Running on the Disney Dream

Pongo here.

The three of us took our first cruise a little over a year ago, a 3 day cruise to the Bahamas out of Port Canaveral upon the Disney Dream. Being addicted to running, I made it a part of the experience. On board, you can either run laps around Deck 4 or go to the fitness center on Deck 11. I avoid treadmills unless no other option exists. The walking/jogging track around deck 4 is 0.4 miles long. You might think that it would be boring, but I quite enjoyed it.

Disney Dream Deck 20140203-LThe deck is made of trex-like material which has good traction, even when wet. It is plenty wide along the sides of the ship, but fairly narrow around the front and rear. There are mirrors around turns which are very helpful as to not run head-on into others. The best thing about running on deck 4 is the view. I ran each morning as the ship was pulling into port. The views were spectacular, whether pulling into Castaway Cay or into Nassau. One of the major joys of running to me is taking in the sights. Seeing the waves, the islands in the distance, the rising sun, the pastel buildings, and other ships was sheer joy. Having a new perspective with each lap from the movement of the ship, to me, made it even more interesting. The breeze from the water made it very comfortable, too. It did not feel like running in circles.

Cons: The only con I can think of is being fairly “restricted” to running in the morning due to crowds. The deck is rarely very crowded, but with people looking overboard, relaxing deck chairs and playing shuffle board, it would be hard to keep a steady pace.

castaway cayrunDisney has a 5K, untimed, free, fun-run on Castaway Cay. I did not know about this when we took the cruise. Check with the ship activity director or concierge to sign up. I wish I had known. Next time!

So, if you are a runner or walker, don’t forget your running shoes and shorts. You will enjoy it. I recommend running in the early morning as the track is not crowded, the breeze cools you, and the sights are the best.

extra tip: The shower gel supplied makes great “detergent” to hand wash sweaty clothes in the cabin sink, that can then be hung to dry in the shower.

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Walt Disney World “Quotes”

Pongo here.

Some things that we hear just seem to bring a smiles our faces. The magic of Walt Disney World is in the attention to details. One part of this is the use of the spoken word to reach out to us, guide us, and entertain us. There are obviously many examples of these. Here are few that strike a chord with me.

patrick-warburton-soarin-over-california- “Hello. Welcome to Soarin’. My name is Patrick and I will be your chief flight attendant today.” Soarin’ in Epcot is one of my favorite rides and Patrick Warburton’s intro makes me smile every time.

Mickey_Mouse“It’s out of this world!” Hearing Mickey Mouse say this while riding the Tomorrowland Transit Authority in Magic Kingdom or hearing it on loop while on the ground is again a smile inducer.

illuminations-reflections-of-earth-00“We’ve gathered here tonight around the fire, as people of all lands have gathered for thousands of years before us, to share the light and share the story-“ The intro to Illuminations is an emotional and powerful lead in to my favorite fireworks show. I love how it ties us all together.

“Welcome home!” Hearing this from cast members when checking in at Disney resorts helps make things more personal, and however corny it may be, does help it to feel like home.

“Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas.” Who doesn’t love hearing this on the monorail.

“And now I believe your future is just about ready. Let’s take a look. Shall we?” Spaceship Earth is a great ride with a wonderful ending.  We usually do silly faces for the snapshots.

peter pan“And off we go!” Who doesn’t love Peter Pan and flying above London and Neverland.

“See you real soon!” Mickey Mouse saying this at Magic Kingdom park closing (and now in the meet and greet in Town Square) is somewhat sad, because the day, and possibly the vacation, is over. I love the optimism, though,

Do you have any sayings from WDW of which you are particularly fond?

Attractions/Rides with Short Wait Times – Part 2

Perdita here.

Epcot is divided into two portions: Future World and World Showcase.

At Epcot there are many rides with short wait times. In Future World, Spaceship Earth (the big ball) that greets you when you first walk in is many times quick to get on, even if the line looks long. The line moves very quickly as this ride like many at Disney World is on a continuous loop system. It is a chronicle through time and history with an eye toward the future. This attraction is a must-see.

ellen's universe of energyEllen’s Energy Adventure has such a large seating capacity that the longest waits are 20 minutes. The good thing about the wait is, it is inside, out of the rain, heat, or cold. This attraction lasts 40 minutes and is well worth your time. It tells about how important energy is in our lives in a fun, interactive way with Ellen Degeneres and Bill Nye as the narrators.

Innoventions-west-00Innoventions is a walk through attraction separated into two buildings: East and West. Unfortunately, Innoventions West is closing and one attraction in the East building is closing. I have always enjoyed most of the attractions in the Innoventions buildings, but I know many think they needed updating. The future of the Innoventions West and East is still unknown. In the East building there are still a few attractions operating such as Stormstruck (a great interactive weather-themed attraction), Sum Of All Thrills (design your own coaster, but long wait for short ride), and Habit Heroes (forgettable).

the-landIn the Land building at Epcot there are two attractions that almost always have short wait times: Living with the Land, and The Circle of Life film. Living with the Land is a relaxing 13-minute boat ride that is informative. It chronicles the struggles with farming in the past and the future of farming with Hydroponics, Aeroponics, and Aquaculture. You see fruits, vegetables, and fish grown in unique ways. The Circle of Life is an ecological film hosted by the Lion King’s Pumbaa, Timon, and Simba.

the-seas-with-nemo[1]In the Seas with Nemo there is one of the largest saltwater aquariums in the world that houses sharks, dolphins, fish and sea turtles (over 200 species of sea life). In another tank there are two manatees. These are walk-through exhibits and well worth your time. The ride in this building takes you through the Finding Nemo movie (or part of it) and the wait for this is almost always 5-10 minutes.

Figment-Dragoneric idleIn the Imagination Pavillion the ride with Figment moves quickly and explores your five senses with Eric Idle of Monty Python fame. After the ride there are interactive exhibits that you can walk through and explore at your leisure .

America-PavilionIn the World Showcase (the part with the countries), there are films to watch in the France, American, China, and Canada Pavilions. The American, Canadian, and China films are on screens all around you (a full 360 degrees) and feel very much like you are in the locations. The France film is less impressive and the Norway film is temporarily suspended while they are working on the new Frozen ride.

mexico pavilionThe Gran Fiesta Tour in the Mexico Pavillion is a fun ride featuring The Three Caballeros with normally a short wait. It is a boat ride that features some scenery from Mexico and The Three Caballeros.

The Disney Visa Credit Card

The Disney Visa credit card is an option available to save money on and for a Disney vacation. It offers 1% return on everything charged to the card in Disney Dream Reward Dollars which can be spent for anything at the parks, resorts, Disney Cruise Line, and even the Disney Store. It also offers 10 – 15% deductions on some things at the parks, resorts, or ship. I will list these later.

So, is it a good option? The resounding answer is….maybe, sometimes. Allow me to try to explain. For a rewards credit card, 1% return is not very generous. If your current card offers no rewards, then obviously, this is better. “A penny saved is a penny earned.” That is exactly what you get with the Disney Visa. On the plus side, it is a 1% return on ALL, not just select, purchases. For example, the Target Visa offers 5% off purchases from Target. We get most of our groceries and household items from Target; so, the Target Visa is a much better deal to use there. It gives no rewards on gas, dining out, park tickets, or reservations. So, it is not good to use at those times.

We usually keep two cards. I do not like to have more than two cards, because it can become very confusing quickly. No matter how generous the “rewards,” the APR financing for credit cards are horrible. So, no credit card is a good idea if you do not pay if off on time, every time. Having too many cards and forgetting a payment negates any benefit. For quite some time, we kept the Disney Visa as our secondary card to use on anything not from Target. It worked well. Perdita has since changed to an another one which fits our current situation better.

Another instance in which it may be a good option is if you have a hard time setting money aside specifically for Disney, and you want spending money for a Disney vacation. Disney is the only place that the Reward Dollars can be spent.

Now, let’s look at how much you will have to charge to “pay” for things at the parks. Let’s say that you use your card for gasoline only, like the “average” American, you drive 13,500 miles per year, your car averages 25 miles per gallon and gas costs $2.50 per gallon. That comes out to 540 gallons, $1,350 spent, and $13.50 Disney Dream Reward Dollars. This will buy you a quick service meal with dessert or a refillable mug. Most of us will use it for much more than just gas, like dining out, park tickets, and reservations.
So..
$1,000 charged = 10 Disney Reward Dollars (DRD) = a quick service meal
$3,000 charged = 30 DRD = a table service meal
$10,000 charged = $100 DRD = 1 day admission to Magic Kingdom.

Every little bit does help, though.

Another potential money saving role of the Disney Visa is for purchases only for the Disney Vacation. You can sometimes (rarely) get discounts on tickets and reservations. You just have to watch closely. They due offer 0% APR for 6 months off of large Disney purchases like vacation packages, cruises, and DVC purchases. It also offers discounts at many, but not all, shops in the parks and resorts. Saving 10% on souvenir purchases and the “free” character photo may be worth it. If you are an annual pass holder or a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) member, then you already have similar, but better perks; so, it really does not make sense for you.

Again, is the Disney Visa a good money saving option? I will stick with my prior answer, “sometimes, maybe.” You will have to decide for yourself. I will list the benefits below to help.

REWARDS:
1% in Disney Dream Reward Dollars on all card purchases.
PERKS:
0% APR for 6 months on select Disney vacation packages, cruises, Adventures by Disney trips, and Aulani resort.
0% APR for 6 months on purchase of DVC membership, including member add on. This does not include purchases on the resale market.
$50 onboard credit aboard a Disney Cruise Line vessel when purchased in full with the Disney Visa.
Free 5 x 7 character photo from 1 – 7 p.m. daily at Innoventions West in Epcot at WDW and from 10:30 – 1:30 daily at Blue Sky Cellars in Disney’s California Adventure in California.
10% off select purchases of $50 or more at most, but not all shops, at WDW, Disneyland, and DVC resorts including Aulani, Vero Beach, and HHI. In general, the large stores selling Disney merchandise, like Mousegears in Epcot, will give the discount.
10% off dining at select WDW restaurants: Boma, Jiko (sometimes), and Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge; ESPN Sports Club and Flying Fish (sometimes) at the Boardwalk Resort; Shutters at Caribbean Beach Resort; The Wave at the Contemporary Resort; Trails End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness; Citricos (sometimes) and Grand Floridian Cafe at the Grand Floridian; Olivia’s Cafe at Old Key West; Boatwrights at Port Orleans; The Turf Club at Saratoga Springs; Artist Point (sometimes) at Wilderness Lodge; Captain’s Grill at the Yacht Club; Hollywood Brown Derby (sometimes) and Hollywood & Vine (sometimes) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Biergarten (sometimes) at Epcot; Big Thunder Ranch, French Market, and River Belle Terrace at Disneyland California; Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, Wine Country Trattoria (lunch), and Paradise Garden Grill at Disney’s California Adventure; The Lounge at Steakhouse 55 (breakfast), Steakhouse 55 (lunch), Disney’s PCH Grill (breakfast and dinner) and Storytellers Cafe (lunch) at the Disneyland resorts;
15% off select tours and experiences: (Magic Kingdom) Disney’s Family Magic Tour, Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour, Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour; (Epcot) Gardens of the World, The UnDISCOVERed Future World, Disney’s Dolphins in Depth, Epcot DiveQuest, Epcot Seas Aqua Tour, Behind the Seeds; (multiple WDW parks) Backstage Magic, Disney’s Holiday D-Light Tour at Christmas, Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy at Christmas; (Fort Wilderness) Wilderness Back Trail Adventure and Horseback rides; (Port Orleans and Fort Wilderness) carriage rides; (WDW Deluxe Resorts) spa treatments of $45 or more; (Disneyland) Welcome to Disneyland, Discover the Magic, Cultivating the Magic.
10% off certain California Downtown Disney establishments: Jazz Kitchen, Wentzel’s Pretzels, RIDEMAKERZ, Alamo Rent A Car, ESPN Zone.
15% off purchases from littlemissmatched in California Downtown Disney.

I hope this is useful.

Pongo

Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon

This post is not Disney related. I am an avid runner who ran the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon in Louisville, Kentucky today. This is a review for any runners out there, and also anyone interested in hearing about our fair city.

The Kentucky Derby Festival is a set of events leading up to the big race; including the marathon, concerts, balloon glow race, steamboat race, Thunder Over Louisville (which brought 650,000 people downtown) and other events. The mini-marathon and marathon are ran together with about 13,000 and 3,000 participants roughly and is usually held one week prior to the derby. The coarse highlights many famous and historic sites in the city. It is a nice tour for both the local person or for tourist.

Weather is fairly unpredictable this time of year. Last Saturday it was sunny with a low in the mid 60s quickly rising to the 80s. Yesterday started out just above freezing. This morning was 52 with rain and remained the same throughout.

The race begins in downtown on Main Street. Your are assigned into 1 of the 6 corrals based on your estimated time. All 16,000 start together. It is very crowded until mile 9 when the mini and full break apart. Unfortunately, many people ignore their corral assignment and there is much weaving and slowing down. It makes it hard to get into a rhythm. After the break it is not a problem.

For the first mile, you pass along Main St.  past some of Louisville’s most iconic buildings including the KFC Yum! Center, Kentucky Center for the Arts, Actors Theater, and the Louisville Slugger

Museum.  The next 3 miles pass through one of the most economically depressed neighborhoods of the city.  There are several vacant lots, abandoned factories and boarded up homes.  From here, you pass into Old Louisville, the largest Victorian neighborhood in the US and view the beauty and architecture of Spalding University, St. James Court, Belgravia Court, and Central Park.  Central Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted around 1900.  He is the father of American landscape architecture and the designer of New York City’s Central Park.

From Old Louisville, you continue along 3rd Street through the University of Louisville and on to Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby. You run through the front gates of the track, under the track, and onto the infield, completing a lap just inside the track. This is a highlight for most people. You pass the iconic twin spires and smell the track while old races are broadcast over the sound system.

After exiting Churchill Downs, the minimarathon turns back north to the downtown finish and the marathon heads south along the Southern Parkway and into Iroquois Park. Both the Southern Parkway and Iroquois Park are Olmsted designs. The Southern Parkway is a broad, tree lined boulevard with well kept homes from the early 1900s. At mile 11, heading into the park, is the first and toughest real hill. Iroquois Park is an urban forest. The 4 miles are hilly and completely tree covered with birds chirping being really the only sound you hear.

You pass out of the park and back onto the parkway, merging onto 4th Street and back onto the U of L campus. More U of L landmarks are passed this time through campus including Jim Roberts Stadium (home of the top 10 ranked Cardinal baseball team), Ekstrom library,Speed Art Museum, and the controversial Confederate War Memorial. You continue on a straight line back through Victorian Old Louisville until about mile 20 when you turn east toward the Highlands.

The Highlands is one the more colorful neighborhoods in Louisville. It is often described as a little piece of Seattle in the midwest. It is full of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and novelty shops.. The 3 miles through here are hilly, too. Of personal interest is passing Jack Fry’s Restaurant, which is in my opinion the best in Louisville. It is also where I took my wife on our first date; almost 21 years ago.

The final 3 miles to the finish are graciously mainly downhill. There is not much to see until you pass back into downtown and retrace your first mile to the finish.

Pros: Well organized. A scenic urban route with multiple points of interest. Nice tech tee, running cap and finishers medal. When the weather is nice, there are live bands, food booths and carnival rides at the finish.

Cons: Not a particularly fast coarse, although my personal best was here. Crowded first 9 miles. Food at finish is underwhelming (bagles, banana, sun chips, peanut butter crackers).

Overall: I recommend this race to anyone looking for a 1/2 or full marathon in the upper south/midwest. I think you will enjoy the race, the city, and the derby festivities.

YUm Front

Louisville Slugger Museam
Louisville Slugger Museum
ky-speed-art-museum-3956
Speed Art Museum
Central Park
Central Park

Louisville-Private-StreetView of the winner's circle, pink Twin Spires, grandstand

Iroquois Park
Iroquois Park
University of Louisville
University of Louisville

jack fry's

The Highlands
The Highlands
Whiskey Row
Whiskey Row

April 24, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  The final Exhibition Everest Challenge will be ran at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 2.  I am sad that I never had a chance to do this.

*  Registration for the Walt Disney World Marathon on January 10, 2016 opens on April 28 and will quickly fill.

*  “Live with Kelly & Michael” will host 5 shows at  Main Street, USA and Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland from May 18 through May 22 as part of the Diamond Celebration.

*  Disneyland will offer several special dining experiences for Mother’s Day on May 10.  Reservations can be made at either Disneyland.com/dine or 714-781-DINE.

*  The “Tomorrowland” movie preview has replaced Captain Eo at Epcot.

*  Pandora Jewelry is now selling custom Disney themed jewelry at Uptown Jewelry in Magic Kingdom at WDW and at La Mascarade d’Orleans in Disneyland.

*  Disney’s “Tomorrowland” will premiere at the Anaheim Downtown Disney on May 9.  It is an invitation only event.

*  From May 22 through July 5 Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon will host “Teen Beach 2” beach parties daily.

*  Dockside Margaritas opened this week in Disney Springs/Downtown Disney at WDW.

*  Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort’s Kiki Tikis Splash Water Play Area has now opened.

*  The discounts for DVC (Disney Vacation Club) members to “La Nouba by Cirque de Soleil”at Downtown Disney in Florida has been extended through June 27.

*  Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream will offer new experiences this fall.  There will be a new Star Wars themed youth area and another Disney Infinite themed youth area.  There will now also be a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on board.

*  Disney Cruise Line now offers a free app, “The Disney Cruise Navigator App,” at the Apple App Store and Google Play that will allow passengers to engage in Onboard chat and have the Personal Navigator at their disposal.  The App is available aboard all of the DCL ships.

*  “Daredevil” has been renewed for a second season on Netflix.

*  Marvel’s “The Avengers:  Age of Ultron” opens next Friday, May 1!

“Song of the South” Future

Pongo here. We recently watched Disney’s “Song of the South” and our son, Roly, gave his review of the film earlier this week. I felt that a follow up was in order.

The setting of the movie is the post Civil War, reconstruction period in the US deep South. The story is of a young boy being helped through the separation of his parents by a nice, grandfatherly man. In my opinion the setting is not really important. The plot is strong on it’s own. With Disney now in the throws of redoing seemingly every movie from the past, I think that “Song of the South” would be a perfect movie for a re-make. I would change the setting, though, taking out the elements of contention.

SplashMountain1

In my re-imagining of “Song of the South,” I would set it in modern Texas. This would at least help “Brer Roadrunner” from Splash Mountain make sense as roadrunners are not native to Georgia. I would cast Cheech Marin as Uncle Remus and possibly Felicia Rashad as the grandmother. A cultural potpourri would hopefully make the story agreeable to everyone. Again, the race of the characters is not what makes the film work, it is the story and the characters. I would touch up the animation of the Brer Rabbit scenes but keep the voices, the songs, and the animation the same.  Again, this would keep Splash Mountain from needing changed. Give royalties to the families of the voice actors of the animated characters, who if I am not mistaken, also did the voices of the crows in “Dumbo.”

Cheech+Marin+Premiere+Walt+Disney+Pictures+HCX7SxeLEz7l

Anyway, I recommend that if you get a chance, watch the movie. It is entertaining, and I hope that Disney will take my advice and do a worthy remake that opens this story to the modern public.

What to Pack for a Disney Trip

Each time a trip to Disney approaches I get anxious about packing. I don’t want to forget anything and have to pay quadruple at Disney or forget something that can’t be found there (such as medicines). We have been enough and go frequently enough that I actually leave some things packed so as not to have to unpack and re-pack everything. I wanted to give a few tips that may help people in packing to make this part of the trip a little less stressful.

I first set the suitcase out a few days before departure and start putting things in as I think of them. The things I leave packed are: airline-sized toiletries (shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, hairspray, hair gel, dry shampoo, first-aid kit, mouthwash, facial cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen). I also leave feminine products, Advil, fanny pack, sun visor, tote bag to use at park, magic bands and my Disney raincoat packed in the suitcase (I don’t use these things at home so it isn’t inconvenient.) ( The one thing I have forgotten several times is sunglasses; which I have had to re-purchase.) I also leave my bathing suit and flip-flops in the suitcase or around the suitcase.

A couple of days before the trip I start to set out medicines (both prescription and a few non-prescription), snacks (much cheaper than buying them at Disney World), clothing (more on this later), reading material, charger for iPhone and iPad, iPad cover, camera with case, vitamins, etc.

The clothing is dependent on when the trip is planned but we tend to visit in cooler weather so I always pack a range of weights of clothing. Orlando also happens to be very unpredictable with the weather forecast with respect to rain, cold fronts, winds, etc. so I pack with this in mind. I always pack a light jacket, sweater, and usually a sweatshirt. I pack warm-weather clothing and sandals even in December because you never know when a warm day will occur.

I try to remember to get money out of the bank so as not to go on the trip broke, but I have made the mistake of forgetting and Disney’s magic band and a credit card makes the cash not absolutely necessary.

Last minute things I pack the morning of the trip are make-up, curling iron, comb, and my night clothes. I have tried making a list and checking it twice but I have this down to a science and haven’t needed it for some time. I hope this method I have acquired helps some people.

Song of the South movie review

For all of you who are as big a Disney fan as me, you know Song of the South is banned. I had the luck of finding it on YouTube, and put it on Apple TV. This movie was banned for racism, as it is set on a plantation in the post-Civil War period of America. (This movie is the basis for the Splash Mountain attraction.) First of sotsall, if you are expecting a cartoon about Brer Rabbit and all the other Brer critters (which are seen in Splash Mountain), you’ll be disappointed. Know before watching this movie that it is in fact, about a young boy visiting his rich Grandmothers plantation. On the way, his dad (who grew up there) tells him about Uncle Remus and his tales of Brer Rabbit. Once they arrive, the father immediately leaves for Atlanta (it is implied the mother and father are having marital problems.) Later that night the boy runs away and meets Uncle Remus. That night Uncle Remus then tells him the first tale of Brer Rabbit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bWyhj7siEY#t=99 He goes on to tell him two more tales throughout the movie, and they all help the boy out in some way or another. The mother eventually gets mad at Uncle Remus and tells him to stop telling the boy stories. (There is no coherent explanation for this, but Uncle Remus says he won’t tell any more stories.) Later, he tells one last story, which yet again helps the boy out, and also stops a little girl from crying. The mom goes gets very upset and tells Uncle Remus to leave the boy alone. Uncle Remus leaves the plantation and it seems the movie will end on a sad note. (I won’t give the ending away completely in case you decide to watch it.) The movie ends up with a great ending and Uncle Remus ends up being the hero. It’s a good story; it’s a shame that the setting makes it offensive to some people. Roly

sots2

Pizza at Walt Disney World

We love pizza. Perdita could, and at times has seemed to try to eat it almost every day. Unlike many other foods, even bad pizza is usually pretty good. WDW has several places to order pizza. There are traditional pizzas and flat-bread pizzas. I will address flat bread pizzas at a later time. This post is about “the real thing.” I am also not including Downtown Disney/ Disney Springs, because unlike at Disneyland, in WDW it just seems separate.

Here is my guide to pizza at WDW theme parks.

Magic Kingdom – Tony’s Town Square Restaurant offers flat bread pizza. There is surprisingly, no “real pizza” in Magic Kingdom.

pizzafari_seat3big

Animal Kingdom – Pizzafari on Discovery Island offers Cheese, Veggie, Pepperoni, and Meat Lovers Pizza, each served with Caesar salad. The prices range from $9.19 to 10.69. The portions are generous. So, it not a bad price for WDW. The pizza is mall food court/ stadium quality. It will take care of your pizza fix, but will quickly be forgotten. The atmosphere in Pizzafari is fun, though, with bright, playful murals of animals decorating the walls. It is a cool and comfortable place to rest out of the sun.

toy-story-pizza-planet

Hollywood Studios – Toy Story Pizza Planet offers the same selection as Pizzafari, served with a Caesar salad. It is the same food and same quality, just a different setting. The theming is of coarse from “Toy Story.” The restaurant can be loud and to me, the theming is forgettable. There is outdoor seating, though.

Via Napoli at EPCOT Photo by Preston C. Mack

Epcot – Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria in the Italy Pavilion is the only table service restaurant on the list. It offers many varieties of pizza including several authentic Italian pies. The selection includes Napoletana, Margherita, Capricciosa, Pepperoni, Piccante, Funghi, Carciofi, Quattra Formaggi, Prosciutto e Melon, and Broccolini. Every one that I have tried has been wonderful. As you see, there are plenty of selections to fit almost any taste. Large pizzas are $31 and can feed 2 or 3 people. That is not a bad price at all for a table service restaurant at WDW. Of coarse, gratuity will add several dollars to the cost. You can order take out, too, though and find a spot outside to eat. I do recommend that you eat in the restaurant at least once. The cast members are all Italian which adds to the experience. The restaurant is absolutely beautiful with vaulted ceilings, arches, and murals.

pizza-window-00

Boardwalk Pizza Window – Even though this option is not in one of the parks, I feel that it should be included due to quality, price and easy access. It is located at the Boardwalk Resort. It is a 1/3 mile walk from the International Gateway at Epcot and about 1 mile from the entrance to Hollywood Studios. It can also be reached from either park by riding a Friendship (refer to article about the Friendships from March 25, 2015). New York style cheese, pepperoni, and signature (garlic, mushrooms, and spinach) pizzas are available by the slice ($4.19 – 4.69) or by the pie ($18.99 – 20.49 for a pie large enough to feed 3 or 4). The slices and the pizzas are quite large. The flavor is as good as the price with a mildly spicy sauce and loads of cheese. This is the best value available. there is outdoor seating along the boardwalk at a table, bench or ledge where you can enjoy the view and activities.

Happy eating!
Pongo