Review: Dockside Margaritas at Disney Springs Marketplace

Remember the Margarita Bar that was at Downtown Disney Marketplace? Great news! It’s been given a new look and a new name…and voila, Dockside Margaritas is born!

We first told you about the new-but-not-quite new spot a while back. And ever since then, I’ve been eager to drop by and check out the new scene. So on a sweltering day last week, that’s just what I did. Let’s have a look.

Dockside Margaritas

I gotta say it — it looks awesome.

In keeping with the new Florida-forward Disney Springs theme, Dockside Margaritas looks like a little stand you’d find in the middle of a citrus grove. But they’re selling stuff that’s waaaaaay better than orange juice.

Dockside Margaritas at Disney Springs Marketplace

Dockside Margaritas at Disney Springs Marketplace

The distressed, faded sign gives the spot built-in age. But the bright citrus green and yellow palette keeps it feeling fresh.

Dockside Margaritas -- Other side

Dockside Margaritas — Other side

The open-air feeling of the bar lends to that “grove stand” feel. You can walk up and order from three of the four sides. And regardless of where you are, you always have a great view of Village Lake.

Overhead Bar Menu and the View. You Can Access the Bar From Three Sides

Overhead Bar Menu and the View. You Can Access the Bar From Three Sides

As you approach Dockside from the front — meaning the side that faces the shops, not the water — the largest area of seating is just to the right of the building. And I think that it’s really beautifully done as well. A pergola overhead gives a little protection, but still allows for plenty of sunshine. Strands of overhead lights and a stand set up for a musician hint at a scene that promises to be relaxed but festive as the sun goes down.

Seating Area

Seating Area

I can’t wait to meet friends here at night for a drink (or two).

Another View of the Patio

Another View of the Patio

Looking back onto Dockside from the larger seating area, you also note that there is bar seating. Upon closer inspection, you see two bars actually — you can face the bar and chat with the friendly staff, or stare out over the water.

Waterfront Bar Seating

Waterfront Bar Seating

View of the New Pedestrian Bridge

View of the Pedestrian Bridge

But at this point, after much deliberation, it was time to settle on a drink. So let’s take a look at the options. And this is where it gets good.

While the old spot was fine, just fine, for ordering a handful of tequila-based drinks and a couple of other options, things are way [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: May 20th, 2015

Sure, we may have said “So long” to the Flower and Garden Festival for this year, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to look forward to at Walt Disney World! Springs moves to summer as Disney World gears up for the busy vacation season, otherwise known as the “Coolest Summer Ever”!

©Disney

©Disney

And since it’s a very special time of year for Star Wars fans in particular, why don’t we start our ‘round the World tour at Hollywood Studios to see What’s New!

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

Star Wars Weekends kicked off on May 15th!

Star Wars Weekends 2015

Star Wars Weekends 2015

The excitement! The pageantry!  The CUPCAKES! The Jabba the Hutt Cupcake has joined the Darth Vader and Yoda Cupcakes this year.

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

It can be found at counter service locations such as Starring Rolls, Backlot Express, The Trolley Car Cafe, and Tusken Fridge Raiders — the premiere Star Wars snack stop, located inside Darth’s Mall.

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

But cupcakes aren’t all that’s in store…

Star Wars snacks for Star Wars Weekends

Star Wars snacks for Star Wars Weekends

Like last year, several temporary pop-up bars can be found all over the park for the weekend events.

Star Wars Weekends Pop-up Bar

Star Wars Weekends Pop-up Bar

However, they feature all-new drinks this year. Each bar serves two out of of four drinks: The Mustafar and The Tatooine, or The Endor and The Alderaan.

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

We’ll be taking a closer look at those beverages soon, but once again this year, it’s ALL about the souvenir glow cubes: drinks come with either a Millennium Falcon glow cube or your very own mini Death Star.

Millennium Falcon Glow Cube

Millennium Falcon Glow Cube

The Jedi Mickey Character Dinner at Hollywood and Vine and Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast returned to Hollywood Studios earlier this month (on May the Fourth Be With You, naturally). But brand new to Star Wars Weekends this year is the Rebel Hangar — A Star Wars Lounge Experience, which has effectively converted half of Backlot Express into an abandoned spaceport in the Sullest system.

Entrance to Rebel Hangar

Entrance to Rebel Hangar

Chips and Sith at Rebel Hangar

Chips and Sith at Rebel Hangar

Blue Milk!

Blue Milk!

You can read all about this special month-long dining event featuring small plates and specialty cocktails in our full review of the Rebel Hangar!

Believe it or not, though, it’s not all Star Wars at Hollywood Studios… we’ve got some regular ol’ menu changes at some favorite Table Service restaurants to report as well. Sci-Fi Dine-In has added the Sci-Fi Popcorn Treat to the appetizer selection. It’s popcorn soup (for watching those old movies, of course!) with buffalo popcorn chicken and celery sticks, drizzled with blue cheese dressing.

Sci-Fi Dine-In

Sci-Fi Dine-In

New entrees include Grilled Marinated Salmon, while the Veggie Burger got a [Read more…]

News! The Edison, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and More Coming to Disney Springs

More fantastic news coming out of Disney Springs today, all!! We’ve got confirmation on several other restaurants joining the line-up at the new and improved Downtown Disney location in Orlando!

While we’ll be covering each and every one of these as they open, here’s a sneak peek at what’s right around the corner for Disney Springs.

Disney Springs' Town Center Coming Soon!

Disney Springs’ Town Center Coming Soon!

The Edison

Inspired by The Edison venue in Los Angeles, this lavish “Industrial Gothic” -style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination is themed to a 1920s-period power plant, recalling an exuberant era of invention and imagination. It will feature  classic American food, craft cocktails, and live entertainment including cabaret and music.

Layout of the original The Edison location in LA. Copyright The Edison

Layout of the original The Edison location in LA. Copyright The Edison

Sprinkles

The world’s first cupcake bakery, as named by Food Network and others, serves up handcrafted cupcakes, slow churned ice cream and homemade cookies. I have a Sprinkles locally where I live, and I will never admit to ordering a dozen cupcakes for delivery even when I was home alone…so don’t even try.

These aren’t as good as my beloved Magnolia cupcakes in NYC, but they are a fantastic fill-in here in Dallas. I know they’ll be a hit in Disney Springs.

This is a photo from Sprinkles' facebook page because cupcakes don't last long enough in my house to be photographed.

This is a photo from Sprinkles’ facebook page because cupcakes don’t last long enough in my house to be photographed.

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza is a [Read more…]

News! Raglan Road Master Chef Contest Winners Announced

Word is in — the five winning finalists have been chosen in the Raglan Road Master Chef Contest, sponsored by Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant!

The home cooks were chosen from a very competitive field, according to Raglan Road Master Chef Kevin Dundon. “There were lots of entries, and it was difficult to choose just five winners,” Dundon said. “I was struck by the breadth of recipes that were so creatively demonstrated. I was also really impressed by the level of effort made by all the entrants. I’m looking forward to seeing our five winners at Dunbrody House.”

The five winners are:

  • Janice Epaillard of Mount Dora, Florida
  • Aaron Van Swearingen of Winter Park, Florida
  • Colleen Kerney of Orlando, Florida
  • Heather McBroom Walker of Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Linda Rohr of Darien, Connecticut

Finalists will fly from Orlando on May 21, arriving in Dublin on May 22. They’ll spend the first day of the visit in Ireland’s capital city — taking in sights and touring the Guinness Brewery, before enjoying dinner at the Michelin-Starred restaurant L’Ecrivain. The group will then journey to County Wexford, home of Ireland’s Hook Peninsula, where they’ll spend the rest of the trip at Dundon’s Dunbrody Country House Hotel.

Dunbrody Country House Hotel

Dunbrody Country House Hotel

The luxury hotel, located in an 1830s manor house, is also home to Chef Kevin’s Cookery School. There, the finalists will [Read more…]

News! Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar Opening in Disney Springs this Fall

And the Disney Springs food news just keeps on coming!

Most recently, we waited for the opening of The Boathouse and its jillion dollar steak. Next up? The anticipated summer opening of Morimoto Asia. And now we’ve just received word that Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar will be opening in The Landing section of Downtown Disney (which will soon be Disney Springs) this fall!

Hangar Bar Concept Art ©Disney

Hangar Bar Concept Art ©Disney

So who, exactly, is Jock Lindsey and why do you care? He’s none other than the pilot for Indiana Jones from the famed movie series, so an aviation theme will (naturally!) play a huge part. According to Disney, Jock’s pet snake Reggie (“Why did it have to be snakes?”) will somehow have a major part in the story of the Hangar Bar as well.

A boat that may be incorporated into Jock Lindsay's Hangar Bar

A boat that may be incorporated into Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar

Guests will have the chance to check out walls packed with vintage travel posters and aviation equipment as they drink and dine… and may even spot a few back-and-forth letters of Jock and Indy’s on display around the 150-seat space.

Hangar Bar Concept Art ©Disney

Hangar Bar Concept Art ©Disney

Outdoor seating will also be available on Jock’s steamboat… docked, of course! You wouldn’t want to run into any of the Boathouse’s amphicars on the water, now, would you?

Cocktails and tapas will be the focus of the menu, with drinks like [Read more…]

News: Ghirardelli Discontinues Use of Peanut Products in Disneyland and Disney World

Fans of the Gold Rush Peanut Butter Sundae at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop in Downtown Disney Orlando (and fans of peanut butter in general — like me!), take note: Ghirardelli is no longer using peanut butter as an ingredient in any of their ice cream sundaes and chocolates, or as a choice for ice cream toppings.

Why the sudden change? Well, in actuality, it’s not so sudden.

You see, the Ghirardelli facilities began taking steps toward going peanut-free in 2013 in order to become more allergy-friendly for guests with allergy concerns. However, this didn’t affect the in-house sundaes, like the popular Gold Rush (vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, melted peanut butter, and whipped cream) until now, with their removal from the menus in Disney World over the recent weeks. (Please note this update: Disneyland guests can get the Gold Rush Sundae on the west coast — Cast Members there have confirmed that it is the only location where it is still available).

Ghirardelli in Downtown Disney, Orlando

Ghirardelli in Downtown Disney, Orlando

Gold Rush Peanut Butter Sundae

Gold Rush Peanut Butter Sundae

Guests who have allergies — as well as parents of those who have them — may find it helpful to know that, at this time, some products are still made with tree nuts, and [Read more…]

Great New Drinks to Enjoy at Disney World

Top Five New Drinks to Try at Walt Disney WorldWell, I guess it’s time… Florida sure had a beautiful “winter,” but as much as I’ve tried to deny it over the past few weeks, we’re back to the time of year when it’s not unusual to see the thermometer (otherwise known as my weather app) climb back up into the 90s.

One good thing about all that? It’s the perfect excuse to cool down with some cold beverages! And since we’re looking at hanging out in the heat until… oh, until the end of the 2015 Epcot Food & Wine Festival in, like, November, now is as good a time as any to check out some highly recommended sips!

So today we’re stopping at two Disney World Parks, one Resort, and Downtown Disney to check out some of the latest and greatest concoctions. We’re focusing primarily on some killer cocktails, but we’ll end with a little something for kids (and kids at heart!), too!

So grab a straw and a teeny-tiny umbrella, because we’re starting with a new vacation must-have…

Spikey Pineapple

We’ve just gotta dive in with this new gem at Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort: the Spikey Pineapple.

Spikey Pineapple

Spikey Pineapple

While most of the drink menu at the Tiki Terrace is the same as that inside Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, you can ONLY enjoy the Spikey Pineapple outside on the Tiki Terrace… and it is well worth a special visit.

Why? Because this is Pineapple Soft-Serve (Dole Whip!) served in a sippable form and spiked with Barbancourt Pango Rhum.

Spikey Pineapple menu description

Spikey Pineapple menu description

If you’re a fan of Dole Whip (and especially the rum-spiked Pineapple Soft-serve at the Epcot Food & Wine and Flower and Garden Festivals and in Animal Kingdom), or just fantastic tropical vacation drinks in general, this one is a must-try!

Tamarind Margarita

What’s a post about drinks in Disney World without mentioning one of the greatest watering holes this side of the Mississippi (and, OK, the other side, too)? Over in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion, La Cava del Tequila sets the standard for incredible and creative margaritas served alongside high-end tequilas.

La Cava del Tequila Sign

La Cava del Tequila Sign

And while the debut last fall of the Maelstrom Margarita (created in tribute to the now-extinct Maelstrom attraction formerly housed in Mexico’s neighboring Norway Pavilion) receives a lot of well-deserved buzz, it’s the Tamarind Margarita, which debuted last summer, that really knocked our socks off in a recent visit: Ambhar Blanco Tequila, tamarind pulp, orange liquor and agave nectar with a chili powder rim.

Tamarind Margarita

Tamarind Margarita

The tamarind and agave make this one incredibly sweet — without being too sweet (I hate too sweet), thanks to the tamarind tang, and the chili powder rim provides some kick. This one well earns its place beside the beloved Avocado Margarita. And Horchata Margarita. Oh, and the Wild Passion Fruit;)

Dark & Tropical Stormy

Inside at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, though, we’re loving the Dark & Tropical Stormy: Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, fresh lime juice, Ginger Beer, and Falernum.

Dark & Tropical Stormy on the Trader Sam's menu

Dark & Tropical Stormy on the Trader Sam’s menu

It’s the unique and bold taste of the ginger beer that makes this one stand out, giving it a sweet spice while the layered pour allows the rum to have its own moment as well.

Dark & Tropical Stormy

Dark & Tropical Stormy

Another fun feature with many drinks inside the Grotto are toppers themed to the beverage. The Dark & Tropical Stormy’s is understandably windblown ;)

Dark & Tropical Stormy umbrella

Dark & Tropical Stormy umbrella

Batten down the hatches and grab one!

Raspy Old Fashioned

We’re taking a trip over to Downtown Disney for our next one and stopping at Raglan Road.

Raglan Road

Raglan Road

Understandably, lots of folks stepping into Raglan Road fancy a pint, and the [Read more…]

Review: Starbucks Evenings Menu at Disney World’s Disney Springs

It wasn’t too long ago that Starbucks didn’t exist in the Disney Universe.

But although the coffee giant’s presence in Disney Parks has caused quite a bit of heated debate, their popularity is undeniable. And recently, the company has begun piloting a new evening menu, which is meant to appeal to those who are looking for a place to gather after 4PM. Not only does the menu include a select list of Wine and Beer, but there are also Small Plates available — perfect for sharing.

I say “piloting” because the concept is only available in about 30 stores in the US, primarily in large metropolitan areas. More locations are expected to be announced.

And if you are a Starbucks and Disney lover, then you’re in luck, because the Downtown Disney Orlando West Side location is one of the stores that offer the evening menu!

I was intrigued by the whole concept of getting a glass of wine and a snack at a spot that’s normally reserved for meeting my tea and (very rarely) coffee needs. So on a recent trip to Disney World, I decided that I had to check it out.

Atmosphere

And there it is! Starbucks. Complete with a hole in its roof for a palm tree to grow through!

downtown disney west side starbucks orlando (5)

Starbucks Entrance

You walk into a familiar site — a rope set up for the typical queue. That queue is usually pretty full, too.

Queue for the ordering counter

Queue for the ordering counter

Not only is this a massive Starbucks location, but it’s also a Reserve Location, which means you can enjoy rare, small batch offerings of some of the world’s rarest beans. Definitely check it out if you’re a coffee lover. Wendy shared her experience in our full review here.

Reserve Coffee Counter

Reserve Coffee Counter

Looking for a place to sit for a spell? You have plenty of options. From communal seating, to cozy tables for two, you’re likely to find a spot, even at busy times.

Seating at the Reserve Coffee Counter

Seating at the Reserve Coffee Counter

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Large table

Large table

Don’t you love the bench seating against this picture window? It’s one of my favorite spots.

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Murals that look like chalk drawings depict coffee growing regions across the globe.

Mural

Mural

Be sure to stop by the interactive screen and check out the action at the Starbucks in Downtown Disney in Anaheim!

Interactive Screen

Interactive Screen

There are also really beautiful water views from the inside seating area and the shaded patio area.

Window wall

Window wall

But the outside area also has another great focal point — a “live” wall and a glassed-in fireplace.

Outdoor seating

Outdoor seating

Fireplace

Fireplace

Now that we’ve looked around a bit, let’s head back in and take a closer look at the Starbucks Evenings menu.

Eats

Wanting to sample the Evenings menu? Head to Downtown Disney West Side at 4:00PM, when service expands to include [Read more…]

DFB Challenge: The Walt Disney World Beer Crawl

Alrighty, Guys — it’s time for another fun Disney Food Blog Challenge. And this one is definitely for the grown ups!

Everyone’s aware that craft Beer has become increasingly popular. Sure, through the years, you always had the garden variety options…

Lovely Beer!

Lovely Beer!

But these days, Craft Beers and International Selections are where it’s at. So we thought that it was high time we take a closer look at some of the interesting beer that you can get throughout Walt Disney World.

In the interest of interactive fun, we decided to come up with another DFB Food — er, Beverage — Crawl, dedicated to the world of beer, and all that it encompasses.

And we know that there are LOTS of you out there who are serious about your study and research of this important subject. We are in it for the fun. ;-) So we definitely want YOUR comments below on what you think the Can’t Miss Beers of Walt Disney World are!

Because this is a rather weighty subject, we’ll spread it out over a 3 day visit. But feel free to consolidate as your tolerance level allows.

Grab some beer nuts, and let’s go!

Day One: Explore Epcot

We’ll start our 3-day Beer Crawl in the best place for sampling a wide variety of food and drink — Epcot!

When beer is the main attraction of the day, it’s a good idea to get some sustenance first thing. We love to enter Epcot via the International Gateway Entrance and start our day with a stop in Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in the France Pavilion for a petit déjeuner of French Pastries and Coffee or Chocolat Chaud.

We especially love the Frangipane Triangles!

Frangipane -- Cross Section

Frangipane — Cross Section

If you’d like a full-on breakfast platter-type situation, head to Sunshine Seasons (although the Croissant Berry Bread Pudding gets our vote).

Fueled up and ready to go, it’s time to hit World Showcase!

Moosehead in the Canada Pavilion

We all have our traditions, and one that we love to embrace is the First Beer of the Day in Epcot. And that honor almost always goes to Moosehead as we begin our Drinking Journey around the World! Find it at the Canada Beer Stand located near the entrance to Le Cellier Steakhouse.

The beer offerings in Canada

Stroll the area, making time to check out the Totem Poles before you head to your next stop.

Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room in the UK Pavilion

With a small breakfast and your first brew under your belt, it’s time to stop for lunch and more beer in one of our favorite Epcot dining spots.

The Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room in the UK Pavilion offers a wide array of beer and cider from the British Isles. Make your advance dining reservation ahead of time for a sit down meal, or take a gamble with finding a spot in the pub (it can get pretty crowded in there). Note that you can also get beers at a counter outside the restaurant and pub.

Sampling British beers is your goal here, so we recommend the Imperial Sampler, which normally includes pours of Bass, Harp, Strongbow, Boddington’s, and Guinness.

Imperial Sampler

Alternatively, you can choose from a long list of Pub Blends, which are half-and-half mixes of some of the beer on tap. You’ll never go wrong with a Black and Tan — half Bass Ale and half Guinness.

Of course, if you have a favorite beer among those on tap, enjoy a pint of that one instead. We especially love to order a Guinness, served with its famous Shamrock Head!

Shamrock Design on Top of Guinness

And if you visit on a weekday, don’t forget to say “hello” to Carl the Bartender!

Japan

With a little lunch under your belt, it’s time to hit up the Japan Pavilion for another unique stop on your beer tour. Kirin Frozen Beer comes with a fluffy, semi-frozen head that keeps your beer cold a little longer in that warm Florida sun.

While the picture below is from Tokyo Dining, you can also get a portable version in a plastic cup at Kabuki Cafe.

Frozen Kirin Beer in Epcot's Japan

Frozen Kirin Beer in Epcot’s Japan

Take in some time listening to the drummers or checking out the [Read more…]

News! Dockside Margaritas Opens at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney This Week

Summer is approaching fast in Florida, and that can mean only one thing: grab the tequila. It’s time to enjoy some Margaritas!

Margarita Bar construction signs

Arriving This Week!

So we’re pretty excited to see that Dockside Margaritas will be opening this week at Downtown Disney Marketplace in Walt Disney World. Or, rather, reopening?

Because we all know that the Margarita Bar that was located at Downtown Disney Marketplace before the refurb was a great place to chill during a visit to the shopping and entertainment district. With shady seating on a deck that was situated slightly beneath the crazy of Downtown Disney, it offered a welcome respite; and the waterfront seating provided some comfortable breezes.

Seating and Live Music at the Old Spot

Seating and Live Music at the Old Spot

The new Dockside Margaritas will be fashioned to look like a fruit stand. The location will specialize in fresh tastes of Florida — perfectly in keeping with the rest of Disney Springs.

While the old spot offered some interesting drink options, the new spot promises to be even better, and to have a wider variety of choices.

Disney Margaritas

Disney Margaritas

You’ll still be able to enjoy several different margarita options, and some of the previously available drinks will return, although it appears that the recipes might be freshened up a bit.

Here’s the Margarita Menu: [Read more…]