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Mouse FACTory 4.0

Dale Ward’s back with even more historical trivia about the Walt Disney Company. So let’s look back at the opening at WDW’s Typhoon Lagoon as well as the “If You Had Wings” attraction.



May 30th

May 30, 2003 — “Finding Nemo” is released to theaters: If you’re wondering why Bob Iger has been knocking on Pixar’s door with flowers & candy, then take another look at “Finding Nemo” ‘s grosses.

“Finding Nemo” made $70 million in its first weekend. This Andrew Stanton film then went on to earn $340 million domestically, $840 mil worldwide. Which made this Pixar Animation Studios’ release the highest grossing film of 2003.

And — given that Pixar’s most recent release, “The Incredibles,” did almost as well ($261 million domestic, $631 worldwide) … Well, you can see why Bob is eager to get Steve Jobs back to the negotiating table.

June 1st

June 1, 1989 — WDW’s Typhoon Lagoon Opens: “Hurricane Connie ripped through Safen Sound, FL. Sucking up boats, docks and whatever else she felt like. Only to spit them out again on Placid Palms Resort. When Connie was through, she had permanently carved a name for herself on the tiny retreat and left debris big and small in some of the strangest places …”

This is Imagineering’s backstory for Typhoon Lagoon, Disney World’s beautifully landscaped water park. The centerpiece of the 56 acre park is Mount Mayday, a 100 foot high volcano / geyser topped by Miss Tilly.

Tilly, a charter out of Safen Sound, FL. was caught up in Connie’s wrath and skewered like a shrimp atop Placid Palms’ resident volcano, stopping the normal flow of geothermal gas. Steam from Mount Mayday now builds and blows through the horns of the old ship every half hour, shooting 50 foot geysers into the air.

At the base of the geyser is a two and a half acre tropical lagoon and wave pool (The largest wave pool in the United States. Or says the Mouse) filled with 2,750,000 gallons of water that can be pushed into waves up to six feet high. White sandy beaches surround the lagoon, making it a tanning haven as well as a body surfer’s dream.

If body surfing isn’t your thing, the Imagineers have designed nine other water attractions, two restaurants, plenty of snack bars and a store full of swimwear to round out the park.

June 1, 1995 — Space Mountain Paris Opens: In 1866, Jules Verne’s “From the Earth to the Moon” was originally published. In the novel, a Boston Gun Club has very little to do after the Civil War. Serious studies of firing distances and muzzle velocity to further the Union’s cause is now nothing more than theoretical discussion. The Club is due for some boring years ahead until club president Impey Barbicane makes a bold suggestion.

Barbicane proposes that the Club should make a cannon large enough to shoot a bullet to the moon. The audacious plan not only inspires the gun club to build the cannon, the designers decide to make the bullet a manned capsule. Work begins on the cannon; dubbed the Columbiad, and the project captures the imagination of the world.

Imagineers used the story as a launch point for “De La Terre Al La Lune” and the Discoveryland ride is definitely not your father’s Space Mountain. The cars don’t just chug up a hill. They’re launched from a cannon across the outside of the mountain. The Columbiad faithfully fires a 24 passenger “shell” into space every 36 seconds at peak operation. “De La Terre” is the only Space Mountain to have loops, corkscrews and extreme inversions. More to the point, this thrill ride is 30 percent faster than the “Space Mountains” at Walt Disney World, Disneyland or Tokyo.

As — if that wasn’t already bcool enough — this DLP attraction received a makeover earlier this year. It seems the flight to the moon was so successful that the cannon is now launching explorers into deeper space. “Space Mountain: Mission 2” has better sound, more effects and an even longer and faster launch. Viva La France!

June 2nd

June 2, 1989 — Touchstone Pictures releases “The Dead Poets Society” : When director Peter Weir filmed “The Dead Poets Society,” he made two unusual decisions. The first was to shoot the movie in continuity, to shoot it beginning to end as it’s seen in the theaters. The reasoning was to give certain realism to the deepening bond between Keating (Robin Williams) and his students. The second decision was to keep the kids playing the students away from the dailies. The kids didn’t get to see just how they were performing, making their performances more of a team collective and perhaps making the experience a little less competitive.

The film was a hit for Robin Williams and helped ensure his position as a box office draw. The film got him nominated in the Best Actor category at the Golden Globes and the Oscars.

“They’re not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they’re destined for great things, just like many of you; their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? — Carpe — hear it? — Carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” — John Keating, “The Dead Poets Society.”

June 3rd

June 3, 2001 — “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” debuts in Hollywood: If you were fortunate enough to see this animation feature during its run at the El Capitan Theatre, then you would have had the chance to experience “Destination: Atlantis,” the three story walk-through attraction next door.

How much fun would it have been to sit in a scale model of an Atlantean Ketak, that manta ray-shaped vehicles from the film? Or learn the Atlantean language from a touch pad kiosk? The multileveled experience let you dig for a crystal or sharks tooth to make into a bracelet, touch sea life in pools provided by the Long Beach Aquarium or build a city out of blocks and watch an earthquake send it to the watery depths.

Inside the “Whitmore Library” exhibit, you could peruse cases filled with artifacts “donated” by members of the Atlantis Expedition along with sketches used during the film. A scale model of the submarine Ulysses dominated the middle of the room.

Did I mention the Lazer Tag arena? Where guests could don vests and enter a room filled with smoke, neon and the glowing icons of Atlantis & attempt to score points while shooting at their friends?

The whole thing must have cost the Mouse a fortune. It’s a shame that “Destination: Atlantis” was experienced by so few moviegoers during its approximately 6 week run. A show like that at aquariums or children’s museums across the US could have given this underrated film a much needed boost.

June 4th

June 4, 1990 — WDW’s Dolphin resort opens: This distinctive 27-story hotel appears to be floating on a blue lagoon. The tan and brick-red exterior is painted with a banana leaf mural and topped with two gigantic fish statues. But the fish aren’t really fish. They’re dolphins. Or — to be specific — early seafarer’s versions of dolphins. Like something you might find drawn in the margins of a pirates map.

Architect Michael Graves designed both the Swan & Dolphin Hotels with early Florida tourism in mind. The huge tented foyer in the Dolphin brings to mind elegance of a bygone age. When caravans of upper class eastern tourists would come to bask in the warm weather and see the unusual seaside delights of an early Florida.

All the floral patterns and exotic animals framed in Terra Cotta, Coral and Turquoise are the distinctive signature palette of many Michael Graves projects. Both a designer of household goods for clients like Target as well as an architect for projects like the San Juan Capistrano Library, Graves’s eclectic personal view of design has created in both the Swan & Dolphin two very distinctive buildings. The Dolphin — like the architect that created it — is anything but ordinary.

June 5th

June 5, 1972 — “If You Had Wings” debuts at WDW’s Magic Kingdom: This Tomorrowland attraction was presented by Eastern Airlines, which was Disney World’s official airline at the time. “If You Had Wings” made use of the Omnimover system (I.E. The ride system that is still used today to move guests through all the various versions of “The Haunted Mansion”) to move WDW visitors past exotic ports of call. While a catchy little ditty written by “Buddy” Baker tied the whole thing together.

While it wasn’t a very complex ride (And — to be honest — this Tomorrowland attraction was little more that a commercial for Eastern), “If You Had Wings” still had a simple charm that many Disney World old timers wax nostalgic about.

If you had wings
You could do anything
You could widen your world
If you had wings”

If you’d like to learn even more about “If You Had Wings,” I suggest you check out this link. Which will be the only “If You Had Wings” site you’ll ever need.

June 5, 1998 — “Mulan” premieres at the Hollywood Bowl: Disney loves extravagant premieres and “Mulan” was no exception. While not as huge as the “Pocahontas” premiere in Central Park or as expensive as the premiere of “Pearl Harbor,” “Mulan” was a memorable and large stage production that included an hour’s entertainment before the premiere and fireworks effects timed to the film.

Because of the size of the Hollywood Bowl, sound takes a little while to travel to the back. To fix this, Disney employed a sound system that divided the Bowl into different zones. Each of the zones received the sound with a small delay to make sure that it better matched the action on the screen.

A big challenge was getting enough light on the giant 85 foot long screen. A summer sunset of 8:30 or 9 p.m. coupled with the huge amount of ambient light always hovering over Hollywood meant special 70 mm prints of “Mulan” had to be made. Because the print was so specialized, it took thousands of feet of film to get things right, a very expensive proposition.


Lonnie Burr (May 31 1943-) Lonnie was one of only nine Mouseketeers that managed to stay with the Mickey Mouse Club from beginning to end. In spite of being one of the group’s most outspoken members, Lonnie is often seen at Disney events — including Disneyland’s 50th Celebration. The omni-talented singer, dancer, actor, author and playwright will turn 62.

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 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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