Let’s Go To Disney World!

After travelling to Disney World in Orlando multiple times over the years, I have enjoyed every magical moment and also learned a lot of “Must Do’s & Don’ts”. If you are thinking about going to live out your Disney dreams soon or in the future, here’s a few of the things I have learned that can hopefully help make it an even better experience!

 

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Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom

Research Where to Stay

I know, it sounds generic but if you don’t plan to go back multiple times (or even if you do), it is best to take a lot to see what you want to see/experience, how you want your experience to go, and budget. You can easily spend $3000 for a 5 day trip or you can spend $1500 – it all comes down to what you want to do. There are always deals for trips to Disney somewhere for the tickets, hotels, flights, or otherwise. What you need to figure out is if you plan to go all out or have a magical day and cost-effective stay. For instance, you can stay at one of the local Disney hotels and eat every meal at the theme parks. There are a great number of perks including free bands, complimentary shuttles, longer park hours, and meal packages. This could be a perfect option for those of you who only plan to visit Disney once and want to go all out for that magical experience the entire stay. However, this experience would obviously come with a cost…literally. Your stay in Disney could cost anywhere from $53 (campgrounds) to $300USD a night.

If you want a more cost-friendly alternative, you should look into the resorts that are near the magical parks (search Lake Buena Vista). For myself, I have stayed at various resorts that are about 10 minutes away that come fully loaded with kitchens, jacuzzis, and pools. I prefer this option mainly because I like to cook and snack a lot and the kitchen option is so convenient and saves you a lot on meal expenses as well. These hotels and resorts have shuttles that take you to the theme parks so you won’t have to worry about that if you don’t want to pay for parking either. This is why you need to research, darlings. You have many options available to you that can suit whatever experience you wish to have on your trip.

What to Eat

As I mentioned before, you need to decide what kind of experience you are looking for your trip. If you want to have a relaxing time, then just go and enjoy. If you are a Disney fan and want to make the most of your time there, it is always smart to first see what you want to see and experience so that you don’t end up disappointed if you miss something. For me, this lesson was learned after several attempts of trying to eat at difference restaurants at the theme parks. It is incredibly hard to find a dinner spot at Magic Kingdom if you want the full Disney experience. I highly recommend taking a look at which restaurants you feel like you simply must try and make a reservation ahead of time to ensure you get to try it out.

That said, there is plenty to eat around Disney Springs, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I highly recommend trying Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs for some delicious Asian dishes – including their Laksa Noodles. The decor is gorgeous, amazing service, and the food is delicious. Around the theme parks, there are a various number of snacks and stands that you can try. I would suggest to try something you have never tried before or something that is unique to that theme park. Epcot is the theme park where there is an abundant amount of foods and drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) for my foodie babies to try.

What To Do

Now this is all up to you. You can go and see what there is and be surprised and awed at all the magical things there. If you wish to ensure you see everything, always research what special events might be taking place. There are different shows, festivals, parades, and character sightings at all the parks, so don’t miss out! Take a look to see which rides you must see (It’s A Small World, anyone?) and get a FastPass for that ride to ensure you save on wait times. If you happen to go to Epcot during the Flower & Garden Festival, make sure you take the time to enjoy the gorgeous butterfly tent, the beautiful topiary displays of your favourite characters, and some refreshing foods.

If you want to check out the light and fireworks show at Magic Kingdom, be sure to get seats early because Disney fans start to sit down about an hour or earlier for the show. It is worth the wait and adds that magical touch to end your day. For all the other show times, make sure you take a gander beforehand so that you know where you want to be and when.

Last Tips

  • Get the Disney App – it has the wait times, Fast Pass, restaurant information and more!
  • Disney World Theme Parks all have free wi-fi for you
  • Star Wars fans should be sure to check out Disney Springs and Disney Hollywood Studios for shows and build your own lightsabers!
  • Parking is available for $20 (standard)
  • Disney Springs has free parking and many gift shop items for your last minute shopping needs.

Hope you have a wonderful trip! Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions! 

My Apologies

For the past few months I have been kept away from blogging and updating this website. I wanted to offer my sincere apologies for neglecting a site I had started and supposedly dedicated myself to. I have spent a lot of time reconfiguring my life, resetting my priorities, and finding my focus again. At any rate, if you had been following along on IG, you know that I slowed down on my snaps for a while but now I am back and refreshed. If any of you ever feel stuck, lost, or just a little hopeless, never hesitate to turn to the ones you love and trust. I had always been scared to trust and truly open up to someone. I always kept my guard up, let little bits of myself show at a time. But now, I am stronger because I can finally say that I have learned to have faith in someone…that when they say they love, care, and accept me…that they mean it. While it sounds like a high school girl’s diary entry, it is a sincere blissful moment when I realized that it was okay to believe that I can let someone in and believe that they won’t take it for granted.

I read countless articles over the past few months and these are the main points that kept me going:

  • Always appreciate someone who looks for the best in you, even as you grow and change throughout life.
  • Everyone has flaws, acknowledge yours and change what is damaging but also embrace who you are. Don’t change who you are fundamentally to suit someone else’s needs/wants because you will lose your self-worth.
  • Just because you feel stuck, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are…it just means that you are now open to new opportunities.
  • Never give up. It sounds silly but we can easily accept defeat at times because it is easier than trying again or trying something new. Push yourself to do more, experience more, especially when you haven’t quite figured out your next step. I’m not saying do something damaging to yourself…but try a new hobby/sport/activity or meet new friends. Even something as simple as trying new foods is a step forward from where you were before you tried it.

Hope you guys are ready for more updates. New Post about Disney coming your way!

Review: Chihuly Exhibit

“I WANT PEOPLE TO BE OVERWHELMED WITH LIGHT AND COLOR IN A WAY THAT THEY’VE NEVER EXPERIENCED.” – Dale Chihuly

Toronto artists’ attentions have been tuning into the new Chihuly exhibit now displayed at the Royal Ontario Museum. I took some time to check out this artist’s grand works and despite the criticism it has received from The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail, I was not disappointed by what I saw.

Photographers have your cameras ready because Chihuly encourages that you take photos of his works! The lighting and displays are perfect for you to get some gorgeous shots in.

 

Who is Chihuly?

Before I dive into the recap of my visit, let’s take a step back and discuss who Chihuly is. Dale Chihuly is an glass sculptor who’s blown glass art is recognized for its incredible scale and colourful display. Inspired by his experience in Venice, Chihuly co-founded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State where he and his team create beautiful glass art. His work is displayed all over the world permanently as well as temporary exhibits – such as the one in we have the pleasure of viewing here.

“Dale Chihuly, an American sculptor, has mastered the alluring, translucent and transparent qualities of ice, water, glass and neon, to create works of art that transform the viewer experience.”

-Royal Ontario Museum, 2016

The Exhibit

The photographer in my was bouncing around in anticipation to see Chihuly’s work in person. While glass blowing is an art that has been developed and explored by many artists, Chihuly’s works take it to new heights in it’s grandeur. Everywhere you look in the exhibit you are greeted with an array of colours and shapes that can only be described as “imagination”. The lights that are used to display these works truly illuminates them and you can see how each piece’s placement enhances one another.

One of the most coveted works on display would be the Persian Ceiling (see above). While it sparked a lot of controversy for the name, it was a delight to see the colourful lights decorate the room as it shone through the various coloured shapes on the ceiling. There are cushions and benches for you to sit or lie down and enjoy the view. I personally found the room amusing and beautiful in it’s simplicity. You don’t always need to be moved to tears by every work of art for it to be considered ‘good’.

Overall, I understand where some of the critics are coming from. From the onset, this exhibit did not start off on the right foot with the naming of the works. When you enter the exhibit, it seems very grand and yet sparse. However, I enjoyed my visit there because each piece was unique in it’s own way and Chihuly did deliver what he is known for – grand and beautiful coloured glass pieces.

Review: Tapagria

Taste of Spain in Markham

I have been waiting to try this place out for a while now and was ecstatic when my colleagues suggested we come here for our get together! This Markham restaurant serves a variety of Spanish tapas Let me be very upfront and say that yes, the prices are a little steep but the food is delicious and I would definitely go again.

Ambiance & Service

If you have ever read any of my previous reviews on Yelp or otherwise, you will know that the overall setting and service is just as significant as the quality of foods that you get at a restaurant. With regards to Tapagria, the decor is contemporary-rustic themed and you will get hints of Spanish culture in the design as well. Perhaps it is the nature of the cuisine or just a taste of the culture, but the environment is incredibly lively and makes you want to grab a beer and simply enjoy the space and company.  The service is wonderful – there really isn’t another way to describe it. We were seated immediately, provided water, and given recommendations along the way. Our server was very friendly and took the time to make small talk, checked on us throughout our meal and was charming to the end.

Food

The food is a wonderful mix of high end dishes (such as seared foie) and delicious snack to pair with your drinks. I highly recommend coming on Tuesdays when Tapagria has its $1 Oyster special. You get an assortment of different oysters that are incredibly fresh! If you wish to try Tapagria’s Paella, make sure you choose the one you want before you sit down because you need to give them 45 minutes to prepare it! Overall, the food quality was indeed delicious but did it make sense for the price point? I’d say that it is still a little pricey but not undeserved.

TL;DR

Food: 8/10

Service: 10/10

Would go again?: Yes, and soon.

 

 

 

Niagara Wineries

Over the course of the last few months, I have taken several trips to our local Niagara Falls as a mini getaway from the hectic comings and goings of everyday life. Just a little over an hour away from Toronto is the lush town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. You will know you are here the moment that you find yourself surrounded by wineries. On your visits, you can choose to plan your own tasting and wine tours or sign up for one of the many full day food and wine tours available. I have tried both and I highly recommend trying our the full day tours. Why? They prepare a shuttle that will pick you up at your hotel and take you to their select wineries to have private tours, tasting flights, & food pairings for each visit. If you already know what you like, you can opt to plan the visits yourself.

Having tried several wineries, here are some of my faves:

Stratus Vineyards | A Modern Masterpiece

Featured above is the gorgeous patio and red ice wine from Stratus Vineyard. Upon arrival, I was in awe by the design of the building; modern and elegant in its simplicity. Once you enter through their main doors, you will see that this simplicity is carried on throughout the building – however that is not to say that it is lacking in design. Attention to detail and exquisite taste in decor is ever present. Designed by Diego Burdi, everything in the vicinity is carefully handpicked and situated so that you can appreciate the boutique, the vineyard, and, of course, the wine. My wine of choice from their impeccable selection is their red ice wine. Each palette offers a different review but for myself, the dessert wine had a taste that reminded me of a homemade pie – warm, spiced, and comforting.

Peller Estates | Ice Wine on Ice

The Peller Estates Winery is beautiful and is exactly what you may expect an estate to be like. However, what you may not have anticipated is the 10Below Icewine Lounge where you can try some of Peller’s delicious ice wine on ice. No, it is not the wine on ice but rather you yourself! New images will be updated later on but for now, check out their official website to see a new way to chill this summer!

Two Sisters Vineyard | Kitchen76

Now what kind of foodie blogger would I be if I didn’t recommend you to this amazing restaurant? Two Sisters Vineyard is a gorgeous rustic Tuscan-villa styled winery that makes you feel as if you have suddenly been transported to a European countryside. The decor is grand yet very welcoming and the aroma wafting in from their award winning restaurant, Kitchen 76, is what caught my attention. As featured, I tried their charcuterie board to start (for what would go better with wine than some choice cured meats?). The arrangement was as pleasing to the eye as the rest of the winery. The winning dish for me was definitely their homemade ravioli. Cooked to perfection and seasoned just right, this dish was more than what I had expected to get.

More to update but with the long weekend coming up, I wanted to get a bit out for those who are considering to visit our gorgeous Ontario wineries with their loved ones.

Check back soon for more pictures, recommendations and tour info.

 

 

 

 

On my days off I try to see more of our gorgeous city. No matter how long you have lived in a place, you can still find things to appreciate and explore, right? I started my adventure today at the St. Lawrence Market and was welcomed by the delicious aromas that filled the building. From fresh pastries to that morning coffee smell, I was excited to start my foodie rampage! I actually found Everyday Gourmet by accident (I was looking for my friend and came across it!). I was drawn in by the sheer amount of coffee beans they had to choose from. I decided I wanted my favourite morning bev – a latte. It was rich in taste, smooth in texture and a delight.

I made my way upstairs and was simply giddy with excitement! There is simply so much to see, smell, and of course taste. I decided that today we will go with a seafood brunch. I went to the ever popular Buster’s Sea Cave and was not surprised by the line up that awaited me. Orders were being taken efficiently and our food was prepped and handed to us in no time. Here’s my brief recap for all my fellow foodies:

  • Lobster Bisque:: Nothing short of delicious. It smelled amazing and the texture was a rich, velvety and made my tongue purr for more. The flavour is just as impressive – there was no skimping on fresh ingredients for sure.
  • Crab cakes:: I was impressed by the size of the crab cakes for starters. Secondly, it was packed with flavour and well seasoned. The cook is perfect and the sauce that accompanies it enhances it but does not take away from the star of the show.
  • Rainbow Trout Sandwich:: First off, I love coleslaw and the fact that we got some with each dish made my day. Secondly, the sandwich is well balanced with delicious fresh toasted bread. My trout was cooked and seasoned to perfection and I was down for seconds once even though we were stuffed by that point.

Aside from the delicious cooked food that is offered at the market, the range of fresh ingredients up for sale is incredible. From fresh seafood to organic spices, you can take a lot home to cook up a delicious meal for you and your loved ones.

Coming up next, beer and snacks at a busy Pokestop?!