Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar

January 4, 2016

When a new shop or restaurant opens up at Disney, there is always a frenzy of bloggers clamoring to get there first and post it before anyone else can. While I love seeing the photos and reading the reports on these blogs, we prefer a more relaxed approach. Even though our blog features reviews, isn’t a “news” outlet as many others are. We usually let things settle down, then when the huge crowds start to clear, we make a plan to visit. One such place was Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs, this Indiana Jones based lounge opened its doors in late September. By mid-December, we finally arranged for a date night to check it out.

Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar at Disney Springs
Jock Lindsey's Hangar bar at Disney Springs
I’m a fan of the Indiana Jones movie franchise (most of them anyway) and the stunt show at Hollywood Studios, so I was excited to see what the place was going to look like inside, and to get my hands on some of those tropical drinks! If you are like me, you have probably seen the films a dozen or more times, but could not immediately call to mind what Jock Lindsey even looks like. Jock was Indy’s pilot and is seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark. In the image below (copyright Paramount Pictures), we see Jock as played by the real-life pilot, Fred Sorenson.

Jock Lindsey played by Fred Sorenson in Raiders of the Lost Ark
If you are in the Landing section of Disney Springs, you can’t miss Jock Lindsey’s. It was built to resemble a wooden plane hangar with a Jungle-Cruise-style boat attached to the side of it. The front entrance courtyard is marked by a huge sign that looks like a corrugated aluminum plane wing suspended from a mock-up of a crane. It’s on the opposite side of the stage from The Boathouse, across from the path that leads to Raglan Road and kitty -corner from The Ganachery. Once inside, you notice that the lounge is only about one-third as big on the inside as it looks to be from the outside. There is very little indoor seating. All of the outdoor seating, except in the front courtyard, is covered at least. At first, we were seated in the “Reggie” (the boat) section, which is basically an open center that contains a faux boiler-type-thing, with benches lining the perimeter and a couple of tiny (and I mean TINY) little tables scattered around that are permanently bolted into place. I’m a plus-sized girl, so I found this to be very uncomfortable, but not only for that reason, it was also just awkward for the two of us to sit there, repeatedly banging out feet on the pole that supports the table. I can see why there was absolutely no one sitting out there when we arrived, even though the rest of the place was busy. I normally would have just sucked it up and stayed out there, but with it being dusk on the water in Florida, the gnats attacked! I hope they add some sort of netting around the boat because they were BAD! You could reach your hand out and touch the swarms of gnats. The drinks don’t come covered and I ended up removing my straw and using the coaster to keep them out of mine.

Jock Lindsey's Hangar bar at Disney Springs
Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar at Disney Springs
There is a deck off the back of the main building that has several normal sized tables, but I would assume that it has the same bug issue because it is also open sided. Maybe the gnats don’t bother everyone, but I can’t take it. LOL. Inside, the seating is VERY limited. There is a semi-private seating area to the back left, four or five tables down the center, stools at the bar, another three or four half-booth tables along the wall and this semi-private nautical room-booth in the back right corner. This indoor area is where our waiter moved us to right before the food arrived. I am very glad a table opened up because I don’t think I could have eaten with a face full of bugs! lol

Air Pirate's Pretzels at Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar
Lao Che's Revenge wings at Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar
The rest of our time at Jock’s was awesome! I wasn’t really expecting too much for bar snacks, but it was really good. We had selected the Air Pirate’s Pretzels and Lao Che’s Revenge. The pretzels came stacked on a wire airplane frame that holds little cups of sauce (mustard and beer cheese) on the wings. We ordered it because LH saw the words “beer cheese” and there was no other choice at that point. I was happy with them, although the mustard sauce was a bit strong for my taste, but the beer cheese was good and the pretzels were just like I like them, soft and NOT leathery on the outside. Lao Che’s Revenge is spicy/sweet Asian chicken wings. I assumed they would taste just like the sticky wings at the Kona Cafe or maybe even like the spicy wings at Shutters, but they had a flavor all their own. I usually can’t stand wings! I mean, why do I need to fight my food and make a mess, all for 2 bites of chicken? I’ll admit that I do order wings at Disney, though, because they are awesome! I do still wish they would make boneless versions, though, because I have to wipe down my face constantly while eating them or I’d look like The Joker. To spite the mess, I would happily order both of these dishes again, they were great!

The Cool Headed Monkey & The Scottish Professor at Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar
One thing that we won’t be ordering again, is The Scottish Professor (above in the metal cup). While it sounded good when we ordered it, about half-way through drinking it Loving Husband remembered that he’s “not really a whiskey kinda’ guy” and ate some more mustard dip to kill the taste. LOL I’m sure it’s a great drink if you like whiskey, but it just wasn’t for him. On the other hand, I LOVED my Cool-Headed Monkey and would absolutely order it again! You can definitely taste the pineapple in it, but I didn’t really find the watermelon flavor at all. Unfortunately, you DO NOT get to keep the monkey head cup (above) that it comes in. We almost ordered Reggie’s Revenge, this is the drink that seems to be the most popular with fellow bloggers. I don’t know if everyone loves it because it tastes good or because the bright green dispenser on the bar makes for an awesome photo. I didn’t get either the drink or the photo while I was there as I don’t drink a lot (one is enough for me) and the lighting was so bad I couldn’t manage to get a good photo of it, sorry. When I go back at another time, I will give the photo second try and post an update.

The ice machine at Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar
Hidden Kermit at Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar
The food and drinks here are excellent, but to me, the REAL star of the show is the decor! As an artist-type, this is what really appeals to me! Everywhere you look there is something neat that looks like it’s right out of Indiana Jones. The movies were made in the 80’s, but they were set in the mid-1930’s to the late 50’s, so everything here has that vintage/aged feel to it. Above is the gadgety ice machine that appeared to really work! It’s about the size of a large jukebox and sits on the wall opposite the bar. All over the bar, there are these shelf and drawer units full of small items like trophies (below), books and other knick-knacks. Just inside the entrance, you’ll even find a hidden Kermit peeping out from a canvas bag on the shelf (above). The walls aren’t heavily laden with items, just a few photos here and there. I think their intent is to draw your eye upwards to the ceiling which IS full of stuff. One of my favorite things up there was this vintage styled Air Races banner, below. How cool is that? It reminds me of banners and flags you see in old yearbooks from the 20’s!

Trophy at Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar
Air Races Banner at Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar
I’m usually not a fan of clutter, but this looks cool! They’ve got just about everything up there that you can think of, including part of an aircraft engine. I am totally taken with the belt driven fan system and the diagonal grid pattern of the support structure! In its own way it is truly beautiful and to me was worth the trip by itself. We agree that we will definitely go back, but I think this is one of those places that is more fun with friends. There is so much here to see and to “find” that I think it would have been great fun as a group activity.

Ceiling at Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar
Ceiling at Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar
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Holidays Around the World at Epcot

December 31, 2015

For those of us who have a special place in our heart for Epcot Center, the Winter holiday is one of the best times to be in the park. Next to the Food & Wine Festival and the Garden & Flower show, Holidays Around the World is my favorite event at all of Walt Disney World. I love sampling the special foods and learning about the traditions of other cultures. Epcot provides many opportunities to do both of those things in a fun and festive environment.

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As with all special events, Future World has themed topiaries out in full force from the moment you enter the park. This year the display at the entrance showcased the woodland creatures from Bambi, but once you make your way into the park, they take on a more modern look with these greenery balls framed with snowflakes that shift into Mickey heads as your position moves past them (both above & below). Between the walkway to the World Showcase and Spaceship Earth, you’ll find a stage set up for concerts throughout the day.

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We usually enter the World Showcase from the Canadian side, but this time, we chose to go in through Mexico. I really wanted to see the traditional Mexican dancers doing the “bow dance”, so that was our first stop. We showed up just in time to see the entire performance and I filmed it to share with all of you, but when I went to transfer it to the laptop, it wasn’t there. I’m not sure how it got deleted, because I even live streamed it on Periscope, but I wasn’t able to save it to the computer from there either. Just know that the dancers were beautiful and were able to tie the ribbon bow with their feet by the end of the song!

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The Mexico pavilion had more to offer than just music and dancing, they also had pretty Feliz Navidad decorations and the Sweet Tamales available inside La Cantina de San Angel that were VERY yummy (both above). Another strawberry flavored holiday treat available during the event was the Traditional Rice Cream from Norway (below). I felt like this was the best of the limited time food items available this year, it was incredible! You have to actually go inside the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe to find it, though. Now is a good time to note that many of the special foods are not available in little kiosks like you would expect, but you actually have to go into their quick service venues in order to find them.

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The Kringla Bakeri also has the best holiday decor (above) in the Norway pavilion, so be sure to check that out while you are ordering your rice cream! If you are looking for something a little more on the “Christmas cheer” side, the Prost! kiosk has you covered! Here we picked up a Pure Cider, a Pure Cider Rose’ and Black Forest Cake. All three (below) were excellent, but I could have thrown back several of those black forest cakes before I knew what hit me! They are made with German hot cocoa and cherry liqueur.

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Another spot serving adult beverages can be found outside of the American Adventure. The Sugar and Spice Holiday Bakery kiosk (below) has mostly cookies and little snacky items, but the real stand out is the Buffalo Nog: Fresh egg nog spiked with Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon (also below). This is a nice spot to take a break and listen to the carolers inside the building or if you are lucky enough to be able to see through the crowd, watch the Candlelight Processional as you sip your nog.

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While all of the desserts in the cases at Les Halles in the France pavilion look like they are intended for Christmas celebrations, only one of them is offered as a limited time holiday dessert, the Bûche de Noël au Chocolat (below). This chocolate yule log is so good! Ya’ll know I love chocolate and this shiny chocolate shell is full of light, creamy chocolate mousse which is my absolute favorite! This was a close tie with the Rice Cream from Norway, but that had such a clean and unique taste that I settled on that one as my fav of the season.

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France has several big ornaments on display with dioramas inside of them, and you might think that those are the only decorations they have, but if you go off the main walk, and down the side street (above), you’ll see that it is also decorated with stars, greenery, and lights. It’s very cute! While you are back there, give the Gingerbread Ice Cream at L’Artisan des Glaces a try! Of all the entertainment available during these months, the most energetic is by far The Canadian Holiday Voyageurs. You can find them at the Lumberjack show stage performing several times throughout the day. Their show was another video that somehow got lost in the shuffle, which is such a shame because their jazzed-up-yet-folky versions of traditional carols were so great! This is a not-to-be-missed show!

The Canadian Holiday Voyagers at Epcot
I know after all of the walking and eating that you are tempted to leave early and get a jump on the traffic, because I am too… but even if you have seen the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth fireworks spectacular before, it is different during the holiday season. Every night through the end of December they extend the display by several minutes and add a special “Let There Be Peace on Earth” finale that will bring tears to your eyes. If you are not able to visit this year, I DO have a video of it below which includes the Spaceship Earth “Goodnight” message in multiple languages.

 

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Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

December 22, 2015

One of my top five favorite things about the holidays (behind giving presents, my tree, LH’ dinner, and the music) is going to see everyone’s’ houses lit up! This year was the first, and apparently the last, year that we were able to be at WDW to see the MASSIVE Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights display. I feel so blessed that I DID get to see it finally, but at the same time, I feel heartbroken that it is being discontinued and I will never see it again. When I was a child, we would always drive around in my dad’s big Lincoln blasting Christmas music and looking at lights. I continued this tradition after I was an adult, but when I married Loving Husband, it was impossible to keep it going because he was almost always deployed for the holidays. We had to recreate everything he missed, in the middle of summer half the time and by then the decorations weren’t up anymore. Once he left the service, it just seemed like nobody (where we lived, anyway) was even decorating their homes anymore. So, in the last 7 or 8 years, the only light displays that we have seen were public (Vernon Hills’ when we lived in Chicago and Virginia Beach’s when we lived there) and were seriously lacking in creativity. While the above-mentioned displays were pretty (and VB even included a time coordinated music CD), they were just lights on wood or PVC frames, it didn’t feel the same as a lit up building.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
Flash forward to December 2015, we are now living in Lake Beuna Vista, LH is working for Disney so we have free passes to go to Hollywood Studios to see the Osborne Lights and it only takes us about 10 minutes to get there. Of course we had to go, we just had to! We brought along two of our friends who have lived here their entire lives and have never been to Hollywood Studios. Since the new Star Wars Launch Bay just opened and Star Tours was recently updated for The Force Awakens, we made a day of it and checked out everything new. Just after sundown, we headed over to the Streets of America section where the display is located. Once you get close enough to hear the music you start to think to yourself, “Okay, any minute now!”, but that’s not the case. As usual, Disney artfully wields the weapon on anticipation like no one else in the game can! Blocking every path where someone could cut through to the lights is a cast member waving marshalling wands, funnelling you into the courtyard in front of Muppet Vision 3D. From there you can peek between the back of the buildings and see a few of the lights. There were people milling about in that area like they didn’t know what was going on, honestly, this being my first year, I didn’t really know either. It seemed like everyone going up and speaking to the cast members was being turned away and I started to wonder if maybe there was an additional ticket required that I somehow didn’t know we had to have. LH just kept walking forward, down past the Muppets to the cross street and then turned to the right. This  alley took us to another street and things were starting to get tight! WARNING: If you do NOT like crowds, are epileptic or are noise sensitive, this is not the place for you! The music got very loud and it seemed that the stroller terrorists were at my heels every step I took or didn’t take, more accurately! The lights frequently go CRAZY. I also advise you not to watch the videos if you have photosensitive epilepsy.

Osborne Lights at Hollywood Studios
Osborne Lights at Hollywood Studios
Once we reached what looked like the entrance to the street that was decorated, most people seemed to be turned away again. We hadn’t bought an additional ticket and from watching what was going on, it really looked like maybe you had to have one. I was starting to worry about how in the hell we were ever going to get back out of there, there was no way could we get back the way we came and it seemed everywhere you turned it was blocked off. I could, at least, see up the one street to the right and a few buildings ahead of us, so I wasn’t counting it as a total loss, I got to see something, you know. Finally, we opened up into another courtyard and most of the crowd were being allowed to go to the right, down the last street. I was overheated and needed some water. There was a concession trailer to the left so we went that way, but there was a cast member yelling (because the music was loud) that another woman and I weren’t allowed to be there. I know the special dessert party you had to pay extra for was in the middle of the courtyard, but this was not part of that, it was on the main street and had a line of people so why she and I weren’t allowed to buy a bottle of water (or to use the bathrooms behind him) I don’t know. He was letting other people walk right past him without saying a word, including the people who came with us. By the time he stopped talking and walked away, the drink-truck said they were no longer letting anyone else get in line. I’d like to take this moment to give a shout out to that jerk and say thanks for the dehydration!

Osborne Lights at Hollywood Studios 2015
Osborne Lights at Hollywood Studios 2015
We took a few minutes in this area to stop and catch our breath. We were so smashed together getting over to this section that it was crazy. LH went and found a cast member to double check that we DID NOT need an extra pass to see the decorated streets. The CM didn’t know why some were being admitted to enter up the one street instead of being corraled along with the rest of us. That was good news! Since I wasn’t quietly panicking anymore I was really able to enjoy what was going on around me now. We walked all the way to the back of this open area and turned around, I would say it is the best spot to take in the full effect of the “dancing” lights coordinating with the music! Below are a couple of videos we made of the lights and music from this vantage point. Sorry they are so shaky and blurry, I am still getting the hand of keeping the phone elevated and steady while recording.

While I think the first song in the top video (Christmas is Starting Now by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy) best showcases the incredible synchronicity that they are able to achieve between the music and the lights, Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) by Trans-Siberian Orchestra was truly my favorite song of the night! Everyone loves this beautiful guitar-heavy mash-up of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Carol of the Bells, but I, myself, find it so deeply touching that it brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. I can’t help it, beauty makes me cry, and something like this piece, inspired by beauty in the midst of war, especially with the violence that is currently all around us, breaks my heart. Quick history lesson if you don’t know the story behind this song: It was inspired by “The Cellist of Sarajevo”, Vedran Smajlović, who would play his cello in ruined buildings during the siege of Sarajevo to spite bombs going off and snipers shooting people dead in the streets. The heavy guitar is one side, the orchestra the other with the single cello in between them. I am old enough to remember watching the city turn to ruins on CNN and I have seen footage of Smajlović playing amongst them in the documentary Reporters At War (pt1). Every time I hear Christmas Eve, I think of that.

Osborne Lights at Hollywood Studios 2015
With the need for peace and love in mind, this photo above, of what is probably the most well planned out view in the entire display, says so much. Even if you are not a Christian or just don’t celebrate Christmas, at least, take this time, at the closing of another year, to perpetuate peace and harmony around you. Spread love and light to everyone you meet. Honestly, though, how anyone can feel anything but blessed to be able to stand there in the center of all of that is beyond me, you can’t help but emit joy! I am so thankful for all of the cast members who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make all of this happen. Say what you want about Disney, but no one does the holidays better! It was SNOWING! Man-made snow of course, but who cares? It was magic!

Osborne Lights at Hollywood Studios 2015
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For some reason, my favorite part of the lights was the huge “fireplace” on the right-hand side as you go down the main street. It was sort of hidden behind some vendors and I had to go out around them and up next to the building to get good photos of it (below). Normally, I wouldn’t have been able to take enough decent photos of the lights to even have a featured image for this post, but I was trying out a new app on the phone and it seems to have worked well enough for me to, at least, have something to show you. The rest of the images that I took that night can be seen in the gallery at the bottom of this post.

Osborne Lights at Hollywood Studios 2015
I am so sad to see the Osborne Lights go at the end of this year! There are so many updates and renovations going on at all of the parks, I guess we have to lose something in order to gain something else. I’m holding out hope that they will figure out a way to bring this event back to life because it has become a tradition for so many families. With record attendance numbers this year, it would seem to be a no-brainer revenue generator. Almost every item of Osborne Lights merchandise they produced this year is now going for astronomical amounts on Ebay because they sold out of them weeks ago, with weeks of the event still left to go. I just can’t believe that Disney would let something this important go without having some new incarnation of it in the works, but we shall see.

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The Ganachery At Disney Springs

December 18, 2015

Yesterday evening we went over to Disney Springs for date night at Jock Lindsey’s, but first we wanted to swing by the new Ganachery Chocolate Shoppe that had just opened a couple days before. We love good chocolate, so we had high hopes for this newest addition to the list of high-end foodie shops at Walt Disney World, and The Ganachery did not disappoint! For most people, unless you know of some little artisan confectionery, the best chocolates you can get your hands on are Godiva. There’s an excitement and ritual to opening that gleaming golden box and breathing in that smell. Now amplify the smell, the taste, the creaminess by 10 fold; THEN you have The Ganachery chocolates!

The Ganachery at Disney Springs
You can find the shop kitty-corner from Jock Lindsey’s, just past the turn off for Raglan Road. When we arrived there was only one other couple in line ahead of us and we were allowed inside after only a minute or two. They were limiting the number of people who could shop at one time because the footprint of the sales floor is incredibly tiny. If I recall, they only wanted 7 or 8 customers to be in there at one time. I didn’t feel that the short wait was too much to ask, even though some people stomped off after only being in line 30 seconds or so. They were offering free sea salt caramel samples while we waited so, who was I to complain!?

The Ganachery at Disney Springs
The Ganachery at Disney Springs
The Ganachery at Disney Springs
When I walked in, the first thing that I noticed was the lighting… it’s terrible for taking photos, lol, so let me apologize right now for the horrible quality of some of these pictures. The lighting is very dark with spots of WAY TOO BRIGHT, sprinkled with several highly reflective surfaces! I take my photos with my iPhone, if you have different filters and lenses on a conventional camera you would be able to capture better images, I’m sure. The second thing I noticed was the large window just to the left of the entrance, where you can watch the chocolatiers creating all of the goodies for sale. The decor is a trendy take on rustic-industrial. Heavy wooden shelves and exposed brick line the walls. The ceiling is a grid of dark wood coffering and reproduction Victorian copper tiles. In the center of the shop hangs a massive (almost too big for a space this small) chandelier created out of copper pots, pans, pitchers, and lids. I’ve seen pieces like this in other places, usually restaurants, but it’s still a cute idea and is well executed in this instance. For a retail shop, the shelves are uncluttered and sparsely dotted with merchandise, there are almost more staging pieces on display, such as old books, bottles, and other aged looking bits, than there is candy.

Individual chocolates at The Ganachery at Disney Springs
Individual chocolates at The Ganachery at Disney Springs
Chocolates at The Ganachery at Disney Springs
Mango-Curry chocolate at The Ganachery at Disney Springs
The side of the shop to the right of the entrance is entirely taken up by the individual chocolates’ display cases and the register. These little cubes are really the stars of the show. Each one is beautifully made and hand-decorated. These are not assembly-line, mass-produced candies, they are more artisan pieces where someone had to use tweezers and place each flower petal one-by-one. Some might scoff at the price tag, but you are getting real quality for your money. The fare here will run you slightly more than the average box of Godivas. Each piece is $3 if you purchase them one at a time. However, the more you buy, the less they charge per piece. A box of six is $15 ($2.50/ea), 9 candies are $21 ($2.33/ea) and their largest box which holds 12 chocolates is $27 ($2.25/ea). Is this expensive compared to a $1 mini-mart candy bar? Yes, it is, but I feel like one of these has double the flavor of three times the amount of cheap chocolate. With these, you take a bite and you savor it until it melts away instead of just chewing it down because you need a snack between meals. We took our box (above) home and I have been content to just eat one because the taste is so intense that it lingers for some time. Of the sixteen flavors available, we chose Caramel Fleur de Sel, Chipotle Pepper, Egyptian Sea Salt, Vanilla, Raspberry, Florida Orange, Mango-Curry, Matcha-Yuzu (green tea & yuzu) and Passion Fruit to fill our box of nine pieces. On our next visit, we plan to try the other 7 that we haven’t tried yet, Calamansi (Vietnamese orange), Sri Lankan Cinnamon, Coffee, Dark 65%, Gianduja (Italian hazelnut), Pistachio and mint.

Chocolate pricing at The Ganachery at Disney Springs
Chocolate covered stollen at The Ganachery at Disney Springs
Chocolate pearls at The Ganachery at Disney Springs
In addition to the “Ganache Collection” chocolates, as they are calling them, there are a few other signature items on offer here. The little, corked test tubes above are filled with “Crispy Chocolate Pearls” and come in five flavors (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, caramel, and strawberry) costing $5 each. There are chocolate bars on sticks, I am not sure what the various flavors of these are or how much they cost as I didn’t want to stand in one spot for too long taking notes. I can tell you that they are not quite as long nor as wide as the boxed chocolate bars, but they are about three times as thick. The last item made on-site that I wanted to mention is the “Chocolate Enrobed Stollen”, which is priced at $12. Stollen is German and is like a lighter, less-dense version of a fruitcake. This particular interpretation is shaped like a small log, coated in a thin layer of marzipan and then smothered in chocolate (the chefs were making these when we came in) and finished with a brush of (edible) copper wash. I was having such a hard time capturing the copper effect on the displays they had out because of the glass cloches covering them that the shop girl took it off for me so that I could get a decent photo (above), which I thought was very nice of her.

Chocolate bars at The Ganachery at Disney Springs
Chocolate bars at The Ganachery at Disney Springs
The boxed chocolate bars (above) are made elsewhere and shipped in, but they are every bit as tasty as the items made in-house. They come in 9 different flavors that are named after Disney characters and places and are priced at $8 each. I love currants, so we tried the Disneyland, which is milk chocolate containing Zante currant raisins and almonds. This is one of the best chocolate bars I have ever had, and that includes most of the ones that Loving Husband brought home from Dubai. Maybe it was the currants, lol, I don’t know, but I loved it. The other flavors available are Disneyland Paris (dark chocolate with fleur de sel filling), Walt Disney World (dark chocolate with orange & fruit tea flavors), Aulani Hawaii (white chocolate with coconut & pineapple), Pluto (milk chocolate with peanut butter & peanuts), Goofy (dark chocolate with popping candy), Mickey Mouse (plain milk chocolate), Donald Duck (white chocolate with blueberries & habanero chili), and Minnie Mouse (milk chocolate with dried strawberries). Each bar comes in a lovely cardboard box that not only looks pretty but will also keep it from getting broken and smashed in your bag. Inside the box, the actual bar itself is wrapped a second time in a sealed mylar pouch. Each 3oz bar consists of 8 (approx .375oz) squares.

Chocolates guide for The Ganachery at Disney Springs
The Ganachery at Disney Springs

Bag from The Ganachery at Disney Springs
The candy bars are not the only items that are beautifully designed and wrapped. It would appear that no detail has been left unattended to at The Ganachery, as all of their merchandise is beautifully packaged in heavy, quality bags (above) and boxes (below). The candy bar boxes, the shopping bags, and the stollen boxes all feature a highly glossed cocoa pod graphic that contrasts against a matte finish. The bags have a glossed G emblem on the inside (the logo of the shop) and heavy fabric handles that make them more comfortable to carry for a long period of time. The shop colors are dark brown and a bright turquoise. The blue is reflected in the tissue paper, sticker seals and floor tiles (no photo available) and gives a beautiful pop of color in the darker tone and setting of the shop. The shop also has lovely full-color printed guides for choosing the individual chocolates as well as lovely double sided business cards (above). The most beautifully presented items, however, have to be the individual selection chocolates. These are placed in solid brown cardboard boxes with magnetic closures, wrapped in thick brown paper, sealed with a blue logo sticker, then a piece of brown cushioning is placed over the top and the box is closed, finally a textured band with a Ganachery label is slid around the box.

opening a box of chocolates from The Ganachery at Disney Springs
Every aspect of this little shop is made to be memorable, and it truly was. Going to The Ganachery was a fun experience for us. I think this space is lovely, I only wish it was a little less cramped. The staff was pleasant and knowledgeable and I can’t wait to return and try some more of their incredible candies.

The Halls Are Decked At WDW Resorts

December 15, 2015

I LOVE me some Christmas decorations, and I have waited all year to see the Disney resorts completely decked out in full Yuletide splendor. Finally, the time is here! We’ve spent the last couple weeks visiting hotels in the evenings after LH gets home from work and it’s kept us so busy that I honestly haven’t even had time to put up my own tree at home. After a while, I thought, why bother? I have all of these gorgeous works of art right at my fingertips, why do I need to spend hours digging out, putting together and decorating a tree here at home for just me? Loving Husband is working double shifts most nights as this is the busiest time of year for them. I’m content, this year, to make the Disney trees my own and even though I could never do the beauty of these displays justice, I’ll try my best to at least give you an idea of what it’s like to actually be there. Looking at pictures causes you to end up missing out on all of the smells and sounds, though, making it hard to imagine the full experience. When you walk into the lobbies, there is a bustle about everything as you hear the oooohhhh and ahhhhhhs of the other visitors. No matter how jaded A person is, I can’t imagine that anyone can resist looking on in awe at the enormous trees and garland swags heavy with shiny ornaments. At a handful of the resorts, the air itself is spiced with the scent of cinnamon coming from the annual gingerbread displays, which are a must-see in-and-of themselves!

Huge tree in the lobby of the Grand FLoridian Resort
Lobby tree at the Grand Floridian from the second floor entrance
One of the most opulently decorated resorts is, of course, the Grand Floridian! Above, you can see some of the main lobby displays. You might think that because of the incredible work they do on their gingerbread house every year that they might hold back in other areas, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They’ve pulled out all of the stops with large Christmas themed fresh floral arrangements, multiple trees throughout the public areas, lit and ornamented garlands hung from the interior lobby balconies and the 3 story tree covered with swans, birdcages, huge bows and flowers as the centerpiece of it all. Even the shops and display windows at this hotel are each uniquely arranged according to individual themes (see gallery). On the other end of the spectrum from the Grand Floridian is the Contemporary Resort with its modern minimalist decor. Other than a couple of wreaths and lightly decorated trees spaced out around the lobbies, and, of course, their Frozen Mary Blair gingerbread castle, this hotel isn’t as robustly adorned as some of the others. The Contemporary makes up for any areas where it might be lacking with an enormous 70ft tall, fully decorated Christmas tree outside the front entrance of the property (below).

Giant tree in front of the Contemporary Resort
Willow pelicans with mouths full of ornaments, in front of the Old Key West Resort
Many of the other resorts are decorated with variations of a nautical theme. These willow pelicans above, sit by the road in front of the guard house at the Old Key West Resort with gullets full of ornaments and strings of lights. Here you’ll find decorations featuring sea creatures and water birds in bright jewel tones while at the Beach Club Resort, the ocean and it’s inhabitants also play a prominent part in the trees and garlands on exhibit. Although, the color scheme is less bright at the Beach Club (dull gold, sage green, teal, copper & tan), the ornaments (below) are no less beautiful. I know it is tempting just to stay in the main lobby, watching the life-size gingerbread carousel go round-and-round, but trust me, if you explore a little you will be rewarded. The hallways and shops here are also done up with nautical touches, like the shop windows with trees covered in shells, sailboats, and sea glass bottles, below.

Detail of the lobby tree at the Beach Club Resort
Window display at the gift shop at the Beach Club Resort
Lobby tree at the Yacht Club
Take a short jaunt down the waterside path and you’ll find yourself at the Yacht Club Resort. While most people visit this hotel to see the elaborate miniature holiday village installation, complete with working train (below & gallery), the other holiday decor is not to be missed. Large sailboats, glittering ornaments  and velvet ribbons in blue and gold cover trees (above) and wreaths throughout the resort.

Miniature Christmas village at the Yacht Club
Lobby trees in from BoardWalk Inn
Bright and colorful garland swag in the lobby of the BoardWalk Inn
Another quick stroll away is where you’ll find another gorgeous decorating job at the BoardWalk Inn. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite resort, as so much time and effort has gone into making every one of them exquisite, but the BoardWalk is definitely a strong contender! The pop of primary colors paired with basic designs like stripes and dots (above), remind me so much of vintage Christmas decorations. Even how thickly the ornaments are applied to the trees and boughs is reminiscent of how they decorated for the holidays in the 1940’s and 50’s. The 2 most frightening items on Disney property are also on display at the BW this holiday season; the horrible carved wooden demon toddler chairs you see in front of the fireplace, above. These things are absolutely horrifying and have no right to be darkening the door of a holly, jolly Christmas! To calm your nerves after seeing these monstrosities, be sure to try some of the gingerbread gelato from Ginger’s Bread & Cookies pop-up shop, it’s delicious and will make everything right again!!

Lobby tree at the Polynesian Village
Detail of the Lobby tree at the Polynesian Village

One of my other favorite themed decors is at the Polynesian Villiage Resort. Bright, rich, tropical florals are everywhere, on every tree, every wreath and every garland (above). Orchids, hibiscus, and ginger flow out of the lit greenery in every direction. While the Polynesian’s lobby tree isn’t as large as the trees at some of the other resorts, it’s just as beautiful. The front entrance of this hotel is also decorated with a Hawaiian theme, but with more of a “natural” slant than the pinks and purples inside. Yellow and orange flowers mixed with burlap bows, straw and shell stars, mini gourds, and wooden paddles immediately bring to mind far away isles, as does the poinsettia tree right outside the front doors (gallery).

Detail of lobby tree decorations at the Wilderness Lodge Resort
Lobby tree at Wilderness Lodge from the 3rd story balcony

The decorations at the Wilderness Lodge Resort also contain elements of nature like horns, antlers, pine cones, etc. The three-story tree at this resort is only one of the focal points as there is also a gorgeously decorated area over by the spring and bridge, located at the back of the lobby. In this area, you’ll find a photo spot created with a rustic bench and a family of life-size willow bears (gallery)! As at the Grand Floridian, there are many trees, garlands and large wreaths located around the hotel. These pieces are all full of red and black buffalo check bows, Antlers, figures of woodland creatures and Native American themed ornaments. The large central tree also features many of these same ornaments, but with the addition of lit miniature teepees and drums. Of all of the trees at Disney hotels, I have to say, I think this is the most creative. If you live locally or will be on vacation in Orlando through the beginning of January, you must take a day, or, at least, a few hours to tour the resorts and soak up as much holiday cheer as one person can handle!

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WDW Holiday Gingerbread Displays

November 29, 2015

 For well over a decade, the edible holiday displays at Walt Disney World have filled the foyers of some of their best-loved resorts with the spice heavy scent of freshly baked gingerbread. Since this is our first Christmas in the Orlando area, we have never been able to view these works of art in person until this week. I have seen photos of them online for years, but now that we were actually able to go and see them, I can see what everyone makes such a fuss about. Loving Husband is a trained pastry chef, teams of Disney pastry chefs work for months baking, detailing and assembling these life-size gingerbread sculptures. If you live near WDW, or will be here between late November until the beginning of January, I strongly encourage you to spend a little time exploring these exhibits.

Holiday gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian Resort at WDW

Holiday gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian Resort at WDW

The first stop on our self-guided tour was the largest, and in my opinion, the most impressive baked creation is the gingerbread house in the first-floor main lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort. The house fits perfectly into the ornate Victorian design scheme of this hotel. This piece is so huge that there is a store with real live people inside of it selling souvenirs of the annual event, as well as edible shingles just like those that adorn the roof of the structure (below). The girls (Samantha & Amber) who worked inside appeared to be flowing over with Christmas cheer and had big contagious smiles. How could you NOT be in a good mood while smelling the goodies all day? As far as the taste goes, the shingles are a lot less dense than most gingerbread I’ve had and there is a citrus overtone to it.

Edible gingerbread shingle from the Grand Floridian Resort backed in chocolate

Grand Floridian Resort gingerbread house shop girls

After a short monorail journey, we were at the Contemporary Resort viewing their adorable Frozen Fever themed gingerbread display. I am a huge devotee of the mid-century modern/Scandinavian aesthetic and especially of the Mary Blair design style, making that piece my absolute favorite! While I feel that all of the displays are beautiful works created by very talented artists, none of them inspired me the way this one did. Luckily, the main concourse, where this display is located, wasn’t very busy when we visited and I was able to get a really clear photo with no one else standing in front of the castle. I am in love with the huge “cookie” characters! I was surprised and disappointed to find out that they didn’t have actual edible versions of them for sale, to me that seemed like a no-brainer that would have sold VERY well. We settled on the Olaf gingerbread shingle and the individual serving of the blue cake-in-a-jar (gallery).

Mary Blair style Frozen Fever themed gingerbread display at the Contemporary Resort at WDW

Soon we were back on the monorail and then in the car heading to the BoardWalk Inn to try some of their holiday gelato flavors we had heard about via the Disney Food Blog’s Instagram. While we were there we picked up a gingerbread cupcake for later (below); both were excellent by the way. LH liked the gingerbread gelato better and I liked the peppermint best. These foodie finds are sold out of the cutest little edible store called Ginger’s Bread & Cookie Shop (below & gallery). I thought the alternating Mickey and Minnie head cookies around the fascia and the Mickey gingerbread man weather vane were adorable little details.

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While chatting with the attendant, we noticed that her chef’s jacket had gingerbread man buttons! She also told us that in addition to the hidden Mickey’s on it, the shop also had a bite missing out of the back (gallery) where someone decided to deface it. It really is a shame, but I don’t think it’s that out of the ordinary, sadly. As we were walking back through the Yacht Club Resort, we heard a young man in his late teens laughing while he proudly detailed to his mother (who was also laughing) how he went over to the display and put one of his fingers through it. I wish people wouldn’t purposefully destroy things, they ruin it for everyone.

Ginger's Bread & Cookie Shoppe @ The BoardWalk Inn at WDW

Gingerbread & peppermint gelatos available at the BoardWalk Inn at WDW

Gingerbread cupcake with cream cheese frosting at the BoardWalk Inn at WDW

Our final resort was the Beach Club. Here you can view the life-size rotating gingerbread carousel (video, below & gallery). While it is not a huge example (only 4 horses) it is full size. This is something that they make fresh every year, they just switch up the horse designs. This display includes the highly detailed dried fondant poinsettias that we also saw at the Grand Floridian (below). Between the two pieces, there must be thousands of them. The snowflake cookies that ring the top are available at the Beach Club Marketplace down the hall. After a long evening of my nostrils filling with the glorious smell of gingerbread, we decided to return to the BoardWalk Inn by sea, meaning we took the boat back to the car.

Gingerbread carousel at the Beach Club Resort at WDW


Fondant poinsettias

Cloak & Blaster

July 25, 2015

Before we even moved to Orlando, we had planned to visit Cloak & Blaster, so once we were settled we made a point of getting over there. One thing that Orlando has that we have not seen in any of the other cities that we have lived in is nerd pubs. The closest was probably Captain Mike’s in Kenosha, WI with it’s burgers named after Trailer Park Boys episodes. In a similar vein, Cloak & Blaster’s menu is full of references to fantasy books & movies such as Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and Harry Potter. They also give a nod to gaming, something that plays a big part in their pub. to the left of the main dining room is a shelf full of board games that you can “rent” and play while you wait for your food to arrive, or you can go upstairs to the video game lounge and pay-to-play multiplayer titles with your friends. They have nights dedicated to trivia and special events like their Harry Potter birthday celebration. We first visited by ourselves to check the place out. The food was great! Lucious burgers, chicken “eggs” exploding with spicy flavor and the beverages… OH the beverages! I had my first butterbeer here!

The one Ring burger at Cloak & Blaster
The Dragon Eggs at Cloak & Blaster
Flying Cauldron "Butterbeer" at Cloak & Blaster

When we brought our friends with us they focused more on the games and the atmosphere than they did the food I think, but that is okay, that is their “thing”. The main area and the bar are made to resemble an old inn. It honestly reminds me of a building that you’d see at one of the bigger Renaissance faires. Beams and plaster with banners and swords scattered around the walls. The gaming lounge upstairs is completely different. The walls are lined with flat screen TVs and then ringed with modern style Ikea couches. All and all, in my opinion, the star of the Cloak & Blaster show has to be to food. I’d like to go back for one of their trivia nights when other patrons are hopefully a little more friendly, but if it was closer to our neighborhood I would probably eat there regularly.

Cloak & Blaster Orlando
Entrance doors of Cloak & Blaster
Beverage coolers at Cloak & Blaster

Star Wars Day & Final Star Wars Weekend 2015

June 18, 2015

Loving Husband has always wanted to go to a Star Wars Weekend, but between deployments and everything else in life, we never got to go. However, this year was different. This year we were living 5 minutes from Hollywood Studios, where the event is held, and this year, we had free passes! LH’s work schedule screwing everything up is a running theme throughout our lives, so it was no surprise that we ended up not being able to make it to the park until the very last day of the event. We had managed to make our way to the park on Star Wars Day, May the 4th. I was surprised that it wasn’t all that busy on the 4th. I expected traffic jam city, but we were able to walk freely through the area around Star Tours and even have a front row view to the Jedi Training Academy show (Now called Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple). I don’t know if people just weren’t feeling it this year or what, but more room for me to walk I guess!


Part 2 & Part 3

Even though Star Wars Day was fairly calm at the park, we assumed that Star Wars Weekends would be crazy, especially the last day of the last weekend of the year (update: make that the last day of the last SWW ever).  We were again pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t crowded and was relatively calm. There was no wait line for the Star Wars: Rebels featurette at the ABC Sound Studio, the walkways were not congested and everything flowed smoothly. The only differences that I found immediately noticeable were the set up of Darth’s Mall and the increased presence of characters. There were very long lines for photos with them, but that is a Disney standard, no matter the park or character. One evening we ate early dinner at the Rebel Hangar , a pop-up lounge/cafe just for SWW, which gave us access to the characters with no wait lines, in fact, they walked around to your table. I’ll write more about that later.

Storm Troopers at Star Wars Day Hollywood Studios
Star Wars Rebels featurette

Rebel Hangar Pop Up Lounge

We arrived later in the day and, therefore, missed the parade and the star talks. We figured that if the Magic Kingdom was any gauge of people’s general RUDE behavior at parades, we were better off not even trying to see it. As far as the talks went, I knew people were talking about having had fast passes to them for months and months and knew there was no way in hell we’d be able to get a seat to see any of them, so we opted for a couple more hours of sleep instead. They had some cute merchandise for sale, aside from commemorative pins, hats, and tee shirts. This glamorous cutie below is available at Tatooine Traders… the rancor, not Zam Wesell, though she is super glam, too!!

Adorable Rancor toy at Star Wars Weekend 2015
Zam Wesell looking gorgeous at Star Wars Weekend 2015
Star Wars Weekend 2015

My favorite part of the whole day was the special Symphony of the Stars fireworks show. I love fireworks and I’ve seen shows all over the country, but I have to admit that this was the BEST display that I have ever seen. The swelling music and the flashes or rich color were breathtaking! I hope I get a chance to see it again someday, if not, at least, I have a video of them. (below)

 

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Grand Opening of Gods & Monsters

June 15, 2015

After moving to Florida a couple months ago, we were very happy to find out that the Orlando area is FULL of nerdy activities. Not only do you have all of the cool stuff going on at the parks (like Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc), but you also have many little independent places that have events and are just cool to go to on a normal day. One of these places is Gods & Monsters. I read a notice about their grand opening and luckily LH had the day off so, we were able to go. Gods & Monsters isn’t just a comic shop, it’s a destination! Located in the Artegon Marketplace on International Drive, it fits in well with all of the other artistic shops around them. The space they occupy is enormous for a comic store, which I guess is why they cover more than just comics. The stock includes games, books, comics, toys, figurines, accessories, t-shirts and ART! Lots of art! In addition to being a store, the space offers a coffee shop, a bar/lounge, an art gallery, a staging area and more. Don’t get me wrong, I love the cozy feel of our new home shop, Coliseum of Comics Kissimmee, but this place is amazing!

Gods & Monsters Orlando
Gods & Monsters Orlando
Gods & Monsters Orlando

I love how everything in the store has been given its own artistic treatment. There is a gorgeous hand-painted mural that runs across the entire front wall above the doors & windows (above) that just blows me away. The checkout/register area masterfully recreates the dark dingy feel of Gotham City and is believably labeled as the Arkham Dispensary (also above). Life size sculptural elements are scattered throughout the store atop the merchandise displays. Below you see the Walking Dead graphic novel display topped by Summer, the little zombie girl killed by Rick in the first episode of the TV show. Additional pieces include Spiderman and Batman. They didn’t neglect a single detail when putting this place together, they even theme decorated each of the roof support pillars. The Marvel pillar (below) is my favorite.

Walking Dead display at Gods & Monsters Orlando
The Marvel pillar at Gods & Monsters Orlando

There were SO many people in attendance for the opening! Not just customers, but stilt walkers, cosplayers galore, makeup artists, comic artists, fire eaters/dancers, aerial silk performers, even a Victorian Steampunk Horror troupe! Both LH and I are short and we just by nature aren’t pushy people so we didn’t get to see the troupe, Phantasmagoria, present their show, but we managed to get a little bit of video (below) and a few photos (gallery) through the crowd. We could see them walking around throughout the day, however, and they looked amazing! They are local to Orlando so, I hope we can catch up to them somewhere else another time because I’d really like to see them perform! We did get to see the Legacy Aerial Arts exhibition of both the aerial silks and cerceaux artists. These girls were great, but don’t take my word for it, you can see for yourself in our videos below.

 

 

The area that is my absolute favorite is The Transmetropolitan Gallery. They were showcasing several artists for the grand opening, not just in the gallery but in the front of the store as well. SO much great art and covering so many subjects and mediums. The Star Wars paintings below are from an artist named Luis Javier, he does a great graphic pop art (see the gallery) for a reasonable price considering how large and well done the pieces are. Also below, is a sculptural piece by Thomas Bartolillo that was on display. I was a little bit disappointed that there wasn’t really any textile art included, but we came in the middle of the day so maybe that had some, but it had all sold already.

Artwork by Luis Javier at Gods & Monsters Orlando
Art by Thomas Bartilillo at Gods & Monsters Orlando

As we were on our way out the door to go eat at the Fuddruckers a few spaces over, one of the artists at the front caught my eye. I flipped through his book and a girl came up and asked if he had any Loki pieces, he pointed out a marvel comic Loki, she was visibly disappointed. and I looked at her, then at him and said, “I think she means do you have any Tom Hiddleston pieces?” We all giggled and then asked him if he could draw our dog as Captain America (her favorite Avenger)? He said he hadn’t done that, but thought that he could. if we gave him about 45 minutes. We texted him photos of our dog and then headed out to eat. We came back in about an hour, eager to see the finished product. We LOVED it so much that we ordered a second one with the other dog as Thor. Again we gave him his space and wandered around some more. I just can’t get over what a great job he did! Derrick Fish was able to take our ideas and a photo and within a few minutes, turn it into exactly what we had envisioned! If you EVER have the opportunity to get a piece commissioned by him I highly recommended it, ours were worth every penny!

Brunhildre as Captain America by Derrick Fish
Wentworth as Thor by Derrick Fish

In summary, we really liked it! Even though it is overwhelming at first and a bit of a drive for us, we would gladly make another trip over there, although it might not be a regular thing. As I said before, they didn’t neglect a single detail. Every piece is beautifully fit together. They had a pretty good selection of merchandise types, although I wish they had more wearables and board games. It is a new store, though and they might still have stock on the way. I heard some people remark that they didn’t have enough comics, but I felt that the selection was rather vast for a store that just opened it’s doors. They had a lot of, what I would consider, obscure novelty items which were nice, it almost gave it the feel of a pop culture museum. Animated Soul Pizza, anyone?

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Super Hero Headquarters

May 7, 2015

Ever since hearing that a new Marvel-themed store was going to be opening at Disney Springs, we have been waiting with bated breath to go check it out! The shop is called Super Hero Headquarters and is located in the Westside neighborhood of the complex. The first thing that caught my eye as we walked up was the huge display windows (below), which are beautifully done; I wish I had something this bright and graphic in my home! Once you are inside you’ll notice that it’s small, very small, but they managed to squeeze a lot in there. They stock all things Avengers & Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. alongside a few scattered items from other Marvel works. What I love more than the cool merchandise on offer, is the displays and design of the store. Everything is done up like a S.H.I.E.L.D. field station with flat screen TVs, maps, clocks and logos everywhere. The glowing emblem on the laptop and the sheet metal desk (both below) as you first walk into the store are fabulous!

Super Hero Headquarters - Marvel store Disney Springs
Super Hero Headquarters - Marvel store Disney Springs

Awesome sheet metal desk at Super Hero Headquarters - Marvel store at Disney Springs

As I said, this place is tiny and the two largest consumers of breathing space are the throngs of REALLY excited children waiting to have their photos added to posters/other novelties next to their favorite superheroes (this space is about 1/4 of the store’s footprint) and staff. The staff is everywhere! For a store about the size of my living room & dining room combined, they had two cast members at the photoshop center (my name for it), two on the register, two on the door, one standing behind the cast running the register and at least two (possibly three) others walking around. So 9 or 10 employees in a space that MIGHT hold 35-40 people comfortably, it’s insane. On top of it actually being small, it is stuffed FULL with displays and merch, most of which is very graphic in design or highly reflective, thus creating an optical clutter that makes this space seem even smaller than it really is.

Super Hero Headquarters - Marvel store at Disney Springs
Display at Super Hero Headquarters - Marvel store at Disney SPrings

It might sound like I’m complaining, but I assure you I could not be happier to have this shop right down the street from me. Here in the Florida Disney parks, we don’t get any Marvel love. They contracted their characters to Universal Studios in the years before Disney purchased them. As long as Universal wants the characters, they are free to use them and Disney can NOT use them in any of their US parks East of the Mississippi. So that leaves us at a stalemate here on the east coast, I’ll take whatever I can get. I’ve often wondered if Disney isn’t working on building up Marvel characters that don’t appear to be part of the original deal, with theme park tie-ins specifically in mind? Universal uses Spiderman, The Hulk, Captain America, some of the X-men, the Fantastic Four & Dr. Doom. Why is the mouse not using the myriad of other characters that have recently become popular for Disney/Marvel like Ant-man, Guardians of the Galaxy, The whole Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. crew (including Agent Carter), Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, The Punisher, Blade, Elektra, etc.. or even the Avengers that aren’t used by Universal like Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Falcon and Vision? Hell…. at the very least give me a LOKI!

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Whether they ever add Marvel characters to the Florida parks or not, I’m at least glad we have this store. It’s location at Disney Springs is permitted because it is an entertainment complex that is free and not a pay-per-entrance “theme park”. You may also know Disney Springs as Downtown Disney, but since they will soon be changing the name, we decided to go with the new one here. There are a lot of new stores and restaurants going into the new spaces at DS so maybe they will move this into a larger storefront? I hope that they rotate the stock regularly, as one problem I have with some Disney-owned shops is that they will carry the same merchandise for a year or more before the new designs come in.