10 Cups of Coffee: 2 Days!


Today I am longing to walk the breezeway between Bay Lake Tower and the Contemporary. I want the hustle and bustle of happy families in cheesy, matching shirts and tacky walking shoes, preparing for their day at the park as I stroll down the aisle of gift shops to my left and right on the way to the Comtempo Cafe. I want the sound of monorails whooshing overhead as I enjoy a breakfast bounty platter and a RapidFill mug full of terrible coffee.

That kind of morning is far from the morning I’ve had today, but I can feel it. I can taste it. It is so close!

With love, Malorie


10 Cups of Coffee Countdown: 9 Days!


Goooooood morning, Disney goers! We Elrods have nine days until our next Disney vacation!

As you know, we also make a countdown chain for each trip. Every time we tear off a link, we do a silly little song and dance. We then take turns saying what we are most excited about that day and sing separate verses in the same tune about that day’s Disney happy thought. For example:

[tears off link]

All [skipping]: We’re gonna go to Disney World,

Disney World,

Disney World!

We’re gonna go to Disney World,

When all our chains are gone…

Me: Cole, what are you excited about today?

Cole: Pirates!

All: We’re gonna ride on Pirates,



We’re gonna ride on Pirates,

When all our chains are gone…

Told you it was silly.

Today, my Disney happy thoughts are waking up to Mickey waffles and bacon at the Contempo Cafe, and snagging a front car of the People Mover and kicking my feet up for a relaxing ride with Lorelai on my lap.

What are you most excited about for your next Disney trip? I’d be glad to sing a verse for you.

With love, Malorie

10 Cups of Coffee is Back

It has already been quite the morning around here.

Cole woke up too stinkin’ early, crawled into bed next to me, and kept whispering a morning breath “Mama…Mama…” into my face. Tim pulled me out of bed a half an hour earlier than I deem reasonable to film his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video before he left for work. And Lorelai pooped her bed. Again.

I think we need a bigger-sized diaper for nighttime.

Luckily, I caught that before Tim headed out the door, so he changed the crib sheet while I cleaned the Poopie Princess. But, needless to say, I neeeeeeeeeded a cup of coffee this morning. So much so, that I couldn’t even take the time to brew a pot. I just stumbled to the water cooler, filled a glass, and dumped in a Starbucks iced Via. As I sipped my sweetened, iced goodness, a little caffeinated happy thought came to mind…

We only have ten more days until our next Disney vacation!

So with that, I’m going to bring back my 10 Cups of Coffee Countdown. Here’s my number ten!

photo-9Ten days until I can wake up at Bay Lake Tower, have my husband by my side non-stop for eight whole days, and ride the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train! Eeee!

How long until your next Disney vacation?

With love, Malorie

Here’s What We Think: Dates in Disney, A California Grill Review

I think I’ve said this before, but Tim and I are huge supporters of dating your spouse. Where is one of our favorite places to go on a date?

You guessed it. Disney World.

Luckily, we usually have Grandma and Grandaddy with us on our trips, so we can barter with them for a date night on one night of our trip. In the past, we’ve had dates at Narcoossee’s, Ohana {followed by couple of hours alone in Magic Kingdom!}, and Chefs de France in Epcot. DisneyDateCollageThis past September of 2013 was definitely my favorite date night we’ve had, by far. It was at the newly refurbished and grand re-opening of the California Grill at the tip-top of the Contemporary Resort!

After a lengthy refurbishment, the California Grill was set to re-open the week of our vacation and after trying to book a table the day they started taking reservations, Tim came home frustrated because every single reservation for that week had been booked up within just a few hours. However, after a strange turn of events while on our trip {I swear, this Disney magic stuff is the real deal}, a fellow Disney guru that we follow on Twitter tweeted that he was canceling his reservation for the Cali Grill that night and that someone had better move fast if they wanted it. We were back at our resort when Tim saw the tweet, so he jetted to the front desk to try to snag the reservation. Lo and behold, an hour later Tim and I were putting on our fanciest outfits and getting ready for our 5:30 reservation at the California Grill!

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I’m obsessed with these pictures that Tim took while we were waiting on our boat to the Contemporary. I was 26ish weeks pregnant with Lorelai.

IMG_8874 IMG_8876 IMG_8878We had an amazing captain as we sailed the calm waters of Bay Lake. He was knowledgeable and talkative and he said that he had given up a pretty prestigious job to drive boats in Disney World and that he has never regretted it a minute; that being out on the Disney World waters was the best job you could ask for. I think I believe him. IMG_8879 IMG_8882We arrived early, but went ahead and went up to the restaurant because we wanted to have a look around before being seated.

IMG_8886 IMG_8884 IMG_8885 IMG_8888We loved the new decor of the restaurant, and I geeked out for a bit over the Mary Blair art inspired design and framed photos of her sketching.

IMG_8907 IMG_8908 IMG_8909IMG_8922On either side of the restaurant, you can walk out on to a breeze way that overlooks Magic Kingdom, Bay Lake and the parks and resorts beyond it, and the Seven Seas Lagoon and it’s inhabiting resorts. The views are magnificent, really.IMG_8899 IMG_8898 IMG_8894California Grill, in addition to being a nice sit-down, has a lounge and bar area and sushi bar. Unfortunately, I am not a lover of sushi, so this does not appeal to me. However, I have heard it is amazing from those who do love sushi. IMG_8889IMG_8891 IMG_8890IMG_8892We were seated in the back room that was once the wine cellar. It was small and quiet so it was right up my alley. Tim on the other hand is the kind of guy that likes to be in the middle of the action, so he would have preferred we were sat in the main dining room. I’m introverted and don’t like strangers, so this suited me nicely. Plus, we had a window seat with a great view of our beloved Wilderness Lodge. IMG_8903 IMG_8916 IMG_8913 IMG_8911 IMG_5988Our waitress was fantastic and informative. She recommended the oven-dried tomato flatbread for an appetizer, so we took her up on that while she brought out some bread in the meantime.

Y’all, that bread. Those wheat rolls with the unsalted butter sprinkled with coarse sea salt and a sprig of rosemary?…I could have just eaten ten baskets of that and been fine. Seriously. Although I was pregnant, so maybe that had to do with it too. Either way, the bread was my jam that night. Here’s proof:  The flatbread was pretty amazing, itself. A great recommendation.IMG_8919For his entrée, Tim ordered oak-fired fillet of beef. It was so delicious. The sauce was fantastic and it was cooked perfectly; I was definitely wishing I had ordered it, as well. IMG_8925IMG_8923I ordered a dish that doesn’t seem to be on the menu anymore. It was a chicken breast in some sort of cherry barbecue sauce, I believe, with two chicken sausage links, corn succotash and green beans, with a mac ‘n cheese au gratin…or something like that. I’m a sophisticated foodie, can’t you tell? It was a good dish, but although it doesn’t look this way in the picture, I felt there was far too much of that sauce on my plate and it was really over powering. And as good as the mac ‘n cheese looks, it was a bit dry. IMG_8931Of course, no good date night goes without dessert, so we ordered the sundae sampler. I knew I wanted it from the moment we sat down. We had seen it on the menu prior to arriving and I was so in love with it’s whimsically sweet presentation that I couldn’t pass it up. I basically giggled my way through dessert. I mean, c’mon! Just look at it! The coke float was…well, a coke float, so the caramel corn and strawberry and basil were the flavor-stars of the dish. We finished it very satisfied and with a smile on our face. IMG_5994IMG_8929Besides my chicken dish {which has been taken off of the menu for obvious reasons, I suppose}, we have nothing but good things to say about the California Grill. We have recommended it to many people in the past year and talk often of booking it again on an upcoming trip.

So here’s what we think: Although amazing restaurants with breath-taking views and mouth-watering eats make any date night a magical and memorable experience, spending time with the love of your life is always the best part of dating in Disney. IMG_8944 IMG_6047Here’s to us, Timothy Elrod, and many more magnificent nights at the Happiest Place on Earth.

With love, Malorie


VIDEO: WDW Trip 03.14

Now that it is almost May, I’ve finally gotten around to putting together some of the video we took while on our trip to WDW this March! It was Lorelai’s first trip {at a whopping three-months-old, just like her big brother, Jack}, our second stay at Bay Lake Tower, and our second trip as DVC Members. It was a lot of fun, but also contained a lot of shuffle, being our first trip with three kids, and without the grandparents for that matter! Luckily, a Magic Kingdom morning cut short and the ride home were our only two rough spots in the trip. We’re looking forward to our trip this September, with Lorelai being more alert and aware of what’s going on.

Without further ado, our March 2014 video. I don’t love it as much as the last montage, but it still contains lots of great Elrods Go Disney memories!

Photo Report: Villas at the Wilderness Lodge

I thought I’d start out our string of trip reports by sharing where we stayed on our most recent trip to WDW. As fresh-faced DVC members, we spent our first trip at our home resort, The Villas at Disney Wilderness Lodge.  IMG_8502 IMG_8503 IMG_8504 IMG_8508IMG_9306 IMG_8509 IMG_9300 IMG_6143 IMG_8514 IMG_8516 IMG_8518 IMG_8519 IMG_8520 IMG_8522 IMG_8523 IMG_8526 IMG_8530 IMG_5789Since there are so many things we loved about our stay, I will keep it simple and less wordy by just listing out a few:

~ How cozy the Lodge, especially the lobby of the Villas, feels. It really feels like a home away from home the moment you arrive. With it’s scaled back Disney character theming {as opposed to the All-Star Resorts}, it definitely feels like a relaxing retreat, especially after a busy and loud morning in the parks. It makes for great naps times!

~ Our room! We had the perfect room, and plan to request it in the future if it’s available. It was near the elevators and had the perfect view of Bay Lake and the DVC pool. At 9:30 each night, we could sit out on our balcony and watch the Electrical Water Pageant peeking through the trees, gliding by on it’s way to the Camp Grounds and Contemporary. We’d probably say our least favorite thing about the room was the decor. We’re looking forward to updates in that regard.

~ The size of our Villa. It was our first time staying in a studio, so the extra space was needed and felt.

~ The kitchenette. The refrigerator was even more spacious than we anticipated and we loved having a separate sink to be able to wash dishes and mugs in, in addition to the bathroom sink. In regular rooms, it always felt slightly gross washing baby bottles in the same sink I just brushed my teeth in. Gag.

~ The pools. They are so great, and we love having the option of resort pool towels and returns. It’s nice not having to deal with finding places to hang wet towels in the room.

~ Having the option of boat transportation. The larger boats that go directly between the Wilderness Lodge and Magic Kingdom have wide enough doors and aisles that we can roll our fat double stroller right on, kids buckled in. This is a life saver with sleeping kids. It is a pain and a half having to fold that thing up and keep tabs on two roaming toddlers on small boats or buses. We loving having that easier, stress-free option.

~ All of the cozy little nooks the VWL offers to those seeking just a few minutes of serenity. During one of the boys’ nap times, I walked around the lobby of the Villas and captured some silent and comfy spots to share. It makes me long for a cup of coffee or hot tea and a good book right now!IMG_9310 IMG_9328 IMG_9340 IMG_9335 IMG_9337 IMG_9338 IMG_9343

~ The restaurants. The Wildnress Lodge offers three  spots to get your fill; for counter service, the Roaring Fork and Trout Pass Pool Bar, and for table service, the Whispering Canyon Cafe and the signature dining spot, Artist Point, which includes the Territory LoungeIMG_8492IMG_8841

~ We also love the grounds. Just gorgeous. IMG_9407

{The top corner balcony was ours.}

IMG_9371 IMG_9372 IMG_9374 IMG_9376 IMG_9385 IMG_9393 IMG_9396 IMG_9398 IMG_9399IMG_8873

{Boat transportation: the large boats go directly to the entrance of Magic Kingdom, while smaller boats make stops at the Magic Kingdom, Fort Wilderness Camp Grounds, and the Contemporary Resort. Pictured is one of the larger boats.}

Ahhh, the Wilderness Lodge. How we love you. Have you ever stayed at the Wilderness Lodge or the Villas at the Wilderness Lodge? If so, what were your thoughts on your stay there?

With love, Malorie

VIDEO: WDW Trip 2013

We’ve officially been home from WDW for a week, and I have only had one day where I wanted to cry.

I think that’s a success, yes?

Part of the reason I haven’t slunk into deep PDD {Post-Disney Depression} is because we are already planning and booking meal reservations for our trip in March. The other part is because I have been working on a video montage of our trip, and being able to look back on all of our fun times and live vicariously through our memories captured via iPhone has somehow curbed the pains of withdrawal. I finished it a couple of days ago, but because I am not very computer program and technology savvy, I had to seek help from Tim in figuring out how to export it. He finally found the time today, and I am so excited to share it with you.

I know it’s amateur, but I am still quite proud, considering this was my first time ever attempting a project such as this. I pretty obsessed with it and plan on making one for each trip now. So get ready for that.

Without further ado and rambling {for which I am infamous}, here is our WDW Trip 2013. 

With love, Malorie

Here’s What We Think: Rapid Fill? No Big Deal.

I hereby promise this is my last post on Rapid Fill. On our trip this past week, I was able to experience it first hand, and the official Elrod opinion is that Rapid Fill is no big deal.IMG_5912

Although, Rapid Fill was not in use at the Wilderness Lodge during our stay, the pricing for the mugs was, since they could be used at other resorts that already had Rapid Fill in place while resort hopping. The drink machines at Roaring Fork where already Rapid Fill machines, they were just not turned on to that capacity. We were able to use our Rapid Fill mugs just like the old mugs. Any refill, anytime. To experience the system for ourselves, we took a boat over for dinner at the Contempo Cafe at the Contemporary to try it out.

IMG_6181IMG_6182IMG_6177 IMG_6176 IMG_6174Basically, nothing was different. Set your cup down under your drink of choice and press the button. An image of a cup filling up will appear, to let you know how much more you have available in that refill, along with the expiration date of your mug. IMG_6175Next I wanted to see what would happen when I “ran out” of my current refill. With ice in my mug, I could fill it all the way up to the top and the cup on the screen indicating the amount of refill that I used would only be about halfway full. In order to reach the max amount, I literally had to empty my mug of all ice, fill it up, dump about half of it out, then fill it up again, at which time I received this message. IMG_6186When I tried to get more drink at this point, this screen appeared. IMG_61872 minutes and 14 seconds. That’s it. Then I could start again. And if I can drink a cup and a half of soda and desperately need more in under 2 minutes and 14 seconds…I may need to seek medical help…or just drink water, which is free and unlimited on the Rapid Fill machines.

See? No. Big. Deal.

The coffee, tea, and hot chocolate machines are not Rapid Fill machines, so they are unlimited just as they always were. Although, even if they weren’t, I can’t imagine it being wise to guzzle a whole hot beverage in under 2 minutes and 14 seconds, either!

As for re-using your mug, they can be reactivated on a separate trip, but I am unaware of any pricing discount in doing so. In which case, I’d just prefer the new mug.

So have any of you used the new Rapid Fill system? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Especially any from folks who have stayed at the value resorts where the system has been in place a bit longer.

With love, Malorie

Derailed by DVC: Bringing Food from Home

Any entries posted between September 5th – 12th were composed prior to our trip. To follow along with us in our current WDW adventures, follow us on Twitter: malyourpal and timelrod or on Instagram: malyourpal.


So, as you know, this is our first trip as DVC members. We are so, so excited and hopefully having an amazing time right now as you read this. But I have to admit, preparing and packing as DVC members has really been a switch in gears for us. We have been derailed by DVC, when it comes to meal planning in WDW.

For the past five years, we have been riding the free dining plan promo that Disney has offered each fall. Initially, our dining plan {even when we were staying at the All-Star resorts} included one table service meal {which included an appetizer, entree, dessert, and non-alcholic beverage}, one counter service meal {which included an entree, dessert, and drink} and a snack {almost anything $5 and under} a day. PLUS a free refillable mug, PLUS gratuity was included!

Y’all that is what you call a free dining plan.

Over the years, Disney has been slowly trimming back what is included in the free dining plan. First, gratuity and appetizers were no longer included. Next, they scaled back the dining plans based on resorts, so value resorts were no longer offered the basic dining plan, but the quick service plan. In that plan, you get two counter service meals and one snack a day, along with a free refillable mug. To get the plan that included sit down meals, you had to be staying in a moderate or deluxe resort.

When Tim and I realized that becoming DVC members we would no longer be getting the free dining plan, we were a little bummed, but not much. We are grateful for the opportunity to have had it for the past five years because it allowed us to try restaurants we would have never have considered if we were paying out of pocket, and it essentially turned us into WDW foodies that love to try new restaurants and cuisines. However, we are also looking forward to a new world of being able to think outside of the “meal credits” and see what else Disney has to offer.

That being said, this trip we are trying to budget hard, so we knew splurging on a ton of meals just wasn’t going to happen. After all, we are still on the making-our-money-back end of the DVC buy-in {we just wrote that hefty check in April}, and we have a baby coming in just three months!

Crunch time!

So we hit Walmart hard last week, and tried to find some cheaper meal options that we can make and enjoy right in our DVC room. Here are some things we came up with.IMG_8467IMG_8470 IMG_8472 IMG_8471For breakfasts we plan on oatmeal {my boys love it and could eat it every day, thank goodness}, fruit, toast, and croissants. Lunches, and on a rare occasion dinners, are going to consist of microwavable meals, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, or yes, even a Lunchable or two by the pool. For snacks, we have both healthy and unhealthy options like mini rice cakes, fruit chews, chips, cheese and more fruit, and even the occasional gummy worm.

We plan on eating quick service meals to supplement and we have dining reservations at Via Napoli for lunch {which you’ve hopefully already read about!}, Whispering Canyon Cafe for breakfast, and Hollywood and Vine for lunch.

Honestly, we have no idea if we are doing this right. Please, any current DVC members, give us advice on how you dine in WDW! We may like the way we are doing things this year, or we may look back on this trip and think, “We were crazy. We had no idea what we were doing.”

Either way, I know that there is no chance of us starving in WDW. Busting the budget? Maybe. Starving? No.

I can’t wait to get back and share all of our stories and what we’ve learned!

With love, Malorie

Here’s What We Think: Rapid Rant

[Getting my ghetto Henry County on; head bob, finger point, and all.]

Oh NO, you dih-int!

Just heard word of the Rapid Fill roll out across Walt Disney World resorts. Click here for the article from WDW Magic. In our last post regarding Rapid Fill, we were so sweet. Even gracious in defending it. But today, we are skeptical and a step below livid from what we’ve been hearing. Wish you could see the text messages Tim and I have been swapping back and forth today. {Chris Patton, if you are reading this, they are all work related, centering around team building, leadership, and the Grand Opening tonight…}

Warning: One or more of the above statements are completely false.

From what we can tell, Rapid Fill is in full swing, with pricing as promised. No new mug designs have been introduced, but more color options have been provided including green, purple, and orange. This is a bandaid for us. We’re satisfied with that, but would still love some creative variety in the future.

Things people seem to be complaining about it is the inability to get coffee and hot chocolate in the mugs. Apparently the hot beverage machines do not have the RFID scanners in them? However, this sign obviously says coffee is available, so am I being scammed by Twitterers trying to stir up trouble? Refillable-Mug_Full_19179

If there is any truth to the coffee rumors, this is where my ghetto-fightin’ girl comes out. Don’t. You. Mess. With. My. Coffee! If I’m paying $18 for a refillable mug, I don’t want to have to pay for coffee in addition to that! Coffee is mostly what I drink from the mug, anyway! I’m not the soda consumer my husband is, so coffee and water are my two beverages of choice. If I have to pay for every cup of coffee refill I want, the mug really isn’t worth it for me. I guess Starbucks will be getting my money, instead. It’s a better cup of coffee, anyhow.

Complaint number two, which has yet to be confirmed, is the free refills being limited to every 20 minutes. I’ve heard of this from unlimited drink machines aboard cruise lines, so most people are saying this is a given with the instillation of a RFID chip. We don’t like this either. If this is the case, they need to offer a bigger mug, maybe? {I know, I know, welcome to America.} My husband can drink down the 16 ounces the mug holds within a few gulps. Having to wait 20 minutes between refills would make him grouchy, to say the least. And here’s a thought; what about people that prefer a mixed drink {ie. half Coke, half Coke Zero}? Does the machine give you some sort of time limit to fill up your mug? Or do you get one push of the trigger and that is it? Because even then, with fizzy drinks you tend to fill them up by pressing the trigger several times, letting the fizz die down to avoid spill-over. I guess I am just uneducated as to how the machines fully work. I need some ‘splainin’, as Ricky Ricardo would say.

As for those who wish to “go green” and bring back an RFID mug on numerous trips to reactivate, Disney is still saying that’s a no-go. Hopefully that will change in the future, as well. I’ve heard from several techie minds that that should be relatively easy to incorporate.

Overall, now that Rapid Fill has been put into place, the Elrods are giving it a thumbs down. We’re hoping Disney can work out the kinks in the coming months. We will be arriving in 22 days, so I doubt things will be fixed by then. I’m expecting to hear some major complaints coming out of Tim while there. Photo on 3-13-13 at 3.20 PM #3

What do you think? Let us hear it. Are we overreacting?

With love, Malorie