Snack Series: Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Chip Meringue from Epcot’s Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie

We are back to take another look into the tempting pastry cases at Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie in Epcot’s France Pavilion!

You know that we love Les Halles. I never pass up a chance to stop in here for a breakfast pastry. The Frangipane Triangle is my favorite!

At lunch, I often enjoy one of their deliciously authentic sandwiches, like the Jambon Beurre. It never fails to transport me straight back to France!

But you will never guess what I decided to try on this visit…

Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Chip Meringue

On my last trip to Walt Disney World I, of course, had to stop by Les Halles. And I finally took the opportunity to try the — I can’t believe I’m going to say this — Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Chip Meringues.

Wait. No. You have no idea how HUGE this thing is from the picture of it in the case. So, being the very helpful AJ I am, I knew I had to get one for you guys! If for no other reason, so you could see it on a plate.

Chocolate Chip Meringue -- In the Case

Chocolate Chip Meringue — In the Case

Okay, here we are, out in the light at one of those great little cafe tables, tucked back into the France Pavilion. And now, you can appreciate the enormity of this meringue for yourself.

Chocolate Chip Meringue -- Up Close

Chocolate Chip Meringue — Up Close

Still not getting it? That’s a fork on the plate beside it, for scale.

Maybe I was a little bowled over here. But I have never seen a meringue this big in my life!

Chocolate Chip Meringue -- The Dipped Side

Chocolate Chip Meringue — The Dipped Side

Now, giant size aside, you know how I feel about meringues. Basically, they’re [Read more…]

News! Disney Park Mugs Arrive at Starbucks Locations in Disney World and Disneyland

They’re heeeeere….

Disney Parks "You Are Here" Collection

Disney Parks “You Are Here” Collection

As of TODAY, Main Street Bakery and Fountain View (the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT Starbucks locations) are carrying Starbucks mugs dedicated to the park in which they serve your mochas, Frappuccinos, and soy, half-caf, vanilla lattes (no whip!). We stopped by Fountain View today to see the Epcot mug. Since you can only see one side of the design in the box…

Epcot "You Are Here" mug

Epcot “You Are Here” mug

… we grabbed one to show you each side of the design (if a circular mug indeed has a “side,” that is).

Epcot "You Are Here" Mug

Epcot “You Are Here” Mug

Epcot "You Are Here" Mug

Epcot “You Are Here” Mug

Epcot "You Are Here" Mug

Epcot “You Are Here” Mug

Epcot "You Are Here" Mug

Epcot “You Are Here” Mug

Bottom of Epcot mug

Bottom of Epcot mug

Also at Fountain View were the travel cold cups, designed [Read more…]

News! Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Souvenir Popcorn Bucket at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

So. If YOU had a Mine Train cart of your very own, would you fill it with jewels…

Gems in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Queue

Gems in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Queue

or with Disney Popcorn?

Disney Popcorn!

Disney Popcorn!

What if you didn’t have to choose? Because you can have BOTH, thanks to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Popcorn Bucket, available at Popcorn Carts throughout Magic Kingdom!!!

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train popcorn bucket

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train popcorn bucket

This one is a beauty, and just like the cars on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Roller Coaster, the body of the cart swings from side to side.

Swinging Mine Train Bucket

Swinging Mine Train Bucket

AND if you have more than one, you can [Read more…]

News! Cannonballs are Back at Earl of Sandwich WDW and Disneyland!

If you’ve been dreaming about Cannonballs — the edible ones, not the bombs or the splashy pool entrances — then you’re gonna LOVE what we have to tell you today!

Earl of Sandwich has just announced that the beloved Cannonballs — that’s their whimsical take on a meatball sub — is returning to the menu at participating locations!

And we’ve confirmed that both Downtown Disney Orlando AND Anaheim locations are participating! Woo!

But, even better — both folks that we talked to let us know that they’re returning permanently to the menu!!

Cannonballs are Back at Earl of Sandwich!

Cannonballs are Back at Earl of Sandwich!

Now, we know that these things are always changing with the tide of corporate whims and sales performance, so take that with a grain of salt. But if [Read more…]

Review: River Belle Terrace Breakfast at Disneyland Park

On a recent trip to Disneyland, we had many things to cross off of our list. But when it came time for breakfast in the Park one morning, only one stop would do — River Belle Terrace!

River Belle Terrace Entrance

River Belle Terrace in Disneyland’s Frontierland

You’ll find this counter service spot in Frontierland along the Rivers of America. And that last bit of information is important. After all, you may come to River Belle Terrace because you’re hungry, but it has more to recommend it than the menu. Here we go!

Atmosphere

Located in New Orleans Square, the aesthetic of River Belle Terrace is Antebellum all the way. The entrance is fashioned to look like a grand Southern mansion on a small scale.

River Belle Terrace in Disneyland

Entrance

Step inside, and you see gracious touches that echo that feeling. Arched windows allow plenty of light into the seating area, so even if you choose to dine inside, you’ll still have the sense of being in an outdoor garden setting.

Indoor Seating and Condiment Area

Indoor Seating and Condiment Area

Ornate ceiling medallions and flowering vines on the chandeliers fancy up the spot a bit.

And keep this in mind: it may not look all that interesting or distinguished, but River Belle Terrace deserves a pause in your Disney Day. This restaurant has been serving since Disneyland opened in 1955! As the story goes, you could find Mr. Disney enjoying breakfast here often on serene Sunday mornings.

Light Fixture and Ceiling Detail

Light Fixture and Ceiling Detail

While the indoor seating is pleasant, it’s the terrace that is truly beloved by so many. Don’t you love the old-fashioned, tasseled umbrellas? They could have updated them and used something modern, but they haven’t. And I’m so glad.

Outdoor Seating

Outdoor Seating

And this — this view. It’s why you come to River Belle Terrace. Eat your breakfast and watch for the Mark Twain Riverboat to paddle by. There’s nothing like this view of the Rivers of America, and if you can enjoy a classic Disneyland breakfast at the same time, it’s a win/win!

View from River Belle Terrace

View from River Belle Terrace

Speaking of classic Disneyland breakfasts, it seems like the right time to move on to the food. :-) Let’s check it out.

Eats

Although River Belle Terrace offers all-day dining, it’s breakfast that we usually enjoy here. In addition to some standard offerings, you’ll find comfort food favorites like Biscuits and Gravy. But there are some really unique options, too. We’ll get to a couple of my favorites in just a moment.

Breakfast Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Breakfast Menu — Click to Enlarge

Menus, for breakfast as well as lunch and dinner, offer only a few selections. But the food is hearty and interesting. (Note to self: come back for that River Belle’s Roast Beef and the Messy Mississippi BBQ Sandwich at lunch time.)

Lunch and Dinner Menus -- Click to Enlarge

Lunch and Dinner Menus — Click to Enlarge

When it’s time to order, your first stop will be at the [Read more…]

Review: Steakhouse 55 at Disneyland Hotel

Ah, Steakhouse 55, a bastion of yesteryear near the Park That Started It All. Going to this place is like a living time capsule. Some historical exhibits celebrate the past by letting you look at it. But at Steakhouse 55, it’s like you’re actually stepping back through the years. And that’s a good thing.

Steakhouse 55

But if we’ve learned anything about Disney, it’s that change is always potentially on the horizon. Recently, they decided that the menu needed an overhaul. Maybe to match to some degree the rest of Disneyland’s emphasis on healthier fare?

We actually visited Steakhouse 55 prior to the recent menu refresh. But there has been so much to tell you guys over the last month, I’m just getting around to sharing my experience! So be aware that if you plan to visit, the menu will look a little different than what you see here.

Atmosphere

While Steakhouse 55 underwent a bit of a refresh in the decorating department last year, we didn’t find much different when we visited recently. You’re still greeted by this iconic, enlarged photo of Walt Disney as you enter the space. Rich wood trim and painted paneling hint at the more formal environment. Once you’ve entered, it’s very hard to remember that Goofy’s Kitchen is right next door.

Photo of Walt in Entryway

Photo of Walt in Entryway

You’ll come to the Steakhouse 55 Lounge first. Incidentally, this is a great spot to keep on your radar. Reservations are not required and they feature a bar menu with some delicious and satisfying options.

Recently they’ve also begun offering the full Steakhouse 55 Restaurant Menu in the Lounge as well. Stash this away in your bag of tricks in case you find yourself starving and looking for an upscale dining experience if the steakhouse itself is booked up.

Lounge

Steakhouse 55 Lounge

You’ll find shades of plum and silver, with plush finishes like satin and velvet. The bar area features a flat screen television, handy for checking out the latest scores.

Full Bar with Seating AND a TV

Full Bar with Seating and Television

Find a spot at the bar, or enjoy comfortable seating in softly upholstered chairs and plush couches and chaises.

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Seating

Steakhouse 55 Lounge Seating

Small tables are perfect for Bar Bites and Cocktails, but might pose a challenge if you’re enjoying a full meal.

More Seating

Additional Lounge Seating

Exit the lounge and you’ll find the main dining room. Low lighting and white tablecloths hint at the more formal setting here.

Inside the Cool and Serene Steakhouse 55

Inside the Cool and Serene Steakhouse 55

But you’ll find the same understated decor, punctuated by those large photographs of famous faces from years gone by.

Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel

Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel

The feeling here is retro chic, and it’s not hard to imagine what this spot may have been like when the name over the door was still Granville’s, and the people in the pictures were sitting at the next table.

Eats

I’ve shared with you that Steakhouse 55 is my absolute most favorite spot for breakfast at Disneyland, and Heather has written about her delicious experience dining in the Lounge. But it had been a while since I had taken in dinner here.

Unfortunately, my timing was just a little off. Immediately after we enjoyed this experience, the menu underwent a change.

Here is the menu that Steakhouse 55 featured at the time of our dinner.

Menu: Starters, Soups, and Salads -- Click to Enlarge

Menu: Starters, Soups, and Salads — Click to Enlarge

Menu -- Main Dishes and Side Dishes -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Main Dishes and Side Dishes — Click to Enlarge

Chef Marcel St. Pierre, a Disney veteran who was most recently over the kitchens of Club 33, has taken over at Steakhouse 55. Not surprisingly, he is eager to put his stamp on things here, and to experiment with some popular trends and classic French preparations.

Since the changes, I’ll try to note where the dishes that we ordered have been updated.

We began our meal with fresh, warm Sourdough Bread, served with softened, Unsalted Butter.

Bread and Butter

Bread and Butter

My husband was dining with me. And you long-term DFB Readers know — he never passes up the chance to enjoy a Caesar Salad, and this visit was no exception!

The classic version of the salad was served with Olive Tapenade atop a Parmesan Crisp. This salad has been replaced with Hearts of Romaine — served with Caesar Dressing. Yep. Basically the same. Just fancier.

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad with Olive Tapenade and Parmesan Crisp

Another classic dish that we couldn’t pass up ordering was the legendary Steakhouse 55 Seven Onion Soup. It’s delicious, but even better — it’s food theater. The soup comes together from two different dishes.

You are presented a soup bowl with [Read more…]

Where to Find Food from Animal Kingdom’s Flame Tree Barbecue During Refurbishment

UPDATE: Please note that the Flame Tree Barbecue reopening — originally scheduled for late April — is now anticipated for late May. The text below has been updated accordingly. Alternate food locations are still in operation. 

Flame Tree Barbecue is a  definite fan favorite among Counter Service options at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The name gives you a pretty good idea of the main attraction here. From ribs to pulled pork, barbecue is the headliner. Typically, you can also find Fruit Plates and some downright fantastic onion rings, among other items. And Flame Tree Barbecue has also become home to Jumbo Turkey Legs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The yummy eats, decent variety, and gorgeous outdoor seating areas make Flame Tree Barbecue a popular dining location. But for the upcoming months (re-opening is anticipated for sometime in May), this well-loved restaurant is undergoing a refurbishment.

Flame Tree Barbecue closed for refurbishment

Flame Tree Barbecue closed for refurbishment

Planning a visit to Animal Kingdom during this time frame? You may be glad to know that you can still find several Flame Tree eats around the park. And we’re here to tell you where to find them… Here we go!

Discovery Island’s Beastly Kiosk and the Gardens Kiosk — widely referred to as the “Allergy Kiosk” — are both carrying the same Flame Tree items: a 1/2 Slab of St. Louis Ribs, the Rib and Chicken Combo, and the 1/2 Chicken, as well as the Baked Drumstick Kids’ Meal. (More on where you can now find the allergy-friendly kiosk later in the post!)

Gardens Kiosk temporarily serving Flame Tree items

Gardens Kiosk temporarily serving Flame Tree items

Beastly Kiosk outside of Asia gates from Discovery Island

Beastly Kiosk outside of Asia gates from Discovery Island

Location shot of Beastly Kiosk (left)

Area shot around Beastly Kiosk (left)

Temporary Menu for Beastly and Gardens Kiosks

Temporary Menu for Beastly and Gardens Kiosks

Barbecued Chicken and Ribs at Flame Tree Barbecue

Barbecued Chicken and Ribs at Flame Tree Barbecue

The Beastly and Gardens Kiosks are a natural fit for the redistribution of these items, thanks to their close proximity to Flame Tree. In fact, for now you can still carry your items to the Flame Tree Barbecue seating area from these locations.

Flame Tree Barbecue seating

Flame Tree Barbecue seating

Dinoland U.S.A.’s Trilo-Bites is where you can now find the Jumbo Turkey Leg and a Barbecue Chicken Salad. This is a homecoming of sorts for [Read more…]

News! Downtown Disney West Side Starbucks Now Offering Starbucks Evening Menu with Beer and Wine

Attention, Starbucks fans: now you never have to leave your favorite hangout! At least not if you’re visiting the Downtown Disney West Side location.

Starbucks Location in Downtown Disney's West Side

Starbucks Location in Downtown Disney’s West Side

Recently, the coffee giant announced that they’d be piloting a new Starbucks Evening menu in select locations throughout the U.S. These locations would offer beer and wine as well as food to go along with the adult beverage selections. So far, the menu has been rolled out in select stores in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Atlanta.

But today, we’re getting word that you can also enjoy the evening menu when you visit Walt Disney World, as the Starbucks located at Downtown Disney West Side has now joined the ranks.

Outdoor seating

A Glass of Wine By the Fire? Sounds Awesome!

Guests can enjoy wines by the glass or bottle, and beer and wine selections vary by location. In addition to the beverages, there are also tapas-style foods available. These include [Read more…]

The Year in Review: Top 10 Disney Food News Items of 2014!

We are standing on the cusp of a brand New Year, and we can’t wait to see what 2015 holds in store for us — and Disney!

Top10DisneyFoodNewsStories

But we can’t wave goodbye to the old year without looking back on some of the biggest food news that happened throughout Disney Parks.

Most of this year’s big news happened at Walt Disney World, but we have a few memorable moments to share with you from Disneyland as well as other Disney Parks around the globe.

Today, we bring you a look back at 2014’s Biggest Disney Food News Stories! We have a LOT to cover — let’s get started!

First up, a little something I like to call…

The Beginning of Finally Doing Something with Pleasure Island

It’s the story we feel like we’ve been watching for years — what’s happening at Downtown Disney Orlando’s now defunct Pleasure Island??

Well, 2014 finally saw some solid progress, and the Disney Springs story seems to be coming to life.

An Artist's Rendering of Disney Springs

An Artist’s Rendering of Disney Springs

Lots of changes have made a trip to Downtown Disney a challenge in the last couple of years. But as the year draws to a close, the parking garages are open, and we are seeing some of the plans take shape!

2014 kicked off with a surprise restaurant opening of sorts — the House of Blues added a new counter service offering, The Smokehouse. We say surprise because we told you about the restaurant for the first time just days before the walls came down and the doors opened for business!

The Smokehouse at The House of Blues

The Smokehouse at The House of Blues

The Smokehouse is strictly a walk-up window venue. But the covered outdoor seating is pleasant, and you can often take in live music as you enjoy barbecue favorites, like their Beef Brisket Sandwich, St. Louis Ribs, or Smoked Turkey Legs.

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw from The Smokehouse

But it wasn’t all good news for Downtown Disney this year. Guests at T-Rex Cafe last Spring were in for some decidedly unpleasant dinner excitement, as one of the restaurant’s humongous fish tanks sprang a leak during dinner service!

However, no one was injured and all of the fish were reportedly rescued. We’re glad that all turned out happily in the situation, but we’ll never look at those huge fish tanks quite the same way again!

Also in the Spring, we said hello to a spot that’s quickly become one of our most favorite spots to shop in all of Walt Disney World — the Marketplace Co-op!

Disney Centerpiece

Disney Centerpiece

We have found some totally awesome stuff in the store’s Disney Centerpiece Section, including dishes, glasses, and other tableware that celebrate all of our Disney cult favorites. Whether you’re a Dole Whip fan or love memorabilia celebrating Tomorrowland, chances are you’ll find something that you’ve just gotta have!

Orange Bird Section

Orange Bird Section

Starbucks also continued to [Read more…]

Review: New Year’s Eve Dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table

Dinner inside the Magic Kingdom’s quintessential castle at Walt Disney World is a remarkable experience any night of the year!

But imagine hobnobbing with Cinderella and feasting inside the royal dining room at Cinderella’s Royal Table on New Year’s Eve. Last year, my family crossed this adventure off of our bucket list — right before the clock struck midnight!

New Year’s Eve Tips

First, make your Advance Dining Reservation as soon as possible. For the most popular restaurants (especially during holidays!!), you’ll need to book 180 days prior!

view of fireworks from Cinderella's Royal Table

You’ll find recommendations to arrive the Magic Kingdom early and stay all day and night. Without a break. In the massive crowds. This commando touring is not my family’s style. So I researched when the Magic Kingdom had closed and re-opened to guests for the past several years.

I found that the Magic Kingdom historically reached crowd capacity in the early morning and afternoon with re-openings by late afternoon/early evening. Even with our pre-paid dinner, we took our chances and it worked perfectly! Tip: You do not have to stay in the Magic Kingdom ALL day and night unless you must have a view of the castle forecourt for fireworks time. By 8PM on December 31, 2013, the Magic Kingdom had re-opened to all guests, including families staying off-site!

We spent the morning at the Animal Kingdom (late breakfast at Tusker House!!) and rested at our hotel the rest of the day. Arriving the Magic Kingdom about 6PM, we were admitted with no problems. Once inside, we experienced the thickest crowds that we’ve ever encountered anywhere. We formed a family chain by holding the back of each others’ shirts and somehow made our way to the back of the park.

Passing people sleeping on blankets as they saved their coveted spots in front of the castle for the evening’s fireworks display — we made our way to New Fantasyland. And the crowds were… gone! We practically had Big Top Treats and the area behind it all to ourselves. We got a snack and relaxed at an outdoor table. Tip: there were barely lines for the character meet and greets in this section of the park!

New Year's Eve Snack in New Fantasyland

New Year’s Eve Snack in New Fantasyland

Our advance dining reservation was for 9:30PM. It was especially crowded waiting to be let in to the castle; and believe me, we weren’t allowed to approach the podium even a minute before our reservation time. There was only a small area in which we could wait as the back of the castle was already roped off for the fireworks. Once inside though, we experienced pure magic!

Holiday Decor

Holiday Decor

After photographs with Cinderella, we waited in the lobby to be beckoned to the dining room.

Grand Hall

Grand Hall

Among the last diners of the night, we witnessed Cinderella playing with children. She actually played hide and seek with them all throughout the lobby. It was an intimate moment with a fairytale princess that we reveled in watching, and I’m sure the children and their parents cherished the experience.

Hide 'n Seek with Cinderella!

Hide ‘n Seek with Cinderella!

After our meal, we had to wait by the outdoor podium for the castle show to end. Once done, we were able to exit into Fantasyland. We found a place to sit on the pavement in front of Mickey’s PhilharMagic and waited for the fireworks. And they were amazing!

New Year's Eve Fireworks

New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Ringing in the New Year at the Magic Kingdom was an amazing experience. We continued to walk around the park allowing the crowds to disperse. We found very few crowds in Frontierland where a DJ was still spinning tunes!

DJ Entertains on New Year's Eve

DJ Entertains on New Year’s Eve

So, let’s check out our meal…

Atmosphere

Cinderella was holding court next to a Christmas tree decorated in rich silver, gold, and blue!

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Once you ascend the winding red-carpeted stairway (or take the more modern elevator), you’ll step in to a medieval dining room with a vaulted ceiling.

Vaulted Ceiling at Cinderella's Royal Table

Vaulted Ceiling at Cinderella’s Royal Table

The table setting was enhanced with purple napkins and a gold table runner. The silver cutlery resembles crossed swords!

Table Setting

Table Setting

Gentlemen (young and young-at-heart) receive swords as souvenirs.

Souvenir Swords

Souvenir Swords

The menu’s cover echoes the jaw-dropping stained glass features found throughout the castle.

Regal Menu Cover

Regal Menu Cover

Eats

The bread basket and accompanying butter were delivered promptly.

Bread Basket

Bread Basket

With a choice of appetizers, hubby and son went with the Royal Tasting of Cheeses and accompaniments. Both of them enjoyed sampling the different options and gave it a thumbs up as a starter!

Trio of Cheeses

Trio of Cheese

For my picky palate, I requested a garden salad with ranch dressing (from the kids menu!).

Garden Salad

Garden Salad

For entrees, note that the accompaniments change up frequently.

The guys had no difficulty choosing the Beef Tenderloin. Again, they both found the steak to be a delicious option but not nearly as good as previous steak entrees at [Read more…]