Guest Review: Star Wars Symphony in the Stars Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Force is strong at Symphony in the Stars, a Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party! Beth Wesesky, guest author, takes us to this hard ticket event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. No faster-than-light travel necessary. ;)

A short time ago…in a state far, far away…
Nerd, geek, dweeb, scruffy-looking Nerfherder… any way you describe it, my family and I are proud Star Wars fanatics! So, on our most recent trip to Walt Disney World, we just KNEW that we had to get our “fix”! That “fix” included booking reservations for the “Symphony in the Stars, A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party” held in Disney’s Hollywood Studios on select nights through April 30th, 2016.

Symphony in the Stars

Symphony in the Stars

The day the reservation window opened, I made the jump to hyperspace and booked our party! Admission price is $69.00 for adults and $39.00 for children ages 3-9 and Hollywood Studios admission is required. Disney Dining Plan entitlements may not be used and prepayment with a credit card is required.

The party is described on the Walt Disney World website as: The Dessert Party You’re Looking For! Enjoy an out-of-this-world selection of desserts and specialty drinks—including alcoholic beverage options. Nibble on Darth Vader cupcakes as you take in an up-close view of the enthralling Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Show.

A Galactic Evening

A Galactic Evening

Atmosphere

We arrived in Disney’s Hollywood Studios around 6PM on January 24th, and headed for the Dessert Party check-in, which is located beside Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner. We were checked in by a lovely Cast Member who instructed us to return closer to 7PM. We were given a wrist band to present at the entrance when we returned.

Around 6:45PM, we headed back to an already very long line of party-goers waiting to be admitted to the viewing area. The viewing area was set up on the left side of Center Stage, in the hub of the park. The tables were standing tables, draped with black and red (nice Dark Side touch) tablecloths that just touched the ground. Keep in mind, there is no seating available, but the area is spacious and comfortable. Besides, once the fireworks begin, you’ll be on your feet in awe! The evening of our party, the temperature was about 38 degrees (brrrrr…), so Disney had several heat sources set up in the area to keep guests from shivering through the show!

Standing Tables

Standing Tables

Dessert Party Tables

Dessert Party Tables

Before the event got started, park-goers were entertained by an awesome light show and DJ who was playing modern dance tune mixes, which everyone enjoyed! As soon as we got into the viewing area, we headed for a table near the front to get a clear view of the fireworks. There were some trees blocking a bit of the view for other tables, but I’m sure this wasn’t a deal breaker.

Eats

We made the table our own, and went off to scope out the offerings! WOW…I’ve got to say, we were very impressed with not only the taste of the desserts and savory bites, but also with the presentation and layout as well! There were two food buffet stations, one on either side of the viewing area. Each station had the same selections, and it made navigating the area very stress-free. No bumping into other people reaching over you for food!

The sweet dessert options that were beautifully displayed on the stations included: Blue Milk Panna Cotta with Crispy Pearls (our 15-year old son’s favorite), “Darth Maul” The Pastry Menace Eclairs, [Read more…]

News: Full Menu Released for Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar

Doors open at 11:30 am on SEPTEMBER 22nd to Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar in Downtown Disney!

Concept Art for Jock Lindey's Hangar Bar

Concept Art for Jock Lindey’s Hangar Bar

@WDWDowntown Twitter

@WDWDowntown Twitter

Last month, Disney gave us a sneak peek of what to expect on the menu full of bar eats, with Air Pirate Pretzels and “Squid! Why’d it have to be Squid?” headlining the selection. [Read more…]

Review: Territory Lounge at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

We are heading back to one of my favorite spots to grab a quick bite and drink — Territory Lounge.

I really, really recommend this place. It’s comfortable, has a fantastic staff, is just a boat ride away from Magic Kingdom, and usually has a pretty incredible menu.

While my “love” for neighboring Artist Point waxes and wanes, I’ve enjoyed the majority of my visits to Territory Lounge. And with the recent installation at Artist Point of a new chef, who also covers Territory Lounge, I figured it was as good a time as any to visit again.

Atmosphere

The decor of the cavernous Wilderness Lodge lobby area echoes the same Craftsman style as the outside of the resort. But as you begin to explore different corners, you see that there’s more here than just Arts and Crafts. [Read more…]

Friday Happy Hour: Lava Flow at the Barefoot Pool Bar at Polynesian Village Resort

Well, wouldn’t you know it?

Right after I visited the Polynesian Village Resort’s Barefoot Pool Bar when it reopened along with the refurbished Lava Pool and I reported that the specialty drink menu hadn’t changed…

It changed.

Well, that’s not entirely true :). Everything you could previously purchase at the Barefoot Pool Bar is still available (that means the pool bar standards like the Captain’s Mai Tai and Banana Cabana). In fact, they’re all still prominently listed on the main menu.

Barefoot Pool Bar

Barefoot Pool Bar

Barefoot Pool Bar menu

Barefoot Pool Bar menu

But, lo and behold…. just days after my visit, I heard about some all-new (and if I understand correctly, mostly exclusive) drinks at the Barefoot Pool Bar!

You can spot the descriptions on a stand-up sign, and fans of the Polynesian will get a kick out of reading the well-themed drink names as much as the descriptions with titles like the Pago Pago Pain Killer, Niue Rita, Lava Flow, Tonga Tea, and Samoa Sunrise. Just click on the image below to enlarge and read the item descriptions. I love that the Samoa Sunrise features POG Juice!

Specialty Drink Menu

Specialty Drink Menu

I didn’t see this menu at all on my previous visit, but whether that’s because they were not being served yet since the pool bar had just reopened or I’d missed the roving sign, I’m honestly not sure.

Ah, well… it’s here now, and so are we! So, let’s have a drink, shall we? We’ll go with [Read more…]

Review: “The Force” and “The Dark Side” Specialty Beverages at Disney World’s Star Wars Weekends

Looking for something to quench your thirst – with a little kick – during your Star Wars Weekends adventure at Hollywood Studios?

If so, then there’s something you have to do first: you must Choose Your Side.

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Beverages

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Beverages

Two specialty beverages are available during Star Wars Weekends: The Dark Side and The Force. You can find them at temporary mini bars throughout Hollywood Studios, such as this one near Mama Melrose’s

Mini Bar outside of Mama Melrose's

Mini Bar outside of Mama Melrose’s

… or this one near Sci-Fi Dine-In.

Mini Bar outside of Sci-Fi

Mini Bar outside of Sci-Fi

We’ll be looking at the two signature drinks served at each of these bars, but they also carry a small assortment of other beverages available for purchase.

Bar assortment

Bar assortment

The Dark Side, as you can see on the sign, is a mix of Coconut Rum, Cointreau, and Pomegranate Lemonade. As nice as that sounds, let’s face it — it’s all about the souvenir that comes with it:  a Death Star glow cube!

The Dark Side

The Dark Side

Like the regular glow ice cubes at Disney, the glow Death Star has an on-off switch to preserve it for future use, and can be set to stay at one color or set to rotate through several changing colors.

Glow Death Star

Glow Death Star

Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.

I especially enjoy Disney glow drinks when you can place the glow cube under the ice so the entire thing is all lit up. Here is my attempt to stuff the Death Star underneath the ice with my straw.

Attempting to submerge the Death Star

Attempting to submerge the Death Star

It popped back up less than a second later. I tried to submerge the Death Star several times. But the Death Star would not be submerged. True story.

Pop Up Death Star

Pop Up Death Star

Awesome Death Star notwithstanding, you still want to be sure you’ll enjoy the drink, so here’s what’s good to know: I was able to pick up on each flavor in the drink, from the Coconut Rum to the Cointreau and the lemonade. It was nice that no flavor overpowered the other, and I thought mine was mixed well. For a drink representing the Dark Side, it was actually quite beachy, thanks to the rum. And who doesn’t love a good beach drink served up with a splash of Imperial darkness?

Your other choice is, naturally, The Force. This beverage consists of Grey Goose Vodka, Chambord, and Wildberry Lemonade. The souvenir piece is a glowing Light Saber.

The Force

The Force

While the Light Saber doesn’t change colors, it is [Read more…]

Disney Dining Tip from the DFB Guide: Dining at Bars and Lounges in Walt Disney World

When it comes to Disney World, bars and lounges aren’t just adults-only destinations — and they don’t just serve drinks.

In fact, here’s a Best Kept Secret in Disney dining planningDisney bars and lounges can be great places to get a meal with the whole family. These hidden gems are often less crowded than standard restaurants, too!

In The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book, we have an entire section reviewing every single bar and lounge in Walt Disney World. It’s well worth a read to find out great spots to get a full meal or a snack — even with no Advance Dining Reservation!

Now let’s take a peek at a few of our favorites…

English Bulldog with Chips at Rose and Crown Pub in Epcot's UK Pavilion

Bars and Lounges Inside the Theme Parks

A Disney World trip can be hectic (meeting characters, dashing to attractions, and racing off to dining reservations!), so finding a place inside the parks to escape the hoopla is key to a relaxing vacation!

With signature cocktails, cheese plates, fondue, burgers, donuts, pasta, and more, you’ll find some truly inspired menus at Disney World’s bars and lounges. Sometimes you’ll even be able to order from the full menu of a nearby restaurant.

In Epcot, we can highly recommend stopping in to Tutto Gusto in Italy, Rose and Crown Pub in the UK, or La Cava del Tequila in Mexico.

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

At Tutto Gusto, order from an awesome menu of meats and cheeses, paninis, pastas, and more. A relaxing atmosphere and full tables allow for an easy meal for the whole family.

Cheeses, Meats, and Shrimp Cavatappi at Tutto Gusto Lounge in Epcot's Italy

Rose and Crown Pub, attached to Rose and Crown Restaurant, features a fun menu that — gasp! — the kids might even like! We can highly recommend the Scotch Eggs and the British Bulldog sausage (see our review of the British Bulldog here — and the photo at the top of this article)!

Scotch Eggs at Rose and Crown

If you’re there on a weekday, seek out Carl the Bartender and ask him to show you his amazing magic trick!

Carl the Bartender and the tipping pint

At La Cava del Tequila, sample a few Mexican appetizers like chips and salsa, queso, and guacamole along with your margaritas!

Chips and queso at Cava del Tequila

Another favorite place to unwind in the parks and get a great meal is at Tune-In Lounge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Here, you can get great shakes for the kids, fun signature drinks for [Read more…]

First Look! Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship Specialty Cocktails

The Disney Fantasy was christened in New York City this week, and eager passengers await their first voyage on the newest Disney Cruise Line ship!

We wanted to share a few of the specialty cocktails you’ll find on board — you know we’re all about prioritizing any on board credit you may have received! ;-)

Adults-Only Restaurants

The Fantasy’s adults-only restaurants, Palo and Remy, will offer some delicious ways to complement your meal!

Remy

The uber-posh French restaurant, Remy, features a cocktail that is expertly handcrafted at your table. The signature cocktail “Collette” combines Taittinger Champagne and pear vodka, then is garnished with fresh blueberry, dried apricot, and mint leaf.

We loved this one! :-) The cool science-y part? When vodka is mixed with champagne, the champagne loses its bubbles! The sugar being released from the piece of candied apricot re-creates the effervescence! Taste? Incredible.

Collette Champagne Cocktail

Remy also boasts two wine lists! A special list of nearly 200 wines features vintage French wines, and Remy’s Vault holds the exclusive list with rare wines from around the globe. The latter lists includes a 1947 Château Cheval Blanc, which was the wine requested by the food critic from “Ratatouille” and retails at $25,000 per bottle. You’ll also find a 1961 Château Latour, which was also featured in the film.

Bottles from the Vault are presented by a white-gloved sommelier in an elegant velvet box with the wine on a silver-plated plaque.

White Gloves found near the Remy Vault of wines

Check out our review of Remy aboard the [Read more…]