Posts Tagged ‘Downtown Disney’

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


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.



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



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.

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!

The Ganachery Coming to Disney Springs

by on October 6, 2015

Disney Springs

©Rikki Niblett

A brand new chocolate shop will be opening soon in The Landing section at Disney Springs. Called The Ganachery, this Disney owned and operated venue will specialize in custom-blended chocolates and feature flavors from around the world.

The shop will offer handmade ganache, bonbons and other sweet treats developed by Disney Chocolatiers. (Oh I can just imagine the delightful smells coming from here already.) The Ganachery will also give Guests a chance to participate in tastings as well as purchase treats to enjoy immediately or take home to savor.

While no official date has been announced as of yet, The Ganachery is scheduled to open later this year. This is one stop I know I’m gonna be making on my next trip to Disney Springs! I’ll make sure to keep you posted as I learn more!

Downtown Disney is Officially Disney Springs

by on September 29, 2015

Disney Springs

©Rikki Niblett

Today is the day! Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World officially became Disney Springs.

If you couldn’t tell from all the construction walls, Downtown Disney has been under construction for the past few years to convert the shopping and dining district into an updated, one-of-a-kind destination.

Disney is touting Disney Springs as “The Place to Be” according to their brand new website, which is gorgeous and features detailed information about shopping, dining, and entertainment that can be experienced by Guests.

For Guests looking to keep updated via Twitter, a new account, @DisneySprings is now live, as well as a new Facebook page for Guests to follow.

Currently open at Disney Springs is The Marketplace, a family friendly section; the West Side, more of the entertainment district; and The Landing, a thriving commercial district.  When the area is fully completed, it will also feature the Town Center, which will be a mix of shopping and dining along a relaxing promenade.

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First Impressions of Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar

by on September 24, 2015

When the news of Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar first hit the newsreels, the natives became restless. The general consensus was that the idea of a themed bar based on a very obscure character from the Indiana Jones films just wouldn’t cut it. The hangar doors have now opened. The time to explore and probe this unique establishment has come. I braved the crowds and operational hiccups of opening day to get a first impression of the Hangar Bar (you’re welcome). Let’s take a look at this highly anticipated establishment.


The Arrival Experience

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is located on hallowed ground. Once the site of countless epic nights of entertainment at Pleasure Island, this re-born section of Disney Springs is now known as The Landing. The Hangar Bar is ideally nestled along the shores of the glistening lake. With Paradiso 37 and The BOATHOUSE as neighbors, this artfully aged hangar building with its rigged, scrapped metal sign stands out in a good way.



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A Destination Wedding in Disney Springs

by on September 23, 2015

Have you ever dreamed about having a destination wedding at Walt Disney World? Have you then had your dream crushed when sticker shock hit? It wasn’t until recently that I learned there was another option for a Disney wedding – a destination wedding in Disney Springs! More specifically, I’m talking about Fulton’s Crab House, the beautiful replica riverboat that you’ve most likely noticed, if not visited, during your time in Disney Springs.

A Destination Wedding in Disney Springs

A beautiful place for a wedding!

Before we get into the details of this venue, let’s back the story up a little bit. I couldn’t have been happier when my brother texted a picture of the ring he bought to propose to his girlfriend. My brother and I live about 600 miles apart, and I’d spent only a little time with his girlfriend and her 4-year-old. (On a joint Disney World trip, of course!) It was obvious from the beginning that the three of them made a beautiful family, and only two days into the trip I was asking him when he would pop the question.

A Destination Wedding in Disney Springs

I knew from the beginning this would lead to a wedding!

Fast forward half a year and my wish (yeah, yeah – my brother’s wish) came true. When he called to say she’d accepted his proposal, I was thrilled beyond belief. Then he texted a few hours later with the greatest mission I could ever be assigned. “I NEED YOU TO RESEARCH AND REPORT BACK ON WEDDINGS IN DISNEY WORLD.” I think my heart stopped.

In a stroke of good fortune, a few weeks prior the Touring Plans Blog published an article about weddings in Disney World (including the pricing structures). I sent the article to my brother about 30 seconds after I received the assignment. I loved that I appeared like some sort of Disney magician who could instantaneously summon information at will! (True credit goes to Laurel!) It became clear pretty quickly that Disney World itself was priced out of the running as a venue. (Shocking, I know.) So now it was time to get creative.

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