Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • Picture yourself at Walt Disney World, pushing a stroller around, possibly on a multi-generational family trip, and you find nap time is quickly approaching – for everyone. You just want a little Me Time. There’s nothing wrong with that. Parents need to stay sane and take advantage of down time, or even treat themselves to a visit to the parks WITHOUT the kids. Family travel can get crazy, so why not
    ask a family member to watch the kids, giving you and your spouse a few moments of adult time.

    Did you know there are nearly 400 places to dine across Walt Disney World Resort? And that’s not counting the portable food carts. In all, more than 6,000 different food items are available. And chances are, if the restaurants aren’t in the Magic Kingdom, they just might have an adult beverages on the menu for you to enjoy. If wine is your poison of choice, then you’ll want to know that more than 600 sommeliers have been awarded the Court of Master Sommelier Introductory Certificate at Walt Disney World Resort, with more than 300 sommeliers currently in restaurants.

    With so many restaurants and dining choices, where should you go for that “special” drink? Here are just of few of our top choices for a cocktail, beer, or wine while at Walt Disney World.

    Epcot’s World Showcase 

    United Kingdom – The Rose and Crown Pub and Dining room brings visitors into Victorian England with its etched glass panels, dark mahogany bar and authentic dart board. If you are looking for hearty ale, this place offers specially designed ale warmer can heat your Guinness to 55 degrees, should that be your preference.

    Mexico – The pavilion features a festive and colorful celebration of the beauty and culture of Mexico that is fun for guests of all ages. “Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros” is an excursion by tour boat through the vibrant, eye-filling sights and lively music of Mexico. If you’re interested in margaritas, you should check out ThemeParkMom’s review of inventive margaritas at La Hacienda de San Angel, a new restaurant in EPCOT.

    Japan – In the Matsu-no-ma Lounge, visitors see a majestic view of Future World across the lagoon while sampling sushi, Japanese pickled vegetables, tempura and exotic specialty drinks.

    Germany – Biergarten, an indoor German “courtyard” featuring a German Oktoberfest buffet. At lunch and dinner time, yodelers, dancers and other lederhosen-clad musicians perform an Oktoberfest dinner show. Guests are invited onstage to join in the musical fun. The wine shop nearby offers samples of Ice Wine for a few bucks. Definitely worth a try.

    French Champagne and Wine cart at EPCOT World ShowcaseFrance – Want a glass of vino but don’t want to wait in the long line inside the wine shop? Across from the front of France there is a wine cart serving Champagne, wines, and frozen blends.

    Want more? Check out our extensive list of wine, beer, and cocktails at Epcot’s World Showcase.

    Other Venues at Disney with Alcohol

    Victoria Falls at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Down a flight of stairs from the lobby, this mezzanine lounge serves wine and spirits imported from Africa, including Windhoek beer from Namibia and Imoya Brandy from South Africa. The specialty drink is a Victoria Falls Mist, with tangerine, melon and banana liqueurs. Animal Kingdom Lodge has the largest offering of South African wines anywhere in the US. Be sure to check out Jiko, The Cooking Place, too!

    The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Trendy cocktails are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Start the day with a Pomegranate Splash (vodka, pomegranate liqueur, cranberry juice and soda water) or the Ultimate Bloody Mary (organic vodka, Bloody Mary mix and a dash of red chili sauce). The Pure-tini mixes organic vodka with organic mango and passion fruit liqueur. The Antioxidant Cocktail features wild berry vodka, black raspberry liqueur, açai juice with agave, lychee, aloe juice and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

    Tune-In Lounge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, next door to 50’s Prime Time Cafe, looks like a family den from the ’50s, with black-and-white TVs and campy retro furniture. You can choose kitschy drinks from “Dad’s Liquor Cabinet” such as Uncle Tim’s Melon Margarita, Scooter’s Long Island Iced Tea or an Electric Lemonade. Beer and wine is offered, too. My personal favorite is a Magical Star. Check out this video of inside Tune-In Lounge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as part of our Cocktail Series.

    Dawa Bar adjacent to Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Sit in the shade and sip a hard-to-find Tusker Beer from Africa or Safari Amber, brewed just for Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. South African wines are on the drink menu, too, along with cocktails like Lost on Safari with rum and fruit juices.

    Dawa Bar at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

    Mizner’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – A live orchestra plays nostalgic Big Band sounds just outside the doors of this lounge tucked away on the second floor of the hotel. The lounge’s namesake is architect Addison Mizner, whose designs launched a “Florida Renaissance” in the 1920s, so the sophisticated drinks are apropos: champagnes, caipirinhas, mint juleps and cosmopolitans, along with nine vodkas, seven different single malt scotch whiskeys and after-dinner cognacs and ports.

    There are more than 50 lounges in Walt Disney World hotels and three theme parks (no alcohol in Magic Kingdom. Again I stress. No alcohol in Magic Kingdom), making this list just a sampling of the many great place for big kids like parents to have their own magic time at Walt Disney World. If there’s a place you’d like us to know about, be sure to leave a comment, helping our readers discover new places to sample adult beverages.

    If you find yourself wandering around looking for a place to buy alcohol at Disney, all you have to do is ask one of the friendly cast members, who can point you in the right direction.  Be sure to drink plenty of water while you’re in the parks also, as alcohol is dehydrating. Designate a driver or take advantage of Disney’s resort transportation. Cheers!

    All Disney venues selling alcohol have a limit of two beverages per sale per person to limit overindulgence on property. Remember, cocktails can be fun, but this is a family friendly destination and not a place to act inappropriate.

     

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  • We polled our readers, fans, and followers and asked them to submit some of their favorite brands and answer a few questions about their travel habits.  We listed the top nominees and allowed open voting, along with an option to write in their own choice, if it wasn’t listed.

    These are our reader favorites for 2010

     

    Favorite Travel Site

    TripAdvisor.com

    Honorable Mentions: Expedia.com and Kayak.com

     

    Favorite Theme or Amusement Park

    Walt Disney World

    Honorable Mentions: Universal Orlando and Cedar Pointe

     

    Favorite Family Hotel Brand if Mentioning to a Friend or Neighbor

    Hilton Hotels and Resorts

    Honorable Mentions: Embassy Suites and Hampton Inn

     

    Congratulations to all of these brands for assisting our readers in making lasting travel memories. Special thanks to our readers who participated in the surveys.

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  • Toy Story Mania at Walt Disney World ResortRoad trips for families don’t have to be harried or stressful. This holiday travel season already has the added stress of being on the road or in the skies during the busiest travel time of the year. Not all moms opt for electronic entertainment for kids when traveling, but this mom does! Road trips or layovers provide some quality bonding time for families, until the annoying begins. That’s when I break out the portable DVD player and put on one of the kids’ favorite movies. This season, one of the hot new DVD releases is Disney – Pixar’s Toy Story 3.

    Movies and battery powered mini games get passed around our vehicle to keep everyone entertained. We keep our games and travel toys powered with Rayovac Batteries, which is also the official battery of Walt Disney Theme Parks. Are you planning a trip to Walt Disney World Resort and love the Toy Story trilogy? Here are some of our favorite Toy Story themed attractions at the parks:

    Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – Located at the Magic Kindom in Tomorrowland.

    Toy Story Mania! – Located at Disney’s Hollywood Studio in Pixar Place. Everyone can play! There is no height or age restriction for guests to experience Toy Story Mania!, creating a multi-generational experience the entire family can enjoy together.

    Pizza Planet – When you get hungry, stop for pizza and games just like Andy did in the original Toy Story Movie: Located at Disney’s Hollywood Studio in the Backlot.

    Save $5 by mail with the purchase of (2) AA/AAA-12 packs, C/D-4 packs or 9V-2 packs (or larger) of Rayovac Alkaline batteries and Toy Story 3 on Blu-Ray or DVD – How it works:

    • Purchase (2) AA/AAA-12 packs, C/D-4 packs or 9V-2 packs (or larger) of Rayovac Alkaline Batteries by 12/31/10
    • Purchase (1) Toy Story 3 on Blu-Ray or DVD by 12/31/10
    • Complete the back-by-mail form found on Rayovac‘s Promotions Page. 
    • Mail the form, product UPC labels and store receipt to the on-form address by 1/15/11 (see form for complete details)

    Find more information on Rayovac promotions and coupons here

    This post is sponsored by Rayovac.

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  • Taking a family vacation to Walt Disney World can seem like a daunting task, especially if you have children of varying age ranges. You probably want to know about the special attractions for toddlers and pre-schoolers at Disney. Then there are the big kids, tweens, and teens. But what’s cool for one age group isn’t necessarily fun for another age group. That’s why it’s a good idea to get the kids involved in planning that family vacation to Walt Disney World so that everyone will have happy family travel memories.

    Walt Disney World with Kids 2011 by Kim Wright WileyA few years ago we reviewed and hosted a giveaway of Walt Disney World with Kids 2009 by Kim Wright Wiley. We’re excited to be able to give away the recently updated Walt Disney World with Kids 2011. Kim has updated this guide, published by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House, Inc. to bring readers the most up to date information available in a guidebook for Walt Disney World.

    We’re big fans of Walt Disney World here at TravelingMamas.com, with ThemeParkMom and MommyMusings living so close to the resort. It isn’t too hard for us to promote another great product that provides an easy to reference guide to all things Walt Disney World.

    One aspect of Kim’s guide that is important for family vacations with little kids that I like is how she lists scare factors for the various theme park rides. Nothing’s worse than getting on a ride with a younger child, only to discover halfway through that it’s just a little bit too intense for the child.

    Kim, a mother of two, wrote the first edition of Walt Disney World with Kids in 1989 and has logged more than 50 visits to the park, a statistic that stuns even her. She is the Disney expert for Fodors.com and a contributing editor at Disney Magazine and family.com—and since she’s not under the thumb of the park, she’s not afraid to tell it like it is!

    We like moms with honest opinions and we want to share Kim’s updated version of Walt Disney World with Kids 2011 with a few of our readers. Four randomly chosen winners will each get one (1) copy of Walt Disney World with Kids 2011. This contest is open to readers WORLDWIDE, as long as they are at least 21 years of age or older. Just leave a comment about a favorite theme park visit (or if you’ve never been anywhere, just leave a comment). Contest ends November 14, 2010 at 11:59PM CST. One entry per day per email address. Winner will be announced after the close of the contest on this post. Current and former contributors of TravelingMamas.com not eligible to enter.

    Be sure to check out Fodors.com for a wide array of Walt Disney World travel information and also check out our own ThemeParkMom’s blog full of all things theme parks, including happenings at Walt Disney World.

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  • Disney isn’t just about rides and parks, but about the overall experience and making Disney memories that last a lifetime. One of my personal favorite resorts is Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The onsite restaurant, The Mara, is one of the many quick service dining areas at Walt Disney World. I was looking for something different than the typical burger and fries option. My daughter and I were being escorted around the property by our special guide, Larry. When I voiced the request to see  as much as I could during our limited time at a Walt Disney World Resort, Larry suggested The Mara.

    Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Savannah Viewing Area

    We took a walk around Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge to take in the atmosphere of the property. Not many people are aware of this, but Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has the largest offering of South African wines in the US. For lunch, I wasn’t searching for an adult beverage at Disney, but I was glad to learn this fact, in case I visit in the future. We toured the interior and then took a step outside to the Savannah viewing area. Fortunately for us, the viewing area was pretty deserted, as everyone was touring the parks around that time of day.

    Little CajunMama had a wonderful time walking around the fenced area and learning facts about the animals. All the running around had us working up an appetite, so we headed over to The Mara. Disney had given us a set amount of dining vouchers, so we could learn how Disney’s Free Dining Plan works. It was pretty easy to use. The Mara is one of the restaurants listed on the back of the quick service voucher and meal included an appetizer, entree, dessert, and drink. It was too much food, so I opted for the African Stew and a small dessert.

    African Stew quick service dining at Mara Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

    African Stew at The Mara is a sweet and savory stew with meat and vegetables. It is served in a bread bowl and full of comfort. I really enjoyed this taste of Africa, even if it was being served in Florida. I did look around and realized that Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was the perfect setting for multigenerational families where some members can actually find peace and serenity inside Walt Disney World Resort. For lunchtime, there wasn’t a crowd at all and provided a moment for me to recharge myself during a busy visit to learn about Walt Disney World Resorts and the attractions for family vacations.

    The Mara is just one of many available quick service dining options at Walt Disney World Resort.

    Special thanks to Disney Parks and Resorts for providing the lunch vouchers for this post.

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