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: Lunch at Tony’s Town Square in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

It’s time to stop at Tony’s Town Square for lunch with a view!

This classic Disney restaurant, located on Main Street USA in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, is a favorite of Disney fans.

While it may not be on the culinary cutting edge, there’s something truly magical about stepping into one of your favorite movie restaurants!

It had been a while since I’d stopped into Tony’s. Frankly, the menu of classic Italian dishes doesn’t really ever change much.

Still, we here at Disney Food Blog believe that we need to bring you the most up to date info on Disney eateries, so you can make those advance dining reservations with confidence.

With that in mind, I decided it was time for another visit.

Atmosphere

With a name like Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, where would you expect it to be located? If you guessed Town Square, then you get a gold star. :-)

Yep — you’ll find Tony’s pretty much as soon as you walk into Magic Kingdom. Pass the Town Square Theater, where you can meet and greet with some of your favorite Disney characters, and you’ll see Tony’s on the right as you head toward Cinderella Castle.

Tony's Entrance

Tony’s Entrance

Tony’s underwent a bit of a refresh a few years back. Don’t worry; they did nothing to the classic feel of the place. They just brightened up fabrics, paint, carpets, and such. [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…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Five Beloved Food Items You WON’T Find in Disney World (And Should Bring From Home)

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 what you’re going to eat and drink at Walt Disney World is a big deal! I mean, it’s not cheap, is it? But then, will they have everything you need when you get there?

Today, I’m going to share a few secrets of what you CAN’T FIND on Disney World property that you might want to bring from home. We all have our favorites…or items we need for a special diet that we may or may not find at Disney World when we need them…and let’s be honest, you miss them when you can’t get them.

And if you like what you see here, be sure to check out the brand new, just released DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, 2016 Edition, where we have over 500 pages of tips and secrets to having the best Disney trip ever!

Let’s go!

What Must-Have Food Items Are Just Not Found at Disney World?

Walt Disney World is super awesome and has everything you need to be over-the-moon happy! Right? Um, sometimes not.

You’ll find the same brands of things over and over throughout Walt Disney World, sometimes with an alarming lack of diversity. And if you have any sort of brand loyalty at all — consider bringing some of your own favorites or purchasing them off-property.

Beverage Station

Coca Cola is King at Disney

This is, of course, due in part to sourcing contracts. It may also have something to do with what’s available locally and regionally. Whatever the reason, if your favorites aren’t available, it’s good to know before you go so you can be prepared.

[Read more…]

News: More Menu Details for Animal Kingdom’s Tiffins and Nomad Lounge

Well, yesterday brought the news that the debut of Animal Kingdom’s Rivers of Light evening spectacular won’t be taking place on April 22nd after all. (According to Disney Parks Blog, they anticipate releasing more information regarding the show and further nighttime activities coming to Animal Kingdom in mid-to-late May.)

However, park projects continue on, such as the construction of Tiffins, the park’s first signature restaurant, slated for a summer opening, as well as the accompanying Nomad Lounge.

Artist's Rendering of Tiffin's Restaurant ©Disney

Artist’s Rendering of Tiffins Restaurant ©Disney

Last week, Disney shared some details regarding the story inspiring the upcoming dining locations. And now, more light has been shed on what we can expect to see on the menus. [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…]

News: Disney’s Early Morning Magic Event Now Available for Booking

Good Morning, Sunshine! A new extra-ticket event has appeared on the Walt Disney World websiteEarly Morning Magic will give early risers a chance to enter the Magic Kingdom before regular park hours to experience three Fantasyland attractions along with breakfast at Pinocchio Village Haus.

cinderella castle

From 7:45 am – 10:00 am on select Tuesdays and Saturdays beginning April 26th (according to the dates currently available for booking on the website), guests will be part of the first people to enter the park and will have access to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Peter Pan’s Flight. The event is currently bookable on DisneyWorld.com through June 2016. [Read more…]

News: Muppets Courtyard is Officially Official…for now…at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

For those keeping track of changes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this week, there’s one more to add to the list. You already likely know that the construction of Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land is now officially underway, as evidenced by the very recent closure of Streets of America fixtures such as Studio Catering Co. and the Lights! Motors! Action Extreme Stunt Show to make way for the new ventures.

Construction Walls Blocking  the Streets of America

Construction Walls Blocking the Streets of America

But what about Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano? It was always part of the former Streets of America section of the park, and yet it’s still in operation. (Yay!)

Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano

Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano

Well, it’s now part of the newly renamed Muppets Courtyard! The new name of this area of the park is revealed in the updated Guide Map for Disney’s Hollywood Studios (it’s listed on the bottom right of the shot below). [Read more…]

Review: The NEW Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Editor’s Note: We are hearing the news that the Carrot Cake Cookie is BACK at Writer’s Stop. Yay!

Well, April 2nd has come and gone, and it was a big day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

It was the last day guests could enjoy the Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show, or grab a bite to eat at Studio Catering Co., or a sip at High Octane Refreshments. This is all, of course, to make way for construction of the future Lands of Toy Story and Star Wars.

Writer’s Stop — a bookstore-meets-coffee-shop also specializing in some of the best bakery treats this side of the Studios — was originally on that same list to close down on April 3rd. However, it got a reprieve of sorts from the ol’ chopping block, and for a limited time it is still in operation… though in a different form than what we’re used to!

With many thanks to our Instagram pal, @savepointstu, we were alerted about the new menu. But we also couldn’t resist going over to search everything out ourselves and ask a few questions! What’s being served at Writer’s Stop now? And what is — or WAS — the fate of the spot’s signature item, the Carrot Cake Cookie?!?

When we arrived, we noticed the sign still remains, though the location has been taken off of the Hollywood Studios map. This is definitely a time of transition for Writer’s Stop.

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop

The menu now features three key items: a Charcuterie and Cheese Plate, a Warm Pretzel with Cheese Sauce, and Sugar-Spiced Nuts. [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…]