Nana’s Green Tea in Ikspiari

This is Wife-chan and this is my first post. I hope that I can help every parent who wants to visit Tokyo Disney Resort. I would like to introduce a relaxing cafe in Ikspiari to you. There are many big name coffee shops like Starbucks Cafe, Tully’s Cafe and Honolulu Cafe around Tokyo. Nana’s Green Tea is one of my favorite cafes. You can enjoy many different kinds of authentic Japanese tea here. It also serves up light meals, sweets and has a cozy kids play area.

Nana's Green Tea

Nana’s Green Tea

If you wanna try some traditional Japanese tea, you can go for Maccha or Houjicha. For those with sweet tongues, like my husband, a glass of Azuki (Red Bean) drink will do the trick while those who prefer something that’s not so sweet, like me, a glass of Maccha Latte will help you to relax. Nana’s Green Tea opens a little earlier than a lot of other eating establishments in Ikspiari. It opens at 10am while a lot of other places open at 11am.

Nana's Green Tea Drink Menu

Nana’s Green Tea Drink Menu

Nana's Green Tea Food Menu

Nana’s Green Tea Food Menu

Nana's Green Tea Seating

Nana’s Green Tea Seating

I like Nana’s Green Tea a lot because I can enjoy my drink and relax while Little Mahina enjoys the play area. It gives me a little bit of time to unwind from a tiring, but fulfilling day spent with my family at Tokyo Disney Resort.

Nana's Kids' Space

Nana’s Kids Space

Little Mahina Enjoying the Kids Space

Little Mahina enjoying the Kids Space

Little Mahina posing for a picture

Little Mahina posing for a picture

Nana’s Green Tea is an excellent cafe. Children have a place to play while their parents can sit back and relax with a tasty drink. If you are rushed for time, Nana’s Green Tea also provides take out service. You can grab a delicious drink and enjoy your walk to one of the parks. I hope that you found my first blog post useful. I can’t wait to share more parenting tips with you in the future.

 

 

Mahina with her Disney friends in Aulani

There were many things that Little Mahina enjoyed when we traveled to Aulani in February of 2014. This resort is heaven for everyone in the family. She loved the character breakfast at Makahiki, The Keiki Cove Splash Zone, her first time on a beach, but most of all, she loved calling the Disney Characters her neighbors.

Little Mahina with Donald

Getting a kiss from Donald

Hanging with Chip & Dale

Hanging with Chip & Dale

Two ladies chillin by the pond

Two ladies chilling by the pond

Taking a walk with Stitch

Taking a walk with Stitch

Dreaming of Goofy

Dreaming of Goofy

Altogether, she got to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Chip & Dale and Stitch. Aulani would release a schedule everyday of where and when to meet the characters. Meeting the characters in Aulani felt a little different from meeting them in the parks. There was never a long line when we visited. The characters spent more time with us and interacted more. There was none of that pose for a picture and you’re off kinda thing.

Little Mahina would go for a Character Meet & Greet at least twice a day. There were a few times when she was last in line and the characters would hold her hand and take a little walk with her till they bid farewell to one another. That did it for her. She would smile from ear to ear when that happened.

Last Meet & Greet of our trip. Little Mahina wanted to say goodbye

Last Meet & Greet of our trip. Little Mahina wanted to say goodbye

Telling Mickey that she will be back

Telling Mickey that she will be back

Walking hand in hand with Mickey and Minnie

Walking hand in hand with Mickey and Minnie

See you again Aulani. We will be back soon

See you again Aulani. We will be back soon

Everyday was an adventure for Little Mahina. She would wake up in the morning and say, “Shoes.” Then she would grab our shoes and bring them to us. Next, she would call out a Disney Character’s name and say, “Go out.” I would wake up to that everyday in Aulani and I loved every moment of it. I will never forget that. Thank you Little Mahina for giving me such a precious memory. You are the fuel to Daddy’s dreams.

To read about Mahina’s adventure at Makahiki, Aulani, click here

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Aulani, Beach: Little Mahina’s first time on the beach

The beach. I love the beach. When I was living in Singapore, I would visit the beach at least once a month and when I was living in Phuket, Thailand, I visited the beach on a daily basis. Ahhhhhh, those were the days, I had an apartment within walking distance to Patong Beach. It was beautiful. Paradise.

Wife-chan loves the beach too. She used to surf on a regular basis. Our dream is to one day own a beach side villa. The beach is where we feel the most relaxed and inspired. Naturally, we were super excited to introduce this beautiful aspect of nature to Little Mahina.

Paradise

Paradise

It took a while for Mahina to get used to the texture of sand. At first, she was a little afraid and held on to Wife-chan, my better half, real tight. Naho took off Little Mahina’s shoes and stood her up on the beach. After walking around in the sand for a bit, she got used to it. Then, we sat down, tried building little sandcastles and shortly after, it was time for Mahina to get a feel of the sea.

Showing Little Mahina one of the many activities that can be done on the beach

Showing Little Mahina one of the many activities that can be done on the beach

Mahina planting her feet into seawater for the first time

Mahina planting her feet into seawater for the first time

Operation introduce Mahina to the wonders of the beach was a success. During our trip, we returned to the beach once more. This time, Mahina had no fear in her at all. She was running around the beach, playing with the sand and was not afraid to enter the water. She had been initiated into the family’s “Love for the beach” house and Aulani was the perfect setting for this initiation.

Operation "Introduce Mahina to the beach" a success

Operation “Introduce Mahina to the beach” a success

Setting for Little Mahina's initiation

Setting for Little Mahina’s initiation

KM has more on Aulani. To read about Mahina’s visit to the Keiki Cove Splash Zone, click here.

Keiki Cove Splash Zone: Mahina’s first visit to a pool

Before leaving for Hawaii, we bought Little Mahina her swimsuit. Prior to this trip, Mahina (18 months old at that time), had never been to the beach or even a pool. I was really excited about this. I’ve drawn up pictures in my head of my family and I heading to the water slides and enjoying great family time as we cruised down the lazy river. Mahina and I sharing a slide, laughing like a pack of hyenas, enjoying some father and daughter time.

We got Mahina her life vest. Put it on for her and wanted to get her acquainted to the wonders of a pool by taking her to the Munehune Bridge first. Shallow waters, fun little bridge, water splashing everywhere. I was super excited. My daughter was gonna run around and make so many friends. She’s gonna be so fun loving that all the kids will make her their leader and follow her around. Thoughts of the “Following the leader” scene in Peter Pan sprang to mind. GO MAHINA!!! Enjoy yourself. Be free!!!

Chillin by Munehune Bridge

Chillin by Munehune Bridge

See that picture above? That lasted for about 15 minutes. Mahina wouldn’t budge. She would just sit there and watch. There goes all my plans.

After we sat there for a bit, my wife and I decided to take her to the Keiki Cove Splash Zone. Seeing that the kids there are more of her age, we were thinking that she would be able to be herself there.

Mahina and her new friends

Mahina and her new friends

Mahina communicating with another child

Mahina communicating with another child

Being free

Being free

Getting wet at the Keiki Splash Zone

Getting wet at the Keiki Cove Splash Zone

Mahina loved the Keiki Cove Splash Zone. Did she try the other pool areas for the remainder of our trip? No. It was all Keiki Cove from that moment on.

A wise man once told me, “Hayatt, you got to have a goal and you have to be hungry. If you are hungry enough, that goal will be realized.” Did I get to go on the slides? No. Did I get to cruise the lazy river with my family? No.

Did I hit my goal of spending quality time with my daughter at the pool? You bet I did.  Seeing my daughter run around, making friends and being free got me all warm and fuzzy inside. For now, the slides and the lazy river will have to wait. I’m pretty sure that we will conquer those the next time we head over to Aulani.

 

Can`t get enough of Aulani? To read about Character Breakfast in Makahiki, click here.

 

 

Character Breakfast with Mahina in Makahiki, Aulani

Back in February of 2014, we took a 2 weeks vacation to beautiful Aulani using our DVC points. Yes, Aulani. The one in Hawaii. It has nothing to do with TDR, but I have fallen in love with Aulani, so I’m gonna write about it. END OF DISCUSSION YOUNG MAN OR LADY!!! (depending on what gender you are, you either pick the man or lady in the previous sentence for maximum effect. Thanks for your cooperation)

Aulani is simply stunning. Prior to staying in Aulani, my favorite Disney Resort Hotel to vacation in was Hotel Miracosta at TDS. Aulani battled it out with Hotel Miracosta in a 10 round bout and won in the end by unanimous decision. It was a close fight. Hotel Miracosta had the most beautiful Disney Theme Park at it’s doorsteps while Aulani had the facilities, amazing pool area and beautiful nature. Aulani has something for everyone.

Little Mahina enjoyed herself tremendously on this trip. Everyday was an adventure for her. One activity in which she had a lot of fun in was a visit to Makahiki for Character Breakfast. Recently, I reviewed Character Breakfast at Crystal Palace Restaurant in TDL. There’s no competition here. Unlike the battle between Aulani and Miracosta, if there was a fight between Crystal Palace’s Character Breakfast and Makahiki’s, it would be a waste of money to watch that fight because it would end in the first quarter of the first round. Lights out Crystal Palace!!! Makahiki was brilliant. It has great food, beautiful atmosphere, games for the kids to enjoy and of course, the characters.

Before showing us to our table, we took a family picture with Mickey

Before heading to our table, we took a family picture with Mickey

And of course, Little Mahina wanted to take a picture with Mickey by herself.

Little Mahina with Mickey by herself

Mahina participating in a game in Makahiki

Mahina participating in a game

Walking around with a fish on her hand

Walking around with a fish on her hand

Mahina performing with Minnie and Auntie for her friends

Performing with Minnie and friends

Listening to instructions

Listening to instructions

Showing off her musical talents

Showing off her musical talents

I’m showing you all these pictures not because I want to show the world that I have a really beautiful daughter. Wait, I lied. A part of me does want to show that, but my main reason is to show you guys that Mummy and Daddy are not in all the pictures except for the first one with Mickey. Why? Because Mummy and Daddy are busy stuffing their face with food and enjoying each others’ company while our daughter is in the safe hands of the Disney cast members, enjoying herself. It was a win, win, win situation. Mummy and Daddy got to enjoy the food while Little Mahina enjoyed the company of her new friends. There’s a strategy to this dining experience. I’ll tell you more later. For now, more characters.

Mahina and Goofy hugging

Mahina and Goofy hugging

Big smile

Big smile thanks to Goofy

Remember the strategy I was talking about earlier? Disney’s genius. Ok, here we go.

Mahina plays. We eat. Mahina gets hungry after playing. It’s super easy to feed her. After eating, she gets sleepy. We put her to bed and enjoy some cocktails at the balcony of our room. TADA!!!

Little Mahina got hungry after all that playing

Little Mahina got hungry after all that playing

Time for a nap

Time for a nap

All jokes aside, this visit to Makahiki was one of my favorite Disney dining experience. Mahina had a ball of a time too. Just remembering my daughter’s smile when she interacts with the characters and her new friends makes me want to do my best everyday to put that smile on her face again. I can’t wait for the next time to visit Aulani. Makahiki’s Character breakfast will be on the top of our to-do list when we visit again.

What’s your favorite Disney Character Dining Experience? KM would love to find out. Send us a comment to let us know.

 

 

 

China Voyager

Secret Recipes coveted even by the pirates. That’s the description for China Voyager on the Tokyo Disney Resort Official website. Seeing that I am a pirate and a blogger, I feel that I am fully competent to review this restaurant. Before you read any further, to make this blog post more entertaining, I urge you to imagine me in a pirate accent, reading this post to you. If you have never heard my voice before, it’s a hybrid of Richard Simmons’ and Madonna’s. Avast mateys, onwards to the China Voyager.

I smell me some ramen

I smell me some ramen

China Voyager

China Voyager

China Voyager's menu

China Voyager’s menu

After the disappointing reviews of Soda Popcorn and Crystal Palace’s Character Breakfast, I am delighted to bring you a positive review. Faith in TDR, being one of the best Disney Resorts in the world, has been restored.

The first thing you will notice when walking up to the restaurant is it’s long line. Don’t fret about that. That line goes by fairly quickly. Very soon, you will be in the restaurant, giving your order and enjoying some aspects of Taylorism in the preparation of your food. Enjoy the show. It will give you a glimpse of Japanese efficiency. Fast and precise with quality. Sorta like Seattle Seahawk’s defense in the 2014 Superbowl.

Ramen Assembly Line

Ramen Assembly Line

Voila, the Ford Model T of Ramen served!!!

Voila, the Ford Model T of Ramen served!!!

After you get your food, you shouldn’t have problems looking for a seat. Given the amount of people that eat here, I am surprised that, most of the time, there is available seating. Most people, unlike me, will just finish their food and move on. However, if there are no seats available, just be a little patient and I am sure that your patience will be rewarded. Most of the seating for China Voyager is outdoors, so plan this dining experience accordingly with the weather.

Ingredients coming in

Ingredients coming in

Outdoor seating

Outdoor seating

In total, we ordered 3 different types of ramen and some rice and vegetables for our little pirate. We ordered the Noodles with Crab & Egg in Thickened Sauce, Minced Pork in Spicy Miso Soup, Shrimp & Vegetables in Pork Soup, a side of Steamed Vegetables and the Pork with Black Bean Sauce over Rice. I wasn’t expecting much as I have had very good ramen in Singapore and Japan. Surprisingly, all 3 ramen dishes were good. They were no Jangara Ramen, but they were good. I will definitely dine here again when I visit TDL in the future.

Noodles with Crab & Egg in Thickened Sauce

Noodles with Crab & Egg in Thickened Sauce

Shrimp & Vegetables in Pork Soup

Shrimp & Vegetables in Pork Soup

Minced Pork in Spicy Miso Soup

Minced Pork in Spicy Miso Soup

Pork with Black Bean Sauce over Rice and Steamed Vegetables

Pork with Black Bean Sauce over Rice and Steamed Vegetables

China Voyager serves up good food. The outdoor seating atmosphere is really nice too. I enjoyed the sunshine, ramen, people watching and conversation with Mrs Pirate when we had lunch here. China Voyager is one of the best counter service restaurants in TDL. The downside to China Voyager is that it’s value is highly dependent on the weather. I don’t mind paying about 1,000 yen for good ramen in Disney if it’s nice out, however, if it’s raining or super hot and humid, 1,000 yen would be a little too much for me. So, before you plan to lay anchor in China Voyager, I suggest you consult the weatherman.

KM gives China Voyager a 7/10.

 

 

 

 

Character Breakfast at Crystal Palace Restaurant

Disney Character Breakfast. I was never really interested in it when I was a young man. My first experience dining with the characters only came last year (2013) when I was 30 years old. I decided to take my family to Chef Mickey`s in TDR`s Ambassador Hotel and we had a good time. All the main characters were there. Food was good. Little Mahina enjoyed the company of the characters. However, do take note that there is a time limit of 90 minutes at Chef`s Mickeys for breakfast. It costs about 3,400 JPY per adult, 2,270 JPY per child aged 7 – 12 and 1,650 JPY per child aged 4 – 6.

Next experience was in Aulani. This experience was beautiful. I highly recommend heading for Character Breakfast at the Makahiki in Aulani. There was a wide variety of food and the food was great. There were games for the kids to participate in, the characters would come and interact with you at your table for a while (not just take pictures and jet off to the next table) and you could chill at the restaurant for as long as you want, until they close of course. Little Mahina would go play games with the other kids and the characters, leaving Mummy and I to enjoy our conversation to ourselves. We reconnected during that experience and it was great. Out of my limited experience with Disney Character Dining, the one at Makahiki is definitely the best. It costs about USD$32 for adults and USD$18 for children aged 9 and under.

My last and most recent experience to date was the Character Breakfast at Crystal Palace Restaurant in TDL.

Crystal Palace Restaurant

Crystal Palace Restaurant

Character Breakfast Dining in the Crystal Palace Restaurant costs about 3,090 JPY per adult, 1,950 JPY per child aged 7 – 12 and 1,230 JPY per child aged 4 – 6. As you can see, it is about the same price as Character Dining in Makahiki. Sad to say, that`s the only similarity they share. Food at Crystal Palace Restaurant was mediocre. Really simple and it was not even a buffet. You get a breakfast set which consists of salad, scrambled eggs, a sausage, 3 fried potatoes, two Mickey pancakes and plate of fruits. I`m not a great chef, so if I can cook up what is being served, we have a problem.

Crystal Palace`s Breakfast set. This is what you get for breakfast at the Crystal Palace Restaurant. You can`t go for a second serving. THIS IS IT!!!

Crystal Palace`s Breakfast set. This is what you get for breakfast at the Crystal Palace Restaurant. You can`t go for a second serving. THIS IS IT!!!

With regards to the characters, Mickey and his crew were not around to entertain us. Instead of the usual, we got Pooh and his crew. That was pretty cool. Something different. However, the characters were so busy that they had no time to interact with us. It was all business. Take a picture and it`s off to the next table and it took forever for them to make their rounds. There were just too many tables, too many people to entertain. It looked like Pooh and his crew could have used some help. If it was a buffet, we could have at least gone for another round of food. Long story short, our dining experience went something like this. Finished our food, sat there and waited for a character to come to our table, took a picture and waited for the next character to come. We were paying to wait. I honestly felt like I was being ripped off. It was a terrible experience.

Overworked character #1: Piglet

Overworked character #1: Piglet

Overworked character #2: Eeyore

Overworked character #2: Eeyore

Overworked character #3: Tigger

Overworked character #3: Tigger

Overworked character #4: Rabbit

Overworked character #4: Rabbit

Overworked character #5: Pooh

Overworked character #5: Pooh

I`m trying my best right now to think of something good to say about this dining experience, but I can`t think of any. This is by far, the worst dining experience I`ve had in TDR. In fact, this is the worst dining experience I`ve had in all Disney parks. We lined up for about 30 minutes to enter the restaurant, got our one serving of food, sat down, finished our food and waited for the characters to come. In total, we wasted about 90 minutes of our time. There was no value at all attached to this experience. I felt like someone stole my wallet after leaving this place.

Seating arrangement in Crystal Palace Restaurant

Seating arrangement in Crystal Palace Restaurant

Central structure with a really happy bunny

Central structure with a really happy bunny

Really happy Easter Bunny carrying really expensive carrots. Thanks for dining with us today!!! (evil grin)

Really happy Easter Bunny carrying really expensive carrots. Thanks for dining with us today!!! (evil grin)

I recommend Character Breakfast at Crystal Palace Restaurant to no one. Go spend your hard earned money somewhere else. If it`s characters you want to see, there are other ways to go about it. Don`t waste your time and money at this place. You have been warned.

KM gives this dining experience a 0/10. By far, the worst dining experience that I have had in any Disney park.