Happy New Year, Friends!
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with links to current reviews of the most anticipated 2017 Dining Experiences that have opened so far! Look for UPDATES and links throughout the post.
I hope that your 2017 is off to an excellent start and that you’re planning your next trip to Disney Parks for sometime this year!
As has been the case for the last few years, Disney has promised some big doin’s coming our way during the calendar year.
And oh, well, sure. The entire universe is poised on the edge of its collective seat, awaiting some indication of when Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land will spring to life. BUT — even though we really don’t expect to hear of openings on those fronts in 2017, there’s still PLENTY to look forward to!
Like what? Glad you asked! Let’s take a look at the Top Five Can’t-Miss Eating Experiences that you can expect to see debut in Disney Parks in 2017.
Choza de Margarita
We shared your heartbreak when we had to post a story about the closing of the Margarita Stand in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion. I mean, seriously. We all have Margarita Stand memories. Or…maybe not so much “memories,” but things our friends told us happened after a visit to the Margarita Stand.
After all, the spot had been supplying us with tasty vehicles for our tequila delivery since the days of big hair, neon, and Walkmans. How in the world were we supposed to go on without it?
Thankfully, the group that runs all of the food and beverage outlets in the Pavilion had a crafty trick up their sleeve. Pretty soon, we saw construction walls go up — and we knew something wonderfully tequila-esque must be happening.
And sure enough — the new year started with a bang as Disney finally announced what we had already figured out: a new outdoor bar would be coming soon to this corner of World Showcase! Choza Tequila Bar will serve handcrafted Margaritas as well as eats! Look for the line up to include Tacos, Empanadas, Chips, and fresh Guacamole. [Editor’s Note: the name of this upcoming location has since been changed to Choza de Margarita.]
We can’t wait! Look for the opening in the summer of 2017.
New Festivals at Epcot and Disney California Adventure
What started as a little festival to draw in crowds during the slow months has turned into practically a year-round state of affairs.
For more than 20 years now, Epcot has been celebrating international flavors with the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. It was clear they had a great thing on their hands as the popularity of the annual event continued to increase each year.
Then, 10 years ago, Disney California Adventure followed suit and began offering their own Food and Wine Festival. That event was interrupted for a few years during DCA’s mammoth facelift, but returned in 2016 to the cheers of many (including us).
Along the way, Epcot tested more food during other Festivals, like the Flower and Garden Festival in the Spring and Holidays Around the World during the Winter months. The added food stops were a success. After all, with the hot farm to table trend and the comforting tastes of holiday tradition, what could be more natural?
And Walt Disney World wasn’t alone in adding a holiday-themed festival to the mix. Disney California Adventure offered the Festival of Holidays, which combined an extra dose of festive fun, both in terms of entertainment and food. (But we were there for the food, of course. ;-D) In fact, I’m dreaming of that Sweet Potato Pie as I write…
In 2017, it seems that Disney is going full throttle with the concept of making both Epcot and Disney California Adventure nearly Year-Round Festival Destinations. Epcot kicked off the year with what they’re already calling the Inaugural Festival of the Arts. We’re betting that their word choice portends the event becoming an annual staple.
And while Disneyland has long honored the celebration of Lunar New Year and the cultures that celebrate the annual tradition, they turned the event into a mini festival of its own, complete with — you guessed it — food booths.
Whether you find yourself on the East or West Coast Disney outposts, and pretty much regardless of season, it looks like you’ll have a Festival to celebrate — and lots of good eats and drinks to indulge in as you enjoy the experience.
Even More Disney Springs Hot Spots
You might think that, with more than a dozen restaurant openings over the last couple of years, Disney Springs would be complete. Well, hang on there. Because they aren’t quite finished yet.
While we’re certainly enjoying our fair share of Fried Chicken at Homecoming, Burgers at D-Luxe, and Cupcakes at Sprinkles, there’s even more in store! Two spots that have been around for a very long time — Fulton’s Crab House and Planet Hollywood — are re-opening with completely new concepts.
Paddlefish: Fulton’s morphs into Paddlefish in 2017, and offers an upscale take on seafood, chops, and steaks in a sleek, yacht-inspired setting.
UPDATE: Check out the updated location here!
Personally, I’m looking forward to what promises to be an incredible rooftop bar!
Planet Hollywood Observatory: Planet Hollywood, in all its cheesy 90s glory, is also being rebirthed as Planet Hollywood Observatory. Look for subdued decor with an emphasis on stargazing where the theming is concerned.
The menu runs the gamut of American classics, but we are looking forward to trying the Burgers and Sandwiches crafted exclusively for the spot by Rocker Chef Dude Guy Fieri this week! The Supernova Milkshakes have certainly piqued our interest as well.
UPDATE: Read our full review of the refurbished restaurant here!
The Edison: While new announcements have dominated the Disney Springs airwaves lately, we’re still anxiously awaiting the unveiling of The Edison. Located directly across from STK in The Landing, this “Industrial Gothic” restaurant and lounge promises to be a hotspot once completed.
Modeled after the original location in Los Angeles, we’re hoping that the Disney Springs location offers fun special events like its L.A. sister!
The Polite Pig: Outside of the Big Purple Gates, Orlando is home to an up and coming hot food scene, and one of the most popular spots in town is The Ravenous Pig. And now the same team is poised to open The Polite Pig at Disney Springs.
Look for Florida cuisine featuring wood-fired smoked and grilled items at this lunch and dinner spot.
UPDATE: Find our full review of The Polite Pig here!
A fresh approach to their beverage program will include a full menu of drinks served on tap — including soda, beer, wine, and even cocktails!
Wine Bar George: We first told you about Wine Bar George more than a year ago, and recently, the project finally broke ground. Wine Bar George is a concept by Master Sommelier George Miliotes. Disney food fans might remember Miliotes from his California Grill days; he served as the signature restaurant’s sommelier in the 1990s. After a stint with Orlando-based Darden Restaurants, it appears that Miliotes is coming back to his Disney roots.
The wine bar will feature 210-seats and will resemble a “winemaker’s home estate”. The menu will offer small plates and more than 100 wines available by the glass and bottle. Look for the bar, adjacent to Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant, to open in late 2017.
New Wilderness Lodge Restaurants
Wilderness Lodge Resort has been a favorite stop of mine for a long time. While our most recent meals at signature spot Artist Point haven’t been all that memorable, Whispering Canyon Cafe serves up hearty, good-tasting food in a fun atmosphere. And Territory Lounge is just about my favorite spot for some fabulous Pub Grub.
It’s been a while since we’ve reported on anything new here, but that’s about to change in 2017! Geyser Point Bar and Grill, a new table service location, is set to open this year. At first, Disney reported that the new restaurant would open for the summer. But we’ve recently confirmed that it will actually open in February!
UPDATE: Check out Geyser Point Bar & Grill here!
If it’s anything like the Wilderness Lodge’s existing counter service location, Roaring Fork, we are confident that it will be a great stop for quick bites.
Both restaurants are part of the DVC expansion at Wilderness Lodge. Look for the new DVC Resort, Copper Creek Villas and Cabins and the newly re-christened Boulder Ridge Cove pool area to open as well in 2017.
Rivers of Light, Pandora — The World of Avatar
We wrap up our list of coming Disney Food Attractions by shining a light once more on Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
The park has been steadily undergoing changes for the last few years. Entire new areas have been added to Harambe Village, including several new counter service eateries in Harambe Market. And last year marked the arrival of signature dining in Disney’s wildest park as Tiffins Restaurant and Nomad Lounge began serving guests.
While we’re still anxiously awaiting the Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular, there’s something even bigger on the horizon: the opening of Pandora — The World of Avatar.
The entirely new land will be located beyond the area occupied by Tiffins and Nomad. In fact, you’ll be able to enjoy views of the new area from Nomad’s beautiful outdoor seating area.
While we certainly look forward to experiencing the attractions that will call Pandora home, we’re looking forward to the food even more!
A new restaurant, Satu’li Canteen, will serve as the area’s main eatery. While we’re still awaiting word whether the spot will be counter service or table service, we are excited to learn more about the flavors that will represent this wholly unique land.
Also joining the food line up will be a kiosk called Pongu Pongu, which will serve up exotic drinks.
UPDATE: Visit Pongu Pongu with us here!
We can’t wait to see how they bring this exotic world to life!
And that’s a wrap on what we can expect to see this year in terms of new food spots around Disney World. We know there will be more though — so stay tuned!
Now, I can’t wait to hear from all of you! What new food attraction are you most looking forward to in 2017? Leave a comment and tell us what looks good to you!