Filling in Some Gaps

Best NYC soda, beverages, Christmas, Disney, New York City, NYC, NYC Restaurants, soda, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized

So…before we get to New Year’s, I thought I’d fill you in on a few gaps I’ve left you with!

So after Disney, we got a short break and then Thanksgiving!  We wanted to host – it would just be 3 guests – but please remember that we still haven’t finished unpacking from our move – don’t have our plates and glasses – have a miniscule sized kitchen – and barely have any places to sit in our shoebox apartment…still…with the help of a bus ride to Boston Market I think we did a good job 🙂

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I can’t say enough about how amazing Boston Market  is to provide holiday service – they really are the experts.  I swear it tasted better than anything I could have whipped up.  We stuck with canned soda in fridge for this feast – but I’ll tell you that Boston Market does sell fountain Coke products in case you were wondering.

Of course I took the kids to Macy’s Santa Land to see the real Santa Claus.  I mean, if he’s the one in the nationally broadcasted Thanksgiving Day Parade, then he MUST be the real one!

Part of Santa's Sleigh
Part of Santa’s Sleigh

 

Our tree was trimmed:

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Santa brought me the perfect gifts, combining my love of soda and Disney 🙂  (and yes, my family did get me the necklace I talked about here!)

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(You can get these bottles on sale for $3 now here.)

Our Holiday celebrations were full of family, friends, love and laughter.  Just wanted to share some of my joy!  Apparently so did Coca Cola – enjoy 🙂

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The Most Magical Place on Earth

beverages, Birthday, Disney, Dream Come True, food allergies, mom, NYC, soda, Uncategorized

I teased about it awhile back – but now I’m here to share the story of our most magical trip!

Back in November (before all the sickness and holidays kicked in and I disappeared) I had been preparing for my youngest daughter’s 2nd birthday.  My daughter and I actually share the same birthday – she is the best birthday buddy!  We had a sweet little party at a local venue. They provided kiddie entertainment (art, music and of course bubbles) and kid food, and I provided the adult beverages.  Of course I learned earlier in the fall that seltzer was necessary, so I brought a bottle, which before I would have never thought of doing!

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We had a great time – but the real fun was actually set to begin just a few minutes AFTER the party.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love Disney.  We actually have a trip planned (in my mind, lol) for a few years from now to visit Walt Disney World Resort when it’s Christmas time.  I’ve always wanted to see Disney decked out in all its holiday glory! A few months back I learned that part of that beautiful Christmas splendor, “The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights” would be showcased for the last time this year, and I was sincerely saddened that I would have never seen them.  I tried to just let it go, but a few weeks before our birthday I couldn’t shake the need to see them, so I explained to my dear dear husband how badly I wanted to go (mind you, 1. He HATES going to Disney, 2. We’ve already gone this year & 3. We already have a trip booked for the spring)- and he finally relented and agreed to make my dream come true and go for my birthday!!

We didn’t tell the kids about this trip! As soon as we returned home from my daughter’s party, I started to open my birthday “presents” which wound up being our packed luggage and Disney themed gifts and we surprised them that we were leaving THAT minute!  They didn’t quite understand…they thought we were talking about our Spring trip that they knew about…my son was confused about why I was being given his packed clothes as a gift…it didn’t exactly go as planned…but as soon as we started rushing them saying “Quick put on your shoes we’re going to the airport right now – come on! Come on!” They started to get giddy!

We flew into Orlando and arrived at Disney around 10pm- crazy late for us.  Since we only booked the trip 3 weeks before going this was the most UN-planned I’ve ever been for touring Disney, and it led to a few nice surprises!  We stayed at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, which I never would have considered before and was pleasantly surprised. The grounds were beautiful, the food was more than fair and the transportation to the parks was fantastic.  The grounds are rather spread out, but we were happily housed in the Cabana section of the resort right near the featured pool and a bus stop, so it was perfect!  We went straight to our room and went to sleep so we could wake up early and start our surprise adventure!

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We woke up early! 5:45AM- crazy, I know, but I like to get to the Magic Kingdom before it opens at 8AM to see the welcome show and to try to get in as many rides as possible before the crowds show up.  We got up, dressed, ate breakfast and got on the bus!

I know many people can’t relate to this – but I hope there will be a few of you that do…when you enter the Magic Kingdom and round the Town Square and step on to Main Street and see Cinderella’s Castle in the distance, something very special – yes, I’ll say it: magical – comes over you. You are transported to another time and place and in that moment all is well with the whole world.  This trip was especially magical for me and as we reached the end of the beautifully Christmassy decorated Main Street and started walking up the castle ramp I started to tear up with happiness. This trip, more than most, was truly a dream come true. To be able to surprise my kids with a trip like this and see something I’ve always dreamed of, but never knew if I actually would – was just so so special.  I just felt so thankful that we were able to make this trip together as a family.

I could go on and on and on about every tiny detail, which I originally planned to do, but I’ll stick with 3 main things…the lights…a special dinner moment…and of course the soda!

I’ll start in reverse with the soda – and praise above, Disney serves Coke products!  When you stay at a Disney Resort you have the option to buy a refillable mug (can’t refill at the parks, just the resorts) for around $16.  The mug has a chip on it that will activate the soda fountain and is good for your length of stay. You can also buy individual drinks if you don’t want a mug, so you need to decide for yourself what makes the most financial sense to you. I, of course, even thought we would only be there 2 full days, opted for the mug – and I made the most of it!  Whether at the Pepper Market food court or by the featured pool, each soda really was fresh and crisp – no complaints from me.  At the parks I drank either 20oz bottles which were available at snack carts for purchase or fountain sodas at both counter service and full service restaurants.  All were top notch, chilled perfectly and met all expectations. (You can see some examples of the refillable mugs here.)

Next I’ll tell you about another pleasant surprise that came from my last minute planning.  Normally when you plan to stay at a Disney World resort you can make all of your dining reservations 180 days before your arrival, so as you can imagine the pickings were slim when we booked our trip on such short notice.  I settled on an 8:15pm dinner one night – WAAAAAY past my kids’ bedtime – for Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  My 4 year olds and I watched the 7pm Fantasmic show  (Dad and baby headed back to hotel to rest) and then went to dinner.  My daughter and I enjoyed a delicious buffet and my son was treated like a VIP guest!  Chef Angel came to our table to discuss his food allergies and then went back to the kitchen and prepared a scrumptious and safe allergy free meal for my boy.  I tried a little myself and I will tell you – I would pay anything to have someone prepare me such a healthy and tasty dinner! We were one of the last tables seated that night and so by the end of the meal we were basically one of the only parties left. Chef Angel came back out and chatted with us for a while, and I got to hear about his grandson and family. When you are at Disney World it’s amazing how time after time you feel such personal moments – like you’re home – in such a huge place.

(Yes, I have this shirt. You can too..just click on picture and get redirected to amazon.)

Finally we packed up our things and started to head out – that’s when another magical moment happened.  As we walked towards the door, we saw Daisy Duck hand what looked like a smart phone to a Cast Member (Disney’s term for all staff) and motion that she wanted this person to take her picture.  The restaurant had maybe 10 people left in it, and the Cast Member started to take her picture in front of a Christmas tree.  A moment later Donald Duck ran over and started posing, then Mickey and Minnie came…well, Donald didn’t want to lose the spotlight and started photobombing Mickey & Minnie’s pictures.  I am not doing the experience justice here – because we were rolling on the floor laughing.  It was as if we got a special secret glimpse into Daisy, Donald, Mickey & Minnie’s real life after work. I will never forget it!

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OK- So here’s where I’ll just show you the whole reason for the trip. The stunningly breathtaking, magical, surreal “The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights”. The lights are set to holiday music and snow falls from above as you walk down the Streets of America in Hollywood Studios.  Again, I am not doing them justice – but I will say it was worth a last minute 2 day trip to Orlando and I will never forget it for as long as I live.  Please enjoy the photos!

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NYC Soda Girl’s Rating

Disney World

Florida

Diet Coke – all shapes and sizes

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Drive-Thru Highs and Lows

Best NYC soda, beverages, Disney, Drive-Thru, Hamptons, mom, New York City, NYC, soda, soda fountain

Being a city girl I don’t often have the chance to experience the convenience that is the drive-thru.  About 5 years back a nearby McDonald’s had a walk up window which I LOVED.  Pushing a double stroller into a store, especially those stores that have a second set of doors is basically impossible.  Plus, waiting in line at a fast food restaurant with this ginormous tandem double stroller is a nightmare.  Please, of course I do it, but that walk up window really was a game changer for a while. Sadly it never seems to be staffed anymore.  “My God” you must be thinking, “how much fast food do you eat that this is an issue?”  I don’t eat it a lot, but I do need my fountain soda and I will battle a lunch crowd just for that large sparkling cup of goodness.

This weekend we took a trip out to Long Island. After an hour in the car, it was time for a soda. We pulled into a McDonald’s and got in the drive-thru line. There were about 3 cars in front of us, not too bad.  Finally it was our turn, so my husband (who was driving) lowered the window and ordered me a large Diet Coke. Now first everyone needs to get over the fact that, YES, I did and have done before and will do again, wait on a drive-thru line JUST to get a soda. I admit to it and I own it. Now back to the story. Husband Dear orders and right after is when my good fortune turned.  After thinking about it, the next minute or 2 played out exactly like the 5 stages of grief (please note that I am not dismissing real grief that people experience, I was just really surprised that what happened really did match!)

I hear some kind of garbled noise across the seat and my husband turns to me and tells me they are out of Diet Coke and would I like a Dr. Pepper?

Denial: “What? No? Ask them again?” Husband obliges and I hear the man tell him that there is no Diet Coke and the line is broken. Would I like something else? Unsweetened Iced Tea is close.

Anger: Are you kidding me – unsweetened iced tea is close – no it isn’t! Who told them to say that? Do they not know we’ve been in the car for an hour? That we waited in this line ONLY for a Diet Coke? Why the heck isn’t there a sign on the menu board alerting everyone to the fact that there’s no Diet Coke? What kind of operation are they running here? Ok- I didn’t say those things – I did leaned over my husband so that now I could be speaking directly to the voice box. “How are you out of Diet Coke?!” I yelled.

Bargaining: “Well is it going to be fixed soon? If we wait will it be running soon?” – No.

Depression: I sank back in my seat and we pulled out of the line. Husband offered to stop at the nearest place we saw. I told him not to bother. Whatever. It didn’t matter. I’m not gonna hold us up even longer by trying somewhere else. They probably won’t have Diet Coke either.

Acceptance: Thankfully my family always snaps me back. Kids were singing along to our Disney CDs, we only had a half hour left to our trip, I could manage.  All would be ok – plus I’d have something to write about, right?

We had a great weekend, which included some awesome pumpkin picking. I’ll elaborate on all that another time soon.  On our trip home, I didn’t want to chance it with that horrible McDonald’s, so we pulled into a Burger King after only 20 minutes on the road home.  I know it’s ridiculous, but I was slightly worried…would they not have Diet Coke too?…or worse, would they hand it to me and it be AWFUL?!?!  Thank the powers that be-Burger King did not disappoint.  It wasn’t really a noteworthy soda, but it did the job and I would go there again.  Phew, glad we ended out trip on a good soda note – thanks BK!

BK

NYC Soda Girl’s Rating

McDonald’s

560 County Rd 111, Manorville, NY

Large Diet Coke with ice, $I wouldn’t know

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Burger King

71 County Road 39, Southampton, NY

Large Diet Coke with ice, $2.29

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If you’re interested, these are the Disney CDs that keep us sane on long drives:

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Upper East Side Finds and Fails

Best NYC soda, beverages, mom, New York City, NYC, soda, soda fountain, Uncategorized

I wanted to start my day off right on Saturday, so I headed to the McDonald’s on 69th and 1st Ave for my Diet Coke.  When I walked in I was optimistic.  The store was clean and had cute NYC murals along the wall.  It wasn’t too crowded.  It had just enough people for me to not have to worry if it was a McDonald’s that should be avoided.

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The wait on line wasn’t too bad either-the staff working seemed efficient.  This McDonald’s isn’t self-service, so you don’t have control over the ice/soda ratio.  The first sip didn’t blow me away – it was fine.  However, being the first sip of anything that day, I did expect the drink would wake up my taste buds, which it didn’t.  I also didn’t feel the urge to slurp the whole thing down,.

We met up with friends for a playdate, which unbeknownst to us was to include a water table. Of course within the first 15 minutes my youngest daughter was completely saturated.  I know, mommy-fail for not having brought extra clothes, but she’s almost 2 and I haven’t packed extra clothes for her in months.  My husband stayed with our kids and I went in search of a store to buy her a dry outfit.  There really aren’t many children’s clothes stores in the East 70s, so I took a cab to the Gap on 85th & 3rd.  At this point I still hadn’t finished my soda and it got that dull taste soda can get, way sooner than expected, so I just threw it out.  That was disappointing, but my spirits were soon lifted when I found the cutest Disney themed clothes at the Gap!  (I love Disney, more than a little you’ll come to see.)  I bought my daughter this cute and glittery Tinkerbell shirt and some polka dot pants.

Gap Tink Shirt

 

On the way back to to what was becoming a very expensive playdate, I picked up a can of Diet Coke at a bodega which wound up being way more refreshing than my 1st drink of the day, so that should explain my rating.

Are there any neighborhoods you’d like me to check out sooner than later?  Please post in the comments!  I’m excited to find the best soda experiences out there!

NYC Soda Girl’s Rating

McDonald’s

1286 1st Ave. @69th St, NYC

Large Diet Coke with ice, $2.39

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