Tag: walt disney world

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

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!
A Ratatouille Remy Would Be Proud Of!

A Ratatouille Remy Would Be Proud Of!

Ever since I watched Ratatouille, I’ve been planning to try making my own Ratatouille. The movie version just looks so good, and so fancy, that I had to try it. Since we had eggplant ripening on the vine outside, I decided this week was going to be the time!

The important thing (in my opinion) to remember when you’re making this is that there appears to be no set recipe for this! Most recipes for traditional French dishes are very similar. However, this one seems to be more of a comfort food, and every Mom and Grandma has their own version. Some are very “organized” like this one, made with layers. Some are all cut up and mixed together. Some recipes I’ve seen have you roast the vegetables separately first, and then cook them together.

What does that mean? It means you can pretty much do whatever you want. 🙂 If you don’t like eggplant or squash – leave them out. Substitute them. Some recipes called for potatoes. Some didn’t. You can alter this to fit you and your family’s tastebuds. You can also alter the amounts. My recipe makes a small 8″ round dish. There are only two of us, and squash and zucchini aren’t our favorites. I didn’t want to make a huge amount and then end up not eating it. I chose to slice and arrange everything as well. You can just chop them up and dump them in – they’ll still taste good – maybe even better because it will all be mixed together!

Ingredients for Ratatouille

Overall, it’s a healthy, pretty easy dish, though it does require some time.

You need a lot of veggies for this. Again, feel free to swap or leave out things you want to change. You can also put more of the things you like most. But a couple cloves of garlic, an onion, red pepper, a couple of tomatoes, a couple zucchini, a yellow squash, an eggplant, bay leaves, thyme, basil, oregano, and olive oil are what I used in mine. I used fresh thyme because I had it – feel free to use dried instead.

The first thing I did was to slice my onion thinly. I wanted to caramelize them before putting them in, but it’s an optional step. You can just saute them until tender and it will work just fine. If you want to caramelize them, you’re going to put them in a non stick skillet with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and let them cook over low heat for about an hour. (See? This is why I say you may not want to do that.)

Once they are cooked, you’re going to seed and dice your tomatoes. I seeded them over a strainer so that I could add the juice to the skillet. I also diced my red pepper, and minced two cloves of garlic. All this went into the skillet, and I turned the heat up to medium and let it cook for about 5 minutes, until the peppers were starting to get tender.

You’re going to pour this into the bottom of your baking dish. If you decide to just chop things and bake them together, you’d mix in the other ingredients. But in this case, I wanted to use it as a base to help hold the slices of vegetables in place. Does that make sense?

This is probably the hardest step of the whole process. Seriously. The next hardest thing is slicing the squash, zucchini, and eggplant. Mainly because I used a mandolin. You don’t have to. I did it because I like that I put in minimal effort and they come out thin. But I also know that mandolins are sharp. Do not find this out first hand. Just trust me on this. I was at a bridal shower once helping to set up when one of the other bridesmaids was using a mandolin and chatting it up. She ended up in the bathroom holding her finger over her head while others applied pressure, and a few girls had to step out to get fresh air because there was blood.

Don’t worry – in the end, she was fine. It didn’t even require a trip to the urgent care.

But believe me when I say those things are sharp!

Anyhoo… once everything is sliced, the rest is pretty simple. Before you start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Make sure there are no cookie sheets stuffed inside to dry. (Yeah, yeah, I know I shouldn’t do that.) Layering everything takes a little time, but it looks pretty awesome. Having the onion mixture in the bottom helps keep everything in place as you layer them in. I alternated the types of vegetables so it would look pretty – zucchini, squash, and eggplant. In the dish I was using, I ended up only needing one of each vegetable (though I bought more). If you use a bigger dish, it may take longer and take more slices. I even had some left over.

Remy's Ratatouille

Drizzle another tablespoon or so of olive oil over the top of the vegetables, and then tuck your bay leaves in. You could put them in the onion mixture as well if you wanted. Sprinkle the top with thyme, basil, and oregano, and then place your parchment paper over the top. Put an oven safe plate or bowl to weigh it down, and pop it in the oven. I put it in for about 1 hour.

After the hour is up, carefully take the paper and bowl off, and bake another 30-45 minutes. The liquid should have reduced a little, and the top will be roasted and deliciously brown.

Once its done, take it out and enjoy! You could serve it with baked potato, rice, or just some nice French bread. Either way, it will be melt in your mouth delicious! The only thing I will say is that you HAVE to make sure that you get some of that onion mixture on the bottom. Don’t forget that part! That was my favorite part, and I thought it was crucial to have with the squash. If you were to just chop all this in similar size pieces and roast it, I think the flavors would mingle a bit more. Still, this was pretty delicious as is!

Remy's Ratatouille

 

 

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

 

Print
Remy's Ratatouille
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 15 mins
 

Inspired by the scene at the end of Ratatouille the movie!

Servings: 2 people
Ingredients
  • 1 medium zuchinni, sliced thin
  • 1 medium yellow squash, sliced thin
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil you can add more as you need
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Thinly slice a large sweet onion. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a nonstick skillet over low heat. Cook, stirring occaisionally, until onions are golden brown. (About one hour)

  2. As your onions are cooking, seed and dice two tomatoes, mince your garlic, and dice the red bell pepper. When the onions are nearly finished, add the rest of these ingredients and turn the heat up to medium. Saute for five minutes, or until the peppers and tomatoes begin to soften.

  3. Pour the onion mixture into the bottom of your pan, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


  4. Using a knife or mandolin, slice the zucchini, eggplant, and yellow squash into thin rounds. 

  5. Alternating the vegetables, layer them over the onion mixture. Drizzle with remaining olive oil, and sprinkle the herbs over the dish. Tuck the bay leaves between the vegetables, or add before layering squash.

  6. Place a piece of parchment cut to fit your dish over the vegetables, and weigh it down with an oven safe plate or bowl. 

  7. Bake for 1 hour, then remove the parchment and bake another 30-45 minutes, or until some of the liquid has reduced and the dish is brown and roasted.

Hitting the Road – Make a Disney Car Bag for under $20!

Hitting the Road – Make a Disney Car Bag for under $20!

Our trip is a little less than a month away! Since that is the case, I’m starting to prep for Disney. Setting things aside that I plan to take, and trying to be more organized and proactive. (it’s good to have goals, right?) We are going this year with my parents, and my in-laws. This means we’ll be taking two cars. Its a long ride down to Orlando, so I thought it would be nice to have a bag of goodies in each car to keep people occupied. Just because we’re all adults doesn’t mean we don’t get bored!

I think the total for everything in both bags was probably around $30-40 bucks. Mainly because I bought extras of a few things that are not strictly for the car, but for the trip in general. If you were only making one bag, you could easily get everything for under $20. Everything was from the Dollar Store, with a few items from Five and Below thrown in as well. I was super excited to find Disney bags at the Dollar Tree!

Disney Car Bag

 

What’s Inside?

Expanding Towels

First, we have the silly “Magic Towels” that they sell. There were tons of them – I ended up with 6. One for each of us. I picked all Disney characters, but they had tons of Marvel characters and others like Paw Patrol. These are actually pretty handy. They are tiny, so they pack well, they expand in water, so you could use them as a quick clean up in the parks or on the road with a little dribble of water from a water bottle, and they can be used and washed, or used and tossed. At one point our dollar store used to sell a version of towels like this that were a little smaller than a laundry tab and came multiple ones in a package. they were plain white, but they were excellent as disposable towels for a trip like this. Sadly, I haven’t been able to find them again.

 

 

 

Now we’ve got everyone’s favorite – travel tissues. These are always handy. ‘Nuff said.Travel Tissues

 

 

 

 

 

Disney Crayons

Disney Puzzle and Coloring BooksThe Dollar Tree near me always has a lot of Disney themed things – especially things like coloring books, activity books and the like. I picked up some puzzle books and coloring books (hey – grown ups like coloring too!) and a packet of pens, and a multi pack of these crayon sets. They’re cute, and I’ll use them even if no one else does!

 

 

 

Battery Powered Personal Fan

Okay, many, many years ago I splurged (or my dad did) and got a mister fan from Disney World. I still have it, and I’ll be bringing it with me again because it is WORTH IT to me. But I did find these handheld fans at the Dollar Tree, so I picked up about four. I figured that others on the trip may want them, and if they break, they were a dollar. I also bought a fold out fan at the same time, because it actually moves more air in the end, and I thought it might come in handy. You know, for when I run out the batteries and don’t want to pay the price in the gift shop for the ones at Disney.

I also picked up ponchos in the Dollar Tree. They are thin and flimsy, but I thought it would save us from paying so much for them in the parks. That being said, my husband has zero intention of wearing his (he was way more polite about saying it though), and I actually hate wearing them as well. Most times, I’d rather be a little damp, but you never know. Better to be prepared, right?

 

 

The License Plate Game Travel BingoOkay, I was SUPER excited when we came across these in the Dollar Tree. I don’t know about you, but when I was a  kid we had these heavy cardboard games with little pink plastic slide windows and you slid it over the little box every time you saw something on the trip. Did any of you have those?

I can’t tell you what was on there anymore, but I know my brother and I spent a  lot of time playing with those. I wish we still had them! We also spent a lot of time playing the license plate game and the alphabet game. So these were a no brainer when I saw them. I mean, for a buck, why not?

 

 

 

I didn’t photograph everything, but I did include a few more. I found a couple travel versions of games at Five and Below, so I bought the Chomp game with the Alligator, where you push a tooth down and try not to get your finger chomped, as well as a deck of Old Maid cards. They had lots of other options,  but I figured two was enough. We can always switch games at a rest stop if needed. I also put snacks, water bottles, pens, pencils, and a small USB port that plugs into the cigarette lighter in the car. In my own bag I included a $5 quick charger pack from Target, and a popup laundry basket. These aren’t really car items, but they are great in the hotel room. I thought the laundry hamper especially would be useful. We can keep all the dirty things in one place until we are ready to pack up.

Anyway, I hope that these ideas will help you create a bag of fun for your gang in the car during your next road trip, whether it be to Disney or to the mountains or across town! For under $20 you can put something together that will suit your family’s tastes and help keep everyone occupied while on the road.

What things would you change or include that I didn’t? I ‘d love to hear!

Create a Car Activity Bag

 

 

Belle’s Beef Ragout – Disney Inspired Recipe

Belle’s Beef Ragout – Disney Inspired Recipe

For the next recipe on the blog, I thought I’d go with one straight from “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast – Beef Ragout! My version is an easy, slow cooker recipe that provides a hearty, tasty meal at the end of the day. You could easily put all the ingredients for this in a gallon freezer bag and then dump it in the crock pot in the morning before work as well.

The first thing you’ll need is a beef roast. You can use any kind you like – I used a london broil because I already had one in the freezer. I’m all about using what I’ve got before I go out and buy more things. You’ll also need tomato paste, garlic, oregano, basil, diced tomatoes, beef broth, safe, thyme, celery, carrots, onion, bay leaves, a bell pepper, red wine, rosemary, and beef.

Ingredients for Belle's Beef Ragout

Here’s where this recipe gets to be great – you have some prep work ahead of you. But don’t let the ingredient list or the chopping needed throw you off. Once you do that, you just have to dump everything together in your slow cooker, and then walk away. It makes this super easy!

Pull out your onion and dice it, then put it in the slow cooker. Mince your garlic, add it in. Peel and chop the carrot. You can dice it fine, but I did pretty good sized slices. It’s going to be in the slow cooker all day, so bigger chunks will hold up a bit better. Then, you guessed it, throw it in. Dice up your pepper and celery and put those in as well. I prefer red because I like the taste better, but you can use any color of bell pepper you like. For that matter, you could use any type of sweet pepper you wanted. Whatever makes you happy will work. We’ve got Jimmy Nardello peppers growing in the garden right now. If I make this again when they are ripe, I’d just use those.

Once everything is diced and in the slow cooker, add the other ingredients. I had rosemary and sage in the garden, so I used fresh and chopped it up fine. If you don’t, just use about half as much dried. Any herb dried has a more intense flavor, so you won’t need as much. I also used homemade beef broth, but you could easily use canned/boxed stock, or you can add bouillon cubes with the appropriate amount of water. If you’re going that route, just check the bouillon cubes to see what it says about how much water and cube to use. Also, and you probably know this by now, make sure you use a wine you’d drink. If you don’t like it to drink, you probably won’t like it to eat either. If you don’t want to use wine, just leave it out. It isn’t a problem. (though I do think it tastes a little better)

I like to give it a good stir once everything is in, and then add the beef. Make sure you get it down so as much of it is in the mixture as possible. I tend to flip the beef over in the pot to make sure it’s coated in the rest of the ingredients.

Put it on low and let it cook for 8 hours. When you come back at the end of the day, the beef should be falling apart and there should be a thick, lovely sauce made for you! Then, cook up some egg noodles to use as the vehicle for this ragout! If you remember, you can try to fish out the thyme stem and bay leaves. I never do. I always warn people they might get it in their bowl, and move on. No one has complained yet!

Belle's Beef Ragout

I’m pretty sure Belle couldn’t have resisted this if they’d put a bowl in front of her!

quick rating

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Belle's Beef Ragout
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
8 hr
Total Time
8 hr 10 mins
 

A delicious, easy slow cooker meal inspired by the song "Be Our Guest" from Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

Servings: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T butter
  • 1 1-2 lb beef roast (london broil, round, etc)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cup carrot, sliced
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1/3 cup beef broth
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 2-3 leaves fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 rib celery, diced
Instructions
  1. Chop all vegetables and place in slow cooker. 

  2. Add in all other ingredients except beef and stir to combine.

  3. Add beef, and cover. Cook for 8-10 hours on low.

  4. Serve over pasta and enjoy!

Belle's Beef Ragout

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!

‘Ohana Grilled Shrimp

‘Ohana Grilled Shrimp

This past weekend, we had friends over for a Moana dinner and a movie party. Like any good party (or at least the ones at our house) there was a lot of fabulous food! We tried to keep with a Polynesian theme for all the dishes, and it was a hit!

We started with an easy salad – my garden isn’t producing lettuce, so we had an easy bagged salad, with homemade croutons and Honey Lime Dressing. The recipe for the dressing actually came from the Polynesian Resort’s ‘Ohana restaurant on my first trip to Disney World with my parents back in high school! When we ate there, we all LOVED the food. My mom took a chance and asked our server for the recipe. We were all thrilled and surprised when the server came back with printouts of all the ones we asked for!

Back to the party – we made the dressing, and we made rice, and we made three different main courses. There was ‘Ohana Shrimp, ‘Ohana Chicken, and Boma Marinated Flank Steak. I will be the first to point out that the steak is not even close to the Polynesian theme. But its DELICIOUS, so we made it anyway. It was the last thing off the grill, after we’d eaten most of the chicken and shrimp, and people said they would just try a bite, but they were stuffed. We also made the Maui Wayfinder Sunrise, which is quite a tasty way to start off the evening, and Bananas Foster Cookies for dessert!

There was only a quarter of it left when I turned around later.

But we aren’t talking about beef. In this blog post, you’re going to find the recipes for the ‘Ohana shrimp. We made this for three reasons: it fit the theme, one of our friends is a vegetarian (pescatarian, I suppose, if you want to get technical), and because it’s just YUMMY.

Ohana Grilled Shrimp

The recipe says to marinate the shrimp for two days. We have made this and barely marinated it, marinated it for a couple hours, and for this particular meal, for the full two days. The taste is awesome, no matter which way you do it. If you want them really spicy, then marinate them for two days. That was the biggest difference I noted. The longer it sits, the more spice it picks up. And for the record, I don’t really eat spicy, but I can handle this, so it’s not going to leave tears running down your face and smoke rolling out your ears.

I recommend putting this in a plastic resealable bag (and then in a bowl. I’ll say it every time.) for easy clean up. You can also pour off a cup or so before you put the shrimp in and save it to baste them with. I frequently make this in a skillet rather than the grill and just pour a little of the marinade in to help make a sauce.

You will need to either make this in a food processor or a bowl and then pour it into the bag. The directions from the original recipe say to whisk it together in a bowl. But I already had the food processor out for the Ohana chicken, so I just pulsed it a few times in that. I’d probably do it again that way, just because it was so easy.

Gather your ingredients. I chose not to use hot garlic chili sauce and regular garlic chili sauce both. Instead, I just used the regular garlic chili sauce and used a little more than originally called for. I have significantly scaled back the amounts of ingredients, because it made a TON of marinade, and unless you’re making several pounds of shrimp, you just don’t need that much.

Anyway, put your garlic chili paste, finely minced ginger, garlic, honey, salt, and pepper in your bowl or food processor. Add the oil in a thin stream, whisking well or keeping the food processor going until all the oil has been blended in.

Then put your shrimp in the bag and pour over the marinade. I used 25-30 size shrimp, and got them peeled and deveined. You could get shrimp still in the shells, but I wanted to keep the mess to a minimum. That is up to you! I try to seal it with as little air as possible (without making a huge mess), and then put it in the fridge. As I said, the recipe says two days. I say anywhere from 2-4 hours to 2 days, depending on what you want. It’s really convenient to be able to start it the day before a party, because it cooks quickly and you can get things made in advance to alleviate some stress the day of.

Ohana Grilled Shrimp

Then you can either sauté the shrimp in a skillet, or put the shrimp on the grill. I’d recommend a grill basket or skewers if you go the grill route, as it will make life a lot easier.

Either way, the hardest part about this dish is keeping it on the table longer than a few minutes! The pictures I got of these were snapped quick, because they were gone almost as soon as the platter hit the table!

Ohana Shrimp

table rating

Print
'Ohana Grilled Shrimp
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This is slightly altered from the print out our server gave us in the Polynesian resort's 'Ohana Restaurant years ago. 

Servings: 4 people
Ingredients
  • 3/4 tbsp Minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup Minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/4 cup chili garlic sauce (use regular, not hot)
  • 1 cups Honey
  • 1 cups Lemon juice
  • 1/2 quart Canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 lbs Peeled and de-veined shrimp 25-30 count really, use whatever size works for you
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients except for the oil well. While whisking, pour in the oil slowly. You can also use a food processor.

  2. Place the shrimp in a resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the shrimp, reserving about 3/4 cup for basting, if you like. Marinate the shrimp for 2-4 hours to 2 days, depending on your time.

  3. Once you're shrimp are done marinating, skewer the shrimp. You can cook them loose, but if you are grilling them, skewers will make the process easier.

  4. Heat the grill, and place your shrimp on there, basting as occasionally. Alternately, you can saute them in a non-stick skillet. 

  5. Cook shrimp to an internal temperature of 145ÂşF, and enjoy!

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

DisNews – World of Pandora Attractions

DisNews – World of Pandora Attractions

I know I’ve already posted a DisNews post about Pandora, but I can’t help but post another. Disney has begun some preview days, and released a video of one of the animatronics in the Na’vi River Ride.

And they look AMAZING.

Na’vi River Journey

Just take a few minutes to give this a look – I mean, the movements are seriously smooth, and the details are just mind boggling. The amount of engineering that went into that…. I can’t wait to see it! There are a few other videos from what looks to be a media preview on YouTube. Some of them have longer clips of this, and really its just amazing what they’ve done. Whether you liked the movies or not, I think seeing the new area of Animal Kingdom will definitely be worth it. If nothing else, its pretty to look at!

Video courtesy of Walt Disney World Resorts.

Avatar Flight of Passage

The river ride looks fun, but pretty laid back. (That is NOT a complaint!) But the Avatar Flight of Passage ride looks pretty awesome. The details about it floating around the internet seem to be mysterious and vague, but it looks to me like a combination of a 4D ride and Soarin’ – and that is something I would definitely go for! Especially if its as pretty to look at as the movies were. Besides that, I love Soarin’, as well as 4D movie experiences.

AVATAR Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom — This E-ticket attraction, the centerpiece of Pandora, allows guests to soar on a Banshee over a vast alien world. The spectacular flying experience will give guests a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage. (Disney Parks)

My problem is I know we’ll probably only get to see one of the two attractions, as they currently have the FastPass system set up with tiers for these, meaning you can only pick one when you choose your first three fast passes. Since we’re planning to FP Rivers of Light, it means we’ll only be able to get to one. (Unless the lines are shorter than I’m thinking they will be this August.) If that ends up being the case, which one do I pick?!?