We’ll continue what is one of my favorite ongoing series – Downtown Disney Drinking in Depth. So far we’ve been to House of Blues, Wolfgang Puck Cafe, Bongos Cuban Cafe and Laffers Cantina, and Paradiso 37. In this round, we’ll hit Portobello, Fulton’s, T-Rex, Raglan Road, the Marketplace Margarita Stand, Cap’n Jack’s, Rainforest Cafe, and then back to Fulton’s for dinner.
If you’re serious about your Downtown Disney drinking, there are two logical ways to start. The first is a nice steak and a glass of Chivas Regal at “home” – whether that’s Saratoga Springs Resort, a rental house, or your choice of park bench.
If that isn’t possible, House of Blues Happy Hour is your next best choice.
Both inside the restaurant and at the outside bar, you’ll find the best drink deals on Walt Disney World property. By far.
The House Cocktails are a Long Island Iced Tea, Margarita, or any house liquor with a mixer.
The domestics are on the left through Pabst and the imports are from Corona to Heineken. The Magic Hat #9, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and Guinness aren’t included. Moving forward, these beers are going to be $5 – $7 everywhere else and we’re not going to run into a mixed drink for less than $8. After Happy Hour, the domestic beers bump up to $4.50 and the house cocktails are $6.50, so they’re still less expensive than the alternatives and the House of Blues is a fun place to hang out, whether you opt to sit inside or outside. The bartenders have been friendly and personable and overall, it’s my favorite place to grab a drink in Downtown Disney. A better look around can be found here.
After four House Cocktails and a Miller Lite to go (each), we continued on. Realizing we had a ways to go, we popped into Wolfgang Express to share a Pepperoni Flatbread Pizza.
While on the expensive side at $14.99, they’re not a bad value compared to the other options. The pizzas are baked fresh using high quality ingredients and unlike a lot of items, actually are big enough to share. On the Disney Dining Plan, this and the Marketplace Wolfgang Puck Express are the best bang for your buck resort wide. The Marketplace menu is more diverse, but if you’re in the mood for a pizza, sandwich, or salad, then the West Side Wolfgang is just fine.
After a brief pit stop, we’ll continue to The Hole in the Wall, the other bar that offers Happy Hour.
You’ll notice that Happy Hour here runs from 3pm to 7pm and the House of Blues Happy Hour is just 3pm to 5pm. The wise among us would hit House of Blues until 5pm, order a beer right before 5pm, close out, and mosey on over here.
For Draft Beers, Hole in the Wall typically stocks:
- George Killian’s Irish Red
- Magner’s Irish Cider
- Blue Moon Belgian White
- Miller Lite
- Orlando Brewing Blonde Ale
- Harp Lager
- Kilkenny Irish Beer
- Newcastle Brown Ale
- Orlando Brewing Organic Ale
- Samuel Adams Seasonal (Winter Lager this time of year)
- Samuel Adams Boston Lager
- Orange Blossom Pilsner
I think we have discussed most of these before.
The Orange Blossom Pilsner is a good choice for “someone that doesn’t like beer” because it’s sweet and tastes like honey and citrus. It’s also rare outside of Florida as far as I know.
I also like the Orlando Brewing beers because it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find them outside of the state. And possibly even the city.
The others are all fairly to extremely common. Despite their prevalence, Sam Adams does a nice job with the Boston Lager and I like the Winter Lager, so I’d be looking in that direction if something less familiar isn’t of interest.
I’ve been interested in the Bailey’s Iced Shake for years, but never sprung for one before today. This thing was delicious. Chocolatey, decadent, but still light, smooth, and easy to drink. And it didn’t suffer from the usual frozen drink problem where you’re left with dry ice at the bottom after you drink half the thing.
I hvae no ideass if there any was alcohol in it, but tastde grate! Just kidding. I don’t have any idea how much alcohol was in it, if much of any. Bailey’s doesn’t exactly pack a punch in the first place. But that said, this thing really was delicious and there was quite a bit of it. Protip: Ask for it to go because the cup is larger than what you get in a regular glass. At $9.50 ($11.50 normally), it is expensive, but we’re going to be paying this per drink from here on out. The $4.75 is with the $2 off for happy hour, but it does make the drinks more reasonable, so keep that in mind if you’re at Downtown Disney between 3pm and 7pm. There’s no reason to be anywhere else between 5pm and 7pm.
Portobello is located just a minute or two away down past Raglan Road and Cooke’s of Dublin. We tried to get into Raglan, but it was jam packed full of people. We’ll return.
Downtown Disney can be surprisingly busy in the evening. So busy, that you could be looking at 30 to 60+ minute waits at most restaurants if you don’t have a reservation. Portobello’s bar is a nice choice if you’re sticking your nose up at the 60 minute wait at Fulton’s.
Now that the restaurant accepts the Disney Dining Plan, it’s quite a bit busier than it was before.
But it should still be one of the easiest restaurants to get into without a reservation. This isn’t indicative of the quality of the service or food. I think it’s simply because the building is unassuming and the restaurant’s name isn’t familiar. People joke about Olive Garden replacing Tony’s Town Square inside Magic Kingdom now that Starbucks is ruining the sanctity of Main Street, but an Olive Garden here would do so much business. It’d have to be six stories and have dedicated parking.
Anyway, Portobello probably won’t be winning any awards on atmosphere, but it’s a tastefully decorated restaurant and I’ve enjoyed my meals there. This is the Black Linguine with Florida Rock Shrimp with tomatoes, garlic, and asparagus which was only $15.95 at lunch at the time.
Enough reminiscing. Back to this evening. My favorite part about Portobello, and one of the best deals resort wide, is the three meatball sliders for $5 at the bar. Or if you just want one, they’re $2 a pop. Here, we have Beef + Veal, Spicy Pork, and Chicken.
Each is easily three or four bites and for five dollars you either have 3/4 of a meal or a nice, sharable snack.
None of the signature beverages sounded particularly appealing. Does whiskey not exist in Italy? Would it kill you to put bourbon in something? And apparently no draft beers, though I like the Olde Pelican E.P.A as pictured above as well as the Red Ale, both from Orlando Brewing. The Moretti La Rossa, a 7.2% Dopplebock, is otherwise your best option.
Despite a lackluster menu, service was better here than anywhere else we visited. It probably helped that there were only six people at the bar, but it’s worth pointing out that this was the only place that poured us glasses of water as we sat down. To the right is the Gusto Estate – Torched Cherry, Peach Schnapps, and Apple Pucker. It didn’t taste particularly boozy since it was well balanced with the schnapps and pucker, but the cherry flavor was still pretty overwhelming. There’s even a cherry sitting in the bottom. Since it’s all alcohol, it does pack a punch though.
You may remember my roommate, Inappropriate Sara, from the last installment of Downtown Drinking in Depth and she joins us again for this run. I have no idea what this drink is. I’m guessing the Venetian Spritz. If you want to look like you know what you’re doing, Aperol and Orangecello are two good items to have in your bar.
I’d stop here for an Orlando Brewing beer and the Meatball Sliders, but the drink menu didn’t do a whole lot for me. Since they stock a full bar, I’m guessing they could whip something up to your specifications if you wanted to go that route. It just may or may not come out being $50. Wines were also priced incredibly high. The bartender confided in us that the markup was 300 to 600%.
Otherwise, Portobello is a pretty inexpensive restaurant all things considered. You can get out of here for $10 – $25 a person without much trouble, though I’m not sure I’d visit specifically for the drinks unless I was interested in sitting at the bar for a beer and the sliders. That really is a good deal.
Over to Fulton’s, which is just a few steps away from Portobello on the water.
As the boat would appear in the movie “300…” at Christmas.
The bar is on the small side and looks inward, so you won’t have a view of the water.
Tables over here are seated diners. Earlier in the day and during days when it stays brighter out longer, outdoor bar/restaurant seating is also available outside to the left.
As expected, prices are extremely high. For example, a glass of Beringer White Zinfandel is $8. Total wine would sell you a bottle for $3.97. The Sonoma Cutrer, which is a very good bottle of chardonnay, is $13 a glass or around $20 a bottle in stores. While we’re on the subject, this is a very nice white wine if you’re in the market for one. That’s the 1.5L bottle too. A regular bottle runs around $9. You can ask for the regular wine menu, which offers wines by the bottle.
Sara fell back on old habits and ordered a glass of wine – the Mohua Sauvignon Blanc out of New Zealand – a $9 glass that would run around $15/bottle if you could find it.
An $11 Tiki Punch – Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Myers Dark Rum, Amaretto, Passion Fruit Puree, and Fresh Pineapple Juice. This was freshly concocted and quite refreshing. It seems like the recipes are a bit more complicated than next door Portobello and sizing is also larger.
I would guess the Shipyard Pumpkinhead would be on its way out, but it was still available by the bottle last week. I like Pumpkinhead more than some. I’m usually not a big flavored beer person, but there’s something about pumpkin and cinnamon in October and November.
And you have a lot of options these days. I like the Dogfish Head and Terrapin more than the Shipyard should you ever run into them. Dogfish’s Punkin comes in at 7% and Terrapin’s is 6.1%, compared to the 5.1% in Shipyard. Anyway, the Pumpkinhead would be a little more interesting than your run of the mill macro and the flavor definitely fits the season.
If you want to look for quality “local” breweries, you don’t have to look any further than Cigar City Brewing down in Tampa. Like Terrapin, almost everything they brew is amazing, including this Jai Alai, which you may have trouble finding back home. This is an incredibly hoppy 7.5% IPA, which means it’s not for everyone. But if you like hoppy bitterness and like your IPAs, this one is world class. And at the same price as a Blue Moon or Heineken, it’s also a bargain.
Bell’s Oberon is Bell’s Brewery’s summer seasonal selection everywhere other than Florida and Arizona, where it’s available all year. This is a 5.8% American Pale Wheat Ale that tastes strongly of wheat. If you’ve sampled it this will make sense – it tastes like a meadow. Because it’s more of a warm weather beer, it might not be the best choice in November. There’s no lingering bitterness, which is one of its best attributes as far as a nice summer ale are concerned. A 6-pack in stores would run around $10, so this is one of the smarter choices compared to what you’d pay in stores also. Highly recommended, particularly from April – October when temperatures are higher.
Overall, I’m not sure I would stop at Portobello or Fulton’s unless I was looking for a $6 beer. While it’s undoubtedly fun to sit on a boat, you aren’t really going to get that feeling staring inside at the bar area. And the drinks are pretty expensive.
We’ll rewind back to September 9th for a meal at T-Rex that I have neglected to tell you about.
T-Rex is one of the most popular restaurants in Downtown Disney. There’s virtually always a line out the door just to check in.
And the restaurant is jam packed.
The bar area was surprisingly void of people around 5pm on a Saturday. It’ll be full in an hour.
But as a couple of adults, I’m not sure why you would want to put yourself through this kind of torture.
The restaurant is horrendously loud.
And often dark.
But also very cool, particularly for the the target demographic, which I would think would be 5 – 12 year old boys.
I was personally terrified.
Lighting is so weird in the restaurant that these pictures are going to look bad. Just pretend they’re Instagram or something. So the whole beer in a margarita thing had sounded disgusting to me for some time. My guess is whoever “invented it” probably recklessly knocked over a beer into their margarita, didn’t notice, and said to themselves, “Wow, esto no es tan malo.” Anyway, this is a “Coronarita,” which is a “chilling blend of our frozen Mastodon Margarita combined with a bottle of Coronita – $12.99.” The full menu with pricing is available here. The whole beer/margarita thing is surprisingly good in my opinion. You may not want to test the waters with a $13 drink here, but your local Mexican restaurant probably offers much larger drinks for less money. If you’re in the Orlando area, Garibaldi near the Florida Mall serves fantastic Mexican food and a “Bulldog Margarita” which is $10 and about four times as big.
Chanon and Patsy (probably not their real names) had invited me out to dinner, so we have a wider variety of pictures. This is another drink of some kind. I’m interested in the Cotton-tinis that are topped with actual cotton candy.
I opted for the Fossil Fish and Chips – $19.99. People complain about pricing, but it isn’t that much worse than other Disney restaurants and the portions are as huge as the menu is diverse. The fish wasn’t anything spectacular. Chanon made fun of the fact that I compare all fried fish to Yorkshire County Fish. So I’ll do just that. It was similar, but I still prefer Yorkshire!
The Colosso Nachos for two – $15.99 probably would have been enough food to feed the three of us. They are indeed colosso and seemed to have a lot of cheese and other toppings to cover the chips.
Chanon ordered what I thought were Mahi Mahi Tacos. She may have to interject with what they are and how good they were! But if memory serves, I seem to remember a “decent” rating. That’s about what you can expect from T-Rex. The food is going to be pretty good and the portions are going to be large. You’re here for the horrific ambiance.
It’s certainly a lot of food.
But the restaurant is really aimed at the kids. Here’s the Kids’ Menu. Both Chanon and Patsy (really, those names sound unlikely) both had reading certificates good for a 99-cent Kids Meal because the kids had done their reading. The restaurant honored them, so each of the Kids meals were just 99 cents. So if your child’s school participates, you may want to consider that.
And the Corn Dog Nuggets.
Odd looking. The $4.99 souvenir “Discovery Blast” aimed at the kiddos.
And they have T-Rex napkins! For shame Disney! For shame!
If I was going to describe T-Rex in two sentences, they would be: Eating at T-Rex is like riding DINOSAUR nonstop during a Marilyn Manson concert. In hell.
If you have kids that are into dinosaurs and the prehistoric, then this might be a good choice. But it’s so loud. So loud. Food and service were decent – I don’t think that’s going to be a big detraction in most cases. This isn’t world class cuisine by any stretch of the imagination, but the menu is diverse and the portions are large. Adults could even get away with sharing the appetizer sampler if it came down to it. I suppose you could pop into the bar for a drink and to stare at the aquarium for a while if you wanted, but I’d probably skip it. Pricing and pour quality aren’t the best. And it’s really loud.
Coming up we’ll stop in at the Sangria Bar. Over to the Marketplace Margarita Stand. An unfortunate run-in at Cap’n Jack’s. Drinks at Rainforest Cafe. And dinner at Fulton’s.