Connect with us


A Waste of “Space”

As the media’s attention once again turns to Epcot’s troubled “Mission: Space” attraction, Jim Hill reveals that — as far back as three years ago — Imagineering insiders knew that this Future World attraction was going to have problems. But — despite repeated warnings from WDI about the “MS” ride system — Disney Theme Parks and Resorts managers still insisted that this “Mission” go forward.



As you might expect, I got a lot of e-mail yesterday, keying off of the fact that WKMG-TV in Orlando had used as me as a source for their “Mission: Space” story. This was the news report where Mike DeForest revealed that Disney — having finally faced the fact that this Future World attraction’s “protein spill” problem was not going to go away — had quietly begun equipping each of the ride’s cabins with air sickness bags.

“You must be pretty good right about now, Jim,” said Sassafrass23 in her note to me yesterday. “After all, was the first site to talk about how people were getting sick on this Epcot ride. Way back in July, wasn’t it, Jim? So it must feel pretty nice to be vindicated like this.”

Actually, no, SassyFrass23. It doesn’t feel nice. Why for? Because I don’t really get my jollies out of watching multi-million dollar projects crash and burn. I genuinely feel bad for all the people involved here — from the Imagineers who for years tried to convince WDW management that “MS” was a bad idea right down to Disney World’s PR department, who are now stuck with a marketing campaign for Epcot that’s built around an attraction that makes people sick. Once this air sickness bag story goes national, there’s going to be serious career repercussions here that go all the way down Disney’s food chain.

And the really sad part of the story is — just as I mentioned in the paragraph above — that there really were Imagineers who, right from the get-go, were warning Disney Theme Parks and Resorts managers that “Mission: Space”‘s ride system was going to be a bad fit for WDW’s science and discovery park. That any Future World attraction that potentially made a portion of the public sick was a PR disaster in the making. And that Disney should seriously try and find another way to tell the “Mission: Space” story.

But did Disney Theme Park and Resorts managers (Who — during this period — were being lead by then-division chairman Paul Pressler) listen? No. Why for? Because guest surveys had told these guys that Epcot desperately needed a thrill ride. Something that could top the hi-tech fun found over at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventures’ “The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman” attraction. So that the Walt Disney Company could once again claim “the high ground” when it came to theme park superiority.

So, in spite of all the red flags that WDI had raised (I.E. That the ride system itself made people sick, that — impressive as the ride’s special effects might be — that the “Mission: Space” attraction still didn’t really tell a story, and — most importantly — that this Future World addition lacked the most fundamental qualities found in the very best Disney theme park attractions: A sense of wonder and heart), this project still rumbled through Imagineering’s production pipeline. Initially funded by the Compaq Computer Corporation, “Mission: Space” was eventually sponsored by Hewlett-Packard (Why the change in sponsors? Because HP actually swallowed Compaq back in May of 2002 when the two companies merged).

“So how much did ‘Mission: Space’ eventually cost?,” you ask. Well, Disney’s PR staff will tell you that the Mouse and Hewlett-Packard jointly spent $100 million on the development and construction of this Future World addition. But WDI insiders have told me that the project’s actual final price tag was significantly north of that amount. Something more along the lines of $170 million.

We asked one particular WDI insider, Marky Moose (A 10+ year Imagineering vet who agreed to provide deep background from this article if JHM agreed not to reveal his or her name) for his take on this situation. Marky replied:

“Yeah, we all knew that ‘Mission: Space’ was seriously over budget. But — you have to understand, Jim — that we honestly thought that this was money well spent. For ‘Mission: Space’ wasn’t just supposed to be an Epcot exclusive. No, Paul Pressler and his crowd had actually convinced themselves that ‘MS’ could be the Disney Corporation’s next big franchisable attraction. The company’s next ‘Big Thunder’ or ‘Tower of Terror.’

I’m serious, Jim. Less than three months ago, Disney management still had dreams of dropping a “Mission: Space” clone into Tomorrowland at Disneyland. With the hope that this hi-tech thrill ride would eventually revitalize that sagging section of the Anaheim theme park. And we’d also had discussions with executives from the Oriental Land Company about possibly using ‘Mission: Space’ as the centerpiece for a whole new Tomorrowland for Tokyo Disneyland. There’d also been talk of dropping clones of ‘MS’ into Disney Studios Paris and the Hong Kong park.

But now that Disney’s finally had to admit that ‘Mission: Space’ is making people sick, that dream’s dead, Jim. There’s just no way that we’re ever going to get any more of these rides out of the ground now. I mean, just think what the execs at the Oriental Land Company are going to make of this barf bag news. Given what a fastidious people the Japanese are, there’s just no way that OLC will ever allow construction of a clone of this attraction to go forward now.

So — instead of being the first of many — ‘Mission: Space’ is now going to be a one-and-only. And — given this ride’s ridiculously high price tag as well as all of its unexpected additional maintenance costs — it’s going to be years before this Future World attraction finally pays for itself.

This is really bad news, Jim. Given that Pressler’s now out of reach since he left Disney to go run the Gap, Paul’s no longer available to take the rap for ‘Mission: Space’ ‘s failure. Which means that some poor slob in WDI’s Orlando or Glendale office is going to end up taking the fall for Paul. Losing their job because the execs in the Team Disney Burbank building are desperate to find someone other than themselves to pin the blame on.

It’s just so sad, Jim. Three years ago, we repeatedly told Paul that this attraction wasn’t going to work. That people were going to get sick when they rode the thing. But Pressler wouldn’t listen. All he wanted was his hi-tech thrill ride for Epcot. And now we’re stuck cleaning up his mess. Literally. All because we couldn’t persuade Paul back in 2000 that ‘Mission: Space’ was a seriously flawed attraction.”

So here we are, less than five months after this Epcot addition first opened to the public, and the Walt Disney Company already has an operational nightmare on its hands. Given that — every time someone gets sick inside one of those cabins — “MS”‘s staff has to shut down an entire centrifuge unit for airing and cleaning, “Mission: Space” rarely — if ever — reaches its theoretical hourly ride capacity.

Then there’s the attraction’s increasingly toxic reputation. Just last week, when I finally got down to Orlando to ride “Mission: Space” for myself, I was stunned to see the dozens of nervous people who were just sitting around in the attraction’s post-show area after I got off the ride.

Mind you, these folks weren’t having fun playing the “Space Race” game and/or sending “Postcards from Space” home via e-mail. By that I mean: I’ve seen happier faces in hospital emergency rooms. No, these people were nervously sitting around “Mission: Space”‘s post-show area, anxiously watching the attraction’s exit area. Hoping against hope that their friends and family members would not be made nauseous by their trip through “Mission: Space.”

I’ve honestly never experienced anything like that, gang. Entering a room full of anxious, nervous people at a Disney theme park. Happy, smiling people — sure. But this was a first.

“But what did you think of the ride itself, Jim?” you ask. Well, I’d have to say that the best special effect on the entire attraction would have to be Gary Sinise’s painfully obvious plastic surgery. I don’t know if this guy had a big bowl of Botox just prior to shooting his part in “MS”‘s pre-show film, but Sinise’s face is almost scarily smooth. Let’s put it this way: Compared to Gary Sinise’s face in “Mission: Space,” Michael Jackson’s mug shot looks almost lifelike.

As for the ride itself … There’s no denying that “MS”‘s “blast-off” sequence is very cool. That pressure-in-the-pit-of-the-stomach sensation you get as your rocket roars off into space? It’s truly a one-of-a-kind feeling, folks. And I did genuinely enjoy the ride’s visuals.

But where was the heart? That epic sense of story telling, of adventure and fun you usually get on the very best of Disney theme park attractions? As I made my way through “MS”‘s queue, surrounded by all those plasma screens and all that chrome, I kept thinking: This is what space travel in the future is really going to be like? Like I’m getting on line to buy a Happy Meal at Downtown Disney’s McDonalds?

Particularly in the pre-show area, as Gary Sinise was droning on and on about the crew members’ particular missions were, I couldn’t help but think about how much more fun “Mission: Space” might have been if Sinise’s deadly dull Mission Control commander were suddenly elbowed out of the way by Mike Meyers dressed as Austin Powers. Then Austin could tell us that Gary’s training mission had been scrubbed in favor of recruiting all those assembled to help Powers defeat Doctor Evil.

Ah, but that’s not what actually happened. My “Mission: Space” experience flew by in a quick 4 minutes. And — just for the record– my simulated trip into space didn’t leave me feeling nauseous. But it didn’t fill me with a sense of wonder either. The whole experience just left me feeling … Well … empty and cold.

Which is how space is actually supposed to feel. So maybe the Imagineers DID do an okay job after all. I guess.

Anyway … I doubt that I’ll be getting back on “Mission: Space” again anytime soon. Why for? Not because I’m afraid of throwing up. But — rather — because I have better ways of spending my time when I’m at Walt Disney World. If I have my druthers, I’d rather go to a show that really entertains me, that fills me with a sense of magic and wonder.

Something like — say — “Mickey’s Philharmagic.” (But that’s a story for another time.)

Your thoughts?

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Jens Dahlmann of LongHorn Steakhouse has lots of great tips when it comes to grilling



Listen to the Article

Sure, for some folks, the Fourth of July is all about fireworks. But for the 75% of all Americans who own a grill or a smoker, the Fourth is our Nation’s No. 1 holiday when it comes to grilling. Which is why 3 out of 4 of those folks will spend some time outside today working over a fire.

But here’s the thing: Though 14 million Americans can cook a steak with confidence because they actually grill something every week, the rest of us – because we use our grill or smoker so infrequently … Well, let’s just say that we have no chops when it comes to dealing with chops (pork, veal or otherwise).

So what’s a backyard chef supposed to in a situation like this when there’s so much at steak … er … stake? Turn to someone who really knows their way around a grill for advice. People like Jens Dahlmann, the Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef for Darden Restaurant’s LongHorn Steakhouse brand.

Given that Jens’ father & grandfather were chefs, this is a guy who literally grew up in a kitchen. In his teens & twenties, Dahlmann worked in hotels & restaurants all over Switzerland & Germany. Once he was classically trained in the culinary arts, Jens then  jumped ship. Well, started working on cruise ships, I mean.

Anyway … While working on Cunard’s Sea Goddess, Dahlmann met Sirio Maccioni, the founder of Le Cirque 2000. Sirio was so impressed with Jens’ skills in the kitchen that he offered him the opportunity to become sous-chef at this New York landmark. After four years of working in Manhattan, Dahlmann then headed south to become executive chef at Palm Beach’s prestigious Café L’Europe.

Jens Dahlmann back during his Disney World days

And once Jens began wowing foodies in Florida, it wasn’t all that long ’til the Mouse came a-calling. Mickey wanted Dahlmann to shake things up in the kitchen over at WDW’s Flying Fish Café. And he did such a good job with that Disney’s Boardwalk eatery the next thing Jens knew, he was then being asked to work his magic with the menu at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill.

From there, Dahlmann had a relatively meteoric rise at the Mouse House. Once he became Epcot’s Food & Beverage general manager, it was only a matter of time before he wound up as the executive chef in charge of this theme park’s annual International Food & Wine Festival. Which – under Jens’ guidance – experienced some truly explosive growth.

“When I took on Food & Wine, that festival was only 35 days long and had gross revenues of just $5.5 million. When I left Disney in 2016, Food & Wine was now over 50 days long and that festival had gross revenues of $22 million,” Dahlmann admitted during a recent sit-down. “I honestly loved those 13 years I spent at Disney. When I was working there, I learned so much because I was really cooking for America.”

And it was exactly that sort of experience & expertise that Darden wanted to tap into when they lured Jens away from Mickey last year to become LongHorn Steakhouse’s new Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef. But today … Well, Dahlmann is offering tips to those of us who are thinking about cooking steak tips for the Fourth.

Photo by Jim Hill

“When you’re planning on grilling this holiday, if you’re looking for a successful result, the obvious place to start is with the quality of the meat you plan on cooking for your friends & family. If you want the best results here, don’t be cheap when you go shopping. Spend the money necessary for a fresh filet or a New York strip. Better yet a Ribeye, a nice thick one with good marbling. Because when you look at the marbling on a steak, that’s where all the flavor happens,” Jens explained. “That said, you always have to remember that — the higher you go with the quality of your meat — the less time you’re going to want that piece of meat to spend on the grill.”

And speaking of cooking … Before you even get started here, Jens suggests that you first take the time to check over all of your grilling equipment. Making sure that the grill itself is first scraped clean & then properly oiled before you then turn up the heat.

“If you’re working with a dirty grill, when you go to turn your meat, it may wind up sticking to the grill. Or maybe those spices that you’ve just so carefully coated your steak with will wind up sticking to the grill, rather than your meat,” Dahlmann continued. “Which is why it’s always worth it to spend a few minutes prior to firing up your grill properly cleaning & oiling it.”

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of heat … Again, before you officially get started grilling here, Jens says that it’s crucial to check your temperature gauges. Make sure that your char grill is set at 550 (so that it can then properly handle the thicker cuts of meat) and your flattop is set at 425 (so it can properly sear thinner pieces of meat).

Okay. Once you’ve bought the right cuts of quality meat, properly cleaned & oiled your grill, and then made sure that everything’s set at the right temperature (“If you can only stand to hold your hand directly over the grill for two or three seconds, that’s the right amount of heat,” Dahlmann said), it’s now time to season your steaks.

“Don’t be afraid to be bold here. You can’t be shy when it comes to seasoning your meat. You want to give it a nice coating. Largely because — if you’re using a char grill — a lot of that seasoning is just going to fall off anyway,” Jens stated. “It’s up to you to decide what sort of seasoning you want to use here. Even just some salt & pepper will enhance a steak’s flavor.”

Then – according to Dahlmann – comes the really tough part. Which is placing your meat on the grill and then fighting the urge to flip it too early or too often.

“The biggest mistake that a lot of amateur cooks make is that they flip the steak too many times. The real key to a well-cooked piece of meat is just let it be, “Jens insisted. “Of course, if you’re serving different cuts of meat at your Fourth of July feast, you always want to put your biggest thickest steak on the grill first. If you’re also cooking a New York Strip, you want to put that one on a few minutes later. But after that, just let the grill do its job and flip your meat a total of three or four times, once every three minutes or so.”

Of course, the last thing you want to do is overcook a quality piece of meat. Which is why Dahlmann suggests that – when it comes to grilling steaks – if you’re going to err, err on the side of undercooking.

“You can always put a piece of meat back on the grill if it’s slightly undercooked. When you over-cook something, all you can do then is start over with a brand-new piece of meat,” Jens said. “Just be sure that you’re using the correct cut of meat for the cooking result you’re aiming for. If someone wants a rare or medium rare steak, you should go with a thicker cut of steak. If one of your guests wants their steak cooked medium or well, it’s best to start with a thinner cut of meat.”

Photo by Jim Hill

As you can see, the folks at Longhorn take grilling steaks seriously. How seriously? Just last week at Darden Corporate Headquarters in Orlando, seven of these brand’s top grill masters (who – after weeks of regional competitions – had been culled from the 491 restaurants that make up this chain) competed for a $10,000 prize in the Company’s second annual Steak Master Series. And Dahlmann was one of the people who stood in Darden’s test kitchens, watching like a hawk as each of the contestants struggled to prepare six different dishes in just 20 minutes according to Longhorn Steakhouse’s exacting standards.

“I love that Darden does this. Recognizing the best of the best who work this restaurant,” Jens concluded. “We have a lot of people here who are incredibly knowledgeable & passionate when it comes to grilling.”

Speaking of which … If today’s story doesn’t include the exact piece of info that you need to properly grill that T-bone, just whip out your iPhone & text GRILL to 55702. Or – better yet – visit prior to firing up your grill or smoker later today. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Continue Reading


Brattleboro’s Strolling of the Heifers is a sincere if somewhat surreal way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont



Listen to the Article

Some people travel halfway ‘around the planet so that they can then experience the excitement of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. If you’re more of a Slow Living enthusiast (as I am), then perhaps you should amble to Brattleboro, VT. Where – over the first weekend in June – you can then join a herd of cow enthusiasts at the annual Strolling of the Heifers.

Now in its 16th year, this three-day long event typically gets underway on Friday night in June with a combination block party / gallery walk. But then – come Saturday morning – Main Street in Brattleboro is lined with thousands of bovine fans.

Photo by Jim Hill

They’ve staked out primo viewing spots and set up camp chairs hours ahead of time. Just so these folks can then have a front row seat as this year’s crop of calves (which all come from local farms & 4-H clubs) are paraded through the streets.

Photo by Jim Hill

Viewed from curbside, Strolling of the Heifers is kind of this weird melding of a sincere small town celebration and Pasadena’s Doo Dah Parade. Meaning that – for every entry that actually acknowledged this year’s theme (i.e. “Dance to the Moosic”) — …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something completely random, like this parade’s synchronized shopping cart unit.

Photo by Jim Hill

And for every piece of authentic Americana (EX: That collection of antique John Deere tractors that came chugging through the city) …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something silly. Like – say – a woman dressed as a Holstein pushing a baby stroller through the streets. And riding in that stroller was a pig dressed in a tutu.

Photo by Jim Hill

And given that this event was being staged in the Green Mountain State & all … Well, does it really surprise you to learn that — among the groups that marched in this year’s Strolling of the Heifers – was a group of eco-friendly folks who, with their  chants of “We’re Number One !,” tried to persuade people along the parade route not to flush the toilet after they pee. Because – as it turns out – urine can be turned into fertilizer.

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of fertilizer … At the tail end of the parade, there was a group of dedicated volunteers who were dealing with what came out of the tail end of all those cows.

Photo by Jim Hill

This year’s Strolling of the Heifers concluded at the Brattleboro town common. Where event attendees could then get a closer look at some of the featured units in this year’s parade…

Photo by Jim Hill

… or perhaps even pet a few of the participants.

Photo by Jim Hill

But as for the 90+ calves who took part in the 2017 edition of Strolling of the Heifers, once they reached the town common, it was now time for a nosh or a nap.

Photo by Jim Hill

Elsewhere on the common, keeping with this year’s “Dance to the Moosic” theme, various musical groups performed in & around the gazebo throughout the afternoon.

Photo by Jim Hill

While just across the way – keeping with Brattleboro’s tradition of showcasing the various artisans who live & work in the local community – some pretty funky pieces were on display at the Slow Living Exposition.

Photo by Jim Hill

All in all, attending Strolling of the Heifers is a somewhat surreal but still very pleasant way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont. And that’s no bull.

Photo by Jim Hill

Well, that could be a bull. To be honest, what with the wig & all, it’s kind of hard to tell. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Sunday, June 4, 2017

Continue Reading


Looking to make an authentic Irish meal for Saint Patrick’s Day? If so, then chef Kevin Dundon says not to cook corned beef & cabbage



Listen to the Article

Let’s at least start on a positive note: Celebrated chef, author & TV personality Kevin Dundon – the man that Tourism Ireland has repeatedly chosen as the Face of Irish Food – loves a lot of what happens in the United States on March 17th.

“I mean, look at what they do in Chicago on Saint Patrick’s Day. They toss all of this vegetable-based dye into the Chicago River and then paint it green for a day. That’s terrific,” Kevin said.

But then when it comes to what many Americans eat & drink on St. Paddy’s Day (i.e., a big plate of corned beef and cabbage. Which is then washed down with a mug of green beer) … Well, that’s where Dundon has to draw the line.

Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon displays a traditional Irish loin of bacon with Colcannon potatoes and a Dunbrody Kiss chocolate dessert. Photo by Tom Burton. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Green beer? No real Irishman would be caught dead drinking that stuff,” Kevin insists. “And as for eating corned beef & cabbage … That’s not actually authentic Irish fare either. Bacon and cabbage? Sure. But corned beef & cabbage was something that the Irish only began eating after they’d come to the States to escape the Famine. And even then these Irish-Americans only began serving corned beef & cabbage to their friends & family because they had to make do with the ingredients that were available to them at that time.”

And thus begins the strange tale of how corned beef & cabbage came to be associated with the North American celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. Because – according to Dundon – beef just wasn’t all that big a part of the Irish diet back in the 19th century.

To explain: Back in the Old Country, cattle – while they were obviously highly prized for the milk & cheese that they produced – were also beasts of burden. Meaning that they were often used for ploughing the fields or for hauling heavy loads. Which is why – back then — these animals were rarely slaughtered when they were still young & healthy. If anything, land owners liked to put a herd of cattle on display out in one of their pastures because that was then a sign to their neighbors that this farm was prosperous.

“Whereas pork … Well, everybody raised pigs back then. Which is why pork was a staple of the Irish diet rather than beef,” Dundon continued.

So if that’s what people actually ate back in the Old Country, how then did corned beef & cabbage come to be so strongly associated with Saint Patrick’s Day in the States.? That largely had to do with where the Irish wound up living after they arrived in the New World.

“When the Irish first arrived in America following the Great Famine, a lot of them wound up living in the inner city right alongside the Germans & the Jews, who were also recent immigrants to the States. And while that farm-fresh pork that the Irish loved wasn’t readily available, there was brisket. Which the Irish could then cure by first covering this piece of meat with corn kernel-sized pieces of rock salt – that’s how it came to be called corned beef. Because of the sizes of the pieces of rock salt that were used in the curing process – and then placing all that in a pot of water with other spices to soak for a few days.”

And as for the cabbage portion of corned beef & cabbage … Well, according to Kevin, in addition to buying their meat from the kosher delis in their neighborhood, the Irish would also frequent the stores that the German community shopped in. Where – thanks to their love of sauerkraut (i.e., pickled cabbage) – there was always a ready supply of cabbage to be had.

“So when you get right down to it, it was the American melting pot that led to corned beef & cabbage being found in the Irish-American cooking pot,” Dundon continued. “Since they couldn’t find or didn’t have easy access to the exact same ingredients that they had back in Ireland, Irish-Americans made do with what they could find in the immediate vicinity. And what they made was admittedly tasty. But it’s not actually authentic Irish fare.”

Mind you, what Kevin serves at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant at Disney Springs (which – FYI – Orlando Magazine voted as the area’s best restaurant back in 2014) is nothing if not authentic. Dundon and his team at this acclaimed gastropub pride themselves on making traditional Irish fare and then contemporized it.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Take – for example – what we serve here instead of corned beef & cabbage. Again, because it was pork – rather than beef – that was the true staple of the Irish diet back then, what we offer instead is a loin of bacon that has been glazed with Irish Mist. That then comes with colcannon potatoes. Which is this traditional Irish dish that’s made up of mashed potato that have had some cabbage & bacon mixed through it,” Kevin enthused. “This heavenly ham – that’s what we actually call this traditional Irish dish at Raglan Road, Kevin’s Heavenly Ham – also includes some savory cabbage with a parsley cream sauce as well as a raisin cider jus. It’s simple food. But because of the basic ingredients – and that’s the real secret of Irish cuisine. That our ingredients are so strong – the flavors just pop off the plate.”

Which brings us to the real challenge that Dundon and the Raglan Road team face every day. Making sure that they actually have all of the ingredients necessary to make this traditional-yet-contemporized Irish fare to those folks who frequent this Walt Disney World favorite.

“Take – for example – the fish we serve here. We only used cold water fish. Salmon, mussels and haddock that have been hauled out of the Atlantic, the ocean that America and Ireland share,” Kevin stated. “Not that there’s anything wrong with warm water fish. It’s just that … Well, it doesn’t have the same structure. It’s a softer fish, which doesn’t really fit the parameters of Irish cuisine. And if you’re going to serve authentic food, you have to be this dedicated when it comes to sourcing your ingredients.

Copyright Mitchell Beazley. All rights reserved

And if you’re thinking of perhaps trying to serve an authentic Irish meal this year, rather than once again serving corned beef & cabbage at your Saint Patrick’s Day Feast … Well, back in September of last year, Mitchell Beazley published “The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub.” This 296-page hardcover not only includes the recipe for Kevin’s Heavenly Ham but also it tells the tale of how this now-world-renown restaurant wound up being built in Orlando.

On the other hand, if you happen to have to the luck of the Irish and are actually down at The Walt Disney World Resort right now, it’s worth noting that Raglan Road is right in the middle of its Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival. This four day-long event – which includes Irish bands and professional dancers – stretches through Sunday night. And in addition to all that authentic Irish fare that Dundon and his team are cooking up, you also sample the fine selection of beers & cocktails that this establishment’s four distinct antique bars (each of which are more than 130 years old and were imported directly from Ireland) will be serving. Just – As ucht Dé (That’s “For God’s Sake” in Gaelic) – don’t make the mistake of asking the bartender there for a mug of green beer.

“Why would anyone willingly drink something like that?,” Dundon laughed. “I mean, just imagine what their washroom will look like the morning after.”

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Friday, March 17, 2017

Continue Reading