Review: La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion

Recently, I met some friends for a cozy dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion.

My last visit to La Hacienda proved to be just about the best yet. While my earliest visits to the dinner-only restaurant were largely hit and miss, my experiences during the last couple of years have been very positive.

But you never know when things can shift and change. After all, this is Disney World — not exactly known for being consistent when it comes to dining quality. And La Hacienda is pricey. Does it continue to be worth it?

Let’s head in for dinner and you can see for yourself.

Atmosphere

We arrived on time for our 6:30 advance dining reservation and checked in. We requested a window side table, and they were happy to accommodate us. It only took a little longer to be seated.

Hacienda-sign

La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion

If you haven’t been inside La Hacienda before, be sure to take a look around during your visit, and review the back story. In a nutshell, the restaurant is supposed to be the rambling home of an artistic family, and they’ve opened it up to guests. Seating is a mixture of booths and table/chair combos, all of which are comfortable and inviting. [Read more…]

News: Great Irish Hooley, Plus New Menu Options at Raglan Road in Disney Springs

The construction walls are finally (mostly) down at Disney Springs — WOO! So what better way to celebrate all of that wonderful parking and those beautiful vistas than by partying Labor Day Weekend away!

To that end, we’re sharing with you today that Orlando’s only Boutique Irish Festival is back this year, and it’s bigger than ever!

Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant at Disney Springs will host their Fifth Annual Great Irish Hooley this Labor Day Weekend. The four-day party, named for a traditional Irish social celebration, kicks off at noon on Friday, September 2, and runs late into the evening Monday, September 5. The event features the very best of Irish Music, Dancing, Food, and Drink. And best of all — there will be NO COVER CHARGE for the entire family-friendly event!

Check out all of the details below — you aren’t going to want to miss it!

Raglan Road in Downtown Disney

Raglan Road in Downtown Disney

Tri Wishes Grand Irish Red and a Rack of Heaven

Food-lovers and craft beer fans are sure to love this part of the Hooley! [Read more…]

News: Orlando Magical Dining Month Begins August 29th and Includes New Disney Springs Restaurants

If you’re planning to be in the Orlando area for the month of September, get ready for some terrific dining savings that include hot new Disney Springs Restaurants like Morimoto Asia and STK!

vo_logo_magical_dining_2016_blue

For the eleventh straight year, Visit Orlando is sponsoring Orlando Magical Dining Month. The event kicks off with a preview week on Monday, August 29, and runs through Sunday, October 2, offering guests and residents of the Orlando area five full weeks to enjoy special savings, all while doing good. And this year, more than 90 restaurants will participate — up from 77 in 2015. The list includes several options in the Disney Resort Area as well. [Read more…]

Review: California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

On my recent visit to Walt Disney World, my husband and I made it a goal to carve out time for a date night at California Grill.

If you love signature dining at Disney World, then you probably know the Grill well. Perched atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the spot has Disney history on its side. After all, Top of the World, which originally occupied the fifteenth floor, dated all the way back to Disney World’s opening. California Grill opened as its replacement in 1995, and brought with it a new emphasis on market fresh ingredients and California fusion flavors.

It was more than just another new Disney restaurant. It, along with Victoria and Albert’s, paved the way for a more refined dining experience at Walt Disney World.

My recent experiences have been a little uneven, however. (Even California Grill isn’t immune to the Disney restaurant curse of inconsistency.) So it’s always good to check in on an old favorite. After all, this was our first visit after the departure of Chef Brian Piasecki, so we had to see what was happening in the kitchen. And that view makes it easy to take a chance with the Grill.

Let’s head to the second floor.

Atmosphere

Why the second floor you ask? Because if you want to go California Grill, your journey begins here. You’ll check in at the podium before you’re escorted to the elevator that takes you to the fifteenth floor.

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

Once you arrive, you’ll step into California Grill’s sleek environment. [Read more…]

News: Chef Guy Fieri Teams Up With Disney World’s Planet Hollywood Observatory

It’s sure been a hoppin’ summer over at Disney Springs!

The recent arrivals of Frontera Cocina, Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming, and Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza barely scratch the surface of all the additions that have helped to change the landscape of Disney World’s shopping and dining district over the past year or so.

And now that those are up and running, we turn our attention to a couple of spots that have been part of the scene since the district was known as Downtown Disney. One of those is Planet Hollywood, which will reopen as the Planet Hollywood Observatory this Fall. (The other is Paddlefish, formerly known as Fulton’s Crab House — look for a late November opening for that one.)

Now we’re starting to get a feel for what the refreshed Planet Hollywood Observatory will offer, especially with the arrival of the news that the location will feature — among many other dishes — an exclusive Burger and Sandwich Menu created by Celebrity Chef and Food Network Star Guy Fieri, best known for his show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.”

@PlanetHollywoodObservatory Facebook

@PlanetHollywoodObservatory Facebook

These can be followed up with some of the Mason Jar Desserts that will also be exclusive to the Observatory. [Read more…]

News: Specialty French Fries at Beaches and Cream in Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Do we really need another reason to enjoy visiting Beaches & Cream?

Probably not.

After all, it’s home to greats like the No Way Jose, some of the Best Grilled Cheese in Disney World, and the World Famous Kitchen Sink (which now has a CHOCOLATE LOVER’S version in addition to the original).

And just this past spring, this 50s-style diner and ice cream parlor debuted a line of Hard Floats and Shakes for adults.

So, no. We don’t need another reason. But guess what?

Beaches and Cream

Beaches and Cream

They’ve gone and given us one anyway! It’s a little menu dedicated to French Fries… fully loaded. There are three kinds of specialty fries to choose from: Gravy Fries, Cheese and Bacon Fries, and Chili and Cheese Fries. [Read more…]

News: Tables in Wonderland Adds New Restaurants, Plus Special Merchandise Discounts for a Limited Time

Great news today for Tables in Wonderland Members! You can now use your discount card at some of the most exotic spots throughout Walt Disney World!

Tables in Wonderland Card

Disney has just added four of its newest locations to the list of spots accepting the program. Here are the new additions!

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar — Located at Disney Springs, this super-themed bar has quickly become a favorite place to hang out for lovers of the Indiana Jones franchise (and anyone else, really). [Read more…]

Review and Photo Tour: The New Flying Fish at Disney World’s BoardWalk

We have a real treat for you as we head into the newly refurbished Flying Fish for our very first visit to this beloved spot!

More than most, Flying Fish has had a passionate fan base. And it’s funny, because at the same time, it tends to fly a bit under the radar. Even prior to its recent closure for refurbishment, you were much more likely to get a last minute advance dining reservation here than at some other signature spots, like California Grill. (Maybe that’s why the locals love it so much — they’re not fighting the tourists for a table.)

But we heard from you in large numbers during the reno. Passionate Fish fans continually asked us two questions: when will Flying Fish reopen? And will our favorite dishes (so many!) return?

Opening day turned out to be last week. As for the answer to the other question, you’ll have to read on to find out.

Join me as we have a look around the completely transformed Flying Fish, and then stick around to see all the details on the dishes that we enjoyed. Let’s go!

Atmosphere

While I love the charm and allure of the BoardWalk as night falls, we made our ADR early so that we could take full advantage of the good light for photos. And if you love the nostalgia of the super cool neon sign over the Flying Fish — good news. It remains nearly unchanged.

Flying Fish -- Outside View

Flying Fish — Outside View

Super fans will quickly note one major difference. With the refurbishment, the Flying Fish underwent a slight change to its name. Previously, it was known as Flying Fish Cafe. Now it’s just Flying Fish, and the sign has been updated to reflect that — complete with extra fish added. As you can see from the above photo, the front doors have been updated slightly as well. The window muntins are now diagonal and echo some of the same motifs that you’ll see inside. [Read more…]

Review: Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine at Disney Springs

I hope that you’re sitting down.

Because we have a ton of pictures and details to share with you about Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine!

The restaurant opened with fanfare and plenty of rave reviews. And we were right there with you as we shared a first look!

If you can believe it, we’ve been back to Homecoming Florida Kitchen (hereafter shortened to HFK to save my fingers extra typing) again since opening day. As a result, we have lots of variety to share with you about this special spot.

This is a place that beckons you to slow down and sit a spell. So to begin, let’s take a nice, leisurely look around.

Atmosphere

You’ll find HFK right in the heart of Disney Springs, where the Town Center and The Landing come together.

Sign

Sign

While the outside may look a little Plain Jane at first inspection, you may form a different opinion after your initial look. Tons of windows, shaded in part by the metal hip roof that overhangs them, is reminiscent of the Florida Vernacular style of architecture. I love that you don’t find a single ounce of faux stucco here — the building choice of most Florida homebuilders these days. [Read more…]

News! Flying Fish to Reopen August 3rd on Disney World’s BoardWalk

We’ve got great news for those who have missed the presence of the Flying Fish on Disney’s BoardWalk since it closed for a lengthy refurbishment in February. It is set to reopen on Wednesday, August 3rd!

©Disney

©Disney

So this means that next week guests will be able to experience the all-new dining room and check out the goings-on in the new kitchen led by Chef Tim Majoras, who has been a member of the Flying Fish team since 2011.

Check out the updated menu here! I’m hoping this isn’t the FULL menu, as I don’t see the snapper OR the old-school steak on this menu, both of which were mentioned as coming back… . Fingers crossed that those items make their way back onto the menu soon… . [Read more…]