What’s New Around Walt Disney World — April 13, 2016

It’s time for another Trip Around the World to check out all the latest eats and happenings… and maaaaaybe a couple of construction walls, while we’re at it ;). Because while April showers might bring May flowers, this month is also bringing LOTS of changes to the Disney World parks!

And nowhere else is that more true than…

Hollywood Studios

“Please Pardon Our Pixie Dust”

It’s already been over six months since it was announced that MAJOR changes are on the way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios with the construction of Toy Story and Star Wars Lands.

"Please Pardon Our Pixie Dust"

“Please Pardon Our Pixie Dust”

Of course, it will be quite some time before those Lands are realized, but early April brought some of the first physical signs of change as the Streets of America section of the park (including eateries such as Studio Catering Co., High Octane Refreshments, Herbie’s Drive-In and the Pretzel Garden) was officially closed to make way for construction. [Read more…]

Review: New Cookies n’ Cream Funnel Cake in Epcot’s American Adventure Pavilion

It’s FUNNEL CAKE TIME!!! But this isn’t just any funnel cake… .

Now, as someone who loves a good funnel cake, I have to admit… Disneyland has cornered the market as far as Disney Funnel Cakes go. Stage Door Cafe offers consistently great toppings right down to the signature Whipped Cream Mickey. And the latest Churro Funnel Cake at Hungry Bear Restaurant really upped the ol’ ante.

Disney World, on the other hand, doesn’t have quite the same Funnel Cake game. While you can always grab a Funnel Cake at spots like Sleepy Hollow Refreshments, Oasis Canteen, or the Funnel Cake Kiosk along Disney’s BoardWalk, toppings are typically pretty standard; usually ice cream or often strawberry along with the classic powdered sugar.

The Funnel Cake stop that does change its options from time to time, though, is the Funnel Cake Stand in Epcot’s American Adventure Pavilion. Double Chocolate Funnel Cakes and Pumpkin Spice have rotated over the past couple years as the seasonal options (and they used to offer a Strawberry a few years back), but even those haven’t seen any further variety for some time.

Until now, that is… because a Cookies n’ Cream Funnel Cake has hit the scene at Epcot’s Funnel Cake Stand!

Funnel Cake Stand in the America Pavilion

Funnel Cakes sign

The standbys remain, of course; you can still grab the standard funnel cake with sugar, or add that big ol’ slab of vanilla ice cream or chocolate sauce as additional toppings. But the new headliner is the Cookies n’ Cream. [Read more…]

Review: House-made Salt and Vinegar Chips at the Rose & Crown Beer Stand in Epcot

AJ’s Note: If you’re concerned about the chips vs. crisps situation in this review, please see my note in the comments. Love you!

Do you know what the Rose & Crown Beer Stand in Epcot’s United Kingdom serves?

Okay, you got me… BEER! ;) But guess what else it just started serving up recently? Potato Chips.

But not just any old potato chips… we’re talking about Disney House-made Chips! You may already be familiar with these goodies that are often served as a side for dishes like the Anchors Aweigh and Lighthouse Sandwiches at Columbia Harbour House, and the Lobster Club Sandwich at The Artist’s Palette.

That’s just a small sampling, of course. You can find House-made Chips in several locations around Disney World, but often solely as a side to an entree and rarely sold separately on the menu (though you can probably ask for them as a separately served side). No matter where you find them, the fresh quality and natural flavor often help the chips stand out as much as the entree they’re served alongside. So it was great to see these available at the Rose & Crown Beer Stand in TWO flavor options: Original and Salt & Vinegar.

You’ll receive a bag like this for $4.25 out of pocket or as a snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan

Bag of Salt & Vinegar Chips

Bag of Salt & Vinegar Chips

I grabbed the Salt & Vinegar because the flavor is unique to this location… and I was in the United Kingdom, after all! [Read more…]

Review: Katsura Grill in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

Konnichiwa! And welcome back to another visit to Katsura Grill!

The counter service spot, located in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion, sits higher than the rest of the elevation in the area. Nestled into a garden behind the temple, this spot offers lovely, serene surroundings.

And in the past, we’ve really enjoyed the food here as well — especially lighter, healthier options, like Steamed Veggies and Miso.

I decided to visit Katsura spur-of-the-moment for lunch recently to see if I could still recommend this out-of-the-way counter service location. Come with me as we check out what I found.

Atmosphere

If you haven’t fully explored the Japan Pavilion, then make sure to carve out a little extra time to do it on your very next trip to Epcot. There’s lots to take in.

As you make your way through the Pavilion to the back, Katsura Grill sits to the left. You’ll do a little climbing to get up to it, however.

Katsura Grill

Katsura Grill

The building itself demonstrates a simple Japanese aesthetic. Whereas the temple in front of it is a showstopper, Katsura is plain and functional, with dark wood accents and a thatched roof. [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Shrimp on the Barbie from the Australia Booth

We’re still months away from the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival but it’s always fun to look back at favorite dishes from the past years!

Food and Wine 2015 Info Graphic Square URL

We loved these Shrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze way back in 2012 and we’ve had a few reader requests for the recipe too!

Now it might be a wee bit cold in your neck of the woods for grilling outside but you can use a grill pan on the stove for this recipe and it’ll be just as delicious! Plus, the pepperberry sauce is delightfully spicy so it’s the perfect dish to whip up on a cold winter day!

We love exotic-sounding dishes that are actually really easy cook, and this Shrimp on the Barbie recipe is right up our alley! The shrimp would make a great, quick appetizer for a dinner party or a spicy side dish with pasta or steak.

Let’s get cooking and throw a few shrimp on the barbie!

Shrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze

Shrimp on the Barbie with Pepper Berry Citrus Glaze

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Our Favorite Epcot Restaurants

We are big fans of Epcot around here, just like you are. It may not be the original Disney World Park, but it holds a charm that few other spots in the Disney universe can. After all, walking around there feels like  you’ve stepped into the dreams of Walt Disney himself. It didn’t start life as the Experimental Prototype City Of Tomorrow for nothing!

Epcot!!!

Epcot!!!

The park has evolved a bit through the years, but we’re still enchanted by its dual personalities: Future World, celebrating technology and the promise of what’s to come; and World Showcase, which encourages visitors to embrace cultures from around the globe in order to learn from them. [Read more…]

Best Disney World Cinnamon Rolls

Nothing hits the spot quite like that decadent treat, a Disney Cinnamon Roll. Whether you’re enjoying one of these mammoth pastries for breakfast with your coffee, or as an afternoon snack, it’s been one of my favorites forever!

It’s unfortunate that some of the very best ones, like the Main Street Bakery Cinnamon Roll and the Sticky Bun at Kouzzina, are no longer available.

Best Disney World Cinnamon Rolls

But there are still so many delicious options available out there! Let’s take a look at a few of my favorites, and then you can share with me which ones you like the best. [Read more…]

Best Kept Disney Dining Secrets: Saving Money in Disney World

We are back with some of our very best kept Disney Dining Secrets. And we want to share them with you!

2016 book cover dfb guide

Planning where you’ll be spending your food budget in Disney World is a BIG deal. There are so many choices to make! Maybe you’re worried about getting the advance dining reservations you’d like the most. And what about your favorite brands and foods? Will they have them?

These are all great questions, and we address them all in our DFB Guide to WDW Dining e-Book! But today, we’re exploring one of the biggest concerns: Is it possible to save a buck or two when you’re at Disney?

Secrets to Saving Money in Disney World

Today, we’ll share some of our favorite ways to save money during your visit to Walt Disney World. And if you like what you see here, be sure to check out even more secrets in the brand new DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, 2016 Edition, where we gather over 530 pages of tips, recommendations, and secrets to make your Disney trip the best ever!

Here we go!

Ditch Unwanted Sides

I love this tip, and it can save you some serious cash (and calories!). You may think the price printed on the menu board or in the menu is non-negotiable. But we’ve got a secret to share!

Did you know that you can often forego unwanted sides? For instance, say you order a sandwich that comes with fries, but you don’t really want them. Ask if you can order your sandwich as an entree only and save!

Cheeseburger at Backlot Express!

Cheeseburger at Backlot Express!

And if you’re a light eater, or someone who doesn’t really care about (or literally can’t EAT) that side of salad/chips/fries/coleslaw/pasta salad, then you’ll never miss it.

[Read more…]

Review: Starbucks Smoked Butterscotch Latte and Frappuccino… vs. Butterbeer™

There has been a LOT of hype over the latest specialty beverages to arrive to Starbucks.

And while these new sips are being served at Starbucks locations all over Disney property in spots like Epcot’s Fountain View, Magic Kingdom’s Main Street BakeryTrolley Car Cafe at Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom’s Creature Comforts, they’re likely gracing the menu at your local Starbucks, too (making this a two-fer review for you!).

We’re talking about the Smoked Butterscotch Latte and Smoked Butterscotch Frappuccino! And though they’re available nationwide, many folks are making the comparison to a specific specialty drink at a certain theme park also located in Central Florida: BUTTERBEER™.

Described as “creamy-sweet with kettle cooked butterscotch,” it sure sounds enticing enough.

Smoked Butterscotch Drink Menu

Smoked Butterscotch Drink Menu

So I grabbed both the hot latte and the frappuccino versions so I could decide for myself how they really compare to a glass of Butterbeer™. If you’ve never had one, Butterbeer comes in a few different versions like cold or frozen, and has a very sweet and distinct butterscotch flavor throughout its cream soda base. The whole thing is topped off with foam.

Butterbeer at Three Broomsticks

Butterbeer at Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter

[Read more…]

News! 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Eat to the Beat Concert Preliminary Dates

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Fans — it’s tiiiiiime!

Food and Wine Festival Updates

As you know, here at DFB we report as SOON as we have any Epcot Food and Wine Festival info. And today we have a FIRST LOOK at a couple of the artists you can expect to return for the 2016 Eat to the Beat concert series!

If you’re new to the Food and Wine Festival, here’s a little background. Eat to the Beat is a concert series that takes place during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which runs this year from September 14-November 14. The series features musical acts from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s each year, and concerts take place throughout most evenings of the Festival.

Since this partial list is preliminary, be sure to stay tuned to the Disney Food Blog for additions and/or changes to the schedule! We will bring you all the latest news first!

Eat to the Beat concerts are performed three times per evening, so you have three opportunities every night to see your favorite acts — at 5:30PM, 6:45PM, and 8:00PM.

eat-to-the-beat-logo

2016 Eat to the Beat Concert Line Up…So Far

Note: this schedule is subject to change.

September 16-18: Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas
October 20-21: Christopher Cross

We’ll be updating our Eat to the Beat Schedule Page as soon as we have more bands confirmed! Taking in an Eat to the Beat concert is a great way to unwind and continue the fun of the Food and Wine Festival into the evening. [Read more…]