Review: Breakfast at Captain’s Grille in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Today, we’re getting a hearty start to our day with breakfast at Captain’s Grille!

I’ve long considered Captain’s Grille to be a hidden gem at Walt Disney World. Located at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, this place isn’t much to look at (pretty boring, in fact), but they really do have some great food and there always seems to be a table available.

I love heading here for a quiet, delicious lunch, or for a full breakfast spread. Similar to The Wave…of American Flavors at the Contemporary, at breakfast you can choose from the buffet or order from the a la carte menu.

Atmosphere

The decor of Captain’s Grille is consistent with the rest of the Yacht Club Resort. You won’t find anything outlandish in this corner of Disney, just lots of blond wood and boaty details — stripes, stars, compass-type stuff, anchors…you know the deal.

Captain's Grille Seating

Captain’s Grille Seating

The space is open with lots of light from overhead chandeliers and recessed light above as well as windows onto the lobby and grounds. The whole effect gives the room an airy feel. Seating is comprised of large padded chairs and booths. It’s fairly typical to find a sparsely populated dining room, so I’ve always considered the space to be roomy and comfortable.

Seating

The Main Seating Area

In the main seating area around the ceiling you’ll spy these porthole-type windows, which give you the feeling that you’re enjoying your meal below deck.

Porthole Window Detail

Porthole Window Detail

Shadow boxes feature interesting items, like this grouping of vintage keys.

Decor

Decor

While there aren’t tons of decorative details here, what you will find is pretty interesting. The three-dimensional sailing scenes are some of my favorite touches, and are a whimsical way to bring the theme into focus.

My Favorite One!

A Ship Sailing the Ocean Blue

Dioramas

Ocean Scenes

Now that we’ve had a look around, let’s explore the breakfast options.

Eats

Starting your day off with a [Read more…]

News: Discounted Walt Disney World Play, Stay, and Dine Packages

Get a discounted Play, Stay & Dine package at Walt Disney World! According to Disney, guests can save up to $400-600 with this discounted offer valid for most Disney-owned resorts, theme park tickets, and Disney Dining plans.

Disney Dining Plan Frequently Asked Questions

Valid for stays December 14 through December 20, 2014 and January 5 through March 7, 2015, your package must include at least 3 nights (maximum of 14 nights) at a Disney resort, a minimum of a 2-day theme park ticket, and a dining plan for the length of your stay.

Your first night must be within the above dates. For example, check in March 7 and your entire stay will be included in the discounted package.

While Value resorts can be booked with any dining plan, all other resorts must include the regular Dining Plan or Deluxe Dining Plan. Take a look at Disney Dining Plans before booking your trip, and read up on the DFB Disney Dining Plan FAQs.

Please note that the offer excludes Villas at Grand Floridian, Bay Lake Tower, Polynesian Villas, Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation Resort, campsites, and 3-bedroom villas.

Packages must be booked by [Read more…]

Guest Review: Dinner at Epcot’s Biergarten at the Germany Pavilion

A favorite place to dine at Walt Disney World is Epcot’s World Showcase.

With unique restaurants featuring tastes from around the globe, Epcot offers a smorgasbord of dining locations. Today, guest author Rebecca Elliott shares her dinner experience at the Biergarten located in the Germany pavilion. Prost!

Epcot is designed to replicate a permanent World’s Fair with pavilions dedicated to innovation and international culture.

Future World highlights technology while the World Showcase, on the other side of World Showcase Lagoon, celebrates international culture.

The Charming Biergarten Entry Way

The Charming Biergarten Entry Way

There are 11 pavilions in the World Showcase, each themed and dedicated to a specific country. The décor can be old fashioned and kitschy, but the cast members, many of whom travel from their home countries to work in the World Showcase, give it an air of authenticity.

The restaurants are by far the main attraction. Many pavilions have two or more restaurants that serve food inspired by their representative countries. I say “inspired” because the food is not necessarily authentic, but it has elements of authentic dishes and is served in a fun atmosphere with incredible theming.

Instead of dining at our usual spot (Chefs de France in the France pavilion), my family and I decided to try something completely new on our most recent visit. This is how we found ourselves at Biergarten in the Germany pavilion.

When You Step Into the Dining Room, You Are Transported to a Lively Oktoberfest Party

When You Step Into the Dining Room, You Are Transported to a Lively Oktoberfest Party

Atmosphere

Biergarten is located in the back of the Germany pavilion, which is the fourth pavilion in if you enter the World Showcase from Future World and start from the left. Disney’s original plan was to feature a boat ride here, similar to the one at the Norway pavilion, but these plans fell through. The main entrance of the boat ride is now the dining area for Biergarten.

The setting for Biergarten is a quaint Bavarian village celebrating Oktoberfest. You are seated in the town square at communal tables, ready to enjoy traditional German music and food. It is dusk (no matter what time of day you eat), and the atmosphere is celebratory.

Stage Area and Seating

Stage Area and Seating

We checked in with a cast member at the hostess desk [Read more…]

DFB Reader Questions Answered: Best Restaurants to Celebrate a Grown-Up Birthday at Walt Disney World

Today, we’re pulling another great question out the Disney Food Blog mailbag. You guys ask some great ones, and lots of times, we’ll get several emails and inquiries about the same subject.

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Today, we’re going to delve into the wonderful world of birthday celebrations for grown-ups!

Celebrating Grown Up Birthdays in Walt Disney World

Our DFB reader asks:

We will be vacationing at WDW in May. My 25-year old son will have a birthday while we are there. We would like to have a special meal to celebrate, something fun but also really good!

I love this question! Disney brands itself a great place for all kinds of celebrations. And when it comes to birthdays, why should kiddos have all the fun?

When planning a special meal to celebrate a birthday at Walt Disney World, the most basic advice is probably a great starting point: what does the birthday boy or girl enjoy?

Birthday Dessert

Birthday Dessert

Does he like fine dining, or would he prefer a great night out at a sports bar? Does she like a quiet, elegant setting, or a spot with intricate themeing? Or are they a kid at heart who can Celebrate Mickey with the best of them?

Fantastic ideas abound for fun birthday celebrations at Disney World, but let’s go with my three favorite ideas. At the very least, it might lead to some good brainstorming when it comes time to plan your own special dinner party!

Signature Dining

For the Disney fan who enjoys a fine dining experience, there would be no other place to celebrate a birthday than where these two things meet — Disney’s signature dining restaurants.

If you’re looking for the pinnacle of fine dining, consider booking a table at Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Victoria and Albert's Main Dining Room

Victoria and Albert’s Main Dining Room

The ultimate in Disney fine dining, this relaxed, refined restaurant has won countless awards for its upscale take on modern American fare and its stellar wine menu. To make it an even more special experience, book the Chef’s Table!

Another great option is California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The restaurant sits atop the hotel, and boasts panoramic views. It’s a great spot for viewing Wishes, Magic Kingdom’s fireworks spectacular!

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli is as Good as Ever

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli at California Grill

Food here is always fresh and inventive, celebrating the farm to table movement and the Asian fusion style that placed California on the culinary map.

For something a little off the beaten path but no less delicious, check out Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Jiko at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

In a relaxing atmosphere that mimics the [Read more…]

News! Disney Adds Premium Event “Villains’ Sinister Soiree” to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Lineup

If Fall and Halloween are your favorite Disney times of the year, you’re going to LOVE what we have to share!

Mickey Lantern!

Mickey Lantern!

We’ve seen hints that Disney will be offering some new premium enhancements to the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This hard-ticketed, after-hours event takes place at Magic Kingdom on select evenings September through November. The party features trick or treating, your favorite characters dressed up in their Halloween costumes (so cute!), the Boo-To-You Parade (with the Headless Horseman!), and Happy HalloWishes Fireworks. It’s a whole lot of fun!

But if you’re looking for an extra special way to enjoy the holiday, you’ll want to check out this news!

Villains’ Sinister Soiree at Cinderella’s Royal Table

Lady Tremaine and Friends are taking over the Castle! Join her at [Read more…]

News! Book Now for New Year’s Eve Dining Events in Epcot

It’s never too early to start talking about holidays, and that’s especially true when it comes to Disney World planning.

New Year's Eve Toast

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

Today, we’re bringing you early news of a few 2014 New Year’s Eve dining opportunities. And the good news is — you can book them today!

Keep in mind, however, that other NYE dining events are likely to be announced. So if you don’t like either of these options, hang tight. Your favorite may appear before it’s all said and done!

New Year’s Eve at Epcot World ShowPlace

If you’ve ever spent Christmas week at Walt Disney World, you know that the crowds can be massive. Disney meets the need for expanded dining capacity by offering a few extra spots to dine. And back for 2014, guests can take advantage of a special dining event held at Epcot’s World ShowPlace.

Party for the Senses at World Showplace Pavilion in Epcot (Photo copyright Disney)

World Showplace Pavilion in Epcot (Photo copyright Disney)

Fantasia 2014 is a dining event geared toward the whole family. Guests will enjoy scenes and songs from the Disney animated classic while they dine on a full buffet spread. The menu includes items with international flair:

  • An array of Soups and Salads such as: Fresh Greens, Antipasto Salad with Basil, Seafood Harvest Chowder, Grilled Flatbread and Hummus
  • Hot Food Items including: Chimichurri-baked Mahi Mahi with Mango Chutney and carved Deep-Fried Turkey Breast with Garlic and Cranberry Sauce
  • A Dessert Station that features Carrot Spiced Cream Cheese Cupcakes, Guava and Apple Turnovers, and a Chocolate Fondue with various Dippers
  • An extensive Kids Menu, to include Fried Chicken Fritters, Baked Mini Corn Dogs, and Mac and Cheese, among other items

You can book Fantasia 2014 between the hours of [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Crystal Palace in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Welp, boys and girls — it’s time to head into Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and take in lunch at Crystal Palace! This is a beloved character spot for many Disney fans, and a must-do character experience for lots of you.

Me? I hadn’t been to Crystal Palace in foreva…not since an ill-fated late-night visit a couple of years ago when the food was AW-FUL! Yep, it was the end-of-the-night dregs of the buffet and we were pretty much just grossed out. (Have you ever seen a buffet about 15 minutes before a restaurant is about to close? Not pretty.) We ate very little and left as soon as we could. Sad, since we do love dining with Pooh and friends.

But it was time to revisit the 100 Hundred Acre Wood — after all, we’d had lots of great meals here previously — and I made reservations with some friends for lunch.

We have tons of shots to show you, so let’s get started!

Atmosphere

You’ll find Crystal Palace to the left of Main Street USA’s end, just as you approach Cinderella Castle. The beautiful glass building, inspired by ornate conservatories of the late Victorian Age, is a slice of Disney history as well. The restaurant has been around since opening day in 1971.

Entrance to Restaurant

Entrance to Restaurant

And here’s a tip if you’re looking for an extra-special experience during your Disney vacation: try and book Crystal Palace for an early breakfast. You’ll be one of the first guests into the Park when you do this, and visiting a nearly empty Magic Kingdom is an event to remember.

Once you step inside, you’ll see whitewashed walls that carry the bright, light decor throughout. Artwork depicting inspiration for the architecture as well as photos of lush palms cover the walls.

Artwork and Framed Photos

Artwork and Framed Photos

The soaring atrium above is gorgeous — especially on a sunny day!

Crystal Palace Atrium

Crystal Palace Atrium

After you check in, you’ll wait for your table outside on the shaded veranda. But once you step in, pause a moment to take it all in.

Dining Rooms

Dining Rooms

Tons of windows and glass domes allow for plenty of natural light in the two dining areas.

Dining Room from Another Angle

Dining Room from Another Angle

And really — look up. Because the windows are really stunning. I love the beautiful stained glass detail.

Stained Glass Windows

Stained Glass Windows

The decor puts you in mind of a Victorian conservatory, with its outside-but-inside feel. Lush flowers and what reminds me of patio furniture finish the area.

Evening Light

Afternoon Light

Crystal Palace is, of course, a character dining experience, and you’ve stumbled onto a party!

Center Atrium -- Up Close

Center Atrium — Up Close

In fact, visit here, and you’ll take part in a Friendship Day Celebration with Winnie the Pooh and his friends.

Banner -- Up Close

It’s Friendship Day!

Just check out these gorgeous flower topiaries of the whole gang!

Pooh and His Hunny Pot

Pooh and His Hunny Pot

Eeyore Topiary

Eeyore Topiary

The sweet little figures appear to be made of dried roses, and foreshadow the characters you’ll meet while you dine.

Piglet Topiary

Piglet Topiary

Bouncing Tigger Topiary

Bouncing Tigger Topiary

And beautiful hanging arrangements of tropical flowers complete the classic conservatory feel.

Fresh Flowers

Fresh Flowers

Seating is standard and fairly comfortable. Heavy, padded chairs share the space with booths, but some tables are situated a bit too closely for our comfort.

Seating for Two

Seating for Two

Seating along windows gives you a glimpse of guests waiting to be seated! But beyond them, you’ll also see a beautiful view of [Read more…]

Tip from the DFB Guide: Where To Dine With Both Picky AND Adventurous Eaters!

We’re sharing another great tip from our critically-acclaimed e-Book, The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2014!

disney dining tips

Today, we’re talking about a common conundrum: How do you satisfy all of the people, all of the time?

We’ve all been there. You have a picky eater in your group. No problem, right? Hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets are all available throughout the parks and resorts.

But where do you go when you have both picky and adventurous eaters among your number?

How about a buffet or food court?

Disney excels at offering some truly interesting, all you care to eat options and food court choices, where the picky and the persnickety can both find satisfying options. Let’s check out a couple.

Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of our favorite stops for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The restaurant features a wonderful spread of African-inspired food. And at breakfast and lunch, you also have the added benefit of a character dining experience!

Goofy Strikes at Pose at Tusker House in Disney's Animal Kingdom

Goofy Strikes at Pose at Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

If you’re feeling adventurous, start your meal off with the interesting array of Chutneys and Spreads, before moving on to interesting house specialties like Bobotie or Potato and Pea Samosas.

Beef Bobotie at Tusker House

Beef Bobotie at Tusker House

And lovers of food and pickier eaters alike are [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Soft Pretzels from Epcot’s Germany Pavilion

Ready for another fun project? Haha! I thought you might be!

Who doesn’t catch themselves daydreaming about their favorite Disney snacks? And one salty treat that you write to me about over and over are those amazing Soft Pretzels that you can get in the Germany Pavilion in Epcot!

Hand-Twisted Pretzel in Epcot's Germany

Hand-Twisted Pretzel in Epcot’s Germany

These are the real deal — warm, salty, chewy, and perfect with a little mustard and a lot of beer!

Well, if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at making them at home, now’s your chance!

I have a feeling that I know what I’ll be doing this weekend…

Authentic German Soft Pretzels

Epcot’s Germany Pavilion

Yield: 10 pretzels
Ingredients: [Read more…]

Father’s Day Sale! DFB Disney World Dining Guidebook Discounts — Limited Time!

This weekend, it’s all about Dad, and we have a terrific way for you to show him just how awesome you think he is! And — even better — it’s a great deal for you and it will save him money! How can you beat that??

For a limited time, you can enjoy $4 off of our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014 by using code DadDay!

And scroll to the bottom of this post for details on additional ways to save!

2014 dfb guide 3d cover

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014

Our comprehensive e-Book offers and incredible value! With 450 full-color pages to help you plan your very best Disney World vacation yet, you’ll also enjoy peace of mind knowing that it’s fully guaranteed. Not happy? Just let us know and you’ll get your money back!

Our handy e-Book format has been completely updated for your 2014-15 Disney World vacation. And with reviews, tips, expert advice, and hundreds of color photographs, we know that you’ll enjoy savings of both time and money — much needed on a Disney World vacation!

Inside the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014, you’ll find plenty of must-know information, reviews of every restaurant and kiosk on property, and more; including:

  • Seven sample one-day dining itineraries to help you start the planning process. There are hundreds of dining options in Disney World. These examples, which highlight particular theme parks, touring styles, and dietary needs, will help you get an idea of what a perfect dining day might look like for you and your family.
  • Four free, downloadable worksheets for planning your trip. These worksheets are designed to help you execute all the steps of planning the perfect Disney dining experience. And they’re reusable for all of your future trips!
  • Details about how the My Magic+ Planning System and FastPass+ affect your vacation planning. These brand new tools make planning every aspect of your vacation easier than ever before. We’ll walk you through some of the
  • A comprehensive index of bars and lounges. Disney Food Blog readers asked for this feature, and we were happy to make it happen! An often under-appreciated option for both dining and entertainment, we devote a whole index to the topic. Every single bar and lounge in Disney World is covered — and includes a review!
  • Tables that help you understand if the Disney Dining Plan will save you money. It’s a question we get all the time: is the Disney Dining Plan really a good deal? We walk you through comparisons to determine if the Disney Dining Plan is a good fit for you!
Sample Page from the 2014 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining

Sample Page from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2014

  • Fun activities, like Trivia and Scavenger Hunts to pass the time while you’re waiting in line or for FastPasses!
  • Disney Food Bingo Cards — because we know you love to play with your food just like us!
  • Plus SO much more!

And the best part is [Read more…]