We’re lounging around again! This time on the west coast at California Adventure’s Lamp Light Lounge. When on the west coast it’s all about the movie studios and in this case Pixar. It’s to the bar and beyond! Let’s see if our Lamp Light Lounge visit resulted in Joy or Sadness.
Stepping onto Pixar Pier you stumble upon the park’s newest restaurant. With grand views of Paradise Bay, Lamp Light Lounge is a multiple level experience. On the top floor is an open-air bar with a feel that would remind you of the shore. You pick the shore. Downstairs is an inside bar where you can picture Pixar animators hanging after a long day of storyboarding or celebrating their most recent Oscar.
Passholder Insights: Reservations are a little different in Disneyland, as you book them 60 days in advance compared to the 180 at Walt Disney World.
Subtle and not so subtle at the same time. You know what we mean. Walking into the Lamp Light Lounge you’ll see the Pixar influence right from the get-go with the Art Deco style paintings on the wall. The more and more you look around you uncover the nods to the different movies and the studio as a whole. We kept discovering more and more new details with every turn.
Passholder Insights: If you prefer a bar seat like us, you can request one when you check-in.
This is a lounge after all. With a cocktail list filled with concoctions created after the Pixar characters we know and love, there is something for everyone’s palate. On this day, we went off book thanks to the recommendation of our new bartender friend, Chris. Always make friends with your bartender (that’s the best tip we’ve got). Chris was working on a new cocktail called Anger Management.
Perfectly named after the Inside Out character, the tequila-based drink can best be described as a combination of a margarita and bloodily Mary. The real kicker, both literally and figuratively, was the spice. You know Angry, he’s definitely a spicy fellow.
Overall, solid drink. If you’re in the mood for something a little different and you don’t mind the heat definitely see if Chris is around to make the Anger Management. Who knows it may be on the Lamp Light Lounge drink list next time we go!
Passholder Insights: The overall feel of the lounge is very laidback. Similar to the Nomad Lounge. A place where you can take a break from the park.
Beyond the Anger Management, we went with our go-to classic. You know them and we love them, an Old Fashioned. Let’s just say the bartenders know how to pour a drink at the Lamp Light Lounge. There is nothing pre-made like Oga’s Cantina. Each drink is made to order. We could definitely see ourselves relaxing here on future trips to the left coast. Well, we didn’t get to the food this time around, lucky for us there is always another article in the works. Next order up is the Lamp Light Lounge food review. For now, the drink review is complete and the verdict is in, our visit resulted in Joy!
To-go or not to-go? Well, at Choza de Margarita the only option is to-go. It is takeout only after all. Did you think we would reveal our food review in the first sentence? Not our style! You know how we love our Mexican food, with DVC Duo favorites, San Angel Inn Restaurante, and the cantina. The big question is, does Choza de Margarita measure up to the competition. Ok, we’ve waited long enough, let’s get a margarita!
Happy belated birthday! We’re only a month or so behind. On November 10, 2017, Choza de Margarita opened in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion. It was one of the more anticipated openings, at least in the DVC Duo house. Themed after a Mexican taco stand, the walk-up location specializes in margaritas and street food. Think about anything you can enjoy on the go!
Passholder Insights: If you’re a Coco fan you’ll want to head into the Mayan temple to see the day of the dead display. It may have an impact on a Coco attraction.
It’s the first thing you’ll stumble if you head left into the World Showcase. Aren’t we all like Zoolander, and can’t turn right? We know we are. On your left-hand side, you’ll find the Choza de Margarita stand. The location has a couple of high top tables, but it’s designed to grab and go. We’ve found that if you head a few more steps down the walkway you’ll find a variety of tables on the right.
Passholder Insights: Choza de Margarita is not part of the Disney Dining Plan.
Did You Say, Margarita?
Yes, yes we did. It’s in the name after all. Choza de Margarita offers a variety of drinks that are either on the rocks or frozen. For us, if we’re going to rate a Margarita we’ve got start with a classic. On this day we went with the “La Choza” Clasica. It’s a simple take on a margarita, as it combines Blanco tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, agave nectar and slight spin with The Withers Rose wine. Wine? Yes, we said wine. Instead of standard margarita salt, they use black salt.
First sip! Wait a second, wait a second! Before we sip, one thing we noticed was the drinks were not mixed to order. They were pre-mixed and served in a similar style as a soda. Ok, back to the tasting. We found drink refreshing, well balanced and not too alcohol forward. The most notable flavor was definitely the lime juice. Overall, we would not turn down a second.
Beyond the standard, the one that got a second look was the cucumber margarita on the rocks. Similar to the classic but with a Chile-lime rim and cucumber juice. Think of it as cucumber water! With a little kick.
Passholder Insights: During any of the Epcot festivals, the Mexico booth usually has a solid margarita option.
What goes best with a margarita? Guacamole of course! The guacamole at Choza de Margarita is a little different than your standard run of the mill offering. Topped with pumpkin seeds and mango we found the guacamole quite delightful. The pumpkin seeds added a nice “toasty” flavor and the sweetness of the mango balanced everything out. If we could change anything it would be the guacamole to chip ratio. There plenty of chips, maybe too many.
We can’t get Mexican without Nate ordering a taco and our trip to Choza de Margarita is no different. When ordering street food you have to go with classic tacos al pastor. Let’s just neither us wanted to share. These tacos are fantastic! It’s sweet, tangy, and just the right of spice. If you enjoy tacos al pastor you’ll want to order these up. And, let’s not forget the corn esquites. Who would have thought lime, corn, and cheese worked. Oh, it works and we want more!
Passholder Insights: We’ve found the line tends to get longer around mid-afternoon. We like to stop by around lunchtime.
We’re fans! Of the food. The food at Choza de Margarita is delicious and some of the best around Disney World. We found the margaritas solid, but we prefer La Cava del Tequila within the Mayan Temple. The pre-mixing is something we’re not huge fans of, but we understand why the do it. If you’re looking for a frozen or a quick drink, it’s definitely worth stopping by. You won’t be disappointed. Who’s ready for another taco? We are!
Hei, Hei, it’s another Aloha Isle float! The iconic cool treat location in the Magic Kingdom is turning out new options on a regular basis. Don’t blink or you may miss the latest creation. Does the latest addition live up to the Dole Whip standard? That’s a large cup to fill. Let’s head over to Aloha Isle before the latest offering floats away!
Hidden behind Aladdin’s Magic Carpets in the Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland is Aloha Isle Refreshments. Keep an eye out for the thatch roof spires. Just watch out for the spitting camels. Yes, that’s is right. The camels around the Aladdin’s Magic Carpets spit (water of course) at random times.
Passholder Insights: At the Enchanted Tiki Room, you’re able to bring in your cool treat to enjoy while watching the show. It’s one of our favorites Disney shows!
On to the good stuff! The sweet treats, it’s why we are all here. Taking a queue for the Hei Hei cone, the newest Aloha Isle treat is the Raspberry and Pineapple Swirl Float. Combining raspberry and pineapple Dole Whip in a swirl fashion then adding pineapple juice, you get the new float option. The big difference between the Hei Hei cone and the float is the addition of the pineapple juice and removal of the cone and candy eye.
It’s taste test time. Drumroll, please. For us, it’s the middle of the road. We found the float to be refreshing and more on the tart side than we expected. The combination of the raspberry Dole Whip and the pineapple juice created a flavor that didn’t work for our palette. It reminded us of a similar tart flavor you experience with the Citrus Swirl. The Hei Hei cone is our preferred choice.
The new float qualifies as a snack if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan.
Passholder Insights: Aloha Isle tends to have long lines, especially in the early afternoon. Our go-to move is to use mobile ordering.
Keep the sweet treat options coming! We’ve been enjoying the different snack options Walt Disney World is bringing to the Magic Kingdom. The new raspberry and pineapple is not our favorite, as we’re not huge fans of pineapple juice when it’s not mixed with other juices. If you’re a fan of pineapple juice and raspberry this is definitely a must-try. On to the next tasty treat, we’re looking at you Redd’s Revenge!
What’s Thanksgiving without Turkey? Just another Thursday. It’s the eve of Thanksgiving in the US (we know Canada, we’re about a month late) and we’re talking Disney turkey. A holiday trip to Walt Disney World doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a taste of the good stuff. Alright, we better get to it before the tryptophan kicks in. You know, that stuff in turkey that has us all enjoying an afternoon nap. Let’s get to craving!
Turkey On The Go!
By far the most infamous Disney turkey has to be the turkey leg. The enormous sized drumstick looks like something that stepped out of the cretaceous period. Right, Dr. Seeker? This Disney turkey treat is not found in Dinoland USA but instead near one of our favorite Magic Kingdom night rides Big Thunder Mountain.
Smoked to a golden brown color, the turkey leg is a classic snack that Disneyphiles either love or avoid. In the DVC Duo, we tend to be the later. It’s not our favorite Disney turkey option, as we find it be more on the salty side and little caveman-like than we would prefer.
Passholder Insights: The turkey leg qualifies as a quick-serve meal when you’re on the Disney Dining Plan. It’s served is a side dish and drink.
Stepping Back In Time
A stone’s throw down the street from the turkey leg is our second Disney Turkey option. The Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom is serving a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Ham and turkey included! That’s right the original Thanksgiving included ham. Served as feast style meal where platters of turkey and all the trimmings are brought to your table, it’s the best holiday meal you’ll find at Walt Disney World. It’s a meal that would make grandma proud.
What brings the Liberty Tree Tavern to the next level is the dining room. It’s like stepping back to the colonial time period. It definitely adds to the meal.
Passholder Insights: A meal at Liberty Tree Tavern is a great way to begin the night at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. We recommend making an Advance Dining Reservation for around 4 pm.
Who doesn’t love a good day after Thanksgiving sandwich? We would say it’s the best part of the holiday. Our last stop on our Disney turkey tour brings us to Earl of Sandwich at Disney Springs. During the holiday season, the Earl of Sandwich usually has their holiday special turkey sandwich. Tender slices of turkey are topped with cranberry sauce, stuffing, and a little mayo to make a fantastic sandwich.
Passholder Insights: One of the more unique free holidays offers at Walt Disney World is the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs. With 23 Christmas trees inspired by different Disney characters and themes, it’s a sight to see!
There’s plenty of turkey to go around! The holidays at Walt Disney World are a magical time of year and every Disney restaurant gets involved. On Thanksgiving, the vast majority of the restaurants will be offering a spin of the traditional holiday meal. We’ve been known to enjoy a little Disney turkey at Olivia’s at Old Key West. After all this turkey talk, it’s time for a nap!
Cape Codder anyone? Walking into the Ale and Compass Lounge it feels as if you’re stepping into the Kennedy’s favorite watering hole. What happens when you take away the triple sec from Sarah Jessica Parker’s favorite drink the cosmo? You get the cape codder. DVC Duo bar lesson complete. All this bar talk has us in the mood for an adult time out, let’s over to the Ale and Compass Lounge!
Where’s It At?
A stone’s throw away from one of our favorite Walt Disney World lounges, Crew’s Cup. Part of the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, the Ale and Compass Lounge is located within the Yacht Club’s lobby. It’s a short walk from Epcot’s World Showcase when you take the International Gateway exit.
Passholder Insights: The International Gateway is the same location as the Epcot Skyliner Station.
Boat shoes and khakis. That’s what you feel like you should where walking into the Ale and Compass Lounge. Filled with rich wood and darker color palette, the only missing is a Kennedy or two hanging out at the bar. As New Englanders, it reminds us of a boathouse that’s down by the docks.
The lounge is broken up into two separate spaces. Walking in you’ll first encounter the more lounge area with table and chairs, fireplace, and a couch you could hang out in for a while. Tucked behind the fireplace is the bar area with a few high tops and a traditional bar.
Passholder Insights: The best pool at Walt Disney World is at the Yacht and Beach Club, Storm-a-long Bay.
It’s all about the classics. Classic cocktails that is. Ale and Compass Lounge offers a well-stocked bar, and a cocktail list straight out of the Kennedy era. For a true classic, you can never go wrong with a Nate favorite, the Manhattan. Using a specially crafted Knob Creek bourbon, that’s right Disney World has their own aged bourbon from Knob Creek, you have you base for a delightful drink.
If you’re looking for a cocktail with a little sweetness, but not too sweet. Another DVC Duo favorite is the maple old fashioned. Similar flavor profile to the Manhattan but with rich sweet flavor from pure maple syrup. For a really unique classic, you do not see to often, take a look at the gimlet. A Serena favorite! You get the tartness from the lime which is balanced well by the simple syrup and plays well with the juniper berry flavor from the gin.
Rounding out the bar drink menu is a wide variety of wines and a few domestic draft beer choices. For something non-alcoholic check out one of the four mock cocktails the bartenders are shaking up, like the no kick mule.
Passholder Insights: For bourbon fans, head down to Crews Cup where they usually have Blanton’s on the shelf.
Nothing pairs better with a great cocktail than a good appetizer. In a menu that offers a couple of standbys and a rotating list of other options. In the DVC Duo house we’re always drawn to baked goat cheese, and when we saw it on the Ale and Compass Lounge, we had to have it! Definitely, the right choice. It hits all our taste buds, with the tang from the goat cheese, sweetness from the tomatoes, and the toasted pumpkin seeds added the perfect crunch.
Our seasonal offering on this trip was the barbecue chicken flatbread. Like pizza, you can never go wrong with a flatbread. It’s just different levels of good. The Ale and Compass Lounge flatbread was solid, nothing that made us go wow, but nothing that left us unhappy. It was a standard barbecue chicken flatbread. We would have like to see a little spin on this classic, maybe a variation on the sauce or the addition of some simple like bacon.
Passholder Insights: If you’re looking for pull-apart rolls head over to Sebastian’s Bistro a better option over the Parker Rolls at Ale and Compass Lounge.
Solid, definitely solid. For us, it’s the perfect place when we’re looking for a break from Epcot or Hollywood Studios. The cocktails are what you go for, and the snacks are a nice addition. When we’re in the mood for a classic cocktail and a more low key feel, you’ll find us here. It just feels like home for us New Englanders. Next round is on us, what can we get you?