Review: Rebel Hangar — A Star Wars Lounge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Welcome to the Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience!

Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience

Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Lounge Experience

In conjunction with Star Wars Weekends, an entire half of Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been completely transformed.

Entrance to Rebel Hangar

Entrance to Rebel Hangar

Backlot Express transformed into Rebel Hangar

Backlot Express transformed into Rebel Hangar

From now through June 14th, instead of entering the standard theming of the movie production warehouse, guests will walk into a long-abandoned building that once served as a busy spaceport in the Sullust system.

The story of the Rebel Hangar

The story of the Rebel Hangar printed in the menu

From 4:00 – 9:00 pm daily throughout the run of the Hangar, weary galactic travelers now have the opportunity to take a moment to relax and enjoy Star Wars-themed food among the “discarded remnants” from over 100 planets.

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Our Advance Dining Reservation to hangout in the Hangar wasn’t until 8:50 pm — 10 minutes prior to the final seating. So I took some time during the day to check out the spot, arriving somewhere around 1:00 pm. That’s right — day guests coming in for the typical Counter Service menu at Backlot Express were able to enjoy much of the atmosphere, too!

Part of Backlot Express transformed

Part of Backlot Express transformed

Backlot Express transformed

Backlot Express transformed

I, for one, was taken aback by the transformation. I hadn’t realized anything more could be tucked into Backlot Express, already so well-themed for its purposes. But lo and behold…

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

Rebel Hangar atmosphere

It was a blast spotting ways in which the typical Backlot “props” were incorporated into the Hangar theme.

Backlot props redecorated

Backlot props redecorated

Backlot props redecorated

Backlot props redecorated

Backlot props redecorated

Backlot props redecorated

You can see where “decay” has settled into this space in the many years since it last served its original purpose as a spaceport.

Decaying spaceport

Decaying spaceport

"Discarded" helmet

“Discarded” helmet

It appears a graffiti artist has even taken advantage of the abandoned spot ;) .

Graffiti wall

Graffiti wall

Graffiti wall

Graffiti wall

Hidden Mickey

Hidden Mickey

Even the tabletops were [Read more…]

News! Food Pre-order Test in Progress at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

It looks like the next phase of Disney dining technology testing is upon us!

Express Order screenshot

Express Order screenshot

Thanks to WDWMagic and OrlandoParkNews we learned that a limited-run test (from now until May 12) is currently in place for guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you have somehow indicated that you will be visiting Hollywood Studios via your My Disney Experience account (either by making a FastPass+ choice for attractions or a dining reservation for the park’s Table Service locations), you may receive an e-mail invite to participate in a test involving pre-ordering food items at Backlot Express Counter Service or Fantasmic! concession.

Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Selections

Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Selections

Express Order is the name of the free app that guests are invited to download in order to participate.

Express Order app Home Page

Express Order app Home Page

Upon opening the app, you’ll see two dining choices: Backlot Express or concession options for Fantasmic! Please note that Fantasmic! concession pre-ordering is only available prior to the start of the show each night.

Backlot Express and Fantasmic! options

Backlot Express and Fantasmic! options

Just swipe to the right for further choices and instructions. For instance, with Backlot Express, you’ll see that you can choose to [Read more…]

News! Menu Refresh for Studio Catering Co. at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Tucked between the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” play area and its neighboring waterhole, High Octane Refreshments, Studio Catering Co. is just your basic quick stop with plenty of seats along with lots of shade and high-powered fans for hot Florida days.

We’ve enjoyed the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich here in the past, but really, Studio Catering Co. has never been particularly known for any signature items or “must-do dining.”

However, the menu has been given a bit of a revamp, and some of the items seem to have some definite potential! Nearly the entire menu has been refreshed, and while some items bear a resemblance to previous bites here, a couple are all new.

For instance, the new Pulled Beef Brisket Sandwich features braised beef brisket, Muenster cheese, arugula and horseradish sauce served on a ciabatta roll.

braised pulled brisket sandwich

Braised Pulled Brisket Sandwich

Fans of the previous Toasted Tuscan may enjoy the Deli Sandwich, which is [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: March 3, 2015

We’re taking a quick trip around all four Disney World Parks and then making stops at several Resorts, where a lot of food news seems to be taking place as of late!

But we’re starting our “World”-wide tour at Downtown Disney, and taking a peek at how things are shaping up as the transition towards “Disney Springs” continues on. And we may even take a sneak peek at something coming to our friends in Disneyland on the west coast.

Disney Springs mural

Disney Springs mural

So, are you ready to see What’s New? Good! Because in the words of Peter Pan, “Here we GOOOOOOO…”

DOWNTOWN DISNEY

Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC

Okay, so we’ve mentioned it a couple of times recently, but that’s because we’re happy that BabyCakes has a new home in Downtown Disney! Located at The Landing of what will be Disney Springs, Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC has been up and running since 1 pm on Sunday, February 22nd.

Erin McKenna's Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna’s Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC

Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC

Erin McKenna

Erin McKenna

Samoa Donut

Samoa Donut

Featuring gluten-free and vegan baked goods, this is great news for guests on some dietary restrictions. Read our opening day review here!

Flour and Sugar

Speaking of baked goods, Flour and Sugar is a little kiosk that can be found on the newly opened Marketplace Causeway. It sells pre-packaged cookies inspired by various cities in the Sunshine State.

Flour and Sugar

Flour and Sugar

We tried the Siesta Key Key Lime S’more, and we’ll have a review here for you soon!

Key Lime S'more

Key Lime S’more

Disney Springs Construction

All in all, things really seem to be picking up speed in Downtown Disney with the Causeway completed, allowing an easy stroll from spots around T-Rex to the Rainforest Cafe side at the Marketplace.

The Marketplace Causeway

The Marketplace Causeway

Light post on The Marketplace Causeway

Light post on The Marketplace Causeway

Disney Springs sign

Disney Springs sign

We’ll be sure to take a little tour along the path when we’re back with our Flour and Sugar review! The next thing we have our eyes on? Look for [Read more…]

News! Cinderella Premium Popcorn Bucket Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Pretty soon, the Cinderella Cupcake won’t be the only food tribute to the upcoming live-action “Cinderella” film at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Cinderella cupcake

Cinderella cupcake

Because Cinderella’s Coach will be arriving in March… in the form of this awesome PREMIUM POPCORN BUCKET!

©Disney

©Disney

Complete with carrying strap, wheels, and a picture of the princess herself, the introduction of this bucket celebrates the [Read more…]

Review: Cheese Danish at Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

If you’ve picked Disney’s Hollywood Studios as your first stop of the day, with plans to swing by your Resort’s Grab-and-Go to pick up a Cheese Danish before making your way to the park… may I offer a word of advice?

Don’t.

It’s not that it’s a bad choice, per se. There’s not a thing wrong with the standard cheese danish available across resort food courts. It’s fine. But it’s nothing compared to the Cheese Danish waiting for you at the Writer’s Stop.

We’re big fans of Writer’s Stop around here for a couple of reasons. Reason One: it offers a nice respite thanks to its out-of-the-way location in the Streets of America and low key coffee shop/bookstore vibe. It blends in so seamlessly in this area filled with TV and movie set false fronts that a lot of people don’t even realize it’s an operating snack stop.

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop

The casual bookstore-and-coffee-shop vibe inside invites you to meander and browse for a while.

Inside Writer's Stop

Inside Writer’s Stop

Inside Writer's Stop

Inside Writer’s Stop

Book shelves

Book shelves

Small seating area

Small seating area

Reason Two (ok, maybe this should be Reason One ;) ): it’s home to the famous Carrot Cake Cookie! We love this legendary snack so much that we’ve yet to sing the praises of the danish pastries available in this stop, because it’s so hard to resist the Call of the Cookie.

Carrot Cake Cookie at Writer's Stop in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Carrot Cake Cookie at Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

But since there really is no better way to start a day than with an enormous pile of cream cheese doused in icing, today is the day that the danish gets its due. I’m obviously focusing on the Cheese Danish, but you can often find [Read more…]

First Look! and Review: The Trolley Car Cafe at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

It’s officially official… The Trolley Car Cafe is your Starbucks stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Trolley Car Cafe

Trolley Car Cafe

Trolley Car Cafe sign

Trolley Car Cafe sign

Starbucks logo

Starbucks logo

Set right on the corner of Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, the architecture [Read more…]

Review: S’mores at Herbie’s Drive-In at Hollywood Studios

It wasn’t all that long ago that we paid a visit to Herbie’s Drive-In to check out their Chili-Cheese Nachos with Pico de Gallo and Jalapeño.

In that post, we included a picture of Herbie’s current menu, and it stirred up a bit of curiosity about another item on the menu: Herbie’s take on S’mores. So, we’re back at the roundabout in the Streets of America of Hollywood Studios to give them a try!

You’ll find several twists on S’mores at snack stops and restaurants throughout Disney World, such as the Caramel S’more at Karamell-Küche, and the S’more served in a glass at Kringla Bakeri og Kafe. Sometimes you’ll even find a version tucked into the bakery case at the Main Street Confectionery.

At Herbie’s, though, the presentation is different. The ingredients most replicate that of a traditional S’more: marshmallow and chocolate completely enclosed in a graham “pocket” crust (which is also dotted with bits of chocolate).

Herbie's Drive-in Menu

Herbie’s Drive-in Menu

S'mores

S’mores

As you might be able to gather from the photos you’re about to see, they’re a bit messy. But that didn’t really bug me since I consider that to be one of the hallmarks of a genuine S’more.

Inside the S'more

Inside the S’more

What’s cool about the S’mores at Herbie’s is that they’re served warm.

Wait — that doesn’t make sense ;). Let me rephrase that: what’s neat and unique about the S’mores here is that they are warm — not fresh-out-of-the-fryer hot, but nicely warm, which [Read more…]

What’s New Around Disney World: January 23, 2015

The year isn’t the only thing new around Disney World… we’re on the lookout for new eats, sweets, and refurbishment feats. Please keep your hands, arms, feet, and legs inside your ride vehicle at all times as we tour all four Disney World Parks to see What’s New!

Something's always just around the corner at Disney World!

Something’s always just around the corner at Disney World!

Animal Kingdom

We’re starting out with another WILD trip to Animal Kingdom, which includes a couple of menu updates. At Yak & Yeti Restaurant, Firecracker Shrimp and Ahi Tuna Nachos for Two join the appetizers (the Dim Sum Basket for two remains), and Ginger Salmon with Japanese Udon has been added to the noodle dishes. Chicken Tikki Masala is among the new specialty entrees, and Malaysian Seafood Curry arrives under Wok selections.

Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Be sure to check out the Specialty Drinks for some fun new beverages: Pink Himalayan, Kiwi Kimono, and a Rickshaw Rickie.

Right next door at Local Food Cafes (also known as Yak & Yeti Counter Service), Korean Stir-fry Barbecue Chicken has replaced the Sweet and Sour Chicken.

Local Foods Cafe menu

Local Foods Cafe menu

At Dino Diner in Dinoland, U.S.A., the Snow Cone has been switched out for Nachos, served with just cheese or as Nachos Supreme (at least for these cooler months).

Dino Diner

Dino Diner

Dino Diner

Dino Diner

Tamu Tamu Refreshments has undergone another menu refresh, currently offering the Slow-cooked Chicken Curry, Vegetarian Curry, and Roasted Chicken Salad.

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

This isn’t entirely unexpected, as the menu here seems to go through a standard rotation. So, if you’re disappointed that the Slow-cooked Pulled Beef Sandwich is no longer available, Hakuna Matata. It could very well make its way back around in a few months.

And, as we discussed a few weeks back, Flame Tree Barbecue is closed for refurbishment with a tentative reopening of April 1st. Find out where you can find some of your favorite Flame Tree foods at other locations around the park!

Flame Tree Barbecue closed for refurbishment

Flame Tree Barbecue closed for refurbishment

Speaking of refurbishments, construction of [Read more…]

Review: Chili-Cheese Nachos with Pico de Gallo and Jalapeño at Herbie’s Drive-In at Hollywood Studios

I’m guessing Herbie’s Drive-in isn’t really the first place that pops into your mind when considering meal possibilities at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

And that’s fair, because this little stand tucked in the roundabout on the Streets of America is pretty basic. It’s not known for any sort of signature snack, and the Streets of America itself isn’t a major destination for many guests outside of the holiday season’s Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights (although I’d argue that some of the best detailing in the park can be found in this charming area, made to look like streets in New York City and San Francisco).

Plus, if you’re looking for more memorable treats in this section of the park, you’re likely more tempted by the goodies at the Writer’s Stop, like the Carrot Cake Cookie. No shame in that!

But if you’re in the mood for something savory instead of sweet, there’s a snack at Herbie’s that deserves as a mention.

Herbie's Drive-In

Herbie’s Drive-In

Herbie's Drive-In sign

Herbie’s Drive-In sign

Before we dive in, though, here’s a peek at the full menu.

Herbie's Drive-in menu

Herbie’s Drive-in menu

For a very small space, it boasts a decent list of options (and this is the place at Hollywood Studios if you’re in the market for a Corn Dog).  But my Herbie’s go-to has become the Chili-Cheese Nachos with Pico de Gallo and Jalapeno.

Chili-Cheese Nachos with Pico de Gallo and Jalapeño

Chili-Cheese Nachos with Pico de Gallo and Jalapeño

These are made per order, so if you’re not [Read more…]