My husband and I were so excited about taking our kids to Disney World for the first time during Christmas. We hadn’t been to the Magic Kingdom since our honeymoon thirteen years ago. We had a lot of fun making our own magic then. (Wink. Wink.)
We planned our family trip for several months and didn’t tell our kids. When the time came to go we just woke them up at 5 in the morning and told them to get dressed. Of course they thought we were nuts and went back to bed. Eventually they made their way downstairs with Spiderman and Avengers pillows in tow.
We packed the car and headed for Kissimmee, Florida. We were driving through South Carolina when my 9 year-old son figured out where we were going. He told his brother (age 7) and they were so shocked that their response was underwhelming. I heard a weak “yay” from the backseat. I looked back and they had blank catatonic stares on their faces–not the YouTube moment I anticipated. But the two hours of silence and no fighting made up for it.
When the shock wore off they were back to normal and back to annoying. “How much more time do we have to go?” “I have to go to the bathroom.” (Even though we just stopped 20 minutes ago) “Luke’s making fun of me.” “Matthew shut up!”
Every now and then my husband would threaten them. My favorite was “If you two don’t shut up I’m gonna turn off that DVD player and make you read a book.” (That’ll teach ’em.) At least I’d get another hour of silence.
Once we got to the resort, it finally hit my boys that they were in Disney World. And I finally got my YouTube moment. Unfortunately, I left my Flip camera on my dresser back in North Carolina. Way to go, Mom.
We stayed at a fabulous resort in a huge condo with all the amenities of home–a full kitchen, living room, dining room, screened deck, washer and dryer, 1 bedroom and a master suite. OMG! The master bathroom was fantastic. It had a walk-in shower room and an enormous garden tub. (Can you say second honeymoon?)
Legoland was our first fun destination. All I can say is “LEGOLAND IS AWESOME!!!!”
We had a blast. The park wasn’t crowded so we got to go on different rides as many times as we wanted. We loved riding Merlin’s Challenge–we rode it 5 times. And Miniland was incredible—it featured lego versions of major US cities, like New York and Las Vegas.
My favorite attraction was Granny’s Apple Fries. Before Granny’s, I thought fried fruit was an oxymoron. It’s actually the most oxy-fantastic cinnamon-sugary thing I’ve ever eaten at an amusement park. Who knew homemade whipped cream could function as a dipping sauce? The apple fries reminded me of the old-school McDonald’s apple pies that used to be fried.
The apple fries brought a wonderful end to our day at Legoland. We enjoyed them as we made the trek back to our car. We had a round of Rock Paper Scissors to determine who got the last fry. Unfortunately, my older son beat my Rock with his Paper, and he took the last fry without even offering his own mother a bite.
I found a few apple fries recipes on the Internet that were good but didn’t come close to the scrumptious fries we enjoyed at Legoland. I modified one of them with the addition of lemon juice and salt. And it hit the mark. These apple fries are easy to make and taste exactly like the ones at Legoland. We can now enjoy them anytime at home, and avoid the insane 9-hour can trip to Florida with crazy kids fighting in the backseat.
Apple Fries, adapted from Food.com
Makes 1-2 servings
I typically use Granny Smith apples for savory dishes, and not for snacking. Apple fries are the exception. I also tested the recipe with Royal Gala and Honeycrisp apples. They worked fabulously. Just use whatever large firm apple that holds its shape after cooking.
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch kosher salt
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced into French fry sticks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup corn starch
Whipped Cream or
1 scope vanilla ice cream, melted but still cool
Combine the sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Heat 1-inch oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat to 375 degrees F.
Mix the apples with the lemon juice in a small bowl. Toss the apples with the corn starch in a medium bowl, shaking off any excess.
Drop the apples in the hot oil, in batches. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the apples until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Quickly drain the apples on paper towels, then toss in the bowl with the cinnamon sugar until coated.
Serve immediately with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream sauce.
Note: My husband discovered that apple fries with melted vanilla ice cream aka vanilla ice cream sauce is wonderful. Microwave a scoop of vanilla ice cream for 15-20 seconds in a small bowl until melted but still cool.