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The acclaimed chef is headed to the happiest place on Earth.

Mike Pomranz
May 31, 2017

If you’ve been lamenting a lack of quality tapas at Walt Disney World, José Andrés is about to step up the Florida resort’s small plates’ game: The acclaimed chef’s ThinkFoodGroup has announced it’ll be opening a location of its signature Jaleo eatery at Disney Springs in 2018.

Though Disney Springs – Disney World Resort’s massive outdoor retail complex replete with four different districts (formerly known as Downtown Disney) – isn’t lacking for restaurants (it has well over 50 dining options), Andrés’ addition is noteworthy not just for its excellent cuisine but also because opening in Orlando is a significant step for the Jaleo brand. This new Disney location, which follows spots in Washington DC, Mexico City and Las Vegas, is expected to be the largest Jaleo yet – featuring multiple levels fashioned by Spanish designer Juli Capella.

As for the cuisine, it doesn’t sound like they’re making like they’re making any big changes for the Disney crowd: “An extensive menu of tapas that reflect the rich regional diversity of traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine,” the official Disney Parks blog writes. “Think paella cooked over a wood fire, hand-carved Jamon Iberico de Bellota and wood-grilled Iberico pork.” In its Las Vegas location at least, Jaleo’s ham carving happens from a whole pig placed front and center for patrons to see, but I guess that’s not a major concern for Disney who has conspicuously left the animal out of its main cast of characters. Jaleo’s Disney Springs location will also feature a “grab-n-go” storefront selling Spanish-style sandwiches, which sounds like an alluring option for guests trying to squeeze in everything Disney World has to offer during a jam-packed vacation.

The Jaleo announcement was just one of many culinary upgrades mentioned by Disney Springs this week. The Florida resort also boasted of forthcoming openings including a new Italian concept from James Beard award winner and “Top Chef Master” Chef Tony Mantuano, a wine bar from Master Sommelier George Miliotes, a sister location for Los Angeles’s The Edison, and a new bar and grill from Wolfgang Puck. So no, you won’t have to live off churros… as much as you would like to.