Review: Lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Including Testing of New Service Style)

Velkommen til Akershus!

Today we’re visiting Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot’s Norway! This Pavilion has certainly seen its fair share of changes over the past year or so, primarily due to the influence of all things “Frozen.” The biggest headline of them all, of course, was the closing of the Maelstrom attraction in October 2014 (prompting a memorial Maelstrom Margarita at La Cava del Tequila in the neighboring Mexico Pavilion) to make way for “Frozen Ever After,” anticipated for a 2016 opening.

But that’s not the only change. We learned that Akershus — best known as being home to the Princess Storybook Dining character meal — had undergone a test alteration of its own. Typically featuring a cold buffet (Norwegian Koldtbord) along with hot breakfast, lunch, or dinner entrees served at your table, a test run recently brought about a new service style to Akershus. While it remains an All-You-Care-to-Eat option, the cold buffet was closed and several of the previous options are now brought to the table and served family style as part of a trial run at this popular restaurant.

This test has since ended, but we were told that it’s now up to guest feedback as to whether it comes back permanently.

Akershus Sign

Akershus Sign

Let’s head back inside the fortress walls to see what’s changed, what hasn’t, and what we think about this proposed update to the serving style at Akershus! [Read more…]

News! Minnie’s Holiday & Dine Dinner Now Available For Booking!

In mid-July, menus mysteriously appeared on the My Disney Experience app (viewable only on Android devices at the time) for Minnie’s Holiday & Dine Dinner, which subsequently opened up a flurry of talk about whether a special holiday character meal was coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Now we can happily say that guests will indeed be able to celebrate the season with Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy (in their “all-new holiday finery”!) from November 7, 2015 through January 3, 2016! The dining experience will feature holiday decor, music, and “holiday-themed food and activities.” Guests can book the experience with or without the Fantasmic Dining Package (however, at the time of this posting, only the option including VIP seating for the Fantasmic! nighttime spectacular is bookable online).

Here are all the Merry Details!

Dinner seatings start at 4:30 pm (closing times vary based on the evening’s presentation of Fantasmic! and park close).

Cost to dine without the Fantasmic option is $50.05 for adults (including tax, not gratuity) and $29.81 (including tax, not gratuity) for kids 3-9, and, per a call to WDW-DINE, 1 Table Service credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

Cost to dine with the Fantasmic option is $56.44 for adults (including tax, not gratuity) and, per a call to WDW-DINE, $34.07 (including tax, not gratuity) for kids 3-9, and 1 Table Service credit on the [Read more…]

News! Epcot’s Garden Grill to Begin Serving Lunch AND Breakfast

Exciting news! According to DisneyWorld.com, Epcot’s Garden Grill Restaurant will be even more available for guests to spin-and-dine beginning November 8, 2015!

Garden Grill Sign

Garden Grill Sign

Check out the screen shot below! [Read more…]

Disney Dining Tips: What to Expect on Peak Booking Days

Are you excited to book your Low-Cost Seminars and Demos or Special Events for the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival?

OF COURSE you are!! You know who else is excited?

Buddy Valastro Demo at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Buddy Valastro Demo at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Lots and lots (and LOTS) of other people. ;)

Booking for Special Events and Demos and Seminars for the Festival will open to the general public on July 30th at 7 am this year, and the popularity of these events makes that date into something we call a Peak Booking Day — a day when you never quite know what to expect, because the phone lines and online booking engines are often jammed with folks trying to nab their top choices.

"Thank you for calling..."

Get ready to dial!

Of course, sought-after bookings aren’t unique to the Food and Wine Festival. Just ask anyone who’s ever tried to [Read more…]

2016 Disney Dining Plan Changes and Updates

Details for the 2016 Disney Dining Plans have been announced and changes went into effect for ALL plans as of May 31, 2015.

Take a look at the 2016 Disney Dining Plans

Take a look at the 2016 Disney Dining Plans

Let’s take a quick look at Magic Your Way Packages and then delve into the changes to the Disney Dining Plans.

Magic Your Way Package Plus Dining

To take advantage of the Disney Dining Plan (DDP), you’ll need to book a Walt Disney World vacation package and then add on the DDP. Many guests find this to be a convenient way to budget for participating Disney World restaurants. In addition to staying at a Walt Disney World resort, you’ll also need to [Read more…]

News: 2015 Epcot Candlelight Processional Dinner Package Restaurants and Pricing

Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages will return during the 2015 holiday season at Walt Disney World!! And for those of us that like guaranteed seating and avoiding long waiting lines, this is very good news!

Epcot's Candlelight Processional

Epcot’s Candlelight Processional

Along with restaurant information (sorry, no Le Cellier again this year)and costs (some steep, yikes!), you’ll also find some intermittent booking availability online for this very popular event, however 2015 narrators have not been announced as of yet. Note that all information here is subject to change.

In 2015, the Candlelight Processional will take place from November 27 – December 30.

Disney World Candlelight Processional Dining Package

This coveted ticket provides guests with a lunch or dinner meal at select Epcot restaurants and guaranteed seating! The package includes your choice of an appetizer, entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic, non-specialty beverage from the chosen restaurant’s menu or 1 full buffet where applicable. Prices exclude tax and gratuity, and park admission is not included. And yes, you can use the Disney Dining Plan to pay for your package, see more information here.

2015 Out-of-Pocket Costs
The package costs vary based on lunch versus dinner, starting at [Read more…]

Guest Review: Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast at Walt Disney World

Are you ready for breakfast in a galaxy far, far away? 

Great! Then please join us in welcoming one of  my good friends, guest author Daniel Staten (@danielstaten on Instagram) with a review of the STAR WARS Dine-In Galactic Breakfast, which has returned for a second run at Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant this year through June 14th. While the other returning Star Wars character dining experience, the Jedi Mickey STAR WARS Dine at Hollywood and Vine, features Disney characters in full Star Wars regalia, the Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast offers guests the chance to start the day with Star Wars characters from the films… and this one’s all about the Dark Side

Take it it away, Daniel! And May the Force be with you!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is clearly undergoing some change. One thing that has been constant though, is a strong Star Wars presence in the park.

AT-AT outside of Star Tours attraction

AT-AT outside of Star Tours attraction

Revenge of the Sith t-shirt

Revenge of the 5th t-shirt

Darth Vader Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake

Darth Vader Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake

Earlier in May, I dined with my family at the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast. There were plenty of photo ops, nostalgic clips, and the Force was strong with the food!

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast

Booking the Advance Dining Reservation for the breakfast turned out to be a fluke. I wasn’t looking for it specifically, but when a single 9:30 AM reservation appeared on the My Disney Experience website, I jumped at the chance!

The Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast is a lot like other signature character dining experiences in that it’s all-inclusive. For the price – we paid $49.99 – you get a breakfast “appetizer,” non-alcoholic drinks, an entree and a few selected extras.

Sci Fi Galactic Dine In Star Wars Breakfast DHS 3

Menu listing inclusions and selections

More on those later.

Atmosphere

On the morning of our breakfast, we arrived at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the crowds were pretty light. We made our way back towards Star Tours and noticed the huge line for people to sign-up for the Jedi Training Academy! Standing in that line looks like it would take a lot of dedication, but to the young Jedis, it’s well worth it.

The Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast is hosted at the Sci-Fi Dine-In near the back of the park. Once we arrived, we checked in and had a seat to wait for our table to be ready. The restaurant was running about 15 minutes behind and I attribute that to people taking their time with the characters and soaking up the atmosphere! There was so much to see and people generally just enjoying their interactions. I don’t blame them and didn’t mind the additional wait.

Once our table was ready, the Cast Member announced that “The Staten Family is now joining the Empire,” and we were placed in a line to meet Darth Vader and Boba Fett. I tried to look as scared as I could and it didn’t take much! Darth Vader is super intimidating in person!

Meet and Greet with Darth Vader and Boba Fett

Meet and Greet with Darth Vader and Boba Fett

Character dining can be awkward for adults sometimes. All of that awkwardness went away almost immediately once we [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: May 20th, 2015

Sure, we may have said “So long” to the Flower and Garden Festival for this year, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to look forward to at Walt Disney World! Springs moves to summer as Disney World gears up for the busy vacation season, otherwise known as the “Coolest Summer Ever”!

©Disney

©Disney

And since it’s a very special time of year for Star Wars fans in particular, why don’t we start our ‘round the World tour at Hollywood Studios to see What’s New!

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

Star Wars Weekends kicked off on May 15th!

Star Wars Weekends 2015

Star Wars Weekends 2015

The excitement! The pageantry!  The CUPCAKES! The Jabba the Hutt Cupcake has joined the Darth Vader and Yoda Cupcakes this year.

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

It can be found at counter service locations such as Starring Rolls, Backlot Express, The Trolley Car Cafe, and Tusken Fridge Raiders — the premiere Star Wars snack stop, located inside Darth’s Mall.

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

But cupcakes aren’t all that’s in store…

Star Wars snacks for Star Wars Weekends

Star Wars snacks for Star Wars Weekends

Like last year, several temporary pop-up bars can be found all over the park for the weekend events.

Star Wars Weekends Pop-up Bar

Star Wars Weekends Pop-up Bar

However, they feature all-new drinks this year. Each bar serves two out of of four drinks: The Mustafar and The Tatooine, or The Endor and The Alderaan.

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

We’ll be taking a closer look at those beverages soon, but once again this year, it’s ALL about the souvenir glow cubes: drinks come with either a Millennium Falcon glow cube or your very own mini Death Star.

Millennium Falcon Glow Cube

Millennium Falcon Glow Cube

The Jedi Mickey Character Dinner at Hollywood and Vine and Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast returned to Hollywood Studios earlier this month (on May the Fourth Be With You, naturally). But brand new to Star Wars Weekends this year is the Rebel Hangar — A Star Wars Lounge Experience, which has effectively converted half of Backlot Express into an abandoned spaceport in the Sullest system.

Entrance to Rebel Hangar

Entrance to Rebel Hangar

Chips and Sith at Rebel Hangar

Chips and Sith at Rebel Hangar

Blue Milk!

Blue Milk!

You can read all about this special month-long dining event featuring small plates and specialty cocktails in our full review of the Rebel Hangar!

Believe it or not, though, it’s not all Star Wars at Hollywood Studios… we’ve got some regular ol’ menu changes at some favorite Table Service restaurants to report as well. Sci-Fi Dine-In has added the Sci-Fi Popcorn Treat to the appetizer selection. It’s popcorn soup (for watching those old movies, of course!) with buffalo popcorn chicken and celery sticks, drizzled with blue cheese dressing.

Sci-Fi Dine-In

Sci-Fi Dine-In

New entrees include Grilled Marinated Salmon, while the Veggie Burger got a [Read more…]

News! Chef Mickey’s Brunch to Begin May 31; Reservations Open May 22

Fans of Chef Mickey’s — get ready for a whole new meal option!

The SUPER popular (and we are not even exaggerating a little there) character dining experience at Disney World’s Contemporary Resort has always offered breakfast and dinner. But now, it’s expanding to offer brunch daily!

Get ready to dial — Advance Dining Reservations will open on Friday, May 22. Seating for brunch at Chef Mickey’s will begin on Sunday, May 31.

But I think the really cool thing here is that this is brunch, rather than lunch. Fans of Chef Mickey’s breakfast spread can continue to dine on all of their favorites, like Mickey Waffles!

Mickey Waffles!

Mickey Waffles!

But the menu will also include lunch goodies such as soups and lots of salad options. In addition, look for Seafood Étouffée, Barbecued Ribs, and Baked Salmon. The sweets team will also feature [Read more…]

News! Mother’s Day Meals at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel

Looking to treat Mom to an extra special meal this Mother’s Day? We have a few great options for you at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Restaurants!

Garden Grove Cafe

You’ll feel like you’re in a garden, with all the comforts of being in the a/c! Garden Grove Cafe at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort is the perfect spot to spoil Mom this Mother’s Day.

Feel Like You're Outdoors with the Comfort of Indoors!

Feel Like You’re Outdoors with the Comfort of Indoors!

And with two different options, there’s something for early risers as well as those who plan to let her sleep in a little. If it’s breakfast you’re after, enjoy Garden Grove’s special Mother’s Day Breakfast Menu.

When: Sunday, May 10, 7:00 — 10:00AM

Where: Garden Grove Cafe, Walt Disney World Swan Resort

Cost: $35.99 for Adults, $19.99 for children ages 3-9, children under three eat for free

Garden Grove Mothers Day Breakfast Menu

Garden Grove Mothers Day Breakfast Menu

Garden Grove Mothers Day Breakfast Menu

Garden Grove Mothers Day Breakfast Menu

Menu highlights include [Read more…]