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Dining in Disneyland: The Incredible Pumpkin Carvers of 2014

Happy Halloween everyone! In honor of this spooktacular holiday, we thought it would be fun to keep with the tradition of sharing some fabulous Disneyland Pumpkins with you.

The Incredible Pumpkin Carvers are back at the Big Thunder Ranch Halloween Carnival and they’ve been busy!

Jack Skellington Shares a Spot with the Haunted Mansion Hat Box Ghost

Jack Skellington Shares a Spot with the Haunted Mansion Hat Box Ghost

Carved and decorated by a small handful of Disney artists, I noticed two incredible talents that were at the ranch on several occasions during Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort.  Both Disneyland carving veterans, Bridget McCarty and Joe Yakovetic can turn a pumpkin into a masterpiece.

Mickey Mouse with Mini Pumpkin Ears

Mickey Mouse with Mini Pumpkin Ears

Some pumpkins are carved, some are painted, some are carved and painted.  There are sparkly pumpkins, embellished pumpkins and even pumpkins on pumpkins.

Anna, Elsa & Olaf

Anna, Elsa & Olaf

They’re all so unique, but what they do have in common??? Their awesomeness.  Let’s take a look at some of these Continue reading →

Spotted! Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room Merchandise in Epcot’s UK Pavilion

Is the Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room your home away from home while you’re in Disney World? If so, you might enjoy knowing there are a few ways to take a piece of the Pub back home with you!

Rose and Crown

Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room

We’d enjoyed seeing some of the merchandise dedicated specifically to the Rose & Crown during a tour of the Food & Wine Festival Center, but I had no idea how extensive the line was until a recent visit to the Sportsman’s Shoppe in Epcot’s UK Pavilion (just across the path from the pub itself).

How long has it been there? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s been a while since I’d paid a visit to the Sportman’s Shoppe in particular. But it was fun to check out all the goodies dedicated to the place “Where Jolly Good Times Happen on This Side of the Pond,” and we thought fans of the pub might enjoy a glimpse, too!

Rose & Crown merchandise display

Rose & Crown merchandise display

"Where Jolly Good Times Happen on This Side of the Pond"

“Where Jolly Good Times Happen on This Side of the Pond”

From barware to clothing, this stuff runs the gamut. If you’ve enjoyed a pint (or two!) at Rose & Crown, you might like any of the collection of glasses, from pints to Continue reading →

Review and Preview: The Causeway at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

It’s almost time! The Fifth Annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic is just around the corner!

2014 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Thumbnail Logo

This event, which takes place concurrently with the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, is a fantastic evening for food and wine lovers.

This year’s Food and Wine Classic will take place on Friday, October 31 (yep! Halloween!) and Saturday, November 1. The two-day event consists of food and beverage tasting booths set up on the resort’s beautiful causeway each evening. And new for 2014, a Beer Garden experience has been added for even more great food and drink.

Guests can also take part in a number of special food and beverage seminars for an additional fee. Seminars take place at 4:30PM both days, and the Causeway booths are open from 5:30 until 9:00PM on Friday and Saturday.

We’ve enjoyed the event every year since it began, and 2013 was no exception! We thought a look back at last year’s event was the perfect way to get excited about what’s in store for 2014. Let’s head out to the Causeway for a delicious evening.

Dining al fresco on the Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!

Dining al fresco on the Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!

Atmosphere

Whether you’re staying at the Swan and Dolphin or you’re arriving from another location, head to the Promenade that connects the two resorts — that’s where the evening’s festivities will take place. We stopped by the Will Call Booth to pick up tickets.

As far as admission goes, you have options. Purchase an all-access ticket, and it’s an all-you-can-eat-and-drink pass to the booths. If you prefer, you can choose a la carte tickets instead, which are sold in books of 25.

Will Call Booth

Will Call Booth

The Check In Table provided us with handy plates and plastic wine glasses.

Check-In Table

Check-In Table

These would come in handy as we juggled plates and drinks on the Causeway.

Food and Wine Classic Tray and Glass

Food and Wine Classic Tray and Glass

Booths line the walkway leading from the Swan to the Dolphin as well as the path directly behind the Swan. There’s a lot to take in!

The Promenade

The Promenade

Hi-Top tables are scattered throughout the middle of the Causeway. You’ll also find large tables with chairs off to the side directly behind the Swan.

High Top Table

High Top Table

At the end of the Causeway closest to the Dolphin, a stage is set up for musical performance. While you sip and stroll, you can listen to live tunes!

Stage

Stage

In addition to the food and beverage booths, last year’s Classic featured a large Continue reading →

No Tricks, Just Treats: Sign Up for the DFB Newsletter Today!

Happy Halloween, Disney food fans!! The Fall holidays are well underway, and we are loving all the cool stuff that we’re seeing at Walt Disney World and Disneyland!

DFB Newsletter

From Special Treats, Cool New Events, and tons of Food-Themed Merchandise and Kitchenware, we think this is just about the best time of the year to be planning a Disney getaway!

But there’s so much happening that sometimes it’s hard to fit it all in on the Blog. That’s why we send out the DFB Newsletter twice a month.

It’s hard to keep track of it all, isn’t it? That’s where we come in to keep you up to date on the latest! There are new must-try treats, like the Pumpkin Spice Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich at L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France Pavilion.

Artisan des Glaces Pumpkin Spice Macaron Sandwich

Artisan des Glaces Pumpkin Spice Macaron Sandwich

At Disneyland, the return of classics, like Pumpkin Beignets signal the change of the seasons.

And of course…THE Continue reading →

Dining in Disneyland: Caramel Apple Smoothie & Pumpkin Muffin from Schmoozies

Halloween Time at Disney California Adventure is much more “quiet” than it is over at Disneyland.  There are, however, a handful of special menu items that are available through October 31st.  On a recent visit I discovered a fun combo at Schmoozies in Hollywood Land.

Schmoozies

Schmoozies!

The Caramel Apple Smoothie and Pumpkin Muffin are currently being featured as Holiday Specials.

Caramel Apple Smoothie & Pumpkin Muffin Signage

Caramel Apple Smoothie & Pumpkin Muffin Signage

Of course I had to check both of these items out.  The Caramel Apple Smoothie is made from fresh Granny Smith Apples, Caramel & Ice Cream.  I think it can be called a smoothie because it has real fruit in it, but don’t get me wrong, it’s NOT a healthy item. It’s really more like a shake.  Totally delicious, but not something you’d get from a juice bar!

Caramel Apple Smoothie & Pumpkin Muffin

Caramel Apple Smoothie & Pumpkin Muffin

Schmoozies makes all “smoothies” fresh to order, so it does Continue reading →

Snack Series: Candy Corn Cupcake at The Mara

Boo to You! It’s Halloween Week, and the Disney seasonal treats just keep coming!

Today, we’re showing you a fun Fall find from The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

I love me some candy corn, but when you combine candy corn and Cupcakes? Even better!

Candy Corn Cupcake

So, Disney World has some hidden gems that keep churning out awesome eats that you’d never expect. Places like Sleepy Hollow and Friar’s Nook in the Magic Kingdom, and Landscape of Flavors at Art of Animation Resort tend to be little hot-beds of creativity when it comes to snacks and must-eat treats. The Mara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge also fits into this category, featuring some seriously great baked goods on a regular basis (like the Chocolate Raspberry Mickey Tart).

And so I give you the Candy Corn Cupcake — with Oreo Mickey Ears, even!!

Candy Corn Cupcake at The Mara in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Candy Corn Cupcake at The Mara in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Mounded high with thick Buttercream Frosting in Candy Corn’s traditional tri-color pattern, the cupcake is trimmed out with orange-tinted White Chocolate Curls for even more visual impact.

This is all piled on top of dark Chocolate Cake. But when you cut into the cupcake, you’ll find a little surprise hidden inside.

Candy Corn Cupcake -- Cross Section

Candy Corn Cupcake — Cross Section

Now, to be honest, I’m not completely sure what this is. There is definitely chopped up Continue reading →

News! Boathouse and Morimoto Confirmed for Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs at Downtown Disney

We are so excited to finally shed some light on what’s happening behind those construction walls over at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney!

Disney Springs Construction

Disney Springs Construction

It seems that after stops, starts, delays, and renamings, Disney Springs is finally taking shape. And today, we’re sharing with you not one, but TWO new confirmed restaurants that will join the Disney Springs lineup sooner rather than later. And BOTH restaurants were featured on early posts here on DFB highlighting future Disney Springs dining.

The Boathouse

The Boathouse will offer waterfront dining with a nautical theme. Located at The Landing within Disney Springs, the restaurant is the brainchild of Schussler Creative, the same company that brought you other super-themed restaurants around Disney like T-Rex, Rainforest Cafe, and Yak & Yeti. Gibsons Restaurant Group will operate the spot.

The Boathouse -- Inside

The Boathouse — Inside

Guests can expect a mulitfaceted menu featuring American fare, including seafood, steaks, and chops. In addition, the restaurant will feature three different themed bars, including The Captain’s Raw Bar, The Admiral’s Club Bar, and The Dock Bar. Rooms within the restaurant will also carry a nautical theme and decor.

The Boathouse will offer guest more than just food, however. The restaurant will also serve as the launching spot for a number of boat-themed attractions. Guests can ride on a 40-foot Italian Water Taxi while they enjoy champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. There will also be guided “Amphicar” Tours that highlight sites around Disney Springs.

The Boathouse -- Outside View

The Boathouse — Outside View

Live music and private dining space round out the offerings at The Boathouse. The new restaurant is scheduled to serve Disney Springs guests until 2:00 AM.

The Boathouse is slated to open in the Continue reading →

What’s New Around Disney World: October 28, 2014

Happy Fall! Autumnal treats have been appearing all over Disney World for a while now, but with Halloween just days away, we thought we’d give you one last glimpse of the season’s snacks.

But that’s not the only food news ’round these parts… not by a long shot. Take a trip with us around all four Disney World parks to check out What’s New!

Hollywood Studios

October is probably my favorite time for the candy apples that hit the scene, like these at Sweet Spells.

Halloween Candy Apples

Halloween Candy Apples

"Poisoned" Candy Apple

“Poisoned” Candy Apple

Minnie Witch Candy Apple

Minnie Witch Candy Apple

Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner currently features a Caramel Apple Shake as its tribute to fall. The featured shakes here change frequently, so be sure to pop by to see what’s available on your visit!

Min and Bill's Dockside Diner

Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner

Caramel Apple Shake

Caramel Apple Shake

Joffrey’s Coffee Carts all over Disney World have changed their seasonal offerings to include a Pumpkin Pie Latte and a Pumpkin Pie Frozen Cappuccino.

Joffrey's Coffee Kiosk at Pixar Place

Joffrey’s Coffee Kiosk at Pixar Place

Seasonal Coffee beverages

Seasonal Coffee beverages

Speaking of those Joffrey’s Carts… remember the Big ‘Ol Donut? We spotted a few topped with massive amounts of cookie crumble for a change Continue reading →

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: South African Bobotie with Turkey and Mushrooms

We are back with another delicious taste of the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

A big draw of the Festival is the variety of fantastic dishes you can taste from all over the world at Marketplace Booths. And this year, we’ve enjoyed some really great options.

We’ve been fans of the Bobotie served at Tusker House and Boma for quite a while. The South African dish is reminiscent of a quiche with its egg base, but interesting ingredients, like raisins and traditional spices, give it a flavor that’s completely unique.

This year, the Africa Marketplace Booth offers up a version made with Turkey and Mushrooms.

South African Bobotie

South African Bobotie

Although Bobotie normally contains bread, this is a gluten-free version that’s prepared without it. The recipe utilizes mushrooms to provide hearty flavor, and their addition allows you to use less meat. You could even omit the turkey altogether and increase the mushrooms for a meatless version.

South African Bobotie with Turkey and Mushrooms

Africa Marketplace Booth

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

Continue reading →

Sneak Peek and Review: Trattoria al Forno Breakfast at Disney’s BoardWalk

We have a treat for you today — a sneak peek at some of the food that will be served at Disney’s soon-to-be newest restaurant, Trattoria al Forno!

Trattoria al Forno Logo

Recently, we shared with you a first look at some of the menu items that are planned when the restaurant opens later this year at Disney’s BoardWalk (all subject to change, of course). But I was excited to find on my trip to Walt Disney World last week that the restaurant is already serving breakfast!

Well. Sort of.

As expected, the closing of Kouzzina left a breakfast vacuum (and a really, really devastating one at that). I was super bummed to see that the Mascarpone  Waffles and other unique offerings might be nixed when Cat Cora’s Disney restaurant would be shuttered. Breakfast at Kouzzina regularly topped our list for best ways to start the day in the World.

So while I was intrigued to see that Trattoria al Forno’s breakfast menu was being served already — at its closest neighbor, Flying Fish Cafe, I was skeptical that it would even come close to Kouzzina’s breakfast. But I was eager to try it out and see what would be offered!

Now, I’m accustomed to meeting friends for dinner at Flying Fish, so it’s a little strange to arrive here for a 9:00 AM advance dining reservation!

Flying Fish, is a DFB Favorite!

Flying Fish Cafe in the Morning Hours

Let’s take a look at what I found — focusing on the food, rather than the atmosphere.

Menu Comparison: Trattoria al Forno Breakfast Versus Kouzzina

So here’s the good news for all of your who were super sad to hear that Kouzzina was closing. The Trattoria al Forno menu — for breakfast, at least — definitely has some of the same “feel” as the Kouzzina menu. While there are enough standard items to keep breakfast purists happy, you’ll definitely see the influence of the restaurant’s themeing in some of the dishes.

To make easy work of comparing the two, let’s take a look at both new and old.

Here is the menu that I received during my recent breakfast at Flying Fish.

Trattoria al Forno Breakfast Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Trattoria al Forno Breakfast Menu — Click to Enlarge

And here’s the menu from the last time I enjoyed breakfast at Kouzzina.

Breakfast Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Breakfast Menu — Click to Enlarge

Press Pot Coffee will continue to be offered, something that Kouzzina fans often raved about.

While many of the exact items from Kouzzina don’t appear, there are definitely similarities. You’ll notice, for instance, that Trattoria will continue to serve Chicken Sausage as a side item. We’ve seen it on a few other breakfast menus though, at spots like The Wave (here’s a peek at their breakfast) at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Carnation Cafe (see a breakfast review here) in Disneyland Park.

Flavors shift in the Mediterranean spectrum from Greek to Italian. Pequillo Peppers give way to Roasted Red Peppers, and Feta and other Cheeses disappear in favor of Pecorino Romano and Fresh Mozzarella.

We did notice that the Waffles seemed to make the trip over with a “tiramisu” type flavor — the addition of a coffee accent to the mascarpone. Yay!

I was pretty sad to see the demise of one of my Kouzzina favorites, the Warm Honey Pecan Cinnamon Roll.

So Far, No Warm Honey Pecan Cinnamon Roll at Trattoria al Forno

So Far, No Warm Honey Pecan Cinnamon Roll at Trattoria al Forno

I’m still holding out hope that something similar will show up when Trattoria al Forno opens its doors! It was awesome.

In chatting with the staff, we do know of a few other items that will appear on the menu later that weren’t available when we visited. These include Caramel Apple Pancakes with Streusel-Like Topping, and a Fontina Fondue-Type dish with Prosciutto, Eggs, Vine Tomatoes, and several different types of Cheese.

Eats

Now that we’ve talked about the menu at length, it’s high time I showed you what I actually enjoyed!

I decided to go with Continue reading →