Beaches and Cream Soda Shop

IMG_1266If you’re looking for one of the best burgers in town or just hungry for some yummy dessert…Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is the place you’ll want to go!  Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is located at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, along side of Stormalong Bay.  It’s a short walk from The Boardwalk or if you happen to be at Epcot in the World Showcase area, you an take a quick walk or boat ride from the exit between France & the United Kingdom.

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is adorned in a pastel color palette .  It reminds me of the colors you see if you buy a bag of saltwater taffy.  You’ll definitely want to grab a seat early on in the day if you can, as it is a very small place.  It has three booths adorned with beach balls, a handful of white wrought iron tables & then you have a counter running along two wall with plenty of seating there as well.  Of course, there is a juke box right when you walk in as well.  They also have a few tables outside on the sidewalk overlooking Stormalong Bay, if you prefer to sit outside.  The tables are adorable and look like ice cream cones.

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The day I went with my parents, we were lucky and didn’t have to wait more than 5 minutes to be seated at one of the tables inside.  We took awhile to look over the menu, but we were all hungry for a good burger, so that’s what we all ordered.  Honestly, it’s one of the best burgers I’ve had since moving to Florida.  If I wasn’t so hungry for a burger that day, they had the most amazing looking grilled cheese sandwich served along side a cup of tomato soup.  I’ll definitely be getting that next time!  They also have hotdogs, chili, & a few other sandwiches to choose from.

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When it was time for dessert, none of us were still that hungry, but it all looked so good as we see order after order of ice cream and shakes being delivered to other tables.  My dad loves a good Chocolate Malt, so that’s what he ordered.  Keep in mind, if you order one of the shakes/malts…they serve it up the old fashioned soda shop style way.  They fill up a big glass with the shake or malt and then give you the remainder of what is left in the tin cup it was made in, which is another big cups worth, so you may want to share!  As for my mom and I, we decided to split the strawberry shortcake with fresh strawberries, which was topped with a huge scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a big ‘ol dollop of whipped cream with colored sprinkles.  It was delicious!

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So don’t forget about this little hidden secret next time you are out visiting The Boardwalk or lolly gagging around Epcot and you’re hungry for some tasty treats!  All of the prices are really reasonable too!  Oh, and if you or your family are big fans of ice cream, you may want to order up one of there most known for deserts….The Kitchen Sink!  If you’re able to tackle that beast…congratulations!  It is eight giant scoops of ice cream smothered in about every topping imaginable!

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The Missing Paragraph

IMG_1372Happy Hump Day!  Luckily this week is going by pretty quickly, which is always fine by me…it just means we are that much closer to the weekend again!

As you know, I’ve had several blog posts published over this past week over at i.seekissimmee.com.  Unfortunately, they’ve taken it upon themselves to edit some of my posts, which doesn’t make me a happy camper because there edits make my article sound horrible…like something is missing.  It’s not as if they did an edit so it flowed well & didn’t sound like I left stuff out, as I like to be very detailed.  Well, if you read the “Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue” post, they decided to cut out the second paragraph, which is one of the most important parts of my post on the transportation getting to and from the location.  I know I was a bit nervous because I got several different answers when I was researching the options ourselves, so I wanted to make everyone else’s experience a little less worry-some by providing the information regarding the transportation from experiencing it first hand.  You can see the edited post here.   Below is the missing paragraph the way it was supposed to be published regarding the transportation to the show if you’d like it for your reference.

The Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue is held at the Pioneer Hall which is located at Ft. Wilderness Campgrounds.  After talking to several Disney staff at various different places & trying to get an idea of the best mode of transportation because I received different answers from all, we decided not to drive ourselves, but instead we took a bus from the Dolphin & Swan where we were staying directly to Magic Kingdom.  Once at Magic Kingdom, they had a ferry-boat that took us right to Ft. Wilderness.  Now since our dinner show was scheduled around 8:00pm, we wouldn’t be getting out until 10:00pm or so, in which the Magic Kingdom was closed, so we wouldn’t be able to go back the way we came.  No worries…after the show, they make sure to have about 4 or 5 buses & when you approach you just tell them which of the Disney hotels you are staying or if you’re going to Downtown Disney & they will direct you to the correct bus & get you back to where you need to go without a problem!  I honestly was a bit nervous not knowing how the buses worked, but take it from me…it’s worry free!

Well, I hope this additional bit of information was helpful to you if you are, in fact, planning to go to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue the next time you are on vacation at Disney or just in the Orlando area.  If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment below, as I’m always willing to assist if I can!

May 2013 Blogging Challenge

I know I’ve been super bad and posting lately, although in all fairness…I have technically been writing up posts for i.seeKissimmee.com behind the scenes, but they just haven’t been official posted yet.  They did launch the start of my week of posts this past Friday.  Today, the first official post with a review in it has been posted, so make sure you head over to the website and read up on my post about The Boardwalk.

With that being said, if you’re having trouble posting lately, you may want to take the blogging challenge during the month of May, which I’ve posted below.  Click the link below to join in the challenge!  This blog hop is being hosted by The Blog Designers Network, Creative Girl Media & Delightfully Inspired.

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Cupcake Hearts

How many times have you been out and about on a trip and gotten a taste for something sweet?  Or been on vacation during someones birthday & wanted to surprise them with a birthday treat, rather than embarrass them at a restaurant where all the waiters and waitresses sing you there corny rendition of “Happy Birthday” and give you a dessert for free.  Well, I’ve got the place for you and it’s located right in Kissimmee!  The shop is called Cupcake Hearts.  They are open at 10am everyday, except Sunday, in which they open at 11am.  Then they close at 7pm everyday, except Friday, in which there hours are extended until 9pm & Sundays they close at 4pm.

They are an adorable little shop that makes delicious, FRESH cupcakes daily!  When you walk in you’ll see all the different cupcakes, offered in some amazing flavors, on display on the counter on pretty little covered pedestals.  It makes it very hard to try to decide what to try, because I know I wanted to try them all, but I refrained.  I will definitely be going back to try some of the other flavors that I didn’t get a chance to try!  What’s great is they have there cupcakes in two sizes, regular and mini.  I opted for the mini’s, which were the perfect size if you just want a couple bites of something sweet instead of indulging in a whole cupcake.  I ended up getting a half dozen mini cupcakes to try, each in different flavors.  They were devine!

I even took pictures of each one I tried for you….all except one.  Sadly, it didn’t make it past me & my bestie!  We had a long day of walking around one of the parks and wanted a bite of something sweet, so we split the flavor called “Bananas”, which is a banana cupcake with chocolate chips, vanilla bean cream cheese frosting with a dot of chocolate fudge on top.  It was scrumptious!  It was one of my favorites out of the 6 flavors I tried.

The next flavor I opted to try was “Red Velvet”.  This one was simply a red velvet cupcake with the vanilla bean cream cheese frosting.  I must be the yummy frosting because my 3 favorite flavors all had this icing on top.  The red velvet cake was nice & moist & was so tasty!  I would definitely recommend this one!”

Apple Pie” was the next flavor I tried.  Another favorite!  This was a cinnamon apple cupcake, with once again, vanilla bean cream cheese icing & topped with a squiggle of caramel.  As Rachael Ray would say, “YUMMO”!  I love anything apple flavored, so I knew this one would be a winner.

Next, I decided to try the one called “Coco”, which is a coconut cupcake with coconut icing!  Talk about coconut explosion….Yum!  The cupcake menu on the website also says that this cupcake is topped with toasted coconut flake, which mine wasn’t….bummer!  It was still darn good though!  I think they should make an almond joy cupcake….coconut cupcake, chocolate frosting and top with an almond….now that would be awesome!

Alright….down to the final two flavors.  Don’t get too excited when I tell you this next flavor chocolate lovers….”Nutella”!  It was a vanilla cupcake, with a hazelnut spread icing, topped with hazelnut wafer crumbles.  This one was still tasty, but it didn’t totally win me over.  Not sure if I may have changed the consistency of the icing by putting them in the fridge after I got home for a little while because they were in the hot car for the 45 minute ride home.  I’d be willing to try this one again & try it without putting it in the fridge first.

They final flavor I tried of you all & by far won me over by presentation.  It was the flavor they dubbed, “Smores”.  It’s a chocolate fudge cupcake with a graham cracker bottom & torched marshmallow icing!  It just looked awesome!  I was a little disappointed because it didn’t have much marshmallow taste, but that could have been because I had the mini version.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my review of Cupcake Hearts and I hope you decide to give them a try.  Besides cupcakes, they also specialize in cakes for all occasions, desserts in a jar, and more.  Go check out all of there information on the website at www.cupcakehearts.net where you can also find there full menu of cupcake flavors.

They are located at:
3156 Bill Beck Blvd.
Kissimmee, FL  34744

Phone: 407-344-0404

They are located in the Wal-mart plaza off of Osceola Parkway, next to Denny’s.  I put the address in my GPS & it put me across the street, so if you see Wal-mart, just ignore your GPS and turn in there if your GPS tends to lead you astray from time to time, like mine.

Downtown Disney Fun

If you’re tired from all the park hopping & just want to take a day to relax and do a little Disney themed shopping, then Downtown Disney is screaming for you to come & visit.  The great thing about Downtown Disney is that it is a great place to go for that Disney feeling & it’s free if you’re just browsing!  Parking is free too or there are free shuttles from all of the Disney resorts as well.  It’s also a great place to go if you had seen something in one of the parks and forgot to buy it, more than likely you’ll be able to find it here.

They have tons of shops, the biggest character store on Earth called World of Disney.  You can spend hours in here looking around at all they have to offer.  Also inside the store is the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique where little girls can go and get their princess on!  It’s so adorable to see some of the girls when they are all gussied up in their favorite princess dress, hair up and curled with an overabundance of glitter shimmering in their hair.  It would definitely be something your little darling would remember forever!  I know I’ve seen where some people do this in the morning and then hit up the parks & get some adorable photos with different characters throughout the parks.  I guess that’s the magic of Disney!

Also, throughout Downtown Disney you’ll see several amazing Lego statues.  They have a dragon/serpent type creature made entirely of Legos in the lake, as well as Lego creations of Snow White, Buzz & Woody, etc.  It’s really pretty cool.  I can’t imagine being the one having to create these masterpieces.  Little ones that are Lego maniacs will love seeing all of creations! And then of course they have the Lego store on site as well!

Now my favorite store at Downtown Disney has to be “The Art of Disney” store.  I’m love artwork and have loved all Disney related art since a young age.  So if you are like me, it might be best to go before payday, so you don’t have any money to blow because I could easily spend an entire paycheck here.  Seeing all of the artwork just gives you that good feeling deep down inside like you’re a kid again.  I really love seeing other various artist different renditions of characters and movie themes.  The last time I was their I refrained from buying anything for myself, but I bought by younger brother, who is a volunteer fireman a picture of Mickey Mouse shaking a fireman’s hand.  It was pretty cool & my brother loved it.

My other favorite store would have to be Mickey’s Pantry.  I’m not sure why, because I’m not much of a cook & I don’t do a lot of cooking, but I love all of the Disney themed cook wear.  I think I might just have to redecorate my kitchen the more I think about it.  You’ll find everything from a variety of coffee mugs, plates, cooking utensils, cookbooks, Mickey shaped pasta, spices, wine bottle toppers, etc…

If you get hungry from walking around and doing a lot of shopping, you’ll have no shortage of choices on places to eat at Downtown Disney.  When I went, my friend and I decided to eat at the Rainforest Cafe.  A word of advice….if you don’t care about sitting inside with all of the Rainforest like atmosphere and just want to relax, eat & enjoy the weather…request a table on the outside deck.  I didn’t even realize there was an outside deck option because they didn’t ask us when we put our name on the wait list, but my friend who knew mentioned it and we were the only people out there.  It’s a very nice deck area right over the lake.  It’s a great place to enjoy some good food, an awesome frozen drink and good conversation.  I even talked them into making me a drink they had never made.  It was a mango mojito, which was on the drink list, but I asked them if they good make it frozen, so they said they’d give it a shot and it was AMAZING!

I usually just go to Downtown Disney to walk around and browse, but there is so much more that is offered besides shopping and eating.  On the other side of Downtown Disney, you have the Pleasure Island area for the evening hours, House of Blues, AMC Dine-In Movie Theater.  If you’re wanting to take in a show, Cirque de Soleil is on site as well.  I haven’t had a chance to go yet, but I hear it’s spectacular.

To find out about different events at Downtown Disney, as well as information on all of the shops, eateries, & things to do, check out the website at http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/downtown-disney.

Gators Galore in Gatorland

After a morning airboat tour and seeing a ton of gators in there own environment, you may ask, “What should I do next while I’m in Florida”?  Why not just make it a full out gator themed day and hit up Gatorland.  I’m not a huge fan of gators, but I still wanted to go and check out the park, to see what it was all about.  After you purchase your tickets, which are really reasonably priced, around $20 or so, depending on if you were able to find them discounted online or had a coupon, which you can often find in Florida tourism guides…the price is right around that range.  You really can’t beat the price for something to do for part of the day.

You walk into the park and of course you expect gators, but I guess I wasn’t expecting so many!  That had them in all sizes ranging from babies to great big gators, like Chester, who was a bit camera shy, so I only got a shot of him from behind, but even so…you can tell he was huge!  They even had albino gators, which I had never seen before, so it was kind neat seeing an all white gator.

Besides gators, the park also has plenty more to offer.  There is a petting zoo, an aviary, snakes, flamingo exhibit & a few shows.  The first show I got to watch was the gator wrestling show, in which the guy gets in this arena type sand pit that is surrounded by a trench of water along the sides.  When I got to the area and took a seat on the bleachers all of the gators were up on the sand sunning themselves & working on there tans.  Then the guy gets in the arena with them all pulls them each one by one by there tail and plops them in the water.  Then they had a little boy pic a gator from around the edge for him to catch and pull into the arena with him.  Not something I would want to do.  It took him a sec to grab the gator as he was fast & tried to get away.  Once the gator was pulled into the sand pit, the trainer proceeded to tell us random facts about gators & then did some crazy stunts like holding the gators snout between his chin and his chest…no hands!  No way would I want to try that….Yikes!  I’ll leave that one to the professionals!

Then after the show people who had paid the extra to get there picture taken with a gator up close and personal could get in line to do so.  Yes, I was one of the crazies that wanted a pic with the gator, although I refused to sit on him.  The trainer kept saying just to sit down & that I couldn’t hurt him, but I still opted to take a knee so I didn’t sit on him.  I wouldn’t want anyone sitting on me…lol.  So I extended the gator the same courtesy. 🙂

After that, I headed towards the shack where you could get some gator food (A.K.A. Hotdogs)  It really cracked me up when I got to the booth, because there were two huge white birds just chilling out like they were waiting in line.  Once I got the hotdogs and was told to guard them with my life because the area birds weren’t shy about taking them from you.  So as you walk down the dock to the observation area where you can throw in your hotdogs, its kind of weird because she wasn’t joking about those birds.  They were lined on both sides of you…some of the bigger ones were following you.  It was like a little bird mafia…haha.  Anyways, once I was at the end I was able to throw in the hotdogs, trying to get them to the gators before the birds could get them.  There was one sneaky bird standing behind me trying to get those hotdogs, I finally shooed him away as he was making me nervous.

Then there was a nice size flamingo exhibit.  They are such pretty birds.  In with the flamingos, there was some other sort of big black bird.  I’m not sure what it was exactly, but they were kind of creepy.  Every single one of them just stood still with there wings completely extended.  It was very odd.

If you’ve got kids, besides the petting zoo, there is a train that will take you around the whole park.  There is also a little water park area for kids to play in, which would be great on a hot Florida day. The other show that they have is the Jumperoo Show, in which two guys compete to see who can get a gator to grab there chicken first.  They split the audience into teams and get each side rooting for their guy.  It’s entertaining and they guys are pretty funny.

All in all, Gatorland is a good place to go to spend a half day and learn some things you might not have know about gators.  On your way out of the park, you exit through there gift shop if there are any gator souvenirs you may want to take back home.  My favorite thing that I saw, were the “Redneck Wine Glasses”, which was basically a small wide mouth mason jar super glued to a candle stick holder….Haha!  Genius!  Why didn’t I think of that!

A Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom was the only park I had never had the chance of visiting, so last weekend my friend Stephanie & I decided to make a day of it.  The weather ended up being great, as it was only in the lower 70’s, although a bit chilly for a certain someone who broke down and bought a hoodie.  It would have been warmer if the sun was out, but we had an unusually cloudy day & then of course the sun decided to show itself the minute we left the parking lot later in the afternoon…go figure!

Since Animal Kingdom has two major rides that seem to get the most attention and typically get the longest lines, it’s a good idea to grab a fast pass for one and then head straight for the other.  That’s what we did.  We went straight to the Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition & grabbed a fast past and then headed straight for the roller coaster, Expedition Everest.  Luckily, we only had about a 15-20 minute wait.  It was a pretty interesting coaster…no upside down loops or anything, but I won’t spoil the fun & tell you what to expect if you’ve never been on it, but trust me…if you love coasters, you’ll want to make sure to go on this coaster!

After riding the coaster, we hit up a couple other attractions while we waited for our time to fast pass our way to the front of the line on the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride.  The safari ride is supposed to replicate the African savanna.  You get to ride in an open sided safari vehicle on a road throughout the savanna.  Every safari ride is unique, as you never know what animals you’ll encounter.  I loved getting to see the elephants, especially the babies…they were so adorable.  We also go to see so many other animals, from a sleeping warthog, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, lions chilling out under a tree, amongst many more animals.  The ride lasts a good 20 minutes and gives you plenty of opportunities for some great photos!

 

After that, we grabbed a quick lunch & then grabbed the train to the petting zoo area.  This is Stephanie’s favorite place in the park.  Give this girl a goat and she’s happy!  Besides goats, they also have sheep, the cutest little piggies, some mini donkeys that are super loud when they decide to belt out a “Hee-Haw” for you.  Made me giggle.

Throughout the day we had to chance to see many more animals in different parts of the park.  Two of my favorite animals of the day were the gorillas and the tigers.  The gorillas were hiding and kind of out of site when we were in the viewing area, but then everyone moved on since there was nothing to see, but we stayed behind & I’m so glad we did.  Mama gorilla was peeking through a tree while hiding behind a rock…papa gorilla came out and right up to the window to check us out.  And then out of nowhere, a silly little baby gorilla comes flying from around the corner, grabs hold of a barrel which took him for a roll.  It was so cute!

 

Now the tigers we got to see were awesome!  They were so beautiful with there deep orange coats with their gorgeous black stripes.  There were three of them in the area.  One of them was being ornery and pouncing about like a regular house cat.  He’d crouch down and then sneak attack the other two.  The other two weren’t to impressed by his antics and you could see some teeth being shown.  They put on quite a show.

Now onto my favorite part of the day….Finding Nemo-The Musical.  You HAVE to make sure you go to this show when you visit the park.  It’s put on several times throughout the day in a nice big air conditioned theater, so if you need a break from the heat, you’re set!  The show lasts about 45 minutes long & once you see it, it’ll leave you wishing it was longer.  It was truly magnificent & I’m surprised they don’t charge extra for the show….YES, it’s that good!  I’ve see some broadway musicals and this was just as good!  It’s visually stunning, it’ll make you laugh so hard and then all the bubbles coming down from the ceiling in the end is just magical!  Typical Disney….gotta love it!

Another great show, you’ll want to make sure to check out is located inside the tree of life!  Yep, there is actually a theater inside the tree!  I know…I couldn’t believe it.  It’s the cutest little 3-D show featuring the bugs from “A Bug’s Life” movie.  You’ll definitely want to check out this show.  You’ll love every minute of it!

Well, I’ll leave it at that for now.  I only touched on a few of the attractions that I really enjoyed, but there is a lot more to see than I mentioned here.  If you want to read more about Animal Kingdom, make sure to check them out online.  I hope I gave you some good insight on the park and hope that you’ll get a chance to go the next time you’re in the area.

Weekend Wrap-up

Hey there!  Well, I believe today wraps up my week of posting on the i.seekissimmee.com website.  It was great to be able to write up reviews that I would normally do and get them published on a tourism website.  Plus, to get paid for the gig on top of that…SCORE!  Hopefully, I can get on the calendar and review some more places next spring, since they like you to wait a year before being featured again.  I may go ahead and post everything over here on my blog now that the week is over, as well as stick them in my “Travel Review” section in case you want to find them easily in the future.  For now, you can check out all of my posts here.

Seeing my posts helped make my week.  It was a super busy week at work for me, so that had me down a bit.  Then on Thursday evening I came home and found out that my uncle that lived 5 miles down the road from me had passed away that morning, which was kind of unexpected.  Made me sad & guilty that I hadn’t called recently or been over to visit in a while….C’est la vie!

R.I.P. Uncle Dave – You’ll Be Missed!

So what did I do to end a rather crappy week…..I WENT TO DISNEY WORLD!  I was a bit nervous, since the weather was in the 90’s and it’s getting to that time of year the vacationers start piling in by the masses.  So I got up a lot earlier than normal and headed out the door, so I could be at the besties place by 8:00, so we could make a needed coffee run to Starbucks and then headed for the park.

When we got there & headed towards the line for the monorail, it was a bit insane, but I was told it was a lot worse last week.  I think we only waited like 10 minutes…the line looked worse than it really was.  Once in the park it was smooth sailing!  We went on every ride that we wanted to ride within a few hours and I don’t think we stood in line longer than 15 minutes for any ride…SCORE!  It made a not so great week a whole lot better, plus it’s pretty impossible not to have a great time with the BFF!  I think we left around 2:00 or so & then we decided to go for a late lunch at Olive Garden!  Yum! As for today….didn’t do much of anything.  Ran out to the local art store and wandered around a bit.  Then I went for a quick grocery run to pick up some greek yogurt and veggies.  Somehow a travel coffee thermos ended up in my basket….I think I’m kinda starting to like this coffee stuff!  Not sure if that’s a good thing or not…lol.  Anyways…time for a new week to start already. Blah!  I need to schedule a vacation! Cheers! Jenn