Learn How to Decorate Your Own Mickey Dome Cake at Amorette’s Patisserie

Decorate Mickey Dome Cake Amorette's Patisserie Disney Springs

Oh, those gorgeous cakes at Amorette’s Patisserie – if you’ve ever been lucky enough to wander in the pretty shop in Disney Springs while the artists are decorating, it’s a wonder to watch. When I visited in February, I was amazed watching as the cake artist created one of those Mickey Domes. She made it look so easy! So when this new experience popped up on the Disney Parks Blog – I was thrilled!

Now you can learn how to work your own magic with the new Cake Decorating Experience at Amorette’s Patisserie beginning March 31. Reservations opened March 22, and the experience, which must be booked in advance, will be from 8:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. every Friday through May 5.

Sip complimentary specialty coffee, mimosas and bellinis while you work side by side with the pros at Amorette’s Patisserie to decorate your own Mickey Dome Cake. You’ll learn how they seamlessly blend artistry and storytelling in cake design, starting with the elegant glaçage (that’s French for “mirror glaze”) and ending with the finishing touches such as chocolate sculpted ears, tail, belt and buttons – all edible, of course.

Take your cake home to impress your family and friends – it not only looks beautiful, but tastes delicious. Space is limited. The Cake Decorating Experience at Amorette’s Patisserie is another exciting offering from the Enchanting Extras Collection, which allows you to enhance your vacation. Cost is $129 plus tax for ages 10 and up, for one to two guests working on a single cake. A second cake can be purchased for an additional $40. Reservations are available now, and can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dining.

I’m definitely ready to learn how to make one of these cakes!

Pre-Order Specialty Cakes to enhance any special occasion!

To pre-order a cake, call (407) 934-3500 or stop by the shop at least 72 hours in advance. Cake types available for this service include:

  • Petit Cakes – Small, delicate works of edible art
    • Amorette’s Petit Cake: Red velvet cake with chocolate chiffon, chocolate mousse, cherry mousse, raspberry jelly and Italian buttercream
    • Tea Time Petit Cake: Lemon chiffon, matcha green tea chiffon, lemon curd and orange blossom pâte de fruit
    • Coffee Time Petit Cake:Gluten-friendly chocolate chiffon, dark chocolate mousse, and coffee buttercream
  • Dome Cakes – Whimsical Disney character-inspired or elegant dome cakes exclusive to this bakery
    • Mickey Mouse Dome Cake: Chocolate chiffon, milk chocolate mousse and orange blossom pâte de fruit
    • Minnie Mouse Dome Cake: Lemon chiffon, white chocolate mousse and strawberry pâte de fruit
    • Goofy Dome Cake: Chocolate chiffon, chocolate mousse, caramel mousse and milk chocolate ganache
    • Donald Dome Cake: Lemon chiffon, lemon curd, lemon mousse and blueberry pâte de fruit
    • Pluto Dome Cake: Chocolate chiffon, peanut butter mousse and banana pâte de fruit
  • Amorette’s Signature Cake – Layer cake complete with a beautifully designed “hat box” packaging
    • 8-Inch Cake with 11 Layers: Red velvet with chocolate chiffon, chocolate mousse, cherry mousse, raspberry pâte de fruit and Italian buttercream

What to Expect from Pandora-The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom

Pandora Avatar Animal Kingdom
Photo Credit: www.vocativ.com

Opening May 27, Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will transport guests to a mystical world of bioluminescent rainforests, floating mountains and soaring Banshees. In collaboration with filmmaker James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment, Disney is bringing to life the fantasy world of Pandora, inspired by Cameron’s epic film AVATAR.

You will discover two main adventures in this breathtaking new land. Avatar Flight of Passage, sending guests flying above the jungles of Pandora on a Mountain Banshee. Na’vi River Journey is a family-friendly boat ride that sails down a sacred river hidden within a glowing rainforest for an unforgettable encounter with a Na’vi Shaman.

Hungry adventurers can recharge at Satu’li Canteen, the main dining location, or Pongu Pongu, a drink kiosk with a design as eclectic as its expat owner. Shoppers can stock up on Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits and more at Windtraders. The artful storytelling in Pandora continues at Satu’li Canteen (pronounced “Sa-too-lee”), a Quonset-hut-style building. The fast-casual restaurant is inspired by the healthful bounty of Pandora – wholesome grains, fresh vegetables, and hearty proteins.

The largest addition in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Pandora carries on the park’s tradition of celebrating the intrinsic value of nature, transformation through adventure and a personal call to action.

Guests to Disney’s Animal Kingdom will cross the park’s Discovery River into Pandora – The World of Avatar and continue along a winding rainforest path for their first glimpse of the land’s iconic floating mountains. The Pandora landscape will be alive with creatures. They have brought to life everything from the largest creature you might encounter to the most microscopic. Animals will appear out of the underbrush – big Pandoran animals will appear at the edge of the forest and you’ll hear the very complicated calls they issue back and forth.

As guests explore the verdant terrain sprawling beneath mountains that appear to float in the sky, they will see waterfalls cascading down the mountainside into meandering streams and pools, and they will discover two thrilling new expeditions: Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey.

Avatar Flight of Passage launches each guest on an exhilarating, wind-in-your-face experience on a winged mountain banshee over the awe-inspiring world of Pandora. Guests will actually feel the banshee breathe beneath them as they soar through the forest and past floating mountains. What was a rite of passage for Na’vi in Cameron’s film becomes a multisensory experience for guests seeking the ultimate adventure – a faceoff with the most feared predator of Pandora, the Great Leonopteryx.

On the family-friendly Na’vi River Journey, guests travel down a sacred river deep into a bioluminescent rainforest. The eight-seat reed boats float past exotic glowing plants and Pandoran creatures into the midst of a musical Na’vi ceremony. The mystical journey culminates in an encounter with a breathtakingly realistic Na’vi Shaman of Songs who is deeply connected with Pandora’s life force and sends positive energy through her music into the forest.

Based on Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron’s record-breaking box-office hit, AVATAR, the new land welcomes guests to the lush world of Pandora long after the human conflict with the native Na’vi inhabitants has ended. The dramatic daytime beauty of the land transforms to glow by night when bioluminescent flora and intricate nighttime experiences add a dreamlike quality to Pandora.

Pandora – The World of Avatar is a creative collaboration of Walt Disney Imagineering, Cameron and Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment.

Rivers of Light is now open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This new nighttime show takes you on a magnificent journey with a mix of water, fire, nature and light choreographed to an original musical score. Continuing the park’s transformation from a day-into-nighttime experience, the amazing after-dark experience on the banks of Discovery River celebrates the majesty of nature and the connection between animals and humans in the world.

Experience Beauty and the Beast at Walt Disney World

The new live-action Beauty and the Beast is in theaters across the world and without a doubt is a huge hit. Every little girl wants to be Belle, meet Belle, dance and twirl and get dressed in her finest gown! And Walt Disney World Resort is full of Beauty and the Beast to help everyone experience even more!

You can visit and be a part of the story at Enchanted Tales with Belle in Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park. You will be transported through an enchanted mirror to Beast’s castle, just in time to help Lumiere and Madame Wardrobe host a very special surprise for Belle. The audience gets to play various characters from the film to re-tell the story of how Belle and Beast met just before she has dinner with Beast.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios  the Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage! will immerse you in a Broadway-style show where Belle, Gaston, Beast, Mrs. Potts and other characters perform songs and scenes from the classic film. The 25-minute performance takes place daily at the Theater of the Stars.

A sneak peek of the live-action film is screening at the theater inside of the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream attraction now through March 26. You can see Belle’s iconic yellow ball gown and the Enchanted Rose from the live-action film in a gallery exhibit inside the attraction.

At the Magic Kingdom, Belle and Beast lead off the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade as it loops from Frontierland to Main Street, U.S.A. Parade starts at 3 p.m. daily.

You will find several “Beauty and the Beast” dining opportunities throughout Walt Disney World:

  • Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom lets you tast the Grey Stuff! You can meet the Beast after dinner in his study.
  • Gaston’s Tavern: The Tavern, located in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, serves a variety of pastries, including the signature giant cinnamon roll, LeFou’s brew (frozen apple juice with toasted marshmallow and mango foam). Gaston himself can be found meeting adoring fans outside the Tavern.
  • Unique pastries inspired by the Beauty and the Beast story are available at several locations, including the Enchanted Rose cake at Amorette’s Patisserie at Disney Springs and a Belle-inspired vanilla cupcake at Main Street Confectionary at the Magic Kingdom.

Belle meets her fans in the France Pavilion at Epcot. Topiaries in France shaped like Belle, Beast and other “Beauty and the Beast” characters are showcased during the International Flower and Garden Festival, which runs until May 29.

Little princesses also can get the royal Belle treatment at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, located at both Disney Springs and inside Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, and brides-to-be add some Beauty and the Beast to their special day through Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons. Brides can customize everything from their wedding décor to the menu to wearing a Belle-inspired gown.

Little (and big) fans of Beauty and the Beast won’t be disappointed at Walt Disney World!

The Best Time to Visit Walt Disney World

Best Time Visit Disney

If you are a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World Resort, you know there are many different opinions on the best times to visit. Each visitor defines the best time to visit differently. Some plan based on crowds, some on special events or festivals taking place, some consider tiered pricing and least expensive times. No matter what way you look at it, there is no one “best” time to visit. Overwhelmingly large crowds can ruin the vacation of someone that isn’t prepared for it. Some visitors don’t mind the crowds and others freak out thinking of long lines and crowded walk ways.

Historically, when crowds are highest, park hours are longest and lowest crowds equal shorter park hours. I’m fortunate enough to visit several times per year and usually flexible with my dates. Because I do visit often I never worry about long lines since if I miss an attraction on a trip, I know I will get to see it again soon. Unfortunately not everyone can do that. Over the years I have found the least crowded times to be right after the kids go back to school in September (middle 2 weeks of the month) and the time between Easter and/or Spring breaks to mid-May. Other than those periods it’s really a crap shoot! There used to be lots of weeks that were less crowded, unfortunately over the years Disney has filled most of those times with special events or runDisney races to bring in the crowds. You just never know.

Main Street USA – Magic Kingdom from a trip last year

Crowd levels vary from week to week and month to month. There are a multitude of sites that publish crowd level calendars based on historic information adding in what events will be taking place. There are no two crowd calendars alike. Personally I have often found the crowd calendars to be wrong and rarely bother to look at them.

An empty Magic Kingdom from one of my recent trips

My best advice to anyone planning a trip to Walt Disney World – keeping in mind that WDW will never be truly empty of crowds:

  1. Make a list of the dates/times you are available to go.
  2. Next, go to the Walt Disney World site to find out what events are taking place during those times you are available to visit.
  3. If you had 3 time periods on your list and one of those time periods have no events listed on the WDW site, BINGO! if you hate crowds, that’s the time to go!
  4. If you are interested in attending any of the events (i.e., Epcot International Food & Wine Festival or a runDisney race) then that would be the time frame to visit.
  5. Are there any promotional/discounts specials offered by Disney for any of your available times (i.e., free Dining, discounted room rates)?
  6. Keep in mind local attendance to events. During the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival for example, attendance in Epcot on the weekends can be shoulder to shoulder, people everywhere, make you crazy, crowded!
  7. The same goes for runDisney big race weekends (like Princess Half Marathon or Walt Disney World Marathon). Not only do the runners emerge on the area from Thursday through Monday, most come with families or friends so the number is usually doubled, tripled, or quadrupled! If you aren’t a runner, chances are you will want to avoid a race weekend if possible.
  8. Remember that some parks tend to be more crowded than others. For example, the Magic Kingdom could be packed but hopping over to Epcot on the same day you will find it to be much less crowded.
  9. If you are visiting without little ones hit up the Magic Kingdom at night, especially if there are extended hours. Most families with little ones head back to their resort to get the kids to bed. They tend to be in the Magic Kingdom earlier in the day.
  10. If you can only visit during the summer or during school holidays unfortunately you have to go into your trip knowing you will have to deal with crowds. Don’t let it ruin your trip. Plan well using your My Disney Experience account to arrange FastPasses, make dining reservations in advance and try to go with the flow. Disney is genius at moving crowds and keeping things going.

Other helpful Disney planning posts:

Know Before You Go – Is Your Child Tall Enough for the Rides at WDW

5 Mistakes First Time Walt Disney World Visitors Make

6 Tips to Help Maximize the Disney Dining Plan

4 of the Best Kid-Free Resort Vacations

Kid Free Resort Vacations

We all love our kids. We all do as much as we can for our kids, but at some point it’s time to treat ourselves, get away from our kids, rewind, recharge and relax. When we get that opportunity, the last thing we want is to be at a location with other people’s kids! Here are 5 of the best kid-free spots to take that vacation!

Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa – Ocho Rios, Jamaica

No one under the age of 18 is allowed! Sitting quietly amid tropical gardens alongside a white-sand beach, Jewel Dunn‘s all-inclusive haven boasts six bars, six restaurants, two pools and a spa. If you plan to spend your vacation drinking pool or beach side, the all-inclusive rates include premium top-shelf liquor. Part of the Hilton properties, this resort offers many on-site activities, and is convenient to attractions on the northern coast of Jamaica and also offers complimentary shuttle to and from Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.

Kid Free Resort Vacations
Image via www.http://curiocollection3.hilton.com

The Excellence at Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

18 years and older are the only age groups you will find at this swank, all-suite, all-inclusive resort overlooking the Caribbean and white-sand beach. The Excellence offers two massive pools that wind through the colonial-style grounds, and is also home to nine restaurants, ten bars and a spa. For those seeking a little more adventure, activities such as horseback riding, SCUBA diving and archery are available.

Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts – Aruba

This adults-only oasis resides on the soft white sands of Eagle Beach. A contrast to the bigger chains that dominate Aruba’s beaches, Bucuti & Tara is an intimate resort of 104 rooms that caters to couples and solo travelers with a sophisticated, low-key vibe. The resort does not allow groups or weddings, and doesn’t offer a ton of “activities” since the focus is on tranquility. The perfect location for that relax and recharge vacation. The resort offers world class dining and a private romantic dinner served by moonlight on the beach will have anyone feeling relaxed.

Kid Free Resort Vacations
Image via www.eleganthotels.com

The House by Elegant Hotels – Barbados

This is a beautiful and chic resort that is ideal for couples and friend getaways. It is tucked into the ritzy west coast of Barbados. The House offers intimate grounds boasting ponds, gardens and waterfalls. Champagne breakfast, private dining and afternoon tea will leave you fully relaxed and just a little pit spoiled! With only 34 rooms, it often feels like you have the place to yourself. A complimentary “jet lag revival” massage upon arrival will start your vacation off on the right foot for sure.