This week’s SATURDAY SIX is a special FATHER’S DAY SPECIAL, paying tribute to all our favorite dads at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort. After a challenging week in Orlando, we here at the SATURDAY SIX headquarters think it’s time for some lighthearted fun. With tomorrow being Father’s Day, it’s about time we gave a little attention to all the dads we see in Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort. So sit back, put on your favorite pair of dad jeans, and let’s begin our list with…
# 6 – WALT DISNEY: The Father of All Theme Parks
What else can we say about Walter Elias Disney? Without him we wouldn’t have the glorious theme parks we enjoy today and instead would be suffering in the shoddily made and poorly themed rides that make up America’s amusement parks. Even worse, we may have been forced to go to places like museums and libraries to actually learn something. I think I speak for us all when I say UGH. However, thanks to a visionary genius like Walt Disney creating Disneyland – and then improving upon with Walt Disney World – we all get to enjoy one of the most amazing pieces of entertainment in the entire world.
Unlike most of our hobbies and interests, theme parks are a place we can go with the whole family and enjoy our time together. The theme parks are one of the very few places you can go where no matter who you are, you are accepted. It just doesn’t matter what size you are, what race you belong to, what religion you pray to, your sexual orientation, or handicap you have. If you’re in a theme park, you are in a safe place. We all owe an unpayable debt to Walt Disney, as his foresight led to us being able to enjoy places that completely transport us away from the real world – and all of its problems – into an alternative reality where everything is as we wish it would be. A world in which the good guys always win. A world where we can fly. A world where our wishes come true.
Walt was also the father to Diane and Sharon Disney. We all know the story that it was Walt watching his daughters play in shabby amusement parks that inspired him to create something better. Something the whole family could enjoy. (photo by Brandon Glover)
When planning a Walt Disney World Vacation there are a number of decisions to make ranging from which FastPass+ reservations to book, what ticket option is best for you and your group, and even how to get there. But one of the most important, if you’re staying on property, is which Walt Disney World Resort to choose as your home away from home during your stay! Now as you may have guessed, the size of your budget will play a considerable role in the decision-making process. This is why Disney has conveniently grouped the Disney World Resorts into three different categories based on price with Deluxe Resorts being the most expensive, Value Resorts being the least, and Moderate Resorts falling somewhere in the middle. I’ve already covered my Why Port Orleans Riverside is the Only Moderate Resort for Me and Why Wilderness Lodge is the Only Deluxe For Me; but for today’s post, I’m focusing on one of Walt Disney World’s budget-friendly resort options in Why Pop Century is the Only Value Resort for Me!
But first, a little more info about the Disney World Value Resorts!
Now when I want a Disney World fix with the least damage on my bank account, I have to say that Pop Century is the only Value Resort for me.
Walt Disney’s motivation for Disneyland was a place where he could have fun with his daughters, and the Pop Century Resort stays true to that original vision in that it offers a theme geared towards both kids and adults. Each section of the Pop Century Resort is themed after a particular decade ranging from the 1950s to the 1990s. Each section, or wing, is decorated with huge, colorful icons and catchphrases from their respective decades, such as giant 8-track tapes, Big Wheels, bowling pins, and foosball. The lobby is also filled with shadowboxes of memorabilia from days gone by. I always stop and check out the boxes from the ‘80s and ‘90s to revisit some favorite old toys and mementos from my childhood, and I love hearing music from the different decades when waiting for the buses. Naturally, all this nostalgia is fun for adults; but for kids, Disney wisely included some larger than life Disney Characters alongside the pop culture icons based on what decade their films debuted. In this way, everyone in the family is familiar with and relates to the fun resort décor!
This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Six Unique Burgers at the Orlando Parks and Resorts. When it comes to Disney and Universal, hamburgers as ubiquitous to a guest’s experience as gift shops and lines. They are everywhere, and most of them aren’t that good. However, in the last several years some restaurants have upped their burger game.Today we are going to look at some of the most unique, unusual, and great tasting* burgers on property. So sit back, put that ketchup bottle down, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…
If we learned anything over the last year it’s that Fritos can make just about anything better. Taco Bell’s Beefy Fritos Burritos are surprisingly good, and Frito Pie is reason enough to check SeaWorld’s Bands, Brew, and BBQ event. Over in Universal CityWalk, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville uses a liberal amount of Fritos in their tasty Volcano Burger. It has more than a little kick, but the combination of chili and Fritos works great, if not messy.
Topped with our volcano chili, lava cheese sauce, pickled jalapeños, guacamole, and Fritos corn chips. $14.99
Volcano Burger at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Of course when you’re talking about Margaritaville and burgers we do have the mention the iconic Cheeseburger in Paradise. It is a “normal” burger compared to the rest on this list, but it is also an iconic one. Eating a Cheeseburger in Paradise out on Margaritaville’s Porch of Indecision on a gorgeous Florida day, as the song it is named after plays on the speakers above, is one of those things in life that makes a good day great.
Our signature burger topped with American cheese, lettuce, sliced tomato, pickles, and paradise island sauce. $13.99
Cheeseburger in Paradise. (photo by Brandon Glover)
# 5 – Old World Bavarian Burger (ESPN Club)
Over the years Your Humble Author has been quite critical of the ESPN Club at Disney’s BoardWalk, but something surprising has happened slowly over time… the restaurant has greatly improved. Now it just so happens to be a spot within walking distance of some truly exceptional venues on Disney property, but there’s certainly no shame in stopping in to try ESPN’s menu, especially if there’s a game on you’re looking to catch. Our recommendation in the burger arena is the Old World Bavarian Burger. Who needs Biergarten with this German meal in a bun? The potato latke would be a good appetizer by itself, and the mustard “emulsion” (whatever that means) was truly fantastic. The ESPN Club is now worth going out of your way to check out, whoda thunk it?
Grilled sausage, potato latke, smoked bacon kapusta, and lager-infused mustard emulsion on a toasted butter bun $18.00
Old World Bavarian Burger at ESPN Club. (photo by Brandon Glover)
Old World Bavarian Burger. (photo by Brandon Glover)
This week’s SATURDAY SIX is one of our favorites as we present the Second Annual “Turkeys” of the Year. For Thanksgiving this week we took a look back at things both Disney and Universal fans should be thankful for, but today we are going to go the other way. Gather round as we continue the tradition of awarding six Theme Park “Turkeys” to the craziest, most outrageous, or just downright weird stories of the year, concluding with the coveted Golden Turkey award. Let’s kick off the ceremony with a Disney snack no one saw coming….
# 6 – Animal Kingdom Poop Snacks
This June at Zuri’s Sweet Shop in Disney’s Animal Kingdom four new snacks debuted that were made to resemble animal droppings. That’s right, poop. The Match The Species snacks featured food designed to look like Elephant, Hippo, Giraffe, and Cotton Top Tamarin poop. You have to give credit where credit is due, that’s a unique presentation.
The snacks became an instant sensation on Disney social media, and quickly made the rounds to mainstreammedia. The poop snacks were pulled from the shelves in less than two weeks. Disney officially said that they were just a test and were not coming back, but several sources claim that the reason they disappeared so fast was because of the numerous complaints by guests who didn’t find the snacks amusing.
The Match The Species poop snacks at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. (photo by Brian Carey)
For a limited time, you too could eat simulated Giraffe poop. (photo by Brian Carey)
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six MORE Extreme Eats at Walt Disney World. For some people, the thing they like most about their theme park vacations is the great attractions like Haunted Mansion. Others love the world class shows like Festival of the Lion King. Here at the SATURDAY SIX we say Nay Nay, because what we love are the EXTRME EATS. Candy apples the size of a newborn’s head? An ice cream sundae using, among other things, 8 scoops of ice cream and a whole can of whipped cream? A cupcake topped with peanut butter icing, candied bacon, and chocolate drizzle? YES PLEASE, we’ll take one of each. In fact, make that two. Today we are back for more of the most outrageous, the most insane, and definitely the most Extreme Eats on Disney property. So sit back, have a bottle of Pepto-Bismol handy, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…
# 6 – Pop-Tart Sandwich (Pop Century Resort)
No, you are not seeing things. What you are looking at actually exists. Over at the Everything Pop food court at Disney’s Pop Century Resort is what was once thought of as an urban legend. The Pop-Tart Breakfast Sandwich features egg, bacon, and cheese on a strawberry Pop-Tart. The egg is more of a hockey puck in (possibly) edible form. The cheese and bacon melt together in a scene straight out of the classic horror film The Fly. We’d like to tell you how this tastes, but we did not dare eat it as the Pop-Tart sandwich probably should be thrown directly into the fiery pits of Mordor.
The Pop-Tart Sandwich at Disney’s Pop Century Resort.
I normally try to put things in order, but this week I decided to start with this killer sunset instead! From all the way in Tomorrowland I had no idea the sky was lighting up until we breezed by on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Luckily, I managed to snap this one shot! It seemed like the perfect way to start this week.
Want to see what other trouble we got into? Be sure to click to read more!
The Disney Parks were designed with families in mind, to serve as escapes from the real world where parents and kids can have fun together. But have you ever noticed that a certain element of the family tends to be overlooked? Do you know what it is? It’s the demographic Disney forgot: teen boys. Now I’m not a teenage boy, but I do have a teenage brother who loves Disney World, despite the lack of commercials and ads directed toward his age group; and so, I sat down with him for the scoop on what Disney World has to offer teen boys like himself. Last time, I covered the Best Disney World Restaurants for Teen Boys; but for today, I’m focusing on where to stay in this installment of The Demographic Disney Forgot: Best Disney World Resorts for Teen Boys.
Disney World’s newest Value Resort is a celebration of animation and lets guests walk right into the middle of several popular Disney films, such as The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Pixar’s Cars, and Pixar’s Finding Nemo. The Art of Animation Resort is unique in that it offers family suites which accommodate up to six family members, as well as more heavily themed rooms than what you find at other resorts on property.This particular resort may sound like a surprising pick for teen boys; but my teen Disney Bro has loved this resort since the first time he visited and was quick to name it to this list. The Cars wing is by far his favorite. You really do feel like you’ve walked into Radiator Springs with the life-size Cars characters, the Cozy Cone Motel, and other familiar fixtures from the hit film. The resort’s food court, Landscape of Flavors, is also a big hit with my teen Disney Bro. He likes the build-your-own stations where he can tailor dishes to his own tastes; and he thinks the Big Blue Pool is pretty cool as well. This pool is the largest hotel pool at Disney World and has underwater speakers playing Disney tunes! It’s amazing! The Art of Animation is bright, colorful, and packed with Disney characters, so it may not be for all teen boys; but if your teen still smiles at the sight of Nemo and Simba and Mater, or perhaps possesses some artistic talents, this resort may be for them.
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.
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.
This week’s SATURDAY SIX is a special one as we have the Inaugural Walt Disey World “Turkeys” of the Year. For Thanksgiving this week we took a look back at things both Disney and Universal fans should be thankful for, but today we are going to go the other way. Gather round, as we are starting a new tradition and award six WDW “Turkeys” to the craziest, most outrageous, or just downright weird stories of the year, concluding with the coveted Golden Turkey award. Let’s kick off the ceremony with a relatively recent one….
# 6 – FastPass + Testing at Toy Story Midway Mania
Kim Kardashian may have broke the Internet in November, but WDW itself set the precedent in October when it broke Hollywood Studios doing a controversial test using the park’s most popular attraction, Toy Story Midway Mania. For reasons still unknown, the attraction became FastPass+ ONLY for four days, giving guests no opportunity to wait in a standby line. The normally long standby line for TSMM was essentially switched over to Guest Services, where many guests queued up to voice their opinions on this test. The end result of the test? Scores of unhappy guests. One of the only family friendly rides in the park running at less than 100% capacity. And perhaps further evidence of a large percentage of WDW guests that just plain don’t want to participate in MyDisneyExperience or MyMagic+, something which could present a challenge for WDW in the coming years.
Sorry folks, ride’s closed. Moose out front shoulda told ya. (photo by Seth Kubersky)