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…]

Dining in Disneyland Review: CHURRO ICE CREAM SANDWICH with Bonus Oreo Churro!

A few weeks ago, as I walked through Downtown Disney, a little something caught my eye: This sign.

Plastic Churro Ice Cream Sandwich Display

Plastic Churro Ice Cream Sandwich Display

Even though these horrible plastic renditions look like, well, something your dog might leave you as a present, I knew that I had to get a churro ice cream sandwich ASAP.  I immediately posted this photo on Instagram and people went bananas. Literally one of the most liked and commented on photos ever.  So, I quickly put “Eat a Churro Ice Cream Sandwich” on the top of my to do list and came back a week later to check out the real deal.

Located in the heart of Downtown Disney, Anaheim, the California Churro Company cart now has one of what I’m going to predict as the most popular snacks at the Disneyland Resort.

California Churro Cart Visual Menu

California Churro Cart Visual Menu

Although I LOVE the churros from inside the parks, the churros offered here are unique because of the flavors that are available.  All flavors are added to their churros via the sugar sprinkle mix they are rolled in upon ordering (in other words, no filling on the inside).  I’ve tried a few of them and trust me, they are heavenly!  Pina Colada tastes a bit like a Dole WhipPumpkin Spice is amazing, and so is the Salted Caramel.  Flavored churros are $4.00.

But let’s get to the REAL reason why were here.  The CHURRO ICE CREAM SANDWICH.

The Churro Ice Cream Sandwich

The Churro Ice Cream Sandwich

The Churro Ice Cream Sandwich is made fresh to order. It takes about 3-4 minutes and it’s [Read more…]

2014 Disney Gift Guide: Wearing Your Favorite Disney Snacks

Is there someone on your holiday gift list who loves Dole Whip more than life? (Wait… is there anyone on your list who doesn’t?). Well, what could be better than giving them a way to enjoy their favorite Disney snack all year long? It may not be exactly the same as a personal delivery of the real deal, but these t-shirts, mugs, totes, and phone cases might just be be the next best thing!

This Peace, Love, and Dole Whip t-shirt pretty much sums up all the best things in life, doesn’t it?

Peace, Love, & Dole Whip tee

Peace, Love, & Dole Whip tee

Those who don this Please Stand Clear of My Dole Whip Tee can pay homage to the monorail and their beloved Dole Whip at the same time.

Please Stand Clear of My Dole Whip tee

Please Stand Clear of My Dole Whip tee

Simple and classic, here’s a Dole Whip Mug.

Dole Whip Mug

Dole Whip Mug

Okay, here’s one you don’t see every day… I am loving this Lapu-Lapu tote bag for fans of this Tambu Lounge beverage!

Lapu-Lapu tote

Lapu-Lapu tote

Do you heart School Bread? Well, so do [Read more…]

DFB Exclusive! 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Sweet Corn Cheesecake from the Mexico Marketplace

AAAAAH!! I am so excited to share this DFB exclusive!

We may have closed the books on the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, but we’re still reliving the memories of one of the best Festivals we remember from recent years! And, NO JOKE, I get emails, tweets, facebook messages, what-have-you EVERY SINGLE DAY from readers asking me for the recipe for the Sweet Corn Cheesecake, the dessert item featured at this year’s Mexico Marketplace Booth.

Sweet Corn Cheesecake

Sweet Corn Cheesecake

The sweet, rich, creamy dessert was the perfect marriage of the familiar and the unexpected for our readers, and everyone’s all about figuring out how to make it at home.

Sweet Corn Cheesecake -- Cross Section

Sweet Corn Cheesecake — Cross Section

Well, the wait is over! Thanks to the super generous and ever accommodating Chef Gerardo Gonzalez (a.k.a. Chef Jerry), who oversees all of the restaurants in the Mexico Pavilion (and who I may have bugged a little incessantly about giving me this recipe…and the one for the amazing Crema de Elote at La Hacienda de San Angel…still waiting on that one, Chef Jerry…), for sharing it with us and allowing us to print it for you lot!

Sweet Corn Cheesecake

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, Mexico Marketplace Booth

Serves 8-12

Ingredients:

[Read more…]

Cinderella’s Dining Experience at Citricos with Magical Add-On Options

Cinderella’s digs will be closed to diners as of January 5, 2015. But there’s no reason to panic as she’s only sprucing up her dining room, Cinderella’s Royal Table. The refurbished royal room has an anticipated re-opening date of March 7, 2015 — subject to change, of course.

Guests seeking royal dining experiences will not feel left out as the Disney Princesses will take up residence at Citricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian from January 8 – March 3, 2015.

And all of the traditions that we’ve grown to love at Cindy’s will carry over to the temporary residence. Yes, Cinderella will greet guests upon arrival, Disney princesses will grant photographs and autographs while visiting guests tableside, and the Maqical Wishing Ceremony will still be performed.

This interactive performance will include Cinderella and the Disney Princesses, of course. Wishing Wands and Swords will be bestowed upon the children so that they can join in the fun.

Wands and swords for interactive fun

Wands and swords for interactive fun

Want more? Take your Cinderella’s Dining experience at Citricos to a whole new level with an extravagant add-on gift. Surprise your little loved one with a personalized Princess Proclamation. It’s over-the-top! Perfect for a special occasion!!

Dreams become reality when your princess arrives the table where a “My Disney Fairytale Proclamation” signed by a Fairy Tale Princess is already waiting. And of course, there is bling! A gemstone tiara and crystal light-up slipper will make her smile sparkle. Plus, she’ll be able to don a pink plush princess cape (it even turns into a blanket!!) for when the Palace turns cold. This add-on is currently priced at $285.95.

A fairytale come true!

A fairytale come true!

Further enhance Cinderella’s Dining Experience with [Read more…]

News! Booking Begins TODAY for 2015 Star Wars Weekends Dining Packages

Booking for Star Wars Weekends Dining Packages will return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in 2015 and booking begins December 3, 2014.

Star Wars Character Meal Backdrop

Dinner at the Hollywood & Vine restaurant and breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater will offer these galactic experiences May 4th through June 14, 2015. Note that the character meals are available all week — not just on weekends!

Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine

At Hollywood and Vine, Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine will feature Disney characters wearing their Star Wars best as they celebrate the greatest saga ever told! See our review from this year’s experience here!

You may get the chance to meet Ewok Chip & Dale, Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy, and/or Stormtrooper Donald. Star Wars décor, themed foods, and music create a galactic experience. Advance Dining Reservations will be offered from 4:15-8PM.

Ewok Chip and Dale welcome you!

Ewok Chip and Dale welcome you!

Cost: [Read more…]

Snack Series: The Mickey Oreo Cupcake at BoardWalk Bakery

It’s time to pop in and see what’s what at one of the best Disney spots for treats, BoardWalk Bakery!

The Bakery has always been one of our favorite spots for sweet treats, but it’s a can’t-miss every trip since it reopened after a major overhaul last year!

The Cheesecake Brownie and Peanut Butter, Banana, and Candied Bacon Pie are some of our favorites! And their Lemon Meringue Tart is probably my favorite pastry treat in all of Walt Disney World.

But Boardwalk Bakery is also one of our favorite stops to find those amazing Disney World Cupcakes.

The Mickey Oreo Cupcake

The Mickey Oreo Cupcake captivated me at first glance because it’s just so darn cute. Underneath all of the fun trimmings, it’s a very simple cupcake — Chocolate Cake and Vanilla Icing, with a little surprise inside — and trimmed with Red Candies. But the garnish, though simple, adds something pretty special. It also bears a striking resemblance to another BoardWalk Bakery Mickey Oreo Cupcake from the past — the Oreo Bon Bon Cupcake.

Mickey Oreo Cupcake

Mickey Oreo Cupcake

Sitting on top is an Oreo Cookie, half-dipped in Red-Colored White Chocolate to resemble Mickey himself! Add a couple of Chocolate Discs for ears and Yellow Candies for buttons, and voila!

Mickey Oreo Cupcake -- Up Close

Mickey Oreo Cupcake — Up Close

But tucked inside, there’s another item of interest — a thick, mousse-like [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Awesome Krispie Treats!

We are back with a sweet installment of Disney Food Pics of the Week — courtesy of YOU!

If you love to snap and share food pics, then you should definitely check out our Flickr Page — Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza — where DFB readers share all of their Disney Food Photos.

Today, we’re celebrating a treat that’s loved by both kids and kids at heart! Let’s check out a few super cool Krispie Treats that feature Disney Flair!

Turkey Leg Krispie Treat

Photographer: Jobber99

When is a Jumbo Turkey Leg not made of meat? When it’s made of cereal, marshmallows, and butter, of course! The Turkey Leg Krispie has to be one of the most awesome Krispies we’ve seen. Which one do you prefer — the savory or sweet version?

Is It Turkey or Is It a Krispie??

Is It Turkey or Is It a Krispie??

Mickey Krispie Treat Covered in Reese’s Pieces

Photographer: Bowler Hat Girl

Krispie Treats are pretty much awesome by themselves. But if we were going to try to make them better, I’m pretty sure that a dunk in Chocolate and a roll in Mini-Reese’s Pieces would probably spring to mind!

Mickey Krispie Covered in Reese's Pieces -- Yes Please!

Mickey Krispie Covered in Reese’s Pieces — Yes Please!

Ice Cream Cone-Shaped Krispie Treat

Photographer: Riniel Calaelen

In another stellar example of Krispie-as-another-food, one of our readers spied this [Read more…]

Snack Series: Caramel Brownie and Caramel Toffee at Epcot’s Karamell-Küche

We are taking another lap around World Showcase today and stopping into Karamell-Küche for a couple of treats!

Who can resist all of that buttery caramel? Super not me.

It’s true. We rarely make it all the way Around the World without stopping for a sweet treat here. Stepping inside is like finally realizing your best candy store dream ever. You don’t have candy store dreams, you say? Well you will after you’ve been here. There are so many outrageously good things to try, and we always finds something new!

Recently, I told you about two other treats we tried here — the Caramel Bacon Square and Caramel S’more.

Today, we’re back with two oldies but goodies to share!

Caramel Brownie

The first treat I want to show you is the Caramel Brownie. I was excited to finally try this one. I have no idea why I hadn’t indulged before. It’s drizzled heavily with that golden Werther’s Caramel, and that turned out to be the best part.

Caramel Brownie from Karamell-Küche in Epcot's Germany Pavilion

Caramel Brownie from Karamell-Küche in Epcot’s Germany Pavilion

The brownie itself was more cakey than fudgy, and it really didn’t have the moistness I was looking for. It was a little dry and crumbly in fact. This alone kind of ruined the treat for me, but that may have just been a bad batch.

Look a little more closely, and you can see that, in addition to the drizzle, there’s caramel baked right into the top of the brownie! It’s like a double shot of golden, buttery sugar.

Caramel Brownie -- Inside

Caramel Brownie — Inside

If you like chocolate and caramel in more of a cake-like form, grab a glass of milk. This one’s for you.

Caramel Toffee

But I also had to try something for the candy lovers out there! And this time out, I chose the Caramel Toffee. The marbleized detail on the top of the square really made it stand out from the [Read more…]