Theme Park Bits: Regal Eagle Menu, Moana Dole Whip, And More

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • The Regal Eagle Smokehouse has revealed its menu.
  • A Moana-themed Dole Whip is making permanent residence in Adventureland.
  • And more!
  • New Regal Eagle Smokehouse Coming to Epcot

    After the recent announcement that Walt Disney World will soon be home to a Sam the Eagle-themed barbecue counter-service restaurant in the World Showcase at Epcot, we're now getting a quick peek at the menu for that restaurant, the Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue. Most of the items listed are both delicious-sounding and pretty expected: a half-chicken in the Kansas City style, Memphis dry-rub pork ribs, etc. But they'll also have a Barbecue Burger, which is a burger topped with pork and an onion ring, in case you were hoping for a heart attack on a plate. (But who am I kidding, this sounds very tasty, and I would absolutely order it in a heartbeat.)

    Over the 2019 holiday season, there were plenty of seasonal food and drink options at the Walt Disney World Resort. Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom had some unique Dole Whip options, including one tied to the 2016 animated film Moana, the Kakamora Dole Whip Float, which has a coconut flavor. Well, good news for all of you who weren't there during the holidays: that Kakamora float is now a permanent fixture at the Sunshine Tree Terrace. This float has coconut soft-serve with pineapple juice and blue curacao syrup, and sounds like a very refreshing way to relax in the middle of the Magic Kingdom's best land. (Yeah, I said it.)

    Let's change things up and talk about a theme park nowhere near Orlando, Florida. And in fact, let's talk about a theme park nowhere near Disney. In Hong Kong, the aquatic-themed Ocean Park is looking to be refurbished, per the territory's government. And that envisioned refurbishment will only cost the equivalent of $1.4 billion. Yes, you read that number right — that's why I italicized it, because that is a ridiculously large amount of cash. But Ocean Park is aiming to add seven new themed zones including 20 new attractions, overhauling the park into something more action-adventure-oriented. Maybe this will work, but that's a very big ask of cash.

    If that refurb does come true for Ocean Park, you can imagine that the park operators will try to gin up interest with some kind of preview center to show visitors what's in store in the future. They might want to take a cue or two from Walt Disney World, where they've been perfecting the art of preview centers for just over 50 years. Recently at the Disney Parks Blog, Disney expert Tim O'Day wrote about the history of these preview centers on their 50th anniversary of January 10th. In the time leading up to the park's opening day in October 1971, there were a lot of unknowns that the preview center aimed to resolve, while maintaining the Disney standards of excitement. If you love theme-park history (and if you're a regular reader of this column, you know I do), check this article out.

    When does the holiday season really start? It's a question that's becoming harder and harder to answer with each passing year because it seems like the dates come sooner and sooner. Take, for instance, the Halloween season. It used to start in early October, before extending as far back as Labor Day. Well, get used to an even earlier start if this blog is correct: we might be getting our first Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Walt Disney World Resort in 2020 on August 13. Yes, August 13 is the first such date with a 6 pm park closing, implying that the party will kick off that night. Hope you're going to prepare for a monsoon wreaking havoc on your party, because that's what happens in Florida in August. Truly scary stuff.