Posts Tagged ‘dining’

Disney Springs Update: The Ganachery, World of Coke, and more

by on February 3, 2016

It’s pretty clear that Disney Springs is slowly, but surely being accepted and welcomed by Disney fans. At first the concept of Downtown Disney being turned into a themed environment with a backstory and everything made many people skeptical. However now that The Landing is substantial enough to warrant a visit on its own and more business are open, it seems Disney Springs is sure to be a hit. Recently a few more establishments opened their doors and many more new buildings are in the midst of construction. It’s an exciting time to see the progress and I recently took a stroll through The Landing and The Marketplace to check out what’s new at Disney Springs.

DSC03794

The Ganachery

There’s so much springing to life at The Landing that it is quickly becoming my favorite part of Disney Springs. In fact there are many times in which it is the only section that I spend any time in. Between The BOATHOUSE, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, and Morimoto Asia the dining is delectable. I am no big time shopper, but the retail locations here offer a fairly good variety and new discoveries, my personal favorite shop is Sanuk footwear.

The most recent business to open its doors is The Ganachery. Chocolate lovers rejoiced when Disney announced the arrival of this sweet shop specializing in only chocolate. However, it seems a bit repetitive that The Ganachery would open a mere five minute stroll away from Ghiradelli Chocolate.

DSC03757

DSC03754

Think of The Ganachery as an upscale chocolate boutique. It is Disney owned and operated providing chocolate made with a supposed proprietary blend of cacao beans. The prices certainly reflect an air of exclusivity. While the prices kept my sweet tooth at bay, the décor and details are delectable. Before even setting foot inside, a sweet little detail made me smile. The door handles are large spoons, the kind used when hand mixing melted chocolate. Once inside, the décor is warm with rich brown and golden tones.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Skipper Canteen Soft Opening Review

by on January 4, 2016

skipper canteen

The World Famous Skipper Canteen!

If you’ve ever felt hunger pangs while trekking through a tropical jungle outpost or while traveling niles and niles and niles down a dangerous river, then you know what it’s like to be a skipper in need of sustenance. Luckily for you, I’ve got just the place for you to visit the next time you’re in need – the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen!  The Skipper Canteen is a new table-service restaurant at the Magic Kingdom inspired by (and thematically connected to) the Jungle Cruise attraction.  The skippers who traverse the wild leading guided excursions through the jungle have to have a place to eat, right?

One of the biggest victories from my latest trip to Disney World was the fact that we managed to catch the soft opening of the Skipper Canteen, and I’ve got lots to share! As of the writing of this article, advanced reservations are not yet being accepted for the canteen, but it is expected that they should be available in the near future. We learned of the soft opening simply by walking by the restaurant. Skippers were outside letting people know that the Skipper Canteen was open and they were taking walk-ups. 

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Top 5 Dining Choices for Solo-Travelers

by on December 11, 2015

For the well-versed Disney traveler, it’s common knowledge that meals and snacks are also considered attractions by many Disneyphiles. In fact, one of the biggest part of the Disney vacation planning is determining when your 180 day window opens to start making dining reservations. Food is a big deal, and Walt Disney World has so many options, it’s difficult to choose!

Dining at Walt Disney World can be tricky and usually involves making reservations six months in advance in order to secure a spot at your favorite restaurant. As a solo traveler this is less important since reservations for one are easier to come by. If you travel in peak times, however, you’ll still want to make a reservation at those popular dining locations.

I like to be adventurous and take advantage of some great spots that offer a unique setting for those dining alone. Here are my top five dining options for solo-travelers:

Jiko – The Cooking Place in Animal Kingdom Lodge

Jiko is a signature dining restaurant by Disney standards, which means dining here can cost you 2 table service credits if you’re using the Disney Dining Plan, and also means the menu prices might be a bit steeper than other general table service restaurants around the resort. Don’t let this deter you though, you can easily dine here on a budget. Focusing on the appetizers and creating your own tapas-style dining experience can really help you save some cash, if needed. Jiko features an inventive menu of African, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisine that offer a change a pace from traditional menus, but aren’t so spicy or bizarre to alienate a less adventurous palate. Jiko also boasts one of the most extensive wine provisions in Florida, so if you like a glass or two, this is the place for you!

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Holiday decorations at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

by on December 7, 2015

When Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto was announced one of my items on my wish list was that this location would get into the tropical holiday spirit in the same manner as the original Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar. I am pleased to say that holiday decorations at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto are now up and ready for all to enjoy. Here’s some highlights of the decor and special effects.

DSC02381

The holiday spirit is contained within the Grog Grotto itself; the lovely outdoor Tiki Terrace does not have any decorations and remains a tranquil oasis. The live musicians may occasionally throw in some Hawaiian holiday music every so often, however, making for a nice evening. Once inside you will find strings of glowing Christmas lights and other festive decor. It is a bit mish mosh and tacky, but it fits the silly yet somehow authentic vibe of the Grog Grotto.

DSC02356 (2)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

“No Planning” Holiday Dining at Disney World

by on December 6, 2015

Believe it or not...sometimes not every table is filled months in advance!

Believe it or not…sometimes not every table is filled months in advance!

It is no secret that making dining plans for an entire Walt Disney World vacation can be a difficult and time consuming task. This task becomes even harder during the busy holiday seasons when Advance Dining Reservations can completely fill up months ahead of time. While we can not stress enough how important the planning process is for dining, touring, etc. (otherwise what would we be doing running a website like this?) we also must admit that there are times when it is enjoyable, and even a relief, to visit Walt Disney World with no plans and to simply “play it by ear.” So even though we can’t really recommend visiting Walt Disney World at the holidays with no planning, we can tell you that if you decide to go this route, you will not be completely out of luck  for eating a quality holiday meal. Here are three suggestions for how you might approach the situation (yes, this is a planning guide for a trip with no planning…sometimes we can’t help ourselves.)

 

Fife & Drum SignBook A Last Minute ADR

As of the morning before Thanksgiving 2015, a quick MyDisneyExperience search of all restaurants at Walt Disney World for an afternoon reservation on Thanksgiving for a family of four yielded plenty of results including restaurants in all four theme parks, Disney Springs and plenty of resorts throughout property, many of which offer special holiday menus. So even with only one day of planning, it is possible to get an ADR for a holiday meal. It should also be noted that Disney is well aware that the vast majority of its guests on Thanksgiving day will be looking for a meal that at least in some way contains turkey, dressing, etc. and some restaurants that normally wouldn’t serve this kind of cuisine add it to the menu for the holiday including Magic Kingdom’s Tony’s Town Square Restaurant and Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sanaa. Similarly, ham is among the most common standard menu items on buffets and can easily be found on menus throughout property for Christmas and Easter meals. The point being that you may not even need to sacrifice your traditional holiday menu items by booking a last minute ADR at wherever is available.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Tiffins Restaurant Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on November 20, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Disney’s Animal Kingdom‘s expansion is rolling on and today Disney announced a brand new signature table service restaurant called Tiffins will be opening its doors on Discovery Island, next door to Pizzafari.

Tiffins, which is an Indian English word that means a midday meal or a type of container used to carry food while traveling, will celebrate the diverse art of traveling. (The artwork looks fabulous, by the way!)

The table service restaurant, which will be open for both lunch and dinner will feature a diverse menu that draws from places that inspired the creation of the park. Tiffins will also include waterfront views from both indoor and outdoor seating areas.

The restaurant will be opening in the spring of 2016 around the same time as the debut of Rivers of Light, as well as the nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Thanksgiving Options for Walt Disney World

by on November 3, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

For those looking to celebrate Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World, there will be more than 30 different dining choices throughout the different Walt Disney World parks and resorts. There will be options, both in the parks, as well as at the resorts, that will be great places to celebrate and give thanks with your family and friends. (Of course, you could always do what Steve did last year and bring Thanksgiving dinner yourself. That’s totally your call.)

Disney will be offering both lunch and dinner options at many different locations. They will include:

Epcot

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

4 Reasons We Love The Landing at Disney Springs

by on November 2, 2015

It is difficult for me to admit what I’m about to say — The Landing truly gives Disney Springs its identity. That’s so hard because after all, The Landing at Disney Springs sits on hallowed ground, the former site of one of my favorite places: Pleasure Island. But those days are sadly over and it is time to welcome a whole new experience. Sure, there are still a few finishing touches to come, but there’s lots to enjoy too. As a Pleasure Island fan who is still getting over its closure, I feel compelled (perhaps as my own grieving process) to share why I enjoy The Landing at Disney Springs.

©Disney

©Disney

Waterfront dining

One of the reasons the name and setting of Downtown Disney evolved into Disney Springs is its ideal setting along a glistening lake. None of the previous three sections of Downtown Disney (West Side, Pleasure Island, and the Marketplace) ever really took advantage of the waterfront location. The Landing has changed that.

Three distinct dining destinations feature the lakeside location as a showstopping amenity. Clearly The BOATHOUSE is champion of making the most of the waterfront with the crowning jewel being their Dockside Bar. A stroll down a pier, right alongside the Amphibicar launch, leads to a rectangular bar with seating for about twenty plus about 10 or so high-top tables. Rich dark woods, glistening from fresh polish, brass and nautical accents give an air of casual sophistication. As the various watercraft slowly move through the water, it is difficult to not feel like a member of the privileged few who have found their way to an exclusive, yet welcoming yacht club.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Margaritaville’s Lone Palm Bar – details, stories, and new improvements

by on October 28, 2015

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville is home to the best outdoor bar at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk, and it just got better. The Lone Palm Airport Bar is an oasis beckoning passersby to come and sit in the shadow of the real life Hemisphere Dancer airplane, put their toes in the sand, and soak up the sunshine state of mind. There are some great details to be found here and the place just beckons to be the site of fun, cheerful gatherings. All new, upgraded chairs and dining tables appeared at the Lone Palm, prompting me  to share my love for this pinnacle of tropical relaxation and a Parrot Head’s paradise.

The big deal with the new chairs and tables…

I am sure for the vast majority of guests, the new tables and chairs at the Lone Palm are no big deal. For me, however, someone who clocks at least 2-3 visits a month to Margaritaville’s Lone Palm, the new furniture does change the feel of this place.

The furniture at the Lone Palm has gone through a few evolutions in the Margaritaville Cafe’s 16 year history at Universal Orlando. This is the third version of furniture that I am aware of. Intially the tables and chairs were very low to the ground and basic. A very rustic, island feel.

Original Lone Palm furniture (source Margaritaville.com)

Original Lone Palm furniture (source Margaritaville.com)

Then the tables were replaced with sturdy reinforced recycled plastic. Backless barstools with a wide base replaced the chairs. This is what I am used to and this is what I miss. The stools were very easy to maneuver, making it very easy for patrons to reconfigure the area to be more comfortable in order to socialize and gather.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Full review of the food and drink at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar

by on October 12, 2015

Disney Springs has officially staked its claim, Downtown Disney is no more. Now that most of the changes are complete, many guests have expressed excitement and satisfaction with the slow, but dramatic evolution. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is one of the latest establishments that can be credited with ushering in the new Disney Springs experience.

I visited on opening day and enjoyed settling in and getting the feel for this adventurous, themed bar. During that same visit my friends and I were able to enjoy every single food item on the menu. However, given that it was the first day, I didn’t think it fair to finalize my thoughts without returning for a second visit.

DSC02088

 

DSC02073

After trying a few standouts again and sipping a few more drinks, it’s time to bring you a full review of all the food items and as many of the drinks as our livers could handle.

You can check out the full menu here.

The food is up first…

Good Dates (Goat Cheese-Stuffed Dates Served with Marcona Almonds and Pickled Vegetables. $8.99) – These were surprisingly pleasing. Admittedly you do need to be a fan of, or at least enjoy, goat cheese as it is a very prevalent feature of this dish. The dates are succulent and sweet. The combination of the dates and the goat cheese make for a rich pairing, and the Marcona almonds add an earthiness. Marcona almonds are a little heartier and have a buttery flavor compared to traditional almonds. I didn’t think the pickled vegetables added much, though perhaps they do help cut the richness.

DSC02137

Good Dates

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print