Archive for the ‘Disney’ Category

Continuing with the Disney eating marathon, I had some food porn I was hoping to share and talk about some other high points of our trip.

Our flight to Orlando was scheduled for a 6:15 departure from Baltimore, or, as we call it, the asscrack of dawn. We left the house around 3:15 AM and headed south. Many of you might remember the issues that I had with Southwest Airlines trying to book the flight in the first place. This was that trip. We all queued up in the cattle chute and prepared to board. Supportive Partner Woman and I had coveted “A” boarding slots and we managed to snag two seats about three rows back. SPW (bestest wife ever!) took the middle seat and I had the aisle. It was cramped, but in the good news department, I did not require a seat belt extender. Yay me.

The flight took off on time and I had loaded Killer Elite on the iPad for in-flight entertainment. I spent about an hour watching that and noticed a lot of activity, namely a flight attendant racing down the aisle with the AED, followed by a general call for trained medical personnel. Soon after, the captain came on board to say we were diverting to Charleston for a medical emergency. He must’ve had the 737 firewalled to get us in to Charleston as quickly as he did. The passenger was conscious when he was removed from the plane, and after refueling, we continued to Orlando, arriving around 45 minutes late. Whatever issues I might have had with Southwest, the flight crew really exhibited professionalism and handled the medical crisis like it happened every day.

We split up at that point… SPW went to claim the luggage, I went to pick up the car. I had booked a midsize and in Alamo’s midsize row were 14 minivans. And a Dodge Avenger. Sigh. I got in and headed back to the terminal to pick up SPW only to find that she had claimed the bags and thought she could catch up with me. Turns out she went below baggage claim and I had no way to get to her as that’s only open for buses. I sent her back to the baggage claim and I circled the airport again. Turns out the escalator she went up on took her to the ticketing level, which necessitated another trip around the terminal. Quite the comedy of errors.

Earl of Sandwich tomato soup with Earl’s Club and the Original 1762.

Anyway, we headed off to Disney’s BoardWalk Villas for the night. For those who are not familiar with the BoardWalk, it’s a really nice hotel, quite centrally located and within walking distance of Epcot. That alone makes it a favorite. This time, though, we were determined to spend a day outside of a park, so we got ourselves checked in and over to our room where was chilled for a while, then headed to Downtown Disney to grab some lunch. The weather was quite muggy, which made things a little sweaty, but we made our way to the Earl of Sandwich for lunch. This is one of our favorite spots… the food is tasty and reasonably priced and they offer AAA discounts which are actually better than the Disney Cast Member discount. Our normal MO is to buy two different sandwiches and split them… this time, we opted for the original, which consists of finely shaved hot roast beef with cheddar and horseradish and the Earl’s Club, which consists of roast turkey, applewood smoked bacon and swiss cheese, with lettuce and Roma tomato. We each added a drink and a cup of tomato soup and the total bill wound up being under $20. Best value on property. We shopped a bit, then took a pontoon boat out on the lake.

If you are opting to rent a boat, the best bet is to rent it from one of the Magic Kingdom resorts. That way you have over 400 acres of water to explore. It was a beautiful day to be out with a nice breeze and very little lake traffic.

Following that, we went back to the room to change before meeting some friends for dinner at Raglan Road. We haven’t seen these folks in many months, but it was great to catch up and enjoy a lovely meal. I opted for Raglan risotto with grilled chicken. The portion size was very nice and the food was flavorful, but not outstanding.

That concludes the food post today. More tomorrow when we talk about LeCellier!



I know, its been quite awhile. I started writing this from the laundry room of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort. I know… I go to such interesting places on vacation. What can I say? It’s a gift.

So, it’s been about a month since I scribbled anything down. Just been crazy busy at Chez T and, well, just nothing really interesting to report. Done some stumbling recently, food-wise, not a serious backslide, but enough that my last doctor visit resulted in just a one-pound loss. In a month. Granted, I wasn’t working out like crazy… trying to keep the tempo down to prepare for our trip. Fat lot of good that did me.

See, after one day of serious walking, with preventative measures in places (Stubby cocooned in moleskin, his counterpart wearing a gel pad), I get a freakin’ blister NEXT TO THE GEL PAD!!!! This, as you can imagine, did not make me happy. Especially not with five days to go.

Supportive Partner Woman (de facto nurse of unparalleled skill!) then decreed an easier pace and began a regimen of rubbing my feet with ammonium lactate cream, which, according to the surgeon, is good stuff. This, coupled with Betadyne and gauze and a lot of moleskin, really enabled me to stay upright. It’s the one blessing of neuropathy… I can’t feel the pain of a blister. Looking back, I thing the problem was due to the crazy high humidity. It made the air chewy and we usually wound up with two showers a day.

So, for us a vacation to Disney World is more about the friends and the food than anything else. We paid two visits to Ohana for meeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaat on a stiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick! There’s an art to eating somewhat healthier at Ohana… that is to view it as a high protein meal. Just keep in mind that when the nice server brings a sizzling skewer of dripping meat, he or she will automatically adjust your request by a factor of three. So, if you would, in fact, like one more piece of steak, make sure you have friends to share it with, because you’re getting three giant pieces.

The food at Ohana is not bad… you start with the Ohana welcome bread, which is a sweet Hawaiian style bread that has a touch of pineapple flavor. Then you get a salad, which would be better with less dressing. It’s positively drowning. I’m pretty sure I saw a lettuce shred clinging desperately to a life ring as its mates all drowned in the Vinaigrette Sea.

The staff follows this with the chicken wings and dumplings. I’m not a huge fan of wings to start with and these are just meh, so I usually pass on them. The dumplings are awesome, though, and it takes a great deal of self-restraint to not totally strap on the feed bag. This is followed with the greens, which consist of snow peas and broccoli that are well prepared. The share a plate with some tasty lo mien.

After the BS is dispensed with, it’s on to the main event. The meat. See, Disney wants you to believe that Ohana means family, but in reality, Ohana means meat. Lots of meat. Lots and lots of meat. We’re talking meat with a capital MEAT. The room is dominated but an open wood fire cooking giant skewers of steak, chicken, pork and shrimp. I love the shrimp. It has a nice level of spiciness without being too much to numb the palate. The steak has a wonderful marinade… not sure what all is in it, other than garlic, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. Makes it very bold.

The chicken is pedestrian… not a ton of flavor, probably kept mild for people who don’t care for spice. The pork, though, is not that great. It’s usually a little overcooked and the BBQ sauce is way too sweet for my palate. I think the open fire is simply too hot and dries out the meat. Pork, IMHO, should be done low and slow with just enough sear on the outside to keep the juices in. Here’s a view of the cooking fire in action:

After the gorging is over, they hit you with dessert. They bring a banana bread pudding topped with vanilla ice cream. If that’s not enough, they will dump an Exxon Valdez sized load of caramel sauce on top. I’m lucky, though… since I have dietary restrictions, they usually bring me a nice plate of fresh fruit.

I will provide more food details over the next few days, but suffice it to say that even with all the food, I still managed to lose 2.5 pounds while away. So, not a total loss.

Talk to you again tomorrow.

Song of the Day: Gangnam Style – PSY
Currently Reading: The Tombs – Clive Cussler

It was a half-decent day at the doctor’s office. My weight was up a couple of pounds, but I’m not too concerned about it, since my right foot was ensconced in the Boot of Shame, which feels like it weighs around 40 pounds. The BP was also a little elevated, probably from me being in full blown freakout mode.

The good news came as a result of my labs. One of the key markers for a diabetic is the hemoglobin A1C measurement. This measures the average blood glucose levels over the previous months prior to the measurement.

The ADA (American Diabetes Association) considers an A1C of greater than or equal to 6.5% as a marker for a diagnosis of diabetes. The first time I had this test run, during that fun hospitalization, my A1C was 14.3%. Three months ago, it was 10.9%. Last week, 6.6%. Guess there’s something to that exercise crap.

Cholesterol was another concern. Last August, my cholesterol was 211. Last week? 158. In 2008, my triglycerides were a nifty 257 (which is rather high). Last week? 102. Only weak point was my HDLs are still a little low. That’s something to work on for the next batch of tests.

On the Stubby the Wonder Toe front, Rachel was very pleased with the healing that has been done so far. She cleared me to go back to the gym, just no weight bearing cardio until the blister is healed. Guess that means the stationary bike. Woohoo. I’m not a huge bike fan… would prefer to be on a real bike, except for seat wedge. I’m also cleared to go back to weight training. I’m happy about that… I haven’t been since last Wednesday and I really miss it. Rachel indicated that she felt I should be good to go back to full steam next week, depending on what the podiatrist says on Monday.

One other really need thing is that since most of my doctors are all in the same health group, I’m able to view all my records online. It was pretty cool to see all my labs. The bad part was the pathology notes on the part of Stubby that is no longer. It’s one thing to hear it described to you, but when you read the descriptions, oh boy. There’s something so clinical and detached about it that makes it worse than when you hear it from a doctor. When you see words like osteomyelitis, well, that’s creepy. Just saying.

After the doctor, SPW and I went grill shopping. Sadly, the altar of meat is not in the best shape. I tried to use the side burner to saute some asparagus for SPW and I couldn’t get the valve to open. Found one that we kind of liked, but it’s not on sale yet. Soon. Just hope I can get one that isn’t assembled. I’m not sure I’d trust those brain surgeons with propane. I feel like I’ve accomplished something when I get to assemble it myself.

We headed out to Elizabethtown afterward to pay a visit to the library. I had a book on hold and I picked up a book about Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak. Post library, SPW and I swung by Sonic, where she really made me proud. She actually passed on a vanilla malted. I opted for a grilled chicken sandwich and tots, because, well, tots are awesome. Was it the best choice? No, but it was handy and I think we made the healthiest choice that we could.

So, I start back at the gym with Ryan tomorrow. I’ll have five weeks from that point to get my pudgy ass into shape for Disney touring. I feel a lot better about it than my last visit. I realize it will be hot, but probably no World Showcase Death March, so I have hopes that it will work out for the best. It will be a challenge, eating with a healthier slant, but it’s a life change that I need to make, so I’m going to stay on the straight and narrow. My sole exception will have to be our visit(s) to Ohana. Even then, I’ll stick to the healthier proteins.

I’ll keep you posted as to how tomorrow’s session goes. Even if I do take a bike ride to nowhere.

I mentioned that I write for Enjoying the Magic in addition to my scribblings here. The latest piece I did for them is available for reading. It’s a bit on the Carolwood Pacific Historical Society.

Check it out here!

I realized this morning that while I was getting my work in, real world walking isn’t the same as an elliptical or arc trainer. Since one of my goals was to be somewhat remotely in shape for our next trip to Disney (two months from tomorrow), I decided that on my non-ass kicking days, I would concentrate on the treadmill.

Now, the distance around World Showcase Lagoon is 1.2 miles, so I should be able to walk that at a leisurely pace with no problems. That’s my starting point… I’m happy to report that I was able to do 1.4 miles on the treadmill this morning in 30 minutes, AND have my heart rate stay under 122. I had the machine set for random hills, too, to add some challenge. Yes, I’d love to get to a nice hilly 5K in an hour. I think I can do it, but not this week. Baby steps.

I don’t think that this will impact my regular training routine. It’s cardio, and cardio is good. However I get there, I want to avoid the Disney equivalent of the death march. It’s a vacation… it’s supposed to be fun, not torture.

The other big event of the day was our second dental visit of the week. Supportive Partner Woman (possessor of numbed tongue!) and I both had fillings that needed replacement. Mine was upper teeth and didn’t require nearly as much Novocaine as SPW. The sad thing is that SPW was still feeling the aftereffects of the Novocaine she got on Monday during our other dental visit. Also found out that Doogie Howser, DMD is actually 38, married with kids. I’m totally flabbergasted… but I’m betting he still gets carded at the liquor store.

At any rate, that’s all I have for today. Talk to you tomorrow after the Thursday ass-kicking.

My other side project

Posted: July 23, 2012 in Disney, Walking, Weight loss

Howdy! Here’s a link to an article I did for Enjoying the Magic on the need to get in shape to properly enjoy Disney.

Check out the site, it’s got some good stuff on there. And I’m married to the editor in chief 🙂

One of the biggest challenges someone trying to embrace a healthy lifestyle can face is vacation. Now, Supportive Partner Woman (bearer of plentiful camera equipment!) and I aren’t going anywhere until the end of September, but I’ve started thinking ahead.

Primarily what kills me is the meals. I tend to embrace the “calories don’t count on vacation” philosophy. That’s obviously not true, but I did tend to go overboard on what I was eating when we’d go away. We’d sit down at a nice restaurant and while I might order a “healthy” option, it would be bathed in a cream sauce or some other preparation that would pretty much kill me.

Many of you know that SPW (owner of the original geek vest!) and I go to Disney World on a regular basis. This is good and bad, as there’s a lot of lousy options to choose from. If you’re willing to do a little research, you can make some decisions ahead of time and lessen the caloric collateral damage.

My first stop when I need to check Disney facts is All Ears. For more that 15 years, All Ears has been the authority for Disney info. It’s a fine site run by one of the best people I am privileged to call a friend, All Ears offers every fact you could conceivably want to know about Disney World. Curious as to what a typical room might look like in a given resort? Check All Ears. Reviews of restaurants, resorts and attractions? All Ears. Curious as to what a menu looks like at a particular restaurant? You guessed it… All Ears. Deb and her team have most of the facts and if it’s something they don’t know, they find out.

Healthier items in blue, not quite-so-healthy items in red.

It’s the menu section I visit most frequently. Used to be so I could drool over the latest offerings, but nowadays, it’s to see where the sensible choice might be. In addition, the menus give pricing (current as of when the menu was dated), ingredients, and other useful information.

Disney has made a lot of strides over the years of serving diners with food allergies and restricted diets.

‘Ohana Fruit Bowl (photo courtesy of Disney Food Blog)

As a diabetic, when I make a dining reservation, I let Disney know of my condition. When I arrive at the restaurant, a chef will come to the table and go over what is low in sugar and carbs with me. Often times, the chefs will go the extra mile and create something special. For example, when dining at ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, the family style meal includes a bread pudding with bananas and caramel sauce. When I asked if there were alternatives, the chef came out, said he could work with this and brought me a lovely bowl of fresh fruit served in a hollowed out pineapple. Not only was it a great presentation, the fruit was very fresh and quite tasty.

To summarize, it’s possible to eat healthy when you’re away on vacation. It might take a little more effort and research, but it can be done.

Other places you can go for information and reviews of Disney restaurants include the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, by Len Testa and Bob Sehlinger, available on Amazon in both book and Kindle format, Passporter’s Guide to Walt Disney World, available at Amazon, and Passporter’s Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line. This has not been updated in a few years, but has a lot of specific information useful to travelers with challenges.

If you are looking for other web-based resources, Disney Food Blog has a great section regarding special diets, ranging from kosher to vegan to gluten-free to diabetic to low-carb/South Beach.

Not much of a reader? In addition to having her own podcast, AJ from Disney Food Blog makes semi-regular appearances on the WDW Today podcast. Listen for her reviews and tips on dining throughout the World.

I’ve concentrated on Disney because that’s where we’ve been vacationing the most, but the same principles apply anywhere you travel. Even cruise lines have gotten into the act. Royal Caribbean has a low-cal section to their dinner menus each night and offers a sugar-free or no sugar added desserts. You can continue to make better choices as to what you put in your mouth while you’re on vacation and not lose out in the taste department.