Orlando: A Semi-Semi-Foodie Adventure

Ok, I'm going to start this off with a disclaimer: I am in no way a Disney/Theme Park food blogger.  Nor did I try my best to go to every possible restaurant at Disney and Universal.  I didn't even do food research for the trip (because I had KEB to do that for me!).  So, by no way is this a comprehensive review of food at either park.

That being said, NES and I spent six full, hot, busy, excellent days visiting Disney World and Universal Studios with KEB, JB, KS and PB!  It was quite the epic adventure.

And we ate.  So much food.  But, we also walked.  So much walking.  So, it kind of balanced out.  Sorta.  Maybe not.  But it made sense to me.

We spent 7 hot and amazingly sunny days wandering Epcot,

Magic Kingdom,

Animal Kingdom,

Hollywood Studios,

Downtown Disney,

Universal Studios,

and Islands of Adventure.


By the way, excuse the somewhat mediocre pictures (especially the dim ones).  I only brought my (circa 2007) point-and-shoot, only to realize that it only has 1 GB of storage on a basically outmoded card.  Thank goodness for camera cords.  And wonderful people named Molly who return cameras they found in the Muppet 3D theater.  Oops.

Ok, now for food.  Well, first of all, last week's cake batter granola bars were intended for theme park energy pick-me-ups!  It was also a perfect use for the pretty colored wax paper sandwich bags I've had in the drawer forever!

I also made some flourless almond butter cookies!  RB told me about these a while ago, and I've been meaning to try them.
I had some homemade almond butter, but only about 3/4 cup, so I filled out the last 1/4 cup with peanut butter.  I found that the peanut butter wasn't very strong, and I thought they mostly tasted like chocolate.  NES didn't agree.
I was absolutely amazed that they didn't have any flour in them.  I absolutely wouldn't have believed that they didn't have any flour in them if I hadn't made them myself.  Even so, I double checked the recipe.  They are that amazing.
And so easy.
By the way, did you know that Trader Joe's has super tasty chocolate chips??

Anyway!  Park food!

I started off the week with a "create-your-own salad" at the resort (All Star Music) cafeteria.  I even topped it with salmon, since NES doesn't do fish, so I don't get it very often.  For cafeteria food, I was pretty impressed.  Oh, and you can't forget a Mickey-shaped rice krispie treat complete with Mickey sprinkles!  This was my first introduction to the fact that every meal (ever) comes with dessert at Disney.  Yikes!
 Dinner was a buffet (hence, I forgot to take a picture) at the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom, and I mainly ate potatoes and mac and cheese from the kid's line.  We all ended up with mac and cheese, so we must have been kids at heart.  Or something.  Granted, I'm pretty sure that's what we were all week.  We did have quite a view though!
 Oh, and Pooh, Piglet and Eeyore came to visit us!  (As I said, kids at heart.)
Next came a breakfast buffet at the Tusker House in the Animal Kingdom.  That juice is called Jungle Juice, and it is amazing.  It's mango and something else, and it was delicious.  Of course, there were Mickey shaped waffles!  Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy came to visit us this morning, but I don't have the pictures. 
 After such a huge breakfast, NES and I decided to use snack credits for lunch.  We didn't feel like we needed a whole meal.  So we both ordered a cookie ice cream sandwich, thinking we'd be getting small cookies with a little ice cream between them.  Not so much.  They were huge!!  We ended up splitting one of them and giving the other to JB and KEB.  There was no way we were going to eat one each.
 I didn't eat this, but I thought a chocolate and sprinkle covered cupcake rice krispies treat was pretty fun.  Also, we were supposed to take pictures of "all the cupcakes" for our photo scavenger hunt.  The poor scavenger hunt kind of got abandoned because we were so busy doing everything!  I am also thinking that chocolate covered rice krispies treats might happen in my kitchen this week.
 After a lovely breakfast and time to catch up with LC (yay for the graduate!), we headed to Universal Studios!  We had pizza for lunch.

For dinner, though, we went to Downtown Disney.  We ate at an Irish Pub called Raglan Road.  Although it was slow, it was tasty.  And sitting and eating in air conditioning for a couple hours on a hot day with live music wasn't the worst thing in the world anyway.

I got a very tasty beverage: chocolate milk with creme de menthe and Irish cream.  It basically tasted like melted mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Mmmmm.
 I also got beef stew with Guinness for dinner.  It was spectacular.  I think everyone enjoyed their meals.
 And for dessert (remember I told you every meal at Disney comes with dessert??) NES and I split bread pudding.  It was amazing.  It was different than any other bread pudding I've ever had because it wasn't very sweet.  Most of the sweetness came from the vanilla and caramel sauces that came with it.  We barely finished one order between the two of us!
 Oh, and then there was a chocolate croissant for breakfast.  Mmmmm.  I obviously went for the healthy option.
 Ok, and lunch comes with a kind of sad story.  We got Chinese food at a cafe in Universal, and found this kitten hiding in the wooded area between the cafe and the next ride.  No one at Universal seemed to mind that it was there, and it was very skittish and sad looking.  Poor kitten.
 For dinner, NES and I got some barbecue in Downtown Disney.
 Complete with two very interested ducks.
 Now, I found these apples in a candy store in Downtown Disney, and I thought they were spectacular.
 I never did get one, partially because I ran out of time, and partially because a chocolate covered apple sounded like a recipe for a serious mess on a 95+ degree day.  Next time!
 And there was ice cream waiting at the Ghiradelli store!  Mint chocolate chip in a chocolate covered waffle cone with sprinkles?  Does it get better than that?
 The next morning brought a pretty spectacular breakfast!  KEB made us reservations for breakfast in Cinderella's castle!
 I think we were almost the only people there without kids, and we got a group picture with Cinderella, wands for the "princesses" and swords for the "princes".  It was pretty hysterical.  Plus, KEB, KS and I got our pictures taken with all the princesses.
 Regardless of the fact that I felt (a little) silly walking around with a wand for the rest of the day, it was awesome to see the inside of the castle!
 And the food was delicious!  I got a caramel apple stuffed French toast.  Yum.
 Dinner was Perogies and kielbasa from the World Showcase food truck in Downtown Disney.  Can I just say that I think it's awesome that Disney is building a food truck park?  This was easily the best "quick service" food that we had all week.  It was amazing.  I was so hungry and it was so spectacular that I couldn't wait for a picture before I dug in!
Then came lunch at Food Quest in Disney Quest at Downtown Disney! I got a salad with apples, bacon and goat cheese with balsamic dressing.  I was impressed even if KS did get twice the amount of bacon I did!  
 And for dessert?  A Darth Vader peanut butter and chocolate cupcake!  NES and I split it -- it was more than enough for two!  It was a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting covered in chocolate.  And Darth Vader on top.  Best part.  
 We also found the Coke flavors bar in Epcot to help cool down on a hot, hot Florida day!  The whole idea is that you can sample (in tiny little cups!) varieties of international sodas.  My favorite where Fanta Melon and Inca Kola.  If you don't like sweet, though, don't try those!
 Then was the dinner KEB planned just for me!  We went to the Rose and Crown in the England area of Epcot!  Yay!  We even got to see some of the fireworks out the windows!
 I got fish and chips -- yum!  The fish and the chips were awesome (KEB ordered "chips" instead of dessert: they were that good).  The mushy peas weren't my style.  I would have been ok without ordering them separately.
 Dessert was the best.  I ordered Jaffa tarts, since NES and I have been watching a series of videos about Jaffa cakes recently, and I wanted to know what they were.  They turned out to be a soft cake with some orange-y custard inside, covered with chocolate and served with crystallized marmalade and raspberry sauce.
 And a white chocolate Union Jack.  Awesome.
 Breakfast on the last morning was actually a bagel, but I saw this Yoda cupcake, complete with chocolate-hazelnut (aka Nutella!) frosting, and I knew I needed it.  Plus, I had one snack credit left, so what else would I do with it?!  He was by far the best cupcake of the trip.  NES helped me finish it (since it was huge!), but I did eat most of it.  Yum.
 All in all, I ate way too much good food.  A few words about the Disney dining plan:  we went with a 1 snack, 1 quick-service and 1 table-service meal per day.  I had been told it was too much food, and it certainly was.  Especially because both meals come with a dessert!  I absolutely agree that it is too much food.  I probably would have been happy with two snacks and one meal per day.  But.  I appreciated the flexibility that the meal plan gave me.  For instance, I didn't feel guilty about getting a more expensive meal, since all the meals just cost a credit.  Or, I was more willing to step out and get something (like the Yoda cupcake or the giant ice cream sandwich!) that I probably wouldn't have usually wanted to pay amusement park prices for.  We brought the cookies and granola bars (as I mentioned) and shared apples with KEB and JB.  I'm glad we brought snacks (because I am a grumpy/sleepy tired person -- just ask NES, mom or dad) and that prevented between meal crashes (especially with all the walking!).  But I think I'd probably go with the meal plan again, all things considered.

Anyway, if you've stuck around long enough to read all my musings about theme park food, you deserve a cookie.  Here you go!

Flourless Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
slightly adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

1 egg
1 cup almond butter (I used 3/4 cup homemade, with 1/4 cup homemade peanut butter)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat the egg in a medium bowl.  Add the almond butter, brown sugar and baking soda.  Mix everything well, until no longer lumpy.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop into 1.5 tbsp. balls.  I had to roll the chocolate chips back into the dough, since they wanted to fall out.  Place the balls onto the cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.  The cookies should look soft, and just slightly golden around the sides.  Cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack.


Popular Posts