As in previous years, Downtown Disney’s celebration centers on Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant, a cornerstone of of Pleasure Island. In 2013, the St. Patrick’s Day events have extended to not only cover the official March 17 holiday but two weekends: March 8 – 10, called a preview weekend, and the extended March 14 – 17 holiday.
Raglan Road dubs its second, extended weekend the “Mighty Festival.”
The St. Patrick’s Day festivities showcase 10 Irish bands, Irish dancers and dance lessons, and family fun. There’s also plenty of Irish food and drink. Raglan Road's menu, by Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon, offers classic fare with a contemporary twist and the establishment serves a wide selection of Irish and craft beers, Irish whiskey and cocktails.
Watch a video of a previous St. Patrick's Day celebration at Raglan Road and Downtown Disney.
In addition to Irish food and drink, Raglan Road's "Might Festival" focuses on music and dance. The March 8 – 10 preview runs from 6 – 11 p.m. and features performances by The Willis Clan, a family of artists and musicians whose work reflects their Irish roots other genres. On the nearby outdoor stage, Nova Celtic will provide its own take on popular Irish music.
The St. Patrick's Day celebration kicks into even higher gear for the second long weekend with more performances, more music and more activities. The festivities run from 6 p.m. – 1 a.m. on March 14 – 15 and from from noon until 1 a.m. on March 16 – 17.
Guests can enjoy the following entertainment and activities between March 14 – 17:
- The Raglan Road Dancers, the restaurant’s seven full-time champion dancers, will perform daily.
- U2 tribute band Elevation will play Saturday and Sunday.
- On Saturday, guest will be able to Ceili (kay-lee). a traditional music and structured set-dancing event.
- “The Electric Ceili,” which takes place Sunday evening, will feature a number of Irish musicians and dancers.
- Other performers include Girsa (an all-female group that plays traditional Irish music), Celtic Wave (traditional Irish and Scottish music), Wyndbreakers (traditional and non-traditional Celtic music, with humor) and Three Dollar Band (original music based on traditional Irish, American folk songs, Appalachian music and sea music).
- Also performing are Raglan Road regulars: its house band Creel, Johnny “Snags” Norton & Justin Murphy (traditional Irish and pub music) and Albannach (Scottish tribal drumming and Celtic music).
- Ronan McCormack, Irish dancer and choreographer who worked with the original Riverdance cast, will lead Irish Dance Workshops Friday through Sunday.
- Dublin-born multi-instrumentalist Declan Masterson, recent touring musical director of Riverdance, will lead Irish Music Workshops.
Downtown Disney’s extended St. Patrick’s Day festivities at Raglan Road and Pleasure Island will feature more than 50 musicians and dancers, plus face painting, stilt walkers and giveaways.
The crowds will be largest at Raglan Road on March 16 –17, and seating is first-come, first-served and cover charges apply for guests 18 and over on those dates. On Saturday, the cover charge is $5; on Sunday, it is $10. Come early, wear green, and be prepared to celebrate all day long.
Worth noting: While March 16 - 17 is first-come, first-served seating, Raglan Road reservations may be made for March 14 and 15 at 407-938-0300. Raglan Road also offers a Festival Luncheon & Culinary Demonstration on March 13; the event offers three courses and optional wine pairings; reservations are required.