Drinking

The Teetotaler’s Guide to Drinking at Walt Disney World

by on December 26, 2017

There are a LOT of drinking guides for Disney out there.  I mean a LOT.  So just in case you fellow teetotalers were starting to feel left out, I thought you may like a guide of your own!  I can’t claim I’ve tried every non-alcoholic drink at Walt Disney World, but I’ve tried an awful lot.  While I tend to live on Coke Zero in everyday life, at Disney I like to branch out a little.  There are some great drinks out there, and here are 10 of my favorites.

Night Blossom

1. Night Blossom – The Night Blossom at Pongu Pongu in Pandora is my favorite drink! And really, calling it just a drink undersells it a bit—like Pandora itself, it’s really an experience. It’s just amazing.  It’s possible that I love it so much because I think it’s made of sugar mixed with sugar and topped with sugar—all in a crazemazing frozen concoction.  With a little bit of sugar added on top.  Not to mention that it’s gorgeous!  It’s actually a collection of several fruit flavors–limeade, apple, and dessert pear.  It’s topped off with passion fruit boba balls, though if you aren’t a fan of the boba ball craze, you could certainly have them left off.  I can’t say enough good things about it—well I guess I can…it only costs about $6.00!  You must try one next time you are visiting Pandora.

2. Dole Whip Float – Of course the Dole Whip ice cream is insanely popular, but to me you are missing out if you don’t make it a float. I don’t even really care for pineapple ice cream, but soak it in pineapple juice? It’s amazing!  Once it starts to melt a little so you can drink it through the straw–perfection in a cup.  It’s currently found at Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom, and at the Pineapple Lanai in the Polynesian.

Dole Whip Float

3. Le Fou’s Brew – Le Fou’s has its lovers and it has its haters. I’m a lover! Le Fou’s is sold in Gaston’s Tavern in Fantasyland.  It’s basically frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmallow.  It’s topped off with a passion fruit, mango foam.  Sounds yummy, right?  Skip the souvenir cup unless you are a huge Gaston fan and save yourself some money.  I’ve heard comparisons to Butterbeer over at Universal, but they are definitely two distinct drinks.  I happen to be a fan of both.  Don’t make me choose one over the other!

4. POG – POG! I love me some POG. POG can be found a few places–Boma, ‘Ohana, and other random places like dessert parties to name a few.  POG is a delicious blend of pineapple, orange, and guava juices (get it?!).  It doesn’t matter if you don’t even like a single one of those juices alone, put them together and you’ve got magic.  You’re going to love it.  Seriously, it’s amazing.  Seek it out and try it!

POG

5. Schweitzer Falls – For some reason, even as a lifelong teetotaler, I seem to end up in Disney bars on a regular basis. I’ll blame my friends on that one! One of those bars I’ve ended up in a few times is Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the Polynesian.  Trader Sam’s has a few non-alcoholic drinks, or mocktails, to choose from, but I happen to love Schweitzer Falls.  If the name sounds familiar, you’ve probably ridden the Jungle Cruise and passed by those very falls, named after the famous African explorer–Dr. Albert Falls!  Or something along those lines, depending on your Jungle Cruise skipper.  I’m sure one of the main reasons I enjoy it so much is that one of the ingredients is the aforementioned POG!  Woohoo!  Schweitzer Falls is a combination of pineapple, orange, and guava juices, plus lemon juice, Sprite, and a flavored syrup called Falernum.  It’s garnished with a cherry, pineapple, and everyone’s favorite–a tiny umbrella!  I love it!

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Four Places to Watch Thanksgiving Football at Walt Disney World (Besides ESPN Club)

by on November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving, the most festive and gluttonous day in between Halloween and Christmas, is a holiday steeped in family and tradition. For some that tradition includes dressing up like pilgrims and bringing an entire turkey dinner into the Main Street Railroad Station. For many others, the traditional Thanksgiving celebration includes the ubiquitous background noise of American professional football. Specifically, the annual battles between the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, and whichever other random teams are forced to skip a holiday and play football on short rest. Seriously though, football is as much a part of Thanksgiving at the Parade, the turkey, and the giant stack of Black Friday advertisements in the morning newspaper. This leaves many people to ask us “where is the best place to watch Thanksgiving football at Walt Disney World?”

A typical Thanksgiving meal at Walt Disney World. This one in particular is at Sanaa.
Credit: Tammy Whiting

There are a few obvious choices. First of all, as you already know, the Thanksgiving games are broadcast on the major networks and are available on the televisions in all Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms. So staying in your room for the game (or games) of choice is an easy, yet also a potentially boring and lonely option. There is also the Boardwalk Resort’s ESPN Club, the standard sports destination on property. The main problem with the ESPN Club is the crowds, especially on an NFL football day during an extremely busy time at the Resort. Moreover, both of these options are neither festive or particularly inventive. To remedy this we’ve come up with our list of four other places to watch Thanksgiving football at Walt Disney World.

The criteria for making our list was threefold: an establishment must have televisions on site capable of tuning into a football game, it must serve something that can reasonably constitute a Thanksgiving dinner, and it must have come to the mind of this author. Seriously. I don’t know everything. (Don’t tell my wife!) If you’ve ever done Thanksgiving sports viewing at Walt Disney World and know of some spots not mentioned, please chime in down below in the comments or on Facebook.

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Choza de Margarita: Upgraded Margarita Mecca Now Open

by on November 15, 2017

The new Choza de Margarita stand at the Mexico Pavilion is located on the World Showcase Plaza side of the pavilion's central pyramidThis past Monday, the long-awaited Choza de Margarita stand outside of the Mexico pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase opened to much fanfare (and whistling… more on that in a second). Relocated from the Norway side of the pavilion’s central pyramid to the World Showcase Plaza side, this will be the new permanent home for “quick service” margaritas (as opposed to the more intimate setting of La Cava del Tequila, which has been slammed with patrons during the last few months to account for the missing stand).

Much larger in size and scope, the new Choza de Margarita stand exhibits a bit of smart, practical design on Disney’s part – the stand allows room for a line that will not impede traffic through the World Showcase promenade, and also has a good amount of room after you pick up your treats to stand or sit and enjoy them outdoors before heading off to your next destination. Another great part about the new stand? They have tons more offerings now, featuring options ranging from the traditional machine-spun frozen margaritas from before, as well as higher-end signature margaritas more akin to La Cava’s offerings (previously the stand only offered one of these a month), and even several snacks!

The frozen margaritas featured on the menu are mostly the same recipes and results as before – strawberry ($10.50), lime ($10.25), and passion fruit/mango ($10.25), or you can go for the Fiesta margarita ($10.50), a combination of all three flavors, which also comes with a lot of celebratory Cheery Cast Members make signature margaritas to orderwhistling and singing from Choza’s Cast Members. There are also a few beer options (Dos Equis Ambar, Cerveza Pacifico, and, for the Bloody Mary-style drink lovers, a Michelada).

The more interesting options come from the “Signature Margaritas” section of the menu, though. Ranging from $14-14.50 (a bit pricy, in my opinion, but in line with La Cava’s indoor pricing and quality), you can order three specialty drinks assembled to order featuring higher-end spirits and more complex flavors:

  • Acan grapefruit, featuring Tequila Casa Noble blanco, grapefruit liqueur, elderflower cordial, lemon, cardamom bitters, and ginger beer
  • Lime cucumber, featuring Tequila Avion blanco, fresh cucumber juice, orange liqueur, agave, and Tajin chili rim
  • Guava pink peppercorn, featuring Mezcal Zignum reposado, guava nectar, grapefruit liqueur, lime, Peychaud’s bitters, and pink peppercorns

The Acan Grapefruit Signature Margarita and the Lime Cucumber Signature Margarita from Choza de MargaritaOf course, I had to try out a few of the new drinks and snacks (all in the name of research, right?). First up, I sampled the Acan grapefruit, which sounded like a light option, perfect for a hot day. This margarita is on the sweeter side because of the elderflower, but the ginger beer brightens up the tequila and the floral cardamom, balanced well with the acid of the grapefruit flavors and the lemon juice. All in all, this was a very smooth sip, and perfect for those who prefer their margaritas with sweet/sour contrast.

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Uva Bar – A Disneyland Dining Review

by on November 6, 2017

Uva Bar Review

Uva Bar, located in the heart of the Downtown Disney District, is one of Disneyland’s many hidden gems and a perfect place to hit when you’re looking for a quick bite to eat. A few weeks ago I headed out for a last-minute weekend getaway to the Disneyland Resort and was looking for an exciting late-night spot to check out on my first evening in LA. After taking the car service from the airport to my friendly Disneyland Good Neighbor hotel, I quickly dropped my bag in my room before enjoying the short walk to the Downtown Disney District in search of a tasty dinner.

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BaseLine Tap House: A Top Stop for a Quick Sip

by on October 17, 2017

 

Recently opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, BaseLine Tap House serves up brews and snacks for guests of the park’s newly created Grand Avenue. Located in the former Writer’s Stop spot, BaseLine is primarily a craft beer bar specializing in beers native to California, themed as a former print studio in a modern warehouse setting. I dropped in on opening day to sample a few of the menu options and see if it’s worthy of a stop on your next trip.

AtmosphereBaseline Tap House at Disney's Hollywood Studios

It was raining on opening day, sadly, so much of the charm of the front entrance’s large porch and seating area was dimmed, but the ample amount of umbrella-topped tables makes for a great escape from the Florida sun if you need to sit for a spell and relax. The inside of the Tap House does not feature much in the way of seating – chairs line the exterior wall, and a few tables on one end offer seating, but otherwise, the bar is standing-room only. This made the atmosphere feel a bit like my local hole-in-the-wall bar, purposeful, and not inconvenient, though this does encourage quicker visits for each guest – lack of seating means less incentive to linger (though you should stay long enough to listen to some of the killer music they play – the loop is nearly 5 hours long!).

I was greeted pretty quickly by one of several very busy bartenders at the main bar, who took my order and asked if I was partaking inside or needing to-go service. Proper glassware is provided for those staying indoors; for those hanging outside or leaving, standard plasticware is offered.  Any food or drinks you order are picked up from the bar (by you) and then you are free to wander inside or out to wherever you can find comfortable space.

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#AskIt Results: Disney Dining Plan – Now With Alcohol

by on July 5, 2017

Anyone remember the good old days when the Disney Dining Plan was affordable and included an appetizer, entrée, and dessert? At one time, the Disney Dining Plan was a decent (albeit never great) option for convenience when dining at Walt Disney World. Over the years, the price of the Disney Dining Plan has increased, and what you got for the price has decreased. Different variations have appeared in an attempt to try and convince people that it is a value, or at least not a waste of money, but overall it seems that interest in the Disney Dining Plan has declined, except when rumors of “free” dining start to swirl around.

This year, an in attempt to bring more people back to the Disney Dining Plan fold, alcohol and specialty beverages are now being included in the (increased) Disney Dining Plan price. So we asked you:

Are you more or less likely to purchase the Disney Dining Plan now that it includes specialty beverages?

 

Here’s your results:

 

  • Less Likely: 279 (22%)

  • More Likely: 332 (26%)

  • Neutral: 658 (52%)

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#AskIt: Disney Dining Plan – Now With Alcohol!

by on June 28, 2017

Last week, the trip-planning world was abuzz with the news that Disney has made some changes to its dining plan options for 2018. Usually the news this time of year is just another price hike (though we did see that too), but the big news was that dining plan meal credits now include specialty beverages. Yes, even alcoholic ones.

You can read up on the ins and outs here, but we have one question:

Are you more or less likely to purchase the Disney Dining Plan now that it includes specialty beverages?

View Results

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Disney Dining Plan Updated – Now With Alcohol

by on June 20, 2017

There are big changes coming to the Disney Dining Plan in 2018. Beginning in January, the Dining Plan will include entitlements for specialty drinks and … drum roll please … alcoholic beverages.

Will you now get a mimosa with your character breakfast?

As in previous years, there will be three versions of the Dining Plan: Quick Service Plan (QS), Standard Disney Dining Plan (DDP), Deluxe Disney Dining Plan (Deluxe DDP). With all versions of the plan, guests under age 21 may choose one non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered). Guests over 21 may choose either one single serving non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered) or one single serving beer, wine, or cocktail (where offered) within their meal entitlement.

Examples of single serving non-alcoholic beverages include artisanal milkshakes, fresh smoothies, premium hot chocolates, and the standard soda, coffee, or tea.

Examples of single serving alcoholic beverages include beer, hard cider, wine, sangria, mixed drinks, and specialty cocktails. Disney notes that most beer, wine and mixed drink beverages are included, but some exceptions apply. Not surprisingly, guests must be age 21 and over and present valid ID to be served alcohol.

Alcoholic beverages may only be redeemed with quick-service or table-service meal entitlements. This means that you won’t be able to make a margarita your snack; you have to get it with a meal.

So the big question is … What’s this going to cost? Well, you guessed it, prices are going up. For adults:

  • The Quick Service Plan will be $52.49, up from $48.19 in 2017
  • The Standard Disney Dining Plan will be $75.59, up from $69.35 in 2017
  • The Deluxe Disney Dining Plan will be $116.24, up from $106.68 in 2017

As before, those prices are per person, per night of your stay at a Walt Disney World owned resort hotel. As a reminder, in addition to these new specialty and alcoholic beverage entitlements, the dining plans include:

Quick Service

  • 2 Quick-Service Meal Credits (Entree and non-alcoholic beverage; or combo meal)
  • 2 Snack Credits
  • 1 Resort Refillable Drink Mug

Disney Dining Plan

  • 1 Table-Service Meal Credit (Entree, Dessert, and Non-Alcoholic Beverage; or full buffet)
  • 1 Quick-Service Meal Credit
  • 2 Snack Credits
  • 1 Resort Refillable Drink Mug

Deluxe Dining Plan

  • 3 Meal Credits of your choice (can be used as either Quick-Service or Table-Service)
  • 2 Snack Credits
  • 1 Resort Refillable Drink Mug

The addition of alcohol is most cost effective for guests using the Quick Service plan. With only a $4.30 price increase, this means that if you typically buy one alcoholic beverage with your QS Plan, then you’re saving money over the typical cost of $6-8 for beer or wine, or more for mixed or specialty alcoholic drinks. Deluxe Plan purchasers will effectively be paying $9.56 for the same drink, much closer to, and possibly over the list price of the beverage.

[EDIT: I initially wrote this with the assumption that there would be one alcohol credit per day. Readers have pointed out that the plan likely includes one alcohol credit per meal. This would mean guests on the QS and standard plans could have two drinks per day, and guests on the deluxe plan could have three drinks per day, all at the cost of about $2.00 per drink. That’s a lot of cheap booze, and perhaps a dangerous amount of free booze for some people.]

We’re anxious to see details of how the plan will be implemented, and we’re sure there will be some hiccups in the initial weeks of service as food service cast members and guests both become acclimated to the rules (and the exceptions to the rules) of this new Dining Plan configuration.

In the meantime, we have questions:

  • Will teetotalers now be less inclined to purchase the plan?
  • Will calorie conscious guests now be less inclined to purchase the plan?
  • Will service times slow down as more guests need bar items?
  • Will the quick service venues in the Magic Kingdom begin to serve alcohol?
  • How much will Disney try to upsell second alcoholic drinks?
  • Does Disney think that if guests consume more alcohol, they’ll loosen their purse strings and spend more on souvenirs or other items?
  • Will international guests purchasing the plan understand that they’re increasing their cost for gratuities?
  • Will more guests want breakfast cocktails?
  • Will more guests be consuming more alcohol overall, changing the general mood in the parks?

We won’t know the answers to many of these questions until next year, but we’re sure there will be much speculation in the meantime.

What issues does this new Dining Plan configuration raise for you? Let us know in the comments below.

The SATURDAY SIX Goes “Drinking Around The World” at Epcot

by on June 10, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX Goes “Drinking Around The World” at Epcot! Longtime SATURDAY SIX readers know we enjoy an adult drink or two on our theme park vacations. We’ve done articles on the best bars and lounges at the WDW resorts, the best theme park bars, and even Must Try individual drinks such as the Lapu Lapu, Swedish Fish, and the Nautilus. We’ve talked about popular bar crawls among property; in fact we created the worst one of all time with the Disney Value Resorts Bar Crawl. Today we are going to look at what is probably the most popular drinking “game” across all property, Drinking Around The World. It takes place in Epcot’s World Showcase, and features some of the greatest – and most unique – drinks you can get at The World. Today we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite stops while we drink around the world, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Japan

One of our favorites stops for a cool down in Epcot is over at Kabuki Cafe in Japan. Their signature Kakigori can be a lifesaver during a Florida summer. However last year the Kabuki Cafe started offering alcoholic versions of these shaved ice treats with the Sake Mists. Available in blood orange, pineapple coconut, and blackberry flavors, the drinks are served in pretty large cups (by Disney standards) so it’s not only a refreshing drink, but one you can share.

When it comes to sake at WDW, you also have to make a trip into Teppan Edo. Come for the entertaining chefs slicing and dicing your meal in front of you, stay for the sake flights, and swordfish. Pace yourself though, because a couple too many drinks in Japan may lead you to buying some rather strange items at the Mitsukoshi Department Store (in our defense, you can never have too many personal massagers.)

Blood Orange Sake Mist. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Sake flight at Teppan Edo. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Disney Bar Crawls (That AREN’T “Drinking Around the World!”)

by on March 13, 2017

Disney Bar Crawls that aren'r drinking around the world

Bar crawl at Walt Disney World! If you’re this author or one of many of our loyal readers, this may sound like a perfect or even a dream scenario. For others, it might elicit chuckles and sly comments about the duties of parenting children. But a bar crawl at Walt Disney World is certainly a feasible idea for Orlando area locals or those looking for an out-of-the-box destination bachelor party or adults-only night on vacation.

When you set your mind to something along the lines of a Walt Disney World bachelor party (or bachelorette party for that matter…this article is only written from a male perspective because I am one, you can apply any of these scenarios to a female maneuver) your mind likely turns to the one place in the World where drunken revelry is not only not out of place but borderline encouraged: Epcot. “Drinking Around the World” is an unofficial attraction at Walt Disney World these days and with specialized drinking “passports” available for purchase on Etsy and at least one yahoo passed out in the World Showcases bushes nightly, it’s the first thing that probably pops into your mind when you consider an adults-only Disney World excursion. But I think we can all push past this cliche and consider a few other options that are just as good.

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