Monday, August 19, 2019

Review of Dinner at 'Ohana


Hey there, Disney Fans!

     Hope ya'll are having a great summer so far! It's certainly a HOT one here in Central Florida. Yipes! But that created the perfect excuse to escape the heat by staying inside of Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, and enjoying dinner at one of our family's favorite restaurants, 'Ohana.

     Now, 'Ohana is a bit of a Disney phenomenon. It's been wildly popular for many years now and is often seemingly impossible to get a reservation at. But like all Disney restaurants, it does experience some changes every now and then... some positive, some not-so-much. We typically hit up 'Ohana a couple of times a year, since, regardless of slight changes, it's pretty consistent at having awesome food, and a very cool atmosphere. We also had occasion to celebrate, since my daughter was in her very first on-stage musical production, and she did an awesome job, so 'Ohana it was!

The view out of 'Ohana's windows

     Being locals, we do have the benefit of being able to be a little flexible with our schedule, and therefore, more likely to be able to nab a last minute reservation for some of the more coveted Disney restaurants and that was the case for this night. We booked the reservation that same day we visited, and we were more than happy to take a relatively late reservation, as it meant that we would still be seated when it was time for the Magic Kingdom's evening fireworks. If you didn't already know, 'Ohana has a great, panoramic view of the Magic Kingdom's nightly fireworks, along with the Electrical Water Pageant. This is a rare deal, as the only other restaurants with similar views are Narcoossee's at The Grand Floridian and California Grill at The Contemporary. You may have to dine a little later than you normally would, but it's totally worth it! They even pipe the music into the restaurant so that you can fully enjoy the show!

Tikis decorate the restaurant

     We arrived at the Polynesian about 15 minutes before our reservation, knowing that we would likely still have to wait a bit, and we did. We were actually called into the restaurant to eat about 15 minutes after our reservation time, which wasn't too bad. (I have waited over an hour past my reservation at 'Ohana before.) As we walked into the restaurant, our greeter gave us our quick Hawaiian lesson, telling us that ohana means "family, "aloha" means hello/goodbye/love and that mahalo means "thank you". Normally the greeter stops by the first window and collects some signature 'Ohana pineapple coconut bread and butter to bring to your table. Because my kiddo has food allergies, they always skip this until we talk with the chef. We totally get it, but walking past that delicious bread and not getting any is such a tease. The greeter also showed us the open fire pit where the meats are cooked, and gave a quick, "Aloooooooo-haa!", to the chefs.

The firepit

We were sat at the great table, and waited for our server to take our drink order and the chef to come talk to us about allergies. Both were out quickly and we could finally get our hands on that yummy bread! (In case anyone is curious about egg allergies at 'Ohana, the only things that must be avoided are the bread, the pot stickers and the dessert, all of which you can get alternatives for.)

'Ohana bread and butter

     Non-alcoholic beverages are included in the all-you-care-to-eat pricing at 'Ohana. Choices include coffee, tea, iced tea, juices, milk, lemonade and Coke products, and all are refillable. The bread is a real treat, as it is fresh-baked, slightly sweet and goes great with a bit of butter on it. Once you get your drinks on the table, your server will explain to you that you'll have a main server that takes care of your food and meats, and an assistant server who takes care of clearing plates and getting refills. The menu is pre-set and you can have as much as you like. Everything is delivered to the table for you. Appetizers and side items come in family-style bowls and pans and the entree meats are served off of skewers, right from the fire. And my very best advice for 'Ohana is: PACE YOURSELF. It is so easy to fill up on the delicious bread and appetizers, and have almost no room left for the meats, but you WANT to have room for the meat... not to mention, dessert! You may want to wear your stretchy pants for this meal.

Salad


     So, one of the frequent changes to the 'Ohana menu is the salad. Over the years they have had a mixed garden salad with honey-lime dressing, an Asian-inspired salad with passionfruit dressing, and a few other versions. This one was different from the last time I was there. They brought back the honey-lime dressing, which I LOVE and have been known to make at home, but they switched the salad itself out to field greens instead of a romaine or iceberg mix. Personally, I am not a fan of leafy greens. They are a little too 'fresh-mowed-lawn' tasting for me. The salad was also very bare, with only the greens and a few fried wontons on top. I was super disappointed in this reimagining of the salad and none of us ended up eating any of it. No worries, though. There was plenty more to indulge in!
Noodles, wings and veggies

     Up next to the table was the wok full of honey-coriander chicken wings, sauteed veggies, pork dumplings, and lo mein noodles, accompanied by a sweet and sour sauce and a peanut sauce. This is the good stuff and where we always get taken down by over-filling ourselves. The veggies are fresh and tasty, cooked only in light oil and a dusting of seasoning. I love water chestnuts and there are plenty in the mix, along with red peppers, baby corn, broccoli, and onions. The noodles are my son's favorite. Since he was a baby he has been gobbling these bad boys up like someone might take them away. I have pictures of him as a two-year-old with fistfuls of noodles, going to town. He pretty much still eats them that way as an almost seven-year-old too. They are pretty plain but they somehow have this magical sweet-salty thing going on from the teriyaki-like flavor. SO good and sooooo filling. The chicken wings are my husband's jam. He can easily polish off a few dozen of them. They are baked in a honey-coriander sauce that is again a nice mix of savory and sweet. These, too, we got the recipe for and often make them at home because they are just THAT good. Then there are the dumplings. Those are my jam. They are pork and veggie-filled dumpling, that usually come with a light coating of the sweet and sour sauce on them. I prefer them without the sauce, so I always ask for a separate bowl of them, sauce-free.

Pot stickers

Well, my bowl arrived and my excitement was stifled when I realized.... dun-dun-DUN... they changed them!!!! Oh no! My beloved dumplings, which had been the same for years and years were now a different product! These new ones had a slightly different filling, and the casing was thinner and not as firm and crunchy on the corners. I was so sad. I mean, the new ones were not inedible, but they were definitely not as good as the originals. I hope they change them back. Maybe they were just out or something. Hopefully.
"Oh we're going to the Hukilau.."

     As we enjoyed the appetizers and side items, one of 'Ohana's performers roamed the restaurant and played the ukulele and sang Hawaiian songs. There are a couple of different performers that do this there, and they also occasionally offer hula lessons and coconut races for the kids, though none of that was done while we were there. Perhaps it's only done earlier in the night, or only on weekends.

Shrimp

Steak

     Shortly after getting our appetizer platter, our server started coming around with the skewers of meats that are flame-roasted in the fire pit. There was steak, chicken, and shrimp. Each protein was cooked perfectly and tasted delicious. My daughter's favorite was the shrimp, while the rest of us favored the steak. It was cooked to a nice medium temperature and has a tasty marinade on it. (There are also the peanut and sweet and sour sauces on the table that you can enjoy with the meats, as well.)

Sauces

Oooo....a nice medium!

     Once we had had all the steak, chicken and shrimp we could handle, it was time for dessert! Now, dessert at 'Ohana is something truly special.... a family-size portion of bread pudding, made out of the fabulous pineapple-coconut bread, topped with a caramel and banana sauce, and a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream! They also bring out crispy rice treats with Mickey sprinkles on them for kids (and adults) to enjoy. We also got a little bonus... because my little dude is allergic to eggs, at his request, they brought him a cup of Dole Whip from the Pineapple Lanai from downstairs. My son was sooooo happy. Dole Whip is his jam!

Bread pudding

Crispy rice treats

Dole Whip!

     As we sat happily eating our desserts, The Magic Kingdom fireworks started and we had a great view! They pipe the music into the restaurant and turn the lights down so you can really enjoy the experience. By the time the show was over we were too. Over-stuffed, over-tired and over-spent. 'Ohana is not an inexpensive meal by any means. It averages about $60 per adult, depending on the season. Pricey... but soooo worth it. Though I was sad about the minor changes to some items, overall the meal was still tasty and one of our favorites. We will try it again in a year or so.

    So... do you love 'Ohana too? Never tried it? Well, get your butt down here! The agents at Kingdom Konsultant Travel will be more than happy to get you booked!

     In the meantime, have a magical week, Disney Fans!

                                                Jenn



   

Friday, August 16, 2019

Ears the News: August 16, 2019 Edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com



Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will debut an all-new firework spectacular this year, and Disney is giving us a first look at the show in a new video.

In “Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular,” Jack Skellington from “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” serves as host and has come to tell a “not-so-scary” story about how anything can happen on Halloween night. His ghost dog, Zero, flies off carrying everyone along on a trick-or-treating adventure, where four friends – Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy – find themselves drawn into a mysterious haunted house.

Their journey takes them from one room of the house to another, encountering dancing skeletons, waltzing ghosts and a whole series of troublemaking Disney villains. The show will also include state-of-the-art projections and lasers, plus lighting and dazzling fireworks that will fill the sky above Magic Kingdom Park.

The show will be part of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for a record 36 select nights, Aug. 16-Nov. 1 2019.

For fans of Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, it appears that this year you can gain access to every single party night for a fixed price.

The new Party Pass will give access to each party night, including October 31 2019.

Pricing is $299 plus tax for ages 10 and above, and $284 plus tax for ages 3-9. It should soon be available for purchase at Guest Services or any ticket window, but not online. If you already have an event ticket, you can modify your ticket to a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Pass at 407-939-4295 for information.

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com 

The 2019 Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party exclusive Sorcery of the Magic Kingdom card is ‘The Phantasmal Fireworks’ Flash.’

The event-exclusive game card is inspired by the party’s brand-new fireworks show, “Disney’s Not So Spooky Spectacular.” You can get started with Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom at the Firehouse on Main Street U.S.A or visit any theme park Ticket Window.


 Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com 

Bongo's at Disney Springs will have its final day of operation on August 18 2019.

The 550 seat restaurant owned by Gloria and Emilio Estefan is located on the West Side at Disney Springs and opened in 1997. This is one of the longest serving restaurants at Disney Springs that has not been renovated since the transition from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs.

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com 

Disney Springs has updated the designated smoking area locations effective August 12 2019.

The smoking area between UNIQLO and T-REX has now been removed. Remaining smoking areas are:
·         Next to Disney's Wonderful World of Memories
·         Next to Goofy's Candy Co.
·         Near the Town Center bus stops
·         Near Morimoto Asia
·         Between Bongos and Jaleo
·         Behind Cirque du Soleil

The NBA Experience at Disney Springs officially opened its doors to guests.

“NBA Experience lets everybody who loves the game, live it,” said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “We’re excited to open the doors to a fun and unique experience for fans of all ages.”

Athletes and personalities from the world of NBA and WNBA were in attendance, including Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Grant Hill, along with NBA legend Dwyane Wade, Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez, Utah Jazz point guard Mike Conley, Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem and WNBA legend Swin Cash, now the vice president of basketball operations and team development for the New Orleans Pelicans.

“I want to thank Bob Iger and the Walt Disney Imagineering team for capturing the authentic NBA experience at this landmark destination at Disney Springs,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Disney creates memorable experiences better than anyone, and we are thrilled to share the excitement of NBA basketball with fans and Walt Disney World guests from around the world.”
n collaboration with the NBA, Walt Disney Imagineering developed NBA Experience as an immersive, interactive venue. The high-energy environment offers 13 different basketball-related activities across 44,000 square feet and two floors.

A ticket to NBA Experience grants access to every activity, in any order guests choose, and they can return to stations throughout the day to improve performance or learn even more about the game.
Pricing is $34 for ages 10+, and $29 ages 3-9.

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com 

The app-based restaurant ordering system, Mobile Order, is now available at more Walt Disney World Resort hotel restaurants.

Mobile Order is now available at the following resort hotel locations:
·         Centertown Market and Spyglass Grill at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
·         Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
·         World Premiere Food Court, the End Zone Food Court and the Intermission Food Court at Disney’s All-Star Resorts
·         Everything POP Shopping & Dining at Disney’s Pop Century Resort
·         The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
·         Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

These new locations will be in addition to more than 20 other quick service restaurants located in the theme parks and Disney Springs.

Mobile Order allows you to pay for meals on-the-go within the My Disney Experience app, bypassing the queue to order at the restaurant. Using the app, you can select menu items, customize an order and pre-pay for a meal.

Arriving at the restaurant, you tap an “I’m here” button in the app, which will notify the kitchen to prepare the meal. When ready, you'll be alerted through the app to pick up the meal at a designated window. Credit card payments are accepted via Mobile Order along with the Disney Dining Plan.


The ESPN 'College GameDay' Crew will be broadcasting live from the Magic Kingdom on Saturday August 24 2019 as part of the kick off to the 2019 College Football Season.

Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard, David Pollack, and Maria Taylor will be broadcasting live from the Main Street U.S.A. train station balcony from 9am to 12pm. You can catch the show on ESPN.


The Allman Betts Band's appearance at the 2019 Eat to the Beat concert series has been cancelled due to health reasons.

Originally scheduled to perform September 16 - 17, the band will now be replaced with Smash Mouth.

Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show will be closed for a brief refurbishment in late January 2020.

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com 

The dinner show at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort will go dark on January 19 through to January 27, with shows resuming on January 28 2020.

The currently closed Astro Orbiter will be facing a lengthier refurbishment than originally planned.

Astro Orbiter closed with short notice in mid-July, and was originally expected to reopen again today. The ride is now expected to be closed through to at least September 19, with a planned reopening on September 20 2019.

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com 

Walt Disney World is launching a new 'Mid-Day Magic' ticket today, allowing access to the parks after 12pm.

The ticket comes in various options between 2 and 4 days in duration, and is priced by date. Example pricing:
·         Mid-Day Magic Ticket - Admission after 12pm at the 4 theme parks for $160.88 for a 2 day ticket


·         Mid-Day Magic Ticket with Park Hopper Option - Admission after 12pm to the 4 parks with park hopping ability for $230.88 for a 2 day ticket


·         Mid-Day Magic Ticket with Park Hopper Plus Option - Admission after 12pm to the 4 parks with hopping ability, and water parks, Oak Trail golf, and Mini-Golf for $250.88 for a 2 day ticket

This may be a limited time offer, with dates currently available through to December 15 2019. You can see more details and get pricing for your trip dates at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/admission/tickets/


Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com  

Friday, August 9, 2019

Ears the News: August 9, 2019 Edition


Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com


Primeval Whirl at Disney's Animal Kingdom continues to be closed for unplanned maintenance.

The coaster closed in mid June and latest estimates have a reopening date in late September 2019. The rest of DinoLand U.S.A. is unaffected by the closure.

Photo courtesy of wdwmagic.com 


Ample Hills Creamery will be opening a new location in Disney Springs.

Offering a similar line-up of its hand-made ice cream and mix-ins to the BoardWalk location, the new store will be located on the West Side.

Photo courtesy of wdwmagic.com 

Disney Springs will be adding a new food truck serving edible cookie dough.

'Cookie Dough and Everything Sweet' will be located just across from Candy Cauldron on the West Side in Exposition Park with the other food trucks, and is set for an August 2019 opening.
The menu line-up includes:

·         Springs Candy Taco – Candy Monster Cookie Dough, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry served in a waffle taco
·         Minnie Mouse Taco – Peanut Butter Fluff Cookie Dough, caramel sauce, whipped cream, a cherry, and a chocolate Minnie bow served in a waffle taco
·         Celebration Parfait – Celebration Cookie Dough with Celebration Mickey cake, vanilla custard, strawberries, whipped cream, and a cherry
·         Mickey or Minnie Funnel Cake – funnel cake topped with powdered sugar and Mickey or Minnie-shaped cookie dough
·         Cookie Dough Cup or Cone – Flavors include Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Fluff, Celebration, Cookies and Cream, Candy Monster, and Cold Brew

Photo courtesy of wdwmagic.com 

The Edison at Disney Springs will be hosting the second annual Gatsby-themed evening this Labor Day weekend - September 1 2019.

Tickets can be purchased for $79 per adult at theedisonfla.com/Gatsby. Doors open at 7:30pm and guests must be 21 or older to attend.

Pop the champagne and prepare for a roaring good time at The Edison's lavish Gatsby-style affair on Sunday, September 1. Celebrate Labor Day weekend at Disney Springs by getting dolled up in your best flapper attire, donning your 1920s style suits, and dancing the night away in style. A feast for the eyes and ears, guests will be entertained from the moment they step foot on the red carpet. From flair-tenders serving swanky spirits, flying aerial performers, burlesque dancers, cigar rollers, a live band, stilt-walkers and more, party goers will be dazzled beyond their wildest dreams. A few glasses of complimentary bubbles of Moet Champagne will be served and a selection of passed signature appetizers will be available for attendees to dine on.

Photo courtesy of wdwmagic.com 

Disney has announced that Beatrix will be opening their first Florida location on the West Side at Disney Springs.

Beatrix, owned by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (a Chicago-based restaurant group), is your neighborhood restaurant, coffeehouse and grab-and-go market featuring healthy food options including vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan along with fresh-squeezed juice cocktails. The restaurant will also offer a bakery and full-service bar with a selection of all-American beer and wine.
Executive Partner and Divisional President, Marc Jacobs, explains “Beatrix represents the way people are eating today – it’s that mix of health and comfort. Whether grabbing a cup of coffee and your favorite pastry, or having a cocktail, lunch, or dinner with friends, it’s your neighborhood meeting place.”

Beatrix will be built on the Bongos site, which will be closing later in August 2019.

Photo courtesy of wdwmagic.com 

Three of the most popular experiences at Star Wars Galaxy's Edge in Disney's Hollywood Studios are now setup to handle reservations.

The official Walt Disney World website now has a reservation system in place for Oga's Cantina, Savi's Workshop and Droid Depot - complete with virtual queuing on the website to handle the expected load.

Photo courtesy of wdwmagic.com 

Curl by Sammy Duvall at Disney Springs will have its final day of operation on August 15 2019.

The surf apparel store was originally located in Pleasure Island, but closed in June 2013 and move to the West Side as part of the redevelopment of Downtown Disney to Disney Springs.
Disney Springs will soon have a new surf apparel store with the opening of Ron Jon Surf Shop in the Town Center.

Photo courtesy of wdwmagic.com 




Friday, August 2, 2019

Ears the News: August 2, 2019 Edition


Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com


Disney has announced new Summer 2019 V.I.PASSHOLDER perks at Epcot for Annual Passholders.

From July 29 to August 18 at America Gardens Theatre, Passholders can get guaranteed seating for Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live! Enter on the left side of the theatre and show your valid annual pass and photo ID for access to the Annual Passholder section.

At the Fife & Drum and Block & Hans, Passholders will receive a 10% discount on non-discounted food and beverage items, including alcohol, at these locations from July 29 to August 18. Passholders must present their valid annual pass and photo ID to receive discount. Must use non-cash payment methods including credit and debit cards and gift cards.

Coral Reef will continue to offer a 10% discount and Annual Passholders who dine at Coral Reef and purchase an adult entree from July 29-August 28 will receive an exclusive, complimentary dessert: prosecco ice-cream with berries, whipped cream, raspberry powder, and fresh mint. (Limit: one complimentary dessert per adult entrée per passholder. A 10% discount applies to the non-discounted price of food and non-alcoholic beverages (excluding applicable tax and gratuity).

Finally, from July 29 to August 28, Passholders will be able to purchase a secret mystery dessert at Sunshine Seasons in The Land pavilion.

Several more acts have been added to the 2019 Eat to the Beat concert series line-up at this year's Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com




Spanish Harlem Orchestra, DCappella and 98° are among the new additions.

Here is the provisional Eat to the Beat performer schedule for 2019:



  • Plain White T’s - August 29 through 31 
  • Sawyer Brown – NEW! - September 1 through 2 
  • MercyMe - September 3 through 4 
  • Grace Kelly – NEW! - September 5 through 6 
  • Zach Williams – NEW! - September 7 through 8 
  • Lauren Daigle – NEW! - September 9 through 10 
  • Jimmie Allen – NEW! - September 11 through 12 
  • Tiffany - September 13 through 15 
  • The Allman Betts Band - September 16 through 17 
  • Everclear - September 18 through 19 
  • STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas - September 20 through 22 
  • Postmodern Jukebox - September 23 through 24 
  • Blue October - September 25 through 26 
  • Mark Wills - September 27 through 29 
  • Sugar Ray - September 30 through October 2 
  • Taylor Dayne - October 3 through 4 
  • INDIA – NEW! - October 5 through 6 
  • 98° - October 7 through 9 
  • Boyce Avenue – NEW! - October 10 through 11 
  • Southern Avenue – NEW! - October 12 through 13 
  • Kenny G - October 14 through 15 
  • 38 Special - October 16 through 17 
  • Baha Men - October 18 through 20 
  • Billy Ocean - October 21 through 22 
  • Sheila E. - October 23 through 25 
  • High Valley - October 26 through 27 
  • Hanson - October 28 through 30 
  • Sheena Easton - October 31 through November 1 
  • Kris Allen – NEW! - November 2 through 3 
  • Boyz II Men - November 4 through 6 
  • The Hooters - November 7 through 8 
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - November 9 through 11 
  • TBD - November 12 through 14 
  • BBMak – NEW! - November 15 through 16 
  • Spanish Harlem Orchestra – NEW! - November 17 through 18 
  • DCappella – NEW! - November 19 
Two new quick service food and drink venues are coming to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in the next few months.

A new grab-and-go dining location serving coffee, ready-made sandwiches and snacks will debut in late summer, followed by a new frozen drink counter in the fall. Both will be located in the Swan lobby.

The new grab-and-go, Java, will feature sweet and savory breakfast options as well as sandwiches, wraps, salads and desserts throughout the day. The venue will also serve a variety of teas, espressos, frappés and coffees, including a special Nitro Brew, cold brewed with liquid nitrogen, as well as wines, beer, juices and more.

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com
“The demand for quick food and drink options has continued to grow among our guests,” said the resort’s Director of Food and Beverage Luciano Sperduto. “Whether they’re headed to the theme parks for the day or are in and out of meetings, these two new options will give guests, delicious ways to stay energized while they’re on the go.”

The additions are among the latest food and beverage changes at the resort, following the recent redesign and new menu launch at Shula’s Steak House earlier this year, and the additions of the grab-and-go, fuel, and Phins lounge at the Dolphin in 2017.

House of Blues Orlando at Disney Springs is launching Bayou Brunch, a new weekend brunch buffet event every Saturday and Sunday.

The new Bayou Brunch will feature Southern-inspired menu items, like Biscuits and Gravy, freshly made Omelets, Shrimp and Crawfish Etouffee and more, as well as bottomless brunch beverages and a Build Your Old Fashioned bar. Additionally, there will be live music from Brown Bag Brass Band, who will entertain guests with Dixieland, Jazz and Brass band selections.
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com

Bayou Brunch is priced at $33 for adults (10+) and $15 for children (3-9) - beginning August 3rd, taking place every Saturday and Sunday 10am to 1pm. Disney Dining Plan is 1 entitlement and discounts accepted for Annual Passholders, DVC Members & Cast Members

Bayou Brunch Featured Menu Items:
  • Salads: Southern Salad, Caesar Salad, Fresh Fruit, Peel and Eat Shrimp
  • Breakfast: Omelet Station, Scrambled Eggs, Candied Bacon, Andouille Sausage, Biscuits & Gravy, Chicken & Waffles
  • Lunch: Chicken Tacos, Pork Tacos, Shrimp and Crawfish Etouffee, Jalapeno and Cheese Cornbread, Carving Station with Ham and Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, Seasonal Vegetables
  • Desserts: Bourbon Bread Pudding, Assorted Desserts

Drink Specials:
  • Build Your Old Fashioned with bourbon, bitters, and garnish bars ($12 each)
  • Bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s ($15)
  • Happy Hour pricing on select beer, house wine, and well cocktails
Taking a trip up the road a little; Universal Orlando announced that they will be opening a fourth theme park called Epic Universe.

Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

The park will be located on a 750 acre plot roughly 7 miles south of the existing parks between West Sand Lake Rd, South Kirkman Rd and Universal Blvd.

There is no word as of yet as to what will be in the park, but the likely contenders are Nintendo, Fantastic Beasts, How to Train Your Dragon, and Universal Classic Monsters.

There is also no word on any form of dedicated transportation between the existing parks and this new expansion.







Looking to plan your next trip to Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort? Contact the agents at Kingdom Konsultant Travel to help you plan your dream vacation. Email vacations@kingdomkonsultant.com for a free quote today.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

What’s On Your Disney World Bucket List?

Whether you’ve been once or 20 times, there is always something new and exciting – or old and worth repeating – to do on a Disney World vacation. I’ve personally traveled to Disney World as a child, teenager, adult, and parent, and I still have a running list of things I want to squeeze in on my next (or next after that) visit.

Here is what’s on my current Disney World bucket list. Tell us in the comments what’s on yours, too!

1. Fine Dining 

While I have enjoyed a few signature meals like Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel recently, most of my trips over the last five years have included my young children so fine dining hasn’t been a priority. On my Disney World bucket list is the finest option of all, Victoria & Albert’s, at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. My 15-year wedding anniversary is approaching, and I’m thinking that just might be the perfect time to experience this foodie favorite!


Polynesian Bungalow

2. Unique Accommodations

I had the opportunity to stay at the Grand Floridian last year in an outer building garden view room, which did not disappoint! I would love to return to the resort and stay in one of the main building rooms featuring club-level service and many with views of Magic Kingdom. My other bucket list accommodation is one of the Boardwalk Inn garden cottages that also includes club-level service and features a living area, loft with bedroom and other amenities for two adults. Of course, the Polynesian bungalows or Copper Creek cabins wouldn’t be so bad, either, but I’m trying to be reasonable here!

Polynesian Bungalow

3. Behind-the-Scenes Experiences

A behind-the-scenes tour is pretty high on my bucket list, including Keys to the Kingdom in Magic Kingdom, which gives you a glimpse into the famed underground tunnels! At $99 plus tax per person, this is a doable option in the near future … if I can manage 5 hours away from my crew for the tour. A slightly pricier option that is definitely on my list when my children are older is the Wild Africa Trek, a three-hour guided expedition at Animal Kingdom.

Agency Owner Pam on the Wild Africa Trek

Agent Marla and Family

4. Private Photo Session

Disney offers professional photography sessions for mini- to full-portrait sessions at its resorts and theme parks. I can’t imagine a better setting for our Disney-loving family’s photos on a future vacation. How great would that look on a Christmas card? My pick of the photography options would be the mini-session for $180 plus tax at one of my favorite resorts. 

There are many smaller items on my more realistic must-do list for our family’s next Disney World vacation – such as afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian and the last few character meals we haven’t experienced – but these are the really big things I hope to accomplish on a future vacation.



Tell us in the comments what’s on your Disney World bucket list!

- Agent Katie

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Ears the News: July 28, 2019 Edition


Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com


Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com
Beginning August 29 2019, Darth Vader will replace Kylo Ren in the dark side meet and greet.

Kylo Ren will be making appearances in Star Wars Galaxy's Edge.Darth Vader is set to return to Star Wars Launch Bay with the opening of Star Wars Galaxy's Edge.

Astro Orbiter in the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland is now closed for a refurbishment. 

The closure is expected to reopen to guests on August 15, 2019.

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com

House of the Whispering Willows at Epcot's China Pavilion is scheduled to be closing for a short refurbishment.

The closure begins July 30 with a reopening to guests to August 2, 2019. A new display will be added to the gallery during the closure.

Disney Springs will be hosting the DescenDANCE Party later this month to mark the release of the Descendants 3 on Disney Channel.

The dance party will take place July 26 - August 11, 2019, from 7:30pm to 10:30pm on the Marketplace Stage.

From August 16, the DescenDANCE Party will move to Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party nights.

Mickey's Boo To You Halloween parade will be updated this year with new floats and characters representing each land of the Magic Kingdom.

According to Disney, the parade opens with favorite Disney friends, including Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in all-new Halloween costumes, as they trick-or-treat down Main Street, U.S.A.
Concept art courtesy of Disney

Representing Liberty Square, the Haunted Mansion unit features Hitchhiking Ghosts and a new addition, the spectral Bride, who glides among the waltzing spirits.

A new Tomorrowland unit brings Edna Mode from The Incredibles to “Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade,” followed by Buzz Lightyear and Alien explorers discovering crystalline treasures on the surface of a planetary playset float.

Wreck-It Ralph, Vanellope von Schweetz and the girls from Sugar Rush will make an appearance and Pirates join from Adventureland, Clarabelle Cow hosts a square dance during a Frontierland hoedown, and Disney Villains complete a Fantasyland-inspired grand finale

A daily Sangria Hour at Jaleo Disney Springs will be making its debut on July 29, 2019.

Sangria Hour will be held at the Jaleo Matador Bar 7 days a week from 3pm to 6pm and include select discounted tapas and beverage specials.

Jaleo Disney Springs Sangria Hour Tapas Menu 
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com

  • Cono de Tomate y Queso - $4
  • Pan de Cristal con Tomate ½ order (3 piece) - $6
  • Gazpacho - $5.50
  • Endibias (4 pc) - $6
  • Pisto con Huevo– $5
  • Croquetas de Pollo - $6
  • Bunuelos de Bacalao - $6.50
  • Patatas Bravas ½ order - $5
  • Piña Borracha - $5
  • Paella/Arroz of the day ½ order - $10
Jaleo Disney Springs Sangria Hour Beverages
  • Draught Beer-$6
  • Draft Wine (White and Red)-$6
  • Sangria Roja-$6
Annual Passholder previews for Star Wars Galaxy's Edge will take place August 17 - 21, 2019. Registration is currently open.

Platinum, Platinum Plus and Premier Passholders will have the opportunity to register for a preview
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com
of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge on select dates and times in August at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Email invitations with registration details will be sent out Soon. If you are an eligible Passholder and would like to register a Guest to accompany you, that Guest must also have a valid Platinum, Platinum Plus or Premier annual pass, be listed on your Family & Friends list and have opted to share "All My Plans" with you.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party will offer all new overlays to several Magic Kingdom attractions this year.

In Tomorrowland, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor will have a new show, Space Mountain will be filled with lighting and high-energy holiday tunes, and Tomorrowland Speedway will be filled with thousands of lights and stylized décor.

In Fantasyland, Mad Tea Party will feature four new holiday combos of lights and music.

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com


Looking to plan your next trip to Walt Disney World? Contact the agents at Kingdom Konsultant Travel to help you plan your dream vacation. Email vacations@kingdomkonsultant.com for a free quote today.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Tiffins & The Nomad Lounge Review


Tiffins Restaurant opened a few years ago at Disney's Animal Kingdom and instantly became one of my favorite restaurants on property!  The restaurant itself is beautiful and the menu has some unique dishes but still offers something to cater to everyone's tastes.  It is located on Discovery Island right before you cross the path into Pandora so it's easy to get to from a lot of the park.  Tiffins is classified as Signature Dining (two credits on the Disney Dining Plan) and offers Festival of the Lion King and Rivers of Light dining packages.

I like to start every visit here with a trip to the Nomad Lounge, attached and to the left of the entrance.  This is a stop worth checking out on its own with great attention to detail for the traveling nomad.  They offer small plates and a variety of specialty cocktails.  They also offer wine, beer and non-alcoholic specialties as well.  The bartenders here are always wonderful and helped me pick out a drink.  Not pictured here, but the Hightower Rocks is also one of my favorites!

Details in the Nomad Lounge
Some of the beers on Tap
Tempting Tigress - Indonesia; Russell's Reserve 10yr bourbon, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram,
Tamarind syrup, and lime juice
Lambu Libation - Africa; Starr African rum, Cruzan banana rum, guava puree,
with tropical juices topped with Gosling's 151 rum float
We enjoyed our two cocktails while we waited for our table to be ready and in just a few minutes we were escorted through the dining room to our table for dinner. It is definitely worth taking some time to check out the decor here, as there is gorgeous African art pieces around every corner.

Art on the walls in the dining room. 
We started with an appetizer of the Selection of Artisanal Cheeses with the Chef's selection of accompaniments.  The house bread was also brought out which is a bit of a unique taste and has a hint of sweetness to it.  I was also able to get gluten free crackers along with the cheese and bread, which was lovely.

Selection of Artisanal Cheeses
Gluten Free Crackers
Tiffins house bread and dipping sauce
We tried not to fill up on bread as we had lots of yummy appetizers still coming our way, so the small cheese plate was the perfect size to wet our appetite and kick off the meal.  We had a party of six and four of us ordered off the adult menu and the girls didn't feel brave and ordered some simpler items off the kids menu.

Kids Chicken Breast with Seasonal Veggie (Broccolini)
Tamarind-braised Short Rib with Parsnip-Potato Puree, Cauliflower, Cipollini Onion, Medjool Date Vinaigrette
Butter Chicken with Chickpea-Rice Croquette, English Peas, Cauliflower, Pickled Onion
Whole-fried Sustainable Fish with Fermented Black Bean Sauce, Thai Green Papaya Slaw, Peanuts
Braised Lamb Shank with Black-Eyed Peas, Piquillo Peppers, Coriander Chutney, Baharat
The plates were all just beautiful and bursting with color.  There was a variety of sides and sauces to really make each dish a unique experience.  The meat was all cooked very well and fall off the bone where warranted.  The portions were sizable to large (I'm looking at you whole fish!) so we were too stuffed to enjoy dessert this time around. However, the kids meals did come with a cupcake so we took that to go and enjoyed it later and it was also delectable!

While this is a Signature Restaurant so prices are on the higher side, we felt that it was a good value for the quality of food we received.  They do take Tables in Wonderland and the Disney Dining Plan.

Have you been to Tiffins?  What did you think?  If not, what's your favorite restaurant in Animal Kingdom?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

- Agent Maci
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