Cincinnati, Ohio

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Disneyland VS Disney World

            Disneyland and Disney World both have their fans and critics. Which is the best option for a family friendly vacation?  Comparing these two places can seem like comparing apples and oranges. They are similar but also very different. Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California. Disney World is in Orlando, Florida. The details that will be compared are weather, price, area, attractions, and convenience.
Weather can make or break a vacation. The average daily temperature in Anaheim is 65 degrees. The average high is 76 and the average low is 54. They have only 33 days of rain yearly. The average in Orlando is 73 degrees. The average high is 83 and the average low is 62. They have 117 days of rain a year. The temperature is comparable. The clear winner on days of rain is Disneyland.
            The cost of visiting is always a huge concern. A six day package for Disneyland for two adults and two children (with ages of 3-9 years) includes a hotel and tickets to the park at a cost of $1995.04. A similar package at Disney World would cost you $1,645.64. Hotel prices are higher in Anaheim than in Orlando which likely accounts for the price difference. The estimates do not include the price of food. The cost of food looks to be comparable within both parks. The character meals are around $35 at both parks.
            Convenience and size are other things to consider. Disneyland is one park. It is landlocked and in an urban area. Expansion is nearly impossible. Attractions have been updated over the years but space is at a premium. Disneyland with its urban location is convenient to hotels, shops, and restaurants. Disney World consists of four parks that are ever expanding. It also has two water parks. The parks do have many of the same attractions but there are more in Disney World. Disney World is not within walking distance to anything that is not onsite. Even the onsite areas are spread out. Disneyland occupies 180 acres of land while Disney World occupies 47 square miles.
            The next thing to consider is how crowded the parks are. Disneyland averages almost 40,000 daily visitors. The Magic Kingdom Park in Disney World averages 44,110 daily visitors. The Epcot Park at Disney World only averages only 27,125 daily visitors. Perhaps one of the trivial differences is that Disneyland was built by Walt Disney himself. Disney World’s Magic Kingdom was a copy of Disneyland’s Magic Kingdom. Some say this gives Disneyland a more genuine quality.
            In conclusion, Disneyland was the clear winner in the number of rainy days. The temperature was comparable between the two. Disneyland is much more convenient to the rest of Anaheim. You can walk to and from the park to restaurants, hotels, and shopping. This is nice for people who do not wish to rent a car when arriving by plane. Disneyland wins in convenience to the rest of the city. Disney World was slightly less expensive for the hotel and ticket package. They were almost identical on food prices. Disney World is much larger. There are many more attractions. It has four parks instead of one. It also has two water parks. Disney World is the winner in attractions. Disney World is cut off from the rest of Orlando. It is roughly a thirty minute drive from other area attractions. The last detail that I am comparing is the amount of visitors. Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is slightly busier than Disneyland. However, Epcot does not have as many visitors. Disneyland does have the history of being built by Walt Disney himself. Disney World has a slight edge over Disneyland but there is not a clear cut winner. They both have their own merits.

PS. I had to write this for something else and I thought my travel readers may enjoy it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Olive Garden - Florence, KY

Last night we had dinner at the Olive Garden on Mall road in Florence, Kentucky. I had a really busy day and did not want to cook. We all needed a night off! We threw caution to the wind and embraced a high calorie but fantastic meal! Olive Garden is a very pretty restaurant with amazing food and a great wait staff. I must state up front that this is not a budget dinner but it is not outrageous either. Dinner for the four of us ran just under $50. We did not drink any vino (wine) though because the price stacks up quickly! I had a bottle chilled and waiting at home.

We started with a pick two sampler appetizer. We got stuffed mushrooms and ravioli. You get six of each. The ravioli was wonderful. It was lightly breaded and fried. It came with a thick tomato sauce for dipping. Not good for you by any means but yummy. I am normally a huge mushroom fan but I was not impressed with these. Ivy loved them however.

The Eggplant Parm caught my eye on the dinner menu. It was great! I got five eggplant slices and spaghetti on the side. Michael, my husband, got Carbonara Ravioli with Chicken. I tried a bite of each. They were just as good as the eggplant! Their kids meals are set up so the kids get choices. They pick a pasta and a sauce. Bella, my toddler, got small shells and red meat sauce. You can add a protein to a kids meal for a $1.25. This is what Ivy did. She got Fettuccine Alfredo with shrimp. She said it was very tasty. The kids also got to chose a side. Ivy got mashed potatoes, which I thought was a little weird. I normally would not allow two carbs in one meal but this was a special outing. We let the kids pick whatever they want when we go out. It is not an issue because we do this so rarely! I got Bella grapes for her side.

They also brought a huge bowl of salad with Italian dressing and a basket of hot, fresh bread sticks to the table for all of us to share. The salad and bread sticks are unlimited. They will gladly refill either or both as many times as you want. This was not an issue for us. We had way too much food!! While we greatly enjoy food we are not huge eaters. We can all eat a decent sized meal but everything here was double sized! The waiter packed up half of all our meals except Bella's. We brought almost her entire meal home. She only ate a few bites of her pasta. She did have a bread stick and some salad. She was so overwhelmed by the environment that she spared little time for eating. She enjoyed herself, talking to people who walked by, coloring on the kids menu and checking out her large cloth napkin. They ended the dinner by bringing us our doggie bag with our packed up leftovers and mints for all of us.

It was a great dinner! Next time I will not order appetizers. There was too much food for us. The place does have a good atmosphere. It is the kind of place that allows you to linger and enjoy your food. Granted we were a little later then the normal dinner rush which may have impacted this fact. We got there at about 8pm. During the weekend dinner rush our experience could have been much different. The place was still busy but there was not a line waiting to be seated. For popular restaurants it typically pays to go early or wait until a little late. The service tends to be better because the staff is helping less people. At some places we have visited even the food is better when you visit outside of the peak hours.

The Details:
Location: 7848 Mall Road, Florence, KY 41042
Phone number: (859) 371-5425
Ordered: 1 appetizer, 2 adult dinners plus drinks, and 2 kids meals
Cost: $48 plus tip
If I had it to do over: I would drop the appetizer!