The Hidden Gem of Liberty Square
Last week’s post was about our favorite sit-down dining option in Disneyland. So, it seems fitting that this week we take you across the country and tell you all about our favorite quick-service option in Disneyworld’s Magic Kingdom!
When it comes to getting the overall magical Disney experience, there’s no greater place than Magic Kingdom to give you all the warm and fuzzy feels. With classic attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, and Space Mountain bringing you back to your childhood (whether you visited Disney as a child or not), you’re guaranteed to end your MK day with all the feels. Because of this, Magic Kingdom is easily one of our favorite places on the planet. There’s only one problem with this so-called “Most Magical Place on Earth”: the food sucks!
Granted, with additions like Be Our Guest and The Skipper Canteen, Disney is definitely moving in the right direction with their dining options in this park. But, overall, we are still mostly unimpressed with their selections, especially when it comes to quick-service.
That’s why we’re very excited to share our favorite hidden gem in the Magic Kingdom: Sleepy Hollow Refreshments. Sleepy Hollow, (or as I like to call it Sleepy Hollow-lujah), is located in Liberty Square right next to the Hall of Presidents. It’s a bit easy to miss considering most people rush by it after crossing the bridge from the central hub. Not to mention many are probably still looking down at their phones admiring the great photos they just got in front of Cinderella’s Castle.
The stand offers a few unique snack and meal options and although they focus mainly on the sweet rather than the savory, you still have choices if you choose to make this a lunch or dinner stop.
The stand-out item here on the savory side would have to be the Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich, which we highly recommend. But, if that doesn’t sound appealing to you, you can also order pretzel hot dogs, corn dogs, or baked potatoes! The waffle sandwich has recently undergone a price cut (almost $2, heck yeah) and it is just as delicious as ever. It’s a large, fluffy Belgian waffle folded in half with a breaded chicken filet, sweet and spicy Asian sauce, and slaw packed nicely inside. The taste of the sauce on this bad boy is perfect with the chicken and slaw, our only complaint is that it’s a bit runny, so be careful when eating! The sandwich is also quite large, so it’s perfect for sharing (especially since you’ll also want to order a sweet from this shop FOR SURE).
And speaking of sweets, there are so many stand-outs from this stop that it’s hard to decide a winner. The shop offers funnel cakes, ice cream sandwiches, and, you guessed it, Belgian waffles! You can order a waffle with powdered sugar, strawberries and whipped cream, or our personal favorite The Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich (yeah, it’s so good I had to capitalize it). Same style as the Chicken Waffle, but this time packed with fresh strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and NUTELLA! If you are a fan of the popular chocolate-hazelnut spread, (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?) then make sure to ask for extra when you order this masterpiece. Not that they don’t give you enough to begin with, but when is there ever really enough Nutella? The limit does not exist! This sandwich is a bit hard to eat and is more of a fork and knife food than a true handheld sandwich, but if you don’t mind a face covered in chocolately goodness then go for it!
While the Waffle sandwich is amazing, we don’t want to take away from the ice cream sandwiches or funnel cakes here. We often stop to get the freshly baked chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches from Sleepy Hollow, especially when we’re in a rush to get to a fastpass on time or catch a good spot for fireworks since they are much easier to eat than the other options.
Overall, we definitely recommend trying out this unique and perfectly tucked-away little refreshment shop! We realize that your day at Magic Kingdom will be a busy one, considering how much there is to do and see, but stopping by Sleepy Hollow is a great way to take a breather, enjoy some delicious food, and get a unique one-of-a-kind view of that castle that we all know and love. Not to mention your taste buds will thank us!
Down in the Bayou
This week was a very magical week for Disney nerds, (I mean enthusiasts ;p), everywhere! Disneyland celebrated its 62nd birthday. And while we couldn’t be there in person to celebrate, it definitely got us feeling all kinds of nostalgic and reminiscent of our past trips to the happiest place on Earth!
So, while thinking back to these fond memories, it became obvious that this week’s blog post had to be about our all-time favorite Disney dining option: Blue Bayou.
Blue Bayou is a sit-down restaurant located INSIDE the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Tables are placed all along the edge of the water of the ride so that you can watch boats pass by continuously. The attraction and restaurant are part of the “French Quarter” section of the park, and the theming down here in the New Orleans bayou is completely immersive. Even though you’re sitting inside of a restaurant, the scenery makes you feel like you’re actually sitting in a swamp! Which may not sound all that appealing, but picture more The Princess and the Frog, and less Duck Dynasty.
Not only is the theming in this restaurant spot on, but the food is AMAZING as well! It is hands-down our favorite restaurant in any Disney park, and probably the only sit-down place we will ever go to more than once. Until we’ve tried them all of course!
The menu here is not too extensive, (which is usually a good sign), but what they lack in options, they make up for in quality of food. This Louisiana-inspired menu offers only 8 adult entrée options, and while we may not have tried all 8, we were blown away with what we have tried so far!
Our first trip to Blue Bayou was enough to keep us hooked on returning every time! We ordered the Surf and Turf and the Citrus-Marinated Chicken Breast. Each entrée also comes with your choice of house-salad or cup of Nawlins gumbo. In our opinion we preferred the salad, but to be fair neither of us are big gumbo people so our recommendation is a little biased. Both of the entrees were delicious. The chicken is served with a bacon and sweet pea risotto, haricot verts, and a sun-dried tomato mustard jus. The risotto alone is enough to make you want to order this dish, but the chicken itself and sauce are equally good.
However, if you are a meat eater then you absolutely have to go with the surf and turf. This steak is the main reason we love Blue Bayou so much, and although we make sure to order one surf and turf and one different entrée each time we go, we always end up fighting for the last piece of perfectly seasoned filet mignon.
This entrée consists of a six oz broiled filet topped with a petite lobster tail and béarnaise sauce, and is paired with au gratin potatoes and seasonal vegetables. The béarnaise sauce blew us away, and continues to be the most magical part of our vacation each time we travel to Disneyland.
Blue Bayou also offers an array of specialty non-alcoholic drinks, which we make sure to order every time as well. Since Disneyland is a dry park, the restaurant does not serve alcohol, but the crafted mock-tails are cute and fun and add to the overall experience. They, of course, serve perfectly themed Mint Juleps, which you can order with or without a Souvenir glow cube. If you’re unfamiliar with Disney glow cubes please visit any Disney bar or restaurant and you’re guaranteed to see them on the menu. Sure, they’re a bit more expensive and they’re not really a souvenir that you’d want to keep, but when you’re on a Disney vacation it’s your responsibility to be a bit of a sucker and buy into the pointless “magical memorabilia.”
Blue Bayou does accept dining reservations, which we recommend you schedule ahead of time if you plan on stopping by the “Big Easy” (which we suggest you do…in case you haven’t noticed). They also offer Fantasmic and Main Street Electrical Parade dining packages as well. We tried the Fantasmic dining package on our last trip to Disneyland and it was totally worth it to get an up-front spot for the show. They also give you souvenir seat cushions since Fantasmic does not offer stadium seating in Disneyland like it does in Hollywood Studios.
Hopefully these suggestions will lead you to a truly one-of-a-kind dining experience that you’ll always remember. We know that we can’t plan a trip to Disneyland without including a trip to Blue Bayou, and we hope you all get the chance to try it as well!
A Whale of a Day
This past week we decided to brave the Texas heat and spend the day at SeaWorld San Antonio! Usually we try not to go to parks in the Texas summer unless we’re including a trip to the water park in our day, but this last Sunday we figured we’d be okay with riding the newest SeaWorld attraction, Wave Breaker, and some of the classic water rides to stay cool. Although the heat may have gotten us in the form of some pretty wicked sunburns, it was definitely worth it to check out some of the progress this park is making on the food and beverage side, and of course re-ride the new rollercoaster!
First off, we want to start by saying that we have seen this park make some HUGE strides this year in creating some new and unique food and beverage options unlike anything we’ve ever seen at SeaWorld. As many SeaWorld fans know, this year San Antonio offered the third consecutive year of the Seven Seas Food and Wine Festival to park guests. And while the festival made several improvements from the previous years, in our opinion those haven’t even been the most exciting upgrades that this park has seen thus far. With the introduction of some of their new food booths, drink stands, and patios we are SO excited to be able to spend some time at this park and have multiple options for dining and snacking. And of course multiple things to review for all of you!
On this last trip we started our day by heading straight towards the back of the park to ride Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster. We passed several of the cool new options for snacks and lounging (which we’ll blog about later) but had one particular new stand in mind. With the opening of the new coaster, SeaWorld also recently opened three new food and beverage stands located near the back of the park as well, directly across from their penguin exhibit. The stands offer a variety of snacks including some of the usual park options such as turkey legs, Italian ice, and sodas. However, unique to these stands AND San Antonio, they also offer gourmet hot dogs and “Penguin Bar” cocktails!
Our first trip up to the stand we ordered the San Antonio Dog (for obvious reasons) and the Blue Hawaiin Daquiri and Caribbean Punch Cocktail. Both of the cocktails were delicious. You can either order a 20 oz cup or a 16 oz Souvenir cup for the drinks and we opted for the souvenir. Yes, you can get more alcohol by ordering a regular cup, but Brittany is a hoarder and also sacrifices had to be made for an instagram-worthy picture! The Carribean Punch was good but it was an obvious second palce to the daiquiri, which is honestly probably the best drink we’ve had in this park. Although we can’t tell you what flavor “blue” is, just know that it’s refreshing, and the exact right amount of sweet to be tasty but not overwhelming. The only downside is that since SeaWorld is a park dedicated to animal safety, they don’t offer straws and it was a bit annoying to sip a frozen drink from a hurricane glass without one.
The hot dog was a totally crazy but brilliant combination that so obviously screams San Antonio it made us wonder why we hadn’t seen it before. It was an all beef hot dog, wrapped in bacon, deep fried, and topped with nacho cheese and hot Cheetos. My arteries are hurting just thinking back to it. Hot Cheetos and nacho cheese is a popular San Antonio snack, so dropping it on top of a hot dog just makes perfect sense. The best part of the entire hot dog experience here is that the SeaWorld employees make the hot dogs to order, so there’s not some gas station-esque roller keeping multiple dogs warm until you’re ready to order yours. Nothing gets you more amped up for food than waiting in anticipation as it’s being made right in front of you!
The second trip up to the stand consisted of us ordering the Smirnoff Preperadas (more San Antonio lingo for you), which comes in mango-watermelon or green apple-cucumber. Both are topped with chamoy and actual pieces of watermelon or cucumber and we couldn’t decide which sounded better so we got both! The mango-watermelon was the winner of this round but they were both refreshing and very different than what we were expecting. Although they weren’t quite as good as the blue daiquiri, we may actually recommend trying these two instead. They’re more signature San Antonio drinks, and it’s always good to step out of your comfort zone. ;)
We also ordered a Chicago dog, and a Build-your-own dog. If you’re a pickier eater, like Brittany, the build-your-own is a good way to still get to enjoy a gourmet dog without having to pick half of the ingredients off. Brittany built a Jalapeno Cheese dog and Parker enjoyed the entire Chicago dog. Both were great options, but the overall winner still has to be the San Antonio dog. I mean… it’s wrapped in bacon, it can’t lose!
After finishing our drinks and hot dogs, we wandered over to the launch area for SeaWorld’s newest attraction- Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster. This unique coaster gives riders the chance to experience the feeling of racing across a lake on a jet ski. The ride was designed by the company, Intamin, who haven’t built a rollercoaster in the US in quite some time. So, rollercoaster enthusiasts are excited to see them making their way back to America.
This double-launching coaster is inspired by the thousands of animal rescue missions that SeaWorld completes every year. So far there are 3 different story lines that you can experience as a rider, but, hopefully the park will modify this as time goes by, allowing for countless unique rides. Our only complaint about this coaster is that since this is a family coaster, (including children) the restraints will be tighter for most adults. We did notice that every few trains there were a couple of people who were not able to close their restraints, and unfortunately, had to exit the ride. So, if you’re concerned at all about the size of the cars, please make sure to use the “test seat” located at the ride entrance before waiting in line!
Overall, this was a great addition for a park that hasn’t seen a new attraction of this caliber since the two of us were in high school, (we won’t say how long ago that was but the point is, it’s been a while), and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for this hometown park!
Parker and Brittany Ruhmel- Lovers of all things food and theme park related!