Review: The Boathouse at Disney World’s Disney Springs

We’ve been waiting, and it’s finally here! The Boathouse is now open!

The restaurant is located in what will be The Landing Area of Disney Springs (still officially Downtown Disney, but it seems to be getting closer to the changeover everyday.)

The Boathouse opened its doors on Monday, but don’t rush out to get an Advance Dining Reservation just yet. While we’ve had success booking through the Open Table website for May 15th and after, Disney still isn’t offering ADRs — a signal that this is clearly a soft opening period, and a time for the staff and kitchen to work out the kinks.

There’s been a ton of hullabaloo over what we can expect, food and price-wise. We have lots of information and pics to share with you — as well as some information to clarify! So let’s get started.

Atmosphere

I’ve been dying to get a peek behind those walls forever — and now they’re down! And the new restaurant is pretty beautiful.

As You Approach the Boathouse

As You Approach the Boathouse

You’ll see the entrance to the restaurant to the left. The big green tower that we’ve all been watching for a while now is the entrance to the Ship’s Store, the Boathouse’s gift shop.

Entrance

Entrance to Ship’s Store

Between the two entrances on the day we visited, there was this tiny little boat right by the front door. I’m thinkin’ it would be pretty fun to take it for a spin. :-)

Another Tiny Boat

A Tiny Boat By the Front Entrance

Here’s a shot from across the water. This is a great way to sort of get your bearings if you’re still wondering where in the grand scheme of Downtown Disney that The Boathouse is located. This also gives you a glimpse of how The Boathouse has “grown” rather organically. I’m looking forward to hearing the story here. Because we all know — this is Disney. There’s always a story.

The Boathouse as Seen from the Water View

The Boathouse as Seen from the Water View

But The Boathouse will be more than just a place to eat. It will also be home to several boat-themed attractions. In other words, it really is a boathouse.

We gave you a glimpse of Amphicar dress rehearsals taking place the other day ahead of Monday’s soft opening. And today, we have a few more pics to show you! You’ll find the Amphicar Launch around the side of restaurant, to the left of the main entrance.

Amphicar Launch

Amphicar Launch

So you think they just hop in the car and drive it into the water, right? Well, of course, it’s not quite that simple.

See this Amphicar Captain? That wheel behind him is more than just a fancy prop. The captain’s wheel has many gears just behind and under it. When a member of the staff turns the wheel, it actually rotates the turntable that the Amphicars are parked on. When they come in from the lake, they are facing the street. The car wheels are locked down, and the captain turns this wheel, which rotates the car 180 degrees, so that it’s facing the water again. Pretty swift, eh?

Amphicar Captain Stands at the Ready

Amphicar Captain Stands at the Ready

And in case you aren’t tired of looking at these cute little overachievers, here’s another shot. The teal one may just be my favorite.

One of the Amphicars on the Ramp

One of the Amphicars on the Ramp

And…off he goes! Super fun.

One of the Captains Taking an Amphicar for a Spin

One of the Captains Taking an Amphicar for a Spin

But the amphicars aren’t the only game in town. While we haven’t yet seen the 40-foot Italian Water Taxis that are touted as another Boathouse draw, there are plenty of interesting watercraft to check out.

Like this gorgeous option. I wouldn’t mind cruising the harbor in one of these.

Another Beautiful Boat

Another Beautiful Boat

And then, there’s the U-22 Alter Ego, a vintage racing boat. This thing is [Read more…]

Review: D23’s “Off the Map” Event with Dinner at Club 33

When I heard about D23’s Off the Map event, I made sure to be home when tickets went on sale. A visit to the Disneyland Dream Suite, touring Walt’s Apartment, a ride on the Lilly Belle, and a super surprise dinner at one of the resort’s most unique restaurants (hmmmm, wonder where that could be)? Sign. Me. Up. 

I sat down at my computer at about 9:50am, tickets would be available starting at 10:00am. I literally sat and refreshed for 10 minutes straight. Yes, I’m that nerdy.  It paid off, because at exactly 10:01 (according to my computer’s clock) I had two tickets in my shopping cart and was checking out, credit card in hand.  By the time I finished checking out, the event had sold out. I was surprised that they went so fast, but I then realized that it must be a very small and obviously sought after event.

NOTE: This review is long and has lots of pictures of awesome things. There’s a whole meal and a snack in the write-up (of course, this is the Disney Food Blog), but we couldn’t help including pics of the rest of the tour as well! I hope you enjoy!

Checking In

We checked in at 9:00am on a Tuesday morning and were put into groups. We soon met with our uber fabulous D23 guide, Jeffrey (you may know him as the Disney Geek)!

Guess Who???

This is where we learned that there were only 72 tickets sold for the event and that it sold out in 30 seconds. Wow, so lucky to have scored two!  The crowd was very mixed, the age range spanned from teen to senior and some people traveled from across the country to be here.  We had 11 people in our group; most were southern California Disneyland locals, others were from Las Vegas, and there was one all the way from Georgia (Hi Andy!).

Off the Map Check In

Our group was scheduled to go to Walt’s Apartment at 10:30, so we had a bit of time to kill. Disneyland had just opened at 10:00, so it was fun to watch the park “wake up” as the horse drawn carriages emerged, characters came running from backstage, and the Disneyland Band marched right in front of us.  We met our apartment tour guide outside of the Disneyland Fire Department promptly at 10:30.

Disneyland Fire Department

Touring Walt’s Apartment in Disneyland

After given some history of Walt’s Apartment, we walked backstage and headed up the stairs (holding the handrail like we were asked) and entered the Victorian style apartment. Immediately I noticed the musty smell and got goosebumps knowing that I was in a room that Walt Disney spent many a night in, entertaining friends, playing with his grandchildren, and looking out the window [Read more…]

DIY Disney: Disney Recipes for Your Summer Picnic

I’m thrilled to announce the first, official Disney Food Blog column — Chef BigFatPanda’s DIY Disney Recipes! Every month, our resident Chef BigFatPanda will put together his amazing step-by-step, photo-filled posts where he and Chef Mickey show you their adventures in the kitchen cooking up Disney goodies! Today, we launch the column with three great recipes that you can pack up and take on a Disney-inspired picnic (perfect for 4th of July!). Enjoy…

Hello! Chef BigFatPanda here! How are you? Don’t answer cause I can’t hear you, but I’ll assume you’re reading this with peachy vigor. I like that. Peachy Vigor! I’m going to use that from now on.

So, did you hear? I am so excited to get my own column here on the Disney Food Blog. No longer am I a guest, but a cast member (or whatever AJ wishes to call it). Thanks so much to everyone!

I wanted to do something a bit different for this post, so I chose some fairly simple yet overlooked Disney recipes that can truly be incorporated into a delicious summer meal. I am going to make the Barbecue Sauce from the Flame Tree Barbecue in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, grilled Asparagus just as they make it in Disney’s Grand Californian Resort’s Storyteller Café, and Coquina cookies, originally from the Cinnamon Bay Bakery at Disney World’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Add these Disney recipes to a rice, pasta, or potato side and you have a complete and colorful summer meal just in time for Summer Nightastic!

Flame Tree Barbecue Sauce

As usual, the recipe’s instructions will be bolded for easy reference should you wish to print this out and skip my banter.

Ingredients for Flame Tree Barbecue Sauce

You will need:
1 cup Ketchup
¼ cup Rice Wine Vinegar
¼ cup Water
¼ cup Packed Light Brown Sugar [Read more…]