News: Same-Day Dining Reservations for Skipper Canteen in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Ahoy, Jungle Cruise Passengers!

If you have a trip planned to the Magic Kingdom in February, you may want to know about a new limited-time option for booking a same-day dining reservation at the Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen (the Jungle Cruise Restaurant)!

Since the Jungle Skipper Canteen first opened its doors in mid-December of 2015, it has broken typical Advance Dining Reservation protocol for Table Service restaurants by retaining its status as a walk-up only location.

Perhaps in anticipation of one of Disney World’s first peak weeks of 2016, however, a same-day reservation system will be in place that will be unique to the Jungle Skipper Canteen, available from February 12 – 27, 2016. [Editor’s Update: Same-day Reservations have been extended for Skipper Canteen beyond the original trial dates, and continue to be available on a day-of booking basis.]

Skipper Canteen Entrance

Skipper Canteen Entrance

The process will be much the same as making a standard Advance Dining Reservation; interested guests may visit the Jungle Skipper Canteen page on the Disney World website. Of course, being outside of those dates right now, it currently only lists the standard operating hours for lunch and dinner. Presumably, however, the standard booking engine should appear on February 12th with bookings for that day only, and so on through the 27th. [Read more…]

Recommended Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Restaurant Values

We previously shared with you our picks for the Best Disney Dining Plan Value in Disney Signature Dining. Today, we continue our series exploring which Disney Restaurants offer the best value for your Disney Dining Plan credits!

Disney Dining Plan One Credit Recommendations

One of the biggest questions that we get here at DFB is whether or not the Disney Dining Plan is a good deal. To begin answering the question, we armed ourselves with calculators and menus and ran the numbers to see which spots had the most expensive average entrees.

But it’s more than that, isn’t it? I mean, no matter how much the average check runs, if the food or the atmosphere doesn’t appeal to you and yours, it won’t be a good value, no matter how you slice it.

With the calculations in mind, we were curious to determine which One-Credit Disney Table Service Restaurants offered the best deal or value price-wise — but also could be recommended by the experts here at DFB for atmosphere and food quality. All of the restaurants that we considered are One-Credit spots, meaning they’ll require just one credit to dine with the Disney Dining Plan.

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

Best Friends Character Breakfast at ‘Ohana

When we set out to determine which one-credit restaurants offered you the most in terms of sheer cost, one trend emerged immediately: you can’t go wrong by spending your credit on a Character Meal.

Mickey at 'Ohana

We Can’t Resist Eating with this Guy!

And with only one exception (Cinderella’s Royal Table), all Disney World character meals require only one DDP table service credit.

And while character meals are not one size fits all — you should definitely check out our tips before booking one — they’re for sure an experience everyone can enjoy with a little planning.

As for our favorite, this year we are really enjoying character meals that are served family-style like ‘Ohana’s breakfast. These include Garden Grill at Epcot, which you can now book for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Chip

Chip n’ Dale Visit with You During Meals at Epcot’s Garden Grill

Or enjoy the Princesses at Akershus. You can still enjoy the koldtbord selections and all you care to eat, but meals come plated.

Princess Cinderella at Akershus in Epcot's Norway

Princess Cinderella at Akershus in Epcot’s Norway

But my favorite remains the Best Friends Character Breakfast at ‘Ohana. For a combination of cute characters (Mickey in a Hawaiian Shirt, and Lilo is awesome!) and delicious food, it just can’t be beat.

Mickey Waffles!

Mickey Waffles!

And while buffets are great for a bounty of offerings, sometimes it’s nice to sit back and let the food come to you — especially if there’s a baby or toddler along for the ride.

Boma

Hot on the heels of character meals though, you should probably also consider other buffets or all you care to enjoy service formats if you’re truly interested in “getting your money’s worth”.

Boma Buffet

Boma Buffet

Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge doesn’t offer characters — but I don’t see that as a bad thing. The food here is  interesting and delicious. Don’t miss the Soups or the Carving Stations at Dinner! (Here’s the recipe for that killer Coconut Curry Chicken Stew!) Breakfast offers some great pastries and more.

Breakfast Pastries from one of our favorite buffets -- Boma in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Breakfast Pastries from one of our favorite buffets — Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Then of course, there’s the Zebra Domes. :-)

Zebra Dome

Zebra Dome Yum

The restaurant serves breakfast and dinner, and we’ve enjoyed both. And because Boma doesn’t feature characters, I find the ambiance to be a little more relaxing as a result.

But don’t forget spots that offer all you care to enjoy, but do the heavy lifting for you. If you wish that everyday was Thanksgiving Day (but without the clean up!), then make your advance dining reservation for Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom. Besides getting a hearty helping of history, you’ll also see endless platters of Turkey with all the trimmings.

The Full Spread!

The Full Dinner Spread at Liberty Tree Tavern!

And that is truly something to be thankful for.

Be Our Guest Dinner

But if you’re looking to spend those credits wisely, then don’t leave Magic Kingdom just yet. Because any Disney Food Bucket Lister will tell ya — you’ve gotta book dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant at least once.

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom

For starters, this spot is truly magical. If you’ve ever wanted to tumble through a movie screen and join in the action, this is your chance to do it, as Beast’s Castle has been reproduced in painstaking detail.

Want to see the last petal drop at Be Our Guest Restaurant? Planning ahead is key!

The Enchanted Rose in the West Wing

But then, there are some pretty great reasons to eat here as well. Of course, the menu is French-inspired. We’ve tried pretty much everything, and give high marks to the Potato Leek Soup, the Pork Chop, and of course, the Grilled Strip Steak!

Grilled Strip Steak

Grilled Strip Steak

And if you enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with dinner, take advantage of ordering one here — the only spot in Magic Kingdom where you can enjoy this indulgence.

Chimay Blue at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Chimay Blue at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Choosing Dessert may be tough. We enjoyed most of the options, but the Master’s “Grey Stuff” dessert will be the most high-profile.

Les Chefs de France

What’s that? You’d like to go to the REAL France?

Well, I can’t deliver that to you at Disney, but I can get you pretty close to the real deal. If you travel over the Epcot, that is. When you get there, head to World Showcase for some of the best spots to spend those table service credits.

Front of Les Chefs de France at Night -- Isn't It Amazing??

Beautiful Les Chefs de France in Epcot’s France Pavilion

While many of the restaurants in this international village boast steep pricetags, we love some better than others. And in terms of beautiful atmosphere and consistently delicious food, Les Chefs de France gets a gold star from me.

I know, I know. Epcot international dining can be less than authentic. But all of the restaurants in the France Pavilion are owned by the Bocuse Group, and I’ve enjoyed lots of fare that reminded me of my time traveling as a student through France and Switzerland.

A la flamme Alsacienne

A la flamme Alsacienne

Service can be slow and reserved. But the restaurant offers a beautiful setting.

Teppan Edo

But as I mentioned, you aren’t limited merely to France in Epcot. There’s a whole world out there, of course. When it comes to fun and value, consider Teppan Edo.

Teppan Edo in Epcot's Japan Pavilion

Teppan Edo in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

This Japanese Habachi-style experience is as much food theatre as it is eating. The chefs here are wonderful at all of the tricks that you might expect to see in a Japanese steakhouse. We especially like the fire-based ones. :-)

And the food is bountiful. While I’m partial to ordering the Steak, I also love the combos here. Steak and Chicken or Steak and Shrimp give you the opportunity to enjoy different textures and flavors.

Steak and Chicken at Teppan Edo

Steak and Chicken at Teppan Edo

And with bountiful sides, I guarantee you won’t leave the table hungry.

And there you have it! With so many varied experiences, flavors, and settings, it’s hard to go wrong with Disney Dining. But you won’t go wrong if you decide to try a few of our favorite one-credit options!

2016 book cover dfb guide

Ready for All of Our Best Tips?

We’ve got TONS of Disney World Dining Tips — including LOTS of restaurant suggestions for your every need — in our big, bold 2016 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining!

With more than 530 pagesThe DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining is full of tips and planning tools developed by Disney World experts over 20+ years of visits. We’ve done the research for you, so you’ll know just which spots will uniquely suit your family’s needs!

With sample dining itineraries, plus our “Disney Dining at a Glance” section, featuring “Where Can I Find?” options, you’ll have everything you need to plan your best vacation yet. Click here to get your copy of The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining E-book — and use code HAPPYPLACE for an extra $4 discount for a limited time!

Now, I’d love to hear from all of you guys! What are your best picks for value when it comes to DDP one credit table service spots? Leave a comment with your favorites!

The Best Brownies in Walt Disney World

Remember oh those many years ago when I presented you with my Top Five Disney Brownies?

Best Disney World BrowniesWell, times change… as do snacks and desserts in and around Disney World.  And now here we are celebrating a still-new year, and the brownie landscape has changed. While a few of our favorites from Round One continue to grace our list of Best Brownies, some are no longer available. (We miss you, Paw Print Brownie and Brownie Fudge Sundae!)

But fret not… there’s still no shortage of classic brownie goodness in Disney World (and some not-so-classic, as you’ll notice many of these feature a twist on tradition).

Whaddya say we make a NEW Best Brownies list?

That’s right… a new list for a new year! Grab a fork and get ready to dig into some chocolatey brownie deliciousness with me!

Peanut Butter Brownie with Warm Caramel Sauce

OK, this is probably the best thing you will put into your mouth all month. Let me say that I eat a lot — A LOT — of Disney food, and much of it is sweet deliciousness; but this thing took my breath away.

You can find the Peanut Butter Brownie with Warm Caramel Sauce at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot. And here’s the kicker…

Warm Peanut Butter Brownie with Warm Caramel Sauce

Warm Peanut Butter Brownie with Warm Caramel Sauce

[Read more…]

Disney Dining Details: Skipper Canteen Secret Passageway Bookshelves

Do you harbor a secret dream to become a member of the S.E.A. (Society of Explorers and Adventurers)?

If so, then maybe you’d like to do a little exploring with me today as we step back inside the Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland, the still-new restaurant based on the Jungle Cruise attraction.

We’ve already taken a full tour of of the Canteen, including its three dining rooms: the Crew Mess Hall, the Falls Family Parlor, and a once-hidden meeting room for the S.E.A. But now it’s time to check out a few more of those Disney details! And with many thanks to my friend Daniel Wanderman who recently dined there, we’ve got some more to share…

In order to enter the S.E.A. Room coming from the Mess Hall, you must pass through a hallway.

Bookcases lining the hallway from the Mess Hall

Bookcases lining the hallway from the Mess Hall

As you pass, you’ll notice the hallway is lined with bookcases. [Read more…]

Best Disney World Character Meal Recommendations By Age

Character Meals. It’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all kinda world. You might think you’ll enjoy dinner at Chef Mickey’s with just your significant other.

Chef Mickey!

Chef Mickey!

After all, you’re kids at heart! But are you really thinking through the reality of it — complete with twirling napkins, blaring music, and loads and loads (and loads!) of kiddos everywhere?

Today, I thought we could break down some of the groups of guests who might want to take special care in deciding which character meal is best for them. Because when it comes to dining with your favorite Disney characters, no one should be left out! [Read more…]

#OnTheList: Mickey-Shaped Rice Krispy Treats

DisneyFoodBucketList 8-018
This post is part of the DFB #OnTheList series, where we feature eats you’ve GOT to have while you’re at Disney! Let us know what’s on YOUR Disney Food Bucket List @DisneyFoodBlog #OnTheList!

 

Here’s an iconic Disney snack that you can put #OnTheList whether you’re in Disney World OR Disneyland. And no matter which coast you’re on, you’ll find them practically everywhere… and that’s a VERY good thing when we’re talking about Mickey Rice Krispy Treats!

#OnTheList: Mickey Rice Krispy Treat!

In places like The Confectionery, Seashore Sweets, and Sweet Spells in Disney World, you’ll likely spot several different versions up for grabs… [Read more…]

Review: Ham and Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel at The Lunching Pad in Magic Kingdom

Are you ready to blast off with a new Tomorrowland treat?

Good! Because we’re back at The Lunching Pad, a Quick Service spot in the heart of Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland.

You may recall our last visit to the Lunching Pad, when we checked out their full array (at the time) of specialty hot dogs. Though you’ll notice with this visit that the overall menu is different, one staple snack that has remained is the good ol’ Mickey Pretzel. The Lunching Pad is also one of the spots in the Disney World parks where you can grab the harder-to-find Sweet Cream Cheese Pretzel.

But now, The Lunching Pad has its very own specialty pretzel that you can’t find anywhere else: the Ham and Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel, which is what brings us back here today.

The Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland

The Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland

Not familiar with The Lunching Pad? Well, then, let’s check it out! [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Magic Kingdom’s Tortuga Tavern (Updated BBQ Menu)

AHOY, me mateys!

Are ye ready to join us for some grub and grog while we check out the updated menu over at Tortuga Tavern?

We let you all know a couple of months back that a new menu was being introduced at this seasonally-open spot in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland. Granted, it wasn’t a huge surprise at the time, considering that Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café had also debuted a new Mexican-based menu of its own that greatly resembled the Tavern’s previous menu.

These days when you find the Tavern open, you’ll instead find barbecue options. Which makes total sense because everyone knows that pirates love nothing more than feasting on brisket and Texas toast or veggie salads while taking a break from all their pirate-y adventures. (I know, I know, there IS some great BBQ in the Caribbean. ;-D)

Tortuga Tavern Sign

Tortuga Tavern Sign

Either way, it’s time to step back into this hangout for land-bound pirates once more. Goodness knows it’s rarely serving, so we need to get it while the gettin’s good! [Read more…]

Recommended Disney Dining Plan Two-Credit Restaurants

We get a lot of questions from readers here at DFB asking if the Disney Dining Plan is a good deal. One part of answering this question is doing the cut and dry calculations based upon a restaurant’s offerings. But the other part is determining if the restaurant is a good fit for your family. (For example, if Yachtsman Steakhouse offers a great bang for your buck when using the Dining Plan, but you’re a family of vegetarians, it probably isn’t the best choice! ;-D)

We were curious to determine which Disney Signature Restaurants offered the best deal or value pricewise — but also could be recommended by the experts here at DFB for atmosphere and food quality.

Disney Dining Plan 2 Credit Restaurants

Here are our picks for the restaurants that offer the best value for your 2-credit Disney Dining Plan slots.

[Read more…]

Guest Review: Allergy Friendly Dining at Walt Disney World

Join us in welcoming guest author Jennifer Harris with an informative review of allergy friendly dining at Walt Disney World. Are you on a special diet? Read on!

Oh Disney, how I love your allergen-friendly ways. Dining at Disney is half the fun for those with food intolerance/allergy while visiting its theme parks. From the very first meal, it is apparent their talented team of chefs has got your back and then some. With table and quick service, buffet, and fine dining options, the attention paid to preparing allergen-free cuisine is exemplary. The sky is the limit at Disney because serving their guests is top priority.

Preparation tables are sanitized, gloves are changed, and one chef handles the order from start to finish to ensure there is no cross contact. Disney can currently prepare meals for those allergic/intolerant to: wheat, gluten, peanuts and tree nuts, soy, eggs, corn, dairy and lactose, shellfish, and fish.

Gluten Free Mickey Waffles

Gluten Free Mickey Waffles

[Read more…]