Author Archive | JJ Banks - Guest Writer

Spotlight: NBC Sports Grill & Brew – Fun Dining at CityWalk

NBC Sports Grill & Brew interior

The NBC Sports Grill & Brew restaurant at Universal’s CityWalk will have its grand opening on October 22, 2015. It replaces the NASCAR Grille, which was closed last November. After months of renovations to the building, NBC Sports Grill & Brew is finally open as one of CityWalk’s featured bar restaurants. It is only one restaurant on CityWalk’s long list of restaurant refurbishments, which also includes Cowfish (a restaurant that boasts excellent sushi and beef), Vivo Italian Kitchen, and Hot Dog Hall of Fame.

The restaurant’s exterior is made up primarily of large windows, offering an enviable view from the inside (particularly on the second floor, where CityWalk and the lake is most visible) and making it a sight to behold from the outside. The two-floor restaurant includes an outside deck, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy Orlando’s gorgeous weather year-round!

Inside, guests will immediately feel at ease with the casual and comfortable atmosphere of the restaurant, with staff uniforms consisting of jeans and plaid shirts. The indoor part of the restaurant features dining tables that double as fully functional foosball and shuffleboard tables. The restaurant also has an open kitchen, giving gusts the opportunity to see exactly how their food is being prepared. Unique light fixtures hang from the pipe-lined ceilings, though the real source of light seems to come from the glow of 100 giant HD televisions that can seen scattered all throughout the restaurant. Because what would a sports bar be without enough TV’s to broadcast 17 different games all throughout the restaurant, right?

Beyond the abundance of flat screens, the restaurant lives up to its “Grill and Brew” name with 38 different beers on draft and 64 different beers bottled, with some local breweries represented within that 102 variety.

NBC Sports Grill & Brew Menu

The menu has some foods that you would expect, and some surprises, as well. Appetizers include barbeque sliders, warm pretzels, chicken nachos and Wisconsin cheese curds. The entrée menu has a variety of options and seems to have something for everybody, with brisket, fish tacos, chicken potpie, several different steaks, and a burger variety that includes a Quinoa and Edamame burger for vegetarians available.

This looks like a great spot for sports lovers to hit on vacation. After a busy day of theme-park adventures, NBC Sports Grill & Brew offers good food, a casual atmosphere, and enough TVs to guarantee at least one of your favorite teams will be featured. With baseball heating up during playoff season and hockey season just beginning, we’re sure this restaurant will be a hit with sports lovers as soon as its doors open!

Dinner & a Show

Meal & Movie Deal: It is unlikely that the NBC Sports Grill & Brew will be a participating restaurant in Universal’s Movie and a Meal deal. At least not in the early stages of its opening. Currently only four restaurants are offered at CityWalk (Bob Marley–A Tribute to Freedom, Fusion Bistro Sushi & Sake Bar, Jimmy Buffett’s® Margaritaville®, Pat O’Brien’s®). WISE GUY TIP: If you really like sports, why not try the Meal & Mini-golf deal? The Hollywood Drive-in Golf is a blast from the past…sort of like Capone’s Dinner & Show, only a few decades later. Speaking of Capone’s, if it is a meal deal you want, you won’t find a better deal than half price tickets which include a dinner and a show. A full buffet and unlimited drinks.

Check out the NBC Sports Grill & Brew and let Al know what you think of their “game.” Then be sure to pick up a friendly game of cards at Al’s joint the Four Deuces Lounge. It is a great pre-show experience. Just like a skybox, the VIP tickets are the best in the house. Get off the bench and get in the game! We’re saving a secret password for you!

The Ganachery Chocolate Shop in Disney Springs

‘The Ganachery’ Chocolate Shop to Open in Disney Springs

Disney announced earlier this month that they will be opening a brand new chocolate shop — The Ganachery — to be located in Disney Springs. No date has been confirmed for the grand opening. Chocolate connoisseurs and Disney fanatics everywhere can rejoice. Not only is Disney Springs going to have a chocolate hotspot, but there will even be a selection of chocolate bars inspired by a variety of Disney characters!

The Ganachery Chocolate treats

The Ganachery will be nestled in The Landing section of Disney Springs, amongst several mouth-watering Disney Springs restaurants like Jock Lindey’s Hangar Bar and Morimoto Asia. It sounds like a great opportunity for chocolate lovers to grab dessert after they enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants now located in Disney Springs!

Walt Disney World chefs traveled the world to bring the best chocolate and chocolate-making methods to their shop, where fresh chocolate and ganache (a combination of cream and chocolate) will be prepared on-stage by a chocolatier. If you shop at Goofy’s Candy Co. (located in the Marketplace section of Disney Springs) or the Main Street Confectionary in Magic Kingdom, you’ll experience the same type of stage-like show. This time, instead of drooling over candy apples and cotton candy, we get chocolate!

Ganache selections will include dark (65% custom blend), hazelnut, chipotle, and a unique custom blend derived from the world’s finest flavors and spices. If you love chocolate, it is sure to offer something to your taste…or several items!

Gifts, Shopping & Souvenirs

The Ganachery will allow guests to either buy and savor their chocolaty treats on the spot or purchase some to enjoy later. For chocolate lovers willing to share, The Ganachery will have select take-home gifts available in custom packages, which is a great souvenir to bring back to your chocolate-loving family and friends! Seems like a great way to thank your dog sitter too! It’s a guaranteed hit if you know someone with a sweet tooth!

As sweet lovers ourselves, we’ll be keeping our eyes open for an opening date of The Ganachery. The Ganachery is now open (December 2015)! For more information, be sure to check out our complete guide to Disney Springs. We’ll keep you posted as more choco-centric information is released!

Spotlight: Morimoto Asia Restaurant

Morimoto Asia Restaurant in Disney Springs

Morimoto Asia - Disney Springs

Morimoto Asia is one of the many new restaurants and shops located in Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney). This new Disney Springs restaurant, located in The Landing, is a two-story, pan-Asian dining experience that was officially unveiled by Masaharu Morimoto — a chef you may know if you have ever watched the popular cooking show, Iron Chef America!

Unlike Disney’s Be Our Guest restaurant in Magic Kingdom, and the recently opened Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs, Morimoto Asia is not exactly a themed restaurant. Instead, the interior and exterior are elegant and refined, with décor that reflects the culture of the cuisine that is served. The restaurant has waterside seating, a cocktail bar, and beautiful terrace seating.

The menu at Morimoto Asia is filled with flavors from all over the Asian continent. Some Asian cuisine classics are on the menu, like orange chicken, lo mein, and kung pao chicken. Other items appear to be more specialized and unique to Morimoto Asia, like the Singapore laska noodle and the Morimoto buri-bop. There is even a kid’s menu with some less intimidating items, including mac and cheese and beef hot dogs for children who might be a little bit picky! Dessert and Nutella lovers are also in luck, as the menu lists Fondue Churros with Nutella as a dessert option! Yum!

Though Morimoto Asia is not a part of the Orlando dinner show family, it looks like a great place to eat at Disney! It is one of the more upscale restaurants in Disney Springs, and, with it’s lack of theming, it looks like a great place for parents and couples to sneak off to when they need a break from Mickey Mouse and chicken fingers. As fun as all the character dinners and themed dining experiences can be, sometimes Disney Vacations can really use a night of fine wining and dining! And for vacationers that enjoy Asian cuisine, Marimoto Asia offers a convenient and tasty possibility!

Currently Morimoto Asia is only open for dinner, however, in the coming weeks, the new restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner (as well as a weekend brunch) with operating hours from 11 am to 2 am daily. Reservations are available by calling the restaurant at 407-939-MOTO (6686). Advance dining reservations will be available through (407) WDW-DINE beginning November 1st. The restaurant is located at 1600 Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Florida. For more information go to, or read our complete guide to Disney Springs.


Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar – New Themed Bar

Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar will officially open to the public on September 22nd. This new Orlando themed restaurant is just one of the many venues “springing” up in Downtown Disney, as it continues it’s final transition into Disney Springs. While Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is not an Orlando dinner show, it should provide plenty of entertainment merely by its décor.

The themed restaurant is based off the 1981 Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. The décor is meant to be reminiscent of the 80’s adventure flick, highlighting the unusual experiences of the beloved pilot, Jock Lindsey. With spare plane parts and odd travel mementos garnishing the interior, this new Orlando restaurant is sure to be a hit. Take your time and enjoy checking out the details while having a beverage or a meal.

Jock’s now dry-docked Steamboat, Reggie, also makes an appearance, offering a great outdoor view with seating just outside the hangar. Positioned between the Boathouse and Paradiso 37 (soon to be expanded) and facing the lake, the view at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar will provide a great dinner show, especially for people watching and perhaps a beautiful sunset.

How to Get to this New Orlando Themed Restaurant

Because Disney Springs is still being constructed, transportation will see some changes over the next year. The best advice is to use Disney transportation, especially if staying at the Resort. If you are driving to Lake Buena Vista, follow the signs to Downtown Disney / Disney Springs. From I-4, take exit 67 and follow signs to available parking. Most parking offers less than a 5-minute walk. More parking is on the way and will remain free of charge, except for valet parking. Taxi service is also an option. Arrive early. If coming to see a show, arrive at least an hour ahead of your show time or reservation.

Themed Restaurant Menu @ Jock Lindseys Hangar Bar

Rolling Boulder SlidersThe food and beverage offerings at Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar appear to be nothing to scoff at. Inspired by Jock’s worldly exploits, a range of small plates will be offered, including Dr. Elsa’s She-Deviled Eggs (topped with lumps of crab meat and beet juice) and Tanis Tacos (consists of falafel, shredded lettuce and cucumber-tomato salad), while cocktails sport fun names such as ‘Reggie’s Revenge’ and ‘The Bitter Barkeep.’ It appears guests will be getting to taste the world when they dine in the 150-seat hangar, as the menu is graced with flavors from Mexico, Asia, Scotland, and many other places Jock has explored.

While the food looks good, it’s safe to say the main draw to this restaurant/bar is the experience of immersing yourself in the world you first explored back when Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is an extension of the adventures we first enjoyed on screen, only this time guests will taste flavors from around the world instead of the buttery popcorn they surely enjoyed the first time they met Jock and Indy.