Review: Strawberry Daiquiri, Blue Skyy Lemonade, and Captain’s Mai Tai at High Octane Refreshments in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Today we’re celebrating Happy Hour (no matter what the time is when you read this) with a few cold sips at High Octane Refreshments at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

The name is a hint as to what’s on the menu, since just about everything is “fully loaded” at this little bar, tucked into the Streets of America section of the park. It’s a very close neighbor to Studio Catering Co. quick service in both location and vibe. So much so, in fact, that — at a glance — it appears to be little more than expanded seating for the location.

But what High Octane offers that the Studio Catering food counter does not is a variety of specialty drinks served frozen and on the rocks, along with a full bar and an assortment of beer and wine to wet your whistle and offer a moment to refresh and refuel… in a “high octane” sense, of course ;) .

Atmosphere

The red and yellow color scheme over a large area of concrete that dominates Studio Catering Co. continues here, even down to the style of seating.

High Octane Refreshments next to Studio Catering Co.

High Octane Refreshments next to Studio Catering Co.

High Octane Bar

High Octane Bar

Seating at High Octane

Seating at High Octane

The only thing that really differentiates it is this small sign above the bar.

High Octane sign

High Octane sign

And sometimes you’ll spot a propped up menu in the middle of the street to let you know what awaits you at this stop.

High Octane Street Sign

High Octane Street Sign

Bar and Beverages

High Octane’s menu features good ol’ standard bar drinks like Long Island Iced Tea, Pina Coladas, and Rum Runners. (We miss you, Stoplight Margarita!) So when it’s time to belly up ;), you likely won’t have a difficult time deciding if you’re already familiar with these basic bar beverages.

High Octane Refreshments Menu

High Octane Refreshments Menu

High Octane Refreshments Menu

High Octane Refreshments Menu

I like the little seating area to the left of the bar that’s spotted with trees (it provides a wee bit of shade), so my friend and I carried our beverages there.

Side area seating

Side area seating

We decided to sample the Strawberry Daiquiri, Captain’s Mai Tai, and Blue Skyy Lemonade.

The Strawberry Daiquiri (this blend of strawberry and Bacardi Rum is pre-mixed and poured from a machine, for those curious) is [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Bongos Cuban Cafe in Disney World’s Downtown Disney

Sometimes I need a little Gloria Estefan in my life, so I high tail it over to Bongos Cuban Cafe!

I’m just kidding. I rarely need any Gloria Estefan in my life, but I DO need the deliciousness that is Bongos. Seriously, you guys, I haven’t had a bad meal here…ever. It’s a hidden gem, and if you haven’t been there, start your planning engines for your next trip!

It’s Cuban food of awesomeness — tons of flavor, not-always-efficient-but-at-least-friendly service, and drinks that are BIGGER THAN YOUR HEAD. Plus souvenir glasses. And POPSYCAKES!

Atmosphere

Located in Downtown Disney West Side, most Disney guests know this eatery as “the place with the big pineapple out front.” During the evening, Bongos looks and feels like a nightclub that you’d find in Old Havana or South Beach. It’s like a party waiting to happen, this place.

Open and airy, you can imagine the celebration spilling out onto the “street” during especially festive times.

Outdoor Atmosphere

Outdoor Atmosphere

And a festive good time is what you’d expect here, as is evident from the two bars that dominate the inside.

Second Bar Area

Bar Area

Sit yourself down on actual bongos at the bar up front! Fun (and REALLY uncomfortable!).

First Bar Area

Bongo Bar Stools and Cool, Colorful Lighting in the Front Bar Area

So if you’re tired of sitting on the Bongos, no worries; this place offers a wide array of seating areas. The upstairs seating area — both inside and outside on the balcony — offer good views of the surrounding Downtown Disney area.

It may be a teensy bit quieter upstairs at night, but during the day (for lunch) the whole place is nice and relaxed.

Upstairs Seating

Upstairs Seating

Yep — two-story ceilings and [Read more…]

Review: Jiko at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

You guys…Jiko still rocks.

Animal Kingdom Lodge’s signature dining spot has it all — unique, interesting food that’s constantly changing to reflect seasons and trends. Ambiance that changes with the evening light. Impeccable service.

We have returned to Jiko again and again since my husband and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together. On a recent visit, we met friends at Jiko for a special dinner in hopes that our streak of great experiences would continue.

Atmosphere

Jiko is located on the ground floor of Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Head downstairs from the lobby, past Victoria Falls Lounge. You’ll find Jiko adjacent to Animal Kingdom Lodge’s other table service spot, Boma.

Menus -- Click to Enlarge

A bank of windows overlooks a beautiful water feature just outside of the restaurant. The rocks and running water provide a soothing backdrop to your dining experience. And if you happen to be seated near the window, be sure to try and spot the hidden Mickey in the rock formations!

Outside View

Back inside, you’ll pass a bar area and the outside wall of the Cape Town Wine Room en route to the main dining room. This is a great time to discuss the truly amazing wine offering at Jiko. The restaurant offers only African wines and is home to the largest collection of South African wines outside of the African continent.

Bar Area and Wine

Pause as you enter the restaurant and take in the view before you. The interior created by well-known restaurant designer Jeffrey Beers evokes themes from The Lion King. The colors, although understated, are rich and mimic nature.

A View of the Restaurant from the Front

Dozens of bird sculptures are suspended in realistic fashion from the ceiling and provide a wonderful sense of movement. I have yet to walk into Jiko with someone seeing the birds for the first time and not see his or her face light up. They’re a beautiful touch.

Ceiling and Bird Detail

A “jiko”, or cooking place, is [Read more…]