May 13

Tour of the Secret Parlor Inside Epcot’s American Adventure at Walt Disney World

As major Disney enthusiasts, I think that many of us would like to say that we know every inch of Walt Disney World property.  Sadly there are some areas of the parks that are just off limits to day guests.  These special areas aren’t relegated to cast members. Oh no. Some of the most gorgeous spaces are reserved for special events held inside the walls of Walt Disney World Theme Parks.

Let’s talk about the hidden areas of Epcot shall we?  Some of you have heard about the sponsored lounges which are attached to the Epcot pavilions. We brought you a behind the scenes look at the secret lounge inside of Mission Space as well as the Siemans Spaceship Earth Lounge.  Today we are going to take a look at a private area atop the American Adventure Pavilion in World Showcase.  This space is not a sponsored lounge, but a private area used for special events such as meetings and wedding receptions.  It’s called The American Adventure Parlor.

Disney Epcot The American Adventure Parlor and foyerFoyer of the American Adventure Parlor Disney Epcotthe American Adventure Parlor Disney EpcotAmerican Adventure Parlor PresidentialAmerican Adventue Parlor

Here’s a look at what the view must be like from up here.

Have You Ever Been to an Event Inside the American Adventure Parlor?

Jan 13

A Look at the runDisney Pasta in the Park Party Menu Offerings

Pasta in the Park Party disneyAll these runDisney races and I have never had a chance to attend one of the Pasta in the Park Parties. Well last weekend at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend I made up for lost time!

Pre-Race carb loading…everyone has their own methodologies. Thank goodness runDisney has brought on their own nutrition consultant, Tara Gidas, to steer us in the right direction and they’ve also tried to demystify “where should we eat?” before a runDisney race by offering an alternative…the Pasta in the Park Party.

I must admit that as unstructured as my life and training are, my pre-race fuel has pretty much been consistent. For night races, I usually go for a McDonald’s Southern Style Chicken Sandwich with extra pickles and cheese and an unsweet iced tea.  For morning races…sky’s the limit on dinner the night before. I’ve done Mexican, pizza, pasta and for my last half marathon, a five star meal at Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure. I know lots of runners at Walt Disney World will try and hit up Via Napoli or Il Mullino to get their pasta on.

This dining adventure was shared with some of my fellow running fanatics. I hope that you go check out their sites! But wait until you get through this post first ok? =) (Left to Right) Carrie Burrows <– She lost 200 lbs!!!, Amanda Tinney, Karla Bruning, Karen Karnis, Toni Carey, Andrea Vincent, Ashley Hicks, and Carla Gomes.

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

The Pasta in the Park Party is held inside the World Showplace pavilion which is nestled in between the Canada and UK Pavilions inside Epcot’s World Showcase.  This building is HUGE and is only used now for special events and at this particular party (runDisney has three scheduled throughout Marathon Weekend) the place was packed! I don’t know how they did it…but the lines were short and the food was plentiful.  Here’s a look at the spread…

Mixed Greens with Lite Vinaigrette & Cucumber Yogurt Dressing

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Herb Balsamic Potato Salad

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Herb Roasted Chicken

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Bowtie Pasta with Grilled Vegetables and Basil Pesto

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Wheat Penne Pasta with Marinara Sauce

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

House-made Focaccia Bread with Butter

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Whole Bananas

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Chocolate Brownies

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Ice Water with Lemons and Limes, Lemonade and Fruit Punch

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

There was also a cash bar for those adventurous enough to imbibe…and the guests at the party who weren’t running =)

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon bar

I must admit that as a foodie, when I first saw the buffet I had my reservations on how good it would be. I was pleasantly surprised. The wheat penne pasta was the runaway hit for me! I’d have killed for that marinara sauce recipe. The chicken was also really tasty as was the potato salad.

The pavilion was decorated to the nines and really made the atmosphere feel like a party.

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Another big draw for this event was the opportunity to have your photo taken with several different Disney characters with little to no wait.

minnie mouse

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

The party atmosphere continued with a live DJ spinning tunes throughout the evening.

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon DJ

Gangnam Style

Pasta in the Park Party disney

We were also treated to a live performance by James Durbin of American Idol fame.

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

The Pasta in the Park Party is buffet style and food is served from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Following dinner, guests are escorted to Worldview Plaza for viewing Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at 9:00 pm.  The cost is $47.50 for Adults (ages 10 and up) and $28.35 for Children (ages 3-9). If an adult were to dine at say Via Napoli here would be the breakdown of the same meal: Beverage $3, Salad $7, Entree $26 and dessert $8. That works out to about $44 give or take. With the Pasta in the Park Party you get unlimited food, drinks and entertainment as well as reserved viewing for Illuminations. I’d say that’s a pretty good deal.

Have you been to the Pasta in the Park Party before? What was your take on it? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below.

Special thanks to runDisney for providing complementary admission to the Pasta in the Park Party. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.

Jun 11

Top 5 Freebies at the Walt Disney World Resort

i love freebies disneyFreebies you say?  Freebies at Walt Disney World?  “Why yes Virginia, there are freebies at Walt Disney World.”  And here is our list of the top 5 freebies at the Walt Disney World Resort!

5. Duffy Kidcot Souvenir – Looking for a free souvenir to take home? Pick up a “Duffy” Kidcot souvenir in Innoventions at Epcot and take a stroll around World Showcase. Pop into the Kidcot area at each of the World Showcase country pavilions for a special stamp on your Duffy stick, color and then have the characters around World Showcase sign your Duffy Souvenir. It’s Free!

4. Celebrate Buttons – “What will you celebrate?” It seems as though everyday is a cause for celebration at the Walt Disney World Resort. If you are celebrating something while visiting Walt Disney World let it be known by grabbing one of the free “Celebrate” buttons available at any Guest Relations counter throughout the parks. From birthdays, to anniversaries, to 1st Visits and everything in between, there’s sure to be a Disney Celebrate Button to commemorate the occasion!

3. Ghirardelli Chocolate in Downtown Disney – It’s hard to walk by Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop in the Downtown Disney Marketplace without swinging in for a free square-de-jour! Simply enter the doors to the Chocolate Shop and you’ll be rewarded with a free piece of Ghirardelli’s chocolate! Nestled in between the “Basin” and “Team Mickey”, it’s a must-do when strolling around Downtown Disney.

2. Soda at Club Cool – Tucked into a corner of Future World in the Epcot theme park is a magical place where you can cool off from the Florida heat, sample some free soda and get your shoe stuck to the floor. Joking about the floor part, well kinda. Club Cool has eight different varieties of soda from all over the globe and you can drink free-of-charge till your thirst is quenched, or at least until “Beverly” stops you dead in your tracks.

and the TOP #1 Spot goes to……(drum roll please)…..

1. Fastpass – These little beauties give you the “power” to skip the line at some of Walt Disney World’s most popular attractions. Depending on what time of year you visit the Walt Disney World Resort, lines can reach in excess of 120 minutes for some of the more popular attractions. Armed with your park entry ticket and a little planning you can turn that wait time into something significantly smaller with the use of Disney’s free Fastpass system available at all four Walt Disney World theme parks.  And almost as good as the freebies are the great offers that Florida4Less has to offer on your next visit to the Walt Disney World Resort.

*this post brought to you by Florida4Less