Tips from the DFB Guide: Healthier Options in Walt Disney World

Many of us regard a trip to Walt Disney World as an opportunity to take a break from healthy eating, and counting calories, carbs, etc.

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But sometimes, you don’t necessarily want to check nutritional discipline at the Purple Gates.

You may think that healthy eating at Walt Disney World is an oxymoron. But more and more, that’s simply not so.

Sure, you can indulge to your heart’s content. But whether you’re looking to sub out just one meal or snack a day for a health-savvy option, or you plan to stick to your guns in the nutrition department while you’re amidst the magic, we have some great tips for finding healthy and tasty options at Walt Disney World!

They come courtesy of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015! And if you find these tips to be helpful, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Head for the Grab and Go

Not too long ago, Disney World was a sea of hamburgers, fries, and soda pop. And some people think that’s what it STILL is.

But, honestly, things have changed.

Disney Grab and Go Healthy Options

Disney Grab and Go Healthy Options

Sure, you still have lots and lots of choices in the burger genre. But they’ve definitely expanded beyond the fast food mentality when it comes to quick eating options.

My best tip for eating healthy — and this goes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack time — is to head for the Grab and Go section.

Sunshine Seasons Fruit and Cheese Plate

Sunshine Seasons Fruit and Cheese Plate

You’ll spy Grab and Go spots in lots of places. There are always robust choices in the Resorts. There, you’ll find everything from prepared salads, sandwiches made with lean meats, and even sushi. Check out Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort for a great selection! And when it comes to a Park option, Sunshine Seasons offers choices that can’t be beat.

Grab and Go Sushi

Grab and Go Sushi at Landscape of Flavors

So if you have the resolve to pass the pizza and burgers by, a healthy meal is totally in your grasp!

Be Mindful About Restaurant Choices

If you have healthy eating in mind, then you probably shouldn’t pencil in a counter service lunch at Casey’s Corner. ;-)

Don’t get me wrong — Corn Dog Nuggets and Plastic Cheese are totally boss. But let’s face it — planning ahead to eat at a restaurant that offers lots of fresh choices and grilled options is probably a better idea when you’re trying to stay on the healthy bandwagon.

Fortunately, better-for-you options abound at Walt Disney World. One of my favorite spots to grab a healthy counter service lunch is Tamu Tamu Refreshments at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You can’t go wrong with their Chicken or Vegetable Curry.

Tamu Tamu Vegetarian Curry

Tamu Tamu Vegetarian Curry

Another option that I can recommend is the Japan Pavilion at Epcot. Whether you choose Miso Soup from Kabuki Cafe, a counter service meal at Katsura Grill, or you opt for [Read more…]

Rumor: Saying Goodbye to Magic Kingdom’s Aloha Isle?

UPDATE: It may not be “Aloha” for Aloha Isle after all… It’s possible that Aloha Isle and Sunshine Tree Terrace may be switching locations soon. We’ll keep you posted as this story progresses!

It may be that the days of lining up at Magic Kingdom’s Aloha Isle for a Dole Whip are coming to an end…

Recently, Aloha Isle’s Adventureland neighbor, Sunshine Tree Terrace, added Aloha’s signature snack to their menu. Adding to its own specialty treat — the Citrus Swirl — now Dole Whip can be purchased at Sunshine Tree Terrace as well. Options currently include the flavors of Pineapple, Vanilla, or a Swirl of both served in your choice of cone, cup, or in Float form.

So, why the change? It seems Aloha Isle may be closing to make way for a new restaurant in Adventureland, and Sunshine Tree Terrace will become the sole spot to find Dole Whip at Magic Kingdom.

Dole Whip at Sunshine Tree Terrace

Dole Whip at Sunshine Tree Terrace

So, what’s on tap for this possible new location? Rumor has it a Tiana-themed restaurant may be in the works.

Is Aloha Isle coming to an end?

Is Aloha Isle coming to an end?

Again, we want to stress that this is currently filed solidly under “rumor” status, but [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Best Character Dining for YOU!

Character Dining! What’s a trip to Walt Disney World without at least one meal shared with your favorite Disney Characters?

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There’s simply no better way to kill two birds with one stone at Disney. You enjoy a hearty meal — oftentimes, it’s all-you-care-to-enjoy — and you get to interact with your favorite characters. Best of all — they come to you! There’s no waiting in line for hours to see them.

But you may think that a character dining experience isn’t for you if you don’t have kids in your party, or if your kiddos are as tall as you now. Or maybe you fear that the excitement and stimulation — not to mention all those trips back and forth to the buffet — will leave you and your toddler exhausted before you even get to the Parks.

Well, I happen to think that there’s a character dining experience just right for you, regardless of who makes up your unique party. So today, let’s look at a few tips that I’ve put together from countless Character Dining Meals — courtesy of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015!

And if you like what you see here, there are a lot more where these came from! To see all of our advice for choosing just the right Character Dining Experience, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

Character Dining With a Toddler: ‘Ohana Best Friends Breakfast

You’ve decided that the time is right for your pre-schooler to enjoy breakfast with Character Appeal for the first time. Now, how in the ‘World do you choose the meal that’s right for you?

Well, one thing to keep in mind is that most of the character dining experiences offer a buffet spread. This is great news when it comes to value. But juggling trips to the buffet, photo ops with characters, and a toddler who is stimulated to the max can be a challenge. So one of my favorite tips is to enjoy character dining that offers a sit-down…and stay down…meal. And one of the best is the Best Friends Breakfast at ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

To begin, well. Mickey in a Hawaiian Shirt. Best.

Say Aloha to Mickey and Friends at 'Ohana

Say Aloha to Mickey and Friends at ‘Ohana

But then, you have platters of Pastry and Bread, Fresh Fruit, and a Bountiful Breakfast Skillet brought to your table! And it’s as much as you want. And you don’t have to get up a SINGLE time to get any of it!

Family Breakfast Platter at 'Ohana

Family Breakfast Platter at ‘Ohana

Friendly servers also roam the dining area with Mickey Waffles! And you can ask for seconds. And thirds.

Mickey Waffles

Mickey Waffles

They even have Stitch waffles for the younger set.

Stitch Waffles for the Littles

Stitch Waffles for the Littles

Mickey, Lilo, and Stitch share relaxed times with you and pose for lots of pictures. And there’s no end to the smiles during the Coconut Races. It’s one of my favorite ways to kick off a Disney Day!

Character Dining For Grownups: Garden Grill

You may have witnessed the — shall we say, exuberant — spirit that pervades Chef Mickey’s at breakfast and dinner time. This character dining experience at Disney’s Contemporary is one of the Resort’s most popular, and can be viewed from above as you whirl by on the Monorail. It can get right down raucous with excited children and loud music and the inevitable napkin twirling.

And that’s totally fine, if you’re up for it. But if you aren’t, you may leave with a splitting headache.

If you’re an adults-only group, there’s probably a good chance you’d prefer to keep it on the quiet side. You know what? You can still enjoy character dining and all the great photo ops. And Garden Grill in Epcot’s Future World is a great spot for it.

Garden Grill is located in The Land building. And while the character dining is super fun, the restaurant has another unique attribute: it revolves!

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse

Not at supersonic speed, of course. You won’t be getting motion sickness while you dine. But you will enjoy an ever-changing view of the Living with the Land attraction as you enjoy your dinner. And in between the changing tableaus, expect a few fun visitors!

Farmer Mickey

Farmer Mickey, Chip & Dale, and Pluto Join You for Dinner

As for eats, there isn’t a lot of traipsing about, as the Garden Grill is family style meal. You’ll enjoy Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast, an all-you-care-to-enjoy meal of [Read more…]

Review: Iced Tea Lemonade Slush at Magic Kingdom’s Columbia Harbour House

Frozen Slush drinks are by no means new to Magic Kingdom.

You’ll find them in all sort of  places in a variety of flavors.

Pinocchio Village Haus is known for changing it up with slushes dedicated to characters from the Pinocchio story and film (examples include the former Jiminy Cricket Slush and the current Blue Raspberry Slush in honor of the Blue Fairy).

The Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland offers an array of Icee-type slushes in four different flavors: Blue Raspberry, Cherry, Minute Maid Lemonade, and Coca-Cola. Cheshire Cafe serves arguably the most popular versions of slush drinks: Lemonade and Raspberry Lemonade.

You can also find the Raspberry Lemonade at Sunshine Tree Terrace, along with a Pina Colada Slush (sans rum) to boot. And I haven’t even mentioned the Liberty Swirl Slush at Sleepy Hollow — a patriotic red-and-blue combo of Strawberry and Blue Raspberry. OR the Cherry Slush with FOMZ at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe.

Cherry Slush topped with Lemon Lime Fomz

Cherry Slush topped with Lemon Lime Fomz

Still with me in spite of the brain freeze ;) ? Good. Because there is a place that’s managed to fly under the radar in the Slush game, and that’s Columbia Harbour House. Like a few other spots, it does indeed serve the Lemonade Slush. But they have their very own spin on this frozen treat as well: the Iced Tea Lemonade Slush. And I’d yet to try it.

Columbia Harbour House

Columbia Harbour House

Columbia Harbour House

Columbia Harbour House

The Iced Tea Lemonade Slush has been on the menu for quite some time, but you’d almost never know it. On the back of the printed menu, the Lemonade Slush gets tops billing with a big ol’ picture on the bottom left, while the Iced Tea version just gets a small mention on the upper right corner.

Columbia Harbour House menu

Columbia Harbour House menu. Mmmm broccoli.

The Iced Tea Lemonade Slush comes to you not entirely blended, so you see both components — the Iced Tea Slush and the Lemonade Slush — in a “layered” effect.

Iced Tea Lemonade Slush

Iced Tea Lemonade Slush

And, of course, the same thing happens with the flavors: sometimes you get [Read more…]

Tips From the DFB Guide: Secret, Must-Have Orders That Aren’t On Any Menu…

OK, here’s where it gets good.

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I love showing you guys pictures of what you can get at Disney restaurants. It’s the best way for you to judge for yourself whether or not you think a restaurant is right for you.

But sometimes I just gotta share a few secrets that I’ve discovered. Things that aren’t actually ON the menu, exactly, but that are truly worth getting and trying.

And today, I’m sharing another great tip from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World DiningOrdering “Off the Menu” Items in Walt Disney World Restaurants.

And if you like what you see here, there are a lot more where these came from! To see our whole list of must-have “off the menu” items for 2015, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

Spicy Tomato Butter at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano

Recently, we’ve been enjoying some truly incredible meals at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. This quirky eatery in Disney’s Hollywood Studios has plenty of traditional Italian fare on offer, but they can also surprise with a creative twist or two.

Strip Steak

Mama Melrose Makes an Incredible Steak and Mac and Cheese Combo!

During my last couple of visits, I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy their Spicy Tomato Butter! You’ll find this amazing sauce on their Oak-Fired Mussels, but if you’re not interested in ordering said Mussels, consider requesting some of the Spicy Tomato Butter with your bread.

Bread with Butters and Olive Oil

Bread with Spicy Tomato Butter and Other Accompaniments

And I’m so glad I asked the server for this “off the menu” request, because that butter is incredible! Spicy, savory, and rich, it’s delicious served with bread.

In fact, on one recent visit, the server actually brought it to me slightly melted, like a dipping sauce! Heaven.

Cranberry Sauce at Liberty Tree Tavern

Have you had the pleasure of enjoying dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom? If not, what are you waiting for?? ;-)

Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom

And if so, then you know that part of what makes it so awesome is that it looks a lot like America’s favorite meal — a Thanksgiving Day Feast!

Roast Pork, Turkey, and Beef with Cornbread Stuffing and Chutney at Liberty Tree Tavern

Roast Pork, Turkey, and Beef with Cornbread Stuffing and Chutney at Liberty Tree Tavern

But there is one key ingredient missing when they bring the family-style dishes to your table; the meal doesn’t automatically include Cranberry Sauce. And I don’t know about you, but it just isn’t Turkey Day without that little gem on the table.

Cranberry Sauce at Liberty Tree Tavern

Cranberry Sauce at Liberty Tree Tavern

But never fear — they have Cranberry Sauce — and it’s pretty fantastic! You just have to request it. It seems that not all guests love it as much as you and I, so it ended up being thrown out quite a lot of the time.

So order it with abandon if you like a little Cranberry Sauce on the side of your meal — they’re happy to bring it to you, included in the cost of the meal!

Fried Mozzarella at Via Napoli

Speaking of Liberty Tree Tavern, they used to have a wonderful Tavern Fried Cheese Appetizer that included Deep Fried Cheese Curds. They were out of this world.

Sadly, you can’t get them in the Colonial American-themed spot — but I DID find something similar at [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: The Best Spots for Coffee and Tea in Walt Disney World

Just a couple of years back, if you wanted to get a decent cup of coffee or tea somewhere inside the Big Purple Gates, you were out of luck.

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With Nescafe on standby in most spots, the coffee outlook was dismal. And while Twinings teabags are available all over the place, there still wasn’t anything special about them.

But in the last few years, Disney has really stepped up their game in both the java and cuppa departments!

Today, we’re sharing one of our favorite tips from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World DiningWhere to Find Good Coffee and Tea in Walt Disney World. Pick up yours today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

Starbucks

By far, the biggest beverage news to hit Disney in the last few years has been its partnership with coffee giant Starbucks. Love them or hate them, you can’t dispute — they’re super popular.

Hollywood Studios Starbucks Trolley Car Cafe-21

The Most Recent Starbucks to Open at Disney — Trolley Car Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Seriously…there’s a reason for the queue ropes inside! Have you seen a Disney Starbucks on a busy morning? Madness!

The Line at a Disney Starbucks Can Get CRAZY Long

The Line at a Disney Starbucks Can Get CRAZY Long

The first two Starbucks to open in Walt Disney World replaced established eateries — Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom and Fountain View in Epcot. Now you can stroll right up to Cinderella Castle with your Vanilla Latte in hand, or enjoy your Frappuccino in the shade of Spaceship Earth.

Fountain View Starbucks in Epcot

Fountain View Starbucks in Epcot

Two additional stores are located in Downtown Disney — one walk-up window nestled between entrances to World of Disney, and a larger store in West Side, which boasts a Starbucks Reserve Counter.

Coffee on fire!

Enjoying a Cup of Coffee on the Patio of Starbucks West Side

Trolley Car Cafe, the Disney’s Hollywood Studios Starbucks outlet opened just a couple of weeks ago.

Trolley Car Cafe is now open!

Trolley Car Cafe is now open!

And later this year, the final Walt Disney World store will open in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Aren’t a fan of Starbucks? Joffrey’s is considered the “official” coffee of Disney World and still operates a number of kiosks throughout the Parks, where you can grab a cup of coffee or a selection of espresso drinks.

Great Spots for Tea

If you prefer tea to coffee, there are also some great spots for you to enjoy a cup. And we aren’t just talking about your grandmother’s cup of tea. :-)

One of my favorite spots for tea is the [Read more…]

News: Disney Valentine’s Day Treats Make the Celebration Extra Sweet

Nothing says “I love you!” like a giant pile of frosting.  And some of our favorite spots throughout Disney World are featuring extra special love-themed desserts this weekend.

Cupcake lovers have lots of options. We think the Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake at Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Bakery should top the list. After all, what goes better with your favorite Starbucks beverage than a big chocolatey cupcake??

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake at Magic Kingdom's Main Street Bakery

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake at Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Bakery

But the Raspberry Panna Cotta Cupcake from BoardWalk Bakery also has us intrigued. It’s like two desserts in one, and reminds me a bit of the Master’s Cupcake at Be Our Guest Restaurant, which features Grey Stuff — Cookies and Cream Panna Cotta.

Raspberry Panna Cotta Cupcake from BoardWalk Bakery

Raspberry Panna Cotta Cupcake from BoardWalk Bakery

If you like to have your cupcakes and eat them too (plus you’d like a couple other things), then head to the Beach Club Marketplace for the Sweetheart Dessert. It includes Cupcakes, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, and Chocolate Truffles. Best of all — there’s two of everything, so no sharing required. :-)

Sweetheart Dessert from Beach Club Marketplace

Sweetheart Dessert from Beach Club Marketplace

If we had a vote right now for Disney’s cutest couple, I’m pretty sure that Lady and the Tramp would probably score in the top 3. So it’s fitting that they’re the face of amore on a cupcake at Disney’s Hollywood Studios right now.

Lady and the Tramp Cupcake

Lady and the Tramp Cupcake

We had a chance to try this one for ourselves the other day, and it’s pretty adorable. Featuring Red Velvet Cake and whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting, it’s also delicious. You’ll find it at The Trolley Car Café, Starring Rolls Cafe, ABC Commissary, Pizza Planet, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Co., Rosie’s All American Café, and Fairfax Fare.

Lady and the Tramp Cupcake -- Inside

Lady and the Tramp Cupcake — Inside

However, I personally want to drive to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge right now for some of these [Read more…]

News! Be Our Guest Restaurant to Accept Advance Dining Reservations for Lunch Starting February 25th

A few days ago we found out that FastPass+ testing for Lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant would end on February 24th. FastPass+ testing has been available to Disney Resort guests through email invitation for some time, and it was indeed a test, allowing guests to try out systems such as the first time use of FastPasses for a restaurant as well as methods for pre-ordering food for their entire party.

Be Our Guest Restaurant!

Be Our Guest Restaurant!

Now that FastPass+ opportunities for lunch are coming to an end, this relatively new system (in regard to restaurants, anyway) is giving way to a tried-and-true: the opportunity to make Advance Dining Reservations for lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant will be available for all Disney World guests beginning February 25th.

Guests can use the My Disney Experience app, website, or call 407-WDW-DINE to obtain their reservations — exactly the way they would make their reservations for lunch or dinner at any Disney restaurant that accepts Advance Dining Reservations. Even though Advanced Dining Reservations are typically utilized for Table Service restaurants, Be Our Guest LUNCH will continue to be considered a Counter Service option, utilizing one Quick Service Credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

However, lunch guests will retain the ability to pre-order their meals! While Advance Dining Reservations can be made 180 days out from the desired dining date, the window for pre-ordering meals using My Disney Experience will open 30 days prior to the reservation date.

Pre-Ordering Meals at Be Our Guest Restaurant for Lunch

Pre-Ordering Meals at Be Our Guest Restaurant for Lunch

The ordering kiosks will [Read more…]

New Food I Want to Stuff My Face With at Disney World this Year

You’re planning your first trip to Walt Disney World. Or your 50th. Or your 100th. And you reeeeeeeally want to know what NEW dishes you MUST try? Weeeeeeelllllllllll, we’ve got a few suggestions for you!

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We’ve got about nine of our favorite you-HAVE-to-EAT-this dishes and snacks featured in our brand new DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015 e-Book, which you can pick up today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

But I wanted to take a second to share just a few of those must-eat treats here with you as well.

Must-Eat Walt Disney World Treats in 2015

Yep — here at DFB, we always like to kick off each new year with some of our favorite treats spotted during the last few months. But when I sat down to brainstorm this post…well, at first it seemed like 2014 didn’t offer a whole lot of new stuff.

That said, when I started scrolling back through everything we ate this past year, I realized there was a lot to be said for 2014 and its culinary prowess.

There is one really big difference between this year and previous years, however. Most of our crave-worthy dishes are savory this time around! I know! WUT?!??!?!?!?!? Don’t worry, though — I’ve got a few sweeties thrown in.

Here’s the New Food I Want to Stuff My Face with at Disney Parks in 2015!

Must Eat Disney World Treats 2015-002

Barbecue Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese

We thought that Mac and Cheese, that king of comfort foods, was enough. But little did we know what we had been missing, until Disney started putting additional delicious food on top of its cheesy goodness.

We first saw the dawn of Gourmet Mac and Cheese — we’re just gonna call it that if that’s all right with you — a while back. Friar’s Nook introduced the concept, and we were smitten with their Bacon Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese and Blue Cheese Mac right away.

BUT THEN — this happened.

[Read more…]

News! Lunch FastPass Testing to End at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Scoring a Lunch FastPass from the crazy popular Be Our Guest Restaurant has turned into an epic feat of sorts.

We (and countless others of you) have spent the better part of the last year trying to figure out how to get an elusive FastPass for lunch at Be Our Guest. It’s turned into a a full time endeavor for some guests.

And while those staying at Disney Resorts had a glimmer of hope for getting one, Annual Passholders and guests staying off property were shut out of the system altogether.

But change is clearly on the horizon. Today, we’re getting official word that Lunch FastPasses will no longer be available as of February 25, 2015.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Lunch FastPass Testing Will Be Ending Soon

Be Our Guest Restaurant Lunch FastPass Testing Will Be Ending Soon

According to this banner message that we’ve just discovered on the Be Our Guest Lunch Website given to resort guests, Lunch FastPasses have always and ever been tests. Lunch FastPasses will officially come to an end on February 24. The messages goes on to state that, beginning February 25, [Read more…]