Category Archives: WDW Parks

Pongo’s WDW Parks Quick Service Picks

I love food, but I am frugal (cheap ?). We rarely eat at table service restaurants due to cost, required planning, and time commitment. We have eaten at most of the WDW quick service restaurants. There are certain dishes to which I keep returning. Flavor is the most important thing to me, followed by nutrition.

Here are my my favorite quick service dishes at each Walt Disney World park.

Magic Kingdom: Columbia Harbor House in Liberty Square offers Grilled Salmon with couscous and steamed broccoli. This is not your typical quick service/fast food offering. I love salmon. The salmon is always good, although, it has been on the dry side a couple of times. It is still tasty and nutritious. The couscous and broccoli are both good on their own and pair up well with the salmon. It is a tasty, filling meal that is a step above most quick service options.

Epcot: There are so many choices at Epcot! It is hard to choose just one. My favorite comes from ordering a’ la carte at Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles at the France pavilion. Roly orders the Bisque de Homard (lobster bisque), and I order the Quiche Florentine. We share a Roule Lard et Fromage (bacon and cheese roll). We find a spot to sit and dig in. All are delicious and the combo is filling. The Roule Lard et Fromage is one of my two favorite quick service offering in all of WDW.

Hollywood Studios: DHS has the fewest decent quick service options, in my opinion, while it does have two of my favorite table service restaurants. I hear that Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner has good macaroni dishes, but I have not eaten there. My go-to dish is the Grilled Vegetable Sandwich at Backlot Express. It has basil asiago bread, mushrooms, red pepper, zucchini, tomatoes, watercress, cheese, and sundries tomato pesto. It all goes together well and is quite tasty and filling. Choosing a side of carrots instead of french fries makes this a fairly healthy choice, too.

Animal Kingdom: Slow-cooked Chicken Curry at Tamu Tamu in Africa is delicious, the other of my two favorites. The chicken is tender, perfectly seasoned with mild heat. It is served with jasmine rice and pita wedges which complement the chicken perfectly. i absolutely love it and cannot get enough.

Have you tried any of these? Do you have other favorites?


Our Favorite Spots in Magic Kingdom

Perdita:  My favorite spot in Magic Kingdom, and maybe all of Disney World is “The Enchanted Forest ” in New Fantasyland beside Gaston’s Tavern.  This is one area that is usually peaceful and beautiful in the daytime and even prettier at night with the lights on.  It is particularly “enchanting” at Christmas when the decorations are up.  As a frequent visitor, I regularly seek out a peaceful spot to sit and rest, and this is one of the few places I have found.  A favorite routine of ours is to get a Lefou’s Brew in Gaston’s and take it outside to sit and drink.  The trees in the enchanted forest are different than any I have seen and the fountain in front of Gaston’s adds a peaceful sound that further enhances the experience.

Roly:   My favorite area in the Magic Kingdom is, like my mother, Perdita, the area outside Gaston’s tavern, but for different reasons. The area has the best looking medieval style houses.  The tavern has a treat even better than the famous Dole Whip. The Lefou’s brew is what I am talking about, since it has the tasty apple slush, topped with froth. It is good to sit and drink, while listening to the riders of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train scream nearby. The fountain, with it’s funny plaque, is perfect for the spot, right in front of the tavern. The inside of the tavern is lined with animal heads, and hunting guns, and has two sitting rooms:  one with a huge circular table under a chandelier of antlers, a fireplace, and Gaston’s own chair, the other, smaller with a few chairs. There is a giftshop, mini-forest,  and great views of Eric’s and Beast’s castles, too. This makes for a nice, and surprisingly uncrowded place to sit.

Pongo:  My favorite location in the Magic Kingdom is the center of Tomorrowland near the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, especially at nighttime.  I love the lights, the metallic facade, and the peaceful “space-age” music.  It takes me back to childhood notions of space and the future:  Star Trek, The Jetsons, and Marvin Martian with his Illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator.  Nearby, Mickey’s voice repeats on a circuit from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, saying “It’s out of this world!”  I wholeheartedly agree.

What is your favorite spot?

Money Saving Tip: Southwest Rewards

Today, my money saving tip for travel to Disney World concerns a strategy for one aspect of a Disney vacation; travel to the parks.  We live too far to drive without an overnight stop-over; so, we started flying.  We live in a city that offers a direct flight to Orlando aboard Southwest Airlines.  Recently, I opened a Southwest Rewards credit card that offered 50,000 miles if you spend $2,000 in the first three months.  Miles can be redeemed for future flights, and, for us, 50,000 miles translates into about 4-5 round-trip tickets.  You can also shop through the Southwest shopping portal and earn points which translate into miles.

This strategy, with Southwest, may not work depending on where you live, but, all airlines offer credit card reward offers.  There are other cards that offer points as well.  This is one area where I have done a lot of research, and I use it for our family.  In upcoming “Money Saving Tip” posts, I will give the scoop on another way to amp up savings even more with Southwest Airlines, as well as a few of the best offers I have found.

*disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with Southwest Airlines


Removal of the Sorcerer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Perdita, ” I view the removal of the Sorcerer’s Hat as an unnecessary and sad mistake.  I have never visited Hollywood Studios when there was not the big, blue hat to greet me when I walked up Hollywood Boulevard.  I think it was a symbol that was representative of the Disney magic; a huge, larger-than-life reminder of one the Disney movies.  If they thought that it really had to moved for an open view of the Chinese theater, I wish they would have at least relocated it somewhere else in the park.”

Roly, “I see them taking the Sorcerer’s Hat down as a mistake, especially when replacing it with the “Earful Tower” as the logo.  I am interested, though, in seeing the Chinese Theater unobstructed for the first time.  To me, even though seeing it will be interesting, it does not make make up for the hat, which has been there since my first visit.”

Pongo, “Removing the Sorcerer’s Hat really does not bother me.  It is familiar and does not seem “out of place” to me; as I have never seen Hollywood Studios without it.  I do not think that it added much , though.  Cinderella Castle at the end of Main Street U.S.A. is iconic, as is the Epcot Ball.  The Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom has the wonderful, intricate carvings, and to me, fits as a centerpiece.  The parks look and feel like they were built around each of these.  Not so much with the hat, it feels like it was placed there as an afterthought (which I guess it was).  I will reserve final judgement for when I see it in person.”