This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at everything “new” at Disney Springs! This past week SATURDAY SIX ace photographer Brandon Glover stopped by Frontera Cocina in Disney Springs to check the “Taste of Oaxaca” menu by chef Rick Bayless (to see Brandon’s photo review of the new menu, including a dish with grasshoppers, CLICK HERE.) That experience was just one of a whole bunch of cool things we did at Disney Springs in the last week. So much is going on in WDW’s shopping and dining district that we figured you, Dear Reader, needed an update so let’s kick off the countdown with…
# 6 – Adult Push Pops at Paddlefish
We’ve said many times that Disney Springs has replaced EPCOT’s World Showcase as our go-to place for dining at WDW. A murderer’s row of great restaurants have opened up in just the past few years including the aforementioned Frontera Cocina, along with Homecomin’, Morimota Asia, and The BOATHOUSE. One of the venues that doesn’t get as much “press,” but became a solid dining choice after its huge refurbishment, is Paddlefish.
Paddlefish already held a special place in our hearts thanks to their next level bonkers brownie milkshake, but recently they debuted another crazy cool item that we had to try: alcoholic push pops. The new Buzz Pop Cocktails are currently available in eight flavors; Lemon Drop Martini, Watermelon Patch, Pink Paradise, Mango Passionfruit, Moscow Mule, Blueberry Mania, Caribbean Breeze Sorbet, and Southern Belle. Each one is under 100 calories, 15%ABV, gluten free, fat free, non-GMO, organic and vegan. One thing to keep in mind is that flavors can sell out during the day. We tried the Moscow Mule and Caribbean Breeze and found both to be pleasant, with the Moscow Mule’s ginger flavoring packing a punch. The grown up push pops are available at the main bar and on the top deck, so we definitely recommend taking a quick break during your shopping tour of Disney Springs to head up onto the top deck to enjoy one of these!
# 5 – Polite Pig Covers its Outdoor Seating
Speaking of solid restaurant options at Disney Springs, the Polite Pig is another venue that should make your regular rotation of dining visits. Like the recently opened Chicken Guy!, apparently the people designing the Polite Pig forgot that it can sometimes can get hot outside while in Florida, and once in a while there is a teeny tiny chance of rain. Of course by that we mean it’s almost always hot (venturing into melting hot at times) and many times during the year you are getting rain just about every single day.
Recently the Polite Pig added a much needed cover to its outdoor seating area, allowing guests to have shade when the sun is out and covering just in case it rains. A great place gets even better.
# 4 – Pizza Ponte Offers Slices For LESS Than $7
When Pizza Ponte opened in Disney Springs at the very end of last year, the idea of a $7 slice of pizza just seemed insane. Blaze Pizza had also recently opened in Disney Springs and was offering full pies – with as many toppings as you wanted – for just a little bit more money (see Blog Mickey’s comparison of the pizzas HERE.) The good news is that the slices at Pizza Ponte were good…real good. There’s no denying that. There was still some sticker shock with the price though, and one that must have been shared by many guests because recently Pizza Ponte has begun offering several slices for less than $5.
The “coupon day” slices are from a more traditional thin crust pie, and offered in Americano Cheese and Americano Pepperoni. As a person who once ordered a Bud Light draft beer in Via Napoli and had an Italian server vigorously try and talk me out of it, I’m not quite sure how the Italians at Pizza Ponte view the new “American” style slices, but my wallet sure likes them!
# 3 – Two New Shops at the Marketplace Co-Op
One of my favorite stores at Disney Springs is the Marketplace Co-Op. Inside the building there is a collection of smaller stores, with many cool items. Another interesting part of the Co-Op is that it changes regularly, and recently two new shops made their debut.
For years Disney Springs has had a small outdoor shop selling items for pets, but absolutely nothing was Disney branded. For a company that has so many characters who happen to be dogs or cats, this seemed bewildering at best. Thankfully there is now a store in Disney Springs selling official Disney products for your pets with the new Disney Tails. Here you’ll find various products for the four legged friend in your life including leashes, beds, outfits, snacks, and more. Not only were their Disney brands such as Marvel and Star Wars with products, but there was also a line of Haunted Mansion-themed items. This could have some really cool potential down the line if they follow up with attractions like the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, or Tower of Terror.
In the middle of the Co-Op is a new kiosk offering pretty cool “pop up” greeting cards featuring some really cool artwork. Lovepop offers cards ranging from about $10-$15, with a wide variety of styles including a bunch of Star Wars offerings. I was skeptical about the pricing, but as a person who likes to send cards I will definitely be picking some of these up for birthdays and special events during the year because several of them look fantastic.
# 2 – The World of Disney Gets Ready For Its Grand Reopening
As you are reading this, the World of Disney store is having its grand reopening on Saturday, October 27th. If you haven’t been to the store in a while, it has gone through a massive refurbishment. It has gotten bigger and completely redone every single facet of the shopping experience. While I always loved the older World of Disney store, I can’t deny that at times it felt like being in the Magic Kingdom on New Year’s Eve. Just completely packed and almost impossible to move. The “new and improved” World of Disney seems to have a shopping experience that is much more pleasant, with a more open area allowing the crowds to spread out.
There are items from pretty much every Disney brand you can think of. All the main characters, Stitch, Pixar favorites such as Cars, Monsters Inc and even Up. I was mostly surprised to see how many items were available for Moana, but not as shocked to see almost no merchandise for Coco. There was a large retro selection for fans of the Mickey Mouse Club that a lot of people are going to really enjoy, such as these plush for Mickey and Minnie.
Wreck-it Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet doesn’t come out for a couple more weeks, but there was a large assortment of merchandise for the movie available, including this cat and bunny plush for some of the new characters.
How unbelievably cool is this? Radio controlled versions of Disney attraction vehicles. Let’s see a Jungle Cruise boat next!
This is the place you want to go for Mickey ears or headbands.
One thing I’m not sure I like at Disney stores is the recent trend to display their t-shirts the way you would see at places like Hot Topic or Five Below. Shirts displayed on the wall, and then a bunch of them folded below. Just something to get used to I guess.
For those who wondered what happened to Mickey after Thanos snapped his fingers in Avengers: Infinity War…
There was a wide assortment of elaborately themed bags, wallets, and purses, much of which will probably find its way to the Disney Outlet Stores because I’m not sure how many adults are going to use these types of items out in the Real World. Pictured here are Orange Bird and Stitch themed items, but there were others for the Haunted Mansion, Alice in Wonderland, Beauty & the Beast and others.
It’s not Halloween yet, so of course that means Christmas is in full gear at the World of Disney. TONS of stuff.
If you look up, there are a lot Disney themed “ornaments” hanging from the ceiling.
There are several items, including these pajamas, that feature those very same ornaments. That’s a great touch.
Every year our family buys the Disney Countdown to Christmas advent calendars with little pieces of chocolate. We just buy them in January when the price goes down to $1.99 (shhhh! That’s a trade secret.)
This year’s annual Christmas-themed Star Wars droid. I love Christmas. I love Star Wars. These however are absolutely bananas (I say that as someone who owns the versions from the last two years.)
Our kiddos love the Disney Babies series of plush, and this year there are Christmas themed Mickey and Minnie babies.
There may actually be more Hatbox Ghost merchandise at Walt Disney World than in Disneyland, the park who actually has the Hatbox ghost.
# 1 – The Ganachery Offers The Chocolate Piñata
One could say one of our passions here at the SATURDAY SIX is “next level” desserts. An ice cream sundae served in a giant cowboy hat at Whispering Canyon? We’re in. The chocolate Kitchen Sink at Beaches and Cream? All over that. A three pound, seven layer slice of cake at Universal? Sign us up! Basically the entire menu at Planet Hollywood Observatory? Road trip to Flavortown!
So when we found out The Ganachery at Disney Springs had started making chocolate piñatas, we had to check it out! The piñata is large milk chocolate sphere, filled with crispy chocolate “pearls” and chocolate covered marshmallows. The mallet you use to break it open is even branded to The Ganachery (it’s the little things we love.) The Ganachery is always making seasonal offerings, so for Halloween time they have had a Jack Skellington themed piñata as well as the current Minnie Witch piñata. Starting next month there will be a Christmas themed version. The piñata was hands-down one of the most fun and tasty treats we have ever had at Walt Disney World. A fun experience and an awesome dessert in one!
Honorable Mention – Orange Bird Mousse at Amorette’s Patisserie
This past week Walt Disney World debuted their latest exclusive Funko Pop with the “Diamond Collection” Orange Bird. Now we love this little bird as much as anyone, but not enough to wait in a World of Disney line that backed up all the way to the Lime parking garage. That along with the way Disney generally encourages and outright enables the eBay pirates, we’d much prefer to stay away from the madness. However, if Funko Pops are your thing, this Orange Bird is a great addition to your collection!
Speaking of madness, to celebrate the release of the Funko Pop, Amorette’s Patisserie – one of our absolute favorite things in all of Disney Springs – released an Orange Bird Mousse Dome. Like all of their character themed desserts, this looked incredible and tasted just as good. Somehow Amorette’s is just about the only bakery I’ve ever been to that can make fondant taste good. An Orange Bird-themed mousse is going to have MAJOR appeal to the Disney hard core fans.
But unfortunately, this design was only available for ONE DAY this past week. Too bad, so sad.
Double Secret Honorable Mention – Construction Updates
Let’s do a quick pass at all the stuff being constructed or remodeled in Disney Springs. Everyone loves the great Lego displays outside the Lego Store, but the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs designs have been removed. New displays are on their way, and until then, there is a fun little set up with a Lego-themed construction crew. Just a reminder for anyone reading this who has kids who love Legos: go to Legoland, Florida. Just go. And make sure you get extra apple fries for me.
Across from Chicken Guy! and next to the Coca-Cola Store will be the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill. It is starting to resemble the concept art.
The new restaurant Jaleo has a unique look that almost seems like a Transfomer in mid-transformation. The design along with the use of copper really stands out visually.
Here’s a ground view of Jaleo.
Disney is really going forward with the NBA Experience across from the House of Blues. Here is an overhead shot of the back of the NBA building.
Here’s a shot from the front side of the NBA Experience building, which shares more than a passing similarity with my beloved NASCAR Grill at Universal CityWalk. (RIP).
Disney did announce earlier this month that the restaurant and bar component of The NBA Experience building will actually be the City Works Eatery & Pour House.
A third parking garage is getting closer to completion. It is across the street from the Lime parking garage. Guests will need to walk over a large pedestrian bridge to get to Disney Springs. This long walk will give you plenty of time to regret your decision to come to Disney Springs when its so busy you need to use that third garage.
So there you have it: The SATURDAY SIX’s Trip to DISNEY SPRINGS! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following:
Special Thanks to The ELITE Brandon Glover, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Mr. ‘Ohana Tim Grassey, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and Nick, the BEST periodical on theme parks: Attractions Magazine, pin hoarder/door bell video voyeur Thrill Geek, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.
FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2018 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!