Category: Disney Information

Disney World Dining Review: Sanaa

Disney World Dining Review: Sanaa

We’ve just returned from our trip to Disney World! We were there for 5 nights, and we had a great time. I’m jumping ahead a bit, because I have to tell you about the best meal we had while we were there. All of the meals were excellent, but this one – oh, man was it good!

On our trip to Disney World, we designated a “date night” since we took both sets of parents with us. For our date meal, my husband and I decided to try Sanaa at Disney’s Kidani Village.

Oh. My. Goodness. This was one of the best meals EVER.

First, the restaurant is really lovely. The decor is beautful, and I loved all the lanterns and light fixtures. The windows (though we weren’t seated in front of one) look out onto the savannah in front of the villas. There were giraffes, wildebeasts, cranes, and more out! Our server was fantastic, and took time to make sure she answered any questions we had, and explained what we could get on the Disney Dining Plan. She was awesome!

The hostesses were even lovely enough to pose with Supermouse (he’s my little stuffed mouse who is as old as I am and has always traveled with me) for me on our way out.

The staff were all very friendly and kind, and our server was excellent.

But the food…. oh, the food!

Sanaa Bread ServiceEverything you’ve heard about the bread service is true. It was WONDERFUL. It comes with 3 fresh made naan breads, as well as two types of roti, which had a savory “spread”/herbs inside.l All three were delicious on their own, but they are serviced with 9 accompaniments, ranging from spicy to a yogurt raita. I was a fan of the tomato chutney, garlic pickle, and hummus. My husband pretty much wiped the tamarind sauce bowl clean, and he took care of tasting the spicy ones.

I also ordered a mango lassi smoothie, which was excellent. Since we were also celebrating his birthday, my husband ordered a white sangria – which came complete with a celebratory blinking ice cube.

Sanaa white sangria Sanaa Mango LassiWe ate our way through the bread service, and then our meals came out. He ordered the Braaivleis – a South African sampler plate. It came with pork, lamb, and a sausage, with mashed potatoes and a season salad. He wasn’t fond of the salad, but there wasn’t a scrap of meat left on his plate! I tasted a bite of each of his as well, and they were quite delicious. I’m not a huge fan of lamb, but it was cooked perfectly, and the sauce on the meat was tasty and helped cut through the fattiness I always associate with lamb.

Braaivleis - South African Braai Sample Plate

I had the Butter Chicken with Rice and Lentil Dhal. It was also amazing. The butter chicken is served in a thick, creamy sauce that has a great blend of spices and reminded me a bit of curry in terms of complexity and texture, but it was a different flavor. The rice was the perfect accompaniment, and the lentil dhal, with a mixture of tomatoes, onions, split peas, lentils, and spices, was also extremely tasty. I wasn’t sure how they would go together, because you choose your side with this particular menu item, but the flavors did not overpower or conflict with each other.

Sanaa Butter Chicken

After we had both cleaned our plates, there was dessert. At this point, I had already eaten too much. I figured I’d order dessert (we were on the Disney Dining Plan, so it came as part of the meal) and just taste it. You know, for research purposes.

I was so foolish to think that dessert would be any less delicious than dinner.

My husband ordered the Kenyon Coffee Petit Entremet. Basically its a coffee and chocolate mouse dessert. Our server made it even better by having the Happy Birthday added on! It was smooth and rich an luscious. I’m not a fan of chocolate mousse, but I struggled through a bite. My husband is not a big dessert eater on a good day, so he only ate about half. Then he went back and finished off the bread service, because he was so in love with that!

I had the Kheer – a coconut rice pudding that was supposed to come with a cashew peach streusel. However, I just cant’ stand peaches, and our waitress just brought it out with a mango sauce. Together, it was AWESOME. The texture was thick, creamy, and unlike any rice pudding I’ve ever had. I thought I’d have just a few bites. Five minutes later, it was all gone. And if I could have fit more in my belly, I might have ordered a second one!

Sanaa Kheer

Overall, I can’t say enough good things about Sanaa. The service was fantastic, and the food was awesome. The only reason I can see someone deciding they do not want to eat here would be if you have a very picky eater who is unwilling to try some new things (and even then, I think they could probably find something).

I was actually really surprised that during the time we were there, there were several empty tables. It is the only Disney restaurant I can think of where there were empty tables during our whole meal. Now, we chose to have a 5:10 pm reservation, so I know we were a little early, but it was unusual. It was a quiet restaurant, and I think it would be good for families or couples.

If you ever get the chance to go here, TAKE IT! I will be coming back on our next trip, and dragging everyone who comes with us along!

Have you eaten here? What did you think?

 

 

“VeraVise
check out the #mousefanmondays tag for more Disney content from around the web!
Don’t Forget Mousekeeping!

Don’t Forget Mousekeeping!

I’m going to take a brief moment today to remind you of one of the most important Cast Members at Disney – and one of the ones you don’t often actually see or think hard about – Mousekeeping!

Without Mousekeepers, the resorts would be a mess. Think about it – they come in, clean up the rooms we’ve left messy, remade beds, restocked the soaps, emptied the trash, and a hundred other jobs I wouldn’t want to do, in HUNDREDS of guests’ rooms. Every. Day. They also make sure that all those gorgeous lobbies and restaurants and shops stay sparkly clean.

So if you’re planning a trip to Disney, don’t forget about your Mousekeeper. Leave them a tip. It doesn’t have to break the bank. I’ve heard that you leave a dollar a person, per day. That’s not so bad, considering how much they do every day. For our trip, I started saving my dollar bills and fives months in advance. I put them all in one envelope until I had enough set aside. That way, it wasn’t coming out of the vacation budget right before the trip (or during).

Now, you can just leave the money on a nightstand and write a little note on the pad they leave (which is what I do in a normal hotel, usually). But this is Disney – why not help spread a little magic and make something for the Mousekeeper?

You can (or the kids!) decorate a simple envelope with stickers and crayons. You can make something super fancy with a cutting machine. You can find tons of printables online. Whatever makes you happy!

I’ve tried to make some printables that you can download that are both something you can print, but also allow you to personalize them a little. They’re just the line art – made for you to color in! Markers, colored pencils, crayons, whatever medium suits your fancy! You can print them on regular computer paper, or make something more substantial from cardstock (though it really isn’t necessary – regular copy paper holds up just fine once it’s all glued and folded.)

If you want to access these (and there are more things already there, and in the works) you will have to subscribe to the blog. Hopefully since you’re already here reading this, that won’t be a problem! Once you subscribe, you’ll be given the password, and you can click on the “Resources” tab, enter the password, and download the PDF files for these envelopes!

Mousekeeping Envelope Dole Whip Mousekeeping Trader Sams PatternMousekeeping Envelope - Epcot Style

 

Spreading a Little Magic at Walt Disney World

Spreading a Little Magic at Walt Disney World

I have to apologize for being a little late with this post. I’m a teacher, and this past week was the last week of school. It’s CRAZY. But I’m back now, and I have lots of great posts planned! Mexico Margarita Cupcakes are coming – and they are fantastic!

But I want to talk about something different today. About magic.

©VanessaEdwards Cinderella's Castle

If you’ve ever been to Walt Disney World or any Disney park before, I want to ask you to take a moment and close your eyes and remember walking into the park. Stroll through your memories. There were, I’m sure, a lot of fantastic images there. But I want you to see if you can remember something that most people overlook – the Cast Members (CM).

We talk all the time about magical moments and how to have a magical Disney vacation. Many times it’s a Cast Member who makes that magical moment or memory possible. Usually when you think about it, they blend into the scenery. They are there in the background taking care of serving customers, or picking up a piece of trash, or helping a family find something or do something. Many of the memories where something awesome happened, a cast member was involved in providing that boost of pixie dust for your family.

So today I’m going to suggest something – rather than just being a recipient of the magic, maybe we should help encourage it as well.

Cast Members deal with a LOT of guests every day. They do it with a smile, and in costumes and temperatures that would make lesser mortals melt into puddles of goo. Seriously. I’d die if I had to work outside in Florida in August in those costumes!

They help make all that magic possible, and I believe that you can’t do a job like that unless you have a real passion for it. And while going to Disney World is like nothing else, most people don’t think about making magic themselves. But there is no reason a guest can’t make a little pixie dust for a Cast Member.

Next time you’re there, take a moment to thank a CM. Maybe they helped make your day – maybe they are making magic for another guest and you saw it. But take a moment to acknowledge what they’ve done.

They do a hard job – Disney is supposed to be the Happiest Place on Earth, and working there means that even if you are having a terrible day, you are expected to act like everything is amazing. They work in a service position, and as someone who also works in a service position (sort of – all these things are true in education) where a lot is expected of you every day, often the most attention happens when you are doing something wrong, not when something is going right. It’s always a nice change to have someone tell you thank you for doing a great job. And in a CM’s position – where they deal with hundreds of guests a day, not all of them pleasant, I can see where a simple thank you and smile may go a long way.

In my experience, doing little random acts of kindness helps the giver just as much as the receiver.

So when you’re at Walt Disney World next, and you want to spread a little magic of your own, I’ve made up a couple of free printables that might work. I’d recommend printing them on cardstock or some kind of fancy paper (but that is just me). Have your kids hand them out. Carry one in your park bag and decide as a family that you’re going to give one away every day. These two designs are available to everyone. On June 12, I’ll have uploaded a few more designs that are for blog subscribers only. If you’d like access to those, just subscribe to the blog!Disney Cast Member Appreciation Certificates

Disney Cast Member Appreciation Certificates
Click on photo to download PDF.

 

If you aren’t comfortable walking up to a CM and handing them this and explaining, that’s okay! I’m not the most outgoing of people either. But if a CM or Mousekeeping or other person needs some recognition, maybe try social media. I’d suggest heading to Twitter. Send a shout out telling what the CM has done that was so awesome. Make sure you say where you are, and the CM’s name (if you can), and tagging the WDW twitter account. I’ve seen several times where WDW has seen those tweets and has gone back and recognized the CM for their work.

You can also take a moment to help make a little magic in another guest’s day. If you have an extra set of dollar store glow sticks you’ve brought in, share it with that family with small children next to you. If you’re playing a game in line while waiting for a ride, invite the family in front of you to join in. You never know – that may end up being the highlight of their trip.

Several years ago I went on a roadtrip with a friend. We met up with a group of her friends, and they were going to Harry Potter World at Universal, on opening weekend. I am not that big a Harry fan, so they dropped me off at EPCOT in the morning. I stood in line for Soarin’, and the wait was well over 45 minutes. A CM came by asking for “single flyers” and I got to jump to the front of the line.  I ended up at the end of a row with a large family. When we got off, they asked if I was alone. When I said yes, they were so concerned. “You can be part of our family for the day!” I declined, but it was one of the nicest things I’ve had someone do in a theme park. She genuinely wanted to make sure I had a great day in Disney World.

That kind of attitude is what helps spread a little kindness. Like Cinderella says, “Have courage and be kind.” In the world we live in, it never hurts to help spread a little pixie dust – whether in everyday life, or the Happiest Place on Earth.

If you do this, please comment and tell me how it went – or even send a photo! I’d love to post it on the blog. And if you’ve had a magical experience at Disney World, I’d love to hear about that too!

7 Disney Food Blogs You Should Be Reading

7 Disney Food Blogs You Should Be Reading

My blog is (obviously) not the only Disney food blog out there. While we may be a tiny portion of the food blogging world, we are awesome! Today I wanted to share a list of what I believe are the a few of the best Disney food blogs out there. You should check them out and follow them as soon as you can! There are delicious recipes waiting to be discovered on their blogs, as well as other information – dining reviews and general Disney park posts. These are in no particular order, and I may have left off a blog that you think should be here. It could be because I don’t know about it, or it might be because I thought that the others nudged it out. Don’t be upset – everyone’s opinion is right! Feel free to let me know if you think I’ve forgotten one in the comments!

1. The Disney Food Blog

This one is really obvious, so I’m getting it out of the way first. The Disney Food Blog is amazing, full of all the dining information, reviews, and news you could want. Its also the most visible of the pages, so I’m sure most of you already know about it! The sheer amount of information on their page is daunting, but if you are looking for a specific restaurant, this is the place where you are sure to find it.

2. Yo Ho Yo Ho A Blogger’s Life For Me

This is another Disney focused site that has more to offer than just food and recipe information, run by a former Disney intern. There are trip blogs, general Disney information, news, and tips. When it comes to the food blog side of things, she has great reviews of restaurants, as well as some recipes and cooking videos! If you’re looking for a specific dining review or recipe, this is a great place to search.

yo ho yo ho blogger's life for me
Courtesy of Yo Ho Yo Ho Blogger’s Life For Me.

3. The Healthy Mouse

While this site is not all Disney, all the time, she has some awesome recipes and resources. It even has a link to a Facebook group – The Healthy Mouseketeers  – for eating healthy at Disney! If you’re very concerned about what you’re eating at Disney, this is a great site to browse. There’s a whole section of blog posts to help you find the healthiest choices when dining in the ‘World. They aren’t all just about salads or general health. Some are specific to different diet choices, like eating paleo, and other focus solely on snacks.

Even if you aren’t a healthy eater all the time, like me, it is still good to look at and read up on what things you can get if you decide you do want to chow down on something a little less sugary or fried. Her recipe section is also really cute and varied, with lots of Disney inspired dishes. Definitely worth checking out!

4. Alexis’ Gluten Free Adventures

Alexis’ website is another geared to a specific audience, in this case those who need gluten-free options, and is not totally dedicated to Disney. She covers Disney, Orlando, Traveling in general, there’s a recipe section, reviews, and more. Her Disney information is pretty extensive, and definitely worth looking through, even if you aren’t following a gluten-free diet. Her Disney posts are broken up in several sections. There’s a section of top 10 lists, “The Best Things I Ever Ate” (separated by courses), “Best Resorts for Special Diets,” and also goes through each park and offers specific information about eating gluten free at each one, as well as the resorts. While it isn’t a comprehensive list of every restaurant on property, it is extensive.

There are more articles, ranging from reviews of specific allergy free menu reviews, Disney cruise line information, links to gluten free Disney Pinterest boards, and has a few gluten free Disney recipes. I know several people who follow a gluten free lifestyle, and eating out can be a struggle. This site is really well done, with lots of great information, and very thorough in helping you find what you need at Walt Disney World. I would highly recommend this if you have a person in your family who has a gluten free requirement.

Gluten free beignets from Port Orleans French Quarter
Gluten free beignets from Port Orleans French Quarter – Photo Courtesy of Alexis’ Gluten Free Adventures

5. The Disney Chef

This is probably one of the other biggest and best known Disney food blogs. She has TONS of recipes from all over Disney World (and Disneyland) – if you can’t find it anywhere else, you can probably find it here! Her signature recipes are also pretty awesome! Her website also includes Disney tips for touring the parks as well as tips for dining in the parks (which is always helpful). It also includes a section about Run Disney. Her blog covers her recipes and food (obviously) but she also posts about other Disney related things which have nothing to do with eating in the World.

Her site is fun to read, and guaranteed to make you hungry. If you’re looking for a specific recipe you just can’t seem to find anywhere else, she’s probably got it. There is something for everyone, so definitely stop by and bookmark this one!

6. Dining at Disney

This site is less focused on recipes, and more focused on dining reviews, news, and suggestions. But don’t let that stop you! Its really a one-stop site for whatever you want to know about dining at Disney, whether you have the meal plan or not. Because they are run by a team of people, rather than a single person, there is a lot more variety in what they cover and in their reviews. They also have guest bloggers, which gives you even more diversity of opinion.

Their information is very detailed and useful if you’re trying to decide between restaurants on your next vacation. They also have links to recent food related news in Disney, some recipes, and they’ve broken down restaurants by park. If you are planning a trip, I would say you should add this site to your list of places to check for information and reviews. This should be a great resource if you’re trying to plan and decide!

Dining With Disney Logo
© Dining with Disney

7. Allergy Free Mouse

This site has no recipes, but does have extensive reviews and tips for eating in Walt Disney World if you or someone in your family has allergies. They also run a podcast. (I’m a sucker for a good Disney podcast – they’re in the queue for my commute to work.) They cover all kinds of allergies, from gluten-free to peanut-free, but also have sections about general Disney planning. Everything from tips about character meet and greets to tipping. The website is easy to navigate, and if you have any of the allergies they talk about, could be useful when planning your trip.

 Are there any sites I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!

7 Disney Blogs You Should Be Reading