Food Truck Park Now Open in Downtown Disney’s West Side!

The construction walls are down at long last, and Food Truck Park is open in Downtown Disney’s West Side!

Nestled between Bongos Cuban Cafe and the West Side Starbucks, Food Truck Park provides a home base for the four Disney Food Trucks.

The cuisine of each food truck reflects that of a Disney Park, with Superstar Catering representing Hollywood Studios, and Namaste Cafe for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. World Showcase of Flavors bring tastes from Epcot’s annual International Food & Wine Festival to Disney guests year round, while Fantasy Fare features dishes from “Magic Kingdoms Around the World,” most notably the Hand-dipped Corn Dogs in honor of Disneyland.

Originally slated to open this past summer, Food Truck Park is open at last!

Entrance to Food Truck Park

Entrance to Food Truck Park

Atmosphere

The actuality of Food Truck Park differs somewhat from the original artistic renderings.

Food Truck Park concept art

Food Truck Park concept art

The elevated structure that serves as a de facto entrance to the area was anticipated to provide raised seating that guests would reach via a glass elevator.

Elevated structure

Elevated structure

What has come to pass (at least, at this point in time) is a bit more low-key, but still an attractive and open space providing nice waterfront views nonetheless.

Food Truck Park

Food Truck Park

Food Truck Park

Food Truck Park

Food Truck Park

Food Truck Park

Waterfront views

Waterfront views

View of Characters in Flight Balloon

View of Characters in Flight Balloon

Standing tables abound, along with more traditional tables and chairs for those wishing to linger and relax awhile.

Standing tables

Standing tables

Standing table

Standing table

Tables with seating

Tables with seating

There are two cool bonuses, I think, that come along with this dedicated space for the food trucks. First, let’s say you were [Read more…]

“Trucks on the Town” Food Truck Event Coming to Disney World’s Downtown Disney on June 21st!

If you’re going to be in Disney World on Saturday, June 21st, you may want to make Downtown Disney a part of your evening itinerary…

Trucks on the Town, an all-new event featuring FOURTEEN food trucks, will be happening from 5 – 10 pm on Downtown Disney’s West Side on the lawn next to Cirque du Soleil and House of Blues!

trucks on the town food truck event downtown disney (3)

All four Disney Food Trucks will be present: Superstar Catering, Namaste Café, Fantasy Fare, and World Showcase of Flavors (and there’s word of new items to appear alongside current choices such as the Hand-dipped Corn Dogs and pierogies!). Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Truck will be there, too.

Superstar Catering Food Truck

Superstar Catering Food Truck

Fantasy Fare Food Truck

Fantasy Fare Food Truck

So, where are the other nine food trucks coming from? Disney is partnering with TheDailyCity.com Food Truck Bazaar to feature local food trucks, including: [Read more…]

Full Review: West Side Starbucks in Disney World’s Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney (currently transitioning to Disney Springs, with the official renaming set for 2015) has opened its second of two Starbucks locations.

West Side Starbucks in Downtown Disney

West Side Starbucks in Downtown Disney

You may want to grab your own cuppa joe before settling in to take this tour – the West Side location is HUGE, so there is lots to see!

Starbucks Location in Downtown Disney's West Side

Starbucks Location in Downtown Disney’s West Side

Before we step inside, one of the unique outdoor features is the grass roof, aided in its growth by recycled coffee grounds.

Grass roof as seen from the side

Grass roof as seen from the side

Grass roof

Grass roof

As you approach the door to enter, you’ll notice that this is a Starbucks Reserve location. More on that to come…

Starbucks Reserve door handles

Starbucks Reserve door handles

While the Marketplace location that opened a couple of weeks ago is a walk-up counter for grab-and-go coffee, the West Side location is large enough that there is a dedicated room just for ordering and picking up your coffee. The queue is waiting for you!

Queue for the ordering counter

Queue for the ordering counter

Welcome to Starbucks!

Welcome to Starbucks!

Ordering room

Ordering room

If you are a Starbucks regular, you may not even need to glance at the menu, but it’s there, just in case ;) .

Menu board

Menu board

You can grab a bite from the bakery case as well. While there are no location-specific treats, I learned that this location carries just about every item from the La Boulange pastry line including coffee cake, cheese danish, cookies, muffins, croissants, scones, and breakfast sandwiches.

Bakery case

Bakery case

Bakery case

Bakery case

Packaged sandwiches, salads, and cheese and fruit boxes are also available.

Once you pick up your coffee, you can proceed to the next room and grab a spot to relax.

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Since it is anticipated that this will be a very busy spot, the name of the game is seating, and lots of it.

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Indoor seating

Seating at the Reserve Coffee Counter

Seating at the Reserve Coffee Counter

I liked this group table – a smart addition for a family vacation destination (there are a couple of group tables in the outdoor seating area, too, which we’ll see a bit later).

Large table

Large table

You can even gain some coffee knowledge if you take a look around. Chalk-style murals depict regions where coffee beans are harvested, as well as a little history of the French Press brewing system.

Mural

Mural

Mural

Mural

French Press mural

French Press mural

A few cool antique coffee grinders and measuring scales are tucked into wall shelves.

Coffee antiques

Coffee antiques

Antique scale

Antique scale

Everywhere you look, you’ll find more coffee-inspired details.

"Coffee sack" Pillow

“Coffee sack” Pillow

Beans at the Reserve Counter

Beans at the Reserve Counter

Changing screen showing progess of the coffee bean

Changing screen showing progess of the coffee bean

With lots of wood and black walls, this spot might be rather dark, but large windows provide plenty of natural light as well as a great view of Downtown Disney and the lake.

Window wall

Window wall

There are two really unique features in this room to share. One is the interactive screen. The screen is interactive in that you can “draw” on it (think etch-a-sketch, without the little pen).

Interactive Screen

Interactive Screen

I stole this little greeting idea from Heather, our Disneyland reporter, from her trip to the Starbucks location in Downtown Disney Anaheim :) .

DFB Greeting!

DFB Greeting!

I also mention the Anaheim Starbucks because you can use this screen to check out what’s happening out there from your spot at Disney World!

"Live from Anaheim"

“Live from Anaheim”

Of course, Anaheim is three hours behind the east coast, so there wasn’t much action to be seen during my morning visit, since they weren’t open yet. But there was still fun to be had — occasionally you can catch a glimpse of the chalk version of yourself, and see what they would be seeing in Anaheim.

Interactive screen

Interactive screen

I kind of felt like I was in the “Take On Me” video (by A-ha!) from WAAAAAY back in the day. If you remember that, then I salute you, fellow child of the eighties! (AJ’s Editor Note: “I TOTALLY had that cassette single!!!!!!! This is why Wendy and I are friends.”)

Obviously, part of what’s involved in this technology are cameras, so a disclaimer is present letting you know where to go if you prefer not to be filmed during your visit.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

The other special thing in this room is the Reserve Coffee Counter. If you are looking specifically for Reserve Coffee, save yourself some time and bypass the main ordering section, since you’ll find the Reserve Coffee in the seating room. It has it’s own register, so you can make your purchase without waiting in the main line.

Reserve Coffee Counter on the left

Reserve Coffee Counter on the left

Reserve Coffee Counter

Reserve Coffee Counter

Reserve Coffee is offered at select Starbucks locations, featuring very small batches of “rare and exotic” beans. These upscale brews are [Read more…]

Wetzel’s Pretzels and Haagen-Dazs Return to Downtown Disney’s West Side!

Remember just last week when we took you to the new Starbucks in Downtown Disney’s Marketplace? Well, we’re back at Downtown Disney already to show you the new homes of Wetzel’s Pretzels and Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream!

wetzels pretzels haagen dazs west side downtown disney (2)

New location of Wetzels Pretzels and Haagen Dazs

Only today we’re on the very end of West Side. We were excited to spot the signs indicating construction of this location a while ago, especially since Wetzel’s Pretzels and Haagen-Dazs aren’t strangers to Downtown Disney. Their previous location next to Bongos Cuban Café closed last October to make way for what will be the West Side Starbucks. (Wetzel’s Pretzels, meanwhile, has retained a small kiosk in the Marketplace.)

These cheerful walk-up shops are located right outside of Disney Quest (notice the blue wall behind) and across from Cirque du Soleil. For another point of orientation, you can see the House of Blues sign just across the way.

Wetzels Pretzels and Haagen Dazs

Wetzels Pretzels and Haagen Dazs

Aside from location, another key difference is [Read more…]

Review: Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Disney World’s Downtown Disney

Ready to get yer game on? We’re heading back to Splitsville Luxury Lanes in search of good eats and good times!

Splitsville Orlando just celebrated its first birthday this past December, so we were excited to experience it again now that it’s really settled in to Downtown Disney’s West Side.

Splitsville definitely changed the West Side landscape immediately upon its arrival, because this place is HUGE. Two floors with outdoor and indoor seating, five bars, a billiards area… oh, and the small matter of thirty bowling lanes!

Atmosphere

You can tell you’re in a festive place even before setting foot inside Splitsville’s doors. Music is always playing in the outdoor seating area, and it’s often provided by live musicians.

Splitsville outdoors

Splitsville outdoors

The other hint as to what’s going on here is the colorful display of bowling balls.

Splitsville Bowling Balls

Splitsville Bowling Balls

Do I bowl? Not really. Do I totally want one of these? You bet!

Mickey and Minnie Bowling Balls

Mickey and Minnie Bowling Balls

Upon entering the building, you immediately hear music and the sound of pins being downed by bowling balls. Because there is a LOT to take in right away, these signs directing you where to go for dining and/or bowling are especially helpful.

Splitsville entrance

Splitsville entrance

Splitsville entrance

Splitsville entrance

We headed left to the Dining Check-in and mentioned our Advanced Dining Reservation. Yes, Splitsville does take ADRs, and it’s nice to have one on a weekend, especially. But — thanks to the enormous size — it can be a great place to try to score a walk-in! We were seated right away (even though we arrived about 15 minutes in advance of our ADR), but we couldn’t resist taking a look around.

Colorful lockers and rows of bowling shoes remind you that this isn’t only a restaurant, my friends. It’s the highest end bowling alley dive you’ve ever been to.

Lockers at Splitsville

Lockers at Splitsville

Rows and Rows of Bowling Shoes are encountered when you walk into Splitsville

Rows and Rows of Bowling Shoes are encountered when you walk into Splitsville

As your eyes take in all there is to see – including the enormous escalator joining the first and second floors, the entire vibe is almost over stimulating. The fun and casual attitude of the staff, however, helps you to relax right away and feel at home.

Bowling Lanes at Splitsville

Bowling Lanes at Splitsville

There are nods all over the place to the [Read more…]

Construction Update: Two Starbucks Locations Coming to Downtown Disney Orlando

As Downtown Disney begins its transformation in earnest into what will be Disney Springs, signs of change are popping up everywhere!

Disney Springs Artwork on construction walls

Disney Springs artwork on construction walls

Disney Springs Artwork on construction walls

Disney Springs artwork on construction walls

Disney Springs Artwork on construction walls

Disney Springs artwork on construction walls

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the two (that’s right… two) areas that are adding Starbucks locations for guests to grab their skinny half-calf extra hot no foam sugar-free vanilla lattes.

Starbucks arriving to Downtown Disney in the spring

Starbucks arriving at Downtown Disney in the spring

We thought we’d give you a glimpse of their future homes so you can know where you’ll be able to find your triple venti upside-down Caramel Macchiato after polishing off a Full Montague at Earl of Sandwich.

First up: Starbucks at the Marketplace. This location will be [Read more…]

News! and Review: The Smokehouse at House of Blues Opens in Orlando’s Downtown Disney

Last week we let you know that The Smokehouse, a Counter Service location at Downtown Disney’s House of Blues, was “Coming Soon.”

We’re happy to say that now it’s here, bringing BARBEQUE to the good people on the West Side of Downtown Disney! Let’s take a look at this new hangout!

Welcome to The Smokehouse!

Welcome to The Smokehouse!

Atmosphere

With the addition of The Smokehouse, House of Blues is practically a mini-complex! Everything that was previously part of House of Blues still exists: from Crossroads (the Table Service restaurant) to the box office and performance venue, and the merchandise store.

The Smokehouse across from Disney Quest

The Smokehouse across from Disney Quest

Coming from Cirque du Soleil, you’ll find Crossroads first on your left. Next comes the outdoor bar and new courtyard for The Smokehouse, then the venue, and finally the box office (tickets) and retail location. The Smokehouse juts out a bit in front of the courtyard.

Left to right: end of The Smokehouse, the venue, and the box office

Left to right: end of The Smokehouse, the venue, and the box office

Side view of The Smokehouse from the box office

Side view of The Smokehouse from the box office

Amid the assortment of artwork and wonderfully random sculptures in the outside area, The Smokehouse itself is rather simple, yet keeps with the rustic theme and feel of the area with its “tin” structure.

The building

The building

The sign on top tells you everything you need to know!

BBQ!

BBQ!

Guests are welcome to enjoy the ample seating in the courtyard behind the beautiful wrought-iron gates. It’s a great spot in the daytime, but I’m really looking forward to enjoying it in the evening when all the lights shine.

Wrought-Iron entrance into the courtyard

Wrought-Iron entrance into the courtyard

Seating... love the lights!

Seating… love the lights!

Courtyard seating

Courtyard seating

You’ll enjoy a bit more of the cool, unique art that this space [Read more…]

Coming Soon! The Smokehouse at Downtown Disney!

Who’s ready for some BARBEQUE?!

We sure are, and the folks at The Smokehouse are almost ready, too!

House of Blues The Smokehouse

House of Blues The Smokehouse

What’s “The Smokehouse,” you ask? It’s the soon-to-be-open Quick Service location at House of Blues in Downtown Disney, Orlando.

The panels covering the construction have just come down, and the sign below is evidence of all-things-scrumptious to come!

The Smokehouse is Coming Soon!

The Smokehouse is Coming Soon!

Located in Downtown Disney’s West Side, House of Blues is already home to Crossroads, a table service location featuring Creole cuisine and [Read more…]

Disney World Introduces…Cake Pops!

The Candy Cauldron at Downtown Disney’s West Side is a popular stop for satisfying sweet cravings.  Step inside the Wicked Queen’s/Old Hag’s Dungeon for tantalizing treats.

No worries – there are no poisoned apples! The only fruit here is covered in tempting chocolate and caramels! While perusing the candy selections, watch candy being made in the show kitchen!

But the real news is…Cake Pops are now being sold at the Candy Cauldron! Thanks to Becky Browne Allen for the great tips and photos!

Cake Pop

Inside the pop, you’ll discover a real cake center — flavors are vanilla, chocolate, marble, or [Read more…]