Okay, this isn’t quite as exciting as the title would suggest. The mythical El Pirata Y El Perico restaurant in Adventureland has been re-branded “Tortuga Tavern.” Currently open daily from 11am to 4pm, Tortuga Tavern serves Mexican-inspired quick service dishes like chicken burritos, beef burritos, vegetable burritos, nachos, and taco salads that are virtually identical to El Pirata’s old menu. Tortuga Tavern accepts the Disney Dining Plans with a cost of one quick service credit per meal. Entrees are in the $7-$8 range. For the time being, it will remain under “seasonal status,” which means Disney will open it as needed to meet demand when crowds are heavier. Since crowds are currently light, one must assume that they are just “practicing” to make sure everything is right for the summer season. That’s unfortunate. The biggest problem with El Pirata, in my opinion, was its wild inconsistency. Some days it was pretty good. Other days…not so much. It’s difficult for employees to get the hang of things at a restaurant that is only open once or twice a week for five hours at a time. I can say that the decor is much improved and the restaurant feels much more “authentic” now than it did prior to the refurbishment. The “fixins bar” also remains. You’ll find an excellent assortment of toppings, including cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and several variates of salsas. Tortuga Tavern should be a good option during busier days when Pecos Bill is swamped. The variety of food is a nice change of pace if you’ve been eating mostly Disney hamburgers and chicken nuggets.
Tortuga means “turtle” or “tortoise” in Spanish and Catalan, but the name is more likely to refer to islands in the Caribbean. After all, Tortuga Tavern is located right across the way from Pirates of the Caribbean.