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Mickey varies the menu at Walt Disney World

Mickey varies the menu at Walt Disney World

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Once upon a time, if you wanted to get away from the crowds at the Magic Kingdom, you hopped on a bus and then headed over to the Lake Buena Vista Village. Where – if you could find a seat by the window – you could then kick back a cocktail or two at Cap’n Jacks Oyster Bar and watch the sun set over Buena Vista Lagoon.

Captain Jack's Restaurant Exterior Walt Disney World
Photo by Jeff Lange

Of course, that was long before this part of the WDW Resort became known as the Downtown Disney Marketplace. In the 34+ years that this waterfront retail & dining district has been in existence, it’s had a number of names: The Walt Disney World Village & the Disney Village Marketplace, to name just a few.

To keep the customers coming, you have to reinvent yourself every now and then. Such is the case with Cap’n Jacks. Which dropped oysters from its name as well as its menu back in February of 2000. Becoming plain-old Cap’n Jacks Restaurant in the process.

Sign on Capt'n Jack's Restaurant door in Orlando
Photo by Jeff Lange

The only problem was … Once the oysters got shucked, Cap’n Jacks Restaurant acquired a perhaps-unfair reputation for having spectacular views and pretty mediocre food. Well, all of that changed last month when the Food & Beverage folks at Walt Disney World keelhauled the menu at Cap’n Jacks. Take a look at what this Downtown Disney Marketplace eatery is offering now.

Captain Jack's Menu
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

That’s what great about the WDW Resort. The crew that’s running the Mouse House these days understands that – while returning Guests long to recreate favorite experiences from vacations past – they also like to find something new on the menu. Discover some great new bar or restaurant while they’re out exploring the parks.

And based what on what I’ve been hearing about La Cava del Tequila

Epcot Tequilla Bar sign
Photo by Jeff Lange

Epcot visitors are just loving this just-opened addition to the World Showcase’s Mexico Pavilion.

Epcot's Tequilla Bar inside
Photo by Jeff Lange

Mind you, it’s not just those 70 types of authentic tequila that people are responding to. It’s that Disney – with its usual attention to detail -- has created this little hidden-away space that through artwork …

Epcot Tequilla Bar Mural
Photo by Jeff Lange

… and original artifacts …

Epcot Tequila Bar Seating Area
Photo by Jeff Lange

… celebrates the heritage & tradition of tequila making in Mexico.

Of course, given that this new bar is located inside of Epcot (i.e. WDW’s science & discovery theme park), the menu tells you the whole story of how tequila is made. So you can actually learn something as you order up a few tapas-style snacks (EX: fresh guacamole and home-fried corn chips) to go with your drinks.

Epcot Tequila Bar Menu
Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

Given that La Cava del Tequila is Epcot’s newest addition (the place literally opened for business last weekend), you can expect this bar / eatery to get a big push toward the end of this month when the International Food & Wine Festival gets underway on September 25th.

Poster for Epcot's Food and Wine Festival
Photo by Jeff Lange

Presented by Vanity Fair, this annual culinary adventure celebrates food & drink from around the globe. This time around, Epcot visitors will be able to sample fare from places as far off as Rio de Janeiro and Bangkok. They’ll also be able to groove to world-class performers like Richard Marx & Billy Ocean.

I know, I know. Some folks squawk when Disney tampers with its award-winning assortment of hotels, theme parks & restaurants. They long for the way that things used to be. But me? I think that it’s great that the Mouse makes an effort to keep things fresh. That Mickey strives to vary the menu.

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Of course, if you have trouble sorting through all those choices when it comes to getting the most out of a Walt Disney World vacation, the travel professionals at Mouseketrips are always ready to lend a three-fingered hand.

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  • That menu overhaul for Captain Jack's was needed badly.  The place has practically torched any reputation it once had.

  • Frankly there still isn't much to excite me at Captain Jack's. There's surprisingly few seafood dishes on the menu of a place with a nautical theme. There are at least 4-5 other places that would rank much higher on my list at DTD.

    Now for a place that needs a menu makeover -- how about Mama Melrose's? This used to be one of my favorite places with items like veal scallopine and lobster raviloli. But after menu changes around 2002-3, it became very generic Italian. I keep checking, but there hasn't been anything on their menu to entice me back in a long time. When I'm at DHS I usually hit the Hollywood Brown Derby or Hollywood and Vine instead.

  • The Captain Jack's Menu is absolutely boring and unexciting...oooh overpriced pasta that you can get cheaper 1 mile away across the street at Pizzeria Uno or any of the 8 zillion restaurants at the Crossings (or whatever its called).  Is it me or does the Pot Roast seems like it's imported from the Liberty Tree Tavern?

    The food is becoming more and more homongenized at the parks and if it weren't for EPCOT and World Showcase we'd all be eating the worst hamburgers and chicken fingers (and pasta) on the planet.  (The pulled pork, however, is pretty darn good).  The restaurants are slowly losing their uniqueness and that's ashame.  

    Remember when the Trophy Room was the only place to get French Fried Ice Cream or the Papeete Bay Veranda had a cold soup served in an apple?  Remember when the Pueblo Room had the best Prime Rib on property (if not the only place)?  Heck remember all the Monorail drinks they used to serve in the Monorail Club Car Lounge?  Ask for a Monorail Orange now and they'll look at you like you're nuts.

    It's sad to think that they're slowly taking away the joy of dining at GOOD restaurants like those and shoveling vats of garbage food at high prices to tourists who don't know any better.  

    There are exceptions throughout and the Poly is one of the best places to eat, but Epcot Fan nailed it...the food is slowly becoming generic and dull in the parks.  That's ashame because WDW used to have a reputation for amazing food!  We used to travel to the parks just to eat and I still leave early in the morning, occasionally, to make sure I can have breakfast at the Kona.

    Anyway, I'm off on 90 million tangents and I'm suddenly hungry!

    Central Clear.

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