Aug 102016
 

By Ginamarie Palmieri

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Disney Springs is fast becoming a destination for dining within Walt Disney World’s property, especially with so many new restaurant destinations.  My family’s favorite spot in Disney Springs is not a new one however.  We love everything about Raglan Road Restaurant.

Raglan Road is an Irish pub, but don’t let the theme fool you.  This is not an adult-only venue.  It is family-friendly, and it’s not just a place to grab a beer (though you may want to enjoy a selection from their beautiful bar if you’re of age).  Raglan Road will give you the true Irish pub experience, with food from Irish chefs and décor which was imported from the homeland.  The restaurant also has Irish entertainment throughout the evenings, including Irish step dancers from 4-9 pm and live bands that perform both on the restaurant’s indoor stage and their outdoor patio.

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The décor is one of my favorite parts of this location.  It is covered with wood paneling, stained glass windows and brass light fixtures.  The mirrored bar serves a vast variety of beers on tap or by the bottle, wines, hard liquors and cocktails.  I am especially fond of their beer flights, but if whiskey is more your speed, they have whiskey flights as well.  While you can be seated at the bar, there are also tables and large booths located in several rooms.

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The food here should not be minimized though.  Raglan Road’s kitchen puts out some really tasty dishes.  Each table is brought a serving of brown bread with Guinness dipping sauce.  This never seems to last on our table- it is slightly sweet and a great starter.  Speaking of starters- there is a large selection of appetizers on the menu, including a scotch egg, steamed mussels, baby back ribs, and a soup of the day.  My favorite choice though, are the “nom nom wings,” which are some of the best wings I’ve found at Walt Disney World.  They’re spicy and sweet- crunchy on the outside and meaty on the inside.  Many of the appetizers are also available at the bar as “late night snacks” even after the dining room stops serving.

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The entree selections at Raglan Road are upscale versions of Irish home cooking.  The Raglan Risotto is a perfectly cooked risotto with fresh peas, pecorino and mozzarella cheese.  It’s light but also creamy, and a large portion.

The fish and chips is a large piece of fresh fish, deep fried in beer batter.  It’s a great representation of what I’ve eaten in the U.K.  Those who aren’t adventurous at all, should consider the “Serious Steak”, which is a perfectly cooked strip steak with mashed potatoes and beer battered onion rings.

Each night, Raglan Road offers a different pot pie selection, and this has gotten rave reviews from our family.  The chicken pot pie that we had on our last visit had large chunks of chicken, vegetables, a delicious sauce and flaky crust.  Best of all, the pot pie had mashed potatoes hiding at the base, which my husband loved.  The menu is full of options though, including roasted chicken, ham, lamb shank, seafood chowder, chicken curry, baked salmon and confit duck leg.

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The Raglan Road children’s menu is equally as diverse.  They can choose from classics like chicken fingers, cheeseburgers or mac and cheese, or try out more authentic options like risotto, shepard’s pie or baked salmon.  The children’s portions are huge, and we have easily split them between two young children, or taken leftovers back to our rooms for another day.

If you’re not too full from dinner, Raglan Road also has a great dessert menu which includes a decadent bread pudding, flan, an apple/berry crumble, trifle, and whiskey coated berries with ice cream.  My personal favorite is the Dunbrody’s Kiss, which is a chocolate lover’s dream.

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I highly recommend this restaurant for lunch or dinner.  It’s a great spot to have some delicious food and to take in a show from the dancers or the bands.  Reservations are strongly recommended.  This restaurant takes one credit on the Disney Dining Plan and accepts discounts from Disney Vacation Club and Tables in Wonderland.  Try it out on your next Walt Disney World vacation.  I know we already have reservations for our next trip.

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Dec 302015
 

By Rikki Niblett

2015-11-08 17.43.51

2015 was a crazy busy year for Walt Disney World, however 2016 looks like it’s shaping up to be even more exciting. There are a lot of great things that those of you planning trips for the new year should look forward to that will make your vacation even more eventful. Here are my Top 5 things you should expect to see at Walt Disney World in 2016.

  • Construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Ok, this first one is going to be more of a warning than anything else. One would expect 2016 will be the year of the construction wall at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A good chunk of the park will be closed off to Guests as Disney prepares for Star Wars Land. (And we still don’t 100% know what’s going and what’s staying…we could still lose a few more attractions along the way.) So, be prepared for lots of walls and long waits for attractions that are there. As a silver lining, the new Star Wars stuff is pretty cool and is a good diversion to enjoy while visiting the park.
  • Soarin Around The World:  Announced at this year’s D23, Soarin Around the World will take guests on a journey to far-flung lands, where they will fly above some of the world’s most unique landscapes and man-made wonders, including the Great Wall of China and Monument Valley. No time table has been announced on the official opening date of this attraction, but it is expected to be open by the summer.
  • Frozen Ever After: For those who love Frozen, this attraction is for you! The attraction which takes place in the former Maelstrom building, will take guests through the world of Frozen, past Troll Valley and Grandpappy Troll, then past Olaf singing and ice skating, past Anna, Kristoff, and Sven, and yes, even through the infamous “Let It Go” scene with Elsa. Guests will also visit Marshmallow and the Snowgies too! This attraction is slated to use the latest AudioAnamtronic technology, and it will be interesting to see it when it’s finished. (Which is rumored to be late spring/early summer.)

Disney Springs

  • Disney Springs: The multi-year expansion is almost done! In 2015, we saw the opening of quite a few new restaurants, including The BOATHOUSE, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, and Morimoto Asia. We also saw the inclusion of many new shops in The Landing. In 2016, the remaining restaurants and shops will open, including The Edison, Frontera Fresco, Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine, The NBA Experience, Lily Pulitzer, Tommy Bahama, UGG, PANDORA, Sprinkles Cupcakes and more! There will be plenty of great new options to choose from. Disney Springs really has seen a renascence and I look forward to the future enhancements.
  • Rivers of Light: This upcoming Disney’s Animal Kingdom nighttime spectacular is going to be a sight to be seen. The show, which will take place on the Discovery River in between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest, will feature a pair of mystic hosts who have come to the river and are bringing with them the gift of light. During the show, the hosts will journey from the shores to lantern vessels and will present dances of water and light to summon animal spirits. It seems like it will be an experience like no other and it is expected to debut in the spring of 2016.

See! There’s a ton going on a Walt Disney World in 2016! Now, of course, this is just a start of what guests can expect for 2016 and I’m sure as the year goes by, we’ll get a ton of new updates on other great attractions, shops, and restaurants we’ll also be able to experience in the parks and resorts. What upcoming attraction are you most looking forward to?

Dec 262013
 

By Rikki Niblett

Well, it’s hard to believe that 2013 has come and almost gone, but here it is, the last few days of the year.  Christmas is over now and we’re ready to look forward to a new year.

But before we do that, I thought we’d take a look at a few of the big things that happened at Walt Disney World for 2013.  It was a year of change, as many new upgrades were added to the way we all vacation.  Here is a look at some of the things that I think we’ll all remember this past year for.

FastPass+

©Disney

MyMagic+, Fastpass+, My Disney Experience, MagicBands, etc.

You’d be hard pressed to not say that this year was the year of Magic and plus signs.  This year, Disney began testing it’s brand new NextGen project called MyMagic+.  While this system is still in the testing phase, many of us have now learned what these new terms mean and how it will impact our vacations.  (And trust me, it will for years to come).  For 2014, it will interesting to see how things get tweaked here and there and what new surprises Disney has rolled up their sleeves in regards to this new system.  I expect that we’ll see a more full scale roll out in the next year.

Limited Time Magic

The promotion for this year came in with great potential, but I think for the most part, failed to live up to it.  Sure, there were some events that were huge successes (like the Friday the 13 Villains Party, May the Fourth Be With You, and Long Lost Friends) but for the most part, the year just highlighted merchandise, cupcakes, and events that take place anyway.  It was a good idea, but the execution just didn’t seem to be there.  While I know that not everything needs to be big and grand, it would have been nice to have seen a few more innovative happenings.  When they did the more innovative things, I think guests responded and responded well.

Princess Fairy Tale Hall

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Princess Fairy Tale Hall

This new meet and greet location opened in September as part of New Fantasyland in the location of Snow White’s Scary Adventure.  It is by far the spot to go if you want to meet some of the best and brightest princesses.  I especially appreciate the detail that was included to make this place really shine.  It’s really the perfect spot to meet those coveted Princesses, like Cinderella and Rapunzel.

 

Disney Springs

Downtown Disney is being re-branded into Disney Springs and this year, Disney gave us some details on what the new area will look like in 2016 when it’s all said and done.  2013 is the year of construction for this new project.  Some places have closed to make way for new; parking lots are closed to make way for a parking garage; and new food trucks have popped up to help with the demand until the new area opens.  We’ve got a few more years on this project, so it will be interesting to see the details that get released over the next year about this project.

Starbucks at Epcot

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Starbucks

One of the biggest things to happen at Walt Disney World this year was the introduction of Starbucks to the theme parks.  It was met with some who loved the idea and others who abhorred it.  Especially when favorite stomping grounds were taken over by the coffee giant (I’m looking at you Main Street Bakery).  Whether you love it or hate it, the one thing that’s well known is that Disney coffee before was abysmal.  With Starbucks, it is not.  For the coffee lover, this is a good step in the right direction.

Tangled Restrooms

The Tangled potties opened up this year in the Magic Kingdom in Fantasyland.  While it may be silly to include it on this list, it is a really cool restroom.  It is themed to the hilt around the hit franchise movie and is a welcome addition in an area that had probably had some of the smallest facilities originally (And probably got hit the most, since there are no restrooms in Liberty Square.).  So while yes it’s just restrooms, it was a welcome addition and is extremely neat to visit.  You almost have to make a stop there even if it is just to explore.  Oh … and the place is even better at night with the lanterns lit up!

Talking Mickey Mouse

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Talking Mickey

This one is a big one because how cool is it that Mickey talks to guests at the Town Square Theater in the Magic Kingdom?  Mickey plays games and actually TALKS to you, which is something that he’s never been able to do.  While it’s a little weird at first, as soon as you get the hang of it, you wonder why the other characters can’t talk to you too.  Maybe someday they all will.  But for now, I’ll take Mickey.

Of course, this is nowhere near a complete list of all the new things that happened in 2013, but it is a good start.  It will be interesting to see what 2014 brings.  We’ve got a new restaurant in Morocco with Spice Road Table and of course, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will open sometime likely before the summer.

What are your thoughts though?  What was your favorite thing that happened with the Disney Parks in 2013 and what are you looking forward to in 2014?

Mar 202013
 

By: Rikki Niblett

Disney

Disney

Have you heard the news?  Downtown Disney is going to be seeing some MAJOR changes over the next few years.

Being renamed as Disney Springs, the new version of Downtown Disney will take it’s cue from Florida waterfront towns and will include meandering springs, open air promenades, incredible shopping, great new entertainment options, and wonderful restaurants.  The new area is set to increase the number of venues in the district to double, from 75 to 150.

Disney Springs will now focus on four different neighborhoods to help bring this new adventure to life.

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