First Look: Mad T Party Drinks and Eats at Disney California Adventure

This past Friday, Disney California Adventure surprised visitors with a soft opening of their new nighttime dance party, the Alice-in-Wonderland-themed Mad T Party

Atmosphere

Knowing that the “Rabbit Hole” was opening at 7:00, we got there just before so we could see the whole grand opening first night extravaganza. You can see by the photo below, that the soft opening wasn’t too big of a secret; lots of people!

Mad T Party Rabbit Hole (aka Entrance)

As far as seating goes, Disney really did it right. I am totally in love with the Linvin plastic furniture that they purchased to fill the area. If you want one of these in your home, though, it’s going to set you back about $895 (I did the research, I hope Disney got a bulk discount!). There are plenty of chairs, but you might have to fight me for a purple one….

Mad T Party Seating

And as the night wore on, the atmosphere got even more colorful…

Mad T Party After Dark

While waiting for the Rabbit Hole to open, which basically meant walking though a long tunnel of mist, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum greeted guests and put on a little banter to entertain us while we waited. I wonder if these guys shaved their heads for the part? 

Tweedles

Also, check the tough guy neck tats on the backs of their heads. Pretty [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.

Atmosphere

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: California Grill

When planning meals for our October trip to Walt Disney World, I realized it had been a LONG time since we’d visited California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort! And I haven’t reported on it here on the blog for over a year, so I figured it was time to get a little updating in!

Let’s head over to the check-in desk, shall we…?

Atmosphere

To access California Grill, guests need to head to the 2nd floor of the Contemporary Resort and visit the restaurant’s check-in desk (you can get here by elevator, or by taking the stairs/from the back of the lobby).

Once you’re checked in, you’ll be waved over to a special elevator — one used only for California Grill guests — and taken up to the restaurant itself on the 15th floor of the hotel!

Entry from Elevators

I’m always immediately impressed by the nearly 360-degree view of Walt Disney World. The gorgeous, sprawling Grand Floridian Resort in front of you; the spires of Cinderella Castle, Big Thunder mountain, and Space Mountain to your right; and the Wilderness Lodge and Epcot to your left will make it difficult for most folks to tear themselves away from the walls of windows to take a look at the menu!

When you walk in, you’ll be greeted at the podium and (likely) handed a pager. No worries; there’s lots to do while you’re waiting. Start walking toward the windows and you’ll pass the California Grill Bar and head into the lounge area.

California Grill Bar

California Grill Bar

California Grill Lounge

Here’s a tip! If you don’t have a [Read more…]

Review: Wolfgang Puck Cafe

Wolfgang Puck is the epitome of “celebrity chef.” Having successfully taken LA and several other USA cities by storm, he’s created a global empire (and worldwide name recognition) the likes of which have yet to be attained by any other chef that I know of.

Puck’s empire exists in Disney World’s Downtown Disney in the form of two counter-service restaurants, both named Wolfgang Puck Express; and two table-service restaurants — Wolfgang Puck Cafe and Dining Room.

On our visit, we headed to Wolfgang Puck Cafe — the less upscale and more boisterous of the two table-service restaurants — found in Downtown Disney’s West End.

Upon entering, you’ll know exactly what you’re in for. On any given evening, this restaurant is bustling. During busy dinner hours, it’s loud (due to the echoing-ly high ceilings and tile decor), colorful, and energetic.

Sushi Bar

The bright colors and geometric shapes of the decor here will remind 80’s kids of [Read more…]

Guest Review: Hollywood Brown Derby

Guest blogger Shayne Newell shares a critical review and fabulous photos from the Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Take it away, Shayne!

Brown Derby Entryway

In January 2010, my husband and I ate our first meal at Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We had a fabulous meal that literally made me want to lick my plate, and the service was outstanding. We recently found ourselves with a last-minute opportunity for a 2-night stay at Disney World over Valentine’s Day. We would be eating only 3 meals at the parks on this trip, and we quickly agreed that Hollywood Brown Derby should be [Read more…]