Taste the Tonga Toast

Tonga toast is… well… a little bit of heaven on earth. Disney shared their official recipe for Tonga Toast as well as this video. ENJOY!

TONGA TOAST

Kona Cafe, Disney’s Polynesian Resort (Serves 4)

Tonga Toast

INGREDIENTS
Sugar-Cinnamon Ingredients:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Batter Ingredients:
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Tonga Toast Ingredients:
1 quart canola oil, for frying
1 loaf sourdough bread (uncut, 12 inches long)
2 large bananas, peeled

INSTRUCTIONS
For cinnamon-sugar:
1. Mix sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl (large enough to roll toast) with a fork until thoroughly blended. Set aside.

For batter:
1. Whip eggs in medium bowl (large enough to dip toast) until well beaten. Add milk, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix well and set aside.

For Tonga toast:
1. Preheat oil to 350 degrees F in a large pot or a deep fryer. (If using a large pot, use a candy thermometer to make certain the oil does not get any hotter or it will burn.)
2. Slice the bread into four three-inch-thick slices.
3. Cut each banana in half crosswise, then each piece lengthwise.
4. Place a bread slice flat on the counter and tear out just enough from the middle (do not tear all the way through) to stuff half a banana into; repeat with each bread slice.
5. Dip stuffed bread into batter, covering both sides, allowing excess batter to drip off bread and place carefully into hot oil.
6. Cook 4-5 minutes until golden brown. If needed, turn toast over after 2 minutes and cook for another 2 minutes on other side. Remove and drain excess oil.
7. Roll toast in cinnamon-sugar. Repeat for each piece of toast.

So, who’s making me breakfast? Better yet… who’s booking their vacation at Disney’s Polynesian Resort?!?

- Kimberly

Introducing Universal’s Endless Summer Resort

Meet Universal Orlando's new hotel complex - Universal's Endless Summer Resort! It will include 2 hotels - Surfside Inn and Suites and Dockside Inn and Suites. What sets these resorts apart are the low prices and the large number of 2-bedroom suites. Can I get a HALLELUJAH?!

 ©Universal

©Universal

Price

Standard rooms at Surfside come in as low as $73/night. That's not a typo... $73/night! To give some perspective, Disney's cheapest room is $110/night at today's prices, not summer 2019. 2-bedroom suites start at $111/night and yes, that's $1 more than a standard room at All-Star Movies.

Rooms

Let's talk about the 2-bedroom suite - large families rejoice! They'll sleep 6 people and include 2 separate bedrooms, a split bathroom (shower and vanity), and a kitchenette and dining area with your choice of pool or water view.

 2-bedroom Suite at Surfside Inn and Suites  (©Universal

2-bedroom Suite at Surfside Inn and Suites  (©Universal

Standard rooms sleep 4 and have 1 king or 2 queen configurations with standard or pool view.

 Standard 2 queen room at Surfside Inn (©Universal

Standard 2 queen room at Surfside Inn (©Universal

Just like the other Universal Orlando hotels, they'll be run in partnership with Loews Hotels and offer the same benefits like Early Park Admission and free shuttle transportation.

So what's the catch? 

Obviously there are some trade-offs for the low price point. The resort is built on the old Wet 'n Wild site so there's a 5-ish minute bus ride to the parks just like Cabana Bay and Aventura. No walking access to Volcano Bay like Cabana Bay Beach Resort and no water taxis like Sapphire Falls, Royal Pacific, Hard Rock, and Portofino Bay. The theming will be less intense and amenities will be fewer, though still include a pool and food court and poolside bar. 

 ©Universal

©Universal

Will there be a Starbucks? Sapphire Falls is currently the only Universal resort without one so we'll see. I'm hoping!

On the plus side, expect to see Universal take advantage of the lake to add some water sport options.

Hurry up, Summer 2019

Surfside Inn and Suites opens Summer 2019 and the much larger Dockside Inn and Suites opens Summer 2020. Both hotels will share amenities once Dockside opens.

These new hotels provide much-needed rooms to Universal Orlando's inventory and larger suite options for families our clients are clamoring for. The price point is #bonus.

We can't wait!

- Kimberly

Le Cellier Cheddar Cheese Soup

Ahhhh... the much-requested Cheddar Cheese Soup from Le Cellier in Canada at Epcot’s World Showcase and also available from the Canada booth during the International Food & Wine Festival, and you can now get it at the Refreshment Port! (hello, snack credit) There are several recipes floating around the Internet but this is the “official” one according to Disney.

 ©DISNEY

©DISNEY

Ingredients:

½ Pound applewood smoked Bacon (cut into ½” pieces)

4 tbl butter

1 Diced red onion (about 1 cup)

3 Diced celery stalks (about 1 cup)

1 c all purpose flour

3 c chicken stock

4 c whole milk

1 Pound aged white Cheddar cheese (shaved or grated)

1 tbl salt (to taste)

1 tbl pepper

1 tbl worcestershire sauce

1 tbl tobasco sauce

1 c warm beer

1. In a large soup pot render down the bacon. All you are looking to do here is to liquefy the fat in the bacon, you are not trying to brown it.

2. Add the butter and melt it.

3. Add the onion and celery; sauté until onions to start to get translucent.

4. Dust this with flour and mix to form a roux. Keep stirring until all of the flour has been incorporated.

5. Add chicken stock, slowly, while constantly stirring. You are looking for something resembling a gravy at this point. It’s going to be very thick.

6. Next add milk, again slowly, while constantly stirring. This should significantly lighten up your soup at this point.

7. Turn heat up slightly. Add cheese very slowly in small amounts, while stirring constantly. Allow each portion of cheese to melt away before adding the next. Keep stirring.

8. Now add salt and pepper.

9. Next add worcestershire, tobasco, and beer; keep stirring.

10. Turn down the heat slightly and let simmer or serve. You can garnish each bowl with some finely chopped bacon and chives.

Chef Mickey's Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

 © Orlando Sentinel

© Orlando Sentinel

One of our favorite dishes at Chef Mickey’s is the Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes. Not just your average potatoes, these are rich in flavor and the perfect consistency – not too mushy, not too chunky.

Chef Mickey’s Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Yield: 6 servings

3 pounds whole potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2-by-1/2-inch cubes)
2 cups half-and-half
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup roasted garlic puree (see note)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

1. Boil potatoes until soft and easy to mash. Drain potatoes and return to cooking pot.
2. Heat half-and-half in small pan and add to potatoes.
3. Begin mixing potatoes with a whisk or handheld mixer and add in the cheese, butter and garlic puree. Continue mixing until smooth and creamy.
4. Add the salt and pepper to the mix.

Roasted garlic puree: Heat oven to 350 F. Toss 1/3 cup whole peeled garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil and spread out in a shallow baking pan. Place pan in oven and roast until the garlic is soft, 10 minutes. Remove pan and place roasted garlic in blender. Pulse garlic until it becomes rich and creamy. Remove from blender and reserve for mashed potato recipe. Makes 1/4 cup.

Located at the Contemporary Resort, Chef Mickey’s buffet features your favorite characters all decked out for their kitchen duties. You’ll meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto who take time for autographs and photographs at your table. This extremely popular dining venue routinely fills up months in advance – let Mouse Tales Travel book your Chef Mickey’s reservations 180+ days before your vacation!

Around the World with a GPS

For those times when “Mickey’s House” isn’t found by Carmen the Garmin (or perhaps like me, your GPS is several years out of date) or Tom-Tom’s a wee bit lost, here are the proper addresses for each of the Walt Disney World resort properties:

Deluxe Resorts

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa: 4401 Floridian Way, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s Contemporary Resort: 4600 North World Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s Polynesian Resort: 1600 Seven Seas Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s Beach Club Resort: 1800 Epcot Resorts Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort: 1700 Epcot Resorts Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn: 2101 North Epcot Resorts Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: 2901 Osceola Parkway, Bay Lake, FL 32830

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: 901 Timberline Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Deluxe Villa Resorts

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: 4600 North World Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas: 2901 Osceola Parkway, Bay Lake, FL 32830

Disney’s Beach Club Villas: 1800 Epcot Resorts Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s BoardWalk Villas: 2101 North Epcot Resorts Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s Old Key West Resort: 1510 North Cove Rd, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa: 1960 Broadway, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: 901 Timberline Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Moderate Resorts

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort: 900 Cayman Way, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort: 1001 West Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter: 2201 Orleans Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside: 1251 Riverside Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground: 3520 North Fort Wilderness Trail, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Value Resorts

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort: 1850 Century Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s Pop Century Resort: 1050 Century Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort: 1701 West Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s All-Star Music Resort: 1801 West Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort: 1901 West Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Theme Parks, Water Parks, & Downtown Disney

Magic Kingdom: 3111 World Drive Lake, Buena Vista, FL 32830

Epcot: 1200 Epcot Resort Blvd. Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Hollywood Studios: 351 South Studio Drive Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Animal Kingdom: 551 Rainforest Road Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Typhoon Lagoon: 1494 E Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Blizzard Beach: 1500 W. Buena Vista Drive Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney Springs: 1780 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Disney World resort map

We hope you find this info useful - it saved my bacon a few times!

- Kimberly

'Ohana Bread Pudding with Bananas Foster Sauce

I have a confession to make. I don’t like bread pudding, not one bit. However, I very happily make an exception when it comes to the dessert at one of my favorite Disney restaurants, ‘Ohana. There are several versions of this recipe floating around on the Internet but this one is supposed to be the “official” version. YUM!!

'ohana bread pudding

Ingredients
BREAD PUDDING
5 eggs
3 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cup sugar
8 cups french or challah bread

1. In bowl mix eggs, milk, salt, sugar, and nutmeg. Set aside.
2. Cut bread in medium (usually 2-inch) pieces and place on cookie sheet pan. Put in 350 degree oven.
3. Bake bread until lightly toasted: about 15 minutes. Remove bread and place in egg and milk mixture.
4. Place mixture in a greased 10-inch cake pan, and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.
5. Let stand 5 minutes; serve hot with ice cream.

BANANAS FOSTER SAUCE
4 oz sugar
4 oz brown sugar
4 oz corn syrup
4 oz unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup spiced rum
1 cup banana slices

1. Combine sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and half of heavy cream in a large pan. Bring to a boil and slowly add remaining heavy cream keeping mixture at a steady boil.

2. Add spiced rum and flambe.

3. Candy will brown slightly; cook 3 minutes until candy forms into a firm ball in cold water. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Add sliced bananas. Serve warm.

ENJOY!

- Kimberly

5 Tips for Traveling as a Herd

… or Preparing to Take a Large Group to Walt Disney World

family group at Disney World

So you’re thinking about taking the family to Walt Disney World for a long overdue vacation. Wouldn’t it be fun if Grandma and Grandpa came? How about the cousins so that Sally and Billy have someone to hang out with? If one set of grandparents come, then you need to invite the others too. Now your sister wants to come and bring her kids too… along with her mother-in-law. Pretty soon, your trip for 6 is a trip for 22!

Let’s look at 5 tips to make this trip as magical (and pain-free) as possible!

  1. Don’t panic! Your Mouse Tales Travel agent has done this a bazillion times and while it’s brand new for you, it’s not for us. We’ve got your back for all things big and small.
  2. Make your point: Someone needs to be in charge and it sounds like you’re it. While you’ll have to poll the masses and call in others for help, one person needs to be the contact for all things Disney.
  3. Pick a time: No one date or range of dates is going to be perfect for everyone. You can decide in a democratic fashion with majority rules or you can tell everyone when you’re going and they can come or not. Both work, one’s easier than the other. You pick.
  4. Pick a place: Just like there’s no perfect date, there’s no perfect resort either. We can help you with choosing different resorts for different people in the party or you can determine one resort that meets a majority of needs. (note – Disney’s Art of Animation makes it easy with both family suites and standard rooms in the same resort.)
  5. Together or separate? Spend some time thinking logistically (and sanity-wise) just how much time you want to spend together. Tour together the whole time or just the same park? Dine together every night or less frequently? From our personal experience, being apart and then coming together is a lot easier to manage than a mass of your own humanity trying to work its way through the rest of humanity.

It’s not going to be a piece of cake but it will be magical. Just work on these 5 tips and let your Mouse Tales Travel work their magic!

- Kimberly

It's an Incredible Summer at Walt Disney World

Incredible Summer

This is no ordinary summer! Disney World is transforming summer into something bolder, bigger, better and more incredible than ever, with new experiences in all four Theme Parks. 

At Magic Kingdom, hang out with some of the most famous heroes in Supers history. Don’t miss your chance to interact with Mr. Incredible, Frozone and (for the first time ever) Edna Mode in a celebration of all the good our heroes do. 

During the 20th anniversary of Animal Kingdomjoin Donald Duck and his pals at Dinoland U.S.A.. Plus, Pandora – The World of Avatar awaits your exploration. 

Then it’s off to Epcot to get your groove on with Star Lord, Gamora and an alien band — with music from Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix 1 and 2. And don’t forget to head north to find your favorite snowman and ice queen at Frozen Ever After

And finally, opening June 30th at Hollywood Studios, it’s the all-new Toy Story Land where you’ll become the size of a toy and play bigger than ever before. Hop aboard Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers. You’ll feel just like you’re in Andy’s backyard. 

Fun times are going to be stretched, family bonds strengthened and the surprises will come fast. It’s all happening this summer at Disney World where the memories are larger than life and being together couldn’t be any more incredible.

Click here to start creating your Incredible Summer!

Carrot Ginger Soup from Boma - Flavors of Africa

MTT_boma.jpg

Boma – Flavors of Africa, at Animal Kingdom Lodge's Jambo House, is my favorite restaurant to recommend to those willing to try a little something out of the ordinary. First of all, the Lodge itself is simply stunning and worthy of a trip just to walk around, not to mention look at the animals! Secondly, the restaurant is a gem. There’s something for everyone and while the dishes may be in combinations you’re unfamiliar with, many of the items used to make up the combinations are old friends.

Designed to resemble an African marketplace, Boma serves dishes inspired by the varied flavors and seasonal dishes of over 50 African countries, from the coast of the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. You can watch as Boma’s chefs prepare dishes in an open kitchen with a wood-fire rotisserie grill. Morning offerings may include fresh fruit, African pastries, omelets, pancakes, french toast, bacon, sausage, carved ham, breakfast potatoes, cereal, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and corned beef bobotie (which is a MUST DO for me). The dinner buffet offers favorites prepared with African flair, which may include signature vegetarian selections, traditional dishes, fire-grilled meats, seafood, soups, salads, and desserts.

Our first time at Boma, the server recommended I try the carrot ginger soup. I like carrots. I like ginger. Why not? The taste was reminiscent of pumpkin pie – yay for me!

Carrot Ginger Soup from Boma – Flavors of Africa, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House

  • 1 pound carrots, chunky cut
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 ounces American cheese, sliced or shredded
  • ½ ounce ground ginger (fresh ONLY)
  • 2 ounces sugar, adjust as needed
  • Roux (2 ounces butter and 2 ounces flour)

To make a roux, melt the butter in a small sauce pot, slowly add the flour to make a paste. Cook until incorporated. Remove from heat and set aside.

  1. In pot, cook carrots in water, sugar, and ginger. Let simmer until carrots are soft. Puree until smooth.
  2. Add heavy cream, milk, and roux. Cook until soup is hot and slightly thick.
  3. Add American cheese and let simmer until cheese melts.
  4. Adjust seasoning.

Serves 8.

Enjoy!

- Kimberly

10 Must-Pack Items for Your Disney Cruise

As our girls cruise gets closer and closer, my mind turns to packing. Okay, my mind is always on packing because I’m a wee bit obsessive about it! Over the years, we’ve found there are some things we just don’t want to do without and most of them are items… well… you might not think to bring, especially if you’re new to the WONDERful world of cruising.

girls cruise

A common vacation packing suggestion is to take half as many clothes and twice as much money as you have planned!  But there’s more to packing for your cruise than making sure you have enough clothes (and money). Here are 10 must-pack items for your Disney cruise:

  1. Nightlight: You’ll need a nightlight to help you find the bathroom at night. Trust me. Staterooms are dark! P.S. The bathroom door doesn’t stay open so leaving it ajar, like you would in a hotel room, doesn’t work.
  2. Big cup with lid: Disney Cruise Line’s free beverage station on the pool deck is open 24/7 and bringing your own larger cup (with lid) will allow you to make fewer visits to the aforementioned drink haven.
  3. Multi-port USB wall charger: Cameras… iPods… video cameras… iPad… laptop… We’re a plugged-in group and there are never enough plugs around when you need them. This will also help protect your electronics from power fluctuations. (DCL does not allow power strips/surge protectors)
  4. Over-the-door holder: Hangs over your closet bar and holds all of those things that mess up a stateroom, from your lanyard to sunscreen to ponytail holders to dollar bills for room service tips.
  5. Pop-up hamper: After one cruise with a pile of laundry tumbling out of the closet every time I opened the door, I was hooked on the hamper!
  6. Suction cup hooks: Great for hanging wet swimsuits in the shower. Yes, there’s a clothesline in there but the hooks are so much easier.
  7. Clothespins: Huh? Clothespins? Really? Yes, really! Take a few and use them to keep the privacy curtain shut and hold the porthole or verandah curtains closed during naps.
  8. Dry erase board: Use one with magnets on the back and hang it on the back of your stateroom door so you can leave messages for each other like “Headed to the spa!” or “Bingo at 6pm”
  9. Air freshener: Your choice of compact solid or small aerosol. Enough said.
  10. Ziploc bags: I never travel without several bags in different sizes. Snacks, tiny toys, etc. all corralled by a simple envelope of plastic with a zipper on top. Brilliance.

Bonus

Disney Cruise Line Navigator App: While it's not a packed item per se, this little app will allow you to send messages to other members in your traveling party, look at the daily entertainment schedule, find Mickey, look at menus, and so on. It kinda replaces your paper Personal Navigator, though you'll still receive those nightly.

DCL Navigator App

Are you ready to set sail? 

- Kimberly