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…]

News! Boathouse and Morimoto Confirmed for Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs at Downtown Disney

We are so excited to finally shed some light on what’s happening behind those construction walls over at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney!

Disney Springs Construction

Disney Springs Construction

It seems that after stops, starts, delays, and renamings, Disney Springs is finally taking shape. And today, we’re sharing with you not one, but TWO new confirmed restaurants that will join the Disney Springs lineup sooner rather than later. And BOTH restaurants were featured on early posts here on DFB highlighting future Disney Springs dining.

The Boathouse

The Boathouse will offer waterfront dining with a nautical theme. Located at The Landing within Disney Springs, the restaurant is the brainchild of Schussler Creative, the same company that brought you other super-themed restaurants around Disney like T-Rex, Rainforest Cafe, and Yak & Yeti. Gibsons Restaurant Group will operate the spot.

The Boathouse -- Inside

The Boathouse — Inside

Guests can expect a mulitfaceted menu featuring American fare, including seafood, steaks, and chops. In addition, the restaurant will feature three different themed bars, including The Captain’s Raw Bar, The Admiral’s Club Bar, and The Dock Bar. Rooms within the restaurant will also carry a nautical theme and decor.

The Boathouse will offer guest more than just food, however. The restaurant will also serve as the launching spot for a number of boat-themed attractions. Guests can ride on a 40-foot Italian Water Taxi while they enjoy champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. There will also be guided “Amphicar” Tours that highlight sites around Disney Springs.

The Boathouse -- Outside View

The Boathouse — Outside View

Live music and private dining space round out the offerings at The Boathouse. The new restaurant is scheduled to serve Disney Springs guests until 2:00 AM.

The Boathouse is slated to open in the [Read more…]

Answers to Five Frequently Asked Disney Dining Questions

Where can I find a great steak at Disney World? How about a fabulous vegetarian meal? A beer? Live Music? My Lost Dining Reservations?

After years of answering questions from our readers, we at the DFB know the information that you most need to make your Disney Dining worry-free. We’ve been covering frequently asked questions here on DFB for a while, but today we’re answering a few of our favorites!

Wondering where to find a great steak in Disney World? We've got the answers!

When you need Disney Dining Details at-a-glance, we’ve got the answers to your questions in a quick and easy format in our The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book so you can find the deets that you need right away. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for details on discounts!

Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite FAQs…

5 Frequently Asked Disney Dining Questions

Here are five frequently asked questions about Disney food that we’ve included in the DFB Guide to lead you to fantastic finds!

1. Where can I find a great steak in Disney World?

We recommend Yachtsman Steakhouse, Le Cellier Steakhouse, Jiko, Shula’s Steak House, and Flying Fish Café. Lesser known spots we also suggest include Teppan Edo and Kona Cafe! Yes, you can find a great steak in Walt Disney World!

Rib Eye with Sweet Potato Beignets at Yachtsman Steakhouse

2. Where can I find a good beer in Disney World?

Craft beers are becoming more widely available at Disney’s bars, lounges, and restaurants. Just a few of our favorites include featured craft beers in Epcot’s Italy pavilion, The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Raglan Road Pub in Downtown Disney. Beer is made on-premise at Big River Grill and Brewing Works on Disney’s Boardwalk.

Of course, don’t forget to visit Rose and Crown Pub in Epcot for a great British beer list!

Choose Your Own Beer Flight of Warsteiner, Magners, Kilkenny, and Smithwicks at Raglan Road!

If you just need a six-pack for your hotel room fridge, your Disney World resort store will sell them (though they may be outrageously priced).

To save a few bucks, venture to one of the two Hess Stations on Walt Disney World property. One is across from the Boardwalk Resort; the other is across from Downtown Disney and is within easy walking distance.

3. Where can I find a fabulous vegetarian meal in Disney World?

The Animal Kingdom Lodge offers two restaurants with great vegetarian options. At Boma, the buffet has a wide selection of items for vegetarians. Nearby in Kidani Village, the menu at Sanaa has an entire section devoted to [Read more…]

Review: Biergarten in Epcot’s Germany

We haven’t been to Biergarten in a while here on DFB, so I think it’s time to pay this fun spot a visit!

You’ll find it in Epcot’s Germany Pavilion, and this is THE place to find sausage and beer. They have other stuff, too…but if you don’t like sausage and beer, you may not get the most out of this restaurant.

Let’s take a look!


Nestled in the back of the Germany Pavilion, Biergarten can be hard to find. It’s to the back, left of the pavilion, so look for a check-in desk in that general area.

Outside View

As you head past and actually through Sommerfest, the German counter service offering, you enter an area that looks a little like a courtyard, but with a ceiling.

First View Inside

But once you’re fully into the restaurant, the view opens up, and you are transported to evening in a Bavarian Village town square that has been set up in preparation for a party. And you’re invited!

Stage Area and Seating

Here, you get the full scope of the [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Raglan Road Irish Pub

One of the most consistently delicious stops on the Walt Disney World trail, we recently had the pleasure of a lunch date with my parents at Downtown Disney’s Raglan Road.

Located right at the front of what is (kind of) Pleasure Island, the vibe from the Emerald Isle spills right onto the sidewalk and around the corner as you take in Raglan Road Pub and Restaurant, the adjacent Gift Shop, the Hole in the Wall watering hold, and Cookes of Dublin next door.

Even though we were there during Spring Break, we didn’t find early lunchtime to be too busy. We stopped in JUST before the restaurant switched to an updated menu, but luckily most of our choices can still be found amongst the new offerings.


You want authentic atmosphere? You got it. Much of the decor here is authentically Irish, and the bars themselves were shipped directly from Ireland.

Raglan Road Sign and Front of Building

The entrance to the restaurant is central, while there is outdoor seating to the left and a nifty gift shop to the right. If Raglan Road does have one shortcoming it would be that there aren’t many places to sit while waiting for your table. Fortunately, that wasn’t an issue for us that day.

Entrance Foyer

The gift shop really is so cool! You feel like you’ve wandered right into a shop that was destined for Epcot’s World Showcase (had they ever built a separate Ireland Pavilion.)

Tons of Irish souvenirs and sauces from the restaurant are available here. This is also a nifty place to pick up some of Master Chef Kevin Dundon’s fantastic cookbooks, like Recipes that Work or Full On Irish, if you wanna recreate a little Raglan Road in your kitchen once you head home!

Gift Shop

What you see in the restaurant itself really is a little slice of Ireland in the Florida sunshine. You’re surrounded by rich, dark woods and brass fixtures. The tile floors below your feet add to the feeling of antiquity, and the soaring heights of the domed main dining room, complete with cupola, are crowned with [Read more…]

Review: Bongos Cuban Cafe

At long last, we finally made it to the Downtown Disney hotspot that is Bongos Cuban Cafe!

I’ll admit, I’d been putting off my visit to this restaurant. I hadn’t heard great reviews, and I wasn’t sure I’d like the food. But I’m SUCH a giant loser — what have I been waiting for?!?

I had a great time, I had awesome food…and it’s finally time to peek inside and find out what the Big Pineapple has to offer!


With architecture billed as “Old Havana” in style, this breezy, open restaurant certainly puts you in the mood for a tropical drink and a conga line. ;-) When we visited just before St. Patrick’s Day, Downtown Disney was alive with the excitement of a young, vibrant crowd, ready to get their dance on! The traditional Cuban dance music pouring out from the restaurant beckons you to come take a closer look and listen, and was perfect for a warm, breezy Florida evening.

Bongos Sign

Originally, our Advanced Dining Reservation was scheduled for much later than our 7:30 meet up time. When we checked in at the podium, though, we had no trouble getting a seat immediately. As a newcomer to Cuban food, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the fun setting hinted of some adventurous eating ahead!

One of THE most amazing features of Bongos is the wide open feel of the place. Seating is available both inside and outside, giving the restaurant an authentic Cuban or Miami vibe. After all, these are places where people “live outside,” and restaurants in these locations really reflect that.

To help with the heat, both inside and out, we noticed high ceilings and lots of ceiling fans. It really lends to the impression of cool, airy spaces.

Outdoor Atmosphere

The upstairs veranda also provides a pleasant view of surrounding hotels, the Characters in Flight balloon, and the lake beyond. VERY cool view, eh??

Upstairs Outdoor Seating

While the walls inside are painted to give an old world, weathered feel (and the stone no doubt lends to a sense of coolness on a sweltering Florida summer day), there are plenty of [Read more…]

Friday Happy Hour: Downtown Disney Margarita Bar

Situated on the boardwalk of Downtown Disney’s Marketplace in Orlando, the Margarita Bar serves up margaritas, bottled beverages, a Rum Runner, draft beer, frozen drinks, and yes, even cigars! It’s a handy little escape prior to a dinner reservation, or to relax on a sunny Orlando afternoon.

This week (and for several weeks previous, according to the bartender), the drink special was a Grapefruit Margarita.


The Margarita Bar is tucked a bit out of the way of the main Downtown Disney thoroughfare — in fact, it’s a few steps down and situated right on the dock next to the Downtown Disney Marina!

The Bar itself is more of a kiosk — a small island-esque shack on the dock with several umbrella-clad tables close by.

Margarita Bar

Thankfully after strolling around in the hot Florida sun, those tables alongside the marina provide some shade! And the live music on the waterfront invites guests to unwind. Frequently, [Read more…]