Review: The NEW Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Editor’s Note: We are hearing the news that the Carrot Cake Cookie is BACK at Writer’s Stop. Yay!

Well, April 2nd has come and gone, and it was a big day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

It was the last day guests could enjoy the Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show, or grab a bite to eat at Studio Catering Co., or a sip at High Octane Refreshments. This is all, of course, to make way for construction of the future Lands of Toy Story and Star Wars.

Writer’s Stop — a bookstore-meets-coffee-shop also specializing in some of the best bakery treats this side of the Studios — was originally on that same list to close down on April 3rd. However, it got a reprieve of sorts from the ol’ chopping block, and for a limited time it is still in operation… though in a different form than what we’re used to!

With many thanks to our Instagram pal, @savepointstu, we were alerted about the new menu. But we also couldn’t resist going over to search everything out ourselves and ask a few questions! What’s being served at Writer’s Stop now? And what is — or WAS — the fate of the spot’s signature item, the Carrot Cake Cookie?!?

When we arrived, we noticed the sign still remains, though the location has been taken off of the Hollywood Studios map. This is definitely a time of transition for Writer’s Stop.

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop

The menu now features three key items: a Charcuterie and Cheese Plate, a Warm Pretzel with Cheese Sauce, and Sugar-Spiced Nuts. [Read more…]

Rumor: A Second Chance for Writer’s Stop?

Oh, could it be?!? Has the Writer’s Stop been given a second chance?!

If you follow Disney news, you’ll likely recall the announcement that the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show attraction will give its final performances on April 2nd in order to make way for construction of the future Toy Story and Star Wars Lands at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

It was subsequently announced that some of the eateries in the same Streets of America section of the park where the attraction is housed would be closing along with it as well. These include Studio Catering Co. and High Octane Refreshments as well as my much-beloved Writer’s Stop.

Home of the famous Carrot Cake Cookie, I also loved Writer’s Stop as an often quiet respite from a busy park. So, though it wasn’t exactly a surprise when its closure was announced, I — like many other like-minded fans — was saddened by the thought.

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop

But it’s possible that there is some VERY good news! According to the folks at wdwmagic.com, Writer’s Stop may remain open for “a limited time” beyond April 2nd! [Read more…]

Best Kept Disney Dining Secrets: Saving Money in Disney World

We are back with some of our very best kept Disney Dining Secrets. And we want to share them with you!

2016 book cover dfb guide

Planning where you’ll be spending your food budget in Disney World is a BIG deal. There are so many choices to make! Maybe you’re worried about getting the advance dining reservations you’d like the most. And what about your favorite brands and foods? Will they have them?

These are all great questions, and we address them all in our DFB Guide to WDW Dining e-Book! But today, we’re exploring one of the biggest concerns: Is it possible to save a buck or two when you’re at Disney?

Secrets to Saving Money in Disney World

Today, we’ll share some of our favorite ways to save money during your visit to Walt Disney World. And if you like what you see here, be sure to check out even more secrets in the brand new DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, 2016 Edition, where we gather over 530 pages of tips, recommendations, and secrets to make your Disney trip the best ever!

Here we go!

Ditch Unwanted Sides

I love this tip, and it can save you some serious cash (and calories!). You may think the price printed on the menu board or in the menu is non-negotiable. But we’ve got a secret to share!

Did you know that you can often forego unwanted sides? For instance, say you order a sandwich that comes with fries, but you don’t really want them. Ask if you can order your sandwich as an entree only and save!

Cheeseburger at Backlot Express!

Cheeseburger at Backlot Express!

And if you’re a light eater, or someone who doesn’t really care about (or literally can’t EAT) that side of salad/chips/fries/coleslaw/pasta salad, then you’ll never miss it.

[Read more…]

Guest Review: Star Wars Symphony in the Stars Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Force is strong at Symphony in the Stars, a Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party! Beth Wesesky, guest author, takes us to this hard ticket event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. No faster-than-light travel necessary. ;)

A short time ago…in a state far, far away…
Nerd, geek, dweeb, scruffy-looking Nerfherder… any way you describe it, my family and I are proud Star Wars fanatics! So, on our most recent trip to Walt Disney World, we just KNEW that we had to get our “fix”! That “fix” included booking reservations for the “Symphony in the Stars, A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party” held in Disney’s Hollywood Studios on select nights through April 30th, 2016.

Symphony in the Stars

Symphony in the Stars

The day the reservation window opened, I made the jump to hyperspace and booked our party! Admission price is $69.00 for adults and $39.00 for children ages 3-9 and Hollywood Studios admission is required. Disney Dining Plan entitlements may not be used and prepayment with a credit card is required.

The party is described on the Walt Disney World website as: The Dessert Party You’re Looking For! Enjoy an out-of-this-world selection of desserts and specialty drinks—including alcoholic beverage options. Nibble on Darth Vader cupcakes as you take in an up-close view of the enthralling Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Show.

A Galactic Evening

A Galactic Evening

Atmosphere

We arrived in Disney’s Hollywood Studios around 6PM on January 24th, and headed for the Dessert Party check-in, which is located beside Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner. We were checked in by a lovely Cast Member who instructed us to return closer to 7PM. We were given a wrist band to present at the entrance when we returned.

Around 6:45PM, we headed back to an already very long line of party-goers waiting to be admitted to the viewing area. The viewing area was set up on the left side of Center Stage, in the hub of the park. The tables were standing tables, draped with black and red (nice Dark Side touch) tablecloths that just touched the ground. Keep in mind, there is no seating available, but the area is spacious and comfortable. Besides, once the fireworks begin, you’ll be on your feet in awe! The evening of our party, the temperature was about 38 degrees (brrrrr…), so Disney had several heat sources set up in the area to keep guests from shivering through the show!

Standing Tables

Standing Tables

Dessert Party Tables

Dessert Party Tables

Before the event got started, park-goers were entertained by an awesome light show and DJ who was playing modern dance tune mixes, which everyone enjoyed! As soon as we got into the viewing area, we headed for a table near the front to get a clear view of the fireworks. There were some trees blocking a bit of the view for other tables, but I’m sure this wasn’t a deal breaker.

Eats

We made the table our own, and went off to scope out the offerings! WOW…I’ve got to say, we were very impressed with not only the taste of the desserts and savory bites, but also with the presentation and layout as well! There were two food buffet stations, one on either side of the viewing area. Each station had the same selections, and it made navigating the area very stress-free. No bumping into other people reaching over you for food!

The sweet dessert options that were beautifully displayed on the stations included: Blue Milk Panna Cotta with Crispy Pearls (our 15-year old son’s favorite), “Darth Maul” The Pastry Menace Eclairs, [Read more…]

Review: 50’s Prime Time Cafe at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

One of my family’s favorite restaurants at Walt Disney World, 50s Prime Time Cafe, is what my teen son deems a great, immersive experience! It’s been one of his favorite places to dine for many years and apparently it still gets a thumbs up. ;)

While the entertaining servers will draw you into the “show,” you’ll also be digging into some comfort food. You’ll find hearty portions and tasty eats from appetizers to desserts.

This place is popular so be sure to make your advance dining reservation ahead of your vacation.

We always request a TV table; this request is easier to fill if you are one of the first diners of the day. Make an early lunch reservation!

Atmosphere

As you enter this restaurant in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’ll be transported back to the 1950s. You’ll be immersed in kitschy decor and slapstick humor, and you’ll be served by your “family” members. In fact, it won’t be long before your “cousins” are seated near you (but not WITH you).

Right from the start, you’ll be greeted by costumed Cast Members.

Cast Members

Cast Members

[Read more…]

Review: Starbucks Smoked Butterscotch Latte and Frappuccino… vs. Butterbeer™

There has been a LOT of hype over the latest specialty beverages to arrive to Starbucks.

And while these new sips are being served at Starbucks locations all over Disney property in spots like Epcot’s Fountain View, Magic Kingdom’s Main Street BakeryTrolley Car Cafe at Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom’s Creature Comforts, they’re likely gracing the menu at your local Starbucks, too (making this a two-fer review for you!).

We’re talking about the Smoked Butterscotch Latte and Smoked Butterscotch Frappuccino! And though they’re available nationwide, many folks are making the comparison to a specific specialty drink at a certain theme park also located in Central Florida: BUTTERBEER™.

Described as “creamy-sweet with kettle cooked butterscotch,” it sure sounds enticing enough.

Smoked Butterscotch Drink Menu

Smoked Butterscotch Drink Menu

So I grabbed both the hot latte and the frappuccino versions so I could decide for myself how they really compare to a glass of Butterbeer™. If you’ve never had one, Butterbeer comes in a few different versions like cold or frozen, and has a very sweet and distinct butterscotch flavor throughout its cream soda base. The whole thing is topped off with foam.

Butterbeer at Three Broomsticks

Butterbeer at Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter

[Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: March 15, 2016

Happy Spring! At least, it’s Spring in Disney World where temperatures are starting to rise once more with warm days leading into gorgeous nights!

Springtime Treats at Main Street Confectionery

Springtime Treats at Main Street Confectionery

No matter what the thermometer says in your neck of the woods, why not enjoy a bit of spring with us here at the DFB as we travel all over Disney World to find out What’s New!? [Read more…]

Guest Review: Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Are you ready for some Club Villain Thrills?! DFB welcomes guest author AM Appleby with a review of Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Let’s take a look at this Walt Disney World event that has now been extended with dates into March 2016!

What is our fascination with villains? Do they perceive themselves as villainous or simply misunderstood? Whatever your reasons, the four villainous characters at this Club Villain in Disney’s Hollywood Studios are well worth your time!

Club Villain Marquis

Club Villain Marquis

Club Villain

Club Villain

As soon as they became available last fall, I purchased tickets to the newest Disney villain bash, Club Villain. My seven-year-old daughter and I enjoyed the last villains party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Villains Unleashed, in August 2014, but Club Villain was a complete departure (it is still a hard ticket event at $129 per person, tax and gratuity included).

The wait time to meet Maleficent at Villains Unleashed was four hours at the start of the party. Needless to say, we didn’t wait for her that evening. I honestly knew nothing about Club Villain when I purchased, I was just excited for another villains event!

Atmosphere

Club Villain takes place in Sunset Showcase, located just behind Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The venue was indoors, which was lovely on the rainy evening we attended, and included a full buffet dinner and two bars serving wine, beer, and a signature cocktail specially created for each villain. Host Dr. Facilier, and his club manager Kanzo, kept everyone entertained. Music throughout the evening was provided by DJ Thibodeaux, creating a loud and festive Mardi Gras atmosphere. The food was inspired by traditional New Orleans cuisine, and I will tell you now — it was delicious!

Stage

Stage

DJ Thibodeaux Booth

DJ Thibodeaux Booth

Dr. Facilier

Dr. Facilier

The check-in podium was located in the front of the building. We arrived 20 minutes prior to our 7:45PM reservation time (there was one seating time the evening we attended), and we were given our invitation, which included our table number and scheduled times to meet the characters: Cruella de Vil, The Evil Queen, Maleficent, and the Queen of Hearts.

Invitation with Table Number and Meet the Villains times

Invitation with Table Number and Meet the Villains times

All of the guests were welcomed into the building promptly at 7:30PM, where the DJ was already spinning tunes. The food was [Read more…]

News: Disney Star Wars Land Restaurant Details and Concept Art!

So, did ya catch The Wonderful World of Disney special celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland last night with your Mickey Ears proudly strapped to your head (or was that just me?)?

If so, then you may have seen Harrison Ford introduce new concept art for Star Wars Land! We were especially excited to see that these included a few renderings for dining options coming when Star Wars Lands open in both Disney World and Disneyland.

Star Wars Land Concept Art

Star Wars Land Concept Art

After the D23 Expo this past Summer, we previewed a few of these experiences for you in this Disney Star Wars Land Cantina post, but now we have even more details! (And we made our case way back in 2013 for WHY Disney needed a Cantina here!)

Star Wars Land Concept Art

It all went by pretty fast, so here’s a chance to feast your eyes on some of the images a little longer. While we hope to have higher resolution images to share soon, here’s a batch of pics taken straight from the ol’ telly. [Read more…]

Imagineering Fun: Construction Walls in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (This Post is Not as Boring as it Sounds in the Title)

Okay, let’s face it: construction walls covering up refurbishment areas in Disney World are something we’re pretty used to seeing. They cover everything from the upcoming Frozen Ever After attraction in the former home of Epcot’s Maelstrom to Avatar Land in Animal Kingdom to the ongoing transformation of Disney Springs, and then some.

Walls outside of Planet Hollywood's refurbishment in Disney Springs

Walls outside of Planet Hollywood’s refurbishment in Disney Springs

And we’re bound to spot more and more very soon as Disney’s Hollywood Studios expands to add both Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land.

[Read more…]