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January 4, 2015

Favorite Disney Snacks

Gary Cruise banner

Have you ever picked up a snack at one of the Disney parks, taken a bite and immediately thought, "Wow! This is good! I wish I had discovered this years ago!" That has happened to Carol and I quite a few times over the years and we've "discovered" a few favorites!

There is a vast, and ever-changing selection of food choices at Walt Disney World and we often discover new choices. Here are a few of our current "faves".

Pork Egg Rolls
Animal Kingdom is our favorite spot for egg rolls. We usually arrive at Animal Kingdom early in the morning, enjoy a safari ride and a few other attractions and then head back to Fort Wilderness for the afternoon. The quick service counter at Yak & Yeti is often our last stop before we leave.

Egg Rolls

In our opinion, the pork egg rolls they serve are the best at Walt Disney World. An order of 2 egg rolls costs $4.49 and is just enough for a light lunch.

Carrot Cake Cookie
This dessert delicacy can be found at the Writer's Stop in Hollywood Studios. Many people walk right past the Writer's Stop and don't even notice it as they rush from one attraction to the next. It is just past the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, on your right as you make the turn from Commissary Lane onto the Streets of America.

The Writers Stop

Once you are inside you might not even notice the cookies in the display case. Don't pass them by though! Wow, are they good!

Carrot Cake Cookie display

On our trip to The World in October 2014 we also saw the Carrot Cake Cookie at Sweet Spells, between Starring Rolls and Villains in Vogue.

It's a tasty cookie sandwich! Two moist cookies with a wonderful carrot cake texture and flavor are held together by a sweet cream cheese icing.

Carrot Cake Cookie

Carrot Cake Cookie

Oh boy! A taste of heaven for $3.99 - or one snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

Citrus Swirl
Looking for a tasty alternative to Dole Whips? Tired of those long lines at the Magic Kingdom's Aloha Isle? Head on through Adventureland to the Sunshine Tree Terrace.

Sunshine Tree Terrace

Turn between the Tiki-Tiki-Tiki Room and Aladdin's Flying Carpets and find a tasty frozen treat - have a Citrus Swirl! There is seldom a line and Carol just loves them! The Disney Food Blog describes the Citrus Swirl as: "A bit like a creamsicle, this chilly snack twists vanilla soft-serve with a sweet-tart frozen orange juice." Carol describes it as: "Yummy, my favourite treat!"

Citrus Swirl

(Sometimes I wonder if it might be the Orange Bird merchandise that attracts Carol to the Sunshine Tree Terrace - she has an impressive collection of Orange Bird trinkets and treasures!)

I like the pineapple float from Aloha Isle, pineapple soft-serve ice cream with real pineapple juice ($4.99).

Aloha Isle

Pineapple Float

I pick up a float while Carol buys her swirl ($3.79). I stir, and stir, and stir as I make my way back to the Sunshine Tree Terrace to meet Carol. By the time I get there it's like a very thick milk shake . . . I sip it through a straw. Nice!
Caution - brain freeze zone!

Citrus and Pineapple

Croissant Doughnut (Cronut)
Try this next time you visit EPCOT. The Refreshment Port, on the right as you head toward the Canada Pavilion, sells them.

The Refreshment Port

Look for the "Croissant Doughnut" on the overhead menu.

Overhead Sign

Imagine a moist croissant texture inside, a slightly crispy doughnut exterior, all dipped in cinnamon-sugar . . . a taste of heaven for $4.69!

Croissant Doughnut

The first time Carol and I tried a cronut we bought one and split it. That's not likely to happen again . . . they are too good to share!

Churros
Have you tried the Churros in Frontierland? A churro is a long thin doughnut or cruller, light and bubbly on the inside, slightly crispy on the outside. They are dipped in cinnamon-sugar and served warm.

Churro

Churro

What's not to like? Look for the wheeled cart along the Rivers of America in Frontierland. This tasty treat will cost you $4.00 or one Disney Dining Plan snack credit.

Be careful around the churro cart! Last February Carol's parents, John and Sybil, were sharing one of these deep-fried treats. They broke it in half and Sybil had taken one small bite when a sea gull swooped down and snatched it out of her hand. The brazen bird landed about thirty feet away and defiantly gulped it down while we watched!

Werther's Caramel Corn
The Werther's Shop in the Karamell-Küche at EPCOT's Germany Pavilion is a dangerous spot!

Karamell-Küche

When it opened in 2010 it was the only free-standing retail location for Werther's in the world and, to the best of my knowledge, it remains the only spot in the world where you can buy fresh, warm Werther's Caramel Corn.

Caramel Corn

The second you walk in the door the aroma grabs your attention! Every day cast members are busy making fresh caramel confections, including caramel apples and popcorn, caramel-drizzled cupcakes, rice krispie treats, cookies, strawberries, and much more. Wow!

Caramel Corn

I'm not sure who it was that first said, "You can't eat just one!" But I'd be willing to bet that they were eating warm Werther's Caramel Corn at the time. Only $3.99 or $5.99 for a bag full of bliss! Buy the large one - you'll be glad you did!

Mickey Sandwich Bar
Everyone loves the classic Mickey Bar, officially named "Mickey's Premium Ice Cream Bar" - a Mickey shaped piece of ice cream dipped in milk chocolate. But have you ever tried a Mickey Sandwich Bar? You will see it on the vendor carts in all the parks, they call it "Mickey's Ice Cream Sandwich".

Mickey Sandwich

It is very similar to the classic Mickey Bar, but the Mickey shaped ice cream is clad in two soft-textured chocolate wafers.

Mickey Sandwich

Mickey Sandwich

It has a much stronger chocolate flavor; just the thing for a choc-o-holic like Carol! (I'm not a chocolate fan, so I prefer the milder flavor of the dipped version!) Either bar will cost you $4.00 and is sure to refresh you while you wait in the blazing sun for that three o'clock parade!

Mickey Sandwich

Italian Sausage
My final item, sausage-in-a-bun, is not really a snack, it's more of a light lunch . . . if you haven't tried it, you really should! It's worth stopping for!

Min & Bill's Dockside Diner is the place for this simple delicacy! Along the shore of Echo Lake, in Hollywood Studios, is a quick service restaurant disguised as a boat. That's Min & Bills!

Min and Bills

Min and Bills

They prepare your snack as you wait. You can watch as they trim a bit off the end of a fresh, tasty French bread stick then use a special little machine to remove a tube of bread from the center of the baguette.

Min and Bills machine

This hole is stuffed full of sauteed onion and green pepper along with a mild Italian sausage. Dee-lish! The sandwich is served with a teensy-weensy bag of potato chips and costs $9.19. Here's a money saving tip - ask them to "Hold the chips." and they will knock $2.00 off the price. The sandwich with no side is $7.19. It's a nice option when you're looking for a light lunch.

Sausage on a bun

They also serve a similar sandwich in a Pretzel bun, the center of the bun is removed and stuffed with a frankfurter and Dijon mustard. Sometimes they are a bit generous with the mustard; I recommend that you ask for the mustard "on the side." The frankfurter is $8.29 (or $6.29 without that ittsy-bittsy bag of chips).

So that's it folks . . . our short list of "favorite snacks". There are plenty of other choices too, turkey legs, caramel apples, pretzels, popcorn, etc., etc.

What is your favorite Disney snack?

January 12, 2015

Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney

Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney
By Guest Blogger Kay Belin

Many guests might cringe at the thought of actually paying for an adventure in the cold and snow but for me it was a bucket list item that I was thrilled to be able to experience. Wyoming is one of my favorite states and lying in the northwest corner of it is our first national park, Yellowstone. Millions of guests crowd into the boundaries every summer to see the sights making it a great trip but also a congested one.

The Wyoming Winter Wonderland trip was an experience not many will ever have and I am blessed to have enjoyed it with my daughter and grandson. The adventure began in Jackson Hole, Wyoming which is a quaint western town full of history, shops, and outdoor activities. We stayed in the historic, The Wort Hotel, which is located right in the heart of town. We opted to come a day early as winter travel can bring winter delays and we didn't want to miss out on anything or be stressed.

Our first day on our own included a wonderful private wildlife safari around the Jackson Hole area. It was the perfect thing to do while we waited for our Disney adventure to begin. My eight year old grandson loved spotting the wildlife and our guide shared many new facts. Our tally at the end of the day included seven moose, several dozen Big Horn Sheep, bald eagle, a dozen bison, numerous mule deer, and thousands of elk. Jackson Hole is the home every winter for the elk that come down from the mountains to feed in the valleys. This particular valley has been where the elk have come for as long as settlers can remember. They do not feed the elk unless there are unusual circumstances with the winter conditions and they let nature take its course with the circle of life of its inhabitants. (Now we are all thinking about that great song from the Lion King.)

Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney

Our first adventure event was a welcome dinner that night. It was fun to meet the other families who were joining us. I had actually met one family two years ago on the Backstage Magic trip so it became a fun reunion of old friends. We enjoyed a buffet meal and entertainment from a singing cowboy. It was a great evening and because this was my seventh Adventure By Disney trip, my daughter's fourth, and my grandson's fifth, we knew it was the beginning of a magical journey. (My previous adventures have included South Africa, Italy, Switzerland, Wyoming summer, Backstage Magic, and Peru). Our guides Ralph and Jaime assured us of the fun that was to come our way over the next few days.

Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney

Day 2 was our first full day and it was spent in the Tetons dog sledding. It was probably the most anticipated event for many in the group so the cold frigid temperatures were not a deterrent. Remember this was winter in Wyoming and we woke up to -25 real temperature and -40 wind chill temperature! Nothing was going to stop us except maybe the dogs who acted like we must be crazy trying to go out in those conditions. Some people rode in the baskets of the sled and others, who were brave, actually drove their own team. "On Dasher, on Comet, on Cupid, on Blitzen" kept running through our minds as we trekked for ten miles uphill to our lunch spot.

Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney

The lunch stop was at a natural granite hot springs where we were encouraged to change into swimsuits and let our muscles enjoy the warm waters. It was very "cool" to be out in the winter snows swimming in a natural hot springs. However, remember this was a VERY cold day and changing in and out of a swimsuit from our multiple layers of clothes in a small unheated wooden room was a bit torturous. Many laughs and memories were made that day as we talked about this once in a lifetime experience. I can verify now that you should never put a wet body part on anything when it is extremely cold. No-one tried the tongue on the metal railing but we do know that wet hands and wet feet will stick to ice!

Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney

Lunch was served around a campfire where we were all kept warm with hot cider and cocoa. Then it was back to harnessing the dogs and heading home the ten miles. The canines didn't need much encouragement this time around as they knew the direction they were taking was toward their warm abodes. It seems we all took a special memory home with us from this great day.

Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney

Day 3 was the day I had anticipated all my life. It was the day I would enter Yellowstone National Park in the winter. We were on a bus until just south of the entrance where we stopped for a picnic lunch at Flagg Ranch. From this point we were separated into three winter snowcoach vehicles called bombardiers. They had skis instead of tires in the front and special treads in the back as all roads leading into Yellowstone are snow covered. Our drivers were our guides and they stopped and pointed out great sights along the way. We passed frozen rivers, lush snow covered forests, lakes, fire damaged areas, and geyser and hot spring spots. It took about 2 ½ to 3 hours to make the trek from the southern entrance to Old Faithful Snow Lodge.

Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney
Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney

Dinner that night was enjoyed in the beautiful dining room of the lodge where we were greeted with hats, leis and horns on our tables. Yes, this was New Year's Eve and we would be welcoming 2015 from the middle of the greatest National Park in the country. To pass the time after dinner we all enjoyed a campfire outside of the lodge and toasted marshmallows for s'mores. The stories we all shared while watching the clear sky full of stars and hearing Old Faithful erupting in the background made this extremely magical. About half of the group actually stayed up to toast at midnight. I would never let an opportunity go by for something as special as that. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney

Day 4 was an all day adventure on our snowcoach bombardier vehicles. This was the day you didn't want to leave the camera in the room as the sights we saw were breathtaking. We experienced hot springs and geysers where you could feel the earth shaking when they erupted. We also came upon geyser fields where the steam and the cold air made it appear it was one big hot pot of water. An occasional snowmobiler would pass but it often felt like you were the only ones in the park besides those animals that called it home during the winter.

Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney

Two of the most exciting viewings of the day included the great Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with the half frozen Yellowstone Falls in the background. It was an amazing sight that we enjoyed as a group, and it was certainly a highlight for many of them. The other included bison who were trudging along the snow covered roads. They came next to the vehicles so we were all blessed with amazing photos of an up close and personal bison picture to return home with. The history we learned and the sights we saw on this day alone made this trip a lifetime experience!

Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney

We returned to our Old Faithful Snow Lodge in time to see the great Old Faithful Geyser erupt before dark and finished the day off with a farewell dinner in a private dining room. Stories were shared, experiences talked about, and pins handed out to all guests. We all went to our rooms knowing this journey was sadly soon coming to an end.

Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney

Day 5 was the day we were to return to Jackson Hole or head to the airport for a flight. Jaime and Ralph invited the group to join them on a last hike to see the Castle Geyser. After all, this was a Disney adventure and we couldn't leave without a view of our castle in Yellowstone. It was cold so the walk was brisk but worth the hike. We didn't see a single person out and spotted two coyotes who were using the warm thermal ground for their bed that night. Our final view of Old Faithful and the surrounding area at sunrise was worth getting up just a little earlier.

Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney
Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney

Back on snow vehicles for the trek out of Yellowstone made us all sad. We had a wonderful group and new friends had been made and hopefully future rendezvous' would happen at another Adventure By Disney location. Most stayed the post night back at the Wort Hotel since flights left before we reached Jackson Hole. Some of the group shopped, some went to museums, and others such as my small family enjoyed a sleigh ride through the elk refuge.

Wyoming Winter Wonderland - Adventures By Disney

The Winter Wonderland title just doesn't give this adventure justice. It is magical and amazing and beyond beautiful. I fell in love with this part of the country many years ago while traveling with my parents. To be able to experience it in the elements of winter was a lifetime thrill. The accommodations were clean and comfortable, the food was good, and the guides were great. But if you are looking for luxury then check out some of the other options. This was truly an ADVENTURE and one I highly recommend to anyone who loves the natural beauty and history of our country. And don't be afraid of the weather if you are a southern family... we had families from Miami, Birmingham, and Houston. They came prepared, dressed accordingly, and had the time of their lives. We all returned with the gift of our photos to share but nothing compares to the being there in person.

Hmmmm, where will my next adventure be? I do believe I will head to Utah, Arizona, and the Grand Canyon this June with Adventures By Disney. Hope to see some of you there and if not I will be back to give you a report of the experience!

Happy travels to everyone in 2015!


January 17, 2015

Mid-Month Mousy Mindboggler - January 2015

Riddle

THE MOUSY MINDBOGGLER

If you subscribe to the AllEars® Weekly Newsletter, you'll know that we run a little game called the Mousy Mindboggler. Sometimes it's a word game, sometimes it's a riddle, sometimes it's some other brain-teasing challenge -- but it's always fun!

Once each month, in the AllEars® Bits and Bites issue, our friend James Dezern (known as "dzneynut" around several Disney discussion forums) supplies us with a puzzle of his own design.

Around the middle of each month, James Shares the Magic in another way -- by posting an all-new puzzle here in this AllEars.Net Guest Blog. The subject of the puzzle will vary, and James will award the winner of the challenge a collectible Disney pin!

This month, James writes:

Here's the answer key to the December Mid-Month Mousy Mindboggler Word Search:

http://allears.net/ae/mb121614-key.pdf

There were only *8* responses to the word search puzzle about Disney and the Holidays. I guess everyone was too busy getting ready for the holidays to stop and play a game about the holidays!

The first 10 unused letters in the puzzle were OFJZNLKAIC.

The winner of a Cruella DeVil pin was Lynn T. of North Brunswick, NJ. Congratulations, Lynn, and thanks for playing!

This month we are going to change gears and try another crossword puzzle, and the subject this month is the quotable Walter E. Disney.

Walt Disney was a creative genius and a philosopher on many subjects of interest to the American people. Please note that all of the words in the word bank are used in the puzzle. And, if anyone can figure out the personal significance of the date in the bonus clue, I will give you an extra chance in the drawing.

Here's the link to the new puzzle:

http://allears.net/ae/mb011615.pdf

The object is, as always, to have fun, but if you'd like a chance to win a Disney collectible pin, arrange the letters that are circled in the puzzle to come up with the answer to the bonus question, which relates to the puzzle theme. Send your resulting answer IN THE SUBJECT LINE OF AN EMAIL addressed to dzneynut.puzzle@gmail.com.

Send your entries no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on February 13, 2015. All correct answers will be entered into a random drawing, and the winner will be awarded a Disney pin. The answers and drawing winner will be posted in this Guest Blog, along with a new puzzle, in mid-February.

As always, any feedback on the puzzle format or topics would be appreciated! Drop me a line at dzneynut.puzzle@gmail.com.

Thanks for playing!

January 18, 2015

From the Tickle Trunk - Disney Clubs

Gary Cruise banner

Are you a member of D23? To the best of my knowledge, it is the only "official" fan club, organized by Disney, in operation today.

But D23 has had several ancestors over the years . . . and those old clubs are what I'll describe briefly in this blog. I'll be using plenty of scanned images from some of the old brochures, newsletters and magazines Carol has safely stashed away in her Tickle Trunk!

Naturally when someone mentions Disney clubs the first thing which comes to mind is the Mickey Mouse Club.

I was one of those kids, way-way-way back in the mid-1950's, who rushed home from school every afternoon to watch Jimmie Dodd and the Mousketeers sing and dance their way through challenges and adventures. But that was not really a club; you could not become a member!

But you could subscribe to the magazine!

Mickey Mouse Club Magazine

There was a real "membership club" in that era, the Magic Kingdom Club, founded in 1957 as a marketing tool for Disneyland.

Magic_Kingdom_Club_Membership_Card

It was almost like a loyalty program, offered to employee groups from large companies in southern California. Unfortunately, it wasn't too beneficial for young children like Carol and I, living an entire nation away, about 2,400 miles north-east of Disneyland!

Magic Kingdom Club Membership Voucher

It was a very novel approach to marketing in the 1950's - employers could offer a no-cost benefit to employees and those lucky employees received membership cards which gave some attractive discounts at Disneyland!

What sort of discounts? There were discounts on Disney park tickets and Disney annual passports, discounted rooms at Disney resorts, discounts on parking, members even received a bag full of goodies like bumper stickers, key chains, decals and sometimes even a few Disney Dollars! Sorry Ralphie . . . no secret decoder!

Magic Kingdom Club Buttons

There were quarterly newsletters (Disney News) which kept members up-to-date on new Disney movies, changes in the park and changes to the club's benefits!

Disney News Fall 1989

Disney News Fall 1992

Disney News Fall 1993

Disney News Summer 1990

As the Disney parks grew, so did the club! It expanded nationally in 1971 when Walt Disney World opened and then went "international" as other parks were established around the world.

Soon there were exciting new benefits, including discounts with "non-Disney" partners such as airlines, cruise lines and car rental companies. There were even special vacation packages for individuals, families and groups.

There was a Gold Card membership which was fee-based. Those who were not employees of one of the member companies could buy a Magic Kingdom Club Gold Card.

Magic Kingdom Club Ad Fall 1989
(click on the picture above to see a clearer image you can read)

It has been reported that the club, at its peak, had over 30,000 member companies and more than six million card-carrying members. Wow!

In early 1986 Disney established the Magic Years Club just for seniors, 50 years of age and over. Click on the picture below to read how the Lakeland Ledger described this new club in their February 24, 1986 edition.

Magic Years News Article

Carol's mother, Sybil, joined Disney's Magic Years Club in 1989 and the newsletters shown below are from her collection (now safely stored in Carol's Tickle Trunk).

Magic Years Membership Form

Magic Years Membership Guide

Magic Years Magazine Spring 1990

Magic Years Magazine Winter 1993

Magic Years Coupon Book

Magic Years Bumper Sticker

Some time before 1993 the minimum age for membership was increased from 50 to 60, but the benefits remained the same.

Magic Years Ad Fall 1993

On October 14, 2000 the Magic Kingdom Club and the Magic Years Club morphed into The Disney Club. Each of the former clubs had been offered free of charge to most members, but the new Disney Club required all members to pay dues.

Disney Magazine Summer 2001

Carol was a card-carrying member of the Magic Kingdom Club in 2000 when the transition took place and she decided that all was not lost; the discounts were still more than enough to offset the annual dues of $39.95!

Membership Card

Here is listing of some Disney Club discounts from 2002. Click the image to see a larger version.

2002 Disney Club brochure pg 14-15

The Disney Club also sent out quarterly magazines!

Disney Club News Issue 11

Disney Club News Issue 14

Disney Club News Issue 15

The magazines and newsletters were packed full of interesting announcements and articles. I will probably write a few future blogs based on some of those old articles!

Click on the image below to read the cover of the November 2001 newsletter. If you like Disney trivia, pay close attention to those Monsters Inc. Fun Facts.

Disney Club News Issue 9

Click on the image below to read a Spring 2003 article about the Pirates of the Caribbean display at the Gallery in Disneyland!

Disney Club News Spring 2003 Article

It came as quite a shock to members when Disney scrapped the relatively new Disney Club in late 2003. For the first time in 46 years there was no club - no way to feel that warm sense of affiliation with Disney.

Everyone kept waiting for a revamped club to rise from the ashes, but alas, there was no Phoenix! The magazines no longer came, the club was gone, and all those swell benefits were gone as well.

At about the same time the always popular "Official Disneyana Convention", held at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World was cancelled. No one really understood this abrupt change in company policy.

Perhaps the corporation decided to focus their attention on the newly launched Disney Rewards Visa Card which offered similar discounts, but that was little consolation to Carol and I. We didn't qualify for the new cards; they are not offered to Canadians.

So we waited years until a new club appeared . . . D23 was announced in 2009. The name D23 refers to D for Disney and 23 for 1923, the year when Walt Disney arrived in Hollywood and his company was founded.

You are probably wondering, "Is Carol a member of D23?"

Silly question - of course she is! There are so many benefits and discounts, how could she resist?

And unlike the Visa Rewards Card, they let Canadians join!

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About January 2015

This page contains all entries posted to All Ears® Guest Blog in January 2015. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2014 is the previous archive.

February 2015 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.