I have lived in Orlando for quite a while, from working for the Boss himself to visiting and streaming the parks more times than I can count. I have also been to Disney Springs (since it was Downtown Disney) and just a short time ago, during my incredible stay at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort, I have to say, even I was introduced to some awesome places and experiences. Again, a huge shout out to George McNeilly from McNeilly Communications, who is the master of all things Disney and not only a good friend but a true natural when it comes to being on a live stream! Today, I am going to give you some insight and my personal take on some of the places that I was grateful to go to and things that you and your family can do while you are visiting Disney Springs.
After another tour of the amazing room that I was so graciously provided by the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista team, we took the very short walk over to Disney Springs. We are having lunch at Chicken Guy and there could be no place more near and dear to my heart, the ultimate Chicken Guy (sorry Guy). I met with with Peter who is the General Manager and my good friend George and boy, did they have something up their sleeves. After letting me order lunch, we sat down at a table all laid out with every sauce that they offer, ALL 16 OF THEM! Yes, Mayne Mafia, the sauce challenge was on. Now for those of you who know me, I am a simple guy, usually eating my chicken, well, with just my hands. But, in the spirit of never backing down from a challenge, I pulled up a chair, and put on my game face. With an amazing strawberry shake in hand (they also had classic vanilla and a mint chocolate chip which looked incredible) I took a couple bites of my all time favorite mac n cheese and a pre-game mouthful of fries and we were off!
The advice from my hosts was to put a stack of the sauces that I liked on one side and those that say, were not my favorite, on the other. Also, there seemed to be a conspiracy of sorts already brewing when I was ‘encouraged not only by the audience seated with me but those of you in the chat, that there was the hint of a “hot sauce challenge” vibe going on. With George telling me to take deeper dips of the spicy sides, I went in full force. Although I have to say that all of them were good, the hot ones are not my jam..lol. My favorites? Parmesan Garlic, Buttermilk Ranch and Sweet BBQ with Teriyaki coming up close. With all 16 sauces down and no more room, I waddled my way out and thanked Peter for an amazing time. To see more of the experience and the food, catch the live stream or go to my Instagram story.
George and I headed over for the next adventure, to the Crystal Arts by the Arribus Brothers. On our way there, George filled us in with a little background about the place. The Arribas brothers, Alfonso and Tomas, were discovered by Walt Disney himself at the New York World’s Fair in 1964. Walt was so impressed with their glassblowing that he offered them a shop to sell their wares in Disneyland.
Now there are nine locations in Disney parks all over the world. The store offers unique craftsmanship combined with incredibly beautiful merchandise offerings. They offer etched mugs and glasses which you can have personalized, hand blown glass figurines, vases, Disney characters covered in Swarovski crystals, and glassware. They also carry some wood items such as picture frames, photo albums, and charm boxes which can all be personalized. You can find items for as little as $10 or as much as $10,000.
As we entered the shop, we were greeted by Mark, the manager and he took us on a tour of the store, telling us about some of the amazing sculptures in glass, crystal and porcelain. They have their own kiln and hand paint their figurines as well as their glass sculptures. We got to watch one of the cast member who were blowing glass and she shared with us some of the Halloween items like the glass Mickey pumpkin that she was working on. This is definitely the place for that special and meaningful gift. You can also order online at https://www.disneysprings.com/shopping/arribas-brothers and for a flat fee of $8.00 they will ship it to you guaranteed!
All of the Arribas locations are themed to their location. For example the store in Epcot Germany contains authentic German crystal pieces so it is worth checking all the different locations out because they carry different merchandise. When you visit the stores you can see the artists at work and watch glass blowing demonstrations. For $19.95 you can even join the Arribas Brothers club at https://www.arribas.com/ which gives you a crystal pen, notification of special events, and a 15% discount on purchases.
From there, we made our way over to the Art of Disney. Now, I have seen this place before but really never explored it. I have to say, I loved this place. I met Ted and Darla, and after a few minutes of talking, we realized that we met back at the Festival of the Arts media event when I did spin art on the bike (loved that by the way). What a small world~~sorry. We looked around a bit and one of the cast members was working on some names and doing specific illustrations and art in the letters. She was super talented and so creative! She explained how you get get a name and whatever theme you like and she will make it come to life.
After we browsed for a bit, Ted sat me down and begun to work on my caricature. Now this was pretty amazing. Today, it was done digitially, even though Ted was drawing it on a pad of sorts. Because I had to keep on my mask due to CDC regulations and safety protocols. George had given him my photo from the channel and he was using that as well as me sitting in front of him. Behind me, was the picture he was creating on the wall and quickly, my “alto face” came to life. He added some color and even a camera and viola, in about 20 minutes it was complete. I have to say it blew my mind and it is something that I will always treasure.
You can get your caricature done starting at $35 which I think is a super great price considering it is something that you will keep for a lifetime. They can even do bodies of Avengers, super heroes or Disney princesses, which makes it something that is quite unique.
After our adventures, we said goodbye to George and headed off to Hollywood Studios for the rest of the evening. Another great benefit of staying at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista is that you get the perks of park reservations. Later that evening, I got to have dinner at Planet Hollywood and I have to say, it was amazing. I had the mac n cheese burger and a cold adult beverage and the service again was great. A big thank you to the staff and management at Planet Hollywood and our good friend George, for hooking your boy up for a great meal after a long but awesome day!
Again, there is so much to do when you stay at this Official Walt Disney World Resort and I only touched the surface. For more information, check out my Instagram stories or Facebook and also the live streams on Youtube at Spokesmayne (link to this content below). Be sure to keep checking back here at spokesmayne.co as well for more updates about all things Walt Disney World and Disney Springs.
If you would like to visit any of the places mentioned in the blog or make a reservation at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, visit the link below. You will not be disappointed!
Spokesmayne; (PC of Chicken Guy: Disney Parks Blog); (PC of me at Art Corner: George McNeilly) PC: Disney