Top 5 Disney Dining Plan Quick-Service Values for 2012

It’s time to re-visit our Top 5 Quick-Service 2012 Disney Dining Plan* Values! Last year, our choices were great bargains because they offered good portions and quality food — and they were less attractive when paying out-of-pocket!

Since then, prices and options have changed, so it’s time to re-evaluate for 2012!

Wolfgang Puck Express at Downtown Disney

While shopping at Downtown Disney, use your quick service credit at Wolfgang Puck Express! The Pennette Chicken Alfredo with peas, bacon and parmesan at $15 is very filling (an easy meal to split)!

Pennette Chicken Alfredo

Here are some other smart choices:
Spaghetti & Meatballs with tomato-basil-garlic sauce and fresh herbs $16; Oven Roasted Salmon served with fennel, tomatoes, arugula, roasted potatoes and horseradish cream $18; or the Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf accompanied by mashed potatoes, port wine sauce and crispy onion rings $15.

Quality and quantity make WPE the place at Downtown Disney to get the best value with your DDP credit!

Katsura Grill

We’re assuming that Katsura Grill, which opens TODAY at the Japan Pavilion in Epcot, is on the Dining Plan as a counter-service location. If we’re right, it will be a great value for a counter-service credit. (By the way, since it’s replacing the Yakitori House, we’re guessing that it will be on the Dining Plan; but we don’t know yet for sure!)

On the new menu the Sushi Combos, including the California Roll and the Spicy Tuna Roll, top out at $12.99, as does the Tonosama combo, with comes with teriyaki beef, chicken, and salmon. The Teriyaki Salmon is $11.99, while the [Read more…]

News! Coronado Springs’ Pepper Market to Test Breakfast and Lunch Buffet

It’s been recently noted over on WDW For Grownups that the innovative food court, the Pepper Market, at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort will test a buffet during its breakfast and lunch hours.

The Pepper Market buffet “test” will take place December 4, 2011 – January 4, 2012 at a cost of $14.99 for adults and $8.99 for kids for the morning meal [Read more…]

Guest Review: Coronado Springs Resort’s Pepper Market

Bill Iadonisi returns with a colorful and impressive review of the Pepper Market at the Coronado Springs Resort. Take it away, Bill!

When guests vacation to Walt Disney World, they are looking forward to going on their favorite attractions, seeing World-Class shows and entertainment, and of course meeting the Disney Characters. A trip to Disney is an exciting adventure for all. But for many, the rides and attractions are just the tip of the iceberg.

I know that for myself, dining at Disney is a whole world of fun! With menu options from around the world and a huge diversity of food choices, the dining scene is a theme park unto itself.

Welcome!

While most guests hanker to dine in the parks, the resort venues are just as impressive. We know the classic restaurants such as Citricos, the California Grill and Jiko, but the resorts are also home to some of Walt Disney World’s “sleeper” restaurants.

These eateries are hidden gems with mostly low crowds, fantastic menus and easy access. Many times when the parks are booked, you can usually walk right in or have just a short wait before dining. Some of my favorites are the Kona Café and the Captain’s Grille. And here we will review; Coronado Springs Resort’s Pepper Market restaurant.

Atmosphere and Ordering Process

Pepper Market is an open food court located in the main building area of Coronado Springs Resort, called “El Centro.” It is a counter-service restaurant, although your drinks are brought to the table by a server.

But what makes this eatery special is its extensive menu and expansive dining area. Even during crowded times, you can usually find a table. It is themed after a south of the border-feel marketplace. Huge and airy, it is also very colorful, bright and gives the feeling of space versus claustrophobia — something we love in Disney restaurants.

Dining Area

As you make your way to the entrance, (next to Coronado’s table-service restaurant, the Maya Grill) you walk on terracotta tiles and past wrought iron fences adorned with green plants. Everything is vibrant and very colorful. It puts a smile on your face before you are even seated. At the entrance is a [Read more…]

Review: Maya Grill at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

Hidden in Coronado Springs Resort’s El Centro, between the lobby and the Casitas section of the resort, Maya Grill offers a Latin American menu in the midst of Mayan architecture.

Atmosphere

You really do feel like you’re at the entrance to a Mayan pyramid when dining in this restaurant, and the decor — with soaring ceilings and moody lighting — is stunning. But many folks shy away from Maya Grill due to its distance from…well…just about everything.

Maya Grill sign

We arrived without a reservation, and although I could see many empty tables, we were told there would be a 45-minute wait. This was disturbing, since I think of Maya Grill to be one of the lesser-populated restaurants in Disney World. But since we were already staying at Coronado Springs (and since we had to eat here anyway so that we could cover it on the blog), we just told the hostess that we’d come back in 45 minutes, and spent the time catching up on work in our room.

When we returned, she’d [Read more…]

Disney World Margarita Gallery

This post was originally going to be a throwdown, but I had so many margaritas I wanted to share with you that it ended up being a curated gallery for heaven’s sake!

Also, I hope you guys are willing to share with me in the comments section your favorite margaritas (and maybe even your pictures of them to add to the gallery!).

Take a look through the reviews below and let me know what I’m missing! Let’s work together to make this comprehensive! :-)

Multiple Locations: Margarita Flight

Finally, if you just can’t make up your mind, head over to one of Disney World’s Mexican restaurants (they’re all run by the same company) and order a Margarita Flight! I’ve mentioned it a couple of times already here on DFB, but it’s really a great option if you’d like to try multiple different flavors.

Margarita Flight

As daily readers know, my favorites here are the Lime, Mango Blueberry, and Pineapple. Not so much with the veggies and the flowers. ;-)

You can get these at most of Disney’s Mexican food locations, including Maya Grill and Rix Lounge at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot’s World Showcase.

If you’re very, very lucky, you can also get one in my favorite place in all of Disney World — La Cava del Tequila. They are only served on certain days here.

Paradiso 37: Twisted Margarita and Regular Margarita

Paradiso 37 in Downtown Disney offers this fabulous concoction that’s half frozen sangria and half frozen margarita. Yes please! They call it the Twisted Margarita…

Twisted Margarita -- half sangria half margarita

Their classic margarita is fantastic — and just about the farthest thing from watered down you can get. Boasted as their famous Souza margarita, the Paradiso 37 lived up to its accolades!

Paradiso 37 Margarita

High Octane Refreshments: Stoplight Margarita

Over in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this little outdoor bar has quite a few offerings. Now I expected this Stoplight margarita to be the same high-alcohol, low-flavor type that we see at the Epcot Margarita kiosk (see below). But boy was I wrong!! After years of fiesta margaritas in Epcot, this was a breath of fresh air!

Mixer-mass-produced, yes — flavorless, no! I loved the mix of melon, strawberry, and lime flavors in this frozen drink. Kudos, High Octane Refreshments!

Stoplight Margarita

La Hacienda de San Angel: Orange Mango Fire Margarita

Margaritas are a specialty at La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot, and you can’t go wrong with the classic margarita here.

But for something different, try the [Read more…]

Fancy Flights: Margaritas, Whiskey, and Beer, Oh My!

When most people hear the word “flight” when referring to a menu — they automatically think “wine flight.” Well, while Disney restaurants have some spectacular wine flights (Sanaa…yum!), there are also plenty of other kinds of flights that I can recommend you order up post haste on your next visit! :-)

Margarita Flight

This beautiful little tray of heaven (as I like to refer to it) sports five gorgeous mini-margaritas. On my last visit, we were treated to Lime, Pineapple, Hibiscus, Jalapeno, and Mango Blueberry flavors on the tray, but the tequila geniuses that have taken over the creation of the bar menus at Disney’s Mexican food joints are always dreaming up new and inventive options. My favorites? Lime, Mango Blueberry, and Pineapple. But that Jalapeno will definitely knock your socks off with flavor.

Margarita Flight

You can get these at most of Disney’s Mexican food locations, including Maya Grill and Rix Lounge at [Read more…]

2011 Disney Dining Plan Changes

It’s a new year, and we wanted to walk you through the ins and outs of what’s changed and what’s stayed the same when it comes to the Disney’s Dining Plan (DDP) in 2011! Fans and critics of the DDP will notice only a few changes this year:

Disney Dining Plan Snack Credit Logo

Standard Disney Dining Plan

  • The standard DDP was $41.99 per adult per night and has been bumped to $45.99 for the value and regular seasons. The rates for kids ages 3-9 remained the same at $11.99 per night.
  • Peak season 2011 rates will apply February 17-26, March 11-April 30, June 3-August 13 and December 21-31. Adult rates rose from $46.99 per night to $47.99. The nightly rate for children age 3-9 remained the same at $12.99 per night.
  • For Quick-Service, Table-Service and Private In-room meals, the option to order juice at breakfast in addition to a non-alcoholic beverage was deleted. Perhaps guests were [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: January 9, 2010

Lady and the Tramp Cake Topper

Howdy, all! We are firmly ensconced in 2011, and I hope it’s treating you well. First up, as always, the news! But stay tuned — lots of great new sites in the round-up this week!

And now — on to the round-up!

A Wedding Cake Blog showcases some gorgeous and whimsical Disney Wedding Cake Toppers! Belle, Cinderella, Bride and Groom Ear Hats, even Lady and the Tramp!

WDW for Grownups has a fun primer on couponing in the Disney World area — check it out and save some cash on meals and entertainment the next time you’re in Orlando!

Two Boos Who Eat takes us to Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen and Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor in Disneyland!! YUM!

Jessica Loves Cupcakes gives us an overview of cupcakes in Disneyland — including a fun Minnie Mouse cupcake antenna topper I hadn’t even seen before!

Main Street Gazette takes us on a tantalizing tour of The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort!

RoriTravel’s Florida takes us out to Rix Lounge at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort!

WDW Radio focuses on the UK pavilion with guest stars Mark and Emma (my new friends from the UK!)

A Taste of Wonderland covers a few of the new dining spots in WDW!

Review: Margaritas at Epcot’s La Cava del Tequila

You guys know how much I love Epcot’s new tequila bar, La Cava del Tequila. Located in the pyramid of Epcot’s Mexico pavilion, the Cava opened in August 2009 and has been a huge success!

The interior of this place is so cozy; it’s one of those hidden Walt Disney World gems that you just cherish once you find it. Heavy, painted furniture sits on large, rough tile. And the mural along the wall depicts [Read more…]

Review: San Angel Inn Restaurante

Well, we finally did it. After dreading a trip back to Epcot’s San Angel Inn in the Mexico pavilion due to a couple of bad meals there, we booked an ADR. It was more a “we have to go because I write a food blog” thing than an avid desire to give the restaurant another chance, but…as it turns out…we’d been missing out for far too long.

Atmosphere
Atmosphere has always been the main selling feature of San Angel Inn. Located inside the Epcot Mexico pyramid with seating along the Gran Fiesta Tour river, this restaurant offers a fun ambiance that you just won’t get anywhere else (besides Blue Bayou in Disneyland, maybe!).

Because the Mexico Pavilion’s pyramid is home to the set-up of a Mexican village in the evening, the restaurant is in a perpetual state [Read more…]