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Disney’s long-range plans for Mickey Mouse don’t include new shorts

As part of this week’s Why For column, Jim Hill walks you through some of the Company’s plans to revive & revitalize this corporate icon. He also reminds JHM readers that the deadline for buying tickets to “55 Years of Music Magic” is rapidly approaching

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First up, I just want to let JHM readers know that – if you’re thinking about attending next Saturday’s “55 Years of Music Magic” event at the Disneyland Hotel – the deadline for this Disneyland Alumni Club shindig is rapidly approaching.

You only have ‘til Sunday night to purchase tickets to this Disneyland 55th
anniversary celebration. If you wait ‘til Monday morning … Well, you’re then going to miss out. For absolutely no seats are going sold at the door for this once-in-a-lifetime musical extravaganza. Which will feature performances by Disneyland favorites like Rod Miller, the Dapper Dans and Billy Hill and the Hillbillies.

So if you don’t want to miss out, order your tickets to “55 Years of Music Magic” today. Like right now, if you can.

Copyright 2010 Disney and the Disneyland Alumni Club. All Rights Reserved

And speaking of old favorites, Jason R. just sent me a Why For questions that asks about the Company’s future plans for a certain 81 year-old mouse.

Long time fan and reader.  Thank you for what you do and your wonderful insight.

Why for has Disney not make any new cartoons based on Mickey and his friends?  The last real cartoon I can think of was Goofy’s How To Hook Up Your Home Theater, which shows Disney still has it in them.  I heard talks that even Warner Brothers is going to make new Bug’s Bunny cartoons.  Is Mickey nothing more than a corporate icon, and because current generations have not seen their cartoons, will they only see him as such?

 Copyright 2007 Disney. All Rights Reserved

Jason R.

Dear Jason R.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news here. But The Walt Disney Company’s current long-range plans for Mickey Mouse (at least the most recent version of this Mouse House manifesto, anyway) don’t include any new theatrical shorts for this much beloved character.

But that said … You have seen “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” right? That CG animated series that debuted on the Disney Channel back in May of 2006? There have been 73 episodes produced to date of this Playhouse Disney show. All of which have featured the Fab 5 (i.e. Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Minnie and Pluto) as well as characters from the classic Disney shorts like Pete, Daisy Duck, Clarabelle Cow & Chip ‘n Dale. Not to mention fan favorites from the Disney films & TV shows like Willie the Giant, Ludwig Von Drake and Figaro the Cat.

So it’s not like Disney has been deliberately keeping these characters out of the spotlight. If anything, thanks to “Mickey Mouse Playhouse,” the Mickster is now more popular with the 2 – 5 year-old set than he’s been since the mid-1950s. And with the hope that they then might able to
extend this audience’s enthusiasm for Mickey Mouse … Well, that’s why Disney launched its “Have-A-Laugh!” program late last year.

Copyright Disney Enterprises LLC

Mind you, a key component of “Have-A-Laugh” program is to take those classic Mickey Mouse shorts that the Studio produced back in the 1930s & 1940s and then contemporize them. Which (in this case, anyway) means tightening up these 7-minute-long cartoons by cutting them down to 4 to 5-minute-long segments. They then re-recorded the audio portions & musical soundtracks of these re-edited shorts so that the “Have-A-Laugh!” segments would then have a style & sound that was consistent with all of the other Mickey Mouse material that The Walt Disney Company is producing nowadays.

Which – I know – will sound somewhat sacrilegious to all you Disney purists out there. But you have to understand that – by doing this — the Company is trying to do just what you asked for, Jason. Which was to make Mickey seem far more palatable for today’s audiences. Change this bland corporate symbol into something that consumers could once again associate with fun and adventure.

And there are other components of this plan. That Dance Star Mickey toy which hit store shelves this holiday season, for example. Not to mention that Mickey Mouse Group Wall thing that Create on Disney.com just launched. When allows kids to use art and stickers to create their very own portrait of Mickey. Which can then be added to each month’s Mickey mosaic.

 Photo by Nancy Stadler

And then – of course – there’s “Epic Mickey.” Which really amps up the fun & adventure factor by turning Mickey loose in the Wasteland. Which hardcore Disneyana fans should love, given that this gaming environment is filled with obscure characters from Disney’s past
(take – for example – Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt’s first real cartoon star. Who serves as the ruler of this alternate dimension Disney World). Not to mention lots of sly nods to the Company’s theme park attractions, animated features and TV shows.

But the best part of “Epic Mickey” is that this title’s lead developer – renowned game designer Warren Spector – is a big time Disney history buff. Which is why the Mouse who appears in this new game is the Mickey Mouse from the early 1930s. Spector opted to resurrect this version of the character for “Epic Mickey.” Arguing that that pie-eyed scrapper (who was a lot
more energetic & adventurous than the bland corporate symbol that we know today) was a far better fit for the gaming world.

So it’s not like The Walt Disney Company has completely abandoned Mickey, Jason. It’s just that … Well, rather than going with the old tried-and-true ways (i.e. producing and then releasing new theatrical shorts), they’re now going to where the audience really is these days. Which is online, or at home playing with their Wii or watching the Disney Channel or in the theme parks.

Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

I mean, you don’t seriously think that it was a coincidence that when Walt Disney Imagineering rolled out its first next generation walk-around character for the Parks (which not only winks & blinks but can also address the Guests that it’s interacting with by name) that they used Mickey as their test subject? Disney’s always looking for new ways to make Mickey more relevant to today’s consumers / audiences.

Besides, it’s not like Walt Disney Animation Studios has totally out of the shorts business. Look for their latest effort, “Tick Tock Tale” (which is this cute little short about an old, marked-down alarm clock who winds up foiling a robbery attempt at a watch shop), to turn up in front of “Tangled” sometime later this year.

But as for Mickey Mouse … Well, the Company clearly hasn’t stopped producing new hand-drawn projects that feature older characters
in their corporate catalog. Just look at “Winnie the Pooh,” that new feature-length film
which will be hitting theaters in July of 2011.

Copyright 2010 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

But when it comes to Mickey … Well, this revitalization effort was supposedly one of Lasseter’s pet projects when he came through the door at Disney in 2006. I remember hearing about this big retreat that the Company held that year, where all sorts of key creatives came together & then talked about what could be done to get people excited about Mickey Mouse once
more. Turn this cartoon character into the sort of white-hot star that he used to be back in the 1930s.

As I understand it, the Dance Star Mickey toy as well as the “Epic Mickey” game can be traced directly back to that meeting. As well as a number of the Company’s recent online initiatives to help Mickey Mouse connect with today’s more web-savvy younger generation.

So the downside is … You probably won’t see any new Mickey Mouse shorts like “Runaway Brain” coming out of this revitalization effort (Now I know that animation fans just loved “Runaway Brain.” But – to be honest – that Chris Bailey film just scared the crap out of the suits. Which is why the Studio gave this short such short shrift back in 1995 before they then shoved
“Brain” towards the back of the vaunted Disney vault). But the upside is … You should expect to see lots of Mickey Mouse-related stuff popping up as part of Disney’s new business ventures. More importantly, across all of the new distribution platforms that the Company is using / will soon be using.

Copyright 1995 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Which is probably not the ending to this tail … er … tale that you were hoping for, Jason. But Mickey’s always been a pretty innovative guy. He did appear in the first cartoon with synchronized sound after all. So it only makes sense that the Mouse should be part of Disney’s exploration of new technologies. Rather than just repeating himself by churning out yet another theatrical short.

Anyway … That’s it for this week, folks. Please remember that you only have ‘til Sunday night to purchase your tickets to next Saturday night’s “55 Years of Music Magic” event at the Disneyland Hotel. And since this is one anniversary party that you really don’t want to miss, don’t forget to make that call today, okay?

Have a great weekend!

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.

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

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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  ExpertGriller.com prior to firing up your grill or smoker later today. 

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

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

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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

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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

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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

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