Tag Archives: Walt Disney World

Watch What Happens at Conservation Station

Its hard sometimes when visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom to find time to take the train out to Conservation Station and Rafiki’s Planet Watch. For some reason most folks feel they only need one day (and not even the whole day) to enjoy the park, but there’s so much off the beaten path here that visitors need to take in, and this area falls into this category. Hop aboard the train in Africa and enjoy the ride out to Conservation Station and you never know what you might see that day!

Arriving at the Station

One of the attractions within this area is the area for guests to watch the veterinarian team in action. Different procedures are scheduled each day and if your timing is right, you’ll get to see something interesting happening behind the glass. On this particular day the two cotton top tamarins that you encounter on the path from the train to Conservation Station were scheduled for their routine exam complete with x-rays and bloodwork. One of the veterinarian team members began by explaining to guests what would be happening and describing the tamarin itself.

Giving a Description of the Exam

Once the tamarin had been sedated he was brought into the back room to be x-rayed. There is a large flat screen television for guests to be able to see what happens back in the x-ray room as well as get a closer look at what is happening in examination room. After the x-ray the tamarin was brought into the exam room behind the glass where a further examination occurred as well as the drawing of blood for bloodwork. There are a couple of CMs walking among the watching crowd, ready to answer any questions you may have, so be sure to chat with them and find out even more.

Setting Up For the Exam

One of the Veterinarian Team Members at Work

Cotton Top Tamarin During Routine Exam

Take the time to visit Rafiki Planet Watch and Conservation Station on your next trip to the Animal Kingdom; you never know what animal you might see!

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The Great Movie Ride Dinner – Second Course

The First Course can be found here.

For the next part of the evening, guests were led into the Western Set of the Great Movie Ride. Place cards were distributed earlier in the evening so everyone knew which table was theirs.

Table Assignment Place Card

Table Setting

Menus for the main course were placed at each table setting.

Great Movie Ride Dinner Menu

Everyone was free to move around the room, take photos, and enjoy their meal at their own pace. Entertainment in this room was courtesy of the bluegrass band playing in front of the Miners’ and Cattlemens’ Bank. They played all Disney tunes such as Zip-a-Dee-D0-Dah and the Mickey Mouse March but with a bluegrass flair. They did take a short break during the meal, which was filled by the piano player from the previous set.


Inside the Western Set

Detail On the Set

To begin the meal, fresh, warm cornbread was served with the always cute Mickey butter.

Cornbread and Mickey Butter

The appetizer for the night was a Creamy Free Range Yard Bird Chowder with Grilled Flatbread. I’m not one for chowder but this was very tasty, creamy, and flavorful and the flatbread was excellent (especially when you dipped it in the chowder).

Creamy Yard Bird Chowder and Flatbread

The next dish served was a salad course of Wild Greens Tossed with Cilantro Cactus Vinaigrette plated tableside and topped with Carrot Tumbleweeds. For most people, you either love or hate cilantro, and unfortunately I fall into the latter category. I had a few bites to taste (the salad was tasty, but too much of it and the cilantro taste starting getting stronger) and then used this time to move around the room and take more photos.

Wild Greens with Cactus and Cilantro Vinaigrette

The Western Scene Set Up for Dinner

Clint Eastwood Overseeing the Evening

The main dish for the evening was Mesquite-Grilled Beef Filet with Herb Butter, Truffle Mac and Cheese, and Molasses Pinto Beans. The filet was a little overcooked for our taste but once you reached the center, it was pink and tender. I would have to assume that the filet was cooked medium to medium well for an event like this since there are so many people to make happy. The herb butter made for a tasty dip for the filet while the truffle mac and cheese was the best item on the plate. I would love to have that recipe to try at home. The molasses pinto beans weren’t like the baked beans I’m used to, as they still had that bean texture, but they were flavorful.

Mesquite-Grilled Beef Filet, Truffle Mac and Cheese, Molasses Pinto Beans

During our main course there was another streetmosphere type character moving around the tables, but unfortunately I never caught her name. She was quite a character though. She didn’t get to spend much time at our table but the little bit of time she was there, she was a riot. When someone complimented her on the Yardbird Chowder and asked her what was in it, her response was that a yard bird was whatever bird landed in her yard that day. Let’s hope not.

More Entertainment

This portion of the evening was very well paced as we again didn’t even give time a consideration while we were in there. It was great that we were free to move around the room and take photos during the meal. The bartender from the gangster set had moved into the room with us and continued serving drinks all through dinner. Once everyone had finished we were encouraged by Mr. Von Bahn Bonn to start moving on towards the dessert course, found in the Wizard of Oz set. Next week we will wrap up this event with dessert and more photos from inside the ride.

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Getting a Taste of Authentic Mexico at the San Angel Inn

Whether it’s day or night when you walk into the Mexico pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase, it’s always night inside! Beautifully lit on the inside to give the feel of being outdoors under the nighttime sky in Mexico, this pavilion offers a variety of shops, a ride, and a sit-down table service restaurant called San Angel Inn. The Inn serves lunch and dinner daily and accepts Advanced Dining Reservations.

Disney’s attention to theme and detail of course extend to the San Angel Inn. Check out the tile on the floor, the stucco walls, and of course you can’t miss the volcano in the distance emitting puffs of smoke every few seconds (keep your eye on those puffs of smoke, there’s a Mickey hidden in them every few minutes). Some seating is arranged by the edge of the water where the boats of the Gran Fiesta Tour float by every so often. The San Angel Inn is based on a Mexico City hacienda dating back to 1692. In 1915 the hacienda was changed into a restaurant and in 1962 it was taken over by the Debler family who named it the San Angel Inn and made it one of Mexico City’s finest restaurants. Visitors to Mexico in the World Showcase now have the opportunity to enjoy this dining experience (just be sure to make that ADR, this restaurant can be very popular!).

San Angel Inn - Epcot's Mexico Pavilion

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The League of Planets Astro Orbiter

The Astro Orbiter is an attraction found in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland as well as the other 4 Disney parks around the world. The Walt Disney World version opened in 1974 when Tomorrowland was expanded to add Space Mountain, the Carousel of Progress, and the then named WedWay PeopleMover. At that time the attraction was named Star Jets and was a centerpiece to the land as it soared high above the gound and above the WedWay PeopleMover. The ride looks like a simple Dumbo like attraction, but it is deceiving! The ride vehicle makes 11 rotations in one minute at around 80 feet off the ground. In 1994 the attraction was refurbished and also renamed to the current Astro Orbiter. According the old Tomorrowland Transit Authority recording, “this symbol of universal harmony and interplanetary culture provides all beings with an exhilarating spin around the planet.”

Asto Orbiter Space Rockets Ready for Loading

Soaring High Above Tomorrowland

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Where in the World? #13

Now that we’re back and back to normal, let’s play! Where in the World do you find this?

Where in the World is this?

Today’s photo came from inside Harambe Village in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Harambe Village, Africa - Disney's Animal Kingdom

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Quick Shot – Up Close and Personal with John Wayne

Another famous celebrity you’ll find inside Hollywood Studio’s Great Movie Ride is Mr. John Wayne. Famous for his roles in classic westerns such as The Searchers, he is a perfect fit for the set honoring this genre.

Inside the Great Movie Ride with John Wayne

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Victoria and Albert’s – Making Dining an Experience

Victoria and Albert’s, located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, is Central Florida’s only AAA Five Diamond award winning restaurant and the reasons why are obvious. The service is superb, the food is spectacular, the ambiance is unforgettable. Guests are treated with multiple servers who make every effort to ensure a memorable and relaxed evening while a harpist plays softly for entertainment.

Entrance to the Restaurant

Diners are presented with personalized menus upon seating and if you are celebrating a special occasion it is noted on the menu as well. Be sure to note your celebration when making your reservation. Reservations can be made 180 days in advance.

Personalized Menu

Each of the six courses has three to four different offerings for diners to chose from and selections are made at the beginning of the meal. Your server will go over each option in detail for you and then allow you ample time to make your decisions. Wine pairing can be added to your meal as well and each wine is presented before the paired course.

My husband and I dined on July 12 to celebrate my 30th birthday, which was noted on the menu. We fancy ourselves foodies and this was definitely a meal we will never forget. To begin our eating experience the server delivered an amuse-bouche to wake up the palette.


The dish went from chilled and soft on the palette to warm and velvety smooth. At the bottom right was a lobster ravioli topped with caviar. The bottom left was a creamy salmon pate topped with salmon egg caviar. Top left was a warm stew with oysters and vegetables. Top right ended with a creamy, rich custard in the eggshell.

Next up was the cold appetizer. I chose the Gulf Shrimp with Breakfast Radish, Kohlrabi, and Tamarind, while my husband went with the Minnesota Elk Carpaccio with Olives, Artichokes and Chorizo Vinaigrette. We of course tasted each others, and while both were delicious, I do believe my husband made the right choice.

Gulf Shrimp

Elk Carpaccio

The next course was a difficult decision as I love fish. My husband loves food with an Asian flair so he went with the Sake-Soy marinated Alaskan King Salmon with Bok Choy and Soy Beans, while I had the Citrus-poached Halibut with Warm Verjus Vinaigrette. We could not decide which dish was better because each was amazing in its own way. The citrus broth my halibut was in was so good I wanted to drink it. The salmon was cooked perfectly and the flavors all melted together when you took a bite. These are the dishes I want to eat over and over again.

Citrus Poached Halibut

Sake-Soy marinated Alaskan King Salmon

For the third course I chose the Duck Breast, Duck Sausage and Confit with Strawberry and Rhubarb while my husband went with the Zellwood Corn Soup with a Petite Crab Casserole. My duck dish was fantastic. The duck breast was the most tender duck breast I have had, and the duck sausage simply melted.

Duck Breast, Duck Sausage and Confit with Strawberry and Rhubarb

Zellwood Corn Soup with a Petite Crab Casserole

It was now time for our main course. I chose the Kurobuta Pork Tenderloin and Belly with Baby Beets and Sherry-Bacon Vinaigrette while my husband had the Marcho Farms Veal Tenderloin with Marble Potatoes and Sauce Soubise. Both dishes were excellent. The pork belly was just as tender and flavorful as I had hoped and my husband was pleased with the sweetbread accompaniment on his dish.

Kurobuta Pork Tenderloin and Belly

Marcho Farms Veal Tenderloin

Before dessert we had a choice of the Colston Basset Stilton, Coach Farm Goat, Gouda Reypenaer V.S.O.P. and Comte Cheese Platter or the White Chocolate Gelato. We decided to go with one of each of course!

Cheese Selection

White Chocolate Gelato

Finally, it was time for the most difficult decision of the night, dessert. I went with the Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee while my husband had the Tanzanie Chocolate Pyramid with Campagne-Chambord Truffle complete with 24kt. gold leaf.

Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee

Tanzanie Chocolate Pyramid with Campagne-Chambord Truffle

To end the evening you are presented with your personalized menus in a little Victoria and Albert’s bag complete with a loaf of fresh baked orange nut bread. The ladies are presented with a rose (while the gentlemen are presented with the check), and both guests are treated to dessert candies to finish things off.

End of the Evening

This was absolutely an experience we will never forget and plan on doing again and again. If you love food and believe dining to be an experience, then this is the place for you!

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