Tips from the DFB Guide: Off-The-Radar Disney World Bars and Lounges

Walt Disney World is supa fun, but it’s also go-go-go-go. Sometimes ya just gotta relax.


Of course, there’re all kinds of ways to accomplish that. But after a long, hard day of Disney touring, I love to head to one of my favorite Disney Bars and Lounges.

“Bar” might not be the first word you think of when you picture Mickey Ears and Pixie Dust. But actually, these are some of my favorite spots on property for a number of reasons.

And I know you agree, because when I first published the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, a comprehensive Index of Disney World’s Bars and Lounges was one of our readers’ top requests.

Well — we heard you! And I’m happy to let you know that the DFB Guide includes reviews of every Bar and Lounge in Walt Disney World!

Let’s dive into the Index and take a closer look at a few. You know my favorites, like Territory Lounge and the Dawa Bar. But today, I want to take you on a tour of a few places you may not have discovered yet.

And if you find this information helpful, then be sure to pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Ready to grab a drink?

A Niche Menu and Free Beer: The Wave Lounge at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary resort is a great place to take in a relaxing breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Seldom crowded, the restaurant, located in the quiet back corner of the hotel’s lobby offers a market-inspired menu at a much lower price point than you’ll find at Disney’s suite of signature restaurants. You’ll also find some delicious breakfast options.

But in addition to interesting eats, you’ll also find a pretty cool bar and lounge area.

The Bar at Disney's The Wave Restaurant

The Bar at Disney’s The Wave Restaurant

While the food menu is market-driven, the drink menu features some specialties, too. The Wave’s wine list features New World Wines, primarily from the Southern Hemisphere. And nearly all of the wines featured have one thing in common — screwcaps! Sealing wines with screwcaps is a way to battle cork taint, an unfortunate chemical reaction that can ruin a good bottle of wine. So don’t be put off by screwcaps the next time you see one; many quality New World wines, especially those from New Zealand and Australia, are sealed this way.

Wines at the Wave

Wines at the Wave

Do your tastes run to beer rather than wine? The Wave also features a nice selection of Organic Beers. In fact, if you’re a guest staying at the Contemporary or Bay Lake Towers, you can enjoy a Complimentary Organic Beer Tasting on Saturdays from 3-4PM. (Remember, this is JUST if you’re staying at the resort.)

Beer Flight at The Wave

Beer Flight at The Wave

Just stopping in for a drink? Try the Beer Flight. The presentation is pretty impressive.

A Bar That Switches Things Up: Kona Island Coffee/Sushi Bar

Another favorite stop of mine certainly lives up to the name “bar” — but for completely different reasons. In this case, we’re (mostly) trading cocktails for java and some interesting eats.

New Tiki Statue in Lobby at the Polynesian!

New Tiki Statue in Lobby at the Polynesian!

The Polynesian Village Resort has just undergone a major facelift. We’ve welcomed new spots, like the Pineapple Lanai (the resort’s purveyor of Dole Whips these days) as well as the crazy popular Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (waiting times have been up to 6 hours during its soft opening!)

Trader Sam's door sign

Trader Sam’s Door Sign

But with all of the changes, the resort has maintained most of its beloved eateries, including [Read more…]

Review: Hawaiian Shaved Ice at Kona Island in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Even if you’ve paid a visit to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, you may not be familiar with Kona Island.

This pleasant little stop upstairs in the Great Ceremonial House sits directly next to a much larger restaurant: Kona Cafe. So it can be pretty easy to pass by — unless you are in the know of its reputation for being one of the places on property where you can enjoy some sushi, or even a press pot of Kona Coffee, brewed to order.

Kona Island was closed for a while in the late summer to accommodate some of the construction going on at the Polynesian (among those changes, the eagerly-anticipated addition of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto to the resort).

Kona Island sign

Kona Island sign

But it reopened by the end of September, and more recently I finally had a chance to stop by and sample something I’d been curious about.

Kona Island

Kona Island

Kona Island

Kona Island

Hawaiian Shaved Ice is now part of the offerings. You can get all one flavor (“Kumau”) for $3.99, or a combo of two flavors (“Haukalima”) for $4.99.

Koan Island Hawaiian Shaved ice sign

Koan Island Hawaiian Shaved ice sign

While flavors may vary due to available syrups, I was able to choose from eight on the day of my visit: orange, passion mango, cherry, coconut, blue raspberry, strawberry, pineapple, and pina colada. I could’ve happily tried all eight flavors (and many thanks to the extremely patient Cast Member who waited while I took a crazy long time to decide!). But I ultimately chose a combo of pina colada and cherry.

Hawaiian Shaved Ice, cherry and pina colada

Hawaiian Shaved Ice, cherry and pina colada

The swirl of white (you can see it much better on the red cherry side) is [Read more…]

Guest Review: Aulani Eats and Off-Site Treats

in front of the Lava Shack

Join us in welcoming guest author Beth Osborn with a tour of Eats at Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa in Oahu. We’ve also got some great tips about eating at non-Disney spots around the resort! Brace yourselves — there’s Dole Whip, Shave Ice, Plate Lunch, and more — ahead! Don’t forget to check out Aulani restaurant info and menus here.

Arriving to Aulani on October 15, my husband Kev and I selected familiar WDW items — refillable mugs! We purchased purple and blue refillable mugs, which have an Aulani design that matches the beige wallpaper in the halls of the hotel. Red and green options were also available.

Even though the mugs are more expensive at Aulani, we felt we got our money’s worth at $18.99 each over the week we were there.

‘Ama ‘Ama Restaurant at Aulani

We had dinner at Ama Ama — Kev’s salt crusted fish was like nothing we’d ever seen before, with a completely removable crust. He said it was very moist.

Salt Encrusted Fish from Ama Ama

I had the French Maui onion soup and a tomato and cheese salad (two appetizers instead of an entree). Both were excellent.

French Onion Soup and the Tomato Salad from Ama Ama

Makahiki Restaurant and Rip Swirl at Aulani

We had a character breakfast at Makahiki with Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy. I wasn’t as excited about the buffet as some at Disney World, but I did enjoy the [Read more…]

Disney’s Aulani Resort Restaurant Menus

Disney’s newest resort, Aulani, opens very soon in Ko Olina, Oahu, Hawaii, and offers restaurants that emphasize local flavors with cuisine from around the world. They’ve posted the menus for several of the table-service restaurants, so let’s check out what we’re going to eat on our (probably fictional) trip to Oahu!

Table Service Restaurants

The ocean breeze will be spirit-soothing at this beach side restaurant specializing in fresh, local seafood. The menu includes vegetarian items and desserts made fresh each day.

At breakfast, choose from island-inspired dishes including a Three Egg Omelet served with Aulani Potatoes; Seared Island Fish, Tamago, Mixed Greens, Miso Soup, Steamed Rice, Dried Seaweed, and Pickled Vegetables; or the Sweet Potato and Portuguese Sausage Hash with Poached Eggs and Marinated Hearts of Palm.

Breakfast Menu

ama ama

The lunch menu features salads, sandwiches, and main courses including Today’s Hawaiian Sustainable Catch Market, Grilled Sirloin Steak with Sautéed Mushrooms and Sweet [Read more…]