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…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: November 18th, 2014

Ready for another trip around the World? We’re heading to three parks and a few resorts to check out holiday treats, gingerbread feats, and new menu eats! And which Counter Service location is now serving up steak? Just read on to find out and see What’s New!

HOLIDAY TREATS

Red and green aren’t the only colors taking over Disney World now that the holiday season has launched around here… hues of blue decorate the festive snacks at this year’s brand new “Frozen” Gingerbread Display at the Contemporary Resort!

Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Display

Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Display

We tried the Blue Raspberry Cake Gelato

Blue Raspberry Cake Gelato

Blue Raspberry Cake Gelato

Read our review and see all the other treats available at the new display here!

Get ready for all your favorite Disney World bakery items (we’re talking Krispy Treats, Candy Apples, and Mickey Macarons) to be dressed up for the holiday season in spots like the Main Street Confectionery, Seashore Sweets, and Big Top Treats.

Holiday Bakery Case

Holiday Bakery Case

Ornament Candy Apples

Ornament Candy Apples

More candy apples!

More candy apples!

Holiday cupcakes

Holiday cupcakes

Red and Green Mickey Macarons

Red and Green Mickey Macarons

And now let’s look into some ways the Parks are getting into the [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at ABC Commissary in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Let’s say you’re in Hollywood Studios. It’s about a million degrees or freezing outside, and you’re hungry. You need some A/C (or heat) and food stat. So, you head right into ABC Commissary.

More often than not, I think, that’s the drill for ABC Commissary. The theme (that of… well, a basic studio lot commissary) isn’t altogether exciting, and mostly it has a reputation for being a great place — above anything else — to score an easy seat in the air conditioning, and maybe grab a burger and a Coke.

But there are a few dishes here we hadn’t paid much attention to previously that get a fair amount of love from DFB readers. So here we are at the Commissary, ready to try a couple of choices unique to this spot… and do a little exploring while were at it.

Atmosphere

The name tells you just about everything: ABC Commissary is themed as a cafeteria on a studio lot — in this case, that of the ABC network.

ABC Commissary Sign

ABC Commissary Sign

ABC Commissary Entrance

ABC Commissary Entrance

Entering ABC Commissary

Entering ABC Commissary

ABC logo

ABC logo

And this completely explains the decor: a very basic collection of insane amounts of seating, peppered with props, pics, and posters from ABC shows.

ABC Commissary seating

ABC Commissary seating

And plants and stuff.

ABC Commissary seating

ABC Commissary seating

Costumes from "Nashville"

Costumes from “Nashville”

Signed pictures from cast of "The Chew"

Signed pictures from cast of “The Chew”

Props from "Revenge"

Props from “Revenge”

Oh, and some palm trees, while we’re at it ;) .

Palm tree in seating area

Palm tree in seating area

Clips from ABC shows are looped on high-hanging screens throughout your meal.

TV screens

TV screen

For my part, I got a kick out of seeing this display of props from [Read more…]

What’s Your Favorite Disney World Restaurant for Atmosphere?

Disney restaurants tend to have that little something extra that make them a magical experience for us and our families instead of, say, just another night at the local diner. The red carpet at Cinderella’s Royal Table, the aquarium at Coral Reef, the stage show at Biergarten…they all make these restaurants a more interesting, and more compelling, place to dine.

Proximity of Animals to Diners at Coral Reef

Proximity of Animals to Diners at Coral Reef

That’s why today, atmosphere is taking center stage instead of playing a supporting role. I want to know: What’s your favorite Disney World restaurant for its atmosphere? The place that you go, without fail, almost without thought to the food. (Almost. But not quite.)

Here are three of my favorite spots that I hit up as often as possible when I’m in town. I can’t wait to hear about your favorites in the comments!

Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant

If you A) pine for the days of drive in movies, or B) have heard about such days and you’re completely fascinated, then you’ve gotta check out Sci-Fi Dine-In with me.

Dining under the stars while watching ridiculous B movies on the big screen is just too much fun to pass up.

After all, this is the only place in Disney that you can eat in your car!

Dine in a Convertible at Sci-Fi

Dine in a Convertible at Sci-Fi

No time to wait for a car table? Check out the cool picnic table option, and you can still dine in the Disney “open air!”

Sci Fi Picnic Tables

Sci Fi Picnic Tables

Thankfully, Walt shows up every now and again to make sense of it all.

Walt and His Vision

Walt and His Vision

I personally love the house specialty, the [Read more…]

What’s New Around Disney World: October 28, 2014

Happy Fall! Autumnal treats have been appearing all over Disney World for a while now, but with Halloween just days away, we thought we’d give you one last glimpse of the season’s snacks.

But that’s not the only food news ’round these parts… not by a long shot. Take a trip with us around all four Disney World parks to check out What’s New!

Hollywood Studios

October is probably my favorite time for the candy apples that hit the scene, like these at Sweet Spells.

Halloween Candy Apples

Halloween Candy Apples

"Poisoned" Candy Apple

“Poisoned” Candy Apple

Minnie Witch Candy Apple

Minnie Witch Candy Apple

Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner currently features a Caramel Apple Shake as its tribute to fall. The featured shakes here change frequently, so be sure to pop by to see what’s available on your visit!

Min and Bill's Dockside Diner

Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner

Caramel Apple Shake

Caramel Apple Shake

Joffrey’s Coffee Carts all over Disney World have changed their seasonal offerings to include a Pumpkin Pie Latte and a Pumpkin Pie Frozen Cappuccino.

Joffrey's Coffee Kiosk at Pixar Place

Joffrey’s Coffee Kiosk at Pixar Place

Seasonal Coffee beverages

Seasonal Coffee beverages

Speaking of those Joffrey’s Carts… remember the Big ‘Ol Donut? We spotted a few topped with massive amounts of cookie crumble for a change [Read more…]

Review: Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

In my opinion, Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano in Disney’s Hollywood Studios has always been hit or miss.

But on my last two visits, it was exceptional. I couldn’t wait to re-visit another year later and see if that was still the case. And, I gotta say, this place is still a hidden gem. I would, in all honestly, choose this restaurant over several signature restaurants on Disney property right now. Let’s take a look at the details.

Atmosphere

When we arrived for a late night advance dining reservation during an Extra Magic Hours night, Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano was teeming with hungry guests. You get a sense of Mama’s random story before you ever enter the doors. The Mona Lisa, wearing shades, in front of the Hollywood Sign? Yeah, I don’t get it either.

Outside Wall

Outside Wall as You Approach Mama’s

The flimsy “backstory” unfolds: Mama was once an aspiring actress who began to cook her traditional dishes for friends while she was trying to become a star. Her dreams of acting fame may have faded, but she found another route into the hearts of the masses — her cooking. And Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano was born.

Entrance

Entrance to Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano

Even if the backstory still doesn’t make any sense to me after all this time, that doesn’t mean the restaurant isn’t kind of fun to look around. It’s a mix of old world meets Hollywood…and every year that goes by means Mama’s decor becomes even more antiquated.

One of my favorite touches is the wall-o-1980s-stars. These headshots crack me up! It’s like a who’s who of the year the Studios opened. (I always have to scout out Mary Fran.)

Podium and Entrance from the Waiting Area

Podium and Entrance from the Waiting Area

Other decor elements feature kitschy goodies from Mama’s collection.

In Vino Veritas!

In Vino Veritas!

More chances to look for your favorite late 20th century actors await you at the restroom entrance. And check out this guy we saw above the doorway…

Celebrity Pictures Outside the Restrooms

Celebrity Pictures Outside the Restrooms

These little Olafs-on-a-stick are part of the Frozen promotion in Hollywood Studios! Guess someone thought he’d be right at home here on a gondola?

Olaf -- This Guy is Everywhere

Olaf — This Guy is Everywhere

Walk through the large arch and past the kitchen, and the restaurant opens before you. Be sure to peek at the pizza oven as you walk by!

Show Kitchen

Show Kitchen

Once you’re in the dining area, pause to take a look around. The walls are covered with some fun stuff, including tons of albums. That’s right, kids — [Read more…]

Review: Banana Parfait and Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Custard at Hollywood Studios

If you’ve visited any Quick Service restaurants in Hollywood Studios, you’ve likely encountered a few standard dessert options, in addition to some pretty spectacular cupcakes.

Regular options include Chocolate Mousse and No-Sugar-Added Strawberry Parfait, or Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Custard and Banana Parfait. These are often part of the dessert options to include with your Quick Service Meal on the Disney Dining Plan (and, of course, can be purchased on their own as well).

I stopped by Studio Catering Co. where the desserts include the Banana Parfait and Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Custard. You can also find these at Rosie’s All-American Cafe, Catalina Eddie’s, and Fairfax Fare. Let’s dig in so you can decide how you’d most prefer to use that dessert option! (Note that these are also available at Fairfax Fare!)

Studios Catering Co.

Studio Catering Co.

Studios Catering Co.

Studio Catering Co.

Before placing my order, I couldn’t help but admire the cheerful chalk art on the concrete floor.

Chalk art!

Chalk art!

Chalk art!

Chalk art!

As you can see, both the Banana Parfait and the Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Custard are part of the “in-a-glass” series of snacks.

Banana Parfait and Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Custard

Banana Parfait and Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Custard

That’s not an official series, by the way… that’s just what I’m calling it ;) . You may be familiar with the Cheesecake in a Glass over at Animal Kingdom.

The Banana Parfait is a banana pudding over a [Read more…]