A New Take On An Old Favorite
Walt Disney left an amazing legacy to the world, more than most in history. But perhaps his lesser-known gifts are his quotes and statements made over his storied career. (More akin to “Edicts”; when Walt spoke, like EF Hutton, everybody listens!) Two of his most important quotes, ones that the company adheres to this day are… “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world” and “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”. Walt was never content to rest on his laurels and he detested sequels. He never wanted his park to become a museum, it was always to change with new and better entertainment for his guests. With this, many attractions, parades, and shows have been re-imagined or replaced. This is the result of moving forward.
Case in point is the iconic Downtown Disney area. For more than thirty years, this shopping, dining and entertainment venue gave guests a place to come to enjoy some Disney magic out of the parks, and without the cost of a ticket. Previously billed as Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, Walt Disney World Village, Disney Village Marketplace and Downtown Disney. Now it has been re-imagined into four distinct districts, 150 new tenants, with new upscale outlets and new eateries, and two parking garages, ending the struggle to find a parking space.
Some of the original restaurants have closed to make room for the new, or have shuttered to be renovated to blend into the new upscale landscape. One such guest favorite was the iconic Fulton’s Crab House. The eatery resided in a building replica of a riverboat Walt named after Lillian, his wife. The operators, Levy Restaurants have completed a stem to stern renovation, up and down, which now showcases a luxurious and modern sternwheel steamboat, with interior designs that Disney states reflect the “crisp luxury of modern yachting”.
Recently, the restaurant hosted a limited seating, Rooftop Wine Dinner, the only eatery in Disney Springs to offer rooftop-level waterfront seating. This culinary event was hosted by Executive Chef Steve Richard. This event gave the lucky attendees a chance to experience the world-renowned offerings of Chef Richards, and the unique wine pairing selections from some of Italy and Spain’s eclectic wineries, but before I get into the evening, I got a rare chance to interview Chef Richards and Jimmy Kraus, the General Manager. I asked Chef Richards his take on the new theming of the restaurant and he said…” You can see that Disney Springs is very different than Downtown Disney was, the entire area was upgraded, activities, retail and different food and beverage options have been added, it was time to upgrade and move forward and bring it to the next level”. I asked if he worked at Fulton’s, and he stated…” I worked at Portabello’s for five years, now under construction, soon to become Terralina’s”. “Since then, I have been the area chef for Levy Restaurants at Disney Springs, and my oversite included Fulton’s and recently been focused as the executive chef at Paddlefish”.
Read the full story with photos here.