Disney has gone in a couple of different directions with the way it has labeled its Disney Springs maps. Above is the current look, which emphasizes whether each space is entertainment, food & beverage, shopping, or guest services. This post is otherwise a continuation of the first part, which took a look at what’s happening on the West Side.
Back in May 2016, Disney instead emphasized which neighborhood each space inhabited. Guests probably don’t care so much about whether T-Rex situates itself in The Landing or Marketplace, but might want to know if it’s a restaurant or guest services.
Otherwise, I’m not sure how clear the current map ends up being. Try to find “56” on the map and then what it corresponds to in the accompanying list. I know what it is and it still takes me a while to put two and two together, but I am not very smart either.
There is exactly one Guest Services location at Disney Springs, now located at the “Welcome Center” sort of in the middle of the shopping and dining district. It’s located across the bridge from Morimoto Asia and Homecomin’ and may not be as easy to find as the map suggests. One potentially positive aspect of Downtown Disney was that the pathway was largely defined. You started on one side and walked to the other side, passing virtually every establishment. Now, you could visit Disney Springs a dozen times and fairly easily bypass something like Kipling every visit. Though I imagine most people bypass Kipling without realizing it. Anyway, I haven’t had particularly good success at this Guest Services location. It works differently than the theme park locations as you’ll tell a cast member at the door what you need, then you’ll find seats and wait your turn to be called. It sounds great in theory, but the seating area is uncomfortable and louder than you’d expect even with only two or three kids running around screaming. But it’s not at all a deal breaker if you’d like to stop for dinner and to pick your tickets up on your first night or something. The easiest way to get here is to park in the Lime Garage and the Welcome Center is basically a straight shot from the stairs just a minute or two away.
Chances are you either have or are the in-laws that demand on going to Planet Hollywood.
There’s quite a bit going on here as the downstairs, outdoor area functions as Stargazers Bar.
It opens at 4pm daily and I’ve never seen more than four people seated. There is a poor musician playing to nobody alongside two bartenders and a hostess out of frame.
It’s potentially a shame because the bar carries the best local draft lineup on property with 16 different selections. You can’t even order these beers inside the restaurant – they are exclusive to the outdoor bar. At $9 per pint, the price isn’t cheap and I wish they would run a happy hour or something with a couple of bucks off each, but Raglan Road charges $8.50 for their “Irish Craft” as well. So if you want to enjoy a draft beer outdoors in Florida with nobody else around, then Stargazers is your best choice.
Most of the reopening coverage focused on Guy Fieri’s face bringing the burgers.
But you also have the opportunity to buy a $14 milkshake.
And the food is not bad either, whether we’re talking about price, quality, or value. This “Pimento Grilled Cheese – A triple stacked grilled cheese like you’ve never seen before. Six cheese mac-n-cheese, SMC and pimento cheese, stuffed and stacked between three slices of garlic-buttered sourdough” costs a mere $15 and is a stupidly large amount of food. It was a little light on the pimento, probably, but the bread was thick with a nice crispy crunch and the macaroni and cheese was creamy and decadent. You could easily share it with the side of fries.
This “Bird is the Word” is “crispy fried all-natural chicken breast, buttermilk ranch dressing, pickles, cheddar, slaw and honey hot sauce on a garlic-buttered brioche bun.”
Again – a ton of food with flavorful fried chicken and fresh accompaniments. It’s not as traditional as what you’d receive at Homecomin’, but the sauce has a nice tang with really juicy, crispy chicken.
Excuse the potato quality, but here’s the $30 Filet Mignon I ordered on opening day. It was certainly not BOATHOUSE quality, but at half the price, it was probably 65.3% as good. Bricker has a great review of Planet Hollywood, including much better pictures than I’ll ever take, here. You can also read our opening day thoughts here. Basically, Planet Hollywood is like a souped-up TGI Friday’s at prices that aren’t that terrible. It’s a very no-fuss experience and sometimes that’s what you’re looking for.
The Coca-Cola Store has a rooftop bar that is a lot of fun. The full menu is located here. They’ve got a lot of inexpensive options, including things like a Mexican bottle of Coke for $3 or a can of Surge for $3.50.
But I think the “Tastes of the World” are the most fun, here with a $10 tray of ice cream floats mixed with a variety of soda flavors.
For $8.50, you can try the “International Tray,” which includes 16 flavors of soda from around the world. Or order both for $15 and come away with 24 cups worth of stuff. I’d suggest having at least four people for this job as it’s a ton of soda for the money. It’s also interesting to get everyone’s opinions.
All of the cocktails are freshly prepared and shaken, even those that come in this $25 Signature Flight.
On the far left is “Beverly’s Revenge – Hendrick Gin, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur and Beverly,” followed by the “SRL Margarita – Herradura Tequila, Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach, Aperol and Simply Raspberry Lemonade,” the “Strawberry Mojito – Bacardi Superior Rum, Minute Maid, Strawberry Concentrate and Sprite” and “Cherry Coke Ripper – Malibu Rum, Southern Comfort, Grenadine, and Cherry Coca-Cola.”
The Beverly’s Revenge is quite refreshing with the gin and orange liqueur helping to ease the bitterness of the Italian soda. You can try it as part of the flight or purchase a larger version on its own for $13.
The boozy floats are quite good as well, though pricing is perhaps rough at $15. That’s a full-size Beverly’s Revenge next to it. There is no tip line on the drink receipt and the bartenders have shrugged off cash tips in the past, so you probably won’t need to add 18% to the cost of the drink.
Blaze Pizza is one of the most popular new quick services.
My full review is available here. There is some value with a pizza and drink running $12.65, but I’m not sure it’s the boon that seems to be implied by a lot of people. We’re going to spend a similar amount of money for two specialty burgers, fries, and two drinks at D-Luxe Burger shortly. A lot of other quick service options are in the vicinity of $10-$12 as well.
Otherwise, the vast majority of the new retail is located in Town Center towards the back of the Springs. This is probably good news as you can avoid it virtually in its entirety if you want to or if you’re more interested in shopping, the stores are just a hop, skip, and jump away from each other.
One popular criticism of the Disney Springs expansion is that it’s little more than retail outlets that you could find at any major mall in America. And while that isn’t completely untrue, shopping is a leisure activity that many people enjoy, even if it does mean precious touring time is taken away from Hollywood Studios. And with many stores already partnered with Disney, it’s a good opportunity to see the full line of Disney-inspired products that Alex & Ani, Kate Spade, Ugg, Under Armour, MAC etc offer in person. In addition to that, every tenant is required to do something that they don’t do at any of their other retail locations in the world.
Speaking of D-Luxe Burger, here we are.
About six months ago, as part of a Valentine’s Day promotion, D-Luxe added the “Duos” now found at the top of the regular menu.
They’re actually a really good value compared to other quick service sandwiches, even at the $29 tier.
The downside here is that the burgers are crazy greasy. Above is my favorite – the “El Diablo” with chorizo mixed in with the beef, making for a spicier bite and a more nuanced flavor profile.
Very greasy though.
I wrote a 2,000 word review that I have neglected to publish, but I’ll add some information on how mobile order works here (well) and post it in the next couple of days. I think D-Luxe still serves the best quick service burgers on property and nobody goes to a burger place expecting health food, but the grease situation is a little out of control. I’m not sure if other people’s experiences are any different.
Conversely, I have three reviews for The Polite Pig covering four different meals there. The first is here, followed by this, and this, with the third being my final take on an outlet that I think is best skipped given the quality and price. They have made a ton of menu changes, including raising prices on most items since the April opening. The BBQ Sausage Hoagie and BBQ Cheddar Sausage are otherwise the two big additions with the loss of the wild salmon. The peel-and-eat shrimp are off the snacks list, there’s no more grilled romaine salad, the ribs are now baby back, the ribs also appear in place of the grilled cheese on the kids’ menu, the southern pig sandwich has gone from being “pulled pork” to “chopped pork” to “smoked pork,” most of the other sandwiches have different toppings, and cheese grits are new as are the smoked potato salad and polite baked beans. The whiskey sour is also a new addition to the drink menu, as is the Red Cypress Spook Hill Pale Ale.
I’m sorry; I drank all the Pappy Van Winkle and it’s no longer available. The Whiskey Flights have been available, but never mapped out this specifically on the menu with pricing and options. The E.H. Taylor Small Batch remains a very good value, while pricing is pretty nutty on the majority of other options.
The Daily Poutine has offered this cheeseburger option for the last several weeks now. My full review is available here.
These are very hearty, shareable, transportable snacks.
My full review of Frontera Cocina includes a look at more than 30 items on the menu. It’s the best Mexican food on property, by far, with reasonable prices outside of the cocktail menu.
Sprinkles is located across the bridge from Morimoto Asia.
I’ve been disappointed with what I’ve ordered at this location over three or four visits. They’ve also never had what I initially wanted to order in stock.
If you do visit, I’d suggest the Sprinkles Sundae as their ice cream is really good.
But even then, there’s often a line out the door because offering 150 different things and having unhelpful customer service increases the wait time and in turn, the hype.
My experiences at Amorette’s Patisserie have been 1000.2% more positive, with the exception of one.
Everybody that I’ve encountered working here has been awesome – patiently explaining the different options and the methodology behind creating them.
Almost everything is produced in-house and options change frequently.
Attention to detail is fantastic and the desserts taste as good or better than most any dessert I’ve ever ordered from an on-property signature restaurant.
One thing I personally recommend avoiding is the signature cakes that are heavy on fondant. Here we are preparing a Circle-Vision 360 video of this cupcake, though Disney ended up going with a CGI version anyway.
While the $15 cake looks incredibly precious, the flavor is incredibly bland with a texture similar to plastic.
Everything else I’ve tried has been incredible though.
We’ll continue on to The Landing, where I’ll primarily focus on updating thoughts on the restaurants over there.