It is the most wonderful time of the year at Walt Disney World, and my wife and I are working hard to make sure we catch as many of the holiday offerings on-property as humanly possible. Of course, I have also put up a blog about what is happening at Magic Kingdom, and I will be keeping you up-to-date on Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom over the next few weeks; even if I will still be posting blogs by the time the Magi arrive in early-January.
While the parks and resorts get the majority of the attention for their holiday cheer, don’t sleep on Disney Springs. That is why my wife and I got up early on a Saturday morning in November to beat the crowds to the Springs and take in the festive sights. Of course, this included waiting for twenty minutes outside of Amorette’s to get one of their special “The Child” desserts right when they opened at eleven o’clock (they did actually open the doors to customers about thirty minutes early). According to the bakery, they were only producing forty of these treats per-day in November.
We also took part in the annual Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs. Anybody who has experienced this in past years knows that the trees are beautiful, but also crammed into a very confined space for guests to maneuver through in a maze. Obviously, this was not possible in 2020, with social distancing. Instead, Disney came up with another fantastic idea, and turned the tree trail into a scavenger hunt. Guests can pick up a tree map at a number of locations (we used the main guest services building). Each tree has a Disney-theme, and you place the corresponding sticker on the location of that particular themed tree on the map. After you spotted all twelve trees, you could show your map to a cast member, and get a Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail pin. In another nice move, Disney has let the charity Give Kids the World use some of the trees that didn’t make the 2020 trail for their Night of a Million Lights fundraiser. That was a nice touch.
Those experiences were fun, but we all know that Disney Springs is a place to eat. We decided to hit up Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar which is one of the most popular places at the Springs. Jock Lindsey, for those who don’t know, is a character from the Indiana Jones movie franchise. As a pilot, Lindsey helped Indy get to certain locations in the films, and the theming in the bar is right on point. They really make it feel like an old-time airplane hangar. That theme, to borrow from another popular film, was cranked up to eleven with all of the holiday decorations. The atmosphere was gaudy in the best sense of the word.
For the season, there is an entire special section to the menu. These food options include the C9 Light Deviled Eggs with shrimp and Tobiko caviar; Papa Noel’s Churrasco which is a grilled flank steak with pumpkin seed chimichurri, fried sweet plantains, and spicy Aji Amarillo peanut sauce; and Grandma’s Favorite Sliders. My wife went with the sliders. These were venison sliders with cranberry bacon jam, tomato, and watercress. She absolutely loved them. Venison can be an acquired taste, but if you like it, you really like it. She was impressed with the venison not being too dry, and the other topics really just added to brining out the unique flavor of the meat.
The holiday menu also includes some offerings for those of you who like to partake in an adult beverage. The Cranberry Kringle from Orange Blossom Brewing; the Mistletoe Mule with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, lime juice, passion fruit, and ginger beer; the Berry Merry Margarita; and Jock’s Holiday Nog. The specialties are capped off with Milk and Cookies by the Fireside with Coquito with Malibu Rum with chocolate peppermint gingerbread men, spiced sugar Christmas tree cookie, and butter pecan signature cookie. This year, Scrooge doesn’t have to be the only one visited by some spirits late in the night as Christmas approaches.
We started off our meal with Doctor Astorga’s Queso Dip, and we were absolutely not disappointed. It would have been so easy for Jock Lindsey’s to rest on ambiance and the quality of their entrees, but they went above-and-beyond with the queso. It was rich with a variety of different kinds of cheese, and came with a side of pickled jalapenos and pico de gallo. The chips were crisp, and didn’t overpower the cheese, which was the star of the show. I would recommend this appetizer to anyone who loves quality cheese.
For my part, I went with one of the few vegetarian options on the menu, which still wasn’t vegan (sorry to those who are completely plant-based, because you would struggle to put together a satisfying food experience here). I tried the Margherita Flatbread, which was topped with roasted heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and a balsamic glaze. This was another quality option. The bread was crisp. It had that snap to it. All of the ingredients were quality, but the highlight was the balsamic glaze, which really brought a strong flavor that also enhanced the flavor of the mozzarella. At $9.00, it was also a reasonably-priced option for the budget conscious.
To wash it down, my wife tried one of their non-alcoholic signature libations. Her Poisonless Dart was in the style of a mojito with soda water, mint, simple syrup, and lime juice. While she will enjoy an alcoholic beverage on rare occasions, she doesn’t do it often. This was her chance to get the vibe of enjoying a cocktail at a fantastic bar in Walt Disney World, while not having the alcohol affect her as we walked around in the hot Florida sun (which can still be a little toasty in November afternoons).
Of course, the service was awesome and all of the safety precautions made us feel safe enough to eat the meal inside the bar area, and not out on the deck. Our table had to be wiped off and cleaned thoroughly, before they would allow us to sit at the table. I was also enamored by the different locations represented on the coasters. When our server saw that we were having a conversation about them, she brought us the complete set with all the different variations, so we could add them to our collection (yes, I have a weird collection of cardboard coasters from restaurants).
Jock Lindsey’s is a bar with a fantastic atmosphere, and even better food options. It is also great to have Disney bring to life a little more from an under-utilized movie franchise. I definitely recommend hitting this location during the Happy Hour time of the day, when it isn’t quite as hard to get a table. This is a popular spot in Disney Springs.