Category Archives: Walt Disney World

Disney Beer Review: Kona Brewing Company’s Castaway IPA

This week’s entry into the Hyperion Papers beer review series is courtesy of The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival booth’s very own Kona Brewing Co. in the form of their Castaway India Pale Ale. But first, a little bit about the brewery itself. Continue reading

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Disney Beer Review: Spoetzl Brewery’s Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale

Editor’s note: As we prepare for Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, we’re sampling some of the beverages that will be offered at this year’s festival at home.  Our main focus will be on the beers more commonly found in the western United States, as they may not be as familiar to the Walt Disney World fans on the East Coast.

Shiner as the brewery is colloquially known actually is produced by the Spoetzl Brewery out of Shiner, TX. Their Shiner Bock is pretty much the official beer of Texas. It’s as ubiquitous as any beer is with pretty much any region in the country. This year, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival has included their Wild Hare Pale Ale in the offerings at the the Craft Beers kiosk.
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2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Marketplace Menus

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  That is, it’s planning season for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.  The Festival Marketplace menus were announced yesterday, and we want to take a look at what’s new, what’s returning, and what’s off the menu for 2014.  We’ll also share our opinions, because such things surely must matter.

Culinary Demonstration with Chef Phillip Ponticelli: Pan-Seared Florida Shrimp with Tomato Egg Fettuccini and Tomato Basil Water

Culinary Demonstration with Chef Phillip Ponticelli: Pan-Seared Florida Shrimp with Tomato Egg Fettuccini and Tomato Basil Water

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Kitschy Spots in Disney Parks: DinoLand U.S.A.

One of the most overlooked lands in all of Walt Disney World has to be DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  I love it in all of its roadside attraction glory.  It’s really cool to see something like this in the Florida parks, because it looks like it would be right at home on Paradise Pier in Disney California Adventure.

DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney's Animal Kingdom

DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Above is a quick photo I snapped the last time we were in DinoLand.  The garish colors and carnival barkers really give the area a totally different atmosphere than the rest of the serene, subdued park.  I know many guests don’t care for it, but I think DinoLand is a welcome bit of campy fun.

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Dinner at Be Our Guest

The Magic Kingdom’s newest table service restaurant is touted as a can’t-miss experience, and Danny and I have been waiting for nearly a year to check it out.  While reviews on the food tend to vary, everybody is wowed by the massive restaurant’s detailed atmosphere and decor.  I’ll spare you my grainy, low-light photos of the ballroom, where we ate our meal, but will share some blurry shots of the food.

The napkins are folded to look like rosebuds.

The napkins are folded to look like rosebuds.

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Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k

One of the highlights of our honeymoon visit to Walt Disney World was our first runDisney event!  After doing a couple local races in our hometown this year, we were primed for Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5k.

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Lunch at Be Our Guest

On our honeymoon, we were invited to join the FastPass+ test for the Be Our Guest restaurant’s lunch service.  We didn’t make great use of FastPass+ on this trip, but we did use it to schedule what could otherwise be a substantial wait for a quick lunch. When we arrived at the entrance to the Beast’s castle, a FastPass+ sign was directing us to check in at the same spot where dinner guests with Advance Dining Reservations would check in for the evening table service.  The line to get in standby looked to be about a 30 minute wait or more.  We were whisked right past it. As part of the FastPass+ test, you can order your meals in advance when you make the reserve the FastPass+ time.  We think that it’s totally crazypants to try to decide what you want to eat for lunch 30 days in advance, so we skipped that feature.  Once inside, we waited only a few minutes to get to one of the ordering kiosks to place our lunch order.  We decided to try a little of everything, which turned out to be pretty expensive — almost $40 — for a quick service lunch for two. Once we ordered, we made our way to the dining room to select a table.  We were told that because we had Magic Bands, we didn’t need one of the cute RFID “roses” that most guests get while placing their order.  Sure enough, a few minutes later, a food runner located us in the West Wing.  By now you’ve either been inside Be Our Guest for yourself or have been bored to death by photos on other blogs, so I’ll spare you my grainy pictures of the dining rooms.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

We started by sharing the French Onion Soup, which was ridiculously cheesy.  In truth, it was kind of hard to eat because it was more casserole than soup.  Between the abundance of cheese and onions, there wasn’t much actual broth.  Danny gave up after only a couple bites, and I soon followed suit.

Croque Monsieur with Haircot Verts

Croque Monsieur with Haircot Verts

We each ordered a sandwich.  I got the Croque Monsieur with a side of green beans.  A sandwich with bechamel may not have been the lightest choice after that soup, but I destroyed that thing.  There’s pretty much no way that I’ll dislike any form of hot ham and cheese sandwich, but this one was particularly decadent.  The whole grain bread and the abundant layers of ham were the stars of the plate.  The veggies on the side were a little overcooked, but I ate them anyway because I needed something to make me feel ok about all the saturated fat I was ingesting.

Carved Turkey Sandwich and Pommes Frites

Carved Turkey Sandwich and Pommes Frites

Danny had the Carved Turkey Sandwich and French Fries.  He liked the carving-board style sliced turkey and the baguette, but thought that the dijon mayo either wasn’t strong enough or that there wasn’t enough of it on the sandwich for his tastes.  That would probably have suited me just fine, but Danny likes mustard a lot more than I do.

Lemon Meringue Cupcae

Lemon Meringue Cupcake

For dessert, we shared the lemon meringue cupcake.  The paper that wrapped around the cupcake was stiff and cylindrical, with a 90° angle where the walls met the bottom.  It seemed like it would be a bit of a task to take the paper off and eat this cupcake in hand, so we just dug in with forks.  As Disney cupcakes go, this one was pretty great.  The cake was moist, and was helped to be that way by a gooey center of lemon curd.  The meringue was a light topping that wasn’t too sweet.  We’re no fans of the cloying cupcakes that are found in various bakeries around the World, so this was a nice treat for us. Overall, Be Our Guest was a hit for us.  We were also able to have dinner there on our honeymoon, and that review will be up soon.  I think we would return for either meal, but especially for lunch.  We’ve always thought that the dining options in the Magic Kingdom are lacking, so Be Our Guest is a nice addition.

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At EPCOT, It’s All in the Details

We just got home from our longest vacation to Walt Disney World yet, and the luxury of time gave us the opportunity to take a look at some of the smaller show pieces that might be overlooked by more rushed Disney tourists.  For instance, I could get lost in some of the vignettes you can find in the World Showcase pavilions in EPCOT, like the one below in the France pavilion.

France

It’s no secret that EPCOT is our favorite park in Florida, and we spent well over half of our park time there on this 14-night visit.  Stay tuned for our recaps of the 2013 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival and more!

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Planning a Walt Disney World Wedding – Part 3

We’ve got a few we photos of our Swan wedding back from the fabulous Jocelyn McGregor Photography, and we thought we would share them with you along with a brief recap.  Vendor reviews and advice will be coming soon as well.

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Beast’s Castle

We’re back from our fabulous Walt Disney World vacation!  We’ve got lots to share with you about our wedding, honeymoon, EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival recaps, and Christmas events at Walt Disney World, but for now, we’re going to start slow.  Here are some photos we took of the Beast’s castle in the new (to us) Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom.  Reviews of both lunch and dinner at the famous Be Our Guest restaurant will be coming soon.  Stay tuned!

 

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