Disney shelves Hyperion Wharf, Bowls a Strike on the Westside of Downtown Disney

While the construction walls are still up in the area formerly known as Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island, the concept art for new construction has been removed and work has stopped on the area that was once destined to become Hyperion…

Dining comes to Pleasure Island AMC Theatres at Downtown Disney

Last night I went to Downtown Disney’s AMC Theatres to catch the 8:30 PM showing of THOR on the big ETX screen in 3D (short review: It’s a great superhero flick. See the movie, don’t bother with 3D). I arrived a bit early hoping to get a look at the newest thing to hit Orlando, the concept of a dine-in movie theater. Alas, I was a few nights too early, as a Cast Member preview was under way and the dine-in section won’t open until May 16th.

Since the 1980s when the Bagdad Theater in Portland, OR was converted to a pizzeria and brewpub that showed B-movies, I’ve had it in my head to open a movie theater that served great food along with movies. Now it’s gone main stream. Bagdad was ahead of the curve as lately upscale movie theaters with seat side dining service have been springing up over the last few years. That trend has finally made its way to Orlando.

AMC Theatres (AMC), who calls themselves a leading theatrical exhibition and entertainment company, announced today that guests will be able to watch the latest movies while enjoying their favorite food and beverages at AMC Downtown Disney 24 located in Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort. AMC Dine-In Theatres, the only theatre of its kind in the Orlando area combines restaurant cuisine and cocktails with AMC’s noted immersive movie theatre experience and hit movies.

“We are excited to present AMC Downtown Disney as another one of our flagship AMC Dine-In Theatres,” said Gerry Lopez, chief executive officer and president, AMC. “Since the launch of this concept, we’ve received tremendous feedback from our guests about the enhanced experience and variety of food and beverage options. More than 90 percent of our surveyed guests who attended a Dine-In location said it met or exceeded their expectations.”

AMC Dine-In Theatres offers a meal-and-a-movie option and a bar and lounge. Note that there are now separate entrances. One for the 18 theatres that don’t have dine-in. That’s on the House of Blues/DisneyQuest end of the building. And one for the 6 theatres that feature the new dining options. That’s on the Planet Hollywood end.

More details below the jump:

Portobello at Downtown Disney Remakes its Image & Menu (plus a recipe!)

Those who were following my short tweetfest from Downtown Disney last night probably caught my mention of the new look, and lovely scent, of Portobello. The restaurant, which sits between Pleasure Island and the Downtown Disney Marketplace, has recently completed a transformation from the old stuffy ‘Yacht Club’ theme into an eatery reminiscent of the Italian countryside.

portabello-chef
Chef Steven Richard

According to Executive Chef Steven Richard, the change is a natural one. “America has had a love affair with Italian food for decades,” Richards said. “What we’re seeing now is more and more people knowing the regional nuances of the cuisine – having more vivid notions of what Italy feels and tastes and smells like. More families have been there themselves, and the ones who haven’t, want a life-like recreation of that trip they haven’t taken.”

The space, inspired by Italy’s trattorias and hidden corners, features warm tones of red, orange and yellow, with terracotta tile and rustic irons designed to make guests feel transported to the Italian countryside. Guests can also enjoy dining outdoors with the new alfresco patio. The revamped trattoria will offer authentic regional fare and warm rustic décor with a reinvigorated wine list.

Portobello’s new menu was developed by the culinary trio comprised of James Beard award-winning Chef Tony Mantuano, of Chicago’s noted Spiaggia restaurant, John Radcliff, Regional Chef of Levy Restaurants, and Steven Richard, Executive Chef of Portobello.

As it turns out Orlando Food Critic Scott Joseph recently visited Portobello and found the experience a pleasurable one (which is saying something considering what he writes about the other restaurants run by Levy in Downtown Disney). Now, I am really looking forward to my first opportunity to dine there.

Portobello is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and accepts all major credit cards. Visit www.portobellorestaurant.com to learn more.

Finally, Portobello has also been kind enough to share its recipe for Ravioli Gigante which you can find below the cut in case you want to try it at home: