Posts Tagged ‘Disney Springs’

Maria & Enzo’s Takes Flight with Fine Fare

by on January 19, 2018

Maria & Enzo's RistoranteWithin the last few weeks, several new Italian eateries have opened their doors at Disney Springs; among them, Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, a table service location situated in The Landing, just adjacent to The Edison and Aerophile (formerly Characters in Flight). The restaurant’s story claims that it’s run by Maria and Enzo, and occupies an abandoned airport terminal from the 1930s, lending theme to the various retro travel posters adorning the walls of the massive main dining room. Every guest gets a dramatic entrance here, with a large sweeping staircase leading down from the lobby and check-in area of the restaurant to the central dining area (and adjacent “private” dining room, with a few tables tucked away in a quiet corner).

Atmosphere

The main dining room of Maria & Enzo'sVisually, the restaurant is colorful and striking – almost too much so, reminiscent at times of the old Wolfgang Puck dining room. The atmosphere is loud, with the open ceilings echoing the comings and goings of the many diners all around. Daylight floods the back of the dining room, full of windows, which offers guests a great view of the Aerophile balloon rising and falling periodically. Overall, it’s a welcoming space for families, but not terribly intimate.

The menu is enormous (both literally and figuratively), populated largely with an extensive wine and cocktail list highlighting Italian specialties like various red wine varietals, sangrias, and an entire section of negronis (a step up from most Disney cocktail offerings). For food, expect to find moderate to upscale Italian staples, not dissimilar from the pasta and entrée menus at Via Napoli or Tutto Italia, priced similarly to Tutto Italia (read: on the higher end of the “acceptable” price range for Italian food).

Appetizers

Bread serviceTo start off our meal, our server brought over the obligatory bread and olive oil service, which was fine, but nothing you wouldn’t find at your local Italian chain eatery. We settled on two appetizers, both recommended by our server, the Arancini di Carne (meat ragu stuffed risotto balls, $14) and the Caciocavallo Fritto (fried Sicilian cheese with spicy Pomodoro sauce, $13). Both arrived in short order, and we were off to the races.

I’m a big fan of the arancini available at Via Napoli, so I had high hopes for these, but ultimately, they disappointed a tad bit. For $14, you receive two golf-ball sized arancini (a small portion, in my opinion, for the price), and while the fry on the exterior was perfectly crisp, the interior was a bit too gummy for my taste, and completely lacking in the promised meat ragu filling. There couldn’t have been more than one piece of ground meat in each arancini, unfortunately. Flavor-wise, they felt a little one note, but the spicy Pomodoro sauce really Caciocavallo Fritta and Arancini di Carnemade for a great accompaniment, lending an acidic and spicy punch to the party without overwhelming the rich and cheesy risotto.

The Caciocavallo Fritto sounds a lot like fried mozzarella on paper, but fair warning, this Sicilian cheese has a completely different flavor and texture than what you would expect. Six small balls, each also perfectly fried, come in one order (again, a bit small for $13, based on my expectations). The cheese inside is tangy and sharp, akin almost to an aged provolone in flavor, but the texture is less stretchy than you’d expect, and more custard-like. The flavor was a surprise, intriguing and new for me, and I enjoyed the few bites I had, but I really did wish for a few more balls to complete the plate.

Pugliese saladSeveral fresh salads also feature on the menu, so I wanted to give one a try to see whether their $12-14 price tags were justified. Ultimately, I decided on the Pugliese, composed of a handful of frisee, tiny bits of crisp pancetta, caciotta cheese, a soft poached egg, and dressed in mustard-white balsamic dressing. This salad is relatively decently sized, slightly larger than a typical side salad, but a bit smaller than what I’d expect from an appetizer (a trend, it seems). Well-dressed and seasoned, the caciotta cheese was really the star of the plate (aside from the oozing poached egg, of course), flavored similarly to the caciocavallo and punchy enough to stand on its own against the zippy dressing. Overall, I’d order this salad again, with only a bit of hesitation because of the price.

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The #RockTheDots Event is Back at Walt Disney World and Disneyland

by on January 18, 2018

©Disney

Last year, Guests were able to experience the very first #RockTheDots event, where the resorts celebrated everything Minnie and polka dots! This year, the event is back once again, on January 21, the day prior to National Polka Dot Day (because there is a day for literally everything).  During the #RockTheDots event, Guests will be invited to participate in a variety of fun offerings to celebrate. Guests looking to celebrate should visit Disney Springs in Walt Disney World or Downtown Disney in Disneyland dressed in their polka-dotted attire.

Guests who visit should first stop and pick up a commemorative button. At Disney Springs, the button can be found at World of Disney, Tren-D, and the Welcome Center while supplies last. At Downtown Disney District, they are at

At Walt Disney World, Guests will be able to take advantage of special retail discounts or Minnie-themed items from January 18-22 at the following locations:

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World of Disney at Walt Disney World and at Disneyland to See Updates

by on January 10, 2018

World of Disney

©Disney

Do you love shopping at World of Disney as much as I do? The large Disney-centric stores which are found in both Disney Springs at Walt Disney World and at Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort offer tons of souvenirs and I almost always end up taking something home when I visit. But soon, both of these locations will be receiving some love beginning mid-February 2018.

Work on the stores will be done in phases and the stores on both coasts will remain open during construction. When work on the interior is done, Guests will a dynamic and distinctly Disney retail environment.

A few shops will offer select merchandise while construction takes place. In Town Center at Disney Springs, Ever After Jewelry Co. and The Disney Corner, which opens in mid-February, will carry select merchandise while World of Disney undergoes renovations.

Over at Disneyland, at the Downtown Disney District, Guests can find some items in the recently opened Dream Boutique, as well as the Disney Home store which is opening in February in the former D-Street location.

I’m excited to share more details about what we Guests can experience once the refurbishment work is completed, so make sure to stay tuned to the blog for more!

New Restaurants Now Open at Disney Springs

by on January 10, 2018

It’s official! Three new restaurants have made their debut at Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs! Maria & Enzo’s, Pizza Ponte, and The Edison all officially debuted this past weekend. (The remaining dining establishment in this complex, Enzo’s Hideaway, has not yet opened.)

©Rikki Niblett

 

While The Edison had their official grand opening on New Year’s Eve with a fun party, the restaurant didn’t officially open to Guests until this past weekend. The feel of the restaurant is definitely an industrial one. Steampunk design fills the table service location. Guests should be comfortable coming here for a meal, or even enjoying a drink, as there are wonderful couches and chairs scattered throughout. 

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Things We Can’t Wait To See in 2018

by on January 6, 2018

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Things We Can’t Wait To See In 2018! 2017 was another unbelievable year in the theme park world (in some ways literally.) Containing a wide mix of The GoodThe Bad, and The Ugly, 2017 delivered in some major ways, including Pandora: The World of Avatar and Volcano Bay. For the most part 2018 looks to be a transition year in Orlando, as Disney prepares for the oncoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Universal moves chess pieces around for Nintendo, along with a possible third theme park on all the land it bought over the course of the last several years. That’s not to say nothing is coming in the next 12 months. In fact some really cool stuff is coming to our theme park world. Here’s some of the things we can’t wait to see, starting with…

# 6 – The “New” Old Port Royale at Caribbean Beach

Driving through Disney’s Caribbean Beach right now you’d think you had entered a war zone, but it won’t be long before the resort finishes its transformation. In 2019, the resort will offer a huge DVC location along with being the main hub of the Disney Skyliner transportation. This year Caribbean Beach will be bringing back a completely refreshed Old Port Royale. The massive refurbishment completely changes the look and feel of the original area, and will now be where guests check into the resort. Shutters will now offer waterfront dining, and the newly expanded Banana Cabana pool bar is going to be a great place to get a drink while you enjoy the Fuentes del Morro pool (one of the best themed pools at WDW.)

Old Port Royale. (©Disney)

Old Port Royale. (©Disney)

Shutters at Old Port Royale. (©Disney)

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Reservations Now Open for The Edison at Disney Springs

by on January 3, 2018

©Rikki Niblett

Are you anxious to finally try The Edison in The Landing at Disney Springs? Well, you can now make reservations for the restaurant for dates beginning January 15. Reservations can be made by visiting The Edison’s website or by visiting OpenTable.  The restaurant recently held a New Year’s Eve Grand Opening Gala.

The Edison, for those who don’t know, combines great food, cocktails and world-class entertainment. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner and will feature a menu of American fare, with a selection of sandwiches, salads and entrees; plus a focus on artfully crafted cocktails.

The story behind the restaurant is that it is set in a 1920s-period power plant, recalling the era of innovation and imagination. During the day, The Edison will be a family restaurant, however after 10:00 p.m., it will transform into a 21-and-over nightclub. Guests arriving after 10:00 p.m. must wear venue-appropriate attire. Men may wear slacks, jeans or dress shorts. Jackets are optional. No ball caps, sleeveless shirts or flip-flops will be allowed. There will be a cover charge of $10 after 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.

The main room will feature a dance floor and stage, where each night the venue will feature an eclectic lineup of live entertainment including musicians, aerialists, dancers and more. There will actually be multiple themed areas for guests to explore. They include The Ember Parlour, Telegraph Lounge, The Patent Office, The Radio Room, The Tesla Lounge, The Lab performance space, and a Waterfront Patio.

The Edison in Disney Springs is inspired by its sister location that’s found in Los Angeles.

Five Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World in 2018

by on January 1, 2018

As workplace calendars take shape for 2018, attention turns to vacation destinations. For the Walt Disney World addicts among us, it’s not a question of whether we’ll go, but when and for how long. Others may need additional incentives to choose theme parks over the beach or big city.

For those of you with the challenge of convincing your significant other to spend their valuable vacation time armed with MagicBands and Touring Plans, we’ve got you covered. Read on for five reasons you can use to argue that 2018 is the year to visit Disney.

Let’s see Andy’s backyard

New lands don’t come around every year, but for the second straight summer, Walt Disney World will take down the construction walls and invite visitors to a new theme park land.

While not as impressive in scope as Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the new Toy Story Land will bring kid-friendly attractions to a park that badly needs them, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disney announced an opening of summer 2018 for the land. If it follows the same pattern as Pandora, that would mean soft openings in May.

Two new attractions and a quick-service dining location will be added with the opening of Toy Story Land.

The land, which will include the existing Toy Story Midway Mania! attraction, will be modeled to look like Andy’s back yard. Visitors shrink down to toy size in their surroundings. The two new attractions, the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster and Alien Swirling Saucers, should be kid-friendly, but with enough clever theming to appeal to everyone.

Add a quick-service dining location, Woody’s Lunch Box, and you have enough to bring visitors back to Hollywood Studios, even as a large portion of the park continues to be blocked off by construction walls (more on that later).

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Cirque du Soleil’s New Show in Development for Disney Springs

by on December 19, 2017

When the clock strikes midnight on December 31, it won’t just be the end of 2017; it will also be the end of an era as Cirque du Soleil La Nouba will see its last performance. La Nouba was performed for 20 years at the Walt Disney World Resort, but, we fans don’t have to say goodbye to a Cirque show at Disney Springs. A brand new, original show is currently being created by Cirque du Soleil and this new show will pay homage to Disney’s rich history of animation, of course, told in a way only Cirque du Soleil can do.

Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, said, “We are incredibly inspired by Disney’s immense creative universe. We are convinced that bringing Disney’s magic to life on stage will touch audiences and bring them back to their childhood.”

This new show doesn’t have an official opening date yet, but stay tuned to the blog for further details about this upcoming new spectacular coming to the West Side in Disney Springs.

Monthly Merchandise Spotlight, December 2017

by on December 13, 2017

Have you finished your holiday shopping yet? If not, we’ve got some great last-minute ideas to sneak under the Christmas tree. This month, we’re in Disney Springs, the ultimate shopping area at Walt Disney World.

I think I already shared this photo in a Best Week Ever article, but I just had to mention it again. These hats at Chapel Hats are some of my favorite items in the store…(hint hint). But now on to other things.

The Arribas Brothers store has a variety of unique gifts for when you just don’t know what to get anyone. Some of the items there are very reasonably priced. Others, well, you might need a really special someone to splurge. This Maleficient piece, for instance, will set you back a little over $2,000.

At the other side of the store, with the Swarvoski merchandise, they had a stunning Darth Vader sculpture. I opted not to try and get a close look of it, however. The price tag was $29,500. Makes that Maleficient piece seem like a bargain, doesn’t it? 😉

Moving on to the Marketplace Co-Op. Truth told, that’s the store I spend more of my time in than World of Disney. They have such adorable stuff–clothing, artwork, home goods, and more. For the holidays, they have a full display of the Bambi-themed table service items. What’s interesting is that some of these items have been spotted in the Outlets, but here they are again (and at full price). Still, who wouldn’t love something like a Bambi milk creamer or a Thumper gravy boat?

Even though I’m not a dress person, I could do an entire post about the dress shop in the Marketplace Co-Op. I was very tempted by the Orange Bird dress (shown here), though.

 

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New Details About Terralina Crafted Italian Restaurant at Disney Springs

by on December 13, 2017

Well, it looks like the opening date for Terralina Crafted Italian which will be located in The Landing section of Disney Springs has been pushed back. Originally slated to open in the fall of this year, the Italian restaurant will now open in early 2018.

The backstory behind the newly refurbished restaurant (Terralina is replacing Portobello) is that a first-generation Italian family, from the Lake District, who built a home in Disney Springs, has been expanding their home over the years to welcome more friends and neighbors to enjoy their hospitality, and food.

Terralina Crafted Italian will feature an open rotunda that will welcome guests with a rustic stone fireplace. There will also be a new outdoor patio with a veranda bar that spills out into the Disney Springs promenade, and a two-story glass conservatory that showcases stunning views of Lake Buena Vista. Out front, there will be a herb garden just outside the doors.

Terralina Crafted Italian is being brought to life courtesy of James Beard Award-winning Chef Tony Mantuano and will be open for lunch and dinner. Dishes will include artisanal pizzas and fresh vegetable items fired up in a wood-burning oven. Two new signatures items will be added, mussels and a grilled pork chop, along with favorites from Portobello included too, such as the antipasti platter and signature pastas.

Stay tuned for more details about this upcoming dining experience.