Archive | Spotlight Orlando Attraction

Spotlight: Tiffins Restaurant at Animal Kingdom

If you are looking for an excellent Orlando theme park restaurant, the newly opened Tiffins Restaurant is worth checking out.  It is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This restaurant offers a way to enjoy an art gallery, learn about far-away lands, share your own travels AND enjoy a wonderful meal. As with all of Disney’s creations, this restaurant has been planned right down to the smallest of details.

Tiffins Restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom

© Disney

Tiffins is an Indian word for a lunchbox used by travelers or a mid-day meal. Fittingly, Tiffins restaurant is open for lunch (11:30am – 3:30pm) as well as dinner (4:00pm – 9:30pm). The 252-seat restaurant provides waterfront views with indoor and outdoor seating. It is located on Discovery Island within Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is divided into “galleries” or dining rooms that focus on far-away lands. These galleries contain artwork inspired by these lands. Some of the art helped create the Animal Kingdom theme park’s design. All of those details! The galleries include:

  • Asia  featuring the Trek Gallery (74 seats)
  • Africa featuring the Safari Gallery (64 seats)
  • Grand Gallery (114 seats) which pays homage to animal species that the Disney Conservation Fund works to protect.

The Menu at Tiffins Restaurant

Entree at Tiffins Restaurant

© Disney

The menu at Tiffins Restaurant focuses on cuisine from around the world. It offers something for everyone. Included are entrées of Berber-Spiced Lamb Chops, New York Strip Steaks, Beef Short Ribs, Berkshire Pork Tenderloin, Miso-glazed Black Cod, Grilled Head-on Shrimp and several others. The menu also has vegetarian choices. Try the Roasted Market Vegetable Curry with Quinoa, Zucchini and Lime Chutney.

While the food selections come from all over the world, the beverage menu focuses on Africa, Asia and South America. Many handcrafted cocktails and beers are offered as well as non-alcoholic beverages. These include lemonades, teas and coffees. The beverage program at Tiffins Restaurant is unique. “…we don’t have another one like it at Disney,” said Master Sommelier Brian Koziol, Food & Beverage Concept and Development director for Disney Parks & Resorts. “The program will focus on environmentality: producers that focus on sustainability, organic wines, and bio-dynamic viticulture.”

The Nomad Lounge

Be sure to check out the Nomad Lounge. Share your travel experiences with others. It is located adjacent to Tiffins Restaurant, nearer the water. Purchase a tag and write about your travel adventures. These tags help support the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. Answer questions such as “what do you always do when traveling” or “what was your most adventurous moment?” In doing so, you’ll be adding to the interesting stories already being told at this new Disney dining experience. You can even dine on small bites at the Nomad Lounge without a reservation. There are 55 seats inside and 46 seats outside.

Because of all its features, this new signature restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is definitely a must-do restaurant attraction to experience. Reservations to Tiffins Restaurant can be made by calling (407) 939-5277. Or go to Disney’s website for more information.

If you enjoy restaurant attractions such as Tiffins Restaurant, be sure to save a night for Capone’s Dinner & Show. It is a great combination while vacationing and enjoying Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This Orlando dinner show is affordable and enjoyable for the entire family. It is located just a few miles from Disney in Kissimmee, Florida at 4740 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway (Hwy. 192), Kissimmee, FL 34746. Make discount reservations online or call 407-397-2378.

Spotlight: Toothsome Chocolate Factory at CityWalk

A new restaurant called Toothsome Chocolate Factory (full name is now Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen) will be added to CityWalk’s lineup of new restaurants. Of course, anything revolving around chocolate sounds good to me! An entire restaurant? Even better!

This new Orlando restaurant joins several other new eateries added to Universal Studios within the last year. These include Cowfish, Vivo, Antojitos, Hot Dog Hall of Fame, covered in this blog post, and the NBC Sports Grill & Brew. Toothsome Chocolate Factory will replace the former NBA City restaurant which closed the summer of 2015. It will be located between Islands of Adventure and the Hard Rock Cafe.

The artist renderings of Toothsome Chocolate Factory depict plenty of factory references. Exterior pipes, gears and smokestacks will surely give the impression that production is in full swing. The interior will also be filled with production-type accents with dark wood, brass and roomy high industrial-style ceilings.

Toothsome Chocolate Factory

According to a Universal Orlando news release, the decor will be paired “along with staff who will look and act the part” of the Steampunk feel. Since the Wise Guys specialize in Speakeasy, we had to look up “steampunk” to be sure of what was being projected. Here is the ‘spill’… “Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.”

Toothsome Chocolate Factory Menu

The menu at the Toothsome Chocolate Factory will include plenty of sweets, but it will also be a full restaurant so other dishes sans-choc will be included. Universal states that the entreés will include steak, seafood, pasta dishes, burgers, sandwiches and salads. They will also feature an all-day brunch. Of course, the brunch will include dessert!

Speaking of desserts, at the Toothsome Chocolate Factory, visitors will be able to watch many of the treats being made. There will be a retail shop too. You can select several decadent treats and take them home with you. They will also carry milkshakes including flavors such as Red Velvet, Key Lime Pie, Chocolate x5, Bacon Brittle and Espresso Buzzzz (in case the chocolate won’t get you ramped up, the caffeine will).

Chocolate Factory Milkshakes

If you have a sweet tooth, Toothsome’s will be an Orlando restaurant worth checking out. Until it is open, get your fill of food and entertainment at the Speakeasy of Capone’s Dinner & Show. This Orlando dinner show has withstood the test of time – over 20 years, and like fine wine (paired with dark chocolate), just keeps getting better and better. You can bet your sweets on it!

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!

Spotlight: New Kissimmee Dinner Show – Big Bang Burlesque

Last we checked, this show was no longer selling tickets. You’ll have to call to see if they plan to return or will be performing during your time in the Orlando area.

First it was a wedding, then a Vegas Rat Pack, now Pacino’s is bringing in a new Kissimmee dinner show called the Big Bang Burlesque. As with Capone’s Dinner & Show, guests are transported back in time to the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s when gangsters ruled and the nightclubs and dance halls featured cabaret entertainment. That, however, is about the only similarity between these two shows.

Capone’s features a show that includes a lot of comedy and is family-friendly. Most of the “seedy” show lines fly over the heads of the little ones. For the most part, if you allow your child to watch the evening television shows airing today, you’ll be fine in bringing the little ones to Capone’s show. The Big Bang Burlesque only allows guests 21 and over – for a good reason. As with Treasure Tavern, which is also an adult-only Orlando dinner show, Big Bang Burlesque takes the talent a step further in the sexy category. The show is saucy with plenty of striptease, twirling tassels (covering the bare minimum), flying feathers and more (less, actually – if you know what I mean). My recommendation: If going to a strip club would make you uncomfortable, do not go to this show. If you like a show “just naughty enough” then this show would be a fun experience.

Purchase Capone’s Tickets Now!

Another huge difference between these Kissimmee dinner shows is the meal experience. Capone’s features an all-inclusive package. For the low price of $31.99 (adult using coupon), you receive a delicious buffet, unlimited drinks (including several alcohol choices), dessert and the show. The experience will last anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, depending upon how long you linger after the show (or before the show if the Four Deuces pre-show is part of your evening plans). The Big Bang Burlesque is about an hour and a half, unless you arrive early for dinner drinks (not included). You have the option to include dinner ($55/ticket), or see the show only ($27/ticket). Tickets at the door for the show only are $35. Dinner includes a choice of one entreé: Chicken Parmigiana, Spaghetti with Meatballs, or Four Cheese Ravioli. You’ll receive a salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, black olives topped with Italian vinaigrette. (Capone’s has an entire salad bar.) Beverages include water, soda, ice tea and coffee. A full bar is available, but not included.

Big Bang Burlesque

The Big Bang Burlesque show has been successful in Tampa Bay for many years. With The Bella Room at Pacino’s Italian Restaurant (5795 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Kissimmee, FL 34746) adding this new Kissimmee dinner show on Saturday’s only, they will have a chance to see how it will be received. At this time, only Saturdays starting May 9 through July are being promoted. Showtime is 8:00 p.m. with the doors opening at 6:00 p.m. Like the other shows that have been performed at this Kissimmee theater, it could run successfully for a while, then be replaced with yet another show. Only time will tell.

If you’d like to spend an evening in an atmosphere that will remind you of the smoky, seedy dance halls where a “dance for a dime” was prevalent, this is your chance.  Step back in time to the original Cotton Club in New York, the Copacabana in Miami, the Kit Kat Club in Berlin, the Stardust in Las Vegas, or the infamous Moulin Rouge in Paris. The Big Bang Burlesque will allow you to “visit” them all in one venue for one evening.

If you’re looking for a show for the entire family, Capone’s Dinner & Show is still the best show around! The value is hard to beat, and there isn’t a dinner show in Orlando that can beat the half-price tickets purchased online. A group of 4 can attend and still pay less than you and your date will spend at other shows. However, if you are in need of some steamy entertainment on a Saturday night, check out the Big Bang Burlesque. If you attend this new Kissimmee dinner show, we’d love for you to share your experience here on Al’s blog. Keep it clean though! Al respects the ladies and expects his boys to be gents. Enjoy the show!

Both Al & Sam Offer Unusual Orlando Souvenirs

Orlando souvenirs; most Orlando dinner shows and theme parks offer items you can purchase which help you remember your vacation or experience at that venue. Maybe you’ve got friends or family back home that you want to purchase a gift for. Souvenirs are great, and Capone’s Dinner & Show has an entire gift shop full of great cheap souvenirs. Some are also very unusual.

It’s not often that a theme park or restaurant offers a souvenir that people just can’t wait to get their hands on, but that is exactly what has happened this week. The famous mugs of Trader Sam’s are now available at Disney’s Polynesian Resort Village. This popular drink establishment has been open unofficially (soft opening) since late in March, but the souvenir mugs were nowhere to be found. The Grog Grotto is now officially open and the mugs, cups and shot glasses have magically arrived. These make great souvenirs.

shrunken head mugFounded by a famous “head” salesman, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto welcomes guests to explore a menu of “magical tropical drinks and food.” After all, Sam’s expertise in concocting head-shrinking potions has proven he also has a head for mixology. With his travels being quite extensive, there is a wide variety of drinks to choose from. Available in collectible Tiki mugs, some of these concoctions trigger a special effect when ordered inside the bar. Order a “Uh-Oa!” and the goddess of disaster may strike. Order a Shrunken Zombie Head, and well…hold on! Other Trader Sam cocktails include:

  • Polynesian Pearl
  • Nautilus
  • Castaway Crush
  • Tahitian Torch
  • Dark & Tropical Stormy
  • Krakatoa Punch (Enchanted Tiki Bar)
  • Uh-Oa! (Enchanted Tiki Bar)
  • HippopotoMai-Tai (Enchanted Tiki Bar)
  • Shrunken Zombie Head (Enchanted Tiki Bar)
  • Schweitzer Fall (No-Booze Brews)
  • Skipper Sipper (No-Booze Brews)
  • Polynesian Punch (No-Booze Brews)

Trader Sam’s menu is made up of small bites, which can easily be considered a meal. Well, not according to Mama Capone who wouldn’t dare let her guests have only a small order of anything! Her delicious dinner buffet menu is hard to beat, but for a small bar (the Grog Grotto only seats 50 inside and 82 on the patio), the menu selection is a nice variety including kalua pork tacos, pan-fried dumplings, roasted chicken and pork pâté bánh mì sliders, salmon oshizushi, corn-battered Portuguese sausages and a Headhunter Sushi Roll.

If you enjoy this enchanted South Seas hideaway, you need to also check out Al’s hideaway bar called The Four Deuces. This pre-show lounge at Capone’s dinner show offers Al’s Famous Rum Runner and many other cocktails. Ordering drinks here will not cause any special effects, but it may get you in on an innocent game of cards with the wise guys. Like Sam, Al offers non-alcoholic options and a little something for everyone.

Al Capone "mug" shot glass

Check out Al’s mug shot. It is literally an imprint of his “mug shot” from 1929 when the feds didn’t agree with how he was running his business. Other mugs, such as the Wise Guy and Wise Gal mugs are also available in the gift shop at Capone’s Dinner & Show. Capone’s also offers a great selection of T-shirts and other items as souvenirs.

Reservations are NOT required at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. At times the wait can be a couple of hours! They are open 4:00 p.m. to midnight daily. For more information, visit Trader Sam’s website. If you want to visit Al Capone’s dinner show, reservations ARE encouraged. Get cheap dinner show tickets by ordering them online at half price.

Even if you are a local resident, a trip to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto or Al’s joint is something that should be on your to-do list. Great memories are sure to be associated with either establishment. Enjoy the experience, and don’t forget to pick up a souvenir or two!