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…]

Best Disneyland Restaurants for First Timers

Okay. So I tried to come up with the Top Three Disneyland Restaurants for First Timers. But there was no way I could limit my picks to just three. So then, I said, hey, let’s try for the Top Five.

Even still.

So in the end, I cut myself off at Eight. :-)

Disneyland's Matterhorn

Matterhorn!

There is so much good food in Disneyland. Really, it was super hard not to just give you a list of pretty much every restaurant there, and call it a day.

But if you must narrow it down, these are the restaurants that I love. These are the spots that I’d go to every single time if I could. (And mostly, I do.)

Heading to Disneyland, or just dreaming about a pilgrimage there? Check out my picks for the places you have to visit during your very first trip. Whether you’re looking for a meal or a snack, you can’t go wrong with putting these spots on your list.

Cafe Orleans

If I could only eat at one spot in Disneyland for the rest of my life, I’m fairly sure that spot would be Cafe Orleans. Located on New Orleans Square, it’s offers some of the beautiful patio seating that Disneyland is known for.

Outdoor Patio at Cafe Orleans

Outdoor Patio at Cafe Orleans

But I’m going to be honest — Cafe Orleans claims the distinction of offering not just one or two, but three of my favorite Disneyland dishes. (And that’s pretty much all I ever eat there.) First, when you visit here, I insist you order the Pommes Frites. Tossed with Garlic and Parmesan, they’re served with a Cajun Remoulade ramekin. I also insist you order TWO remoulades. At least. Per person.

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

While I love their gumbo here as well, it’s the Monte Cristo Sandwich that I can’t live without. Pockets of bread layered with Ham, Turkey, and Swiss Cheese are lightly battered and deep-fried. Served with Berry Puree for dipping, this is pretty much something everyone should eat at least once in life.

Disneyland's Famous Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans

Not a meat-eater? There’s also an All-Cheese Version. No. Seriously. There is.

Behold. The Three-Cheese Monte Cristo. Did I mention the Double Creme Brie?

Three-Cheese Monte Cristo at Disneyland's Cafe New Orleans

Three-Cheese Monte Cristo at Disneyland’s Cafe New Orleans

But save room for dessert — because you can’t pass on the Mickey Beignets served with Dipping Sauces.

Mickey Beignets with Sauces

Mickey Beignets with Sauces

Have this meal just once, and you can say “I’ve been to Disneyland” properly as far as I’m concerned.

Blue Bayou

But Cafe Orleans has an older, slightly more posh sister — Blue Bayou. And while I usually skip it in favor of Cafe Orleans, if you’re visiting the ‘Land for the first time, you really need to experience this place.

Because more than anything, Blue Bayou is an experience; it’s as much an attraction as a restaurant.

Blue Bayou Atmosphere

Blue Bayou Atmosphere

Because the restaurant is fashioned to look like a verandah on a river’s edge. Look below you into the water, and you see travelers, en route to explore the mysteries of the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Honestly, the food is less important here to me than the “view.” I have enjoyed the New Orleans Signature Gumbo. And in this setting, it’s even better.

New Orleans Signature Gumbo

New Orleans Signature Gumbo

And yep, to be honest, I like to order the Monte Cristo here, too!

Le Special de  Monte Cristo Sandwich

Le Special de Monte Cristo Sandwich

It’s a little fancier (and more expensive), but just as delicious.

Napa Rose

Some of my Disneyland dining choices are obviously sentimental; either I love the restaurant, the food, or both. But it’s not like they’re the tip-top of the culinary pyramid or anything. But then, there’s Napa Rose.

I Love the Napa Rose Outdoor Lounge Area

Start Your Napa Rose Adventure With a Glass of Wine on the Outside Patio

Nestled inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, Napa Rose stands as a testament to fine California fusion cuisine, inspired by fresh farm-to-market ingredients.

Chef Sutton's Chili Base

Chef Sutton’s Chili Base — Even Base Ingredients are Created in House From Scratch

Chef Andrew Sutton is in charge here, and his menus make use of the freshest items. Prepare to be [Read more…]

Best Breakfasts in Disneyland

You’re in the Happiest Place on Earth — Disneyland!! And you’re ready to kick off a fun-filled day of park touring, thrills, and lots of character interaction. These are the streets that Walt himself walked, the Park that started them all!

Teacups

But how do you ensure that your day gets off to a great start? By kicking it off with the most important meal of the day!

There are tons of iconic snacks and delicious meals that we love to enjoy every time we visit Disneyland. But there are also some terrific breakfast options, too. Today, we’ll take a closer look at some of our favorites.

Steakhouse 55

If it’s a leisurely, sit-down breakfast you’re looking forward to, you can’t go wrong with Steakhouse 55. Located in Disneyland Hotel, this restaurant has been around nearly as long as the Park itself. It offers a quiet and elegant way to start off a day of Disney fun.

Tables

Steakhouse 55 in Disneyland Hotel — A Quiet Way to Start Your Day

Sometimes, I really love the option to fill up on a big breakfast, and then snack or eat lightly through the rest of the day. And there’s a no more luxurious morning splurge than a beautifully cooked plate of New York Steak and Eggs!

New York Steak and Eggs

New York Steak and Eggs

You can also customize your breakfast a bit and Build Your Own Omelette. Choose three from a list of fillings to make your breakfast totally unique.

Build Your Own Omelet

Choose to Build Your Own Omelette

Add some of those delicious Roasted Potatoes, and you’ll be fueled up for hours of Disney fun.

River Belle Terrace

Other times, my first priority is to get into the Parks super early, and then find a bite to eat. After all, there’s something truly magical about being one the of the first people in!

When I’m more interested in touring than spending precious time waiting for my order to arrive, I head to River Belle Terrace. And actually, there are two reasons that this is one of my favorite Disneyland breakfast spots. First off, the patio area offers gorgeous views of the Rivers of America. For me, this is such a serene way to start my day.

View from River Belle Terrace

View from River Belle Terrace

Although it’s a counter service spot, this isn’t food that you eat on the go. Comforting options like Biscuits and Gravy demand that you stop long enough to enjoy your meal.

Of course, you can’t enjoy breakfast here without at least one Mickey Pancake! Enjoying one while watching for the Mark Twain Riverboat to paddle by is Disney Bucket List stuff!

Mickey Pancake

Mickey Pancake

But don’t pass up the chance to try the [Read more…]