The Three Best Ways To Thank A Disney Cast Member (From A Former Disney Cast Member)

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are sharing stories and ways you can thank Disney Cast Members.


During my time on the Disney College Program I dealt with guests of all types. While some were truly odd, and others were straight up rude, many guests helped make my work day fly by. That last form of guest where the reason I enjoyed my time at Disney so immensely, and if you want a cast member to say the same thing about you, here were my three favorite ways to be thanked by guests while on the job:

3. Leave a gift – A few times during my internship I received small notes from families, once even including a small lollypop. I still have a few of these notes saved in my keepsake box, and I still think of that lollypop as the perfect end to my lunch break that day.

2. Tell a manager – If a Cast Member really made your day, be sure to let their superiors know about it! I once received a four keys card based on guest feedback. A Cast Member receives a Four Keys Card when they go above and beyond to achieve the company’s four keys to success (safety, courtesy, show and/or efficiency). Not only do these cards show up on your Disney permanent record, but having your boss know that a guest loved you enough to tell them about you is never a bad thing either.

1. Just Say It – It was amazing how little I heard the words ‘Thank You’ while working at Walt Disney World. Being a polite guest goes very far at Walt Disney World. So, be patient and understanding when a Cast Member tells you to move inside the taped lines to view the parade. Be cool when the Cast Member tells you you can’t bring food into their ride queue. And always say thank you when a Cast Member helps make your day a little more magical. It may seem simple, but it truly goes a long way – especially in hour ten of your twelve hour shift.


Somedays I really miss wearing this thing, and some days I do not at all.

For more ways to thank Disney Cast Members,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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Want A Taste Of Food And Wine? The Frozen Dragon Berry Colada Is Where It’s At.

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Teal loop. Today we are sharing some of our favorite recipes from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

Image Via The Disney Food Blog

It should be no surprise to anyone that based on the title of this blog, or my many other posts about The Food and Wine Festival, that I love drinking around the world at EPCOT. That being said, there are approximately 360 days a year that I am not at Walt Disney World, and during those times the homesickness for Blood Orange margaritas, and all my other favorite Disney drinks, is so real.

When that happens, I turn to this easy recipe for The Dragon Berry Colada. Served in the Caribbean booth, I find it’s the easiest to recreate at home while still feeling distinctly Disney.


In fact, the first time I used this recipe was during my Disney College Program, when my roommates and I made them in our apartment for one crazy night that ended in eating way too much Domino’s Pizza. Here is how that night started, for reference:

What’s your go to Disney Recipe? I still have a list of things I want to try next, but in the meantime if you need me I’ll be sipping Dragonberry Coladas and planning my October get away!

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La Cava Del Tequila Is The Best Disney Bar You’re Not Going To

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are discussing some of the best bars and lounges at the Disney Parks.


#BBBsFoodAndWine Tour continues this week, in a sort of back handed way. This week I’m sharing one of my favorite things about EPCOT that exists year around: La Cava Del Tequlia. While I first experienced this hidden gem of a bar during the Food and Wine Festival, it’s what makes me feel okay about missing out on Food and Wine on the rare chances I visit the parks at a time of year the festival isn’t running.

If you’ve never been to La Cava, here’s what you’re missing out on:

1. The Ambiance – the bar is literally a whole in the wall inside the temple at the Mexico Pavilion. Sure, this tends to lead to longer wait times when it comes to getting drinks to go or a seat at the bar, but it also means that once you get inside, you really feel like you’ve been transported to a cellar in the middle of Mexico. (I promise you it’s not as creepy as it sounds).

My College Program Friends and I the last time we visited La Cava. Those are the Blood Orange Margaritas live and in the flesh.

2. The Drinks – The Blood Orange Margaritas are my personal favorite, but as long as you like tequila, you can’t really go wrong when it comes to this bar. I can say from experience that the Pineapple, Cucumber and classic margaritas are also great options, but if you want to be even more adventurous, I’ve always been curious about the avacado and jalepeno options (just not curious enough to replace it with my favorite Blood Orange).

3. The Food – Should you wish to sample all of the margaritas, and still remember the rest of your trip to Disney World, La Cava also serves various tapas at their few sit down tables. While I’ve never actually partaken in them myself, I can say that at least visually they are stunning. I’ve rarely seen guacamole look so good or a shrimp cocktail look so fresh. One of these days, I’ll just have to sit down and try them all for myself.

For more great Disney bars & lounges,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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The Best (And Worst) Of The Food and Wine Festival Booths

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Red Loop. Today we are sharing what you need to know to get ready for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

It’s the most wonderful timeeeeee of the yearrrrr… and no, I’m not just singing Christmas carols way too early – it’s Food and Wine Festival season. Anyone who knows me in real life knows this is my Christmas, and I’m so jazzed to be heading back again this October with my College Program friends to eat, drink, and be merry all over again. Because of this, and because of the Blogorail, I’m happy to be kicking off this year’s #BBBFoodandWine Festival coverage.


For those of you who haven’t been to EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival before – here’s what you need to know: the Food and Wine Festival (which from here on out I’m calling F&W) transforms the World Showcase from it’s normal splendor into a World Showcase on steroids. All around the World Show Case Lagoon bonus countries hosts small pop up booths featuring the countries best food, wine, and (if you’re lucky) national alcohol. The booths look something like this:

While some of these booths are expected (all the countries normally in the world show case represent), some are truly extraordinary, and what I dream about when I dream about F&W. While I usually hit up every booth – thanks to my OCD need to complete my F&W Passport, there are some I run into on my first day in the park, and some that I hold off on until I’m too full and tipsy to remember that I ate them. With out further ado, here are my three favorite (and three least favorite) booths from the Food and Wine Festival:

The Best 

  1. Australia –  The lamb chops in Australia are to die for if you’re a fan of mint and potato chips, which I 10000% am.
  2. Dessert & Campaign – The title of this booth is pretty self explanatory, so I’ll just tell you a story about how one time I got a glass of campaign from this booth and when I tried to pick it up I dropped it. Because it’s Disney World, they gave me a new one right away. Pro tip: Dessert & Campaign is a great booth to hit up right before Illuminations.
  3. Canada – While I usually try to avoid the booths that I could regularly access thanks to the World Showcase, Canada has a very important Cheddar Cheese Soup that is to die for. Plus, when else in your life are you going to get filet mignon for $6?
Image via Lauren Spinelli

Image of the Dessert and Champagne’s 2012 Dessert Trio via Lauren Spinelli

The Worst 

  1.  America – While there’s actually a few stands that take up the ‘America’ pavilion (the Fife & Drum Tavern has a stand, as well as Block & Hans, The Coffee Cart and a special stand called Hops & Barley), I don’t find any of them to be particularly inspired. I know it’s on theme to keep these stands classic ‘American’ food, but that’s not what I find myself craving at EPCOT, especially during Food and Wine.
  2. The Vegan Stand – While it appears that this year The Vegan stand won’t be in attendance, in the past there has been a booth serving some sort of chicken substitute, and it’s just not my jam. More power to you vegans out there, but I’ll be happily enjoying my Candian steak and Japanese sushi.
  3. Farm Fresh – Really, the stands I don’t like all share a similar theme: it’s food I could find anywhere else. The Farm Fresh stand is no exception, although they do tend to have good beers.

While this is not the last (or first) food and wine post you’ll see from me, I am by no means the only expert on the Food and Wine festival. If you’re interested in a 20-something perspective, please get in touch! Otherwise, for a more fact based approach I highly recommend you check out WDW Info‘s coverage, the full menus for the each booth via the Disney Food Blog, and of course – the official Walt Disney World website itself.

And for even more information Food & Wine Festival, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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All The Best Things About D23

Way back when, I was thinking about attending this year’s D23 Expo. Instead I went to California for Disneyland’s 60th birthday, and while I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything, I do wish I’d done both.

If you, like myself, were stuck at home this weekend, here’s the most important things you need to know about what went down:

Disney Parks: 

Star Wars Land is happening, and in a major major way at both Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. That’s not the only major addition to DHS either: Toy Story Land is coming folks – and I’m hoping that some day I can have a character breakfast with Buzz and Woody and then hop over for a quick ride on the Millennium Falcon.

In other news, my former home park Animal Kingdom keeps getting talked about, but nothing serious seems to be happening. I know they’re working on Pandora, but I would like to see an opening date for that, or the night safaris, or the new water show they keep mentioning. Also, The Magic Kingdom is getting a Jungle Cruise themed restaurant, which I’m excited about experiencing. Hopefully it’ll be a Blue Bayou situation, but for an even sillier ride.

The Disney Parks Blog live blogged the whole panel, and I highly recommend reading it for a pretty comprehensive recap of the event!

Disney Films: 

Apparently a life changing sizzle reel for the live-action Beauty and the Beast film was shown, but of course – it will never see the light of day on the internet. Will Turner will be returning to Pirates Of The Caribbean 7 million (or which ever number this is), and my 13 year old Orlando Bloom fan girl is screaming with delight.

On the animation side, Disney Animation Studios announced ‘Gigantic’, a new film based on Jack and the Beanstalk and composed by the same team that gave us ‘Let It Go’ (and the rest of ‘Frozen’, but let’s be honest – that will be their legacy). Pixar gave its Day Of The Dead film a name and release date, while also announcing about 26 more sequels for movies I don’t really care about (sorry not sorry Incredibles II and Cars III, I’m Team ‘Finding Dory’). For more info on this panel, including an ‘Inside Out’ short film I CAN NOT wait to see, I recommend checking out The Delightful Life’s recap of the panel.

All in all, as a very nerdy Disney fan, I wasn’t majorly surprised by any of these announcements, but I am very excited for most of them. Although I am already a little nostalgic about the inevitable but unannounced destruction of Disneyland’s Toontown to make way for Star Wars, I think overall the park improvements will be just that, improvements.

As far as the film side goes, I’m not super jazzed about Pixar becoming a sequel machine (my feelings about Toy Story 4 could take  up their own whole blog post), but I am excited about their original productions (CoCo and Moana in particular).

How are you feeling about the state of The Walt Disney Company after D23? Is there any major news I missed in my recap? Please let me know, because I’m genuinely interested! (Also, I’m already taking down names of people who want to share a hotel with me in two years).

How To Pack Everything You Need For A Disney Trip In One Bag

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Black Loop. Today we are sharing some of our favorite carry on bags.

This bag was a game changer in terms of packing for me. Sorry not sorry it's also Vera Bradley.

This bag was a game changer in terms of packing for me. Sorry not sorry it’s also Vera Bradley.

It has taken me a long time to break my over packing habit, but with the right bag – and the right mindset, I manage to fit everything with out having to ever see baggage claim. And trust me when I say, if I can do it – so can you!

First things first, the bag itself. I tend to opt for a duffel bag over one with wheels, because even though it kills my shoulder to carry it, I’m not a big fan of pulling a wheeled suitcase behind me everywhere. I have a large Vera Bradley duffel that I adore (and purchased while on my Disney College Program actually). I know some people have problems with the Vera prints, but to me it’s worth it for the size of this bag.

Which brings me to point number two: what I manage to stuff in this bag. Since it’s something I have to carry around with me everywhere, I try and keep it light. This means one (okay maybe two) pairs of shoes: sneakers, and a dressier option for my night in EPCOT. That, plus the flip-flops I wear on the plan keep me covered on the shoe front.

Then, I like to throw in a few pairs of shorts and a pair of jeans (hey, even Orlando gets cold). And for tops, I just dip into the Disney drawer of my dresser (which is a thing I have judge if you want to), and pull out enough shirts/sweatshirts to cover my trip (plus a few extras because I’m a very messy person). I also have one Minnie Mouse dress I’ll bring out for dinner at Ohana or Chef Mickeys:

Just a couple of mice, hanging out, happy to not have paid extra baggage fees on their flight to Florida.

And that’s really it. Beside the obvious additions (PJs, a swimsuit, my make up, a pair of mouse ears), leaves enough space in my bag for the traditional mass of souvenirs I acquire after a night at the Food And Wine Festival.

For more information and carry on bag options,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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My 17 Hour Day At #Disneyland60

I’ve returned from California in one piece, although as you’ll see if you make it to the end of this post, it was touch and go there for a while. And now that Disneyland is officially 60 years and seven days old, I figured there would be no better way to celebrate than to recap what I was doing for 17 hours seven days ago. My girlfriend (who had never been to Disneyland) and I stayed at the cheapest hotel we could find near the Parks (which I won’t even mention because I don’t recommend it unless you’re desperate).  The night before we hit the Park we hit the bars: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and The Heartstone Lounge make for a great Disneyland Bar Crawl if you’re in the mood.

The morning of July 17th I woke my girlfriend up at 6:30 AM, and we were in the park by 7 AM. Officially, the park didn’t open until 8, but we were greated with souviner copies of The Orange County Register, and official “I Was There” buttons. We were expecting to have to wait in long lines, but the early entry was a god send because we managed to ride both The Matterhorn and Indiana Jones with little to no wait.

After we got in the two rides that are Disneyland specific (the only to-do items we had set for ourselves), we parked on Main Street USA for the official 10 AM ‘special presentation’. Unclear exactly what that meant, we sat from 8:30-10 (and dispersed one-by-one to shop/stop for coffee/go to the bathroom). At 10 AM the ceremony started, and featured the President of Disney Parks introducing Ashley Brown (the first Marry Poppins on Broadway) and Richard Sherman. Needless to say, my inner Disney nerd flipped at that point, and as Richard said a personal thank you to Walt Disney and began playing Feed The Birds, I cried and cried and cried some more. To get over that emotional toll, we then headed to Tomorrowland for free Diamond cupcakes. They were delicious, and although they said supplies were limited, I saw Cast Members handing them out at both parks through out the day.

After already accomplishing most of our Disneyland To Do List, we headed to California Adventure for the afternoon. Stops here included lunch at The Boudin Bakery, drinks at The Cove Bar (my new favorite spot in DCA), a quick pop back over to Disneyland for more Indiana Jones fast passes, and a ton of rides/activities: Soarin’, Radiator Springs Racers, Grizzly River Rapids, the Beasts Library, the Pixar Play Parade and the Mad T Party.

💞💞💞 // #VSCOcam #mlngftla #disneyland60 #MorgansWorldTour2015

A photo posted by Morgan L. Nelson (@morganlnelson) on

Full of California Adventure, we sprinted back to Disneyland for our 8:45 PM Indiana Jones fast passes. We entered the line at 8:43, and afterwards headed straight to dinner at The Blue Bayou. I’ve dined at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride once before (in 2009), but this time was just as good (if not better). If you go, and are a fan of fish, I highly recommend the salmon – although my girlfriends gumbo was also a great choice.

After dinner we were 15 hours into our 17 hour day, and my body was feeling the strain. We’d already missed the fireworks and trying to decide between watching the late show of Fantasmic or riding some rides caused a little bit of inner turmoil. Eventually though, we ended up walking around Disneyland and finding a spot for the midnight showing of Paint The Night. I would be lying if I said I didn’t use this downtime to take a quick nap, but I was ready and raring to go by the time it was time for Paint The Night.

I know that I’ve been very obvious about the fact that The Main Street Electrical Parade is my favorite parade of all time, but I will say this: if that Parade goes by the way side for Paint The Night, I will not be upset about it. The songs were catchy, the floats were gorgeous, and the interactivity between the show and the glow with the show ears/cups/paint brushes was stellar. While I’m still bummed I missed the fire works, I would recommend skipping them and seeing the parade – if the option ever presents itself to you.

Merch wise I purchased some 60th anniversary exclusives: I picked up a t-shirt and draw string bag with the specific anniversary date Thursday night at World of Disney, and the cast member checking me out told me that it must have appeared in the store in the last hour, since she hadn’t seen it on the floor at the start of her shift. In the park I also picked up the 60th anniversary exclusive ears (adding them along with my 50th anniversary ears to my ever growing collection), I also got some diamond shaped magnets featuring Minnie, Mickey, the castle and Cathary Circle.

PS: Here’s a bonus disney themed picture from my LA trip:

I wish I could quit you #Disney, but also I don't. // #mlngftla #bestboss #hollywood #MorgansWorldTour2015

A photo posted by Morgan L. Nelson (@morganlnelson) on

If you missed my live tweets from the day, you can catch them here. But in the meantime – did anyone else make it to #Disneyland60? How was your day compared to mine?