Disney World dining


Pandora, the World of Avatar is small but mighty. The attention to details in every aspect of this land carries through to the food and beverage options.

Snacks and beverages

Pongu Pongu is the place in Pandora, The World of Avatar to grab a drink or the land’s signature snack. Pongu Pongu means “Party Party” in the Na’vi language. A place where the Na’vi and friends from Earth cam come together and celebrate.

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The drinks are very festive to go along with the theming of the land. There are two frozen options. The first is the Night Blossom which is a non-alcoholic option. The Night Blossom is a mix of Limeade with apple and desert pear flavors, all topped off with passion fruit boba balls. It can be purchased with or without a souvenir Pongu Mug complete with a glowing Unadelta seed. This “seed” is a clip on so you can use it on other glasses if you so choose to. The colors of this drink are vibrant with bright purple and green and a splash of yellow from the boba balls on top.

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The Mo’ara Margarita mixes Sauza Commemorative Anejo Tequila with strawberry and blood orange flavors. It is also topped with strawberry boba balls. I felt this option had nothing particularly special about it. It tasted like a Strawberry margarita. I did not taste the blood orange expect for the added sweetness I felt the drink had.

Mo’ara High Country Ale and Hawke’s Grog are your two beer choices.  Both these options were good but I preferred the Hawke’s Grog. So much so, I had a second! They’re both fairly light and well described in the board when ordering. The High-Country Ale was a little hoppier if you like that in your beer.

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The already much talked about Pongu Lumpia is the only option for a snack. Lumpia is a popular street food in Indonesia and the Philippines. I liken it to an egg roll ad typically filled with meat and veggies. Pongu Pongu has a sweet twist with pineapple and cream cheese-filled spring roll finished off with a sprinkle of sugar. This is all the rage right now and is a must have while visiting this land in my opinion.

 

Satu’li Canteen

For the hungrier visitors, your option in Pandora, The World of Avatar is Satu’li Canteen. This is a quick service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner but we are only going to look at the lunch and dinner menus as this is what I experienced.

The main entrees everyone is talking about are the “build Your Own Bowl” and the Cheeseburger pods.

Build Your own bowl is a game changer in the parks for those looking for a healthier option. You pick your protein, your base, and your sauce. Salmon was our fish that day and I tried that as well as chicken and beef. I added the chimichurri sauce and it was delicious with the whole grain rice. I am very sensitive to sodium and these types of meals can have too much but I found it to be very well seasoned without overdoing it.

The cheeseburger pods are very interesting in texture and I was hesitant. It is a lot of dough! But the filling was pleasantly tasty. It was a cross between a cheeseburger and a meaty skillet entrée. The pod encasing it was a very soft bread and didn’t really have flavor. The crunch to the slaw that accompanied it was a nice companion to the soft entrée and had good flavor. I do believe this will be a huge hit with the younger guests to the land.

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I did not try any of the signature drinks but have heard from someone else on our team that the Sangria was not only a strange blue color but not something she felt most would enjoy. The combination of the super sweetness and the wine, did not mix well. There are Banshee wine options and many thought these were nice choices on a hot day.

The two desserts are a Blueberry Cream Chess Mousse and a Chocolate cake.  The Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse was a tarter choice but wonderful in texture. The chocolate cake was surprisingly lighter in sweetness. It is not a super sweet chocolate option. It was more like a mousse inside and the dark chocolate flavor had a very strong cocoa flavor.

Overall, as a healthy eater, this is my new favorite in quick service restaurants in the parks. You have choices and it is different than anything else on property. Make sure to use the app and pre-order to bypass the lines so you can enjoy more of Pandora, The Word of Avatar.

Contact your Ears of Experience agent today to see all that Pandora, The Word of Avatar has to offer.

 

 

 

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Shades of Green® on Walt Disney World® Resort is an Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC) located in Central Florida.  We get a lot of questions about what the difference is between this resort and staying at a Walt Disney World® Resort.

Shades of Green is on the grounds of Walt Disney World® but it is annexed as a military resort. Therefore, there are many features you get at a Walt Disney World® Resort you do not get when staying at Shades of Green. This can make the value of this resort a little confusing. I have detailed below some of the differences.

1.Complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport and resort.

All Disney property resorts have the Magical Express option which is complimentary shuttle service. Shades of Green® does not have this feature. This is about a $150 savings at a Disney resort based off a family of 4.

2.Parking

Disney resorts do not charge their guests for parking at the resort and they receive complimentary parking at the parks.

Shades of Green charges $7 a day to park at the resort for guests staying there and their guests are required to pay the parking lot fee if the guest drives to the parks. This is currently $20 a day.

3.Transportation to the parks

Disney resorts have continuous buses to all resorts and Disney Springs. Many resorts have boats, as well and three have the monorail as an option. The resort buses to Magic Kingdom pull right up in front by the gate whereas Shades of Green requires you going to the Ticket and transportation center and then taking the monorail.

The Shades of Green buses now pull up to the other three theme parks at the furthest bus stop and require more walking to the Gates as well.

4.Disney Dining plan

Many are confused by the dining plan. Shades of Green® will offer a dining plan from time to time as an option but it is only for their three restaurants whereas the Disney Dining Plan is for over 100 dining venues in the parks, resorts, and Disney Springs and includes such things as character meals! Not only can this save you money but it helps with a budget as it is pre-paid.

5.Themed resorts with Disney amenities

Disney does a great job of theming from Animals with giraffes and zebras out back to Polynesian where you can experience such things as fire dancers and hoola lessons. If your kids enjoy the movies, you can stay at Art of Animation and feel like you are right in the middle of the set of Cars.

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6.Activities at the resorts

Disney resorts feel more like a resort with pool activities and movies under the stars, safaris, horse and buggy rides, and fishing just to name a few. With Disney cast members in all roles at the resorts, it also is a carry over to the Award-winning service people experience in the parks.

 

7.Truly getting away

Military life can be stressful. The Disney resort and discounts offered by Walt Disney World® were created to offer military personnel and their families a little downtime to enjoy each other. However, many of our clients have told us that they enjoy staying at a Walt Disney World® Resort over Shades of green® resort as they truly get away from work. There is typically not “shop talk” at the pool or on the bus when you are staying at a Walt Disney World® resort whereas this can be a very viable conversation at Shades of Green®. Some people like that comradery, others are truly wanting to get away completely.

8.MagicBands

MagicBands are the customizable bands that make a vacation easier than ever. They are used to enter the parks, open the doors at resorts, tap for fast pass access, redemption of dining credits, and to make purchases in the parks. They come in a variety of colors and you can customize them to any name you want that will fit in the character field. These have become an exciting part of the vacation for many. These are complimentary with any stay at a Walt Disney World® Resort. The bands can be purchased in the parks for off-property resort guests to use as ticket and fast pass access. The current cost is $12.99 per band.

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9.Fast pass reservations

As a Walt Disney World® Resort guest you can pre-select three fast passes per day ahead of time, 60 days from your travel date for your entire vacation stay. You will be able to select a time for highly popular attractions so you know the wait for these attractions will be less for you on your vacation. Such attractions as Seven Dwarfs Mine ride, Frozen Ever After or Soarin can have over 2 hour wait times. With this feature, you have the opportunity to bypass those long lines and enjoy more time on attractions. Shades of Green® Resort guests have this option 30 days out along with the general public. Some of these very popular rides will not have fast passes available by this time. Please note, each attraction is subject to availability of fast passes at the time of selection.

10.Dining reservations

Dining is a big part of the Disney experience to many guests. Dining reservations open up 180 days before the travel date. Walt Disney Resort® guests are allowed to book all their dining at one time for their stay. Shades of Green® Resort guests are like other off-property guests and they must do their dining reservations each day at 180 days. If you are checking in 180 days from today, you would be able to do the dining for that day only and then need to go in the next day and it do it for that day. This not is not only time consuming but you may also run into availability issues as things will be filled already.

Shades of Green® Resort can be a great value price-wise but it is important to look at the features offered at a Walt Disney World® Resort hotel to make sure it is truly a value in every aspect. With the discounts military personnel get at the Walt Disney World® Resort and the discounted tickets that can be packaged with it, it is quite a value itself and you get all the features listed above. Contact your Ears of Experience agent today for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There are many reasons to choose a company like Ears of Experience over Disney direct for your next Disney vacation.

  1. Training

We set high standards for our agents and a brand as whole. Training is a priority at Ears of Experience. This is to insure we have a team of professionals who have the most up to date information on the destinations and information to insure their clients have the best experience on their Disney vacation.

  1. Automatic Price adjusting

If a new promotion comes out, we will auto adjust all applicable bookings and notify our clients with a “Surprise we were able to lower you current booking price”

You don’t need to monitor or watch for these specials, we take care of it for you.

  1. Dining

If you don’t have a plan and know where you are going on what days, what to eat, where to eat, it can be overwhelming. Whether you know where you want to eat or no idea, we will assist you with all your dining reservations and make suggestions based off questions we ask you.

  1. Planning

We will help you with what parks are best on what days based off crowds, park schedules, special events.  Our clients get a suggested flow of what to experience in what order so they have an enjoyable day in the parks. We run our park suggestions for our clients regularly. We have agents in the parks every day so if things need to be tweaked or changed, we have them run it, see how it goes so our clients have the most seamless vacation and stand in less lines and on more attractions. Disney changes things and we know it is important to have the most up to date information for our clients.

  1. Clients with special needs

If you have someone in your party who is medically fragile or with special needs, we can assist you. We are very well versed in this area with agents on staff who have an extensive background in working with clients with special needs. We will make room requests, speak with the resort directly to insure thy are aware of the situation, and the make the entire process less stressful.

 

Not only will you have a dedicated agent who will walk you through the entire process but one who has a support system of a brand who truly cares about the client experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of my favorite dining experiences in Disney World parks include venues that offer character table visits, Mickey-shaped food and a wide buffet selection. Other times, however, I prefer my Disney dining experience to be in a location that doesn’t feel like I’m still in a theme park. Tiffins, located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is just that type of venue. As soon as I entered the restaurant, I released a sigh and let the serenity of my surroundings envelope me as I prepared myself for a relaxing and memorable meal.

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Now, if I were going to use my southern dialect to direct you to Tiffins, I would say, “as you enter Animal Kingdom and make your way over to the bridge in front of the Tree of Life, hang a left toward the Discovery Island area. Take your next left just ahead of the Pizzafari. If you get to Starbucks, you’ve gone too far.” Coincidentally, this will be the same directions to get you to the highly anticipated new Avatar world known as ‘Pandora-The World of Avatar’ which is scheduled to open on May 27th at Animal Kingdom.

Once you arrive at Tiffins, you’ll also find the Nomad Lounge. The Nomad Lounge is my new favorite bar in all the Disney Parks.  Why does this lounge and restaurant earn such a high decree from me? Location, ambience and menu offerings. Tiffins is open for lunch and dinner and is considered a signature dining venue with entrée prices ranging from $35 to $59.99 per adult. Those of you on the Disney Dining Plan will need to use two (2) dining credits for your meal.

The day I discovered Tiffins, I arrived early for my dinner reservation that allowed me the time to veer toward the Nomad Lounge. Boy, am I glad. The Nomad Lounge is tucked into surrounding greenery and offers seating at your choice of high-back chairs or spacious sofas on the open-air deck or if you prefer, you could also take advantage of inside seating. We enjoyed unique cocktail selections and chef’s charcuterie board which included house-cured and smoked meats. The menu here offered several light dining options that were a perfect snack prior to dinner or you could order several to share as a meal. The only downside to the latter is that you would miss the fabulous offerings at Tiffins.

When we arrived to Tiffins for our reservation, we were escorted to the main dining room with décor that is warm and inviting with bursts of color in the artistic wall hangings and gorgeous hand-carved wood sculptures in the center of the room.  Our party ordered three different entrees: Wagyu Strip Loin and Braised Short Rib, Duo of Lamb (photo above with the Leek Ash at the top of the plate), and the Chermoula-rubbed Chicken along with a side order of Brussel sprouts.  Each dish arrived cooked to perfection with unique flavors that did not overpower the taste of the meat.  I have never experienced ashes of Leek, but a delicate drag of the lamb in it makes for a totally different and memorable bite of lamb.

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We each sampled the others’ meals and agreed we would not hesitate to order what the others had in the future. The Brussel sprouts were offered in a shareable portion which made an ideal addition to our entrees. Overall, while the flavors of each entree and side dish were unique, because they were a simple enhancement to the food, the entrees should appeal to a wide variety of diners.

We dined without children but they did have a kid’s menu that included grilled chicken or beef, pan seared fish or pasta marinara.  If the adult entrees are any indication, I am sure the kid’s meals will be prepared to perfection too.

Be sure to make reservations at Tiffins for your next visit to the Animal Kingdom and see if you don’t agree that it’s the perfect location, with incredible ambience and mouth-watering menu options. You may even want to include a dining package that includes reserved seating at the River of Lights nighttime show.

 

Kristin Schulz

Kristin is a creative consusltant for Ears of Experience.

 

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  1. California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

At the top of the resort, a must do. Watch the fireworks while enjoying a California dinner. Sushi, flatbreads, fish are the theme here. If the bartender is Ray, have him make you a Saki martini. They are out of this world. $35 to $59.99 per adult

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  1. Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Casual waterfront dining with coastal cuisine. They have a fairly good wine list.  $35 to $59.99

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  1. Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom

Step inside the Beast’s enchanted castle for an unforgettable sit-down dinner. One of the only places you can drink alcohol in the Magic Kingdom as well. $28 to $35 per adult. This spot is hard to get. Plan ahead!

 

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  1. San Angel in Epcot

Dine in perpetual twilight at this Mexican restaurant, modeled after a hacienda at the base of Mayan ruins. Great option for something not as expensive but in a secluded atmosphere. $15 to $34.99 per adult

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  1. Le Cellier in Epcot

Set in a cozy cellar of a Canadian chateau with outstanding steaks and seafood specialties. You must try the cheddar cheese soup and signature poutine. $35 to $59.99 per adult

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  1. JIko- The Cooking Place at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Jiko is a blend of traditional African, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisine. Chicken, seafood, vegan, and vegetarian dishes with bold blends of spices and flavors can be found here. Jiko has a vast African wine list that is excellent! $35 to $59.99 per adult

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  1. Tiffin’s at the Animal Kingdom

This restaurant is inspired by exploration and adventure. The plates are small so don’t go super hungry but the lounge cocktails are amazing! $35 to $59.99 per adult.

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  1. Flying Fish at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn

Sustainable seafood and prime steaks in the newly remodeled contemporary American restaurant. Make sure to take a walk around the Boardwalk after dinner. $35 to $59.99 per adult.

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  1. Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort

Enjoy slow-cooked meats, salads, and vegetarian specialties served with Indian flavors  while enjoying the view through the glass wall of animals roaming the savannah outside. To most, the highlight of the menu is the Indian bread service. A must do. $15 to $34.99 per adult

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  1. Shula’s at Walt Disney Resort Swan and Dolphin Resort

Former football coach Don Shula’s sophisticated steakhouse chain serving beef and other classics. $35 to $59.99 per adult

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Top Cocktails around the World

• Lava Flow is a tourist favorite. It is a combination of Pina Colada and daiquiri. These can be found at almost every pool bar at a resort.

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• Craft beers at the Grand Floridian pool are some of them most extensive I have seen in the area. Below is the entire beer menu at Beaches Pool Bar and Grill.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Magic Hat #9
New Belgium Fat Tire
Blue Moon
Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Hard Cider
Bud Light
Bud Light Lime
Budweiser
Cigar City Jai Alai
Cigar City Maduro Brown
Coors Light
Corona Extra
Corona Light
Heineken
Kona Longboard Island Lager
Magic Hat Circus Boy
Michelob Ultra
Miller Lite
Yeungling
O’Doul’s
Red Stripe
Stella Artois
New Belgium Sunshine Wheat
New Belgium Ranger IPA
New Belgium Shift
Newcastle Brown Ale
Bluepoint White IPA
Samuel Adams Seasonal
Samuel Adams Boston Lager
Left Hand Milk Stout

• The Pineapple drink at Ohana called Lapu Lapu is a tropical rum drink served in a hallowed out pineapple. Here is the recipe in case you feel like adding this to the next cookout.

Lapulapu

Lapu Recipe:
Ingredients
1. One part Bacardi 151 or plain light rum
2. One part Myers dark rum
3. Two parts orange juice
4. Two parts sweet-n-sour mix
5. Pineapple (optional)
Directions
1. Combine the first four ingredients, and shake over ice
2. Serve in hollowed out pineapples (or a glass with a colorful umbrella, if no pineapple is easily accessible

• Cava de Tequila. This is tucked in the temple of Mexico at Epcot’s World showcase. There are so many varieties of drinks here. I have tried many and quite a few are sweet so if you like that, go for it as they are fresh and tasty. I like the skinny margarita. The staff is super nice and you can grab some chips and guacamole which you are at it. Don’t be fooled by the Margarite Stand in front of the temple, this is not the same.

• Grand Marnier Orange Slush in France in the Showcase. This is found at a wine kiosk by the lake. I like the other option, the Grey Goose Lemon Citron slush. You can do it as 8 oz. or 12oz (their supersize version with an extra shot).

A little tip, it is an eight minute walk from the margarita stand to the Grand Marnier and Lemon Citron kiosk.

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• Testarossa – Red Head Ketel One Vodka, Grand Marnier and Crandberry Juice, muddled with Strawberries and Fresh Basil Leaves topped with Ground Pepper.. My all-time favorite Disney Drink! This is actually at Swan on Crescent Lake. It is in the bar at the entrance of the restaurant Il Milano.

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• Pineapple float with rum!!!! Found in Animal Kingdom at Tamu Tamu Refreshments. You can order it with dark rum or coconut rum. So refreshing on a hot day!

• Best places for beer at Epcot are the UK in the Showcase at Rose and Crown Pub and Germany.

Discover the magic of Walt Disney World® Resorts and parks on a Walt Disney World® Family vacation, and share the joy of Mickey Mouse and company with your kids. Let Ears of Experience plan the perfect Disney trip for you and your loved ones. Contact us today at 1-877-80MOUSE. We look forward to sending you on the magical vacation of a lifetime.

http://www.themouseexperts.com/

candlelight processional

2014 Candlelight Processional Dining Packages have opened up.

Participating restaurants for this year are:

Biergarten Restaurant
Chefs de France
Coral Reef Restaurant
The Garden Grill
La Hacienda de San Angel
Nine Dragons Restaurant
Restaurant Marrakesh
Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room
San Angel Inn Restaurante
Teppan Edo
Tokyo Dining
Tutto Italia Ristorante
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

Candlelight Processional Dining Packages start at $35 for lunch and $50 for dinner for adults, include a meal at an Epcot restaurant and a guaranteed seat for one of the Candlelight Processional performances and pre-arranged fireworks viewing. It also takes two dining credits on the dining plan. You can make reservations online or at 407-939-3463. If you are a client of Ears of Experience, we will make them for you if you have booked a package with us or are a Concierge Client.

Nov 28 to Nov 29 2014: Jodi Benson
Dec 5 to Dec 6 2014: Whoopi Goldberg
Dec 15 to Dec 17 2014: Sharon Stone
Dec 18 to Dec 20 2014: Ana Gasteyer
Dec 21 to Dec 23 2014: Marlee Matlin
Dec 28 to Dec 30 2014: Steven Curtis Chapman

877-806-6873
http://www.themouseexperts.com

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