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The Raider Voice

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The Raider Voice

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Disney is Back and Stronger Than Ever

In the midst of summer, park-goers had the opportunity to enjoy early autumn decorations. In addition, they are able to partake in celebrations to commensurate 100 years of the Walt Disney Company.

Viewing Disney through the eyes of a high school senior has made me gain a newfound appreciation for the vacation hotspot.

I did not expect how Disney would feel different–having previously visited Disney as a middle schooler–as I was able to truly enjoy the experience this time around. 

Fresh off a weekend trip to Disney World, I cannot comprehend how the pandemic has changed Disney for the better, due to the newly opened resorts that bolster the status of the park, and the high-quality restaurants, ranging from casual-eats to ones that will–in my opinion–achieve the coveted status of becoming Michelin-starred. 

Enjoying delicious meals is what can make a difference in how you perceive a trip. In this case, I was not disappointed. Now with my mature palate, I strayed away the usual children’s offerings of chicken tenders, burgers, grilled cheese, as I wanted to taste all of the gastronomic delights that I knew that I would appreciate and not take for granted. For the first time, I thoroughly enjoyed dishes that were surprisingly at par with what you expect at a Michelin-quality restaurant.

Much to my astonishment, the quality has improved beyond all words. Definitely, one highlight is Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Rivera, the rooftop eatery located in the newly opened Disney’s Riviera Resort. Drawing inspiration from the French Riviera and Italy, the menu boasts an impressive array of dishes. 

For appetizers, we sampled the Ratatouille Fritter, described by  the menu as “eggplant, carrot, summer squash, piperade (plant-based).” Crunchy, filled with an immense flavor boost, this is a must-try when dining in. 

Another menu highlight was the Rigatoni, described by the menu as “braised chicken sugo, broccolini, pancetta, wild mushrooms, and black truffle.”

Somehow the dish was creamy but light at the same time, an experience for all the taste buds. Another dish sampled by the table was the Classic Sole Meuniere, which the menu described as “sea beans, capers, baby squash, asparagus, petite potatoes.” The table member declared that the dish “was better than anything I have eaten in a Parisian restaurant and I was transported to the French Riviera.”

The French Riviera Resort was the not only resort that blew away my expectations. Opened in 2017, the Copper Creek Cabin and Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge are the mature, cooler version, perfect for the ultimate weekend getaway. Of course, I was in shock at the 1,700 square feet cabin suitable for all, complete with a full-range kitchen and a private spa pool, inviting you to relax after spending hours sweating under the Florida sun. 

On the first morning, feeling refreshed and ready to explore, it was time to finally return to Magic Kingdom, which is a requisite stop. Amid widespread reports of declining attendance, there was an expectation that Magic Kingdom would be an example of this, but this was not what exactly occurred. While there were crowds, it was definitely not near  pre-pandemic levels, benefitting all park-goers. 

It seemed that Magic Kingdom underwent renovations as it was the prettiest I have seen it. Magic Kingdom was picturesque, with the buildings on Main Street painted to perfection. The bakeries emitted a delicious scent, beckoning all the hungry park-goers to enter and sample all the goodies inside, including the famous Mickey cinnamon roll. Spending a few hours provided the necessary time to enjoy the main attractions, The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the classic Carousel of Progress. 

The following morning began with a trek to Epcot, where the annual Food and Wine Festival was underway. Between July 27 and Nov. 23, park goers will have the opportunity to taste cuisine from around the world, with plenty of choices located in each individual pavilion. 

In a surprising twist, Epcot and the World Showcase was emptier than usual, but this made for a pleasurable experience. 

The pavilions worth visiting are the ever-popular Italy, The United Kingdom, and the Norway bakery, where the “school bread” is among the popular dishes to try. 

Overall, the weekend was filled with memorable moments, and it can be considered to be one of the best Disney weekends ever. This is one of the best moments to visit Disney, as you will not be disappointed.

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About the Contributor
Kate Cooper
Kate Cooper, Staff Writer
Kate Cooper is a senior and staff writer of “The Raider Voice”. While this is her first year as staff, Kate previously contributed to “The Raider Voice” as a freshman. This year, Kate is looking forward to writing about current international issues, and highlighting local businesses, especially those related to the food industry. Outside of journalism, Kate is an avid traveler who enjoys immersing herself in the local culture. Within the school community, Kate is vice president of Key Club and a Model UN team member.

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