Dining

Star Wars Dining at Walt Disney World: What You Need To Know

by on May 5, 2014

IMG_9008Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios has added two Star Wars dining experiences to its Star Wars Weekends lineup and, though Star Wars Weekends hasn’t officially started, the dining experiences began yesterday. Offered daily May 4, 2014, through June 15, 2014, the meals include the Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, and Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine Dinner at Hollywood & Vine. As with all Disney Dining Experiences, there are some things you need to know to make your meal go as smoothly as possible.

STAR WARS DINE-IN GALACTIC BREAKFAST at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

The Dine-In Galactic Breakfast is served at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater every morning through June 15, 2014, from 8 a.m. to noon. The price ($47.99 for adults and $29.99 for kids ages 3-9) gets you pastries, and appetizer, an entree, a breakfast dessert (not listed on the menu), and a non-alcoholic beverage. No discounts are accepted, and the meal will take two adult table service credits per person from your Disney Dining Plan Account. Though it’s rare for a child’s meal to pull adult credits, we did confirm this with booking and the restaurant, so be sure to ask what you’re going to be “charged” if you’re on the dining plan.

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. Photo Courtesy of Disney

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. Photo Courtesy of Disney

What do you need to know about breakfast? First, the menu is fairly limited and a little odd. The full menu is here. Reports from yesterday’s service were that it was a little slow, and some of the food wasn’t the best, but it’s a new offering for this restaurant, so it’s likely that those kinks will work out. Second, the restaurant itself is themed as a drive-in theater, so the environment is pretty dark. While you have an immediate photo op with Darth Vader and Boba Fett (with PhotoPass and a special backdrop) as you enter the restaurant, your pictures with the Jawas, Greedo, and Storm Troopers inside the dining room may not come out so great, even with a flash. If character meet and greets are a big reason for booking for your family, be sure to take this into account. You do get a special PhotoPass card with your entrance photos on it.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Epcot: Nine Dragons Dining Review

by on May 1, 2014

IMG_1934Anyone that read my around the world series already knows that my favorite restaurant in Epcot is Nine Dragons. I’m not sure if that happened because we’re normally able to sneak in without a reservation or because it’s one of the few places that my picky hubby will eat without complaint. I can tell you that over all the years we’ve never had a single bad meal or experience at this awesome restaurant! I’ve been surprised to read mixed reviews on this hidden gem, so I thought it was time to shine some light on one of our favorite dining spots.

So what do you do if you’re wondering around World Showcase Lagoon and find yourself starving but didn’t make that dining reservation six months in advance? Well, one option is to grab some quick service grub or a snack at one of the many seasonal – but practically becoming permanent – dining booths around the world. However, if you feel like spoiling yourself stop by the podium at Nine Dragons. While I’m sure this isn’t always the case, I can tell you we’ve never been turned away. (Of course, we’ve never tried on New Year’s Eve or an equally insane day in the parks). In most cases we’ve been seated in a matter of minutes.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Epcot Wind Down: Your Questions Answered

by on April 29, 2014

1Last week I reviewed my first experience at the Epcot After Hours Wind Down. (You can find it here.) While I was excited to share the event with you guys, everyone had lots of questions for me that I couldn’t answer at the time. This past weekend I set out to get the scoop. (And some yummy Moroccan food at Spice Road Table!)

Are kids allowed? At this time children are not allowed and the event is only for guests over 21 years of age. I spoke to a couple different cast members and neither had heard anything about a children or family events being added in the future.

Is it busy? This is one answer that changed dramatically week over week. Last weekend I was honestly concerned that this after hours party might get cancelled before the scheduled end date. There were only a few other guests sharing the restaurant with us and that just didn’t seem sustainable. Wow- what a difference a week makes! Spice Road Table was hoppin’ when we were there Saturday. It looked like every seat was taken in the dining room.

Are reservations required? They are not required but they are recommended. Seeing how busy it was this weekend I would be very sure to reserve your table if this experience is important to you.

Which Location? I’ve been to Tutto Gusto and Spice Road Table, and I very much preferred Spice Road Table. I thought the food was much more appropriate at this location and the service was impeccable. If you’d like to see the menu, Seth did a great review of Spice Road Table and La Cava del Tequila you can find here. We at TouringPlans haven’t tried Rose & Crown yet. Personally, I think Spice Road will remain my favorite but everyone will have to look at the reviews and choose their favorite!

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Epcot After Hours Wind Down Review: La Cava del Tequila and Spice Road Table

by on April 25, 2014

Epcot After Hours Wind Down Review

You can see Epcot from a unique perspective — for a price — at the new After Hours Wind Down.

Recently, we brought you the first word on Epcot After Hours Wind Down, a brand-new after hours program that began on April 17 at World Showcase in Walt Disney World’s Epcot park. Because we are will to sacrifice almost anything — including sleep, brain cells, and our livers — to bring Touring Plans readers complete coverage, my wife and I volunteered to be opening-weekend guinea pigs for this new food and alcohol tasting adventure (it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it…). Now that our hangovers have cleared, enjoy this exclusive in-depth Epcot After Hours Wine Down review, covering the experiences offered at Mexico’s La Cava del Tequila and Morocco’s Spice Road Table.

 

La Cava del Tequila Wind Down Review

Since I developed a new appreciation for tequila while reviewing Universal CityWalk‘s Antojitos, I chose to attend the Wind Down tasting at Mexico’s La Cava del Tequila, long one of my favorite bars inside any theme park. The tasting sessions are scheduled to begin at 9:20 p.m., but because we watched IllumiNations before from near Morocco (on the opposite side of the World Showcase lagoon), I didn’t arrive until approximately 8 minutes into the session. I suggested that they hold the start time until at least 15 minutes after the closing fireworks, but until that change is made I strongly suggest watching the show from a spot nearby your selected tasting venue.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Epcot After Hours Wind Down – Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar Review

by on April 23, 2014

On just the third night of the new Epcot After Hours Wind Down event I was lucky enough to grab a table at Tutto Gusto. Since this event is so new and I wasn’t able to find any information before we arrived for our reservation, I’m excited to share our experience with you! If you haven’t heard about it yet, the Epcot After Hours Wind Down is a new experience where guests are invited to stay in the Epcot two hours after closing to enjoy a snack and drink at one of four restaurants. The cost is $35 per person, and while advance reservations are highly recommended, the crowds were minimal the night we went. I’d heard rumors about rides staying open late, but this turned out to be 100% false. For the premium price you get to see a completely empty Epcot and enjoy a quiet walk out of the park.

Of course, before I whisk you away to Tutto Gusto, I should give you a quick look at IllumiNations! One of the main benefits of this after hours party is that you don’t have to worry about positioning yourself to get out of the park post-fireworks. We settled into a spot in Germany that we likely wouldn’t have chosen if we knew we’d be fighting the crowds on our way out to the parking lot.

IMG_2106

Immediately following the fireworks we headed for Tutto Gusto and were greeted at the podium. When we checked in we were given wristbands and immediately shown to our table. We only counted ten other patrons in the restaurant besides our party! In talking to other guests in the park during the day, it seemed like nobody had heard about it yet. Spoiler alert: get your reservations now! This event is fabulous, and I can see the day coming where it sells out nightly.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

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

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

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

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

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)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest