Boma Breakfast: A feast at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Breakfast at Boma!

Fresh-baked goods at Boma

Fresh-baked goods at Boma

While on our last adventure, we came across one restaurant in particular that gave us more than just your everyday breakfast buffet. Located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boma – Flavors of Africa is a unique restaurant with an African flair that keeps customers coming back for more than seconds.

Boma Breakfast Buffet

Boma Breakfast Buffet

Located downstairs in the beautiful atmosphere of the hotel, you can already tell that Boma is something special when you walk in. The walls and ceilings are decorated with beautiful paintings and sculptures that really do provide an African feel to your meal. When you’re seated, you’re offered standard breakfast beverage fare, but you also have the opportunity to try authentic Kenyan coffee, or the refreshing house juice made of guava, passion fruit, and mango that is unique to Boma.

When you walk up to the numerous buffet tables that stretch across the back of the restaurant, you’ll notice something that this is no ordinary buffet. Though Boma does offer different cereals, pastries, breakfast meats, eggs, potatoes, and other usual breakfast foods, Boma’s African flair makes the offered foods very unique. You can try dishes such as Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese, Quinoa with special African Seasoning, and many other dishes you couldn’t try anywhere else. One popular dish is the Corn Beef Bobotie, an African-inspired quiche dish that has a kick to it. To top it off, you can even add made-to-order omelets and freshly carved meats to your plate, or should I say, plates.

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There are so many different options and combinations of food to try, and you’ll definitely be eating for a while. As you eat, the ambiance of the restaurant is kicked up a notch when dancers in African garb will parade around the tables, playing African drums to liven the restaurant. Your meal becomes more than just a meal, it becomes an experience! Though we only got to experience breakfast, we are confident that Boma provides the same  African twist on its lunch and dinner buffets too!

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It’s safe to say that we will definitely be returning to Boma, as our breakfast was both memorable and delicious! This restaurant is definitely worth checking out the next time you and some hungry family and friends are looking for an excellent breakfast that Disney Dining truly offers!

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Dinner at “Be Our Guest” restaurant in The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World – Review

If you’re one of those lucky enough to book a reservation to the “Be Our Guest” restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom theme park, you’re in for a special treat! The food, service, and atmosphere are among the best dining experiences in all of Walt Disney World and your meal will certainly become one of the most treasured memories of your Disney vacation.

Grand Ballroom at Be Our Guest restaurant

Grand Ballroom at Be Our Guest restaurant

Our dining experience got off to a shaky start as we waited in the check-in line for about 15 minutes in the hot Florida summer sun. Disney would do well to add an awning or some other shaded area for guests as they go through the check-in process. It was also somewhat disorganized as one line was for walk-up customers and the other was for those with reservations. The reservation line split into two separate lines as you approached the booth which caused some confusion. To play it safe, mom and dad split up, one in each line, to see who would get to the front first.

Waterfall near the Beast's Castle

Waterfall near the Beast’s Castle

When we finally made it to the front of the line, the hostess pointed out that we were ‘a little late’. She was nice about it and said it was not a problem when I noted that we were in line by 4:00 for our 4:05 reservation.

The check-in process went pretty quickly for us which made us wonder why the line had moved so slowly. We requested seating in the West Wing, home of the ‘Enchanted Rose’. We were told our preference would be noted, but that seating in the West Wing could not be guaranteed. The party in front of us requested West Wing seating as well, but with three small children they were discouraged from dining in that area. The West Wing is smaller, more elegant, and generally a quieter setting and Disney is hoping to reduce the chances of a screaming baby or toddler ruining the atmosphere for the 50 or so guests seated there. Also, the thunder and lightning in the room tend to scare the little ones. (More on that later.)

After check-in was complete, we were handed a pager and asked to wait on the bridge leading to the Beast’s castle. The bridge offers scenic views of the castle and surrounding grounds, but little shade. This was not an issue as the ‘Gatekeeper’, one of the Beast’s servants, summoned us within minutes. I barely had a chance to snap any photos!

Grand Ballroom - Snowy windows

Grand Ballroom – Snowy windows

As we walked through the Grand Ballroom en route to our table, we were floored by the beauty and opulence of the setting. The mural on the ceiling is truly a wonder to behold and the crystal chandeliers are the perfect touch. One thing we did notice is that the main dining room is quite loud. The high ceiling and vast expanse of the area create an auditory assault on your ears. We were glad there was seating available in the West Wing which was quite a bit quieter and more intimate.

West Wing at The Beast's Castle's Be Our Guest restaurant

West Wing at The Beast’s Castle’s Be Our Guest restaurant

Our meal began with delicious fresh-baked bread. Pretty standard fare, but delicious nonetheless. There are also a variety of appetizers offered such as Assorted Cured Meats and Sausages, French Onion Soup, Mussels Provencal, and Potato Leek Soup. We elected to pass on those and head straight for the main course!

Before I get to that, it should be noted that through some ‘Disney Magic’, Be Our Guest is the only place in the Magic Kingdom where alcohol is served! There are a variety of beer and wine offerings available. We elected to pass on those options and selected good ole’ ‘Florida Tap on the rocks’ as our beverage of choice.

Although the menu is somewhat limited, there should be something for everyone. The menu options include choices of pork, chicken, beef, a couple of seafood options, and Ratatouille as well. There are also the standard ‘kids menu’ options for the little ones.

Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops

Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops

At our table, we tried to order a variety so we could try (almost) everything. I had the Grilled Strip Steak ($29.99), a couple of us had the Rotisserie Rock Hen ($15.99), and my oldest son ordered the Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops served with a Puff Pastry and Creamy Lobster Sauce ($22.99). Our youngest had the Steak Tips off the kids menu, which looked pretty tasty too!

Grilled Strip Steak

Grilled Strip Steak

The presentation of all of the dishes was outstanding, and we all agreed that Be Our Guest was probably our tastiest meal of all the great food we enjoyed during our 13-day Disney vacation. In fact, one of the boys declared it was the “best meal I’ve had in my entire life!”

Rotisserie Rock Hen

Rotisserie Rock Hen

As we enjoyed our meal, we made sure to save room for dessert. The dessert menu consists of a variety of ‘fancy’ cupcakes and cream puffs, and at only $3.99 each, you may want to sample more than one! Again, we went with a variety- a couple of us ordered the Strawberry Cream Cheese Cupcake, one of us chose the Triple Chocolate Cupcake, and one the Chocolate Cream Puff. I had the Lemon Meringue Cupcake which tasted as delicious as it looked!

Dessert selection at Be Our Guest

Dessert selection at Be Our Guest

Our meal was punctuated by loud claps of thunder and lightning as the rose petals fell from the Enchanted Rose in the corner of the room. Something else special also happens, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise….

Photo op with The Beast in the Library

Photo op with The Beast in the Library

During our meal, we had a surprise visit by our host- the Beast himself! He took a quick trip around the dining room, but didn’t stop at any tables. On the way out, we were surprised to discover a photo op with our host in the library, and we exited out through the area with the ‘talking knights’ which were pretty entertaining in their own right.

All in all, “Be Our Guest” was the perfect meal in every aspect and will likely be on our itinerary (if we’re lucky enough to get in!) for years to come!

Enchanted Rose in the West Wing of the Beast's Castle

Enchanted Rose in the West Wing of the Beast’s Castle

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Disney’s Polynesian Resort – Review

If you’re looking for a great on-property resort for your stay at Walt Disney World, and a deluxe resort is within your budget, you should definitely check out (and check-in to) Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

Disney Polynesian Resort
Disney Polynesian Resort

The Polynesian is one of Disney’s original resort hotels (the other is the Contemporary resort) that have been around since the opening of the Magic Kingdom theme park way back in 1971. It is one of four Disney resorts offering monorail transportation to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot theme parks, which is a great convenience for guests during their stay. Disney’s Grand Floridian, Contemporary Resort, and Bay Lake Tower offer a similar convenience.

Evening at the Polynesian

Evening at the Polynesian

The Polynesian resort consists of several separate buildings with names like ‘Tahiti’, ‘Hawaii’, ‘Samoa’, and ‘Tokelau’, authentically presented with ‘island flair’, a couple of pools (including one with a giant volcano and water slide), and a variety of restaurants and gift shops to explore and enjoy. The lush tropical grounds feature two pools, and can be traversed using a variety of winding pathways through the gorgeous tropical foliage. There are several small waterfalls and creeks dotting the landscape which provide a truly immersive experience for you to enjoy.

The centerpiece of the resort is the Great Ceremonial House which is the lobby of the resort and contains the resort’s restaurants and gift shops. It is also home to a very nice little arcade for the videogame buffs in the family.

Waterfall at Disney's Polynesian Resort

Waterfall at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

The Polynesian’s three restaurants are ‘Ohana, Captain Cook’s, and Kona Café. ‘Ohana features a delicious family-style all-you-can-eat feast of skewers and skewers of beef, chicken, pork, and shrimp cooked over an open wood burning grill and topped off with a variety of delicious side dishes. (See full review here.) There is also a character breakfast available each morning at ‘Ohana featuring Mickey and Pluto. Captain Cook’s is a quick-service restaurant offering both standard American dishes and authentic Polynesian offerings throughout the day, and Kona Café is a sit-down dining experience offering dishes such as Tonga Toast and Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes for breakfast, Big Island Tacos and an Island Chicken Sandwich for lunch, and Grilled Lamb Chops and Togarashi Spiced Ahi Tuna for dinner.

Wishes fireworks from a balcony at Polynesian

Wishes fireworks from a balcony at Polynesian

The resort has a beautiful beach on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon and looking out toward the Magic Kingdom and Cinderella Castle towering in the distance. There are nightly movies on the beach as well as an Electrical Water Pageant light show in the lagoon each evening. Unfortunately, the beach is only for ‘looks’. You cannot swim in the Seven Seas Lagoon.

Each evening you can enjoy the “Wishes” fireworks extravaganza from the beach or from the comfort of your balcony if you’ve upgraded to a room with a ‘Theme Park view’. If you want to get fully immersed in the tastes, sights, and sounds of the islands, you can also check out the Spirit of Aloha dinner show and luau occurring twice each evening. The luau requires a separate ticket (which includes dinner) which runs about $60-$75 depending on where you sit, but it’s a pretty cool event if you’re willing to invest the time and money.

Room rates at Disney’s Polynesian resort range from $475-$1,063 during the value season, up to $748 – $1,554 during Disney’s peak seasons.

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Check out ‘OHana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Dinner at ‘Ohana

For a delicious all-you-can-eat family style feast with a distinct, unique flavor of the islands, check out O’Hana at Disney’s Polynesian resort. O’Hana is located on the 2nd floor of the main building at the Polynesian known as the Great Ceremonial House. If you’re planning to dine here, you’ll definitely want to have a reservation. Although you are able to put your name in for a table without a reservation, O’Hana is booked solid pretty much every night. If you go the ‘walk-in’ route, you’ll likely wait a long time to be seated. Not that it won’t be worth the wait. The food at ‘Ohana is delicious and will be certainly worth your time. Still, be sure to make reservations well in advance- just to be safe.

We visited ‘Ohana for dinner on the first day of our stay at Disney’s Polynesian resort. As we were shown to our table, we walked directly past the giant half-round wood-burning grill where all the action takes place. The sights and scents of skewers of fresh grilled meats and seafood was enough to get our mouths watering for sure!

The meal began with delightfully fresh loaves of homemade ‘Ohana Welcome Bread, followed by a mixed greens salad topped with their delicious Lilikoi house dressing. That was followed by a plate of appetizers- Pork Dumplings with Sweet-n-Sour sauce, and Honey-Coriander Chicken Wings.

Grill at 'Ohana

Grill at ‘Ohana

Next up came a delicious noodle dish with stir-fried vegetables tossed in a Teriyaki sauce. Things heated up quickly from there with the arrival of skewers and skewers of delicious beef, chicken, pork, and shrimp cooked over the open fire wood burning grill and accompanied by both Peanut and Sweet-n-Sour Sauces. Awesome! The servers seemed to time everything just right, giving each guest a few pieces of meet at a time, just as we finished the previous portion. Each tasty morsel seemed to melt in your mouth with the juices exploding in a burst of flavor.

Dessert at 'Ohana

Dessert at ‘Ohana

The hot towels brought to the table for each guest were a nice touch. The tasty sweet and sour and peanut dipping sauces brought for the meat made these towels a necessity.

The meal was topped off with a delicious concoction of ‘Ohana’s own delicious bread putting dessert. We left ‘Ohana about an hour after we arrived feeling completely stuffed and satisfied, and about $250 lighter in the wallet. Dinner with tax and tip will run you about $50/per person. Certainly not cheap, but definitely an experience well worth it!

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Arriving at Walt Disney World

Main Street USA

Main Street USA

We’re on our way to Disney World- woohoo! We’re pretty excited that this year’s trip will include our first stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Even more excited that we’re taking advantage of a 30% discount on our stay! Disney announced discounts for summer stays and we were able to call to upgrade from a standard view room to resort view- plus we saved about $150 on our stay. Very cool!

Our flight is right on schedule so we expect to catch Disney’s “Magical Express” transportation from Orlando International around 11:00 a.m. and should get to the Polynesian around noon. We’re going to spend the day exploring the hotel and checking out their awesome pool. We have a 5:15 reservation at O’Hana for an authentic taste of the islands!

Not sure what’s on the docket after that. We may test out Disney’s bus transportation to Downtown Disney to check out the nightlife. Tomorrow is our big Fathers’ Day lunch at Magic Kingdom’s Crystal Palace for character dining with Winnie the Pooh and friends! We’ll spend the day at Magic Kingdom and enjoy the ‘extra magic hours’ in the evening. We may even hop over to Epcot in between!

Magical Express

Disney’s Magical Express

Aboard the Magical Express

Aboard the Magical Express

We arrived at Orlando airport right on time and hopped aboard Disney’s Magical Express for the 30 minute ride to The Polynesian. It was just about the nicest bus we’ve ever ridden! Check-in at Polynesian was a snap. There was a cast member waiting for us at the entrance, iPad in hand to check us in and escort us to the front desk. The room wasn’t ready quite yet so we had time to explore the resort and grab lunch at Captain Jack’s restaurant, a quick-service restaurant with pretty good food. After lunch we chilled out for a bit in the lobby and then headed to our room.

Resort view room at Polynesian Resort

Resort view room at Polynesian Resort

The room (and view) are just gorgeous! We have a resort view room with two queens and a couch that ‘flips over’ to turn into a bed. We even discovered a ‘hidden Mickey’ on the painting in our room!

We’ll take a quick swim and head to dinner in a bit. Tonight we’ll watch the “Wishes” fireworks show at Magic Kingdom from our balcony. Can’t wait!

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Blizzard Beach water park

Chilling out at Blizzard Beach

Blizzard Beach Water Park at Walt Disney World

The entrance to Blizzard Beach Water Park at Walt Disney World

Our second full day at Walt Disney World began at one of Disney’s awesome water parks: Blizzard Beach! Since we purchased the “Water park fun & more” option on our Disney tickets, we get one day at the water parks (or DisneyQuest, golfing, or Wide World of Sports) for each day in the parks. With 5-day park passes, we’ll have plenty to do during our week’s stay.

We arrived at Blizzard Beach about 1/2 hour before the scheduled opening time which helped us get an awesome parking place! When we got inside there weren’t many people in the park yet, so we parked our towels and beach bag at a chair in the shade and headed straight for Summit Plummet! Since that’s the ride that continuously has the longest line, it’s best to hit that early (or late) in the day. Nobody wants to stand 45-60 minutes in the hot sun waiting for a ride that lasts less than 10 seconds.

Summit Plummet

If you’ve never experienced Summit Plummet, it’s definitely a ‘must ride’ attraction at Blizzard Beach! You can take the chairlift to the top of Mount Gushmore, or you can take the stairs that go up the mountain to the right of the chairlift. Once there, you have several more flights of stairs to get to the front of the line.

Blizzard Beach Summit Plummet

Blizzard Beach Summit Plummet

The slide is one big, long, straight drop to the bottom. Sixty degree angle, sixty miles per hour. All fun! Be sure to have your bathing suit on tight, and ladies with string bikinis may want to pass. You may lose one or both pieces on the way down!

Blizzard Beach Tip:

If you’re riding the chairlift to the top of Mount Gushmore, consider going into the single rider line instead of the regular line. Since many people go up in sets of two, the single rider line is a great way to get to the top faster!

Other Blizzard Beach attractions

After Summit Plummet, our favorite Blizzard Beach attraction is Teamboat Springs. It’s right next to Summit Plummet, and it’s a really cool experience for the whole family. You float down Teamboat Springs in a giant round raft (up to 6 in a raft). The ride gives you the feel of whitewater rafting as you twist and turn, and splash your way down the mountain. Great fun for the whole family!

We also spent a lot of time on the other slides at Blizzard Beach like Downhill Double Dipper, Slush Gusher, and Toboggan Racers. We always make sure to spend some time at the Melt-Away Bay wave pool too.

Blizzard Beach Teamboat SpringsFor more about Blizzard Beach and the rest of the parks at Walt Disney World, be sure to checkout our new eBook: Discover the Magic: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Walt Disney World. Available on Amazon now!

 

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Day 1: Arriving at Floridays

Floridays Orlando 2-bedroom condo

The living room of our 2-bedroom unit at Floridays

Today was a great day. The flight (Delta) Left and arrived on time. With no checked bags, we were out of Orlando pretty quick. Met a nice grandma on the plane. She was pretty excited to be treating her granddaughters to a Disney vacation.

She bought the Park Hopper option, and said the girls were pretty excited about going to the Disney water parks- especially Blizzard Beach. I had to break the bad news that the Park Hopper option does not get you into the water parks. You need the Water Park Fun and more option for that. Too bad she didn’t buy my book, Discover the Magic: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Walt Disney World. That would have saved her some heartache- and some money.

Floridays resort

View from our Balcony

When we arrived at Floridays, we decided to see about upgrading to a three bedroom unit. Since we booked through Expedia, we had to call them. Bad idea! Expedia is great for price, but horrible for customer service. After sitting on hold for 20 minutes we decided it wasn’t worth it. Their phone customer service has always been horrible. If you book with them, just pray you never have to call them!

You lose Expedia! Could have made some extra money!

Once we settled in, we ordered room service. Pretty good,and the food even arrived hot! Next, we went to Publix. What a great grocery store! Great service too. Spent the evening swimming and relaxing to get ready for our big day at Magic Kingdom tomorrow! 🙂

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Discover the Magic eBook: Up to #9 in travel!

Disney eBook travel guide

Discover the Magic of our new Disney eBook!

My new Disney eBook, Discover the Magic: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Walt Disney World made it all the way up to #9 in Amazon Kindle’s family travel section! So far, it has all 5-star ratings! The book is filled with lots of practical trips to make the most of a Disney vacation.

You’ll find tips to help you decide how to decide where to stay, how long to stay, and what kind of tickets to buy. You’ll also find guides to each of the four major theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Plus, you’ll find some good stuff on Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach too! To find out more, check out the eBook product page at our website, or go straight to Amazon and order it! It’s only $2.99! Check it out!

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Visiting Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney LEGO store

Our Extended LEGO Family

Can’t wait to go back to Downtown Disney. Didn’t spend enough time there when we visited Disney at Christmas. The LEGO store is always our first stop!

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Typhoon Lagoon Wave Pool

Be sure to check out the wave pool a Typhoon Lagoon! Start off in the shallow end before you head into ‘the deeps’ for the really big waves. You’ll be amazed at the amount of force the waves produce and many people (both adults and kids) will get dragged under- not ready for the force of the waves.

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Wave Pool

Get Swept Away at Typhoon Lagoon!

Keep your kids, especially the little ones close by as the waves roll in. You don’t want anyone dragged away. Only strong swimmers should head for the deep end where the water is 6 feet deep and the waves roll in another 6 feet higher than that!

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