We begin at Shutters at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, the property’s table service restaurant. There are virtually no reviews of Shutters from the various Disney blogs, which may be unfortunate because in my opinion, the restaurant is actually pretty good. My previous review covers more of the atmosphere and some background on the chef change, in addition to some nighttime photos around the resort: https://www.easywdw.com/uncategorized/shutters-review-and-caribbean-beach-resort-at-night/.
Shutters is located in Old Port Royale on the opposite end of the resort concierge, store, and arcade, and past the quick service seating area and ordering stations.
A couple different rooms comprise the restaurant, but the main dining room area looks like this. There’s another dining area a step down closer to the entrance and a separate room off to the side. The restaurant opens daily for dinner at 5pm and after the sun goes down, there isn’t a whole lot to see outside. But the various windows, bright colors, and shutters (get it) provide some charm.
The menu offers your typical Disney fare for the most part, with some island twists:
The Chicken Wings, Pan-seared Crab Cakes, Caesar Salad, and Shutters Salad are all signature items, while the sauces, side dishes, and presentations change frequently on the entrees.
The rum flights here are unique:
Other drinks and desserts:
The Milz family joins us again for dinner. You may remember them from a variety of reviews that date all the way back to this date three years ago for Akershus dinner. I may be the only one tearing up here.
Lisa ordered the $8.25 Caribbean Smuggler – Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, Cranberry Juice, and Pineapple Juice – it’s a sweet, weak drink with the cup size and amount of sugary fruit juice. The good news is that the rum flavor will be largely masked by sugar. The bad news is you might collapse into a sugar coma.
The $8 Southern Hurricane – Southern Comfort, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, and Grenadine packed little punch as well, but tasted more strongly of SoCo.
The $10.25 Shutters Swirl – Bacardi Superior Rum and a frozen blend of Pineapple and Coconut Juices with a Strawberry Swirl topped with Melon Liqueur. It’s a little more expensive, but you’d save money based on how long it takes to drink.
Cuban-style rolls are served alongside dinner.
While the color is a little different than your typical French bread, the flavor and texture are similar.
The accompanying butter is uninspired and as usual, too dense and too cold. The bread otherwise does the trick and in some ways that’s okay, as you won’t be pressured into eating a second…and a third…and a fourth roll like you might with Yachtsman’s onion rolls. I still dream about those things.
Lisa paired the $7.99 Caesar Salad – Romaine Hearts tossed in a House-made Caesar Dressing with Cornbread Croutons with the Roasted Butternut Squash and Plantain Soup. Like most Disney salads, the romaine was fresh and crunchy. Unlike most Disney salads, they managed to dress it well so it’s not swimming in Ken’s Caesar. The crunchy cheese stick is a welcome addition and added a pop of flavor, which combined with the unique cornbread croutons that have a slightly sweet quality to them. This is the second or third best Caesar we’ve encountered on property – Yachtsman comes in first.
The soup is very similar to the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Crème Fraîche and Chives at Turf Club over at Saratoga Springs.
This is actually the soup from Turf Club and it looks to be the same. Anyway, it’s a piping hot bowl of creamy, naturally-a-little-sweet squash soup no matter where you end up getting it. Very good and on par with Wolfgang Puck’s heralded soup of the same variety.
We were surprised in the quality disparity between this steak, the $33.99 Grilled Beef Rib-Eye – Herb-crusted 10-oz Grilled Ribeye, Roasted Fingerlings, Broccolini, and Mojo Butter and the Char-crusted 10-oz New York Strip Steak – Smoked Gouda and Chorizo Mac & Cheese, Seasonal Vegetable, and Chimichurri. At least the one Peggy was served was surprisingly thin – overly fatty and tough, with a bland char flavor.
Steve picked the right steak – thicker, more tender, more flavorful, with a nicely charred crust. The appropriately al dente asparagus didn’t cost an extra $21 either.
The side of macaroni and cheese was a bit disappointing with the lack of sausage.
I ordered the $24.99 Caribbean-Spiced Pork Osso Bucco – Slow-cooked in a Light Curry Sauce with Sweet Potato Mash – $24.99. Fork tender and not particularly fatty, the pork’s flavor was brought out by the allspice and subtly spicy sauce. The sweet potato mash complemented it well and served to soak up the flavors of the curry and pork. Altogether, a very well executed dish.
I don’t usually discuss service because your experience will undoubtedly be different than ours, but our server was either terrible, overworked, or both. We didn’t even have water until after they brought out the bread.
Shutters is not a destination restaurant for most people, but I don’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone staying at the resort and planning a restful evening. If weather is bad, you might also check to see if a reservation is available if you unexpectedly find yourself stuck in a storm. The restaurant might also be a good choice if you’ve made the rounds and tried just about everything else. The quality is going to be on par with any of the better single credit Disney-operated table service restaurant and the Caribbean flavors are unique.
A very noisy picture of Caribbean Beach resort merchandise:
Even Pop Century and the All-Stars are getting resort-specific merchandise like mugs and Christmas ornaments.
Changing gears, we arrive at Hollywood Studios at 3:30pm on the afternoon of Friday May 8th.
From this far back, the stage blends in nicely with the theater in the distance.
Further up, maybe a little less so. This “temporary” stage should remain up through September for the Frozen Summer Fun thing. This post from last year discusses the complications that arise from the Frozen summer. We’ll return over the first couple of days to see if there are any changes this year.
I am really hoping the morning opening “show” is done away with, but you have to remember Disney theme park ops never actually spend any time touring theme parks like your average guest. It’s sort of a Marie Antoinette thing. “Finally I recalled the stopgap solution of a great princess who was told that the peasants had no FastPass+, and who responded: ‘Let them FP+ everything!'”
The Disney survey reads:
“How would you rate the Olaf Welcome, the Most Magical Welcome in All of Norway? (Did you know Anna and Elsa are from Norway! Coming to Epcot Early 2016)
A. Very Satisfied (Anna loves to talk about her childhood growing up in Flekkefjord!) Coming to Epcot Early 2016)
B. Super Satisfied (Elsa’s favorite foods are school bread, lapskaus, pickled herring, seasonal cupcakes, and the Ikea food court!) Coming to Epcot Early 2016)
C. Super Very Satisfied (Fun fact: Elsa was on track for Lillehammer 1994 until she blew out her knee in an ATV accident!) Coming to Epcot Early 2016)
D. All of the above (Norway! Coming to Epcot Early 2016)
Looks like they are working on the entrance to the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge outside the restaurant.
I have to assume there are those foot imprint things in the ground showing where the cast member is supposed to stand directly in front of the wait times board here at the Studios, not unlike you’d see when you get your picture taken at the DMV or when the Passport guy at the Post Office says your pictures from Costco aren’t clear enough but they can do them over for you for $150. Or maybe they have to wear a collar that shocks them if the Star Tours wait time is visible to more than four people at a time. Or maybe they don’t want you to count whether there are more things that post wait times or more buildings that had something in them five years ago that currently don’t. The best you can hope for is one on the shorter side so you can get a peek of the more important attractions at the top.
Wait times over the course of the day:
Even with the overall crowd level higher on the most recommended Friday than the two days leading up to it, wait times are still comparable or lower than those non-recommended days. And of course, considerably lower than the non-recommended Saturday, even when lower wait times in the first and last hours are included.
Comparing May 8th above to May 9th should give you a better idea about how much higher wait times are on the non-recommended day with the morning Extra Magic Hour, even if the averages are only a few minutes higher.
The Studios was otherwise as deserted as I’ve seen it in some time.
30 minutes at Tower of Terror at 3:45pm.
40 minutes at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster a few minutes later. 40 minutes is still longer than most of us would like to wait, but it’s indicative of very low overall crowds and nonexistent waits at anything other than the big three attractions – Toy Story, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror. Once you start seeing 70…80…90 minutes at those three, the casuals begin hunting down alternate experiences, raising wait times and filling theaters.
We first saw a new round of Tower of Terror merchandise back in February, shortly after Trolley Car Cafe/Starbucks opened and in the midst of the hat coming down. Since then, a few other items have appeared:
Most of the above was previously available. Most of the below was not:
The robes are $74.95. The notepad is $6.95. The formula for figuring out how much something at Disney World costs is otherwise not unlike the change from Celsius to Fahrenheit. Double how much you’re willing to pay for it and add $30.
Joffrey’s locations offer a few new signature items. I perked up at the thought of a whiskey sour, but my hopes dampened after I considered it’s just another one of those frozen lemonades with a half ounce of alcohol at the bottom.
Anaheim Produce, part of Sunset Ranch Market on Sunset Boulevard, changed its menu again:
It was sort of out of control before:
Most of these items are still available; they’re just listed on a variety of signs stuck in the ice. Which is probably less convenient than being able to see it all in one place. But with the shorter menu, everybody knows this is the pretzel place. But what about the people looking for the pickle place? The Seasonal Colada is a new addition – raspberry at the moment.
This will change to Star Wars by Friday.
The KRNR outside Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster now offers hot dogs for those concerned they’re going to collapse from hunger between here and Fairfax Fare.
Can somebody bedazzle this out so it fits better with the rest of my wardrobe?
I’m really glad Disney listened to their fans and removed the Sorcerers Hat so we could have the original view down Hollywood Boulevard restored.
The characters that typically meet in this area came out to dance around for a minute before their meet to a crowd of about 50.
Heading in the direction of Backlot Express, Star Tours, Indiana Jones, and empty buildings.
This shot is why they pay me the big bucks. You can now get yesterday’s churros in soft serve. I’d be surprised if they don’t go to a “blue milk” shake for Star Wars Weekends. Somebody in Food and Beverage figured out you can turn anything blue with enough food coloring and positive thinking.
With Star Wars Weekends ramping up, Hollywood & Vine adds a Star Wars themed character dinner and the character-hosted breakfast returns to Sci-Fi.
The Cinderella preview closed today, May 13th, to make way for a Star Wars: Rebels preview premiering Friday.
Disney is testing an “Express Order” app at Backlot Express and in the Fantasmic theater during the first show:
That test continues this week. What they don’t tell you is there’s a $3 delivery charge for Fantasmic. Backlot Express is also offering “Rebel Hangar: A Star Wars Experience” every day from May 15th through June 14th. More information is available here: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/hollywood-studios/star-wars-lounge/. I have reservations for next Monday.
Star Tours with a 10-minute posted wait, like it did most of the day.
Crowds were low enough that I willingly stepped foot in Tatooine Traders.
There isn’t a lot of “Theme Park Authentic” merchandise here, which probably means prices will be lower elsewhere:
For those formal engagements when your “Keep your wookie off my princess” t-shirt just won’t do.
Practice for this weekend’s clustercuss.
One of those booths where they superimpose your face into a Star Wars scene has been added on the Streets of America.You might throw them off by holding a picture of my face in front of your face, so they superimpose my face onto your face onto Luke Skywalker’s face.
Nobody waiting for an additional FP+ at the kiosk next to Muppet Vision, which is sporting its usual 5-minute posted wait.
Nothing new at Pizza Planet.
Mama Melrose switched up its flatbread pizza toppings – vegetable replaces wild mushroom and rosemary chicken replaces grilled chicken.
A couple new MagicBand designs.
Star Wars themed, if you’re so inclined.
A Phineas and Ferb replacement is probably coming soon now that the show has been canceled and lines are almost always less than ten minutes long.
Characterpalooza is on the move again, now occurring in several different locations, including the Streets of America.
Cinderella’s Carriage had been around for about a month longer than initially expected, but will probably be removed by the time Friday rolls around for Star Wars.
Merchandise across from Studio Catering is all Star Wars.
I’m not sure I ever took a picture of the Monsters Inc. meet after it changed back to the original scheme after the Monsters U. promotion.
Getting in line around 3:30pm remains your best bet. This area is out of the way, particularly without anyone from Backlot Tour or Wandering Oaken’s traipsing back here.
Nothing going on at the old Backlot Tour location.
The windows and doors in front of Stage 1 have been removed as Disney adds another track for Toy Story Mania.
It looks like this now.
The walls that used to be in front of it.
And the old version. It’s been over two and a half years since Disney bought Lucasfilm.
60 minutes is as short as it gets at this time of day at Toy Story.
Maybe they’ll bring back Prince Caspian.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid is one of those attractions that starts to see a backup once 60+ minute waits go up at the major attractions. Here, you could walk in to the next show.
Construction continues in front of the expected meet and greet debut of Doc McStuffins next to Disney Jr. in Animation Courtyard. I peeked through the window inside the Art of Disney Store and they’re either a ways off or there isn’t going to be a whole lot to it. Or both. It’s supposed to open next week.
Hiro and Baymax continue meeting inside the Animation Building. Minnie to their left continues to see nonexistent waits. Sorcerer Mickey will cost you 20 or 25.
Inside Out art has arrived near the entrance to The Magic of Disney Animation:
There’s also a few iPads set up in this area, which doubles as the waiting area for The Magic of Disney Animation.
It looks like the app is only available for Apple and would run you $9.99 should you want to take a copy home. Just Google “Disney Touchpress” for details.
The Cinderella popcorn buckets, which were reportedly running $75+ on eBay, are available again.
Seating has been added in front of Trolley Car Cafe/Starbucks on Hollywood Boulevard.
The Princess Leia Mickey Ear hats on the top row, second from the left, should prove popular for Star Wars Weekends.
C-3PO and R2D2 as well.
That’s the Studios.
We should see an Epcot update before the week is done along with the preliminary December crowd calendar. This weekend will be about Star Wars Weekends.
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