News! Food Pre-order Test in Progress at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

It looks like the next phase of Disney dining technology testing is upon us!

Express Order screenshot

Express Order screenshot

Thanks to WDWMagic and OrlandoParkNews we learned that a limited-run test (from now until May 12) is currently in place for guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you have somehow indicated that you will be visiting Hollywood Studios via your My Disney Experience account (either by making a FastPass+ choice for attractions or a dining reservation for the park’s Table Service locations), you may receive an e-mail invite to participate in a test involving pre-ordering food items at Backlot Express Counter Service or Fantasmic! concession.

Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Selections

Hollywood Studios FastPass+ Selections

Express Order is the name of the free app that guests are invited to download in order to participate.

Express Order app Home Page

Express Order app Home Page

Upon opening the app, you’ll see two dining choices: Backlot Express or concession options for Fantasmic! Please note that Fantasmic! concession pre-ordering is only available prior to the start of the show each night.

Backlot Express and Fantasmic! options

Backlot Express and Fantasmic! options

Just swipe to the right for further choices and instructions. For instance, with Backlot Express, you’ll see that you can choose to [Read more…]

Great New Drinks to Enjoy at Disney World

Top Five New Drinks to Try at Walt Disney WorldWell, I guess it’s time… Florida sure had a beautiful “winter,” but as much as I’ve tried to deny it over the past few weeks, we’re back to the time of year when it’s not unusual to see the thermometer (otherwise known as my weather app) climb back up into the 90s.

One good thing about all that? It’s the perfect excuse to cool down with some cold beverages! And since we’re looking at hanging out in the heat until… oh, until the end of the 2015 Epcot Food & Wine Festival in, like, November, now is as good a time as any to check out some highly recommended sips!

So today we’re stopping at two Disney World Parks, one Resort, and Downtown Disney to check out some of the latest and greatest concoctions. We’re focusing primarily on some killer cocktails, but we’ll end with a little something for kids (and kids at heart!), too!

So grab a straw and a teeny-tiny umbrella, because we’re starting with a new vacation must-have…

Spikey Pineapple

We’ve just gotta dive in with this new gem at Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort: the Spikey Pineapple.

Spikey Pineapple

Spikey Pineapple

While most of the drink menu at the Tiki Terrace is the same as that inside Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, you can ONLY enjoy the Spikey Pineapple outside on the Tiki Terrace… and it is well worth a special visit.

Why? Because this is Pineapple Soft-Serve (Dole Whip!) served in a sippable form and spiked with Barbancourt Pango Rhum.

Spikey Pineapple menu description

Spikey Pineapple menu description

If you’re a fan of Dole Whip (and especially the rum-spiked Pineapple Soft-serve at the Epcot Food & Wine and Flower and Garden Festivals and in Animal Kingdom), or just fantastic tropical vacation drinks in general, this one is a must-try!

Tamarind Margarita

What’s a post about drinks in Disney World without mentioning one of the greatest watering holes this side of the Mississippi (and, OK, the other side, too)? Over in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion, La Cava del Tequila sets the standard for incredible and creative margaritas served alongside high-end tequilas.

La Cava del Tequila Sign

La Cava del Tequila Sign

And while the debut last fall of the Maelstrom Margarita (created in tribute to the now-extinct Maelstrom attraction formerly housed in Mexico’s neighboring Norway Pavilion) receives a lot of well-deserved buzz, it’s the Tamarind Margarita, which debuted last summer, that really knocked our socks off in a recent visit: Ambhar Blanco Tequila, tamarind pulp, orange liquor and agave nectar with a chili powder rim.

Tamarind Margarita

Tamarind Margarita

The tamarind and agave make this one incredibly sweet — without being too sweet (I hate too sweet), thanks to the tamarind tang, and the chili powder rim provides some kick. This one well earns its place beside the beloved Avocado Margarita. And Horchata Margarita. Oh, and the Wild Passion Fruit;)

Dark & Tropical Stormy

Inside at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, though, we’re loving the Dark & Tropical Stormy: Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, fresh lime juice, Ginger Beer, and Falernum.

Dark & Tropical Stormy on the Trader Sam's menu

Dark & Tropical Stormy on the Trader Sam’s menu

It’s the unique and bold taste of the ginger beer that makes this one stand out, giving it a sweet spice while the layered pour allows the rum to have its own moment as well.

Dark & Tropical Stormy

Dark & Tropical Stormy

Another fun feature with many drinks inside the Grotto are toppers themed to the beverage. The Dark & Tropical Stormy’s is understandably windblown ;)

Dark & Tropical Stormy umbrella

Dark & Tropical Stormy umbrella

Batten down the hatches and grab one!

Raspy Old Fashioned

We’re taking a trip over to Downtown Disney for our next one and stopping at Raglan Road.

Raglan Road

Raglan Road

Understandably, lots of folks stepping into Raglan Road fancy a pint, and the [Read more…]

Tip from the DFB Guide: Budgeting For Disney Snacks!

So you’re planning your next trip to Walt Disney World. And we all know that the FastPasses are the most important detail to cross off your list, right?


Wrong. Because the real reason we go to Walt Disney World? The Snacks!

Okay — they’re both important. But I bet that we can agree — one of the biggest reasons we both love Disney is the amazing variety of food choices, and fun snack options E-BER-Y-WHERE.

But the sheer volume of choices can be overwhelming! After all, how do you choose? And once you choose, how do you budget in order to try everything on that must-have list you’ve been compiling?

I totally get it! And that’s why we’ve dedicated a large section to snacking — our favorite Disney recreation — in our best selling DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015!

Let’s talk through some of my Best Tips for Snack Budgeting. And if these tips are helpful to you, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Budgeting Money or Snack Credits

Whether you’re paying out of pocket for your snacks, or you’ll be using Disney Dining Plan Snack Credits, planning ahead is the key to ensure you enjoy the treats you’ve been been dreaming about.

Who Can Resist a Handmade Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich in the Shadow of Cinderella Castle??

Who Can Resist a Handmade Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich in the Shadow of Cinderella Castle??

One of my favorite features of the DFB Guide Books are the worksheets that we provide you to plan every facet of your eating journey. And snacking is no exception!

Use the handy worksheets to jot down all of the snacks that you’re anxious to try. Our Snacks Chapter is a great resource for browsing all of the possibilities! With full lists and reviews of snacks throughout Walt Disney World, you have everything compiled in one easy place!

Brainstorm everything you’d like to sample, and include their locations. Then, figure out where the snacks fit into your master plan.

White Chocolate Rabbit and Queen of Hearts Strawberry Shortcake Cake Cups

Be Sure to Save Room for Cake Cups at Cheshire Cafe

If you’re paying for food out of pocket, the keep in mind that most Disney snacks run between $2 and $10, with many of them priced in the $3-5 range. If you’re working with Snack Credits, a general rule of thumb is that a single serving food under $5.19 is usually available for your Snack Credit.

Budgeting Stomach Space

So you’ve done the planning, and you know exactly which snacks you want to try on your next visit. You’ve worked out the budget, and the money and credits are there to cover it all.

Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel

A Jalapeno Cheese Pretzel is Worth Saving Room For

Now comes the next big question: [Read more…]

Spotted!: Cinnamon Sweet Churro Milkshake at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Ah, Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner — this is why I lurve you. So much.

Min & Bill’s has introduced yet another killer seasonal milkshake that you and I MUST have.

If you’re scratching your head and saying, “Min and Bill’s? What? Where?” — you aren’t alone. It’s not that it’s hidden or anything; you just probably don’t expect much from this boat-as-a-food-destination.

But this often-overlooked spot can be a treasure trove of unique eats and drinks. I’ve been a fan of their Frankfurter in a Pretzel Roll (especially the Pretzel Roll part of the equation) forever.

Min and Bill's Dockside Diner at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

You probably remember that the last time I was here, I tried the Artisan Mac and Cheese options. The Barbecued Pulled Pork version was a total hit; the Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese, notsomuch.

But the seasonal shake that I tried that day, the Caramel Apple Milkshake, was fantastic. And now, there’s yet another crave-worthy option here.

Check out that awesomeness that is the Cinnamon Sweet Churro Milkshake. And just in time too — ’cause I hear that [Read more…]

News! Star Wars Weekends “Feel the Force” Package Reservations Now Available!

Star Wars Weekends continue to grow in popularity with the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens later this year. And Disney is answering the call by providing lots of premium experiences for guests to enjoy.

Feel the Force

Wanna hang out with this guy?

But the coolest Star Wars Weekends events in our opinion? The ones that involve food, of course!

We saw the introduction of Star Wars Dining Opportunities last year, as Disney introduced Star Wars Character Dining Experiences. Guests can choose from Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine (see our review here) or Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast at Sci-Fi (see a guest review here).

But today, we have news of another returning event. Set your cruisers to lightspeed and get ready to dial: Feel the Force Premium Packages are returning in 2015, and you can start booking them today!

The packages, which debuted in 2014, get you up close to all the action happening during Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They are available Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during Star Wars Weekends, which take place this year from May 15 until June 14.

There are two different packages to choose from. Let’s check out what you get with each of them.

Feel the Force Premium Package

The Feel the Force Premium Package includes all of the following:

  • 11:00AM — Noon: Reserved viewing for the Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade. Guests will also enjoy a selection of Soft Drinks, Water, and a Snack.
  • Reserved seating for ONE of the Celebrity Talk Shows in Theater of the Stars. Show time will be selected at check-in. Please Note: there are a limited amount of seats per show and times are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • 9:00PM: “Symphony in the Stars” Fireworks Dessert Party, which includes Star Wars-themed desserts (think Yoda and Darth Vader Cupcakes — read our review of them here!) as well as Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages. Guests also enjoy a reserved viewing location for the nightly “Symphony in the Stars” fireworks show.
Darth Vader and Yoda Cupcakes

Enjoy Darth Vader and Yoda Cupcakes to Your Heart’s Content!

The price for the Feel the Force Premium Packages is [Read more…]

News: “Frozen Fever” Sweet Treats at Disneyland and Disney World

So… Frozen Fun ends in Disneyland on May 15th, and Frozen Summer Fun LIVE won’t return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios until June 17th. That’s one full Frozen-free month… What’s an Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf fan to do?!?

What will we do when there's no Frozen Fun?!

What will we do when there’s no Frozen Fun?!

Fret not, Frozen fans! In the downtime between the two events, Disney is releasing a few treats in honor of “Frozen Fever,” the film short that can currently be seen on the big screen prior to showings of the live-action “Cinderella” film.

As in the film short, these treats go about the task of celebrating Anna’s birthday… and what’s a birthday celebration without a little cake? Anna’s Happy Birthday Cupcake is a vanilla cupcake with blue buttercream frosting, topped with marshmallows, snowflake candies, and a white chocolate Olaf.

Anna's Happy Birthday Cupcake

Anna’s Happy Birthday Cupcake ©Disney

At Disneyland, you’ll want to check spots like the Jolly Holiday Bakery, Market House, Pacific Wharf Cafe, Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe, and The Coffee House.

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

While the cupcakes are already available at Disneyland, starting April 8th, Disney World guests can check various eateries scattered across property, in parks and resorts alike. Altogether, twelve restaurants will carry the cupcakes in WDW, including Main Street Bakery and Gaston’s Tavern in the Magic Kingdom, Starring Rolls Cafe and ABC Commissary in Hollywood Studios, and Sunshine Seasons and Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe in Epcot.

Resort restaurants  that will carry the cupcake include BoardWalk Bakery, Beach Club Marketplace, Contempo Cafe, Gasparilla Island Grill, Landscape of Flavors and The Mara.

BoardWalk Bakery

BoardWalk Bakery

Looking for something a little more frozen to celebrate the cast of Frozen? Olaf’s Perfect Sundae Day features birthday-cake flavored ice cream topped with hot fudge, mint marshmallows, brownie pieces (!), whipped cream, and sprinkles.

Olaf's Perfect Sundae Day ©Disney

Olaf’s Perfect Sundae Day ©Disney

Those mint marshmallows look a lot like the ones currently available to enjoy with your Warm Hugs Hot White Hot Cocoa over at Olaf’s Snow Fest in Disneyland!

At Disneyland, the Sundae is available at Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor and Clarabelle’s.

Clarabelle's in Disney California Adventure

Clarabelle’s in Disney California Adventure


And again, starting April 8th, Disney World guests will find it at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, Hollywood Scoops, and Beaches & Cream.

Beaches and Cream at Disney's Beach Club Resort

Beaches and Cream at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

In a new twist, even a few Table Service restaurants are [Read more…]

News! Menu Refresh for Studio Catering Co. at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Tucked between the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” play area and its neighboring waterhole, High Octane Refreshments, Studio Catering Co. is just your basic quick stop with plenty of seats along with lots of shade and high-powered fans for hot Florida days.

We’ve enjoyed the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich here in the past, but really, Studio Catering Co. has never been particularly known for any signature items or “must-do dining.”

However, the menu has been given a bit of a revamp, and some of the items seem to have some definite potential! Nearly the entire menu has been refreshed, and while some items bear a resemblance to previous bites here, a couple are all new.

For instance, the new Pulled Beef Brisket Sandwich features braised beef brisket, Muenster cheese, arugula and horseradish sauce served on a ciabatta roll.

braised pulled brisket sandwich

Braised Pulled Brisket Sandwich

Fans of the previous Toasted Tuscan may enjoy the Deli Sandwich, which is [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: NEW Unique Meals for Kids at Walt Disney World

Many of us have been there — you’re trying to plan the best and most delicious vacation, but when it comes to Disney Kids’ Meals, the options can seem pretty ho-hum at first glance.


But there’s more to eating with small fry in Disney World than meets the eye! We first told you about Unique Kids’ Meals a while back in a Tip from the DFB Guide.

But times marches on, and menus evolve. And since we first visited the subject, Disney has committed to offering guests healthier eating options — and that includes Kids’ Meal reforms. We’ve fully updated the DFB Guide again this year, and I thought it was the perfect time to revisit Unique Kids’ Meals at Walt Disney World!

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

Mickey Check Meals

We can’t begin to discuss Disney World Kids’ Meals without at least touching on the biggest change to come to children’s menus in the history of the Resort. We’re talking about Mickey Check Meals.

mickey check for kids meals

Part of the Disney Magic of Healthy Living Initiative, the meals are designated on Disney restaurant menus with the “Mickey Check” Symbol. Meals earning the Mickey Check meet the Disney Nutrition Guidelines and limit the amount of sodium, sugar, and saturated and trans fats. In addition, they must also include at least three of the following:

  • fruits and vegetables,
  • low-fat dairy,
  • whole grains, and/or
  • lean protein, beans, eggs, and/or nuts.

So what’s the bottom line? The guidelines have certainly challenged Disney chefs to come up with some interesting meals as a result.

Mickey Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey Meatloaf at Be Our Guest Restaurant…Super Cute! But Not So Delicious

But how do they taste? Wellllll…my jury is still out on that one. While I commend Disney for offering healthier options to guests who are in search of them, the Disney Check Meals that I’ve seen and tasted personally…let’s just say they have a long way to go before taste catches up with the requirements.

A la Carte and Appetizers as Kids’ Meals

If you aren’t using a Disney Dining Plan, then another great idea for a Unique Kids’ Meal option is to order a la carte sides or appetizers instead of something from the Kids’ Menu.

This strategy works great for a couple of different reasons. Even with all of the improvements to kids’ meals across the parks and resorts, some Disney restaurants lag behind a bit, and the options can be a little, well, boring. After all, you can only eat Chicken Nuggets so many times. So it’s a great way to get your young, adventurous eater something tastier and more satisfying.

Smoked Chicken Quesadilla

Smoked Chicken Quesadillas, a Whispering Canyon Cafe Appetizer, is a Great Meal Choice for an Adventurous Kid

It’s also a great idea when [Read more…]

News! Han Solo in Carbonite Popcorn Bucket Coming to Star Wars Weekends

UPDATE: Guest can find the Han Solo Popcorn Bucket at Watto’s Grotto inside Darth’s Mall this year.

Okay, so I thought the Darth Vader Popcorn Bucket featured during 2014’s Star Wars Weekends was pretty awesome…

Darth Vader Popcorn Bucket

Darth Vader Popcorn Bucket

But I think the Empire might have to take a back seat to the Rebel Alliance, because the popcorn bucket coming to Star Wars Weekends this year is… oh, forget it. I don’t even have words. Just LOOK!!

© Disney © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd

© Disney © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd

So, yeah. I’m pretty sure Vader’s about to get trumped with this Han Solo Frozen in Carbonite Popcorn Bucket.

I’m just not going to be the one to break it to him.

Remember, Star Wars Weekends begin at Hollywood Studios on [Read more…]

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…”


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…]