Downtown Disney

Planet Hollywood Shares Details About Disney Springs Redesign

by on February 27, 2015

With the announcement of Downtown Disney’s conversion to Disney Springs, many were hopeful and excited about the changes to the shopping and dining district. One place that I think most people thought would be on the chopping block was Planet Hollywood. The restaurant has consistently poor reviews and well, let’s face it, Planet Hollywood’s are a thing of the 90s. However, with the announcement of Disney Springs also came the news that Planet Hollywood was staying. Granted not in the same form; it was to be converted into what will eventually be called the Planet Hollywood Observatory.

The details were released that the restaurant will see a complete redesign on the outside, with a gorgeous new brick exterior, a new water tower (built from the neon sign that is currently present), and an expanded outdoor terrace and bar. The look is much less gaudy than what is currently there.

planet-hollywood-disney-orlando-jpg

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

SATURDAY SIX SPECIAL EDITION: Inaugural 2015 Theme Park Awards (AKA “The Burgys”)

by on February 21, 2015

BurgyStatue

The most coveted theme park award of all… The Golden Burgy.

This week’s SATURDAY SIX presents the Inaugural 2015 Theme Park Awards. This weekend, while the rest of the world is preparing for The Oscars and spending hours watching awards given to films they haven’t even heard of, let alone watched (not to mention the outright Best Picture snubs of Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: Winter Soldier), readers of this column will be able to see their favorite theme park attractions get the attention they deserve. The Golden Burgy, theme park media’s highest award, is being handed out to the rides, shows, restaurants, and experiences that truly stood out over the past year.

Just as the Academy Awards hand out their lesser prizes before the main show, we’d like to present two of our minor awards before we get to the big ones. First, a Golden Burgy goes to the Holy Land Experience in the category of Best Theme Park Food Pun for their Garden of Eaten Chicken Salad Sandwich. Interestingly enough, Holy Land had all the nominees in this category including JerusaLamb, Land of Milk (no honey,and My Cup Overflows Souvenir Refillable Cup. The category of Biggest Theme Park Free Fall experience was the tightest race of all the nominees. Falcon’s Fury at Busch Gardens was the favorite to win, but the coveted Golden Burgy instead went to SeaWorld’s stock price. Now that’s a drop.

With those out of the way, allow us to present to you the Inaugural SATURDAY SIX Theme Park Awards, starting with…

# 6 – Best New Ride Experience – Diagon Alley’s Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts 

Gringotts1_Bricker

The rotunda inside Gringotts bank includes an incredible view. And this is just the queue! (photo by Tom Bricker)

What else needs to be said about Universal’s newest E-Ticket attraction? The queue for Escape From Gringotts is one of the best in theme park history, loaded with magical details from the Harry Potter films. There are incredible goblin animatronics and million dollar chandeliers hanging above that make the Gringotts Bank lobby almost an attraction by itself.

Unlike IOA’s Forbidden Journey’s “best of” trip through the first four Potter films, Escape From Gringotts places guests directly into events from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. Ingeniously showing a movie scene from another perspective, Escape From Gringotts takes Universal’s motto of Ride The Movies to the next level.

Worst New Ride Experience – Being attacked by bees on Rip Ride Rocket 

RipRideRockitBees_Cleary

“Oh the humanity!” Swarms of bees attack riders on Universal Studios Florida’s Rip Ride Rockit. (photo by Mike Sperduto and Matt Cleary.)

While just a minor blip on the radar in 2014, the story of Rip Ride Rockit having a minor problem with bees was enough for us to envision the plot of a new horror film.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: February 5, 2015

by on February 5, 2015

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be visiting Epcot to test FastPass+, stopping by Downtown Disney for some delicious dining, and finishing up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I can’t believe I fit so much fun into one weekend! You know I do it all for you, so let’s get moving! :)

We arrived at Epcot in time for rope drop, which we’re doing less and less now that FastPass+ is working so well. Since we were really just there to test the system and shop, we didn’t run to Test Track or Soarin’. Instead we sauntered up to Spaceship Earth and confidently scanned our MagicBands… and were turned away! For the first time since using the system I was told my FastPass+ wasn’t there and I needed to stop by a kiosk or join the standby line. Up to this point we’ve always been allowed into the FastPass+ line on the honor system. Since it was so early we were able to ride with a walk on wait, but want to hear about how our trip to the FastPass+ kiosk went? Be sure to click to read more!

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

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

by on January 31, 2015

MMM positiveIt’s January and that means we are in a whole new year. It’s going to be hard to top 2014. We had Disney Imagineers with 9 foot shovels in Animal Kingdom.  We had a commercial with featured both the Seven Dwarfs and rap music (which, by the way, wasn’t even the weirdest commercial Disney did last year). It was a year we discovered that the Pop Century Resort offered a sandwich that used Pop Tarts as the bread.  It was a year that we lost Push the talking trashcan, the Giggle Gang, and Camp Minnie Mickey, but gained a whole lot of Anna and Elsa. What will 2015 bring? Well, looks like just more Anna and Elsa, but here’s hoping for another 12 months of unforgettable moments, magical memories, and merchandise people don’t want to buy, speaking of which….

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).

Now, some readers of this column may remember last month that I vowed to “hang it up” if Disney released a Steamboat Duffy Bear. Well, Disney called my bluff.

IMG_3328

“Your move Derek.” – Disney Consumer Products Division

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

SATURDAY SIX: Six of our Favorite WDW Snacks Outside of the Theme Parks

by on January 31, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six of our Favorite WDW Snacks Outside of the Theme Parks. Let’s get this out of the way: we love theme park snacks. We think you know we love theme park snacks, but did you know that there are just as many great treats – if not more – outside of the parks? Today, in part one of planned 27 part series, we’re looking at six of our favorite WDW treats available at the Disney resorts, water parks, and Downtown Disney, starting with…

# 6 – Zebra Domes (Animal Kingdom Lodge)

SNACKS_ZebraDome1_glover

Zebra Domes from Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Kidani Village. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Zebra Domes are synonymous with the Animal Kingdom Lodge and one of its signature restaurants, Boma. Thankfully, these tasty treats are also available elsewhere at AKL including The Mara and Johari Treasures at Kidani Village. The base of a Zebra Dome is a small layer of cake with a dollop of Amarula liqueur mousse on top of it. The Dome is then coated with white chocolate, while dark chocolate is used to create the zebra stripes. Run, don’t walk. to try this one on your next WDW vacation.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: January 29, 2015

by on January 29, 2015

0Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be visiting Magic Kingdom to see how things are looking, stopping by Downtown Disney for some shopping, and finishing up at Animal Kingdom. The weather has been just beautiful for two weekends in a row and I can’t wait to share it with you. :)

It isn’t often I’m stopped in my tracks on the way into the park, but this weekend it happened! Check out that photo on the left. It isn’t edited at all, it was really that bright and beautiful here last weekend. We’ve had the most amazing weather lately! Pretty soon the bone melting heat and daily monsoons will return, but for now it’s perfection. Ready to head to the Magic Kingdom? Click to read more! 

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: January 22, 2015

by on January 22, 2015

IMG_2409Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios for all the latest updates, stopping by Downtown Disney for a little food truck action, and finishing up at Magic Kingdom. Ready for some beautiful, blue Florida skies? Let’s get moving! :)

Early Saturday morning we set out for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I knew with the holiday weekend and awesome weather that we’d be facing a crowd. You can see from the photo that it wasn’t too crowded when we arrived, but that changed fast. Speaking of fast, check out the progress removing the hat! I can’t believe how fast it’s coming down. In the bottom right hand side of the photo you can see the actual top of the hat behind the construction wall. It’s so much bigger than it looks! Want to see what other fun stuff we found this weekend? Be sure to click to read more!

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter

by on January 17, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. Regular readers of the Saturday Six know how much we enjoy staying onsite at the Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World, and while Disney is challenged to compete with some the amenities that Universal can offer its guests, where it does shine is the overall amount and unique hotels on property. Universal has a total of four onsite hotels (soon to be five with the opening of Sapphire Falls in 2016) while Disney has five value resorts alone, not to mention all the moderate, deluxe, and DVC resorts on property. Today we are going to look at our absolute favorite moderate: Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.

POFQ_logo

Port Orleans French Quarter.

 

Disney’s Port Orleans is broken up into two sections: French Quarter, and Riverside, the latter of which is the much larger of the two resorts. While Riverside certainly has its fans (in fact we’d probably consider it our extremely close second favorite moderate,) we prefer Port Orleans (POFQ) and here are six reason why, starting with…

# 6 - Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory

French Quarter doesn’t have a table service restaurant (although Riverside’s Boatwright’s Dining Hall is a short walk away,) but it does have a fantastic counter service with the Sassagoula Float Works. Set up like a mall food court, there are several different stations offering Louisiana-inspired dishes such as Po’Boys, Jambalaya, Gumbo, and Beignets. For lunch you can not go wrong with one of the various Po’Boys (our favorites were the pork and beef versions) along with a side of bean salad or house-made chips. As we wrote about in our review of the Fantasy Fare food truck, Disney makes surprisingly good chips. For dinner you gotta go with the Jambalaya or Pot Roast, and any time of the day is good for an order of beignets. Made fresh-to-order and covered in powdered sugar, these beignets are one of the best treats at WDW.

POFQ_BBQpoboy

Pork Po’Boy with bean salad from Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Observations From Downtown Disney for January 14, 2015 (Exposition Park, Something Silver, Merchandise, and More)

by on January 14, 2015

Who is ready for a photo report from Downtown Disney? Today we are going to look at all the recent changes in the area, including the opening of the West Side parking garage and Exposition Park (formerly known as Food Truck Park,) as well as heading into some of our favorite stores and restaurants, including Cookes of Dublin, Raglan Road, World of Disney, Art of Disney, D-Street, Once Upon A Toy, Disney’s Days of Christmas, and much more.

DalkeyDuo_glover

Dalkey Duo at Raglan Road. More on this later in the article. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Disney Dining: Photo Report of the Fantasy Fare Food Truck at Downtown Disney

by on January 12, 2015

The Downtown Disney Food Tuck Park opened in late November of last year, after a lengthy delay. It opened under a new name, Exposition Park, and it does not have the elevated seating which was shown in the early concept art. Exposition Park is located in DTD’s West Side, directly next to Bongo’s Cuban Cafe. The trucks you will find at the park vary by the day, but you will generally find 2-4 of Disney’s own trucks, and an occasional third party vendor (such as the Yum Yum Cupcake Truck, which has also been seen at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort.) While we were there, Exposition Park had three food trucks available, Namaste Cafe (based around foods from Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge), World Showcase of Flavors (foods from Epcot), and Fantasy Fare. Superstar Catering, which features items from Disney’s Hollywood Studios, was parked in the Marketplace next to the World of Disney Store.

FantasyFare1_glover

Fantasy Fare food truck at Downtown Disney. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print