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…]

Guest Review: Lunch at Disney’s Hollywood Brown Derby

Join us in welcoming Claire Gregory as a DFB guest reviewer.

She brings us to the Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World.

Let’s do lunch…

This signature restaurant celebrates the golden age of Hollywood. And since it’s inside a theme park, there’s no need to dress up!

Main Dining Room

Main Dining Room

Here are some pictures from my recent lunch at Hollywood Brown Derby.

First up: Butternut Squash Soup. Very nice!

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Then three words that make me smile — Venison Osso Bucco — and it was good as it sounds or even better.

Venison Osso Bucco

Venison Osso Bucco

Followed by pick your own dessert.

Dessert Menu

Dessert Menu

You can pick whatever you want you, so my three choices were: [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: December 11, 2014

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from Disney World!! The season is rolling right along with festive treats and special events. And, as always, there’s plenty of other food news to go around: menu changes, new eats (did somebody say “Barbecued Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese?!”), completed refurbishments, ongoing Downtown Disney construction, and more. So join us on another trip around the World to see What’s New

EPCOT

Holidays Around the World is in full swing at Epcot! This annual festival shares holiday traditions from around the globe through story, music, and — our favorite! — FOOD!

Happy Holidays from EPCOT!

Happy Holidays from EPCOT!

Epcot Christmas tree ornaments

Epcot Christmas tree ornaments

Holiday Storyteller in Japan

Holiday Storyteller in Japan

France decoration

France decoration

Remember, this is the only time of year to grab such treats as Happy Face Fried Cakes at the Joy of Tea in China, Gingerbread Ice Cream at L’artisan des Glaces in France, and Panettone sweet bread at Italy’s Gelato Stand.

Happy Face Fried Cakes

Happy Face Fried Cakes

Gingerbread Ice Cream

Gingerbread Ice Cream

Panettone Sweet Bread display

Panettone Sweet Bread display

But there’s plenty of non-holiday food news as well… Starting in Morocco, Spice Road Table has not only started taking Advance Dining Reservations — they’re also now accepting the Disney Dining Plan.

To offer guests the ability to maximize their one Table Service plan credit, this tapas-based restaurant is now also serving full-sized entrees, including Coriander Crusted Rack of Lamb, Roasted Chicken, and a Mediterranean Vegetable Platter, among others.

Spice Road Table

Spice Road Table

Spice Road Table menu

Spice Road Table menu

Staying in Morocco, Tangierine Cafe debuted new entrees as well: a Meatball Platter and Saffron Rotisserie Chicken.

Tangierine Cafe menu

Tangierine Cafe menu

Tangierine Cafe entree display

Tangierine Cafe entree display

At the United Kingdom’s Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room, the [Read more…]

Specialty Holiday Cocktails at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

There is about one month left to check out an unforgettable Hollywood Studios holiday tradition: The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights! So while you’re enjoying this

Osborne Lights!

Osborne Lights!

Osborne Lights!

Osborne Lights!

You might want to know where you can enjoy one of these

Holiday Drinks at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Holiday Drinks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

A small pop-up bar has made its place directly under the “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” marquee. And there are also bars to grab these “to-go” just outside of Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, and at the Hollywood Brown Derby patio.

Marquee to the right

Marquee to the right

This is where you’ll find specialty cocktails like the Winter Berry Margarita, which was first available at Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post. You can check out our review of this brightly colored blend of tequila, triple sec, Monin Wildberry, sweet and sour, and cranberry juice here.

Winter Berry Margarita

Winter Berry Margarita

Personally, I like the Gumdrop for the sheer fun factor… Stoli Razberi Vodka, Chambord, pineapple and cranberry juices, and Sprite (for some fizz action!). Alas, no glow cube… but it is topped off with gumdrops. And that’s gotta count for something! (Note that the gumdrops are cinnamon and mint…so…um, gross…but still gumdrops!)

Gumdrop Cocktail

Gumdrop Cocktail

This has a nice balance of sweet and sour. Loved it!

Einstok Doppelbock also makes the menu! A small selection of assorted beer is also available. A Holiday Punch in Pomegranate or Orange Lemonade (souvenir glow cube included, of course!) provides a non-alcoholic option, and Beso Del Sol Sangria rounds out the list.

But that’s not all… during the day, you can find some cider with an added kick at Backlot Express. Just take a look at the ingredients in the Torched Holiday Cider

Torched Holiday Cider

Torched Holiday Cider

Angry Orchard Hard Cider with Fireball Cinnamon Whisky? Don’t mind if I do… thanks, Backlot! Didn’t know you had it in ya ;).

And over at Studio Catering Co., you can find this awesome-looking Very Merry Cherry, with Grey Goose Cherry Noir Vodka, Sweet-and-Sour, Grenadine, and Sprite! YUMMMM!

Very Merry Cherry Drink at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Very Merry Cherry Drink at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Just a little extra yuletide cheer comin’ at you from Hollywood Studios!

Would you like to try any of the specialty holiday beverages at Hollywood Studios? Please let us know with a comment!

Review: “Frozen” Premium Package and Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

We’ve got a holiday surprise for you today… . I’ll give you a hint — it involves Frozen, dessert, and more Christmas lights than you can possibly imagine!

Well, maybe it’s not really a surprise — after all, you already saw the title at the top — but still!

Osborne Family Lights

Osborne Family Lights

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World to check out some of the early holiday decorations and events, I bought a ticket for the Frozen Holiday Premium Package. This package includes reserved viewing in the Premiere Theater for the “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration”, plus a unique Holiday Lithograph and Frozen Pin. There’s also a Frozen Dessert Party — which includes an all you care to enjoy spread of sweets and beverages. And the party was taking place right underneath the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in a reserved area!!

Can I be honest? I really didn’t care about the Frozen stuff. I don’t have a “Frozen-aged” kid at the moment, and while I saw the movie, I didn’t need to see it a bajillion times. So the big reason why I booked this party — besides wanting to show YOU guys what it was all about, of course — was to get a VIP vantage point for the Osborne lights.

Seriously, most of the time when I go to the Lights, I’m shoulder to shoulder with everyone else there. It’s PACKED many nights, so I was thinking it might be worth the money for the dessert party if I’d be able to enjoy the lights without re-living my “on-the-subway-going-to-work-during-rush-hour-in-NYC” days.

Unfortunately, the evening that I attended the event, the weather was…well…crap. One of those Orlando days when it just pours…and pours…and pours…with no break at all.

Anna and Elsa Cupcakes!

Cupcakes AND Lights?!?

BUT — the show must go on. And so, with the dessert-eating portion of the event moved to a covered location (Studio Catering Co.), we still had the opportunity to view the Osborne Family Lights. But they were not “dancing” due to the weather and TORNADO WARNINGS (wha???!!!???!?!). And, did I mention it was pouring? So it wasn’t all that hard to find a spot to watch whatever WAS happening out there, since everyone else was smart enough to go back to their hotels during said tornado warnings.

Fortunately, our friend, Mealtrip, took some pics on his Frozen party night that show you what the event looks like when the weather behaves itself!

Let’s head back to the Streets of America for a close up of the festivities.

Atmosphere

If you’ve purchased tickets for the Frozen Holiday Premium Package, you’ll want to head to Guest Services first, where you’ll pick up your credential. Hold onto this. It gets you into the different experiences included in your package.

Frozen Dessert Party Credential

Frozen Dessert Party Credential

Consult the back of the badge for a map of the route you should take to get to the area where the party is set up.

Back of Credential with Map

Back of Credential with Map

In addition, you’ll find a rip-off coupon-type thing at the bottom of the credential; you’ll need this to pick up your Special Pin and Lithograph. I waited until the end to pick mine up so I wouldn’t risk setting it down someplace, but I’ll go ahead and show it to you now.

Pin and Lithograph

Pin and Lithograph

So, in order for this to make sense, I’m going to show you what the Frozen Dessert Party should look like — and then what it looked like for me.

Normal Frozen Dessert Party Setup

When it’s not raining, you can expect to attend the Frozen Dessert Party in a special reserved area on the Avenue of the Americas. For those who know DHS well, it’s called the “teardrop.”

Here’s a shot of the seating area at dusk before the lights came on. You can already see the crowds building in anticipation of the lights coming on.

Seating at Dusk Before the Lights Come On

Seating at Dusk Before the Lights Come On

And once they’re on — lookout! This area can become extremely crowded. And that can become the opposite of fun very quickly. But the seating area of the dessert party gives you a fair amount of elbow room to enjoy the display.

Seating with the Lights On

Seating with the Lights On

Another View of the Lights and Seating

Another View of the Lights and Seating

Tables and Lights

Tables and Lights

Here’s a shot of a Beverage Table.

Beverage Table and Gorgeous Lights

Beverage Table and Gorgeous Lights

Tables laden with sweets are positioned with [Read more…]

“Taste of Hollywood on the Go” Fantasmic Picnic Package – Back for a Limited Time!

For a limited time, guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios can once again enjoy A Taste of Hollywood Grab & Go from Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner.

Booking begins today, December 8th, so now’s the time to make your holiday touring plans!

With the anticipated holiday crowds arriving at the Walt Disney World resort this month, A Taste of Hollywood Grab & Go gives hungry visitors the chance to eat a counter service meal (more time to spend at the attractions!!) and enjoy a reserved viewing ticket for Fantasmic!

Enjoy a picnic with the family!

Min and Bill's Dockside Diner

Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner

Pre-purchase A Taste of Hollywood Grab & Go for December 24-31, 2014. Show your receipt at the Fantasmic! entrance to receive a spot in a preferred location for the first or second show. Remember, seats are still first come, first served so plan accordingly.

Fantasmic!

Fantasmic!

Picnic Meal Choices:

Adults — Fried Chicken, Veggie Wrap, Sushi California Tuna Roll, Shrimp Salad, and Cold Cut Beef

Kids — Turkey Wrap, Power Pack

Desserts — Just Goodies, Cheese and Fruit

Fried Chicken!

Fried Chicken!

See more food pictures here!!

Cost: $16.99 Adults; $5.49 Kids; Desserts — To Be Announced.

Disney Dining Plan 1 counter-service credit accepted.

Adult Meal Options

Adult Meal Options

Kid Meal Options

Kid Meal Options

Taste of Hollywood on the Go meals can be [Read more…]

Review: Brand New Artisan Macaroni and Cheese (and Caramel Apple Shake) at Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

We’ve got some brand new, hot-off-the-presses food news for you today from Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner in Hollywood Studios!

Longtime home to the Frankfurter in a Pretzel Roll and Italian Sausage in a Bread Roll, there have been a few updates to the menu over the last couple years at Min and Bill’s. There are rotating seasonal shakes, the Jumbo Turkey Leg, and we were even able to get those fun bread cones here for a while.

But now they’ve added even more to the menu with the recent arrival of two brand new artisan Macaroni & Cheese dishes: Barbecued Pulled Pork and Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese. And I do mean brand new… these just hit the scene yesterday, folks! So, let’s get to it…

Min and Bill's Dockside Diner

Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner

These are very similar to the mac and cheese dishes served at Friar’s Nook in the Magic Kingdom, but they’re not EXACTLY the same. There are two new flavors to try!

Barbecued Pulled Pork Macaroni & Cheese and Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese

Barbecued Pulled Pork Macaroni & Cheese and Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese

You’ll spot them on the featured items sign, right under the Frankfurter and Italian Sausage (yep, they’re still on the menu — whew!).

Min and Bill's featured items

Min and Bill’s featured items

Min & Bill's full menu

Min & Bill’s full menu

You all know me well enough by now — it should come as no surprise that I was especially stoked about the combo of two of my very favorite foods on EARTH: Mac and cheese AND Buffalo chicken! If ever anything had “We made this for you, AJ” written on it, it would be this. So I dove into the Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese with Crumbled Blue Cheese right away.

But first, I took a good look at it, and I invite you to do the same…

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

The Buffalo chicken looks really strange, right? Frankly, it’s almost off-putting. And as a result, I wasn’t wild about it from the get-go. T

he blue cheese was VERY blue, and very strong, while the Buffalo chicken was kind of watery and weird.

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

It was spicy, at least, so that was good. But overall, it was not really a winner for this Buffalo, NY-raised girl. It seemed like the mac and cheese and the Buffalo chicken were two dishes that needed to be eaten separately. They didn’t go well together at all. Total bummer.

The Barbecued Pulled Pork Macaroni and Cheese, on the other hand, had everything [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…]

DFB Black Friday Sale: Our Best Deal Ever!

Whew! I hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving Day yesterday! But today feels kind of like a sit-around-the-house-and-plan-a-Disney-trip kind of day, so it’s time to carry on the holiday weekend with a little more celebrating… .

Check out our biggest DFB Guide Discount EVER!

The DFB Everything Bundle — Half Off This Weekend

When it came time to offer you something truly special for our Black Friday Sale, we couldn’t think of anything better…than giving you everything.

Disney Food Blog Guidebooks

Disney Food Blog Guidebooks

And that’s why we’re announcing that, for this weekend, you can purchase the DFB Everything Bundle for 1/2 off the already deeply discounted price! Just enter code Everything50 at the check-out.

What does the Everything Bundle include? The name says it all — Everything! When you purchase the DFB Everything Bundle, you get all of the following DFB Guides:

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Turkey!

Can you believe that just a week from today, we’ll be digging into all of those familiar Thanksgiving favorites? A meal like that is worth celebrating with an installment of Disney Food Pics of the Week!

If you haven’t already, check out our Flickr page — Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza — where DFB readers share all of their Disney Food Photos. Want to add to the delish? Just head over and post your pics for a chance to have them featured in our Disney Food Pics of the Week Series! Let’s take a look!

Pilgrim’s Feast at Liberty Tree Tavern

Photographer: Nancy RK

One of my absolute favorite restaurants in all of Walt Disney World is Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom. And this time of year, who can pass up the chance to eat the Pilgrim’s Feast?

Enjoy Thanksgiving All Year 'Round with the Pilgrim's Feast at Liberty Tree Tavern

Enjoy Thanksgiving All Year ‘Round with the Pilgrim’s Feast at Liberty Tree Tavern

Turkey Leg

Photographer: Theresa E.

Like we could leave out what many consider THE way to enjoy turkey when you’re at Disney? We know that some of you can’t resist enjoying a

[Read more…]