Menu “Recon”: Taste of Marrakesh (Morocco)

I may have been disappointed by The Smokehouse, but Taste of Marrakesh wins 2015’s “Dishonorable Mentions”.  Sorry, Morocco, but it’s very true.

Your chicken skewers were simply outstanding in 2014.  Its 2015 encore performance fell flat.  And, even though I like chickpeas, your falafel was pretty poor.

Am I spoiled by the phenomenal quality of Morocco’s Spice Road Table?  Very likely.  Click the dish’s name to see its pic!

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Harissa Chicken Kebab 

All in WDW’s Recommendation: “Stay Far Away!”

Falafel Pocket

All in WDW’s Recommendation: “Stay Far Away!”

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Menu “Recon”: Hanami (Japan)

Japan!  I can’t tell you how pleased I am to welcome you back to the “world” of delicious cuisine.

I sampled three of your 2015 creations, and, in stark contrast to the past few years, they were all very enjoyable!  Nice!

From one of my personal favorites – sushi – to a curry-filled “dumpling” of a bun, you delivered.  Even your fruity take on a “dessert sushi” rocked!

Great job, Hanami!  Click the dish’s name to see its pic, my friends!

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Teriyaki Curry Bun

All in WDW’s Recommendation: “Worth a Try.”

Osaka Salmon Sushi

All in WDW’s Recommendation: “Just OK.”

Frushi

All in WDW’s Recommendation: “Worth a Try.”

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Menu “Recon”: The Smokehouse (American Adventure)

I know.  I know.  Without a doubt, I’ve been very vocal about The American Adventure’s “smokehouse”.

In 2013 and 2014, I just loved it.  Sadly, in 2015, it didn’t live up to my extremely lofty expectations.

I admit it.  Whether, here, in print, or “live” and in-person on the WDW Main Street podcast, I’ve more than described my disappointment.

Even my beloved Pulled Pig Slider had its problems!  A two-time festival “champion”, the initial serving I received was very dry and unenjoyable.

Fortunately, later samples were much, much better.  As a result, I’m going to keep the dish near the top of my Final “menu”, but simple inconsistency keeps it from retaining its “title”.

Listen to All in WDW on the WDW Main Street Podcast! We talk winning Magic Kingdom attractions and “Food” & Garden highlights! Click this link!

So, what are the recipes – all of which that fell so short of my hopes – that The Smokehouse is serving this year?  Remember, click the dish’s name to see its pic!

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Pulled Pig Slider

All in WDW’s Recommendation: “Worth a Try.”

Smoked Debreziner Sausage

All in WDW’s Recommendation: “Just OK.”

Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash

All in WDW’s Recommendation: “Take it or Leave it.”

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Menu “Recon”: Urban Farm Eats

Hello, my friends!  As you saw, I’m sure, I took a few days off to recharge – the Magic Kingdom polls took the starch out of me too!

But, now, I’m back!  And, so is our 2015 “Food” & Garden coverage!

Listen to All in WDW on the WDW Main Street Podcast!  We talk winning Magic Kingdom attractions and “Food” & Garden highlights!  Click this link!

Yes, Epcot’s festival has three weeks in the history books already, but that’s no reason to stop talking about their delicious cuisine!  Is it?  After all, “Food” & Garden still has another month and a half to run!

Today, my friends, we’ll start with some “new” dishes … and a team effort.  With the first half of this morning’s review, I present our friend, Dennis Conroy, from the WDW Main Street podcast!

Dennis kindly sampled the Kale Salad from Urban Farm Eats.  What did he think?

Kale Salad

“The Kale Salad was very bland.  The balsamic was not nearly as good as what was on the Watermelon Salad at Florida Fresh.  Pass on this one!”

Thanks, Dennis!  We really appreciate you sharing the picture and your thoughts!

Dennis also tried this Outdoor Kitchen’s Quinoa Vegetable “Naanwich”.  He pronounced it, “Just alright.  Nothing special.”

Well, before I dashed out of Epcot, I also sampled Urban Farm Eats’ “Naanwich”.  My experience was much more pleasant.

Naanwich

Where Dennis experienced a serving whose naan “was almost as hard as a cracker.”  I found the bread to be the star of the dish.  It was quite soft and warm.

On the other hand, I, too, felt that the “cheese was good.”  However, where Dennis felt that the “pesto saved the dish”, I believe the naan and the cheese were the item’s centerpiece attractions.

The lessons?  First, it just goes to show you that the consistency of Epcot’s food quality is really important.  In other words, everyone can have a “different” experience depending on the “luck of their draw”!

Second?  Every Guests’ tastes are different!  So, how do we sum up Urban Farm Eats, then?

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Ghost Pepper-dusted Tilapia

All in WDW’s Recommendation: “Must Have!”

Quinoa Vegetable “Naanwich”

All in WDW’s Recommendation: “Take it or Leave it.”

Kale Salad

WDW Main Street’s Recommendation: “Take it or Leave it.”

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Urban Farm

Hey, folks!  Do me a favor and please show Dennis your thanks and gratitude!  Join WDW Main Street on Facebook at this link!

Post “Game” Analysis: Magic Kingdom

Welcome back, my friends!  Have the “hitchhiking ghosts” haunted you back to All in WDW for some post “game” analysis?

Oh, let’s face it.  They’re pretty harmless.  All 999 of them just want you to know how badly they trounced their competition!

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Well, we just “awarded” those ghouls the lofty position of 2015 All in WDW Readers’ Favorite Disney’s Magic Kingdom Attraction.  What is the story behind the numbers?

As voted by you this past Friday, the FINAL Top 4 were:

  1. Haunted Mansion (39 votes)
  2. Splash Mountain (22)
  3. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (15)
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean (14)

The votes tell the story.  It wasn’t even close.  In fact, it was over so soon that I started drafting yesterday’s victory post at lunch(!) on Friday!

Was it any closer if we look at the results by overall vote totals received for the entire competition?  Let’s see:

  1. Haunted Mansion (216)
  2. Pirates of the Caribbean (150)
  3. Splash Mountain (142)
  4. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (136)

Not really.  Except that Jack Sparrow’s gang of rascals and scoundrels slip into 2nd, that is.  The ghosts still demolish the field.

Get this, though … if we stick with overall vote totals received for the entire competition – and ignore the Thursday semi-final cut-down round that determined our “Final Four” – here’s the finish:

  1. Haunted Mansion
  2. Pirates of the Caribbean
  3. Splash Mountain
  4. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover

Huh?  What happened to Big Thunder?  The PeopleMover beats it 138 to 136, that’s what!

Anyone have a guess as to how many votes in total you cast during this week-long crusade?  Don’t peek to see the answer (at the bottom of this post) and guess …

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Whichever it was, it was phenomenal work, my friends!  Thank you for all your support!  Thank you!

Continuing on, I mentioned that Haunted Mansion’s 2015 victory was a “repeat”.  In addition, during the competition, I also referenced the battles that the ghouls waged in 2013 and 2014.

What did those years look like?  Here’s 2014 …

  1. Haunted Mansion
  2. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  3. Wishes nighttime spectacular
  4. Splash Mountain

Which leads me to, what I think is, one of the biggest surprises of the week.  What happened to Wishes in 2015?  Well, it fell far and finished in 7th!  Yikes!

Conversely, the Mansion’s “archrival” – Splash Mountain – bounced back a bit this year.  It rose from 4th to 2nd.  Do you remember 2013?

  1. Splash Mountain
  2. Haunted Mansion
  3. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean

Same “Final Four” as this year.  Much different result!  At the time, it was a huge upset, in fact.

You see, Mansion entered that final day of voting with a commanding lead over Splash and had actually defeated Br’er Rabbit’s mountain in that week’s head-to-head semi-final match-up!

It didn’t matter.  Splash Mountain won the “title” by 10 votes!

Let me end with this … a lot of us (myself included) yearn for new and refurbished WDW attractions.  Yet, when it comes to Disney’s Magic Kingdom, our results over the last three years clearly show that the “old” classics keep rising to the top!

In fact, how did this park’s newest and shiniest rides fare this week?  Seven Dwarfs Mine Train finished in 8th.  Under the Sea ~ Journey of The Little Mermaid ended in 18th.  Wow.

Finally, here’s your 2015 All in WDW Readers’ Top 15 Favorite Disney’s Magic Kingdom Attractions!

  1. Haunted Mansion
  2. Splash Mountain
  3. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean
  5. Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
  6. Space Mountain
  7. Wishes nighttime spectacular
  8. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  9. Peter Pan’s Flight
  10. Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  11. Jungle Cruise
  12. Main Street Electrical Parade
  13. Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  14. Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress
  15. Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

THANKS, one last time, for your support, my friends!  You rock!

Oh, did you guess as to how many votes in total you cast this week?  1,627!  Did I mention that “you rock”!