October 28, 2015

Restaurant Review: California Grill

I have dined at California Grill twice. Once in May 2007, and most recently in February. Ethan had never been there, so I wanted to splurge on a dinner and have a great time. California Grill is located at the top of the Contemporary resort just beside Magic Kingdom. In my opinion, it is worth it just for the view. I figured I would do some restaurant reviews from my most recent trip, to hopefully help those of you looking for where to eat on your Disney vacation.

One of my favourite pictures from the night :)

One of my favourite pictures from the night 🙂

During this trip Ethan and I booked the Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom, so we were there earlier the day of our reservation. We were planning on staying all day so we brought a change of clothes with us for dinner and rented a locker outside of Magic Kingdom. We also put the tripod in there so we could get some great pictures of Wishes! I was really happy we rented the locker because it made it much easier throughout the day. When it was almost time for our reservation, we changed in the Magic Kingdom washrooms and walked over to the Contemporary. It is about a 7 minute walk, but it was definitely nice to escape the busy Magic Kingdom, and it was the closest thing to a break we had that day!

We found our way to the check in desk for California Grill, and were asked if we were celebrating anything. I of course said Ethan’s birthday because it was two days earlier. After just a few minutes of waiting we went into the elevator that took us up to the restaurant. The Cast Member is the elevator mentioned that if you bring your receipt back to the desk, you can go onto the observation decks to watch Wishes at night. Our reservation was fairly early, so we weren’t sure if we were going to take advantage of this. I have seen Wishes from the decks before, and it is nice to have a different view. We were escorted to our seat which was sprinkled with Mickey Confetti! The view was amazing. I am obsessed with the Grand Floridian (I think because that is where the Tanners stay in Full House) and I had a great view.

California Grill

Our server was great, and the food was amazing. They have an in-house sushi chef, so I knew what I was getting. Ethan wasn’t as sure, and ended up ordering a seafood dish, with lobster, scallops, shrimp, rice and sweet potatoes. I had he California Combination Roll. We got bread to the table (always great, I went to chef school and has a sweet spot for good bread). My sushi was delicious, and I ate every last roll. Ethan thought his was good, but not necessarily worth the price. California Grill is expensive (it counts as 2 table service meals with the dining plan) but the view alone is worth it. Once we finished our meals, a complimentary dessert was brought to the table! Remember when I was asked if we were celebrating anything? Look at what we got!

It was free!

It was free!

The dessert was really good, and sadly our meal was over. The servers are great and tell you that you can go out to the observation decks, one at each end of the restaurant. Ethan and I got our cameras out and headed outside. It was so peaceful up there, and so cool to see so much of Disney World. You could easily see Spaceship Earth and Tower of Terror, and even closer you can see all of the mountains of the Magic Kingdom! Seriously, go there to see the view. Even if just for appetizers or drinks! You will not regret it!

Ethan and I took our pictures and headed back to Magic Kingdom, We decided to stay in the park for fireworks, and even ended up staying to see The Kiss Goodnight. Hopefully we will be able to Wishes from California Grill sometime soon.

A Look Over Magic Kingdom

The restaurant has recently received a makeover, and I thought the decor was beautiful. I can’t remember much about my first time there, but I definitely liked the new look. I remember being seated near the Pastry Chef when I went with my family, and it soon became my dream to work there. It only took a restaurant-like exam to change my mind!

I had so much fun going to such a nice dinner with my guy, I hope you liked some of the pictures we took!

As you can see, California Grill is a special restaurant for me, and I love having the chance to eat there! Have you ever dined at California Grill? If not, what is your favourite Disney restaurant? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Kelsey
October 21, 2015

So You’re Thinking About Going To Walt Disney World…

First of all, I’m jealous. Planning a Walt Disney World vacation is so much fun! I just went in February and I already wish I was planning another vacation, it might as well have been a year ago. Not that I didn’t have fun, it just already feels like it was a long time. (The goal for my next trip is November 2016, I just have to convince my family Dad).

There are a lot of decisions to make when booking a vacation to Walt Disney World, and the first piece advice I can give is use the Walt Disney World website. It has the most detailed information and is very helpful when booking a trip!

This post will serve as sort of a dashboard for lots of information you would need when planning a Disney Vacation. All of the things that you need to consider when thinking about visiting Walt Disney World, and links to other posts here on the blog that expand on those topics. I will continue to update this post as other topics are posted so everything is easy to find! Let’s get started!

Length of your stay

There are so many things to see and do at Walt Disney World! That’s why I would suggest dedicating an entire vacation to it, especially if it is your first time! A 5 night, 6 day trip is usually enough time to see most of what Walt Disney World has to offer, but I’ve been seven times and still experience new things each trip! A week is generally enough time, and a lot of deals are geared towards staying this long. It sounds like a long time to be there at first, but once you go you will be glad you were there for a week!

Anyone recognize this carriage?

Anyone recognize this carriage?

Where To Stay

Disney owns a bunch of restarts on property, and I have done a post all about it! You can read that here. I break down everything you need to know about where to stay, and give my opinion on whether or not it’s worth it to stay on site. It is a different decision for everyone, but the post shows where I stand!

Dining Plan

If you are staying at a Disney Resort hotel, you can take advantage of the Disney Dining Plan! This post goes through the different “levels” of the dining plan and talks a little bit about if it is worth it or not. During my last trip I did not purchase the Dining Plan, but I have on previous trips so I could compare.

Who would believe this is in Orlando?!

Who would believe this is in Orlando?!

Dining Reservations

Walt Disney World has amazing food! As I explain in my Disney Dining Post, there are two types of food service in WDW. Quick service, where you order at a counter (like McDonald’s) and Table Service meals, where you are served at a table (like Boston Pizza). If you are looking for a sit down meal, you should make a reservation. You can make dining reservations up to 180 days before the first day of your trip if you are staying at a Disney Resort Hotel. If you are staying off site, you can make a reservation 180 days in advance of the day you are booking for. Obviously Disney gives you a slight “advantage” if you are staying on site, but it is something you should plan for because you need to eat while you are there! Disney restaurants can be found on the Walt Disney World Website and can be made from there as well, or by calling 407-WDW-DINE. Trust me, the food in Walt Disney World is different than anything you have had at a theme park!

Disney’s Magical Express

Look for a post all about Disney’s Magical Express coming soon! This service is free, and available to guests staying at Disney Resort Hotels. You receive luggage tags before your trip, and when you arrive at Orlando International Airport you don’t need to pick up your bags! You just head to the bus that takes you straight to your resort an get your vacation started!

Eric's Castle

Park Tickets

There are a few different types of tickets that are available when visiting Walt Disney World. In a future post I will break down all of the different types and which I think are worth the extra money. You have your basic ticket, a special ticket if you want to visit the water parks, and if you want to visit more than one park in a day. You don’t want to be spending money on something that you aren’t utilizing, so it’s important to know the difference!

Which park to visit on which day?

This point applies more to guests staying at Disney Resort Hotels because of Extra Magic Hours, but it is still something to think about when planning your vacation! If you are staying off site but eating at a Walt Disney World restaurant, you are going to want to go to a park on the day with the longest hours, to get the most out of it! Park Hours are available months in advance on the Walt Disney World website, so it is definitely something to check out!

My Disney Experience

My Disney Experience is the dashboard of your vacation. I wrote a post with everything you need to know! Even if you are not staying on site, it’s something you will want to check out! You can read that post here.

The FountainWhat sort of things do you think about when booking a trip to Walt Disney World? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading!

Kelsey
October 14, 2015

Check In: A Little About Me

I thought it would be nice to change it up a little, and tell you about myself. It’s hard to read a blog and not know anything about the person who is doing all the writing. I figured I could do this every once in a while, and share any life updates with all of you. I want this blog to be about my life as well, not just about Disney (although that it a big part of my life). So here’s a little bit about me.

The Lookout

If you don’t already know, I’m Kelsey. I’m in my early twenties and I still live at home, because my family situation is a little different. As I’ve mentioned in some previous posts my sister Alexandra has a disability. She has Cerebral Palsy, and is in a wheelchair. Part of the reason I still live at home is to help my parents with my sister. We also have a dog Mandy (named after Mandy Moore, she’s 12).  You may also know (or seen pictures) of my boyfriend Ethan. He lives with us too! We are in the process of doing some renovations at my house, building a room and bathroom in our basement, eventually for Alex but for now for Ethan and I. So, because our room is being drywalled right now we are living in my old room. Long story short, everything from my old room is currently in the dining room, making it difficult to schedule posts when some things I need are in the mess of the dining room! So I’ve moved some posts around a little and am excited for what it coming up! So there’s a little bit of background on my home life. I’m also working full time and do cakes in my spare time (you can see an example of one of my cakes on my About Me page).

This is from my graduation from Small Business Entrepreneurship

This is from my graduation from Small Business Entrepreneurship

My puppy!

My puppy!

Now having this blog, working and baking does take up a lot of my time, but I still am happy to relax a bit every night.  I’ve recently gotten into watching YouTube, it started before my last trip to Walt Disney World. I would watch people Vlogging from Walt Disney World and started watching their other vlogs. I watch four channels regularly. Gillianathome because she loves Disney, and is from Toronto (yay Canadians!), Kyleandcourt because there family is awesome, and they love Disney, Beingmommywithstyle because she loves Disney, and her youngest daughter Natalie is hilarious, and Seeyareelsoon because Joe and Ashley are entertaining and most of their vlogs happen while they are in Disney. The names of the YouTube channels I watch are listed just as that, in case you want to check them out! 🙂 YouTube really is a community, like blogging, so it’s always fun to see what’s new. I also love to read and watch a few tv shows regularly. Right now I watch Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris because of NPH, Survivor (yes I still watch it, and LOVE it), Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, and The Walking Dead. Watching YouTube for me is like watching aTV show so I feel like I have more on the go than I do. Ethan and I are trying to get into the habit of being more active, and taking pictures more often! Some of the above pictures were taken on a recent trip to Huntsville for a wedding, in which we hiked to the Lookout.

I couldn't help but put a Disney picture in here!

I couldn’t help but put a Disney picture in here!

Also, in case anyone would like to be pen pals, I have a PO box for the blog!

A Disney Obsession

PO Box 18203

Steeple Hill Postal Outlet PO

Pickering, Ontario, Canada

L1V 0B8

I hope this post has given you a little insight into my life, and let me know if you like posts like this! I’m also always thinking of blog post ideas so if there is something you would like to see on the blog let me know in the comments!

As always, thank you for reading!

Kelsey