Review: Hot Chocolate Cupcake from the Contempo Cafe at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

So, today we’ve got a SUPER cute cupcake from Contempo Cafe at Disney’s Contemporary Resort!

The restaurant, located on the Concourse in the Resort, is one of my favorite stops for delicious counter service eats. It’s just a monorail ride (or quick walk) away from Magic Kingdom, making it a great option if you need a break during a busy Park day.

But they’ve also featured some truly decadent and beautiful Cupcakes throughout the years. I’m always anxious to pop in every time I’m in town to see what Chef Jeff Barnes and his creative team have come up with!

And on a recent visit, I didn’t come up empty handed when I stopped by for an afternoon snack.

The Hot Chocolate Cupcake

Well, the very last thing that you want in Florida 11 1/2 months out of the year is a steaming cup of anything. So this is a fun nod to hot chocolate without getting any of the “hot!”

It’s pretty great that you get so much description here on the sign…and it’s pretty irresistible, eh?

Hot Chocolate Cupcake -- In the Case, with Description

Hot Chocolate Cupcake — In the Case, with Description

I quickly opted to try this new-to-me cupcake, passing by the ever popular Frozen Cupcake and the classic Red Velvet Cupcake.

It’s definitely super cute, with Toasted Marshmallows on top, a Striped Chocolate Straw, Red Sprinkles, and a mound of light Chocolate Buttercream.

Hot Chocolate Cupcake -- Up Close

Hot Chocolate Cupcake — Up Close

When I cut into it, I found [Read more…]

First Look! Breakfast at Disney World’s Be Our Guest Restaurant!

Here we goooooooooo!

After months of waiting, it’s finally here. The first day of Breakfast at Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest Restaurant is on the books, and it was a great one!

After opening in 2012, Be Our Guest Restaurant was an instant sensation for disney-goers, and it has since become THE reservation to get when you’re planning a trip to the World.

BOG has a long history of “firsts.” The table-service dinner at the French, Beauty and the Beast-inspired restaurant features alcohol in the Magic Kingdom for the first time ever, the lunch meal became the first to offer dining FastPass+ bookings (no longer offered), and subsequently lunch just became the first counter-service restaurant to require reservations to dine.

Now, Be Our Guest’s counter-service breakfast is also taking Advance Dining Reservations!

And today we’ve got a fun FIRST LOOK at all of the food for you. We’ll have a full review on Monday with our fancy camera pics, but I couldn’t wait to share a few phone pics with you this morning!

UPDATE: Please note that as of June 2015, the initial test phase of breakfast at Be Our Guest Restaurant has been extended and Advance Dining Reservations are currently available through October 3, 2015. 

Atmosphere

There’s nothing like an early morning romp through the Magic Kingdom — especially when the park is totally empty (well, almost)!

Cinderella Castle in the early morning light

Cinderella Castle in the early morning light

And that’s one of the many benefits of booking a “before-the-park-opens” meal at one of Magic Kingdom’s breakfast restaurants. Not only do you get some great photo ops, but you’re also done with breakfast and ALREADY IN THE PARK just in time to get to the front of the line at your favorite rides as soon as they open.

Morning at Magic Kingdom

Morning at Magic Kingdom

But, our favorite attractions are always the restaurants, so we couldn’t wait to cross that bridge over to the Beast’s Castle and enjoy breakfast at Be Our Guest for the first time ever.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Be Our Guest Restaurant

Check-in was at two umbrella’d tables in front of the main [Read more…]

Disney Lounge Classic Cocktail: The Shadow at Belle Vue Lounge in Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Belle Vue Lounge is one of those Disney spots.

Yep — it’s a hideaway…that only the cool kids know about.

True, I love Disney Bars and Lounges. A lot. They’re some of my favorite spots on property, and they’re awesome for some many reasons. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax after a long day, meeting friends, or even grabbing a bite to eat without an Advance Dining Reservation.

Well, Belle Vue is a bit different than some of my other favorites, like Territory Lounge or Tambu Lounge. Belle Vue doesn’t serve food, except at breakfast, when they offer light continental options, coffee, and a few other beverages.

So you won’t find signature Pub Grub like Fondue or Pulled Pork Nachos here. But you will find loads of relaxing, beautiful atmosphere.

The Belle Vue Lounge in Disney's BoardWalk Inn

The Belle Vue Lounge in Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

And if you happen to encounter a helpful bartender (and the long-time bartender here is always helpful), you may be able to enjoy a Belle Vue classic.

The Shadow at Belle Vue Lounge

You’ll mostly find the Standard Disney Bar Menu here. It’s a little sad…because this place could be even more awesome with an inspired drink menu. But there is one bright spot. And oddly, it’s called The Shadow. :-)

This drink is Belle Vue’s claim to fame, even though it’s not officially on the menu anymore.

A mixture of Chambord, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, Vanilla Vodka, and Heavy Cream, it’s as much dessert as it is a cocktail.

The Shadow at Belle Vue Lounge

The Shadow at Belle Vue Lounge

It’s not really my kind of drink. I don’t usually go in for [Read more…]

News! Aloha Isle and Sunshine Tree Terrace Switch Places in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Call it a little Disney Magic!

STT Aloha Isle Collage DFB

Mind blown? Yeah, mine too. You’re not seeing things…two of Magic Kingdom’s most beloved snack stops have switched places!

We’ve heard rumors, and now it seems to be happening: major changes are underway in Adventureland.

We’re still awaiting confirmation that a brand new restaurant might be coming to the area, but in the meantime, Aloha Isle and Sunshine Tree Terrace have swapped real estate.

And we have lots of brand new pictures of the change as it’s happening right now!

Here’s FIRST LOOK at the brand new Aloha Isle Sign! Clearly, the Dole sponsorship is still firmly in place.

NEW Aloha Isle Sign

NEW Aloha Isle Sign

Check out this photo of the NEW Aloha Isle locale!

Sunshine Tree Terrace Morphs Into Aloha Isle Overnight!

Sunshine Tree Terrace Morphs Into Aloha Isle Overnight!

As you can see from the menu pic below, NEARLY everything that you previously enjoyed at Aloha Isle is now available at this new (old? new?) location.

You can still enjoy Dole Whip, Dole Whip Swirl, Dole Whip Floats, fresh spears of Pineapple, and [Read more…]

News! Enjoy “Eat Local Week” in Disney World

Fun news for those of you visiting Disney World this week!

EatLocalWeek Orlando Logo

Slow Food Orlando is sponsoring Eat Local Week in The City Beautiful — and it’s happening right now!

While the event showcases eating, drinking, and shopping local throughout the Central Florida Region, there are opportunities to celebrate local growers and producers by dining in some of our favorite Disney Restaurants.

Enjoy menus featuring locally-sourced ingredients all this week, showcasing ingredients from Florida farms, ranches, and fisheries.

And the list of participating Disney restaurants includes some of our tried and true favorites. Choose from The Wave…of American Flavors or California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. We’ve enjoyed delicious seasonal dishes in both.

California Grill view

A Beautiful View and the Season’s Best Flavors at California Grill

At Disney’s Grand Floridian, dine slow-food style at the beautiful Citricos. Or hop over to Disney’s BoardWalk for dinner at Flying Fish Cafe — hands down, one of my absolute favorite spots! (Read our latest review of Flying Fish here.)

Crab Cake

The Flying Fish Cafe is Always an Excellent Choice, Especially for Seafood, Like Their Killer Crabcakes

But we aren’t finished! Yachtsman Steakhouse, known for perfectly prepared steaks and seasonally-inspired sides, will also be participating. Finally, end your Eat Local tour at [Read more…]

YOU MUST EAT THIS: Warm Peanut Butter Brownie at Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons

This past Sunday was National Peanut Butter Day!! But, you guys know that around here, every day is peanut butter day, so… I couldn’t wait to tell you about this ah-mazing snack I tried last week!

It’s at Sunshine Seasons, which is one of the best counter-service joints in Epcot. It’s home to yummy breakfasts (including their Croissant Berry Bread Pudding), healthy grab and go eats, and dinners that rival many table service meals.

It’s also THE place for some fabulous snacks in Epcot, including Strawberry Shortcake, the Red Velvet Whoopie Pie, and one of my favorite carrot cake cupcakes on property.

But, now, I’ve found something that puts all of that to shame. I’d heard rumors about this awesomeness, and — FYI — they’re TRUE.

Warm Peanut Butter Brownie

Check out the Warm Peanut Butter Brownie.

Warm Peanut Butter Brownie in the Container

Warm Peanut Butter Brownie in the Container

Honestly, it doesn’t look like much at first glance. But, you can see that the Brownie Batter is swirled with Peanut Butter. So that’s awesome. A thin Caramel Glaze adds another element to the top.

Warm Peanut Butter Brownie -- Up Close

Warm Peanut Butter Brownie — Up Close

But then, you cut into it and you see that there’s far more here than meets the eye initially. Inside, you meet with a thick ribbon of [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…]

News! 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival FULL Food Menus!

We have big news from Epcot today!

The 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Menus are Finally Here!

With just a week to go before the opening of the 2015 Flower and Garden Festival, we have the full list of menus for the super popular Outdoor Kitchens! Mark your calendars — the Festival lasts from March 4 through May 17.

Disney Food Blog Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

These Outdoor Kitchens, which are similar to Marketplace Booths that dominate the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, feature delicious small plates that allow you to taste fresh flavors from the garden.

We Loved This Violet Lemonade at the 2013 Flower and Garden Festival!

We Loved This Violet Lemonade at the 2014 Flower and Garden Festival!

There are lots and lots of new things to try. A brand new Outdoor Kitchen will debut in 2015. Botanas Botánico will be located between the France and Morocco Pavilions and will feature food and drink with a Venezuelan influence.

Sadly, we’ve also confirmed that one of our favorites, [Read more…]

News! Flip Cards Offer a Fun New Way To Communicate with the Staff at Whispering Canyon

Whispering Canyon Cafe is a favorite destination for Disney World guests who are looking for an interactive dining experience.

The restaurant, located in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, has long been known for its vivacious waitstaff.

Veterans of this fun spot know what happens when you ask for ketchup. (I hope you wanted a lot???) And be forewarned that your straws will probably be thrown at you.

And it’s not just the small fries who get in on the games. Kids of all ages can join in. In fact, you’re pretty much expected to!

Fair Warning -- Your Straws Will Most Likely Be Thrown At You

Straw “Delivery”

But it seems like Whispering Canyon understands that some of us like to participate in Stick Horse Races…and others would rather just watch.

Hobby Horse Race at Whispering Canyon Cafe

Hobby Horse Race at Whispering Canyon Cafe

And so, they’ve come up with an ingenious, lo-tech way to signal your server which tribe you belong to!

On a recent visit to the ‘World (this week, in fact!), one of our intrepid team members spotted these cute cards at Whispering Canyon. This was the first time we had seen them. They were instructed by their server to use the cards to communicate with the staff.

Want the full battery of antics? Then flip the card to [Read more…]

News! Menu Item Photos from the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival — Plus Cooking Demos!

Menu news just keeps coming! Slowly but surely, menu details are trickling out about this the food and drink options for the 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.

Disney Food Blog Epcot Flower and Garden Festival (2)

Just a couple of days ago, we shared with you some of the new food items that are scheduled to appear in the Outdoor Kitchens around World Showcase. Today we’re bringing you an update on a few of the drinks you can look forward to sampling!

And check out a beautiful and delicious dessert option in France — plus some fun news about FREE cooking demos at this year’s Festival!

New Flavors at France’s Fleur de Lys Outdoor Kitchen

We were thrilled to bring you a first look at a fun new option debuting in the Fleur de Lys Outdoor Kitchen. And today, we have another gorgeous pic to share!

I had the chance last week to sample a couple of the new offerings that will be at the Fleur de Lys Booth this year! The Ice Pop features a combination of French Peach Iced Tea, Grand Marnier Peach Raspberry Liqueur, and Vodka. It’s going to be perfect for those warm Florida Spring days!

You can absolutely taste the Grand Marnier and Vodka in this one! It’s amazing — even if you’re not an iced tea fan! And the texture isn’t exactly “frozen” due to the alcohol, so it’s very easy to eat.

A Grown-Up Ice Pop Debuts at the Fleur de Lys Outdoor Kitchen in the France Pavilion

A Grown-Up Ice Pop Debuts at the Fleur de Lys Outdoor Kitchen in the France Pavilion

And while we told you about the brand new Macaron Guimauve à la Fraise (Strawberry Marshmallow Macaron) that will be offered at Fleur de Lys, today I’m sharing a first look!

Macaron Guimauve à la Fraise (Strawberry Marshmallow Macaron)

Macaron Guimauve à la Fraise (Strawberry Marshmallow Macaron)

It’s a great celebration of the fresh Florida Strawberry Season that’s underway right now. The crunchy-and-soft cookie and the marshmallow are super-sweet, but the strawberry inside is still a bit tart. It’s an amazing contradiction in flavors.

New Beverages Coming to the 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

The name of the game is Fresh Flavor in the Outdoor Kitchens for 2015. Look for fruits and veggies to be featured everywhere — even in the libations!

Key Limen Wine from Florida Orange Groves has been a Festival feature in the past (we’ve seen it at the Food and Wine Festival, too). But this year, there might be something a little different on the horizon, as Key Lime Sparkling Wine is set to debut at the Florida Fresh Kitchen. We are also looking forward to another fun fruit-based option — Ace Pineapple Hard Cider.

Ace Pineapple Cider -- the First Pineapple Cider in the World and Perfect for the Flower and Garden Festival!

Ace Pineapple Hard Cider — the First Pineapple Cider in the World and Perfect for the Flower and Garden Festival!

In addition, there will be a Sparkling Pineapple Wine; look for both at the Pineapple Promenade Kiosk.

New cocktails are also set to debut. We’re getting our first look at the La Tizana that we told you about previously. A fruit punch that’s inspired by the flavors of Venezuela, the bright punch includes Orange Juice, Lime Juice, Banana Puree, and Grenadine. It’s garnished with chopped fresh fruit. Find it at the Botanas Botánico Outdoor Kitchen, a new booth to the Festival this year.

Edgy Urban Eats will feature the Urban Mary, which takes cues from the classic Bloody Mary recipe. Spicy Tomato Juice, Lime Juice, and Worcestershire are mixed together and garnished with a Pickled Green Bean and Micro Greens.

New Beverages Set to Debut at the 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Include Pineapple Cider, X, and an Urban Mary

New Beverages Set to Debut at the 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Include Pineapple Cider, La Tizana, and an Urban Mary

And something that we love this year — La Tizana and the Urban Mary are available with or without alcohol, so you can enjoy the beverages regardless of your preference. Opt for a splash of RHUM Orange Liqueur to La Tizana, or add shot of Vodka to the Urban Mary.

Look for lots of interesting Craft Beer options as well, like the Shipyard’s Maple Bacon Stout at Barbecues and Brews.

Fresh Flower and Garden Beverage Options in the Mexico Pavilion

The Mexico Pavilion will also provide market-inspired fresh flavors in some of their artisan Margaritas. We’re looking forward to sampling the Blueberry Pomegranate Margarita at Jardin de Fiestas Outdoor Kitchen in the Mexico Pavilion. Other fun options that will be available include a Tequila Liqueur Flight and [Read more…]