Posts Tagged ‘Downtown Disney’

25 Drinks of Christmas – Day Twenty Two: Candy Apple Cotton-Tini at T-REX Cafe

by on December 22, 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 TWO: Candy Apple Cotton-Tini at T-REX Cafe

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Candy Apple Cotton-Tini, BEFORE, at T-Rex Care. (photo by Brandon Glover)

T-REX Cafe in Disney Springs is a true dining experience that you can’t get anywhere else. Over-the-top theme park quality theming, an excavation site where guests can dig up fossils, Build-A Dino, the awesome Chocolate Extinction dessert and more, T-Rex cafe is the restaurant your kids always dreamed of. While foodies may find a better meal at the nearby Morimoto Asia or the BOATHOUSE, those looking for an adult beverage are going to be more than happy at the massive Watering Hole bar. The gigantic fishtanks are gorgeous, and the huge octopus above the bar (and the jelly fish lighting fixtures) is impressive. T-REX has a good selection of signature drinks, but for today’s selection we are going with the most theatrical.

Cotton-Tinis are exclusive to T-REX and combine cotton candy, a staple of theme parks, with alcohol. This is a true marriage made in heaven. T-REX offers three varieties, but we went with the Candy Apple Cotton-Tini (also available are Cosmo-Paleo and Tropical versions). Cotton candy is put into the glass, while the bartender mixes the cocktail in a shaker. The cocktail is then poured over the cotton candy and you get to see the liquid completely absorb the candy. It is a very sweet tasting drink and don’t be surprised to see a good amount of sugar at the bottom of the glass when you are done. As a bonus, you get to keep the shaker as well!

Ingredients: Finlandia vodka, DeKuyper sour apple pucker Schnapps and a splash of sweet and sour.

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Candy Apple Cotton-Tini, AFTER. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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10 Possible Extra Costs Onboard a Disney Cruise

by on December 18, 2015

It’s that time of year when we are all thinking about money!  Oops, I mean gift giving!  But money is usually a part of that right?  So let’s talk money onboard a Disney Cruise.

I am often asked how much money you should budget to spend onboard.  My answer is – that totally depends.  I’ve been on cruises where my final bill was over $1000, and I’ve been on cruises where my final bill was $11.  How much you spend onboard will truly be up to you.

Note that I am not including gratuities in this discussion.  Gratuities are an unavoidable expense (unless you are truly channeling the spirit of Scrooge), but you can prepay them before you board.  See my Tips on Tipping blog post for some clarification there.

So let me try to help you plan!  Here are 10 ways Disney Cruise Lines tries to tempt you into spending even more onboard!

x1001. Excursions – The first chance to spend money onboard actually starts before you even get onboard! You can book excursions online as soon as your booking window opens, and they will be charged to your onboard account. You can cancel your excursions up until 3 days prior to your cruise departure date.  If you change your mind onboard, Disney will often let you change excursions as long as the price stays the same or goes up. Depending on the ports you are visiting, you could drop a lot of dough here.  The operative word there is “could”.  Excursions are in no way mandatory and there are other options.  Many ports have nearby beaches you could take a taxi to and/or fun towns to walk around in.  You could also book excursions directly with the tour operators and save money that way.  Finally, you could just stay onboard!  You’re on a beautiful ship with plenty to do!  Nobody is making you get off!  Well not until the end anyway.  Sadly, I can promise you that they will make you get off on the end.

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25 Drinks of Christmas – Day Nine: Cool-headed Monkey at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar

by on December 9, 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 NINE: Cool-headed Monkey at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar (Disney Springs)

Jock_glover

Cool-headed Monkey at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar. (photo by Brandon Glover)

The new additions to Disney Springs so far have been terrific. Earlier on this list we have discussed how we were blown away by The BOATHOUSE, but Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar may be the biggest surprise. Disney’s recent attempts to make food and drink experiences from the Star Wars brand have been, at best, unique. A bar based around a character from the Indiana Jones films that no one remembers could have been a complete disaster, but instead it’s actually kinda good. Actually, it’s really good. While not as elaborately themed as Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, Jock Lindsey’s has a much better food menu and generally has much less of a wait to get into.

Our recommendation for the Hangar Bar is the Cool-headed Monkey. One of the most memorable moments from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a dinner scene in which our heroes were served a meal consisting of snakes, live bugs, and monkey brains. The brains were served out of what appeared to be the head of a monkey, causing one character to faint. This is where we should point out that Temple of Doom is by far the darkest of all the Indiana Jones films and is usually the one people like or dislike the most. In a great touch, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar has a drink and souvenir mug to commemorate this classic film moment with the Cool-headed Monkey.

Ingredients: Starr African Rum, Van Der Hum Tangerine Liqueur, fresh Lime Juice, Watermelon, and Pineapple Juice

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Cool-headed Monkey. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar in Disney Springs. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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10 Ways To Have Free Family Fun At Disney World

by on December 7, 2015

Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure

Enjoying a little free family fun!

Walt Disney World can be expensive. You know that, I know that. But what if I were to tell you that there are lots of ways to add some magic to your Disney World vacation for absolutely free? That’s right folks, I’m going to share with you 10 of my favorite ways to have family fun around the resort without spending an extra penny.

So without further ado, let’s enjoy some free family fun and save some money!

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Location: Magic Kingdom

The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an enchanting interactive game where you use spell cards at magic portals to defeat Disney villains. Kids and gamers alike love this experience, especially because they can collect and keep the spell cards.

A Pirate’s Adventure ~ Treasures of the Seven Seas

Location: Magic Kingdom

During A Pirate’s Adventure join Captain Jack Sparrow on an interactive adventure raiding hidden treasures throughout Adventureland. There are five different missions, each taking about 20 minutes to complete. There is no time limit on the missions, so they can be started and stopped at your leisure. This is a lot of fun for the whole family and each adventure sets off some exciting special effects scattered throughout Adventureland; especially great at night.

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SATURDAY SIX THANKSGIVING SPECIAL: Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks in 2015

by on November 26, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX  is our annual Thanksgiving Special and takes a look at Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks. 2015 was another great year to be a theme park fan, and for this Thanksgiving we are going to take a quick break from all the turkey, football games, and Black Friday planning to count our blessings and thank the parks and resorts we love so much. So, for one day only, we ask that all Disney and Universal fans put aside their differences and spend a moment appreciating all the wonderful things that we can share together, starting with…

# 6 – Selfie Stick Ban at Walt Disney World

SelfieStick_Partners

no_more_selfie_sticks_pamphlet_sethIf you noticed any #Millenials or narcissists wearing black armbands this summer, it was because after banning selfie sticks on Disney attractions earlier in the spring, Walt Disney World completely banned the use of selfie sticks at the parks. Seemingly out of nowhere, the edict came down right after another high profile news story of Disney California Adventure’s California Screamin’ roller coaster being stopped mid ride because of a guest using a selfie stick. On June 26th, WDW guests were given a pamphlet at the parking plaza explaining the selfie stick ban, signage was displayed on the walkways to the parks along with bag check explaining the new policy.

The selfie stick ban was definitely a controversial move to be sure. Universal had earlier become more strict on preventing selfie sticks on rides, but Disney outright stopped people from even entering the park with them. Now we joked earlier about only kids and narcissists using them, the truth is that selfie sticks have become increasingly popular across almost all demographics. While people using selfie sticks inside the parks can be a nuisance, they were starting to become a serious safety factor on attractions. You may have seen what is called an Envelope of Protection as Imagineers test out the attractions. This device makes sure that all the attractions are safe for every rider, basically simulating the possible reach of every guest in the ride vehicle. This is why while it may seem like your may lose your arms in Space Mountain if you hold them up during the ride, but in actuality you are nowhere close to hitting anything. What the Envelope of Protection doesn’t take into account though, is guests holding on to anything that extends their reach.

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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.

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Frontera Fresco Restaurant to Open at Disney Springs

by on October 22, 2015

Frontera FrescoThe newest restaurant has been announced for Disney Springs and it’s Frontera Fresco, which is being brought to life by celebrity chef, Rick Bayless.

Fontera Fresco will offer authentic Mexican dishes that will include hand-crafted tortas, tacos, salads, fresh guacamole, and Mexican-based meat entrees. Specialties will be made with fresh, local ingredients and based off of time-honored recipes.

Of course, this is a Mexican restaurant, so yes, there will be margaritas, as well as beers, wines, and cocktails for Guests to enjoy.

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Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs: The 30-Dish 3-Hour $600 Dinner Review

by on October 19, 2015

Summary If you’re reading this to decide whether to eat at Morimoto, go ahead and make a reservation now. While it’s not Nobu or Morimoto Philadelphia, there’s a lot to like, at moderate prices. Order the Peking duck for the table.

Most people know chef Masaharu Morimoto from his time on the Iron Chef television shows.  Others through his tenure at New York’s Nobu in the late 1990’s, or from his own chain of restaurants since 2001. Those places serve high-end, modern Japanese cuisine, at equally high prices – ordering the full omakase (chef’s choice) dinner can easily set you back $150 per person. We’ve done it several times, and it’s worth every penny.

Those prices wouldn’t fly at Disney Springs, and “modern Japanese” might be too narrow a focus for the Disney World tourist market. That’s why the menu at Morimoto Asia is pan-Asian, with dishes from China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand available, at a median entree price of around $15.

It’s a huge menu, too – more than 30 appetizers and 25 entrees to choose from.  To cover as much of the menu as possible, some friends joined me for a 9 PM dinner reservation last Saturday night: our own Erin, Beci from MEI/Mousefan Travel, the lovely and talented Scarlett, and two of my favorite Disney food reviewers, Kendra and Mark. Kendra and Mark have two of the most descriptive culinary vocabularies I know, and I think you’ll enjoy what they have to say.

A couple of us had already been to Morimoto Asia, and together we brought 6 pages of research to the start of dinner. That research included everything from the typical seasonings in Shrimp Har-Gao (sesame oil, scallions, and soy), to the proper way to prepare L.A. BBQ Kalbi (marinated, thin cuts, across the bone, cooked fast, in 2- to 5-inch segments easily eaten with chopsticks), to the dark magic that makes Peking Duck so delicious (a 72-hour process involving a maltose-and-soy glaze).

One good thing I’ll say right up front: Every single dish we tried – all 30 of them – was prepared correctly, in the right style and at the right temperature. We may have wanted more spice in some things, or slightly different flavors or ingredients, but the kitchen seems to have got things down pat, right from the start.

To make it easy for you to find the best food, I’m going to organize our ratings into 3 categories:

  • Things We Loved
  • Things That Were Okay
  • Things We Wouldn’t Order Again (a very short list)

Each dish has its own set of comments, which I’ll keep anonymous. Also, I apologize for the lack of photos. I was trying to do this without attracting management’s attention – they started following me on Twitter a couple days after I made our reservation – and 6 people taking flash pictures of half the menu would look suspicious.

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Twenty Eight & Main Coming to Marketplace Co-Op

by on October 16, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Do you remember when the Marketplace Co-Op first opened? Disney mentioned how the store found in the Marketplace at Disney Springs was going to be a testing ground for new products and that we would, on some occasions have to say goodbye to some of the boutique shops within as others would take their place. Well, soon, we must say goodbye to the Trophy Room, but we will be saying hello to Twenty Eight & Main! The name of the shop comes from the year Mickey Mouse was created, as well as Main Street U.S.A.

Twenty Eight & Main will feature stylish men’s clothing and accessories designed for those who enjoys visiting Disney Parks. The boutique well sell items like lounge pants, leather messenger bags, hats, polos, mugs, artwork, and more. One major feature of much of the merchandise that will be available will be a lion prominently displayed on items. The lion is symbolic, as it was taken from the Walt Disney Family Crest, which can be seen on all the castles world-wide.

The Trophy Room will close on November 1 and Twenty Eight & Main will open on November 6.

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Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine Coming to Disney Springs

by on October 9, 2015

Disney Springs

©Rikki Niblett

The newest restaurant for the Disney Springs shopping and dining complex has been announced. It is being brought to life by celebrity chef Art Smith and will be called Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine. Homecoming will feature southern, yet sophisticated favorites and will be bringing a taste of real Florida to Disney Springs because Chef Smith is actually from the town of Jasper, Florida.

The restaurant’s overall feel will be rustic-chic including a glass-walled show kitchen. The building’s design is inspired by turn of the century Florida architecture of the late 1800s and will be able to seat 200 Guests.

As far as the rest of the restaurant’s menu, items will include a fresh-from-Florida menu, with the majority of the dishes including seafood, produce, poultry, and beef from local areas. Some of the farm-to-fork cuisine that will be restaurant staples will include southern treats like homemade pimento cheese, deviled eggs, low country shrimp and grits, fried chicken, kale salad with Sweet Grass Dairy cheese and spiced pecans, and a grilled Blackstrip pork chop with sawmill gravy.

Desserts also sound incredible, featuring pies, cakes, and other sweets, including the signature dessert of Mockingbird Cake.

In addition, the restaurant will feature the Southern Shine Bar which will serve cocktails, punches, and coolers.

Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine will be opening in Disney Springs in the summer of 2016 and I’ll keep you posted as we find out more!

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