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Best Hollywood Studios Quick-Service – Our Top 3 Spots

Best Hollywood Studios Quick-Service – Our Top 3 Spots

We’re getting hangry! Which one of our best Hollywood Studios quick-serve spots should we hit up? In recent years, the quick-serve options at the park have improved greatly, with a handful of solid choices. With the opening of Galaxy’s Edge and the addition of two more quick-serve locations at Hollywood Studios, it got us thinking. What are the best Hollywood Studios quick-serve locations? Let’s hurry up and find some food before the hangry takes over!

Quiet On The Set!

No, you don’t have eat in silence at our third best Hollywood Studios quick-serve spot. For solid America fare, our favorite place is the Backlot Express. With spins on traditional foods like biscuits and gravy with straws jam or the Nate favorite, pulled pork burger, Backlot Express is solid joint. Set in the style of a prop warehouse that you would find on a movie set, besides serving up good food, Backlot Express has tons our props to check out.

The largest quick-serve location at Hollywood Studios is perfect regardless of the weather. It has ample seating both inside and out, with the outside having a fantastic shaded area. If you’re looking a wide range of America fare you’ll want to check out Backlot Express.

Passholder Insights: Don’t forget to look up when you’re inside Backlot Express, many of the larger props are hung from the ceiling.

Not Your Average Cargo

Who knew a docking bay could serve up good food. Coming second on our best Hollywood Studios quick-serve locations is Docking Bay 7. If you know us, you were probably expecting us to say Ronto Roasters. We love a good Ronto Wrap, however, for our best Hollywood Studios quick-serve options we’re looking at the whole menu. Docking Bay 7 has great, could be considered underrated, food. With a menu boasting a variety of options for everyone in your group.

For us, you can never go wrap with yip-tip (chicken). Whether it is part of a salad or a standalone meal, the yip-tip is tender, juicy, and hitting on all the right flavor notes. For a more adventurous offering, the Kaadu ribs (pork) is a great sticky option.

Passholder Insights: Ronto Roasters and Docking Bay 7 are next to each other with a seating area in the middle making it easy to order from both.

Brings Us Back To Childhood

There’s something about grilled cheese and tomato soup, it immediately transports is back to our younger years. Our best Hollywood Studios quick-serve location is tugging at our heartstrings. Woody’s Lunchbox in Toy Story Land is serving up the classic grilled cheese, as well as an elevated version of the original with the addition of brisket.

For us, what makes the meal are the potato barrels. Better known as Tater Tots. Who doesn’t love a good Tater Tot, it’s like pizza, there are not bad versions. If you’re not in the mood for grilled cheese check the turkey sandwich. Just like mom used to make!

Woody’s Lunchbox is a very popular dining location. Our biggest tip is to use mobile ordering. With only a couple of ordering locations, the line backs up quickly. We like to put in our mobile order as we’re walking off one of the attractions. More often than not our food is ready when we arrive.

Passholder Insights: Woody’s Lunch Box has a smaller seating area. We like to head to the outskirts of the seating for one of the standup tables.

Our Thoughts

It’s awesome to see the food options at Hollywood Studios to continue to expand. All of the new options are on par with our all-time favorite quick-serve, Satu’li Canteen in Pandora World of Avatar. Alright, we’ve got go and put in our mobile order. No hangry moments here!

The Epcot Experience – Uncovering Potential Hints Of What’s To Come!

The Epcot Experience – Uncovering Potential Hints Of What’s To Come!

Hidden in plain sight! Could Walt Disney World be hiding references at what’s to come within the Epcot Experience? After taking a careful look at the new show in the Odyssey Pavilion we’ve got a couple of ideas around what’s on the horizon for Epcot. Let’s take a careful look at the Epcot Experience and see if we can read between lines!

Location

On the edge of Future World and the World Showcase is a building situated between Test Track and Mexico known as the Odyssey Pavilion. On October 1, 2019, the pavilion reopened with the Epcot Experience, which expands on the D23 announcements from August.
The centerpiece is a movie in the round presentation of the future enhancements to the park. In the center of the room is an abstract model of Epcot.

Passholder Insights: Once complete the Odyssey Pavilion will be part of the World Celebration neighborhood.

Coco Coming Home?

Coco could have a larger presence in the Mexico Pavilion. The addition of Disney Intellectual Properties (IP) to the World Showcase is definitely growing. With Frozen Ever After in Norway, and Ratatouille and Beauty and the Beast coming to the France Pavilion and Mary Poppins announced at D23 for the UK Pavilion, it would make sense for to see Coco in the Mexico Pavilion.

At Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival, Coco was added to the Mariachi Cobre performances and remained through October 2019. The addition was wildly successful. So much so, Disney World brought back Coco for the Day of the Dead celebration. In the Epcot Experience, Coco has a strong presence, as his guitar is resting against the Mayan Temple. We believe Coco will become a permit fixture in the pavilion as part of the Mariachi Cobre or another show, with a potential of a standalone attraction. There is one requirement for the attraction and that is the addition of a Brazil Pavilion. If a Brazil Pavilion is added then the Three Caballeros could move to the new pavilion making way for a Coco attraction.

Passholder Insights: Our favorite place to order up a margarita at Epcot is inside the Mayan Temple at La Cava del Tequila.

Let’s Go Fly A Kite

Don’t mind if we do, Mary! In what was a show stopper at the D23 event, Dick Van Dyke came on stage to announce the addition of a Mary Poppins attraction to the United Kingdom Pavilion. At the event there was no elaboration beyond the recreation of Cherry Tree Lane.

Fast-forward to the Epcot Experience. All of the segments highlighting what’s to come were very forthcoming around what we should expect. Whether it be an attraction or show or a walkthrough, all except for Mary Poppins called out what the experience would be.

Confirming what we mentioned in our World Showcase article, the Mary Poppins attraction has not been defined. Disney Imagineering is still very fluid on what the experience could be, with the DVC Duo’s assumption being it’s due to budget. According to Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media, the Mary Poppins announcement was a last-minute addition when the Brazil Pavilion announcement got delayed. We’re assuming we will get more details around the Mary Poppins attraction after the opening of the Rise of the Resistance in December. Disney is waiting to see what the return will be from Galaxy’s Edge before setting the budget.

Passholder Insights: For Mary Poppins related merchandise head into the UK Pavilion tea shop. The merchandise is towards the back.

At the Epcot Experience projection-mapping is used to create the different scenes

Let’s Project!

Isn’t that what we’re doing? Well, yes. When we’re saying project, we’re referring to the projection technology Disney is using at Epcot Experience. The biggest hint at the show is right in front of us. We believe the advanced projecting technology Disney is using to transform the white Epcot model to the different show scenes is the same technology for HarmonoiUS.

That’s right, one of the big aspects of the nighttime spectacular is projection technology. We’re guessing Disney Imagineering could look to use the same projection technology in the Epcot Experience to project on Spaceship Earth, but more impressively the World Showcase countries.

While watching the HarmonioUS segment of the show, take a deep look at the countries. It could just be the concept art, but it shows each of the countries being light up more than ever before. This is our best guess and purely an assumption.

Our Thoughts

Disney World likes to test as much as possible prior to bringing it life. The Epcot Experience is definitely outlining what’s to come, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Disney is testing a few of these ideas at the same time. It may be a while before we get more details around these assumptions. For now, we can use our “Imagination”. Imagination? That’s an article for another day!

Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival – A Second Tasting Around The World

Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival – A Second Tasting Around The World

Seconds? There’s always room seconds, especially when we’re talking about Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival. Spanning 87 days from August 29, 2019, to November 23, 2019, the dishes at the festival continue to evolve over time. By the festivals conclusion, dishes that were overlooked in the beginning could rise to the top. We’re sampling our way around the World Showcase to find dishes worthy of seconds!

Tender Enough?

Beef, it’s what’s for dinner. A long-running staple of Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival is the Africa booth. This year’s featured dish the Kenyan Coffee Barbecue Beef Tenderloin with Sweet Potato and Corn Mealie Pap, and topped with Kachumari Slaw. Like coffee, how beef is prepared is unique to the individual. In the DVC Duo house, we always prefer our cooked medium-rare.

At Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, most beef dishes will be cooked medium-well. The Kenyan tenderloin made our second helpings list not for the beef, but for sweet potato and corn mealie pap. With a similar consistency as grits, the pap was bursting with flavors. We got sweetness from the corn and sweet potatoes which was offset by earthy notes from the African spices.

The beef was cooked well, just to not our personal liking. If you prefer your beef on the more well-done side, definitely give this one a try!

Passholder Insights: When partaking in the Disney Dining Plan you can use your snack credits on the booth samples.

Slide On In!

Don’t mind if we do. Across the way from the Imagination Pavilion is the Flavors of Fire booth, which is serving up a unique slider. Combining beef and mushrooms you get the base for the juicy patty which is then topped with Brie fondue, arugula, and a truffle and blue cheese-flavored potato chip.

Can we have thirds? This slider is one Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival best dishes. The Brie fondue adds the perfect amount of tang to the richness of the patty. If we could change one thing it would be the potato chip. The chip added a nice crunch, breaking up the texture of the dish, however, we didn’t get a lot of the truffle and blue cheese flavors. Maybe next time channel their inner Emeril and kick-up the flavoring a notch. Bam! Overall though, it’s a burger fans dream.

Passholder Insights: Tucked behind the Flavors of Fire booth has a great seating area with a variety of tables to enjoy your tastings.

Surprise, Surprise!

At Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, one dish is either a home run or strikeout depending on who tries it. What dish are we talking about? We’re talking about the Frothy Ramen from the Japan booth. Chilled noodles are served in a dashi broth and topped with a light foam.

Wow! For us, this was the best surprise of the festival. All aspects of the dish were well executed. The ramen noodles were perfectly tender, not mushy at all. Stealing the spotlight is definitely the Unami flavors of the dashi broth. Let’s just say no broth was left behind. If you’re a ramen fan, we would highly recommend this one.

Passholder Insights: Behind the Pagoda is a peaceful seating area with tons of shade. It’s a great place to enjoy a little break around the World Showcase.

Hidden Gem

Down past Le Cellier in the Canada Pavilion is the Appleseed Orchard Cider Bar. Set-up in the O’Canada theater, while the movie is updated, is a fantastic place for an adult time out. Offering up both wine and cider flights, as well as individual samples the Appleseed Orchard is our hidden gem at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival. If you enjoy trying different types of cider, it’s worth the trek into the pavilion.

Our Thoughts

More good dishes than not. This year’s festival had tons of high notes with very few low notes for us. It’s definitely worth a second helping!

Animal Kingdom Holiday Decorations – Spreading The Festive Spirit!

Animal Kingdom Holiday Decorations – Spreading The Festive Spirit!

Ready, set, let’s holiday! The Walt Disney World festive spirit is spreading to the Animal Kingdom holiday decorations. The holiday season at Walt Disney World is one of the best times of the year at the parks, from Mickey’s Party at the Magic Kingdom to the Festival of the Holiday Epcot, it’s a must-see experience. On November 8, 2019, the Animal Kingdom takes a big step in joining the rest of the Walt Disney World parks in celebrating the season. We’re rocking our Christmas sweaters, let’s see how the Animal Kingdom holiday decorations are coming together!

Coming Back

Last year marked Disney World’s first major holiday up for the Animal Kingdom with the addition to the Diwali celebration. The festival of light was a truly beautiful sight, especially at night when the lanterns were lit. Disney is bringing back the celebration to the Asia section of the Animal Kingdom with more lanterns and glowing flowers in this year’s version. You’ll theses Animal Kingdom holiday decorations outside the Anadapur Theater (home to UP! The Great Bid Adventure) along the waterfront.

Passholder Insights: Along the waterfront is a shaded seating area that is rarely busy. It’s a great place to take a midday break from the Florida sun.

Donald’s Holiday Bash

Over in Dinoland USA, Donald and his other Dino-Bash friends are decking out the land for the holiday. The Animal Kingdom holiday decorations associated with Donald’s Dino-Bash will reflect each of the character’s personalities. Should we assume in true Scrooge McDuck fashion some type of money related decorations? We think it’s a safe bet!

Once night falls it’s time to dance it out in Dinoland USA! In what’s being described as a Truck-O-Saurus will be pumping out the jams. Guests will be able to partake in dancing and interactive games with none other than Chip and Dale. Fingers crossed they’re rocking a Christmas inspired dino costume.

Passholder Insights: During less busy times, Dinosaur operates with limited hours. The hours would be from 10 am to 6 pm.

West Meets East

Harambe at Christmas! What do you get when you mix western style with the authentic African celebrations? You get Animal Kingdom holiday decorations for the Africa section of the park. With subtle adjustments to the famous musical and entertainment acts costumes, along with new music, we have Christmas in Harambe.

In addition the area will be the go-to location for holiday-inspired character dining at the Tusker House. Mickey and friends will be showing off their holiday best for the season.

An Avatar Christmas

Pandora is bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase home for the holidays. Decorated with ex-pats kitschy decor from Earth, mixed with a little Pandora flare, you got an Avatar Christmas. The majority of the Animal Kingdom holiday decorations in the World of Avatar will be centered around Pongu Pongu and Satu’li Canteen.

Passholder Insights: Pandora is one of the areas in the Animal Kingdom that’s great to see in the day and a can’t miss at miss.

Center Of It All

Discovery Island is the focal point for the Animal Kingdom holiday decorations. Entering the land you stumble upon a winter celebration where artists have put their unique spins on the decorations. It’s truly a white Christmas in Discovery Island with a white serving as the backdrop for the animal luminaries on the rooftops, wire bird-shaped lanterns and garland draped from the buildings.

The headliner is sure to be the variety of life-size holiday animal puppets. From reindeer to polar bears and of the always dressed for the occasion penguins. Musicians will provide a holiday soundtrack to the area and the puppets interact with guests.

Capping off the night will be the newly developed holiday version of the Tree of Life Awaken. Winter tales is the theme to show with holiday musical traditions setting the tone.

Our Thoughts

Excited! Over the past few years, Disney has slowly been expanding the holiday flare of the Animal Kingdom. It’s great to see they’ve made the jump to deck out the Animal Kingdom with holiday decorations. It’s still early but we’re betting these new editions will be gift everyone is talking about in the new year. The holidays have come to the Animal Kingdom!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – A DVC Duo 2019 Holiday Guide

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – A DVC Duo 2019 Holiday Guide

It’s the hap, happiest time of the year! Mickey is decking the halls and getting ready for his Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom. We can already smell the Christmas cookies and eggnog. We’re rocking our Christmas sweaters it’s time get this party started. Let’s check out what Mickey has to offer at this year’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

Building Blocks

Whether it’s Legos or Lincoln Logs and everything in between, building blocks are always a solid Christmas gift. In this year’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party guide, we’re building on last year’s fantastic guide. We recommend checking it out as we cover everything that is being carried over from the 2018 event.

Passholder Insights: On nights where Mickey is throwing his party the Magic Kingdom closes at 6 pm in preparation for the event beginning at 7 pm. Guests attending the party can stay in the park during the transition.

Party Time!

On select nights starting November 8, 2019, and running through December 22, 2019, the Magic Kingdom will host Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. We recommend purchasing tickets in advance, as the events do have limited capacity and tend to sell out, especially the closer we get to Christmas. For a full list of dates and prices check out the following link.

Passholder Insights: The week between Christmas and New Year, Walt Disney World runs the Christmas parade in the afternoon. It’s the one time of year Maleficent gets a vacation!

Festive Attractions

Everyone gets in the holiday spirit at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, including the attractions. Brand new this year, a variety of the Magic Kingdom attraction are getting decked out for the holidays. Headlining the attraction list is the Tomorrowland Speedway Christmas Tree Trail. Bucket-up as you take to the roads and drive your way around the track lined with Christmas trees and holiday cheer. The speedway will come to life as night falls, with the beautifully lite trees and decorations to boot.

Around the corner from Tomorrowland Speedway, the Monsters of Monsters Laugh Floor are throwing their party. For the event, Mike and his crew are switching it up with holiday-inspired comedy. If it’s anything like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party we should expect the attraction to set-up as a come and go as you please, with potentially a cookie station inside. Cookie and holiday jokes, now you’re talking our language.

The fun doesn’t stop in Tomorrowland with Space Mountain also getting into the holiday spirit. In what Disney is describing as a trippy jaunt through the cosmos, Space Mountain will be rocking with holiday tunes and dancing lights as you blast your way through the galaxy.

Wrapping up the holiday attractions is the Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland. With the addition of four-holiday soundtracks and lights, the Mad Tea will get head spinning without the spiked eggnog.

Passholder Insights: For the holidays the Jungle Cruise turns into the Jingle Cruise and all guests can enjoy a Christmas voyage filled with dad jokes!

Sweet Treats!

We’re here for the treats! It’s not holidays with won’t Christmas cookies, and Mickey knows this. At this year’s event, Mickey is baking up a storm and offering a wide range of cookies. Included in the price of the ticket are the following cookie and beverage options:

Tortuga Tavern – In Adventureland, you’ll find the classic snickerdoodle cookie and hot chocolate.

Heritage House – Over in Liberty Square is the ginger molasses cookie served with egg nog.

Friar’s Nook – Off in Fantasyland is the snowman sugar cookie and snow cone.

Pete’s Silly Circus – In the back of Fantasyland you’ll find apple cider served with the snowman sugar cookie

Launching Pad – Not to be out down Tomorrowland will have peppermint bark alongside their hot chocolate.

Beyond the sweet treats included with your party ticket, Mickey has a variety of unique party goodies to try for an additional cost. The Main Street Bakery will have a variety of holiday-inspired cupcakes for purchase. Next door to the bakery, the Main Street Ice Cream parlor will have a holiday ice cream sandwich. Joining in on the cupcakes is Gaston Tavern in Fantasyland with their holiday tree cupcake, which is made up of spice cake and buttercream frosting.

Rounding out the sweet treats are the Pumpkin Spice Waffle Sundae at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments and the Strawberry Lemonade Slushy at Cosmic Rays.

Passholder Insights: One of our favorite things to do is pick up a couple of the cookie options to enjoy while we wait for Once Upon A Christmastime parade.

The Main Event

It’s always a toss-up in the DVC Duo house to what’s the main event at Mickey’s Very Christmas Party, the parade or the fireworks. There are no bad choices, as they are both can’t miss events of the night. For this year’s event, Minnie is taking center stage for her new fireworks spectacular called Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks.

Set to holiday favorites like Deck the Halls, we’re anticipating this will be the show stopper. If it’s anything like the Not So Spooky Specular at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, we’re in for a real treat! Similar to the Halloween fireworks we recommend finding a spot just in front of the castle, as close to the Walt and Mickey statue as you can.

Passholder Insights: The parade runs twice a night with the second parade usually being the quieter of the two.

The Extras

Some may say the parties within a party. If you’re looking for reserved seating for the fireworks or the parade it may be worth checking out the add-on events to the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. For reserved seating for the parade, you’ll want to check out Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party. Similar to Cruella’s Halloween Hideaway, Tony’s event includes appetizers, drinks and the best seat in the house for the second parade.

For reserved seating for Minnie’s fireworks, you’ll want to check out the two dessert parties offered. With additional sweets and drinks, the dessert parties are a great way to make the Christmas Party just a little more special.

Passholder Insights: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party has a lot to see and do, we see the extra events as things to try on a second visit and beyond.

Our Thoughts

There are tons of great new additions to this Very Merry Christmas Party. Mickey is really stepping it up this year! What’s great of the event is you’re able to enter the Magic Kingdom starting at 4 pm and if you purchase your tickets in advance you can make FastPass selections for after 4 pm. All you need to do is add your ticket to your My Disney Experience account and you’re good to go. Booking will follow the regular FastPass booking schedule.

In the DVC Duo house, Mickey’s party is one can’t miss any time we’re at Walt Disney World for the holidays. Watching the Christmas parade head down Main Street with the castle in the background really gets us in the Christmas spirit. Our biggest tip is making a list of the things you most want to see, from the parade to the fireworks, and a variety of special character meet ‘n greets and attractions. It’s hard to see everything and a list helps keep it all organized. All we go to do now is figure out which cookie to try first!