Tag: epcot

Chocolate Hazelnut Beignet

Chocolate Hazelnut Beignet

France EpcotWhile we were in Disney World at the beginning of August, we took some time to stop at the Boulangerie Patisserie in France. While I was there, I got a Hazelnut Chocolate Beignet. I’d show you a picture… but I ate it too fast. If I hadn’t been so hot, I might have gone back and gotten a second one! It was more like a filled donut than what I picture as a beignet, but it was still delicious.

When I came home, I kept thinking about it. And I kept thinking that my grandmother’s donut recipe would probably work really well with a hazelnut chocolate filling.

Really, really well.

So the other day I broke out all the ingredients and made donuts. And you know what? They’re pretty darn close to what we ate there!

How to Make The Beignets

I will fully admit that I did cheat for part of this. My breadmaker has a “dough” setting, and it will mix, knead, and let the dough rise, knead again, and do a second rise. This is great when you’re short and its hard to get enough leverage to knead bread easily on the counters.

Because I also had lots of things to do in the meantime, I scalded the milk and mixed everything into it until it was dissolved and let it cool for a bit. Once it was room temperature, I put my ingredients into the breadmaker, following the methods for my machine (For mine, you have to put all the liquid ingredients in first), and let it run on the bread setting. I did not let it go through both kneading and rising cycles. I stopped it after the first one, because I wanted to cut the donuts out.

Once the dough was ready, I pulled it out and floured the counter and my rolling pin. I will warn you, this makes A LOT of donuts. Like, around 4 dozen regular donuts. I forgot this.

In any case, its easier to divide the dough up into thirds or fourths and roll it out in smaller chunks. Unless you have a really big counter to spread out on, in which case, have at it!

Anyway, roll out the dough to about a quarter inch thick, and then cut it with a 2-3″ cutter (size is your preference). If you want regular donuts, you’ll have to cut out the inside with a smaller cutter. If you want to make these beignets, just leave it in a circle.

I move mine to a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, and cover them with a tea towel. Let them rise for about 45 minutes.

While you’re waiting for them to rise, you’re going to heat up about 3-4″ of oil in a pan, or pull out your fryer. You want the oil to heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. I used a clip on thermometer to monitor the temperature. Make sure you’re using canola, peanut, or vegetable oil.

You’re going to gently slide the donuts into the pan, cooking for a couple minutes on each side, until they are golden brown. drain them on racks placed in cookie sheets lined with paper towels, newspaper, or kitchen towels. If you run out of space, you can always just put the towels on the counter and the racks on top, but it means a lot of counter cleaning later. Trust me on that.

Filling the Beignets

Once the donuts are cool enough to handle, you will need to get your jar of Nutella and pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, until it is a little more liquid and easier to pour. Make sure you get all the metallic seal off before you put this in the microwave!!!!!

Now, you can just use a round cake decorating tip to fill these, but a cannoli filling tip would be better. It is longer and will get farther into the middle of the donut. You are going to prep a piping bag just like you would for frosting, and pour your Nutella in.

Filling the donuts is easy. You just pop the piping tip into the side of the donut (don’t do the bottom – it will leak out!) and squeeze some Nutella inside. How much is up to you, but at some point it will ooze out around the tip. I recommend squeezing lightly for a count of 1-2-3 and then moving on. You can judge as you go if you’re getting the same amount inside by weight. As you squeeze the Nutella in, the donut will get heavier in your hand. Nutella is rich stuff, and while I love it, sometimes less is more, you know?

Chocolate Hazelnut Beignet

Once you’ve got your donuts made, they’re pretty much ready to go. The one I ate at Epcot was dusted with powdered sugar, and I do think it needs that little extra bit. BUT – these donuts are moist, so I don’t recommend dusting them until you are ready to serve. If you do it earlier and put them in a baggie or container, it will turn to liquid. (which is still tasty, just really sticky and messy)

I recommend using a shaker filled with powdered sugar to sprinkle the beignets once they are on the plate. The hardest part is not eating all of them your self! They’re best when still warm, but they’ll last in an airtight container for a few days. If you and your family can keep from eating them all!

Chocolate Hazelnut Beignet

What do you think? Have you tried the beignets at the Boulangerie Patisserie?

Print
Chocolate Hazelnut Beignets
Prep Time
1 hrs
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 30 mins
 

My grandmother's donut recipe tweaked to try and recreate the amazing beignets from the Boulangerie Patisserie at Epcot!

Servings: 4 dozen
Ingredients
  • 2 cup scalded milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 6-8 cup flour
Instructions
  1. Scald the milk, then add the sugar, butter, salt, and water. Let the mixture cool, and add the eggs, yeast, and flour.

  2. Knead or put in a bread maker on the dough setting and remove after the first knead and rise cycle has finished. If kneading by hand, knead and let rise for 2 hours.

  3. Punch down the dough and roll out to around 1/4" thick. Cut into rounds with a cookie cutter. Let rounds rise for 45 minutes.

  4. Heat oil in a skillet to 375 degrees. Fry donuts until golden brown on each side. Usually 1-3 minutes per side. Remove and let drain on a baking rack.

  5. Fill a piping bag with a cannoli tip or round tip with Nutella. Fill doughnuts with 1-2 tablespoons of filling.

  6. Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

table rating
This is a Table recipe – mainly because it requires advance prepping, and a few more steps and ingredients. It’s worth the extra effort!

Chocolate Hazelnut Beignet

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

 

Margarita Cupcakes inspired by EPCOT

Margarita Cupcakes inspired by EPCOT

I have a confession to make before I begin – I don’t actually like Margaritas. I know, I know. Sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. I was hoping that if I made it into a baked good, I’d like it better. And I’d rather eat these than drink a margarita, so I suppose I achieved the goal! I think these cupcakes are good, but I haven’t had the same reaction that my margarita loving friends have. They say they are FANTASTIC. I even tested it out on my coworkers, and they loved them. So you should definitely try them!

The cupcakes

This recipe is actually pretty simple. You’re going to need basic cake baking items, and then you’ll need tequila, triple sec, and limes. That’s the only “unique” ingredients that this recipe requires. If you like margaritas, you may already have those things on hand.

You do need to complete one step about an hour before you plan to make your cake. You’re going to take two limes, and you’re going to zest them into a bowl, where you’ve measured out the 1 and 1/2 cups of granulated sugar you need. I use vanilla sugar because I like it. You don’t have to. (All vanilla sugar is, is a container of granulated sugar with a vanilla bean dropped in it. You can leave that bean in there for AGES and it will continue to scent any sugar you put in the container with vanilla. Try it. It’s awesome in baked goods!)

I use a microplane to zest my lime, but you could use a vegetable peeler in a pinch. Once you have your limes zested, stir the zest into the sugar and leave it to sit for one hour. This will help the lime flavor infuse into the sugar. It makes a difference. Really.

Lime Sugar

While you’re waiting, go ahead and put cupcake liners in two cupcake pans. Or grease and flour them. But the liners are way easier. You’ll want to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit as well.

Once your hour is up, you need to get out your mixer. A stand mixer is a lot easier for this, but it doesn’t matter as long as you have a mixer of some kind. The beauty of this recipe is that you dump everything together, except the egg whites, and beat. There’s no creaming (though I do it when my butter is still a little hard) or anything like that.

So dump in your lime sugar, butter, baking powder, a teeny bit of vanilla, salt, and flour. Then beat it together on high for 2 minutes. If you’re using a stand mixer, I’d suggest draping a dish towel over it, so the splatter stays contained.

Great. Now is the time to dip your finger in and eat the batter. Cause there’s no eggs yet, so that thing your mom always told you about how you’d get the collywobbles if you ate raw batter? This is totally safe.

Tell me my mom isn’t the only one who said that.

Now you need to separate your eggs. You can save the yolks and make something, like lime curd or lemon curd, or you can throw them out. Whatever floats your boat.

After the egg whites are in, beat it again on high for 5 minutes. I’d suggest beating it for about 30 seconds on low first to get things started. Sometimes egg whites fly all over if you don’t.

Have I mentioned I am a messy cook?

It should be a pretty smooth batter at this point. Take it to your prepared cupcake pans and then fill the liners about 2/3 of the way full. We will not discuss how long it took me to fill these while trying to be neat. And by the time I got to the end, I flipped batter on the pan anyway. It was a good try though, right?

Margarita Cupcake Pan

You should be able to get two dozen cupcakes out of this, give or take a few. If you overfill you’ll get less cupcakes, but it isn’t a big deal.

Put these in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. I would recommend putting these on a cooling rack when they come out, because you need to pop them out of the cupcake pans before they cool completely.

The Syrup

The key to making these cupcakes taste like a margarita is in the syrup. While the cupcakes are in the oven, you need to squeeze your two limes into a measuring cup. If you’ve made a margarita before, you’ll know how this works. My recipe for a Margarita is 1 part lime, 1 part triple sec, 2 parts tequila. For me, my two limes made just about 1/4 cup of juice. So I added 1/4 c triple sec, and 1/2 cup tequila. depending on the size and juiciness of your limes, your amounts may be different. But you want to measure how much liquid you have total. Don’t drink any. 🙂

You’ve just basically made yourself a margarita. Great. Now you’re going to add the same amount of sugar as liquid and pour both into a saucepan. Put it over medium high heat, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then take it off the heat and leave it to cool off just a little.

It will probably be more syrup than you need. You can always save it and use it on something else. I imagine whipped cream for pancakes made with this would be good. Or pouring a little over ice cream or pound cake?

Putting It Together (almost)

By now, hopefully your cupcakes are still warm, but not so hot that you can’t pop them out of the tin and put them on the baking rack. Put a sheet of aluminum foil underneath it to catch any drips. While everything is still warm, you will take your margarita syrup and brush a generous amount of the syrup onto the cupcakes. You can do this while they are in the pan, but they get sticky and it gets hard to get them out sometimes after. I discovered this the first time I made them.

I brushed mine with syrup twice, because I wanted to make sure the flavor really got in the cake. I also made sure I brushed a very generous amount on there. You can brush it with more or less, as you like.

The Icing

Let the cupcakes completely cool, and while they are doing that, you can make your icing. Its really easy. I use a stick of butter and a stick of margarine, at room temperature. Beat them in a mixer until they are fluffy. Add in 1 pound of confectioner’s sugar. Turn your mixer on low and start to beat the sugar in. Add 2 tablespoons of milk, and then slowly pour in about 1-2 tablespoons of the margarita syrup. You could also add about 1/2 tsp of vanilla, but since these are margarita cupcakes, I really wanted the frosting to taste like the drink. You can add more syrup if you want, but be careful you don’t add too much and change the consistency of the icing.

Once the cupcakes are cool, transfer your icing to a piping bag. You can use a tip, or you can just snip off the end and do it that way. How you choose to get the icing on is up to you. Use a knife if you’d rather!

After you frost them, get out a little bit of salt. I happened to have a sample pack of Hawaiian salts a friend sent me, so I used the red Hawaiian salt to finish mine. I think it really helps cut through the sugar, and help amplify the margarita taste. And, you know, it looks pretty.

Margarita Cupcakes Inspired by EPCOT's Mexico Pavilion

If you decide to give these a try, I’d love to know what you think! Tell me in the comments below!

table rating
This is a Table recipe – mainly because it requires advance prepping, and a few more steps and ingredients. It’s worth the extra effort!
Print
Margarita Cupcakes
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

These cupcakes are inspired by EPCOT's Mexico Pavilion!

Course: Dessert
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cup flour
  • 3 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 large egg whites
Syrup
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (from zested limes)
  • 1/4 cup triple sec
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1 cup sugar
Instructions
  1. Zest the limes and mix with the sugar. Let this sit to infuse for one hour. In the meantime, line 2 cupcake pans with 24 liners and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. After the sugar has sat for one hour, combine all ingredients but the egg whites in a stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Beat for 2 minutes on high.

  3. Add the egg whites and beat again for 5 minutes on high.

  4. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full, and then bake the cupcakes for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

  5. Move to a rack to cool until you can pop out the cupcakes, then place these on a baking rack with aluminum foil underneath.

  6. Juice the two limes, measuring the amount of liquid produced. Generally, you should get around 1/4 c of lime juice. Add the triple sec, tequila, and sugar to a saucepan and heat over medium high heat. 

  7. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and remove from heat. Brush over the top of warm cupcakes, being generous.

  8. Allow cupcakes to finish cooling, then frost as desired.

 

Print
Margarita Cupcake Frosting
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 


Ingredients
  • 1 lb confectioner's sugar
  • 1-3 tbsp margarita syrup from the cupcake recipe
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup margarine room temperature
  • salt for decoration - optional
Instructions
  1. Beat butter and margarine until fluffy. 

  2. Add the confectioner's sugar, and turn your mixer on low. Gradually add in the milk and syrup. 

  3. Once combined, turn mixer to high and beat for 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

  4. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes, and garnish with salt, if desired.

Margarita Cupcakes Inspired by EPCOT's Mexico Pavilion

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!

The Best Dill Pickle Flavored Popcorn Recipe for a Movie Night!

The Best Dill Pickle Flavored Popcorn Recipe for a Movie Night!

There’s a flavored popcorn stand in EPCOT that I’ve heard many people rave about. And apparently flavored popcorn is a big thing in Disneyland and some of the other parks across the world. What a perfect snack! I mean, who doesn’t love the smell of popcorn? (Unless its burnt. No one, except a friend from college, likes that. She used to hunt down the burned popcorn smell and take it off our hands, so I suppose it wasn’t a bad thing in the end, right?)

I’ve got a fun, tasty flavor for you to try this weekend. If you do a family movie night, this is a fun way to up your popcorn game. Keep an eye out, because I’ve been working on a handful of these. This is just the one I finished first. This spice blend is easily kept in a jar and used a little at a time. While I’m writing a recipe designed to flavor a lot of popcorn, you can easily just sprinkle it with a spoon over your personal bowl, and then everyone can have what they like! That way too, if you follow the blog and get the other recipes (they’re coming soon!) you can pass around the bowls and see which ones you like best.

What flavor are we making? Dill Pickle, of course!

If you like pickles, you’ll like this. Now me, I don’t like pickles. I LOVE pickles. Its a problem. I have no problem sitting and eating an entire jar by myself. Whenever someone tells me it isn’t good for me, I wave and hand and remind them I’m eating vegetables. They seem to think this doesn’t count. Whatever.

If you’re like me, then you should make sure there’s a separate bowl for everyone else. Cause there’s no sharing going on here.

Dill Pickle Popcorn

This is really easy. If you have a spice grinder, you can get fancy and grind your own spices. I like to do this because I think they taste fresher longer, but its not necessary. Mixing preground spices works just as well. The hardest thing to find for any of these recipes will probably be the citric acid. Its usually in the canning section of the store, or you can order it online. You don’t need very much – only a 1/4 tsp for the whole recipe! One container will  last you a long time.

Dill Pickle Popcorn Seasoning
This recipe makes quite a bit. Only use what you need – you should get a couple batches of popcorn out of this!

To do this recipe, you measure out your spices (if you’re using any whole spices) into a spice grinder, and pulse them all together. Be careful when you remove the top, because some of the spices, especially those that were already ground, will be a really fine powder. If you get too close to the puff of spice that comes out when you take off the lid, it will go straight up your nose. Ask me how I know. If you don’t have any whole spices, just measure everything into a small bowl and mix well with a spoon. I would recommend using fine grain sea salt or popcorn salt if you go this method, but that’s a personal preference.

Dill Pickle Popcorn

I cheated for this, and popped a bag of microwave buttered popcorn because I didn’t want to get out the popcorn popper (I have the kind you put on the stove and crank.). If you’re going this route, you won’t get 5 quarts of popcorn. I used about two heaping teaspoons of powder, sprinkled it into the bag, and then poured the popcorn into a bowl. You can add as much or as little as you like. If you aren’t sure you’ll like it, I’d start with one teaspoon, toss the popcorn, and then taste. You can add more from there if you like.

 

Its got a lovely dill pickle flavor and a nice pungent sour note that isn’t too strong. Before you know it, you’ll be staring at the bottom of an empty bowl and hunting down the next bag of popcorn!

What other popcorn flavors would you love to see?

 Dill Pickle Popcorn

snack rating

Dill Pickle Popcorn
Print
Dill Pickle Popcorn
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 
This recipe is adapted from one found at Food and Wine's website.
Course: Snack
Servings: 4 people
Author: cookwcharacter
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp light mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dill seed
  • 1/2 tsp citric acid
Instructions
  1. Mix all spices together in a bowl, or put all spices into a spice grinder and pulse to a powder.
  2. Sprinkle over popcorn sprayed lightly with cooking spray or tossed with butter. If using microwave popcorn, just open bag, close, and shake.
  3. Enjoy!
#MouseFanMonday
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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.

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?