2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival News: Two New Booths and “The Chew” Broadcasting Live From Epcot!

We have some super big news for you today about the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Food and Wine Festival Updates

The fun is just around the corner — the festival, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, will take place September 25-November 16, 2015. That’s more than seven weeks of food and fun!

And today, we’re finding out more of what we can expect from this special year!

“The Chew” to Tape Shows from the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

We all love ABC’s The Chew, right? And we’ve enjoyed Host Carla Hall in her appearances at the Food and Wine Festival.

But this year, they’ll take it a step further, as the show tapes episodes on location at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival on October 7, 8, and 9! Expect to see the episodes air the week of October 12-16.

And — it looks like The Chew crew won’t just be taping shows, but will also be hosting some additional Special Events! Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted as information more becomes available.

Shows will be taped before a live audience. Check out thechew.com for information on how to obtain tickets.

You may run into your favorite The Chew host in Epcot...

You may run into your favorite The Chew host in Epcot…

First Ever Future World Marketplace Booths

In addition, we are learning more today something that we’ve heard hints about: Food and Wine Festival Booths are expanding into Future World! [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival FAQ: When are the Marketplace Booths Open?

Time to dive back into the DFB Reader Question Mailbag!

2015 Epcot Food and Wine Logo

We love getting questions from you guys about all things Disney food-related. And that’s especially true when it comes time to plan for the Food and Wine Festival.

The 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival will run for more than 7 weeks — September 25-November 16, 2015. And one of the biggest draws to the festival are the World Showcase Marketplace Booths that are set up throughout the different countries of World Showcase. (Check out our Booth Page for lots of details about the booths and what you can expect when you visit them.) And be sure to keep checking back — we’re adding new information constantly!

Readers send us lots of questions about the booths, especially about [Read more…]

Review: Sunshine Seasons at Epcot’s The Land Pavilion

We are heading into a guest-favorite spot in Epcot to grab a quick lunch — Sunshine Seasons!

So, if you haven’t been to Disney World yet, let me assure you that Sunshine Seasons deserves a moment of your time. It doesn’t look like much, but this counter-service location in The Land pavilion features some unique, fresh items as well as a treasure trove of bakery treats that are not to be missed.

Atmosphere

Have you ever visited The Land Pavilion in Epcot’s [Read more…]

Grand Launch and Discount! The DFB Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book, 2015-16 Edition

It’s here!! We are absolutely thrilled to share the Grand Launch of the Disney Food Blog Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book, 2015-16 Edition!

Use Your Snack Credits Wisely!

Use Your Snack Credits Wisely!

And to celebrate, we’re offering a $3 discount for a limited time! Use code Epcot2015 at check-out!

We’ve updated our detailed snack guide to help you find the best eats (and treats!) in Walt Disney World’s Epcot. You’ll see some of your old favorites as well as some snacks that you might have missed. This edition includes over 300 Epcot snacks, and over 50 NEW snacks!

The Disney Food Blog Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book

The DFB Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book is created to supplement our massive Disney Food Blog Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book. Here you’ll find in-depth information, photos, and reviews about iconic and new-to-you Epcot snacks — in great detail!

How Do I Get One?

There is absolutely no waiting to satisfy your snack cravings! This guide is an instantly downloadable PDF guide with 350 pages of information and advice on over 300 delicious snacks that you can savor in Disney World’s Epcot. Download your copy right now, and start planning!

Don’t Miss Out on the Best Snacks in Epcot!

This guide is guaranteed to help you better plan your snacks and treats in Epcot, or your money back[Read more…]

News: Disney World Plastic Cheese Sauce Removed From Condiment Bars

Say it ain’t so…

Plastic Cheese dispenser

Plastic Cheese dispenser

Seriously? My beloved PLASTIC CHEESE (otherwise known as “Hot Cheese Sauce,” but whatever…) will no longer be offered on Disney World Counter Service restaurant condiment bars?!

As much as it pains me to say it, it DOES [Read more…]

Review: Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner

Fun news today from Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner!

You know how Columbia Harbour House used to have Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl? And you know how they don’t anymore and many, many, many of us still lament this on a regular basis?

Well, during a recent trip through the odyssey that is a Star Wars Weekend at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, one of our staffers spied a new menu at Min and Bills Dockside Diner that just might interest you…Clam Chowder Served in a BREAD BOWL.

Shazam.

Min and Bills Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Min and Bills Menu — Click to Enlarge

Bread bowls have been sorely missed in Disney World, although they remain a staple at several Disneyland spots, like Pacific Wharf Cafe and Royal Street Veranda.

So, it took us about 5 seconds to realize that we needed to get this and share it with you right now! And so…here it is.

It’s not a huge bread bowl, and it’s not Boudin Bakery (AFAIK); but it is hearty and the bread is clearly an artisan-type, fresh-baked boule that’s more interesting than your run-of-the-mill loaf. Pieces of onion make the boule visually interesting and infuse the bread with some complex flavor. Pretty, huh?

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl is Back in WDW!

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl is Back in WDW!

Under the little bread lid, you’ll find the boule hollowed out enough for about a cup of soup.

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl -- Under the Lid

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl — Under the Lid

When I removed the lid, I was happy to see the fresh Bacon and Chive garnish, which gave the soup additional color, texture, and flavor. I personally think Clam Chowder benefits hugely from [Read more…]

Review: Blue Milk Milkshake at 50s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

It’s time to head back to 50s Prime Time Cafe for a little Star Wars goodness.

This restaurant, located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is a great example of Disney imagineering. The 1950s retro vibe is enhanced with authentic furniture, wallpaper, and knick knacks — and the staff play right along…so be sure to eat all your veggies, or run the risk of having them fork-fed to you.

Don't forget to ask for a TV table on your visit to 50s Prime Time Cafe! And keep your elbows off the table...

Don’t forget to ask for a TV table on your visit to 50s Prime Time Cafe! And keep your elbows off the table…

But 50s Prime Time also features some classic…and not-so-classic…Milkshakes. The Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake is a must-try.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake

Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake

You’ll find standard chocolate and vanilla as well, and the Prime Time will usually dream up a few specialty, seasonal milkshakes for the menu. The Red Velvet Cake Milkshake, with chunks of cream cheese frosting, was pretty fantastic.

But if you’re heading to the Studios for the last of the Star Wars Weekends today or tomorrow, it’s your last chance to try one of my favorite seasonal options — the [Read more…]

Review: California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Time to check in on one of Walt Disney World’s most popular signature dining spots — California Grill.

Located atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the Grill has become nearly as well known for its stellar views as its market-inspired food. And those two factors can make this a tough table to book.

My last visit here, however, when the restaurant had just reopened after an in-depth refurbishment, was somewhat disappointing. At the time, I chalked it up to the kitchen having an off night; after all, I had enjoyed incredible dining here many times before.

I decided it was time to check in again. So we booked an early Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) on a recent visit, and up we went.

Atmosphere

If you’ve never visited California Grill, then there’s one thing you should know: you don’t just head to the 15th floor. Your journey actually starts on the 2nd floor of the Contemporary where you check in. Even if you’re just heading to the first-come, first-served Lounge, this is your first stop.

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

You’ll then be escorted via a private elevator to the 15th floor. In this way, staff act as gatekeepers for the popular spot. If left unattended, it would get pretty busy up there, especially around Wishes-at-Magic-Kingdom time.

Once you make your way upstairs, a bank of Wine Fridges greets you straight ahead.

Entrance and Wine Fridges

Entrance and Wine Fridges

You walk through the Lounge and Bar to get to the restaurant’s main seating area. That sounds as though these are different spaces; they aren’t. Basically, with the exception of a few private dining rooms, the restaurant features an open floor plan, accentuating the sweeping views and retro-meets-modern vibe.

California Grill Bar

California Grill Bar

If you find yourself without an ADR, there’s still hope. You can sit in the Grill’s Lounge and order from the menu, or just enjoy Drinks, Sushi, and Appetizers. Be forewarned, though: it’s not uncommon for this area to reach capacity as the night goes on. Here at 5PM, though, it was pretty bare.

California Grill Lounge

California Grill Lounge

Wrap around to the main seating area, and you see that nearly every table commands an excellent view of the surrounding landscape, including Magic Kingdom and the Resorts situated around Seven Seas Lagoon.

Seating varies here and includes both tables and chairs and booths.

Seating

Seating

There are also a selection of tables that mix banquette and chair seating. Note that white tablecloths and cloth napkins are the norm here, lending to the upscale air of sophistication.

Table for Two

Table for Two

Booths are somewhat unique in that they are located in the middle of the floor. That means that you can enter from either side, and there will be traffic on both sides of your table, similar to what you find at Jiko. While this isn’t necessarily bad, it does mean that your booth won’t be as secluded as you might like.

But the view outside of the windows isn’t the only thing you have to look at.

California Grill Kitchen

California Grill Kitchen

The well-orchestrated, professional hustle and bustle that’s happening behind the counter in the on-stage kitchen can be fascinating as well.

Prepping for Dinner Service

Prepping for Dinner Service

Although we will focus today on the food here, the sweeping, panoramic vistas certainly bear mentioning. You can see for miles!

The View

The View

And that’s one of the biggest draws of California Grill — this view, especially when it comes to [Read more…]

Review: Beignet at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot’s France Pavilion

Bonjour! We are popping into Les Halles Boulangerie and Patisserie in Epcot’s France Pavilion today to take a closer look at a new-to-us pastry!

You may remember last year around Mardi Gras time when we shared with you the Beignets commemorating that time of year. They were really interesting — unlike what we normally think of as beignets. (You know, those fluffy fried pillows of deliciousness. Rectangular or Mickey-shaped — we’re good either way.)

But on a recent visit to Les Halles we were intrigued to read that the Beignets seemed to be different, since they were described as Chocolate Hazelnut-filled.

Wait. What?!

Yeah…that’s all it took to get us there.

Le Beignet at Les Halles

The previous beignets at Les Halles were Bugnes Lyonnaise, diamond-shaped with a hole in the middle, and were rolled in granulated sugar. So when I was handed this treat, it was clear that we were dealing with something completely different.

Enjoying a Beignet in a Quiet Spot

Enjoying a Beignet in a Quiet Spot

We took the snack to my favorite secret hide-y place in the France Pavilion. (Nope, not tellin’ ya where…OK, behind the perfume shops. But don’t tell.) It’s a wonderfully quiet and shady spot — a perfect place to dig into Les Halles loot!

As you can see, it looks like a traditional filled doughnut. Actually, it reminded me a lot of the Berliner featured at the Germany Booth during last year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Les Halles Beignet -- Up Close

Les Halles Beignet — Up Close

Time to cut into it! I went for it, expecting to see a snug little pocket of chocolate Hazelnut filling. But this is what greeted me on the cross section.

Beignet -- Cross Section

Beignet — Cross Section

Well, I knew there was filling in there. It was too heavy for there not to be! And so I [Read more…]

Review: Everything Pop Food Court at Disney’s Pop Century Resort

It’s time to head back to Everything Pop Food Court at Disney’s Pop Century Resort for lunch!

Pop Century Resort has a cult following of legendary proportions, and Everything Pop Food Court goes right along with that. Maybe it’s because the eats here are little more imaginative than they have historically been at other value resorts. Or maybe it’s just because you can get a waffle with a giant Pop! emblazoned on it!

Whatever the reason, this spot has long been a favorite of mine — and even a destination for me for some of their specialties when I’m staying at other resorts. (King Cupcake, anyone?)

It’s been a while since I’ve visited, so on a recent trip I made it a point to stop by Everything Pop for a bite to eat.

Let’s take a look at what I found!

Atmosphere

You will find no shortage of color and decor as you enter Everything Pop. But you wouldn’t really expect a Zen experience with such a name anyway, right?

Entrance Sign -- Up Close

Entrance Sign — Up Close

It’s fun, and it’s, well. Pop. The kind of loud, happy decor you’d expect with a name like that. These food “billboards” entice you into the eating area, beckoning you to come check out the newly updated menus.

Fun Food Signs

Fun Food Signs

As with other Food Court-type settings at Walt Disney World, the “Create You Own” theme is big here. But you’ll find more options to customize here than just about anywhere else. As the sign says, it’s the perfect place to head when you’re feeling hungry AND creative!

Poppin Nachos and Baked Potatoes Sign

Poppin Nachos and Baked Potatoes Sign

We’ll take a quick side journey to check out seating.

While there are plenty of tables and chairs to choose from, you won’t find super comfy digs here. After all, this is counter service. I don’t figure that you’re interested in lingering for hours over that burger or plate of eggs.

Additional Seating

Seating Area

Still, if you do require a bit of a comfortable break, booth seating is padded and a little more cozy, since it’s walled (or windowed) off to one side.

Booth Seating

Booth Seating

More tables along the bank of floor to ceiling windows provide a little space from the rest of the guests, and give you a good view out onto the grounds.

Table Seating

Table Seating

Enough with tables and chairs. On to the food!

Eats

Pop in to Everything Pop, and you can choose from seven different serving stations. They include, in broad terms, a [Read more…]