Sunday, February 26, 2017

Blizzard Beach Birthday

I celebrated my 33rd birthday at Blizzard Beach!  I was so excited to be able to go to a water park for my birthday, being from New York and used to bitingly cold weather around this time!  I'd been to Typhoon Lagoon twice but it's closed for refurbishment, so my friend Kim and I checked this one out!

The theme for Blizzard Beach is a ski lodge that melted away, so there are icicles, snowmen, and Christmas themes all around!  Christmas and Frozen music are the most popular songs played here, with the Christmas music being given a surf remix.  Central to the park is the ski lift that carries you up to the entrances of 2 body slides and 1 family tube ride.  I bought a disposable waterproof camera for the trip, so all the pictures you see here are from before and after all our water activities!  I'll have to scan in my photos when I have them developed!

This is a cute photo op right when you enter (you can click any picture to see it larger).

Now, let's talk about Ice Gator for a minute.  He is featured prominently throughout the park.  He is adorable.  He looks like blue Goofy minus the nose and ears.  I was very excited to see this character! But when I asked a cast member where we could meet him, he said there IS NO ICE GATOR CHARACTER!! 😱  So how do you explain THIS:


Not to mention the various family photos with him on a quick Google image search!!  Even though I'm now 33, characters are still one of my favorite things about Disney!  The cast member said the characters who DO come out only do so in the summer anyway (which makes tourist sense but not temperature sense).  But what about Ice Gator?  

He made his big break...

The ski lift was adorable but a little scary because it lifts up almost vertically just before letting you off and you start to wonder how exactly it is carrying the weight of itself and 3 people... 


The tubes are cute because they're "snow tubes" and the lazy river is as perfect as a lazy river can be (except for the occasional "ice runoff" waterfalls you glide underneath, somehow more slowly than your normal tube pace).  

I don't like freefalls, so I didn't go down Slush Gusher or Summit Plummet (like Kim did), but I did go down Teamboat Springs with a bunch of strangers twice!  It's a large tube fit for 6, minimum of 4 people, and you careen down twisting turns--it's not too scary (a 2 year old rode with us the first trip down)--perfect for me!

I did NOT enjoy Downhill Double Dipper.  It's a tube ride race against whoever you came with (it worked out for everyone ahead of us, so I don't know if they make you race whoever is on the opposite side, even if you didn't come with them) down a chute, you plane off, and then go down another chute.  Having loved the chutes and tube ride, Crush 'n' Gusher from Typhoon Lagoon, I thought it would be another not-so-scary ride.  (Of course I got nervous when I heard the not-amused screams of people who went down before me.)


First, Kim and I were all queued up in our tubes with our feet on the board that releases you down, when the cast member controlling the release instructed us to get out.  Let me stop right here and explain how impossible a task this seems.  There is a current of water from the loading pool all around you, guiding your tube to the chute.  There is nothing to grab onto.  So I had to reach out my fingertips to the tunnel walls next to me and try to push myself backwards.  I eventually had to throw my legs over the side to basically fall off the tube, and the tube capsized and hit my head, and I somehow hurt my elbow on the tube handle, as well as my pride!!  This long line behind us saw the whole thing.  

There was no explanation as to why we had to get out, but in almost 5 seconds we had to get back in!  So of course I was even more nervous, and then I felt that awful drop sensation, knowing I was about to do it one more time.  My whole body was shaking as I careened down into the pool.  I'm lucky there wasn't a "fun photo" taken at the end.  But if big drops are your thing, then I definitely recommend Downhill Double Dipper. 

Here's a cute fountain that's also kind of sad: a snow family watching their cute baby with mouse ears on.  The sad thing is they're constantly dripping, which means they're melting... which is not actually happening but the idea is so sad!  The effect is cool but... yeah.  Cute and sad.

Anyhow, we survived.  We then met my brothers at Disney Springs where I got myself a birthday button which I highly recommend--go to the visitor's center there or at any park or hotel to get a pin for whatever you're celebrating.  People will wish you happies or congratulations all day!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas at the Springs

This is my first holiday season in Florida, so of course I had to check out how Disney does Christmas at the Springs!  Jim & I made Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar our first stop.  I loved their Autumn Smash last time I visited, so I was eager to try their winter seasonal beverages!  This one was called the Holly Jolly Kali Punch: "Mola Ram's favorite holiday libation! Absolut Mandarin Vodka and Southern Comfort with Lime Juice, White Cranberry Juice, Passion Fruit, and a splash of Ginger Ale."

It was delicious!  We then did some shopping at World Of Disney, Basin, and Tren-D.  There was an adorable soap sculpture of Olaf in the middle of Basin:

We then checked out the tree trail!  There were trees themed after all sorts of Disney movies.  Jim pointed out the chalk art on the ground by the entrance:

Lilo and Stitch:

Minnie Mouse:

Princess and the Frog:

A cute detail:

101 Dalmations:

Muppets (I wish there were some eyes or something more Muppety on this tree!):


I thought the long braid wrapped around the tree was super cute!  And the hand-painted lanterns!

I loved the dragon on the Mulan tree!

Jungle Book:

Mary Poppins:
 Jim pointed out the spoonful of sugar!!  So cute!


Beauty and the Beast!  They had cute Beauty and the Beast garlands in the World of Disney, not for sale but as decoration!  I don't quite get the red ribbons on this tree, and it was kind of.. thin.. but cute anyway!!

It left me feeling rather crafty, like I should have a themed tree in my apartment next year, or make my own ornaments (spoonful of sugar, anyone?)! 

This was one of the big trees, in the spot where the Mickey jack-o-lantern had been for Halloween.  Here's a picture of me in front of it for scale:

We then hit Goofy's Candy Company, which was full of holiday cheer!

 I wish they were selling wrapping paper like the display panels!

Santa Mickey and Minnie (and Sorcerer) apples:

Snowflake and Santa apples:

Santa Mickey cupcakes and Mickey Christmas tree!

Giant Mickey sugar cookies:

Cutie little cake ball:

Candy cane chocolate-dipped marshmallows, so cute!

Shortbread and gingerbread Mickeys:

Blurry shot because I was called next for purchase!  But this is cute melted snowman bark!

Then we made a stop at Hanes' Design-a-Tee so I could make my mom a custom shirt!  We saw these cute Disney Springs sample shirts and I think I want to make my own!
Christmas music played throughout the park, and you could even visit Santa!  Santa Goofy was set to replace Santa for Christmas Eve!  I won't be back in time to meet him (shame!) but the Starbright  Holidays drone show will continue through Jan 8!  Jim and I missed it because we were hanging out at Raglan Road's Hole in the Wall outdoor pub, and when we realized what time it was and paid our tab, it was over!  The show was slated to begin at 8:30 and we were out by 8:36 and the show was over!  So, if you're hoping to catch it, there are 2 performances nightly at 7pm and 8:30pm and you have to be there WHEN IT STARTS!  We spoke to a family afterwards who said it was not to be missed, but yes, very short!

Next up: Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Pokemon, Amorette's, Ghirardelli, and More Merch from Disney Springs!

My parents came to visit my brother and me last week and the closest timeshare they could find was in Kissimmee, which is right outside Orlando.  So of course we all went to Disney Springs together!  First of all, if you are staying outside Disney property, definitely check out local stores, outlets and gift shops.  There are tons of souvenirs around!  I went to CVS and they had aisles of stuffed animals, mouse ears, and Disney mugs!  I bought a towel there!

So I haven't had a good margarita since I moved down here.  I went over to Dockside Margaritas in Disney Springs and got this Patrón Añejo Margarita (I had to look that up from the site).

Exactly what I had been craving!  You can read the menu here.

Then of course we went to the World of Disney!  I hadn't seen these mugs last time:

These are just 2 of the many cute designs like this!  The ceilings are always fun to look at in this store.  Here are Ariel and Pocahontas, and a little mural of Mickey and Minnie on a magic carpet ride with Aladdin and Jasmine!

These Mickey magnets are so pretty, but a little bit expensive in my opinion.  I bought three for my classroom, but I also got to use a resident discount!  I don't know if that's new this weekend, only on weekends, or for a limited time... But it was 15% off last Monday when we were there, and becoming 20% off the next day!  It was still 20% off when I went back this weekend!

Pokemon Go isn't going unnoticed at the Springs!  I haven't heard much about it in the news lately (we must be getting used to it), but a couple weeks ago Basin announced some limited edition Pokeball Bath Bombs!  Aren't they adorable?  I finally went back and bought one yesterday haha.  I was just too curious to see what was inside!  (I'll show you in my next post!)

Also, Starbucks was giving out free samples of a PokemonGo "Team Instinct"-inspired Mango Lemonade!  It was actually really tasty and refreshing!!  Where do I sign up for this team? 

We stopped by a new shop called Amorette's, which is a french patisserie that has these adorable Mickey-shaped financiers (like almond sponge cakes, according to Google.  Wish I had known this.  I would have bought one!) You can read the menu here.  

The financiers and most pastries are $8, and I was surprised that the mini cakes (which are decorated exquisitely) are only $15!  They also have boxes of beautiful pastel macarons.  The big-ticket items are the Mickey and friends cakes which are $65.

But so cute you can kind of justify it...

This woman is painting the ears (probably with chocolate).  There are decorations around suggesting an artists' workshop, and I was happy to find this painting of one of my favorite Disney parade costumes from the Festival of Fantasy:

And I love this wall of sprinkles in color order!!

Speaking of Sprinkles, I finally made it inside! 

I loved the Sprinkles in NYC and this is very similar.  They also have ice cream!  I was hoping they'd have some special Disney cupcake (maybe they do--I didn't read the menu), but I didn't find anything.  I was hoping they'd have 3 of their fancy dots on one cupcake to make a Mickey, or at least have one on display like a hidden Mickey!  

They had this adorable dollhouse-size display of their shop which I absolutely loved:

And I highly recommend buying the mix if you can--I tried the chocolate one (the cylinder with blue on the bottom)--it's my favorite mix yet!  It also makes you feel like you're doing it from scratch since you have to prepare various ingredients that aren't in the package (but that's what makes it so fresh).  I posted about it in my cupcake blog a couple years back!

I haven't tried it yet, but Sprinkles also has the first-ever Cupcake ATM!  I imagine it's only open during business hours because it's probably someone physically placing a cupcake in the little window.. I really don't know.  But it's a cute idea!

We stopped at Ghirardelli to get some ice cream treats:

Mine was the "Treasure Island Sundae."  It had a warm brownie in it, along with hot fudge and walnuts drizzled over the ice cream.  SO GOOD!

Before we left, I stopped by Arribas Brothers and found some cute glassware designed like Disney characters (like this Mickey vase--it's the only one I could get a clear photo of since the sun was shining right behind the window)

I love this Chihuly-looking chandelier!

 There were some cute miniatures in glass like the Genie, the Toy Story Aliens, Tigger, Pooh, and more!

My favorite was this gorgeous pegasus unicorn!  Reminded me of Fantasia!

A couple addenda to my previous post... I took a photo of B.B. Wolf's Sausage Co. menu (click for larger image):

So while they don't have turkey or chicken sausages, they do have a vegetarian option!

And here are some photos of the UNIQLO patches that I believe were not pictured in the website image I'd posted before.

Until next time!