Editor’s note: This post has 167 pictures, so don’t click “Continue Reading” with 3mb left on your data plan should you find yourself somewhere without reliable WiFi, like the Walt Disney World Resort.
We return to Future World one more time before embarking on our tour around World Showcase.
Part 1 of this update, which includes a number of photos around the Flower and Garden Festival, in addition to a review of some new items at Sunshine Seasons, is available here.
We open this post with a look at the new menu at Electric Umbrella before visiting a couple of attractions and then delving back into the beauty that is the spring garden festival.
About eighteen months ago, the website published this shocker:
The website’s careful consideration of the political climate caused three to four readers to swear off easywdw.com forever. Or the thought of eating at Electric Umbrella was more than they could bear. Either way, I think we can all agree that they were a big part of this operation and remain sorely missed.
Back then, Electric Umbrella’s menu looked like this:
Last week, Disney did away with all but one of those adult entrees with just the Energy Salad with Roasted Chicken making the cut.
Here’s the current menu:
It’s a new burger, a new sandwich, and a new salad in the keen-oh-uh.
The Vegetarian Flatbread, which I really liked, was switched out a while back.
The previous version was incredibly flavorful with a ton of cheese and a number of unique ingredients. Above is/was the Kids’ half portion.
This is one of the worst pictures I’ve ever taken, but the Sausage and Pepper Sandwich was a surprise hit too with several large, nicely spiced, tender Italian meatballs along with smaller chunks of pork inside of a fresh, nicely toasted roll with spicy red peppers and a hearty marinara sauce that’s topped with plenty of melted cheese.
Another bad picture, I deemed the French Dip Burger “better than most with the pot roast adding a beefier flavor, the fried onions adding some crunch and complexity, and the muenster cheese adding a very mild cheesy flavor underneath.”
All that is in the past, of course. The “Mojo Pulled Pork Burger” will run you $12.99 and isn’t available as a discounted Combo with beverage and dessert.
Here’s the rest of the menu board. Note the two varieties of slushy – adding some Sauza makes the Strawberry Margarita and some Don Q makes the Pina Colada. The Bud Light and Heineken are 16-ounce drafts. And there’s a couple more Kids’ Meals that we didn’t see on the first menu, in addition to the Desserts.
First up is the replacement for the French Dip Burger in the form of the $13 “Mojo Pulled Pork Burger – Flame-broiled 1/3 lb Angus Burger topped with Marinated Mojo Pork, drizzled with Cilantro Lime Aïoli and served with French Fries.”
If you take a look at Disney’s online menus, most of their burgers are now “flame-broiled” a la Burger King, which may not be a comparison anyone wants to consider.
Somewhat surprisingly, it wasn’t terrible. Disney is smart in using other salty ingredients to help cover up the low quality of the beef. There’s quite a bit of flavorful pulled pork here and enough of the Cilantro Lime Aioli to liven things up and at least make each bite “feel” a little more juicy. The citrus and spice of the dab of sauce are just enough to contrast with the meatier flavors of the main ingredients. It’s begging for a slice of cheese though – we’re a thick layer of melted Swiss away from one of Disney’s better fast food theme park burgers. But I think it’s better than what you’ll find at Liberty Inn, cheese or not.
Next up is the $11 “Brisket Sandwich – Slow-cooked Smoked Beef Brisket Marinated in Au Jus and Guinness on top a Toasted Roll covered with Homemade Beer Cheese and served with French Fries.”
Occasionally, I’m disturbed by how much I enjoy something like this. It’s not “good,” but there’s something satisfying about a nicely toasted, crispy roll packed full of brisket and unidentifiable cheese product. There was a nice beefy flavor to the meat and the cheese was exactly the goopy mess that you would hope that it would be. The beer doesn’t add a lot of flavor to the fondue, but it helps thin things out a little bit and make for a creamier bite. This is the sort of garbage food that you would probably feel bad about eating anywhere else. Seize that opportunity.
If you set it down in the flower bed it basically transforms into salad. That’s how osmosis works.
The $10 “Vegetable Quinoa Salad – Cauliflower, Carrots, Cabbage, Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Edamame drizzled with Agave Lime Dressing.”
This is your healthy choice and quite a bit of filling food for the money with the quinoa and edamame adding some protein along with all of the other vegetables and greens. There wasn’t an excess of flavor, but the Agave Lime Dressing added a tinge of sugar and a tiny bit of zest to the flavor profile. It’s certainly a viable option if you’re feeling like less of a garbage person at the time of ordering. I’m far more likely to be seen scarfing down that Brisket Sandwich in the corner of Innoventions East while quietly weeping (about the loss of Horizons).
I would mention that the Cobb Salad at Liberty Inn was quite a bit more flavorful and there are some other good vegetarian options in World Showcase, including the Vegetable Platter at Tangierine Cafe in Morocco and the Cheese Empanadas at La Cantina in Mexico. But you probably couldn’t find a healthier, heartier dish than the Umbrella’s Quinoa Vegetable Salad, even if it’s short on taste.
As has been the case for a while, the $6.79 Kids’ Picks “Three-Cheese Flatbread served with Dannon Danimals Smoothie, Apple Slices, and choice of small Lowfat Milk or small Dasani Bottled Water” arrives with exactly half of the Adult portion of the same Flatbread. Considering the full Flatbread is $10.49 alone, there may be some value in ordering two Kids’ Pick Flatbreads instead.
Here’s the breakdown:
Each Kids’ Meal comes with the choice of two of these sides.
And a choice of one beverage, which includes a small refillable soda.
That potentially makes the Kids’ Picks Flatbread an attractive option. For about the same price as the full size Flatbread and an adult refillable soda, you could come away with the same flatbread, two small refillable sodas, and four sides. One Kids’ Flatbread also makes for a hearty snack or small meal on its own.
The Flatbread itself is otherwise “just okay.” It’s your standard, flavorless, crispy bread layer topped with maybe just one identifiable cheese in the mozzarella. But the thick slices of cheese towards what would be the center taste good and it’s a somewhat decent choice overall. Certainly not a standout.
The $9.50 “Piña Colada – Frozen Blended Coconut and Pineapple Juice with a float of Don Q Rum” was just about what you would expect, probably only a lot more melted. It reminded me of the sorts of cold soups that you sometimes find on cruise line menus. Only order one of these or the Strawberry Margaritas if you’re looking for a serious sugar rush with a half ounce of stirred-in rum.
Overall, the changes are neutral for the most part. On the positive side of things, the Quinoa Vegetable Salad is a lot more food than the Veggie Naan-wich, though you do lose the heft of the bread. The Mojo Pork Burger tastes better than it has any right to, though the French Dip Burger arrived with cheese. I liked the Sausage and Pepper Sandwich more than the Brisket Sandwich, but the meat-bread-cheese thing is probably attracting a lot more of the kinds of people that go to Electric Umbrella. “No offense.” The 3-Cheese Flatbread’s situation is similar to the sandwich – a much more generic item in place of what was a tastier, more unique offering.
Electric Umbrella’s outdoor seating is one of the most underrated areas on property with its views of the fountain show and the various bloggers walking by. That’s particularly true this time of year when temperatures are more mild.
The menu changes make recommending Electric Umbrella more of a stretch, though the offerings should satisfy as much as they fail to innovate. Sometimes the kids just want some chicken nuggets, and there are a couple of good salad options, along with one of the better burgers and a sandwich that you can hopefully eat out of the view of anyone “making a vlog.”
One other Future World menu change, the Turkey Sandwich at Sunshine Seasons has seen a substantial update.
Here’s the previous version, which was 50 cents less expensive. I’ll get over there to give it a try.
Kids’ Picks at Sunshine Seasons.
The Coral Reef menu looks good again. You might remember that my last experience there went rather poorly after having a run of good luck.
Literally every single item that we didn’t like is off the menu. Items we did enjoy, like the Seafood Salad pictured above, remain.
Circle of Life closed almost two months ago, but all signage remains. Disney doesn’t think they have the money to remove the marquee. You might drop an envelope off at Guest Services with a few dollars in it earmarked for the project. Or more conveniently, throw a thousand dollars on the ground and fly home.
Spring break crowds remain heavy, of course. This is after 5pm on March 25th and the posted wait for Living with the Land sits at 45 minutes with the FastPass+ line backed up into Sunshine Seasons.
A quick ride on Spaceship Earth thanks to FastPass+ priority.
I was trying to key in on a couple of background elements that I don’t typically capture, along with some of the usual animatronics:
I’m sure we’ll move on from 85mm soon enough. Next up might be 100mm Macro though.
Epcot’s version of “Just Keep Swimming” might be “Just Keep Hoping” this shark pokes its nose out of the wreckage again.
Mission: SPACE wait times remain low after the upgrade.
This is less than an hour after that 45-minute wait at Living with the Land. Both Orange, with its updated video, and Green, with its new-ish video, are walk-ons.
You can pull up my thoughts on the changes here.
Here’s a few more pictures around Future World since our stop last week:
We should be moving on to World Showcase.