Dining

SATURDAY SIX: Six Outrageous Food Items at Walt Disney World

by on April 19, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX covers Top Six Outrageous Food Items at Walt Disney World. Regular readers of this column know that we like our theme park food, and the more outrageous it is, the better. While Disney has its fair share of fine dining (Victoria & Albert’s, California Grill, and Jiko among others), it also has many food items that would make your cholesterol and blood sugar rise just by looking at them. Today we are going to look at six of our favorites…

# 6 – The Doh-Bar (Cookes of Dublin)

Downtown Disney is our first stop, and while Raglan Road is the critics’ darling, Cookes of Dublin next door has one of our favorite snacks on property, the ‘Doh bar.’ Picture this: a Snickers bar is dipped into donut batter, deep fried, and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. Basically, a work of art that ranks somewhere in between Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Michaelangelo’s David.

dohbar2

The ‘Doh bar” – Donut Battered Snickers

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Observations from Downtown Disney for April 10, 2014 (Construction Walls, T-Rex, Food Trucks, New Merchandise)

by on April 14, 2014

It has been several months since I have been to Downtown Disney, so it’s time to check in to see what is going on lately. After several trips in which I had to scream “Serenity Now!” while trying to find a parking spot, I realized what I needed to do in order to fix that problem: I rope-dropped Downtown Disney.

The only two places to park in front of Downtown Disney itself and these are the lot by the Marketplace and way down the other end by Cirque du Soleil. Even at 10 AM, the sign leading to the Marketplace lot said it was “full,” so we parked down by Cirque du Soleil. This lack of parking is caused by the two parking garages Downtown Disney is in the process of building. Many people are hoping for these to be done by the holiday season of this year, but guest services said it wouldn’t be until early 2015.  There is also parking across the street in which you can take a Disney shuttle to Downtown Disney.

DowntownDisney_ParkingGarage

Status of the parking garage closest to Cirque du Soleil

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Epcot To Introduce After Hours Wind Down Experience

by on April 11, 2014

Have you ever walked around Epcot’s World Showcase after IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth has ended and thought, “I wish one of these restaurants were open so I could grab a drink and a light snack.” Well, now that option is a possibility!

Disney is introducing the new After Hours Wind Down. During this special experience, guests will be able to sit down in an intimate setting and sample appetizers and beverages from one of four different lounges found in World Showcase. The lounges guests can choose from include: La Cava del Tequila (Mexico), Spice Road Table (Morocco), Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar (Italy), and Rose & Crown Pub (United Kingdom). You may only choose one dining location per night.

Menu offerings include a selection of small bites, paired with one beverage flight. Additional beverages can be purchased, if guests choose.

The event is for adults, 21 and up, and takes place Thursdays-Sundays, from 9:20 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. It is scheduled to run from April 17 – September 15.

The cost is $35 per person, plus tax and gratuity. A special ticket is needed to take part in this experience, and admission to Epcot is required but not included in the price.

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Epcot After Hours Alcohol Tasting Events Begin April 17

by on April 10, 2014

Epcot After Hours alcohol tasting events

Drink up! Epcot After Hours alcohol tasting events begin April 17. (photo courtesy Stacey Lantz)

Do you like Epcot? Do you like staying late at Walt Disney World theme parks? Do you like adult beverages? If, like us, your answer to all three questions is “heck yes,” then Epcot has a new treat for you. Beginning on April 17, several venues around World Showcase will begin holding Epcot After Hours Wind Down alcohol tasting events on select nights after the park officially ends operations for the day.

The after hours events will run from 9:20 p.m. (immediately after the end of IllumiNations) until 11:00 p.m., and are scheduled to run every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening. Each tasting session will cost $35 per person (plus your park admission), and includes wine or spirits samplers and small bites at one four different locations.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Epcot’s 2014 Flower & Garden Festival

by on March 29, 2014

FlowerAndGarden_PanHook

Peter Pan and Hook topiaries at Flower & Garden
(photo by Brandon Glover)

This week’s SATURDAY SIX covers Six Reasons We Love Epcot’s 2014 Flower and Garden Festival. While there are a lot of annual events in Orlando that are near and dear to us for varying reasons (the wild party atmosphere of Mardi Gras, the scares of Halloween Horror Nights, the incredible parade and fireworks of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, the food and, uh, wine of Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival), one event stands out from all the rest because it stresses the fact that we should - literally - stop and smell the roses.

That’s right, Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is back, and this year just may be the best yet. What really makes Flower & Garden special is how amazing it is just to walk around Epcot and take it all in. Most events in theme parks are limited in the size and scope of their overall effect on the individual park, but you can see the beauty and tranquility of Flower & Garden everywhere you go.

This week’s Saturday Six is going to look at six of our favorite parts of this year’s festival, and we’re going to start with one of our favorite subjects: food.

 

# 6 – The Outdoor Kitchens

FlowerAndGarden_Strawberries

Beijing-Style Candied Strawberries, Lotus House ($4.25)

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Star Wars Character Meals to Take Place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios During Star Wars Weekends

by on March 26, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

Are you a fan of Star Wars and character meals? Well, if you are, for the first time ever, select Star Wars characters will take part in not one, but two, different character meal opportunities at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from May 4 to June 15.

Guests will be able to partake in either a breakfast option that will be available at Sci-Fi Dine In Theater or a dinner option that will be available at Hollywood & Vine.

The best news is that these character meals won’t just take place during Star Wars Weekends. Instead, they are scheduled to occur throughout the whole week!

Here’s a look at your options:

The Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine

Takes place at Hollywood and Vine for dinner. This meal will have guests meeting Disney characters dressed as their favorite Star Wars character. Guests will get to meet Jedi Mickey, Princess Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy, Stormtrooper Donald, and Ewoks Chip & Dale. Dinner starts at 4:15pm and lasts until park close. The prices are $55.99 for adults ages 10 and up (or $59.99 with Fantasmic! Dinner Package), and $33.99 for children ages 3-9 (or $36.99 with Fantasmic! Dinner Package). Guests will receive a digital download copy of their photograph with Chip and Dale.

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Kouzzina at Disney’s BoardWalk to Close in September

by on March 24, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

Kouzzina by Cat Cora will be closing its doors at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort permanently in September. Its last day of operation is September 30.

This celebrity chef-run, Greek-inspired restaurant serves delicious and unique items including Spanakopita (spinach pie), cinnamon-stewed chicken, fisherman’s stew, and traditional whole fish. There is also a great breakfast menu, featuring turkey/sweet potato hash, Greek yogurt with fresh berries, and spinach, tomato, and feta scrambled eggs.

A new restaurant will open in its place sometime in late 2014.

If you would like to make a reservation before it officially closes, you may do so by visiting the Disney dining website or calling (407) WDW-DINE.

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2014 Disney Dining Plans Increase In Price

by on March 19, 2014

Disney Dining PlanDisney has been pretty good lately at quietly increasing prices. First Walt Disney World park admission prices increased with little warning last month, and it appears Disney is at it again. Though, this time instead of raising ticket prices, it has seemingly increased the price of the Dining Plan, as all three Disney Dining Plan prices appear to have seen a small uptick.

Here is a look at what you can expect now when purchasing the Disney Dining Plans:

Quick-Service Plan
Adult 10+: $41.99
Child 3-9: $16.03

(Increased from $39.64 for Adults and $15.75 for Children)

The Quick Service Dining Plan allows each guest to get 2 Quick Service Meals per day. For Breakfast you’ll receive an entrée or combo meal and a non-alcoholic beverage. For Lunch and Dinner you’ll receive an entrée or a complete combo meal, dessert, and a non-alcoholic beverage. You’ll also get 1 Snack Option per day, and 1 Refillable Mug per person for the length of your stay.

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Four Seasons Orlando Announces Dining Concepts Under New Executive Chef

by on March 18, 2014

Four Seasons OrlandoFour Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World is in full preparation mode for its August opening and has just introduced its Executive Chef as well as several dining concepts. Chef Fabrizio Schenardi has joined the resort’s opening team and will oversee the culinary operations for the five on-property restaurants as well as in-room dining and catering culinary operations. Schenardi has worked for the Pelagia Trattoria at Tampa Hotel International Plaza; the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and Spa in Dana Point, California; Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel, in Los Angeles, California; and numerous other fine properties around the world. He is from Rivoli, Italy, and speaks English, Italian, French and Spanish. He received his Culinary Arts Diploma from the Instituto Alberghiero Ravizza in Torino, Italy and specializes in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.

What kind of dining will Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World and Chef Schenardi bring guests? Five concepts covering everything from a world-class steakhouse to family-style Italian have been announced.

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Photo Gallery: Sneak Peek at new CityWalk Cold Stone Creamery and Starbucks Coffee

by on March 15, 2014

Universal Orlando CityWalk Cold Stone Creamery Starbucks

The new CityWalk Cold Stone Creamery is now open, and Starbucks is coming soon. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Universal Orlando’s overhaul of its eateries accelerates this week as the new CityWalk Cold Stone Creamery and Starbucks Coffee locations open to the public. Over the weekend, I was invited behind the barrier to check out the new new franchise locations.

CityWalk Cold Stone Creamery

First, I sampled Cold Stone Creamery, which features hard-packed ice cream customized with “mix ins” and blended on the namesake cold stone.

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