Saturday, December 30, 2017

Trails End @ Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort

A few days ago I finally got to try out a Chef TJ meal at Fort Wilderness's Trails End. Chef TJ is one of the Chefs at Trails End. He prepares the meals for guests with allergies at Trails End and also at The Hoop Dee Doo Revue next door. Trails End is a buffet style restaurant that serves Southern style comfort food in a lodge like setting. Vegans and/or people with food allergies would have a difficult time eating right off the buffet here. I am a vegetarian, but follow several Disney vegan blogs and pages because my son has a dairy allergy. I first read about Chef TJ in the Veg Disney Facebook group. He has been a celebrity amongst the vegan community for many years with his elaborate and delicious food creations. I have been dying to try his food for years but alas, I have no vegan friends (or vegetarian friends for that matter). I would have brought my son, because he actually is a pretty adventurous eater for a 6 year old, but the meal can last around 2 hours and that is pushing it for a 6 year old who gets bored easily. A few months ago, we found out my husband has a gluten intolerance and can no longer eat gluten. Since eating from a buffet opens up cross contamination risks with gluten the chef will bring out the food that is served on the buffet straight from the kitchen. So my husband agreed to try it out with me and off we went for our reservation a few days after Christmas. 

When you get to Fort Wilderness you have to park up front and then either take an internal bus to Pioneer Hall where the restaurants are which is at the other side of the resort or walk the approximate mile. Since it was a nice night (and we knew we would be eating a ton!) we decided to walk. 

Once we got there they surprisingly took up 20 minutes before our reservation, which I was surprised since it was Christmas week. But then again we were just at a resort and not one of the parks. 

When I made the reservation I noted our food allergies and they did confirm this when we checked in. Our server said he would send Chef TJ over to our table. Sadly I forgot to take a picture with TJ, but I felt like I was meeting a celebrity! He was super nice and always likes to walk his guests around the buffet to show them the options. As a vegetarian there would have been several options, but I really wanted his full vegan creation. I told him I would prefer if he made mine from the kitchen and added that I am not a fan of mushrooms and he was happy to accommodate. 

The first meal he brought out was a salad for my husband. If I wanted I could have gotten a salad from the buffet while waiting, but I opted to save room for the 4-5 course meal coming my way! Chef TJ dropped his salad off and we were both surprised to see it was topped with cheetos?! My husband who is not a fan of cheetos was actually pleasantly surprised that it did add flavor to his salad.

Shortly after I received my first meal, Chef TJ's famous samosas. I still have no idea what was inside them, but they were so delicious! I would go back for these alone! I think it was some sort of BBQ sauce that was drizzled on top. The inside did have a little spice kick to them as well which I do enjoy.

My next meal/appetizer were vegan nachos. The "cheese" sauce was actually quite tasty and again I have no idea what other sauce was on them. I am bad at identifying food! I brought home more than half of these and my son ate them the next day. Even cold and soggy he sad they were super yummy.

Chef TJ then brought out my husbands main course:

Basically every meat on the buffet was piled on his plate on top of corn, mashed potatoes, baked beans and roasted potatoes! (I was bummed my picture came out blurry, but you get the point)

I was expecting my main course when he came out with a soup dish. Again I really wish I had asked what any of these dishes were, but he was so busy I didn't want to take up any more of his time! The soup was creamy and smooth. It may have had a hint of ginger to it? I'm not usually a soup person, but I would eat this again in a heart beat!

 I finally got to my forth and main dish. 

I love tofu and this was cooked just how I like it. Soft in the middle and crispy on the outside. There was a red pepper, tomato and some other green vegetable? on top of a mix of rice I believe and some other stuff that I had no idea what it was? Wow I am really terrible at this! Around the outside with the tofu were zucchini and yellow squash. I was so full, but still ate a pretty decent portion because it was that good!

Lastly came the dessert portion.

When he brought these to the table he drizzled Hershey's Syrup over top of the desserts. Mine was cotton candy, mini ice cream sandwiches, I believe tofutti ice cream, strawberries, bananas and at the bottom of the mug was a candied apple! Instead of the ice cream sandwiches my husbands had gluten free cookies in his.

Chef TJ definitely makes sure you get your moneys worth out of the buffet! We gladly walked back to the car and even got to look at the many lights and decorations that people go all out with around the resort. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Max's 6th Birthday Party: I Am One With The Force... Star Wars Party

Max had decided early on that he wanted a Star Wars theme for his 6th birthday party. Since we are all Star Wars fans in this family, I knew this would be a big one. So needless to say the party planning started much earlier this year... like 5 months earlier! 

I wanted to create a theme for each room that revolved around each movie. For A New Hope I wanted to turn our dining room into Mos Eisley Cantina, complete with the Cantina band music playing in the background.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Disney Fantasy 7 Day Eastern Caribbean Cruise: Day 5

Day 5: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Wednesday: Sept 14, 2016
Evening Attire: Cruise Casual
Restaurant: Animators Palate 
Stage Show: The Ventriloquism and Comedy of Lynn Trefzger

Today was another port day, but unlike the day before we didn't have any excursions planned. We decided to just make it a casual day. The ship was actually pulling into port during my run that morning, so I stopped to take a few pictures .

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Disney Fantasy 7 Day Eastern Caribbean Cruise: Day 4

Day 4: Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Tuesday: Sept 13, 2016
Evening Attire: Pirate/Cruise Casual
Restaurant: Royal Palace
Stage Show: The Magic & Illusion of Shawn Farquhar

This day was a super busy, but very fun day. Our first port stop was Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. The kids weren't too interested in getting off the ship so we decided to make this port day an adult only adventure. The great thing about Disney is they do allow you to leave your kids on the ship in the kids club at the ports if you choose. I was a little nervous about it, but it made me feel better that he would be with our friends three sons, the security they have in place, and the staff had been great with him the past few days. 

The port at Tortola

We chose the Tour to Virgin Gorda Port Adventure. When we got off the ship in Tortola we boarded an open air boat and cruised along the Sir Francis Drake Channel for about 30-40 minutes to Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Disney Fantasy 7 day Eastern Caribbean Cruise: Day 3

Day 3: At Sea

Monday: Sept 12, 2016
Evening Attire: Halloween/Cruise Casual
Restaurant: Enchanted Garden
Stage Show: Wishes

Our third day was another day at sea. We had a pretty laid back day. We started off the morning hanging out at the pool and grabbing a quick lunch by the pool at Flo's Cafe. Flo's Cafe has 3 quick service stations that include pizza, burgers, salads, chicken and sandwiches. My son pretty much lived on pizza and french fries during this trip!

In the afternoon we walked around the ship to take in some exploring and played the Midship Detective Agency game. This is a ship wide interactive mystery scavenger hunt game. You are given a detective badge that interacts with hanging pictures throughout the ship that will reveal clues to help you solve your mystery and send you to your next location on the ship. (Be prepared for A LOT of walking!)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Animal Kingdom Solo Morning Trip

Walt Disney World has several levels of annual passes. For the past several years we have been gold members which only has block outs during Christmas/New Years and spring break. We recently downgraded to silver which in addition to the above block outs also blocks out the summer. I decided to keep the gold for myself because the gold has the added benefit of included photopass photos. The silver pass seems to be a pretty popular choice (in my circle of friends at least!) Summers are hot and crowded at Disney, so if you have the option to go throughout the year you certainly wouldn't choose July! 

Now I have been to Walt Disney World over 80 times, but I have never been alone. Since I am the only one out of my family and friends with passes who is not blocked out right now I figured I would hit up the parks this summer by myself. I decided to go to Animal Kingdom for my first solo trip. I have been wanting to go back to Pandora to ride Flight of Passage and eat at Satu'li Canteen (the 2 things I did not get to do the first time we went).

After dropping my son off at summer camp I drove over which would leave me about 4 hours before having to get back to pick him up. I was lucky enough to snag a fast pass for Fight of Passage about a month ago and also picked up an Everest pass as well. I got to the park around 9am and hit up Everest. It felt a little strange walking around and just being there in general with nobody else, but it was kind nice to be able to just do what ever I wanted when I wanted. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Disney Fantasy 7 day Eastern Caribbean Cruise: Day 2

Day 2: At Sea
Sunday: Sept 11, 2016
Evening Attire: Formal
Restaurant: Animators Palate
Stage Show: Aladdin

Sunday morning I woke up early and hit the running track. These early mornings became some of my favorite times on the cruise. The running track is on deck 4 and is mostly outside on the deck as you run next to the ocean, at the front and back of the ship you duck inside for a bit. I was out running around 6 or 7 most mornings and there were only a few other walkers and runners out. It felt a little strange running on a moving ship, but I got used to it pretty quickly.

After my runs I would then wander the ship. There were very little people around so it was nice to feel like I had the ship to myself. Here are some pictures I took in the mornings.