Cosplay Corner: Disneybounding Rapunzel

You know how I said that I was done talking about the Disney trip? I LIED! No, honestly, I just forgot this was a post I wanted to do. And since it’s Halloween, it’s actually a very good day to do this one, where I break down the Rapunzel Disneybound I put together.

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Rapunzel is my second favorite princess, after Cinderella. And I’m saving a Cinderella Disneybound for something special. (It involves mash ups…and other people. And the phrase Work!)

Rapunzel, however, can be on her own, or in combination with other people, so, here she is.

The decision to do Rapunzel came first, and then came the ears.

They came from an Etsy store called Cantina Traders, and I love them so much. They also got so many compliments, especially from cast members. (There’s a special point of pride for me when Cast Members compliment specific parts of my outfits.)

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The tee shirt was another Etsy purchase, and the shorts came off of Amazon. (They are HUE brand. I’m a big fan of HUE, they have the best black tights, and I’ve found their leggings great too in the past. These shorts really worked out perfectly.)

I’m planning on wearing this one again while Juli, Dom and I are down there.

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But I did do a fun Photopass shoot in this while we were leaving Animal Kingdom, so I thought I’d share those!

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Disney Cousins Fall Trip: Hotel Review & Favorites

Alright everyone! We’ve made it a month and we’re still talking about this trip. Sorry it took so long to get everything written up.

But it’s time to talk about Port Orleans: Riverside, and specifically The Royal Room!

 

As I’ve mentioned, we weren’t even supposed to stay here. The original plan was for French Quarter, for a couple of reasons. French Quarter is largely regarded by the blog community to be the more efficient choice, and the theming of Riverside squicks me a little. The division into Magnolia Bend and Alligator Bayou, that is, large opulent antebellum mansions and “rustic” cabins respectively, feels, mmm, how do I say this…KIND OF REALLY GROSS? I mean, Gone With The Wind is in my top 10 favorite movies, so I’m normally OK about compartmentalizing such things but a hotel built in the 90s having it feels off, and super weird.

“I’ll think about our culture’s problematic relationship with slaveholding society tomorrow, at Tara!”

BUT, anyway, we wound up in the Royal Room, which was, kind of insanely great and also completely ridiculous and insane.

TADA!

 

The rooms are probably great for families, especially princess obsessed little girls, and since that’s what I am on the inside, well, it worked out. The portraits of the princesses, the electric headboard, and the note from Tiana are all very fun touches.

Light Up headboards: Excellent for drunken giggling and applause.

Some princely appreciation (Not much but it’s there)

Tiana, welcoming us. (Helping to sooth my weird guilt about the theme)

The rest of the resort really felt nice. I’ll reevaluate after staying at Pop (and there’s a possible Coronado Springs in a few months!), but I think I may have settled on really enjoying the moderate resort experience, when it comes to saving money. River Roost is a fantastic lounge, not just by Disney Bar standards, but by hotel bar standards, with a good mix of seating options, (arm chairs by a fireplace for the win, ALWAYS!) a friendly and well informed staff, (not really a huge deal at Disney, but still, always pluses the experience) and some good food options.

I didn’t get time to walk around as much as I would have liked, but what I did see was really pretty, Fulton’s is definitely the better laid out of the gift shops I’ve seen so far. Riverside is definitely going to be a repeat spot. It’s hard to beat the price and it’s a beautiful resort with two other types of rooms for me to try out. (Regular Magnolia Bend Room and Aligator Bayou Room).

I should note, I’m a fast walker, so me not minding the sprawling moderate resorts because it doesn’t take me long to get around should be taken with a grain of salt. I have long legs, and I’m from a metro area where strolling is basically considered a hate crime. (Seriously, if you’re visiting New York, DO NOT WALK SLOWLY DOWN THE SIDEWALK. EVERYONE HATES YOU.) So when I say, “it only took me a minute or two to get to the lobby/main bus stop,” that might be a longer walk for people who are less crazy.

Favorites:

Ride:

Pandora Flight Of Passage is REALLY really good. The 3-D is beautifully rendered, the pre show fun and a little bit awkward (as all the best pre shows are) and the queue spectacular. It wins this trip, for sure. It’s stunningly beautiful, thrilling, and really, really special.

Show:

Illuminations. I love it so much, and while Boo To You and Hallo-Wishes are great, seeing my old favorite from a new (and incredible) angle really made it feel special. (Also the drinks.)

Meal:

Frontera Cucina was definitely the showplace “big meal” of the trip. It was a really good one too. I’m leaning heavily on new things being the favorites, but in general, with restaurants I try not to over repeat. (It was very weird to not go to Be Our Guest this trip!) But I’ll always love Mexican food, and I’m getting to the point now where I’ll be able to really give strong recomendations on where to eat at Springs. (Given the choice? I’d pick Homecomin’ over Frontera, both are excellent but Homecomin’ blew me away)

Drink:

You know it wouldn’t be a favorites post without me talking about what bit of alcohol made me happiest. It’s going to The Snakebite at Rose and Crown. I’m still drinking these. Seriously, I asked for one at the Bar and Grill where my family and I meet for dinner once a week. (Tom thinks I should request they call it “Reenie’s Snakebite” there, but you know, I’m not pushing it)

Snack:

This is a tie! I don’t usually allow ties, but since I had to choose between something seasonal and special and something that I make sure I eat every trip because I love it so much. The choices are the Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, and the Spice Road Table Hummus Fries.

The ice cream first. I love all things pumpkin spice. (You know, much like how I adore my Uggs, Rose Spritzers and feel that Taylor Swift just “gets me.” I’m a white girl.) So when it came time to grab a snack while Tom and I waited on the fireworks, well, I grabbed a scoop of this. It was perfectly balanced between good creamy ice cream sweetness and the sort of pumpkin pie flavor that makes up the best pumpkin spice flavored things. 10 out of 10 would snack again.

Now onto my latest rhapsody to the hummus fries. It’s fried hummus. But Reenie, you might say, isn’t that just a falafel? I mean, kind of. But there’s something in the texture about these which makes them BETTER than falafel, also the dipping sauce is really yummy, and it gets eaten in easily my favorite restaurant in Epcot! So you know…I love them.

Guys, I’m going to be back in Disney World in a few weeks. Seriously, so soon. If you want more details on that trip, you should check out Juli’s blog Random Spirited Ramblings. She took the lead on the planning this time (which was nice for me! I love Disney planning, but it was nice to step back a minute.)

Disney Cousin Fall Trip: 9/18/2017: “See You Real (Like REAL REAL) Soon!”

Monday morning I woke up and decided that rather than go to the park, I’d head over to Disney Springs and do a little shopping. Tom was on a much earlier Magical Express than I so we parted ways.

First I stopped by the food quart, as I’d realized it had been three days and I hadn’t eaten anything shaped like Mickey! The SHAME! So I got a Mickey Waffle and some bacon, and also some grits, (because I’d spent three days south of DC and hadn’t had grits.) It was way too much food. But all quite good.


I hopped on the boat to Disney Springs. It was only 10 AM so most stuff wasn’t open yet, but I did some shopping, was hoping to get a wine slushy, but Amorette’s wasn’t opening until noon, so that was a non starter. (My ME was at 1:30, AND I had a work call at 12:30, so I couldn’t swing that.)

I hopped on a boat to Saratoga Springs, to get my Saratoga Springs Ornament (In November I’m going to try to get over to Animal Kingdom Lodge one afternoon…and obviously I’ll get a POP one while we’re staying there.) So I’m halfway to my plan being finished.

Then I had to boat back to Disney Springs, then back to Port Orleans, just in time to grab my bags hop on the bus. HOORAY!

Seriously, it was much better than running back and forth to a park that morning. The work call was much easier tucked into a corner of the Saratoga Springs lobby than anywhere else. (I’m not going to lie, if I’d been in a park, it would have been AK, and I’d have likely settled at Nomad Lounge. While not have a Night Monkey probably made the call better and more productive, it sure was a bummer for me.)

Then it was back on the bus and to the airport. My flight wound up delayed (OMG!) but at least I wasn’t stuck all night, just a few hours, and while a margarita and some Mexican food filled that time (plus finally finally finishing The Stand) 

So, next week we’ll talk about the hotel and go through favorites. And this time next month I’ll be back in Disney! YAY!

Disney Cousin Fall Trip: 9/17/2017 Part 2: “It’s Really Not So Scary!”

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There was some discussion about what our first step would be when we got to The Magic Kingdom. The intitial plan had been to use a Fastpass on Jungle Cruise before our dinner, but because of Hurricane Damage, Jungle Cruise was close. We decided instead to hop on Big Thunder Mountain.

I love that ride, even though I prefer it at night, I enjoyed it this time around too, the thing about having ridden it at night is that I know more of what to look for on the ride now.  I’m still excited to ride it after dark again though. Then we headed to Main Street to do some shopping (Tom was buying pins for all of his people, and we found an AWESOME set of pins that featured Mickey and Minnie dressed as Mary Poppins and Bert to give to my Aunt and Uncle! I also picked up a few things!)

We then headed up and climbed through the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but it beats just wandering around doing nothing, and it’s right across the way from Skipper Canteen, where we were eating.

Then we checked in to the restaurant, this was important, since we weren’t riding the Jungle Cruise, we needed to get that sweet, sweet, Jungle Cruise humor.

Also the food. Our skipper was great, full of jokes and fun. I had the pork chops and Tom had the steak, and it’s hard not to feel grateful for that drink, even if it is just a simple glass of wine, or in Tom’s case a Blue Moon. We also sketched out our plan for the party, which wound up being a bit uneccessary, for reason I will get in to. (Hint, it involves basically no lines at all!)

We then headed over to Tomorrowland, as we had a Space Mountain fastpass. We speedily got through the ride and line and then headed over to Buzz Lightyear, which, I think actually matched it’s line number, but it was still less than 20 minutes.

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Tom is focused…I look bored…

We had planned on then doing Philharmagic, but it was already closed to be a trick or treating location so we moved over to Peter Pan, which again, line said 40 minutes. It was 25. We got out and it was party time, so we headed to Pirates, and the Haunted Mansion, and then Mine Train.

Mine Train was our second longest line of the trip (after Flight of Passage) at 45 minutes. A real killer. I love that ride though and especially like riding it at night. We then decided to camp out on Mainstreet for the Parade, found a spot at the hub.

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Boo To You really is exceptionally good. It’s entertaining, gives you a fun look at the characters and I have the song stuck in my head still.

We were kind of wiped, so we found ourselves a table outside of Casey’s, after swinging by the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor so that I could try the Pumpkin ice cream.

OMG, that ice cream, when I get around to favorites, I’ll talk about it more, but it was amazing. It tastes like pumpkin pie, and ice cream, it’s incredible. We moved to the middle of main street for Hallowishes, which is also incredible. The soundtrack and castle projections are fun, and we then decided to head out, rather than hang out for the extra 45 minutes. The short lines had gotten us everything we wanted to do earlier than expected and we were truly exhausted. We got back to Riverside and decided to grab a night cap at River Roost. We grabbed a seat by the fireplace, chatted about the overall fun of our trip, and I have to say, this remains my favorite part of just about any trip.

I love the parks, I love the restaurants, but I really, really love these decompressing moments. Juli and I drinking champagne on our condo balcony after our trip around the world. Sitting with a beer by myself, with my feet up, watching the bits of Symphony In the Stars I could see from my window at The Swan. Rolling the coffee table away in our villa at Saratoga to do yoga and stay limber the night before the race with Kristi. Chatting with the bar staff at Tune-In Lounge in my dapper-ware. This moment, relaxing and recapping with my cousin.

They’re the best. Cannot be beat.

There’s one more day of trip to talk about, but it’s breif, and then hotel talk and favorites! (Yes, I am squeezing over a month of content out of these 3 days…)

Stay tunes!

Disney Cousin Fall Trip: 9/16/2017 Part 2: “Well, that was worth it!”

I’m a big fan of the 2 hour afternoon hotel break on a Disney trip. It’s not something we ever did growing up, because we weren’t rope droppers, so there was less need for it, and we always went in November when it’s not quite so hot.

But now that I’ve gone during hotter times of the year with a “get to the park early & then stay late” touring style, I love my post lunch hotel room time. Time to regroup, have a cool drink, lay down and maybe nap is absolutely necessary now, ESPECIALLY if you’re doing more than 1 park in a day. Which we were!

So, after our Animal Kingdom adventure, we enjoyed about an hour and a half in our room, and then did some shopping.

Tom was looking for a very specific pin, legendarily the only piece of Kingdom Hearts merchandise in the parks. And there it was, right in Fulton’s General Store, the gift shop at Riverside.

Hooray!

We then boarded our Epcot bus, and off we flew to indulge in plenty of food and wine. (Actually it wound up being mostly beer…)

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First, of course, we stopped by Soarin’, which is such a delightful ride. I’m always happy, everytime I ride it. We had a fastpass, so we pretty much walked right on. After Soarin’ we hit the Festival center, where I claimed my free annual pass food and wine stuff (Button with Remi on it, and a button that say AP.) And did some more shopping and general gawking.

Then we hit Spaceship Earth, which I adore and always will. I am curious how it might transform again, with Seimens pulling out their sponsorship, but who knows if it will at all. I just know that it’s the best.

After that we began questing around the World for snacks and drinks. We didn’t stop for munchables or potable at every country (skipped: Norway, Japan & Morocco), but we did a decent job. Specifically, when Tom raised an eyebrow at waiting 20 minutes at La Cava, I implored him to trust me, and lo and behold “Well, that was worth it!” became the theme of the evening.

Then for Norway, we explored a bit while we drank our Margaritas, moving quickly to China, where we watched the acrobats and I got pot stickers. Then we moved on to Germany where we got beer, and Tom got a Brat. We settled in by the water and enjoyed, and then headed in to shop a little in the Christmas store specifically. I considered purchasing a Pickle ornament. (This is an important tradition…I’m like a sliver German, and it’s a thing? I guess? I dunno, but I know that my tree will need a pickle.) I reconsidered and we went to Italy.

Since I am constitutionally incapable of not going to Tutto Gusto when in Italy, we stopped there. (Also, our dinner reservation wasn’t until 8:40, it was about 5, we needed an in between). Sparkly wines and refreshing small plates held us over, and we were on to America. I went for a Sam Adams Octoberfest, and Tom went for a Yuengling. Then came Japan, and rather than grab Saki, we nursed our beers and walked through the department store, where the epic discussion of lack of merch began.

Tom found another piece of Kingdom Hearts merchandise, you see, and then we looked at the Myazaki stuff, and he declared “THIS IS RIDICULOUS! No Face has more representation in the park than actual Disney characters in this game!” (He then made it clear that this is not to take away from how awesome No Face, is.) We explored the rest of the store, talking about other favorites that are weirdly not in the parks (Wall-E? Why no Wall-E?) before heading to Morocco, where again, just exploring happened.

It is important to note that by this time, we had a good buzz on. I pointed Spice Road Table out and explained that if I hadn’t managed the Pub reservation, that would have been where we were eating.

“Can we eat there anyway?” Tom asked. I shrugged and said it would make for good brunch, and popped into My Disney Experience and made us an 11:30 AM reservation. We thought this was the greatest plan of all time.

Then France, where I began babbling in drunken Franglais, and I think Tom was done with me. (Bless him) While in France I helped myself to some Boeuf Bourgenioun and A Kir Royale, while Tom had a glass of Cabernet.

Once we crossed the channel, Tom had some cheese dip at the Ireland booth, I hopped to Canada quickly and grabbed a bowl of the cheddar cheese soup. (YUMMMM!!!)

Then we checked in to Rose & Crown, I mentioned that I was hoping for a patio table. The hostess smiled and nodded, and we headed into the pub, where I tried my new favorite drink ever, The Snakebite. It’s half Strongbow, half Harp. It’s delicious, and I think I had three of them.

We were seated at an AMAZING table outside, and our waiter (Kevin? I think?) immediately brought us more drinks, and gave great recommendations.

Now, I love Illuminations, I’ve enjoyed meals and watching it from LA Hacienda De San Angel and Spice Road Table.

But I’m converted. If you’re going to sit and watch the show, it has to be from Rose and Crown. WOW, the view is spectacular. The food’s not bad either. I had a shepherd’s pie that did the trick, even if it didn’t blow me away.

After the fireworks we walked out to the Boardwalk and right into Jellyrolls.

Ah, Jellyrolls. There’s never a bad moment in that place. The cover is annoying, but the music and crowd are always great and it’s the cheapest beer on property. Hooray! There was a lot of dancing, laughing, singing along to 80’s music, and a surprisingly poignant conversation about how gay men of our generation don’t need Cher as an advocate anymore. (Though she should still be loved and celebrated, because she’s awesome.)

A car ride home and a few drunken watches of the electric headboard later, we passed out.

To be continued!

Disney Cousins Fall Trip: 9/16/2017 Part 1: “In The Valley of Moara”

The main even of this trip was always going to be checking out, at the very least, the rides over at Pandora: The World of Avatar. We didn’t get a chance to explore much in The Valley of Moara, that is, the stunning portion of Pandora where you are transported for this land, BUT, we did see a lot of it, even without a calculated walk around because of how the line for Flight of Passage is set up.

Anyway, onto the narrative. I awoke before the sun, at 5 AM, due to my bladder have none of this “sleep without emptying me” foolishness. I was annoyed, because while I had planned on being up between 6 and 6:30 (also before the sun), that extra hour can mean a world of less crankiness from me. But alas, it was not to be.

Even more annoying though, was that River Mill Food Court didn’t open until 6:30. so not only was I up, I was up an hour and a half before coffee was an option. Plus Tom was sleeping and I didn’t want to wake him by turning on all the lights and moaning about how there was no coffee.

So I surfed Facebook on my phone. (OBVIOUSLY) I looked at our Touring Plans (Touringplans.com, if you’re planning seriously, WORTH THE SUBSCRIPTION!) made some tweaks, and figured out some timing. I also got ready.

I wore a new Rapunzel Themed Disneybound, that is FOR SURE getting worn again for the November trip with Juli and Dom, because it was a huge hit. Also, it’s very comfortable, so it’s a win.

Once 6:30 hit, I went to the food court and got my Lorelai Gilmore on, (came just short of shouting “COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE!” at the poor cast member checking me out.) I picked up a chocolate croissant (Disney Food Court Pastries = love) and a cinnamon roll, which we picked at as we got ready.

We were at the bus stop by 7:15, and the turnstiles for Animal Kingdom by 7:45, about 5 minutes after that, we were brought it to a pathway to check in as resort guests.

Then we were held for the remaining ten minutes, until we could move towards Pandora.

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Walking in was a little bit of a gust of wind. The floating mountain is very cool, and the fauna all around you a bit much at first. I wasn’t sure if I was going to cotton to everyone’s gushing over this place. Once we got in view of the waterfalls, however, I was sold. I also can’t wait to see it at night!

The best part about waiting on line for Flight Of Passage is that it curves you through most of Pandora. You see almost everything on this line, which makes further exploration kind of moot. You also see a Navi cave, a science lab, and an elaborate pre show explaining what banshees are the way that you’re going to ride one.

And then there’s the ride itself. It’s not exactly a secret that Pandora was built as an answer to The Wizarding World and that Flight of Passage is meant to stand in for Forbidden Journey, and from what I remember of Forbidden Journey, Flight of Passage is WAY more impressive as a ride, even if the queue, despite it’s loveliness will never measure up to walking through Hogwarts castle.

But the ride on the banshee is incredible.

Next we hurried ourselves over to the Navi River Adventure (or whatever unweildy name it has), which is beautiful, and the shaman audio animatronic is really really cool. That also has a fun queue (a large woven structure.) After the river cruise, we decided to head into AK proper and take a safari, and while it wasn’t the best ever (February still gets that), it was pretty good, followed by an early lunch at Satuli Canteen.

I went for the chicken bowl, with sweet potato hash and vinagrette dressing, and I had the Grog Ale. Both were delicious.

After lunch there was some shopping in Pandora, and then a quick jaunt up Everest, which, showed a 40 minute wait time that came in closer to 20. (You’re going to notice a theme this trip.)

Then it had reached the ungodly hot portion of the afternoon, so we went for our bus and headed back to the hotel room for water, relaxing and AC…before moving on to Part 2 of our day…Epcot, for Food and Wine, Soarin, the history of communication and yelling about under represenation of stuff in merchandise. (That third one was mostly Tom…I’ll explain!)

Oh, and before THAT I had a photo shoot in my Rapunzel Disneybound!

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Stay tuned!

 

Disney Cousin Fall Trip: “I’m So Glad You’re Here” 9/15/2017

Hey everyone! I was back at Disney World this weekend, and it was (as usual) amazing. I was joined, by my cousin Tom, and we fit in all four parks and a lot of fun. Arrival day, however, proved tricky.

If I’d been by myself, I’d have simply changed, and headed to a park for the evening. But, Tom only had a 2 day park hopper, so it left us trying to figure out other things to do. I’ll get there.

I had a noon flight and left my apartment at quarter to nine, and was settled in with a mimosa and a basket of chips at the airport bar by 10:30. Lovely. I boarded a quick and comfy flight at 11:30 and landed in Orlando at 2:30.

It was, to almost the minute, two hours from touch down to the resort. A record for me on Magical Express. It was an hour and a half from disembarking. My past two experiences have been longer. I got to Port Orleans Riverside, I’d gotten our room notification before even boarding, but I wanted to make sure we were synched in properly, due to the many reservation changes over the week and the hurricane, so I went to the front desk, got directions and made sure I was good to go.

I changed, and decided to head to the bar. I knew Tom was on the bus so I had some waiting. I chatted with my bartended, the lovely Spencer, who also gave us a ton of drinking tips (seriously, she was awesome, if you find yourself at River Roost, tip her big.) When Tom arrived, he also had a beer and then we headed back to the room so he could changed and we discussed our dinner and evening options.

We wound up at Disney Springs for dinner, Tom eager to try Frontera Cucina.

Guys.

Guys.

This food! We skipped drinks, due to neither of us having eaten much and deciding that we wanted to Trader Sam’s later. But we immediately ordered the Queso Fundido. I then went with the Shrimp Mojo and Tom had the chicken tacos. I also ordered the mashed potatoes, because I can’t help myself.

All of it was incredible. Rick Bayless is one of my all time favorite Top Chef judges and when he won Masters my mom and I actually cried. To finally get to eat in his restaurant was very exciting and that it is so good, is just another layer.

Also, even though I’d forgotten my card, the waitress gave us the 10% AP discount, which was very nice of her.

We then walked around Springs a bit, hit World of Disney to get a baseline for shopping and then hopped a bus to the Contemporary, because it was there and that way we could ride the monorail to get to The Polynesian.

Trader Sam’s was full, so we sat on the terrace and ordered drinks. I had the Krakatoa Punch, and Tom had a Dark And Stormy, and we got to watch a bit of The Incredibles playing by the pool and catch all of Hallo-Wishes as it burst over the Magic Kingdom.

After about 40 minutes on the terrace we were welcomed to the main bar where we switched to beer, chanted to appease the Tiki Goddess Uh-Oa, and overall admired the kitch and fun of the place.

We took a Lyft back to our delightful Royal Room, which we have decided is both absurdly tacky, and amazing at the same time. (Tom supports my “Disney as a viable alternative to Vegas for non gamblers” theory, thus, a tacky themed room totally fits.)

Overall, it was nice to not feel like I needed to rush around, and to have someone else to decided where to eat. (I 100% would have wound up eating food court tater tots because I couldn’t decide if Tom hadn’t said that he wanted Mexican.) And Trader Sam’s is always a good time.

We were quite proud to have clocked a boat, bus and monorail before even setting foot in a park too.

We then settled in and I wrote this report and we got ready for our big trek to Pandora in the morning..