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Getting in on the Ground Floor: Walt Disney World’s Very First Participants

JHM columnist Wade Sampson returns with an intriguing new article that describes — in great detail — which corporation paid to sponsor which attraction at the Magic Kingdom back in WDW’s early days. Read and enjoy!

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Corporate Alliances and Operating Participants are quietly disappearing from Walt Disney World. Just this last year, AT&T closed their lounge in Spaceship Earth as Kodak closed its lounge near the Imagination Pavilion and American Express pulled out of their lounge and Exxon will shortly be closing theirs at Universe of Energy. (Kodak and Exxon will continue sponsoring the attractions until their contracts run out.)

At one time, business saw Disney as a wonderful “billboard” for their company where millions of guests associated their brand with the Disney brand of fun and quality that they saw during their experience at Walt Disney World but with changes at Disney, it no longer seems the best investment. Disney has developed a reputation of not being as responsive to its alliances and participants as in the past.

Of course, when Disneyland opened in 1955 they were called “lessees”. Kodak had a place on Main Street along with Coca-Cola and Hallmark Cards. When Walt was asked why he wanted these companies represented on Main Street with their logos large enough to be clearly seen, he replied, “They make the fantasy real.” These were the companies people would have expected to see at a turn of the century Main Street and they represented the thing that was most important to Walt: high quality. They also allowed Walt to provide quality to guests in areas that Disney couldn’t afford at the time.

When MET LIFE pulled out of sponsoring the Wonders of Life pavilion and Disney was unable for years to find a substitute (just like when the Living Seas sponsor pulled out), everyone knew that the pavilion was soon to journey into the land of Yesterland. January 5, 2004 was the official closing of the Wonders of Life at Epcot although Disney claims that the attractions like “Cranium Command,” “Making of Me” and “Body Wars” will be open on a “seasonal basis” like Carousel of Progress in Magic Kingdom. However, Disney is just as definite that Pure and Simple and the Merchandising shop will not re-open even “seasonally”.

Now, change is part of life and certainly part of Disney history. I’ve included some excerpts from a memo before the opening of the Magic Kingdom in 1971 about the first participants at Walt Disney World. I’ve put my commentary in parenthesis. I got a copy of this document from one of those first participants and it features no Disney copyright (because they weren’t as worried about it in those days):

U.S. STEEL COMPANY
U.S. Steel is leasing land from Walt Disney World company to construct hotels with modular units. The Walt Disney World Hotel Company will operate the hotels. This is the first use of modular steel units in this type of construction, and may be the forerunner of this type of product in the future. (COMMENT: This was for the Contemporary and the Polynesian resorts. By building the framework and building the rooms separately, it supposedly cut building time in half. U.S. Steel did not want a monorail to run through the center of the Contemporary but Imagineer John Hench held firm. And isn’t it amusing that for the longest time it was the only Disney resort around the Seven Seas Lagoon that did not have access for wheelchair guests to get up to the monorail?)

KAL KAN
The Kal Kan Kennel Club will be similar to the facility they sponsor at Disneyland, which is a holding area for the pets of guests visiting Disneyland. The only difference will be over night accommodations for pets in WDW.

GULF OIL CORPORATION
In addition to the service stations located on the project for both guests and employees, Gulf Oil will sponsor the introduction to the Walt Disney story which will be located in the Main Street Hotel building on Town Square. Gulf will have the exclusive rights for oil products in the projects, and will have the same for Disneyland.

OSCAR MAYER
Oscar Mayer will be billboard sponsor of the Hotel Coffee Shop in Town Square. This will be our prime in-Park breakfast area for Walt Disney World, and their products will be served exclusively in this area. Their ham, sausage, and wieners will be served exclusively in the Hotel Coffee Shop and throughout the Theme Park.

GAF CORPORATION
GAF will have an operation similar to their Disneyland facility, dispensing photo information to the guests visiting the Theme Park. They will also provide photo trail signs, which are the picture taking spots they have selected throughout the Park. Their film will be the official film of Walt Disney World, as it is at Disneyland. (COMMENT: Kodak was one of the original participants at Disneyland. Kodak even sponsored what we know as “the second opening of Disneyland” in 1959 when we introduced the monorail, the submarine ride, expanded “Autopia,” “Motor Boat Cruise” and the “Matterhorn.” Kodak was the sole sponsor for an ABC television show called “Kodak presents Disneyland ’59”, a ninety minute special hosted by Art Linkletter on June 15, 1959. And I hope someone has a copy because neither the Disney Archives nor Kodak’s archives have a copy of that broadcast. Although I am assuming one of the reasons is that clips from that presentation probably appear in “GALA DAY AT DISNEYLAND.” The longtime partnership with Kodak was interrupted during the 1970s when GAF became the official participant.)

SAVANNAH SUGAR (Market House)
Savannah Sugar will be associated in the Market House, and will be the official sugar of Walt Disney World. Their section will include penny candy as was found at the turn of the century in market houses.

J.M. SMUCKER COMPANY (Market House)
Smucker will be the second participant in the Market House, and will display and sell gift packs of their jams and jellies. Their products will be served throughout the project.

PLANTER’S PEANUTS (Market House)
Planter’s nut products will also be featured in the Market House.

HALLMARK, INC.
Hallmark will have a shop similar to their facility at Disneyland, which they will operate themselves. We have recently entered into a licensing agreement with Hallmark for use of the Disney Characters on cards and other products outside Disneyland. (COMMENT: Joyce Clyde Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards, was a long time friend of Walt’s and you can see a letter from him to Walt in the ONE MAN’S DREAM attraction at Disney/MGM Studios. One unidentified item in that attraction is in Walt’s informal office, behind his chair, is a small gold crown, the symbol of Hallmark and a special gift from J.C. to Walt. Hallmark signed their first licensing agreement with Disney in 1932.)

COCA-COLA COMPANY
Coca-Cola will have two locations within the Theme Park-Main Street Refreshment Corner, and the Tomorrowland Terrace. Their products include Coca-Cola, TAB, Fresca, and Fanta Flavor, and will be served at both locations. (COMMENT: TAB stood for “Totally Artificial Beverage” and a TAB bottle is in one of the shadowboxes in the lobby of the new POP CENTURY resort at WDW. Coca-Cola became the sole soft drink participant in 1982 when it became the sponsor of the AMERICAN ADVENTURE at Epcot.)

SARA LEE
Sara Lee will sponsor the Main Street Bake Shop, which will be a self-service snack operation. Sara Lee products will be sold exclusively in this location. In addition, they will sponsor the Creole Café in Disneyland starting with the summer of 1971.

BORDENS
The Ice Cream Parlor will be sponsored by Bordens, with their milk, ice cream, and cheese products being served and sold exclusively in Walt Disney World. In addition to the Main Street locations, Bordens will have identification on all ice cream carts, as well as a soft ice cream stand in Fantasyland. (COMMENT: Borden’s mascot was Elsie the Cow. The 15th “live” Elsie opened the Ice Cream Parlor at WDW in 1971.)

FLORIDA CITRUS
Florida Citrus will sponsor the Tiki Room in Walt Disney World. Our contract states that we cannot use anything but Florida Citrus products on the property. Individual brands cannot be promoted, only citrus from Florida. (COMMENT: The Florida Orange Bird was designed by Disney and featured on a variety of merchandise from banks, records, bobble heads, plates and cups and more. The Orange Bird was created for the Florida Citrus Growers when they sponsored the Magic Kingdom’s Tiki Room. He also appeared in commercials and an educational film called “Food and Fun: A Nutrition Adventure” that was released in September of 1980. There was even an Orange Bird walkaround costumed character who was outside the Sunshine Tree Terrace where Florida Orange Juice was sold. A smaller likeness of the Orange Bird sat in the branches of the Sunshine Tree. The sponsorship ended in 1986.)

PEPSI-COLA AND FRITOS
Because they are the same company, PepsiCo, they have the joint sponsorship of the Bear Band. In conjunction with the show, there is an eating facility which will consist of the Mile Long Bar and Pecos Café. Their products will be served exclusively in these locations. In addition to Pepsi-Cola, Diet Pepsi, and Teem, they will also have their flavor line available. Fritos will dominate the snack food area with corn chips, potato chips and onion rings. Both brands will be served throughout the Park.

WELCH FOODS
Welch’s products will be served exclusively at the Mickey Mouse Refreshment Stand in Fantasyland. Their only area of exclusivity is grape juice, and this is somewhat restricted throughout the Park. (COMMENT: In Disneyland, in Fantasyland, there was a Welch’s Grape Juice Bar near the Fantasyland Theater done up with a hand painted mural of the centaurs and such from FANTASIA with the grapes being used not for the wine but for grape juice. It opened in 1955 when Welch’s was one of the sponsors of the Mickey Mouse Club. There were supposedly plans when the new Fantasyland was being built in 1983 for a Welch’s area that would have wooden barrels with spigots like wine barrels that would have dispensed Welch’s grape juice but it was never built.)

TOMORROWLAND
We have talked to several companies about sponsorship of major attractions in Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland. However, none are to the signed-contract point. Those companies include RCA, Johns-Mansville, Eastern Air Lines, Edison Electric Institute, Monsanto and American Telephone and Telegraph. At this writing, the only participant in Tomorrowland is Coca-Cola at the Tomorrowland Terrace. In addition to the above, we are in serious discussions with National BankAmericard, Inc. and the Hertz Corporation.

Sigh. In the old days, companies were waiting in line to sponsor a Disney attraction. How interesting that some of these participants have not been participated at Disney for years and years.

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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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