Friday, June 27, 2014

Taproom Takeover for Operation Homefront at WDW Swan & Dolphin:Hotel Toasts Independence Day

Media Release

When: Wednesday, July 2, to Tuesday, July 8
Cabana Bar and Beach Club Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
                                   
Where:Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel
Cabana Bar and Beach Club


Guests at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel can toast Independence Day with regionally brewed craft beers, during a “Taproom Takeover” at Cabana Bar and Beach Club, July 2-8. The hotel will partner with Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing to serve a variety of craft beers on all eight of its taps throughout the week and add a charitable twist as well.

On July 4, a portion of the proceeds from the brew, Homefront IPA, will be donated to Operation Homefront, which provides services to military families across the nation.  Homefront IPA is collaboratively produced by several American microbreweries nationwide, including Cigar City Brewing. Homefront IPA is aged on donated Louisville Slugger maple bats, brewed with donated hops from Puterbaugh Farms in Washington, infused with fresh orange peel and served in donated cans from Crown Holdings, Inc.




Along with Homefront IPA, Cabana Bar and Beach Club will serve these Cigar City Brewing beers throughout the week: Helles Lager, Maduro Brown Ale, Invasion Pale Ale, Jai Lai IPA, Florida Cracker White Ale, Cigar City Cider, Cigar City Apple Pie Cider, Tocobaga Red Ale, Cubano Espresso Brown Ale and Wandering Pelican Black Ale. A selection of Cigar City Brewing beers will also be served at the Dolphin’s Lobby Lounge.

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel is partnering with Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing to offer locally-brewed craft beer throughout the week at the hotel’s Cabana Bar and Beach Club. Proceeds from the specialty brew Homefront IPA offered exclusively on July 4, will be donated to Operation Homefront, which provides services to military families across the nation. 

When: Wednesday, July 2, to Tuesday, July 8
Cabana Bar and Beach Club Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
                                   
Where:Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel
Cabana Bar and Beach Club
1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd.
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Place to See...and Be Seen! The Brown Derby Lounge

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Located inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme Park, the Brown Derby Lounge is a walk-up dining experience with both indoor and outdoor seating options. It offers appetizers, desserts, and a full bar including specialty cocktails and flights.
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On the evening that we dined there, we were able to grab a table as other guests were leaving, but it can be rather crowded at times and difficult to get a seat. We enjoyed the experience, but the level of service was not what a guest might expect from a Signature Restaurant. The food was ok, but not exceptional. However, the atmosphere was very nice. We enjoyed sitting outside at the end of the evening and winding down with a drink. I would recommend trying the lounge for drinks and desserts at the end of a day in the parks.



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SERVICE
Our server was very pleasant and charming. However, when we sat at the table after the previous guests left, the dishes were cleared but the table was not wiped down. We ordered several items from the menu including a dish that had a selection of meats and cheeses (see below). When we asked which items were which, he was unable to tell us anything about the dish. One of our appetizers was a Cobb salad. Although they toss the dish table-side when dining inside the restaurant, there was no offer to do so at the Lounge. Additionally, when we asked for more crostini, he brought them, but he brought out dry ones. He said that seasoned ones would take an additional 5 minutes and he didn’t want us to wait, but they were not very good plain and dry.
We arrived during the last seating time of the evening, but I still don’t expect to have service compromised at the conclusion of a very-high priced meal of appetizers and drinks. Especially not at a Signature Restaurant.


FOOD
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Small Plates *Artisanal Cheeses and Charcuterie Board for Two 20.00
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An assortment of Artisanal Cheeses, with Salami Calabrese, Chorizo Picante, Salami Toscano, Duck Rillette, Imported Prosciutto, and Chicken “Faux Gras” Terrine.
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Despite not knowing what exact cheeses we were eating, we did enjoy them. Our parmesan style cheese was mostly a pile of rind. We notified the server. He apologized but nothing was done about it. We made educated guesses about what each meat was as we ate them. The salami calabrese was delicious with a strong fennel flavor that I enjoyed. The chorizo was not overly spicy at all. We liked the duck rillette, but it can best be described as the flavors of leftovers on the day after Thanksgiving, cold turkey (duck) and gravy. Neither of us cared for the chicken “faux gras.” It smelled too much like cat food for me to enjoy it.



*Crostini
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Delicious, crisp, and perfect for holding bits of meat and cheese. The first order of buttery seasoned crostini far exceeded the dry unseasoned ones that were brought out later.


*“The Famous Hollywood Brown Derby Cobb Salad” 9.00
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Finely Chopped Greens, Turkey Breast, Bacon, Egg, Tomatoes, Crumbled Blue Cheese, Avocado, Chives, and Cobb Dressing
I have had this salad inside the Brown Derby for lunch. I really enjoyed it. This was a very small serving and the proportions seemed to be different than the normal salad. Between this and the cheese platter, I was overwhelmed with blue cheese. I also would have enjoyed the table-side presentation of mixing the salad at the lounge like it is done inside the restaurant. I would probably skip the appetizer version next time.


*The Derby Cocktail 15.00
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Jumbo Lump Blue Crab, and Black Tiger Shrimp with Avocado, and a Horseradish-Tomato Juice
This was very pretty, but nothing spectacular in flavor. The Horseradish-Tomato Juice arrived in a shooter glass on the side and the waiter dumped it on top as soon as he put the dish down without giving us the option. It was spicy. I would have preferred to have it poured on only one side of the dish or left to the side for us to taste prior to drowning the dish in it.


THE FINALE
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*Dessert Trio (our selection) 9.00
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Warm Blueberry Cobbler with Cream Fraiche and Orange Blossom Honey
Banana Toffee Cake on Cocoa Crunch and Strawberry Banana Pearls

I believe the third is the Chocolate Sphere with Hazelnut Praline Chocolate and Orange White Chocolate Mousse. But it could be the Milk Chocolate Cremeux with Mojito Concoction on Almond Rocher. We debated for awhile and I don’t remember what the exact flavor of it was now. I do know that we liked it. Despite being full from all the crostini and cheeses, we both really enjoyed the presentation and tastes of the desserts. They were very unique and delicious.


*Champagne Flight 2 oz. pour of each 16.00
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Fairy Tale by Iron Horse Celebration Cuvee Brut, Green Valley, ’12
Taittinger Bruit La Francaise Reime, France N.V
Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui, Piedmont, Italy ’11

Rosa Regale is one of my favorite wines. It is available everywhere, including most Disney restaurants, lounges, and it is a feature on the EPCOT Wine Walk for Italy (see Wine Walk Info HERE). I have not enjoyed the Fairy Tale Cuvee in the past despite its appealing name. However, once I realized that it is popular for Disney weddings and probably is served with wedding cake, I learned to enjoy it with desserts. It paired nicely with the dessert trio that we chose.

All of the desserts were delicious and unique. I think that guests are best served by ordering drinks and desserts at the Lounge for the best experience. It is a very nice place to relax, but the appetizers really are not worth the money. For approximately $90 (including tax and tip) for two people to have appetizers, a shared dessert, and drinks, I expected more. You do not receive a Signature Dining experience at the Lounge. But, it is still an excellent place to relax with a cocktail at the end of a long day.

**The Brown Derby Lounge is handicap accessible.
**All Menu Items Subject to Change
**Find Jeanie on Twitter @PrincessPapers or on her Blog, www.ThePrincessPapers.com

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Food Truck Park Updates and Food Truck Rally Review!



 
Restaurant Guest Services Manager Dawn, and Food Trucks Head Chef James
Saturday June 21, marked the first Downtown Disney Food Truck Rally.  Food Trucks from all over the Orlando area joined the 4 Downtown Disney Trucks and the Disney Wide World of Sports Truck for a great festival with DJ, live musicians, and a huge crowd of happy hungry guests.




Participating Trucks included: La Empanada, Yum Yum Cupcake Truck, Renaissance Catering of Orlando (we create magic for your palate), Mayan Grill (authentic Central American cuisine), el Cactus Azul (fresh Mexican food), TJ's Seafood Shack (seafood galore and a whole lot more), Philly's Best Cheesesteaks, Med Fresh Taverna (Grecian delights), Disney's Wide World of Sports Grill Express, Disney's Fantasy Fare Truck, Disney's Namaste Truck, Disney's World Showcase of Flavors Truck, Disney's Super Star Catering Truck, Beverage Cart including beer, Ice Cream Cart, Merchandise Truck.



The Food Truck Bazaar Truck was also available for photos.  You can follow the tour by texting FOOD to 67463 to join the email list.  The Disney trucks MAY just be joining the tour in the future.





Hand-dipped Disneyland Corndog and House-made chips from Disney's Fantasy Fare Truck

Gyro and Onion Rings from Med Fresh Taverna Truck

Downtown Disney Food Trucks Head Chef Brian said that the success of the event is even better than hoped.  He also stated that they would like to continue doing the Food Truck Rallies every 2 or 3 months.  So, be on the look-out for future events!


Other exciting news for the Downtown Disney Food Trucks is the opening of Food Truck Park on the Westside of Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs.)

Construction has already begun and there is currently a lovely mural of concept art showing what is on the horizon displayed in front of the area (next to Bongos).     





The Food Truck Cooks Kelli and Ryan said they are very excited about the new area and described it as having an elevated seating area and a glass elevator.  This sounds like it will be an elegant dining area suitable for enjoying the gourmet cuisine that the chefs of the Food Trucks create.

*Updated menu changes: Disney Namaste Truck now has a vegetarian option of samosas and naan bread with dips (11.00)

*The Fantasy Fare Truck has removed the glass noodle salad and replaced it with a fried chicken and mini waffle. 


For full menus and pricing for the Disney Food Trucks see HERE.


Check back soon for more updates on the Downtown Disney Food Truck Park, menu changes, and upcoming events.




Thank you to Head Chef James, Chef Brian (how could you be on vacation??), Cooks Ryan and Kelli, and Downtown Disney Restaurant Guest Services Manager, Dawn for putting together such a great event for guests and talking with me about the event and future of the Food Trucks!

*Disney Dining Plan Quick-Service Credits are accepted at Disney-owned Food Trucks.

*Accessibility: Some Food Trucks during the Rally were in grassy areas or required traveling through dirt/sand pathways.  However, the typical Disney Food Truck locations are located on paved/accessible surfaces.  The Trucks have high windows for food service, but Cast Members are happy to help if you need assistance.

Follow Jeanie on Twitter @PrincessPapers

Monday, June 16, 2014

Disney On the Rocks with a Twist!


I've stumbled upon the definitive proof that Disney is not just for kids!  That proof is in the form of a FANTASTIC podcast called Drunk on Disney*.  Imagine sitting in a bar with a couple of guys who are enjoying an adult beverage and bantering about Disney past, present, and future.  THAT is the Drunk on DisneyPodcast!  The show is hosted by 3 Disney & Drink-lovin' men.  Come meet them and "Get Drunk On Disney!"

Guy Hutchinson
First, Guy Hutchinson, podcast guru with the perfect radio voice, who I describe as the King of Kitsch.

Dana Snyder
Also on the show is the voice behind Master Shake as well as many other characters...comedian, actor, and voice artist, Dana Snyder.  

Bart Scott
Last but not least, author of "Ears of Steel: the real man's guide to Walt Disney World," and host of Ears of Steel Podcast, Bart Scott.  Learn about Bart's book HERE.


Some of the other interesting characters who make appearances on the show include:

Suzanne, the head-strong artificial intelligence voice of reason, who I suspect is really the one in charge.


Drinkfinder, a classic Disney-esque character, who may remind you of your extra happy uncle with the funny smelling breath.


And if you are really lucky and listen religiously, you may catch an appearance by Dana's wife.  Fun, vivacious, and comical barely begin to describe her.  I would happily step up as president of her fan club!


A fantastic variety of guests also join in on the show.  These include celebrities, Disney icons, and fans of the show as well.



Each week, the guys make a featured Disney drink and talk shop.  They describe the ingredients for each drink, so listeners can "play along with the home game."  Then they raise their glass and toast to some deserving soul. 



This show will definitely give you some laughs along with a cozy dose of Disney nostalgia, and A LOT of booze education!!



So come get Drunk on Disney!



I'd like to thank Guy, and the Drunk on Disney fellas, for having me on as a guest recently.  It was a blast and I'd happily be back anytime!  If you'd like to hear us talk about the EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival, Rum Chata, Mothra, and Guy's fear of butterflies, tune in to the Episode 41 Digestif HERE.

Guy's 99/10
You'll need some 99Bananas and A&W 10 to play along!
 




*May contain adult language and themes
Twitter @DrunkonDisney
Twitter @GuyHutchinson
Twitter @DanaSnyder
Twitter @BartAScott

Twitter @PrincessPapers

Armchair Imagineering Disney's Hollywood Studios



Hearing the recent chatter in the Disney community about a possible closing of both American Idol and the Indian Jones stunt show to make way for Star Wars Land, inspired me to engage in a bit of Armchair Imagineering.  Obviously some of these are for laughs.  But, there are a few things that I really would love to see happen.  You can choose which are which!  Thanks to @horizons1983, @365DaysofDisney, and @EmilyWDW for encouraging the creativity!
 MY IDEAS
  
(Disney feel free to use any/all sparks of brilliance.  Also, I wouldn't turn down a Dole whip as a thank you.) 

*American Idol becomes American Gladiators.  Still uses guests as contestants!  Just sign this waiver and you're in.  Welcome to TOURIST THUNDERDOME!



*Indiana Jones becomes Hoth, but Anna and Elsa from Frozen make appearances.  ~Do you want to build an AT-AT?~

*Star Wars Cantina Bar!!!!  I call this the "Poly Distraction"=Rip out something nostalgic and replace it with a cool bar so guests can drown their sorrows. (i.e. gutting the Polynesian Resort but adding a Trader Sam's lounge.)

*Streets of America brings back live action shows (look up Youtube videos for Dick Tracy and Ace Venture previous shows).  I'd like to see super heroes randomly appearing.  Spiderman jumping around from building to building?? YES PLEASE!  Ok I know.  Disney can't use the super heroes in park, blah blah blah blah blah...Contracts Schmontracts!!  I'm a lawyer. Trust me!
If only we had SOMEONE who could save us??

*Ewok Village (this is what I wanted to see happen in AK instead of Avatarland).  But, nobody bothered to ask ME.

*Animation Courtyard needs SOMETHING.  Disney started as animation.  What in that area reflects that? Answer: NOTHING!  So, let's go with what started it all...a mouse.  Line the path on both sides with 10 foot Mickey through the years statues in chronological order.
It's just soooo sad. ~sniffle~
*Fix up the Animation Attraction.  Keep the memorabilia.  Keep the animator's academy.  But how about we show some animation?  Remove the character meet and greet area (seriously, why is that there??).  Put in a bunch of small screens similar to the old Magic Kingdom Main Street Cinema.  Show the animation!  Running loop of "The Reluctant Dragon" movie in its own side theater? SOMETHING!
This Part is Still COOL.
*Sound Stages that have been sitting empty forever and definitely need a refurb.  Yes, it would be great to see actual shows filming there again, but nobody is coming to Florida to film.   


 
A Beautiful LIE!
I'm embracing the Pixar theming of the area.  Continue with the oversized Toy Story ideas from the exterior and the TSMM queue line.  Create an attached Pixar Dining Experience.  Oversized Andy's Room similar to the Movies Resort but where the toys all come to life around you (yes, character dining).  A few themed dining rooms a la Be Our Guest would work nicely.  How about a Sid's Room addition?...same dark vibe as the West Wing of Be Our Guest!


The sound stages have the room to build big high sets


OR


Every Pixar movie has a room concept to pull from.  Monster's Inc. laugh factory employee lunch room, Cars Cozy Cone Motel Diner, Incredible's home, along the waterfall in UP.  So many choices!


Luxo jr. lamp on each table!


This would work best as a character meal, but we all know that DHS could use some good quick-service.  Themed Pixar Rooms might be a nice addition to that.


Comment from @horizons1983 "but they already have a Pizza Planet."


Ummm...NO!  That is NOT a Pizza Planet.  That is an embarrassment! 
I NEVER loved YOU!

*The Hat.  *sigh*  Preference #1 is to obviously rip it out.  But, if there is some reason that it can't be removed, how about it serves a more interesting purpose than merchandise/pins?  I used to think this would be a great location for guest services.  Seems easy to find and is a central location.  But that might be too practical for reality.  So, I revert back to the need for decent quick-service again.  The hat is small so it would have to be something served out of carts easily.  I present a unique concept ~drum roll~
MAC N' CHEESE WITH TOPPINGS BAR! (at least 20 options)


Mac n' cheese is everywhere now.  It tops hot dogs, burgers, is mixed with pot roast in Fantasyland, how about a Make Your Own Custom Mac n' Cheese?  Get the bowl of the mac n' cheese base, choose your toppings, and receive a portable bowl of yummy goodness.


Currently the Hat is slowly stealing my soul.  Mac n' cheese may begin to heal that.

Go AWAY HAT! You're BOTHERING ME!
 
No, REALLY HAT!  MOVE!!

  
DAMNIT HAT NO!!
DHS definitely seems to be in a much needed transition phase.  I miss the "behind the scenes of the making of movies" theming throughout the park.  That is definitely gone now.  I think that if it becomes a park with an old Hollywood front entrance then split into a Lucas Land/Star Wars land and Pixar Place/animation themed park, it will be a more focused attractive park.  Better than nothing?
In short, DHS ya gotta get your life together.  Figure out what you wanna do.  Become a productive member of the Walt Disney Company.  You have great potential.  Do something with your life!



*Off Topic Bonus Concept: Adventurer's Club becomes a dinner show.  If reopens with an open door, people will only go there and the rest of Downtown Disney/Disney Springs will crumble again.  It will unfortunately have to come back as a ticketed reservation event to exist without overtaking the rest of the (boring) area.



Check back soon for my Armchair Imagineering of Animal Kingdom/Avatarland!

Twitter @PrincessPapers
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