Pictorial Review: Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Today we are sharing a pictorial review of the new Victoria and Albert’s Ten Course Tasting Experience from guest photographer, Tom Welsh. Thanks, Tom!

Let’s take a closer look at a Chef’s Ten Course Tasting experience at Victoria and Albert’s. This award-winning restaurant at Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort exudes elegance and is helmed by James Beard Award-nominee (again in 2016!) Chef Scott Hunnel.

We took the monorail over to the Grand Floridian Resort for our dinner at Victoria and Albert’s. Viviana and Sharon greeted us at the door with hugs for all. Sharon introduced her associate for the evening, Anita. We also met Elizabeth, the harpist. We selected the Chef’s Ten Course Tasting Menu with the recommended wine pairings. First came a lovely fruit punch with a little vodka.

The Amuse-Bouche was a Cauliflower Panna Cotta with Siberian Caviar and Tattinger Brut “La Francaise.”

Cauliflower Panna Cotta with Siberian Caviar

Cauliflower Panna Cotta with Siberian Caviar

The nine courses that followed were: (2) Roulade of Smoked Salmon and Alaskan King Crab with Chateau Rahoul Blanc, Graves 2011.

Smoked Salmon and Alaskan Crab

Smoked Salmon and Alaskan Crab

(3) Alaskan Sablefish with Baby Bok Choy and Lieu Dit Chenin Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley 2013.

Alaskan Sablefish

Alaskan Sablefish

(4) Scottish Langoustine with Nage Crema and Hanzell “Sebella” Chardonnay, Sonoma 2013.

Scottish Langoustine

Scottish Langoustine

(5) Truffled Bell & Evans Chicken with Hedgehogs (mushrooms) and Copain “Les Voisins” Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley 2011.

Truffled Chicken

Truffled Chicken

(6) Berkshire “Porchetta”, Sherry Vinaigrette and Arboldea Carmenere, Colchagua Valley 2009.

Berkshire "Porchetta"

Berkshire “Porchetta”

(7) Australian Kobe-Style Beef with Comte Potato Gnocchi and Chateau Rauzan-Segla “Segla,” Margaux 2008.

Australian Kobe-Style Beef

Australian Kobe-Style Beef

(8) Selection of Cheese from the Trolley with Quinta Do Crasto Late Bottled Vintage Port 2010.

Selection of Cheese

Selection of Cheese

(9) Green Apple Mousse with Sour Cream Ice Cream.

Green Apple Mousse

Green Apple Mousse

(10) Peruvian Chocolate Crunch.

Peruvian Chocolate Crunch

Peruvian Chocolate Crunch

We each had a pot: coffee for Lyd and tea for me.

Vacuum Coffee Pot at Victoria and Albert's

Vacuum Coffee Pot at Victoria and Albert’s

Thanks for sharing your meal with us, Tom!

Is Victoria and Albert’s on your Disney Food bucket list? Let us know in the comments below.

Rumor: Is Star Wars Ice Cream Coming to Disney World’s BoardWalk?

Well, if you’re bummed that Seashore Sweets has closed, removing your option for ice cream on Disney’s BoardWalk in Walt Disney World, then you may want to pay attention to this… umm, scoop.

Seashore Sweets

Seashore Sweets

According to the folks at wdwmagic.com, it seems that Ample Hills Creamery products might be served in a new ice cream shop coming to the former location of the ESPN Club Arcade (the ESPN Club is still open, but the arcade section has been closed). [Read more…]

Recommended Disney Dining Plan Quick Service Credit Values

We are back with the final installment in our popular series sharing our picks for the Top Value Restaurants when it comes to using your Disney Dining Plan in Walt Disney World.

Disney Food Blog Recommended Disney Dining Plan Quick Service Credit Values

Previously, we shared our recommendations for the Recommended Disney Dining Plan Two-Credit Restaurants as well as our choices for Recommended Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Restaurant Values.

Today, we’re sharing our recommendations for Quick Service Restaurants when you’re using the Disney Dining Plan.

Remember — the name of the game here is finding the restaurants that hit the right balance: they have 1) a high average entree price, but they’re also 2) spots that we here at DFB would recommend.

Why is this important? Because we want to help you maximize those Disney Dining Plan Quick Service Credits. Note that we have plenty of our own favorites that don’t make this list because the average price didn’t put them at the top.

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

Wolfgang Puck Express

Wolfgang Puck Express has been around forever, it seems. But one thing doesn’t change — even after all of these years, it still represents amazing quality and value, whether you’re dining on the DDP or not.

Wolfgang Puck Express Roast Chicken -- One of My All-Time Favorites

Wolfgang Puck Express Roast Chicken — One of My All-Time Favorites

That’s because the food here is easily on par with many table service spots. And when you consider that the average price of an entree here is just over $13, it also makes a lot of sense to spend your DDP credits here. [Read more…]

News! 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival FULL Menus!

We have big news from Epcot today!

The 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Menus are Finally Here!

With less than two weeks to go before the opening of the 2016 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 2 through May 30.

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 and all kinds of refreshing beverages that allow you to taste fresh flavors from the garden.

Cinderella Topiary at the Flower and Garden Festival

Cinderella Topiary at the Flower and Garden Festival

We've Loved This Violet Lemonade!

We’ve Loved This Violet Lemonade!

There are lots and lots of new things to try. A brand new Outdoor Kitchen will debut in 2016. La Isla Fresca will feature food and drink with Caribbean flair.

And we’re excited to see plenty of our favorites return, like the Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños from the Smokehouse Outdoor Kitchen!

Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños from the Smokehouse Outdoor Kitchen

Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños from the Smokehouse Outdoor Kitchen

Although we said goodbye to Buttercup Cottage, the UK-inspired Outdoor Kitchen, in 2015, we have great news! The Cider House, which features a menu similar to Buttercup, will join the lineup this year! Find this new spot in the UK Pavilion. [Read more…]

DFB Reader Questions Answered: Best Disney World Breakfasts Without Characters or Buffets

We’re tackling another question from the DFB Reader mailbag! And today, it’s all about breakfast.

The Samoan at Kona Cafe

The Samoan at Kona Cafe

Our reader asks:

Where can we get a good breakfast if we are NOT into characters or buffets?

There are lots of spots to enjoy a terrific breakfast at Walt Disney World — even if you prefer not to have characters, and you’d rather order a la carte.

We’ll break down a few of our favorites below, and share why these spots are tops for starting your Disney Day.

Good Counter Service Options

If you are crunched — for time, money, or both — then consider some of Disney’s best Counter Service Breakfast options.

Deluxe resorts are some of my favorite spots for counter service eats. Roaring Fork at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge offers Mickey Waffles with a variety of toppings. We love the Bananas Foster option!

Wilderness Lodge Waffles

Wilderness Lodge Waffles

And at Captain Cook’s, located in the Polynesian Village Resort, you can indulge in an iconic Disney breakfast — Tonga Toast — without paying table service prices!

[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

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.

Boma

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!

Disney Dining Details: Skipper Canteen Secret Passageway Bookshelves

Do you harbor a secret dream to become a member of the S.E.A. (Society of Explorers and Adventurers)?

If so, then maybe you’d like to do a little exploring with me today as we step back inside the Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland, the still-new restaurant based on the Jungle Cruise attraction.

We’ve already taken a full tour of of the Canteen, including its three dining rooms: the Crew Mess Hall, the Falls Family Parlor, and a once-hidden meeting room for the S.E.A. But now it’s time to check out a few more of those Disney details! And with many thanks to my friend Daniel Wanderman who recently dined there, we’ve got some more to share…

In order to enter the S.E.A. Room coming from the Mess Hall, you must pass through a hallway.

Bookcases lining the hallway from the Mess Hall

Bookcases lining the hallway from the Mess Hall

As you pass, you’ll notice the hallway is lined with bookcases. [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland Review: The New Cove Bar Expansion in Disney California Adventure

Disney California Adventure has removed the Donald Duck meet and greet gazebo on Paradise Pier for a very good reason; Cove Bar expansion! The new seating is adjacent to the existing bar. (If you are a Donald fan, don’t fret… Donald has been moved over to Buena Vista Street and he now has Daisy there as his companion.)

Welcome Back to Cove Bar!

Welcome Back to Cove Bar!

I’m sure your first thought is, “Awesome, more seats, less wait!” But alas, this is far from the truth. I recently when to check out the expansion and some new menu items.  It was a Friday just before noon and we still waited 45 minutes for a party of 2.  Personally I think the Cove Bar is worth the wait, but I also think that if they filled the whole pier with Cove Bar seating, there would still be a long wait.  It’s THAT good.  You can see that others agree with me.  This is the line we waited in.

[Read more…]

Top Meals Under $20 in Disneyland

We can all use a few tips when it comes to planning vacations at Disney. And of course, we think the food is just about the most important part of the trip!

Budgeting for all of the special meals that you’d like to enjoy is a big concern. And it may seem impossible to cut corners and save a little here and there while still enjoying yourself. But with a little creative planning, you can find some wonderful meals at some of the coolest places, all for less than you might think.

Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle

Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle

Previously, we shared our Top Picks at Walt Disney World for Meals Under $20. Today, we’re back to celebrate some fantastic meals that you can enjoy at Disneyland for around $20 or less. This is by no means exhaustive — there are lots more where these came from. But for now, come with us and check out some of the great options we have to share! [Read more…]

News: Light-Up Lotus Popcorn Bucket Coming to Animal Kingdom and Updated Anniversary Buckets in Disneyland

Like many of you, we here at the DFB are pretty big fans of the souvenir popcorn buckets that pop up all around Disney World and Disneyland, often commemorating classic or even new attractions (like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train bucket) or promoting the latest Disney film (such as the Cinderella Coach bucket which made an appearance when the live-action Cinderella film was released).

Disney just provided a glimpse of a new souvenir popcorn bucket on the way “later this year” to Disney’s Animal Kingdom: the Light-Up Lotus Popcorn Bucket. This unique bucket will light up, turning it into a luminary.

Lotus Popcorn Bucket coming to Animal Kingdom

Lotus Popcorn Bucket coming to Animal Kingdom

Though no release date was given for the new bucket, it certainly seems as though it is made to complement the upcoming Rivers of Light evening spectacular, slated to debut this spring. After all, we know that lanterns will play a huge part in the show, and some of the concept art for the spectacular features lotus blossoms as a major centerpiece element. [Read more…]