Baking Magic – Butterfinger Cupcakes

I’m just gonna prefix this post by saying that this is definitely more of a lazy person’s guide to the butterfinger cupcake due to the fact that my kitchen currently has a giant hole in the ceiling, so I’ve had to make do with the ingredients and space that I had!

Disney park cupcakes are the best, right? Apart from the fact that they’re often too big to finish in one go, YES. Today I’m taking on a Disney World classic, the Butterfinger cupcake.

Now Butterfingers are an American candy bar, and although you can get them in some UK retailers, I’ve made these as totally butterfinger-free butterfinger cupcakes. I feel like I’m totally cheating today, but I’m gonna pretend that I’m just making this recipe accessible for novice bakers.. BUT LOOK AT THEM YUM

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Right, here we go!

1. Start off with a batch of your favourite chocolate cupcake recipe, and to get a proper WDW experience, fill the cases a little more than you normally would! If you don’t have one, cream 125g butter and 125g caster sugar, add a dash of vanilla extract and 2 eggs, then mix in 20g cocoa powder and 105g self-raising flour and bake at 190C for 15-17 minutes. Ta-dah!

2. Once cooled, take a sharp knife and cut a hole into the centre of the cake, like a classic butterfly cake, and pop this to one side for the time being. It doesn’t matter if they get mixed up and you can’t remember which centre belongs to which cake.

3. (Cheat 1, coming your way). Well now you’ve got a hole in the middle of your cupcake that needs filling, so find either your favourite chocolate and peanut butter spread, or just a regular chocolate spread or frosting, and fill that hole all the way up. I recommend spread or frosting for this because its a little gooier than buttercream!

4. Those little cake centres, sit those back onto the cakes on top of the pool of chocolatey goodness to make a little peak.

5. Now grab some vanilla buttercream, or make some using a 2:1 icing sugar to butter ratio and a splash of vanilla extract. To replicate WDW buttercream, thicken it up with a bit more icing sugar – this will help it hold better when we load it onto the cake in a minute. Pop it into the fridge for a minute while we get a few more things ready.

6. Has anyone else noticed that basically every recipe I share involves crushing something at some point? Yep, we’re doing it again.. If you’re one of my American readers, grab yourself a butterfinger and crush it up nicely. UK friends, find yourself a peanut butter KitKat and a few cookies and stick them in a food processor to crumb them down nicely.

7. Grab your buttercream from the fridge, and using a knife or metal spatula, pile it onto your cupcake, then smooth it around the little peak you created earlier. Now grab your cupcake by its case and roll the buttercream mountain around in those crumbs until you get a nice covering.

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Is anyone else drooling?

Headed to the parks? You can get the original Butterfinger Cupcake from Starring Roles Cafe in Hollywood Studios!

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What is there for Star Wars fans in the Disney parks?

We’ve all heard the news: Disney is going to be taking us to a galaxy far, far away with the announcement of two Star Wars lands, one in WDW and one in Disneyland. Now all we’ve got to do is wait another who knows how long for them to be completed. Ugh.

The problem is, with the recent release of Episode VII, Disney has just created a whole new generation of Star Wars fans eagerly awaiting the next installment, and of course these spectacular new areas of the parks, and, clever little people that they are, they have made sure that these fans are not disappointed! So what have they got going?

Star Tours

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Star Tours is a travel company offering destination holidays to everyone in the galaxy, but unfortunately due to some issues on Flight 1401, your trip turns into a bit of a mission, uh-oh! Its a 3D simulator, and the rides have been in the parks for a few years now, but those wonderful Imagineers have given them a little tweak!

Now including scenes from Jakku, and a message from Finn and BB-8, the ride actually has 50 different variations; there are slight differences in the opening scene, ending scene, and a few differences in the middle, and there’s no telling which one you’re going to get! In January, we had about 4 different experiences, I wonder how many times you’d have to ride before you saw them all!

You can ride Star Tours in Hollywood Studios in WDW or Tomorrowland in Disneyland.

Star Wars Launch Bay

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The Launch Bay is one of the newest Star Wars additions to the Disney parks. Inside you can see memorabilia from the movies, such as Rey’s speeder, collections of lightsabers and models of your favourite spacecraft, as well as being able to meet some of your favourite characters.. Was that a wookiee I heard?!

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As well as Chewbacca and Darth Vader, you might also run into a bounty hunter or have an encounter with a trading Jawa, and you never know, Kylo Ren might make an appearance!

The Launch Bays can be found in both Hollywood Studios and Tomorrowland in Disneyland

Jedi Training Academy

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If your little ones dream of joining the lightside, you can sign them up to take part in the Jedi Training Academy shows which happen throughout the day at both Hollywood Studios and Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. Its adorable; first each little Jedi gets given a robe and a lightsaber and are walked out to the stage area in a big procession. Once on stage, they’re taught a fight routine which they’ll suddenly have to use against Darth Vader or The Seventh Sister, and the moral of the story is to stand up to your fears.

Each show has limited spaces, so sign up early in the day to avoid disappointment. Your child must be present when you sign them up, and its open to all between the ages of 4-12.

Path of the Jedi

Path of the Jedi is a short film essentially telling an abridged version of the initial six Star Wars films, and a series of non-spoiler clips from Episode VII, summing up the history of the Jedi, and what the future may hold!

Hyperspace Mountain – Disneyland

Disneyland’s Space Mountain has been influenced by the force with a little revamp, and a lot more adventure! Its the same ride as before, but the addition of lights and projections within the ride have transformed this in-the-dark rollercoaster into a rebel mission against the galactic empire, and watch out for those tie-fighters!

Don’t forget to grab a Fastpass early in the day to shorten your wait time!

Force-filled Food

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Disneyland is ahead of the game with their Star Wars inspired food, dedicating a whole restaurant, Galactic Grill, to it. The menu includes First Order burgers and Darth by Chocolate dessert, and you can even have your meal served in a Han Solo in Carbonite bucket!

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Hollywood Studios has a good range of Star Wars cupcakes, but that’s about it for the moment!

Merchandise

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As expected, Star Wars merchandise is everywhere throughout all the parks, everything from clothing and accessories to comic books and annuals, you can even buy a 4ft tall Stormtrooper! As well as being in most shops, there are dedicated stores such as Watto’s Grotto and Tatooine Traders in Hollywood Studios and Mickey’s Star Traders in Disneyland.

Are excited for the new Star Wars lands?

WDW Day 8!

Today was our last full day in the parks, can someone tell me where that time has gone?!

The plan was to have a little bit of a lie-in, then get to the Magic Kingdom for the rope drop. Well, we missed the rope drop, but we did get to do Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder and Space Mountain all within the first hour of park time, so that was pretty impressive in any case! Fast rides out of the way, we stopped at Sleepy Hollow for breakfast: fresh fruit waffle sandwiches in the sunshine, right next to the castle as the first Dream Along with Mickey show was on – kinda perfect, am I right?

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After our late breakfast, we caught the monorail to Polynesian Village; the lobby was under construction on our last visit, so we were curious to see the changes for ourselves, and it made the perfect stop to hop across to Hollywood Studios for the afternoon. First on the agenda was Star Wars Launch Bay to hang out with Chewie and Darth, and we even got to see a rogue Jawa hanging around! After another Great Movie Ride (gangster this time, in case you were wondering), we finally caved and bought ourselves a BB-8 sipper cup each as well as some popcorn to see Beauty and the Beast live on stage.

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After the show, we headed across to Star Tours, but as we were a little early for our Fastpass slot, we decided to watch the Jedi Training Academy show, which was pretty adorable. You might have caught my tweet about how it’s been updated to include some TFA stuff, but we asked a CM today and it turns out there are 50 different variations of the simulation, crazy!

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Next up some Muppet Vision 3D, followed by late lunch at Studio Catering Co, then One Mans Dream (all the feels!) before out Tower of Terror Fastpass. You may have heard me talk about my love/hate relationship with this ride before, and it’s pretty simple: I hate waiting for the first drop, after that I’m totally cool, and it works fine because I know that it doesn’t drop until you reach the top and look out over the park. Nope, not this time! The first drop was done totally in the dark; I felt betrayed, but at least it was over. After that we made our way to Fantasmic nice and early because of our Fastpasses, and to avoid the mad rush that happens so often. It was magical as per, when Mickey comes out on the boat as Steamboat Willie..

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After the show, we made our way to our favourite spot to watch Symphony of the Stars for our last time this trip. It was no less magical the second time; you can physically feel the bangs pass through you!

Tomorrow is our last day here (waa!), but I’m getting so excited to return to Disneyland!

WDW Day 7!

Well that’s Four Park Challenge off my bucket list!

We started this morning with Extra Magic Hours in Animal Kingdom, and first stop was obviously Expedition Everest – did you catch it on Periscope? Rollercoaster out of the way, we stopped off at Creature Comforts (the AK Starbucks) for hot drinks – yes it was that cold – and breakfast pastries, then onward to Kilimanjaro Safaris where we got to see two baby white rhinos playing, eek! We decided that for our challenge, we would get photos with Mickey at each of the parks, so we stopped off at Adventurers Outpost to see him and Minnie before catching a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge to park-hop.

From AKL we transferred onto a bus to Hollywood Studios, where we first stopped off to see Mickey, this time in his classic Sorcerers Apprentice costume. On a character meet roll, we also got a selfie with a green army man, and went to see Mike and Sully, but as we’re headed back to Studios tomorrow, we decided not to queue for any rides.

Now midday, we caught another bus onto Wilderness Lodge, for a quick look around but also so we could transfer to the Magic Kingdom by the boat that runs direct from the resort, handy right? Again, first things first, we went to see Mickey in Town Hall Theater, then grabbed lunch at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. Would you believe we’ve never done Astro Orbiter before? Well we have now! With that experience under our belts, we got a spot near the castle for Festival of Fantasy, which was just as magical as it always is, and finished up out MK time with an obligatory Its a Small World.

 To throw another form of transportation into the works, we obviously had to take the monorail across to our final park, Epcot, and actually it wasn’t Mickey we went to first, it was Baymax. Yes again, no we don’t care. Mickey was next, at the Epcot Character Spot, then we went across to Journey into the Imagination. We had a Fastpass, but there wasn’t much of a line to bypass! Not quite hungry yet, we stopped off to watch Circle of Life in The Land, before dinner at Sunshine Seasons, probably my favourite quick service in the whole of Walt Disney World. From there we went to Spaceship Earth for our Fastpass, but again there was no line so we didn’t even bother scanning them. With time before the fireworks, we figured a 40 minute wait at Test Track (which we discovered a love for the other day) would keep us warm and indoors, but we actually waited less than 10 before we got to the design stage, then another 10 before the ride itself. In fact, we ended up doing it twice! That took us right up to our last Fastpass for the day, for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, which was beautiful as always. It was pretty chilly, so as soon as the display was over, we joined the brisk hoard of people leaving the parks and jumped on our last bus: back to the resort!

How’s that for a busy day?

WDW Day 6!

I slept a solid almost 11 hours last night, and it was so good!

This morning our first port of call was a Disney Vacation Club viewing; we had been talked into going by a representative in Epcot a few days ago, and were mainly in it for the free food, Fastpasses and $50 Disney gift card! Don’t get me wrong though, it was interesting to look at!

From there, we headed outlet shopping at Orlando Premier Outlets, about a 10 minute taxi ride away, and snagged some mega bargains, including new Asics trainers and some Vinylmation from Disney’s Character Warehouse. After dropping our haul back at the resort, we caught the boat to Disney Springs for lunch and the Cool Down Party.

The Cool Down Party is basically a bunch of the stores and restaurants in Disney Springs doing discounts and special offers for anyone who ran this weekend, so long as you wear your medal! This meant we got 10% off lunch at T-REX, and I also got 15% off some goodies from Basin, yay!

Still with plenty of the afternoon ahead, we decided to catch a bus to the Walt Disney World Swan hotel, then the boat from there to Hollywood Studios, as we’ve never done that before, and we had no idea how quick a ride it was! Straight away we headed to Rock’n’Roller Coaster, and passed the hour wait using our DVC Fastpasses, then we managed to catch the last showing of Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular, getting to see some of the scenes we had missed the other day.

After that we did another Star Tours, and as luck would have it, the wait time for Toy Story Midway Mania was only 25 minutes, so obviously we were all over that, and in fact, we only waited maybe 5. With a little bit of time until the fireworks, we went back to the Star Wars Launch Bay to watch the film showing we had skipped before, then headed out to get a good view of the Symphony in the Stars fireworks.

Wow. I might go as far as saying it was the best firework display Disney has ever imagineered. Just phenomenal, the way they synced the fireworks to the music and how each rocket represented something.. I could go on but I won’t!

Instead I’m going to bed, goodnight!

PS. No photos from today, too busy seeing through my own two eyes!

WDW Day 4!

Today was a successful day!

After an early start yesterday, we had crashed out by about 8-8.30pm, putting us in good stead for my 5.50am alarm. No, this wasn’t another race alarm, this was so I could join the virtual queue for limited edition RunDisney New Balance shoes. Back to sleep for another hour or so, and we headed over to the expo for my allocated pick up time slot. Yes, I got the shoes, and Dad got a pair too!

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Our park for the day was Hollywood Studios, and when we arrived it was raining Florida-style – warm-ish but fairly heavy. We arrived in time for our Star Tours Fastpass, and were super excited to discover it’s been updated to include some TFA scenes now! Keeping on theme, we went to see Path of the Jedi, a new attraction essentially showing an abridged storyline of the Star Wars prequels, then a few non-spoiler clips from TFA, before running through the rain to catch a showing of the Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular. The rain meant it was a little cut down for safety reasons, but it was still great!

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After our second Fastpass, for Muppet Vision 3D, we grabbed lunch at Pizza Planet, one of my favourite QS restaurants, themed after the Toy Story classic. Beauty and the Beast and The Great Movie Ride next, then onto our final Fastpass, the ever popular Toy Story Midway Mania, which had a 95 minute wait! Even with a Fastpass we waited maybe 15-20 minutes, and unfortunately Dad did beat me by a few points but never mind.. From there we caught the last performance of Lights, Motors, Action, followed by Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and from there the force pulled us towards the Star Wars Launch Bay..

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It was awesome! We met Chewbacca and Darth Vader, and despite queue times saying about 50 and 40 minutes, we did the two in less than an hour and they were perfect! The launch bay has taken over the old Animation Academy, which I was sad to see go, but it has most definitely been put to good use! Now dark, we had a little walk around in the hopes that the Osborne Lights might still be lit (not wishful thinking, the lights were all still up, just not lit), and made our way back to the resort to prep for tomorrow!

Friday Favourite Five – WDW Quick Service Restaurants

I’m getting super excited about my upcoming Disney World trip, and when I’m excited my planning goes into overdrive! Because we’re on the Quick Service Dining Plan, I’m pretty excited to try out a lot more of the QS restaurants on this trip, but for now, here are my favourite five from the last trip:

1. Pizza Planet Arcade

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My absolutely favourite restaurant in Hollywood Studios, Pizza Planet is like walking into Andy’s favourite place to eat: pizza, arcade games, and plenty of Little Green Men!

2. Be Our Guest (lunch)

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Be Our Guest is quick service for lunchtime only, and even then getting in can be pretty competitive, but we managed it! If the perfect setting isn’t enough, the food was amazing!

3. Sunshine Seasons

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Sunshine Seasons is inside The Land at Epcot, and boasts a pretty amazing range of international cuisine. My Mongolian Beef, fried rice and whoopie pie might have been the best QS meal I had last year!

4. Pinocchio Village Haus

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We loved Pinocchio’s so much we ate there twice! As well as great food, there’s loads of seating both indoors and out, and if you sit by the big window you can watch the boats on It’s a Small World!

5. Boardwalk Bakery

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The Boardwalk is possibly the most beautiful and underrated place in Disney World, and the Bakery is full of yummy goodies, from incredible cupcakes to handmade deli sandwiches, and if you ever need to order a celebration cake, this is the place to go!

Where are your favourite places to eat in WDW?

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