This week, Walt Disney World announced a slew of new dining experiences that will debut in 2020, which join a list of other restaurants set to debut in the parks, resorts, or Disney Springs later this year or early next. In this post, we’ll cover the upcoming additions, and offer some thoughts on each.
We’ll start with Disney Springs, which in the last year has already opened Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill and Jaleo by José Andrés, two table service restaurants helmed by James Beard Award Winning Chefs. We love the former and are looking forward to trying Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill during Magical Dining Month.
We’ll start with the best news, which is that Ample Hills Creamery will be opening a brand new location on the West Side at Disney Springs. Since opening their first Walt Disney World location on the BoardWalk, we’ve been showering this decadent ice cream shop with praise. We even recommend it over the nearby Beaches & Cream.
Replacing Bongos Cuban Cafe will be Beatrix neighborhood restaurant, coffeehouse and grab-and-go market featuring healthy food options including vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan along with fresh-squeezed juice cocktails. It’s said to be a mix of healthy eating and comfort foods.
Beatrix is owned by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, a Chicago-based restaurant group that will open their first restaurant in Florida at Disney Springs West Side. No date has been set for this, but there’s almost no chance it’ll open in 2019, unless they make next to no changes to Bongos, which seems highly unlikely.
Personally, I like the look of Bongos, and hope Beatrix makes the most of that unique restaurant design–who doesn’t love a giant pineapple?! The current look of the building is timeless, and it’s a better option than spending millions of dollars on a generic repurposed hipster warehouse style that looks like it’s been abandoned for a decade. Hopefully, Beatrix will open at some point in 2020. If it’s a larger scale redo, it could take longer. (Jaleo’s turnaround time was around 18 months.)
We had never heard of Beatrix, but it makes Eater’s List of 20 Essential Chicago Breakfast Spots, with the following praise: “Unique options abound make it worth a trip, such as a standout version of the Israeli dish shakshouka…Beatrix is also one of the few Chicago restaurants serving Bulletproof Coffee (a jump-starting blend of coffee, butter, and “brain octane oil”).”
Reviews elsewhere of Beatrix are similarly glowing, and I can definitely get behind the idea of healthy and inventive comfort food. In perusing the menu from one of Beatrix’s Chicago locations, it looks like this restaurant could bring something unique to the table in the already crowded Disney Springs dining scene. (As you might imagine, Sarah is much more excited about this than me!)
In the more immediate future, a new food truck called “Cookie Dough and Everything Sweet” will soon be arriving to Disney Springs. The menu will feature all things cookie dough, including cookie dough tacos, funnel cake, cones, and parfait. Disney Parks Blog released some sample images, and this actually looks pretty intriguing. The Cookie Dough and Everything Sweet food truck will open later this month and will be parked near the other food trucks across from Candy Cauldron on the West Side of Disney Springs.
Also coming later this month is Sunshine Churro! You’ll find two Sunshine Churro carts at Disney Springs: in the Marketplace and on the West Side. These carts serve up a variety of classic and gourmet churros with flavors like watermelon, salted caramel, strawberry cheesecake, fruity cereal, and cookies & cream. You can even try churros dipped in milk chocolate or chocolate-hazelnut spread.
Rounding out the West Side of Disney Springs projects, there’s City Works Eatery & Pour House. This is in the same complex as the now-open NBA Experience, and was originally set to open this summer. Its debut has since been pushed back to this winter, and we’d anticipate there’s a push to debut by Christmas 2019.
City Works Eatery & Pour House currently has seven locations across the country, and offers a massive selection of 90+ local, regional, and global craft beers on tap with a constantly rotating draft list. This modern sports bar is said to serve classic American cuisine with chef-driven twists.
The 8,632 square foot City Works Eatery & Pour House restaurant at Disney Springs will offer expansive indoor and outdoor seating, a large gift shop, high-definition TVs and state-of-the-art A/V–including a 165-inch screen television. The space will also exhibit three full-service bars, two of which allow for covered, open air dining along the patio.
While it will serve as the restaurant for NBA Experience, City Works will have an independent entrance and exit, meaning you won’t have to pay the NBA Experience entry fee to dine here. City Works is likely to compete with Splitsville and ESPN Club as the go-to spot for sports fans looking for the best game-viewing experience.
Finally, there’s the still unnamed space restaurant adjacent to Mission: Space at Epcot. Back in May, Walt Disney World announced that this Pantina Restaurant Group-operated location will open in 2019.
Additionally, the menu will feature internationally-inspired cuisine, over 1,000 bottles of wines, and a wide selection of craft beer. That, along with the single piece of concept art (above) are all that we know about this space restaurant.
At the time this opening was announced, I said the following: “the space restaurant opening this year comes out of left field. Construction has progressed quickly on the building, but I think we’re all anticipating and hoping for a carefully Imagineered and believable environment inside. Even a late 2019 opening seems like insufficient time to accomplish that. Hopefully I’m wrong on this.”
After watching a few more months of construction, I’ll go on record and say that I highly doubt the space restaurant will open in 2019. Sure, a lot of progress has been made–but part of (what we assume is?) the restaurant building isn’t even fully enclosed. Maybe there will be some big reveal at the D23 Expo, but detailed specifics about a third party restaurant aren’t really keynote address material for the Anaheim convention. It just feels like more information would’ve been released by now–and more progress would be visible–if this restaurant were still on track to open in 2019. Again, I hope I’m wrong on this. I’m excited for Mission: Plates, or whatever they end up calling it.
What do you think of these new restaurants opening (mostly) in 2020 at Walt Disney World? Are you excited for this slew of third party offerings, or would you prefer some original concepts by Disney? Do you agree or disagree with thoughts? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!