Spotted: More Fun Merchandise at Disney Springs Marketplace Co-op

Recently, I stopped by Disney Springs on a little gift-buying errand. While the item I was after was located at the World of Disney store, I popped in the Marketplace Co-op to see what was new (or, rather, new to me, since it had been some time since my last visit).

Marketplace Co-op in Disney Springs

Marketplace Co-op in Disney Springs

Immediately I knew it was a bad decision… for my wallet. Because this retail center (which is known as a test location for tons of Disney merch, with a lot of it eventually making its way into the parks) always has some seriously cool stuff tucked inside its individual shops. Take, for instance, the place we’re starting: Twenty Eight & Main. [Read more…]

News! 2017 Disney World Free Dining Offer Now Available!

IT’S ON. The Walt Disney World’s Free Dining Offer is officially coming back and will be offered to guests for select dates in late August, September, November, and December 2017 (NOTE: There are no October dates this year, but if your check-in date is in late September, you can obviously take your stay into October).

Disney World Free Dining 2017 Travel Dates

Free Dining is being offered to guests ARRIVING during the dates listed below. free-dining

August 21* – September 30, 2017
November 14 – November 20, 2017
November 25 – November 27, 2017
December 8 – December 23, 2017

You must book by July 7th to get the offer.

*Disney Visa Cardholders may book dates starting August 13th. We’ll be updating the post throughout the day with details as we get them.

(Please note that the offer excludes: campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Little Mermaid Standard Rooms, and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows as per Disney World’s website. Some sources are reporting more exclusions. Your mileage may vary. ) 

Disney Resorts

If you stay at a Value or Moderate Resort, you’ll receive the Quick Service Dining plan for FREE. (Note that you can upgrade to the standard or deluxe dining plans by paying the difference in cost per night.) Note that the Caribbean Beach Resort is undergoing massive refurbishment this year. It’s still available to book for the offer, but we just wanted to give you the heads’ up.

If you reserve a Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort, you will receive the standard Dining plan for FREE. (You can upgrade to the deluxe dining plan by paying the difference in cost per night).

Minimum/Maximum Days

You must book a minimum stay of 3 nights/maximum stay of 14 nights at a Disney-owned resort. (This is based on our calculations making trial reservations, though Disney does not specify a minimum stay this year.) You also need to purchase AT LEAST a 2-day Magic Your Way Disney World ticket with a Park Hopper AND/OR the Park Hopper Plus Option.

Use this link to book!

Will Free Dining Save You Money?

DFB Guide 2017 Second Edition CoverSince Disney World’s Free Dining offer generally can’t be combined with other discounts, it’s often difficult to determine whether or not your family will save more money with a Disney World hotel room discount or with the free dining offer.

We break down and compare the costs and options for several Disney World discounts, including the Free Dining offer, in our fully updated DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2017 Second Edition e-Book to help you save the most money possible. 

Along with over 650 pages of great Disney World dining advice, full color photos, and details, this book is a great deal.

Get your DFB Guide to WDW Dining here, and speaking of saving money — use code “SAVE2017” to get 20% off today! With a full, money-back guarantee, there’s nothing to lose! 

Are you excited for Free Dining? Please let us know with a comment!

News and Review: Goofy’s Powdered Candy is Back in Disney World

If you have fond memories of strolling through your favorite Disney World Park as a youngster (or as a not-so-youngster!), clutching a plastic tube full of flavored sweet and/or sour sugar, you might be a Goofy’s Powdered Candy fan.

Goofy's Powdered Candy

Goofy’s Powdered Candy

While powdered candy is by no means new to Disney World (we first chatted about this sugary indulgence years ago), the current incarnation of the treat is somewhat updated. You see, around a year ago, Goofy’s Powdered Candy suddenly vanished from merchandise spots where it had been a staple for ages: place like the Main Street Confectionery, Epcot’s Mouse Gear, and the like.

And then — just as suddenly — it came back on the scene to several of its previous locations (though not all… yet). Goofy’s Powdered Candy even showed up in places it hadn’t been seen before, like Zuri’s Sweets Shop in Animal Kingdom. BOOM! [Read more…]

Review: Cinnamon French Toast Bread Pudding at Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons

You know that feeling when you’ve rope-dropped Soarin’ Around the World… but in order to do that, you had to skip breakfast?

Yeah, that feeling is hunger. And we’ve got just the thing to help you muster your strength for the rest of your day.

It’s a little thing we call Cinnamon French Toast Bread Pudding. Actually, that’s not just us. That’s what the friendly folks at Sunshine Seasons in the Land Pavilion at Epcot call it, too ;) .

You know Sunshine Seasons as the conveniently located food court with fresh and unusual-by-theme-park-standards grub. We like to keep a close eye on the menus and pastry cases here because it seems like new things are always popping up.

Sunshine Seasons sign

Sunshine Seasons sign

Before the Soarin’ refurb, it used to be home to a Croissant Berry Bread Pudding for breakfast. But that’s since been replaced by the Cinnamon French Toast Bread Pudding. [Read more…]

Review: Grab-and-Go Menu Available at Art Smith’s Homecomin’!

We’re so excited to share that one of our favorite new restaurants in Disney World — Chef Art Smith’s (awesome!) Homecomin’offers grab-and-go options! (Oh, and yes, apparently the name has changed from “Homecoming” to “Homecomin’.” Just FYI.)

Y’all know that Disney Springs has added lots of quality food stops, including Top Chef Master (and master of Mexican cuisine in America) Rick Bayless’ Frontera Cocina and the fully updated Paddlefish. But even before its opening, Homecomin': Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine — the official full name of Art Smith’s labor of love in Disney Springs — captured our attention.

The backstory here is that Chef Art is originally from Florida, and the restaurant is a charming homage to the state of his birth. From colorful murals depicting Florida agricultural life to booths reminiscent of church pews, Homecomin’ is clearly full of Art’s very big love.

Chef Art Smith on Opening Day

Chef Art Smith on Opening Day

[Read more…]

Easter Treats Around Walt Disney World — Including the 2017 Grand Floridian Chocolate Easter Eggs

Greetings from the Grand Floridian Resort!

Grand Floridian Easter Egg Display

Grand Floridian Easter Egg Display

Easter is always an especially festive time here, thanks to the tradition of the chocolate Easter Egg Display, presented by the Grand Floridian Bakery Team. [Read more…]

Review: Classic Treats at the Magic Kingdom Confectionery in Walt Disney World

We’ve got some classic Disney snacks to share with you from the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Confectionery!

Walking down Main Street, you can smell the sugary goodness coming from the Confectionery before you can see its turn-of-the-century facade. And it’s always worth a trip inside to check it out! They have the cutest Disney treats, including chocolate covered cookies, candy covered apples, and gourmet candies in the shapes of our favorite Disney characters.

Even if I don’t want to eat sweets (*cough*NEVERHAPPENS*cough*), I like to stop in to watch the cast members roll the Rice Krispies and dip apples into that sweet chocolate!

And today we’ve got some favorite Confectionery treats to share with you!!!

Sweets display at Main Street Confectionery

Sweets display at Main Street Confectionery

Eats

We’ll start with the Mickey-shaped treats, because I think they’re the most magical. :)

[Read more…]

First Look and Review: The Polite Pig in Disney World’s Disney Springs!

UPDATE: The Polite Pig takes one quick service credit on the Disney Dining Plan. (So glad this was changed!)

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We’re at The Polite Pig, where “Please and Thank You are still magic words!”

The newest fast-casual spot in Disney Springs is now open in the Town Center! The Polite Pig is the latest restaurant venture by James and Julie Petrakis in partnership with James’ brother, Brian. James and Julie Petrakis are the James Beard-nominated owners of The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder, both based in Winter Park, Florida (and Brian owns and operates Greens & Grille in Orlando).

Like its big sister, The Ravenous Pig, The Polite Pig focuses on local flavors and ingredients, and the emphasis here is on wood-fired, smoked “Modern Barbecue” with all drinks in the establishment on tap.

So let’s brush up on our manners and mind our p’s and q’s with our very first visit to The Polite Pig!

The Polite Pig sign March 2017 copy

The Polite Pig

Atmosphere

Coming from the World of Disney Store in the Marketplace, head towards Amorette’s Patisserie in the Town Center. You’ll find The Polite Pig just a few more steps from there. Another landmark for you: it’s directly to the right of the stairs coming down from the Lime Parking Garage. [Read more…]

#OnTheList: Margarita and Martini Flights at Disney World’s Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge

In the exciting/frustrating world of Disney World ADRs (Advance Dining Reservations), some restaurants just seem to be tougher to get into than others. And the Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of those more difficult tickets.

So in 2013, the Disney gods (or Imagineers or restaurant planning mavens) smiled and — poof!– the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge was born.

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge Bar

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge Bar

And it was good. Right from the start, the Lounge became one of our favorite places to drop in unannounced. We could get all the glittery Hollywood-ness of the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant without an ADR! [Read more…]

Review: Falafel at Mr. Kamal’s in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Today, we’re heading into Disney’s Animal Kingdom to do what we always do…

A little exploring, accompanied by a little snacking!

And once again, we’re going vegetarian, because that’s a particularly easy thing to do when it comes to snacking at Animal Kingdom. We’ve already learned, in fact , that the focus on providing above par vegetarian options will continue in Animal Kingdom’s upcoming land, Pandora — The World of AVATAR, thanks to a look at the full menu for Satu’li Canteen (the land’s primary dining establishment).

But today we’re winding down a well-traveled path heading from the Africa section of Animal Kingdom into Asia, with a visit to Mr. Kamal’s, which remains one of our favorite kiosks in the park.

Mr. Kamal's Kiosk

Mr. Kamal’s Kiosk

Mr. Kamal’s kiosk has proven itself time and time again as a great (and convenient) spot to grab something quick, portable, and vegetarian. The current menu features Hummus served with mini pitas and veggies, Samosa, and falafel, to give you an idea of what to expect. [Read more…]