What’s New Around Disney World and Disneyland for March 8, 2014!

There’s lots new to see all over the World and the Land! So settle in, friends, and read on!

Hollywood Studios

We’re starting this round at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant!

Sci Fi Diner

“…It came from the snack bar”

The House-made Sci-Fi Candy Bar has hit the dessert menu: a white and dark chocolate mousse layered between sponge cake and dipped in chocolate ganache.

Sci Fi Dessert Menu

Sci Fi Dessert Menu

There have been a couple of additions to 50’s Prime Time Café as well.

50s Prime Time Sign

50s Prime Time Sign

Another vegetarian entrée has been added to the menu: Sissy’s Vegetarian Favorite Multigrain Spaghetti! “Vegetable Protein and Mushrooms tossed in Marinara Sauce, just like Spaghetti and Meatballs.”

And don’t forget dessert! All your favorites remain, but Old-fashioned Handmade Milk Shakes are listed, featuring the famous “Peanut Butter & Jelly” and the limited time “Red Velvet Cupcake.”

Magic Kingdom

Okay, this next update isn’t about food… it’s just next to food ;) . But I couldn’t resist [Read more…]

News! and Review: Las Ventanas Makes its Debut at Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort

UPDATE: Please note that as of February 2015, Las Ventanas also serves dinner. Advanced Dining Reservations are also accepted. 

Guess what! Disney World opened a new restaurant, and we’ve got all the details for you! :-)

Nope; you won’t find it at the parks. You won’t even find it at Downtown Disney! Nope — it’s at Coronado Springs, a Mexican-themed moderate resort!

Coronado Springs has a few aces up its sleeve when it comes to dining. The Pepper Market has a great reputation for lots of delicious choices in its unique station-style food court, and no one can argue with the margarita flight available at Rix Lounge and Maya Grill. Today, we’re excited to present the Resort’s brand new restaurant: Las Ventanas!

Las Ventanas entry

Las Ventanas entry

Well…it’s not exactly new. Las Ventanas has always been the private dining room for Rix Lounge. I guess they just realized they needed more table service offerings for conventioneers!

Las Ventanas is open for breakfast and lunch. It’s tucked in a hallway next to Rix Lounge. Since it’s closer to the Convention Center, if you are staying at Coronado as a non-Convention guest, it could be easy to miss. Thankfully, there is a sign in front of the Pepper Market leading the way.

Pepper Market

Pepper Market

Las Ventanas sign with operating hours

Las Ventanas sign with operating hours


Two things struck me upon entering Las Ventanas. First, the size. It’s small and intimate, due to previously being a private dining room. You’ll nearly be able to see the entire restaurant within these pictures.

Las Ventanas seating

Las Ventanas seating

Las Ventanas

Las Ventanas

There were only 14 or 15 tables in the whole place and, even though the room is small, they were very well-spaced with plenty of room in between each.

Las Ventanas Table

Las Ventanas Table

Second, it’s beautiful. Decor is minimalistic. Rather than being filled to the brim with details, things are kept rather simple. This serves to enhance the atmosphere, as you can truly take in the touches that catch your eye.

Las Ventanas Hanging Lamps

Las Ventanas Hanging Lamps

Fresh flowers on the table

Fresh flowers on the table

Wall decoration

Wall decoration

One thing I can’t share with you in pictures [Read more…]

DFB Food Challenge: The Walt Disney World Gelato Crawl!

There’s not a lot that I love better on a hot day in Florida than a little ice cream. But leave it to Disney World to kick ice cream up a notch by offering Gelato!

Disney World Gelato Crawl

And we’re seeing it in a lot of different spots across Walt Disney World, and even in Disneyland. If you are a fan of this richer, more dense version of that snack we all scream for, then you’re in luck.

Today, we thought it was high-time to offer some inspiration for another DFB Food Challenge, and so we are going in search of all things gelato we can get our hands on with the Walt Disney World Gelato Crawl!

Since you can only enjoy so many desserts in a 24 hour period, feel free to bring along friends to split all the goodies, or pace yourself on the crawl by spreading out the stops over several days.

I hope you came hungry. Let’s get started!

Gelato Bars

Since our very first visit, Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort has been one of our favorite counter service destinations. And one of the biggest reasons for that is their killer Gelato Bar!

If you’re lucky enough to be staying at Art of Animation, this first stop on the Gelato Crawl will be a snap! Check ‘em out!

Gelato at Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Gelato at Landscape of Flavors in Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

But my favorite thing about the Gelato Bar here — aside from the variety of flavors — is that you can also add toppings for a perfectly customized treat.

Toppings! Woo!

Toppings! Woo!

Pick your scoops, pick your sprinkles, and off you go!

My Favorite Combo -- Raspberry and Chocolate

My Favorite Combo — Raspberry and Chocolate

A couple of other Disney resorts also have gelato available. If you’re staying at Disney’s Coronado Resort, feel free to amend your crawl and start your gelato journey at Cafe Rix.

Gelato Flavors and Pricing at Cafe Rix

Gelato Flavors and Pricing at Cafe Rix

You can also check out a pretty awesome selection at End Zone Food Court over at All Star Sports!

End Zone Gelato Bar

End Zone Gelato Bar

Ahhhh…don’t you just love having options??

Gelato Cookie Sandwiches in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

After polishing off your first gelato of the day, head straight for Epcot, where you’ll have lots of different ways to enjoy your frozen favorite! Next stop: the Italy Pavilion.

View from Epcot's Italy Pavilion

View from Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

For your next foray into gelato, stop by the little [Read more…]

Guest Review: Breakfast (and Creme Brulee French Toast) at Pepper Market in Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Welcome Bob Sikon with a review of the Pepper Market’s breakfast offerings at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. After experimenting with buffet meals for breakfast and lunch, the Pepper Market has returned to a la carte menus.

Since our first visit to Walt Disney World in 1999, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort has held a special place in our family’s heart. The same can be said for Coronado’s Quick Service option, the Pepper Market.

In our many visits, we’ve seen Coronado and its Pepper Market change many times as well. It has transformed itself twice – first from an a la carte selection of an eclectic variety of cuisines to a breakfast and lunch buffet and back again. In early 2013, my wife and I got the chance to see the newest incarnation of our favorite quick service restaurant. We went for breakfast several days after it returned to its a la carte roots.


One thing that hasn’t changed much is the Pepper Market’s decor. For instance, a very familiar site welcomes you to the restaurant, and we would miss it if it was gone.

Welcome to the market!

The Pepper Market's Menu. (Click image for larger version.)

And, as you move through the restaurant, you’ll see that [Read more…]

News! Update on Disney’s New Rapid Fill Refillable Mug

According to sources, Disney World will soon be bringing the new Disney Rapid Fill Refillable Mug program to Disney resort hotels.

Tested at All-Star Sports Resort a while back, and much like the process currently in use at Disney’s Water Parks, the new system would use an RFID bar code on each mug to give Disney guests access to refills for a pre-purchased period of time. The mug will then deactivate itself at the end of the purchased time frame.

But as of today, it’s looking more and more like the rumors may be true. Although at this time the Rapid Fill Refillable Program has not been confirmed by Disney, we have news today that the fountain machines at some beverage refilling stations at Walt Disney World resorts have been replaced with new machines that resemble those in a demo video by the company ValidFill.

The first set of photos are from the Beach Club Marketplace, where the machines were installed earlier this week.

Newly Installed Beverage Refill Station at Beach Club Marketplace

Newly Installed Beverage Refill Station at Beach Club Marketplace

In this photo, you can see the small screen that provides the customer detailed information about their refill as it dispenses, as well as the trays below the fountain taps that reads the cup’s sensor.

New Beach Club Marketplace Refill Station -- Up Close

New Beach Club Marketplace Refill Station — Up Close

The same set up is in place at All-Star Music Resort’s beverage refill station. The screens here are [Read more…]

Disney Dining Tip from the DFB Guide: Dining at Bars and Lounges in Walt Disney World

When it comes to Disney World, bars and lounges aren’t just adults-only destinations — and they don’t just serve drinks.

In fact, here’s a Best Kept Secret in Disney dining planningDisney bars and lounges can be great places to get a meal with the whole family. These hidden gems are often less crowded than standard restaurants, too!

In The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book, we have an entire section reviewing every single bar and lounge in Walt Disney World. It’s well worth a read to find out great spots to get a full meal or a snack — even with no Advance Dining Reservation!

Now let’s take a peek at a few of our favorites…

English Bulldog with Chips at Rose and Crown Pub in Epcot's UK Pavilion

Bars and Lounges Inside the Theme Parks

A Disney World trip can be hectic (meeting characters, dashing to attractions, and racing off to dining reservations!), so finding a place inside the parks to escape the hoopla is key to a relaxing vacation!

With signature cocktails, cheese plates, fondue, burgers, donuts, pasta, and more, you’ll find some truly inspired menus at Disney World’s bars and lounges. Sometimes you’ll even be able to order from the full menu of a nearby restaurant.

In Epcot, we can highly recommend stopping in to Tutto Gusto in Italy, Rose and Crown Pub in the UK, or La Cava del Tequila in Mexico.

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

At Tutto Gusto, order from an awesome menu of meats and cheeses, paninis, pastas, and more. A relaxing atmosphere and full tables allow for an easy meal for the whole family.

Cheeses, Meats, and Shrimp Cavatappi at Tutto Gusto Lounge in Epcot's Italy

Rose and Crown Pub, attached to Rose and Crown Restaurant, features a fun menu that — gasp! — the kids might even like! We can highly recommend the Scotch Eggs and the British Bulldog sausage (see our review of the British Bulldog here — and the photo at the top of this article)!

Scotch Eggs at Rose and Crown

If you’re there on a weekday, seek out Carl the Bartender and ask him to show you his amazing magic trick!

Carl the Bartender and the tipping pint

At La Cava del Tequila, sample a few Mexican appetizers like chips and salsa, queso, and guacamole along with your margaritas!

Chips and queso at Cava del Tequila

Another favorite place to unwind in the parks and get a great meal is at Tune-In Lounge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Here, you can get great shakes for the kids, fun signature drinks for [Read more…]

News! Rix Lounge Announces Tequila Tasting at Coronado Springs Resort

Now and then we like to explore the lesser-known hang-outs at Walt Disney World. Tucked into the main building at Coronado Springs Resort and specializing in awesome tequilas (they’re run by the same folks who run Cava del Tequila!) Rix Lounge is a unique place to unwind!

Rix Lounge Entrance

We’ve got a photo tour of this fun nightspot for you below, but first I have some super fun news to share for those of us who love tequila and beverage tastings!

Rix Lounge’s FIRST EVER Tequila Tasting

Rix Lounge will host their first ever Tequila Tasting on Saturday, March 30th, at 8pm! A tequila ambassador (Hilda, maybe?) will guide guests through the history and production process of tequila, the different types and categories of tequila, and of course a tasting.

Rix Tequila Tasting

I’m guessing this will be a LOT like the tequila tastings from the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, which have now been turned into full blown tequila lunches! The tasting will include Milagro Select Barrel Silver, Partida Reposado, and Gran Centenario Añejo. A delicious Sangrita will be the finishing touch.

Tickets are available to the general public (ages 21 and up) at $30 per person in advance, or $35 per person at the door. A table reservation is required.

Rix Lounge Photo Tour

Now, for those of you who haven’t ever been to this little-known Disney hot spot, let’s take a gander around! Here’s a photo tour for ya!!

Rix Lounge Decor

Many special events are held at Rix Lounge, including kid birthday parties and romantic weddings! So, check the schedule before planning your evening. There is [Read more…]

News! A la Carte Menus at Pepper Market in Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Recent changes at Pepper Market at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort have resulted in brand new lunch and dinner menus at the food court.

Over the past several months, Pepper Market has gone through a series of menu changes. Prior to December 2011, the counter service spot offered a unique cafeteria-style experience, allowing guests to select their meal from a wide array of items. In early 2012, the restaurant switched to a buffet service; and on January 1, 2013, the new a la carte menu went into effect.

While the restaurant’s popular all-day buffet (and never-ending burritos) is gone, the meal is still a Quick Service credit on the Disney Dining Plan, and the lunch and dinner menus are varied and interesting.

Pepper Market Entrance

Guests can still expect a healthy assortment of Mexican- and American-inspired dishes, including the popular burrito with steak, rice, and beans … and a lot of delicious cheese sauce!

The burrito at Pepper Market is a crowd pleaser.

Here’s a peek at the new, a la carte breakfast and dinner menus (lunch is still [Read more…]

Where to Get Waffles in Walt Disney World

We’ve gathered all kinds of waffle choices in order to bring this Waffle Gallery to you! Whether you’re hankering for a Belgian waffle with fruit topping, a waffle with powdered sugar, a Mickey shaped breakfast waffle, or even a waffle sandwich – we’ve got the deets on where to take care of your craving.

There are some really creative waffle creations in the mix, so be sure to add one or more of these waffle choices to your next Walt Disney World visit.

Giant Mickey Waffle

Yes, Disney World menus are ever-changing so always check the most recent menus prior to your visit. The waffles listed below are in alphabetical order based on how they’re listed on Walt Disney World menus.

Bananas Foster Waffles

Roaring Fork at the Wilderness Lodge is home to some comforting waffle creations on the regular and kid’s breakfast menus. You’ll find more to tempt you further down in this list. The Bananas Foster Waffles are covered with warm bananas in a buttered rum-flavored sauce. Plus, they are Mickey-shaped!

Bananas Foster Waffles

Belgian Waffle

  • A Belgian waffle with Maple Butter and Candied Pecan Topping is offered at the Whispering Canyon Cafe in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
  • Seasonal Fresh Fruit, Maple Syrup and Whipped Cream accompany the Belgian waffle offered at Wolfgang Puck Express, Downtown Disney Marketplace.

Belgian Waffle Sundae

Belgian Waffle Sundae

At the AMC Dine-In Theatre in Downtown Disney, a pair of warm Belgian waffles are infused with maple flavor, then topped with vanilla ice cream, drizzled in luscious caramel sauce and topped with a generous sprinkle of sweet and savory candied bacon. What a dessert!

Belgium Waffle

Photo Tour: Cafe Rix at Coronado Springs Resort in Walt Disney World

While Coronado Springs Resort in Walt Disney World has a lot of charm and many fans (myself included!), it’s a little slim on meal options.

See, the resort’s table-service restaurant, Maya Grill, is only open for dinner these days; and the counter-service Pepper Market has gone buffet for breakfast and lunch, and closes from 2 p.m. until dinner. So sometimes it’s hard to find a bite to eat outside of Siesta’s Pool Bar. And while pool bars are charming, that might not be quite the vibe you’re seeking.

Enter Cafe Rix.

This is the only grab and go option for you at Coronado Springs. But does it offer what busy families and convention-goers really need to fuel up for a day at Disney? Let’s take a peek inside!

Rix Cafe Sign

Decorated in a Mediterranean style, the cafe offers a little something for everyone.

Entry to Cafe

Fresh fruit, wine, and newspapers are available, in addition to prepared cold items. I’m also totally digging on those lantern-like, Mexican light fixtures! That’s one of [Read more…]