Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Anniversary #4 (Part 3 - Repeat Restaurant Reviews)

If you're anything like me, you have every intention of trying new things but when it comes down to it, you just can't stray from your standby favorites! This post is dedicated to the restaurants Bill and I deem worthy of repeat visits.

Hollywood Brown Derby
You may remember from Anniversary #2 that we chose the Hollywood Brown Derby to indulge my mother's I Love Lucy fanaticism. We came for the schtick, but stayed for the Grapefruit Cake! On this particular trip it was our third time dining there. However, it was our first time booking the "Fantasmic! Dining Package". If you haven't been, "Fantasmic!" is the nighttime spectacular at Hollywood Studios. In my opinion, it is one of the best shows Disney puts on, but my love for "Fantasmic!" really deserves its own post. In the past, we have been willing to wait up to an hour in line just to get a good seat at this show. It was worth it, but this dining package changed how we "do the Studios".

When I made our reservation, I mentioned I would like to book the F! Dining Package. It did not cost anything extra, as we were on the Disney Dining Plan. The only stipulation was that they will only book this package if you agree to a late afternoon or early dinner reservation, so that you are assured to see the first showing of the nighttime spectacular. 

Upon being seated, our server educated us about the package. He gave us a pass to use a separate entrance to the ampitheatre and advised us to arrive 15-30 minutes before the show. I was thrilled because that bought us more fun time in the park. I was starting to think that this was a pretty good deal: I eat around 5pm instead of 7pm, and they essentially give us a fast pass to my favorite show.

Infomercial Voice: But wait! There's more! They even throw in a free appetizer with the package! 

Well I'll be a monkey's uncle! (That's a Lion King reference for those of you paying attention.) The food and service never disappoints at the HBD. We would eat there every trip anyway, but the free app and "fastpass" make this a must-do for us.

P.S. The pass worked like a charm. We showed up 20 minutes before the show and were seated in a roped off section to the side. Not many folks partook in the package that night, so we were fortunate to slide in and sat just off-center of the stage. 

P.P.S. I recently learned a bit of trivia about the Brown Derby. The original Brown Derby (in Hollywood, CA) was considered a place for celebrities to do business, as it was so close to the  studios. It was ahead of its time in that they installed phone jacks at every booth and the patrons could make and receive business phone calls. Apparently, the Brown Derby in Disney World also had phone jacks installed. On occasion they will bring a phone out to a table; usually to a table with children to surprise them with a personal phone call from Mickey or Goofy, etc... It's on my bucket list for the next trip to find the phone jacks and inquire about making a phone call!

The Wave
The Wave is a hidden, underrated gem tucked inside the Contemporary resort. A hop, skip and a jump away from the Magic Kingdom (that's Disney speak for about a 10 minute walk or 2 minutes by monorail), it is one of our favorite restaurants to sneak off to. Its modern decorations and cool, nightclub-like vibe make this a nice adult getaway. It never seems to be crowded and we've managed to walk up and get a table at peak dinner times. 

The food is decent, the presentation delightful, and we always look forward to the flight of bite-sized desserts. They change up their menu seasonally and offer a variety of American dishes. After 3 visits, we keep this restaurant in our back pocket just in case we need a break from the Magic Kingdom. I have also heard raving reviews about their breakfast buffet, which we'll have to make time for one of these trips. 

Honorable Mentions:

  • Kona - We discovered Kona on the last trip and will definitely eat there again. 
  • Earl of Sandwich - Located in Downtown Disney, the best sandwich and the best value on property, in our humble opinion. We often prefer to pay out of pocket because it's so reasonable and save our Counter Service credits for inside the parks. 

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