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My first trip to Walt Disney World was in 1982. I was awe-struck! I made several more trips over the years, learning a little more about what an amazing place it is with each trip.
In 1998 Craig and I decided to take Ian to Disney for his second birthday. (Craig had never been.) It was a decision that would enrich our lives then and now. Ian was a high-spirited child with a lot of energy. He loved Magic Kingdom with it’s talking trash cans and characters and fell in love with the animals at Animal Kingdom, but his absolute favorite park was Epcot! (I know, that sounds kind of odd for a child, but Ian has always been unique.)
There was wide open space for him to run, lots of flowers to stick his nose in, and new kinds of food to try. There were fish by the thousands in The Living Seas, all kinds of robots and kid-friendly interactive games in Innoventions, and a giant ball that contained the history of man done with Disney flair – amazing for a two year old! We spent ten days there, and didn’t even get settled back in at home before starting to plan our next trip!
Craig had fallen in love, and he became an expert on all things Disney. He subscribed to newsletters and surfed the internet for information (which was really slow back then and tied up the phone line). We started going on a regular basis, 2 or 3 trips a year, always staying for 10 days. (It was a 14 hour drive one way.) When Caylie came along in 2000, we didn’t blink. Her first trip to Disney was at 10 weeks old for Ian’s 4th birthday.
We continued at that pace, even after Craig passed away in 2003. Disney was the one place I always felt safe taking my children. Over the years, we’ve changed the way we do Disney. Now that we live in south Florida, the long trips are no longer necessary. When Ian and Caylie were in school, we focused on the educational aspects of Disney. Now we focus mostly on the food (ok, the food and our favorite rides).
Disney is just as much fun now as it was when my kids were growing up, just a bit more crowded. Ian’s autism has become more pronounced over the years, and he doesn’t enjoy going as much. The noise is too much for him and he doesn’t care for riding in a car, so Caylie and I drive up there once a month or so for 2 or 3 days. We send Ian pictures and videos and always come home with new ideas for food!
Caylie and I go to all the Epcot festivals and love trying all the different foods that each country offers. We definitely have our favorite restaurants and our favorite dishes in all of the parks! Creating our own versions of these dishes started a couple of years ago when we went up there looking for a specific dish (beef noodle bowl at the China pavilion) and found out it had been discontinued.
When we started this blog, we thought it would be a lot of fun to make our own versions of the dishes we try. Plus, it helps us hold on to a little bit of that Disney magic between trips. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!