What’s New Around Disney World and Disneyland: April 1, 2014!

We have a few updates from both coasts for this round of “What’s New!” And we promise that none of these are April Fool’s jokes. :-D

Starting on the east coast, a recent trip around Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Monorail Loop has revealed a few changes in eats and treats. We’re talking property refurbishments, menu updates, tea, and cupcakes,  so hop on board the Monorail (“Your Highway in the Sky!”) and see What’s New!

We’re saving a seat for you…

Monorail Teal

Monorail Teal

Magic Kingdom

We’ll start our Monorail trip at Magic Kingdom. You may be aware that the Hub (the circular area directly in front of Cinderella Castle) has begun a major refurbishment. This project is slated to run in stages finishing sometime in 2015, with the purpose of accommodating more guests for fireworks and parade viewing, with the added benefit of relieving some of the post-show gridlock thanks to additional walkways.

Though much is covered by refurbishment walls, you can see in these photos where the water that flows towards and around Cinderella Castle has been drained for now to accommodate the construction.

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Soooo… what does this have to do with food? The restaurants in the immediate area are still in operation. The beloved Main Street Popcorn Cart is, too; however, it’s now located on the bridge which connects the Hub to Adventureland.

Current location of Main Street Popcorn Cart

Current location of Main Street Popcorn Cart

Current location of Main Street Popcorn Cart

Current location of Main Street Popcorn Cart

Still an easy spot to grab some popcorn before the new Festival of Fantasy Parade!

Festival of Fantasy Parade

Festival of Fantasy Parade

Though the majority of the refurbishment to add expanded seating to Casey’s Corner is complete, we’re still noticing some small changes here and there.

The wall in the back room, which formerly housed a large-screen TV featuring vintage Disney sports-focused cartoons, was empty in the immediate weeks after the reopening. Now returning are the large pieces of artwork depicting turn-of-the-century images of America’s Favorite Pastime.

Casey's Corner Artwork

Casey’s Corner Artwork

Caseys Corner artwork (3)

Looking at the picture below, I’m sure you can’t help but notice [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland First Look: Starbucks Opens in Downtown Disney!

The walls are down and the doors are open! Disneyland’s Downtown Disney has just welcomed one of the most unique Starbucks stores in the nation.

Downtown Disney Welcomes Starbucks

Downtown Disney Welcomes Starbucks!

This LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified store is beyond gorgeous.  First off, you may be wondering what LEED is; I myself had to look it up to get some more information.

LEED certification encourages “green” building, using sustainable products in the construction of the building.  It also requires Energy Star performance ratings on appliances, lighting, machinery, etc.

Welcome to Starbucks Anaheim

Hand Painted “Welcome to Starbucks Anaheim, California” Mural

This Starbucks has all that and more. Let’s take a look inside!

Atmosphere

Both the interior and exterior of the store are lined with upcycled box car wood.  It has been sanded and stained to a beautiful golden brown color. You can actually see the holes where the bolts originally held the box cars together.

Starbucks Panoramic View

Other design elements include hand painted murals and a tree stump that was cut into a bench for seating.  Starbucks wanted to bring in hand crafted elements that compliment their hand crafted beverages.

Up-cycled Box Car Wood with Hand Painted Murals

Up-cycled Box Car Wood with Hand Painted Murals

More Box Car Wood

More Box Car Wood with Mural

The focal centerpiece of the store is a 9 panel LCD screen that features original content from the areas of the world that Starbucks sources their coffee.

9 Panel LCD Screen Featuring "Water Color" Images of Coffee Resources

9 Panel LCD Screen Featuring “Water Color” Images of Coffee Resources Used by Starbucks

The images have been modified to look as though they are watercolors, and change every minute or so.  The only other Starbucks in the nation to features this same screen is in New York’s Times Square location.

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks.

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks

All Content on the LCD Screen is Original to Starbucks

When designing the store, Starbucks knew that its visitors would be in the area expecting some Disney magic.  Looking to impress guests and spread some of their own pixie dust,  elements were added to this new store that have yet to be introduced to any other Starbucks location.

The main feature is the interactive digital chalkboard.  I immediately noticed this when I walked in the doors.  It does two different things. First, it acts as a drawing board allowing guests to use their fingers to write messages, draw pictures or play a fun game of tic tac toe.

about a game of Tic Tac Toe?

How about a game of Tic Tac Toe?

Of course I couldn’t resist trying it out for myself…

Disney Food Blog Was Here!

Disney Food Blog Was Here!

Second, it creates its own pictures using images it “sees” in front of it.

Sure enough, I watched for a few minutes and I noticed that the man sitting near it was all of a sudden featured in a chalk type drawing right there on the board.  Very cool!

Hey Guy! Look, you're on the screen!

Hey Guy! Look, you’re on the screen!

By the way — it has a disclosure right there on the wall stating that they are using scenes and people in that area of the store to create the unique chalkboard drawings, so you’ve been warned that you might be part of the artwork.

Video Disclosure

Video Disclosure

Above the barista work space, Starbucks has added a light up map featuring locations where they source their coffee.

Light Up Coffee Sourcing Map

Light Up Coffee Sourcing Map

Seating

This particular Starbucks has very little indoor seating.  In fact the only seating is really a few small benches and the round stools that can be seen in front of the interactive screen.

Indoor Seating

Indoor Seating

Instead, the seating was designed to be a patio experience; “alfresco” is what I was told specifically. The patio was built around a large pre-existing tree.  Not wanting to uproot this long time resident, Starbucks made it the focal point of the patio.

The seating around it is very inviting.  In fact, if it weren’t for the World of Disney being right next door, you might easily forget that you were just steps away from the Main Gates.  I can definitely see this area being at full capacity most, if not all of the time.  It’s a great spot to take a break.

"Alfresco" Seating

“Alfresco” Seating

Another element unique to this store is the living wall towards the back of the patio.  The wall features 1000 native plants and acts as a backdrop to more patio seating.

Living Wall with Patio Seating

Living Wall with Patio Seating

 Menu

In addition to their regular beverage menu, this particular Starbucks location has a “Starbucks Reserve”  menu.  They have a special reserve coffee bar that serves up some rare and exotic coffee blends that can not be found at most Starbucks locations.  The Reserve menu changes on a regular basis.

The Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar: Serving Up Unique & Exotic Blends

The Starbucks Reserve Coffee Bar: Serving Up Unique & Exotic Blends

You can also find the familiar refrigerated cases that serve up prepackaged foods, snacks, bottled water, juice, milk and more.

Starbucks Refrigerator Case

Starbucks Refrigerator Case

Pastries and and treats can be found as well.

Starbucks Pastries

Starbucks Pastries

 Merchandise

This location has the typical Starbucks branded gear available for purchase. You can buy coffee, water bottles, cups, mugs, etc.

Starbucks Branded Merchandise

Starbucks Branded Merchandise

They also have a location-specific Orange County mug.

Starbucks Orange County Mug

Starbucks Orange County Mug

I was hoping to see some Starbucks/Disney colab merchandise, but alas it was no where in sight.  I did ask if it was in the works and the answer was, “We aren’t ruling out the possibility.”  So, basically, don’t hold your breath!

Grinds to Go
Reserve coffees can be purchased to take home.

Starbucks Reserve Coffees Available to Take Home

Starbucks Reserve Coffees Available to Take Home

And…. If you need some additional energy to go, you can grab boxes of VIA, tea or coffee to take with you.

VIA, Teas & Coffee for Purchase

VIA, Teas & Coffee for Purchase

Overall

Overall, I think that Starbucks did a great job designing a location that fits right in at the Happiest Place on Earth. The design elements are modern and playful, a perfect Disney fit.  I also love that it provides a great little spot for fueling up before a long day in the parks.  It’s also the perfect retreat if you need a break…

Just a few hours in and already a super long line.

Customers Gladly Welcoming Starbucks to Downtown Disney Anaheim

Customers Gladly Welcoming Starbucks to Downtown Disney, Anaheim

Welcome to Downtown Disney, Starbucks!

Have you had a chance to visit the new Starbucks in Downtown Disney?  If so, did you have a favorite design element? Did you try the Reserve coffees or play with the digital chalkboard? Let us know in the comments below.

Heather Sievers is the Disney Food Blog’s Dining in Disneyland columnist. See more of her columns here!

What’s New Around Disney World and Disneyland for March 8, 2014!

There’s lots new to see all over the World and the Land! So settle in, friends, and read on!

Hollywood Studios

We’re starting this round at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant!

Sci Fi Diner

“…It came from the snack bar”

The House-made Sci-Fi Candy Bar has hit the dessert menu: a white and dark chocolate mousse layered between sponge cake and dipped in chocolate ganache.

Sci Fi Dessert Menu

Sci Fi Dessert Menu

There have been a couple of additions to 50’s Prime Time Café as well.

50s Prime Time Sign

50s Prime Time Sign

Another vegetarian entrée has been added to the menu: Sissy’s Vegetarian Favorite Multigrain Spaghetti! “Vegetable Protein and Mushrooms tossed in Marinara Sauce, just like Spaghetti and Meatballs.”

And don’t forget dessert! All your favorites remain, but Old-fashioned Handmade Milk Shakes are listed, featuring the famous “Peanut Butter & Jelly” and the limited time “Red Velvet Cupcake.”

Magic Kingdom

Okay, this next update isn’t about food… it’s just next to food ;) . But I couldn’t resist [Read more…]

News!: Disney World and Disneyland to Offer Braille Menus at Select Locations Starting March 1st

Today we get to share with you one more way that Disney parks on  both coasts are becoming more user-friendly for all of us!

Both Disney World and Disneyland Resort are preparing to offer a new service for guests with visual disabilities. Starting March 1, 2014, guests may request Braille menus at select food locations across the Parks.

Kouzzina by Cat Cora Menu Cover

Kouzzina by Cat Cora Menu Cover

As always, guests may continue to request menu reading assistance from Cast Members at any location in order to interpret the menu if a Braille version is not yet available at their chosen location, or to meet the preference of the individual.

Cast Members at Flo's

Cast Members at Flo’s

Prior to visiting, more information for guests with visual disabilities ranging from restaurant and [Read more…]

Seven Must-Eat Disney Treats for 2014!

It’s time for some seeeeeeeerious recommendations, friends!!! Do you have your planning spreadsheets ready?!?

Seven Must Eat Disney Treats for 2014

As much as I love my classics (Dole Whip!!!), I have found some brand new delicious Disney treats to add to the list of my favorites in 2014.

If you’re looking to try some new things, or you’re just curious about what fun new finds we’re celebrating, read on — and discover My 7 Favorite New Disney Food Items for 2014!

Brioche Ice Cream Sandwiches at L’Artisan des Glaces Sorbet and Ice Cream Shop

There’s nothing like finding something completely new and original while you’re strolling through the parks. And I wasn’t disappointed on a recent trip through Epcot’s France Pavilion.

We all love L’Artisan des Glaces Sorbet and Ice Cream Shop. I mean, 16 delicious, artisan ice creams and sorbets made right here in Epcot (I’ve seen the machines)!

L'Artisan des Glaces in Epcot's France Pavilion

L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France Pavilion

PLUS Ice Cream Martinis and Chocolate Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches. Are you kidding me?? Utter yumness.

But stop the presses! (Ha! That will be even funnier after you finish reading this.) Because they’ve also added Croque Glaces — Pressed Ice Cream Sandwiches.

L'Artisan des Glaces Pressed Brioche Ice Cream Sandwich with Pistachio Ice Cream and Raspberry Sauce

L’Artisan des Glaces Pressed Brioche Ice Cream Sandwich with Pistachio Ice Cream and Raspberry Sauce

If you love ice cream sandwiches as much as I do, you’ve gotta try this. They take a freshly baked Brioche Bun, add a scoop of your choice of Ice Cream, and a drizzle of your choice of Raspberry or Chocolate Sauce. (Yep! It’s totally customized!)

Adding Ice Cream and Sauce to the Mix!

Adding Ice Cream and Sauce to the Mix!

Then, the top of the bun is replaced, and the whole thing is [Read more…]

Review: New Limited Time Menu Items at Earl of Sandwich

I have to say, I LOVE my Earl of Sandwich email updates.  And when I got this one, my family and I headed over for dinner that very night!

New Earl ItemsFor a limited time (I’m not sure how limited) Earl of Sandwich is offering 4 new menu items: The BBQ Chicken Sandwich, a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich, Bacon Mac n’ Cheese, and Brownie Bark.

These items are currently available in Disney World AND Disneyland, and I’m happy to say that I was able to try out all 4 items and I’m here to report back!

Eats

I ordered the BBQ Chicken Sandwich on white bread and thought it was delicious. I almost never ever stray from my favorite, the Holiday Turkey.  While this is on the menu though, I might just have to switch back and forth on alternating visits.

Earl of Sandwich BBQ Chicken

BBQ Chicken Sandwich

The sandwich is full of chicken smothered in sweet BBQ sauce.  It also has red onions, which were not at all overpowering. I normally ask for no or “easy” onions, but I totally forgot when I ordered, and the amount on the sandwich didn’t bother me at all.

Topped with cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of cilantro, I’d love it if this sandwich made its way permanently to the menu.

BBQ Chicken Sandwich Close Up

BBQ Chicken Sandwich Close Up

My husband went with the Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich.  After trying mine, we both realized that the BBQ Chicken was [Read more…]

Our Favorite, Must-Eat Disney Cakes!

Oooooh, we’re talkin’ CAKE TODAY!!!!!

must eat disney cake

Okay, okay — so technically, National Cake Day was yesterday, apparently. But since we had so much fun with National Pie Day last week, I thought it would be awesome to start sharing some of my favorite Disney cakes. (I’m pretty shocked I haven’t done a cake post before — so much goodness to talk about!)

So here’s the deal with cake at Disney. It can take many forms… . And we’re going to include a bunch of ‘em! In honor of National Cake Day, let’s take a look at some of our favorite entries into the category of cake!

Gourmet Cake Cups at Cheshire Cafe

I recently discovered Cake Nirvana at Disney. Because, in my universe, eating cake is usually a thinly-disguised, socially acceptable way to consume as much frosting as possible.

If you’re giving me a piece of cake, I’m getting a corner piece, with as many frosting roses as possible. That’s just how I roll.

So it’s always pretty great when a bakery can get on board with the “Frosting is the Whole Point!!” perspective. And Cheshire Cafe at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom has done just exactly that.

With their beautifully themed Gourmet Cake Cups, you can choose from a Vanilla Cheshire Cake Cup or a Mad Hatter Mocha Cake Cup. Characters from Alice in Wonderland are silk-screened onto a sweet round of white fondant and top each of the cake cups. (Sometimes. Sometimes you don’t get the characters. But who cares.)

Themed Cake Cups at Cheshire Cafe

Themed Cake Cups at Cheshire Cafe

THIS is what you get when you order. Confetti cake. FROSTING. Confetti cake. FROSTING. Confetti cake. F R O S T I N G!!!!!!

Cheshire Cake Cup at Cheshire Cafe

Cheshire Cake Cup at Cheshire Cafe

Yep. That’s all frosting on top. There’s no cake there my friends. And it’s glorious. Thick, bakery buttercream that’s so sugary it’ll make you sick. LOVE!

Frosting!!

Frosting!!

I know a lot of you don’t have the love affair with frosting that I do, but for those who feel the same — you’re welcome! :-D

Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls

And how could we pay homage to cake without mentioning the original single serving cake? We are talking Disney Cupcakes, of course!

One of my favorites from way back at the beginning of the Cupcake Renaissance is still around and garnering rave reviews — the Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls Cafe!

Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls Cafe in Disney's Hollywood Studios!

Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This is one monster chocolate cupcake that you must experience to believe. Well, the cake is chocolate. And so is that incredible fudgy middle. But the pile of frosting on top is pure heavenly vanilla, topped with a crown of [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Holiday Treats!

We are back with another fun post featuring YOUR Disney Food Pics of the Week! That’s right — this is the post that we turn over to you guys to showcase all of the amazing food photos that you share on the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza!

If you’d like to get in on the fun, head over to Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza on Flickr and join the group. We’d love to see even more of your great food shots!

Today, I thought it would be fun to share with you some Holiday Treats that the group has captured on film. Let’s hit it!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Goodies

You just know it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas when Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party gets underway at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom! Festive decorations, that beautiful castle, snow on Main Street USA — and complimentary Hot Cocoa and Cookies! Sign me up!

Photographer: Hilary White

Hot Cocoa and Cookies at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey Krispie Treats

Rice Krispie Treats are pretty darn irresistible anyway. But make them into [Read more…]

News: New Gourmet Chocolate Peanut Butter Caramel Apple Coming to Disneyland in January

Gourmet Caramel and Candy Apples are legendary at Disney. And come January, guests at Disneyland (and possibly Disney World, too!) are going to have a brand new apple to add to the list!

But seriously, this is one of the most gargantuan caramel apples I’ve ever seen!

A Brand New, Over-the-Top Apple Debuts in January at Disneyland!

Since Disney hasn’t released a name, we’ll go with the [Read more…]

News and Review! Holiday Menu Items at Earl of Sandwich

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… I love being on the Earl of Sandwich email list. Not only do you get a free sandwich for your birthday month (which I just redeemed!) but you also get emails letting you know about seasonal specials.

When this one recently arrived, I got pretty excited!

Holiday eats have descended upon Earl of Sandwiches across the country, and I headed into our local Disneyland store to check ‘em out! Note that these are also available at the Walt Disney World Earl of Sandwich!

Holiday Turkey Sandwich

We all know that the Holiday Turkey Sandwich is here to stay as it became a permanent menu item last year. And even though it’s always there, I still get super excited whenever I get a chance to have one.

Piled high with turkey, stuffing, gravy & cranberry sauce, this sandwich is comfort food at its best.  A hand held Thanksgiving meal, the Holiday Turkey Sandwich is toasted to perfection and really can not be beat.

Holiday Turkey Sandwich

Holiday Ham Sandwich

New to the holiday sandwich family this year is the Holiday Ham Sandwich.

With heaps of ham, fresh pineapple rings & a holiday apple glaze type sauce, this sandwich is sure to be a huge hit.  Served warm and toasted just like all of its Earl relatives, the flavors in this new sandwich really pop.

In my opinion, you can’t really go wrong with a pineapple/ham partnership.

Holiday Ham Sandwich

Peppermint Brownies

Peppermint Brownies have also made a comeback.  They taste just as great as they did when they made their debut last year. Chocolate goodness sprinkled with [Read more…]