Treats? Did someone say, treats? Yes, not only did we say treats, we said Villains treats. Later today we’ll be heading off to the Magic Kingdom to join in the fun at the Villains After Hours event. What can we say, we couldn’t think of a more romantic way to celebrate the holiday. Nothing screams romance like a fire breathing dragon roaming the streets. Back on topic. As part of the event, Disney offers an array of goodies themed after Disney Villains. Which Villains treats caught our eye? Let’s grab some coffee, it’s going to be a late night tasting our way around the Magic Kingdom!
We Like The Spice
Oh Hades, you fiery guy, you! Over at Casey’s Corner, the Hercules villain is serving up his Hades hot dog. New this year, the all-beef hot dog is top with buffalo chicken, diced celery, fiery cheese dust, and a spicy ranch drizzle, then served in a black, yes black, bun. What’s not to love about this one! If you know anything about us, we definitely enjoy a Disney hot dog. We can already see the cheese dust on our fingers. Our first impression is this is looking like the home run of the Villains treats.
Passholder Insights: To save time at Casey’s Corner we definitely recommend using mobile ordering, especially during the busier hours of the day.
Off With Their…
They should have made sure the roses were red! Over by the teacups, you’ll find the Queen of Hearts inspired dessert known as Painting the Roses. The Cheshire Cafe is switching it up for the event from the usual cattails to a cheesecake mousse with raspberry gelee, red cocoa butter, and buttercream leaves. Of course, it will be served in the shape of a rose, this is the Queen of Hearts after all.
You had Nate at cheesecake, but then you throw in buttercream and he’s already asking for seconds. We’re hoping the buttercream will a tad less sweet so we can enjoy more treats without the dreaded “sweet belly”! Either way, it fits the holiday!
Passholder Insights: As part of the special event, select snacks are included. The snacks included are: popcorn, ice cream novelties, and bottled beverages.
Washing It All Down
We can’t have a variety of Villains treats without something to drink. Luckily for us, there’s a drink that brings Serena back to her childhood. The Poor Unfortunate Soul combines black raspberry soft-serve with cherry Coke then garnished with a sugar crown. This Coke float has Serena’s name all over it. The only way we’ll be poor unfortunate souls with this treat is if we forget to try it. Bonus points for providing us the caffeine kick we’ll need to make it to 1 am.
Passholder Insights: One of our favorite snacks at the Magic Kingdom is the Peter Pan Float from Storybook Treats in Fantasyland.
From top to bottom the Villains treats at the Villains Afterhours look fantastic, it’s going to be a challenge to not try them all. For a full list of the treats check out the following link. Check back in a few weeks for our review of our favorites. Is that Maleficient rolling down Main Street? We’ve got to go!
Is it food or art? Why not both! With Epcot’s International Festival of the Artsin full swing we’re here to chat about the Festival of the Arts dishes we can’t wait to sample. On January 17, 2020, the festival kicked off around the World Showcase and celebrates the culinary, visual, and performing arts. You know why we’re here, culinary arts here we come! We’ve got our forks in hand and ready to discuss which artfully delicious dishes top our list to try.
Our Go-To Booth!
Whether it’s the Food and Wine Festival or any of the festivals, you’ll find us at the Mexico booth. Let’s head over to El Artista Hambriento to see what they’re serving up for Festival of the Art dishes. Catching our eye is the Agave Pork Belly. The chefs are taking succulent pork belly that’s caramelized in Agave then nestling that on a creamy lentil salad with a pumpkin seed pesto. We are looking forward to seeing how the nutty pumpkin seed works with the pesto!
We can’t head to the Mexico booth without trying the margarita! Looks like the trend will be continuing this year with the Blackberry Margarita. We usually shy away from the “sweeter” drinks, however, we’re hoping this drink will be on the less sweet side as they’re adding fresh jalapeno-lime juice.
Passholder Insights: Most of the Festival of the Art dishes qualify as a snack if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan.
It’s A Classic
Of course, it’s a classic, it’s at the Cuisine Classique booth. If you’re combining red wine and beef short ribs, you’ve got Nate’s attention. Making our list of Festival of the Arts dishes we’re excited to try is the red-wine braised beef short rib which is served with a parsnip puree, broccolini, baby tomatoes, then drizzled with aged balsamic. Upon first read the dish sound very similar to the short rib dish served at Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We’ll let you know how it measures up.
Catching our eye at the Cuisine Classique booth is how the drink menu is themed about the word “Rosé”. If it’s a warm afternoon, we may have to try a Frozen Rosé!
Passholder Insights: During the festival, all the different Joffrey’s Coffee stands around World Showcase will be offering different coffee-inspired drinks.
We Want It All
We’ll take one of each! From both an artistic and food perspective the Festival of Art dishes that we’re most excited to try is at the Deconstructed Dish booth. The Reuben is a carryover favorite from last year. This year we’re excited to try the BLT for the first time. They had Serena at tomato jam and Nate with pork belly. Plus we have to get our Instagram worthy picks of these plates.
To wash it all down is a breakfast drink that has our names on it. It’s called “deconstructed breakfast” and it has spiced apple tea and bourbon- delicious!
Passholder Insights: Across from Test Track you’ll find the brand new Coca-Cola slushy stand. Within the stand, you can choose to create your own frozen Coke or choose one of the pre-made options.
Overall the Festival of the Arts dishes look and sound spectacular. It’s definitely going to be a challenge to pick a top dish. However, we’re always up for a challenge. We’ll be back with our festival foodie awards!
Brunch, it’s the best meal of the day! The big question is – does the Grand Floridian Cafe brunch live up to its famous reputation? If we answered that question now, we wouldn’t really have an article. So let’s continue! In the DVC Duo house, we love brunch, you may consider us brunch connoisseurs. After rope dropping the Magic Kingdom, we’re heading over to the Grand Floridian Cafe to refuel. Watch out brunch, here we come!
It’s the grandest of locations! We’re talking about the Grand Floridian Resort. Either a monorail or a boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom you’ll find the flagship resort of Walt Disney World. Entering the resort you’ll find the restaurant on the first floor towards the back right when facing Seven Seas Lagoon.
The restaurant is an indoor setting with the feeling of being outdoors. With views of the main courtyard, the dining area is lined with large glass windows that fill the area with natural light. We found the dining area to be well laid out with ample space between the tables, which creates a more intimate setting.
Passholder Insights: During the holiday season the Grand Floridian Resort is one of our favoriteDisney resorts to check out. The decorations are out of this world!
It Is Brunch
Brunch equals bloody mary’s! At least it does in the DVC Duo house. The Grand Floridian Cafe brunch offers up a Chipotle Bloody Mary. Combining their housemade chipotle-infused vodka, tomato juice, and topped with a jumbo shrimp, chorizo, and lime-salted rim, you have your morning cocktail. For us, it was the perfect morning pick me up. We’ve always enjoyed a spicy bloody mary, and this one didn’t disappoint with just the right amount of heat.
The easy-drinking cocktail is more than just a drink, it’s also part of the meal. Topping off the drink is what we like to call the brunch appetizer. In our world, less is more when it comes to a bloody mary garnish. The Grand Floridian Cafe agrees as their garnish is subtle yet tasty! You get a little protein with shrimp and chorizo, your veggies with the celery and a nice salty bite with the olive. If you’re a bloody mary fan this is definitely one to try!
Passholder Insights: Soon the walkway that connects the Grand Floridan Resort and the Polynesian Resort will extend to the Magic Kingdom.
Should we go with breakfast or lunch? Why not both! Whether it’s the fish and chips at Rose & Crown or cobb salad at the Brown Debry, certain Walt Disney World restaurants have iconic dishes. The Grand Floridian Cafe is no different when we’re talking brunch. Say hello to the Benedicts and the lobster Thermidor burger. Perfect! One breakfast item and one lunch, we couldn’t have planned it any better.
First up, the Benedicts. When perusing the menu you’ll find three different options, or you can be like us and go with the fourth, the flight. What can we say, we don’t like making decisions on vacation. The Benedict flight brings together the traditional, with the spicy chorizo and lobster Benedicts. Each was distinctly different, with the traditional being a solid representation of a Benedict. You can never go wrong with hollandaise sauce.
Speaking of hollandaise sauce, the spicy chorizo Benedict mixes it up with chorizo in the place of the Canadian bacon and a hollandaise sauce that included chorizo. It was almost like a southern classic, sausage and gravy but with a spicy Latin twist. This was Nate’s favorite, as he loves spicy and how the chorizo cut through the richness of the hollandaise.
Last up is the lobster Benedict. The most decadent of the Benedicts, as if hollandaise isn’t decadent enough! Of the three options, we were most excited about this one, however, it fell a little flat for us. The components were there – perfectly poached egg, asparagus, lobster claw. We wished the lobster volume was turned up a bit, maybe in the form of lobster in the sauce or crab in the sauce? As New Englanders at heart, we love that seafood punch and really look for it to shine in a dish!
Passholder Insights: We find the Benedict sampler is a great dish to split, as it tends to be a heavier meal.
On To Lunch!
Burger, did someone say burger? You’ll know how Nate loves his burgers. The Grand Floridian Cafe is known for its lobster Thermidor burger. A 7 oz beef patty is topped with a lobster-parmesan Thermidor sauce and served on a toasted brioche bun. Accompanying the burger is the cafe seasoned fries. Can you have a burger without fries?
First, bite…a juicy patty perfectly cooked to a mid-rare as we requested. The Thermidor sauce added a nice twist on the classic cheese. It was creamy with a nice sharp parmesan kick. What surprised us the most was you really don’t get a lot of the lobster flavor, similar to the Benedict. It may be because lobster is a delicate flavor and beef is, well, not. Really punching up the accompanying sauce flavors with the classic sherry and mustard may have helped, but hey, at the end of the day it’s still a fantastic burger with lobster, can’t go wrong! Nate gives it a four out of five burger rating.
Solid brunch! Overall, we really enjoyed the meal. The food was well executed and a unique elevation of the classics. For us, brunch is a great way to break beyond the parks, whether we’re having a quiet morning or sneaking out for a sunrise round of golf. It’s confirmed, the Grand Floridian Cafe is brunchtastic!
Pluto, Goofy, our sincerest of apologies. When we say dog, we’re referring to the Disneyland corn dog. Much like Casey’sbeing the iconic dog of Walt Disney World, the Disneyland corn dog has created an aurora of mystical proportions. Will it live up to the hype? Let’s head to the left (west) coast and bite into our foodie review!
With Sleeping Beauty castle over your right shoulder and the Plaza Inn off to the left, you’ll see the Little Red Wagon. This is your wagon. Well, it’s your wagon if you’re looking for the Disneyland corn dog. The other easy way to find the wagon is to look for the line. From the moment it opens until closing-time you’ll find guests lining up for the iconic meal on a stick.
Passholder Insights: The in-between meal times traditionally have the shortest wait.
It’s the simplest of menus! Our options range from the Disneyland corn dog to the corn dog. That’s right, the only entree option at the Little Red Wagon is the one option. You may be thinking, why did you create a whole section about ordering, Nate? For one important reason. When looking at the menu you’ll see the corn dog comes with the choice of sliced apples or a small bag of chips.
What is not on the menu is the option to order the corn dog as a standalone. If you’re like us and like to maximize you’re snacking you can forgo the apples and chips, and in return you the price is a little lower at $8.49 plus tax.
Passholder Insights: There is no seating at the Little Red Wagon. If you’re looking for a bench head towards the Walt and Mickey statue.
Let’s get down to business. Does the Disneyland corn dog live up to its notoriety? These hand-dipped, never frozen, served on a stick, crunchy, not greasy corn dog gems surpassed all our expectations. Whether you decide to dip or not to dip (no judgment here), it all starts with the base, the hot dog.
Much like Casey’s at the Magic Kingdom. The all-beef hot dog has the perfect amount of snap and we found it to be very juicy. What’s makes this grab and go meal fantastic is the cornbread batter. The slightly sweet flavoring from the corn meal, balances out the savory aspect of the hot dog. Being corn dog connoisseurs we traditionally find most to be on the greasy side, not the Disneyland corn dog. It was the complete opposite. How do they do it?!
Passholder Insight: The Disneyland corn dog is a solid meal or the perfect afternoon snack when splitting.
Can we have another? Yes, it was that good. We always enjoy finding simple food that is well executed. The Disneyland corn dog would definitely fall into this category. If you enjoy corn dogs, we would definitely recommend circling the Little Red Wagon to grab one of these wonderful treats. Should we get another one? Who are kidding, we already did!
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!