Friday, July 21, 2017

A Delicious Experience at Epcot's Tokyo Dining

On my most recent Disney World trip, I wanted to try a new restaurant at Epcot. This was really hard for me because I love so many restaurants at Epcot, and I would have loved to visit some again...Coral Reef, Via Napoli, La Hacienda. But, for the sake of research, I must visit somewhere new!

For this trip, I took my 12-year old son, my sister and my 7-year old niece. We were trying to work with everyone's tastes and experiences. My sister's husband is from Mexico, so authentic Mexican food is really any night in their house! We nixed San Angel. That left us with restaurants in the China and Japan pavilions and Monsieur Paul's in France. Since Monsieur Paul's is a signature and we were already eating at California Grill one night, we finally settled on Tokyo Dining.

I initially wasn't very excited about this option. Most of us who live in or near cities have a sushi place nearby, but after looking over the menu, I was intrigued.

Tokyo Dining is located on the second floor above one of the shops. The entrance to both Teppan Edo and Tokyo Dining are in the same place; you just choose the host stand you need when you enter. There were three ladies working the hostess stand at Tokyo dining. They were all very prompt and polite. I loved their uniforms, too! They were all wearing pretty traditional kimonos and getas (the elevated wooden sandal that is traditional footwear in Japan).

We had a great view from our table. Even though we weren't going to be there for Illuminations, we had a nice view overlooking the lake.

Our server came around promptly and brought us drinks. While the kids had milk, my sister and I went for something more fun! I ordered a Japanese Mojito (rum, sake, syrup, limes, and mint) with Japanese Shiso (a Japanese mint). My sister went for Shochu Squeeze with grapefruit; this is cold Shochu (a hard liquor made from grains and vegetables) on the rocks with a splash of orange juice. Then you squeeze the grapefruit juice into your drink!
Shochu Squeeze
Japanese Mojito

For an appetizer, we got edamame to share. Everyone at our table liked edamame, so that was a nice starter. It normally comes with spicy chili seasonings, but we just asked them to leave that off.

The kids both ordered from the kids menu--chicken tempura nuggets. My sister ordered a bowl of ramen with shrimp and sushi, a Dragon Monster Roll! This had avocado, cucumber, and cream cheese topped with eel, smelt roe, and Dynamite Sauce! I'm not an adventurous sushi eater, so I went with the California Roll.

The kids' food surprised us all! It came out in a cute plastic box! When they opened it, it was a two layer container with a roll and tempura chicken in the top part, tempura sweet potato, cheese, and some fresh pineapple and strawberry in the bottom. It was a nice presentation, and my son, who typically hates sweet potatoes, happily ate this one.

The ramen and the sushi were fabulous! Nice presentations and delicious. I was very impressed. My son even got bold and tried a little sushi, too!

California Roll
Dragon Monster Roll

Mango Mousse Cake
We were wrapping up our meal and had decided to forego dessert that night when three servers came and brought both my sister and me a slice of cake for our birthdays and sang to us! It was unexpected and such a nice touch! They brought one slice of ginger mousse cake and one of green tea mousse cake.  Both were very good--nice light desserts--and it was a nice end to a meal that wasn't overly heavy.

As we were leaving, the Teppan Edo (hibachi grill) side was a madhouse! People were standing everywhere (perhaps a large group), and it looked like chaos versus our very quiet and serene dinner on the Tokyo Dining side!

Overall, a very pleasant experience at Tokyo Dining. Reservations are usually easy to get here even the day of, and the restaurant was quiet and calm.I would go again, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to others.

Susan Burks is a military wife, and a homeschooling mom to a chess playing space-loving 12 year old! In addition to many Disney World trips, Susan has done eight Disney cruises and one Disneyland trip! She has her next Disney World trip planned and two upcoming Disney cruises!

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Rootin' Tootin' Good Time at Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue!

During our most recent visit to Disney World, we tried our first dinner show! The Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue (often shortened to HDDR) has been one of the longest running dinner shows at Walt Disney World and is located at Fort Wilderness. If you have a car, you can drive to the main building and then catch the internal bus, or you can take any park bus to Fort Wilderness or even the boat from Magic Kingdom.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Impressions of Happily Ever After!

Unlike some of my colleagues, I was excited when Disney announced that they would be replacing Wishes fireworks at Magic Kingdom with a new show they called Happily Ever After. It's easy to feel nostalgic and love something familiar--something we sometimes feel is already great--and to fret when it's being replaced.

Disney promised that this would be a new show--something we hadn't seen before--combining fireworks with state of the art new technology using something called projection mapping technology. They were creating a new musical score and using the latest in fireworks, lasers and pyrotechnics.

On the Disney Parks Blog, they said, "The show will take guests on an emotional journey as favorite Disney characters set out to pursue their dreams, encounter obstacles (and villains!) to ultimately prevail and find their 'happily ever afters.'"

Friday, June 30, 2017

A Disney Family Visits Universal Studios!

If you know my family at all, you know we are huge Disney fans. As a Disney vacation planner, I help people book Disney vacations. We go to Disney World at least once each year and try to do a Disney cruise at least once a year, but for years, we had never visited Universal Studios Orlando even though it’s so close by!

I admit it…part of me just didn’t want to go because it wasn’t Disney! I had read how Universal just wasn’t themed like Disney and that their employees didn’t have any “magic.” I also knew that there were lots of roller coasters there which I don’t ride, and I was afraid I would just be disappointed.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Yummy Review of Narcoossee's Restaurant

My family made a trip to Disney World in early May. That's not unusual--we usually make one or two trips there each year. What was unusual this time was that my husband and I were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary! We had planned a lovely 14-night Trans-Atlantic cruise on the Disney Magic; unfortunately, the Air Force decided they needed him elsewhere, so we canceled our cruise and made an alternate plan--6 days at Disney World with our son!

Normally we spend a lot of time in the parks with maybe a down day for one of Disney's water parks. This time we decided to take things a little slower--sleep in a little, stay out later and plan some fabulous dinners at restaurants we had wanted to try. First up was Narcoossee's!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Spring in Epcot!

Epcot is probably my favorite park. Between Test Track and Soarin' and all the great countries to visit (and eat around) as well as the aquarium in The Seas and visiting Anna and Elsa, there's really something for every age here.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Previewing Animal Kingdom's Pandora!

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Animal Kingdom’s new land, Pandora. The new land, taken from the mind of James Cameron’s movie, Avatar, takes up the old Camp Minnie-Mickey area of the park.  If you ever visited this land, it didn’t seem big at all with just an open air theater and a cramped wait area for the old Lion King show theater.  But, if you took out those two buildings, it is actually a pretty large area and that is one of the first things you notice when you enter the land.  Getting to the land is a pretty short trip, you just come into Animal Kingdom and head to the left.  Right when you see the tree, keep to the left and you will see the Pizzafari restaurant and Tiffin’s (the new restaurant opened last year) right behind it.  Passing Tiffin’s, you get to the bridge over the “river” and it sort of serves as a gateway to the new land.  You start to notice immediately that things have sort of changed.