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…]

Memorial Day Sale! DFB Disney World Guidebook Discounts for a Limited Time!

As we mark a time of remembrance this Memorial Day weekend, we also look forward to fun celebrations with family and friends as Summer gets underway! And if you’re like me, that means one thing — vacation is JUST around the corner!

Whether you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World during the busy Summer season, or you have your eyes set on a Fall Food and Wine Festival Trip or a Holiday Extravaganza, we know one thing for sure: you need to make some plans.

Believe it or not, it’s already time to start making those Advance Dining Reservations! And we’re going to help you make sure you choose the best restaurants Disney has to offer. There are hundreds, after all!

We have three great offers for you to choose from! Read on for all the details, but hurry — you can only take advantage of these savings through Saturday, May 30!

dfb2015_guide_3d

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015

Our fully guaranteed, comprehensive e-Book offers more than 490 full-color pages to help you plan your very best Disney World trip ever!

With reviews, tips, expert advice, and hundreds of color photographs, you’ll get the biggest bang for your planning buck! And our handy e-Book format has been completely updated for your 2015-16 Disney World vacation.

Inside the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015, you’ll find:

  • A 5-Step Strategy for Disney Dining Planning, covering everything you need to know from budgeting and booking to kids’ meals, dining discounts, and fireworks. 5 simple steps and you’re done!
  • A comprehensive and in-depth look at EVERY Disney World restaurant, kiosk, bar, and lounge, including our personal tips to ensure a positive and stress-free dining experience.
  • Four free, [Read more…]

Friday Happy Hour: Lava Flow at the Barefoot Pool Bar at Polynesian Village Resort

Well, wouldn’t you know it?

Right after I visited the Polynesian Village Resort’s Barefoot Pool Bar when it reopened along with the refurbished Lava Pool and I reported that the specialty drink menu hadn’t changed…

It changed.

Well, that’s not entirely true :). Everything you could previously purchase at the Barefoot Pool Bar is still available (that means the pool bar standards like the Captain’s Mai Tai and Banana Cabana). In fact, they’re all still prominently listed on the main menu.

Barefoot Pool Bar

Barefoot Pool Bar

Barefoot Pool Bar menu

Barefoot Pool Bar menu

But, lo and behold…. just days after my visit, I heard about some all-new (and if I understand correctly, mostly exclusive) drinks at the Barefoot Pool Bar!

You can spot the descriptions on a stand-up sign, and fans of the Polynesian will get a kick out of reading the well-themed drink names as much as the descriptions with titles like the Pago Pago Pain Killer, Niue Rita, Lava Flow, Tonga Tea, and Samoa Sunrise. Just click on the image below to enlarge and read the item descriptions. I love that the Samoa Sunrise features POG Juice!

Specialty Drink Menu

Specialty Drink Menu

I didn’t see this menu at all on my previous visit, but whether that’s because they were not being served yet since the pool bar had just reopened or I’d missed the roving sign, I’m honestly not sure.

Ah, well… it’s here now, and so are we! So, let’s have a drink, shall we? We’ll go with [Read more…]

Review: Green Tea Plum Slush at Joy of Tea in Epcot’s China Pavilion

We’ve stopped by the Joy of Tea kiosk in Epcot’s China Pavilion several times…because it’s awesome.

So you may know by now that it’s packed with much more than tea, despite the name. I mean, sure, you can absolutely grab an iced or hot tea depending on the weather or just your personal preference. But it’s also got a decent snack selection for such a small place (I love the Strawberry Red Bean Ice Cream), and an “appetizer sampler” of sorts with their Lucky Combo, which allows you to try all three hot snacks (BBQ Pork Buns, Curry Chicken Pockets, and Egg Rolls) along with a soft drink and some ice cream.

You’d think that would about cover it! But you’d be wrong ;). Because there is a whole slew of specialty drinks here including some adult beverages, which is what we’re trying out today.

Joy of Tea

Joy of Tea

You’ll spot the choices under “Alcoholic Beverages” (natch), and they include the Mango Gingerita, Canto Loopy, Peach Snap!, and Green Tea Plum Slush, in addition to beer and wine. (Oh, and don’t forget the Tipsy Ducks in Love.)

Joy of Tea menu

Joy of Tea menu

I went with the Green Tea Plum Slush with plum wine, since I know it’s a guest favorite at the park. I really enjoyed the Strawberry Oolong Tea Slush here many moons ago, so I had high hopes for this one. I mean, plum wine? Sure — sign me up! I love that stuff.

Unfortunately, those hopes were [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…]

Fun Find: Flavored Moonshine in Epcot

You know how I’m always going on and on about the huge variety of food, drinks, and cuisine around Epcot’s World Showcase? I mean, you can find just about anything and everything, which is why I talk about it ALL the time, like it’s my job or something.

Oh, wait… it IS my job.

I guess somebody’s gotta do it! ;)

Anyway, I really do mean that you can find everything… and here’s my proof (ha ha — PROOF! I crack me up). Did you know that you can stock up on your supply of Moonshine at Epcot?

Backwoods Moonshine

Backwoods Moonshine

Yep! The Port of Entry and Disney Traders gift shops (those are the two gifts shops at the entrance to World Showcase between the Canada and Mexico Pavilions) carry an assortment of the whiskey beverage.

They’ve actually been available for some time now (and are, of course, being incorporated into many a cocktail around property due to the popularity of moonshine right now), but I only recently paused to take a look at the [Read more…]

Get Your Cinco de Mayo on at Disney World and Disneyland!

Isn’t it awesome how we just roll right from Star Wars Day into Margarita Day? What a great week!!

OK, so where should you go at the East and West Coast Disney parks to celebrate Cinco de Mayo on this not-so-ordinary Tuesday? I’m happy to share my suggestions… ;-D

Margarita Flight at La Cava del Tequila

Margarita Flight at La Cava del Tequila

La Cava Del Tequila in Disney World’s Epcot

If you’re in Disney World tonight, it’s time to head over to Epcot and settle in (ideally in the early afternoon, because this place will be PACKED come evening) at La Cava del Tequila.

I know you’ve heard me talk about it a million times, but for those who are new to DFB (welcome!), this tiny tequila cave has it all figured out.

la cava del tequila chips salsa guacamole queso trio anejo tequila (3)

Tequila experts serve only the best, and you can choose from a full menu of incredible options — shots, margaritas, flights, and more.

Avocado Margarita at La Cava del Tequila

Avocado Margarita at La Cava del Tequila

There’s no more authentic place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (which, let’s face it, is pretty much just a holiday dedicated to Tequila at this point) than here.

Tortilla Jo’s in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District

Over on the West Coast, you lucky ducks get to head on over to Tortilla Jo’s in Downtown Disney! This fun romp of a restaurant is sprawling, offering indoor and outdoor seating as well as a great menu including house-made tortillas (of course).

Tortilla Jo's raspberry margarita

Tortilla Jo’s raspberry margarita

Indulge in the sangria, a margarita, or [Read more…]

Review: Tutto Gusto in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

It’s time once again to look in on one of my favorite “hidden” spots in Epcot — Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar!

Tutto Gusto, located on the left as you travel through the Italy Pavilion toward Via Napoli at the back, hasn’t been open for very long. But in the short span of three years, Tutto Gusto has become a part of the fabric of World Showcase.

With its commitment to offering small plates that feature authentic Italian cuisine, Tutto Gusto has continued to be a DFB favorite. But you know me — I’m never content to continue recommending a spot unless I know for sure that it still  deserves to be recommended!

So, in the name of research, a friend and I headed there to grab a light dinner during a recent visit to Walt Disney World. We tried some new things and revisited some favorites. Let’s check it out.

Atmosphere

Although the sign for Tutto Gusto is perched high and prominent, it’s still sort of easy to miss it if you aren’t looking for it. You may mistake it for another entrance to neighboring Tutto Italia, if you notice it at all.

Tutto Italia and Gusto Wine Cellar

Tutto Italia and Gusto Wine Cellar

The entrance sits back a little, but Cast Members are usually flanking the door, and you’ll also notice the menus posted outside. Pay attention and you’ll find it.

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

Walk in and (after your eyes adjust to the darkened area) you’ll notice that the bar is front and center, serving as the small venue’s main feature.

Gusto Bar

Gusto Bar

Wine is king here, but you’ll also find an increasingly interesting array of Italian craft beers. Tutto Gusto also offers a full liquor bar. Check out the Italian-inspired cocktail menu, or order your favorite. Whatever you’re looking for, they can make it.

Gusto Bar

Gusto Bar

Because this is a wine bar, however, much of the real estate is given over to vino. Amuse yourself as you wait by checking out the ever-changing variety of Italian wines that are available by the glass or bottle.

Wine Fridge

Wine Fridge

Wine Fridge

Wine Fridge

But Tutto Gusto has more to offer than just beverages. From the get go, I prized this spot for their amazing array of small plates. There’s a display of some of the offerings to whet your appetite.

Antipasti Showcase at Tutto Gusto

Antipasti Showcase at Tutto Gusto

As is usually the case when you’re dining anywhere in the Disney universe, be sure to look up! The details of a spot usually include some really cool lighting, and Gusto is no exception.

Wine Bottle Lighting

Wine Bottle Lighting

You will find that Tutto Gusto can reach capacity rather easily — hence those Cast Members stationed at the doors. There isn’t a ton of seating here, but what you do find is rustic, cozy, and fairly comfortable. It is a little “close”, however, so if you prize privacy or personal space, you may want to look at the couch options.

Gusto Table

Gusto Table

Speaking of…you’ll find more comfy seating flanking the fireplace, another nice focal point in the small space.

Gusto Fireplace Area

Gusto Fireplace Area

Tables and stools here are low and well padded. It’s a great place to relax and catch up with friends, or to just take a breather from the bright sunshine.

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

And it truly is a beautiful location. Personally, I think they hit the themeing out of the park. Don’t you love the brick ceiling?

Tutto Gusto Seating

Tutto Gusto Seating

Having shown you around, I’m ready to get down to the serious business of [Read more…]

News! Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto Souvenir Glasses Now Available

If you’ve been itching to get your hands on your very own Nautilus to take home, the time has arrived.

That’s because Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Terrace at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are now officially OPEN!

Now, for all intents and purposes, both the Grog Grotto and Tiki Terrace have pretty much been in operation since March 28th, when the soft opening began, complete with wacky antics by the bartenders and skippers, erupting indoor volcanos, and a fully angered goddess of disaster.

(And if you’re wondering what kind of code that is, be sure to check out our full review of these spots to learn all about the interactive experience that is an evening at Trader Sam’s!)

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Trader Sam's Tiki Terrace

Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace

However, during the soft open stage, most of the souvenir glasses were not yet available to take home. While that may not sound like a big deal, their arrival is greatly welcome. Though not all the specialty cocktails are served in souvenir glasses, certain beverages correspond to their own specific take-home glass. And it was already anticipated that these very collectible souvenirs would be in high demand, based on the popularity of the souvenir glasses at Trader Sam’s original establishment, the Enchanted Tiki Bar in Disneyland.

After all, who wouldn’t want their very own Shrunken Zombie Head, courtesy of everyone’s favorite Head Salesman?

Shrunken Zombie Head glass ©Disney

Shrunken Zombie Head glass ©Disney

The HippopotoMai-Tai glass (resembling the tiki statue in the Polynesian’s Great Ceremonial House) already has more [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…]