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…]

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…]

Review: Dinner at Garden Grill Restaurant in Disney World’s Epcot

We’re heading back to Epcot’s Future World for dinner at Garden Grill Restaurant!

This is a DFB favorite, and it comes together as Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast. The dinner features an all-you-care-to-eat meal served Family Style.

If you’ve ever shied away from eating in Future World in favor of the more varied cuisine available in World Showcase, it may be time to give Disney World’s only rotating restaurant a chance.

Please join me, Chip ‘n Dale, Pluto, and the main Mouse himself (MICKEY!) at the Harvest Feast for some food and fun!

Garden Grill Sign

Garden Grill Sign

The Atmosphere

The atmosphere? Well, that depends… You see, the Garden Grill rotates over the various scenes of the Living with the Land attraction, so what you see depends on where in the rotation you are in the moment.

It takes about one hour to make the full rotation, so it’s slow enough that you don’t really notice the feel of it while you are dining — at least, I didn’t. I was too busy enjoying the views!  Take a look…

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse Dog!

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- Rainforest

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — Rainforest

Transition from Rainforest to Desert

Transition from Rainforest to Desert

Garden Grill Mural

Garden Grill Mural

We enjoyed all of this from our table on the lower level of this two-level restaurant. It’s definitely a score if you are seated on the lower level, which is fashioned with booths as opposed to the chairs and tables on the upper level.

Garden Grill booth

Garden Grill booth

The booths provide more of a “front row seat” experience for the attraction, so it’s worth asking at check-in to see if you can get one. I wasn’t expecting a booth since it was just my husband and me, but several of the booths are divided with drop-leaf tables, allowing for a larger family on one side, and a pair on the other. The drop-leaf, of course, can be raised to accommodate a larger group, if needed.

Larger Booth -- Family Side

Larger Booth — Family Side

Larger Booth -- Side for a pair

Larger Booth — Side for a pair

Of course, the special touches are in full effect here — check out this table setting! Remind you of a certain character?

Mickey Table Setting :)

Mickey Table Setting :)

Speaking of… The one thing with the ability to distract you from the attraction views is… well, it’s actually FOUR things: the Characters!

Here’s Chip striking a pose in front of the Prairie Desert.

Chip strikes a pose

Chip strikes a pose

Pluto stopped by to say “Hello!”

Pluto!

Pluto!

Dale plotted how he might sneak some of our food…

Dale Plotting...

Dale Plotting…

… but I informed him it was people food, and not well-suited for chipmunks. (That makes for a sad chipmunk!)

Sad Dale

Sad Dale

Okay, this next shot is not a shining example of terrific photography ;) . But I hope it conveys that moment of excitement when you first spot THE EARS over a nearby booth (c’mon, you can admit it!), and realize who will be at your table shortly…

EARS!

EARS!

Farmer Mickey Mouse — in OVERALLS, no less!!!

Farmer Mickey

Farmer Mickey

At the start of the meal, I was a bit [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…]

Six Secret Disney Dining Deals

Everyone’s looking to save money and to wring just a little bit more enjoyment out of their Disney dollars. We’re right there with you!

Six Secret Disney Dining Deals

So today, we’re bringing you the details on some of our favorite Disney Dining Deals!

These little-known tricks and tips could save you big on your next Disney World vacation, so let’s get planning!

Prix-Fixe Menus

One of my favorite ways to save a little dough around Disney World is by taking advantage of Prix-Fixe Meals — specialty multi-course menus that let you choose from a variety of the restaurant’s popular dishes for a discounted price.  While you’ll find them here and there in a number of places, lots of Epcot World Showcase restaurants offer them.

For real savings, check out the prix-fixe offering at Les Chefs de France in the France Pavilion.

This beautiful spot is one of my favorite places to dine in all of Disney World anyway, so saving money is a great perk.

Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Prix-Fixe Menu at Les Chefs de France -- Click to Enlarge

Prix-Fixe Menu at Les Chefs de France — Click to Enlarge

When you compare the price with the a la carte prices for each item, you can really see the savings!

Appetizers -- Click to Enlarge

Appetizers — Click to Enlarge

Entrees -- Click to Enlarge

Entrees — Click to Enlarge

With desserts set at $8.99, that’s a $7 savings!

Enjoy fan favorites, like Bisque de Homard and the Croque Monsieur. And you have your pick of dessert! We love the Profiteroles here!

Save Room for the Profiteroles!

We Pick Profiteroles!

The savings are a little slimmer at [Read more…]

DFB Reader Questions Answered: Celebrating Your Child’s Birthday at Walt Disney World

Today, we’re reaching into our mailbag to answer another reader question! Since we often get the same question from several of our readers, what better way to share the answers than in a post for all of you to see?

Today’s question comes from a mom who plans to celebrate her young son’s birthday in style during an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World.

I was interested in having my son’s 7th birthday in Disney World. I want an awesome cake and I would like Mickey as well as some other characters to be there. Do you have any information regarding how to arrange this?

When it comes to celebrating a birthday (or any special occasion) at Walt Disney World, you have lots of options!

BIrthday Party at Disney World for a DFB Reader!

BIrthday Party at Disney World for a DFB Reader!

Character Dining

You could choose to make a reservation at a character meal experience, like Chef Mickey’s, 1900 Park Fare, or Crystal Palace. Character dining spots such as these feature interaction with several Disney characters, who will visit with you at your table as you dine for no extra charge. It’s a great opportunity for photo ops. And no standing in line — they come to you!

In many Disney restaurants, if you mention that you’re celebrating a birthday to your server, they’ll arrange for a special birthday treat!

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Restaurant Cakes

Most table-service restaurants at Walt Disney World can accommodate an on-the-spot birthday cake request. Simply let the host or hostess at the restaurant’s podium know that you’d like a cake for your celebration, and they can provide you with a choice of a basic vanilla or chocolate cake.

Customized Cakes

Customized birthday cakes are available throughout Walt Disney World at most table-service restaurants.

Chip 'n Dale Cake at California Grill

Chip ‘n Dale Cake at California Grill for a DFB Reader

The resort asks that you provide 48 hours notice to create your custom cake. To arrange for a Disney bakery cake, call 407-827-2253. For all the skinny on ordering your Disney special occasion cake, be sure to check out our Disney World Cake FAQ page.

Don’t forget to check out our Disney Birthday Cake Gallery for [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: Crystal Palace Breakfast in the Magic Kingdom

Welcome back guest author Catie Hiltz! Hundred Acre Wood fans will love this review of the Crystal Palace Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Read on…

I have been going to Crystal Palace ever since I was a little kid – they have been serving up breakfast, lunch, and dinner with “character” for years from their prime location near Main Street in the Magic Kingdom.

My husband and I were lucky enough to get to visit Walt Disney World last year at Christmas time – and we couldn’t miss out on the chance to dine at this character buffet featuring Winnie The Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet.

We had a 9:40am Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) for breakfast at the Crystal Palace, and we arrived a bit early so we could leisurely stroll down Main Street before heading over to the restaurant (and we took time to pose for a photo or two of course!).

Ready for a delicious Crystal Palace Breakfast

Ready for a delicious Crystal Palace Breakfast

Atmosphere

The week of Christmas is a busy time at the Disney Parks but I was pleased to see that the level of service I had come to expect from Disney was still upheld. We were led inside promptly at 9:40am and our waitress appeared right after to take our drink order (soft drinks, coffee, teas, and juice are available here) and explain the buffet to us.

Entrance to Restaurant

Entrance to Restaurant

The atmosphere of the restaurant was pretty upbeat overall; it was loud and crowded and full of kids running around, but it was a high-spirited kind of chaos, where everyone seemed happy – which I am convinced had to do with the amazing food options!

Winnie The Pooh and Friends Greet You As You Enter

Winnie The Pooh and Friends Greet You As You Enter

Eats

The menu is pretty standard as far as Disney breakfast buffets go; it’s advertised as “traditional fare with American flair” – which means there will be plenty of options to choose from, and that everyone will find something they love!

The Menu!

The Menu!

The kids’ area featured puffed french toast and Mickey waffles.

Pooh's Corner

Pooh’s Corner

There’s a selection of Assorted Pastries.

Assorted Pastries

Assorted Pastries

At the Fresh Fruit Station, you’ll have plenty of choices, including Honey Yogurt and Strawberry Yogurt.

Mixed Fruit, Watermelon, Strawberries, and more

Mixed Fruit, Watermelon, Strawberries, and more

OK, this probably was my favorite part of the buffet. I LOVED the [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Expert Reviews of Walt Disney World Restaurants

Ever wonder where to eat on your next Walt Disney World vacation? Are you a veteran visitor looking for somewhere different to dine? Or perhaps your family will be first-time visitors and you’re just trying to figure out your options?

where to eat in disney world

Yep, we’ve been there too! Countless restaurants and ever-changing menus keep us all wondering where to dine when visiting Disney World! Whether you are just seeking sustenance or long for a memorable meal — knowing ALL of your options is key to making the best dining choices for your family.

We understand that you have budget considerations and differing palates to contend with — and finding the right restaurant for your group may seem daunting. What you need are — restaurant reviews!

Our recommendations will provide you the information needed to make the most informed dining picks for your family! We’ve taste-tested many items for you! And after years of eating at Walt Disney World restaurants, we also tell you about the service and atmosphere.

In our The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2014 e-Book, we have mini-reviews of EVERY Disney World restaurant. Pick up your copy here for an extra $4 off using code 2014 for a limited time!

With our comprehensive DFB Guide, you’ll learn which character meals are our favorites — and where to find the best treats. Don’t dine without reading our reviews!

Counter Service Restaurants

Let’s dig in to the comprehensive listing of counter service restaurants that we’ve included in the DFB Guide to share with you our opinions of quick service spots.

And our reviews are completely honest. We’ve had some less than stellar eats at Electric Umbrella in Epcot, however in our mini-review, we acknowledge that the Vegetarian Flatbread was a hit. And we’d definitely return for another one!

We recommend the Veggie Flatbread at Electric Umbrella!

We recommend the Veggie Flatbread at Electric Umbrella!

Snack Kiosks

When you’re busy touring Walt Disney world and need a quick snack (yes, it happens to us, too!), choosing the right pick-me-up is key. Don’t waste [Read more…]

Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins Join Play ‘n Dine at Hollywood and Vine!

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Announcing the arrival of young royal Sofia the First to Hollywood and Vine at Hollywood Studios… and joining Her Highness is fellow Disney Junior star, Doc McStuffins!

Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First

Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First

Hollywood and Vine

Hollywood and Vine

That’s right! Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins have joined their pals Jake from “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and (AJ’s favorite :-D ) Handy Manny for the Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine character meal.

AJ's Favorite! Handy Manny at Hollywood and Vine Restaurant

AJ’s Favorite! Handy Manny at Hollywood and Vine Restaurant

Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Not only do the characters mix and mingle, but Play n’ Dine also features “musical moments” where all the kids are invited to sing and dance along (while Mom and Dad can keep on eating)!

Sofia and Doc McStuffins bring a few new [Read more…]