VooDoo Doughnut Arrives in Orlando: What You Need to Know

VooDoo Doughnut Arrives in Orlando: What You Need to Know

Ever longed to visit the iconic, Portland-based VooDoo Doughnut but felt like 3,032 miles was just a bit far to travel?


Well, good news: VooDoo Doughnut has landed at CityWalk at Universal Orlando, so you can get your sugar fix right here.


Skeletons at VooDoo Doughnut Orlando

VooDoo Doughnut is known for their unique flavors and irreverent, euphemism-filled style. If you’ve visited one of their non-CityWalk locations, you’ll notice some details have been toned down ever-so-slightly in the interest of being family-friendly. No weiner-shaped or blunt-styled pastries here. Some names have been changed, too: Butterfingering is just called Butterfinger, The Homer is Little Pink, the Gay Bar became Pride, and Triple Chocolate Penetration has been truncated to just Triple Chocolate. Their slogans are still prominent (“the magic is in the hole” and “good things come in pink boxes”) so be aware if you plan to stop in with inquisitive younglings.

VooDoo Doughnut Orlando

Doughnut/Donut Varieties + Waiting in Line

VooDoo’s donuts fall into two main categories: Raised Yeast and Cake. A number of their offerings are also vegan. Those who have food allergies should be aware that all donuts are prepared on the same equipment and may contain “eggs, milk and dairy products, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, voodoo magic, and soy.”

Donuts are priced between $1 and $10 each. Want a dozen? Depending on the varieties included, they can make it happen for between $19 – $30. If you need to be over-the-top and buy a wooden coffin o’donuts, that’ll set you back about $130. Yep, you can use your UO Passholder discount here.

VooDoo Doughnut Pink Box

The Queue

No idea what you want? Don’t worry – the door attendant has menus, and you’ll get to circle a donut carousel while in line. I actually don’t recommend trying to decide before you arrive, because CityWalk does not carry some of the flavors other locations do.

Be prepared to spend between 10 – 20 minutes in line. The queue is split in two, so half your wait might be outside. Since parking at CityWalk is free after 6:00 PM and heaps of people descend upon the area for dinner, evening wait times might be longer.

VooDoo Doughnut Orlando Menu

The Part Where We Actually Eat the Donuts

I’m usually a cake donut person, but at VooDoo, I prefer their fritters and raised yeast donuts. While the cakes are dense and a bit dry, the raised yeasts are soft and fluffy.

VooDoo Doll

Donuts from VooDoo Doughnut: Portland Cream, Grape Ape, Little Pink/Homer, and VooDoo Doll

Clockwise from top left: Portland Cream, Grape Ape, Little Pink/Homer, and VooDoo Doll


VooDoo Doughnut’s signature offering. Big raised yeast donut with chocolate frosting, raspberry filling, and a pretzel stick. Each one has a face and a tummy swirl, but individual donuts vary. I’ve seen a dolls with vampire teeth, bottom teeth only, and so forth.

I don’t personally love chocolate frosting, but this is a good donut. My favorite part was the raspberry filling; it was sweet, tart, and so different from the sickly-sweet jelly filling you commonly find. If they made this with glaze instead of chocolate frosting, I’d be all over it.

Conversely, Mr. EC’s least favorite part was the raspberry filling. He found it too overpowering and too sour. He loved the flavor of the chocolate frosting, though, and approved of the icing-to-donut ratio.

Little Pink

(Portland Name: Homer)

Yeast donut with strawberry frosting and sprinkles. Quite possibly my favorite so far. The dough is soft and fluffy, and the frosting is sweet and has that satisfying faux-strawberry flavor. Nothing over-the-top, but still damn good.


ODB and Memphis Mafia from VooDoo Doughnut

Back Left: ODB Front Right: Memphis Mafia


(Portland Name: Old Dirty Bastard)

Raised yeast donut with vanilla frosting, oreo crumbles, and peanut butter. Mr. EC found it bold and heavy; peanut butter is a dominant flavor in this one.

Buttermilk Bar

Buttermilk Bar from VooDoo Doughnut

Possibly the 2nd most boring-looking VooDoo offers, but it’s damn delicious. The inside is dense and a little dry, but it’s soft at the same time. The glaze is where this baby really shines, though. Whoa. So good.

Portland Cream

Yeast donut filled with Bavarian cream and topped with chocolate frosting. Essentially a Boston Cream donut. VooDoo didn’t skimp on the filling.

Mr. EC liked this one but says there are more exciting donuts to get from VooDoo. You can essentially get this kind of treat anywhere.

I found the filling to be a little perfumey, oddly enough, but I do agree and appreciate that they weren’t half-assing it when they filled the shell.


Butterfinger donut from VooDoo Doughnuts

(Portland Name: Butterfingering)

Chocolate cake donut with vanilla frosting and Butterfinger crumbles. Small and dense. Mr. EC’s favorite. The Butterfinger topping was finely ground and balanced out the cake nicely.

Memphis Mafia

Memphis Mafia from VooDoo Doughnut

Fritter with actual banana pieces, cinnamon, glaze, chocolate, and peanut butter. SO. GOOD. This one is huge, roughly the size of a personal pan pizza, so you can totally split it between 2 – 3 people. One of the messiest donuts I’ve tried from VooDoo, but worth it. If you’re a Bananas Foster person, a chocolate person, and a peanut butter person, this is the best of all three worlds.

Grape Ape

Raised yeast donut with vanilla frosting, grape dust, and sprinkles. Made my car smell like a block of grape BubbleYum in the best way possible. Dough is soft and fluffy, per usual. Vanilla frosting is sweet, creamy, and delicious. Grape dust tastes a bit sour and super grapey. Was this weird to have on a donut? Yes, totally. But did it also taste good? Also yes. Gold star for creativity.

Sugar Drunk

VooDoo Doughnut offers a big variety of donuts – some are simple, and others are unconventional. Whether you’re feeling adventurous or prefer to play it safe with an old favorite, they’re gonna have something you’ll like.

If we were going to buy a dozen donuts, we’d probably head to Krispy Kreme. But when we’re at Universal or CityWalk and craving a sweet treat? VooDoo is the perfect place to visit.

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2018: My Top Picks

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2018: My Top Picks

Epcot International Festival of the Arts: It’s Back!

2017 was the festival’s inaugural year, and it was smallish, only open Fridays – Mondays. For 2018, the festival is much bigger and runs full-time from January 12 – February 19.

Last year, I thought the Epcot International Festival of the Arts was fun and, you know, fine. This year, though, I absolutely love it. Remember when I joked that Epcot was going the way of all festivals, all the time? I’m still totally ok with that.

All Forms of Art

Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts encompasses all kinds of art: performance, visual, and culinary. Similar to Food & Wine and Flower & Garden, the World Showcase features multiple booths, each with themed fare. Between the food opportunities, you’ll find tents filled with all kinds of original art and prints. Much of it is Disney-themed (which includes Star Wars!), but plenty is not.

In the Odyssey Center, you’ll find seminars, workshops, and even an Animation Academy. The seminars and Animation Academy are complimentary with park admission. The workshops are $39 and need to be booked in advance.

At the Fountainview Plaza, pause to see living statues, painting demonstrations, and live performances. We were fortunate enough to catch Stephen Fishwick creating a painting of Stitch along to music one morning, and it was such a fun and unique experience!

Other fun stuff includes chalk art, screen printing by Enemy Ink, a student gallery, and a huge paint-by-number mural that you can participate in creating.

Are you a Disney on Broadway fan? If so, be sure to visit the America Gardens Theatre. From Monday – Friday, Disney on Broadway stars perform beloved hits from their shows. The lineup for the remainder of the festival:

  • February 2 – 5: Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White
  • February 9 – 12 and 16 – 19: Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland (we saw them last year and they were excellent!)

Oh, and perhaps our family’s favorite: photo ops that allow you to become part of famous paintings.

The Ear Collector Ohana does The Scream and The Mona Lisa - Epcot International Festival of the Arts

My Top Picks

Fun Stuff

  • Figment’s Brush with the Masters. Similar to the traditional Epcot Eggstravaganza (Easter egg hunt), you purchase a map, search around the World Showcase for classic works of art featuring mischievous Figment, place stickers on your map accordingly, and redeem for a fun pin!
  • Enemy Ink. In Future World West (the building right behind Club Cool), you can pick a fun shirt design and watch as Enemy Ink prints it right in front of you!

Figment's Brush with the Masters Prizes - Pins! Epcot International Festival of the Arts


  • Star Wars. Found a Rey piece from Karen Hallion and an Ahsoka print from Danny Haas. MADE MY DAY.  – located near Germany in the World Showcase
  • Sugarboo & Co. This is one of my favorite shops, and I’m so excited they have a booth! – located near Germany in the World Showcase
  • WonderGround Gallery. This is where you can find lots of adorable art, including pieces from Ashley Taylor (I met her once and she’s super lovely, so now I feel like we’re friends. I never said I wasn’t weird.)
  • Disney Fine Art – multiple booths throughout the festival. Lots of happy-making prints.
  • Thomas Kinkade Studios: this is a fun treat, because it’s the style of Thomas Kinkade with Disney elements. Really pretty; great for nostalgia.

Food & Drinks

Refreshment Port (between the World Showcase entrance and Canada)

Croissant Donut with Pastry Cream

Croissant Donut (Cronut!) with Pastry Cream - Epcot International Festival of the Arts

This was delicious, though much larger and messier than expected! The cronut was crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. The pastry cream was sweet but not too sweet. There was plenty for two people to share, and we’d buy it again!

Pop Eats (between the World Showcase entrance and Mexico)

Cloudem Sparking Wine

Cloudem Sparkling Wine - Epcot International Festival of the Arts

This sparkling wine actually sparkles and shimmers! Not only is it beautiful, but it’s sweet and oh-so-drinkable. Several different colors, including pink and blue, are available, so it’s a fun surprise to see which one you get!

El Artista Hambriento – The Hungry Artist (Mexico)

Tacos de Puerco: Two Corn Tortillas with Slow-roasted Pork Shoulder, marinated in Ancho Paste and served with Sweet Plantain Puree garnished with Pea Tendrils

Tacos de Puerco - Epcot International Festival of the Arts

The Tacos de Puerco are possibly my favorite offering in the entire festival. Tender pork with smoky, slightly spicy sauce and sweet plantain. YUM. Will absolutely get these again.

Cuisine Classique (Germany)

Red Wine-braised Short Rib with Parsnip Puree, Broccolini, Baby Tomatoes, and Aged Balsamic

Red Wine-braised Beef Short Rib - Epcot International Festival of the Arts

I was expecting a bit more of a pot roast-y type dish, so when we saw the plate, I wasn’t sure I’d like this. It also smelled quite heavily of balsamic vinegar, which Mr. EC finds overpowering. Despite our first impressions, though, we loved it.

The beef fell apart when poked with a fork. The balsamic vinegar ended up being a thick, sweet glaze, and it was an amazing enhancement. The parsnip was sinfully delicious, super creamy, and had an almost cheesy flavor.

L’art de la Cuisine Francaise – The Art of French Cooking (France)

Frose: Frozen Cotes de Provence Rose wine with Grey Goose Vodka and Peach Puree

Frose - Epcot International Festival of the Arts

France is known for having great frozen festival drinks, and this is no exception. Sweet, slushy, and delightfully peachy. Also surprisingly strong – it doesn’t even taste alcoholic, but woooo! I ended up with a fierce headache later that day, which confirms I am too old to be drinking things that contain both wine and liquor. But still! The Frose is delicious; I’d get it again (and split with a friend!)

The Masterpiece Kitchen (Canada)

Charcuterie Palette with Artisan Cured Meats and Cheeses featuring Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Beef

Charcuterie Palette - Epcot International Festival of the Arts

At $14, the Charcuterie Palette is one of the most expensive offerings of the entire festival. Truly, though, it was lovingly assembled and beautifully presented.

I have two wishes for this one: more detail about what the palette contains, and there were only two small toasts on the entire platter. That results in a lot of eating straight-up meat with your fingers.

The featured Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Beef was very good! My absolute favorite, though, was the honeycomb-topped blue cheese. There was one item I couldn’t place (that’s why labels would be helpful!) and I wonder if it might’ve been Pate or Fois Grois.

Final Thoughts on 2018’s Epcot International Festival of the Arts

This year’s festival exceeded all expectations! Everything – the art, the food, the activities, heck, even the branding – are wonderful, and I will return as often as possible. It’s even giving my favorite festival – Epcot Flower and Garden – a little competition!

Have you experienced this year’s Epcot International Festival of the Arts? What did you think? What would you recommend?


How to Snag Those Popular Disney Dining Reservations (and Why it Matters)

How to Snag Those Popular Disney Dining Reservations (and Why it Matters)

Figuring out when, where, and why to book your Disney dining reservations (also called Advance Dining Reservations or ADRs) can be one of the most confusing parts of planning a Walt Disney World vacation.

If you’re staying on Disney property

You can begin booking dining reservations for the length of stay (up to 10 days) starting at 7:00 AM EST 180 days prior to your arrival. For example, if you’re arriving on August 1, 2018, and staying for a week, you’ll be able to book dining reservations for your entire visit at 7:00 AM on February 2, 2018.

To save a few minutes counting days on the calendar, use this handy date calculator, enter your arrival date, and then subtract 180 days. Boom! Save it in your calendar for extra credit.

If you’re not staying on Disney property

Off-property guests can also book dining reservations 180 days out, but only for one day at a time. For example, if you’re arriving on July 15, 2018, you can book ADRs for that date on January 16, 2018. Then, you’ll need to log back in on January 17 to make your reservations for July 16, and so forth for each day of your visit.

Why it matters

Walt Disney World’s most in-demand restaurants book up in literally minutes each day – seriously. If you’re longing to visit one of the more popular venues like Cinderella’s Royal Table or Be Our Guest, chances are high that you will not be able to get in if you don’t make a point to call at 7:00 AM, 180 days out. Heck, even some people who do get online at the crack of 7:00 AM aren’t able to get reservations. (Pro tip: be prepared for that possibility with a few ideas for backup restaurants.)

Even if you don’t have your heart set on an in-demand dining experience, the probability of being able to walk up to a table service restaurant and actually be seated is low. There’s really no “slow season” at Disney World anymore.

If you’re paying for a Disney Dining Plan that includes table service credits or signature dining credits, you’re letting a lot of money go to waste by not booking those reservations in advance. If no table service restaurants are available, quick service outlets are your only option.

And last but not least: walking from restaurant to restaurant is exhausting, especially when you’re already tired and hungry. (I know from experience! ;))

How to book

Disney offers several convenient ways to make your dining reservations:

  • Book online
  • Book using the My Disney Experience app
  • Call (407) WDW-DINE

Questions? Comments? Hints or tips you’d like to share with The Ear Collector community?

A Hidden Gem: Review of The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen

A Hidden Gem: Review of The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen

The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen is a pretty underrated Walt Disney World table service restaurant, you guys. So few people talk about it! I’ve heard mixed reviews, but we had a great experience this December.

The Details

Located in Adventureland, Skipper Canteen is where your beloved punny Jungle Cruise Skippers head for meals and relaxation. The restaurant is intricately detailed to correspond with the theme, but if you don’t look closely, you might not notice.

Your servers are, of course, Jungle Cruise Skippers who are every bit as silly as the ones on the boats. They’re definitely in-character, which is not usually my favorite (just be a normal human and be nice to me, please… fake accents make me uncomfortable and puh-lease don’t scold me about how much/how little I’ve eaten), but this experience was fun and no-pressure. Our server, Ray, was attentive and hilarious. He kept our drinks filled, made lots of wonderful puns, and warned us that the ice was made with piranha water.

We dined in the jungle room, which featured parrot stained glass light fixtures, a “great wall of china”, and my favorite “rhino and hyena chasing a man up a tree” art.

And I am here for the food…

If you only enjoy standard burgers-and-fries-type fare, Skipper Canteen probably won’t be your favorite. The menu contains a lot of Asian-fusion-type foods, though most have been adapted to appeal to the western palate. According to Disney, dishes are African, Asian, and South American in origin: inspired by the regions you visit on the cruise itself, of course! Take a look at the current menu here.

Baa Baa Berber Lamb Chops and Tastes Like Chicken from Skipper Canteen

Left: Baa Baa Berber Lamb Chops: Berber-spiced Lamb Chops, Roasted Carrot Purée, and Arugula-Cauliflower Salad tossed in a Citrus Vinaigrette
Right: Tastes Like Chicken – Because it is!: Crispy-fried Chicken with Citrus and Ginger-scented Rice, Chili Glaze, and Seasonal Vegetables

I ordered the It Tastes Like Chicken (Because it is!), which was really interesting for what could’ve just been a basic chicken dish. The chicken was juicy while the breading was unique – crisp yet light. Imagine a breading made from savory, blitzed Rice Krispies and you get the idea. The rice was sticky and fluffy, the ribboned vegetables fresh and tasty, and the sweet chili sauce was sweet (obvs 😉), spicy, and vinegary all at once. I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it all very much.

Mr. EC had the Baa Baa Berber Lamb Chops, which were plated beautifully. The seasoning was gorgeous, the lamb juicy, and the accompanying Arugula Cauliflower salad was absolutely delicious.

Dessert, Even.

We rarely order dessert at table service restaurants because there are just so many sweet options in the park, but we made an exception this time (and Ray tempted us).

The Coconut Bar with Pineapple-Basil Compote and Vanilla Cream was calling my name, and I was even more intrigued after Ray warned that it looks just like a stick of butter.

And indeed it did – a very fancy stick of butter – but it was delicious. Light, soft, and creamy with little pops of sweet, zesty citrus. If you enjoy coconut cake or pineapple cake, you’ll love this. While dainty and light, it’s still the perfect size to share.

Coconut Bar Dessert from Skipper Canteen

Coconut Bar with Pineapple-Basil Compote and Vanilla Cream: Vanilla Chiffon Cake with Coconut and Lime White Chocolate Ganache

The Kungaloosh!, their most popular dessert, also sounded divine:

An African-inspired Chocolate Cake with Caramelized Bananas and Cashew-Caramel Ice Cream topped with Coffee Dust. Mmm. I’ve had some weird sensitivities (?!?) to cashews in the past, though, so we skipped it. Verrrrrry tempted to have Mr. EC order it next time so I can steal a few bites. 😇

Our Verdict on the Skipper Canteen

Every aspect of our experience surpassed our expectations: service, theming, and food (variety, presentation, and taste).

If you’re looking for a quieter restaurant with a fairly unique menu, a casual environment, and detailed theming, give Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen a chance!

Where: Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen
Find it: Adventureland, Magic Kingdom
Open for: Lunch and dinner
Disney Dining Plan: Yes, Table Service
Pricing: entrees: $18-$35

As with any table service restaurant on Disney property, creating an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) is advisable. Can table service restaurants sometimes accommodate walk-ups? Yes. Should you count on that? No. 

Have you dined here? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays: What I Want to Eat and Drink Edition

Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays: What I Want to Eat and Drink Edition

Gluhwein is amazing.

Experiencing the magic of Gluhwein.

You guys.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to start trying treats from the holiday kitchens at Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays (yes, I’m probably gonna slip up and call it Holidays Around the World a time or two!).

Yep – as we move toward All Festivals, All The Time at Epcot (I’m ok with this) Holidays Around the World has grown and officially become Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays. If you’ve never experienced it, imagine a winter holiday-themed Flower & Garden or Food & Wine. If you’ve never experienced either of those, imagine lots of little kiosks with internationally themed and inspired foods and drinks.

*festive squealing*

These items are at the top of my “must try” list:

Refreshment Port

Chocolate Peppermint Glazed Croissant Donut

Yukon Holiday Kitchen (Canada)

Ice Wine Flight. ICE WINES. Winessss. Plural. More than one. Yes please. Merry Christmas, Kevin.

Maple Buche de Noel. A kind of maple and gingerbread yule-roll-type thing. I need it. Canada has a special place in my heart; maybe it’s because I spent three years living between Seattle and Vancouver, BC. Maybe it’s because of their delicious foods like nanaimo and poutine. Maybe it’s a little because of Justin Trudeau. I guess we can’t be sure.

Alsace Holiday Kitchen (France)

Spiced Rum Punch Slush. I haven’t yet met an Epcot slush I didn’t enjoy, and this one is delightfully red and contains spiced rum, orange, and cinnamon. It sounds SO endearingly Christmassy, I can practically hear sleigh bells and reindeer hooves. I’m just picturing drinkable holiday cheer. Side note: I wasn’t really even considering trying this (not much of a rum person) until Disney Food Blog tempted me with their photo and review. Now, it’s one of the items I’m MOST excited about.

Hokkaido Holiday Kitchen (Japan)

Cinnamon Mochi Cake: Cinnamon and Coconut Cake. I’m in love with cinnamon this time of year and I always love coconut, so what could go wrong?

Strawberry Nigori Sake Cocktail: Semi-sweet Unfiltered Sake with Puréed Strawberry. I’ve never had Sake because I’m afraid it’ll taste like gasoline, but this sounds so juicy and tempting.

American Holiday Table

Slow-Roasted Turkey with Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, and Cranberry Sauce. All the holiday foods in one boat. I’ll take it.

Chocolate Apple Shake featuring Twinings Winter Spice Herbal Tea and Bols Butterscotch Schnapps. Oh. Em. Goodness. Also available in a nonalcoholic version.

Cocoa Candy Cane: Nestlé Chocolate Delights Hot Cocoa with Peppermint Schnapps. Yuuuuup. Pretty sure this is the kind of thing you’re supposed to leave out for Santa.

Bavaria Holiday Kitchen (Germany area)

So basically, I’m gonna need this entire menu. It offers a bunch of my favorite holiday things: cheese, melted cheese, mulled wine, and cider. My heritage is Bavarian so I feel especially validated in my love for those foods, too.

Cheese Fondue in a Bread Bowl

Melty cheeeese.

German Artisan Cheese Plate: German ButterKase with Ham, Mushroom Brie with Pretzel Crostini, and Tillamook Cheddar. Had this last year. Having it again this year. The ButterKase is so creamy (imagine Gouda meets Munster, maybe?) and the Mushroom Brie gives a little something extra to one of my favorite everyday cheeses.

German Artisan Cheese Plate

German Artisan Cheese Plate

Cheese Fondue in a Bread Bowl with freshly steamed Baby Vegetables and Marble Potatoes. Also had this last year. It involves melted cheese, so I’m DEFINITELY having it again. You can’t go wrong with melted cheese at any time, but hot, melted cheese on a cold Florida evening, surrounded by evergreens and fairy lights? Heart eyes.

Hard Apple Cider and Hard Blackcurrant cider. Oh yeah. Mmm hmm.

And last but not least, my personal favorite: Glühwein! Imagine red wine mulled with clementine, cinnamon, and every delicious Christmas spice imaginable. HOLIDAY JUICE, if you will. You drink it warm, and it is perfection.


Gluhwein makes me happy.

Tuscan Holiday Kitchen (Italy)

Panettone alla Milanese: Warm Italian Fruit Cake with Vanilla Sauce and Cherry Syrup 😳

(If the words “fruit cake” scare you, Panettone is not very similar to the heavy, sticky thing I bet you’re picturing. The versions I’ve had have been more akin to a light, fluffy raisin bread.)

Norway: Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe

Traditional Holiday Rice Cream. No idea if this is different from the rice cream served at Kringla Bakeri year-round, but I’m kind of hoping for something with apple, cardamom, and raisins – yummm.

The Cookie Nook (Odyssey Center)

Warm Apple Fritter with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Warm Caramel Sauce

Gingersnap Cookie with Cream Cheese Icing and Cranberry Jam

Florida Orange Groves Winery Sparkling Cranberry Wine

Someone please fetch me a paper bag to breathe into.

Las Posadas Holiday Kitchen (Mexico)

Tostada de Tinga: Crispy Corn Tortilla smothered with Black Beans, topped with Chipotle Chicken and garnished with Crema Mexicana, Queso Fresco, Avocado, and Tomatillo Sauce. “Oooohhhhh” is the only commentary I’ve got right now.

Okay, well, now I’m starving. Someone we know will probably be leaving Epcot quite a few dishes fuller bit also several dollars poorer.

Your turn! Are you visiting Epcot during International Festival of the Holidays? What are you most eager to try? Have you experienced any of the dishes I’m longing to get? If so, what did you think?

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Surviving Summer in Florida

Surviving Summer in Florida

Summertime, like many parts of the year in Florida, can be hot. Like, miserably, sweating-from-places-you-didn’t-even-know-could-sweat hot. And humid. Oh man, it’s humid. If you’re not used to it, you might feel like you’re walking around in a sauna. In hell. A really pretty, fun version of hell.
But guess what? Even though it’s hot, you can still have a totally amazing vacation by being prepared and taking care of yourself.

1. Get used to walking before you go.

I know this is not an option for some, but it’ll help. Promise. You’re gonna be dang tired if you go from 2,000 steps a day at home to 20,000 steps a day at Disney World. Going from 10,000 or more steps a day to 20,000 steps is less of a punch in the face. You’ll be less tired, less cranky, and able to get more done.

2. Hydrate.

You probably already don’t drink enough water, and you’re going to be sweating like mad in the Florida heat. There’s no need to bring in heavy bottled water or spend $4 per bottle of Dasani, either. Any quick service restaurant or counter that has fountain drinks will give you a cup of water at no charge. (Note: if the outlet/cart only has bottled beverages, they won’t be able to give you water.) My favorite method? Packing an empty water bottle to keep the weight of your park bag reasonable. I use a Bobble bottle with a filter and fill it at water fountains throughout the park.

3. Protect yourself from the sun.

The last thing you want on your vacation is a fierce sunburn, and I’m guessing you’d like to avoid damage to your skin and premature signs of aging, too. You need SPF on any exposed skin: face, lips, ears, arms, legs, even the tops of your feet. I use a tinted moisturizer with SPF 50 for my face, an SPF 15 lip balm, then a Coola spray sunscreen for the rest of my body. Also essential? A breathable hat! I have a wide-brimmed, packable, squishable safari-type hat. It helps shade from the sun and keep me a little cooler, plus I can just smoosh it up and throw it in my backpack when it gets dark. Sunglasses are another big one – I literally never make a daytime park trip without mine. And I know you know this, but… you still need to protect yourself from rays even when it’s cloudy.

4. Seek shade.

There are a bunch of good ways to do this! Meals are an awesome opportunity to get into the air conditioning. You can make Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) for a number of table service meals, or you can visit some of the larger quickservice outlets that offer ample indoor seating. Dark rides are another good one: the dim lighting and chilled air on Haunted Mansion feels pret-ty dang good on a sweltering day! Or pop into pretty much any shop for some shade. Cool off and browse the cute stuff at the same time!

5. Rest when you need to.

Seriously. Listen to your body. You don’t even have to miss out on the fun. Attractions like Philharmagic and the People Mover are perfect for getting off your feet while still enjoying the magic.

6. It’s probably gonna rain.

Acceptance helps. Daily afternoon thunderstorms are simply a part of Florida summers! Get a rain poncho. You can either bring one of these with you or purchase in-park for around $10 (they’re not on display, so you’ll have to ask at the counter). Five years on, our Disney ponchos are still going strong! It’s money well-spent if you’re able to continue throughout the park instead of hover under an overhang, too. Most park operations continue as normal during the rain, but outdoor attractions will temporarily close if there’s lightning in the area. Keep in mind: parades and outdoor shows may also be adjusted, delayed, or canceled.

7. Get plenty of sleep.

When you’re tired, it’s easier to get cranky and forget to hydrate and rest.
There you have it: hydrate, rest, and take time to cool off. It’s gonna be hot, but taking good care of yourself will go a long way in helping you have a great time.
*obviously I’m not a medical professional, so seek guidance from yours should you have any concerns