Craving a Burger at WDW? Try This One!

Sometimes it’s good to be wrong. Really! I’ve bragged for years that I never order a burger when on vacation at Walt Disney World. Why would I? So many amazing options combined with the fact that I’m an adventurous, food-loving omnivore. I typically stay away from ordinary menu items I can easily find at home. Last month I ordered the first Disney burger I’ve eaten since the Duval Street Burger I ordered at Olivia’s Cafe (Old Key West) back in 2014…and was I ever glad that I did!

Craving a Burger at WDW? Try This One!

The Hollywood Brown Derby / Disney's Hollywood Studios

It was time for us to revisit the Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. On our first visit long ago we were underwhelmed and have since only frequented to patio lounge (wine and cheese!!!). We booked lunch at the Brown Derby for because it’s a particular favorite of our friends, Nick and Barbie. And since we use the Two Strike Rule for WDW restaurants, the Brown Derby was getting its second chance.

Side note: Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge previously held the record for our two worst dining experiences at a table service restaurant. This restaurant has now been replaced with a character dining experience called Storybook Dining at Artist Point – watch for a review coming soon!

Now, back to the Derby…

When we arrived, we were seated after a very short wait. As I perused the menu, my eyes kept drifting back to one particular item: the Grilled Wagyu Beef Burger, “Gruyère, Pastrami, Heirloom Tomato, Avocado, Fried Egg, Toasted Brioche, Cognac-Mustard Aïoli, Hand-cut Steak Fries” . I had to have it. Disney burger-shunning me! It sounded too good to be true. I like all of those ingredients individually, but how would they taste combined? I was borderline hangry and willing to take a chance.

Raymond ordered the same thing and when our lunch was served? Heaven! The burgers were perfectly prepared and incredibly delicious. I’d have it again right now if I could! I was wrong to dismiss all Disney burgers and I will not make that mistake again.

What’s your favorite burger at Walt Disney World? Have you tried this one at the Brown Derby?

Disney Dining – Why I’m Cheering for Skipper Canteen

Let’s talk about Magic Kingdom dining and Adventureland’s best restaurant – The adorably themed Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen. I’m always surprised by the Skipper Canteen’s seeming lack of popularity. It’s easy to get into and has a great location. The food and service are consistently good and the menu changes frequently. That being said, I’m not sure if the menu changes are an attempt to get more people in the door or just to keep things interesting. I’ve never had a bad meal at Skipper Canteen and I’m pulling for them to succeed!

Disney Dining – Why I’m Cheering for Skipper Canteen

We first visited Skipper Canteen right after it first opened. There were cheesy Jungle Cruise-like jokes by both the host and server although that seems to have been scaled back on more recent visits. There was bread served with dipping sauce (spiced honey) – both are gone now. There was tasty shu mai (still our go-to appetizer), outstanding noodle bowls (alas, also gone) and yummy desserts (still there). It was and still is nice to have a place to sit and relax in Magic Kingdom that’s relatively quiet and serves beer. We like many quick service locations in Magic Kingdom, but they’re rarely quiet and never serve beer.

Perkins Thai Noodles – Spicy and Delicious!

Skipper Canteen has more going for it than peace and booze.

Why does it bother me that this particular restaurant seems to be struggling? Because we like the concept. We like a table service restaurant in Adventureland and would like Skipper Canteen to be successful enough to prompt the addition of one or two more places like it. Imagine Frontierland and Tomorrowland with their own versions of well-themed table service eateries. I’d gladly stay in Magic Kingdom rather than heading to Wilderness Lodge for lunch at Whispering Canyon or the Polynesian for dinner at Kona Cafe. We also prefer the menu prices at Skipper Canteen compared to dinner at Be Our Guest (fixed price for adults is $60/kids $36) or Cinderella’s Royal Table ($65-$80 for adults/kids $45-$65).

Curried Vegetable Crew Stew – Excellent Lunch Option!

A successful Skipper Canteen might pave the way for additional options in Magic Kingdom and we are all for that! Have you eaten at Skipper Canteen? How was your experience there? What other restaurants would you like to see in Magic Kingdom?

Disney Cocktails – La Cava del Tequila’s #LaCavaNegroni

Well aware of Joseph’s distaste for tequila, I hesitated before asking him to try La Cava del Tequila’s limited edition #LaCavaNegroni.  He loves me enough to take one for the team, so to speak, but after that flatbread at Pizzafari, I thought I might be taking advantage of his good nature.  Limited time, though!  So I broached the subject and Joe was surprisingly game.  Off he went to Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion to give it a try…and they were sold out.  Tenacious is our boy, luckily, so the next time he had a chance to visit Epcot…success!

Disney Cocktails – La Cava del Tequila’s #LaCavaNegroni

“#LaCavaNegroni – Limited Edition (Batch No. 13) – 12 week aged negroni in Tequila Avion 44 Barrel.  For details search #LaCavaNegroni on Twitter and Instagram” – Menu, La Cava del Tequila

Let’s talk about what goes into a Negroni: Tequila, Campari, and Vermouth.  Aging in the Tequila Avion 44 barrel turns a few simple ingredients into a specialty cocktail that costs $17.  But how did it taste?

#LaCavaNegroni

-by Joseph Green

I absolutely loved it.  I didn’t think I would, but it was great!  It’s sweet and smoky.  Honestly, it tastes like the cannon fire and burning town smells on Pirates of the Caribbean.  It doesn’t burn, but has a little bit of a bite.  Big flavor.  Just enough to let you know it’s something special.  You can tell you’re having a well-crafted drink.  And it lingers just long enough to savor before you want another sip.

This drink sits on the center top shelf in La Cava, in a round-bottomed flask without a label.  And it’s well-noted by the staff when your order it.  It’s spicy in the best way…not hot, but peppery.  Pricey, yes, but even for this unenthusiastic tequila drinker, this cocktail was worth every penny.

Verdict:  If you’re thinking about giving #LaCaveNegroni a try, grab your $17 and get there soon, before it’s all gone.

 

 

 

Disney Dining – Animal Kingdom’s Pizzafari

Our family has never eaten at Pizzafari in Animal Kingdom, so I added it to my list of places for Joseph to try while he’s slaving away living it up in the Disney College Program.  I’d read that there was a Shrimp Flatbread and a Cannoli Cake dessert on the menu.  Both of those sounded promising.  Very recently, Raymond, Megan, Joseph and I had shared a couple of the Buffalo Chicken flatbread at the Contempo Café in the Contemporary and we were really happy with the quality and flavor.

Joseph, as one would expect from my child, offered this very honest, fair and balanced review…

Disney Dining – Animal Kingdom’s Pizzafari

-By Joseph Green

It was what you should expect from quick service pizza.  It looks appetizing with the drizzled pesto, arugula and spinach, and the seasoned shrimp, but the cheese and bread ruined it for me.

On first impression, the veggie mix tasted fresh and crisp in contrast to the chewy, flavorless bread and “cheese”.  The pesto added a nice flavor along with the shrimp which surprisingly wasn’t rubbery.  But after a second of thinking, “hm.. this isn’t bad at all, I kind of like this.”, I found myself having to chew longer and longer and longer.  All of those individual flavors mixed together until they were no longer discernible, which I fully blame on the bread and cheese.  The shrimp flatbread just became unappetizing after that.  I got tired of having to chew for long periods of time and holding those flavors in my mouth until they were one greasy blob.  (The flatbread came with a side salad, but I’m not a fan, so I can’t tell you how it tasted.  I did take a picture of it for you.)

The Cannoli Cake I rather liked.  The cake itself was moist and dense and maintained a rich, chocolatey flavor that I didn’t find overpowering.  The mini chocolate chips inside the cake were a surprising texture that I didn’t expect, but enjoyed very much.  Now, maybe I’ve been watching too much of The Great British Baking Show lately, but I didn’t particularly enjoy the cannoli.  It looked wonderful and the taste was nice, but the texture of the cannoli was all wrong to me.  I suppose I should’ve expected that though.  I mean, they are sitting in a refrigerator for possibly quite some time, which renders the cannoli soft, flexible, and slightly stale.  I recommend the cake, but the cannoli was nothing special.The Verdict:  With so many other truly great choices for a quick meal in Animal Kingdom, pass on Pizzafari…unless you go for dessert.