I know I've been a very bad blogger, but that's what happens when work is so busy that it monopolizes everything. I have very little of interest to say, and let's be honest... even on my good days what I have to say is only debatably of interest.
I do have some fun news, though!
The Tofu Muchacha and I have made our Disney World reservations for our next visit. It's still a long way away.... in fact, so long from now that I'm kind of embarrassed to even tell you that I'm excited. It would be like an 8 year old being excited for their wedding. Well... not nearly that extreme, but you get the idea.
I've promised myself to be a little staid in regards to my Disney Trip blogs until the trip gets closer, but in honor of our wonderful, upcoming travels to The Happiest Place on Earth (and in honor of Walt Disney's birthday!), I've decided to a list of my top 5 favorite restaurants at Disney World (a topic requested by The Tofu Muchacha, who is WAY more excited about the trip than she is letting on.)
So, here we go... Instead of ranking them, I'm going to give you my winner in different categories.
The Beefy Muchacho's Favorite Disney World Restaurants:
Favorite Resort Restaurant:
Boma at The Animal Kingdom Lodge. I first tried this place kind of on a whim when I was in Orlando for work, and I turned my 1 day work thing into a 4 day trip to Disney. I was by myself, and didn't have a time-table, so I drove my rental car over to the newly opened Animal Kingdom Lodge. After wandering around for a while, I made my way down the stairs where the two restaurants, Jiko and Boma are located. I looked at the prices at Jiko, and headed right in to Boma. Boma is an African-cuisine inspired buffet, and it is really freakin' incredible. The food quality is comparable to a high-end buffet you'd find at The Bellagio or The Wynn in Vegas, and the food itself is really unique and really delicious. In fact, I've requested 3 recipes at Disney World ever, and 2 of them came from Boma. This delicious soup called Mulligatawny (which isn't just a joke on The Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld), and this peanut butter rice dish. Crazy good. It's good enough that I plan on enticing The TM to get over her anti-Buffet sentiments (if only for a night) and try it out. I haven't been there in a couple of visits.
Favorite Restaurant Theming (non-chain)
Sci-Fi Dine-in at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Let be honest... the food at the Sci-Fi Dine-in is mediocre. The burgers are good, but not great. The fries are good, but not great. The seating is odd, and the wait-times are legendarily bad. BUT... that doesn't take away from one of the coolest restaurant themes anywhere. You walk through the doors, and you're transported back into the 1950s Drive-in Culture. Your dinner tables are all situated inside of 1950s era cars. All of the seats face the movie screen, and the screen shows a long and amusing loop of the old, terrible sci-fi movie trailers of the time. The seats aren't particularly comfortable, but man, is that place fun to sit in for an hour, of the hot air, and sipping on truly average milkshake. I can tell you that I've visited it several times over my visits and not once has it been for the food. But it IS worth a visit. By the way, I had to make this a "non-chain" category, because The Rainforest Cafe wins every day.
Favorite Restaurant View
The Coral Reef at Epcot. It's kind of hard to put into words until you're right there looking at it, but when you walk into the main dining room at The Coral Reef, and you see the huge, crystal clear aquarium wall that stands in for what would otherwise be a wall... that's just an incredible sight to see. It's certainly not for the weak stomached people among us, but if you don't get seasick, it's a really beautiful view. Sure, maybe it's a little morbid to chow down on some salmon as a school of salmon swim right past you, but you know... you get over it pretty quick when your breath is taken away by the amazing sea life on display. Oh, and the food there is really good too. Someone asked me once what my favorite dessert at Disney World is, and it was right here. The creme brule at the Coral Reef is very tasty.
Favorite Outdoor Seating
The Rose and Crown in The United Kingdom at Epcot's World Showcase. Maybe I'm just a little nostalgic for my first Disney experiences, but I remember my dad getting this guidebook for Disney World before one of our visits in the late 90s. I'm thinking it was the August of 1998 visit. The guidebook was full of all kinds of useful information about these newfangled "Fast Passes" and had all kinds of tips about how to get good seats for rides, and where to have the best viewing spots for different parades and shows. For some reason we made a point of testing out the tip for seeing Illuminations (Epcot's end-of-the-night show). The book suggested that you get a reservation around 8 pm for The Rose and Crown, and request a seat outside. The predict that by the time it's time for your dessert, it'll also be time for Illuminations, and you'll have the best, least crowded seat in the house. And they were totally right. It was incredible. I'm not a big fan of the parades and shows, because I hate being crowded. It's the greatest paradox of my Disney World fandom. Sitting on the patio of The Rose and Crown is the best solution to that problem. You get to see the show while enjoying a nice spot of tay (that's British for Tea). I like the food here, and I've gone there in the day time, but the treat is at night on the patio.
Favorite World Showcase Restaurant
San Angel Inn at Mexico. This was a really hard category (which is sad since I'm making up the categories as I go). If you'd have asked me 4 years ago, I would have said Alfredo's was my favorite World Showcase restaurant. It was really tasty, and it was a tradition that my step-mom, Dee Anne, and I would go there together. Sadly, Alfredo's is no more, only to be replaced by a restaurant I haven't tried yet. Anyway... My new favorite is The San Angel Inn at Mexico. I love the atmosphere. It's situated inside the Mexico pavilion, and designed to look like an outdoor street bistro on a river. I'm developing a fondness of Mexican food and this place has a flair for authentic (I mean... I should hope so.) I have a hard time talking about Mexican food, because the line between good and bad is really not that big, but trust me... it's good. Very good.
Favorite Eat-At-the Bar Restaurant
Rain Forest Cafe. Much of my love of the Rain Forest Cafe stems from my need to have something to do when I went to a restaurant alone on my solo Disney trips. I love the food, in fact, if I could have a "free-day" from my stomach limitations, the China Island Chicken Salad would definitely be among the candidates for a meal. The thing I like best, though, about The Rain Forest Cafe is the bar. First off, there is usually a long, long wait for dinner in the dining room, but if you go eat at the bar, you rarely have to wait more than a couple. Also, you never really appreciate the mix of people that visit Walt Disney World, until you sit at a bar and make idle conversation with them. I've watched the Patriots beat the Steelers in the playoffs at the Rain Forest Cafe Bar. I've talked to interesting people. And I've sat under a giant mushroom while it rained inside. What more can you ask for?