Check Out these Hip and Fun Watering Holes

New, Hip, and Fun Watering Holes Shine at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando

AbrakadaBARAbracadaBAR at Disney’s BoardWalk is the newest watering hole to open at Walt Disney World.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the bar for drinks with friends. The atmosphere is elegant, and the décor draws on the 1930s, the golden age of illusionists.

The lounge is intimate and offers plenty of seating. Similar to Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs, the bar tells a story with props, vintage posters, and artifacts throughout the lounge, the hallways, and even the bathrooms!

Over at Universal Orlando, Strong Water Tavern is the new kid on the block. Located in the lobby of the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, the tavern offers a unique dining and drinking experience.

A Rum Captain is on hand to help you pick the drink that is just right for you, and the cocktails do the name of the tavern justice—they are strong!

watering holesThe Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs is another great way to relax after a busy day in the theme parks. Make sure to request a table on the outside deck. It is a great place for sunset-watching.

And when you think it can’t get any better, believe me it will! In the Fall of 2017, George Miliotes, who formerly created an award-winning wine list for California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, will spearhead Wine Bar George at Disney Springs. Wine Bar George will offer more than 100 selections (both by the bottle and the glass) from renowned regions in North America and worldwide.

The bar plans to offer seminars with visits from renowned winemakers.

For drinks of a different kind, check out the steampunk-themed Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen and try one of the irresistible sundaes and milkshakes with unique toppings.

Ready to relax? Read more here!

It’s that Time of Year Again—Revisions

Walt Disney World with Kids 2017After some intense weeks of work, and multiple revisions, my 2017 edition of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids is finally off to the printer. The annual ritual starts in March with a research trip to Orlando and is followed by a first deadline for updates and new material by May 15th.

This year, however, there were so many changes that by the time June came, I went on a second research mission to the Kingdom of the Mouse. It was fascinating to be at Epcot the day the Frozen Forever ride opened. The ride opened at 9 a.m. on June 21st. I had made breakfast reservations at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for 8:30 a.m. and was allowed into the park shortly after 8 a.m. that morning. It was great to enter the park early and enjoy taking pictures on my way to the Norway pavilion. And yes, it was my ticket to the front of the line once the ride was about to open.

RevisionsNeedless to say, this made all the difference in the world. I exited the ride at 9:10 a.m.; 20 minutes later, the ride broke down. The park was officially open since half an hour and the line for the ride went back all the way over the bridge to the China pavilion. Cast members held up signs indicating that the wait currently was 180 minutes. Unfortunately, the ride broke down quite often that day, and when you add to this the low loading capacity of the former Maelstrom ride, it is no surprise that the wait, at times, was 300 minutes—five hours!

I did experience the new Soarin’ Around the World flight, enjoyed all the new nighttime entertainment at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and saw Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire, the new show in front of Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom.

IMG_5666Over at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, I paid a visit to Skull Island and rode the new King Kong attraction. Skull Island: The Reign of Kong really did impress me. This multi-sensory, multi-dimensional ride is absolutely amazing.

Back in Birmingham, it was crunch time. I had to revise the revisions and submit last-minute changes to my wonderful editor Amber Henderson. Amber brings it all together, and while it looks like magic when she takes over, believe me, it is not. It is hard work. A huge research team, editors, fact checkers, indexers, and a layout and art department support the authors. These behind-the-scenes professionals make me look good and are the guarantee that a great product reaches the reader.

This Year’s Revisions Are Over—Let’s Play!

So what is next? Well, it is never too early to start collating data again, is it? In a few weeks, I will once more board a plane and visit my happy place. I am excited to stay at three different hotels, including the newly opened Loews Sapphire Falls. I want to take tons of pictures and videos. But, most of all, I look forward to having more time for friends than during my past two visits. And yes, there will be pool time!