Worst to Best: List of Disney Dining Experiences at Disney World Spring Break 2015, Number Eleven (11): San Angel Inn

I've now been to Disney World four (4) separate times. The last time I went, I HONESTLY spent one month and a small fortune. Twenty thousand dollars and counting. Yes, you read that right. $20,000.00. Let's just say that for the life of me, "money burns a hole in my pocket". I am *that* ridiculous of a spender. This is NOT the blog where I tell you how I paid off $52,000 in three months or the frugal ways in which I save a buck. No sireebob. I am a spender and I am STILL paying for it. Not to mention that I have *added* to my Disney trips with my next upcoming adventure happening in March 2016. This post is a recount of Disney Trip #2, Spring Break 2015 with my kiddos in tow. We judged and ranked e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and I'll be happy to write you back.

From twelve (12) to one (1), I give you the Worst to Best experiences as journaled and photographed by me and my kiddos during our Spring Break Trip 2015.

11th place: San Angel Inn

In the very dark and dimly lit San Angel Inn Restaurante at the Mexican Pavilion at EPCOT

In the very dark and dimly lit San Angel Inn Restaurante at the Mexican Pavilion at EPCOT

Outside the Mexican Pavilion at Disney's EPCOT. Basically you need to go *inside* to experience things.

Outside the Mexican Pavilion at Disney's EPCOT. Basically you need to go *inside* to experience things.

One must *always* wear the hats.

One must *always* wear the hats. Tenemos que SIEMPRE llevar los sombreros. Siempre.

The lighting at San Angel makes you think it's nighttime even when it's 92 degrees and blazing sun outside.

The lighting at San Angel makes you think it's nighttime even when it's 92 degrees and blazing sun outside.

I wear my sunglasses *upside down* at night...so I can, so I can... (name that tune)

I wear my sunglasses *upside down* at night...so I can, so I can... (name that tune)

Gazpacho at San Angel, Gluten, Dairy, Egg and Soy Free Eating at Disney.

Gazpacho Appetizer at San Angel: Gluten, Dairy, Egg and Soy Free Eating at Disney.

The receipt for San Angel Inn Restaurante

The receipt for San Angel Inn Restaurante

San Angel Inn comes in at 48% average total overall. Son gave it a 48%, Daughter gave it a 43% and I generously gave it a 55%. San Angel Inn is located in the Mexican Pavilion at EPCOT. Here are some key reasons why we scored San Angel Inn as low as we did.

1. It's so dimly lit within that you actually grow tired. Instead of revving up the engines and powering up for more adventures outside in the blazing sun, we left the restaurant tired and in need of "una siesta". Then we were ray-blasted and pelted with "rapid pupil contrictivitis". OK, so I made up the word constrictivitis. Whatever. What I'm saying here is, MY EYEBALLS! EVERYTHING HAS TURNED WHITE!

2. The food really didn't beat out any good Mexican restaurant where I live in the Midwest. What I'm saying is: I live in the MIDWEST. We are not known for Mexican food! However, due to the influx of many Mexicans as well as their food and culture, even in the Midwest I can get tortilla chips and salsa which seems to be standard fare and was the first thing on the table at San Angel Inn. As for my children, the food was so uneventful that they didn't even remember what they had to eat later in the day. You might think that they have poor memories. They don't! I, very much, do. Therefore, I take many pictures.

3. The waitress/waiter forgot about us. They left us sitting for twenty minutes unattended, wanting to pay the bill. The good news is that it wasn't busy at the restaurant. The bad news is that it wasn't busy at the restaurant, so why did they leave us to sit for so long? Maybe they were switching shifts. Maybe we weren't important. I don't know. I shouldn't have to think up excuses.

4. The food didn't have any *love* or *zing* or *wow* about it. It was just decent Mexican food. That's it. Average, decent Mexican food. Calling Fiesta Cancun or San José Taquería right now, I would likely get equivalent fare. However, let me repeat that I'm in the Midwest and not Disney's Mexican Pavilion at EPCOT on a Deluxe Dining Program.

5. My kids liked the hats. Quiere decir,"los sombreros". Cuz, they cool, that's what.

6. San Angel is a one credit restaurant. So, as I've lived and learned and grown in my Disney experiences, I have found that to break even on the Deluxe Dining plan paying an adult price, one must account for at LEAST $37 dollars worth of food stuffs to break even at a one credit restaurant. We were $2.73 off that mark. So, our score for San Angel Inn was average, like its food, as a result.

7. I kinda HATE not having dessert options. I am a Disney Guest who adds special requests in advance that I have a dairy allergy and gluten, egg and soy intolerances. I got a $2.50 fruit cup that tasted like it had come out of a can. Maybe it did, maybe it didn't. Either way, for these Deluxe Dining plans and with advance notice, you'd think I could get something better than a fruit cup. My kids always get the great desserts! Lucky for them, at the least!

Worst to Best: List of Disney Dining Experiences at Disney World Spring 2015, Number Twelve (12): Cinderella’s Royal Table

I've now been to Disney World four (4) separate times. The last time I went, I HONESTLY spent one month and a small fortune. Twenty thousand dollars and counting. Yes, you read that right. $20,000.00. Let's just say that for the life of me, "money burns a hole in my pocket". I am *that* ridiculous of a spender. This is NOT the blog where I tell you how I paid off $52,000 in three months or the frugal ways in which I save a buck. No sireebob. I am a spender and I am STILL paying for it. Not to mention that I have *added* to my Disney trips with my next upcoming adventure happening in March 2016. This post is a recount of Disney Trip #2, Spring Break 2015 with my kiddos in tow. We judged and ranked e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and I'll be happy to write you back.

From twelve (12) to one (1), I give you the Worst to Best experiences as journaled and photographed by me and my kiddos during our Spring Break Trip 2015.

12th place: Cinderella's Royal Table

With Cinderella at Cinderella's Royal Table Restaurant

With Cinderella at Cinderella's Royal Table Restaurant

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The whole gang and Cinderella too!

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After the guests take photos with Cinderella, she waits and waits, in costume until everyone upon everyone leaves. Once she twirled and flitted her hands.

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Cinderella's Royal Table Menu

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Cover Art for the Menu at Cinderella's Royal Table

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Snow White at CRT

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Sleeping Beauty at CRT

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Ariel at CRT

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Jasmine at CRT. The only Princess that shows off her tummy!

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$60 plate. Gluten, Dairy, Egg and Soy Free.

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$60 steak for my son. He was 12 years old at the time.

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Dessert is included in the price of the DELUXE meal plan at Disney.

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I just might be able to make this "s'more puff" at home. Might need a graham cracker.

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Allergy Free Dessert at Cinderella's Royal Table. These come out of a box. I can buy this box of cookies and rice dream "ice cream" at my local supermarket. I know, because I have this fancy dessert at my own house.

 

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Plastic Sword from CRT. Frankly, it doesn't even have the "Cinderella's Royal Table" poorly stamped on it. I think it's a multi-purpose sword suitable for Pirates of the Caribbean, the Caribbean Beach Resort, various carnivals and Renaissance Faires. My son laughed about this whilst waving it about on our mile trek at midnight back to our car.

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Outside the entrance of Cinderella's Royal Table, in the hall underneath the castle, are beautiful stained-glass style mosaic murals.

Cinderella's Royal Table comes in at 8% average total overall. Son gave it a 5%, Daughter gave it a 6% and I generously gave it a 15%. This is *by a mile* the lowest scoring overall average percentage of anywhere dining at anytime at Disney. Here are some key reasons why we scored Cinderella's Royal Table the way we did.

1. Getting a reservation for this place is practically impossible. Like a dream, someone dumped off a late night post 9:50 pm reservation (I understand why now) and so I grabbed it because I thought that besides Victoria and Albert's (which is as I understand 5 star, Michelin chef, dream-inspired, world-class, haute cuisine) we *had* to go there. All I can say is that children were sleeping and snoring in the restaurant. It was absolutely hilarious and bizarre. The three of us looked at each other, laughed and sarcastically commented on how this experience and dining was costing us two credit points.

2. We were last in the reception area to be called up to dinner. It's really boring in the reception area when you've taken your pictures with Cinderella and listen to the sound of the dinner gong being played for everyone but you. Eventually the "crown gonger" took pity on us and let my kids have a swing at the gong while we waited our turn.

3. Our waitress was sarcastic. She just didn't see how it was possible to accommodate my food allergy and intolerances at that time of night. (Dairy, gluten, egg and soy are listed in advance on each of my dining reservations). But hey, whatevs. Charge us the same amount anyway.

4. I think the chef was annoyed to have to personally accommodate my allergies, especially during dessert. I don't really complain at all, in person. So, here I am a year later finally writing something about it. I was flabbergasted that I got rice dream in a plastic bowl with three cookies from a box that I could have purchased at my local grocery store. See the picture, inset here, with my "extremely fancy" ice cream and cookies. They really had nothing else for me. This is supposed to be a 2 credit experience and the food was simply lackluster. My son's carrots were overcooked and my dessert was something that I can and *have* made at home.

5. Cinderella doesn't show up to dinner.

6. My daughter got a plastic wand with Cinderella's Royal Table stamped on it. The thing? Most of the paint was already chipping off the wand.

7. My son's seriously carnival-esque plastic sword. Laughable. I think I can buy this sword at the Dollar Store. I think.

8. There are no Photopass photographers for the other princesses. Maybe I'm asking too much. But the thing is, they *used* to give you a professional photograph in a lovely sleeve during your meal at Akershus, circa 2012. Alas, no more of that awesomeness.

9. Did I mention the two dining credit points? I did? Let me go right ahead and just re-mention it here. Again, two credit points. At $60 a plate divided by 2, it comes to $30 a credit which is $7 dollars less that the credit point paid in advance. A loss of $14 for two adult meals and I'm not adding the cost of the "child's meal" which had a better dessert than mine, by the way.

10. The time stamp on the receipt is just prior to midnight. I think that very *telling* and slightly humorous, given the tale of Cinderella abruptly needing to leave before the clock struck twelve. What I'm saying is...it's too late to eat dinner at that time of night. Really, it is. Lesson learned.

How to Wind a Bobbin Tutorial by Sew Girly

My daughter, I will call her "Sew Girly", is 10 years-old and decided to make a tutorial today on "How to Wind a Bobbin" using a computerized sewing machine. You see, she received a sewing machine for Christmas and each day that we have off from school for Winter Break is an opportunity to do something different with our day. Today's weather is sleeting, slizzling (new word that I invented) and slushy. As you can see, she doesn't even leave her pajamas for the purpose of this tutorial because we haven't left the house today due to the weather.

As a service to other young crafters out there, Sew Girly wanted to make this tutorial to a.) showcase how easy it is to wind a bobbin and b.) showcase her ability to instruct step-by-step at a young age. Of course, I am biased and think she is GREAT yet I know the world can be a cruel place. Naturally, if I post this tutorial for public viewing, others may be inclined to comment and some, I imagine, won't have anything particularly nice to say. To deflect negativity and as a concerned mother, I have created this video by link only and I have opted to moderate any comments.

If you have constructive criticism that is positively worded and suited to the audience of a ten year-old, I will share it. Also, if you have praise, I will share it. However, if it is venomous or designed to hurt feelings; naturally, I will not post or share these comments.

Simply stated, the tutorial calls for the following supplies on hand to be able to practically follow along.

  1. A computerized sewing machine. (Sew Girly is using a "Project Runway" Brother brand, 100 stitch count computerized sewing machine).
  2. Thread
  3. Scissors
  4. Bobbin

Have fun and tell us if you are successful in winding your bobbin!

 

$17,000 “Diagnostic” Colonoscopy Nightmare

I had a colonoscopy from hell about 1.5 years ago. I am *still* paying for this dastardly ordeal. Apparently there are two types of colonoscopies. Routine and Diagnostic. Routine colonoscopies are paid for through your insurance, by and large near to 100%. Diagnostic colonoscopies are charged rather heftily on your insurance's percentage basis. My routine colonoscopy became diagnostic and was subsequently charged over $17,000 for one of the most miserable experiences of my life. I was overly sedated, the doctor never spoke with me post-op that I recall and I was warned that if I didn't leave the hospital, I would be charged an overnight stay. I was so dizzy and still pooping and peeing on myself that I wish to GOD I would have read this post

What I really should have done right after my colonoscopy from the "bowels" of hell.

What I really should have done right after my colonoscopy from the "bowels" of hell.

before or even right after I had the colonoscopy. I would have called and asked for the credentials of each and every person who determined that my colonoscopy was labeled "diagnostic" instead of the "routine" that I'd expected and I wonder if, just *if* some bozo with barely a H.S. diploma ran my billing as "diagnostic" to the tune of $17,000.

I remember them saying far after the fact, "We found a polyp and removed it." I don't recall one single shred of evidence supporting the claim of polyp removal but I am being charged a king's ransom because the "diagnosis" was that I have a "polyp". I still have $400 dollar to go on this nightmare of a colonoscopy.

Did I mention how disgusting it is to lay on your side with your butt sticking out so that someone can stick a plastic snake with a camera on it up your butt hole? And they say, "Oh it's routine! It's easy! We do dozens of these a day! You'll be in and out!"

Bull excrement. And I'm PAYING for this.

Merry Christmas to the Lonely

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Merry Christmas to the lonely. Merry Christmas to the mom and/or dad who doesn't have their kids on Christmas at all.Merry Christmas to the people who are skipping Christmas because they don't have enough money. Merry Christmas to the husband or wife who is missing the love of their life due to loss. Merry Christmas to the one's whose family is scattered with no real connections living close by. Merry Christmas to the people who awkwardly attend other people's Christmas' because other people "insist". Merry Christmas to the abandoned. Merry Christmas to the heartbroken. Merry Christmas to the people who have tragically lost other people about which they care deeply.

Merry Christmas at the most "wonderful time of the year" which is honestly the most "challenging time of year" for so many.

And Merry Christmas to YOU, if you are reading this.

French History: The Good and The Bad

As I have time to reflect during this Christmas break, I find myself furiously scavenging through Pinterest and coming across new, exciting and interesting topics for my students this Spring semester. One of which is French History in all its forms. Consider this picture:

shavedheadfrench

What a conversation starter!

CLASS QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION: "Qu'est-ce que vous en pensez?" (=What do you think?) Can you imagine if "consorting with the enemy" resulted in women being humiliated by having their heads shaved while other snapped pictures and uploaded them to Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or any other social media?

Or consider this picture:

marieantoinetteinundergarments

It's incredible! The BBC reports that, "It was this portrait that shocked a nation. Marie Antoinette, the queen of France in 1783, had already outraged the French with her opulence; now she managed to scandalise the nation by ditching the glitz and taking a more simple approach to her outfits. So simple, in fact, that the nation thought she had posed for the portrait in her underwear."

CLASS QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION: "Qu'est-ce que vous en pensez?" (=What do you think?) Can you point to any celebrities in our culture that have been photographed looking or acting inappropriately? Was Marie Antoinette a trend-setter in your opinion? Why or why not?

I created a French: History and Beyond Pinterest Board, borne out of my fascination with the compelling images I saw connecting back to French history, culture and scandal. If you'd like to check out the board, which I have only recently created (therefore, a work in progress), I encourage you to click HERE.

Can you think of any other discussion questions relevant to the above photos?

I would be honored to hear from you! Leave your comment in the section below.

Christmas Lesson in Finnish from Joulupukki (Santa Claus)

arctic_circle_laplandAt this time of year, I am reminded of my time in Finland. Around this week in December, I traveled north to Rovaniemi on the Napapiiri (Arctic Circle) of Finland where Santa Claus Village and Santa live! Santa is "Joulupukki" in Finnish and I have discovered the perfect video, lasting only a little over 6 minutes. In that time, you will be taught basic greetings and farewells by Joulupukki himself. Terve! Näkemiin ja kiitoksia paljon! If you have no idea how to say those - watch the video and practice.

If you are interested in the Finnish language besides this basic vocabulary, I have listed the Finnish for Foreigners book, which did in fact teach me a great deal of Finnish even while I was living, learning and studying in Finland. It is a wonderful resource and I can clearly state: "Kiitos "Suomea Ulkomalaisille"" (Thanks "Finnish for Foreigners") for the language skills I was taught within your pages. I have listed this book in the Amazon Marketplace link on the right. If you are interested, you can pick up a copy of it there. It is actually very good especially if you would like to learn more about the Finnish language and get some quality lessons in the convenience of your home.

Spanish Page Coming Soon!

YouTube_Banner_ChristmasAs with the French page, my goal is to create a Spanish page as well. The page should serve as an outstanding resource for all students of Spanish, be they in my classes or not!

Here's a wonderful christmas spanish "villancico" (christmas carol) for you to listen to. It's extra catchy!

It's called "Mi Burrito Sabanero" which means, "My wise little Donkey".

 

What did you think? Here's what you can type en español if:

You love it = ME ENCANTA
You like it = ME GUSTA
You didn't like it! = NO ME GUSTA
You hate it = ODIO

Feel free to let me know what you think of the song in the comments section in Spanish and I will respond to you!

French Lesson One: Basic Greetings

French Land! France! La langue Française! Let's start with the basics.

GREETINGS
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An absolute super resource for all things FRENCH and one that I often show my students is my Pinterest Pin Page for French and Spanish Classes.

Click HERE to see the Pinterest Board populated with over 2,000+ images, inspirations and lessons on French.

The one thing I see missing is the "How to say it?" category. Often, this is the missing piece of the puzzle for people which is why, *ding!*: Your teacher has arrived! For each French word follow these three basic instructions.

1. Make two columns on a paper.

2. Title the first column: The French Word

3. Title the second column: How to Say It

From now on, every time you see a set of parentheses...like this --> (        ); whatever is inside the parentheses is the "how to say it" and NOT the "how to spell it," OK? For each new word I will have a separate set of parentheses.

For example:

BONJOUR                                                           (bone-zjoohr)

SALUT                                                                  (sah-lew)

AU REVOIR*                                  (oh) (ruh-vwahr)       * most people simply say (oh-vwahr) and leave out the (ruh) part. It's like, "Bye!"

BONSOIR                                        (bone-swahr)

COMMENT ÇA VA?                      (koh-maw) (sah) (vah)

COMMENT ALLEZ-VOUS?        (koh-mawnt) (ah-lay) (vooh)

ÇA VA BIEN                                   (sah) (vah) (bee-yahn)

ÇA VA MAL                                    (sah) (vah) (mahl)

COMME ÇI, COMME ÇA            (kuhm) (see) (kuhm) (sah)

JE M'APPELLE                             (zjuh) (mah) (pell)

À TOUT À L'HEURE                    (ah) (toot) (ah) (luhr)

MERCI                                            (mare-see)

JE SUIS DÉSOLÉ(E)*                 (zjuh) (swee) (day-zoh-lay)     *In writing, use two "e's" if you are female, one if you are male. They are both pronounced the same way.

EXCUSEZ-MOI                            (ex-kew-zay) (mwah)

JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE        (zjoy-yuhz) (ah-nee-vare-sare)

 

Voilà! There it is! Your introductory lesson on basic greetings in French.

 

 

French Page Coming Soon!

This is a little filler text for a French Page I am trying to set up!

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So that image doesn't have anything to do with French...but I am including it just to see if I can create a link in the top bar for navigation. And, I wanted the post to look at least marginally "dressed up".