Dining

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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Menu Monday: The Food of Universal Mardi Gras

by on March 23, 2015

New Orleans, the Big Easy, is known for many things. Jazz, art, voo doo, and of course tantalizing Cajun cuisine. Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras is a popular annual event, but not necessarily because of the special food and beverages offered during this special time of the year. Yet, if you head to Universal Orlando to take part in Mardi Gras, your experience isn’t really complete if you don’t let your taste buds in on the fun.

Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras is held each weekend from the beginning of February to mid-April (specific days and dates vary by weekend) and personally it is one of my favorite things about visiting Universal. The fun is definitely saved for the afternoon and evening. It’s touted as “Florida’s Biggest Party.” While this is one heck of a marketing claim, it isn’t too far off the bulls-eye, in the eyes of this Florida Native. I’ll confess, I am not a fan of most of the in-park counter service food offered here at Universal, but I will say some of the better quick style food can be found during Universal Mardi Gras.

Twisted Taters

What is this creation? Read on.

 

 

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Disney California Adventure Smokejumpers Grill Review

by on March 20, 2015

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Smokejumpers Grill opened today at Disney California Adventure. It replaced Taste Pilots’ Grill, which was one of DCA’s opening day restaurants. Personally I only ate at Taste Pilots a handful of times because I wasn’t a fun of the location’s specialty: bland theme park hamburgers. Is the food better at Smokejumpers? I’ll get to that later in the post.

Taste Pilots’ Grill was located in the land known as Condor Flats, but now the entire area is being “reimagined” and renamed to Grizzly Peak Airfield (which will open on May 14). Because of this the restaurant and its surroundings have been redone to match the new theme.

Review continues after the jump:

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The Cove: Best Port Canaveral Dining

by on March 20, 2015

Waterfront dining at The Cove in Port Canaveral, with something for everyone.

Waterfront dining at The Cove in Port Canaveral, with something for everyone.

Port Canaveral has always been unique — a commercial fishing port sharing space with recreation and dining. Today, it’s becoming one of the busiest cruise ports in the United States, as a home port for Disney, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival Cruise Lines, as well as numerous deep-sea fishing, casino, and sight-seeing boats. Despite all the tourism, Port Canaveral remains a thriving port for fishermen, and that makes its restaurant and bar corridor, The Cove, an awesome place to check out local, fresh-caught seafood.

What restaurant should you visit while you’re at the Cove? Well, they’re so close together, a bar crawl isn’t out of the question. But if you’re looking for the perfect Port Canaveral dining for you and your family, we’re here to help! My family and I have sampled the dining, drinks, and atmosphere at several Cove restaurants, and we’ve ranked them for you based on the best for vacation atmosphere, fresh seafood, family dining, and hanging with the locals. Take a look!

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Be Our Guest Lunch Preorder and MDE: A First-Hand Report

by on March 19, 2015

Be our guest lunch preorder

Enjoy enchanted eats with less anxiety using Be Our Guest lunch preordering though My Disney Experience (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Believe it or not, it’s now been over two years since we first began reporting on FastPass+ lunch reservations at the Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest restaurant. In that time, we’ve covered the seemingly never ending saga of Disney’s experiments with managing demand for the popular venue, and now they finally seem to have settled on a (hopefully?) long-term solution. On March 12, the My Disney Experience (MDE) app for iOS devices was updated to accommodate Be Our Guest lunch preordering for guests making dining reservations, and I was among the first wave of guests to take advantage of this newly streamlined process.

To begin, make sure that the MDE app on your mobile device is updated to the latest version.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: March 19, 2015

by on March 19, 2015

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’re visiting the  Magic Kingdom, making a quick stop at Downtown Disney, and spending an evening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Not to mention we’re enjoying a quiet dinner at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano! Who is ready for some fun?

I normally try to put things in order, but this week I decided to start with this killer sunset instead! From all the way in Tomorrowland I had no idea the sky was lighting up until we breezed by on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Luckily, I managed to snap this one shot! It seemed like the perfect way to start this week. :)

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Want to see what other trouble we got into? Be sure to click to read more!

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Menu Monday: Best Counter Service in Epcot

by on March 16, 2015

This article is the final installment in a series ranking counter service restaurants at each of the Disney Parks at Walt Disney World. In case you missed them, you can review each article regarding Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios.

One of Epcot’s most notable experiences is the unique dining options. So notable, in fact, that every Fall it plays host to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, a must try if you haven’t already experienced it. Epcot has simply dozens of restaurants, carts and kiosks to try little morsels of culture. Though many of these carts and kiosks are considered by Disney to be “counter service” most of them are stands, windows, or carts, allowing guests to grab a specialty food item and continue their journey around World Showcase. There are actually relative few “counter service” locations that offer multiple menu selections and ample seating on the same level as other counter service option in the other parks.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

If you use the Disney App, or the Disney website and filter restaurants by “counter service” and “Epcot”, the results will yield 24 locations. However, upon further inspection, these 24 locations also include options like popcorn carts and coffee stands. For the purpose of this article, I’ll limit the term “counter service” to only include options that offer meals, and not merely snacks (though there is something to be said for “snacking around the world”). This brings the results down to eleven locations. So, let’s start our culinary adventure!

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Foodie Awards: Where Locals Eat (Part 3)

by on March 9, 2015

And here it is, the moment you’ve all been waiting for — the final installment where we review dining near Walt Disney World deemed great by the Orlando Sentinel Foodie Awards, by readers and the Sentinel’s food critic. If you missed part one or part two, you can read them here and here. Now, on with the list!

TooJays (Runner-Up, Readers’ Choice: Best Sandwich), 7600 Dr. Phillips Boulevard, Orlando.

matzoh ball soup

Matzoh ball soup, like that served at TooJays, is good for what ails you. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Truth told, if I was in that area, I’d go across the shopping center to Which Wich? for a sandwich, which is my choice for best sandwich. If I’m at TooJays, I’m ordering one of their meals, or matzoh ball soup, or desserts. Their sandwiches are good, though, if that’s what you’re in the mood for, and they have their own deli counter as well.

Big Fin Seafood Kitchen (Runner-Up, Readers’ Choice: Best Seafood), 8046 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando.

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