Review: Chili and Cheese Foot Long Hot Dog at Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner

Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner is a quick-service lunch and dinner spot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

For those on the Disney Dining Plan they have plenty of Quick-Service Meal and Snack options to choose from, including that yummy pulled pork mac and cheese, but today is all about the Foot Long Hot Dog!

Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner is located off of Hollywood Boulevard on Echo Lake. There is no inside seating but there are outdoor tables with umbrellas.

Exterior of Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner

Exterior of Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner

Since the diner itself is…well… [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Don’t Miss These Holiday Events in Disney World!

Summer may have just officially started, but we are already thinking of the Holidays at Walt Disney World!

miniguide_2015holiday

Sounds crazy, I know, but we’re just over 180 days — six months! — until the holidays are in full swing, and NOW is the time to make dining plans for your holiday meals — but it’s also the time to consider what other fun activities you’ll enjoy at Walt Disney World this holiday season.

To jumpstart your planning, today we’re talking about some of our favorite Tips from the DFB Guide to the Holidays at Disney World: Three Holiday Events that you can’t miss!

And speaking of the DFB Guide, don’t get to take advantage of our 180 Days Til Christmas Sale! Through June 28, we’re offering three great ways to save when you pre-order the 2015 DFB Guide to the Holidays at Walt Disney World. Check out all of the details about the sale here!

Now, let’s take a look at some of our favorite holiday events that you should definitely plan on working into your Disney holiday calendar…

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Snow on Main Street USA and life-size Toy Soldiers? That’s part of your reality when you attend the long-running and beloved Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

This hard-ticketed event takes place during select evenings from November 8 until December 18, 2015, this year, and brings all of the joy and warm fuzzy feeling of Christmas and the holiday season to Magic Kingdom.

Toy Soldiers During the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade!

Toy Soldiers During the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade!

During the event, guests enjoy special entertainment and character meet and greets. Complimentary cocoa and cookies fuel you up for all the fun. And there are TONS of special, exclusive treats that you can enjoy only during the Party!

Snickerdoodles and hot cocoa

Snickerdoodles and Hot Cocoa

And be sure to grab a front row seat for Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, which features Santa as well as some of your favorite Disney holiday characters. And, of course Anna and Elsa will be there!

Holidays Around the World

Looking to observe the holidays with international flair? Then an evening at Epcot for Holidays Around the World will fit the bill nicely. Enjoy a stroll around Epcot’s beautiful World Showcase as storytellers from around the globe share seasonal tales within several of the pavilions — free with Epcot admission!

Pere Noel

Père Noël

And if you didn’t score a seat for the [Read more…]

Review: Frozen Summer Fun Treats and Eats in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Frozen Summer Fun is back for a second year at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, running June 17 through September 7, 2015. We’re sad to say that Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post did not return this year, so there’s no central location to find all of your Frozen eats; but a few of the featured items did return along with one or two updated treats.

Frozen Summer Fun Sign

Frozen Summer Fun Sign

Most of the Frozen Fun activities this year are located on Center Stage (where the hat used to be) and in the theaters located at the end of Hollywood Boulevard.

Center Stage During The Frozen Welcoming Ceremony

Center Stage During The Frozen Welcoming Ceremony

Let’s take a look at some of the goodies.

Frozen Summer Fun Drinks

Disney has set up tents in front of the theaters offering drinks for [Read more…]

Review: Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner

Fun news today from Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner!

You know how Columbia Harbour House used to have Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl? And you know how they don’t anymore and many, many, many of us still lament this on a regular basis?

Well, during a recent trip through the odyssey that is a Star Wars Weekend at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, one of our staffers spied a new menu at Min and Bills Dockside Diner that just might interest you…Clam Chowder Served in a BREAD BOWL.

Shazam.

Min and Bills Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Min and Bills Menu — Click to Enlarge

Bread bowls have been sorely missed in Disney World, although they remain a staple at several Disneyland spots, like Pacific Wharf Cafe and Royal Street Veranda.

So, it took us about 5 seconds to realize that we needed to get this and share it with you right now! And so…here it is.

It’s not a huge bread bowl, and it’s not Boudin Bakery (AFAIK); but it is hearty and the bread is clearly an artisan-type, fresh-baked boule that’s more interesting than your run-of-the-mill loaf. Pieces of onion make the boule visually interesting and infuse the bread with some complex flavor. Pretty, huh?

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl is Back in WDW!

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl is Back in WDW!

Under the little bread lid, you’ll find the boule hollowed out enough for about a cup of soup.

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl -- Under the Lid

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl — Under the Lid

When I removed the lid, I was happy to see the fresh Bacon and Chive garnish, which gave the soup additional color, texture, and flavor. I personally think Clam Chowder benefits hugely from [Read more…]

Review: Blue Milk Milkshake at 50s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

It’s time to head back to 50s Prime Time Cafe for a little Star Wars goodness.

This restaurant, located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is a great example of Disney imagineering. The 1950s retro vibe is enhanced with authentic furniture, wallpaper, and knick knacks — and the staff play right along…so be sure to eat all your veggies, or run the risk of having them fork-fed to you.

Don't forget to ask for a TV table on your visit to 50s Prime Time Cafe! And keep your elbows off the table...

Don’t forget to ask for a TV table on your visit to 50s Prime Time Cafe! And keep your elbows off the table…

But 50s Prime Time also features some classic…and not-so-classic…Milkshakes. The Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake is a must-try.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake

Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake

You’ll find standard chocolate and vanilla as well, and the Prime Time will usually dream up a few specialty, seasonal milkshakes for the menu. The Red Velvet Cake Milkshake, with chunks of cream cheese frosting, was pretty fantastic.

But if you’re heading to the Studios for the last of the Star Wars Weekends today or tomorrow, it’s your last chance to try one of my favorite seasonal options — the [Read more…]

Photo Tour: Streets of America “Restaurants” in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Typically when we’re talking about Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it’s because we’re reviewing some eats in that area of the park, including Pizza Planet, Mama Melrose’s, Studio Catering Co., High Octane Refreshments, and our beloved Writer’s Stop.

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop

But today we’re going to take a stroll around this part of the park that doesn’t typically get a whole lot of attention (unless it’s the holiday season when The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights takes over).

Many people pass through this area of false fronts and forced perspective representing street sets for New York and San Francisco on the way to or from the Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show. But I have always loved this section of the Studios as a great place to wander around and take in loads of those famous Disney details.

Streets of America

Streets of America

Streets of America

Streets of America

Streets of America

Streets of America

Among the shops and various business ventures lining these city streets, you’ll notice more than a couple of restaurants and food stops — lots of mom-and-pop-style operations that look like places locals would frequent if these settings were, in fact, real.

For instance, when you’re wandering down New York street, you just gotta love the sign that says it all… by saying next to nothing: the “Eat” sign.

"Eat"

“Eat”

I don’t care what they’re serving. I’d kinda like to try it.

"Eat"

“Eat”

And I can’t be the only person who wishes the Village Pizza Parlor was real every single time I walk past.

Village Pizza Parlor

Village Pizza Parlor

Village Pizza Parlor

Village Pizza Parlor

Calzones and Pie by the Slice! And you have to respect a place that boasts “Macaroni” on the window.

Village Pizza Parlor

Village Pizza Parlor

Looks to me like a place that could rival Via Napoli for Best Pizza in Disney World… if it actually existed, that is ;).

If you look up (and, as they say, you should always [Read more…]

Review: Backlot Express at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

We’re back at the Backlot Express!

And it’s a good time to visit, since Backlot Express is really THE place to go in Disney’s Hollywood Studios to get that “backlot” feel, especially since The Studio Backlot Tour attraction closed down last September.

It’s also a good time solely because it’s always a good time to visit Backlot Express. With its fantastically-done themeing, this movie production warehouse that’s actually an eatery serves up Quick Service favorites (with a few unique items thrown in), and it’s long been just about my favorite Counter Service restaurant in Hollywood Studios. Of course, now you’ll find part of it decorated for the Rebel Hangar Star Wars Lounge Experience for Star Wars Weekends, but my most recent visit took place just a couple weeks prior to the temporary redecoration.

It’s been too long, I’d say… so let’s head back inside Backlot Express!

Atmosphere

Yes, Backlot Express is a Counter Service stop, so the goal —aside from getting fed ;) — is to be in and out and get back to the attractions. In fact, that was even more of the goal with the Express Order test. But if you have a little extra time, I’d really encourage you to spend some of it exploring the terrific details here.

This “Warehouse of Good Eating” (its slogan is on the main entrance sign), in story, serves as a warehouse for the Studios, storing all manner of movie production items from paints and props to storyboards and stunt gear.

Backlot Express sign and "warehouse" entrance

Backlot Express sign and “warehouse” entrance

The sculpture area is super cool, with the scupltures all in white awaiting their paint.

Sculpture

Sculpture

Sculptures

Sculptures

Sculpture

Sculpture

And you can spot pops of color here and there, too.

Painted sculpture

Painted sculpture

Speaking of paints… you’ll see cans upon cans of the stuff, in both indoor and outdoor seating areas.

Paint cans

Paint cans

Paint cans in outdoor seating

Paint cans in outdoor seating

Though you could choose to eat in the stunt crew area.

Stunt diagram

Stunt diagram

But I can’t say that I have, since I find the stunt dummies sitting above –frankly — a little creepy.

Stunt dummies

Stunt dummies

Stunt dummy

Stunt dummy

Some of my favorite details, though, are reminders that you’ve walked into a functioning, working warehouse complete with safety-in-the-workplace and supply conservation signs.

Save Money sign

Save Money sign

Safety Quiz

Safety Quiz

There is even the ol’ office bulletin board for the Paint Department, displaying inter-team memos as well as [Read more…]

Review: Star Wars Specialty Beverages in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Umm… have we mentioned that there is a wee little event by the name of Star Wars Weekends going on at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?!

Star Wars Weekends

Star Wars Weekends

In case you missed the memo ;), Star Wars Weekends is running Fridays through Sundays through June 14th. And as in previous years, temporary pop up bars appear for the weekends all around the park offering specialty cocktails just for the occasion. Last year, guests were asked to Choose Their Side by choosing their beverage: The Force or The Dark Side. This year, though, you get to Choose your PLANET!

The Mustafar and The Tatooine

The Mustafar and The Tatooine

The Endor and The Alderaan

The Endor and The Alderaan

There are four different drinks available, and each bar features two of the four. For instance, in the seating area of Starring Rolls Cafe, I happened upon this pop up bar featuring The Mustafar and The Tatooine.

Popup Bar near Starring Rolls

Popup Bar near Starring Rolls

The pop up bar near the Hollywood Studios Main Stage, however, was serving The Endor and The Alderaan.

Pop-up Bar near Min & Bill's

Pop-up Bar near Min & Bill’s

For a point of location reference, you can spy a few of the umbrella-topped tables from Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner in the background for this bar, but really you can’t walk very far without happening upon a pop-up in just about every section of the park.

Now, while the drinks differ, there is something special about the beverages that is similar, no matter which bar you visit, and that is the souvenir glow cubes corresponding to specific beverages. With The Tatooine and The Endor, you receive a Millennium Falcon glow cube, while The Mustafar and The Alderaan feature the Death Star.

Death Star Glow Cube in The Alderaan

Death Star Glow Cube in The Alderaan

Last year the glow cubes were a major part of the story, too. First, because they’re awesome. Second, they were so popular that they ran out almost immediately. If I understood correctly, many were gone as early as the second weekend of the event! Here’s hoping the inventory was greatly amped up this year in anticipation of their popularity.

If you choose your drink based on a glow cube, you’re [Read more…]

Guest Review: Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast at Walt Disney World

Are you ready for breakfast in a galaxy far, far away? 

Great! Then please join us in welcoming one of  my good friends, guest author Daniel Staten (@danielstaten on Instagram) with a review of the STAR WARS Dine-In Galactic Breakfast, which has returned for a second run at Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant this year through June 14th. While the other returning Star Wars character dining experience, the Jedi Mickey STAR WARS Dine at Hollywood and Vine, features Disney characters in full Star Wars regalia, the Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast offers guests the chance to start the day with Star Wars characters from the films… and this one’s all about the Dark Side

Take it it away, Daniel! And May the Force be with you!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is clearly undergoing some change. One thing that has been constant though, is a strong Star Wars presence in the park.

AT-AT outside of Star Tours attraction

AT-AT outside of Star Tours attraction

Revenge of the Sith t-shirt

Revenge of the 5th t-shirt

Darth Vader Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake

Darth Vader Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake

Earlier in May, I dined with my family at the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast. There were plenty of photo ops, nostalgic clips, and the Force was strong with the food!

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast

Booking the Advance Dining Reservation for the breakfast turned out to be a fluke. I wasn’t looking for it specifically, but when a single 9:30 AM reservation appeared on the My Disney Experience website, I jumped at the chance!

The Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast is a lot like other signature character dining experiences in that it’s all-inclusive. For the price – we paid $49.99 – you get a breakfast “appetizer,” non-alcoholic drinks, an entree and a few selected extras.

Sci Fi Galactic Dine In Star Wars Breakfast DHS 3

Menu listing inclusions and selections

More on those later.

Atmosphere

On the morning of our breakfast, we arrived at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the crowds were pretty light. We made our way back towards Star Tours and noticed the huge line for people to sign-up for the Jedi Training Academy! Standing in that line looks like it would take a lot of dedication, but to the young Jedis, it’s well worth it.

The Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast is hosted at the Sci-Fi Dine-In near the back of the park. Once we arrived, we checked in and had a seat to wait for our table to be ready. The restaurant was running about 15 minutes behind and I attribute that to people taking their time with the characters and soaking up the atmosphere! There was so much to see and people generally just enjoying their interactions. I don’t blame them and didn’t mind the additional wait.

Once our table was ready, the Cast Member announced that “The Staten Family is now joining the Empire,” and we were placed in a line to meet Darth Vader and Boba Fett. I tried to look as scared as I could and it didn’t take much! Darth Vader is super intimidating in person!

Meet and Greet with Darth Vader and Boba Fett

Meet and Greet with Darth Vader and Boba Fett

Character dining can be awkward for adults sometimes. All of that awkwardness went away almost immediately once we [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: May 20th, 2015

Sure, we may have said “So long” to the Flower and Garden Festival for this year, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to look forward to at Walt Disney World! Springs moves to summer as Disney World gears up for the busy vacation season, otherwise known as the “Coolest Summer Ever”!

©Disney

©Disney

And since it’s a very special time of year for Star Wars fans in particular, why don’t we start our ‘round the World tour at Hollywood Studios to see What’s New!

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

Star Wars Weekends kicked off on May 15th!

Star Wars Weekends 2015

Star Wars Weekends 2015

The excitement! The pageantry!  The CUPCAKES! The Jabba the Hutt Cupcake has joined the Darth Vader and Yoda Cupcakes this year.

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

It can be found at counter service locations such as Starring Rolls, Backlot Express, The Trolley Car Cafe, and Tusken Fridge Raiders — the premiere Star Wars snack stop, located inside Darth’s Mall.

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

But cupcakes aren’t all that’s in store…

Star Wars snacks for Star Wars Weekends

Star Wars snacks for Star Wars Weekends

Like last year, several temporary pop-up bars can be found all over the park for the weekend events.

Star Wars Weekends Pop-up Bar

Star Wars Weekends Pop-up Bar

However, they feature all-new drinks this year. Each bar serves two out of of four drinks: The Mustafar and The Tatooine, or The Endor and The Alderaan.

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

We’ll be taking a closer look at those beverages soon, but once again this year, it’s ALL about the souvenir glow cubes: drinks come with either a Millennium Falcon glow cube or your very own mini Death Star.

Millennium Falcon Glow Cube

Millennium Falcon Glow Cube

The Jedi Mickey Character Dinner at Hollywood and Vine and Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast returned to Hollywood Studios earlier this month (on May the Fourth Be With You, naturally). But brand new to Star Wars Weekends this year is the Rebel Hangar — A Star Wars Lounge Experience, which has effectively converted half of Backlot Express into an abandoned spaceport in the Sullest system.

Entrance to Rebel Hangar

Entrance to Rebel Hangar

Chips and Sith at Rebel Hangar

Chips and Sith at Rebel Hangar

Blue Milk!

Blue Milk!

You can read all about this special month-long dining event featuring small plates and specialty cocktails in our full review of the Rebel Hangar!

Believe it or not, though, it’s not all Star Wars at Hollywood Studios… we’ve got some regular ol’ menu changes at some favorite Table Service restaurants to report as well. Sci-Fi Dine-In has added the Sci-Fi Popcorn Treat to the appetizer selection. It’s popcorn soup (for watching those old movies, of course!) with buffalo popcorn chicken and celery sticks, drizzled with blue cheese dressing.

Sci-Fi Dine-In

Sci-Fi Dine-In

New entrees include Grilled Marinated Salmon, while the Veggie Burger got a [Read more…]