Disney Dreamer: Once Upon A Dole Whip…

Hello Internet! Thanks for joining us on this fine Wednesday. Charlie Cochet and Kim Fielding join me for our blog series Disney Dreamer, where we are recapping our recent Disney World vacation. First, it was strictly business, as we were in Orlando for the Dreamspinner Press Workshop. But Elizabeth North had the bright idea to hold the workshop in Orlando. It was very bright.

In this series, Charlie, Kim, and I are recapping our most memorable bits of the trip, and today we’re kicking things off with the food. Hold me.


Lex Chase and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

As you may know, I wrote a particular book about dude princesses called Americana Fairy Tale. Needless to say, I’ve been a bit princess crazy for the past year. Where was five year old me that didn’t give a crap about this stuff?

At my mother’s suggestion to live a little, I booked a princess dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Charlie Cochet came along with me, and I gotta admit, as a grown-ass adult, it was indeed magical.

The place is set up to look like a classic storybook castle, and Belle receives you as you walk in for autographs and pictures. I carried a copy of Americana Fairy Tale with me, determined to get it signed by the princesses. In my head I was like “This woman is an actress. She has a life outside the parks. She probably has kids and a husband that doesn’t appreciate her. He’s probably been hassling her to get a real job.”

But let me tell you, when Belle told me to come read to her and Beast in the library some time, I about melted down. And Charlie Cochet, being the amazing friend she is, caught it all on camera.

Bell, Lex, and Princess Kitty Taylor
I’m a total deer in the headlights. Just. OMG IT’S BELLE.

But let’s talk about the food! I was actually quite surprised that the plating comes out looking like it was served at a four star restaurant. Of course, it’s part of the ambiance. I had the Swedish meatballs that come on a bed of super buttery and creamy potatoes with green beans and lingonberry jam.

Tasty Swedish Meatballs

But I really couldn’t concentrate on eating, because one by one, the princesses came around to the table and I was all failing. The two of course that I wanted to meet the most were Snow and Aurora. For Author Reasons. Snow came to the table doing the squeaky voice and everything. I had a moment of “Do I tell her she’s a badass dude princess ice paladin with a big assed frozen axe?” But good sense prevailed. But just once I wanted to see her reaction. My reaction in the photo was an attempt at a smile that looked more like terror.

Lex and Snow
Snow smiles so kindly while I look like I’m about to faint.

And then Aurora came by, and seriously. I lost it. I had perfected my cover story of “Princesses going on a quest to save the world.” Which wasn’t entirely untrue. I gave up trying to smile, and instead looked goofy, goofy worked a lot better. Also Princess Kitty Taylor got to mug for the shot. We also totally had the “Pink or Blue” conversation. I was such a dork.

Lex, Aurora, and Kitty Taylor
Lex and Princess Kitty Taylor meet Aurora. SO EXCITE.

Sadly, I didn’t get a photo of desert, but thanks to DeAnn Okamura at Foodspotting, I can share it with you all.

Akershus Desserts!
Akershus Desserts!

Served family style, they are a chocolate mousse cake, an apple cake with a sugar butter icing, and a rice pudding type of dish that was more like eating Cool Whip. There was no way Charlie and I could finish it all. We pretty much decimated the chocolate mousse cake and half of the fluffy rice pudding. Neither of us were loving the apple cake.

We left full, fat, and happy. And decided to go easy on any rides because you know the drill when you eat rich foods….yeah. But my entire takeaway was a very special souvenir just for me:

Lex Chase's Americana Fairy Tale signed by Princess Aurora, Snow White, Ariel, Cinderella, and Belle
Americana Fairy Tale signed by Princess Aurora, Snow White, Ariel, Cinderella, and Belle.

Yup. That happened.


Charlie will take it from here as she discusses the Be Our Guest dining at Magic Kingdom and the wonders of Dolewhip. Yeeeeessss. Dole Whip.


Charlie Cochet and Be Our Guest

Hello all! A big thank you to Lex for having me here on her blog and letting me share my Disney dining experience. I love travelling, even if by the end of a trip I’m dying to get back to my little office and cozy bed. One of the fun parts of taking a trip is getting to treat yourself to some tasty food. You might try new dishes or just throw caution to the wind and indulge a little. I actually didn’t indulge as much on my trip to Orlando as I thought I might. With the author’s workshop there was a schedule, so it helped me avoid any unnecessary snacking. At the Disney theme parks, I did indulge a little more, but I was still pretty good. We all know how dangerous theme parks can be with all their yummy sugary treats.

At the it wasn’t so much the food that was awesome as the experience. We stopped at some great little places to eat, but one of my all-time favorites was Beauty & the Beast’s castle (the Be Our Guest Restaurant). Maybe because this was always one of my favorite Disney movies growing up, next to the Little Mermaid. Also, the last time I’d visited the Magic Kingdom, they were still building this part of the park, so it was all new to me. The castle was gorgeous, and just being inside it made me feel like a little kid again. I loved the attention to detail, making the castle look just as it did in the movie. It was stunning. I took [many] pictures.

The main dining area is the Grand Ballroom where Belle dances with the Beast in her signature yellow ball gown under a ceiling of heavenly clouds and painted cherubs. Just look at that chandelier! You picked your own table with elegant chairs and even the soda dispenser matched with its bronze coloring and engraved roses.

BBCeiling

I ordered a yummy meal of pork, green beans, and mashed potatoes with some kind of vegetable gravy thing, and it came with the most amazing chocolate cupcake.

BBMeal BBCupcake

Our food was also delivered in the most amazing food carts served by the castle’s staff.

BBFoodCart

There were two other “rooms” in the castle where you could dine. This is part of the second room, the Castle Gallery, which had the most amazing centerpiece. The large statue of Belle and the Beast turned while music played. Like a giant music box. The room has paintings of the two together along the walls and is meant to resemble Belle’s private library.

BBCastleMusic

The next room was just as amazing, dark and atmospheric. The West Wing where the Beast’s human portraits hangs torn to shred and where the enchanted red rose floats in its jar while eerily haunting music plays.

BBRoseAnd of course as you walk through the blistering heat, waiting in lines for rides, what theme park visit would be complete without something cool and refreshing. Now I’d heard it mentioned before, but I have to admit I’d never had a Dole Whip until then. It’s probably a good thing, because it was SO good. I’m a fan of pineapple and frosty treats, so this was just amazing. I fell in love at first sip. What’s the tastiest treat you’ve had away from home?

Dole Whip

Dole Whip photo credit: O’ahu: Kailua, N. Shore, and Central O’ahu via photopin (license)


Next up, Kim Fielding takes it away with the awesomeness of tasty tasty offerings of Morocco in Epoct’s World Showcase.


Kim Fielding and the Spice Road and Tangerine Cafe

Spike visits the Spice Road!
Spike visits the Spice Road!

So my biggest accomplishment for my Disney days was eating in Morocco three times. There were other triumphs too, like some sort of frozen passion fruit drink thing and an enormous cup of vanilla ice cream, but Morocco was the pinnacle. Mint tea. Shawarma. Stuffed grape leaves. Baklava. And some really delicious tangerine couscous. Um, not all at one meal.

One day at Epcot, I had lunch at Spice Road Table and dinner at Marrakesh (which has a belly dancer), both with a friend from the Evil Day Job. Then on another day I shared a delicious lunch at Tangierine Café with lovely company: Lex Chase, Charlie Cochet, and Eli Easton. If I recall correctly, we spent most of the meal discussing fanfic.

Truth be told, the Morocco pavilion at Epcot is short on attractions. There are some shops (I bought a scarf which turned out to be the same style but different color as one that Amy Lane bought in Sacramento) and a place where you can stand in line to see Aladdin. There’s a room with displays of traditional Moroccan clothing and things. And that’s about it. Which is perfectly fine with me, because as far as I’m concerned, the food more than makes up for the lack of a roller coaster or 3D movie. Who needs thrill rides when there’s lemon saffron custard?

The town where I live has a large Assyrian population, which means I don’t have any trouble buying things like lavash bread, hummus, or meat on skewers. But the nearest Moroccan place is in San Francisco, where foodwise I generally get distracted by Asia and Italy instead of North Africa. So three culinary visits to Morocco in one week was a special treat.

Oh, and on one of my days at Epcot I logged 21K steps on my Fitbit—that’s almost 9 miles—so figure I earned that couscous.


madison_parker_MG_4269-WEB
Photo courtesy of Madison Parker Photography.

Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting too.

Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure and epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.

Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending.

Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine now residing in the burbs of Northwest Florida, where it could be 80F and she’d still be a popsicle.


 

Charlie_Cochet_by_madison_parker150Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Website | THIRDS HQ | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram |Charlie’s Newsletter


Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

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