What’s New Around Walt Disney World: March 3, 2015

We’re taking a quick trip around all four Disney World Parks and then making stops at several Resorts, where a lot of food news seems to be taking place as of late!

But we’re starting our “World”-wide tour at Downtown Disney, and taking a peek at how things are shaping up as the transition towards “Disney Springs” continues on. And we may even take a sneak peek at something coming to our friends in Disneyland on the west coast.

Disney Springs mural

Disney Springs mural

So, are you ready to see What’s New? Good! Because in the words of Peter Pan, “Here we GOOOOOOO…”

DOWNTOWN DISNEY

Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC

Okay, so we’ve mentioned it a couple of times recently, but that’s because we’re happy that BabyCakes has a new home in Downtown Disney! Located at The Landing of what will be Disney Springs, Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC has been up and running since 1 pm on Sunday, February 22nd.

Erin McKenna's Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna’s Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC

Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC

Erin McKenna

Erin McKenna

Samoa Donut

Samoa Donut

Featuring gluten-free and vegan baked goods, this is great news for guests on some dietary restrictions. Read our opening day review here!

Flour and Sugar

Speaking of baked goods, Flour and Sugar is a little kiosk that can be found on the newly opened Marketplace Causeway. It sells pre-packaged cookies inspired by various cities in the Sunshine State.

Flour and Sugar

Flour and Sugar

We tried the Siesta Key Key Lime S’more, and we’ll have a review here for you soon!

Key Lime S'more

Key Lime S’more

Disney Springs Construction

All in all, things really seem to be picking up speed in Downtown Disney with the Causeway completed, allowing an easy stroll from spots around T-Rex to the Rainforest Cafe side at the Marketplace.

The Marketplace Causeway

The Marketplace Causeway

Light post on The Marketplace Causeway

Light post on The Marketplace Causeway

Disney Springs sign

Disney Springs sign

We’ll be sure to take a little tour along the path when we’re back with our Flour and Sugar review! The next thing we have our eyes on? Look for [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Healthier Options in Walt Disney World

Many of us regard a trip to Walt Disney World as an opportunity to take a break from healthy eating, and counting calories, carbs, etc.

dfb2015_guide_3d

But sometimes, you don’t necessarily want to check nutritional discipline at the Purple Gates.

You may think that healthy eating at Walt Disney World is an oxymoron. But more and more, that’s simply not so.

Sure, you can indulge to your heart’s content. But whether you’re looking to sub out just one meal or snack a day for a health-savvy option, or you plan to stick to your guns in the nutrition department while you’re amidst the magic, we have some great tips for finding healthy and tasty options at Walt Disney World!

They come courtesy of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015! And if you find these tips to be helpful, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Head for the Grab and Go

Not too long ago, Disney World was a sea of hamburgers, fries, and soda pop. And some people think that’s what it STILL is.

But, honestly, things have changed.

Disney Grab and Go Healthy Options

Disney Grab and Go Healthy Options

Sure, you still have lots and lots of choices in the burger genre. But they’ve definitely expanded beyond the fast food mentality when it comes to quick eating options.

My best tip for eating healthy — and this goes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time — is to head for the Grab and Go section.

Sunshine Seasons Fruit and Cheese Plate

Sunshine Seasons Fruit and Cheese Plate

You’ll spy Grab and Go spots in lots of places. There are always robust choices in the Resorts. There, you’ll find everything from prepared salads, sandwiches made with lean meats, and even sushi. Check out Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort for a great selection! And when it comes to a Park option, Sunshine Seasons offers choices that can’t be beat.

Grab and Go Sushi

Grab and Go Sushi at Landscape of Flavors

So if you have the resolve to pass the pizza and burgers by, a healthy meal is totally in your grasp!

Be Mindful About Restaurant Choices

If you have healthy eating in mind, then you probably shouldn’t pencil in a counter service lunch at Casey’s Corner. ;-)

Don’t get me wrong — Corn Dog Nuggets and Plastic Cheese are totally boss. But let’s face it — planning ahead to eat at a restaurant that offers lots of fresh choices and grilled options is probably a better idea when you’re trying to stay on the healthy bandwagon.

Fortunately, better-for-you options abound at Walt Disney World. One of my favorite spots to grab a healthy counter service lunch is Tamu Tamu Refreshments at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You can’t go wrong with their Chicken or Vegetable Curry.

Tamu Tamu Vegetarian Curry

Tamu Tamu Vegetarian Curry

Another option that I can recommend is the Japan Pavilion at Epcot. Whether you choose Miso Soup from Kabuki Cafe, a counter service meal at Katsura Grill, or you opt for [Read more…]

First Look! Thai Pork Sandwich at Bradley Falls in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

We’ve talked a bit about where you can find some of your favorite Flame Tree Barbecue foods all over Animal Kingdom while that popular spot is down for refurbishment until April.

But perhaps you’d like to take this time to try something out of the norm on your next Animal Kingdom visit?

Bradley Falls is a little kiosk just across the way from Mr. Kamal’s (you can find both stands on the pathway going from Africa to Asia). Typically, the menu here focuses solely on vegetarian offerings, just like its neighbor across the way, and it’s a good spot to find more unique park treats such as Edamame Beans when Mr. Kamal’s has a line (and in the warmer summer months, it often features our favorite Fresh Fruit Bowl).

But our friend Andy Jackson at Eating (and Drinking) Around the World just spotted a new find at this open-on-peak-days location…

Bradley Falls

Bradley Falls

The Thai Pork Sandwich with Asian Cucumber Slaw might be available on your next stroll between the continents! Andy kindly sent us some pictures, so [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: The Best Spots for Coffee and Tea in Walt Disney World

Just a couple of years back, if you wanted to get a decent cup of coffee or tea somewhere inside the Big Purple Gates, you were out of luck.

dfb2015_guide_3d

With Nescafe on standby in most spots, the coffee outlook was dismal. And while Twinings teabags are available all over the place, there still wasn’t anything special about them.

But in the last few years, Disney has really stepped up their game in both the java and cuppa departments!

Today, we’re sharing one of our favorite tips from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World DiningWhere to Find Good Coffee and Tea in Walt Disney World. Pick up yours today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

Starbucks

By far, the biggest beverage news to hit Disney in the last few years has been its partnership with coffee giant Starbucks. Love them or hate them, you can’t dispute — they’re super popular.

Hollywood Studios Starbucks Trolley Car Cafe-21

The Most Recent Starbucks to Open at Disney — Trolley Car Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Seriously…there’s a reason for the queue ropes inside! Have you seen a Disney Starbucks on a busy morning? Madness!

The Line at a Disney Starbucks Can Get CRAZY Long

The Line at a Disney Starbucks Can Get CRAZY Long

The first two Starbucks to open in Walt Disney World replaced established eateries — Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom and Fountain View in Epcot. Now you can stroll right up to Cinderella Castle with your Vanilla Latte in hand, or enjoy your Frappuccino in the shade of Spaceship Earth.

Fountain View Starbucks in Epcot

Fountain View Starbucks in Epcot

Two additional stores are located in Downtown Disney — one walk-up window nestled between entrances to World of Disney, and a larger store in West Side, which boasts a Starbucks Reserve Counter.

Coffee on fire!

Enjoying a Cup of Coffee on the Patio of Starbucks West Side

Trolley Car Cafe, the Disney’s Hollywood Studios Starbucks outlet opened just a couple of weeks ago.

Trolley Car Cafe is now open!

Trolley Car Cafe is now open!

And later this year, the final Walt Disney World store will open in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Aren’t a fan of Starbucks? Joffrey’s is considered the “official” coffee of Disney World and still operates a number of kiosks throughout the Parks, where you can grab a cup of coffee or a selection of espresso drinks.

Great Spots for Tea

If you prefer tea to coffee, there are also some great spots for you to enjoy a cup. And we aren’t just talking about your grandmother’s cup of tea. :-)

One of my favorite spots for tea is the [Read more…]

News! “A Cooking Safari with Mickey” Cookbook Coming Soon to Disney Parks

Pam Brandon and the Chefs at Disney have put together yet another cookbook to share some of our favorite dishes — and we have a feeling we’ll be adding this one to our shelves soon!

A Cooking Safari with Mickey will feature recipes from the restaurants of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The emphasis will be on the cuisine of South Africa and India.

A Cooking Safari with Mickey Cookbook Cover

A Cooking Safari with Mickey Cookbook Cover

Could it be…is it possible…we’ll finally have the secret to the incredible [Read more…]

Review: New Menu Items at Animal Kingdom’s Local Food Cafes (Yak & Yeti Counter Service)

We’re taking a trip to Animal Kingdom’s Asia for lunch today, at none other than Local Food Cafes.

This counter service spot is known by a few monikers, and might be best known as “Yak & Yeti Counter Service.” It sits directly next door to one of my very favorites eateries, the Yak & Yeti Restaurant (I’ve learned to live with my near constant craving for their Fried Wontons dessert). And indeed the full name is Yak & Yeti/Anandapur Local Food Cafes.

Name aside, it’s a convenient stop for anyone who has just faced the Yeti on Expedition Everest, or is looking to dry off in the sun after a drenching on Kali River Rapids. The focus here is Asian food featured in an assortment of rice bowls, salads, and wraps. In fact, today we’ll be sampling one of each, so please join us!

Local Food Cafes sign

Local Food Cafes sign

Atmosphere

At first glance, the only thing you can really see are the ordering counters, and long lines here often accompany them.

Local Food Cafes

Local Food Cafes

Local Food Cafes blends in so well with its surroundings that I often think people see the lines before they notice the ordering stations and menus.

There can be a brief moment of confusion for many guests who wonder where to go after receiving their orders, and that’s where a few more signs come in handy, pointing you to the right.

Sign to seating

Sign to seating

Sign to seating

Sign to seating

That’s also where you’ll find your utensils and a fairly large assortment of condiments ranging from Soy Sauce, Duck Sauce, and Hot Sauce to ketchup and mustard.

Condiment cart

Condiment cart

Utensils

Utensils

A tip: there is hardly ever a line at the second cart towards the back seating, since most people have already stocked up at the first cart just past the ordering station.

It appears, at first, that seating is just one long row of tables right next to the Quality Beverages window (home of the Yak Attack!).

Immediate seating area

Immediate seating area

But the more you wind around, the more seating you’ll find. It goes on…

Seating

Seating

and on…

Seating

Seating

and on. All seating here is outside, though some of it is covered.

Yak and Yeti Counter Service Local Food Cafes 17

And, as always, there plenty of [Read more…]

Review: Simba Lion Cub Cupcake (and more!) at Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Who’s up for a cupcake feast at Animal Kingdom’s Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery?!

A longtime favorite in regards to offering some pretty fantastic bakery eats, Kusafiri is one of those places I just have to stop every time I visit Animal Kingdom. This little shop is home to several bakery favorites (namely, the Cotton Top Tamarin Cupcake and African Spice Cake), and even has a limited breakfast menu that still manages to impress with unique items such as the Warm Colossal Cinnamon Roll and Hot Breakfast Wrap, despite its size.

Alongside the classics, Kusafiri is often a place to find something new, and it didn’t disappoint on a recent visit. To my chagrin, though, I discovered that some of my favorites have undergone a bit of a makeover.

Kusafiri Bakery menu

Kusafiri Bakery menu

Let’s start with the good news…

Lion Cub Cupcake

The list of Gourmet Cupcakes has expanded with the Lion Cub Cupcake.

Lion Cub cupcake

Lion Cub cupcake

I showed this handsome little guy off on my Instagram a while back (‘cuz how could I not — I mean, how cute is little Simba?!), and have been excited to show him to you on the blog ever since. The fondant Simba topping the cupcake (similar to the toppers you’ll find on the Gourmet Cake Cups at Magic Kingdom’s Cheshire Cafe) is surrounded by a mane of frosting. ROAR!!

The flavor? Passionfruit. It comes through in the pudding-like filling tucked in the vanilla cake under the white vanilla frosting.

Inside the Lion Cub cupcake

Inside the Lion Cub cupcake

Lion Cub cupcake filling

Lion Cub cupcake filling

The citrus is mellowed by the creaminess of the vanilla, which is a combo I love. Plus, you can’t argue with the added cute factor, so there’s that.

If Simba just can’t wait to be king, he may have already accomplished that here at Kusafiri, especially in light of the changes to [Read more…]

What’s New Around Disney World: January 23, 2015

The year isn’t the only thing new around Disney World… we’re on the lookout for new eats, sweets, and refurbishment feats. Please keep your hands, arms, feet, and legs inside your ride vehicle at all times as we tour all four Disney World Parks to see What’s New!

Something's always just around the corner at Disney World!

Something’s always just around the corner at Disney World!

Animal Kingdom

We’re starting out with another WILD trip to Animal Kingdom, which includes a couple of menu updates. At Yak & Yeti Restaurant, Firecracker Shrimp and Ahi Tuna Nachos for Two join the appetizers (the Dim Sum Basket for two remains), and Ginger Salmon with Japanese Udon has been added to the noodle dishes. Chicken Tikki Masala is among the new specialty entrees, and Malaysian Seafood Curry arrives under Wok selections.

Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Yak and Yeti Restaurant

Be sure to check out the Specialty Drinks for some fun new beverages: Pink Himalayan, Kiwi Kimono, and a Rickshaw Rickie.

Right next door at Local Food Cafes (also known as Yak & Yeti Counter Service), Korean Stir-fry Barbecue Chicken has replaced the Sweet and Sour Chicken.

Local Foods Cafe menu

Local Foods Cafe menu

At Dino Diner in Dinoland, U.S.A., the Snow Cone has been switched out for Nachos, served with just cheese or as Nachos Supreme (at least for these cooler months).

Dino Diner

Dino Diner

Dino Diner

Dino Diner

Tamu Tamu Refreshments has undergone another menu refresh, currently offering the Slow-cooked Chicken Curry, Vegetarian Curry, and Roasted Chicken Salad.

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

This isn’t entirely unexpected, as the menu here seems to go through a standard rotation. So, if you’re disappointed that the Slow-cooked Pulled Beef Sandwich is no longer available, Hakuna Matata. It could very well make its way back around in a few months.

And, as we discussed a few weeks back, Flame Tree Barbecue is closed for refurbishment with a tentative reopening of April 1st. Find out where you can find some of your favorite Flame Tree foods at other locations around the park!

Flame Tree Barbecue closed for refurbishment

Flame Tree Barbecue closed for refurbishment

Speaking of refurbishments, construction of [Read more…]

Review: Meat Lovers Pizza at Animal Kingdom’s Pizzafari

Welcome back to Pizzafari!

The last time we visited this Animal Kingdom Counter Service spot was to try some of the breakfast offerings after they had a menu refresh. But the star of the show here is all in the name, so we’re back to review Pizzafari’s take on “Meat Lovers Pizza.”

You’ll also find this item on the menu over at Pizza Planet in Hollywood Studios, and as far as atmosphere goes, that’s a pretty great spot, too. But I just so happened to be at Animal Kingdom scoping out the presumed location of the final in-Park Starbucks (the former Creature Comforts merchandise location), so Pizzafari it was!

Pizzafari

Pizzafari

Pizzafari Menu

Pizzafari Menu

Of course, it isn’t a trip to Pizzafari without checking out some of the signature murals all over the walls, no matter which room you dine in. I truly never tire of looking at these.

Pizzafari mural

Pizzafari mural

Butterfly mural in ordering area

Butterfly mural in ordering area

Turtle mural

Turtle mural

Pizzafari mural

Pizzafari mural

But, ultimately, I strolled past the poised bobcat at the entrance (at least, I think that’s what he is) and took my pizza outside.

Pizzafari entrance statue

Pizzafari entrance statue

It was one of those perfect “winter” days, and you simply have to take advantage of any days you won’t melt outdoors in Florida. (Covered outdoor seating is available at Pizzafari as well.)

Outdoor table

Outdoor table

View of Pizzafari from outside  table

View of Pizzafari from outside table

Like all other pizzas served at Pizzafari, the Meat Lovers comes 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 early July. The text below has been updated accordingly. With the exception of Beastly Kiosk, which has switched back to its own menu, 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 early July), 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…]