Our Favorite Disney Recipes: Tonga Toast

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Disney’s Tonga Toast at Kona Cafe at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is one of the most popular breakfast items offered at Walt Disney World Resort. I have to admit I am most likely in the minority when it comes to saying I can take it or leave it. I surely won’t go out of my way to have it, but there are many that can’t imagine a trip to Walt Disney World without this breakfast treat. So for those of you that just have to have it – here’s a recipe that will allow you to make it for yourself at home.

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Serves 4

Sugar-Cinnamon Ingredients:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

You can also use pre-made cinnamon sugar

Batter Ingredients:
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cup whole milk (2% works just as well)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Tonga Toast Ingredients:
1 quart canola oil, for frying
1 loaf sourdough bread (uncut, 12 inches long)
2 large bananas, peeled

Cinnamon-Sugar Preparation:

1. Mix sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl (large enough to roll toast) with a fork until thoroughly blended. Set aside.

Batter Preparation:

1. Whip eggs in medium bowl (large enough to dip toast) until well beaten. Add milk, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix well and set aside.

Tonga Toast Preparation:

1. Preheat oil in a large pot or a deep fryer. (If using a large pot, use a candy thermometer to make certain the oil does not get any hotter than 350 or it will burn.)
2. Slice the bread into four three-inch-thick slices.
3. Cut each banana in half crosswise, then each piece lengthwise.
4. Place a bread slice flat on the counter and tear out just enough from the middle (do not tear all the way through) to stuff half a banana into; repeat with each bread slice.
5. Dip stuffed bread into batter, covering both sides, allowing excess batter to drip off bread and place carefully into hot oil.
6. Cook 4-5 minutes until golden brown. If needed, turn toast over after 2 minutes and cook for another 2 minutes on other side. Remove and drain excess oil.
7. Roll toast in cinnamon-sugar. Repeat for each piece of toast.

Bon Appetit!


 

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Ten Iconic Tastes From Around Walt Disney World Resort

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Walt Disney World fans have their favorite tastes, from a chilly Dole Whip to the indulgent Cheddar Cheese Soup at the Canada pavilion at Epcot. We’ve rounded up the Top 10 tastes that have never left menus.

Crispy Fried Chicken at Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Pioneer Hall, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. On the menu since the dinner show opened in 1974, servers dish up about 900 pounds of fried chicken every night, and cooks spend about six hours each day just breading the chicken. Add 400 pounds of pork ribs, 120 pounds of corn, 400 pounds of mashed potatoes and 30 gallons of baked beans. Three shows nightly.

Strawberry-Chicken Salad, Plaza Inn, Magic Kingdom. This simple salad has been tossed every day since the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971. Forget hot dogs and hamburgers, fans head to this little restaurant on Main Street, U.S.A., for a generous bowl of greens with grilled chicken breast, strawberries and Gorgonzola with white zinfandel vinaigrette. And you can end with a classic banana split or hot fudge sundae. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Cheddar Cheese Soup, Le Cellier Steakhouse, Canada pavilion, Epcot World Showcase. One of the most-requested recipes is for this creamy bowl of soup that’s made with Canadian beer, cheddar and Applewood-smoked bacon. It’s so popular that it’s also now a mainstay on the menu at the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Canada Marketplace. Le Cellier Steakhouse is open daily for lunch and dinner.

Creamy Lobster Soup, Coral Reef Restaurant, Epcot. With an amazing view of a coral reef with sharks, turtles, rays and fish (the largest inland saltwater environment ever built), the menu at this Future World restaurant changes often to reflect the seasons and sustainable seafood. But the Creamy Lobster Soup has never left the menu, an indulgent starter with fresh tarragon and a splash of Brandy. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Mom’s Old-Fashioned Pot Roast, 50’s Prime Time Cafe, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Classic American comfort food and 1950s kitsch make this a favorite stop for families, with a menu that reflects the theme: pork chops, chicken pot pie, meatloaf. But it’s Mom’s Old-Fashioned Pot Roast that’s received the most praise since the restaurant opened in 1989. The slow-cooked beef is served with garlic mashed potatoes, brown gravy, carrots, celery and onions. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Cobb Salad, The Hollywood Brown Derby, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This salad was iconic before it was even on the menu at the Disney re-creation of the historic California restaurant. As the story goes, Brown Derby owner Bob Cobb tossed the first version for a late-night snack for a Tinsel Town movie star. The Disney version sticks to the original with finely chopped greens, turkey breast, eggs, blue cheese, bacon and avocado. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

Potato-Wrapped Red Snapper, Flying Fish Cafe, Disney’s BoardWalk. While the chefs at Flying Fish Cafe cook with seasonality and sustainability in mind, this elegant dish has never left the menu since opening day in 1996. Fresh snapper is wrapped in thinly sliced potatoes, then pan-fried until crisp and golden. The fish is served over a rich leek fondue with veal glace de viande and red wine-cassis butter reduction. Open daily for dinner.

Cedar Plank-roasted King Salmon, Artist Point, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. You can smell the roasting cedar planks when you walk enter the spacious dining room that pays homage to America’s national park lodges. The menu incorporates tastes from coast to coast, but the most-ordered entrée is the Cedar Plank-roasted King Salmon served with seasonal vegetables, on the menu since opening day in 1994. Open daily for dinner.

Tonga Toast, Kona Cafe, Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Kids of all ages keep coming back for their favorite “only on vacation” indulgent breakfast treat: deep-fried banana-stuffed sourdough French toast rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with strawberry compote. The Tonga Toast has been a favorite since the Polynesian opened in 1971. Open daily for breakfast.

 




Showing Your Disney Side 365: How to Harness that Disney Feeling Between Trips by Sherry Boswell

Yep, it’s inevitable: you spend months planning, strategizing which parks to visit and what ADR’s to make and excursions to take; save all your spare change to finance your vacation to one of the various Disney properties (Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, etc.), and it finally arrives. And in a whirlwind of pixie dust and faster than Tinker Bell’s descent from Cinderella Castle-POOF! You’re back home with once in a lifetime memories and craving to go back for more.

OK, so this is the condensed version, but we’ve all been there, haven’t we? I’m so hyped about my vacation that when I get home, it’s easy to get the post-Disney blues. And boy, can they be brutal! Especially when there are so many amazing changes happening, for instance at Walt Disney World…Mine Train, Festival of Fantasy, “Frozen” Summer Fun, oh my!

So what’s a girl or guy to do? Simply put, how do we keep our Disney Side alive 365? Daily doses of Disney can help sustain you through the drought between trips with a few of these ideas (plus some I am hoping you will share with me):

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1 – OUTDOOR MOVIE PARTY

With a computer, projector, and either an outdoor screen or large sheet, your backyard can be transformed into a movie theater under the stars, perfect for Disney movie viewing! I really want to give this one a try again-one Halloween, we watched “Bedtime Stories” and projected it on the side of the house above our garage. Although I think it would be far better to have this precious Disney movie screen, don’t you? (wink)

sherry42 – SHOPPING 101

Always have your Disney eyes and ears open when shopping. What I mean is: Disney trinkets are everywhere! For instance, in the Dollar Store, I found giant pens perfect for autograph signing for Mickey and company to grasp! And naturally, the Internet is chock full of vendors selling Disney wares. Besides the Disney Store, some of my favorites are Zazzle and Red Bubble for the niftiest iPhone cases and etsy, where I found some lovely and unique necklaces from Fandom Treasures:

 

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3 – MAKE YOUR FAVORITE DISNEY DISHES AT HOME

Have a hankering for Tonga Toast? Craving Boma’s Zebra Domes? How about ‘Ohana’s bread pudding? Well, you’re in luck! The Disney Food Blog has many recipes that can be concocted in the comforts of your kitchen. OK, so I’m no Julia Child, but even I can follow a recipe and produce what my family says would win MasterChef. At the very least, you can turn pancakes into Mickey cakes or school sandwiches into “Mouseterpieces” with a great cookie cutter. Better yet, choose a cookbook that gets the kids involved! How could you go wrong with “The Magic Kitchen Cookbook”

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4 – HOST A DISNEY PARTY WITH KARAOKE AND PHOTO BOOTH

When our family hosted a #DisneySide At Home Celebration a few months back, we selected a “Frozen” theme, so it was a no-brainer that we would want everything to scream the theme, from the food to the activities to the decorations. What better way to incorporate the amazing “Frozen” soundtrack than to get a Karaoke machine and let everyone sing “Let It Go” at the top of their lungs?

But the even bigger hit had to be Picture Booth, the Photo Booth app I downloaded to my iPhone. By finding printable cutouts to use as Photo Booth accessories, everyone had a jolly good time posing for the photos and viewing the accompanying 4 photo strip. Here’s what a trunk full of these props looks like:

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5 – MAKE YOUR NEXT RESERVATION

Sustain yourself through the drought by planning your NEXT vacation! I LIVE for my next vacation, so naturally I want to jump right on my travel plans. So what if I have to wait until November for Food and Wine Festival? It will be here before I know it!

Funny how my list of suggestions was made up of movies, shopping, food, parties and travel: yeah, they should be the 5 food groups, they’re THAT good! But that just shows you what make me tick, so your list may be different than mine. What would make your time pass by quicker and sustain you to your next Disney vacation? Inquiring minds (like mine) want to know….




WDW – A Trip Report 30 Years in the Making (Part 4) by Rachel Horsley

Part 4: Moving on Up…into the trees, and that “new” park

rachel atriumAtrium in the Great Ceremonial House at The Polynesian Village

For three nights our family relaxed in the lush tropical atmosphere (if not always the ambient temperature) of The Polynesian Village. Waking on day 4, we prepared for our move to a Treehouse Villa at the “WDW Village Resort,” which appears to encompass anything that wasn’t the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT Center, the Contemporary or Polynesian Village Resort.

rachel welcomeBut, I’m getting ahead of myself. Per usual, let’s start with breakfast!  After making sure we were all packed and ready to go, we headed over to the Papeete Bay Verandah (presently the home of ‘Ohana) for their breakfast buffet.

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rachel breakfast papteeMy mother is obviously thrilled to be having breakfast with us at the Papeete Bay Verandah

If I’m reading our picture correctly, the lush fauna behind us is where ‘Ohana hosts its open kitchen.

Did you know, 30 years ago, the Polynesian Village was already serving one of today’s most popular dishes, although not at Papeete Bay Verandah. Birnbaum’s 1983 edition advises that, at Tangaroa Terrace (on the eastern side of the resort) “word is spreading about its star breakfast offering, banana-stuffed French toast made with sourdough bread.” So now you know the history of the perennial favorite, Tonga Toast (presently served at Captain Cook’s Quick Service and the Kona Café.) I highly recommend it if you have the time for a sugar coma after breakfast. So good.

At the Polynesian, it is tradition to throw a penny in the pond when you depart, as a wish to return to the resort. After breakfast, our family said “Aloha” to the Polynesian Village…I didn’t know then, but it would be 14 years until my wish was fulfilled.

From the very popular Hawaiian song Aloha Oe (pronounced Oy):

One fond embrace, a hoi ae au (before I now depart)

Until we meet again, until we meet again

O ka halia aloha kai hihi mai (Thus sweet memories come back to me)

Ke hone ae nei i kuu manawa. (Bringing fresh remembrance of the past.)

rachel outside roomTaken outside the room, our last morning at the Polynesian Village. (Still my favorite resort.)

The recent opening of EPCOT Center (later shortened to Epcot) was the reason my father split our stay between two resorts. The Polynesian Village was our home during the days we visited the Magic Kingdom. Then, we would call the (old) Treehouse Villas home during the EPCOT Center portion of the vacation.  The new Disney Vacation Club tree houses (part of the Saratoga Springs Resort) are located in the same area as the old tree houses.

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rachel treehouse receiptThe new tree houses are (on average) $1,100 per night. But in 1983, four adults and two children stayed in a 2-bedroom villa, with full kitchen and laundry, for only $140 per night!  My favorite feature of the old tree house was the centrally located spiral staircase. Much like climbing the trunk of a tree to reach a real tree house, the spiral staircase beneath offered similar access to the villa.

rachel inside treehouseMy Pop taking a break in the tree house

We had only just settled into our new home, when we headed back out to EPCOT Center, which had opened only a little over a year before in October of 1982.

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rachel epcot mapAfter approaching the iconic geosphere, we boarded our “time machine” at (what was then called) the “Spaceship Earth Show.” Spaceship Earth didn’t yet feature Walter Cronkite (presently Dame Judy Dench) or “Tomorrow’s Child,” the anthem written for the attraction’s 1986 rehab; but the ride track and many of the scenes from 1983 have survived since its opening. From that day, I would forever associate the smell of burnt wood with EPCOT (and the burning of Rome.)

rachel spaceship earthWaiting in line for the “Spaceship Earth Show”

But Spaceship Earth was only the beginning. That same day we would “Listen to the Land” (now Living with the Land) and get moving in a “World Of Motion” (now Test Track.) World of Motion looked back at “man’s desperate attempt to replace foot power,” and the futuristic finale offered guests a peek at the transportation of tomorrow.

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rachel carAt the conclusion of World of Motion, instead of the now obligatory gift shop, guests were given an opportunity browse GM’s latest models. We liked this “family truckster.”

The last stop in Future World was Journey into Imagination (Now Journey into Imagination with Figment.)The original attraction told the story of how Dreamfinder and a small purple dragon named Figment used imagination to “spark” creation. In 1983 the visual effects were cutting edge, Figment and Dreamfinder were charming, and the melody, “One Little Spark,” (written by the Sherman brothers) was catchy.

rachel dreamfinderOne of my favorite photos from this trip, I really do miss Dreamfinder

In 1999, to complement the new Honey I Shrunk the Audience show, Imagineers removed the later 2 elements. The popularity of the attraction suffered so that, only 2 years later, the ride closed for another major rehab.  Thankfully, Figment and “One Little Spark” were worked into the new show. Sadly, Dreamfinder did not return and has only been seen at a handful of Disney events since.

rachel figmentPhoto Courtesy of Birnbaum’s 1983 edition of The Best of Walt Disney World

Image Works, a playground at the end of the attraction, was a highlight of our day. I remember my dad pitching it to us by reading from Birnbaum about this “new fangled fun house,” where we would paint using a “Magic Palette,” conduct music via the “Electronic Philharmonic” and play instruments on the “Stepping Tones.” While these were new and exciting in 1983, the current ImageWorks houses (basically) the same technology. Perhaps they could use Dreamfinder’s dream-catching machine and capture some “sparks” to create a newly re-imagined space?

After Journey into Imagination, we left Future World and started working our way around the World Showcase (counter-clockwise) at the Canada Pavilion. There we watched a CircleVision film called “O Canada” (later updated with Martin Short in 2007, and still showing today) and posed for a photo-op at the pavilion’s waterfall.

rachel canadaOut of focus, but nicely composed shot at the Canada Pavilion

From Canada, we traveled to the United Kingdom, the pavilion my mother was most anticipating. From a young age I was taught the history of the English monarchy and was probably the only 7 year-old in Alabama who could tell the difference between Tudor and Georgian style architecture. Thank you mom.

In addition to being an Anglophile, my mom is a fan of the arts and was excited to learn the pavilion featured a restaurant named for a famous English theater called the Rose and Crown.  I’m told that’s where we ate dinner that night. I honestly don’t remember our meal, but then again, the UK isn’t exactly known for its cuisine. (I’m joking of course…or am I?)

rachel rose and crownStanding outside the Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room after dinner

France was our destination after dinner, where we watched another film. But, I seem to recall that we left early. I don’t remember the circumstances, but I do remember being happy to head out of the theater and to the boat landing (by the future home of Morocco.) While today I can appreciate these films for their beauty and message, at 7 – I was really just bored.

rachel friendship boatAboard the Friendship V

Tired from a long day touring Disney’s Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, we boarded a Friendship boat and were returned to the edge of Future World. From there, we headed back to our home in the treetops.

Up next – Aboard the Empress Lilly, and some of our favorite things!