the adventures of a brown eyed girl and her brown eyed dog Thu, 23 Aug 2012 14:31:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Disney’s Art of Animation Resort — Part 5 Sun, 19 Aug 2012 23:29:23 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Whew!  What a resort!  And there are 2 more sections to visit…  The Lion King suites are open now, but I didn’t have time to visit 🙁  The Little Mermaid section will be standard rooms, and opening soon.  We have reservations there in December, but I have to say that I am seriously considering switching to back to POP or another resort.  Even though it would be fun to stay in those old shells across the lake (and the rooms look adorable!), they are very far away from Animation Hall.  The walkways were closed, so I couldn’t measure, but… the Mermaid rooms look to be farther away than any of the POP rooms.  And I have stayed in a POP room that was actually outside the gates of Disney (seriously – you could see the Mickey arches from the room).  We stayed in the 50’s section of POP, which is pretty remote itself, and the walk across Hourglass Lake, through the Nemo section to Animation Hall was closer than the Mermaid rooms appear to be.  We’ll see…

I’ll get more pics of all the sections for you soon.  In the meantime, here are a few more:

The Lion King

Another view of the bus stops

The bus stops are very nice with the shelters.  Over at POP standing out in the beating sun and pouring rain can be miserable.  I’ve seen reports that POP and AoA are sharing buses, but that was not my experience.  Each destination has individual stops for each and while we were there in August, there was no sharing.  We did, however, use the AoA buses a few times as the room we were staying at in POP was about equidistant between the 2 halls.

I love Disney buses!

Mermaid Rooms



Disney’s Art of Animation Resort — Part 4 Cars Sun, 19 Aug 2012 22:53:11 +0000

If you visit the new Art of Animation Resort at Walt Disney World, you will likely find yourself right in the heart of Radiator Springs – the cutest little town in Carburetor County!

Radiator Springs – the cutest little town in Carburetor County

Cozy Cone Pool

Cute Cabanas!

So much fun!!



Disney’s Art of Animation Resort — Part 3 Finding Nemo Sun, 19 Aug 2012 20:13:47 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

The closest guest room section to Animation Hall is themed after Finding Nemo. Coming out of Animation Hall, you will find yourself looking right at the Big Blue Pool.

The Big Blue Pool

(I just noticed that a couple captions are linking to the wrong pictures – sorry for the confusion. Will fix that ASAP)

Just to the right is the Drop Off Pool Bar, featuring these tasty items, as well as your favorite beverages:

Look closely..

I’ve heard rumors that this mug refill station is open 24 hours – or at least really late. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten back to the resorts after the food courts are closed – this would be so handy.

24 hour mug refills?

Some more pool pics…

It wouldn’t be Finding Nemo without these guys


You never know who’s hanging around

Most of AoA is made up of family suites. The doors are inside, rather than outside like the other value resorts.

Finding Nemo Hallway

Cool carpet – is that a hidden Mickey?

The room numbers are starfish!

Pretty lights

All of the buildings have adorable sketches

Even pretty in the rain


That’s a big Mr. Ray!

The Schoolyard Sprayground

And a couple night shots…

So nice to come home to

The Righteous Reef Playground

And that’s the Finding Nemo section – buildings 4 & 5 – of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.

Next up? Cars!

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort — Part 2 Sun, 19 Aug 2012 17:26:43 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Let’s head inside Animation Hall and see what’s in there!

Entering Animation Hall

Colorful Check In

So pretty

Awesome Chandelier

Shopping and Eating. Yes, please.

Ink & Paint Shop

As you would expect, since the building already existed, the check in area, shop and food court are all laid out in a very similar fashion to Classic Hall over at POP Century.  Everything seemed just a little bit smaller to me – which could be an optical illusion, but I wonder if they have more going on backstage.  I’ll do more research on that…

AoA has a ton of themed merchandise – I’d love to see more of that at the resorts.

I’m sending this t-shirt to everyone in my family. If I can remember…

All that shopping can make you hungry.  Good thing the Landscape of Flavors food court is right through that arch…

The set up is similar to POP, but the menu is definitely different, featuring more international flair along with the usual pizza & burgers.  I only ate there once this trip and will post my review soon.

Tandoor Portuguese Sausage with acorn squash, spinach paneer, lentils, rice and naan

Wanna see the rest of the resort?  Coming right up…

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort — Part 1 Sun, 19 Aug 2012 03:24:28 +0000 Continue reading ]]> For years, I’ve looked across Hourglass Lake at the creepy remains of what was meant to be the other half of Disney’s POP Century Resort – The Legendary Years…

Not quite done, but quite creepy

POP Century represents the 1950’s through the 1990’s.  The Legendary Years would have been the 1900’s through the 1940’s, but the project was abandoned around 2001.  I’ve read conflicting reports about why the resort was never completed, with most saying that it was due to the reduction of visitors after 9/11.  Whatever the reason, there has been a mirror image resort sitting there for over 10 years – the main building and a few shells of guest rooms way over yonder.  The bridge over Hourglass Lake (Generation Gap) ended in a wall.

Generation Gap Bridge (I wonder if they will rename it?)

Then… the rumors started and the construction crews arrived…

Construction trailer

And just like that – the 1900’s to 1940’s were gone…

The Legendary Years were scrapped, and the new family resort, Disney’s art of ANIMATION was born.

The big sign

I have to tell you, it’s really weird standing on the “other side” of the bridge looking back at POP.

The wall came down

And in a few months, we are scheduled to stay in those creepy empty shells that are now the single rooms of the Little Mermaid section.

Little Mermaid section – opening soon

And now for what you’ve been waiting for: pics of the resort!  I will review the food court in another post soon.  The Cars and Finding Nemo sections have been open for a month or so and the Lion King just opened – I’ll get pictures of that for you next month.  Enjoy!

Front of AoA


Love the building deco

The bus stops have shelters over them – nice touch. Wish POP had that.

Next post, we’ll go inside Animation Hall!

Live August Disney Trip Report #2 Sat, 11 Aug 2012 20:54:24 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Still here at Walt Disney World – and, as I expected, I’m too busy and tired to write much. The non-existent “free wi-fi” at my resort isn’t helping either. I’m not dragging my iPad to the parks, so without wi-fi, there’s no way to get the pictures on here to share with you.

Here’s one for ya – lunch today at the Sci Fi diner at Hollywood Studios. The All American Picnic Burger: a burger topped with a hot dog topped with sauerkraut, all of the fixins and a pickle spear…


Live August Disney Trip Report #1a Fri, 10 Aug 2012 18:37:01 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 20120810-143552.jpg

We are on our way! Up in the air somewhere over the East Coast. Got off to a bit of a late start, probably because of the weather. The plane was a few minutes late getting in and after we boarded, they announced that we would have to wait at least an hour before we could take off because our route was closed… Luckily, they found another route that took us out over the ocean and we were only about 30 minutes late getting off the ground.

I have to say in the MANY times I’ve flown Southwest, this is only the second time we’ve been significantly late. And 30 minutes isn’t so late, so it’s tough to complain.

One thing I am going to complain about is the size of these seats! Got one of the really old planes with the flat wings (not the cute Southwest fins) and I barely, just barely fit with 3 of us in the row. And I’m not that big.

Little bit of turbulence but not so bad. I ordered a Bloody Mary just in case. It was a little lite on the tomato juice, but it helped me sleep for a while.

I’m sure I will have to power down shortly, so I’ll see you when we land!


On the bus!!!

Live August Disney Trip Report #1 Fri, 10 Aug 2012 13:55:08 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Ok – let’s see if I can keep a live trip report going!

Heading off to Walt Disney World for the weekend. Someone posted one of those silly pictures to my Facebook a couple weeks ago that said “I see you’re feeling down lately. Maybe you should book your next trip to Disney and see if that cheers you up”


This last minute getaway is partially in response to a very sad, rough couple of weeks. And while it’s certainly not a cure – I sure am feeling better.

Dropped the Woodster off at “camp” this morning (I’m sure he’ll post about that!), sailed through security at the airport and here I am waiting at the gate in my big red Minnie crocs.


See ya real soon!

A Rose of a Different Color Sun, 05 Aug 2012 02:14:12 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Several colors, in fact.

This beautiful bud is growing in my garden, and although it is so pretty as it is (pink), it wanted to try on some new looks…

My beautiful rose

Cauliflower & Brussel Sprout Gratin Sat, 04 Aug 2012 01:51:48 +0000 Continue reading ]]> This Cauliflower & Brussel Sprout Gratin is inspired by Bobby Flay and his Bar Americain recipes.  I was looking for a cheesy side dish to go with my pulled turkey sandwiches.  Something that wasn’t potato based (although I do LOVE potatoes).  When I was shopping for the ingredients, I came across some beautiful brussel sprouts and thought they would make a great addition.  I’m never quite sure if I like goat cheese, so I used cheddar jack as one of my cheeses, to counteract some of the sourness.

This is not a particularly quick or easy recipe, but it’s well worth it and the leftovers just keep getting better.

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Shred your cheeses and cut up the cauliflower and broccoli.


Flowers and Sprouts

Bring the milk to a simmer in a small pan.  In a larger saucepan, melt the butter and make a roux by whisking in the flour.  Whisk and cook for about a minute, but don’t let the roux get too dark.

This happens a lot in my kitchen

Roux, who?

Whisk in the milk bit by bit and bring up the heat.  Keep whisking until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and whisk in about half the cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste – if needed.  The cheese may be salty enough already.

Cheese rocks!

Add the cheese sauce to the cauliflower and brussel sprouts in a large bowl and mix to coat the veggies.  Spoon into a buttered baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese.

Look at the sunlight glinting off that cheese…

Bake for about an hour.  The cheese will be bubbly and gooey and the veggies will be tender.  If you are using a shallow pan, put it on a baking sheet to keep the oven clean.

Inspired by Bobby Flay

Cauliflower & Brussel Sprout Gratin

  • 3 cups whole milk (I do use the “real stuff” for this)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar/jack cheese
  • 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • medium head of cauliflower cut into bite sized pieces
  • dozen (or so) brussel sprouts

Preheat oven to 350º and butter a baking dish big enough for your veggies plus cheese.  Bring the milk to a simmer in a small pan.  Make a light roux by melting the butter in a larger sauce pan and whisking in the flour.  Whisk for about a minute until blended, but not dark.  Slowly add the milk, whisking continuously until thickened.  Remove from heat and whisk in half the cheese.  Add to the cauliflower and brussel sprouts and mix until veggies are well coated.  Scoop into the baking dish, top with the rest of the cheese and bake for about an hour.  Let it settle a bit before serving.

Worth all the whisking

I served this with pulled turkey sandwiches and it was even better when some of the gravy snuck over and mixed with the cheese.  So, soooooo good!  I can also see this going really well with a nice steak or other chunk of meat.

As I think about it, some crispy bacon or pancetta would be pretty awesome baked into this…

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