aloha Isle
Dole Whip Aloha Isle Magic Kingdom

Every time I'm at The Magic Kingdom I make it a point to stop by and have a Dole Whip. It's refreshing and it's lactose free. Most times it's late at night after the fireworks and during EMH. I pick a quiet table in the corner and just relax thinking back on the days activities. Sad another day has almost passed but looking forward to what tomorrow may bring. Maybe another Dole Whip:)

Foodie Fare Friday

Happy Foodie Friday! Today I'm sharing a recipe today from one our favorite dining spots in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World, The Liberty Tree Tavern. They make the best warm Apple Cobbler which is my husbands favorite dessert.

Apple Cobbler 

Preheat oven to 300º degrees.

Pie Crust Dough:
3 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter cut into ¼ inch pieces
4 tablespoons Crisco (or substitute: margarine (1 cup shortening = 1 cup + 2 tablespoons margarine)

Sift the flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Using your fingers (I cut it in with a pastry knife) work in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and work with your fingers until the water is incorporated and the dough comes together. Add more water if needed.

Spray the inside of a 9x13x2 inch glass or ceramic baking dish with a
non-stick coating (I use Baker's Joy). Roll out pie dough on a lightly floured surface (I use a cold marble slab) and line the baking dish with dough (as for an apple pie)

Apple Filling:
4 pounds Baking Apples – Golden Delicious
½ cup Sugar
1 ½ cups Brown sugar
½ teaspoon Nutmeg – ground
½ cup Flour

Sift dry ingredients together. Put apples in a small saucepan and cook
over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add dry ingredients and cook until
apples are soft and ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Remove apples
from heat and chill thoroughly. Place cooled apple filling into dish.

Oatmeal Streusel:
¾ cup All –purpose flour
½ teaspoon Cinnamon – ground
½ cup Brown Sugar – packed
¾ cup Rolled Oats
½ cup Butter – Unsalted

Spread streusel mixture evenly over top of apple mixture.
Bake in center of oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

If you try this recipe, please write and tell me how yours turned out.

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Have you tried the Apple Cobbler at Liberty Tree Tavern?

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Dinner at LeCellier {Review}

Le Cellier Dining Review

Le Cellier Steakhouse the most coveted Advanced Dining reservation (ADR) in Epcot's World Showcase and we were about to have our much anticipated dinner.
I've dined at Le Cellier four times over the years. On our last visit we arrived early for our 7:30pm ADR. Signed in at the podium and was handed a pager.


Via Napoli, a taste of Italy in Epcot's World Showcase

One of the many surprise highlights from my birthday celebration was lunch at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzaria in Epcot's The World Showcase.
It was a very hot August day with the sun screaming down. The heat and humidity from outside quickly evaporated as we waited for a table while listening to my favorite Italian song. "Mambo Italiano".

Via Napoli, a taste of Italy in Epcot's World Showcase

Take a culinary tour of Southern Italy at this family-friendly restaurant and pizzeria at Epcot where Restaurateur Nick Valenti spent time in Naples studying the art of dough, crust, sauce and oven temperatures at the famous pizzerias Da Michele and Trianon before creating the menu at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria. Voted Critic’s Choice for “Best Theme Park Restaurant” by Orlando Sentinel, Via Napoli was created by Patina, the renowned Patina Restaurant Group. 

Review ~ Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzaria, a taste of Italy in Epcot's World Showcase

Via Napoli Restaurant, Epcot

My thoughts and experience:

There was no waiting! We were immediately shown to a table in the first room overlooking the square outside and the main dining area. Drinks orders were quickly taken almost as quickly and we were off to a great start.

Our server explained the food at Via Napoli is served when it's ready, even if the other peoples dishes at your table aren't. Serving fresh, hot food is more important to them than serving everyone at the same time. That's such a good policy but we didn't have to wait for each other as ours came out together.

The menu looked wonderful with a variety of moderately priced appetizers and entrees to choose from. $15 to $29.99 per adult (some DDP accepted).
Click here for the menu.
Initially I thought we would split a large pizza as this was an early lunch but was told that with the Disney dining plan you may not split individual pizzas using the 1T. Only the extremely large pizzas could be split and regular entrees.

We ordered the Pepperoni Pizza with spicy pepperoni, tomato & mozzarella.
and a Calamari Pizza with fried corn crusted calamari, arugula & fennel.
The kitchen is a huge show kitchen with high ceilings and visible from almost every table.

Via Napoli Restaurant, Epcot

This is a view from our table in the first room into the larger room. The ovens at are at one end and a large counter/table runs down the center.

The layout is very casual with tile floors, booths, mismatched wooden chairs, high ceilings, large windows. Open and airy. I noticed only salt shakers on the table. 
It was a little loud. Not in an Ohana coconut pushing kind of way but people talking, lively music, chairs on tile taverna floor loud. It's a great casual restaurant for for everyone. There was a mix of families with kids, singles and couples.

Review ~ Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzaria, a taste of Italy in Epcot's World Showcase

The wood fired ovens are named after the 3 active volcanos in Italy - Stromboli, Mount Vesuvio & Mount Etna. Water for the pizza dough is sourced from a spring similar to Italy's Campania region.  When brought to the table it's put on a large stand in the center of the table. Cooking stations are all visible and exciting to watch. The pizzas are made with fresh mozzarella cheese, San Marzano tomatoes and real Caputo flour imported from Southern Italy.

Review ~ Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzaria, a taste of Italy in Epcot's World Showcase

Review ~ Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzaria, a taste of Italy in Epcot's World Showcase

We had time to scout for Hidden Mickeys.
Found a few!
Review ~ Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzaria, a taste of Italy in Epcot's World Showcase

Our pizzas arrived together and piping hot. Drinks were refreshed quickly and without notice. Our server was very attentive and did more than the 2 sec. check.
We ate heartily.
Review ~ Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzaria, a taste of Italy in Epcot's World Showcase
Fresh was the first word that came to mind. The crust was perfect. Crisp on the edge but chewy and thin. I asked that mine be re-cut as it wasn't cut into manageable pieces. They hadn't actually cut the crust it was quartered if that. This proved a little confusing to my server at first but then understood.

The sauce reminded me of a NYC pizza sauce - so good. Even though the calamari was sparse we enjoyed every bite. 
The spicy pepperoni pizza was delicious. Each bite exploded with flavor.

Review ~ Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzaria, a taste of Italy in Epcot's World Showcase

For dessert we ordered Tiramasu and Coppa di Brutti Ma Buoni aka 
"Ugly but Good"
Epcot Via Napoli, Tiramasu,

Tiramisu 8. Mascarpone cream, espresso coffee, lady fingers and chocolate
Review ~ Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzaria, Ugly But Good

"Ugly But Good"
Review ~ Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzaria, Ugly But Good

Amarena cherry & vanilla gelato sundae with the "Ugly But Good Cookies":) All incredibly heavenly delicious and not to be missed for $10. This item was removed from the menu I'm sad to report. Maybe if we all request it'll be brought back.

Celebrating birthdays at Via Napoli is unforgettable even if it's one you'd rather forget:P
Servers gather around to sing the Italian happy birthday song!
Review ~ Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzaria, Birthday
a special birthday dessert

If you have time for lunch (this isn't a quick meal) and need a cool, fun, filling lunch in a terrific dining spot then try Via Napoli. We're looking forward to our next visit.

What's your favorite Italian dish in the parks?


Buon appetito!

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