Friday, March 10, 2017

Foodie Friday: The Smokehouse

Foodie Friday this week presents a review of
The Smokehouse
outside of House of Blues at Disney Springs.

The Smokehouse is a Quick Service barbecue stand in the West Side of Disney Springs, at the far end near Cirque du Soleil. Serving options like ribs, brisket, and smoked turkey legs, this is definitely worth the walk down. It's a walk-up counter with several tables in a nice courtyard-like area to the left of the building.

They open for lunch and stay open long enough for those who may eat a little on the later side. Oh, and Happy Hour is every day from 3-5pm. Can't beat that!

Craig got the smoked beef brisket sandwich which had a bbq sauce served on the side. He's of the mind that you don't have to have sauce on good meat, but he said the sauce did have good flavor. (Me? I just love a good bbq sauce!) Our little dude went with the all beef hot dog, though I think he wished he'd gotten the kids' pork slider instead.

Tessa and I shared the smoked pulled chicken nachos. They come covered in a delicious house-made cheese sauce and an avocado lime crema. Jalapenos and cilantro jazz it up a bit, but that chicken... smoked to perfection. I'd have to say, I'm typically into traditional Mexican nachos- taco meat, beans, yum. But man! I seriously think about these nachos. Like, I'm counting down the days til our next trip for these nachos. Like, it's a pretty sure bet I will not be sharing the next order. Seriously. I definitely recommend!

So, obviously we were pretty pleased with our selection for lunch that day. I think you will be, too!

All Disney Dining Plans are accepted here for a Quick Service meal credit. While the candies were sufficient when a QS meal included dessert, I would certainly opt for dessert elsewhere in Disney Springs rather than use a snack credit for it.

If you've eaten here, please let me know what you thought in the comments!

This post carries a disclosure Level of 0. Please see my disclosure page for more details.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

DCL: Stateroom Door Decorating

When I first started cruising with Disney I had no idea how popular it was to decorate your stateroom door, so I figured I would share that info with you all, complete with a few photos. While Disney doesn't necessarily promote this, they don't discourage it either, as long as nothing is damaging to the door. All of the stateroom doors are metal which means magnets are a big hit when decorating! (Tape is frowned upon for fear that it may pull the paint up.)

Aside from the pure fun of it, it's a great way to recognize your room while going down those long hallways where are all the doors look the same. This makes things pretty easy for the kids (or adults coming in from a late night in The District).

There are several place online to find files for decorations that will fit the "porthole" room numbers on the doors as seen above, or you could certainly be creative and come up with your own designs.

Some even go all out with beautiful wreaths. This picture shows it being hung with a wreath hanger. I'm told this is a "no-no" though because it could chip the paint. I've seen other use the strong magnetic hook for wreaths though, and those seem to be okay.

We had a lot of fun with our door on our last cruise and brought magnetic Scrabble. We started the game each day with a new word and used our magnetic dry erase board to ask others to play along. Imagine our surprise one evening when every single letter had been used! (We often caught our stateroom host playing!!)

Now, some of you may be worrying about magnets going missing. Unfortunately, it is a risk you take. We've personally never had any issue, but I've heard from others that they have. We don't take anything expensive (mostly handmade items), and we try not to get too worried about it. It's for fun!!

So, I highly recommend taking your hand at making some magnets for your door on your next cruise. Design something, print it, laminate, and glue a magnet to the back. Easy peasy!! It definitely adds some character to otherwise uniform hallways. Enjoy!

If you've decorated your door, please share photos with me on my Facebook page. I'd love to see!!

This post carries a disclosure Level of 0. Please see my disclosure page for more details.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Disney's Memory Maker Photo Package

I am often asked about the Memory Maker photo package and whether or not it is worth it. Hands down, without question, my answer is always a big, fat YES!!

The Memory Maker is a photo package offered by Disney PhotoPass at Walt Disney World. It includes unlimited digital downloads of your PhotoPass photos from locations around the Resort, select rides and attractions, select character dining experiences, and more. You can even edit them with digital stamps and borders when you get home!

Disney's PhotoPass photographers are stationed around not only the iconic landmarks of each theme park but also at character meet and greets and other fun photo spots throughout the Resort. There's even a photo studio at Disney Springs where you can take advantage and get a nice, studio-quality family photo.

It's really easy to spot the photographers, but here's a photo of their uniforms, just in case.
(Click on the photo for a larger picture)

If you pre-purchase the Memory Maker (at least 4 days prior to your trip) the cost is only $149. After that, purchasing the package for immediate download options is $169.

I love Memory Maker because it's a wonderful way to get everyone in the picture, because we all know one of us is usually behind the camera and missing out. It's also really nice to be able to be in the moment instead of seeing it through a viewfinder. Oh, and the ride photos alone make this purchase worth it!

There are attractions throughout the parks that take a photo or video during the ride that are included on your Memory Maker- just don't forget to scan your Magic Band or PhotoPass card when exiting the attraction to get the photo added to your account.

Attractions include:

Magic Kingdom

  • Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain

Animal Kingdom

  • Dinosaur
  • Expedition Everest


  • Frozen Ever After
  • Test Track
Hollywood Studios
  • Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple
  • Rock'n'Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

As I mentioned before, with a PhotoPass photographer at the character meet & greets you're able to be in the moment instead of behind your phone screen snapping photos. They'll do that for you!

The studio at Disney Springs can be used to stop in for a nice group shot or a little session after a Bibbidi Bobbid Boutique makeover.

There are also photo ops before some meals, such as Chef Mickey's, Hoop Dee Doo Revue, and 1900 Park Fare. Oh, and a PhotoPass photographer accompanies Stitch around during breakfast at 'Ohana on most occasions.

One of our favorite ways to utilize the Memory Maker is by stopping for photos in the photo booths throughout the Resort. There's at least one in each park, on the Boardwalk, in several of the resort arcades, and one at Disney's Pin Traders at Disney Springs. We have so much fun cutting up in the photo booths making faces and goofing off. (For more info on the photo booths visit this post.)

Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the magic shots yet! We love them!! Photographers not using a tripod have the ability to add a little magic to your photos. They may ask you to do a strange pose and make a weird face, but trust me- it's worth it. It's always so much fun to see what's been added to your pictures. 

All of this is, of course, in addition to the many opportunities to have photos taken around the parks and Disney Springs. 

Oh, and if you participate in special activities such as Jedi Training or Enchanted Tales with Belle, a photographer is on hand to take photos. They'll share a card with you after the show that will have all of the photos on it. You can input the code from the card to your MyDisneyExperience account to download them all and add special edits. Other activities such as Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Pirate's League also have some nice photos included.

With all of these wonderful photo opportunities the Memory Maker is a no-brainer for my family! We get it on every trip! We come home with a crazy amount of photos, so it's definitely worth the money for us. The key is taking advantage of all of the chances for photos. If you're going to purchase it, you might as well use it. Stop and get some photos. You won't regret it!

*Photos will be deleted from your MyDisneyExperience account 45 days after they were taken. You must edit and download them before that date, or they will be gone.

This post carries a disclosure Level of 0. Please see my disclosure page for more details.