Three Ideas For an Unconventional Disney World Date Night

Call us romantics, but we think that Walt Disney World is a GREAT place for a date night!

Watch the Fireworks from the Polynesian Resort Beach!

Do You Love to Watch Magic Kingdom Fireworks From the Polynesian’s Beach During Your Disney Date Night? We Do!

But we like to take a very broad approach to date night here at Disney Food Blog. So we decided that it would be all kinds of funnnz to come up with some radical departures for how to spend your Day o’ Love. I mean sure, chocolate-dipped strawberries and Champagne are awesome, and a fancy meal is sure to impress. But more than anything, we just wanna have fun!

If you’re with us, check out our Top 3 Ideas for Your Unconventional Date Night, Disney World Style!

Swap a Fancy Meal for FastPasses

Fancy meal? Whatevs. Who wants to get dressed up and sit around for hours?? You’re at Disney — get out there and enjoy it!

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Snuggle Up for a Ride on Disney’s Newest Attraction, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!

Instead of dinner at a signature restaurant, skip straight to the fun, and schedule FastPasses for three of your favorite rides together (and make sure at least one of them is a dark ride. ;-) )

Spaceship Earth, How We Love You

Spaceship Earth, How We Lurve You

Getting hungry after all those adventures? Share your favorite savory snacks. The Lucky Combo from Joy of Tea in Epcot’s China Pavilion would be perfect!

Lucky Combo from Joy of Tea in Epcot's China Pavilion

Lucky Combo from Joy of Tea in Epcot’s China Pavilion

Or split a Waffle Sandwich from Sleepy Hollow Refreshments in Magic Kingdom.

Chicken Waffle Sandwich from Magic Kingdom's Sleepy Hollow Refreshments

Chicken Waffle Sandwich from Magic Kingdom’s Sleepy Hollow Refreshments

They’re definitely big enough to share!

Get the Kids Involved!

Spending more time together as a family always figures high on our list of priorities. And kiddos especially love some one on one time with Mom and Dad. So how about taking a different approach to your next evening out. Make a “date” with your littles!

One fun idea would be to split up for fun Mom/Son, Dad/Daughter “dates”. Go on separate dinner dates and let the kids choose the restaurants! ESPN Club at Disney’s BoardWalk is a great choice for your budding baseball or soccer star!

ESPN Club (with a line to get in on Game Day!)

ESPN Club is a Great Place to Take Your Favorite Sports Fan!

But save room, because you can all meet up for some ice cream later and compare notes! How about sharing a No Way Jose from Beaches and Cream four ways?? (Want more ice cream suggestions? Check our our Ice Cream Gallery!)

No Way Jose at Beaches and Cream

Split a No Way Jose from Beaches and Cream!

Top off the evening with an outdoor movie at your resort before tucking in for pleasant dreams.

Play with Your Food

Have you always wanted to [Read more…]

Review: Anna’s Happy Birthday Cupcake (A “Frozen Fever” Treat)

Happy Birthday, Princess Anna!

All over Disney World and Disneyland, guests are invited to celebrate the birthday of Frozen’s Princess Anna (she’s a princess, right?). This goes hand in hand with the Frozen Fever film short where our Arendelle friends attempt to throw her a surprise party, and Anna’s Happy Birthday Cupcake is one of three Frozen Fever treats brought out for the occasion.

Anna's Happy Birthday Cupcake

Anna’s Happy Birthday Cupcake

I grabbed mine at Epcot’s Kringla Bakeri og Kafe in Norway, but this is just one of the spots where you can find it. From parks to resorts, you can grab it at several locations including the Beach Club Marketplace and Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons in Disney World, and Jolly Holiday Bakery and The Coffee House in Disneyland (find the full list of locations here!).

When I mention our “Arendelle Friends,” that clearly includes Olaf, who tops this treat. (Incidentally, you’ll also find this white chocolate piece topping Olaf’s Perfect Sundae Day.)

Olaf Topper

Olaf Topper

The cupcake is a simply a basic yellow cake— which, when I think about it, goes along pretty well with [Read more…]

Review: Sweet Treats at Main Street Bakery Starbucks in Magic Kingdom

Time for another visit to the Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom!

It’s long been a DFB tradition to stop by Main Street Bakery first thing to kick off the day with a morning pastry. In the past, I’ve also loved popping into this spot to see what’s new in the way of cupcakes.

While things aren’t exactly the same as they were in the days before MSB became a Starbucks location, you will still find an assortment of breakfast offerings in the morning and sweet treats throughout the day. (Check out our recent review of the Bacon and Gouda Artisan Sandwich.)

And a sweet snack was what my friend and I were after during our late night stop into the coffee shop recently. Let’s check out what we found.

Mocha Cupcake

While many (MANY) of my sentimental favorites, like their amazing cinnamon rolls, are no longer available at Main Street Bakery, the spot has continued to offer some cupcake options that you don’t find at your neighborhood Starbucks. That’s cool, right? I mean, it’s not as awesome as that cinnamon roll, but still. (And if you’re missing the cinnamon roll as much as me, head back to Gaston’s Tavern, where you’ll find a very similar model. Or make it at home with this recipe.)

But back to cupcakes. On our visit, we decided to give the Mocha Cupcake a try.

Mocha Cupcake

Mocha Cupcake

This is mostly chocolate on chocolate. We didn’t really discern much in the way of coffee flavor, although the garnish of Chocolate-Covered Espresso Beans would indicate there’s some java there.

(You’ll have to excuse my lighting. I got this cupcake at around 9:00 at night while the parade was passing by and the Starbucks was PACKED. It was tough to jostle my way to a good location without weird yellow nighttime light.)

Mocha Cupcake -- Cross Section

Mocha Cupcake — Cross Section

Ultimately, while this was fine, I’ve had better. Unless you’re just dying for a chocolate cupcake, I’d probably pass this one up in favor of something more interesting…

Salted Caramel Square with Pecans

…Like the Salted Caramel Square with Pecans.

Ok. Maybe I’m just a sucker for anything that combines the words “salt” and “caramel”. This was very good, but the pretzel game is strong in here; so it was much more crunchy and less creamy than I expected.

Salted Caramel Square with Pecans

Salted Caramel Square with Pecans

Salted Caramel Tart

But it was this final option that truly converted me to Starbucks’ sweets. Let me introduce you to the [Read more…]

Review: New Desserts at Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

So, if you’ve been following along recently, you know that LOTS of changes are in store for Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Among them, Starbucks is due to open in mid-June, and the new Harambe Market will bring us FOUR new walkup food windows (along with merchandise shops) when it opens in late May. Add to that there are still rumors floating around about the possible addition of a Table Service restaurant to be located in part of what is currently Pizzafari… well, suffice it to say, the dining options at Animal Kingdom are certainly expanding!

With so many new food stops in the works, it’s bound to affect some of the established eateries around the park. In fact, we’ve already begun to see hints of change starting at Tamu Tamu Refreshments.

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

You see, it’s located in the village of Harambe in Animal Kingdom’s Africa, so it’s just across the way from where the Market will be.

Location of Tamu Tamu in Animal Kingdom's Africa

Location of Tamu Tamu in Animal Kingdom’s Africa

Since the Harambe Market will have a whole slew of new entrees to choose from, the menu at Tamu Tamu just switched over to focus entirely on desserts and drinks as opposed to its previous entrees like curry dishes and the Pulled Beef Sandwich.

Lucky me, I had a group of friends visiting Animal Kingdom who offered to try them ALL!

Taste-Testers!!

Taste-Testers!!

Or perhaps I should say, “Lucky THEM,” because altogether there are FIVE desserts on the menu!

All-new Tamu Tamu menu

All-new Tamu Tamu menu

While the Pineapple Whip Soft-serve (with Dark or Coconut Rum) has been available since last May, the Chocolate Waffle with Espresso Mousse, Double Chocolate-Chip Ice Cream Sandwich, Mickey Ice Cream Chocolate Cookie Sundae, and Chocolate-covered Espresso Beans are all BRAND NEW to Tamu Tamu!

Tamu Tamu desserts

Tamu Tamu desserts

Let’s take them one by one, starting with the Chocolate Waffle topped with an Espresso Mousse.

Chocolate Waffle with Espresso Mousse

Chocolate Waffle with Espresso Mousse

The group reported that the waffle was [Read more…]

Sneak Peek: Harambe Marketplace Opens in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Late May

It’s been fairly quiet in Disney’s Animal Kingdom as of late… but all that’s about to change! Disney has provided a few glimpses of what will be the new Harambe Market, opening in late May!

Harmabe Market

Harmabe Market © Disney

Disney shares that the story behind the Market revolves around it serving as a center of commerce and place of welcome for visitors from all around the world who come to the village in order to explore the animals of Africa on the reserve.

Harambe Marektplace

Harambe Marketplace © Disney

While the marketplace will also feature merchandise spots, food will be the focus, featuring four walk-up windows serving African-inspired street food, with seating for over 200 guests. The idea is to wander and find what catches your fancy, though you may find it hard to decide…

harambe market disneys animal kingdom 11

© Disney

Kitamu Grill will be serving up Skewered Chicken as as well as a Kabob Flatbread Sandwich.

harambe market disneys animal kingdom 1

Kitamu Grill © Disney

Kabob Flatbread Sandwich

Kabob Flatbread Sandwich © Disney

Skewered Chicken

Skewered Chicken © Disney

Famous Sausages will feature sausage Corn Dogs, with the unique distinction of [Read more…]

Disneyland Recipe: Matterhorn Macaroons

Today, we are heading back to Disneyland for some inspiration in the kitchen!

I recently stumbled upon this brilliant recipe by Rumbly Tumbly. While my attention perked up as soon as I saw a recipe for one of my favorite Disneyland Treats, the Matterhorn Macaroon, I was even more excited to see that one of my DFB posts had inspired the author to try her hand at recreating the treats in the first place!

Disneyland's Matterhorn Macaroon

Disneyland’s Matterhorn Macaroon

Shannon’s version looks so much like the original and sounds so chewy, moist and delicious. I’m definitely inspired to try my own hand at these giant treats!

Matterhorn Macaroons

Inspired by the Original Treat at Disneyland
Makes 12 Macaroons

Ingredients:
1 cup room temperature butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut – see note below for how to prepare coconut
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bag of Wilton Bright White Candy melts
decorators sugar for sprinkling

Instructions: [Read more…]

News! Food Pre-order Test in Progress at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

It looks like the next phase of Disney dining technology testing is upon us!

Express Order screenshot

Express Order screenshot

Thanks to WDWMagic and OrlandoParkNews we learned that a limited-run test (from now until May 12) is currently in place for guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you have somehow indicated that you will be visiting Hollywood Studios via your My Disney Experience account (either by making a FastPass+ choice for attractions or a dining reservation for the park’s Table Service locations), you may receive an e-mail invite to participate in a test involving pre-ordering food items at Backlot Express Counter Service or Fantasmic! concession.

Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Selections

Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Selections

Express Order is the name of the free app that guests are invited to download in order to participate.

Express Order app Home Page

Express Order app Home Page

Upon opening the app, you’ll see two dining choices: Backlot Express or concession options for Fantasmic! Please note that Fantasmic! concession pre-ordering is only available prior to the start of the show each night.

Backlot Express and Fantasmic! options

Backlot Express and Fantasmic! options

Just swipe to the right for further choices and instructions. For instance, with Backlot Express, you’ll see that you can choose to [Read more…]

Review: Lemon with Crispy Meringue Ice Cream at L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France

We have an almost-birthday to celebrate… L’Artisan des Glaces is nearly two years old!

L’Artisan des Glaces opened in late May of 2013 and has been serving up 16 daily flavors of house made ice cream and sorbet ever since. Oh, and more than a few Cafe Glaces and Pressed Brioche and Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches. Not to mention an Ice Cream Martini or two…

You may be dedicated to your favorite flavor or enjoy trying something new each time, such as the ever-changing seasonal macaron sandwiches.

Me? I’ve just gotta try their newest flavor whenever I’m in Epcot’s France, because they never seem to disappoint with the latest ice cream creation.

L'Artisan des Glaces in Epcot's France Pavilion

L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France Pavilion

Menu at L'Artisan des Glaces

Menu at L’Artisan des Glaces

The most recent addition of Lemon with Crispy Meringue Ice Cream presented a bit of a conundrum for me, though (even if I can never argue with an Ice Cream Mickey!).

Lemon with Crispy Meringue Ice Cream

Lemon with Crispy Meringue Ice Cream

If you’ve been reading the DFB for a while, then you probably know how much I seriously love all things lemon, so I was pretty pumped about the lemon ice cream. On the flip side, you may also know that I don’t care for [Read more…]

Photo Tour: Animal Kingdom Starbucks Design Elements

I simply can’t get over how fast this year is moving! We’ve already reached the end of April, which means in just a few weeks events like Star Wars Weekends, Magic Kingdom’s 24-Hour Day (both in May) and the return of Frozen Summer Fun this June will start to usher in the summer season at Disney World.

But that’s not all there is to look forward to! The anticipated opening for the final in-park Starbucks is this summer, too. It’s coming to Animal Kingdom at what was formerly the Creature Comforts merchandise  location. And I must say, of all the Disney Parks Starbucks (the others being Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Bakery, Epcot’s Fountain View, and Hollywood Studios’ Trolley Car Cafe), I’ve always been most curious as to how Starbucks will be themed to fit into Animal Kingdom’s Discovery Island.

Dream Builders sign

Dream Builders sign

Many of the shops and food stops in Discovery Island are decorated with brightly colored signs and murals (take Pizzafari, for instance) as opposed to the deep greens and browns we often associate with Starbucks in their typical locations. And this was definitely true when the building served as Creature Comforts — think bright orange, purple, and teal. Granted, none of the in-park locations are what you would call “typical” Starbucks, but the unique beauty of Animal Kingdom offers the potential for some truly special themeing. And now is as good a time as any to explore a little further of what we can currently see, which is the outside of the building.

You’ll notice that the vivid colors from Creature Comforts have been toned down significantly, yet there are still some unique features that you won’t see at the other Disney Parks Starbucks locations.

Animal Kingdom Future Starbucks Exterior

Animal Kingdom Future Starbucks Exterior

Check out the coffee beans playing a role in the painted patterns along this wall border.

Exterior Border artwork

Exterior Border artwork

When you consider the continents, countries, and cultures celebrated in Animal Kingdom, including [Read more…]

Great New Drinks to Enjoy at Disney World

Top Five New Drinks to Try at Walt Disney WorldWell, I guess it’s time… Florida sure had a beautiful “winter,” but as much as I’ve tried to deny it over the past few weeks, we’re back to the time of year when it’s not unusual to see the thermometer (otherwise known as my weather app) climb back up into the 90s.

One good thing about all that? It’s the perfect excuse to cool down with some cold beverages! And since we’re looking at hanging out in the heat until… oh, until the end of the 2015 Epcot Food & Wine Festival in, like, November, now is as good a time as any to check out some highly recommended sips!

So today we’re stopping at two Disney World Parks, one Resort, and Downtown Disney to check out some of the latest and greatest concoctions. We’re focusing primarily on some killer cocktails, but we’ll end with a little something for kids (and kids at heart!), too!

So grab a straw and a teeny-tiny umbrella, because we’re starting with a new vacation must-have…

Spikey Pineapple

We’ve just gotta dive in with this new gem at Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort: the Spikey Pineapple.

Spikey Pineapple

Spikey Pineapple

While most of the drink menu at the Tiki Terrace is the same as that inside Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, you can ONLY enjoy the Spikey Pineapple outside on the Tiki Terrace… and it is well worth a special visit.

Why? Because this is Pineapple Soft-Serve (Dole Whip!) served in a sippable form and spiked with Barbancourt Pango Rhum.

Spikey Pineapple menu description

Spikey Pineapple menu description

If you’re a fan of Dole Whip (and especially the rum-spiked Pineapple Soft-serve at the Epcot Food & Wine and Flower and Garden Festivals and in Animal Kingdom), or just fantastic tropical vacation drinks in general, this one is a must-try!

Tamarind Margarita

What’s a post about drinks in Disney World without mentioning one of the greatest watering holes this side of the Mississippi (and, OK, the other side, too)? Over in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion, La Cava del Tequila sets the standard for incredible and creative margaritas served alongside high-end tequilas.

La Cava del Tequila Sign

La Cava del Tequila Sign

And while the debut last fall of the Maelstrom Margarita (created in tribute to the now-extinct Maelstrom attraction formerly housed in Mexico’s neighboring Norway Pavilion) receives a lot of well-deserved buzz, it’s the Tamarind Margarita, which debuted last summer, that really knocked our socks off in a recent visit: Ambhar Blanco Tequila, tamarind pulp, orange liquor and agave nectar with a chili powder rim.

Tamarind Margarita

Tamarind Margarita

The tamarind and agave make this one incredibly sweet — without being too sweet (I hate too sweet), thanks to the tamarind tang, and the chili powder rim provides some kick. This one well earns its place beside the beloved Avocado Margarita. And Horchata Margarita. Oh, and the Wild Passion Fruit;)

Dark & Tropical Stormy

Inside at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, though, we’re loving the Dark & Tropical Stormy: Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, fresh lime juice, Ginger Beer, and Falernum.

Dark & Tropical Stormy on the Trader Sam's menu

Dark & Tropical Stormy on the Trader Sam’s menu

It’s the unique and bold taste of the ginger beer that makes this one stand out, giving it a sweet spice while the layered pour allows the rum to have its own moment as well.

Dark & Tropical Stormy

Dark & Tropical Stormy

Another fun feature with many drinks inside the Grotto are toppers themed to the beverage. The Dark & Tropical Stormy’s is understandably windblown ;)

Dark & Tropical Stormy umbrella

Dark & Tropical Stormy umbrella

Batten down the hatches and grab one!

Raspy Old Fashioned

We’re taking a trip over to Downtown Disney for our next one and stopping at Raglan Road.

Raglan Road

Raglan Road

Understandably, lots of folks stepping into Raglan Road fancy a pint, and the [Read more…]