Disney World Update: Rick Bayless Comes to Disney Springs, Plus More

October 22, 2015, 3:17 PM · A few news items from the Walt Disney World Resort:

New Celebrity Chef Restaurant for Disney Springs — Rick Bayless will bring one of his quick-service Frontera Fresco restaurants to Disney Springs next summer. Bayless has won multiple James Beard awards and is known for his research and preparation of Mexican cuisine. Frontera Fresco serves tacos, quesadillas, tortas, and huarraches (the last two are Mexican sandwiches and flatbreads). If you're from the Chicago area, you might have seen Frontera Fresco in a couple of Macy's department stores, one on State Street and the other in Old Orchard. There's also one in the student union building at Northwestern, which blows my mind as an NU alum who can't imagine a celebrity-chef restaurant of any type in Norris.

New Band in Epcot's Morocco — You might remember the band "Mo'Rockin," which ended its run at Epcot last September, along with Off Kilter, the Fife and Drum Corps, and other World Showcase acts. Disney's now announced a replacement, Ribab Fusion, which is playing in Mo'Rockin's old home in the Morocco pavilion. Disney describes the band as "a popular band from northern Africa, celebrates Morocco’s Amazigh culture with everything from smooth grooves to high-energy funk, fusing the traditional sound of the single-stringed ribab with a contemporary, Afropop style."

Every Day's a New Hot Dog at the Grand Floridian — Disney's answer to the Universal CityWalk's Hot Dog Hall of Fame is now the Grand Floridian's Gasparilla Island Grill. The restaurant has rolled out seven city-themed gourmet hot dogs, one served on each day of the week. The line-up is:

Replies (11)

October 22, 2015 at 3:32 PM · Disney Springs is a destination. What is it, three or four times the size of CityWalk? And free parking.
October 22, 2015 at 6:17 PM · Is this the guy from "Mexico one plate at the time?
October 22, 2015 at 10:40 PM · I thought the Canadian band was "Off Kilter". Not "Old Kilter". Am I wrong, or was that a typo?

Wow, the seven-cities hot dog idea is pretty fantastic, to be honest. I'd try them all, though probably won't love the Idaho or Cleveland dogs all that much.

Now if only we can get a Ribs rotation, with Memphis, Carolinas, Texas, and St Louis.

October 23, 2015 at 3:49 AM · My reaction to Bayless: so another celeb chef is coming to Disney Springs? I've no problem with that.

My reaction to the Morocco Band: I hope that by "contemporary" they don't mean dubstep...probably not, but stranger things have happened...

My reaction to the seven-city hot dogs: YES! Because honestly why compete over rides, shows, theming, guest service etc. when the 2 biggest names in the theme park industry can compete over hot dogs?! I mean, I guess a theme park should have quality attractions, top-notch theming and kind and helpful employees, but before all those there must come hot dogs! Seriously! How can anyone call themselves "great" if they can't serve a decent hot dog?! Hot dogs are everything, hot dogs are the very answer to the universe itself! If you can't make a good hot dog, then go stand in the corner and think about your life!

October 23, 2015 at 5:31 AM · Yes its the guy from "Mexico one plate at a time" from PBS.
October 23, 2015 at 6:10 AM · Would not call Springs a destination. It's a mall. And malls have free parking. Look at the list of merchants. And with 60. out of pocket for a portion of Peking duck the locals will stay away for repeat business. Will check out a few but doubtful the restaurants will last. Give them 5 years tops. Then it will be another empty mall. Foreign tourist will not alone sustain it.
October 23, 2015 at 6:45 AM · Bayless has also appeared on Top Chef. We really wanted to eat at his original Frontera Grill when we were in Chicago earlier this year, but unfortunately, the restaurant is not appropriate for small children. I've read mixed reviews about his QS locations, but most of the negatives are from those who have been to the original TS location and obviously the quality and variety there are going to be vastly superior to a quick service restaurant.

Bumblebee Man's Taco truck is going to be tough to top though...

October 23, 2015 at 8:03 AM · I used to watch it on the livwell network to get through college.
October 23, 2015 at 10:18 AM · There are also two Frontera locations at Chicago O'Hare airport, and they are among my favorite airport dining anywhere.
October 24, 2015 at 2:59 PM · Re:

While it is up for debate on whether or not Disney Springs should be considered a "destination," nothing else you said makes sense. Yes, it is technically an outdoor mall, but so is Universal CityWalk and so was Downtown Disney! Both were very successful so why not Disney Springs? And this being Disney, shouldn't we be congratulating them for not making us pay for parking?

October 25, 2015 at 11:37 PM · "Would not call Springs a destination. It's a mall."

You must live near some amazing malls. The ones by me have stores, restaurants, and maybe a movie theater. They don't have free evening entertainment, restaurants by celebrity chefs, concerts like House of Blue, balloon/boat rides, or a unique full-scale theatrical production by a world-renowned company like Cirque du Soleil.

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