Resorts

SATURDAY SIX: The Top Six Vegan & Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants in Walt Disney World

by on January 16, 2016

This week’s  SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Top Six Vegan & Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants at WDW. When readers come to the SATURDAY SIX for food they are generally looking for the most unhealthy (Pop-Tart Sandwich), most outrageous (Beaches & Cream’s Kitchen Sink sundae), or most likely to have been created out of a fever dream (Animal Kingdom poop snacks). But there’s actually another side to theme park dining: a healthy side. Today we are going to look the top six vegan & vegetarian friendly restaurants at WDW. Some people choose to eat vegan because of dietary restriction or allergies, some due to animal welfare concerns, and others for their health, but whatever the reason Walt Disney World is a great place to accommodate their needs. Today we reached out to an expert in this area, Emily Woesthoff, former general manager of Erin Mckenna’s Bakery NYC in Disney Springs (a vegan bakery). Emily is a lifelong Disney fan and just celebrated her 11th year of losing her mind eating vegan. There is no better person to guide us on this journey, so take it away Emily!

If I was given the good fortune to have a limitless supply of cash, and the superpower to make an ADR wherever I please, the following six-ish restaurants would be my go-to table service locations for vegan dining at Walt Disney World! While I haven’t yet managed to eat at every restaurant on property, I’ve dined at quite a few. The list below features my favorites, please keep in mind they are in no particular order. 

6 – ‘Ohana (Polynesian Village Resort)

OHANA_emily

‘Ohana.

Yup. The infamous meat-fest that is ‘Ohana made the list. Crazy, right? I waited a really long time to eat here for a few reasons. First, all anyone ever talks about when they mention ‘Ohana is that it’s very meat-heavy. I had only assumed that they basically sat you in front of a roasted pig with an apple in his mouth and said, “have at it!” Second, I’m not a huge fan of the stuff-your-face-as-much-as-you-can-we-are-not-going-to-stop-bringing-you-food restaurants. It’s just too much pressure! And finally, I had accidentally been reading the restaurant’s name as O’Hana for quite a number of years, and I just didn’t think Polynesian-Irish fusion food would work. 

Much to my surprise, the vegan options at ‘Ohana are outstanding! The same lettuce wraps that meat-eaters rave about can be made vegan! There was also a considerable portion of stir fried noodles, vegetables, and tofu from which to choose, along with a starter of crispy pita chips and hummus, too! Vegan ice cream was available for dessert, if one can manage to save room for dessert at ‘Ohana. There’s also a bit of during meal entertainment, which definitely enhanced the experience. Since this restaurant is “all you care to enjoy,” the price can be a little steep. I recommend coming here with a big appetite!

ohanavegandessert

Vegan dessert at ‘Ohana.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Trivia Tuesday: Why Stay at a Walt Disney World VALUE Resort Hotel? + Video

by on January 12, 2016

Photo - TouringPlans.comWelcome back to Trivia Tuesday!

Today, I’m going to discuss the pros of staying at a Walt Disney World VALUE Resort Hotel.

Like our posts? Check us out on Facebook and YouTube for more!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Wilderness Lodge Construction Update

by on January 6, 2016

Within the past week, I stayed in two different rooms in the Wilderness Lodge Villas at Walt Disney World. Prior to the stay, we received intense warnings and apologies from Disney that our enjoyment of the resort would be extremely disrupted (three different personal phone calls and two letters). While there is indeed lots of construction going on, I found things to be contained and well managed. We had been promised that all construction noise would happen between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., which was adhered to quite carefully. I even watched while a tractor driver was scolded at 8:45 a.m. to turn off his engine for 15 more minutes.

If I had been a first time visitor to the Lodge, I might have been disappointed, but as a frequent guest and Wilderness Lodge DVC owner, I was fascinated with the process.

As a point of reference, here is the Google Maps earth view of the area prior to the construction. The blue at the center was the Villas pool. The small green rectangle near the beach at top right is the bike and boat rental building.

Lodge

Here’s what that area looks like now from a 5th floor Villas room. The trees and Villas pool are completely gone. The only structure remaining is the green-roofed bike and boat barn.

IMG_4625

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Trivia Tuesday: Why Stay at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel? + Video

by on January 5, 2016

Copyright 2010 Claire NatI can’t wait to delve in to this week’s Trivia Tuesday topic!

Why should you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel?

Have any ideas for future Trivia Tuesday’s? Write ’em down in the comments!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

25 Drinks of Christmas – Day Twenty Five: Nautilus at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

by on December 25, 2015

We’re back with everyone’s favorite theme park advent calendar: a daily countdown of our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld building anticipation to the Big Day. 

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where the drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY TWENTY FIVE: Nautilus at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort)

Dive! Dive! Dive!

Drinks_Nautilus1_glover

The Nautilus at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. (photo by Brandon Glover)

No, you are not suffering from deja vu. Yes, we have made several trips to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto during our countdown. We started off with a bang when we had a Polynesian Pearl pulled out of the shell. Then we battened down the hatches for a Tropical Dark & Stormy. We couldn’t leave out the HippopotoMai-Tai, could we? We saved the best for last though as the #1 drink on our countdown this year is the legendary NAUTILUS.

Served in an amazing souvenir bowl with the form of the Nautilus from Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, this is one drink meant to be shared, as you could possibly be seeing a giant squid in Seven Seas Lagoon if you tried to go it alone. The entire room transforms when a Nautilus is ordered and even the servers get in on the fun. Lighting effects make the room appear as if you are going under water, audio plays orders from the Nautilus captain, and there are several  physical effects happening across the Grotto (keep your head on a swivel).  The Nautilus is an E-Ticket drink in an E-Ticket bar and it is hands-down our favorite drink of Christmas 2015.

Ingredients: Barbancourt Pango Rhum, Appleton Estate Reserve Rum, Combier Creme de Peche de Vigne Liqueur, Tropical Juices, and Falernum. Served in a souvenir Nautilus.

Drinks_Nautilus2_glover

Everyone’s happy when a Nautilus is on its way! (photo by Brandon Glover)

Nautilus2_sheehy

The Nautilus souvenir bowl can be used in many ways. (photo by George Booras)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

25 Drinks of Christmas – Day Twenty Three: Backscratcher at Tambu Lounge

by on December 23, 2015

We’re back with everyone’s favorite theme park advent calendar: a daily countdown of our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld building anticipation to the Big Day. 

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where the drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY TWENTY THREE: Backscratcher at Tambu Lounge (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort) 

Backsratcher2

Backscratcher at Tambu Lounge. (photo by Brandon Glover)

The Backscratcher at Tambu Lounge is a 25 Drinks of Christmas entry that is literally a year in the making. When we decided to make this virtual advent calendar last year, the first two drinks we immediately knew would make the list were Tambu’s Lapu Lapu and Backscratcher. Unfortunately, every single time we went to the bar, they were out of the drink’s signature bamboo backscratchers.

So our New Year’s Resolution for 2015 was a simple one: to get a Backscratcher at the Tambu Lounge with a backscratcher in it, and guess what? Mission accomplished. One of the most iconic cocktails on Disney property, the Backscratcher is strong but not overwhelmingly sweet. Because a reservation at the nearby ‘Ohana is almost as hard to get as a night in the Cinderella Castle Suite, we recommend a Backscratcher at Tambu, an order of the honey-coriander chicken wings, and of course bread pudding for dessert.

Ingredients: Bacardi Superior Rum, Myers’s Original Dark Rum, and Passion Fruit Juice topped with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and a Bamboo Backscratcher.

Backscratcher1

Backscratcher. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

25 Drinks of Christmas – Day Twenty One: HippopotoMai-tai at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

by on December 21, 2015

We’re back with everyone’s favorite theme park advent calendar: a daily countdown of our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld building anticipation to the Big Day. 

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where the drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY TWENTY ONE: HippopotoMai-tai at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Drinks_hippopotomaitai_glover

HippopotoMai-tai at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. (photo by Brandon Glover)

It’s coming down to the final stretch and we’re heading back into Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, which has been decorated for the holidays. We’ve been to the Grotto previously on our countdown looking at the Polynesian Pearl and the Dark & Tropical Stormy, but this E-Ticket bar is loaded with incredible drinks. Today’s entrant has both a great name and an even better souvenir mug. Allow us to introduce the HippopotoMai-Tai. Now we’ve all had mai tais (including one of our absolute favorites over at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop), but Grog Grotto’s version not only hits the Drink Trifecta (strong drinks, great flavor, wonderful souvenir mug) but the ultra rare Drink Quadruple with an awesome name. The HippopotoMai-Tai is served in a glass tiki with the Grog Grotto’s name emblazoned on the back, a perfect souvenir (or stocking stuffer!)

Ingredients: Coruba Dark Rum, Bacardi Superior Rum, Bols Orange Curacao, Orgeat ( Almond), Organic Agave Nectar, and fresh Lime Juice. 

HippopotoMaiTai1_xmas

The HippopotoMai-Tai glass (front).

Hippopotomatai_xmas2

The HippopotoMai-Tai glass (back).

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

25 Days of Christmas – Day Fifteen: Dark & Tropical Stormy at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

by on December 15, 2015

We’re back with everyone’s favorite theme park advent calendar: a daily countdown of our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld building anticipation to the Big Day. 

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where the drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY FIFTEEN: Dark & Tropical Stormy at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Drinks_DarkandStormy1_glover

Dark & Tropical Stormy at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. (photo by Brandon Glover)

We last visited Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the beginning of our countdown with the Polynesian Pearl and today we return with a look at another Must Get drink, the Dark & Tropical Stormy. Unlike many of our other favorites, the Dark & Tropical Stormy isn’t served in a fancy souvenir mug, but it still has style! We’ve all seen umbrellas in drinks, but the Grog Grotto has the Dark & Tropical Stormy umbrella appear in your drink as if it is holding on for dear life! A absolutely wonderful touch makes this drink stand out in a menu filled with stand out drinks. The taste? Think of a rum based Moscow Mule.

Ingredients: Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, fresh Lime Juice, Ginger Beer, and Falernum.

TraderSams_DarkandStormy_Meg

Dark and Tropical Stormy. (photo by Megan Stump)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

A look into the future: Walt Disney World 2025 – part 2

by on December 13, 2015

A lot can change in 10 years. In part one of our peer into the future of the Walt Disney World resort, we looked at changes in the theme parks and ticketing (hint: ticket prices will rise). In part two, we look at the resort hotels, Disney Springs, and Disney transportation, which has a more exciting future than you might imagine. We know that the Disney company is planning to develop more land on property, due to this report on a request to increase the amount of land it will restore on its preserve to offset wetlands development. Ultimately, any additions will be focused on accommodating ever-increasing crowds and growing revenue.

Photo Courtesy Brian McNichols

Expect more well-themed value and moderate resorts in the image of Art of Animation. (Photo Courtesy Brian McNichols)

New resort hotels: Rising attendance and demand will continue to drive the development of new resort hotels in Disney’s never-ending quest to keep as many travelers in the Disney bubble as possible. Recently, high-end additions such as the Polynesian bungalows have stirred talk that Disney is catering to the “1 percent,” and neglecting middle-class travelers. To counter that notion, future development will include well-themed value or moderate resorts along the lines of Disney’s Art of Animation. The new resorts will offer more variety in room sizes, responding to a demand for larger family suites. As more “Star Wars” sequels are released, a Star Wars-themed resort will  capitalize on the success of Star Wars Land and become an attraction that draws visitors beyond the parks. The success of Pandora-The World of Avatar expands attendance at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, creating demand for additional rooms near that park. Perhaps an Asian theme would complement the African-themed Animal Kingdom Lodge, though likely without the live animals of that resort. Alternately, if next year’s animated feature “Zootopia” is a big hit, Disney may opt for a more cartoony version of an animal-themed resort.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

SATURDAY SIX: The Six Best Souvenir Cups at Walt Disney World

by on December 5, 2015

This week’s  SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Best Souvenir Cups at Walt Disney World. Regular readers of the SATURDAY SIX already know we consider souvenir cups one of the best souvenirs at Walt Disney World. They are relatively inexpensive, and something practical that you can use back at home (which serves double duty as it mentally can bring you back to The World). In the last several years Disney has made some exceptional souvenir cups, and today we are going to look at the best of the best. So sit back, grab a a straw, and prepare yourself as we start off with…

# 6 – WDW Resort Refillable Mug

One thing that has driven us absolutely crazy over the past few years is Disney going to a standard cup for all of it’s onsite resorts. Gone are the days of cups unique to each hotel and instead we’ve received a rarely-changed design that is ubiquitous across property. Compare this to Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort,which just opened last year and already has had four different designs for its refillable mugs including  TWO Christmas-themed designs.

Recently Disney introduced a new refillable cup for its onsite hotels, and while we still wish each resort had its own, this is a humongous step in the right direction.

SouvenirCup_RefillableMug1

Walt Disney World refillable mugs.

What makes this cup so great is all the little details throughout. First it has Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto driving through a stylized version of the iconic Walt Disney World sign. Who doesn’t get a smile on their face when driving past this sign? The cup even has Donald taking a picture of it with his phone, something all of us have done as well. The road ahead of Mickey and the gang features Disney’s Value Resorts including Art of Animation, Pop Century, and the All-Stars.

SouvenirCup_RefillableMug4

Value resorts.

This section of the cup features a look at a purple Disney road sign (featuring shout outs to Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, and Old Key West) as well as representations of Disney’s monorail resorts (The Contemporary, Polynesian Village, and Grand Floridian).

SouvneirCup_RefillableMug6

Deluxe resorts.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print