Full Review: Dinner at Morimoto Asia in Disney World’s Disney Springs

Welcome to Morimoto Asia — the latest addition to the Disney Springs dining scene!

With dining locations in Philadelphia, New York, and Chicago (among others), Morimoto Asia is not the first restaurant venture headed by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. However, it is Chef Morimoto’s first “pan-Asian” restaurant, featuring flavors from across the continent with a focus on Thailand, Korea, Japan, and China.

This new Disney Springs location was created in partnership with the Pantina Restaurant Group (you may know this name from the group’s association with Disney World restaurants such as Via Napoli, Tutto Italia and Tutto Gusto, and a few Disneyland restaurants including Catal Restaurant and Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria).

Morimoto Asia opened its doors just last week on September 30th for dinner (lunch and the anticipated weekend brunch will not be offered for a few weeks yet — the starting date is yet to be announced), and you may have had a chance to check out our First Look from opening night. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Since the writing of this post, it has been announced that lunch at Morimoto Asia will debut on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 at 11:00 am.)

Today we’re back for a full review.

Morimoto Asia

Morimoto Asia

So, settle in! Because there’s LOTS to see… [Read more…]

Breakfast on the Range: Whispering Canyon Cafe

Global Disney Pinvestigator is back with another round of comments and photos about a recent meal. This one, breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe, is a great read, so settle in my friends, and don’t forget to give us your comments…

whispering-canyon-cafe-sign

“Once again getting to the restaurant early, we were definitely the FIRST people there (and this might have been unfortunate). I have heard of the great show the waitstaff puts on, but I was a bit disappointed. The show couldn’t really begin until the restaurant filled up a bit more, and as it was 7:50am, things weren’t as rowdy.

(Interestingly, I overheard one waiter “breaking character” to ask about the time. When her co-worker responded “8:15,” the waiter replied “Oh…I’m ready to sing, and we have to wait 30 more minutes.” I’m guessing this means that if you have a later reservation, you may get a better show, as waitstaff aren’t allowed to get loud until after 8:45 due to sleeping Wilderness Lodge Resort guests!)

Dining Room

Dining Room

While Whispering Canyon has a nice-sized menu for breakfast, we decided to go for the Canyon Skillet, which is all-you-can-eat scrambled eggs, biscuits, potatoes, bacon, sausage, gravy, and mickey waffles for $14.99.

OJ a la Jam Jar

OJ a la Jam Jar

All You Can Eat Skillet

All You Can Eat Skillet

It was good, standard breakfast food, but it wasn’t refilled as much as our ‘Ohana breakfast servings and the Mickey waffles arrived a bit cold. The food was fine, though I would definitely rather go to ‘Ohana for breakfast.

Plate With Mickey Waffle

Plate With Mickey Waffle

Additionally, though we’d been looking forward to the Whispering Canyon’s rowdy reputation, our waiter was not that “entertaining.” While other waitstaff seemed much more “awake” (throwing straws and rounding up the ketchup), our waiter was pretty low-key. I’m sure that if I hadn’t been expecting a rowdy atmosphere I wouldn’t have been disappointed, but we were really hoping… .

In the end, I might go back for a different meal (lunch or dinner); and while I may go back for breakfast again, I found it just “OK.” I enjoyed ‘Ohana much more.

Rating: 3 of 5
Tables in Wonderland: yes
Food: 3 of 5
Entertainment/show: 2 of 5″

Disney Resort Refillable Mugs FAQ

As many folks know, Disney World Resorts offer Disney Refillable Mugs for guests to purchase and use for free refills! Here are a few of the most popular Frequently Asked Questions about the Disney Refillable Mug Program (also known as Rapid Fill):

Disney Refillable Mugs Overview

“Refillable mugs” are 16 oz. insulated coffee mugs sold at Disney hotels. Guests are entitled to unlimited free refills on fountain drinks, coffee, and tea from self-service beverage locations at Disney resorts for their length of stay.

The Rapid Fill program began in August 2013 and allows Disney Resort guests to buy (or receive as part of the Disney Dining Plan) a Resort mug which can be refilled for a certain period of time as designated at time of purchase. These mugs are enhanced by an RFID bar code which enables the mug to deactivate when the designated time is complete.

Mugs used to be considered collectibles, with each Disney resort offering unique patterns for their mugs. But starting with the Year of a Million Dreams, the mugs have been one standard design and shape no matter where you purchase them.

Disney Refillable Mug FAQ

I’m not on a Disney Dining Plan, so I’ll be purchasing my mug separately. How much do they cost?
$8.99 for 1 Day
$11.99 for 2 Days
$14.99 for 3 Days
$17.99 for Length of Stay (If you’re staying longer, “Add-1-Day” or “Add-2-Day” options can be added.)

Rapid Fill Info

Rapid Fill Info

I’m resort hopping. Do I need to purchase a new mug at my second resort?
Nope! Upon purchase, simply purchase the amount of total days that you’ll be staying on Walt Disney World property. Note that if you are switching to a non-Disney-owned resort (for example, WDW Swan and Dolphin), then you’ll only want to purchase for the part of your stay that is at a Disney-owned resort.

What beverages are available for Disney Refillable Mug refills?

You can refill your mug with coffee, iced or hot tea, soda-pop (these will be ALL Coca-Cola products — Disney does not sell Pepsi products due to Coke’s long-time sponsorship agreement), and hot chocolate.

*COOL INFO:* It’s interesting to note that most refillable mug stations have some sort of Hi-C lemonade/fruit punch option OR red/blue Powerade.

Beverage Station

Beverage Station

What beverages aren’t available for Disney Refillable Mug refills?

Most notably, milk and “real” fruit juice (e.g. no OJ or Apple Juice).

Will they refill my frozen margarita at the pool bar?

No. But you get points for creativity.

Where can I buy the mugs and get refills?

Purchase/Refill stations are located in food courts, quick service locations, and pool bars at all Value/Moderate/Deluxe resorts. Check with your resort front desk to be sure you know of all the locations at your hotel where you can get refills.

Rapid Fill Mug on tray

Rapid Fill Mug on tray

Do I get a Disney Refillable Mug if I’m using the Disney Dining Plan?

Yes! As of 2012, all Disney Dining Plans now offer refillable mugs for everyone on the plan.

May I only use the Disney Refillable Mug at my resort?

No. Mugs may be used at any Disney-owned resort on property.

While you can’t use your resort mug in the parks (unless you’re getting water), you CAN purchase refillable mugs in the water parks. Disney’s also been rumored to be testing refillable mug programs in the theme parks.

Refill date notice

Refill date notice

Can I save my mug when I get home and bring it back to use on all my subsequent Disney trips?
No. Mugs are for the specific number of days that you purchase.

What do the current mugs look like?
New mugs were recently released in February 2014. Take a look!

The new mug

The new mug

If I’m paying an exorbitant amount for my room and there are Disney Refillable Mugs already in there, does that mean they’re free?

The mugs are never free (unless you get them as part of an already paid for Dining Plan). The cost will be placed on your bill as a charge.

Okay. So how do I use my Rapid Fill mug with RFID bar code?
It’s easy! Follow our step-by-step directions for using your RFID refillable mug.

Any other cool stuff you should tell us about the Disney refillable mug program?

YES! Each self-service refillable mug location has a MUG WASH! That’s right — there’s a little sink right next to the soda-pop dispensers that you can use to wash out your mug. Comes in very handy when switching between your drinks of choice…say between Coffee and Powerade?

MUG WASH!

MUG WASH!

Do YOU buy the mugs, DisneyFoodBlog?

You know, I used to buy the mugs at every resort as collectibles, but I always ended up in rooms far away from the refillable mug stations and never really used the mugs enough to justify the purchase (I wish Disney would put in more mug stations, but I know that would probably be taken advantage of by non-mug-buyers). That said, when I’ve taken trips to Disney World where my primary activity has been reading by the pool, having the mug for free refills has been a real blessing!

If you can’t live without your coffee, or if you need a travel mug for your morning commute at home, buy the mug. It’s fun to see that little Mickey face every morning!

Four colors to choose from

Four colors to choose from

Rapid Fill mugs are here to stay!

We want to hear about your own refillable mug experiences. Share in the comments below!

Food Blog Weekly Round-Up: August 9th

Animal Kingdom eat here
I can’t believe it’s August 8th already! And lots of good foodstuffs ’round the web this week my friends! Let’s dive in…

Main Street Gazette reminds us of the Beastly Bazaar in the Animal Kingdom: Few guests (myself included, I think!) know about or make use of this little spot, where you can get sandwiches and snacks to go. Thanks for the info, Ryan!

Only WDWorld reports on the 2010 Disney Dining Plan price increases: You’ll be paying a bit more for the convenience and savings of the dining plan next year…especially if you’re headed to Orlando during “peak” seasons!

SoloFriendly reviews Liberty Tree Tavern: As you know, this is a Food Blog Favorite, so I couldn’t wait to see what SoloFriendly had to say. Verdict was pretty positive!

Yet Another Disney Blog gave some insight into DCL’s Palo and Animator’s Palate: I’ve been craving some DCL food finds lately, and these photos and descriptions fit the bill!

Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Blog discusses the added costs to this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival: We’ve had some strong opinions expressed by comments here on the Disney Food Blog about the higher costs of this year’s events; be sure to check out Scott’s thoughts on the matter.

What CAN’T You Get in Disney Parks?

What food items do you wish you could find at Disney Parks, but just aren’t there?

Does Epcot Need More Spanish Food...Permanently?

Does Epcot Need More Spanish Food...Permanently?

In other words,

What CAN’T you get to eat or drink in Disney parks?

I posed this question on facebook and twitter last week and got some really interesting answers.

Some folks wanted old-school items to return, like the cheese omelet from Electric Umbrella and those yummy character-shaped filled chocolate truffles (remember those? I liked the peanut butter ones.). But the rest of the answers were clamoring for things folks have been missing (or haven’t yet found) in Disney parks, like:

  • Good Maryland-style crab
  • Spanish food
  • Sweet Tea
  • Now THAT'S a Cheesesteak

    Now THAT'S a Cheesesteak

  • Fondue
  • Philly Cheesesteak
  • A good gyro
  • A make-your-own salad bar
  • Good Italian food
  • “Decent ribs”
  • Mr. Pibb (only available at McDonald’s on property)
  • Chic-fil-a :)
  • Toblerone bars
  • And…everyone’s most emphatic answer…GOOD PIZZA!

Personally, I’ve got my sights set on some good Buffalo Chicken Wings, though I’ve been told I can find those at the ESPN Club on WDW’s Boardwalk.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear:

Sometimes Hershey's Just Ain't Enough...

Sometimes Hershey's Just Ain't Enough...

1. What favorite items do YOU wish you could find in the parks?

2. If you’ve got an idea where folks can find any of the items listed above, please chime in! I figure, between all of us, we’ve been to every restaurant and food stop in the Disney parks. If those items are available, someone who reads this blog will know about it!

Photo credits: Spain: Joe Shlabotnik, Toblerone: Ultra, Cheesesteak: Sauce Supreme

Spotlight: Yachtsman Steakhouse

Yachtsman Steakhouse SignYachtsman Steakhouse is one of those Disney Resort restaurants that I didn’t even know was there for several years. Then one day I caught Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel eating steak at some hoity-toity restaurant during the Yacht and Beach Club “Great Hotels” special, and I knew I had to try it!

Restaurant Forum Plaque

Restaurant Forum Plaque

I was lucky enough to do so during Disney’s first free dining stint several years ago. It’s now become a standard in our Disney restaurant rotation whenever we need a special treat or celebration.

Located in the Yacht Club Resort, Yachtsman Steakhouse is a high-end dinner spot with a view of Stormalong Bay. Specializing in delicious grain-fed beef steaks, the restaurant has a glass-walled butchering room where guests can actually see their steaks being prepared!

Butchering Room

Butchering Room

Led into the restaurant past the open kitchen, guests can catch a glimpse of the dessert offerings before being seated in a dining room furnished in sturdy knotty pine, leather, and brass. If you’re lucky enough to be seated in my favorite section – the semi-circular room with plenty of window tables – be sure to take a glance upward at the simple, elegant chandelier above.

Open Kitchen

Open Kitchen

Dining Room

Dining Room

The View From Our Favorite Table

The View From Our Favorite Table

Chandelier

Chandelier

As I said, this restaurant is a permanent fixture on our “fancy places” rotation; and I will say that spots only get on that list when we know we can expect excellent service, fabulous food, and a comfortable atmosphere. We’re picky, and this place fits every one of our guidelines.

That said, there are always little changes and updates being made to the menu. Desserts are tweaked, the cheese plate is rotated, and even steak offerings can be different from time to time (we were sorely missing the boneless rib eye), but we always walk out happy. It’s like a miracle.

This evening, we ordered our dinners and were faced with the first change: weird butter. Usually, Yachtsman brings a basket of gorgeous onion and sourdough rolls along with a HUGE pat of butter topped with sea salt. Today, the butter was in a dish with oil and balsamic vinegar. Butter’s my favorite, so I was a bit concerned; but this stuff was amazing. Yes! Please add weird oil and balsamic vinegar to my butter!

Yachtsman Steakhouse Onion Rolls and Roasted Garlic

Yachtsman Steakhouse Onion Rolls and Roasted Garlic

Sourdough Rolls

Sourdough Rolls

Butter with Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, and Salt

Butter with Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, and Salt

We moved on to salad and my cheese plate. The salad was simple and elegant; the cheese plate was delicious as always. I know I owe you guys a cheese plate blog, which I’ll do soon, but for now, here’s the pic and description of the plate.

Cheese Plate

Cheese Plate

Cheese Plate Descriptions

Cheese Plate Descriptions

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

From there, we enjoyed our entrees (…steak) and extra order of fries (what can I say? We were in the mood for fries!). My steak — the Cowboy Steak — was a bone-in rib-eye. I substituted gratin potatoes for the fried onion strips on the menu.

Cowboy Steak and Potato Gratin with White Diamond Cheddar

Cowboy Steak and Potato Gratin with White Diamond Cheddar

Yachtsman Filet with Mashed Potatoes

Yachtsman Filet with Mashed Potatoes

French Fries

French Fries

At this point, you can imagine we were stuffed, so we skipped dessert. But no worries; I took a shot of the dessert tray for you!

Desserts

Desserts

Here’re the specs! Enjoy!
Yachtsman Info

Dinner menu here. All other menus (including wine and dessert) can be found here.

Sneak Peek at Kouzzina Menu

Cat Cora and Mickey

Cat Cora and Mickey

*Update August 17, 2009*: Disney World has posted menus for Kouzzina!
Kouzzina Menu: Dinner
Kouzzina Menu: Breakfast
Kouzzina Menu: Dessert

You can see some photos of some new Kouzzina menu items here!

The restaurant had a “soft” opening on August 15th. Grand opening is still scheduled for September 17th.
________________________________________
Also, thanks to DisBoards poster, StepDisney, here’s another sneak peek at what might be on Kouzzina’s menu!

Appetizer:
Saganaki
Spinach Salad
Spanakopita
Goat Cheese Stuffed Grape Leafs
Vongole (clams, Sausage, Wine Broth & Garlic Croutons
Calamari & Lemons
Brick Oven Bread
Kouzzina Spread
Kouzzina Sampler

Dinner Entree:
Oak Fired Pork T-Bone
Wood Grilled Flank Steak
Fisherman’s stew
Cinnamon Stewed Chicken
Char grilled Lamb Burgers
Traditional Whole Fish
Spiced Briami (Oven roasted Veggies, Oregano & Mazithra Cheese with Orzo)
Greek Spinach Pie
Tastitsio ( Greek Lasagna)
Slow cooked lamb shank

Dessert:
Baklava
Chocolate Budino Cake
Galaktoboureko – Custard in Baked Phyllo Dough & Vanilla Praline Ice Cream
Loukamathes – Freshly made greek donut dipped in warm honey
Yogurt Sorbet with fruit & mint syrup
Greek Cookies

Thanks to @jlovely for the tip!

Campfires and S’mores? Who knew?

That’s right. What started with an innocent campfire sing-a-long at Fort Wilderness has turned into one of the most-loved (and most unknown) activities for Disney World Resort Hotel guests — campfires, movies on the beach, and…s’mores!

Yacht and Beach Club Resorts Campfire and Smores

Yacht and Beach Club Resorts Campfire and Smores

In addition to the original Chip & Dale campfire sing-a-long and movie at Fort Wilderness, free (yep — I said it) “movies on the beach” can be found at several resorts, including the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, the Contemporary Resort, the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Saratoga Springs Resort, and All Star Music.

Movie on the Beach at Yacht and Beach Club Resorts

Movie on the Beach at Yacht and Beach Club Resorts

The best part, in my humble opinion, is that some of these include campfires! And where there are campfires, there are s’mores! You can either bring your own s’mores fixin’s or purchase a s’mores kit (around $5) at nearby refreshment stands.

Movies are shown at varying times (usually beginning between 7-9pm EST); check with the front desk of each hotel for an activities sheet, which will give dates and times of movie nights, and a listing of which movies will be showing.

Top Drink Suggestions From Readers

Grey Goose Citron Slush and Pomegranate Kir -- Photo (c) Kelly Tressler

Grey Goose Citron Slush and Pomegranate Kir — Photo (c) Kelly Tressler

A giant THANK YOU to everyone who made a suggestion for my next favorite drink at Disney World!

As you know, my beloved Leisure Suit has been retired, and I’ve long needed a replacement so that I can stop bugging bartenders to flip through their rolodexes.

Here are the suggestions I received, and, seeing as that Grey Goose Citron Slush was suggested 3 times, I think that’s the most serious contender!

Thank you again, and be sure to check out what everyone else recommended below (If anyone has any photos of these drinks, please let me know — I’d love to post them on the blog!):

Suggestions from Blog Comments:
Cotton-tini, T-Rex in Downtown Disney: A fruity martini poured into a glass filled with cotton candy
Octopus Juice, Coral Reef in Epcot: A Pina Colada fusion with Chambord
Grand Marnier Orange Slush, France Kiosk, World Showcase: Grand Marnier and Orange Fruit Smoothie frozen Drink Mix (Florida Natural Flavours)
Grey Goose Citron Slush, France Kiosk, World Showcase: Grey Goose Citron Vodka and Polynesian Pleasure Lemon Frozen Drink Mix (Florida Natural Flavours)
Backscratcher, Polynesian Resort: Meyer’s Rum, Light Rum, POG (passion fruit, orange, guava) Juice, Jack Daniels
Mai Tai, Polynesian Resort: Myers Dark Rum, Orange juice, Pineapple juice, Sour Mix, Lime juice, Orgeat syrup
Ultimate Long Island Iced Tea, 50’s Prime Time Cafe: Grey Goose Vodka, Hendrick’s Gin, Bacardi Rum, Patrón Citrónge Liqueur, Sweet-and-Sour, Coke
Dad’s Electric Lemonade, 50’s Prime Time Cafe: Bacardi rum, Skyy vodka, Blue Curacao, sweet and sour mix, Sprite
Strawberry Margarita, Mexico Kiosk, World Showcase
Orange Creamsicle, Contemporary Resort: Couldn’t find the actual DISNEY recipe, but others I found online included Vodka/Orange Vodka, Triple Sec, Orange Juice, and Cream or Ice Cream
Territory-tini, Territory Lounge, Wilderness Lodge: Captain Morgan, Grand Mariner, Sour mix, Splash of OJ, shake with ice

 

Top Disney Drink Suggestions

 

 

Polynesian Signature Drinks

Polynesian Signature Drinks

Suggestions from Twitter:
Antioxidant Cocktail, various locations serve this, including The Wave: Finlandia Wild Berries Vodka, Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur, Bossa Nova Açai Juice with Agave, Aloe Juice, Lychee, Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
PeachTree Punch, Hollywood Brown Derby: Skyy Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Orange Juice, Sprite, splash of Grenadine
Sunken Treasure, various locations–mostly Polynesian Resort and pool bars: Malibu Coconut Rum, Midori, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, Sprite, Blue Curacao
Backscratcher, Polynesian Resort: Meyer’s Rum, Light Rum, POG (passion fruit, orange, guava) Juice, Jack Daniels
St. Germain Cocktail, Les Chefs de France, World Showcase: champagne or dry white wine, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, sparkling water or club soda

Suggestions from Facebook:
Takara Plum Wine, Japan Pavilion, World Showcase
Pomegranate Kir, France Kiosk, World Showcase: sparkling wine with a shot of pomegranate liqueur
Grey Goose Citron Slush (x2), France Kiosk, World Showcase: Grey Goose Citron Vodka and Polynesian Pleasure Lemon Frozen Drink Mix (Florida Natural Flavours)
Grand Marnier Orange Slush, France Kiosk, World Showcase: Grand Marnier and Orange Fruit Smoothie frozen Drink Mix (Florida Natural Flavours)
Chocolate Mintini, Rix Lounge, Coronado Springs Resort: No recipe found

Thanks again, everyone! I’m looking forward to stumbling around Disney World for most of my trip thanks to you folks! ;-)