Downtown Disney

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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Ways To Get Your Disney Fix Outside of the Theme Parks

by on January 10, 2015

This week’s  SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Ways To Get Your Disney Fix Outside of the Theme Parks. No one loves the Disney theme parks more than us, but sometimes you just can’t get to them no matter how much you want to be there. So today we are going to look at various ways you can get a taste of WDW, without paying the $90-$95 ticket cost to enter the turnstiles. Be forewarned, the more you quench your Disney thirst, the more you are going to want to book your next trip into the parks.

We are going to start off taking the 30,000 foot view (© Jim Hill) and look at things that anyone can enjoy anywhere in the world, while eventually making our way down to things available closer to the actual theme parks in Florida. With that out of the way, let’s being our countdown, starting with…

# 6 – Disney Related Books

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Selection of theme park books. (photo by Tim Grassey)

If you haven’t started already, now is the time to build your Disney library. Reading about Walt Disney World (as well as Disneyland and the Disney Cruise Line) is a great way to stay connected with the theme parks, no matter where you are. Anyone reading the SATURDAY SIX should be well versed on travel planning books, such as the Unofficial Guide to WDW 2015, but that theme park bible is just the tip of the iceberg. There are books on finding Hidden Mickeys, books on Disney Imagineers, and books on Disney attractions. I personally love the Imagineering Field Guides (such as the ones for Animal Kingdom and Epcot) because of their small size, allowing me to take them with me on the go without a hassle.

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Cirque du Soleil La Nouba’s Dinner and a Show Option Returns

by on January 6, 2015

Cirque-du-Soleil-300x400If you’re wanting to experience La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil this winter, you should consider taking part in the “Dinner and a Show” specialty package. This unique option is back again, for a limited time, and allows Guests the opportunity to receive a ticket to the 6:00 p.m. La Nouba show, as well as delight in a great dinner. Guests will be able to enjoy an entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage at one of four Walt Disney World Downtown Disney restaurants – Wolfgang Puck Grand Café, Planet Hollywood, Portobello Country Italian Trattoria, or Splitsville Luxury Lanes. and they will have the option to dine at the restaurant of their choice either prior to the show or after.

The cost for a Category 2 ticket is $99 plus tax for adults and $89 plus tax for children ages 3 to 9. A Category 1 ticket is $119 plus tax for adults and $109 plus tax for children ages 3 to 9. The special offer is available for performances Tuesday through Saturday nights January 20 through March 28. (There will be no performance on March 24.)

To book the special event, call (407) 939-7328.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Things We Can’t Wait to See in 2015

by on January 3, 2015

This week’s  SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Things We Can’t Wait to See in 2015. It’s going to be impossible to forget the year that was 2014 (no matter how hard we try), but there are many things to look forward to in the coming twelve months. Today we are going to focus on the theme park resorts, but keep in mind that a lot is happening in general around Orlando, including the massive I-Drive 360 project finally opening. There’s never been a better time to plan your next Florida vacation, but let’s look at six reasons you should be double checking those airline ticket prices more closely, starting with…

# 6 – The Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

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The Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. (photo by Daisy Lauren)

I’ve got to hand it to Disney, the work they have done expanding DVC into the monorail resorts has been exceptional. The Villas at the Grand Floridian and Bay Lake Tower at The Contemporary are great accommodations, but the upcoming waterside Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Resort Village could be the new jewel of the DVC crown. Granted, it’s going to take us forever to save up in order to afford just one night at these Bungalows, but this was a brilliant idea.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: December 18, 2014

by on December 18, 2014

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re visiting the Disney’s Art of Animation Resort to check out a Cars suite. Then we’re stopping in the Magic Kingdom to see some parade taping fun, eating at Liberty Tree Tavern, and playing in the park. Lastly, we’re heading to Downtown Disney and even dropping by Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort! Phew – I’m tired already! Let’s get going! :)

I was really looking forward to checking into our Cars suite. I’d previously stayed in The Lion King section, but since I love Cars Land I thought this would be my new favorite. After a stop by the front desk to switch rooms (we’d been in The Little Mermaid section earlier in the week), we were off to the races. Or were we? You’ll have to read more to find out! 

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STK Orlando Announced for Disney Springs

by on December 17, 2014

STK707059The rumors were indeed true…a new restaurant, brought to life by The ONE Group, called STK Orlando will be taking residence in the new Disney Springs.

STK Orlando will blend a modern steakhouse with a chic lounge to make for a superior fine dining experience. The restaurant will feature two dining floors, including a main level and the only rooftop dining venue in Disney Springs, plus a lounge that will feature a DJ who is on hand to create an electric vibe.

“We are thrilled to join the Disney Springs family with the launch of STK Orlando,” said Jonathan Segal, CEO of The ONE Group. “The combination of an innovative menu and high-energy atmosphere has driven the success of STK, and we believe it will be an ideal addition to Disney Springs, and will help further cement its status as a place for friends and family to gather for fine dining and entertainment.”

In addition to steak, STK’s other specialties include dishes like Parmesan Truffle Fries, Lil BRG’s, Shrimp Rice Krispies, Sweet Corn Pudding, and Jump Lump Crab Salad.

There are multiple STK locations worldwide, including New York, Atlanta (hmm…a research trip may be in order), Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Miami, and London.

The restaurant will open in The Landing section of the updated shopping and dining complex in Spring 2015.

Two additional restaurants have officially been announced for Disney Springs–Morimoto Asia and The BOATHOUSE. With the first deadline date for Disney Springs rapidly approaching (Spring 2015) I would expect we’ll be hearing details on additional new restaurants and shops slated to open with the first phase of Disney Springs’ re-branding soon.

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My Disney World Christmas Vacation Traditions

by on December 17, 2014

The most magical place on earth gets a little more magical around this time of year when the parks and resorts deck the halls with holiday finery and give Disney fans a reason to take one more Walt Disney World vacation! My family and I love to take a trip to Disney World around the holidays, and we have created a few festive traditions over the years. Check out a few of my Disney World Vacation Christmas Traditions.

Downtown Disney's Days of Christmas Store

Downtown Disney’s Days of Christmas Store

Buying a New Ornament

It just wouldn’t be right to leave Disney World around Christmastime without a new ornament to add to our tree. My favorite place to shop for ornaments is the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe at the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square. I love how it feels like we’re walking through an old, colonial home. For a wider variety of Christmas décor, we like to drop by Disney’s Days of Christmas Store at Downtown Disney, where it really does feel like Christmas all year round.

Holidays Around the World

Epcot’s World Showcase is one of my favorite corners of Disney World, and I especially enjoy Holidays Around the World this time of year, where performances educate guests about the different holiday traditions of their respective countries. It’s a lot of fun to hear and see how other countries celebrate the holidays. Our favorites would be Father Christmas at the United Kingdom and the Voices of Liberty Dickens Carolers at the American Adventure. The special holiday treats and the chance to do a little Christmas shopping is pretty great too. After all, there’s no chance that what you’re buying as a gift is something someone already has when you shop at the stores in the Norway or China or Morocco pavilions.

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