Dining

Ultimate Water Park Showdown: Blizzard Beach vs. Typhoon Lagoon

by on April 14, 2015

The iconic Summit Plummet on Mount Gushmore with the sun rising on the horizon

© Disney

With summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start planning for a trip to one of the Walt Disney World water parks. Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are both awesome, but Disney fans still love to endlessly debate which is better. No matter where you fall in the debate, I think both parks have their strengths and weaknesses. If you’ve never been to either and want to know which water park is for you, you’re in the right place. I’ll break down the parks into categories and pick which park is better in each category to help you better determine where you should go. Maybe you like fast slides or maybe you just want to float in the lazy river all day. Either way, you’ll hopefully have a better idea of which park is for you after reading.

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Menu Monday: The Specialty Drinks at Hog’s Head Pub at Universal Orlando

by on April 13, 2015

Amid the bustling streets of Hogsmeade Village at the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter, is a dark, dank pub tucked alongside the Three Broomstick restaurant. Here weary Muggles queue up to order a cup of Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, or non-alcoholic cider. However, Hog’s Head Pub is also home to a variety of specialty adult beverages making it one of my favorite places to visit whenever I am at Islands of Adventure. The menu of specialty beverages is not published, you simply need to ask your bartender or you can read this handy dandy list. Prepared to get your mouth watering…

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Food and Wine Festival: Epcot vs. Busch Gardens

by on April 13, 2015

The waterbound octopus topiary is just one of the sights at the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival

The waterbound octopus topiary is just one of the sights at the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival

Look, I love Epcot, and because you’re a faceless (but doubtlessly beautiful and well dressed) internet entity, I’m going to project and say you love Epcot, too, and one of the things we both love about it is the International Food and Wine Festival. What’s not to love about food and adult beverages from all over the world amassed in one beautiful sunny location? But this year, for the first time, we have… other options. Saturdays and Sundays from March 7th to April 26th, Busch Gardens Tampa is having their very first Food and Wine Festival, and as a local who now has literally been wined and dined by both of her beloved theme parks, it’s only fitting that I tell you what you’re missing if you stay in Orlando, and what the differences are. Is this a “one is better than the other” situation? Given that the events take place at different times of the year in different locations with different offerings, not really. It’s more my hope to let Epcot fans know that there’s something else going on nearby in Florida now that they really might want to make a visit to when their tummies are a’rumblin’ if they’re on vacation. Hey, if you’re gonna be a foodie, at least be an equal opportunity foodie!

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Menu Monday: Kosher Dining at Walt Disney World

by on April 6, 2015

This is the first in a series of articles exploring the unique needs of people of faiths vacationing at Walt Disney World.

One form of kosher labeling.

One form of kosher labeling.

It is a given for most people that you don’t give up your faith, practices, and traditions just because you go on vacation. And while, all joking aside, a trip to Walt Disney World isn’t a religious pilgrimage of any major world religion, Walt Disney World and the surrounding areas do provide resources for people of faith to honor their religious practices and keep their customs while on vacation.

For this article, I will cover the options available for Jewish guests who wish to keep kosher on vacation.

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SATURDAY CLASSIX: Top Six Food Choices at Springfield, USA’s Fast Food Boulevard

by on April 4, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX includes the Top Six Food Items at Fast Food Boulevard. Replacing the International Film & Food Festival in 2013, Springfield’s Fast Food Blvd has quickly become one of the most popular dining locations within the Universal resort. Complete with items taken directly from The Simpsons television show, this “food court” style eatery offers a wide array of items to appease everyone in your party. While it was almost impossible to narrow the list down to just the six items – in fact it was almost painful to leave off the Clogger Burger and the Sideshow Bob Foot Long – we now present to you the best of the best…

#6 – The Ribwich at Krusty Burger

SaturdaySix_Ribwich

The Ribwich. (photo by Brandon Glover)

As a longtime fan of The Simpsons show, the minute it was announced that Fast Food Blvd was going to open I was hoping there would be a Ribwich. Hilariously mocking the McRib from McDonald’s, on the show Krusty Burger described its creation of the Ribwich with the following, “We start with authentic, letter-graded meat, and process the hell out of it.”

Unlike its television counterpart, the Ribwich is nothing like the McRib and is more in line with a pulled pork sandwich. Topped with coleslaw and served with seasoned “Kurly” fries and a pickle spear, the Ribwich was definitely a menu item needed within Universal Studios Florida, with pulled pork being such a staple of Florida dining. In fact, while you can find pulled pork within CityWalk’s Margaritaville, and Hard Rock Café, Krusty Burger is the first to offer it within either of the Universal parks. The combination of the cool coleslaw on top of the warm pulled pork makes for a flavorful experience.

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Disney Dining: FoodQuest at DisneyQuest

by on April 1, 2015

Walt Disney World is filled with unique dining experiences and everyone has their favorite. The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at DHS offers a completely immersive atmosphere that simulates guests sitting in cars watching a movie at a drive-in in the 1950s. The Chef’s Table at Victoria & Alberts at the Grand Floridan takes elegance to the next level. Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom allows guests to step into the world of Beauty & the Beast. At Kidani Village, Sanaa is filled with elements of African culture and allows guests to look directly out into the savannah. Where else can you dine in front of 5.7 million gallon aquarium outside of Epcot’s Coral Reef?

We all have that special place. A venue that satisfies our craving for exotic food like Jiko…or where servers can have a bit of fun with guests like 50s Prime Time or Whispering Canyon… or where a couple can have an romantic evening out together like at Artist Point.

Take a moment and mentally picture YOUR favorite place to have meal at Walt Disney World.

Got it?

Now think of the exact opposite.

Welcome to FoodQuest at Downtown Disney’s DisneyQuest.

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DisneyQuest_glover

DisneyQuest. (Photo by Brandon Glover)

 

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! March 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on March 31, 2015

MMM positiveThough the March Hare is about to leave us on the last day of this very month, you need not worry because the April Fool has arrived a day early and is here with a brand spanking new Outlet Report. So take a break from hunting for Easter Eggs at Epcot, put aside your souvenir mugs from the soft opening of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, hold off on booking that breakfast reservation for Be Our Guest, and be sure to pick your jaw up off the ground because it’s still there from finding out the Magic Kingdom opened up Aunt Polly’s on Tom Sawyer Island earlier this week. 

Prepare yourself for a trip to not just one, but BOTH Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando (physical addresses for both are located at the end of every edition of MM&M.) That’s right Dear Reader, I did the impossible and braved the I-4 traffic and horrendous parking situations at both outlets, for YOU.

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

Our first stop is the Disney Outlet closer to Universal at the end of I-Drive and was surprised to see the first ever Tsum Tsums show up. I’ve seen them before at Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney, but never felt compelled to buy one at $6 a pop. That said, unlike Vinylmation, I can definitely see the cuteness factor and why people would want to collect them. The only Tsum Tsums available were the seven dwarfs and only the ones pictured below. Of course I bought them all.

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The Three Broomsticks: The Best Quick-Service Restaurant at Universal Orlando

by on March 30, 2015

On the one hand, it’s extraordinarily easy to pick The Three Broomsticks as the best quick-service restaurant at all of Universal Orlando Resort – it’s one of the best-themed experiences to be had in the entire industry, generally, let alone a culinary one, specifically. (Of course, the accomplishment is only abetted by Harry Potter’s whimsical mythology and engrossing details, which already does much to transform eating into a magical experience [no pun intended].)

The Three Broomsticks facade

Image © Dan Hatfield

On the other hand, however, it’s a rather controversial choice. First, there’s the little matter of Three Broomsticks’s competition at the resort, which is considerable; everything from the quick-service Fast Food Boulevard to CityWalk’s ever-expanding options to, of course, that other Potter establishment, The Leaky Cauldron, offer compelling reasons – especially of the gastronomical kind – to stay away from the first Wizarding World’s dive.

There’s also the little matter of the restaurant’s menu not being the most expansive, and that the quality of its food, while still substantial, isn’t of the same level as, say, Mythos, Islands of Adventure’s flagship eatery just down the path a ways (though the latter is a full-service stop, which might be comparing apples to oranges).

It’s actually a testament to The Three Broomsticks’s wonderfully addictive atmosphere that the restaurant more than manages to make up for its shortcomings, and that the overall experience truly is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

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Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto Preview and New Polynesian Lobby Photos

by on March 25, 2015

trader sam's grog grotto preview

Free postcards were available during the Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto preview event at WDW’s Polynesian Village Resort. (Photos by Seth Kubersky

 

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel is one of our favorite places in the entire Disneyland Resort, so it’s an understatement to say we’re excited about the opening of its East Coast outpost. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is about to debut at Walt Disney World’s newly retro-christened Polynesian Village Resort, and on Monday, March 23 the hotel held a cast member-only preview of their new watering hole.

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Be Our Guest Breakfast: First Look Review

by on March 25, 2015

Be our guest breakfast

Join us for our first Be Our Guest breakfast, as the Magic Kingdom’s most popular restaurant expands its hours and offerings. (Photos by Seth Kubersky).

The Magic Kingdom‘s Be Our Guest restaurant is one of Walt Disney World’s most popular places for lunch and dinner, and for a limited time you have a third mealtime to try to get a sought-after table inside the Beast’s enchanted domain. from now through June 18, you can enjoy an early morning meal in a castle other than Cinderella’s, thanks to the brand-new Be Our Guest breakfast service that began on March 20.

I made my reservation through My Disney Experience at Be Our Guest breakfast on the first day they became available for booking, securing a table for Two at 8:25 a.m. on Monday morning, 35 minutes before the Magic Kingdom’s official opening. This would my first pre-rope-drop entry into the park in many years, and even the early weather and wet weather didn’t dampen my spirits.

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