Review: Strawberry Daiquiri, Blue Skyy Lemonade, and Captain’s Mai Tai at High Octane Refreshments in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Today we’re celebrating Happy Hour (no matter what the time is when you read this) with a few cold sips at High Octane Refreshments at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

The name is a hint as to what’s on the menu, since just about everything is “fully loaded” at this little bar, tucked into the Streets of America section of the park. It’s a very close neighbor to Studio Catering Co. quick service in both location and vibe. So much so, in fact, that — at a glance — it appears to be little more than expanded seating for the location.

But what High Octane offers that the Studio Catering food counter does not is a variety of specialty drinks served frozen and on the rocks, along with a full bar and an assortment of beer and wine to wet your whistle and offer a moment to refresh and refuel… in a “high octane” sense, of course ;) .

Atmosphere

The red and yellow color scheme over a large area of concrete that dominates Studio Catering Co. continues here, even down to the style of seating.

High Octane Refreshments next to Studio Catering Co.

High Octane Refreshments next to Studio Catering Co.

High Octane Bar

High Octane Bar

Seating at High Octane

Seating at High Octane

The only thing that really differentiates it is this small sign above the bar.

High Octane sign

High Octane sign

And sometimes you’ll spot a propped up menu in the middle of the street to let you know what awaits you at this stop.

High Octane Street Sign

High Octane Street Sign

Bar and Beverages

High Octane’s menu features good ol’ standard bar drinks like Long Island Iced Tea, Pina Coladas, and Rum Runners. (We miss you, Stoplight Margarita!) So when it’s time to belly up ;), you likely won’t have a difficult time deciding if you’re already familiar with these basic bar beverages.

High Octane Refreshments Menu

High Octane Refreshments Menu

High Octane Refreshments Menu

High Octane Refreshments Menu

I like the little seating area to the left of the bar that’s spotted with trees (it provides a wee bit of shade), so my friend and I carried our beverages there.

Side area seating

Side area seating

We decided to sample the Strawberry Daiquiri, Captain’s Mai Tai, and Blue Skyy Lemonade.

The Strawberry Daiquiri (this blend of strawberry and Bacardi Rum is pre-mixed and poured from a machine, for those curious) is [Read more…]

Confirmed! Starbucks Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in February 2015

Okay, coffee lovers… what we’ve suspected for a while now has officially been confirmed by Disney: Starbucks is coming to Hollywood Studios in February 2015!

Starbucks logo

Starbucks logo

starbucksBut there are a few additional details along with the announcement: we’ve also got a name! The Trolley Car Café will have a “classic trolley car station” theme.

While Disney has only officially confirmed the location as being “along Hollywood Boulevard,” all signs point to the L.A. Prop Cinema Storage merchandise location, which closed for refurbishment a few months ago, and remains surrounded by refurbishment walls.

L.A. Cinema Prop Storage under refurbishment

L.A. Cinema Prop Storage under refurbishment

The location will carry [Read more…]

Review: Cheesy Bread Cones at Fantasmic! in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

UPDATE: According to WDW cast members, these cones were removed from the menu at Hollywood Studios. Them’s the breaks! Disney’s menus change all the time; this can be due to ingredient supply and purchasing issues (temporary), seasonal menu updates (temporary), or a menu refurb (usually permanent). We’re hoping they’ll return to the menu in Walt Disney World soon! In the meantime, get your bread cones filled with goodies year-round at Disney California Adventure’s Cozy Cone Motel in Disneyland!

Macaroni and Cheese Bread Cone

Macaroni and Cheese Bread Cone

Have you ever found yourself in this scenario: sitting in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater, waiting for Fantasmic! – the nighttime spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios — to begin?

Amphitheater seating for Fantasmic!

Amphitheater seating waiting for Fantasmic!

If you are planning to see Fantasmic! (the official show title has an exclamation point in the name, which moving forward I’ll omit for your ease of reading :), you should know that it’s best to arrive well before show time, especially if you are attending the first show of the evening.

So, what should you do in the meantime? Aside form join in The Wave, of course… which you can — and should — do.

Here comes The Wave!!

Here comes The Wave!!

But when you’re not Wave-ing, you might as well eat! Fortunately, there are oodles of opportunities around the amphitheater to do just that.

Prior to moving directly into the amphitheater, there are a couple of stands serving up snacks such as Mickey ice cream bars, roasted nuts, frozen lemonade cups, churros, Mickey pretzels, and the like.

Snack kiosks outside of amphitheater

Snack kiosks outside of amphitheater

Cast Members also wander the outside and inside of the amphitheater right up until show time, carrying items like popcorn and cotton candy, which somehow adds to the festive vibe.

Popcorn

Popcorn

Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy

Once you head into the amphitheater, there are two large concession stands in the back, both by the name of Hollywood Hills Amphitheater Refreshment. They have the [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at The Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

We’re dining with the stars at THE place to “see and be seen!”

Welcome to The Hollywood Brown Derby! We’re enjoying lunch while taking a trip back in time to the elegance of the “golden age” of Hollywood. For fans of classic films, even within Hollywood Studios this signature restaurant is a destination in its own right.

A replica of the original Hollywood Brown Derby  (a fine dining establishment for the likes of Clark Gable, Lucille Ball, and Bing Crosby back in the day), the Derby of Hollywood Studios offers park-goers a touch of refined elegance in the midst of a busy park day. In fact, I’d say that once you enter the doors of the Brown Derby, it’s a little bit difficult to remember that you’re in a theme park at all.

Let’s step inside…

Atmosphere

I mention taking “a trip back in time” because I feel as though the setting of The Hollywood Brown Derby transports guests to another place and era better than just about any place in Disney World, starting with the outside entrance.

Brown Derby entrance

Brown Derby entrance

Brown Derby entrance

Brown Derby entrance

A plaque on the outside gives guests a tiny bit of the history and inspiration for the Hollywood Studios location, though many may stroll right past and miss it.

Plaque noting the inspiration for the building

Plaque noting the inspiration for the building

There are two defining features, I think, to the Brown Derby. One is [Read more…]

Review: Frozen Summer Fun and Food at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

UPDATE: Originally slated to run until September 1st, Frozen Summer Fun has been extended through September 28, 2014!

Perhaps you’ve heard of a moderately successful Disney film called Frozen? ;)

Frozen at DHSWell, it’s time to celebrate with some Frozen Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Frozen Summer Fun!

Frozen Summer Fun!

And there is so much to do! Your first stop might be belting out “Let It Go” with Anna and Elsa at For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration!

Elsa and Anna Letting It Go!

Elsa and Anna Letting It Go!

Or maybe you’ll head straight over to Frozen Funland, where you can try your hand (or, umm, feet?) at skating on the indoor ice rink. Or you can do what I did and enjoy watching other people skate in your place ;) .

Performers at Frozen Funland Ice Rink

Performers at Frozen Funland Ice Rink

Frozen Funland Ice Rink

Frozen Funland Ice Rink

You’ll want to make sure your Take-Along Olaf is snapping plenty of selfies!

Take-Along Olaf

Take-Along Olaf

Or maybe just take some time to gaze at the gently falling snow covering the pine– I mean, palm trees.

Let it SNOW!!

Let it SNOW!!

No matter which way you turn, there’s all sorts of Frozen Fun to be had, so you might need to refuel with a snack or two!

Several classic Disney Park snacks – such as Krispy Treats and Frosted Cookies, as well as a newcomer, Brownie Pops — have been spruced up for the occasion in hues of “Frozen” white and blue at the Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post (special for the event, you’ll find it in the Streets of America section), and Sweet Spells.

Wandering Oaken's Trading Post sign

Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post sign

Frozen Krispy Treats

“Frozen” Krispy Treats

Snowflake Cookies

Snowflake Cookies

Chocolate-covered Moose Cookies

Chocolate-covered Cookies

Blue and White Brownie Pops

Blue and White Brownie Pops

And these days no bakery case in Disney World is complete without the Olaf Candy Apple!

Olaf Candy Apple

Olaf Candy Apple

The Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post is the neighbor to Frozen Funland, the already-famous spot that includes the ice skating rink as well as the Sweet Treat Bar.

Sweet Treat Bar

Sweet Treat Bar

Sweet Treat Bar Menu

Sweet Treat Bar Menu

I know the choice of Hot Cocoa in July might not top your list, but they do keep it fairly chilly in there for the rink. Plus, the addition of Toasted Marshmallow flavor makes it a bit more enticing, no?

The Sweet Treat Bar is one of several spots around Hollywood Studios where you can grab the specialty cupcakes for Frozen Summer Fun: the Elsa Vanilla Cupcake with Buttercream Icing, the Anna Chocolate Cupcake with Buttercream Icing, and the Olaf Carrot Cake Cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing.

Elsa Cupcakes

Elsa Cupcakes

Anna Cupcakes

Anna Cupcakes

Olaf Cupcakes

Olaf Cupcakes

Of course, you can find the Olaf Cupcake at several Hollywood Studios Quick Service locations, including Fairfax Fare, Studio Catering Co., Pizza Planet, and — the spot where I grabbed mine — Starring Rolls Café!

Take-Along Olaf with Olaf Carrot Cake Cupcake

Take-Along Olaf with Olaf Carrot Cake Cupcake

There is PUH-LENTY of [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: June 4, 2014

For this round of “What’s New,” we’ve got food news (and menu changes galore) from every single Disney World park… and beyond! So settle, in, make yourselves comfy, and join us to see What’s New!

Animal Kingdom

We’ll start with the fact that Dole Whip (with or without rum, y’all) can now be found at Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Animal Kingdom’s Africa! (Yep; we’ve had confirmation from Dole that it IS indeed authentic Dole Whip Pineapple Soft Serve.)

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Pineapple Soft-serve (Dole Whip!) menu

Pineapple Soft-serve (Dole Whip!) menu

But we don’t want to miss the chance to mention that Tamu Tamu has also brought back some old favorites with a recent menu refresh: The Slow-cooked Pulled Beef Sandwich is back (hooray!), along with the return of the Quinoa Salad. The Roasted Chicken Salad and gorgeous Fresh Fruit Salad made the cut from the previous menu.

Tamu Tamu Menu

Tamu Tamu Menu

Inside the pulled beef sandwich

Inside the pulled beef sandwich

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

And I’m very happy to say that the Fresh Fruit Bowl is back in time for summer!

Fruit Bowl at Bradley Falls Kiosk

Fruit Bowl Salad

The Fruit Salad has returned to Bradley Falls, too.

Bradley Falls menu

Bradley Falls menu

Remember, Bradley Falls operates seasonally, so if it’s closed during your visit, it’s good to know you can head over to Tamu Tamu for a Fresh Fruit Bowl.

Have you seen (or heard?!) this awesome Musical Tumbler found at various food locations throughout Animal Kingdom? Get the full scoop here!

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

The Royal Anandapur Tea Company is a perfect spot to grab a cup of hot tea (assorted varieties available) or coffee. However, they’re currently offering some flavored Iced Teas in light of the warmer temps.

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Though not food-related, I’d like to offer this next picture as a small tribute. Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade wrapped up its nearly 13-year run as Animal Kingdom makes way for all sorts of new adventures. I don’t think I’m speaking solely for myself when I say this unique, beautiful and fun parade will be missed.

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade

Magic Kingdom

The Lunching Pad has added one more option to its gourmet hot dog selection: the BLT Hot Dog joins the Coney Island Dog and the Philly Cheese Steak Dog.

Lunching Pad Menu

Lunching Pad Menu

Now, here’s something you don’t see everyday… this next bit is not a new item, but rather a new [Read more…]

What’s New Around the World!

What’s new in your favorite Disney World “chomping grounds”? What’s changed? Read on to find out what we’ve checked out recently!

Downtown Disney

The biggest change over the past week has been the addition of The Smokehouse to Downtown Disney’s West Side. This stop for all-things-barbeque features a lovely outdoor seating area and the chance to enjoy live music.

The Smokehouse

The Smokehouse

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw

Live music!

Live music!

Signs of bigger changes to come can be spotted all over Downtown Disney as the area delves into its transformation to Disney Springs … and when I say “signs,” I mean actual signs.

We’ll be sharing more in a future post, but the artwork all over Downtown Disney give us an idea of what guests can look forward to in the future.

Artwork depicting the future Disney Springs

Artwork depicting the future Disney Springs

Artwork depicting the future Disney Springs

Artwork depicting the future Disney Springs

Artwork reflecting the West Side Starbucks, opening Spring 2014

Artwork reflecting the West Side Starbucks, opening Spring 2014

A smaller change – yet nearly as significant for fans of “Earl’s” ;) – is that Earl of Sandwich has added [Read more…]

2013 Holiday Snacking Around the World!

Merry Christmas from DFB! It’s the most wonderful time of the year at Walt Disney World… and we’ve got the goodies to prove it!

Just take a look at some of your favorite snack stops around the World! From Magic Kingdom’s Big Top Treats and Main Street’s Confectionary, to Downtown Disney’s Candy Cauldron and Goofy’s Candy Company, to Sweet Spells at Hollywood Studios… signs of the season are everywhere :).

2013 Holiday Bakery Case

I’m loving these gorgeous Candy Apples, created to look like ornaments!

Candy Apple "Ornaments"

The merry Mickey and Minnie Candy Apples are back this year, too, as is the Snowman.

Holiday Minnie and Mickey Candy Apples

Holiday Candy Apples -- the full line-up!

Krispy Treats take a festive turn with Santa Hats… and how cute are the glittering marshmallow pom-poms?

Santa Krispy Treats

Even the pretzel rods and a few of the marshmallow wands have a touch of holiday spirit!

Pretzel Rods at Big Top Treats

Decorated Marshmallow Wands

The Cake Pop trend shows no signs of slowing down. Snowmen and Reindeer Cake Pops steal the show this year.

[Read more…]

News and Review! Writer’s Stop Debuts Mickey Macaroons!

Many guests line up at Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the popular carrot cake cookie!

It’s easily one of our favorite places to hang out in the Studios!

But we’ve got something NEW to share from Writer’s Stop today — Mickey Macaroons! More like a macaron than a macaroon (but we’ve had that definition battle before), this is basically a fluffy baked cookie sandwich. :-)

The best part of this Fall-colored treat? It’s Mickey-shaped!

Mickey Macaroons in bakery case

Macarons have popped up in earnest over at Epcot’s France pavilion (they even have an awesome macaron ice cream sandwich!), but this is one of the first times we’ve seen them in a standard Disney bakery.

You can get your Mickey Macaroon for $2.49 or a Disney Dining Plan snack credit.

A new treat from Writer's Stop!

According to DFB reader and friend Daniel Wanderman, who sent the pics this morning, the macaroon [Read more…]

Photo Tour and Review: NEW Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge in Disney World!

Um…this is why I LOVE writing this blog. It’s completely a group effort!

Yesterday, DFB readers Jacquie Symonds and Alan Cohen sent over some AWESOME pics of the brand NEW (i.e. JUST opened yesterday and they were the second people to eat there!!!!) Hollywood Brown Derby Patio Lounge!

We reported on this fun-ness on Tuesday, and we’re so excited to share an inside look with you today! Huge thanks to Jacquie and Alan!

Atmosphere

The Patio Lounge is on the Brown Derby’s never-usually-used patio (natch) out in front of the restaurant. There’s an entrance next to Starring Rolls Cafe!

Ribbon Cutting!!

Guests will be seated both indoors and outdoors, so it’s still a good option even in the rainy or cold weather. Outdoor seats are under umbrellas and feature iron furniture with padded backrests.

A bar stands ready nearby to crank out all of those specialty drinks!

Patio seating at Brown Derby Lounge

Indoors, you’ll be seated in padded, dark wood chairs along tile flooring.

Inside Patio Seating at Brown Derby Lounge

Remember, no reservations are needed for this new location. If you’re at the Studios in need of some hearty eats, head on over!

Eats

The menu here is full of delicious options created by Hollywood Brown Derby chefs, so you know you’re getting high-end eats and drinks!

The small plates and desserts menu includes yums like duck confit tacos, Prince Edward Island mussels, and strawberry champagne cheesecake… .

Small Plates and Desserts

Jacquie and Alan tried the Sliders — Wagyu Beef with Cognac-Mustard Aioli, Smoked Gouda Cheese, Bacon, and Avocado; and House-made Chorizo with Chipotle Mayo, Manchego Cheese, Pickles, and crispy Onions for $15.00. This looks like a great deal!!

Wagyu Beef with Cognac-Mustard Aioli, Smoked Gouda Cheese, Bacon, and Avocado; and House-made Chorizo with Chipotle Mayo, Manchego Cheese, Pickles, and crispy Onions

Here’s a peek inside, because [Read more…]