Month: March 2017

Friday DisNews: Full Menu for Satu’li Canteen is Out – and Pandora is looking awesome!

Friday DisNews: Full Menu for Satu’li Canteen is Out – and Pandora is looking awesome!

Floating mountains grace the skyline while exotic plants fill the colorful landscape inside Pandora – The World of Avatar, which opens May 27, 2017 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Pandora – The World of Avatar will bring a variety of new experiences to the park, including a family-friendly attraction called Na’vi River Journey and new food & beverage and merchandise locations. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kent Phillips, photographer) Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resorts.

I’m a little behind in getting this blog post up, but I’m very excited to say that the sneak peeks we’re being given about Pandora: The World of Avatar are looking better and better! I enjoyed the movie when it came out, and I think one of its strongest points was that it was gorgeous to look at. Now that its become a real part of Disney, and we know how well they do bringing things to life, I’m really excited to see what they do with it. I’m also excited to have a reason to stay in the Animal Kingdom park past five. In the past, Animal Kingdom has not been a full day park for my family, mainly because of the heat (it always seems like the hottest of hte parks) and because my family doesn’t ride roller coasters or Kali River Rapids. (With my husband, that may change, because he loves coasters) This, however, looks like two new rides I think I’ll like, and I am hoping for great things from the nighttime look of Pandora, with its bioluminescent features. The possibilities of what this could look like are really exciting! Take a look at this video, provided by Walt Disney World Resort:

I mean, the beginning is a lot of the same opening shots of the entrance that have been posted everywhere. But I’m very excited by the peek into the Na’vi River Ride! It looks like it should be really fun, and really beautiful to look at.

 

Satu’li Canteen

Walt Disney World has also released the full menu for the Satu’li Canteen! I couldn’t get any press photos for the food, but if you want a sneak peek, you can visit the Disney Blog and the full menu on The Disney site. The selection looks interesting, and you can see that they’re sticking with the themes from the movie by creating a menu with healthier fare. I’ve also heard that they will be using an online ordering system where you can order and pay via the My Disney Experience app and then tell the kitchen, via the app, that you’ve arrived. When your food is ready, it can then be picked up at a specific window/place in the restaurant. This should be a nice feature, as I’m sure the restaurant will be crowded, at least to start. It also allows you to customize your meals as well, with a nice selection of healthy foods. The cheeseburger “pod” looks like it might be a bit of a stretch to all that “healthy,” but I like the idea of the “pods.”

What are you looking forward to most in Pandora?

 

10 Ways to Deal with the Heat at Disney World

10 Ways to Deal with the Heat at Disney World

10 Ways to Beat the Heat at DisneyI am a teacher. My parents are teachers. As such, we have always had to schedule any trips to Disney around school vacations. Because of this, we’ve always gone in August. Now, I’m sure you know that Orlando in August is a sauna, to put it mildly. I have always had issues with the heat, after getting what my parents think was a minor case of heatstroke as a kid. It doesn’t take much to make me want to melt into the pavement.

But I love Disney World, and I’m not going to let the temperature stop me. (Though someday, SOMEDAY, I’m going to go when I can wear jeans and a sweater.)

These tips are useful, and they usually help me when I’m getting to my limit.

Drink water. A lot of it.

This one is a bit self-explanatory. You have to stay hydrated, even when it seems like its oozing out your pores as fast as it comes in. Bring bottles of water with you, buy them, or ask at any quick service for ice water. Just make sure you’re drinking.

Take advantage of the AC.

Disney World, as a whole, has a lot of places where you can get out of the heat. The only park where I find this a challenge is Animal Kingdom, and I must admit that while I love the animals, I frequently opt for a shorter visit in the park just because it seems hotter than all the others. Regardless, take a break inside a shop or restaurant and cool off a little when you need to.

Use a mini fan, folding fan, or misting fan.

Some people may argue against this one, but several years ago, I was too hot, and my Dad was concerned and bought me one of the misting fans at Epcot. They’re expensive, but I’ve still got it, it still works, and I’ve pulled it out to pack and take with us this year. You can buy mini ones that clip onto your bag, you can just buy a little battery operated fan, or even a folding fan. (In the China pavilion, they’ve got lots, and they’ll personalize it!) They really are useful for moments when you can’t get into air conditioning, or your waiting in line for a ride, or you just need a little extra air. And as a bonus, when you eat lunch, ask for a cup of ice and put it into the mister bottle to keep the water REALLY cold.

Know your limits.

Maybe I should have made this one the first post, because it really is important. You have to know when to quit. There’s no point in powering through the parks, only to collapse somewhere between Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Be Our Guest just because you didn’t say you needed a break. These people you’re likely with are your family and friends. They care about you. If people in your group want to go do their thing, let them. Having someone get seriously ill because of the heat will be way worse than slowing down and having to postpone a ride or two. My husband can handle heat far, far better than I ever could. He can go for hours. I can’t. I’ve learned that I have to say when I need a break, because he won’t always know. (Though he’s pretty good at realizing.)

Pace yourself.

This goes with the last one. Take your time. Its Disney! Don’t run through the parks (unless, of course, you’re doing a marathon or something. Then, by all means, run.) – enjoy yourself. Along with this, if you are staying on property, make sure you look up the Extra Magic Hours for the days you are staying. If a park opens earlier in the day, it might be a good bet to try that park. Same thing with staying open late. Nighttime is so much more comfortable!

Take a break midday.

This one really applies the most if you are staying on property (and I totally recommend you do. But that’s another blog post.) because otherwise it isn’t necessarily worth the loss of park time. If you are, however, I recommend taking a midday break back at your resort. You can go back, get a drink in the food court, and then relax in the air conditioning. You can nap, take a swim, or just freshen up a little. Even just an hour back at the resort will help you get cooled off and recharged for the rest of the day.

Morocco Pavilion at Night
One reason for a midday nap? Extend your visit into the evening. Its cooler, and things just look beautiful!

Wear a hat or visor and use sunscreen.

For myself, I am not really a hat person. I think they make me hotter. However, a visor is perfect for this. It will help keep your face shaded (and therefore not so sunburned) which is much more important than you think. Maybe you are lucky enough to be able to withstand some sun, but I go from pastry to crispy critter in less time than it takes Pooh to eat a jar of honey. You don’t want to be sunburned. It hurts, and it doesn’t help you stay cool. Not to mention all the other things it can lead to. Let’s just put on the SPF and prevent all that.

Get a cooling towel.

Okay, so maybe this is a personal preference, but I really like these cooling towels. I bought one when I still rode a motorcycle occasionally, and when I bought it, I was super skeptical about what it was going to do for me. And then I tried it, and it really did help. So well I went out and bought my dad and brother each one. They’re pretty simple, and you can get a small one that doesn’t take up too much space. When you want to use it, just soak it in some water from a sink or fountain and drape it around your neck (or wherever.) I’d bring a small baggie to put it in when you don’t want to use it anymore, that way it can’t get things damp in your pocket, purse, or bag.

Wear appropriate clothing.

This should be a no-brainer, but I’m putting it here because I’m so guilty of doing this. If the temperatures are forecast to be in the 90’s (or higher) choosing to wear denim capris may not be the best choice. And let’s not even think about jeans. Wear light colors and light fabrics. Cottons, things that breathe. And while I say light colors, don’t wear white. The Florida afternoon summer thunderstorm will come. And if you’re a lady and you’re wearing a white shirt, things could be a little more…transparent…than you’d like.

Know the warning signs.

You and those you are traveling with (not just those who are sensitive to it) need to be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. I was once at another theme park near my house in Virginia. I watched a teenager go from smiling to passed out in her friend’s arms in about three seconds, and when the park medics came, she revealed she hadn’t had a drink in hours. It was almost 100 degrees that day. Its no joke. You don’t want to be ill ever, but definitely not on vacation at the Happiest Place on Earth. Drink fluids, stay cool, and take care of yourself and each other!

 

I hope these tips help you on your vacation. Its certainly been a good reminder for myself, and I’ve added a few items to my packing list. (Where did I put that cooling towel?) Do you have other tips for beating the heat? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

*Please be aware that this post contains affiliate links. By clicking on any of these links and purchasing the product, I receive a small commission from Amazon.

Boma Marinated Flank Steak

Boma Marinated Flank Steak

This recipe is AWESOME. It is the Durbin Marinated Flank Steak from Walt Disney World’s Boma restaurant, though I’ve adapted the recipe found on AllEars.net and in my Disney cookbooks. If you can, I definitely would try it! And I must apologize, because this recipe was previously posted on my website, but after updating earlier this week, I realized that I lost three recipes! So this is actually a repost, and I am sorry for the inconvenience! Either way, it is still delicious, and you should still try it!

I mean, my husband ate three plates full, and it totally sold him on my new blogging endeavor. Seriously. If that isn’t a pretty good endorsement, I don’t know what else might be!

The prep work for this is pretty easy. You don’t have to measure everything out into bowls or on a plate like I did here. I just though it looked prettier than the disaster that it would be to take a photo of my spice cabinet.  Someday I’ll get around to fixing that.

Most of these spices aren’t too strange. But if you’re like me, cardamom isn’t something you always keep in the cabinet. I’ve only recently decided I like this spice (after years of professing to hate it), at least when mixed with other things, and I nearly left it out when I saw the price tag at the store. But its worth it. Really. Just go buy the bottle, and I promise I’ve got more recipes that call for cardamom, so you won’t feel like you’ve paid so much for just this one thing.

Though once you taste it, you’ll make it again. We’re already planning to have it at our Moana dinner and movie night, even though its not strictly matching the theme. Its just too tasty to not have!

Anyway, start out by prepping things. Pull out a bowl and a gallon sized resealable baggie. You can just put this in the bowl if you want, but I have a tendency to make big messes, so I like to put it in the baggie. Then the bowl. Because sometimes baggies leak. Ask me how I know.

I chopped the garlic and ginger and got those ready because that’s really the only thing that takes any time. And a tip – use a spoon to peel the ginger. Just scrape the skin off – its so thin it doesn’t take much effort.

Once you have that chopped up, put it in a small mixing bowl. Measure in all the dry spices, and then your liquids. Mix it up well with a whisk. Normally I’d tell you to dump it all in the bag and mush it around. But this does have quite a lot of spices in it, so I find that whisking does seem to help distribute everything.

Put your flank steak in the baggie and then pour the liquid over it. Massage things in a bit, and get as much air as you can out (without spilling!) and seal the bag. Stick it in the bowl, and put everything in the fridge. I left mine for only about 4 hours. I’d recommend overnight. It was AWESOME at 4 hours. But I think that it would be even better and a little more tender if it was left longer.

Once you’re ready to cook, go out and start the grill. Or have the designated grill master do it. In my house, that’s my husband’s domain, so he was in charge. It only takes about 10 ish minutes on each side, depending on how done you want the flank steak to be.

Once you bring it in off the grill, let it sit for 10 minutes (really it should be like 15 , but who can wait that long?). Don’t do anything with it until that time is up. It makes a difference in how juicy it is. Honest. Then, slice it thinly across the grain and try not to eat the whole thing alone.

If you try this, and I think you should, please let me know what you think!

Disney Boma Marinated Flank Steak

Print
Boma's Durbin Marinated Flank Steak
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

This recipe is adapted from the Durbin Marinated Flank Steak recipe found online at All Ears.net, and the recipe found in _____________.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: African, Disney Dishes
Servings: 2 people
Author: cookwcharacter
Ingredients
  • 1 -1.5 pound flank steak
  • 1/4 c neutral oil (canola, safflower, vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 c malt vinegar
  • 1/4 balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 2 T teriyaki sauce
  • 2 T ground cardamom
  • 2 T crushed red pepper
  • 1.5 T dried thyme
  • 1.5 T turmeric
  • 1.5 T ground coriander
  • 1/4 c minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 c minced fresh garlic
Instructions
  1. Whisk all the wet ingredients together in a large bowl. Add in the remaining ingredients and whisk until combined.
  2. Put the flank steak into a large gallon baggie, and pour in the marinade. Get as much air out of the bag as possible and massage it a little.
  3. Put the marinating steak into a shallow dish where it can lie flat, and marinade for at least 5 hours, up to 24 hours.
  4. Heat a grill to around 375 degrees. Put the steak on and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side for medium well. Adjust your time to suit the desired level of doneness.
  5. Let rest 10 minutes, and then slice thinly, being sure to go against the grain.
  6. Devour!

 

Top 5 Reasons to Love Disney as an Adult

Top 5 Reasons to Love Disney as an Adult

 

Disney World is an amazing place. But there are some people who will look at you and wonder, “Why bother going to Disney as an adult? Isn’t it just an overpriced place for the kids, with no real thrills?”

Clearly, they’ve never looked at it the right way.

There are lots of reasons a Disney fan can give as to why they love the parks. As this is one of my first blog posts, I thought it would only be appropriate to mention a few of the reasons why I love it so much.

At Disney, it’s okay to release your inner child.

Do you remember the excitement you felt as a kid when the newest Disney movie came out? Or when you got to go to a theme park for the day? Or come home after school and watch cartoons? Of course! Being a kid, you were allowed to geek out over a cartoon character, or play with stuffed animals, and daydream about how the movie would have been if you were the princess (or prince!). At Disney World, you can let go of all the adulating for a while and just let yourself enjoy being a kid again. You can get your picture taken with Mickey, you can laugh at the jokes in the Enchanted Tiki Room, and you can generally let yourself believe in a little magic again. Or just ride Space Mountain for the nth time. There’s plenty of time for the real world. But at least for a little while, you can let it go (pun intended) and just soak up the magic.

There is more to see and do than standing in line for Mickey and buying a stuffed animal.

Spend real time walking through the World Showcase areas. Morocco has some really amazing views and things to look at and enjoy!

Disney World was built as a place for families to be entertained, and kids were the biggest portion of that vision. But don’t let think the adults have been left out! There are lots of opportunities for adults to enjoy themselves. For me, EPCOT is the most “adult” of all the park. I can see where a kid might think the countries of World Showcase boring. But as an adult, they are pretty awesome to wander through, look around, and enjoy the taste of another culture and country. Beyond that, there are lots of things sprinkled in the park that you will appreciate as an adult that may go over the kids heads, and there are many things that only an adult who has seen some of the older movies and Disney shows will appreciate.

The Food.

This blog is food-centered. So it’s no surprise that the food makes an appearance on here. In my experience, most kids are pretty mundane eaters. Don’t get me wrong – some are adventurous, but as a rule, kids just want food so they can get back to the park. Adults, on the other hand, more often can appreciate the joys of a great meal in an awesome setting. No matter what restaurant you pick, the worst meal at Disney is still likely to be miles better than the normal chain restaurants from home. The themes are amazing, and the food is made with great attention and care. It tastes good, looks good, and there are so many restaurants to choose from, you should be able to find something you like!

As an adult, you can appreciate the detail.

Come on, not too many kids would find this as entertaining as I did.

This kind of goes with #2, but adults can appreciate some of the inside jokes in things (Jungle Cruise, anyone?). The Imagineers dropped little things all over the park. Some of the labels on boxes in the Agrabah area of Magic Kingdom, for instance, may seem familiar to an adult. And only someone who isn’t on overload with sugar and Mickey and OMG another ride, will be able to see it. As an adult, you can take your time, breath, and enjoy yourself. No one will mind if you buy a dole whip, take a seat on a bench next to the castle and people watch for awhile. (And you totally should!)

There is always something new.

This one goes for everyone – not just adults. Unless you’re going to Disney World every day (and even then you may argue that it still applies) there is always something new to see. It may not be new to the park, but it may be a feature you missed, a show you haven’t seen, or a new world added since the last time you visited (Anyone else excited to see Pandora?). As adults, sometimes we have a tendency to check off a place we’ve visited on our mental list, crossing it off as being “done.” But I’ve never had a trip to Disney where it became boring because I knew what to expect. There are always hidden secrets, an inside joke, or a new attraction to pique my interest. And on the subject of food, there are so many great restaurants with so many dishes, I’ll never be able to get through them all!

 

What do you like best as an adult at Disney?

Welcome to Cooking with Character!

Welcome to Cooking with Character!

Welcome to my blog! I’m a huge Disney fanatic, and a foodie as well. One of the best things about Disney World (and there are so many) is the food. You can get anything your heart desires in one area, and things you never even thought you wanted!

On this blog, you’ll find recipes inspired by meals in the parks, the movies, and the magic. You will also find information about what’s going on in the parks, and tips and tricks to help you enjoy Disney as much as I can possibly help!

My first real post will be coming soon – this one is more of an introduction and test post so we aren’t counting it. But I hope you’ll stop by and visit often!