originally published in Theme Park Tourist.. Tuesday, November 29, 2016 05:10
Though it may not initially seem like it, Walt Disney World has truly come into its own in recent years as a real food lover’s paradise. If you count yourself as one of the many who love eating their way around the Walt Disney World parks and resorts, there are some big changes taking effect right now and very soon that you should know about.
This month’s Walt Disney World dining update is a little different than those we have featured in the past, as we take a look at some of the more bizarre food-related updates that are happening around the resort. From parking lot snacks to Disney Springs Dole Whips and even bus station pizza, here’s all of the weird dining changes happening now at Walt Disney World…
1. Pizza kiosks now open at Disney’s All Star Resort bus stops
Last week two pizza kiosks sprung up without any warning at the bus stops for Disney’s All-Star Music Resort and Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort. These new kiosks have an extremely limited menu, serving whole Pepperoni and Cheese pizzas, as well as a fruit cup, chocolate chip cookie, and a selection of beers and soft drinks.
These new kiosks are designed to help relieve congestion on the food courts at the All-Star Resorts (which can get pretty packed, especially during the holiday season) and will be open nightly from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM to serve hungry guests returning from a long day at the theme parks who want to be able to bring their dinner back to their hotel room as quickly as possible. While these kiosks are currently only appearing at the All-Star Resorts, if this new option proves to be a popular one, it seems very likely that we’ll see this type of amenity rolled out to other value (and possibly moderate) hotels elsewhere around Walt Disney World in the near future.
2. Grab and go snack stands appear at Epcot’s parking lot
Just a few days after these pizza kiosks were spotted at the All-Star Resorts, yet another food offering popped up in a weird place: Epcot’s parking lot. Guests who are craving something small to snack on while they trek to (or from) their car are now able to visit a pop-up snack location to grab a soft drink, bag of chips, or even whole fruit, right from Epcot’s parking lot near where the tram station is.
Much like the bus stop pizza offering going on at the All-Star Resorts, this seems like a limited-time test to gage if there is any interest in parking lot snacks. And of course if there is, we’d expect to see more of these pop-up snack locations appear at other Walt Disney World theme park parking lots.
3. Dole Whips now available in the Marketplace at Disney Springs
Though the Dole Whip hasn’t been a Magic Kingdom exclusive for some time (it rolled out at Disney’s Animal Kingdom a few years ago, and appears seasonally at Epcot as well), this iconic frozen treat has been made available at another new location: the Disney Springs Marketplace. Effective immediately, guests visiting this shopping district can stop by the Marketplace Snacks kiosk (which is located just across from the Marketplace Co-Op) to grab one of these tropical treats while they are getting some holiday shopping done.
4. The Pretzel Garden reappears at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with a new name next to the Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster
Though the Streets of America have been closed for almost a year now, it looks like at least one part of this former area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios has survived: the Pretzel Garden snack kiosk! While we thought this snack kiosk was lost forever after the mass closure earlier this year, this kiosk has actually been spotted in a new area of the park in recent weeks. Sporting a new coat of paint and a new name (this location is now called “PretzelPalooza”) this snack location is now serving guests down on Sunset Boulevard next to the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. And while the resurfacing of this snack cart may not seem like a big deal to many, eeing this snack cart may trigger some nostalgic feelings in those who still miss this former area of the park.
5. Fast-casual dining (and a new menu) are coming to ABC Commissary for dinner
Beginning on November 30th, the ABC Commissary quick service dining location at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be changing its dinner service format. Instead of offering counter service, this eatery will instead begin offering a fast-casual dining experience that features additional menu items that will be made-to-order instead of made in advance. And while we don’t know yet what these menu items will be, rumor has it that the new dishes will be healthier and fresher than what is currently on offer, which will hopefully provide a nice change of pace for guests looking for something a little different, but not wanting to break the budget.
Guests who stop by this dining location for dinner (which will now be served beginning at 3:30 PM) will be able order their meal at the register as they have always done, and will then need to take a pager and find a seat while their food is cooked and brought directly to their tables.
It is unknown whether this new format is just a test, or a permanent change designed to help offer some variety to this park, which has lost nearly half a dozen dining locations in the past year thanks to construction.
What do you think about some of these weird dining changes at Walt Disney World? Do you think new ideas like bus stop pizza and parking lot snacks will be ideas that guests will respond to? And might the ABC Comissary’s new format help boost guest levels at this establishment? Tell us in the comments below!
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