It’s high temps and good times in Walt Disney World this summer season! We’re spotting plenty of frosty summer sips to help you beat the heat, along with all sorts of new restaurants to stop in and take an air-conditioned breather.
And if we’re talking about new restaurants, there’s only one place to start this round of What’s New, and that’s…
I know — it’s as though the openings are never-ending at Disney Springs! The Grand Opening Summer Celebration is ON for this dining, shopping, and entertainment district!
Can you believe it? What once seemed like a never-ending transformation of what was once Downtown Disney to Disney Springs is now complete (though we still have a few more spots to welcome in the coming months!).
The past few weeks have brought the arrival of not one, but TWO new restaurants headed by Celebrity Chefs to the Town Center! Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming welcomed all of us HOME when it opened its doors on July 12th.
Take a peek at our First Look here! It happily included a visit from the Man of the Hour himself… Chef Art Smith!
Oh, and a few bites to eat, too …
Remember, these opening weeks are for walk-up guests only, but soon guests will be able to make Advance Dining Reservations for the new restaurant for dates beginning August 15th.
And in late June, Frontera Cocina by Rick Bayless brought authentic contemporary Mexican cuisine to the Town Center of Disney Springs.
Check out our full review of Frontera Cocina here!
Fans of Coca-Cola can celebrate their love for this iconic beverage at the brand new World of Coca-Cola Store Orlando… complete with a Rooftop Beverage Bar!
But an expanded menu featuring Adult Drinks has since been added, available for guests starting at 3:00 pm daily.
Join us as we try the Cherry Coke Ripper, Celery Yellow Cooler, and Long Island Cooler — and take in the views — with a review here soon!
But there’s STILL more to come, believe it or not…
Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza is set for a July 29th opening, bringing artisanal pizza “fired up” in 180 seconds to Town Center guests.
And we were super pumped to get the word that The Polite Pig will join the Disney Springs dining scene in Spring of 2017!
Find out why we’re so excited about it here! And enjoy this little Sneak Preview of the menu in the meantime…
We have a full review of the menu from a special Sneak Peek event.
And an array of summer drinks are available no matter what time of day you visit, including Summer Watermelon Punch and Korean Ginger Heat.
Seasonal flavors are also featured at Sprinkles cupcake bakery! Check out the Summer Cherry Cupcake on your next stop.
You can also now purchase Cupcake Mixes to bring a little taste of Sprinkles home with you.
There are some fairly substantial changes to the eats at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, where Sallah’s Falafel, Temple Tenderloin, and Tanis Tuna Tacos have joined the lineup.
Though the YeSake kiosk is still quite new, it’s already gone through its first menu makeover!
New Tortilla-wrapped options include Chicken Chimichurri, Chicken Teriyaki, and the Fiesta Beef Roll.
A Steam’d Chicken Bun also adds to the international flavors, while a Mango Colada joins the Sake Slushes, and new Sake Shaved Ice Mists can be found here as well!
Planning to hit up the House of Blues for dinner and a show?
Then be on the lookout for these new items on the menu, like the Steamin’ Tot Mess (tater tots topped with carnitas!), Chicken Gumbo, Mediterranean Vegetable White Cheddar Dip, Margherita Flatbread, the Gard Dawg (think Chicago-style), and the Bluegrass Stack (a marinated eggplant sandwich).
Cuban Style French Toast and Criollo Baked Eggs are available along with a selection of sandwiches.
Now, we don’t know if the #OrlandoStrong Donut is still available at Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC, but we wanted to say “thanks” for the time it was offered.
And you can still keep an eye out for the summer Coconut Lime Cupcake!
Stop by and celebrate by trying one of the latest offerings: a Nutella Brownie Sundae and Creamsicle Float (a double whammy made with vanilla gelato AND orange sorbet!).
Haven’t had enough yet? Good… because we’ve still got all four Disney World parks to hit up!
Have you heard the word??? Figaro Fries have returned to the Magic Kingdom!!
Well, except they’re now called Loaded Plaza Fries and they can be found at — where else? — The Plaza Restaurant! In fact, the menu has received several new additions like a Fried Green Tomato Sandwich, and Specialty Cakes for dessert (Yep, we ate ‘em ALL!). Take a look at the entire new lineup here!
It was the POP heard ‘round the World when it was revealed that Refillable Popcorn Buckets would be available through September 1st throughout the Disney World parks! Buy a Refillable Popcorn Bucket for $10.00, and have it refilled throughout the same day for $1.50 per refill.
Even though each park has its own themed Refillable Popcorn Bucket, like the one we purchased at Magic Kingdom…
… refills are available throughout the day no matter which park you hop to — here’s our Magic Kingdom Bucket, happily refilled at Hey Howdy Hey Takeaway in Hollywood Studios!
Cupcakes with Character (our name for them — it’s unofficial ) just keep popping up at Main Street Bakery with an additional set of Ears — this time in Pink with a vanilla cupcake base — placed beside the usual Chocolate Mickey.
(The Donald Duck Butt Cupcake, however, remains our favorite of these so far. We would love to see it come back!)
Over in Tomorrowland, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is serving up S’mores for dessert.
You can read a Guest Review of this limited time Table Service option here.
JAMBO from Animal Kingdom!!
Okay, so do you remember WAAAAYYY back in January, when Disney gave us a sneak peek at the Lotus Popcorn Bucket that was on the way to Animal Kingdom?
Well, at long last, it has arrived!! Complete with a carrying strap, it glows to become a luminary much like the recently added Glowing Steins. In a unique twist, the Lotus is filled with Housemade Chips at Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snacks.
And speaking of thirsty… Watermelon Lemonade has replaced the Tangerine Lemonade at Wanjohi Refreshment in Harambe Market.
Not yet quenched? Try a Frozen Beverage at Anandapur Royal Tea Company, where Passion Fruit is the newest flavor.
A Taste of Tiffins is a brand new lunch option at the still new Tiffins Signature Restaurant.
From 11:30 am – 3:30 pm daily, guests can pick two from the list of entrees for a set price of $28.00 — a great way to try the unique flavors of Tiffins at a lower price point than the full-sized entrees.
P.S. We highly recommend the Market Vegetable Curry!
It’s all about summer sippin’ at the Studios! And we’re starting with a couple new adult beverages on tap at Fairfax Fare: Captain Morgan Fruit Punch Cocktail and Smirnoff Raspberry Vodka Lemonade.
Hollywood Scoops is the latest spot to hop on the Hard Root Beer Float train, a trend that shows no sign of slowing down.
This version features Coney Island Hard Root Beer.
What’s a trip to Hollywood Studios without checking up on the current cupcake game? The Trolley Car Cafe is currently carrying a Vanilla Cupcake with Strawberry Frosting topped with a full strawberry and white chocolate Minnie Mouse bow.
And the Olaf Cupcake has returned to ABC Commissary… but despite his similar (and oh-so-cute) appearance, he’s actually received a makeover.
The current version is no longer Carrot Cake, but rather a a Chocolate Cupcake with Marshmallow Topping.
Lunch guests at The Hollywood Brown Derby have a couple of additional choices available for the midday meal.
The Grilled Wagyu Beef Burger is on the list, and an Andouille-crusted Chicken Breast Sandwich is a new lunch option, too.
A new snack stand can now be found just past Toy Story Midway Mania. In its opening days, it served primarily Churros.
But the menu has already expanded to include the Ham and Cheese-stuffed Pretzel (previously found only at Magic Kingdom) and Cotton Candy.
It has also added an item that could previously be found at Herbie’s Drive-In before it closed to make way for construction of Toy Story and Star Wars Lands: that theme park staple, the Corn Dog.
And for anyone who is as curious about the fate of Writer’s Stop as we are… per our most recent conversation with a Cast Member, it will likely remain open until September.
But — as always — stay tuned… the Writer’s Stop has escaped the fate of closure before, and it may yet again! We hope so, anyway .
LOTS of changes have come to Epcot over the past few weeks! Of course, those changes primarily involve the debut of Frozen Ever After and the Royal Sommerhus (the Anna and Elsa Meet-and-Greet location)…
… and, of course, the return of Soarin’ in its new form: Soarin’ Around the World!
These attractions have had a ripple effect in some of the food options around Epcot. For instance, Sunshine Seasons is welcoming back Soarin’ with a Soarin’ Panna Cotta (it joined the Soarin’ Orange Cupcake in the ol’ bakery case).
And in Norway, the menu at Kringla Bakeri og Kafe has been boosted with several new items to meet the demands of many more guests visiting the Norway Pavilion to enjoy the new Frozen attractions.
But extra cute points go to the Quartet of Mini Frozen Cupcakes!
Oh, and if you’re wondering if the wait times for Frozen Ever After have gone down from the original 300+ minutes…
… the answer is, “Nope, not by much.”
In the United Kingdom, the Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room is the latest World Showcase stop to change from offering separate Lunch and Dinner menus to one all-day menu.
Taste Track has been the home to some fabulous Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches since it opened last spring. In the beginning of July, though, the offerings changed entirely to Ice Cream Sundaes and Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches as well as (can you guess?) Hard Floats and Sodas for adults.
Personally, I find the change to be something of a summer bummer, because those Grilled Cheese Sandwiches were so unique to the location. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is just a change for the warmer weather, and perhaps the sandwiches will return along with the cooler temps later this year. Time will tell…
Polynesian Village Resort
A few menu updates at Captain Cook’s include the addition of a Seared Chicken Breast, Curried Seafood Stew, and Pork Fried Rice.
And be on the lookout for Shave Ice at the Pineapple Lanai!
They were testing it for just two days earlier this month, with hopes that it would be returning longer-term.
If you find it there on your next visit to the Polynesian, please let us know… and save some for me !
Art of Animation Resort
Landscape of Flavors is reminding guests that “sharing is caring” with the new Chili Cheese Fries for Two!
And the Pizza Station now has Pamesan Garlic Knots to nosh with your pizza.
As always, there are some fun cupcake finds at Contempo Cafe! Look for the Cherry Cupcake — topped with pistachio buttercream and filled with cherry — through July 30th.
The Banana Flip Cupcake — a vanilla cupcake with banana cream filling and banana buttercream frosting — should be available through August 27th.
We’ll have a review for you here soon!
The backstory for this soon-to-be-bar is quite simply one of the coolest we’ve heard in a long time, and makes us SO excited for its arrival!
And when, exactly, is that? Well, AbracadaBar will likely open in conjunction with the re-opening of its next door neighbor, Flying Fish, which is currently undergoing a lengthy refurbishment. Rumor has it that August 14th may be the big day (and operating hours for that date are currently showing on the Disney World website, though Advance Dining Reservations are not yet available).
Now watch as we disappear! But not without a “So long” from our girl, Minnie, of course!
As always, thanks for joining us! And until next time, Eat and Be Happy!
Have you spotted anything new during a recent trip around the World? We’d love to hear about it in a comment!