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My Disney Experience delays are having a domino effect on several Magic Kingdom projects

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"The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray." This oft-quoted line from Robert Burns' 1785 poem applies to an awful lot of aspects of modern day life. But none more so than the work that's recently been done in & around WDW's Magic Kingdom Park.

Take — for example — that "Tangled" -themed rest area that recently came online in Fantasyland. Even before this elaborately themed set of bathrooms was officially opened to the public, some of the Mouse's more vocal online critics were using this pair of potties as an excuse to once again go after Team Disney Orlando. Complaining about how ridiculous / wasteful it was for The Walt Disney Company to devote this much time, money and effort to theming a set of restrooms.

But here's the thing: You know that area off to the left of the Rapunzel restrooms? Just past the "D-Zone" with its 6 charging stations where WDW Guests can now recharge their Droids, iPhones and other electronic devices for free? Did you notice that walkway alongside the garden that kind of leads to nowhere? Which features this beauty spot where Rapunzel's tower is in the background and a small waterfall is in the foreground?


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Doesn't it strike you odd that the Imagineers would go to all that trouble of creating such a  pleasing visual in a part of the Magic Kingdom where few Guests would ever venture? If you spent all of this time & money creating such a beautiful "Tangled" -themed backdrop, wouldn't you then at some point actually want to use it?

Well, that was the original plan, folks. This exact spot was where WDW visitors were supposed to go if they wanted to have their pictures taken with Rapunzel & Flynn Rider. Until Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom became too popular and then the My Disney Experience program fell behind schedule. Which is what causes the Imagineers to deviate from their original plans for this portion of that theme park.

Because — make no mistake, people — The Walt Disney Company knows all too well how popular the "Tangled" characters are with the public these days. Going strictly by retail sales, Rapunzel is the most popular Disney Princess to be introduced in decades (She's right up there — from a merch point of view — with The Little Mermaid . And Ariel dolls have been consistent sellers with little girls for almost a quarter of a century now). Which is why — in the late Summer / early Fall of 2011 — when word came down from Disney's corporate headquarters that Rapunzel & Flynn Rider were going to have to vacate Fairytale Garden (You know? That elaborately themed character meet-and-greet area located just to the right of Cinderella Castle) so that Princess Merida of Pixar's "Brave " could then move in in the Spring of 2012 … Well, that caused some real consternation both at WDI as well as inside of WDW's  Character Department.


Photo by Gene Duncan. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Interesting side note: That whole Scottish Highlands-retheming of the Fairytale Garden area (along with those three Audio Animatronic bear cubs) was paid for by Walt Disney Studios as part of the Company's worldwide effort to promote the June 2012 theatrical release of Pixar's "Brave."

Anyway … Getting back to today's story  … Given how popular Rapunzel & Flynn Rider were with Disney World visitors (More importantly, given that a family bathroom was already in the works for that quiet corner of the Magic Kingdom which the long defunct Fantasyland Skyway Station had been previously operated out of), a plan was put in motion to create WDW's first-ever character-based restroom with an appropriately themed meet-and-greet area just off to the side. Blueprints were drawn up. Budgets were approved. Contracts were signed. Everything was good to go …

Meanwhile, the people who were prepping the My Disney Experience / MagicBands program for the theme parks realized that there were going to be a certain number of Guests every day in the Parks who weren't going to have their Smart Phones or Droids with them OR were going to leave these electronic devices at home or back in their hotel rooms. Which meant that if these WDW visitors were looking to modify any of the ride times and/or dining reservations that they'd previously made, these people were then going to have to have access to some sort of My Disney Experience kiosk which would allow them to make modifications to these reservations.


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So the plan (at least as far as the Magic Kingdom was concerned) was that there'd initially be two sets of these kiosks built. One would be located towards the front of that theme park in the Town Square area of Main Street, U.S.A. While the other would be built deep inside of that theme park. To be specific, inside of the then-vacant Crow's Nest storefront that Kodak used to operate in Adventureland just past Pirates of the Caribbean.

But then Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom debuted in February of 2012. And given how wildly popular this new interactive role-playing game quickly proved to be with WDW visitors, the managers of that theme park immediately decided that they needed a second interactive role-playing game to take some of the heat off of Sorcerers (More to the point, cut down on the number of  5-and-10-person-deep lines which were popping up all around the Park. Where Guests were patiently standing with their Sorcerer Key Card & Spell Cards in hand, waiting for their chance to do battle with various Disney Villains).

Which is why the "A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas" interactive role-playing game was brought online. The only problem with this MK-based project was … Well, just as Disney World Guests needed a specific place inside of that theme park to go in order to sign up to play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and get issued their first set of Spell Cards and their Sorcerer Key (which — in this case — was inside of the Old Firehouse on Main Street, U.S.A. as well as behind the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square), "A Pirate's Adventure: Treasure of the Seven Seas" was also going to need a headquarters / base-of-operations. Which Magic Kingdom managers eventually decided would be built inside of the Crow's Nest.


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And once that decision was made, the dominos began to fall all over that theme park. Since the Crow's Nest was no longer available to house those My Disney Experience  kiosks that WDW felt had to be located deep inside of that theme park … Given that an area where people could line up had already been designed into the site plan for the "Tangled" rest area, Magic Kingdom managers decided to move the location of those deep-in-the-park My Disney Experience kiosks over to this corner of Fantasyland. So they ordered that the necessary electrical & interactive terminal changes be made to the Rapunzel restrooms construction plans.

The only problem with doing that was now Magic Kingdom managers were concerned that if they had two lines going back in this corner of that theme park (i.e. one for Guests looking to change ride times & dinner reservations, while the other line was for people looking to get their photographs taken with Rapunzel & Flynn Rider), someone might then get confused and accidentally get on the wrong line. Which might then lead to a bad Guest experience. Which is something that Disney World always tries to avoid at all costs.

So — to prevent this from happening — Magic Kingdom managers decided to put the idea of having a Rapunzel & Flynn Rider meet-n-greet as part of this theme park's "Tangled" -themed rest area on hold for a while. At least until the My Disney Experience program was up & running and WDW Officials could then gauge how many Guests were actually going to need access to interactive kiosks in order to make changes to their previously booked ride times and/or dining reservations.


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Now never mind that the Imagineers had already planned to plant a colorful garden alongside the area where WDW Guests were supposed to stand & wait for their chance to meet-n-greet with Rapunzel & Flynn Rider. Or that — in order to help people pass the time as they stood in line — WDI had plans to hide Pascal statues all over that garden so these Disney World visitors could then search for this tiny chameleon while they waited.

Mind you, even though the Rapunzel & Flynn Rider meet-n-greet was now on hold, the Imagineers still went ahead with the construction of that garden and its "Hidden Pascal" decorative program. All with the hope that Magic Kingdom managers might eventually change their minds about this planned character greeting area for Fantasyland. And if they did, then all of the necessary supporting elements for a successful queue area for the Rapunzel & Flynn Rider meet-n-greet would already be in place.

Confused yet? Wait. It gets better. Because the in-park launch of My Disney Experience is now running months behind schedule, Magic Kingdom managers have now decided to put off their plans to install any of those interactive kiosks where Guests could then go to change their ride times and/or dinner reservations. But since this corner of Fantasyland is now wired to support computers and other electrical devices … Well, they didn't want all of that wiring to go to waste. Which is why WDW officials turned this portion of the "Tangled" rest area into  a "D-Zone." Where — thanks to the 6 charging stations — Disney World visitors can now recharge their electronic devices for free.


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Now please keep in mind that this "D-Zone" will only remain in place until the My Disney Experience program finally gets in gear again. And once that happens, these free charging stations will then be replaced by those now-delayed interactive kiosks.

And speaking of delays … Since My Disney Experience / MagicBands is now running behind schedule, WDW officials have now decided to push back the construction of some of those new Scene Ones which were supposed to be installed around the Magic Kingdom to help handle all of the Guests who will now be waiting in longer lines for their chance to experience these newly enhanced Fast Pass Plus attractions. Which is why those bathrooms next to Peter Pan's Flight (which were supposed to be demolished just as soon as the Rapunzel rest area opened to then make room for a newly expanded  queue for this super-popular Fantasyland dark ride) are still standing. Mouse House managers just don't want to proceed with this particular construction project until My Disney Experience / MagicBands is officially up and running.

Which — given that " … the best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men gang aft agley" (FYI: That's the way Burns — the proud Scot — originally wrote this line in his poem. The "often go astray" translation only came about when this poem was eventually Anglicized) — could be a while yet.


Image courtesy of WDWLive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jens Dahlmann back during his Disney World days

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

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

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

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

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

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

Photo by Jim Hill

… or perhaps even pet a few of the participants.

Photo by Jim Hill

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

Photo by Jim Hill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“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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