Archive | October, 2015

Disney Springs Updates

23 Oct

The newly christened Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney) continues to impress Guests with new shopping, entertainment and dining options. The announcements come about once a week now, especially as construction finishes even faster than expected. Here’s a listing of the major updates within the area to be completed by December 2016:

Frontera Fresco: Chicago-based chef Rick Bayless is bringing his mid-Western TexMex to Disney Springs by Summer 2016, according to the latest announcement by Disney. 

Walk-up windows will aid in traditional table service to provide more options for Guests’ dining experiences. Bayless currently owns and operates three Frescos in the Chicago area.

-CHOCOLATE: Apparently Ghiradelli simply isn’t enough. The Ganachery will boast hand-blended chocolates made onstage and is set to open late this year in the Landing area.

-Steak, steak, steak: Construction on the STK Steakhouse is coming along swiftly. The roomy restaurant will be immediately over the Planet Hollywood bridge and boast the finest steak meals on property. It’s set to finish construction later this year.

– Even more that remains mythical: I’ve heard rumors of three spaces that absolutely blow my mind.

  1. Walt’s – This restaurant takes its inspiration from Walt Disney himself, and the menu contains some of Walt and Lillian’s favorite recipes. The space currently exists in Disneyland Paris where it’s a success with Guests. If Imagineers decide to maintain continuity between parks, expect Walt’s to include lush furnishings similar to that of a turn-of-the-century parlor. Walt’s would fit in perfectly with the Springs’s reimagined aesthetic, so I’m assuming what I’ve heard of its concept is true.
  2. The Edison – This restaurant and bar became confirmed this summer; however, construction updates aren’t always available on the space and few people know about it. LA-based Patina Restaurant Group will operate the Edison, an eatery that includes themed rooms like “The Tesla Lounge,” “The Radio Room” and “The Patent Office.”  But don’t expect this to be as family friendly as the themed rooms of Rainforest Cafe. The Edison in Los Angeles includes a burlesque show. Edison caters to a much older crowd in both environment and menu, so plan on leaving the kids with a babysitter.
  3. The Neverland – Brace yourselves for this one. Underneath both Walt’s and Edison’s shared space, there’s legend of a traditional speakeasy called the Neverland. Yes, that’s right. The 1920s meets Peter Pan. I’ll give you a minute to compose yourself. It’s rumored to only have two entrances –one door in both Walt’s and Edison’s only. I have no clue what planning looks like for this, but I’m hoping Imagineers sprinkle extra pixie dust in their designs because this concept has the potential to be the most buzzed-about addition to Disney Springs ever.

Food and Wine Review Part Deux and the Cost of Eating Around the World

9 Oct

Thirty-eight booths comprise this year’s Food and Wine celebration, which means my first review barely scratches the surface of Epcot’s culinary offerings.

For those wishing to eat and drink around the world, I calculated how much it would be to eat one item and drink one beverage at each booth. The average cost of a food item is roughly $4.50 – $5, and drinks run a bit higher at $5.50 – $6. That last average obviously excludes the $10 martinis or margaritas (looking at you, Mexico pavilion). Averaging the cheapest estimates, the Around the World challenge costs roughly $380. Granted, I haven’t tracked my spending like I should, but this might be a good ballpark figure if you’re gung-ho about sampling a little bit of everything.

Here are more highlights from my third (and fourth and fifth) expeditions to the World Showcase:

-Pomegranate kir, France:  

 If you love sweet adult beverages, the pomegranate kir will satiate your taste buds. It’s sweet to the point of being sour (hello, pomegranate juice), but the tart flavor is cut by the champagne. I walked around the France pavilion feeling fancy with my flute and pretended I’d actually be able to afford a meal at Monsieur Paul’s one day.

-Grilled Bush Berry Shrimp, Australia:  

 While the lamb chop sounded divine, I couldn’t pass up the smell of the grilled shrimp. Well-seasoned shrimp lightly buttered and smothered in a sweet and sour sauce served on a bed of sugar snap peas and a little bit of pineapple. The colorful plate kept me satisfied yet not weighed down. I’d recommend pairing the shrimp with the Unoaked Chardonnay to cut some of the sweetness.

-Sweet Mango bubble tea, China: I love Bubble teas. I love mango. There’s literally no way I can’t not put this on the list. All ages can enjoy this non-alcoholic staple of the China pavilion. 

-Ravioli, Italy: It’s already a staple for Food and Wine and with good reason. The cheese blend inside the ravioli is sweet yet tangy. The tomato sauce isn’t too heavy or over-seasoned. I’m a big cheese fan, so the additional cheese topping the ravioli bake might be a bit much for some but I love it.  

-Haggis with neeps and tatties, Scotland: They finally did away with vegetarian haggis this year! The haggis was well-seasoned and tasted exactly like when I had it in the UK studying abroad. The rutabaga and mashed potatoes offset the savory with traditional UK “bland” palette cleansers, and overall, the dish tasted extremely comforting. Scottish comfort food is the best way for me to describe this one. Be brave and give it a try!

Y’all know I’m not done here. I convinced myself that if I walk around Future World enough before hitting World Showcase, the calories won’t affect me. A sequel to these reviews might entail my adventures in losing the Food and Wine weight, but it’s worth it.

Comment below with your favorite Epcot snacks from this year or years past!

Food and Wine Review 

4 Oct

It’s that time of year, the time when wallets get lighter and waistlines larger. The Epcot Food and Wine festival is upon us, and this year with more pizazz than ever before.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary, Epcot is going above and beyond previous years to offer the largest selection of countries and experiences.

However, not everyone can eat around the world, so here are the points you don’t want to miss:

– Beef tips, Africa: Beautifully plated spicy and savory beef tips cannot be missed this year. While I’m still irritated that Disney lumps an entire continent into one small booth, I’m beyond pleased with my experience in Africa (but then again, I’m totally biased).

– Apple drink, Poland: It’s literally an apple pie slushie with vodka. Nothing could be wrong about this beverage, not even the $9 price tag. The biggest challenge is deciding whether you should eat it with a spoon or a straw.

 – Chocolate pudding, Ireland: This bite-sized desert has been a favorite of mine the last three years. A small chocolate cake morsel is drizzled with a Kerrygold creme sauce and has a molten, “lava” center. Paying $3.50 for such a small cake might seem too steep for some, but it’s worth the price.

– Mussels, New Zealand: I’m normally not a mussels or oysters fan. However, the seasoning and presentation of the seafood won me over.

 – Loaded mac and cheese, Farm Fresh: I bought this in frustration because Farm Fresh booth got rid of the watermelon juice I loved so much. However, THIS IS SO GOOD. Delicious cheddar cheese with crispy bacon and scallions combine for a fancy mac and cheese dish I want to replicate at home.

As I continue my travels “eating around the world,” be sure to look for further updates and reviews!