Guest Review: Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Are you ready for some Club Villain Thrills?! DFB welcomes guest author AM Appleby with a review of Club Villain at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Let’s take a look at this Walt Disney World event that has now been extended with dates into March 2016!

What is our fascination with villains? Do they perceive themselves as villainous or simply misunderstood? Whatever your reasons, the four villainous characters at this Club Villain in Disney’s Hollywood Studios are well worth your time!

Club Villain Marquis

Club Villain Marquis

Club Villain

Club Villain

As soon as they became available last fall, I purchased tickets to the newest Disney villain bash, Club Villain. My seven-year-old daughter and I enjoyed the last villains party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Villains Unleashed, in August 2014, but Club Villain was a complete departure (it is still a hard ticket event at $129 per person, tax and gratuity included).

The wait time to meet Maleficent at Villains Unleashed was four hours at the start of the party. Needless to say, we didn’t wait for her that evening. I honestly knew nothing about Club Villain when I purchased, I was just excited for another villains event!


Club Villain takes place in Sunset Showcase, located just behind Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The venue was indoors, which was lovely on the rainy evening we attended, and included a full buffet dinner and two bars serving wine, beer, and a signature cocktail specially created for each villain. Host Dr. Facilier, and his club manager Kanzo, kept everyone entertained. Music throughout the evening was provided by DJ Thibodeaux, creating a loud and festive Mardi Gras atmosphere. The food was inspired by traditional New Orleans cuisine, and I will tell you now — it was delicious!



DJ Thibodeaux Booth

DJ Thibodeaux Booth

Dr. Facilier

Dr. Facilier

The check-in podium was located in the front of the building. We arrived 20 minutes prior to our 7:45PM reservation time (there was one seating time the evening we attended), and we were given our invitation, which included our table number and scheduled times to meet the characters: Cruella de Vil, The Evil Queen, Maleficent, and the Queen of Hearts.

Invitation with Table Number and Meet the Villains times

Invitation with Table Number and Meet the Villains times

All of the guests were welcomed into the building promptly at 7:30PM, where the DJ was already spinning tunes. The food was [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Dining with a Picky Eater

For many of us, there’s nothing better than planning a trip to Disney. I mean, sure…attractions and cool resorts and stuff. But best of all is the FOOD!

2016 book cover dfb guide

What happens if you have a super uber picky kiddo (or other member of your party) among your ranks though? It can really rock your trip. But it doesn’t have to!

And that’s why I dedicate a lot of attention to making plans with picky eaters in the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining. This is a great time to pick up your copy of this handy guide because it’s just been completely updated for your 2016 travel plans!! Don’t forget to use code HAPPYPLACE for $4 off the price!

Today, I want to share some of the tips that I’ve scattered through the book on how to deal with the pickiest eaters when you’re in Disney World. Need some help with this subject? Read on! [Read more…]

Recommended Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Restaurant Values

We previously shared with you our picks for the Best Disney Dining Plan Value in Disney Signature Dining. Today, we continue our series exploring which Disney Restaurants offer the best value for your Disney Dining Plan credits!

Disney Dining Plan One Credit Recommendations

One of the biggest questions that we get here at DFB is whether or not the Disney Dining Plan is a good deal. To begin answering the question, we armed ourselves with calculators and menus and ran the numbers to see which spots had the most expensive average entrees.

But it’s more than that, isn’t it? I mean, no matter how much the average check runs, if the food or the atmosphere doesn’t appeal to you and yours, it won’t be a good value, no matter how you slice it.

With the calculations in mind, we were curious to determine which One-Credit Disney Table Service Restaurants offered the best deal or value price-wise — but also could be recommended by the experts here at DFB for atmosphere and food quality. All of the restaurants that we considered are One-Credit spots, meaning they’ll require just one credit to dine with the Disney Dining Plan.

Here are our picks for the restaurants that give you the best overall bang for your Disney Dining Plan buck when it comes to single credit table service spots.

Best Friends Character Breakfast at ‘Ohana

When we set out to determine which one-credit restaurants offered you the most in terms of sheer cost, one trend emerged immediately: you can’t go wrong by spending your credit on a Character Meal.

Mickey at 'Ohana

We Can’t Resist Eating with this Guy!

And with only one exception (Cinderella’s Royal Table), all Disney World character meals require only one DDP table service credit.

And while character meals are not one size fits all — you should definitely check out our tips before booking one — they’re for sure an experience everyone can enjoy with a little planning.

As for our favorite, this year we are really enjoying character meals that are served family-style like ‘Ohana’s breakfast. These include Garden Grill at Epcot, which you can now book for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.


Chip n’ Dale Visit with You During Meals at Epcot’s Garden Grill

Or enjoy the Princesses at Akershus. You can still enjoy the koldtbord selections and all you care to eat, but meals come plated.

Princess Cinderella at Akershus in Epcot's Norway

Princess Cinderella at Akershus in Epcot’s Norway

But my favorite remains the Best Friends Character Breakfast at ‘Ohana. For a combination of cute characters (Mickey in a Hawaiian Shirt, and Lilo is awesome!) and delicious food, it just can’t be beat.

Mickey Waffles!

Mickey Waffles!

And while buffets are great for a bounty of offerings, sometimes it’s nice to sit back and let the food come to you — especially if there’s a baby or toddler along for the ride.


Hot on the heels of character meals though, you should probably also consider other buffets or all you care to enjoy service formats if you’re truly interested in “getting your money’s worth”.

Boma Buffet

Boma Buffet

Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge doesn’t offer characters — but I don’t see that as a bad thing. The food here is  interesting and delicious. Don’t miss the Soups or the Carving Stations at Dinner! (Here’s the recipe for that killer Coconut Curry Chicken Stew!) Breakfast offers some great pastries and more.

Breakfast Pastries from one of our favorite buffets -- Boma in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Breakfast Pastries from one of our favorite buffets — Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Then of course, there’s the Zebra Domes. :-)

Zebra Dome

Zebra Dome Yum

The restaurant serves breakfast and dinner, and we’ve enjoyed both. And because Boma doesn’t feature characters, I find the ambiance to be a little more relaxing as a result.

But don’t forget spots that offer all you care to enjoy, but do the heavy lifting for you. If you wish that everyday was Thanksgiving Day (but without the clean up!), then make your advance dining reservation for Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom. Besides getting a hearty helping of history, you’ll also see endless platters of Turkey with all the trimmings.

The Full Spread!

The Full Dinner Spread at Liberty Tree Tavern!

And that is truly something to be thankful for.

Be Our Guest Dinner

But if you’re looking to spend those credits wisely, then don’t leave Magic Kingdom just yet. Because any Disney Food Bucket Lister will tell ya — you’ve gotta book dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant at least once.

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom

For starters, this spot is truly magical. If you’ve ever wanted to tumble through a movie screen and join in the action, this is your chance to do it, as Beast’s Castle has been reproduced in painstaking detail.

Want to see the last petal drop at Be Our Guest Restaurant? Planning ahead is key!

The Enchanted Rose in the West Wing

But then, there are some pretty great reasons to eat here as well. Of course, the menu is French-inspired. We’ve tried pretty much everything, and give high marks to the Potato Leek Soup, the Pork Chop, and of course, the Grilled Strip Steak!

Grilled Strip Steak

Grilled Strip Steak

And if you enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with dinner, take advantage of ordering one here — the only spot in Magic Kingdom where you can enjoy this indulgence.

Chimay Blue at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Chimay Blue at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Choosing Dessert may be tough. We enjoyed most of the options, but the Master’s “Grey Stuff” dessert will be the most high-profile.

Les Chefs de France

What’s that? You’d like to go to the REAL France?

Well, I can’t deliver that to you at Disney, but I can get you pretty close to the real deal. If you travel over the Epcot, that is. When you get there, head to World Showcase for some of the best spots to spend those table service credits.

Front of Les Chefs de France at Night -- Isn't It Amazing??

Beautiful Les Chefs de France in Epcot’s France Pavilion

While many of the restaurants in this international village boast steep pricetags, we love some better than others. And in terms of beautiful atmosphere and consistently delicious food, Les Chefs de France gets a gold star from me.

I know, I know. Epcot international dining can be less than authentic. But all of the restaurants in the France Pavilion are owned by the Bocuse Group, and I’ve enjoyed lots of fare that reminded me of my time traveling as a student through France and Switzerland.

A la flamme Alsacienne

A la flamme Alsacienne

Service can be slow and reserved. But the restaurant offers a beautiful setting.

Teppan Edo

But as I mentioned, you aren’t limited merely to France in Epcot. There’s a whole world out there, of course. When it comes to fun and value, consider Teppan Edo.

Teppan Edo in Epcot's Japan Pavilion

Teppan Edo in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

This Japanese Habachi-style experience is as much food theatre as it is eating. The chefs here are wonderful at all of the tricks that you might expect to see in a Japanese steakhouse. We especially like the fire-based ones. :-)

And the food is bountiful. While I’m partial to ordering the Steak, I also love the combos here. Steak and Chicken or Steak and Shrimp give you the opportunity to enjoy different textures and flavors.

Steak and Chicken at Teppan Edo

Steak and Chicken at Teppan Edo

And with bountiful sides, I guarantee you won’t leave the table hungry.

And there you have it! With so many varied experiences, flavors, and settings, it’s hard to go wrong with Disney Dining. But you won’t go wrong if you decide to try a few of our favorite one-credit options!

2016 book cover dfb guide

Ready for All of Our Best Tips?

We’ve got TONS of Disney World Dining Tips — including LOTS of restaurant suggestions for your every need — in our big, bold 2016 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining!

With more than 530 pagesThe DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining is full of tips and planning tools developed by Disney World experts over 20+ years of visits. We’ve done the research for you, so you’ll know just which spots will uniquely suit your family’s needs!

With sample dining itineraries, plus our “Disney Dining at a Glance” section, featuring “Where Can I Find?” options, you’ll have everything you need to plan your best vacation yet. Click here to get your copy of The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining E-book — and use code HAPPYPLACE for an extra $4 discount for a limited time!

Now, I’d love to hear from all of you guys! What are your best picks for value when it comes to DDP one credit table service spots? Leave a comment with your favorites!

DFB Reader Questions Answered: Do Babies Count When It Comes to Automatic Gratuity?

Edited: Friday, January 22, 2016

We are back with another great question from the DFB Inbox! And we figured if one of you asked, then many of you probably wonder the same thing. :-)

Today, our reader asks:

My family and I are planning to dine at many Disney table service restaurants on our next visit. We are a party of six, but there’s an infant who won’t be eating in our group. Will gratuity be automatically added to our bill?

As many of you know, Disney automatically adds a gratuity of 18% for parties of 6 or more when you dine at a table service location. (This also includes buffet-style restaurants.) But what happens if you have an infant or toddler who won’t be eating?

Lilo at 'Ohana

Dining with a Toddler at ‘Ohana’s Best Friends Breakfast? Know Before You Go!

According to several calls to WDW-DINE, the headcount of “six or more” technically refers to guests who are over the age of three; but based on the comments we received below, we called a few more times. We were told that the policy states “six or more” and that it is left up the restaurant’s discretion whether or not they will charge. We were told that restaurants will rarely charge the gratuity if the sixth person is under the age of 3, but as you can see from the comments, it DOES happen. Thanks to our commenters for sharing their experiences!

Not counting toward the total number for gratuity is consistent with other areas at Disney. For instance, infants and toddlers are admitted to the Parks when they’re under the age of three for free. And the under-three set can share off of your plate at buffets and all-you-care-to-enjoy restaurants for free as well.

Mickey Waffles

Share Some Mickey Waffles with the Little One You Love

Keep in mind, however, that if you’re using the Tables in Wonderland discount card, gratuity is automatically added to the bill, regardless of the size of your party. Also, if you are in a situation where the gratuity is added automatically, you can always increase the amount if you’d like.

Now we’d love to hear from you! Do you agree with the automatic gratuity assessment? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!

Best Disney World Character Meal Recommendations By Age

Character Meals. It’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all kinda world. You might think you’ll enjoy dinner at Chef Mickey’s with just your significant other.

Chef Mickey!

Chef Mickey!

After all, you’re kids at heart! But are you really thinking through the reality of it — complete with twirling napkins, blaring music, and loads and loads (and loads!) of kiddos everywhere?

Today, I thought we could break down some of the groups of guests who might want to take special care in deciding which character meal is best for them. Because when it comes to dining with your favorite Disney characters, no one should be left out! [Read more…]

Our Favorite Disney’s Hollywood Studios Restaurants

Don’t you love Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Where else can you go for a dose of Old Hollywood glamour, a Star Wars fix, and a live action stunt show all in one place?

But in addition to all kinds of movie-inspired fun, the park hosts some great food as well. Today, we’re taking a closer look at our Favorite DHS Restaurants. See if you agree with us!

50s Prime Time Cafe

One of my favorite spots to dine at DHS — or in all of Walt Disney World really — is 50s Prime Time Cafe.

This spot has it all. It’s super-themed, so when you step into the front door one of two things will come to mind:

  • I am caught in a time warp, and my grandmother is going to bop into the room wearing a poodle skirt any minute.
  • I’ve succeeded in stepping right into the Dick Van Dyke Show.
One of the 50s Prime Time Cafe Dining Rooms

One of the 50s Prime Time Cafe Dining Rooms

And truly, the themeing is so utterly awesome here, it’s enough to keep me coming back again and again. But then, the food! It’s just like your mom made! Or grandmother. Or Aunt Gladys. Whatever. My point is, it’s really good and comforting and, well, swell. You know? The bee’s knees. [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Chip’s Sticky Bun Bake from Epcot’s Garden Grill

Cinnamon rolls are the undisputed Breakfast of Champions. There’s nothing better than a hot cinnamon-y pastry topped with ooey-gooey icing.

The best of the best used to be available at the Main Street Bakery. And while we still mourn the loss of the best cinnamon roll ever (it’s replacement is being served at Gaston’s Tavern), we are moving forward and finding new cinnamon rolls to love.

And right now we’re loving Chip’s Sticky Bun Bake served at Chip N’ Dale’s Harvest Feast at Epcot’s Garden Grill!

Cinnamon Bun Bake

Cinnamon Bun Bake

The Sticky Bun Bake was one of our favorite items at the Harvest Feast and now you can enjoy this cinnamon bun goodness at home!

[Read more…]

News! Tables in Wonderland 3rd Annual Field to Feast Dinner, and Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine

Today, we have a couple of fun dining events to tell you about!

Third Annual Field to Feast Dinner

For the third year in a row, the chefs of Walt Disney World and Edible Orlando Magazine are partnering for a great cause.

The 3rd Annual Field to Feast Dinner will take place next month at Long & Scott Farms!

3rd Annual Field to Feast Dinner Logo 2016

WHERE: Long and Scott Farms, Mt. Dora, Florida
WHEN: Saturday, February 20, 2016, 4:30 — 8:00 PM
PRICE: $195 per person (excluding tax)

Check-in will begin at 4:30 PM and will include a welcome cocktail. Culinary Stations will then be open 5:00-8:00 PM.

The event will feature dishes using locally sourced ingredients created by some of Disney World’s top chefs, along with expertly paired beverages. The list of chefs that are scheduled to appear includes: [Read more…]

Recommended Disney Dining Plan Two-Credit Restaurants

We get a lot of questions from readers here at DFB asking if the Disney Dining Plan is a good deal. One part of answering this question is doing the cut and dry calculations based upon a restaurant’s offerings. But the other part is determining if the restaurant is a good fit for your family. (For example, if Yachtsman Steakhouse offers a great bang for your buck when using the Dining Plan, but you’re a family of vegetarians, it probably isn’t the best choice! ;-D)

We were curious to determine which Disney Signature Restaurants offered the best deal or value pricewise — but also could be recommended by the experts here at DFB for atmosphere and food quality.

Disney Dining Plan 2 Credit Restaurants

Here are our picks for the restaurants that offer the best value for your 2-credit Disney Dining Plan slots.

[Read more…]

Guest Review: Allergy Friendly Dining at Walt Disney World

Join us in welcoming guest author Jennifer Harris with an informative review of allergy friendly dining at Walt Disney World. Are you on a special diet? Read on!

Oh Disney, how I love your allergen-friendly ways. Dining at Disney is half the fun for those with food intolerance/allergy while visiting its theme parks. From the very first meal, it is apparent their talented team of chefs has got your back and then some. With table and quick service, buffet, and fine dining options, the attention paid to preparing allergen-free cuisine is exemplary. The sky is the limit at Disney because serving their guests is top priority.

Preparation tables are sanitized, gloves are changed, and one chef handles the order from start to finish to ensure there is no cross contact. Disney can currently prepare meals for those allergic/intolerant to: wheat, gluten, peanuts and tree nuts, soy, eggs, corn, dairy and lactose, shellfish, and fish.

Gluten Free Mickey Waffles

Gluten Free Mickey Waffles

[Read more…]