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Drinking Around the (Disney) World: A Retrospective

Written by Katrina Mutuc

As I live here in Orlando, I have been reflecting on the intense quiet we have had as the latest situation unfolds. I wanted to contribute a Disney-specific retrospective, to briefly remember a less stressful time, when the parks were open and the rides were on. But I realized that there is something even more important that I miss about the parks than the rides or snacks. At Disney, we celebrate with the people we love.

We talk and catch up - often over a drink.

At Disney World, a drink is a welcome pause. It’s a breath of fresh air on a humid day. It’s a chance to sit down and truly reunite with the people with whom we chose to share a magical experience.

I’ve enjoyed these Disney drinks while celebrating birthdays, cross-country reunions, goodbye-for-nows, anniversary dates, and just life, with some of my greatest friends.

And when the resort reopens, I sincerely hope that you will get to

return and do the same.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Venue: Nomad Lounge

Drink: Annapurna Zing

The outdoor patio of Nomad Lounge is a godsend on sunny days. Its prime location between Discovery Island (the park’s center) and Pandora - The World of Avatar makes it the perfect place to breathe before waiting two hours for a ride.

The Annapurna Zing is a delightfully easy cocktail to drink. The recipe highlights gin’s often overlooked ability to play with bright fruit flavors (in this case, passion fruit and lime). Alternatively, it is easily made non-alcoholic, with ginger beer serving as the star of the drink.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Venue: BaseLine Tap House

Drink: Ace Space Bloody Orange Hard Cider

BaseLine Tap House serves as a quiet oasis at the foot of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, much like Nomad Lounge does for Pandora. The bar gives off a well-themed California cool vibe, even on a humid day, with a stellar west coast beer list and soundtrack of acoustic pop covers.

Thanks to the particular fruit selected for the Bloody Orange Hard Cider, it does not suffer from the typical criticism that ciders are too sweet. In fact, it adds a deeper fruit flavor that lends itself well to carbonation and the more beer-like side of cider, while it still works hard to revive you on a tiring day.

Magic Kingdom Park - Resort Area

Venue: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Drink: HippopotoMai-Tai

Sadly, there is no such drink oasis for Magic Kingdom, which only allows (1) order of beer or wine per entree, at table service meals. However, a great post-park outing nightcap is only a monorail or boat ride away, at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. If you are still running on vacation adrenaline after hitting the Magic Kingdom mountains, Trader Sam’s is the perfect place for you. It is a gorgeously low-lit and dressed up bar, full to the brim with detailed props and show effects. And yes - it is worth the long wait for a table or stool inside the main room.

The HippopotoMai-Tai is everything a tiki drink is expected to be, with a twist. It’s rum-based, and topped with lime juice to cut through the alcohol’s bite. But the drink’s blend of Plantation Original Dark Rum and Bacardi Superior Rum, plus the unexpected additions of Orgeat (sweet almond) syrup and agave nectar, give the cocktail a heightened elegance. Plus, ordering it triggers a unique show effect throughout the bar. How’s that for a conversation starter?

Epcot Center - Resort Area

Venue: AbracadaBar

Drink: Parlor Trick

Drinking around the world at Epcot is an exciting (if not daunting) activity that has become extremely popular. However, hopping from counter to counter during the day is not nearly the same kind of refreshment as a post-park nightcap. My favorite place to get one is walking distance from the north gate of Epcot, at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. Next to Epcot, the Boardwalk feels like getting home from work, sitting down, and letting out a sigh. It boasts a gorgeous New England-inspired boardwalk, with adorable benches, a pizza stand, and even performers. The AbracadaBar opens into this boardwalk, offering a spot to rest your feet after a walk around the world.

Much like the bar’s decor, the Parlor Trick seems like it should be more aggressively themed, but in fact is a more subtle surprise. On the surface, it consists of merely bourbon, stirred with simple syrup and a splash of soda water. But the sweetness offers a new way to taste the many flavors of this complex bourbon, which is small batch and distilled from Four Roses in Kentucky. Whisky Magazine just named Four Roses its Master Distiller / Master Blender of 2020, and it shows. While bourbon is typically known for its bolder flavor, this expert blend of four recipes has a unique sense of calm.

Disney Springs

Venue: The Edison

Drink: Corpse Reviver

The Edison feels far away from the typical Disney Springs fare, which consists of bright venues like Rainforest Cafe. Once you step in, you are immediately transported into a 1920s powerplant-turned-speakeasy. A live band covers pop songs in a jazzy Great Gatsby-esque style, on a stage overlooking a full swing dance floor. Flappers join in with lively dancing on the hour. The mood inspires a vintage vibe and out-of-the-box thinking.

Absinthe is the main draw of the Corpse Slinger, as it was historically sought after for its hallucinatory properties around the 1920s. In 2020, we know that is not the case, and absinthe has made its way into craft cocktails across the country. The menu describes the Corpse Reviver as having an “absinthe wash,” but even in that small amount its unique flavor becomes the star of the show. In the main body of the cocktail are some heavy-hitting selections: Monkey 47 Gin, Cointreau, and Lillet Blanc. As the name suggests, this is a drink for someone craving a more adventurous mix of flavors.

And with that, our journey around the drinks of Disney World has come to an end. Someday soon, we will reach a new normal and get to return to these bars and lounges. I hope you all will get to celebrate with the ones you love.

Thank you Emi for allowing me to contribute to Meat On Her Bones,

and Anna for her editing.

Looking for more Disney guides?

Where to Eat in EPCOT


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