Tuesday, January 26, 2016

We Become Creepy Stalkers at Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar

I was ecstatic from the moment it was announced that an Indiana Jones themed restaurant was coming to Disney World's Disney Springs.  I was even more ecstatic when I learned that it was opening only a few weeks before our trip. I spent the entire week before our trip humming the Indiana Jones theme.   

The story behind Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar is that Indy's pilot, Jock Lindsey, decided to hang up the plane engine and open a bar. The bar is decorated with things from all of his adventures, including paraphernalia from adventures involving Indy. 

The Hangar Bar was hopping on a Friday night. There was not an empty table to be found.  Jock Lindsey's does not take advanced dining reservations. There is no host/hostess to jot your name down and call  you  when a table is free.  It is every man for himself. 

Since the inside felt more crowded, and the night air was perfection, we decided to try scoring a table outside. 

First we walked from one end of the outdoor deck to the other.

"Look," I whispered, "it looks like those guys are almost finished their meal." We took up our post against the wall next to the communication desk.  Every so often the radio turns on and it sounds as though someone is relaying a message. 

We tried to look as inconspicuous as possible which was not easy. La, la, la, we are just hanging out here, we aren't creepily stalking you for your table. Please take your time, don't rush on our account. The deck isn't huge, so it was obvious we were looming for that table. When the gentlemen's bill arrived, we got very excited. We did our best not to stare too hard.  Whenever anyone came through the door, we readied ourselves for a full on gladiator battle. That table was ours. We staked our claim and woe to anyone who tried to claim it for themselves.  

When the guys got up it took everything in our power not to rush past them, probably knocking them down in the process, to get to the table.  Before they departed they looked our way and gave us a here- you- can- have- the- table-now nod. 

Success! It was a feeling kind of like finishing a test you knew you just aced. We sat our butts triumphantly in the chairs. We actually ended up snagging one of the best seats. In the corner, at the railing, with a great view of the water, the boats, and Disney Springs at night. 

We casually swiped the coasters that I was surprised the prior occupants had left behind.  The coasters have become popular souvenirs/collectibles, so not only did we take the prior occupants coasters, we didn't use our own in order to keep at least one in pristine condition. 

The menu at Jock Lindsey's is called The Pilot's Log Book.  It's probably one of the most fun menus I've seen.

We started out with drinks. There is an extensive menu of libations.  

I got the Cool Headed Monkey because who wouldn't want to drink out of a monkey head? 

Since Shannon likes gin, he ordered Shorty's Singapore Sling. 

The drinks were delicious. We usually stick to one drink per meal, but since the first round was so good, and it was the first night of our trip, we got a second round.  I chose the Anything Goes. 

Shannon got the Wrong Island. The second round of drink was as tasty as the first. 

Jock Lindsey's only serves appetizers. Don't expect to sit down and order a three course meal. Since we enjoy tapas, the menu worked for us.

We ordered Brody's Brats, which consisted of bratwurst and pickled cabbage. We ordered the Air Pirate's Pretzel's, which contained everything pretzels accompanied by a mustard and a cheese sauce. Finally, because you pretty much have to, we ordered the Rolling Boulders Sliders. Three spicy meatball sliders with a yogurt sauce. We did not get the Good Dates because it would have been too much food, but everyone says the dates are amazing. 

When you order the pretzels, they come stacked on a metal airplane.  Your server moves your pretzels through the air while making airplane noises, then lands the pretzels on your table. It's fun, though I wanted to ask our very friendly and efficient server Laura if it gets old after a while. I don't know, I'd probably have fun if making airplane noises was part of my job. 

Pretzels really aren't my favorite thing, but the pretzels ended up being my favorite out of the three dishes.  The "everything" part of the pretzels gave them a lot of flavor, and the mustard and cheese sauce were really good.  The brats were fine, but they were a little bland. I liked the little pickles, especially dipped in the mustard.

The sliders were also just okay. They were supposed to be spicy, but they were conservatively spicy, and the yogurt sauce tasted like mild taco seasoning mixed with yogurt. 

Our final opinion was that the drinks were great, the atmosphere was wonderful, the food was good, but average.  I'd recommend coming here for drinks and maybe just one appetizer, and then have dinner at one of the other restaurants at Disney Springs. It would also be a great place to grab some after dinner drinks with friends, and bonus, you learn all the ins and outs of how to be a creepy stalker. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Staying at Port Orleans French Quarter at WDW

We went to New Orleans for our honeymoon. Lots of people thought it an unusual honeymoon destination, but we love food and music, so it was perfect. Since we were visiting Disney World during our anniversary, we thought it would be fun to stay at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. 

I wish all accommodations had online check in. I checked in online and got a text and an e-mail with our room number before we even got off of the plane. 

At the airport, we hopped on Magical Express, and when we arrived at the resort there was a cast member standing out front waiting just for us. She handed us a folder with our last name on it that contained all of the hotel information we needed. 

The Mickey heads were a nice touch. 

We found our hotel room and used our magic bands to open the door. It was wonderfully easy.

Though we don't mind walking, it was convenient to be in a building that was close to all of the main areas/buildings. 

Our room was clean. The theming was classy. 

I loved the subtle Mickeys that were on the shower curtain

The toiletries smell wonderful. It's a light orange scent that you will happily wear into the parks each day.

The bed was comfortable, though not the coziest we've encountered in our travels, but after a 15 hour day at a park, any bed will do. 

There was plenty of space for us, but I could see the room feeling a bit tight with four people. 

The grounds are lovely. It really does feel like New Orleans, a cleaner, less gritty version of New Orleans. This Disney Resort was quite peaceful and quiet. Even during the bustling morning and the evening when everyone is coming back from the parks, the serene garden atmosphere seemed to make people keep boisterousness to a minimum. 

In the background, there was a father and daughter having a light saber battle on the lawn. It was adorable.

Mickey Art painted using rain water 

The pool area has great theming. It was a shame that we didn't have an extra day just to hang out by the pool with a hurricane.  I regret that I never got a chance to go down the slide. 

We always came back too late at night, but fortunately the hot tub stayed open later, so we did hang out in the hot tub one night. 

We met a collection of characters the night we hung out in the hot tub. There was a guy in the hot tub from Oregon. He was not that impressed with Disney World. A lot of the impression was influenced by his inability to acquire plentiful amounts of inexpensive alcohol.  We now use Oregon guy as a descriptive word. We'll say,  that person or that thing is very "Oregon." 

The hotel lobby is beautiful. 

It was a pleasure to walk through in the morning.

It started the day off right, especially when this guy was out front, wishing guests a magical day on the way to the bus stop. 

The buses were plentiful and never felt overcrowded. 

Of course one of the best reasons to stay at Port Orleans French Quarter, is the water taxi that takes you to Disney Springs. 

If we weren't already relaxed after checking into our hotel room, the boat ride to Disney Springs certainly shifted us into vacation mode. Even if you don't want to spend time at Disney Springs, though you should, it's worth just taking the calm, scenic, cool breeze in your hair, boat ride.

Dock used for going back to French Quarter from Disney Springs
There aren't as many food options at French Quarter as there are at some of the other Disney Resorts, but we knew we had to at least get the beignets.  

The quick service is quite festive. In the morning it is alive with a flurry of caffeinated activity.  

We shared a six count for breakfast one morning with some extremely strong cups of coffee. They were pretty good beignets. They are large so a six count between two people was plenty. 

We loved the laid back, tranquil vibe of Port Orleans French Quarter. The atmosphere provided a calm, restfulness after busy days at the parks.   We would definitely stay there again.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

We Eat a Lot of Ice Cream...Again at Disney World

It wouldn't be a trip without imbibing in one of my favorite foods, ice cream.  I decided that during this trip I would try three ice cream places I haven't tried before.


Have you watched I'll Have What Phil's Having yet?  If not, and you like food/travel, I highly recommend the show.  It was my favorite new television show this fall. The show is heart warming, hilarious, and has a nice touch of class without an ounce of pretension. Phil's level of food enthusiasm is wonderful, and he will tell you where you can get the best hot chocolate in France, or gelato in Italy.

My mouth was salivating as I watched Phil taste Vivoli's gelato in Italy. A trip to Italy wasn't in cards for this year, or even next year for us, but by what seems to still be a strange turn of fortune, Vivoli, the same place in Italy, now has a shop at Disney Springs. 

Per Phil's recommendation, we got the crema. I also got a scoop of the brandied cherry.

 It was a taste of creamy heaven.  I cannot emphasis how creamy this gelato was, yet it wasn't heavy. The flavors were simple and light. And fresh, especially the cherries in the brandied cherry.  If this is Italy, I need to get there soon.

Vivoli has nice outdoor seating so you can enjoy your gelato while people watching and listening to the live bands play. 

I'll Have What Phil's Having is free on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Go check it out. 

L'Artisan des Glaces

I must thank The Disney Dream Girls Podcast for this recommendation.  Ever since they extolled the virtues of the Croque Glace, I have wanted one.  Running out of time to have this treat was one of my biggest regrets of our 2014 trip, so this time I was fiercely determined.

Located in Epcot in the France pavilion, L'Artisan des Glaces is as charming to look at as it is fun to say.

Since we had sampled several offerings from the Food and Wine Festival throughout the evening, we decided to share a Croque Glace.  

What is a Croque Glace? It is ice cream, topped with either chocolate, raspberry or caramel sauce, sealed inside warm brioche. It's a French take on the ice cream sandwich. Never have we had such a hard time choosing a flavor of ice cream. Did we want chocolate with raspberry sauce? Coffee with chocolate sauce? The pairings took a lot of consideration.  In the end we went with a seasonal flavor, apple pie, with caramel sauce.  
The making of the Croque Glace is art.

The warm buttery brioche, the ice cream that is softened just a touch, and the fresh caramel sauce, blended beautifully.  Shannon liked it, but said that he thought half was enough.  I smiled and nodded but honestly, I could polish off an entire Croque Glace if needed. If you are in Epcot, you need to try this at least once. 

The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor

Nothing helps to ease the depression of a trip almost over quite like ice cream.  Before heading out of Magic Kingdom to catch our plane home, we stopped at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor.  

I loved the old-timey vibe.

I was delighted to see peanut butter sauce up on the board, so I got the All- American Sundae with the slight change of getting all vanilla ice cream instead of the chocolate and vanilla combo.  

The sundae had chocolate and peanut butter sauce, topped with a mound of fluffy whipped cream.  The peanut butter chips sprinkled along with chocolate chips were a nice touch.

Shannon wanted something more refreshing, so he got a root beer float.

We had no trouble finding an outdoor table. The air was warm, the sun was shining, and smiling faces strolled up and down Main Street. It's a cute, lovely little spot.  As we were sitting there, people started lining up for the afternoon parade.  I realized that if you didn't need to be right up front, sitting down at a table at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor while sipping a root beer float would be a fantastic parade viewing spot. 

I loved all three of our new ice cream choices this trip. I can't wait to see what new ice cream treats I discover the next time. 

If you want to catch my previous Disney Ice Cream Post - I Scream, You Scream, We Eat A Lot of Ice Cream 

Monday, January 11, 2016

My Favorite Six Reads of 2015

Whether I'm chilling on a beach in Mexico, or snuggled in my bed with a cat or two at home, books are pretty much another appendage for me. I devoured a lot of books this year, and although I wanted to be clever and have my five favorite reads of 2015, I just couldn't think of one to leave out. Think of it as five books, plus one for good luck in 2016. 

The Whisper by Aaron Starmer (Fiction)
Aaron's imagination never ceases to amaze me and I can't give any more away than that or it ruins the surprises.  I will be sad when the Riverman Trilogy wraps up this March, but I still can't wait to read the third book. 

I loved, loved, loved this book. It will continue to be one of my favorite travel books of all time. Rachel's insights, combined with her humor, makes this a fun, inspiring read. It often made me wish I could go back and have an in my twenties do over.

Counting by 7's by Holly Goldberg Sloan (Fiction)
I wasn't sure about this one at first.  It starts out very depressing and towards the end there was a moment when I started sobbing. Anything with a cat gets the water works going, but it was worth sticking it out. It's not so much about a main character as much as it is about an ensemble of characters and how people's lives sometimes get unexpectedly woven together and what the outcome of that can be. 

Scarlet - Second book in the Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer (Science Fiction)
A Cyborg, a kick ass independent girl, a guy named Wolf, a handsome Prince, and an evil Queen, do you need anything more? Maybe a space ship, they're pretty cool too. 

The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane Von Furstenberg (Autobiography) 
Because it is always a good idea to get advice and life lessons from an independent, passionate, intelligent lady. She is amazing. 

Jackaby - Book 1, by William Ritter (Fiction)
Sherlock Holmes with a touch of The Doctor's personality teams up with an intelligent, spunky teenage girl to solve supernatural crimes. Also they live with a ghost and a duck named Douglas.This book made me smile the whole way through. I think Abigail Rook was the character who was most like me out of all of the books I read this year. 

I already finished one great book in 2016. I guess I'll have to wait until the end of the year to see if it makes next year's list.