« January 2008 | Main | March 2008 »

February 2008 Archives

February 3, 2008

Club Cool - Epcot - Have some Beverly??

Do you have a slightly sadistic side to your personality? Well if you do, be sure to visit Club Cool in Future World at Epcot with your friends.

Here, guests can sample, free of charge, a number of Coca Cola beverages that aren't available in the U.S. but are favorites in other countries. These include, Krest from Mozambique, Fanta from Costa Rica, Mezzo Mix from Germany, Vegita Beta from Japan, Kenley from Israel, Lift from Mexico, Xingmu (Smart) from China, and last, but not least, Beverly from Italy.

With the exception of Italy's concoction, all of the countries feature drinks that are somewhat enjoyable. But Beverly leaves a lot to be desired. The description on the drink dispenser reads: "Beverly, with its bitter flavor, is a popular non-alcoholic aperitif that stimulates the appetite before dinner."

Bitter is an understatement! Yikes! is more like it.

Now, on to my sadistic side" I love to take Epcot first-timers to Club Cool. I tell them about the many wonderful flavors and have them try a couple of palatable choices before I foist Beverly on them. Then I stand back and watch their faces. This is always good for a laugh - however, I am often gently smacked by my unsuspecting marks.

Now, on to the sad part of the story for those of you who have already tried Beverly. Every time I take someone in here I have to try it again just to see if it really tastes as bad as I remember. Well, after so many samples I've actually developed a taste for the stuff and I'm beginning to understand why the Italians might actually like this drink.





February 7, 2008

Step Back in Time - Magic Kingdom

I first visited Disney World in January 1972.

Over the years, I took a number of pictures while vacationing here. Looking back, I wish I had taken more, but then I have to remind myself, film was expensive and having the photos developed added to the cost.

So I cherish the pictures I did take and smile nostalgically when I look at them. That being said, I thought I'd share a few "golden oldies" with you and show you how much things have changed over the years.

This first picture is of Tomorrowland as it appeared in 1972. Notice that the Astro Orbiter and Space Mountain have not yet been build. Also missing, but out of view, is the Carousel of Progress.

Tomorrowland 1972

This next picture was taken in March of 1975. Big Thunder Mountain eventually rose on this vacant piece of land.

Big Thunder Mountain

This picture of the original Frontierland Train Station was taken in October 1983. This building was razed to make room for Splash Mountain.

Frontierland Train Station circa 1983

Long before International Gateway was built at Epcot, a peaceful canal meandered between the UK and France Pavilions. This picture was also taken in October, 1983.

International Gateway

And finally we have the Hollywood Bowl at the then Disney/MGM Studios. This structure was removed as it stood at the entrance to what is now Sunset Boulevard. This shot was taken in October 1989.

Hollywood Bowl

February 9, 2008

Wolfgang Puck Express

Wolfgang Puck Express at the Marketplace is currently closed and undergoing a major rehab. According to their sign, they will reopen sometime in the spring.


I don't have any details, but as you can see from the photo, a substantial bit of construction is taking place.


February 11, 2008

Pirate Tutorial

The "Pirate Tutorial" show at the Magic Kingdom has been moved to a new location.

Once performed in a make-shift area next to the "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction, the "Pirate Tutorial" show has now found a permanent, more substantial home.

The small stage next to the "El Pirata y el Perico" restaurant that was often used for steel band performances has been made over and expanded to accommodate the "Pirate Tutorial" show.

Pirate Tutorial Stage

This is a much better location as it is on a major thoroughfare and not hidden in a back corner. The only problem I foresee is the crowds. The day I saw the show, guests watching the performance almost completely blocked this walkway. Still, I think this is a small price to pay for a vastly better location.

Pirate Tutorial Show

February 21, 2008

Diamond Horseshoe

The Diamond Horseshoe in the Magic Kingdom is currently serving lunch from 11am to 4pm during the busy President's week. Premade sandwiches, a Caesar Salad, and drinks are available. I asked a cast member if this was a permanent arrangement and I was told that this venue would be used occasionally throughout the year during busy times. The Disney Dining Plan is accepted here.




February 22, 2008

Yak & Yeti Update

Last week, I had lunch at the Yak & Yeti table-service restaurant for the second time. I'm happy to report that every thing is still top notch. The food was tasty and beautifully presented and the service was attentive and friendly. My only comment is that the prices are a little high for lunch. It's difficult for me to spent between $16 - $23 for lunch, especially when no starters or bread is included.

I also had a key learning. I was seated in the very first dining room that you come to after leaving the lobby. In the future, I will request a table somewhere else in the restaurant. This "first" dining room shares its space with the bar and an elevator. Also, all of the people seated in the rest of the restaurant must pass thru this area to get to and from their tables. All of this is much too distracting and detracts from an otherwise quaint atmosphere. The rest of the dining rooms are fine, but skip this first one.

Next door to the Yak & Yeti table-service restaurant is the Yak & Yeti counter-service restaurant (Anandupur Local Food Cafes). I ate here today for the first time and wanted to share my thoughts. The first thing you will notice is the prices. Once again, they are high, especially for a counter-service restaurant. Entrées run from $8-$11.

Anandupur Local Food Cafes

I ordered the Sweet & Sour Pork for $9.99. After paying, I approached the pick-up window and my order was already waiting. Obviously it had been prepared in advance and was just waiting to be picked up from under the heat-lamp and placed on a tray. I stopped by the condiment station, picked up napkins and a fork, and then found a table.

The entrees are served in cute "Chinese-styled" cartons that are themed appropriately to the venue.

Anandupur Local Food Cafes

However, upon opening up my container, I found that the rice was on the bottom and the pork was on the top. This made it somewhat difficult to eat. I had to do a lot of "stirring" to find everything.

Anyone who reads my restaurant reviews knows that I'm not particularly harsh when critiquing the food served at Disney. Well today will change all that. The Sweet & Sour Pork was bad. First, it was only warm, not hot. Since this is a "counter-service" restaurant I can be somewhat forgiving in this area, but I suspect that it lost a lot of its original warmth sitting under a heat-lamp.

The breading on the pork was mushy. Blah. And the taste was practically non-existent. I don't normally salt my food but I had to make another trip to the condiment station to pick up a packet to try to eek out some flavor.

Since I was alone, I was only able to try one item. I will make subsequent trips in the months to come and try some of their other offerings. I truly hope that what I sampled today was the exception, not the rule.

I also have a comment about the seating area. Although authentically correct to the area, I see a real problem as the summer months approach. Only a handful of tables have umbrellas. The vast majority of the seating area is not protected from the elements. I don't know who will want to sit out here when the hot August sun is beating down on them. And it should be lots of fun to watch several hundred people scurrying for cover when the summer thunderstorms open up. Disney really needs to rethink this area.

Anandupur Local Food Cafes

In the meantime, if you're looking for good counter-service food at the Animal Kingdom, try the Hot Italian Style Sandwich at Pizzafari or the ribs or chicken at Flame Tree BBQ. Pizzafari offers indoor (air conditioned) seating and Flame Tree offers a number of cozy, covered dining areas. Both are superior to Yak & Yeti and the prices are more reasonable.

Yak & Yeti is not operated by Disney, but by the same folks that run Rainforest Café.

February 24, 2008

Liberty Tree Tavern Pagers

A very old tradition has died at the Liberty Tree Tavern at the Magic Kingdom. In the past, when guests checked in at the podium, they were asked what state they were from. Then, when it was time to be seated, the host or hostess would call out in town-crier fashion, "Hear ye! Hear ye! Now seating the Spence party (family) from the great state of Florida. But those days are gone.

Now when guests check in at the podium, they are given a pager with no question about their home state. On the plus side, the pagers do allow guests more freedom of movement as they are now allowed to wonder outside while waiting for their table. But on the downside, the restaurant has lost some of its charm with this new system.

And if my experience today is any indication, their system needs some work. After my pager was activated and I handed it back to a hostess, I was all but forgotten. Other parties were being seated while I was left standing there. After I brought this to their attention, I still waited several minutes while they tried to figure out what had happened to my reservation. When they finally found it, a new hostess asked me for my pager - which I had to explain had already been given to someone else several minutes earlier.

Bottom line" Pagers are now the norm in restaurants - which is probably a good thing. But isn't there someway to do this without giving up the charm of old traditions?

Return to Blog Central

About February 2008

This page contains all entries posted to The “World” According to Jack in February 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2008 is the previous archive.

March 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.