Review: NEW Star Wars Jedi Mickey Character Dining Meal at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios

Are you ready for a delicious dinner buffet served up with a side of THE FORCE?!

I sure hope so, because a long time ago (a few hours now) in a galaxy far, far away (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) we attended the debut evening of the Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine! We JUST returned from the long-awaited new character dining meal in Disney’s Hollywood Studios featuring…yup!…STAR WARS CHARACTERS!

Well, not exactly Star Wars characters; this was BETTER than Star Wars characters because it was Disney characters dressed up as Star Wars characters!!

Confused? Maybe a picture will help it to make more sense… ;-D

Ewok Chip and Dale welcome you!

Ewok Chip and Dale welcome you!

Now, let’s dive in and check out the Cantina… uh, I mean, the scene!

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine

Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine

Atmosphere

Staged (see what I did there?) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Hollywood and Vine Restaurant — which normally houses Disney Junior characters — the new Star Wars Weekends character meal was nearly an immediate sell-out when we announced it just over a month ago.

Hollywood and Vine

Hollywood and Vine

The restaurant is set up as a buffet, which means you’re able to set the pace of your meal and make sure you’re at your table when the characters come your way.

Hollywood & Vine is themed as a vintage “Cafeteria to the Stars” (and the art deco decor on the buffet makes it stand out a teensy tiny bit from its companions around Walt Disney World).

Hollywood and Vine Buffet

Hollywood and Vine Buffet

However, for this event, the place received a bit of a galactic makeover!

Star Wars Character Meal Backdrop

Star Wars Character Meal Backdrop

Star Wars decoration

Star Wars decoration

Otherwise, a relatively neutral backdrop featuring photos of old Hollywood, a big ol’ mural, and aluminum tables and chairs means that the characters really are the feature here.

Hollywood and Vine Seating

Hollywood and Vine Seating

Hollywood and Vine Mural

Hollywood and Vine Mural

Characters

Speaking of…the characters! That’s what you really want to hear about, right? Enough pictures of seating, DisneyFoodBlog…let’s get to the fun!

As seen earlier, Ewok Chip & Dale greet you immediately upon your arrival with a couple of hugs and a chance for a sweet photo opp! (But hey, ummm, guys… I think you’re facing the wrong way ;) )

Ewok Chip and Dale up to their usual antics

Ewok Chip and Dale up to their usual antics

Ewok Chip and Dale

Ewok Chip and Dale

There, that’s better! After your picture, your photographer will hand you a special Photopass card just for the occasion: your picture with Chip & Dale is included in the cost of this experience.

Star Wars Character Meal Photo Pass

Star Wars Character Meal Photo Pass

Clearly, everyone is excited about this ;) !

Everyone's getting in on the fun!

Everyone’s getting in on the fun!

Once you’re seated at your table, you’ll entertain a few other special visitors who stop by, including Stormtrooper Donald,

Star Wars Character Meal Storm Trooper Donald

Storm Trooper Donald

Darth Goofy (Brilliant!),

Darth Goofy

Darth Goofy

Princess Leia Minnie (LOVING that bun/ears combo!)…

Princess Leia Minnie

Princess Leia Minnie

… and JEDI MICKEY himself, striking his best Jedi pose!

Jedi Mickey!!!!

Jedi Mickey!!!!

I will say that the meetings with the characters were a bit brief compared with some other character meals I’ve experienced — the house was packed. But even so, we got to meet and have our photos taken with every single character, and were happy with each visit. And as I saw the characters interact with the kids, it seemed that there were plenty of hugs and autographs going around. The general mood was just high-energy FUN.

Okay, with both the Empire and the Alliance represented with these characters, you now have a choice to make. Upon being seated at your table, you’ll notice something in addition to your napkins and silverware. A piece of paper that is red on one side…

Star Wars Character Meal Red Light Saber

Red side of paper

… and blue on the other.

Star Wars Character Meal Blue Light Saber

Blue side of paper

What appears to be merely paper transforms into a LIGHT SABER!

Blue for Jedi Mickey's side!

Blue for Jedi Mickey’s side!

Throughout the meal, guests are invited to choose their color: fold your paper to show blue if you’re on Mickey and Minnie’s side (the Alliance), or red for Goofy and Donald (the Empire). I thought it was super clever how they didn’t ask kids to choose between the dark side and the good guys — basically, you just picked your favorite character, waved your light saber like crazy, and let out a holler! (This is also, by the way, a great little energy spender for kids who are really excited while waiting for the characters to arrive at their table).

I noticed impromptu light saber battles happening all around the restaurant, primarily between fathers and their kids (and, yep, a few pairs of full-grown adults, too!).

Light Saber battle!

Light Saber battle!

I would LOVE to see a more permanent souvenir available for the kids with this meal, like a small, plastic red or blue light saber — the paper ones were such a hit, I think something like that would be an extra thrill and terrific touch.

For all this talk of children, you should know that my friend and I — both adults — felt right at home, and there were plenty of other adults-only groups for this event. While this is not the case with the typical Disney Junior meals featured throughout the year here, please don’t shy away from this event if you would like to go but don’t have children to bring. All Star Wars fans are welcome, both young and not-so-much :) !

Eats

I think the Hollywood and Vine buffet offers some truly unique choices compared with some other buffets on property, but on this evening, the fare was a little extra special.

Buffet

Buffet

Things started in a fairly typical fashion with the salads, fruit, breads, and the cold bar.

Assorted Breads

Assorted Breads

Fruit

Fruit

Create Your Own Salad

Create Your Own Salad

Not sure of shrimp name

Cold Bar

But moving foward, we didn’t just have a chance to try pork, chicken, beef, etc… oh, no!

On this night we ate everything from Tusken Raider Chicken, to Salacious Crumb’s Crusted Pork (an absolute standout!), to Kamino Maple Mustard-Glazed Salmon. Reading the Star Wars names for the dishes was nearly as fun as eating it all!

Tusken Raider Chicken

Tusken Raider Chicken

Salacious Crumb's Crusted Pork

Salacious Crumb’s Crusted Pork

Kamino Maple Mustard Glazed Salmon

Kamino Maple Mustard Glazed Salmon

Even beyond the fun names, the entrees were plentiful and varied. We also had [Read more…]

Top 5 Restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is my favorite park in Disney World when I’m in it. The themeing is incredible. I could wander around just looking at things there for days! But the other thing that keeps me coming back to Animal Kingdom again are some seriously awesome restaurants. This place has it all!

Let’s take a look at some of our favorites — and what sets them each apart from the crowd.

Top Five Animal Kingdom Restaurants

Tusker House

If you haven’t booked a meal at Tusker House, then you’re missing out.

This sprawling restaurant sits on the main thoroughfare in Harambe village within the Africa section of the park. And with some of the best immersive themeing anywhere at Disney World, it’s hard to take in all of the intricate details and imagineering here with just one meal.

Tusker House -- Outside View

Tusker House — Outside View

But it’s not just the surroundings that are interesting. Tusker House has some incredible food as well. Inspired by the flavors of Africa, you’re in for a treat, whether you’re dining for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

We especially love the Spit-Roasted Meats. And taking advantage of the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet may save you on other meals during the day.

Spit-Roasted Meats Are a Specialty at Tusker House

Spit-Roasted Meats Are a Specialty at Tusker House

But if you’re still looking to add a character dining experience to your list of advance dining reservations, be sure to book the breakfast or lunch, as characters don’t appear at dinner.

Eating a big breakfast will fill you up -- and cost less than dining big later in the day!

Seeing Your Favorite Disney Friends in Safari Garb at Breakfast and Lunch is Super Fun!

It’s always a kick to add pics Mickey and Friends in different outfits, and at Tusker House, they’re dressed to go on a Kilimanjaro Safari with you!

Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Looking for something exotic with an Asian twist? Then check out Yak and Yeti Restaurant. You can’t miss the big purple building in the Asia section of Animal Kingdom!

Themed as a grand home that’s been converted to a hotel, guests to the town of Anandapur are guaranteed to find

[Read more…]

News! Shades of Green Resort April Food Events

Shades of Green located at Walt Disney World is an Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC) for United States Military Members and their families!

This month, Shades of Green is offering a Food, Wine, and Music event along with discounted meals, and an Easter Basket delivery service. Check out these great happenings at Shades of Green!

Shades of Music: A Food, Wine, and Music Experience

Enjoy the second annual Shades of Music on April 4 and 5th featuring a World Cuisine Buffet with live music.

Shades of Music

Shades of Music

Time: 5PM-10PM
Cost: $16.95 adults; $7.95 kids

Reserve your spot now by calling 407-824-6466.

Discounted Meals

Kids 6 and under eat eat free at Mangino’s and The Garden Gallery with a paying adult!

Steak and Seafood Specials

Mangino’s is open 5PM-9:30PM and offering Steak and Seafood Specials on Monday nights in April. Enjoy Surf and Turf or Prime Rib!

Enjoy April specials on steak and seafood!

Enjoy April specials on steak and seafood!

No landlubbers? Fridays in April feature [Read more…]

The Best (and the Worst!) Pizza in Disney World

Ahhhh…Pizza. Most of us love the stuff, whether it’s high end, low end, or homemade.

bestandworstpizzaindisneyworld

But one thing’s for sure — you and I both know that not all pizza is created equal — and this is definitely true when it comes to Disney.

Today, we’re awarding some Pizza Pie Superlatives. From Best to Worst and Everything In Between, let’s take a look at a few.

And when we’re finished with the awards, I’ve love to hear if you agree! Leave us a comment with your best and worst!

Best All-Around Pizza in Disney World

If you’ve been reading Disney Food Blog for any amount of time, the winner in this category will come as no shock to you. The hands-down best pizza in all of Disney World are the pies you find at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion.

With authentic ingredients right down to the flour, tomatoes, and water they use, these are some serious pies that come closest to the real deal from Naples, Italy. They also taste the most like my favorite New York Style pizza (Lombardi’s!!!!) — the gold standard, as far as I’m concerned!

Quattro Fromaggi Pizza from Via Napoli

Quattro Fromaggi Pizza from Via Napoli

You can’t go wrong with any of the pizzas you order here, whether you’re getting a personal size, or you’re sharing with the table.

Build Your Own Pizza with Prosciutto

Build Your Own Pizza with Prosciutto (and/or Other Ingredients…Whatever)

We give high marks to the Quattro Formaggi White Pizza, as well as the Build Your Own with Prosciutto. But really, there are no wrong choices here!

Worst Disney World Pizza

When it comes to pizza that you can safely — no, you definitely should — skip, we’ll chalk this up to… [Read more…]

Tables in Wonderland Exclusive Events: Dinner at Markham’s and Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Two exclusive events have been announced by Tables in Wonderland. If you’re a member, check these out!

Enjoy an exclusive meal at Markham’s at Disney’s Golden Oak, or celebrate the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival with a special event and musical evening!

Exclusive!

Exclusive!

An Evening at Markham’s

Date: Thursday, May 1st, 2014, 6:00pm
Cost: $195.00 per person, plus tax, gratuity included

Located at Golden Oak Club, the über exclusive Markham’s restaurant invites you to enjoy an unparalleled culinary experience highlighting not only the esteemed talents of Chef Christian Rumpler and Chef Michael Gonsalves, but also select culinary personalities from across Walt Disney World® Resort. Sommeliers Melissa Schreiber and Wayne Rigsby have paired special drinks with the 8-course menu for a true epicurean evening.

The event is limited to 30 guests and is exclusive to Tables in Wonderland members. Park admission not required.

Since Golden Oak is a private residential community, security clearance will [Read more…]

A PEEP at a New Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Event…

Today’s a marshmallow day on DFB, apparently, so it’s time to give you a PEEP (AAAAAA HA HA HA!) at a new event at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin this Easter! :-D

PEEPs for Dayz

From April 16-23, enjoy a PEEPtastic celebration with free PEEPS brand marshmallow samples, PEEPS-inspired menu items, PEEPS décor, and Easter-themed activities.

PEEPtastic!

PEEPtastic!

At check-in, guests will receive PEEPS marshmallow chicks , and the fun continues with special appearances by the Easter Bunny (he’ll give you PEEPS, too!).

Sweet treats will follow with PEEPS-inspired menu items featured at several of the hotel’s restaurants. Look for s’mores made using PEEPS, a PEEPS inspired milkshake, and chocolate-dipped PEEPS!

A favorite for kids — the resort’s annual glow-in-the-dark Easter egg hunt headlines a full schedule of Easter-themed activities at the hotel, including traditional Easter egg hunts, Easter egg races, a bunny hop relay, arts and crafts, and meet-and-greets with the Easter Bunny.

Need some help with Easter morning? Guests can order [Read more…]

News!! Star Wars Themed Character Meals at Disney World During Star Wars Weekends

Yes. You heard us correctly.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will feature new Star Wars themed character meals for a limited time only!

When Star Wars Character Meals begin on May 4th, dinner at the Hollywood & Vine restaurant and breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater will offer these galactic experiences through June 15, 2014. Note that the character meals are available all week — not just on weekends!

Star Wars Themed Character Meals

Meet These Awesome Friends at Star Wars Themed Character Meals This Year!

Booking begins March 26! These will be popular so we recommend dialing (407) 939-5277 at lightspeed.

The Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine

At Hollywood and Vine, dinner will feature Disney characters wearing their Star Wars best! You may get the chance to meet Ewok Chip & Dale, Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy, and/or Stormtrooper Donald. Dinner seatings start at 4:15pm and go until park close (8pm-9:30pm) for $55.99 adults and $33.99 kids 3-9.

Make your Star Wars experience extra special with a Fantasmic dinner package for adults $59.99; kids 3-9 are $36.99. The meals include a digital download of a photograph with Chip and Dale! Sweet.

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast

Sci-Fi will offer breakfast reservations from 8am until noon — so fun! The cost is $47.99 for adults and $29.99 for young padawans. This also includes a digital photo of your party on a commemorative PhotoPass card.

Characters for breakfast include Stormtroopers, Jawa, Greedo, Boba Fett, and DARTH VADER.

Share yer waffles with this guy!

Share yer waffles with this guy!

Instead of the usual science fiction movie clips, the restaurant’s big screen will feature

[Read more…]

News! Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma Extends Brunch Hours for Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day

Great news for fans of Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!

If your Spring plans include a visit to Walt Disney World for either Easter Sunday or Mother’s Day, you can take advantage of extended hours for brunch at this fan favorite restaurant!

Normally, Boma serves breakfast from 7:30-11:00 a.m. But for these two special holidays, you can book your brunch table from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 20, and Sunday, May 11.

Boma Buffet

Boma Buffet

Dinner can still be booked for the same times on both days — 4:30-9:30 p.m.

We recommend that you mark the special occasion with a glass of their amazing Jungle Juice!

Regular Jungle Juice Served at Boma

Jungle Juice!

Then wend your way through the expansive buffet. There is a bounty

[Read more…]

Top 3 Restaurants for Kids in Disneyland

Visiting Disneyland can certainly make you feel like a kid again! But what about if you’re visiting with…you know…real, live, actual kids?

We talk a lot about good options for grown ups, but today, I thought we could hit up our very favorite spots in Disneyland for when you have some small fry with you (which, for many of us, is most of the time!). So let’s tick off the Top 3 Restaurants for Kids in Disneyland.

Grab your Mickey Ears, and let’s go!

Goofy’s Kitchen

If you have a small child in tow on your Disneyland trip, a character meal is practically a requirement.

After all, most kiddos love meeting larger than life characters. But kids and adults alike can agree that long lines in the hot sun don’t make for magical memories. So our first suggestion is that you book your advance dining reservation asap for Goofy’s Kitchen.

The Entrance to Goofy's Kitchen

The Entrance to Goofy’s Kitchen

Why? Because we think the food is better here than at many other character meals.

Located in Disneyland Hotel, choose from brunch or dinner character dining at this popular spot. And the characters are especially fun at Goofy’s. Because in addition to Goofy, you just never know you might drop by!

Of course, you can totally expect to see the man himself.

Chef Goofy at Goofy's Kitchen

Chef Goofy at Goofy’s Kitchen

But you might just see a prince or a princess as well! And MANY other friends!

Aladdin and Jasmine at Goofy's Kitchen

Aladdin and Jasmine at Goofy’s Kitchen

Parents will appreciate the terrific seating options here. Sure, there’s no monorail whizzing above your head like you’ll find at Chef Mickey’s. But there are tables located both inside the sunny dining room and outside on a shaded patio. Ahhhh…how I love California.

One Room of Goofy's Kitchen Restaurant

Goofy’s Kitchen Seating — Inside

Outdoor Seating at Goofy's! Love It!

Outdoor Seating at Goofy’s! Love It!

And even though the characters are fun and the atmosphere is adequate, the eats are [Read more…]

Guest Review: Trail’s End Dinner Buffet at Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Howdy! Today we’re rustling up some dinner grub at the Trail’s End Restaurant courtesy of guest author Daniel Staten. Don’t forget this restaurant for breakfast and lunch too. Let’s dig in…

The atmosphere at Walt Disney World changes often. With the seasons come new decorations and with the decades come new attractions.

There are a few places at Walt Disney World, however, that evoke a sense of nostalgia while providing a fun environment and novelty. Trail’s End Buffet at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort and Campground is one of those places.

Traveling to Fort Wilderness, and Atmosphere

Nestled far away from the hustle of the Magic Kingdom, Trail’s End feels uniquely Disney. It’s very low-maintenance and rustic.

Trails End Sign

Should you decide to dine at Trail’s End, prepare by factoring in additional travel time to the restaurant. If you arrive by bus or car, plan on an extra 30 minutes from the time you pass through the front gates of the resort.

Trail's End Outside

Trail’s End Outside

Due to the expanse of Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort, a separate inter-resort bus system shuttles guests to and from the main entrance to where Trail’s End is situated.

If you’re visiting the Magic Kingdom during the day and plan to eat at Trail’s End, you have the option of taking a boat. As a veteran Walt Disney World vacationer, I was taken by surprise and was even late to my reservation at Trail’s End due to the unanticipated transportation.

Seating at Trail's End

Seating at Trail’s End

Once you arrive, the tall trees and relaxed atmosphere reminded me of a family reunion, where the details aren’t fussy and the food is plentiful.

Buffet at Trail's End

Buffet at Trail’s End

Eats

For dinner, Trail’s End offers a buffet with several unique and fun options. The selection of meat, sides, and desserts is sure to please families and large groups. In addition, Southerners take note: this is one of the only places at Walt Disney World were you can order traditional sweet tea. At the end of my vacation, I had been tea-free for a week and was certainly experiencing cravings!

Buffet at Trail's End

Buffet at Trail’s End

The buffet area is smaller than newer restaurants like Boma, however we never found it cramped, and this was on a Friday night where we waited about 20 minutes after our Advance Dining Reservation time.

Several items on the buffet proved to be particularly popular, including the fried chicken and BBQ ribs.

Fried Chicken, Salmon, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Fried Chicken, Salmon, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

BBQ Ribs

BBQ Ribs

One of the best things about Trail’s End was the unique dishes that

[Read more…]