It’s no secret that Downtown Disney is going through a major transformation as it becomes Disney Springs. Already, traffic signs along Buena Vista Drive have been changed to reflect the area’s new name, and just in the last week a new pedestrian bridge and flyover bridge leading straight into the massive Orange Garage have opened. I’ve avoided the area ever since the major construction started, but now that its conclusion is drawing near (it’s projected to be complete in Spring 2016), I thought that I’d make a visit while in town for a conference.
I noticed that the large multi-level garages are a marked improvement. Gone are the days of driving round and round in search of that elusive empty parking spot. The garage has digital signs informing you of how many spaces are available on each level. While there are still many construction walls up, much of Disney Springs is taking shape in the new and renamed districts: Town Center, The Landing, Marketplace, and West Side. New restaurants and shops have opened up in recent months, with more (Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar and Morimoto Asia) scheduled to open later this month. I was impressed with the new outside entertainment venues that host bands, DJs, guitarists, and comedic acts. I think Disney Springs is going to be a huge hit with locals and tourists alike.
While visiting Disney Springs last week, my family and I headed over to The Landing as we had Advanced Dining Reservations at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant. We’d eaten here twice before, but several years ago. It was time to revisit this old favorite.
Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant opened in October 2005 and will be celebrating its 10th anniversary. Kevin Dundon is the Master Chef, an Irish celebrity chef with books and television credit. Advanced Dining Reservations are highly recommended. Walk-ups are possible, but be prepared to wait. For those hoping to be seated more quickly, I’d suggest asking for a table outside. Fortunately, there are several ways to bide time until your table is ready, and the host/hostess will provide you with a buzzer so you can roam around nearby.
DIStracted Tip: If you cannot find the day and time of your liking via My Disney Experience, you can try booking directly through the restaurant itself. Reservations can be made via Open Table or by calling 407-938-0300.
For instance, you could pass the time drinking a Guinness, Irish Whiskey, or other libation at the bar. Bars are located both inside and inside. The outside bar also has a small stage for live entertainment.
While enjoying your drink, you could sit next to this gentleman. After a couple, he might even be a good conversationalist!
Another option is to stop by the restaurant’s gift shop which features shirts, jewelry, and other items from Ireland.
When your table is ready, you’re in for a treat. You’ll think that you stepped into an actual establishment in Ireland. That’s because the beautiful mahogany woods, stained glass windows, and other furnishings were taken from old pubs and rebuilt in Ireland before being relocated to the Walt Disney World Resort. Talk about authentic theming!
Remember, this is a pub as well as restaurant, so you’ll find a large selection of drinks to satisfy everyone’s tastes. My husband and I are fans of craft beers, and we were quite impressed with McGargles IPA. It’s a great Florida-style IPA, featuring a refreshing balance between hops and citrus.
While perusing your menu, your server will provide you with a basket of Irish soda bread and an olive oil dip with a hint of brown sugar. Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant features a menu chock full of comfort foods, local fish and seafood, and a variety of meat dishes. They also have an allergy-friendly menu and offer several gluten-free items as well. Most dinner entrées are in the $20-30 range, with hearty salads under $20. There’s a variety of appetizers, many suitable for sharing. The people next to me had the Scallop Forest, featuring large battered scallops, impressively displayed on what looked liked lollypop sticks, with a sweet chili dipping sauce.
The children’s menu features macaroni and cheese, fish/seafood, chicken, burgers, shepherd’s pie, and steak. All items are in the $7-14 range. My daughter rather enjoyed the macaroni and cheese which is served with a side of fries. It was not the standard “yellow stuff” seen elsewhere and was quite delicious.
My husband and I shared a nice garden salad to start. Being in the mood for fish and seafood, we decided to share entrées. We decided on the Fish & Chips which included a generous portion of fish accompanied by fries and homemade tartar sauce.
We also shared The Pale. This dish is served in a hot pot with Cape Canaveral shrimp and clams in a broth alongside corn and potatoes. We found this dish to be quite savory and were grateful for the rolls that accompanied it to soak up the rest of the broth.
While we’d been to Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant before, this was the first time we actually caught the Irish Dancers. They were fantastic, performing both on the main stage and in other spots throughout the restaurant. You can catch them nightly from 4-9PM.
My daughter was so excited when they pulled her aside along with some other young children to learn some basic moves. She even received a certificate to mark the special occasion.
A house band performed on stage during the times the dancers were on break. I learned there are many bands and performers that play nightly. I highly recommend visiting the restaurant’s website for a complete overview. In addition, there are many events held throughout the year, most notably on and around St. Patrick’s Day. Currently, the restaurant has events scheduled to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant is open daily, serving lunch from 11AM-3PM and dinner from 3-11PM. A bar menu is available until 1AM. The Rollicking Raglan Weekend Brunch is offered on Saturdays and Sundays from 10AM-3PM. The restaurant participates in the Disney Dining Plan (1 table service credit per person) as well as the Tables in Wonderland program.