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Mickey’s Mulligan OR How Disney kept redoing WDW’s Golf Resort over and over and over …

JHM columnist Larry Pontius returns with a wonderful piece about the one hotel that WDW management could never quite get right: The Golf Resort AKA the Disney Inn AKA Shades of Green.

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Hey, gang!

Jim Hill here. Our Mr. Pontius is far too modest to toot his own horn. Which is why I’m here today to do it for him.

Earlier this month, Larry’s book — “Waking Walt ” — was singled out for recognition by the Florida Writers Association. Cited as being the best speculative fiction book of the year, “Waking Walt” was then awarded the 2003 Royal Palm Award.

This is a really big deal, folks. Which is why — on behalf of the rest of the staff here at JimHillMedia.com — I’d like to offer our heartiest congratulations to Mr. Pontius. Way to go, Larry!

So now — with any further ado — here’s that award-winning author, Larry Pontius …


 

I guess everyone who’s interested in golf has heard that Vijay Singh won the Funai Classic this October. For those of you who don’t know a Vijay from a blue jay or a tee from a tea, the Funai Classic is the PGA golf tournament that’s held each year at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Well, that’s not exactly right, either.

This was actually the first Funai Classic. You see, Funai (a Japanese company that sells electronics under the Symphonic, Sylvania and Emerson brand names) is the new sponsor of this annual event that goes all the back to the opening of Walt Disney World in October of 1971.

Over the years, the tournament has had other sponsors — National Car Rental and Oldsmobile — and different formats. For a while it was called the Walt Disney World Team Championship and the golf pros played in two-man teams. The venue has also changed. Originally, it was played on the Palm and Magnolia courses at the Golf Resort. Then in 1986, it was switched to the Palm and Magnolia courses at the Disney Inn. Since 1994, the event has been played on the Palm and Magnolia courses at Shades of Green which is owned by the U.S. Army.

And with that brief history and rather strained attempt at humor, we get to the real subject of this column: what happened to the Golf Resort? Why did it morph into the Disney Inn and then end up being sold? Every year when the Classic comes around in October I scratch my head over that question. Before I scratch myself bald I’m going to lay out my take on it.

I think the Golf Resort was a conundrum (a paradoxical, insoluble, or difficult problem; a dilemma) from the beginning.

As far as I know, it wasn’t part of the original plan for Florida. The Palm and Magnolia golf courses were completed in 1971, but the Golf Resort didn’t open until 1973, two years after the grand opening of Walt Disney World. When I arrived as director of marketing in 1974, I heard the story that the golf courses and the Golf Resort were afterthoughts — plugged into the plan at the last minute by the “golfers” in California.

I have no idea whether the story is true or not, but I do know that there were several avid golfers among the top executives of the company at that time and they had to foresee spending a lot of time in Florida. With all that undeveloped land, it’s easy to see why they might have warmed to the idea of a golf facility on the property — especially one that was up to PGA standards.

Another detail might be construed to fit that theory: the Golf Resort opened with only 125 rooms and all of them felt like suites, with at least 450 sq. feet of space. Not exactly what you think of as “tourist” accommodations.

However, the clearest evidence that it was a last minute idea, and one of the clearest problems the Golf Resort would have, was the location. Take a look at any early Walt Disney World plan (there were a lot of them) and you’ll see that some things remain constant. There is a Ticket and Transportation Center across a lagoon from the Magic Kingdom. And there is a looping monorail connecting these two and any numbers of resorts on the shores of the lagoon.

The Golf Resort was literally out of the loop; almost a quarter of mile away from the nearest monorail stop at the Polynesian, down at the end of a two lane road that went nowhere.

Walt Disney World has changed dramatically since that time, with resorts spread all over the property today, and while the location may not seem a big deal now, believe me it was a major stumbling block in those days. It put the Golf Resort in the same boat as the Lake Buena Vista hotels, with most travel agents and tourists considering it not really a “Disney” resort. That was part of the reason that occupancy at the Golf Resort hovered from 60% to 75% while the Contemporary and Polynesian were essentially completely booked 365 days a year. In fact, as I recall, the Golf Resort was used as an overflow for the other two resorts. Otherwise, the numbers might not have been that good.

Of course, that also meant that there was always a room for the “golfers” from California. But I wax cynical here. I don’t for one minute think that Disney top management added the Golf Resort to the plan merely for their benefit. I’m sure they thought it would be an advantage to Walt Disney World, too. A magnet for serious golfers and for the millions of weekend duffers that would be bringing their families to visit Disney’s new theme park in Florida.

I mentioned earlier that I came aboard as the new marketing director in 1974. And, as you might expect, the Golf Resort “problem” was one of many high priorities that I found waiting on my desk. But I must admit that I broke my pick on this one. Despite an advertising campaign in several golf publications, the enormous publicity from the annual PGA tournaments, special mailings to travel agents, and a broad effort to include it in all of our marketing programs, the Golf Resort remained the weak sister of the Disney hotels on site — including the campground at Fort Wilderness.

So, what was going here? You’ve got a beautiful resort with two of the finest golf courses in the country located at the most popular tourist destination on earth — and nobody wants to stay there? Call me a “duh!” but I think that’s exactly right. Nobody wanted to stay there. The serious golfers that were supposed to be drawn to the Golf Resort had too many other quieter places to play in Florida, without tourists crawling all over the place (not that there’s anything wrong with tourists). Not to mention the Mickey Mouse stigma that many “serious” people abhor. And pity the weekend golfer who brings his family to Walt Disney World and puts them up in an out of the loop hotel so he can play a few rounds of golf. No, it simply didn’t have a market. And, frankly, I couldn’t figure out how to solve the problem.

Then, near the end of my tenure at Disney in 1980, I suddenly thought I had a possible solution. There was talk circulating that the company might build a third course at the Golf Resort. It would have to be different, I thought. Not just another 18 holes. Maybe it could be the answer; something that would attract every kind of golfer, a fantasy come true like the Magic Kingdom, but for golfers.

And that quickly the idea popped into my mind. I knew that the Imagineers at WED could design and build almost anything. So, what if we got together a committee of great golfers and had them select the greatest 18 holes of golf in the world. The greatest first hole (from Ireland perhaps). The greatest second hole (maybe from South Africa), and so on. Whenever possible we’d use the original designers of the holes as advisors to make sure we got things right. And we’d call it The Fantasy.

I still believe that any golfer who is still breathing in an out would have an itch to tee off on that course. It wouldn’t matter what your score was, but that you played “the game.” However, the powers that be pooh-poohed the idea and it was never really considered.

Instead, to appeal to more than golfers (as the releases noted), the Golf Resort became the Disney Inn in February of 1986 and was remodeled with a Snow White theme, and the addition of 150 rooms.

Since I’ve been an outsider, I have no idea of the thinking behind the other developments at the Golf Resort — aka Disney Inn — but I can report that a new golf course was added in 1992. The Oak Trail, a walk-only 9-hole course, is described as “for novices and better golfers who want to stretch their legs.”

I assume that these changes and additions didn’t work because in 1994 the Disney Company agreed to lease the Disney Inn to the U.S. Army for three years. And Disney management must have been flabbergasted when the resort almost immediately produced an occupancy rate of 95 per cent. Two years later the Army purchased it for $43 million and re-named it Shades of Green.

Part of this amazing turn-around is undoubtedly due to prices. In the early 1990s Disney was offering stays at its Snow White themed Disney Inn with room rates ranging from $195 to $500. The 2003 rates at Shades of Green range from $95 to $105, with suites that sleep 8 people available for $225 per night. The fact that Shades of Green is one of the few vacation facilities specifically for military personnel is also key. But the big reason may be a lot simpler than that. Shades of Green give thousands of military kids and their families the opportunity to live their fantasy of visiting Walt Disney World. And most of them don’t give a *** about golfing.

I watch golf sometimes now, but I’m not really into it. Still. I have a couple of great memories of the Golf Resort. One is from the Disney Team Championship tournament in 1976 won by Woody Blackburn and Bill Kratzer (I didn’t remember those names, I had to look them up) Long after it was all over, the awards given out, the champagne glasses clinked, and airline connections caught, I was walking through the Trophy Room restaurant. To my surprise, I saw Card Walker, the president of the Disney Company, sitting at a table all by himself. I thought at first — Nah! But then, why not? So I walked over and asked Card if everything was all right. He invited me to have a drink. And before the night was over I had agreed to move to corporate headquarter in Burbank with new expanded responsibilities.

My best memory, however, is from the Disney PGA tournament in 1999. The story begins with the fact that my 85 year-old mother has for some years been a golf fanatic. She can tell you the scores of most of the players, but her favorite is Tiger Woods. So, when the 1999 Classic approached I thought — what a great idea! Unfortunately, I had been an outsider by then for almost 20 years, with no access to any goodies. However, by hook and wife — who works for Universal — I was able to purloin two tickets.

And so, on the first day of the tournament, after parking frustrations and a long, tiring walk, we found ourselves in the crowd on one of the spectator mounds surrounding the 9th hole of Magnolia course close the club house. I couldn’t see what was happening, but when my mother said, “Someone’s coming!” I told her, “Pretend you’re an old lady — push to the front.”

And she did. And it was Tiger Woods, the winner of that year’s Classic.

 

Special thanks to Walt Dated World for providing additional research materials for this article.

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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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