Come along on this adventure with me to the Orlando Museum of Art where I discuss the art history presentation given by Joe Rohde.Read More
A self pieceRead More
Another Melyssa and the Mouse food review featuring Paddlefish in Disney Springs. If you’re not familiar, this is the restaurant that has replaced Fulton’s Crabhouse and is in the newly renovated paddleboat sitting in the water between the Landing and the Marketplace. While this restaurant has been open for at least 4 to 5 months, I was only recently able to get there to try the newest seafood place in Walt Disney World. Here’s how I found it.
To start out, I was able to sample the crab cake, featuring maque choux, fried green tomato, and remoulade ($17); fried calamari with shishito peppers and peppadew piri piri ($16); and lobster corn dogs with sweet chili aioli ($16). The crab cake was densely packed with crab and sat on a bed of corn maque choux. And, even though there was so much crab, it did not have a “fishy” taste often associated with seafood. The sauce was a perfect complement to the crab without overpowering the taste. The calamari was fried perfectly with the crispy outside staying on perfectly as I pierced a piece with the fork. The sauce was almost like a sweet and sour sauce with a slight kick from the peppers- a nice twist on the traditional marinara sauce. Finally, the lobster corn dogs were a good sized portion for an appetizer and again were fried perfectly. The sauce was not too spicy and the slaw it was served with helped balance the entire plate.
For entrees, I had the Shrimp and Grits, with cheddar grits and spicy black pepper-butter sauce ($30) and Pete tried the Hawaiian Opah, though for this day the Opah was replaced with a Mahi Mahi fish, which was encrusted with a macadamia nut crust, served with red curry and crab fried rice ($38). The shrimp and grits was served with the black pepper-butter sauce, which was not very spicy to me. The grits were creamy with a polenta type consistency, or mashed potatoes that haven’t been completely mashed, and were appropriately flavored so they weren’t bland. It was a decent size with plenty of grits, though there were only 5 shrimps. The Hawaiian fish dish was also a decent sized piece of fish over a large portion of the crab fried rice. The crust was light, without overpowering the fish, but adding a nice light crunch to the dish. The curry was not too spicy either. We also got the mac and cheese ($15) side dish that was meant to share- and it was a huge portion that more than 2 people could definitely enjoy. It was a lighter mac and cheese than say the creamy comfort style down at Homecoming, but it was still excellent and cheesy.
Overall, this was a good meal but nothing memorable. The service was good, if a touch slow for the beginning of dinnertime. While I love seafood, I don’t feel this place offers dishes that amaze to justify the cost. At least Fulton’s had a few unique dishes that seemed to make paying over $50 for a meal per person worth it. Unfortunately, I was not impressed by this place. I do think the appetizers were interesting, so maybe the lounge might be worth checking out. There are also many other places on property that I feel are much more worth the price because the food leaves me in awe.
How about you- have you tried Paddlefish yet? What is your take on the food?
Magic Kingdom has a new nighttime show- Happily Ever After- which replaced the Wishes fireworks. I have only seen this show twice so far, but here’s my initial take on it.
First, I love the new projection show- the level of technology is off the charts and it shows. There is a focus on characters that are not typically highlighted, including a beautiful song by Tiana to start off, as well as a spot by the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, and even Mulan. They also incorporated Moana as one of the newer movies- of course Frozen is in there but only briefly, and this time it's not Let It Go. Olaf appears to tell you some people are worth melting for, and then Love Is An Open Door plays, but Anna and Hans themselves are never seen on the castle and the song has been re-recorded with new singers. I enjoyed the selections of the characters they chose to highlight, though the classic characters, such as Peter Pan and Alice, were missing beyond a few images. There are a few different themes incorporated into the idea of Happily Ever After, ranging from friends/partners (Carl and Russell, Buzz and Woody, Ralph and Vanellope, Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde); heroes and villains (Mulan and Shan-Yu, Mr. Incredible and Syndrome, Scar and Simba, Jafar and Aladdin, Maleficent and Prince Philip); and some romantic couples (Eve and Wall-E, Eugene and Rapunzel, Aladdin and Jasmine, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Lady and the Tramp), as well as a host of other characters, including Tarzan, Pirates, Mufasa, and Baloo. My favorite part was the lanterns projection from Tangled during I See the Light- absolutely teared up during this! And Tinkerbell is still around, though her appearance is held for a much more opportune moment. Overall, the projections were on point and the music was engrossing.
There are also some amazing new uses of technology that Disney has started to show off, such as the newer use of lasers as introduced in the Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam! holiday show at Hollywood Studios. The lasers have a unique interaction with water (as can now be seen during Rivers of Light in Animal Kingdom), resulting in a breathtaking sparkle- the creator of Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam! explained during Destination D in November 2016, that this was a happy accident discovered whilst making it "snow" during the holiday show. I have to say that the laser effects were very well done, adding subtle accents to the projections on the castle, as well as projecting over the guests- at one point creating an under the sea effect. There were also special fireworks created just for the new show, including fireworks shaped as bells, hearts, smiley faces, bugs, and even the spiral from Moana, all placed at perfect intervals during the show to highlight either the music, the character, or both. Clearly this show does not lack attention to detail.
However, this show has become just that- a new nightly show and not necessarily a "fireworks" show, which may be for good or bad, depending on the individual. On my first viewing, I felt that I was too close to the castle (I was on the back side of the Partners Statue where my back was facing Mickey's and Walt's backs) and was unable to enjoy the fireworks as I was too focused on the castle projections. Upon a second viewing where I positioned myself farther back across the hub (on the corner before the circular portion that holds the Partners Statue), I was able to see more of the fireworks that were happening behind the castle. Now, I made it a point to focus on the fireworks this time, and I did feel that I missed a lot of the projections on the castle because I was trying to see the fireworks. And, while the music is lovely and I’m happy with many of their selections, the individual song tends to go on longer than the projection it is related to, resulting in multiple images happening while one song is playing- such as Cars and Ratatouille being on the castle while Tiana is singing her song.
All of these elements add up to a true nighttime show versus a typical fireworks show, such as Illuminations, which can be seen from most places around the lagoon. With the focus on the castle projections, a view of the castle is more than a must now than it was with Wishes. So, while they expanded the hub to accommodate many people, it also cuts down the other places from where Wishes could once be enjoyed- such as the top of the train station- leading to all of the people filling into the expanded hub and leaving much less room than there once felt like there was after the initial expansion.
With all of these “however”s, I’m still not sure how I rate this show. It does showcase the newest technology with the projections and special fireworks, making great work of each. It also emphasizes some underappreciated characters and music, which I feel is a great way to introduce these things to a younger generation who may have bypassed Hunchback or Mulan. For this alone I am happy with the show. I know that this is one that is to be viewed multiple times before finalizing my opinion, but I would encourage everyone to go and see what this show has to offer and let me know what your thoughts are too!
It's time for another adventure this week! Let's head over to Hollywood Studios and take a look at the newest summer show gracing the Beauty and the Beast Theater: Pixar Live: A Symphony of Characters. This show features the music from many of your favorite Pixar movies played by a live orchestra, as well as movie clips and some fun characters! I was able to see the show the other week- here's my thoughts.
The show is a unique blend of music and imagery, with the blend of movie scenes set to the music from the Pixar movies. While the show may seem like something meant for guests willing to sit for 45 minutes listening to music, the imagineers have done a great job of making sure guests of all ages have something to get excited about. The pre-show features everyone's favorite Green Army Men- telling jokes and interacting with guests to make the wait not seem so long. Once the show begins, the orchestra and the movie clips are the stars, along with everyone's favorite Pixar characters as wonderful costars.
Featured in the show are the following movies and respective scores: Toy Story 1, 2, & 3 (to get a good tear in everyone's eye); Cars (seemed mostly 1 and 3 with little to no clips from Cars 2); UP (to really make sure you cry); Incredibles (to bring it back to action); Finding Nemo & Finding Dory; and Monsters Inc. (to end on a laugh with a tear of joy as Sully sees Boo again). The perfect ending to the show was a sing-a-long with all of the characters together on stage with the conductor and orchestra. Overall the clips and movies work brilliantly together. In between the movie/music portions, the characters come out for a second to entertain the crowd. But the really great part is the behind the scenes that the directors and musical geniuses behind these films lend to the show. They explain how the music is a part of the movie, and what it means to the audience seeing the film. My favorite was the discuss before UP as they explained Ellie's theme- the viewer, without even knowing it, knows Carl is thinking of Ellie just because her musical cue hits- she doesn't even have to appear on screen- we just know.
Overall, the show is great for guests of all ages, with the characters and movie clips great for younger people and the appreciation of the music and creativity that goes into these films for the older guests. I would highly recommend seeing this show- I went to a late showing and it was pretty empty because Fantasmic and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular were going on close to this time- so I really didn't need the Fast Pass. There is also the option to have a dinner package with the show where guests can eat at Hollywood Brown Derby, Hollywood & Vine, or Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano, and then enjoy the show (or vice versa). Either is a great option and, in a park where the focus is mainly long show experiences versus many short attractions, this is a perfect way to sit, relax, and enjoy the music of Pixar Live!