Food and Wine Festival Review: Food for Thought with Chef Norman Van Aken

We’ve finally made it! The 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is opening next week!

Table Setting and Food for Thought Presentation

Soon, it will be time to Dine Our Way Around the World, as the World Marketplace Booths begin serving dishes inspired by flavors throughout the world! And with more than seven full weeks of Special Events, Culinary Demos, Beverage and Mixology Seminars, and special exhibits, this event is a food lover’s paradise.

While we anxiously count down these last few days until all the fun starts, we’re taking a look at some of the events we enjoyed from last year.

In 2014, one of the Special Events was Food for Thought, an event where celebrity chefs shared favorite recipes while sharing their personal stories. (Read our review of the event featuring Chef Rick Bayless last year here.) During these events, guests also enjoyed three dishes from one of the featured chef’s cookbooks. In 2015, you’ll find a similar event called “What’s Cooking With”.

I had the pleasure of attending one of these events last year, and I learned some great tips and techniques from Florida-local Chef Norman Van Aken. Let’s check out some of the delicious dishes we enjoyed.

Food for Thought with Chef Norman Van Aken

I arrived at Festival Center for this event a few minutes early. It actually took place during brunch hours.

The Festival Stage was decked out as usual. Located at the back of the Festival Center, this is where all festival Culinary Demonstrations as well as many Special Events take place.



It’s a neat venue, because it’s actually open to the rest of the pavilion; if you happen to be passing, you can actually take in the presentation from outside of the dining area for free. :-) Of course, you won’t get to try any of the goodies. [Read more…]

One Week ‘Til the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

There’s only ONE WEEK left until we kick off the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival. It’s coming up SO FAST! So as we continue to cross off the days until it’s underway, we want to offer you some special savings on the DFB Guides!

Food and Wine 2015 Info Graphic Square URL

For all the fun we have bringing you the latest news about Disney Food, we’re passionate about one thing especially: making sure that every visit you make to Walt Disney World is as great as it can possibly be.

And that’s never more important than this time of year, when the Epcot Food and Wine Festival is just about to kick off!

So as we continue celebrating with a month of savings, we are happy to bring you savings on some of our most popular DFB Guides and Bundles.

DFB Guide to the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The DFB Guide to the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival was written to give you everything you need to know in one handy volume (and we mean EVERYTHING).

With more than 240 pages and tons of bonus items, it offers all of the information that you need to make the most of your Festival visit. Learn more about the DFB Guide to the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival here.

Food and Wine Guide Cover 2015

And during our Countdown to the Festival Sale, we’re offering this popular DFB Guide for $3 off! Just use code COUNTDOWN at checkout to save on this must-have Food and Wine Fest companion.

This guide includes customized bonus items that surpass any other Food & Wine Festival coverage that’s out there. These include:

  • A full, daily schedule of events for every day of the festival — this is the only place you’ll find this schedule anywhere!
  • A printable World Showcase Booth Menu Checklist that you can use to plan, and easily bring with you to the festival
  • Themed World Showcase booth crawls, including “Fun Eats for the Kids,” the “Chocolate Lovers Crawl,” the “Continent Crawl,” and so many more!
  • Food and Wine Festival customized Touring Strategies for One Day visits, Budget-Conscious visits, and even one to celebrate the TV Show The Chew!
  • A chapter dedicated to all “New for 2015″ events, menu items, booths
  • Full food, wine, beer, winery, cocktail, and chef indexes, including dates and locations of where you can find your favorites
  • Epcot Food and Wine Festival recipes
  • Top tips on how to use MyMagic+ and the Disney Dining Plan at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival
  • And so much more!

[Read more…]

NEW Snack: Apple Pie a la Mode at Epcot’s Fife and Drum Tavern

Time to dive into a new sweet snack at Epcot’s American Pavilion!

Fife And Drum

Fife And Drum

At the Fife & Drum, a counter service spot located at the front of the pavilion where we love to pick up our American Dream Slush and other assorted goodies, you can now indulge in a new snack item: Apple Pie a la Mode.

Fife & Drum Menu

Fife & Drum Menu

Now, don’t get too excited. This is basically the same counter-service apple pie “pocket” that you have always been able to get over at Liberty Inn next door, and at Columbia Harbour House in Magic Kingdom. And that’s OK, since it IS pretty good. But with this option, they’ve added vanilla soft serve ice cream to make it “a la mode.”  [Read more…]

News! Walt’s Restaurant, and the Neverland Tunnels, Slated for Disney Springs

We are getting more details about possible restaurants coming to Disney Springs soon, thanks to Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide.

Concept Art for The Edison at Disney Springs ©Disney

Concept Art for The Edison at Disney Springs ©Disney

Reports say that two more projects with Disney pedigrees will join the ever expanding list of offerings in the overhauled shopping and dining district. [Read more…]

News: Pop Secret Brand Named Official Popcorn in Disney Parks

Hmmm… so, if your bucket of Disney Popcorn tastes a little different the next time you grab a piping hot batch along Main Street, U.S.A. (or anywhere else in Disney World or Disneyland, for that matter), here’s why…

Popcorn at Disney Parks

Popcorn at Disney Parks

Pop Secret has been named the “official popcorn” of Disney World and Disneyland, and will be popped up for guests at popcorn carts and kiosks throughout Disney properties. [Read more…]

News: Details and Booking for 2015 Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights Dining Events

Last week, Disney announced that 2015 will be the last year for The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The popular show is wrapping to accommodate construction for two new Lands coming to the park in the future: Toy Story and Star Wars.

The festive synchronized holiday lights and music show will be on display from November 6, 2015 through January 3, 2016.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

The announcement also revealed that two new extra ticket events will be added this year to celebrate the final run of The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Details have been released for each of these events, which are now open for booking.

Merry and Bright Dessert Party

The Merry & Bright Dessert Party will take place from November 6 through December 30, 2015. Please note that the hours change based on the date you choose:

  • from November 6-December 24, the party runs from 7:00 – 8:30 pm,
  • and from December 25-30, the party runs from 8:30 pm to 10:00 pm.
  • Excluded dates are: November 17, December 9, and December 18.

Guests will enjoy a reserved viewing area, and will also receive a custom stadium blanket as a souvenir.

Price to attend is $69 for adults, $39 for children (including tax and gratuity).

Guests Enjoying the Seating Area

Guests Enjoying the Seating Area

Guests can book by calling (407) 939-3463 or online via the Walt Disney World website.

Osborne Lights -- Peace On Earth

Osborne Lights — Peace On Earth

Merry and Bright Dinner Reception

From January 1 (8:30 to 10:00 pm), and 2nd, 3rd (7:00 to 8:30 pm), the Merry & Bright Dinner Reception will offer a chance to ring in the new year by enjoying small plates (turkey, beef, and shrimp dishes among them) along with specialty drinks, wine, and beer, all from an exclusive reserved viewing area. At evening’s end, each guest will receive “a custom shadow box keepsake featuring their own Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights!”

Seating at Dusk Before the Lights Come On

Seating at Dusk Before the Lights Come On

The price to attend is $99 for adults, $54 for children (including tax and gratuity).

Interested guests may book this event online, or by calling (407) 939-3463.

Osborne Lights

Osborne Lights

Please note that seating for the events is outdoors and uncovered without assigned seating, and an alternate location will be used in the event of rain (usually this is Studio Catering Co.). It is anticipated that these events may book up quickly, due to the popularity of the Dancing Lights.

For more information, be sure to visit the Merry & Bright Dessert Party and Merry & Bright Dinner Reception pages on the Walt Disney World website.

Will you be seeing the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights during its final run? Please let us know with a comment!

Guest Review: Orange Cupcake at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot

We’re welcoming back DFB Guest Author and good friend Joey Beyer with a guest review of the Orange Cupcake at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot’s Future World! Since we’re big fans of Disney Cupcakes, we can’t wait to show you this one!

Hello everyone! I am very excited to introduce the new Orange Cupcake that has popped up at Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons. This cupcake can be found in the self-service cabinet adjacent to the dessert counter at Sunshine Seasons, so you can just grab your favorite!

I am a huge fan of the Sunshine Seasons, as it always has a great selection of foods and unique seasonal options. (And by the way — for those of you that are fans of the Warm Peanut Butter Brownie at Sunshine Seasons, there is no need to worry. As of 9/7/15 it was still available as the “Seasonal Dessert” at Sunshine Seasons.)

As you can see, the cupcake is topped with a gummy orange candy and orange frosting.

Orange Cupcake from Sunshine Seasons

Orange Cupcake from Sunshine Seasons

The frosting is the standard Disney buttercream frosting and has a hint of orange flavor! The frosting is also topped with large granules of sugar. [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Halloween Time Poison Apple Mugs and Poison Apple Glow Cubes

Halloween Time has arrived at the Disneyland Resort and I’m pretty sure I’ve found my favorite new item of the season! The Poison Apple Mug. Everything about it is awesome.

Poison Apple Mug

Poison Apple Mug

The mug is a stein type of style.  The little button on the handle flips up the lid. Although the stem looks like it would be a straw, it is not.  It’s just part of the decor. [Read more…]

News! Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar Opens September 22nd in Disney World

If you should find yourself in Disney World later this month for a little something like… oh, I don’t know… say the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival beginning September 25th, then you may want to mark one more date on your trip calendar: Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar will be opening in Downtown Disney on September 22nd!

©WDWDowntown Twitter

©WDWDowntown Twitter

Be sure to check out the backstory on this hangout for the Society of Explorers and Adventurers set up by Jock (a frequent pilot for Indiana Jones himself). [Read more…]

Review: Les Chefs De France in Epcot’s France Pavilion

We are enjoying a leisurely lunch today at Les Chefs de France, the table service restaurant in Epcot’s France Pavilion.

This iconic eatery has been the location of many happy meals and memories for me through the years. But as with other Disney spots, it’s always good to check in occasionally. Disney restaurants can be wildly inconsistent; a place that’s spot-on during one meal can go south the next time you visit. So I always make it a priority to check back in at all of Disney restaurants to see if they’ve gotten better or worse, and to show you what they’re serving up lately. You get to choose if they’re worth your time and money.

Let’s go. :-)


I have very early memories of this restaurant. When you walk by at night, it just looks so cozy inside! And it’s honestly beautiful any time of day.

Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Little has changed here since the restaurant first opened when the park did. But that’s ok. Because the whole point here is to look like a classic French bistro that you’d find in Paris. And it really, really fits the bill. [Read more…]