WDW Weekend Eats: Romantic Honeymoon Edition
January 7, 2014
If you read the recent post “It was like a Dream…” (and if you didn’t, why the heck not?), you know that Miss Bonnie and I recently tied the knot and right after went on a cruise on the Disney Dream.
Seeing that we were accompanied on the cruise by over forty of our family and friends, we considered our time on the Dream not as our honeymoon but more of an “extended reception”.
So the weekend after we decided to have a bit more “alone time” and where else would you go to be alone but to Walt Disney World?
Since we hadn’t had an opportunity to check out much of the the holiday decor and such around the parks this year we wanted to spend some time doing that, and of course along the way there were some eats and drinks… so let’s take a look back at the events of our Honeymoon Weekend at the World (well, at least some of the events…).
We checked into our resort Friday afternoon and soon made our way to the Studios to take in the Osborne Lights (and see if we could find that damn purple cat…). Trying to decide where our first food stop would be Bonnie had the genius suggestion that we try and check out the new Brown Derby Lounge.
An outdoor area adjacent to the Brown Derby restaurant, this venue had opened only about a month earlier and had been getting great reviews, so we were eager to give it a try. As luck would have it, there was a small table for two just calling our names as we walked up, so we quickly sat down and perused the menu.
The main attraction here is a “small plates” menu with a limited but interesting variety of eats, and in case you really need an adult beverage (and who doesn’t?), several beverage flights. There is also a menu of specialty cocktails and a pretty good selection of wines by the glass.
We each started with a flight (and it seems now that you can hardly go anywhere on property now without being offered a flight of some beverage), Bonnie having the Champagne Flight (with Taittinger Brut, Fairy Tale Cuvee and Rosa Regale) while I selected the “Citizens Take Flight” which was three margaritas (mango, pomegranate and “derby”) each named after one of the Citizens of Hollywood. All were quite good, but I think the “Melvin Macheezmo” (mango) was my favorite of the three. These drinks don’t appear on the menu of speciality cocktails, but I did ask the bartender and he said they would gladly make a full size version of any of them.
Other flights available include martini (with these drinks also named after some of the Citizens of Hollywood), Scotch, Grand Marnier, and a couple of wine flights (one red and one white).
Bonnie needed her cheese-fix satiated so we started with the Artisanal Cheese plate – a nice selection of three cheeses with accompaniments to enhance their flavors. The portions could have been a bit bigger, but we really enjoyed this, especially the Midnight Moon.
For our “meatier” selection we shared the Derby Sliders, two decent-sized mini-burgers. Served with good freshly made chips, one of the sliders was Wagyu beef while the other was a spicy Chorizo sausage. Both were topped off with some tasty goodies and we really liked both of these – Bonnie preferred the beef while I favored the Chorizo.
We had a fun time and there are other things on the menu here we want to try, so I’m sure we’ll be back…
As we finished up eating we were joined by a friend (who’s quite the character) to view the lights (and yes, we found the not-so-well-hidden-this-year purple cat!).
After a bit of time with the dancing lights we hightailed if over to Epcot for a quick beverage before viewing Illuminations with the spectacular holiday tag at the end.
Afterwards we decided to call it a night, bade farewell to our friend and made our way back to our resort.
We were staying at the Bonnet Creek Hilton (which is a beautiful resort that we quite like, but the transportation sucks if you’re going to the parks…), and when we returned to the room we were greeted with a pleasant surprise from the nice folks at the Hilton – a chilled bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries!
And yes, we were making no secret of our recent nuptials, wearing our “Wedding Ears” and “Just Married” buttons that we got on the cruise (they no longer have those buttons at the parks or resorts BTW)… milking it for all it was worth…
Saturday we started where we had left off the night before – in Epcot to check out the holiday decorations and some special food and beverage selections that were being offered during the holiday season.
At Promenade Refreshments in the World Showcase they were cooking up a couple of fresh-made waffles and we tried the “Savory Seasonal” option.
The waffles were being made to order, so each took several minutes to serve… also the cast members seemed to be having a bit of an issue getting our waffle to cook properly, so the waffle didn’t look too pretty (nor was it firm enough to pick the thing up and eat like a sandwich, which I think at some point was the idea of the thing…), but the stuffing-waffle tasted pretty good, and when it was filled with the turkey and cranberry sauce you had your typical Thanksgiving/Christmas-dinner-next-day-lefover-sandwich flavors on the plate. This was a big portion (plenty enough for us to share), and at $6.39 one of the best values you’ll ever find at Disney.
As you can see in the pic above, much like the passport at Food & Wine, there was a “Holiday Passport” booklet highlighting the special items around Epcot for the holiday season (and yes, there were special ink stamps of ornaments for the holiday version).
There were a few new holiday decorations this year…
the courtyard in France was sporting several large “ornaments” with miniature winter/holiday scenes from Paris inside – very cool! It wasn’t a big huge deal, but I really liked these!
I always enjoy the holiday storytellers around World Showcase…
we didn’t get to see many of them this go-round, but we had fun watching the ones we got to see.
We’ve been watching the construction progress in Morocco for a while hoping that the new Spice Road table restaurant would magically be open for us one day…
but this would not be the day… maybe Marathon weekend?
In Japan the Kabuki Cafe was serving up a savory treat…
crispy fried boneless chicken topped with a sweet teriyaki sauce… nothing amazing, but pretty good… and nothing says “holidays” to me like Japanese fried chicken!
The Sugar and Spice Bake Shop in the American Adventure offered up several baked goods along with some hot and cold beverages.
Nearby in Italy, the Buona Festa booth had an extensive listing of alcoholic body-additives.
As usual, my favorite little village in Germany was decked out for the holidays…
even some of the train engines were adorned with Christmas finery.
Elsewhere in Germany, Christkindlmarkt had several caramel-based concoctions…
and another good selection of wines and other adult beverages. Bonnie’s favorite item of the day was from here…
the Hot Salted Caramel Drink… the Caramel Mocha Iced Coffee was pretty good, but the Hot Salted Caramel was, well, wow… rich, creamy-tasting (without any cream)… I think if Bonnie could have married this drink, she would have divorced me then and there to wed this glass of sweet & salty goodness!
We made one more holiday food stop before we exited Epcot.
The quick service location in Mexico was serving a sweet version of tamales…
Filled with guava paste, the slightly sweet masa was drizzled with a fruity sauce and was a great, sweet end to our Epcot eats. Neither of us was expecting much from this, but we both loved it!
From Epcot we boarded the monorail to head to the Magic Kingdom.
The Magic Kingdom, and especially Main Street, always look great for the holidays!
After watching a great performance of holiday songs by the Dapper Dans, we headed to Adventureland to take a ride on the Jingle Cruise…
this simple holiday overlay of the Jungle Cruise was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed it…
I think some people were expecting much more and were disappointed with it, but we both thought it was great. I’m hoping they do more special holiday transformations like this in the future (and we do have some ideas… we’re just waiting for Imagineering to call…).
We stayed around MK for that evenings holiday Castle Lighting…
and no, we didn’t have anything to eat at the Magic Kingdom that day (yes, I know this is supposed to be a Weekend Eats edition, but I guess it’s also part Odds & Ends…), but we soon made up for it by hopping on the monorail over to the Polynesian resort…
where we quickly made our way to one of our favorite spots, the Kona Island Sushi Bar.
Located in the Poly lobby outside the Kona Cafe, this venue serves coffee and pastries during the day, but in the evening it serves up Island-styled sushi.
You can also order from the full Kona Cafe menu (and likewise you can order from the sushi menu if dining at Kona). The sushi chefs actually used to make the food inside the “Island”, but now ply their trade unseen in the kitchen, sadly taking away a bit of the show and fun from this locale.
We chose the Pot Stickers from the regular Kona menu (pork and vegetable dumplings topped with a creamy ginger-soy sauce - pretty good but the duck pot stickers they used to serve here were better); the cute Caterpillar Roll (an inside out tuna roll with shrimp salad and topped with avocado); and arguably our single favorite item served on property, the Tuna Poke (a traditional Hawaiian poke salad of seasoned, diced tuna).
At the end of our meal our server (who did a great job, especially on what was a very busy and hectic night at Kona) brought us a couple of congratulatory cupcakes – there were nothing really special taste-wise, but still it was a nice touch.
So Dear Dedicated Readers, that about wraps up the events of our Honeymoon weekend (or at least the events I’m going to tell you about)… next we’re off to the World for Marathon Weekend… I’m sure we’ll be eating something there… stay tuned…
As always, back to the kitchen… see you soon!