Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is One of Hollywood Studios Most Popular Restaurants. Read More About It!
Even though Hollywood Studios is one of the most popular theme parks at Walt Disney World, they don’t have a ton of restaurants. And the restaurants they do have are difficult to get into. But none are harder to get than the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater!
The Setting is EVERYTHING – Top-Notch Disney Imagineering Theming!!
Located in Hollywood Studios, this unique “drive-in” restaurant features booths shaped like cars, dim lighting, and science fiction film clips on a drive-in movie screen. For starters, this is niche dining, and if you’re looking for a great dinner conversation, this is not the place for you! The cars seat 6, in rows of 2, so you can really only talk to the person next to you. And it’s dark. You may doze off, not that I would be ashamed because a nap is a nap, but if you don’t want to fall asleep, maybe, again, this is not for you!
It really does seem like you’re at a drive-in, but the film clips play on a loop and you WILL see them over and over and over and, likely, over again. Yes, it does get old. But it’s still an incredibly fun experience. The film clips are not scary. They’re more cheesy 50’s-type clips with corny aliens. When in doubt, pack a tablet, and let little ones blow off steam however they like!
The Food – Introducing a BRAND NEW Menu!!
APPS AND SALADS
As of June 2, 2022, there is a brand new menu, and it looks absolutely incredible! Start your meal with the all- new Sci-fi Smoked Wings. These wings come tossed in a porter barbecue sauce with a house-made pineapple and poppy seed coleslaw. YUM!
Or maybe you’ll want the Spinach and Artichoke Dip. This plant-based blend of spinach, artichoke, red peppers, cauliflower, cashew cheese, and oat milk is served with house-made chips.
If you’re anything like me, you sometimes just want a nice, big salad. Like the Black Garlic Caesar Salad. Featuring petite romaine, grilled hearts of artichoke, chopped Applewood smoked bacon, shaved parmesan cheese, then covered with house-made black garlic Caesar dressing, and served with a tasty, toasted crostini. Then there’s the Grilled Chicken Citrus Salad. This delicious salad combines romaine lettuce, spinach, and arugula with rainbow tomatoes, candied pecans, cranberries, and feta cheese, and is topped with a house-made citrus vinaigrette and grilled marinated chicken.
Holy moly, these burgers…. First up, the Feature Film Burger – Surf & Turf. LOOK AT THIS BEAST!! This unique twist on a classic is a signature blend of beef and house-made seasoning served on a brioche bun. It is then topped with a shrimp and crab cake, pepper jack cheese, chipotle hollandaise sauce, grilled onions, heirloom tomato, arugula, and house-made vinaigrette.
I’m sure my husband would love that, because he is a connoisseur of Disney crab cakes on both coasts, but surf is not for me. HOWEVER, this Pork on Pork Burger is another story!! This is a grilled house-made pork patty topped with roasted pork belly, white sharp cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, cabbage slaw, and a house-made Carolina mustard sauce. OOOOOOOOH BABY! Gimme gimme gimme!
The Red Planet is a delicious white chocolate cheesecake with blueberry compote on a graham cracker tart with a matcha sponge and gold candied pecans. For a more tropical option, we have the Out-of-this-World Sci-Fi Swirl. This dish features a pineapple mousse with passion fruit cosmic swirl and a spiced lime spaceship garnished with space dust and blood orange coulis.
So, if I’m being completely honest, while I enjoyed the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, it wasn’t really something that made me want to go back again and again. It was more like a “well we did this once, that’s enough” situation. But this new menu has me second-guessing myself! I’ll be looking to add this one to an upcoming trip, for sure! What about you? Do you want to try the new foods?!
Would you like more information about Disney products? No problem, I’ve got you covered here!
Here are 10 Non-Park Day Activities you should work into your next Walt Disney World Vacation!
Walt Disney World is 27,000 acres or 40 square miles. This is the same size as San Francisco, or TWO Manhattan Islands, for perspective. In other words: Walt Disney World is BIG. There are TONS of things to see and do other than theme parks (of which there are four). How do you know what to do? You get a travel agent (aka ME) and talk about Non-Park Day Activities! Here are ten Non-Park Day Activities to think about for your next Walt Disney World Vacation!
Enjoy Your Resort
It’s easy to fall into the line of thinking that “I paid too much money to just sit in a hotel,” but when you go to Walt Disney World, half of your trip OR MORE is just paying for that hotel! ENJOY IT! Every single resort has at least one place to eat, and all resorts outside of the Value Category offer at least one Quick Service Restaurant and at least one Table Service Restaurant. It is not inconceivable to plan an entire day of activities JUST at your hotel.
Explore the pools! Yes, plural. There are multiple pools at each resort, and some of them are pretty awesome, with waterslides and even water playgrounds. You will also find an arcade in every resort, too. Need more? You can watch “Movies Under the Stars” on the lawns and, if you pick the right resort, catch the nightly fireworks at one of the parks WHILE you’re watching the movie! Check the lobby every day to get the list of daily activities offered at your hotel, and pricing, if necessary. And when in doubt, grab a nap! Remember, you’ll be walking 8-12 miles PER DAY. Your body, and your kids, will thank you!
Tour the Skyliner Resorts/Do the Skyliner Bar Crawl
Yep: Bar Crawl. There are 4 hotels with Skyliner stops, so it has become “a thing” to Skyliner Resort-Hop. There are several ways to do this, even combining EPCOT and Hollywood Studios stops, with Art of Animation, Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and the Riviera. You could simply look around the resorts, do the Bar Crawl, or, even more intriguing, do a DESSERT crawl!
Tour the Monorail Resorts/Do the Monorail Bar Crawl
The Monorail Resorts are absolutely iconic. Even if you’ve never been to Disney World, you’ve probably at least heard the names. The Contemporary, the Polynesian, and the Grand Floridian are the massive, and pricy, resorts that surround the Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon. Even if you can’t afford to stay there, they’re worth a visit, especially at Christmas time! You could plan a bar crawl, stopping at such amazing Lounges as Steakhouse 71, Trader Sam’s, and Enchanted Rose. Maybe you like to eat? Well, from California Grille, to Kona Cafe, to Narcoossee’s, you will not be disappointed with food options at any of these resorts!
Looking for an out-of-the-box arrival day activity? Did you know that you can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from ALL of the Magic Kingdom area resorts? Whether you choose the observation deck at the Contemporary, or the beach at the Poly, or luck into an amazing dinner seat at Narcoosee’s, enjoy the fireworks without the massive crowds. You can also take in the Electric Water Pageant, too! And there’s plenty of shopping at these massive hotels. Plenty of Non-Park Day Activities for all!
I will not apologize for my unabashed devotion to the Wilderness Lodge. It is my absolute favorite and I’ve yet to find a place that I love as much as this. So NATURALLY I am going to advise you to take a visit to the Lodge! Themed after the Pacific Northwest, this place has all the charm of the US National Parks, including a Geyser that does shoot water into the air on the regular! The food options here are PLENTIFUL. Starting outside with Geyser Point, this “lounge” offers amazing food and drink options in a bar setting, though technically a quick service restaurant. It’s worth the trip just to eat the Bison Burger. If you’re looking for another great lounge, head inside for the Territory Lounge!
Head inside for two amazing table service options! First, if you’re into all-you-care-to-enjoy food and a fun atmosphere, Whispering Canyon Cafe is the place for you! Looking for an upscale, unique character dining experience? Try Storybook Dining at Artist Point, where you will dine with Snow White, Grumpy, Dopey, and the Evil Queen!
Take the time to enjoy the GORGEOUS lobby. And see if you can find some of the secret, private lounging areas. And no, I won’t just tell you because I enjoy my privacy! Now, I’m going to tell you ONE semi-secret location. If you head out to the Boulder Ridge DVC Villas, and walk into the main building, you will find the Carolwood Pacific Room. Not only is this an amazing place to chill out and relax, it also has some of Walt Disney’s Trains. You simply MUST see this room! To read more about the Wilderness Lodge, click here!
Visit Fort Wilderness
No, Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness are NOT the same place. Fort Wilderness is a campground with tent and RV sites, plus cabins. Wilderness Lodge is a fancy hotel themed to the Wilderness. Having said that, Fort Wilderness is a vacation in and of itself! This resort by far has the most to offer its guests!
Let’s start with dining. If you’re after a dining event, look no further than the Hoop Dee Doo Revue! Returning in June 2022, this is one of the oldest dinner shows in the country! It’s menu includes all-you-care-to-enjoy chicken and ribs and more delicious “cookout” foods, INCLUDING STRAW! BERRY! SHORT! CAKE! It’s fun for kids and kids at heart! You may, instead, want something slightly less high maintenance, so head next door to dine at Trail’s End! There is also a quick service location and a “take out” restaurant, as well as a general goods store that sells kitchen necessities for the kitchens located in the cabins, or for those that are camping. You can even grab a moonshine cocktail at Crockett’s Lounge!
For a more in-depth look at the activities at the Fort, I will do a more thorough review later, but for now, some activities available include: archery, horseback riding, pony rides, fishing, bike rentals, jogging trails, canoe and kayak rentals, basketball and volleyball courts, segway tours, and more! And you can even see the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the Electric Water Pageant!
Visit the Boardwalk Area
Let’s next head over to the Boardwalk area! This is another resort-area that has a lot to offer guests that are NOT necessarily staying at these resorts. Between the Boardwalk Bakery and the pretzel cart, the pizza window to the Margarita stand, there are plenty of awesome food and beverage options! Rent a Surrey Bike (also at a discount with your Magical Extras on your vacation package – talk to me, your travel agent, for more details!) and take the scenic view of the Boardwalk! Or maybe you want to see the Harmonious fireworks while having an ice cream treat from Beaches and Cream on the Beach at Beach and Yacht Club.
Yet ANOTHER amazing resort to visit on a non-park day: Animal Kingdom Lodge. In this instance, you can just sit in a rocking chair and watch giraffes walk by. Evidently, this is a rare thing? But that’s not all! Animal Kingdom lodge also offers some unique dining opportunities. When you visit the Lodge, plan to eat at either Jiko, Boma, or Sanaa. Here, you can enjoy African-inspired cuisine in a beautiful setting. Then, head out to watch the animals roam the savannah! You can also use night vision goggles to watch the animals at night!
Head to Disney Springs! Shopping, Eating, and MORE!
Disney Springs has a TON to offer, I just wish it wasn’t so far away. Here, you can eat an amazing meal at places like The Edison, the BOATHOUSE, Raglan Road, and more! The food options are vast and plentiful! My favorite? The BOATHOUSE! For those that don’t want an expensive sit-down meal, you could go to Chicken Guy, Polite Pig, D-Luxe Burger, and more!
If you’re looking for unique ways to see Disney Springs, consider a ride in an Amphicar or the Aerophile! In both instances, you can receive discounts, too! Also available, catch “Drawn to Life,” an all new Cirque du Soleil show.
Additionally, you can get all (or most) of your shopping done in one convenient place! Visit the LEGO Store, World of Disney, Marketplace Co-Op, Uniqlo, Vera Bradley, and so much more, and feed your inner shop-a-holic!
If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, Disney Springs, again, has you covered! Grab a cupcake from the cupcake ATM at Sprinkles! Likewise, visitors with food allergies can visit Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC for all their gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, vegan, kosher baked goods. You could also head to Everglazed for some delectable donuts, or Gideon’s Bakehouse for half-pound cookies! Need something cold? Head to Marketplace Snacks for Dole Whip Nachos! And back from hiatus, you can ALSO Create Your OWN Treat at Goofy’s Candy Company!
Disney Springs also has bowling! Head to Splittsville, where you can bowl and dine as a family. Also, this is one of the discounts available in your Magical Extras! To see more about Disney Springs, visit here!
Sometimes, you don’t want to give up your time for a character meal while in the parks, so what better way to get a taste of the parks by visiting a character meal at one of the Disney Resorts? All the fun, none of the heat! We recently did this very activity on our non-park day at DisneyLAND, and it was wonderful. We never felt rushed and DEFINITELY ate our money’s worth! Or maybe you want to have one night where you get all dressed up and go out for a fancy dinner. This activity is also perfect for non-park days!
Looking for some Extra Magic on your next trip? Consider adding Enchanting Extras!
One of the most popular questions that I get asked every time I say we’re going to Disney World (yes, AGAIN) is “don’t you get bored doing the same thing every time?” Actually, we aim to do at least one new thing every single trip, be it a restaurant we’ve never dined at before, or a show, or a resort hotel, or one of the many Enchanting Extras offered by Disney! These options add an extra dose of magic to your trip! Which Extra intrigues you the most?!
Disney Private VIP Tours – Create your Disney dream day! This is the ULTIMATE way to explore the parks with your own private VIP Tour Guide. You will be getting a fully customizable experience. And it will be filled with attractive benefits, including access to the Lightning Lane for attractions offering it. Plus, you can request reserved viewing for parades, shows and fireworks. For more details, visit this story!
Prices start at $425/hour with a 7-hour minimum for up to 10 people. Ask me for more information.
Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour – 16+ – Ready to take the Magic Kingdom to the MAX? Unlock the fascinating history of Magic Kingdom Park and gain backstage access to legendary hidden areas. This 5-hour walking tour explores the creation and remarkable growth of one of the most beloved parks at Walt Disney World Resort! With this tour, you get a sneak peek at secret locations you’ve always wondered about and get the inside scoop on some of your favorite attractions, AND lunch. And walk through the Utilidors! I am so excited that we can FINALLY do this tour! I have been dying to do this for ages!
For this tour, guests must be 16 years of age or older and prices start at $114 per person and can be booked on your My Disney Experience 60 days prior to travel.
There are many ways to see fireworks without crowding into the massive crowds hours before the shows start. These Enchanting Extras are some of our favorites! We did the EPCOT Fireworks cruise in 2001 and it was fun, even in the downpour! Dessert parties are always a great time!
OUTSIDE OF THE THEME PARKS
Fireworks Cruises – Drop anchor for world-class fireworks during an ever-enchanting nighttime cruise! By taking one of these nighttime cruises, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to watch Disney Enchantment or Harmonious right from the water. These brilliant fireworks spectaculars add an amazing wow factor to your cruise!
From the comfort of a chartered boat, your party will set sail for International Gateway near World Showcase Lagoon to watch the skies light up over Epcot. Or embark on the waters of Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake cruises to Magic Kingdom Park—with synchronized audio onboard to fully immerse you in the moment. It’s an incredible finale to the festivities! -Prices vary on type of cruise and location. Fireworks Cruises can be booked by calling 407-WDW-PLAY up to 60 days out from your check in.
THEME PARK ADMISSION AND RESERVATION REQUIRED
Dessert Parties –Put a cherry on top of your magical day with a sensational dessert party to toast the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort.
Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties:
Disney Enchantment Pre-Party – $99 per 10 and up $59 per child 3-9. Enjoy dessert first and reserved viewing in the garden (standing) after eating.
Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment Treats & Seats – $114 per 10 and up $69 per child 3-9. Enjoy dessert and the fireworks from a reserved table so you can remain seated comfortably during the show.
Magic Kingdom 50th Fireworks Dessert Parties: Disney Enchantment After-Party – $99 per 10 and up $99 per child 3-9. Enjoy reserved viewing in the garden (standing) first, followed by dessert buffet nearby after fireworks.
EPCOT Fireworks Dining Packages- Enjoy the amazing Harmonious Fireworks spectacular while dining on a delicious patio dinner.
Rose and Crown UK
Spice Road Table Morocco
These can be booked on the My Disney Experience website 60 days prior to travel on the My Disney Experience website
These Enchanting Extras can get you up close and personal with animals, or provide a unique experience that you will never forget! Please heed the age warnings!
Caring for Giants – 4+ – Get a closer look at the majestic African elephants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park—and learn what it takes to care for them. During this 60-minute experience, you’ll meet with a knowledgeable Guide who will provide insight into the inner workings of our African elephant herd.
$35 per person pretax ages 4+ and can be booked on the My Disney Experience website at 60 days prior to travel.
Up close with Rhinos – 4+ – Meet these mighty—but gentle—giants in a special viewing area for a wildlife experience like no other! Get ready for your close-up with the white rhinoceros—Earth’s second-largest land animal. In this 60-minute guided adventure, the rhinos’ keepers will take you backstage to meet these massive creatures as few people ever do.
$45 per person pretax ages 4+. Can be booked on the My Disney Experience website 60 days prior to travel.
hike the “jungle!”
Wild Africa Trek – 8 + and at least 48 inches (122 cm) tall. Participants must be between 45 and 300 lbs. with the harness gear on. Embark on a privately guided, VIP expedition full of close encounters with exotic African wildlife! An Exhilarating Safari Adventure Be awestruck viewing wild animals in their natural habitat on the 3-hour Wild Africa Trek. On this privately guided tour, discover animals of nearly every variety living in the Safi River Valley—an untamed environment that resembles their home turf in Africa.
This excursion is $199 per person, and participants must be 8 years of age or older and at least 48 inches tall. In addition, because of safety, participants must be between 45 and 300 lbs. with the harness gear on. The safety harnesses used for this experience may prohibit Guests of certain body shapes or sizes from participating. This experience can be booked on the My Disney Experience website 60 days prior to travel.
animals and food – two of my favorite things!
Savor the Savanah –8+ -See the Savanna in a new light. Immerse your senses during a privately guided journey and explore the sights and sounds—and tastes—of Africa. Enjoy Savor the Savanna, the premium tour where you can discover the wonders of the continent’s most amazing creatures… and so much more!
$174 per person pretax for ages 8+ and this extra can be booked on the My Disney Experience website at 60 days prior to travel.
Golf – Play 9 or 18 holes on any of Disney’s four different golf Courses.
Fishing – Reel in the fun with guided excursions and dockside fishing on select waterways of Walt Disney World Resort. Guided catch-and-release outings let you experience bass fishing at its finest—all year round! Whether you’re a seasoned sportsman or an amateur angler, a guided fishing excursion is fun for Guests of all ages. Choose from Guided Bass Fishing Excursions, which includes a 21-foot Sun Tracker pontoon boat that can accommodate up to 5 Guests, and a tournament-style NITRO® bass fishing boat for up to 3 Guests. All by yourself? You’re in luck, because solo anglers may book an afternoon excursion at a reduced rate.
Prices vary Call (407) 939-FISH or (407) 939-3474 to make a reservation and get more information on pricing.
explore fort wilderness!
Horseback Riding – Go horseback riding on the scenic, wooded trails at The Cabins and Campsites of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Guests 9 years of age and up can ride through an idyllic woodland teeming with deer, ducks, armadillos, and rabbits. Perfect for beginner and intermediate riders, trail rides are a relaxing way to explore the natural beauty surrounding The Cabins and Campsites of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
$55 per person pretax and can be booked by calling 407-WDW-PLAY 60 days prior to check in date.
Archery – Archery Guides teach Guests 7 years of age and up how to use a compound bow; then it’s time for target practice! Most of this 75-minute experience is dedicated to firing at range targets. Since class sizes are limited to 10 guests, each marksman receives personalized advice from the Archery Guides to best help you hone your archery skills.
$45 per person pretax and can be booked by calling 407-WDW-PLAY 60 days prior to check in date.
Tri-Circle-D Ranch – FREE! There are activities that have a cost, but anyone can explore the Ranch for FREE!!
Spa Experiences – Renew your mind, body and spirit at a full-service spa, salon and health club reminiscent of a serene Florida garden. Step through the Victorian-style entryway and escape to a timeless haven of relaxation. Here, you can break away from the everyday and truly unwind amid soothing music, calm lighting, and pampering experiences. The Grand Floridian Spa offers an array of revitalizing therapies and services—body treatments, massages, manicures and other indulgences—designed to elevate the mind and help you look and feel your best.
You can book this right on the My Disney Experience website 60 days prior to check in
Pool Cabanas – Relax in luxury and style, enjoying the day your way. You can lounge in the sun or retreat to your furnished, shaded oasis—complete with personal electronics and refreshments. As a result, Disney’s signature attention-to-detail sets the standard for the ultimate in poolside pampering. So, treat yourself, friends and family to this unforgettable vacation experience.
Cabanas are available for full day rentals.
Cabanas at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa—as well as those shared by Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort—are available to Guests of those Resorts only.
Pricing varies, and these cabanas can be booked at 60 days prior to check in by calling 407-WDW-PLAY
Other Popular Enchanting Extras
Star wars activities
Star Wars Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers- Travel to Black Spire Outpost, where a group known as the “Gatherers” ushers you into a covert workshop packed with unusual parts, whimsical pieces and miscellaneous memorabilia collected from the far reaches of the galaxy. Under their guidance, you can construct your very own lightsaber and bring it to life through the power of kyber crystals. Reservation is for builder and ONE guest.
Star Wars – Droid Depot – -Build your own droid at Black Spire Outpost’s industrial depot. Visit a workshop stocked with parts, chips, manuals and other tech items useful for constructing your very own droid, one of the galaxy’s most indispensable sidekicks. First, register your choice of the BB-series unit or R-series unit with the clerk, who’ll provide a basket and blueprint for parts. Next, proceed to the following stations and begin your droid-building experience. Reservation is for builder and ONE guest.
To experience both the Droids and Lightsabers, make advanced reservations 60 days ahead. May the Force Be With You!
private photo shoots now available in all 4 theme parks
Capture your moment – Commemorate your celebration with a photo session in any of the 4 parks setting. You can reserve a personalized 20-minute photo session that captures the fun and excitement of your special day—and your own unique style!
These sessions start at $79 for 20 minutes. This is a great way to get those Senior Pictures, Engagement Announcements, and MORE!
nighttime entertainment in disney springs
Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil & Disney – A Creative Tour-de-Force set your imagination in motion with Drawn to Life—a love letter to the art of Disney animation. In this first-ever collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering, journey into a world where an animator’s desk becomes the stage and drawings come alive. The show is a celebration of life, accentuated by the delightful, mesmerizing movements of Cirque du Soleil’s acrobatic mastery.
Tickets are on sale now for 2022.
This is just a sampling of the Enchanting Extras that you can do at Walt Disney World. Other activities have yet to return, like the Pirates Cruise and the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. And there are plenty of Enchanting Extras that don’t cost a thing! It really is the Most Magical Place on Earth! Contact me today to book your trip!
Take a Closer Look at One of Walt Disney World’s ORIGINAL Resorts!
Let’s talk resorts, specifically, The Contemporary. If you’ve been to Walt Disney World and visited the Magic Kingdom, you have seen The Contemporary. It is literally the closest to the Magic Kingdom, just a 5-10 minute walk, depending on where your room is located. To many people, a stay at this resort is a pipe dream or a bucket list item. The ultimate dream is to wake up and walk on your balcony, only to be able to see INTO the Magic Kingdom! So let’s take a deeper look!
Over in the Main Tower, there are about 500 guest rooms. Half of them face the Magic Kingdom and, yes, you can see the Magic Kingdom directly from your balcony! Some of them even look into the park! As I said, staying at the Contemporary is a bucket list items for many fans and guests that visit Walt Disney World.
Obviously, Bay Lake Tower, which is a DVC property, is going to cost the most. It is also the closest hotel. Did you know you can stay in DVC rooms without being DVC members? As long as members haven’t booked the rooms and you’re willing to pay for it, I can book these rooms for you. We LOVE them for the washer and dryer alone!
Now back to the main tower, it is worth noting that some of these theme park view rooms also have views of the parking lot, the Magic Kingdom bus loops, and the roof of the convention center. These rooms are also pretty pricy and can get up to $1,000 per night, depending on the time of year. Like all rooms at The Contemporary, they sleep up to 5, with a pull-down daybed. They are incredibly nice rooms, and they were recently renovated with Incredibles themes. They look AWESOME and we cannot wait to stay here this summer!
A Theme Park View room for 5 nights, 6 days, with a 5-day park hopper and Memory Maker, for a family of 4 (2 kids under 9), will run you about $7,500. It’s not terrible, but the backside, with views of Bay Lake, is equally nice and pretty peaceful and quiet. They’re also cheaper and the same package for the same family would run about $1,000 cheaper, just for staying on the other side of the tower.
The Contemporary – Garden Wing
Walt Disney World has over 25 hotels, and the Contemporary is almost like 3 hotels in one! Bay Lake Tower, again, a DVC Property, the Main Tower, and there is also the Garden Wing option. The Garden Wing is also significantly cheaper. These rooms are detached from the main tower, right on Bay Lake and closer to the pool and the docks to catch a boat. It’s a slightly longer walk to the monorail, bus stops, and Magic Kingdom, but we’re talking like 10 minutes instead of 5. And, again, the serenity of lakefront accommodations can be pretty relaxing, as opposed to the hustle and bustle of the main tower.
The Garden Wing has both suites and standard rooms, with the biggest difference (other than price) being space. They offer the same amenities, sleep 5 guests (or 8 guests for the hospitality suite), but the suites are about double the size. The suites for the same family of 4 with a 5-day park hopper and Memory Maker will cost about $11,000 BUT the standard view Garden Wing room, with all the same options for this family of 4, is about $5,800. So plainly you can see, if you want the most affordable way to stay in the Contemporary, choose a Garden Wing room!
The Contemporary – Pools & Recreation
But what else does But what else does the Contemporary have to offer? Let’s start with pools! Florida is hot and what better way to cool off than to jump in the pool? The main pool has a 17-foot high swirling water slide. You can also rent a private poolside cabana!
If you hop over to the Bay Lake pool which is closer to the lake, you have a more quiet pool option, plus a water play area for the littlest guests. Bay Lake Tower has its own pool and waterslide as well. The main pool area has a hot tub and a poolside bar, for the adults to unwind and relax while the kiddies have a blast!
You can also play basketball, tennis, do lakeside yoga, rent boats, go fishing, and more. The Contemporary has many recreational options to take part in, so there’s sure to be something for everyone!
The Contemporary – Dining
Let’s talk FOOD! The Contemporary has a ton of great dining options. There are three full-service table service restaurants available. Chef Mickey’s, currently available for breakfast and dinner, is a family-style character meal, and one of the most popular character meals Disney has to offer. The California Grill, a fine dining restaurant that is incredibly popular, for both its food and it’s incredible views of the Magic Kingdom. It is located on the TOP FLOOR of the Resort, so it is incredibly popular to time dining reservations here with Magic Kingdom fireworks! And there is the all-new, FABULOUS, AMAZING, Steakhouse 71!!!
There are three quick service options, though two of them are poolside. The Contempo Cafe, located next to Chef Mickey’s, is one of the most popular quick service options on property. The Contemporary also has its own coffee bar in the lobby, offering unique options. You can also visit one of the lounges available. There are many food and drink options here, making this a great choice for families full of many different palettes.
Have you stayed at the Contemporary? Would you LIKE to stay at the Contemporary? Contact me today to get your free quote!!!
Everything Disney’s Polynesian Resort Has to Offer
Today, let’s take a look at one of the two original Walt Disney World Resort hotels: Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Themed after the South Pacific, the Poly is located right across the lagoon from the Magic Kingdom. It is accessible via monorail, boat, or walkway. See EXQUISITE views of Cinderella Castle and catch Magic Kingdom’s fireworks show, as well as the Electric Water Pageant. It is classified as a Deluxe Resorts and also offers DVC Villas and Bungalows.
NEW! Moana-Themed Rooms
With the re-opening of the resort on July 19, Disney unveiled their new Moana-themed rooms!! And they are SO cute! The details are subtle and tasteful, which fits into the Deluxe theme of the resort. These rooms sleep 5, featuring 2 queen beds and 1 pull-out daybed. You can reserve a Standard room (which just means you’re not particular and, for a discounted rate, you might just end up with a theme park view room by luck of the draw!), Theme Park view, lagoon view, or pool or marina view room. You can also book Club-Level rooms, that include a Club Lounge that offers food and drinks and a private concierge staff to provide a higher-level of service for a much higher price.
There are 2 table service restaurants available at Disney’s Polynesian Resort: ‘Ohana and Kona Cafe. They are both located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House. I have already written about both restaurants so read about them here:
Capt Cooks is a quick service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can also get some grab and go items here, and mobile ordering is available.
Pop up to Kona Island, near the monorail, for coffee and pastries in the morning and a selection of sushi and mini desserts throughout the rest of the day.
If you’re after a Dole Whip (with or without rum), then you need to head down to Pineapple Lanai! The Poly also has 5 bars/lounges, and they’re all unique and spectacular!
The Poly also has 5 bars/lounges, and they’re all unique and spectacular! If you are up for the Monorail Bar Crawl, you cannot fail by choosing any single one of these bars! Read more about the bar crawl here!
Barefoot Pool Bar
Oasis Bar and Grill
Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto
Finally, the Polynesian is home to the Spirit of Aloha Luau dinner show, but that is unfortunately still unavailable. If and when it comes back, I highly recommend it! It is great fun and definitely not something you see every day!
There are two pools available to guests of the Polynesian. The Oasis Pool is just that: a quiet pool that is an Oasis. And then there is the Lava Pool.
The Lava Pool has a volcano, a waterfall, zero-depth entry, and a 142-foot long waterslide. There is also a play area for kids under 48″. There are also Oasis Patios for rent, first come first served.
Close by, you’ll find the beach. While you can no longer swim in the lagoon, you can sit on the beach, even in a hammock, if that’s your style, and the beach is a GREAT place to watch the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom and catch the Electrical Water Pageant. You can also watch Movies Under the Stars, which is usually found at every resort, and can be a fun way for kids and kids-at-heart to unwind and relax after a long day in the parks.
Boat rentals and fishing are available from the nearby Marina, as well as volleyball and a jogging trail.
BouTiki is one of my favorite shops in all of Walt Disney World. If Hawaiian Shirts are your thing, this is the place for you! Or head up to the Moana Mercantile on the second floor, where you’ll find toys, games, clothes, and snacks and drinks (including alcohol).
As I searched for breakfast reservations for our trip back in 2021, I panicked when I realized a bunch of our favorite breakfast spots were not open. As I did some research, I discovered Ale & Compass at the Yacht Club, and am I glad that I did! This place is fantastic, and we all enjoyed our food and the atmosphere. Check out my review for Ale & Compass Restaurant!
Ale & Compass – Location, Atmosphere, and Theming
Ale & Compass is located on the first floor of the Yacht Club, just off the lobby. The setting is coastal and meant to feel like dining in an Eastern Seaboard Lighthouse. Above all else, it certainly is incredibly laid back, quiet, and relaxing. The food is described as New England “comfort food” and classic seafood dishes.
Bonus points in the location category, because the Yacht Club is located in the BEST location on property. Since the Beach Club, the Yacht Club, the Boardwalk Inn, and even Swan and Dolphin, are all walkable, these hotels really do feel like one big resort. As a result, you can easily walk to each one and enjoy all the restaurants each has to offer. In fact, the entire reason we ended up with reservations here was that we were staying at the Boardwalk and spending the day at Epcot, which meant we could easily just walk the entire day. Second bonus points: the cost. This was our least expensive meal and involved the most amount of people (7) over 10 days.
Alright, so we got down to the brass tacks, let’s get into what really matters: THE FOOD. We have only been here for breakfast, so I’m going to focus on just that meal.
Ale & Compass Restaurant offers a breakfast buffet. For $23, you get a buffet of seasonal fruit, assorted yogurt parfaits, assorted breakfast pastries, house-made granola, cheddar biscuits and country gravy, and warm cinnamon rolls. But wait, there’s more! In addition to the buffet, the $23 also includes a choice of a main entree! That right there is the absolute BEST value in all of Walt Disney World! Coffee, tea, juice, or soft drink is also included.
Ale & Compass Restaurant – the Entrees
The entrees are FANTASTIC. I’ll just say that. With a menu consisting of 10 main entrees, including vegetarian and plant-based options, and great variety, there is something for every type of eater. There was not a crumb left on any of our plates, either!
Ale & COmpass – Food Allergies
Since , I have celiac, I have to order from the allergy menu. And because of this, I usually speak to a chef. If I have dined somewhere before, so that I feel totally comfortable, I just order. But this was my first visit to Ale & Compass, so I met with the chef.
Following our talk, I opted for the American breakfast, a simple eggs and bacon, with a side of fruit. And, to my immense delight and surprise, I WAS OFFERED GLUTEN FREE TOAST!! And since my daughter only eats plain waffles, I ate my toast with all the goodies meant for her dark chocolate waffles! This was light and fantastic, and helped make this one of my new favorites!
So, to recap….location? Great. Atmosphere? Great. Food? FANTASTIC. Value? THE BEST. You’ve got to add this to your list! Have you dined here? Let me know!
Ready to book your vacation? Contact me today for your free, no obligation vacation quote!
The best Non-Alcoholic Drinks at Walt Disney World and Where to Find Them!
I love to drink around the World, but there are some who, for whatever reason (you do you! Live your life!), cannot, will not, do not want to drink. So, for these people, and everyone else, too, here are the best mocktails of Disney World!
best mocktails available at various lounges
This first one is a classic, and SO good. It also comes with rum, if you want the virgin for the kids while you imbibe the real thing! This tropical twist on the classic colada invites a thick raspberry puree into the mix. Personally, raspberries make all tropical flavors that much better, so I prefer this to the real Colada!
best mocktails available at monorail resorts
schweitzer falls – trader sam’s grog grotto, the polynesian
Yes, Trader Sam’s has great cocktails. And they also have great No-Booze Brews. So while you’re having the Uh-Oa or the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room, the kids or your sober companion can also enjoy a tropical beverage, like the Schweitzer Falls! Of course, it’s named after the great explorer good ‘ol Albert…..Falls! This is Sam’s Gorilla Grog and tropical juices topped with Sprite. So refreshing!
mOCKTAILS IN mAGIC kINGDOM
While you won’t find that many cocktails, the Magic Kingdom actually has a lot of the best mocktails of Disney World! Adventureland? Main St? I’m sure there’s something! Let’s check it out!
lefou’s brew – gaston’s tavern
Yeah, yeah, yeah, frozen butterbeer, Harry Potter, blah blah blah. Don’t sleep on LeFou’s Brew! This vegan-friendly no-sugar-added frozen apple slush presents a hint of marshmallow flavoring and is topped with a passionfruit-mango foam. Surprisingly delicious. Amazingly refreshing. This is definitely something to enjoy! Wash down your GIGANTIC cinnamon roll with LeFou’s Brew!
frozen mint julep lemonade – casey’s corner
Hang on, Disneylanders, we know you have the Mint Julep game under control over there in CA, but this version is a refreshing, frozen, slushified mix of mint julep perfection! Frozen Minute Maid Lemonade, topped with fresh mint leaves, cherry, and lemon. A timely reminder in the best mocktails competition that sometimes, less is more!
dole whip float – aloha isle
A contender that needs no introduction, it’s THE DOLE WHIP FLOAT. The classic Dole Whip, pineapple, vanilla, or swirl, topped with pineapple juice. JUST what the doctor ordered on a hot, August day in Central Florida!
i lava you float – sunshine tree terrace
That brings us to my personal favorite snack in all of Walt Disney World (I said what I said) , the I Lava You Float at Sunshine Tree Terrace. Now, hear me out: Fanta strawberry soda, passion fruit flavor served with DOLE Whip Orange, and topped with Popping Candy. TASTE BUD HEAVEN. Seriously, who would have ever thought strawberry Fanta was SO GOOD?!?!?
best mocktail in hollywood studios
sunset boulevard – hollywood brown derby lounge
Checking in with another “less is more” offering in the best mocktails competition, the Sunset Boulevard at the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge. SO SIMPLE. It is tangerine and sprite, served with a glow cube. It is delicious and refreshing.
best mocktail in animal kingdom
night blossom – pongu pongu
Described as, “layers of Apple and Desert Pear Limeade topped with Passion Fruit Boba Balls,” the Night Blossom is the perfect pick-me-up in the middle of a hot day at Animal Kingdom aka the hottest of the hot theme parks!
best mocktail in epcot
The american dream – fife and drum tavern
“You look like the Fourth of July! Makes me want a hot dog REAL bad!” This patriotic refreshment is perfect for washing down that hot dog, turkey leg, or Mickey pretzel! Frozen Fanta strawberry, vanilla ice cream, and frozen Fanta blue raspberry slushy! It is as good as it sounds!
Walt Disney World is a magical place, where dreams and fantasy come to life, but have you ever wondered how the sausage is made? This tour is for you! On the Keys to the Kingdom Tour, you will go backstage to see how several classic attractions work, walk through the underground tunnels, known as the Utilidor, and learn the history of the Magic Kingdom.
Keys to the Kingdom – the basics
Keys to the Kingdom is an in-depth, 5-hour tour of the Magic Kingdom. Yes, you read that right: 5 hours. You were learn the amazing history of the very first gate at Walt Disney World, see how it’s grown and changed over the years, and even visit some “secret” locations, like the world notorious “Utilidor,” the underground tunnel beneath the Magic Kingdom.
This is the ultimate experience for Disney World fans! Learn the story of Walt Disney and how his vision, innovation, and creativity brought this amazing and well-loved theme park to life. You will learn about Walt’s thoughts behind designing the park, learn fun trivia that will make you the most annoying member of your next family vacation, discover hidden Mickeys and other often-overlooked details, like the poo river, and more!
Ok how do i do this?
This tour isn’t for everyone. No, I really mean that. All guests must be at least 16 years old, with a photo ID, to take part in this tour. This is obvious. Why ruin the magic for the kids? So if your group is at least 16 years old, you can make reservations up to 60 days in advance. This tour is incredibly popular, and usually sells out, so if you know you want to do this, grab reservations as soon as you’re eligible! Tours are available at 30-minute increments, and I would suggest taking the earliest tour available. Again, it is 5-hours long, so the earlier you start, the earlier it’s over, and you have more time for other activities!
Once you’ve selected your date and time, you’ll have to pay. Unfortunately, it’s not a free tour. The tour costs $114 per person, and Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members can save 15%. It is also important to note that you will also need valid park tickets AND a valid park reservation in addition to paying for your tour. BUT GUESS WHAT?! It includes lunch! So yes, you will get food during your 5-hour tour! This is a (mostly) outdoor walking tour, so you’ll want to make sure you wear good shoes and dress for the weather.
Booked! Now what?
You will need to check in at Town Square Theater at least 15 minutes in advance of your tour. If you don’t show up, or cancel less than 2 days in advance, you will not get a refund, so make ABSOLUTELY SURE you want to do this! After you’re checked in, you will receive a headset, so that you can hear all the awesome information your guide has to share with you, along with a nametag and a couple other special souvenirs to take home and keep forever!
The Magic Kingdom isn’t where you go just for the food. Its magic lies elsewhere. But you have to eat, right? So what should you do when you need a quick bite after Big Thunder Mountain? These are the best quick service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom for when you’re just too hangry to go on!
Best quick service in magic Kingdom
If you ask me, the BEST quick service restaurant is Pinocchio Village Haus, located right next to it’s a small world in Fantasyland. Serving American classics, like pizza, chicken tenders, and salads, this place is a diamond in the rough. The highlight is getting a window seat overlooking it’s a small world. If you score one of these coveted tables, make sure to wave at all the boats as the embark on the Happiest Cruise on Earth!
This is my overall number 1 favorite quick service in Magic Kingdom, because it has something for everyone, INCLUDING those with food allergies. The pizzas are GREAT for my celiac tastes. The crust is perfectly crispy, not cardboard-like, which is super hard to come by. Usually, a gluten free pizza crust is burnt and too hard for any human being to actually chew. The allergy-friendly chicken tenders are AMAZING. AND the portion sizes are big enough for people to share. My mom and I split a pizza, chicken tenders, and fries. It was the perfect amount of food for two!
best quick service seating and atmosphere
If you hate stalking people as they eat to get their table, Cosmic Ray’s is the place for you! They have TONS of seating, inside AND outside, and I have never had an issue finding a place to sit down. And if you’re looking for a place that your kids will actually eat the food AND be entertained? You’re going to want to sit by Sonny Eclipse! And finally, the food is REALLY good! Like…surprisingly good. And it’s a pleasant surprise! In fact, eating here last summer for the first time in ages, it quickly snuck up my list to be a close second to Pinocchio!
The menu is, again, American classics, like burgers, chicken strips, chili, hot dogs, and a very nice-sized allergy menu. This restaurant even offers a plant-based burger.
Best quick service restaurant that won’t go away
I say this in jest, as Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe has gone through many, many changes over the years. It used to be burgers with an all-you-can-eat toppings bar, which, don’t get me wrong, was completely awesome, but in 2015, Pecos Bill went through a change from burgers to burritos! Seeing as how this restaurant is located in Frontierland, representing the American Old West, this seems like the absolute perfect place to have a Mexican restaurant (aside from, you know, Mexico).
In its current iteration, you can get everything from fajitas, to nachos, to rice bowls, to salads, and even burgers. The worst part about this location is finding a seat, but the current protocols, which I, personally, hope they continue forever, will only let you into the restaurant if you have an order. This makes seating a little easier to find. And, like I said, I hope it lasts forever! Again, this place has something for everybody, including plant-based options, kid-friendly foods like burgers and mac & cheese, and a robust allergy-friendly menu.
Best Quick Service with Secret Seating
There’s not REALLY secret seating, people just tend to not go up there. I don’t know, I don’t make the rules. Anyway, this Liberty Square staple is New England-themed, with seafood, chicken, and sandwiches. Sit upstairs. Maybe even take a lil nap. You’ve earned it.
best quick service that finally got mobile ordering
DO NOT FRET, gluten-eaters! I have not forgotten you! While I, personally, cannot eat here, I recognize this place is the absolute best. Just LOOK at that waffle! I make it myself at home, and it is truly delicious! And now that they have mobile ordering, it’s a game changer. That means the lines are much shorter and you won’t suffer waiting for this delicious waffle for breakfast! Unfortunately, food allergy friends should avoid this place, but for everyone else, MOBILE ORDER IMMEDIATELY!!!
Did you favorite make the list? If not, what is YOUR go-to quick service restaurant in the Magic Kingdom?
Without question, the Mexico Pavilion is my FAVORITE Pavilion in Epcot. From the twilight sky to Donald Duck to excellent margaritas, there is a lot to love here! But did you know you can take a class and learn about, AND TASTE, incredible tequilas? Well….now you do! Learn all about La Cava Experience!
La Cava Experience
Here, you will learn the history of Tequila, all while sampling said tequila, in La Cava del Tequila. This unique Tequila Bar and Lounge is located inside the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot, right to the right as you enter the Plaza. You will get to try some of the finest tequilas in the world as you learn the culture and tradition of the region of Mexico where tequila is from.
You will meet a Certified Tequila Ambassador, who will guide you through the experience. They pair each tequila with a flavor that is designed specifically to enhance the flavor and essence of the tequila. And some of the tequilas are exclusive to La Cava Experience. You cannot get them anywhere else in the world!
Details and Important information
Of course, all guests must be 21 to take part in this experience. The cost is $150 per person plus tax and service charge, and you must have a valid park ticket and park reservation for Epcot.
This experience includes chips and guacamole, but not a full meal, so it is encouraged you make alternative plans for your meal! You may book up to 6 people online. For groups of 7-14 people, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and you they may be accommodated. If you or someone in your party have food allergies and/or dietary restrictions, you may contact email@example.com. This experience takes place on high top tables, so please use the email to contact the restaurant if you or someone in your party needs wheelchair-accessible tables.
If you are a tequila fan, but don’t necessarily want to take a class, just visit La Cava del Tequila, home to over 200 types of tequila, top-shelf cocktails, and Mexican beer and wine. Some specialties include a tequila flight and a wild passion fruit margarita!
If you’re feeling adventurous, order the Alibrije – a secret tequila drink located only at La Cava del Tequila! It is Centinela Blanco Tequila, Chinola passion fruit liqueur, and fresh lime juice, topped with a mixed berry bubble for a sweet fragrance that will enhance that very first sip!
Ready to book your next vacation with this incredible tequila experience? Contact me today!!!