What’s New Around Walt Disney World: March 15, 2016

Happy Spring! At least, it’s Spring in Disney World where temperatures are starting to rise once more with warm days leading into gorgeous nights!

Springtime Treats at Main Street Confectionery

Springtime Treats at Main Street Confectionery

No matter what the thermometer says in your neck of the woods, why not enjoy a bit of spring with us here at the DFB as we travel all over Disney World to find out What’s New!? [Read more…]

Best of the Fest: What to Eat at the 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

There’s a lot to love about Epcot during just about every season. With the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in the Fall, and Holidays Around the World celebrating Winter holidays, this has truly become a festival Park!

But Spring in the park is especially beautiful as the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival gets going. (I know. It doesn’t feel like Spring everywhere. But trust me. It does in Florida.)

Flower and Garden Festival

The Flower and Garden Festival, which runs through May 30, opened last week, and we were there for the very first day! After an afternoon of Eating and Drinking Around the World, we came away with pictures of all of the dishes — and more than a few new favorites! Today, we’d like to share with you our Best of the Fest — our top picks from the new dishes that you can enjoy when you visit this year’s Festival.

Jerk-spice Grouper (or Chicken) from La Isla Fresca

La Isla Fresca debuted at the 2016 Flower and Garden Festival, and it brings with it the fresh flavors of the Caribbean. Everything that we tasted here was a winner!

La Isla Fresca Dishes

La Isla Fresca Dishes

But we especially liked the option to choose between Jerked Grouper or Chicken (although we went for both! :-D) But seriously — not everyone is a fish lover, and not all folks eat chicken. So having a dish where you can decide, but still enjoy the flavors, is a great idea! [Read more…]

News: Two NEW Challenges Join the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in 2016!

We don’t often report on runDisney news here at the DFB (unless it has to do with WHAT you’re going to eat BEFORE your race and WHERE you’re going to eat after to celebrate your accomplishment!).

wine and dine logo

But we make a small exception for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon… ‘cuz wine. And DINE! And also because it takes place in tandem with the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, our favorite celebration of the year!

So we thought we’d chime in with some news about the 2016 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, which will take place November 3 – 6, 2016.

Here’s the RUNdown, along with details on two NEW challenges debuting this year!

Wine and Dine Half Marathon

First: the Half Marathon — typically a nighttime race — will take place in daytime hours moving forward, beginning at Epcot at 5:30 AM on Sunday, November 6th. An updated course will bring runners through Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Please note that the Post Race Party will take place on Sunday evening, and runners will have exclusive access during “later hours,” according to runDisney. (This is AWESOME, because it means you don’t miss out on party fun if you’re a slower runner…not that I have any experience in that department at all, of course. ;-D)

2015 Epcot Wine and Dine Medal

2015 Epcot Wine and Dine Medal

Wine and Dine 10K — NEW!

Second: a Disney Wine & Dine 10K has been added to the weekend, with Chef Remy on the way to host the race! The race will start at Epcot at 5:30 AM on Saturday, November 6th. (There will still be a 5K race as well :-D; Mickey’s Holiday 5K will take place at Animal Kingdom on Friday, November 4.)

Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge — NEW!

[Read more…]

News: Orange-Scented Gift Cards Debut at the 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Are you familiar with the handy-dandy Disney Gift Card wristlets that are so popular during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival?

Food and Wine Festival Disney Gift Card Wristlet

Food and Wine Festival Disney Gift Card Wristlet

These wristband-meets-mini gift cards were introduced years ago for ease of use while visiting the Festival’s Marketplace Booths. Rather than digging in your wallet for cash or a card to pay for your items while trying to balance a couple of small plates and a beverage, these little guys allow you to simply strap your form of payment on your wrist, making transactions at the booths that much easier. [Read more…]

Review: Monsieur Paul in Epcot’s France Pavilion

It’s been a while since we’ve ventured up the beautiful staircase to dine at Monsieur Paul.

Sure, we’ve taken in a few special events lately. We had an amazing time at the The Parisian Afternoon event during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival recently. But that event takes place in the afternoon (obviously). And there’s something extra special about arriving at this signature restaurant to enjoy a leisurely dinner in the evening.

Let’s take a look at all that experienced on our recent visit.

Atmosphere

If you haven’t dined at Monsieur Paul before (or its predecessor, Bistro de Paris), then part of the fun will be finding it. That’s a little easier these days than it used to be, thanks to this sign that’s stationed right on the Promenade.

In front of France Restaurants Monsieur Paul

Restaurant Options in the France Pavilion

Just hang a right just before you arrive at the entrance to Les Chefs de France (the France Pavilion’s table service spot — here’s our recent review), and head back through the Pavilion. The awning over the double doors, which features the restaurant’s name (it didn’t previously) marks the entrance. [Read more…]

News! ALL FOOD PHOTOS for the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival!

It’s here!

#FreshEpcot!

#FreshEpcot!

For those of you who love delicious food as much as beautiful gardens and flowers, you’re in for a treat, as the 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is officially underway!

We spent the day Dining and Drinking Around the World to bring you pictures of all the new eats and drinks! We were pleased with so many of the dishes once more. Epcot continues to bring their “A” game in terms of both creativity and portion sizes.

Click here to see pictures of all the menu items at the 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival!

We also really enjoyed some fantastic drinks. And the food and beverage team continue to scour the world to bring some really unique beverages for us to try.

Flower and Garden Festival

In addition, we enjoyed some really refreshing non-alcoholic sips as well — the perfect refreshment as we took in the myriad of topiaries, exhibits and flower displays.

[Read more…]

First Look! Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Booth FOOD Pictures!

We had the opportunity to attend the Tables in Wonderland Flower and Garden Festival Preview Event on Friday!

Disney Food Blog Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

And we’re excited to share with you all of the news — and photos! — detailing some of the delicious dishes and wonderful drinks that you can expect at the 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, running from March 2-May 30, 2016!

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Preview

But, super quick, before we get to the food, we HAD to show you a sneak peek at the festival itself! Crews are busy at working, preparing all of the exhibits.

Workers Getting It Done

Workers Getting It Done

We also had a first look at the brand new Music Garden Melodies Playground! OK, it doesn’t look like much right now, but kiddos are gonna LOVE this! [Read more…]

Recommended Disney Dining Plan Quick Service Credit Values

We are back with the final installment in our popular series sharing our picks for the Top Value Restaurants when it comes to using your Disney Dining Plan in Walt Disney World.

Disney Food Blog Recommended Disney Dining Plan Quick Service Credit Values

Previously, we shared our recommendations for the Recommended Disney Dining Plan Two-Credit Restaurants as well as our choices for Recommended Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Restaurant Values.

Today, we’re sharing our recommendations for Quick Service Restaurants when you’re using the Disney Dining Plan.

Remember — the name of the game here is finding the restaurants that hit the right balance: they have 1) a high average entree price, but they’re also 2) spots that we here at DFB would recommend.

Why is this important? Because we want to help you maximize those Disney Dining Plan Quick Service Credits. Note that we have plenty of our own favorites that don’t make this list because the average price didn’t put them at the top.

Here are our picks for the restaurants that give you the best overall bang for your Disney Dining Plan buck when it comes to quick service credit spots.

Wolfgang Puck Express

Wolfgang Puck Express has been around forever, it seems. But one thing doesn’t change — even after all of these years, it still represents amazing quality and value, whether you’re dining on the DDP or not.

Wolfgang Puck Express Roast Chicken -- One of My All-Time Favorites

Wolfgang Puck Express Roast Chicken — One of My All-Time Favorites

That’s because the food here is easily on par with many table service spots. And when you consider that the average price of an entree here is just over $13, it also makes a lot of sense to spend your DDP credits here. [Read more…]

News! 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival FULL Menus!

We have big news from Epcot today!

The 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Menus are Finally Here!

With less than two weeks to go before the opening of the 2016 Flower and Garden Festival, we have the full list of menus for the super popular Outdoor Kitchens! Mark your calendars — the Festival lasts from March 2 through May 30.

Disney Food Blog Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

These Outdoor Kitchens, which are similar to Marketplace Booths that dominate the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, feature delicious small plates and all kinds of refreshing beverages that allow you to taste fresh flavors from the garden.

Cinderella Topiary at the Flower and Garden Festival

Cinderella Topiary at the Flower and Garden Festival

We've Loved This Violet Lemonade!

We’ve Loved This Violet Lemonade!

There are lots and lots of new things to try. A brand new Outdoor Kitchen will debut in 2016. La Isla Fresca will feature food and drink with Caribbean flair.

And we’re excited to see plenty of our favorites return, like the Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños from the Smokehouse Outdoor Kitchen!

Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños from the Smokehouse Outdoor Kitchen

Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños from the Smokehouse Outdoor Kitchen

Although we said goodbye to Buttercup Cottage, the UK-inspired Outdoor Kitchen, in 2015, we have great news! The Cider House, which features a menu similar to Buttercup, will join the lineup this year! Find this new spot in the UK Pavilion. [Read more…]

Friday Happy Hour: Beet, and Blood Orange Margaritas at Epcot’s La Cava del Tequila

Looking for a unique margarita? Well, look no further than La Cava del Tequila!

Tucked inside Epcot’s gorgeous Mexico Pavilion, this cozy tequila house was once considered something of a hidden gem. While it’s definitely still a gem, it can no longer really be considered “hidden,” judging by the lines that can easily extend out the door. In fact, these lines were likely part of the recent change in hours for La Cava, which now opens at 11:30 am (as opposed to the previous Noon opening). AND you can grab a quick ‘rita after Illuminations if you’d like; closing time has now been extended to 9:30 pm.

La Cava has well-earned a solid reputation for its impressive selection of tequila, some freaking amazing Queso, and a staff with passion and knowledge about all things related to tequila as well as creative margarita concoctions.

And what’s better than a margarita from La Cava? Why, that would be TWO margaritas from La Cava!

So join me as I try an old favorite — the Blood Orange Margarita — along with a newer selection that was just begging for a taste test: the Beet Margarita.

La Cava del Tequila

La Cava del Tequila

But first… remember those lines I mentioned? These days, this joint is pretty much always jumpin’… the shot below serves as an example of the packed house on my recent visit. [Read more…]