What’s New Around Walt Disney World: March 26th, 2015

I’m not sure what it feels like in your neck of the woods, but the calendar says it’s officially SPRING! And the season is ON at Walt Disney World, with new food items to help feed those spring break crowds (did somebody say “Grilled Cheese”?), as well as an egg-stra special Easter display at the Grand Floridian Resort.

But that’s not all! There’s much more in store… so let’s hop to it, as we take another trip around the World to see What’s New!

MAGIC KINGDOM

Be Our Guest Breakfast

Hey, has anyone heard of some little dive by the name of Be Our Guest Restaurant? ;)

Be Our Guest in the First Light of Morning

Be Our Guest in the First Light of Morning

Well, in case you didn’t know about the Advance Dining Reservations heard ‘round the World, the popular restaurant is now open for BREAKFAST! Huge hits on the all-new prix fixe menu include the Open-Face Bacon and Egg Sandwich and the Croissant Doughnut.

Open-Face Bacon and Egg Sandwich

Open-Face Bacon and Egg Sandwich

Croissant Doughnut and fresh fruit

Croissant Doughnut and fresh fruit

You can read our Opening Day Everything on the Menu review HERE!

Sweet Treat Makeovers

Not sure how long this gem will be around, but the Cinderella Coach Apple celebrating the recently released live-action “Cinderella” film sure is a beauty!

Cinderella Coach Apple

Cinderella Coach Apple

You can find it for a limited time at the Main Street Confectionery and Big Top Treats. (Keep an eye out at spots outside of Magic Kingdom like Goofy’s Candy Company and Sweet Spells, too!) A few of the Krispy Treats have joined in on the fun, as well…

Cinderella Coach Apples and Krispy Treats

Cinderella Coach Apples and Krispy Treats

Snack Location Switcheroos

Looking for your favorite Dole Whip or Citrus Swirl over in Adventureland?

Citrus Swirl at Sunshine Tree Terrace

Citrus Swirl at Sunshine Tree Terrace

Well, the homes for these beloved snacks have changed places. You see, Sunshine Tree Terrace — home of the Citrus Swirl — is now located where Aloha Isle used to be. And Aloha Isle, boasting its signature Dole Whip? It’s now located where Sunshine Tree Terrace used to be.

New Aloha Isle location

New Aloha Isle location

New Sunshine Tree Terrace location

New Sunshine Tree Terrace location

Confused? Fret not — you can read all about it here! Rumor has it that this all has something to do with a new restaurant on the horizon for Adventureland. (And what’s this we’re hearing about a possible Jungle Cruise theme?!) Time will surely tell!

Speaking of location changes… If you’re hoping to enjoy a Jumbo Turkey Leg in Magic Kingdom, they’ll be available at Cool Ship in Tomorrowland starting TODAY.

Cool Ship

Cool Ship area

Walt Disney World Turkey Leg

Walt Disney World Turkey Leg

This temporary move will allow for [Read more…]

Raglan Road Irish Pub Wants to Send YOU to Ireland with Their Master Chef Contest!

One thing is certain: Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant knows how to celebrate!

We recently enjoyed sampling some of Raglan Road’s new menu items. And today, we’ve got some news for you about how they plan to celebrate their upcoming Tenth Anniversary!

The restaurant, located in Downtown Disney Orlando (soon to be Disney Springs), will mark their Tenth Anniversary in October. And to celebrate, they’re hosting a Master Chef Contest that could land YOU in Ireland!

Now through April 21st, amateur cooks are invited to submit “a video featuring an original three-course menu of appetizer, entrée and dessert worthy of the restaurant’s 10th anniversary celebration.”

Raglan Road’s Master Chef Kevin Dundon will judge entries and choose five finalists on April 28.

Raglan Road Contest Pic

Finalists will all win an all-expenses-paid trip to Ireland! They’ll fly to the Emerald Isle on May 21 and stay at [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.

dfb2015_guide_3d

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…]

Review: Flour and Sugar Cookie Kiosk at the New Downtown Disney Village Causeway

It was fun seeing some of the progress amidst all the Disney Springs construction on a recent trip to Downtown Disney. While the main purpose of my visit was to check out the new Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC, I was also able to do some exploring and check out a few new features in the area, including the recently opened Village Causeway on the Marketplace side.

Village Causeway

Village Causeway

This also gave me a chance to try a little something from Flour and Sugar, one of four new retail kiosks on the Causeway.The reason for interest in Flour and Sugar is that is specializes in cookies — and not just any cookies, but cookies inspired by the Sunshine State. Let’s have a look!

Flour & Sugar sign

Flour & Sugar sign

Atmosphere

As mentioned, Flour and Sugar itself is simply a kiosk. We’ll be exploring the stand itself momentarily, but the “atmosphere” I’m mainly referring to revolves around the Village Causeway itself, where Flour and Sugar finds its home.

Village Causeway

Village Causeway

We’ve been keeping an eye on the Causeway since its earliest construction days when it looked like this:

The beginnings of the Causeway

The beginnings of the Causeway (April 2014)

The Village Causeway allows easier access from the area surrounding T-Rex and the Lego Store to the Rainforest Cafe side of the Marketplace. The view below of Fulton’s Crab House is from the start of the bridge on the T-Rex side.

The view from the T-Rex and Lego side of the Causeway

The view from the T-Rex and Lego side of the Causeway

The Rainforest Cafe side of the Causeway

The Rainforest Cafe side of the Causeway

What used to be solely water space now provides a roomy passage, and if you’ve ever been caught in the gridlock around the World of Disney store (also rumored to receive its own expansion one of these days), I don’t need to tell you what a great thing the Causeway is.

Aside from the walkway, there are a few benches here and there to relax and take in the views, and the [Read more…]

News! Planet Hollywood Will Be Re-imagined to Fit the Disney Springs Look

If you’ve found your parking spot by using Planet Hollywood’s giant globe-meets-spaceship as a landmark, get ready for a change.

As we mentioned in a previous post, we now have confirmation that the iconic restaurant will be undergoing a major transformation in the near future. The makeover will take place to ensure that the restaurant’s decor is consistent with the rest of Disney Springs. (Read more about the transformation of Downtown Disney to Disney Springs here.)

The star-themed eatery will transform into Planet Hollywood Observatory, and will be modeled after a turn of the century (20th century, that is) observatory, a feature that a town might have had at the time.

The new motif will incorporate a high-tech planetarium inside, thus enabling guests to “dine among the stars.”

But if you’re sad to see the Hollywood memorabilia go, don’t be. Much of it will stay put, as the restaurant and lounge will still feature props and costumes from film. In addition, large movie screens will play movie features as you dine. (You can take a look at the current atmosphere and menu in our review here.)

Entrance to Planet Hollywood

Current Planet Hollywood

The outside area will also transform with brick surrounds, and the pole that has hosted the neon “Planet Hollywood” sign will be turned into a [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…”

DOWNTOWN DISNEY

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…]

Review: New Menu Items (and Lots of Fresh Cocktails!) Debut at Raglan Road Irish Pub in Time for St. Patrick’s Mighty Festival

Raglan Road Irish Pub at Downtown Disney continues to be one of my favorite spots to gather with friends.

Although the major overhaul of the Downtown Disney / Disney Springs area makes getting here more difficult, I think it’s worth the time and effort to make it happen.

You’ll find Raglan Road right in the front of what was formerly known as Pleasure Island, but what is slowly morphing into The Landing at Disney Springs. Indeed, so much work has taken place in this area (finally!) that you’ll hardly recognize it if you haven’t been there for a while. Let’s take a quick look at the immediate area, and also have a little look around the Pub before we settle in for the food talk.

Atmosphere

So…how long’s it been since you visited Raglan Road? Because the landscape around the Pub has definitely changed a bit. At least, for the time being. If you’re accustomed to approaching Raglan Road from the (previously) adjacent parking lot, you might be a little disoriented.

Raglan Road -- Outside, with Construction Walls

Raglan Road — Outside, with Construction Walls

We actually parked in the completed West Side Parking Building, and the exit brings you out in front of Planet Hollywood. From there, it’s just a short walk, past some of the new Disney Springs shops, to reach Raglan Road.

Don’t let all of those construction walls put you off. Once you’re inside, it’s exactly the same, and you’ll start to feel that sense of the familiar as you step into the foyer.

Entrance Foyer

Entrance Foyer

The gift shop is located to the right. You’ll find a good assortment of Raglan Road merch, but there are also some interesting items that would make awesome gifts.

Gift Shop

Gift Shop

You can choose between two bars. And be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to look around — the bars and other trim in the pub were actually salvaged from pubs, churches, and other spots in Ireland. That sense of nostalgia and antique? Totally authentic.

One of the Two Bars

One of the Two Bars

Raglan Road is pretty large, boasting three separate dining rooms, plus a snug and a few inviting corners. For a more extensive tour, check out our most recent lunch review.

Recently, I had the chance to sample some of the new menu items that Raglan Road has introduced just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

Eats

The staff of Raglan Road were excited to share some delicious new dishes with us. To showcase them, we enjoyed a sampling of several new items at a recent luncheon.

Dinner Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Dinner Menu — Click to Enlarge

Raglan Road fans will be relieved to see that a lot of their favorites, like Dalkey Duo and Nom Nom Wings, made the cut.

Menu -- Appetizers -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Appetizers — Click to Enlarge

Likewise, there are a couple of new Entree options that we’ll look at, but all of the signature items remain.

Menu -- Entrees -- Click to Enlarge

The New Dinner Menu — Entrees — Click to Enlarge

Menu -- Salads and Sides -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Salads and Sides — Click to Enlarge

While what you see here may not be plated in exactly the same way it was for us when you order it, you’ll get the idea from the pictures of the fives courses we enjoyed.

We also have several drinks to show you. Don’t worry; what you’re about to see was a team effort, and not my own personal parade of drinks. ;-) To keep things straight, I’ll share the cocktails as they were served — paired with each course.

We began our meal with an aperitif, an Irish Honey Cup. The refreshing drink combined Bushmills Irish Honey, Pimms, Fresh Lemon Sour, and Sprite for a little sparkle. The drink was garnished with Cucumber and Fresh Lemon.

Irish Honey Cup

Irish Honey Cup

We began with Harry’s Beef Carpaccio, a combination of Seared Beef Tenderloin with a side of Greens and Tomato, simply dressed with Creamy Anchovy Vinaigrette. The dish is garnished with freshly shaved Parmesan

Harry's Beef Carpaccio

Harry’s Beef Carpaccio

…and an Anchovy Filet. I confess, this wasn’t my favorite part. But others seemed to enjoy it. And it was certainly a showstopper!

Anchovy Garnish on the Carpaccio

Anchovy Garnish on the Carpaccio

Our next course would be an [Read more…]

News! And Review: Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC (BabyCakes!) Opens in Disney Springs

Just last week we showed you the signs outside the new Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC in Downtown Disney…

Erin McKenna's NYC Bakery sign

Erin McKenna’s NYC Bakery sign

And NOW we are happy to report that as of yesterday, it’s open for business!

First things first: Why all the excitement over this bakery? Well, aside from being the latest addition on the scene as Downtown Disney transitions to Disney Springs, it’s also the new home to BabyCakes NYC gluten-free and vegan baked goods in Disney World!

Erin McKenna's Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna’s Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna is the founder of BabyCakes NYC. Almost one year ago, the BabyCakes location in Downtown Disney’s Marketplace closed (along with Pollo Campero and Bodie’s All-American) to accommodate construction in the area. The new Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC fills the void felt by many guests on restricted diets, either due to allergies, digestive intolerances or lifestyle choice when BabyCakes closed, so we’re here to offer it a hearty “Welcome Back!”

Atmosphere

Now, I just mentioned the Marketplace, so let’s not go too much further before we discuss the location of Erin McKenna’s. It finds its home in what is now called The Landing (formerly part of the Pleasure Island area). Depending on your most recent visit to Downtown Disney, things may look a LOT different! You’ll find Erin McKenna’s tucked right in among some brand new retails shops including Sanuk, Sound Lion, and Chapel Hats, facing what will be The Boathouse restaurant.

Erin Mckenna's NYC Bakery at The Landing

Erin Mckenna’s NYC Bakery at The Landing

Seeing this area with its exposed brick and aesthetically pleasing outdoor strolling area, you really do start to get a feel for how much [Read more…]

Celebrate National Margarita Day Tomorrow, Walt Disney World Style!

We are happy to start a little early celebrating National Margarita Day tomorrow, February 22! Now, this is a holiday I can get behind!!!

If you’ve been here for any amount of time at all, then you know I lurve a good Margarita. (If you’re new here at DFB — welcome…and FYI, I love margaritas!) And some of my very favorites can be found right at Walt Disney World.

Grab some limes and tequila and let’s take a look at our must-drink margs!

Avocado Margarita at La Cava del Tequila

The AguacateAvocado Margarita — from La Cava del Tequila has been one of my very favorites from the first time I sampled it!

It’s a wonderful, made-to-order concoction that blends Avocado, Lime Juice, White Tequila, and Melon Liqueur for a flavor that’s like no other!

Avocado Margarita

Avocado Margarita

My favorite thing about this drink is the perfect balance of the creamy consistency with a sweet flavor — not to mention the tequila :-). A little Agave Nectar and the liqueur balance the flavors nicely.

And thanks to an awesome reader, you and I can even make this one at home today with this recipe, and celebrate this holiday in style!

Blood Orange Margarita at Flying Fish Cafe

Blood Orange is one of my favorite flavors. After all, with the complex, less sweet, almost bitter taste it imparts, it’s a little more interesting than plain old orange…orange.

And it’s especially delicious when paired with other flavors in a margarita. We’ve enjoyed versions of this festive cocktail at San Angel Inn Ristorante, but my favorite one can be found at Flying Fish Cafe.

Blood Orange Margarita

Blood Orange Margarita

If you’re anything like me, if you order this, it’ll be gone pretty quickly! SO good!

Italian Margarita at Via Napoli

One thing that you can count on at Disney when it comes to food and drink is a fun, fusion approach to some of your favorites. Case in point: the Italian Margarita in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion!

I first discovered this delicious drink at Via Napoli, the Italy Pavilion’s fantastic spot for pizza.

Italian Margarita

Italian Margarita

But it’s proven to be so popular, it’s also been available at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in recent years! And fortunately, you can still order it at Italy’s Gelato Stand.

Italian Margarita at the Food and Wine Festival's Italy Booth!

Italian Margarita at the Food and Wine Festival’s Italy Booth!

Flavored with a smooth combination of [Read more…]

News! Erin McKenna’s Bakery Signage Up in Downtown Disney (BabyCakes is Back!)

Okay, BabyCakes fans… this one’s for you!

With the ongoing construction at Downtown Disney (as it continues in its transition to become Disney Springs), there’s a lot of anticipation about the new dining spots on the way: from The Boathouse and Morimoto Asia to STK Orlando. If you’ve been following the Downtown Disney/Disney Springs food news, you may recall in November when we mentioned the possible return of BabyCakes NYC to Downtown Disney in the revitalized form of Erin McKenna’s Bakery Valentine.

We’re happy to bring you official signs of its return… with the SIGNS now hanging outside what will be the bakery!

And, according to Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC’s Facebook page, it will open this Sunday at 1PM! (Thanks to reader Heather for the heads up!)

Erin McKenna's Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna’s Bakery Storefront — Word is Out That the Bakery Will Open This Sunday!

Erin McKenna's Bakery sign

Erin McKenna’s Bakery sign

Erin McKenna is the founder of BabyCakesNYC, known for its great selection of gluten-free, vegan treats including cupcakes and donuts in a wide variety of flavors.

Babycakes Sweets and Treats

Babycakes Sweets and Treats

Fans of BabyCakes will certainly remember [Read more…]