DIY Mickey Bars...Fun or Flop?
When I saw these Mickey ice pop molds on Amazon, I had to try them! Mickey Mouse bars at home? What a great idea! There are even recipes to make the magic shell if you don't (or can't) but it in the store. Since one of our kiddos has a nut allergy, we can't do the bars in the park. Well, let me rephrase. If he can't, we won't. It's not fair. So, this looked to be a pretty intriguing idea...
Follow along with me!
First, you'll gather the ingredients for your favorite ice cream recipe, and put it in your ice cream maker. If you'd rather use store bought, that's fine too! You'll want to let it soften a bit so you can handle it.
I started by washing the molds. They came in sets of four, so I did buy two sets. They consist of a silicone mold Mickey, a hard plastic flat Mickey, and a too short stick.
Since I make our ice cream, here's a fun photo of that. My youngest says it looks like a...well, I won't tell you what. I mean...boys, right?
I really love our Cuisinart ice cream machine. We've made all kinds of great flavors, but what I love best is the ingredients are so simple. For vanilla, you just need milk, cream, sugar, a pinch of salt, and vanilla. None of those ingredients you can't pronounce! Whisk it up and dump it in!
Next was the messy part, and I think if I'd been patient and let me ice cream harden a bit more, and maybe it wasn't over 90 outside, it would have gone a bit better. I filled the molds, stuck in the sticks, and put on the backs.
Thankfully, we have a chest freezer, so with the Mickey bars on a baking sheet, I left them in there. I fully intended to make magic shell or decorate super cute...but...and here's where things got dicey. Remember I mentioned those short sticks? Yeah. They are short. They also didn't go into the ice cream very far, so this happened...
Those wee little sticks just don't work. I'm thinking wooden popsicle sticks would be better. But, it's not a total loss! My oldest and I love rice crispy treats, and when I've tried to use my Disney Parks sandwich cutter, it's always made a mess. These might be perfect...they are flexible, shaped cute, and I'm actually really excited to do that as I sis here and type about it. It might be easier, too.
These can also be used for chocolate or to make ice cubes! So if you try them out (They were about $15 a package) and it doesn't work in your house for ice cream, try one of these other fun ideas! If you make soap, it might even work for that.
Fun or flop...it was both! But there's also a world of possibility out there, and I'm not done with these molds yet!
Recently I was sent a copy of this AMAZING book to look at. It instantly made me think of the places we'd seen over the summer at Disney. I mean, Animal Kingdom and EPCOT are just filled with incredible foods from many countries.
This book is no different. Inside, you'll not only find maps (It IS an atlas after all!) but you'll find it's crammed with so many fascinating facts, beautiful pictures, games, and tasty looking food. What's fun is it's also split up by type of food. For example, grains, legumes, fruits, roots.
It's always fun to learn about someplace new. This book has just that for both children and adults.
Would you like a chance to win your own copy? Keep reading!
As you read through, you are also going to find inspiration for your meals. I'm curious now about irio, from Kenya. It's one of their comfort foods (page 94) that's made up of potatoes, peas, beans, corn, and onion mashed together. I might need to adjust that a bit for food allergies, but that sounds really good! Maybe even topped with a bit of cheese or sour cream?
There's a dessert from Iran called faloodeh that also sounds fascinating! (Page 80) This was originally invented by the ancient Persians, but is still popular today, and consists of cooked noodles frozen in a sugar and rosewater syrup with a wedge of lime, and sometimes topped with cherries, berries, or mint. Doesn't that just sound so unusual? I wonder how it is.
Near the back, there are also some really eye catching games!
Just like all National Geographic books, you are going to learn while being entertained. One thing I really loved about this book in particular was not only the introduction to food from around the world, but that it talked about the crisis faced in getting this food too, like with water, natural disasters, food safety, and more. It was sobering. I'm sure you, like us, have had higher prices, less to choose from, and some absolute scarcity when it comes to finding food. These pages are a great reminder about the larger picture of our food supply.
Here's a preview of two pages. The others are just as interesting!
I can honestly say, I've never met a National Geographic book I didn't like. From picture books to adult books, they are truly one of the few that any age can enjoy. This one is no different and now, something exciting!
You could win your own copy!
These generous people have also agreed to give a copy of this book to one of my readers. Now, the boring stuff! The prize will ship from the PR place for National Geographic. I'm not responsible if something happens and you don't get it. US Entries only, please. The giveaway ends after one week. When it's over, Rafflecoper will randomly select ONE winner and I will email the winner. You have 72 hours to send me your name and address so I can pass it along. If you don't get in touch with me, I'll have to select a different winner.
Contest ends Aug 9, 2022.
We've all got to eat, right? And we all know when you are on vacation, food costs a bit more. But how much does it got to eat at Disney for a day?
There are some variables, and it really depends on if you are a quick service diner, like to sit table service, or if you are a snack and go kinda person. Prices are also going to be much higher if you are doing character dining. Depending on where you choose to eat is going to determine your price.
But...how vague is that? You already know that, right? So how about a breakdown for you.
Let's pretend that you are spending three days at Disney World. One day for Magic Kingdom, one day for Hollywood Studios, and one day for Animal Kingdom.
I'm going to present three days worth of meals. Of course, you can mix and match, but this gives you an idea of the general costs. No two days are going to be the same, this is just pure research. Each comes with a pretend scenario.
For our purposes, we will assume that these are adult meal, and that there are no alcoholic drinks bought. If you enjoy those, awesome! But budget, because you know they aren't cheap! We will also assume that there are no character meals. Each meal is bought from a Disney owned place. We will also assume two snacks a day, but no dessert at meals. We are also not buying drinks except for at meals, but plan for those too, if you buy them outside of mealtimes.
Create these sample menus for yourself, mased on what you enjoy eating. The prices will guide, but you might also see how you can cut back a little. Disney generally has generous portions. Perhaps you want to skip a salad or bread. Maybe at lunch you drink water.
This also allows you to see snacks and meals come in all different price ranges. And...quick service isn't just burgers or chicken fingers!
Day One Magic Kingdom
With so much to do at Magic Kingdom, you plan to get an early start. Therefore, you are going to be grabbing a bite to eat from the resort grab and go while waiting for resort transportation. You'll eat a quick service lunch, and splurge on a nice dinner.
Breakfast - Pastry and a coffee from grab and go
Lunch - Cosmic Ray's
$10.99 Greek salad with chicken strips
$3.99 fountain drink
$7.19 Mickey Pretzel
Dinner - Tony's Town Square
$11 Garlic bread for the table
$36 Butcher's Steak
$3.99 fountain drink
$5.99 Dole Whip
Day One Total for Food: $88.13 (Does not include dinner's gratuity)
Day Two: Hollywood Studios
You got up that morning with plenty of time to spare, so you pop into your resort for breakfast. You'll drab a sit down lunch, but plan to do a quick dinner, so you don't miss the nighttime spectacular!
Breakfast- Resort food court
$10.99 Ham and cheese omelet
$4.99 Orange juice
Lunch- Sci-fi Dine-in
$18.00 Over roasted turkey sandwich
$3.99 fountain drink
Dinner- Backlot Express
$11.99 Cuban Sandwich
$3.99 fountain drink
$6.79 Funnel cake
Day Two Total for Food: $66.24 (Does not include lunch's gratuity)
Day Three: Animal Kingdom
It's another grab and go on the way to Animal Kingdom! Lunch is your favorite spot, and sitting next to the river to watch the wildlife. Dinner is a second quick service stop, as there is really only one Disney owned sit down there, but that's okay, you've a long line to stand in for Flight of Passage and don't want to waste time.
$6.99 Breakfast bagel
$3.99 apple juice
Lunch: Flametree BBQ
$15.69 Chicken and ribs combo
$3.99 fountain drink
$4.99 Soft serve
Dinner: Satu'li Canteen
$12.79 Cheeseburger pods
$3.99 fountain drink
$9.29 Buffalo chicken chips
Day Three Total for Food: $61.72
One thing I find really interesting is that you'll leave each of these meals full. You might not even want a snack or if you do, maybe you'll split one. Also, none of these meals are boring. They aren't standard theme park fare. In fact... my stomach is growling just reading these menus!
Using these sample menus, you can easily see that a day of quick service, plus two snacks will run around $60. Depending on the location AND the item ordered, around $70 or so (without gratuity) for sit down, per person. Take those numbers from your own sample menus, and use that to guide how much you'll need to plan for meals!
25 Budget Friendly And Easy In Room Breakfast IDeas You Might Not Have Thought Of
If you'd rather be rope dropping than taking time to linger over breakfast, you aren't alone! But, the fact of the matter is people have to eat. Even if you aren't a huge breakfast eater, chances are someone else in your party is, and you really do need a little fuel to keep you going!
You could grab something at the park once there, and many do, but just as many would rather watch their dollars, and breakfast in the room or while waiting in the transportation line.
These ideas are all perfect for those staying in a value resort. There's a fridge, but no microwave except for in the food court. If you are are in a room with a microwave or a small kitchen, then you have a LOT more options!
Chances are you already know how easy a few of these are, but there could be some surprises! I've got a list of 25 for you! Chose one or combine a few for a fast, easy breakfast and spend your money on more important things! Like souvenirs!
1. Cold cereal (You can buy milk from a resort food court or have delivered!)
2. Thawed breakfast sandwiches (heat in the food court microwave)
3. No-cook overnight oatmeal
4. Pastries (donuts, honeybuns, etc)
5. Yogurt and granola
6. Fresh fruit and cheese
7. Granola bars
8. English muffins and jam
9. Fruit cups / Applesauce
10. Precooked bacon or sausage
11. Bagels and cream cheese or avacado
13. String cheese
14. Cottage cheese
15. Graham crackers
16. Crusty loaf, cheese, and olives or pesto
17. Biscuits and apple butter
18. Instant breakfast shakes
19. Dried fruit
20. Beef jerky or meat sticks
21. Instant oatmeal (using water from the well washed coffee maker)
22. Crackers and sunbutter
23. Smoothies (there are several refrigerated brands)
24. Bread with cheese, tomatoes, and avadaco
25. Last night's leftovers!
While there are so many more things you can do, maybe some of these will give you ideas for your next trip. We always pack breakfasts, (budget, time, and food allergies!) but I actually really love doing that, because my kids and I are not huge eaters first thing in the morning. By tossing some of these into our park bags, we end up having a snack when we are hungry, but save a ton of time and money!
It's time for another installment in the differences between Disney World, Dollywood, and Hershey Park. If you've been following along, and need a reminder of what's already been covered, or if you are just joining, here's the links to get caught up!
Part 1 An overview of each park.
Part 2 Entry methods, fast passes, staff and maps
Part 3 The Rides, games, and app
Part 4 The Food (you are here!)
Part 5 (Coming soon) A Comparison between the three for an overall opinion
Though these are theme parks and share some similarities, each is different.
For many, eating out while on vacation is an absolute highlight! For the budget minded, they try and cut a few corners on the things that don't matter to allow more towards those things that do. For a family with food allergies? Every meal is like a well planned tactical maneuver.
Theme parks seem to have these three things in common when it comes to food. Snacks, counter service, and casual (or deluxe) meals where you can sit and be waited on.
I'm sure you know we're pretty experienced Disney World eaters! I've even written a Disney book about how to navigate dietary needs among other things there. If you've been a reader of my blog for a while, I give a break down of these three types of eating establishments. I go more in depth within the book. I'm not as much of an expert at Dollywood and Hershey Park, which it was so interesting to discover the similarities and the differences between these theme parks.
Let's talk a bit about each way you get refuel your body at Disney World, Dollywood, or Hershey Park.
Yum! Who doesn't love a snack when you are just a little hungry but don't want too much?
Disney, and remember, we are ONLY using Magic Kingdom for comparison, by far has the most places to grab a snack. Between the savory, like pretzels, popcorns, onion rings, and fries to the sweet, like soft serve, dole whips, churros, cookies and candy apples, there's something for most everyone. Note I say MOST. For those of us who need to be careful of cross contamination, it's a bit harder to find a Disney themed snack. There are also tons of prepacked snacks, everything from chips and candies to fresh fruits and bars.
Dollywood had many similar snacks. Popcorn, soft serve, hand scooped ice cream, pretzels, and their cinnamon bread seemed to be the most popular. While there were specialty treats like fudge being sold, that's not really a great idea in the summer to tote around as the sun beats down!
At Hershey Park, I was a little surprised that so much of the food there was owned by chain restaurants. There are some local places, and the East Coast Mini Donuts were very popular. We tried those, and honestly, they were cute, but heavy and greasy. Tower Fries was another place which sold buckets of French fries! That was something we enjoyed. Overall, the snacks were similar, popcorn, pretzels, soft serve unless you went for a specialty dessert. Of course, at Hershey, you'll find chocolate everywhere. And it's used to create cakes, ice cream sundaes, and other treats. I'm not sure how much real food anyone actually eats at Harshey Park. Everyone we passed seemed to be eating chocolate something.
These three parks share similarities in the counter service food as well. Fries, burgers, pizza, sandwiches, along with salads, hot dogs, and nachos on occasion. Disney's Magic Kingdom has the most counter service spots, but not the widest variety, the menus do tend to repeat themselves.
At Dollywood, staffing continues to be a major concern, and because of that, a great number of their places are not open to eat at, reducing the choices further. Luckily, Dollywood is right in the heart of town, so if you were not able to get a good meal in the park, especially with such short park hours as they have been having, you'll find plenty of places outside the gates.
Hershey Park doesn't fare much better on the staffing situation, however, because they operate very few eating establishments and allow chains in, the food choices are more varied. You'll find a Moe's Southwest Grill near Chic f'ilet, not too far from a gyro house. Again, outside of Hershey Park you have tons of choices, in case you don't want to eat all of your meals on property.
In terms of variety, Hershey Park has the most. You'll find very little on the menus repeated, which can make it difficult if you have a chicken fingers and fries kinda need for most meals.
If you'd like to be waited on, you likely already know you have to plan ahead at Disney! Reservations for these meals start six months out for on property places. You'll find a wide variety of food, and some from multiple countries. As far as variety, Magic Kingdom might be the winner here.
Dollywood is more limited, they are a smaller park after all. What you will find though, is home cookin' and comfort food in each door you enter. Salads, fish, chicken, sandwiches, BBQ, chicken, and pleanty of kid food, like mac and chicken fingers. Dollywood's menus seem to be pretty all American, but also family friendly.
Hershey has less to choose from as well, though they do boast a restaurant that uses chocolate in well...almost everything! It's a very popular spot, and pretty unique!
The winner here is a toss up...it really depends on what you like! If southern style cooking is what you crave, Dollywood is the winner, with comfort mood and kid favorites. Something a bit more sophisticated or with a cultural flair? Disney is the choice for that. Unique, fun, and covered in chocolate? Hershey Park for dinner!
We've talked about pretty much everything between these three parks..so which one did we enjoy most? Which one do we want to go back to? And which one do we plan to skip next time? You'll find out soon!