The level of detail that Disney Imagineers put into the theming of the parks is astonishing. If I can be perfectly content just sitting in an area and soaking in all the details, then that to me is a wonderfully themed area of a Disney park. The same goes for Disney dining. Obviously, food quality comes first but with the premium that you’re going to pay at Disney, I always try to eat at restaurants that are immersive and give me that feeling that I’ve actually entered the setting that the Imagineers were trying to convey. If you have that same desire to be transported away during your next Disney dining experience then you’re in the right place. Below, you’ll find a list of my personal five best themed restaurants at Disney World. Each of these restaurants has excellent theming that will surely enhance your meal. Luckily, the food happens to be great at each of them as well.
5. Flame Tree Barbecue
Might have to talk to your kids about the birds and the…snakes?
Starting off our list is the only quick service entry and the only outdoor entry on our list. Located in Animal Kingdom, Flame Tree Barbecue is my favorite place to eat a meal outdoors in the parks. Animal Kingdom is already a beautiful park so it’s no surprise that Flame Tree lives up to its park’s reputation. There are both covered seating areas and more sunny areas that are overlooking the water with Everest in the distance. There’s also a beautiful pond/pool towards the back of the seating area as well. Along with the great views, the covered areas I mentioned before are cool looking and come complete with a surprisingly “real” Circle of Life theme. Each patio features a predator eating its prey, which shows that Disney can take the kid gloves off every once in a while without going over the top. When it comes down to it, Flame Tree has arguably the best counter service food and best outdoor seating areas in the parks, which make it my fifth most atmospheric restaurant at Disney World. Note: Flame Tree is currently closed during Rivers of Light construction at Animal Kingdom, though some of its seating is open and you can find your smoked meats other places in the park.
Jenna, an awesome reader of the TouringPlans blog, told me how she traveled to Walt Disney World with her family, ranging in ages 2-82 years old. She expressed how the group wanted to stay together the entire time, but it was hard to think of different attractions the whole group could do together and enjoy.
After hearing Jenna’s story, she inspired me to put together this list of activities and attractions that would appeal to a group of all ages.
You’ll notice that I did NOT include any attractions where a guest would have to get in and out of an attraction vehicle. I did this for two reasons:
A. You won’t have to worry about height restrictions!
B. If someone is confined to a wheel chair or electric scooter, that person will not have to stand or do any walking to get on the attraction.
Whether you’re attempting to drink around the world or simply want to stop in at one of your favorite spots in World Showcase, there’s no denying that Epcot is a great place to kick back and have a few. A lot of that has to do with the fact that you can take in the sights and sounds of different cultures from around the world in a single day. Many park guests have made it their mission to have a drink in every single one of the World Showcase countries in one day, which isn’t a task to take lightly. If you’d rather just sample a drink or two and need help prioritizing which countries to hit up, you’re in the right place. Below you’ll find my list of the best countries to drink in at World Showcase in Epcot. When I originally set out to do this list, I was going to rank all the pavilions from best to worst but found that a lot of my descriptions were the same because frankly there isn’t that much to do in a lot them drinking wise besides take in the architecture, walk around the gift shop and move on. With that in mind, I decided to limit the list to the five best pavilions.
I based my rankings on five categories. Each category is scored on a 5-point scale, so there is a total possible score of 25 points. The categories are:
This category focuses on the amount of different drinks available in the pavilion and whether or not they’re any good.
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be visiting Epcot to test FastPass+, stopping by Downtown Disney for some delicious dining, and finishing up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I can’t believe I fit so much fun into one weekend! You know I do it all for you, so let’s get moving!
We arrived at Epcot in time for rope drop, which we’re doing less and less now that FastPass+ is working so well. Since we were really just there to test the system and shop, we didn’t run to Test Track or Soarin’. Instead we sauntered up to Spaceship Earth and confidently scanned our MagicBands… and were turned away! For the first time since using the system I was told my FastPass+ wasn’t there and I needed to stop by a kiosk or join the standby line. Up to this point we’ve always been allowed into the FastPass+ line on the honor system. Since it was so early we were able to ride with a walk on wait, but want to hear about how our trip to the FastPass+ kiosk went? Be sure to click to read more!
Living with the Land hosts a real, live Florida snow… er, sandman!
Epcot has many must see attractions, ranging from the thrill of Soarin’ or Test Track to the educational but fascinating Circle-Vision film in China. It’s easy to rush about doing all of the larger attractions, and run right past the ones that aren’t as talked about. Today we’re going to look at some of the attractions that aren’t as easily spotted but simply shouldn’t be missed.
Epcot is split into two sections: Future World and the World Showcase. Most of the attractions with rides are concentrated in the Future World, but this doesn’t mean the World Showcase has nothing of interest. The World Showcase not only hosts tons of interesting shopping opportunities, it also has amazing people watching locations.
The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.
Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!
DAY TWENTY TWO: “Carl’s Combo” at Rose & Crown (Epcot)
A “Carl’s Combo” (half Bass Ale followed by half Bass Ale) at Rose & Crown. (photo by Brandon Glover)
One of our absolute favorite places to get a drink at Walt Disney World is at the Rose & Crown pub in Epcot’s World Showcase. With a terrific atmosphere and several of our favorite brews on tap, Rose & Crown is the perfect spot for a quick pint and an order of fish and chips. One of the things that separates World Showcase from any other environment in the Orlando theme parks is that the Cast Members are from the specific countries, giving guests authentic interactions with different cultures. While service at Rose & Crown is terrific across the board, bartender Carl is a standout and one of the most memorable CMs on property. With a warm smile, great conversation, and how-did-he-do-that bar tricks, Carl gives just about every guest a magical moment so we are nominating today’s drink in honor of him with Carl’s Combo. On the menu, you’ll find it listed as the Grand Imperial Pint, but longtime Rose & Crown guests know this half Bass Ale/half Stella Artois by its rightful name, Carl’s Combo.
This year, Epcot’s Hanukkah entertainment includes a storytelling show about the Festival of Lights, staged outside the American Adventure pavilion. This year’s Hanukkah show features new songs, and you can get a free “gelt” chocolate coin at the end!
There’s plenty to love about shopping at Epcot’s World Showcase. I can’t get enough of the cheery Japanese candy, friendly German Christmas ornaments, or cheeky British tee shirts. And then there are the World Showcase merchandise items that leave me scratching my head. These are the things that leave me thinking, “Who approved that addition to the merchandise list?” “What is the demographic profile of the typical buyer?” and “Has anyone actually ever purchased this item at Epcot before?”
So that you can be as perplexed as I am, here’s a tour of just a few of Epcot’s oddities.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with vanilla extract. I have several bottles in my pantry standing ready to be called into service for holiday baking. But who goes to a theme park and decides that’s what they’re going to bring home?
The fourth and final new World Showcase act quietly debuted this weekend in the United Kingdom pavilion at Epcot. The Celtic folk band hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, is called The Paul McKenna Band. Their music is very light and traditional, featuring a guitar, flute, drum, and violin.
The band can be found playing in the United Kingdom courtyard with show times at 11:00 a.m., 11:50 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 1:40 p.m., 2:35 p.m., 3:35 p.m. and 4:50 p.m.
Fans of The British Revolution need not fret, because that band will continue playing in the United Kingdom pavilion, as well.
Unfortunately, this new flag-waving act didn't fare any better in my estimation than it did in Daisy's. As a fan of drum and flag corps, I was really looking forward to this show. But while there were a few impressive tricks, overall I was deeply disappointed with this troupe's poor performance quality.
While the lead performer (who executes an amazing foot-juggling solo) was excellent, the rest of the group was sloppy, unenthusiastic, and shockingly unprofessional, chatting casually with each other during the show.
While the show I witnessed gathered and retained a slightly larger audience than when Daisy saw them, it seemed singnficantly smaller than what the Ziti Sisters used to attract. Without some serious improvements to show quality, I can't see it lasting very long.