Disney made some modifications to the resort bar menu last week. Here’s what’s available at most/every Disney resort lounge on property:
There are quite a few casualties, including the removal of the Forever Young, Strawberry Julep, Superfruit Margarita, Scottish Raspberry Lemon Drop, Jameson Irish Whiskey Sour, Red Stag Lemonade, Citrus Infusion, Wildberry Margarita, and Tennessee Honey. The “Craft Beer” selection is also almost entirely new, with the exception of the Sam Adams, Full Sail Black, Kona Longboard, and Yuengling – not that those are particularly craft-y craft beers. New Belgium is making a big push here in Florida with their wares becoming available for the first time at the end of July. On this particular list, both Fat Tire and the Ranger IPA are above average choices, though my IPA pick is the Bear Racer and I prefer the SweetWater to the Fat Tire.
You’re on your own with the wine.
The Pineapple Caipirinha (Kai-Pee-Reen-Ya) with LeBlon Cachaca (Ka-Shah-Suh), Pineapple, and Agave Nectar is similar to the frozen beverage at this year’s Brazil Food and Wine booth. Only this one isn’t frozen and there’s a lot more pineapple involved. Being largely unfamiliar with the world of the Caipirinha (I don’t get out much), this drink tasted generically sweet with a bit of sourness on the back end. Fortunately, LeBlon is a top-shelf cachaca, which results in a drink without that industrial grittiness that comes with some of the bottom shelf brands. It’s worth trying and I think a wide audience will enjoy it.
The Smoked Turkey is conveniently located right next door.
Cherry is a hard flavor to pull off in a beverage without coming off tussin-y. In this drink, we have the cherry-trifecta with Jim Beam Red Stag, grenadine, and some bonus cherries for good measure. On its own, Red Stag Black Cherry is a sweet, syrupy bourbon that’s best mixed with something as simple as Diet Coke. Fortunately, Disney has gone the extra mile and opted to mix it with Wild Turkey 101, Odwalla Lemonade, and whatever a “hint of hickory smoke” is. What we end up with is a drink that tastes like a bourbon cherry lemonade with the flavor of the bourbon present, but well masked underneath the fruity flavors from the lemonade. For those that don’t necessarily love the flavor of bourbon, this is a lot easier to drink than the Jameson Whiskey Sour or Tennessee Honey, which is probably why those were switched out. Still, I’m not sure this one is going to attract anyone that doesn’t like their bourbon. Recommended.
The Superfruit Tequini replaces a couple of the margaritas.
Casamigos is George Clooney’s brand of tequila, which I’m sure adds at least $15 to the $40/bottle price. Fortunately, it’s actually pretty decent and gets extra points for not being Cuervo or Patron. Despite being largely alcohol, the Tequini is extremely smooth, helped by the 50-proof Cedilla, which adds some fruitiness and color to the cocktail. Very good and very dangerous as these go down easy.
The Heather and Honey Sidecar is the fourth of five new drinks on the menu. It’s still a little warm for a Jameson Irish Coffee at 4:30pm, so that one will have to wait for a cool night.
It’s artsy because it’s tilted.
Or because it’s shot from the underneaf. Listen while Disboards swoons at that pile of Disney Parks napkins.
There’s enough gimmicks going on with the lounge menu that you have to assume Disney is getting some kickbacks from its distributor(s). This Sidecar brings Dewar’s Honey and St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur together, which are not necessarily two ingredients you would naturally start with. Anyway, Dewar’s Honey is marketed to people that wish they liked scotch, but don’t care for that (yum) cigar box aftertaste. This ends up being a sweet drink with no unpleasant aftertaste whatsoever. I can rarely get Lisa to try one of my concoctions at home and she nodded after taking a sip of this one. That may or may not be a good thing. This one ended up being a little sweet for me, but not so much that I didn’t quickly consume the first one.
In addition to the drinks on the menu, most bartenders can whip up whatever you want, including cocktails that are no longer officially “on the menu” as well as other defunct favorites. Several of the Tambu Lounge bartenders are transplants from Pleasure Island and can mix you up a Kungaloosh or whatever else if you ask for one in a sad voice.
The drinks will set you back between $9.50 and $10.75 or so.
About three weeks until opening on the Villas.
This functional eyesore looks like it will be a path that connects the back of the Villas to the main building.
You’d really be in business if it connected to the monorail station.
Over at Magic Kingdom, the entrance should be just about turnstile-less as the wall moves further west. Or east or north or south or whatever direction that is.
It’s 5:15pm and there are already about 15 people in line for Jack and Sally, who won’t appear for another 105 minutes.
Tuesday September 29th was a Party date, which is almost always a recommended day at Magic Kingdom with the short operating hours and lack of nighttime entertainment during regular Park hours. The longest wait here at 5:15pm is Princess Fairytale Hall, which is listed at 40 minutes.
You have my permission to respond “haha” to anyone returning from a September vacation complaining about the crowds. I don’t have any numbers for September 23 – 30 yet, but overall attendance looks to be flat compared to last year. And last year was less crowded than the year before that. But it’s true that the Splash Mountain wait could be 10 minutes instead of 15 and Space Mountain’s wait is all the way up to the double digits.
The next post is going to be Epcot on a Saturday during the Food and Wine Festival though.
Despite the lowest crowds of the year, September is not foolproof, as our poor Universal benefactor and friend-of-the-site Mr. Huckel found out. Just wait for a Saturday in October or November at Magic Kingdom or Epcot (through the 16th). You’ll be begging for a Tuesday in July.
The crane should be gone as of today.
Fairytale Hall remains a priority here after the princess move to Fantasyland. Cinderella was listed at a 10 minute wait with Rapunzel at 25 minutes.
Not sure whether I’d prefer to wait 30 minutes in the sun outside at Enchanted Tales or inside the insane asylum that is the princess queue.
It’s been interesting to watch the menu, service, and overall presentation change over the course of the year.
This was my first time dining in the West Wing, which I’ve avoided because it’s so dark, making food photography even more of a challenge than usual. But when your reservation is for two people and you show up with six, you take what you can get.
Considering how dark it is overall, it’s surprising how good the light is at each individual place setting.
The thunder and lightning effects are a little distracting, but it’s otherwise the coolest restaurant setting Disney has come up with, at least as far as I can remember at this particular moment.
The menu has two all-new entrees – the Herb-Crusted Lamb Rack coming in at $28.49 and the Braised Pork (Coq Au Vin Style), which comes in on the lower end at $22.99. We’ll get to “The ‘Grey Stuff’” later.
Ordering soup at lunch makes a lot more sense, where the same bowl of the excellent Potato Leek is $4.79 and the French Onion is $5.29. The Seasonal Salad Trio has gone up a buck and there is nothing seasonal about it, unless seasonal means served all four seasons. Or maybe “hot” is the only season in Florida. I am not a chef.
Wine and beer are also updated:
The Chimay Red is new since our last visit.
On the wine list, the smart money is on the Lasseter Paysage, which is difficult to find in stores and costs a whopping $52 +a minimum of $23 shipping from their online store. John Lasseter is, of course, the head of Pixar. The Freemark Abbey Merlot ($22.99 retail versus $49) is the other better value on the wine menu compared to retail costs.
The cute little French baguettes are served warm and delicious here, in addition to an above average butter with a dusting of sea salt. They should help tide you over should you skip the $40/cup French Onion Soup.
I ordered the new Herb-crusted Lamb Rack with a Stone-ground Mustard Demi-glace served with Buttered Celery Root and Seasonal Vegetables – $28.49. Our server had a chef’s recommendation for how just about every entree on the menu should be cooked, including medium rare on the lamb. I don’t often order lamb because it tends to be expensive and my Disney appetite generally demands the largest steak on the menu. The lamb was indeed served rare with a crunchy coating and what I would describe as a harsh mustard flavor from the demi-glace that didn’t seem to complement the flavors from the lamb. And there was an awfully big pool of sauce for the six or seven bites of lamb. You might enjoy the dish more than I did.
The broccolini and celery root reminded me a lot of the Turf Club’s lamb dish. They did a good job with both with the broccoli retaining its crunch. The celery root tasted a bit like celery with a texture reminiscent of gritty mashed potatoes. Overall, this would not be my entree pick, but I’m interested to hear how others enjoyed it.
George ordered the other new-to-the-dinner-menu item, the Braised Pork (Coq au Vin Style) – Eight Hour Slow-cooked Pork with Mushrooms, Onions, Carrots, and Bacon served with Pureed Cauliflower and Seasonal Vegetables. Interestingly(?) that’s already a different preparation than Disney shows on their own menu, which lists it as “Braised Pork Pan-seared and simmered in a rustic blend of Heirloom Tomatoes, Olives, White Wine, and fresh Herbs with Seasonal Vegetables and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes.” Someone may have had a copy/paste error since that’s the same description as the chicken.
Anyway, the Pork is a larger portion of what’s served at lunch, fork tender and flavorful.
Greg ordered the Thyme-scented Pork Rack Chop with Au Gratin Macaroni, Seasonal Vegetables, and Red Wine Jus – $23.99, which looks just like the dish originally served last year. Unlike the entree I received last November, the server recommended the pork be cooked to a medium and it arrived perfectly prepared. Even the macaroni looked to be improved with creamier, cheesier macaroni inside the baked crust.
Christine ordered the Pan-seared Salmon on Leek Fondue served with Creamy Saffron-crushed Potatoes – 23.99. The salmon is fairly simple, but again, the kitchen executed it perfectly. And unlike the other dishes, the “white stuff” underneath is actually potatoes instead of some kind of fancy blended vegetable.
Neil ordered the Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops with Seasonal Vegetables and Mushrooms served in Puff Pastry with a Creamy Lobster Sauce - $25.99. The creamy lobster sauce is as heavy as you’re expecting, but it works well here softening the shell that holds the shrimp and scallops. This is my favorite entree on the menu with a lot of seafood and vegetables stuffed into the pastry.
This is what they originally served. You’ll notice that the two smallish shrimp are replaced by two large scallops and the top of the pastry is no longer served alongside it. There really is not much to do with the extremely dry top other than try to soak up some more of the sauce. Enough tops must have gone back to the kitchen that they don’t even bother sending them out anymore. I would just mention that the Elephant Ear Pastry over at Kusafiri at Animal Kingdom has a very similar texture to the puff pastry here…
Lisa ordered the Chicken Breast Provençal Pan-seared and simmered in a rustic blend of Heirloom Tomatoes, Olives, White Wine, and fresh Herbs with Seasonal Vegetables and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes – $22.99, which is another well executed dish. The pictures here don’t really do any of the items justice as I walked around the table taking them over shoulders in a room that’s nearly pitch black. Anyway, the Provencal is huge, tender, and moist with a provencal-y flavor. Another recommended dish, especially for the money. It’s a solid ten bucks cheaper than the steak and you’ll leave just as satisfied.
Service was better than it has been in the past, but was still not particularly attentive. I noticed Lisa’s glass of water was empty for most of the meal and again, nobody returned to ask if we wanted another beer, glass of wine, or iced tea. But our server was more prompt at the beginning of the meal and it “felt” like she’d be easier to track down if something was direly wrong. Still, I wouldn’t expect to have your hand held through the meal, like you might at some of Disney’s better resort restaurants.
When Disney opened Be Our Guest, Beauty and the Beast’s iconic “The Grey Stuff” was nowhere to be found on the menu. But it was still a thing. For a while, they would only bring you the two bites of whipped cream if you asked nicely. Then you had to have a celebration deemed important enough by staff to have one brought out for the table to share. What might have seemed like a special touch in the boardroom turned out to be a serious customer service problem as people who heard about or saw the dish being served demanded one for their own kids (or significant other, service raccoon, or what have you). It got to the point where servers would slip in and take Grey Stuffs supposed to be destined for other tables just so their parties would shut up about it. After all, nobody wants to be told that their pretend celebration is any less special than somebody-else’s-birthday-last-month-but-we’re-celebrating-it-tonight-so-where-is-our-free-two-bites-of-whipped-cream.
Fortunately, those dark days are over as you can now purchase a $4.19 “The Grey Stuff,” which is about four bites of brownie with a cookies-and-cream-whipped-topping. It is not delicious, though I’m not sure how Lumiere would fit “Try the Grey Stuff! It’s $4.19 now and tastes okay” into the song. It’s kind of a fun way to end your meal and maybe worth getting one to share, just so everybody can have a sweet bite to end their meal, but it’s not much of a value for the money. It sort of looks like a fancy dog biscuit.
Disney is also rocking the seasonal cupcakes. I could not tell you if these are only available on Party nights, but it might not matter. This “Poisonous Apple Cupcake” is vanilla cake with a dollop of apple in the middle. It was as bland as the cupcake is precious. Which is to say, “very.”
Or as Disney Food Blog would tell you, it was amazing. Let’s add it to the diabeetus crawl.
It was still the better of the two desserts. This is a chocolate cream puff with a blood orange center.
The cake was extremely dry and the blood orange center was dry and lacked much flavor. Without being overly dramatic, it was one of the worst desserts of all time. Of all time.
The lemon meringue cupcake continues to be very good though. I’m not sure what the deal with the seasonal cupcakes was – they may have been baked for the last party and held over a couple nights until somebody ordered them. Ours certainly were not fresh from that day. Or had been sitting under a hairdryer in the desert until they were served.
I am still of the opinion that eating dinner at Be Our Guest is worth the money, even with service that might continue to be lackadaisical. The food is improving in quality and is not that expensive considering Disney pricing at other park restaurants. With Crystal Palace dinner running $38 – $44 per person, you could order a French Onion Soup, Seafood Puff Pastry entree, and The Grey Stuff and still come out ahead. Even Liberty Tree Tavern, with no characters to speak of, runs $31.99 per adult. And that’s of-season pricing. Pricing is also similar to Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, where the dinner steak is $29.99 for the same meat. Reservations remain difficult to get, but they do tend to become available about 30 days before a given date. Disney continues to operate the restaurant with the Rose Gallery shuttered at dinner, despite the high demand. Overall, I did not love my entree, but eating at Be Our Guest is a lot of fun. And I have enjoyed the chicken, salmon, and puff pastry in the past.
We’ll get back to Epcot next.