Christmas Bells (Were) Ringing!

So, does anyone have those post-holiday blues?

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. I love baking holiday sweets in the kitchen with my mom. We were certainly busy this year!

On our yummy Christmas dessert list this year?

  • Turtles (chocolate brownie with soft, gooey caramel, melty chocolate chips and crushed pecans)
  • Caramel corn (with peanuts and without)
  • My dad’s favorite no-bake cookies
  • Snowball Cookies

Snowball Cookies

Yule Log

  • Cake balls! I made strawberry cake and vanilla frosting cake balls, and dipped them in white chocolate I dyed purple with food coloring. I called them “sugar plums” and served them at my Chrismukkew Year party! : )
  • Banana Bread
  • Chocolate peanut butter fudge!
  • Chocolate peppermint brownies! These are so delicious, I couldn’t help but eat one after another! I made Ghirardelli brownies, then melted white chocolate peppermint candy into vanilla frosting. I topped these brownies with crushed candy cane and leftover chocolate peppermint candies. They. Were. So. Good.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday filled with good cheer, good times, good memories and good food! : ) And a happy new year to you all!

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Yeehaw! Toy Story Birthday Party Ideas

Toy Story Birthday Party Ideas

My nephew’s birthday is coming up soon, but I won’t be able to see him in person, as I will be away at college.

So, to make up for this, I decided to throw him a Toy Story birthday party last week.

Stores to Shop at

  • Target
  • Party City (they have a great collection of Toy Story party supplies, from Buzz Spaceship-shaped party boxes to tablecloths to cutouts)
  • your local dollar store
  • Disney’s website’s Toy Story Page was EXTREMELY helpful to me when I prepared for this party. They have wonderful craft, food, and decor ideas. If you are planning a Toy Story party, it is imperative that you check out this site.


The party I had for him was small, so it wasn’t overly decorated, but I did make some great movie-themed centerpieces for the house.

“The Claw!”/Army Men Centerpiece

For this “centerpiece,” I bought a bunch of green Army Men from the dollar spot at my local Target store. The Army men are featured primarily as lookouts in the Toy Story movies – they investigate what presents/new toys Andy receives for Christmas, etc. I already had the Crane game, so I filled it with some toys and a lot of the green Army men. The Crane game goes wonderfully with the Toy Story theme. When Buzz and Woody are at Pizza Planet in the first movie, Buzz sees the Crane/claw game and thinks it is is space ship. Woody tries to rescue him from the game, and while they are inside they meet many green alien toys who tell them about the miraculous “claw” which choses which toy will stay and which will go.

I also printed out and assembled the 3D paper green alien to the right of the Crane game. I found this template on Disney’s website.

Woody’s Roundup Table Centerpiece

comprised of take-home stick puppets

I made this centerpiece for the main table on which the food would be eaten, cake would be presented, etc.

This is a very simple centerpiece to make. I simply found large full body images of Woody’s Roundup Gang online. I blew up each image so it was about the size of a piece of computer paper. I printed and cut out the images, then glued them on thick card stock so they would stand upright. Then I cut out the figures so none of the card stock was visible. I then taped wooden skewer-type sticks (with the pointy end cut off!!!!) to the back of the card stock. I found cowboy/Woody’s Roundup colored tissue paper (orange and yellow – but brown would be perfect too!) and filled glass jars with the tissue paper, and stuck the Woody’s Roundup figures in the tissue-filled jars.

I then printed out a little “Woody’s Roundup” sign (using Microsoft Word’s Giddyup Font) to tape onto the front of the centerpiece, and placed a sheriff’s badge (which can be found at pretty much any dollar store) in front of the Woody jar.

This is a great centerpiece because, at the end of the party, the birthday boy or girl can keep the Woody’s Roundup stick figures and play with them as puppets. My nephew really enjoyed playing with them.

Woody’s Roundup Gang is first seen in Toy Story 2. Woody learns that he used to be in a popular show titled Woody’s Roundup, in which he would have adventures with his cowboy posse – Jessie the cowgirl, Bullseye his horse. Prospector Pete was also featured in the show.

Jessie and Bullseye become pretty major characters in the Toy Story movies.

Pizza Planet hanging decoration

In the first Toy Story movie, Woody and Buzz travel to Pizza Planet together.

I hung this decoration over the island in our kitchen, which is where we made “Pizza Planet pizzas” and Mr. Potato Head baked potatoes with the guests.

I printed out the Pizza Planet sign from online, and attached it to a rocket (which I luckily already owned from a required science project many years ago) with string and tape.

My nephew really liked this decoration, and it made him even more excited about the Toy Story theme of his party.

Simple Cowboy Birthday Banner

This is obviously a very simple banner. I would have made it nicer if the party would have been bigger, but since it was very small, I simply printed out each word so it was as large as a piece of computer paper (with Microsoft Word’s Giddyup font in brown). Make sure your page setup is set on landscape (horizontal orientation). Then I just cutout the words and taped them together. I taped one banner inside the house, one outside near one of the activities (filling glasses with colored sand).


After each game (guests got to play each until they won), the guests got a little prize. We found Toy Story themed prizes at Party City, Target, and the local dollar store.

For prizes, we used sheriff’s badges, parachuting Woody figurines, parachuting Army Men, Barrel of Monkeys keychains (they are used as a rope in the movies!!) and color-your-own rocket ships made out of wood that stood up on their own. We also used Toy Story gummy candies as prizes.

You could also use little Mr. or Mrs. Potato Heads, little Polly Pockets or Barbies, Etch-a-Sketch keychains, toy cars, cowboy hats, alien toys, etc.

Pin the Tail on Bullseye game

I found the poster/tail templates for this game on Disney’s website (here is the direct link to the template). I cut the tails out of felt and stuck a thick (and strong) double sided tape to the backs of them.

My nephew said that this was one of his favorite games. He really enjoyed it, and I’m so glad that made this poster available to us!

Lasso Bullseye

This is a very simple game that I thought up.

Set up: If you have a toy horse like the one above, find a place in your backyard to stick it into the ground firmly, so it will not wobble. You might have to mound up some extra dirt around it so it will stay in place.

Find a hula hoop (to get really festive, wrap the hula hoop in cowboy-colored [aka brown, yellow, orange] crepe paper or streamers. I wish I would have thought of this when I was preparing for the party).

How to play:

Have the little guests stand far back from the toy horse, and have them try to “lasso” the horse by successfully getting the hula hoop around the horse.

You could also use an actual rope if the children are a little older, but the hula hoop worked best for our purposes.

Ring Toss Game

This game isn’t really Toy Story themed, but it is a great outdoor activity for kids.

To Assemble: Place a bunch of different sized glass jars (canning jars are perfect) in a foil tray, like the one seen above (you can usually find them at the dollar store).

Find blocks of various sizes for the younger guests, and take the ringed lids off the canning jars (or something of the like) and set them aside for the older kids.

How to play: Place the jar-filled foil tray on the ground (make sure it is a smooth and stable surface), and have the kids try to throw the blocks into the jars if they are younger, or get the ringed lids around the tops of the jars if they are older.

“The Claw” Game

As explained above, “The Claw” is a pretty big part of the first Toy Story movie. It is inside the Claw game in Pizza Planet that Woody and Buzz first meet the green alien toys who explain to them that the wondrous “Claw” “decides who will stay and who will go.” This is also where they are taken by the evil Sid.

To set up this game, fill a plastic pool (medium to large sized) with water. Set aside a pair of tongs and a blindfold. Fill the pool with green army men (which also have a role in the movies) and geometric wooden blocks approximately the size of the soldiers. Or fill the pool with many of the same kind of water resistant toy and other similarly shaped water resistant toys.

How to play:

Blindfold each little guest and turn them around once or twice. Hand them the tongs – the tongs will be their “Claw” and they must use the tongs like they are pretending to be “The Claw” in the classic arcade game.

They must find a green army man (or whatever toy you used as the majority of the toys in the pool) in the pool to win.

Note: this game may be too hard for little ones to play blindfolded. You might want to let them see when they play.

Guess How Many?

This centerpiece also served as a game. Guests had to guess how many Army men were in the game. If they guessed correctly they got to take all the Army men home as the prize.

Other Activities:

  • Guests made their own Rex placemats. Rex is the green T-Rex toy in the movie who is easily frightened and one of Andy’s toys. I found the template and directions for this craft at Disney’s website (here is the direct link). To save time, I printed the templates ahead of time (printing each body part on appropriately colored construction paper) so the guests could just cut out the pieces and glue them onto another piece of construction paper to make their place mat.
  • Guests filled glass bottles with colored sand. Colored sand can be found at most dollar stores and craft stores, as can the glass bottles. Make sure they have corks or some sort of lid! We did this activity outside on an easy to clean counter top. Make sure you get little bottles with a funnel-type lid so the children can fill their bottles more easily and make less of a mess. Traditional funnels also work. We used lime green, red, and blue colored sand.
  • Buzz Lightyear Pinata. We purchased a pinata from Party City that featured Buzz Lightyear inside his spaceship. They had a blast (pardon the pun) with this game.
  • Sheriff Says. Much like Simon Says, but the demands are cowboy themed – “Sheriff Says….pretend you are riding a horse while hopping on one leg.” The last one standing gets a sheriff badge.
  • Hose limbo. Not exactly Toy Story themed, but it was a very hot day when I threw this party for my nephew. An adult held a hose in the air so the water streamed in a straight line, like a limbo stick. After every round of children the adult lowered the hose a little more. The children played this game while Toy Story music played, such as the “Woody’s Roundup” theme song, “You’ve Got A Friend in Me,” and “Hey Howdy Hey!”


Cowboy Hat cookies

As a nice snack for throughout the party (before dinner was served), I made cowboy hat-shaped cookies for the little guests. I found the idea at Disney’s website (here is the direct link to the cookies)

I tried to make the frosting red, but as you can see that didn’t work out so well. I did not have red food coloring to make it red. =(

To make these cookies, you need:

  • prepared or homemade cookie dough, cut into circles and baked; -OR- packaged cookies such as Chips Ahoy (I wish I could have made the cookies for my nephews party from scratch, but I was pressed for time after preparing for all the games and activities. I used Chips Ahoy).
  • Red food coloring and white/vanilla frosting OR pre-made red frosting for cookies
  • Thick white frosting
  • cake decorating tips + frosting bags (a plain old Ziploc bag with a whole punched through a bottom corner does the trick, too)
  • Red gumdrops (Dots work very well, and are very tasty!!)

For Dinner: Make-Your-Own Pizza Planet Pizzas and Mr. Potato Head Baked Potatoes

To make the Pizza Planet Pizzas:

-Have pre-made pizza dough (which has already sat out for a while if it needs to rise) ready. We got ours from the local fruit market.

-You will also need tomato sauce and herbs (I used tomato sauce my mom had made from our own tomatoes, and our own herbs), or pre-made pizza sauce. You will also need pepperoni, cheese, and other pizza toppings.

Sprinkle a countertop with flour and let the guests roll out their own little pizza. Help them spread some pizza sauce on the dough and place their toppings on the pizza. Follow the baking directions that should be on the pizza dough packaging.

Pizza Planet is featured in the first Toy Story movie, as a pizza joint/kids arcade. It is where Buzz and Woody are taken by the evil Sid from the Claw game.

To make the Mr. Potato Head Baked Potatoes:

A healthy alternative to greasy breadsticks as a side dish, you can have your guests make their own Mr. Potato Heads using baked potatoes and other healthy edibles!

Mr. Potato Head is one of the main toys in Andy’s room in the movie.

To make a Mr. Potato Head, make baked potatoes (try smaller potatoes for the little ones). Prepare the items you will use for the faces ahead of time.

This is what we used for the faces:

Eyes and Mouth – Raisins

Nose – carrot sticks

Hair – Broccoli

Arms – Fruit kebabs made on toothpicks (save some room on one end so they can stick them into the potato firmly!) We used blueberries and grapes on our toothpick arms (a kebab version is shown in the picture below).

Idea for Side Dish or “Hor’ dourves – Toy Story themed Fruit Kebabs

I found a packaged set that included Toy Story themed cupcake wrappers and Toy Story themed toothpicks. I was at a loss about what to do with the toothpicks, until I realized I could use them to make these little fruit kebabs.

Green Aliens Cupcake Cake with Buzz Lightyear centerpiece

To make this cupcake cake, I followed the directions found at Disney’s website (click here for the direct link to the cupcakes).

NOTE: Instead of using round white candies for the eyes as their site suggests, I used halves of mini marshmallows.

Instead of using black gel food coloring for the mouth, I used the flat side of chocolate chips.

For the eye pupils I made black frosting by adding many various food colorings to LEFTOVER green frosting from making the alien faces. I took the flat end of a wooden kebab type skewer, dipped it into the frosting, and then pressed each marshmallow eye gently with the frosting tipped skewer to make the pupils.

Also, instead of using green sour belts and straws for the alien ears and antennae, I used green apple Airhead candy (you will need about 10-12 Airheads to make 18 alien cupcakes). I cut the shapes of the ears and antennae with a pair of scissors.

I even found Toy Story themed cupcake wrappers at a store, which had the green aliens on them, alongside Woody and Buzz.

I made the “3D” Buzz Lightyear by cutting out and assembling the template found on Disney’s site (click here for the direct link to the template). Note: Assembling this Buzz Lightyear takes quite a bit of time – it took me half an hour/45 minutes from cutting it out to finishing it. I think that having a standup Buzz is crucial for the alien cupcake cake. If the party had had more guests, I probably would have just bought a Buzz toy, but since the party was very small, I figured I would save the 20 dollars and make a Buzz myself.

Place the standup Buzz in the middle of your cupcake display and place all the alien cupcakes around him, so that they are facing him.

This is a wonderfully themed way to celebrate your child’s birthday in Toy Story style! In the Toy Story movies, the green alien toys idolize Buzz and often chant to him, “You have saved our lives! We are eternally grateful!”

My nephew LOVED this cupcake cake. He also loved getting to play with the 3D Buzz after the party!

Other Things :

-The Disney song “You’ve Got A Friend in Me” was playing while the guests arrived. Upon arrival, each guest got a cowboy hat and sheriff’s badge.

-The birthday boy woke up the next morning to find a note from Woody along with a Toy Story book tied up with ribbon.

-If you have an iPhone, download the free Toy Story 3 application. It has a great feature in which you can find your child’s name among a list of names and customize a greeting from Woody himself. It’s bound to make your child feel even more special on his or her birthday.

So there you have it! Your complete guide to throwing a Toy Story party. Hope you have a great time, and that you find this helpful!

Please note:

Obviously, I don’t own anything having to do with Toy Story. That is all owned by and is property of Disney. I am not affiliated with Disney in any way.

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In Praise of the Chocolate Fountain

No words can describe this deliciousness.

A while ago, I had my family graduation party at my house. Since I’m a huge chocoholic, and for food we went with a “my favorite foods” sort of theme, we decided that a chocolate fountain was a must-have.

We purchased the Oster chocolate fountain you can find at Target. We were planning on getting a better one, but due to time limitations (and the fact that every other fountain we looked into required two weeks for shipping) we chose this chocolate fountain. We were wary because the customer reviews warned that the fountain would not pump the chocolate. Luckily for us, the fountain pumped chocolate for about two hours into the party. After that, it had given its all and couldn’t pump chocolate any longer.

We were pretty disappointed about this, naturally, but the guests continued to enjoy it as a fondue pot (it still melted the chocolate, except for a brief period in which it turned itself off entirely! Take it from us – don’t buy this fountain!!).

I had the following food items displayed with my chocolate fountain:

  • miniature brownies
  • pretzel rods
  • fresh strawberries (**a guest favorite)
  • fortune cookies (**guest favorite)
  • marshmallows
  • vanilla wafer cookies
  • graham crackers (**my favorite! It’s delicious!!)

We also made sure to place little dip cups (about the size of the cups you receive from quick service type restaurants for cheese or sauce dips) at the table, so people would not stick their fingers or food directly into the fountain (this clogs the fountain and breaks it), or double dip directly in the fountain.

We also made sure there were plenty of napkins!!

I strongly encourage you to have a chocolate fountain at your next party, for the following reasons:

  • It is multifunctional – it’s a hit at showers, parties of any sort.
  • People of all ages go crazy for it – from 4 to 94!!
  • Chocolate fountain displays can look very elegant, full, or lavish, which will greatly benefit your party decor/presentation.
  • It is a great way for people to break the ice/mingle.
  • It tastes delicious!!!!
  • Chocolate has been proven to make people happy. Happy guests = good party = good reflection on your party hosting skills.

We also served sub sandwiches, mostacholi, Mickey waffles (I love breakfast, ha!), fruit and vegetable platters, coleslaw, Texas sheetcake, normal cake, and (shown in the picture above) caramel corn, my grandma’s sugar cookies, and my favorite Italian butter cookies with rainbow sprinkles, etc. Everything but the yellow cake, Italian butter cookies, and the chocolate fountain were completely homemade. We used a graduation cap cookie cutter for my grandma’s sugar cookie dough, frosted them with white frosting, and used an M&M candy and pullable strawberry Twizzlers for the tassel.

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garden grown blueberry streusel muffins!

It’s that time of year again! Lately we have been picking blueberries from our garden like crazy! We love making blueberry pancakes and waffles with our own home-grown blueberries, but we decided to do something different with our last batch.

I used this recipe for blueberry streusel muffins.

The batter should be thick, but be careful not to overmix, as the muffins will become too heavy!

The streusel topping for this recipe is very simple. You don't have to make up a flour/butter mixture specifically for the streusel - you just scoop out some of the flour mixture you use to make the muffins!

These muffins were SO delicious! The lemon zest prevents them from being to heavy and buttery. They are really quite refreshing. The streusel topping perfectly complements the taste of the muffin.

I actually recommend eating these the day after you make them, after keeping them in an airtight container overnight. That way they are a bit more moist.

I usually use smaller blueberries when I make blueberry muffins. I’ve never used fresh, large as your thumb nail blueberries in a muffin recipe before, but they tasted wonderful in the muffin! I really loved the large chunks of blueberry.

It was a lot of fun making these muffins. It felt so nice that we were using blueberries that we made with our own hard work in our own garden. I always like using ingredients whose origins I actually know of and feel comfortable with. =)

Other than blueberries, we also grow our own raspberries, grapes, tomatoes, strawberries, and herbs. We love incorporating our produce in our recipes!

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Poppy Seed Bread

When I was in elementary school, the beloved head cook would sometimes make us her delicious poppy seed bread for dessert. It was always a favorite treat amongst us children. It was more like cake than bread, as it was moist, sweet, and had a wonderful sugar glaze on the top that wasn’t too overpowering.

Whenever I look back on my elementary school days, I think about the head cook and that poppy seed bread. For years now I’ve been looking for a similar recipe (especially now, since I’ve graduated high school and have become so nostalgic!), and I think I’ve finally found one!

I made this poppy seed bread recipe for Fourth of July weekend. It was very delicious and refreshing! The glaze is really what makes this bread excellent. The bread is good by itself, but the glaze takes it to the next level. =)

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The best of Walt Disney World food!

the most magical place on earth!!!! ❤

We are Disney World foodies.

So much so that we’ve decided to dedicate a whole post to our favorite Disney food!

It’s impossible to go to Disney World and not fall in love with the food. Here are some restaurants/food items that we recommend:

The Boardwalk Bakery

The Boardwalk Bakery is, naturally, on the Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is a great area to explore. It has several shops and restaurants, and is a great place to people watch. In the evenings there are carnival games and entertainers on the walk, as well. It is within walking distance from Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

The Boardwalk Bakery has many items to choose from. I personally adore the Mickey shaped sprinkles on their cupcakes. The Mickey shaped cake above is apparently a lemon cake. They also have sandwiches and bagels. Check out this link for more of their baked goods.

My personal favorite at the Boardwalk Bakery is the chocolate cake, pictured above. On top of the bottom layer of moist chocolate cake is a thick layer of rich chocolate mousse, which in turn is topped with some sort of soft chocolate which is decorated with chocolate frosting. Oh wow. Chocolate heaven. I have dreams about this cake (yes I know that’s seriously abnormal, but what’s a chocoholic to do??). I seriously suggest you try this cake. It is outstanding.

While we’re on the topic of chocolate cake, Big River Grille and Brewing Works (also on the Boardwalk, coincidentally) also has outstanding chocolate cake. I think it is one of their signature items on their menu. It’s considerably smaller than the wonderful chocolate cake you’ll find at the Boardwalk Bakery, but still fantastic.

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is in the Norway Pavilion of the World Showcase in Epcot. It serves American breakfast and Norwegian lunch and dinner. I believe all the meals are character meals. In fact, the meals are called “Princess Storybook Dining.” The princesses who may appear vary, but when I visited those present were Ariel, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Belle, Cinderella, and Snow White. Apparently, it is very rare that Cinderella is in attendance. Jasmine, Mulan, and Mary Poppins may also appear.

this is the beautiful morning view of Epcot you will see upon entering for your breakfast reservation at Akershus.

Immediately upon entering (I HIGHLY suggest a reservation – there is a very long wait, as this is a high-demand meal!), a princess will be in a little alcove for you to meet with as your table is being prepared. A photographer will take your picture with the princess, and  you get free prints of the photo with the cost of your meal. I really love this, as hardly anything comes free at Disney. The pictures (one large and a couple small prints) are beautiful keepsakes and come in a nice folder/picture holder.

Usually at character meals, I’ve found myself a little overwhelmed about trying to eat yet still get the attention of all the characters so they will come to our table (I’ve always been worried they would forget about us, and in fact, at our last visit to Crystal Palace, Pooh completely missed our table three times! But more about Crystal Palace and their great food later….). It stresses me out to have to eat quickly before an approaching character gets to our table. It’s hard to juggle eating, picture taking, autograph signing and meet-and-greet-ing!!

I absolutely LOVE how they do it at Akershus. The princesses all come out within 5 minutes of each other, so by the time you are finished meeting with one princess, you wait just one or two minutes before the next princess comes to your table! That way, you can enjoy meeting all the princesses at once before you begin your meal, without having to worry about finishing your food in time or missing anything. It was such a relief!!

pardon the poor photography....

these were taken on my phone!

I was initially very nervous about eating breakfast here. I did not know that the breakfast was American cuisine, and I had heard that there were not many items that were vegetarian friendly.

We informed the restaurant of my special dietary needs ahead of time and again at the door. I was very well taken care of. The chef even took time to come to our table and talk with me about what I could have, and prepared us gluten free waffles to bring to our table! They handled everything extremely well, and I was quite impressed. Other items usually brought to the table include bacon and sausage in a family-style set up.

Aside from what is brought to your table, there is also a buffet of breakfast items you can choose from. I remember salmon, muffins, other breakfast pastries, fresh fruit like raspberries and grapes, and granola. Here are links for the breakfast menu , lunch menu, and dinner menu.

This was my breakfast (note the yummy waffles the chef prepared for our table – we had some serious allergies! We had some vegetarians, some vegans, some dairy allergies – crazy!). The muffin was absolutely delicious! In fact, it was so good that I was inspired to try this recipe in an attempt to bring their deliciousness back into my life.

My friend’s mom surprised us by secretly ordering for this wonderful. exquisite. marvelous. fantastic chocolate cake (have you noticed how much I love chocolate cake????) in order to celebrate our graduation. The wait staff surprised us with it – it even had candles! We also each received a “celebration!” card signed by all the princesses present!

If you are celebrating anything from a birthday, reunion, graduation, anniversary, engagement – anything, really, I suggest you let your wait staff know, as they are likely to surprise you with these lovely cards and possibly a nice treat as well! The cards are such a great way to remember our time at Disney World, and I am so happy that we have them.

The cake was a layer of spongy chocolate cake, then a big layer of chocolate mousse-like filling, then a hard chocolate shell on top. With Mickey sprinkles, of course!!!! We devoured that cake.

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace is a character dining restaurant in the Magic Kingdom (Main Street, U.S.A.). It features Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, and Tigger.

This is definitely in our top 3 favorite restaurants. I strongly suggest making reservations well in advance.

This is buffet dining. For breakfast (officially titled “A Breakfast With Character”), they have pancakes, custom omelets, their world famous, well-loved puffed French toast (considered by many to be their specialty), as well as assorted (and delicious!) breakfast pastries, cereal, fruit, etc.

Move over, Pooh! The mouse is in the house!

They also have my very favorite food at Disney World.


There are NO WORDS to describe how delicious these are. Everyone I know loves them. When you say “Mickey Waffles” people freak out. Stomachs across the world growl when you say “Mickey Waffles.” They’re THAT good.

You can also find these heavenly waffles at Chef Mickey’s (our #1 fave) at the Contemporary Resort (our favorite hotel, too!), Ohana’s at the Polynesian Resort, Donald’s Safari Breakfast at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom, Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club Resort, Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge, and 1900 Park Faire at the Grand Floridian. For more information about Mickey Waffles, check out this link .

I also recently heard that Sleepy Hollow (quick service dining) in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom also has a large version of these tasty waffles.

Whatever you do while you are at Disney World, make sure you EAT THESE WAFFLES.

But back to Crystal Palace. We’ve always loved to come here for breakfast. We try to get early reservations so we have an early start to the day at the Magic Kingdom.

We’ve never had a bad experience here, but when I was here last with my friends, Pooh and Piglet completely missed our table, even after they made several rounds of the restaurant! We eventually were able to visit with Piglet, but we never got to meet Pooh, who is the star of the restaurant!

My friends decided to inform our waiter that it was my birthday, so I was surprised with this lovely treat:

Yum! I was also given a “celebrate today!” card signed by all the Pooh characters! =)

Click these links for the breakfast menu, lunch menu, and dinner menu.

Here are our other favorite restaurants:


Marrakesh is in the Morocco Pavilion in the World Showcase at Epcot. Here is a link to their dinner menu. My parents love their bastilla dessert, which is a lot like crepes. The atmosphere is incredible. The restaurant is beautiful and a belly dancer often performs (beware, shy women – she usually takes a few guests down to her dancing area and teaches them some moves!). Jasmine and Aladdin are often nearby – take a look around Morocco, you’ll almost always find them there.


‘Ohana is a character dining restaurant at the Polynesian Resort. I strongly suggest making reservations in advance.

Once upon a time, ‘Ohana meals featured Mickey, Goofy, Chip, Dale, Pluto, and… very favorite…..Minnie Mouse herself! And they were all decked out in Hawaiian attire, no less!

Unfortunately, the only characters I know about at the Ohana are Lilo and Stitch. Some websites say that Mickey and Pluto are also present. NOTE: Only the breakfast is a character meal. The dinner does not have characters present.

I am really upset at Disney for getting rid of Minnie, Chip, Dale, etc. at ‘Ohana. It was one of my favorite places to meet them.

The food at ‘Ohana is served family style (“Ohana means family!”).

Here is a sample breakfast menu. We love their MICKEY WAFFLES and breads!

Here is a sample dinner menu. My parents love the dessert and the peanut dipping sauce.

50s Prime Time Cafe

50s Prime Time Cafe is in Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios). We mostly like this restaurant for its atmosphere. It is like sitting down and eating dinner as a family…from the 1950s. The waiters even admonish you to finish all your dinner and eat your vegetables! And if you order a shake….”make sure you don’t fill up before dinner!”

The shakes are great here. Here is their dinner menu.

Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood is in Downtown Disney (free admission – no ticket required). Every time we’ve gone, there has been a surprisingly short wait. The food is great, and we had a very enthusiastic and entertaining waiter the last time we ate here. We really come here  mostly to check out all the memorabilia that is all over the walls. I really encourage you to check it out.

And our #1 Favorite…..Chef Mickey’s!!!!!!!

Chef Mickey’s is in the Contemporary Resort and is open for breakfast and dinner. It features a buffet style character meals. You can find Mickey, Pluto, Goofy, Donald and Minnie Mouse here. This is a very noisy, loud restaurant that is a great place for kids. Every so often, the characters even dance and encourage everyone to dance with them and wave their napkins in the air to a song! This is a very fun restaurant, with great food! We’ve always loved the decorate your own cupcake/make your own sundae area. There’s toppings galore!!

They also have the famous Mickey waffles for breakfast.

Here is a sample breakfast menu and sample dinner menu.

And now….our favorite Disney World snacks!

Boulangerie Patisserie

This French bakery can be found in the France Pavilion at the World Showcase in Epcot. Here is a sample menu. Belle and the Beast are often found in the France pavilion.  From cream puffs to fresh baguettes to chocolate mousse cups, this bakery has every sweet treat you’ve ever dreamed of, and more! It’s busy, but worth the wait!

Main Street Bakery

Main Street Bakery is in the Magic Kingdom, on Main Street U.S.A. We like to come here for breakfast when we’re hitting the Magic Kingdom. We love their cinnamon rolls (huge and covered in frosting!!), muffins, cookies, etc. Their indoor seating area is a great place to get out of the heat and enjoy your food. Here is a sample menu.

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop

Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop is in Downtown Disney. This is definitely a must-eat. With their plethora of sundaes and treats, this soda fountain has something for everyone.

pardon the poor photography again....I took these on my phone!

this is Ghirardelli chocolate ice cream with their made from scratch Ghirardelli hot fudge topping

We really love their brownies and ice cream sundaes. Their hot fudge is truly unique. It is actual Ghirardelli chocolate melted down and poured on top of ice cream! It is a wonderful consistency and truly delicious! It really surprised me the first time I ate it, because I wasn’t expecting the hot fudge to be actual melted-down Ghirardelli chocolate!

There are also locations in San Francisco, Chicago, etc. While you’re in the most magical place on Earth, though, be sure to pay this particular Ghirardelli’s a visit.

Our favorite snacks found at quick service locations, carts or stands…..

  • Cinnamon Sugar soft pretzels ( a rare find nowadays – most soft pretzels are either salted or – yuck! – stuffed with cream cheese!)
  • Prepackaged grapes, and prepackaged apple slices with caramel dip. I’m so happy that Disney World has more healthy options now than they ever did before. Fruit and veggie packs are extremely easy to find. They are at nearly every quick service location. And, if you just don’t see anything on a restaurant menu that you think is fitting for your diet, request a fruit plate or tell them about your dietary needs in advance.
  • frozen lemonade drink
  • Gelato can be found at a cart in the Italy pavilion at the World Showcase in Epcot. Be sure to try it! We love to enjoy it by sitting near the beautiful fountain in Italy, or while we are in are seats enjoying Illuminations.
  • Chocolate muffins with chocolate chips, available at most resort food courts.
  • non-alcoholic strawberry dacquiris, found at poolside bars or quick service dining areas at the Disney World Resorts.

tasty and very refreshing

  • vanilla and chocolate flavored Character cookies, from Minnie’s Bake Shop. Available at most stores in Walt Disney World – from confectionaries to souvenir shops. We like to take these home with us so we can enjoy some of the magic at home while we’re going through WDW withdrawal.
  • Cinnamon roasted almonds/peanuts. These are available at many carts, but I like the ones I’ve eaten from the stand in the Fantasmic viewing area the best. A sweet mix of cinnamon and sugar almonds and peanuts.
  • Popcorn! We love taking the souvenir buckets home with us, and chowing down on this snack while watching parades (especially our very favorite – SpectroMagic!)
  • My ultimate favorite…..Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars! You can find these at the many ice cream carts throughout the parks. Here’s a sample price list for all the ice creams available from the carts, as well as many other snacks. I’ve eaten the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars for as long as I can remember. This chocolate shell covered vanilla ice cream bar – shaped like Mickey Mouse, of course! – is a Disney World classic.

this particular "Mickey Ice Cream" was found at an ice cream cart near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Disney has a new online feature with which you can make reservations for Disney World restaurants online! At this link you can customize the time, location, etc. of your Disney Dining reservation. You can even tell them if you have any special dietary needs – all online!

So there you have it….our favorite Disney World restaurants and snacks! If you have any questions for us, we’d be more than happy to answer them for you. As you now know, we’re Disney World enthusiasts!

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I love nothing more than a nice trip to California. We frequented the Golden State many times the past two years on college visits, and I would like to share some of the restaurants and sites we went to with you.

Jerry’s Famous Deli

There are many Jerry’s Famous Deli locations in the LA area, and they are all wonderful. Should I tell you again how much I love dinner for breakfast???? They have many other wonderful options, as well! We have never had a bad meal here.

They even brought me this delicious birthday cupcake on my 17th birthday!! I still have the smiley face ring!

Beverly Hills

Rodeo Drive, anyone? Even if you can’t afford the designer clothing, it’s always fun to look! Also, the famous Sprinkles Cupcakes shop is very close to Rodeo Drive, as is a Kitson store. There’s lots of great people watching and shops to look at in this area!

Rodeo Drive always makes me think of that scene from Pretty Woman, with the snobby saleswomen.

Hollywood Sign!

I suggest driving to 3202 canyon lake drive for the best view, but this website lists other places with excellent views.

Amoeba Music

As I mentioned in the previous post about San Francisco, Amoeba Music is the coolest music store I’ve ever been to. With three locations in Berkeley, the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, and Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, Amoeba Music is a must-see.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier is one of my all-time favorite places. In the world. This is the typical California beach you see all the time in movies and TV shows, but also so much more than that. It has plenty of places to eat (like Bubba Gumps Shrimp) and lots of games, even some rides! The beach also has plenty of little food stands.

To the right of the ferris wheel (down a ways) is Pacific Coast Highway. Take this down to Malibu for an absolutely beautiful view of the ocean and beaches.

To the left of the ferris wheel (down a ways!) is Venice Beach. Very Haight-Ashbury-esque in nature. Lots of skateboarding, surf vans, and street vendors.

There is also an area called Muscle Beach. So named, I believe, because many people like to work out with the structures on this area of the beach. There’s even a little area where people do yoga!

Universal Studios’ CityWalk

CityWalk is a free area of Universal Studios in LA. There’s lots of shops and restaurants, but I think most people go just for the atmosphere. It’s definitely a cool place to check out if you have the time. In the above picture, the structure of Marilyn Monroe is made completely of Jelly Bellys and can be found in the candy shop at CityWalk. I suggest Panda Inn for dinner – their fortune cookies are covered in white chocolate!

Hollywood Boulevard

The most touristy area of all time, perhaps, but necessary to visit at least once. Actually, once should be enough. This isn’t my favorite area, but it is definitely a cool place to see. Home to the Kodak Theatre (where they have the Academy Awards), Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (with the handprints and footprints of famous celebrities in front of it), Disney’s El Capitan Theatre, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Also home to many people dressed up as characters ranging from Spiderman to Big Bird, who will pose with you for a picture….for a price. My mom and I once encountered a grown woman dressed in a tutu and fairy wings, twirling around and waving a wand as she hummed to herself.

my hero, Audrey Hepburn! ❤

I think Hollywood Boulevard is the most fun at night, with all the lights.

One last word of LA advice…..GO TO PINKBERRY! =)

There are a lot of other places/restaurants/attractions I would recommend, so leave me a comment if you have any questions!

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