Archive for the 'Amusement Park Fare' Category

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Disneyland: Home of the World's Best Corndog

Disneyland Summer 2010

Banh mi has been synonymous with Disneyland for me for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my mom always purchased a couple of sandwiches from the local deli for my brother and me to eat while visiting the park. Bringing our own lunches was not only economical, but also perfectly delicious for our Vietnamese-trained taste buds.

I’ve continued this tradition as an adult because a parade of junk food can’t compare with a taste of home. Or so I thought… All was well in my brown bagging world up until a few months ago when I heard rumblings that Disneyland was a noteworthy dining destination. From the freshly made corndogs on Main Street U.S.A. to the deep-fried Monte Cristo sandwiches in New Orleans Square, the food at Disneyland suddenly piqued my interest.  A full investigation was in order.

Disneyland Summer 2010

It saddened me a little walking into the park without my usual bag of banh mi sandwiches, but one whiff of the Little Red Wagon corndog cart and the matter was completely forgotten. Located just beyond Main Street toward Tomorrow Land, the Little Red Wagon dishes out battered and fried wieners from morning until night. The Astronomer and I made a bee line for the cart as soon as we entered the park.

Disneyland Summer 2010

After enduring a fifteen minute long wait, we were rewarded with the world’s best corndog ($5.79). The exterior was deep-fried to a delectable golden brown, while the hot dog was juicy like you wouldn’t believe. What set this corndog apart was the thick layer of breading hugging the dog that somehow managed to crisp up nicely and yet remain fluffy too. It also had very distinct cornmeal notes that I really liked. Truly, Disney’s creation was  heads and shoulders above every corndog I’ve ever eaten. Even the  grease dribbling down the stick and onto my fingers didn’t detract from the awesomeness.

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Walt Disney World’s EPCOT: A Family Friendly Taste of Morocco, Japan, and Norway

EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort

After growing up on a steady diet of Disney movies, Disney soundtracks, and Disneyland, I was excited like you wouldn’t believe to visit the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. The complex is the size of a small island nation. In addition to dozens of enormous resorts that hold thousands of guests each, it boasts six amusement parks: Magic Kingdom (a Floridian replica of the Anaheim original), Hollywood Studios (Disney’s take on Universal Studios), Animal Kingdom (lions, tigers, and bears), two water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach), and EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow).

I hope to visit each park someday, but since The Astronomer and I only had one day to pay our respects to the Disney gods, we chose to explore EPCOT. By the way, the park’s “golf ball” centerpiece is called Spaceship Earth and houses a ride that narrates a shortened history of the world.

EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort

EPCOT is divided into two sections: Future World and World Showcase. We started our day in Future World, which focuses on “technological advancements, innovation, and wonder.” The Astronomer felt right at home there.

EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort

Since nothing works up an appetite quite like using your imagination, we soon headed to World Showcase to grab a bite. Set around a man-made lagoon, World Showcase is comprised of a collection of pavilions representing the cultures and cuisines of Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada.

Each country has a formal, sit-down restaurant that requires advance reservations either by phone or in person at guest services. As soon as we arrived at the park, The Astronomer and I booked a table at the Norwegian restaurant because The Astronomer’s mother recalled enjoying a buffet with an abundance of smoked fishes the last time she dined there.

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, and Chicken Fingers

Islands of Adventure - Orlando

The Astronomer and I traveled to Orlando earlier this summer for the National Down Syndrome Congress. While in town for the informative and inspiring conference, we made sure to pencil in a few extra days to dabble in some amusement park action. Whereas I was looking forward to visiting EPCOT at Walt Disney World, the thrill-seeking Astronomer was stoked about Universal’s Islands of Adventure. As luck would have it, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened a few weeks before our trip.

Islands of Adventure - Orlando

Truth be told, I have never read a Harry Potter book or seen a Harry Potter movie in my life.  The Astronomer only remembers bits and pieces of the stories after sleeping through the audio books on a couple of family road trips. Still, we were both excited to ride the rides and eat the eats, even though we had no idea of their literary significance.

Islands of Adventure - Orlando

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a unique experience because it stays true to the theme at every turn. All of the rides, shops, and foods available in this section of the park capture various elements from the novels. It was a balmy ninety or so degrees when we arrived, so a tall glass of Butterbeer was definitely in order. According to HarryPotter.Wikia.com, Butterbeer is a popular wizarding beverage with a very slight alcohol content and a taste “a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch.”

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