Keys to the Kingdom

Every now and then, Bob and I like to head to Disney for a day. And by every now and then, I mean frequently. We are lucky enough to live a decent drive away, and have Mom around who likes to pet sit and play in the garden. Having done the parks a few times over the last few years, we decided to do something a little different – the Keys to the Kingdom tour. This is a five hour walking tour of the Magic Kingdom and how Disney makes the magic.

I was a little worried that knowing how Disney does its thing would take away a little of the magic. I was a little worried that I would loose the seven year old kid I become every time we are in the Magic Kingdom. I was a little worried I wouldn’t smile catching a glimpse of Pluto or Cinderella or Mickey. I was a little worried, but I still wanted to do the tour.

It didn’t happen. This was in part because I’ve been to Disney World enough to be incredibly impressed with it. I’ve seen the consistency of Disney that it actually becomes more impressive to know how it all happens every single day. I can separate fantasy from reality and appreciate both aspects of Disney World. I can know how Disney does it and still become the little girl, sitting on Dad’s shoulders, star struck and tongue tied because Cinderella is talking to me. I get that same feeling, and am drawn back to that memory every time I see the castle or Cinderella or any of my favorite characters. That is the real magic of Disney.

I’m deliberately not saying anything about the tour itself. If you haven’t been to Disney, immerse yourself in the Magic Kingdom and experience.i think you need to experience the magic before taking it apart and examining why it works. If you’ve been to the parks enough that you want a different perspective on it, take the tour. You get a new appreciation for how it all happens (keep in mind it’s more impressive when you remember WDW was originally built in the 1960s and the basics have not changed) and somehow knowing how they make the magic, makes it even more impressive.


A cool front came through south Florida and it was downright chilly this morning. I even waited to walk Jessie until it “warmed up” here. Thankfully this bit of brisk weather is fleeting and I should be back to warm tomorrow.

But while it was chilly, I decided to bake. It is a coworker’s birthday tomorrow so a great excuse for a cake. Originally I was going to do a basic chocolate cake with buttercream icing, but I decided I didn’t want chocolate, I am terrible at making buttercream and I wanted something just a bit lighter and more fall like.

I found a recipe for an applesauce cake. This intrigued me. I love the taste of apples, I’ve used applesauce in cakes before (to good effect) and I can pretend it is a healthier version of cake than regular chocolate cake. It also gives me a reason to test run the cake before deciding if I want to use it in a Thanksgiving dinner menu. All very good reasons to bake the cake. And, yes, the birthday tomorrow.

So how did it go? Well, it turns out I didn’t have as much brown sugar as I thought. Confectioners sugar? Sure. Regular granulated sugars? Plenty. Brown sugar? About a quarter cup. Also, apparently my back up bag of flour is whole wheat flour, not all purpose flour. But I figured I would still go for it.

I omitted the black pepper in this recipe. I just wasn’t feeling that adventurous. I also substituted Sugar in the Raw for brown sugar and used plain white sugar with a touch of vanilla in the glaze. But other than whole wheat flour, no pepper and the sugar changes, I actually followed a recipe. I even made Bob his in mini cake so he wouldn’t feel left out.

I really like how this turned out. It remind me a little bit of a spice cake, a little bit of an apple cake and it tastes like you want a fall dessert to taste. The icing was easier than most and really adds to the cake. It’s moist, flavorful and just a little sweet. Bob liked his mini cake and we shall see how it goes over with the coworkers tomorrow.