Disney Food Year in Review: 2011

Happy New Year, everyone! 2011 was a big year for food in Disney parks and resorts, and when there are this many changes it can be helpful to recap — especially if you’re headed to a Disney park or resort soon!

So come with us as we walk through 2011 and a few of those newsworthy highlights! What’s your favorite Disney Food news from 2011?? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

2011 Disney Food Year in Review

Check below to see 2011 updates from Disney World, Disneyland, and other Disney destinations as well as our additions and changes here on the Disney Food Blog!

Walt Disney World Year In Review

Restaurant Openings and Renovations
Although they haven’t enjoyed as many full-blown restaurant openings as they did in 2009 and 2010, Disney World has definitely had its share of restaurant renovations and updates.

Tortuga Tavern in the Magic Kingdom replaced the (also Pirate-themed) El Pirata y El Perico. Serving much the same menu, including Mexican and Tex-Mex options, Tortuga also added some fun and whimsical decor so that you don’t forget that you’re in Disney World.

Also in the Magic Kingdom, we saw Storybook Treats and Cheshire Cafe develop from their former counterparts.

The AMC Fork and Screen Theater opened in Downtown Disney in 2011, so you can save time by doing dinner and a movie together, then heading back out into the parks! Nothing like some serious multi-tasking in the World!

Katsura Grill replaced Yakitori House in Epcot’s Japan late in 2011. Much of the same food is offered, but you will find a slightly more “clean lines” layout and a few additional classic Japanese menu items.

The overhaul in Japan also included the addition of the Kabuki Cafe, which is basically a more formal Kaki Gori stand also serving a seasonal menu of Japanese snacks like Miso Soup, Sushi, and Edamame.

Japanese Pancake from Katsura Grill

Right between the two new spots? An outdoor Sake bar! We can highly recommend the lime sake cocktail!

Also in Epcot, the always-popular Le Cellier Steakhouse turned its dinner meal into a signature dining option in March, making this meal 2 credits on the Disney Dining Plan. Le Cellier is still a tough ticket to get, so I think the hope that this price increase would lessen demand for reservations might be dashed. It’s still a popular spot for both lunch and dinner.

Over in Animal Kingdom, the guest-favorite Tusker House Character breakfast has expanded to include a new character lunch as well! This has brought positive response from Disney character meal fans!

And Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has introduced a brand new dining experience in 2011! Dine with an Animal Specialist at Sanaa offers guests [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: September 11, 2011

Donald Duck announces new lunch!

It was an exciting week with the announcement of a new character meal hosted by Donald Duck that will be offered at Tusker House in the Animal Kingdom.

And we’re getting so close to the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival now that we’re already planning our touring strategy. You can too — just check out the information in our mini-guide below! We got some great reviews this week!

Latest Disney Food News

  • Starting December 4th, a Tusker House character lunch will be offered in addition to Donald’s Safari Breakfast!
  • Disney Parks exclusive wines will be debuting at the Food and Wine Festival!
  • Downtown Disney’s Raglan Road announced a Thanksgiving meal in addition to its regular lunch and dinner menu.
  • ‘AMA’AMA at Disney’s new Aulani Resort in Hawai’i is now serving guests! Check out this dinner review.

The DFB Mini-Guide to the 2011 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book Review

We’re honored that our newest Mini-Guide is getting such positive reviews! One of the most recent is from Kristin Ford with the Orlando Sentinel’s A Mom and A Mouse! Here’s some of what she has to say about the Mini-Guide…

Like her other projects, AJ Wolfe’s new e-book is thorough. She, of course, explains the many components of the festival, such as seminars, celebrity chef meet-and-greets, signature tastings and concerts. It’s all valuable information laid out in an easy-to-find and easy-to-read format. …I especially like the “With the Kids Strategy” in The Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to the 2011 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Wolfe offers ideas to engage the kids throughout the park so that the family is moving around World Showcase, allowing parents to sample much of the food.

Read the rest of the review here. Thanks to Kristin and the Orlando Sentinel!!

The Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to the 2011 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival e-Book has over 125 pages of information you need to dive right into the festival. Start YOUR planning with the purchase of your guide.

On to the Round-Up!

Meet the World in Progressland Has a compilation of photos of Tokyo Disney Resort’s popcorn stands! This is from 2009, but it’s awesome! Love the Roastie-Toasties!

The Disney Blog tells us how to eat cheap at Disneyland!

Main Street Gazette takes us to the River Roost Lounge for evening entertainment and eats! Yee-Haa!!

Eating (and Drinking) Around The World shows us how to make Tuna Poke, Aulani Style!

All Ears Net‘s Jack Spence talks restaurants at Epcot’s France Pavilion. We love it when he does that.

DisMarks has released their 29th Disney Blog Carnival! Lots of great articles on your favorite topics over there.


We’re thinking today of the men and women who lost their lives on 9/11/01 and of the friends and family they left behind, many of whom are still fighting fear and loss with strength and resilience.

Guest Review: ‘AMA ‘AMA Beachside Restaurant at Disney’s Aulani Resort

We’re so excited to have a review of Disney’s Aulani Resort’s premier restaurant just a few days after its opening! Mark Hickson is a Disney fan, a former Disney Imagineer, and a Hawai’i resident and food blogger (among many other things). We’re honored to share this article with our readers. Thanks, Mark!

'Ama 'Ama Beachside Restaurant

So the resort has been open for five days now and I thought it would be the perfect time to dine in the resort’s signature restaurant, ‘AMA ‘AMA. The restaurant is named after the tasty mullet fish ʻamaʻama that us locals enjoy.


The setting is an open air thatched roof fishing shack and a minimalist fishing factory with concrete pillars and a large fish holding tanks complete with pipeline and spigot. Of all the beautiful facilities at Aulani Resort this place’s theme is the only one that doesn’t work.

Our reservations were for 5:30pm and my wife and I were seated directly. Unfortunately since it is an open air dining area (no walls), the sun was low enough to shine in so it was very bright and hot at our table. In retrospect I would wait until sunset to be seated.


Take a look at the official ‘AMA ‘AMA menus below:

click image for larger version

click image for larger version

For drinks I ordered a Pineapple Papaya Cosmo. It was fun, tropical and fresh with a light foam on top. Good enough to order a second, which I did! My wife’s coffee was [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: September 4, 2011

Halloween Sugar Cookies at Disney Parks

It’s time to celebrate! Halloween goodies are out in the parks, AND we’ve been celebrating my birthday all weekend with a great Disney Food Blog e-Book sale! More on that later, but first… the news!

Latest Disney Food News

Last Day of the Disney Food Blog Birthday e-Book Sale

We’re celebrating my birthday with a sale! Today’s the last day to get a discount on any or all of our DFB e-Books using code: BIRTHDAY at the check-out!

$4 off our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining,

$2 off our DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks, and

$2 off our DFB Mini-Guide to the 2011 Epcot Food & Wine Festival!

Or purchase all three e-Books for just $33.85 (regularly $41.85) using code BIRTHDAY!

We hope you love the e-Books as much as we do (but if you don’t, there’s always a 30 day, money-back guarantee!)

On to the Round-Up!

Main Street Gazette quenches our thirst with a Coca-Cola “Always Coca-Cola!” (You sang it, too, didn’t you?)!

Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups stops by the Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney. Yum!

Disney Tour Reviews gives a shout-out to The Disney Food Blog and highlights posts based on food tours. Thanks Lindsay!!

Eating (and Drinking) around the World wishes La Cava del Tequila a happy birthday! It makes so much sense that La Cava and I have birthdays so close together, doesn’t it?

Makin’ Memories looks closely at the “artifacts” left behind by the Dino Institute’s grad students at Animal Kingdom’s Restaurantosaurus.

Jackie’s Magical Moments reviews the DFB Mini-Guide to the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival this week! Thanks, Jackie!

Disney by Mark gives us a tour of the Makahiki and Oleho restaurants just hours before serving their first meals! Check Mark’s Blog for more Aulani coverage, and stay tuned this week for a full review of ‘Ama ‘Ama by Mark!

First Look! Aulani Restaurants on Opening Day

Aloha! Aulani, Disney’s newest Disney Vacation Club resort on Oahu, Hawai’i, opened on August 29, 2011, checking in the first guests in the wee hours of the morning. Thanks to Werner Weiss at Yesterland, we have some photos of the new restaurants to share.

These are just a few of his many, many pics of Aulani, so be sure to head on over to Yesterland to complete your tour. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself considering a trip to Hawai’i!

In the ‘Olelo Room, guests can enjoy a continental breakfast and casual lounge fare.

'Olelo Room

A casual buffet restaurant, Makahiki, will host character breakfasts on [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: August 14, 2011

We’re jetting off to Disneyland later this week for the D23 Expo, and we’ll be sharing all the updates and details! Follow along here on the Disney Food Blog, on Facebook, and twitter as we bring you news from California!

Latest Disney Food News

DFB Guide and Mini-Guides

We’re eagerly anticipating our brand new Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to the 2011 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book — now topping out at over 125 pages — which will be available within the next day or two!

In the meantime, check out our 250-page DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book and our new 85-page Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book! They can both be downloaded to your computer and loaded onto your iPad or smartphone for easy transport and access in the parks!

On to the Round-Up!

WDW for Grown-ups highlights a brand new event at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival — the “Best of Bocuse” dinner!

Disney by Mark shows us a Disneyland automated food service, the StratoSnak, that never happened. Reminds me of my much-desired automat

Gorillas Don’t Blog spots alcohol at the Golden Horseshoe in the Magic Kingdom. Or does he? Take a look!

Main Street Gazette takes us to my one of my favorite breakfast locations — Boma!

WESH.com featured a story by yours truly showcasing our top five new additions to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.

Magical Kingdoms shows us how one very creative mom made a Cinderella Coach cake for her daughter’s birthday. Impressive!

Disney’s Aulani Resort Restaurant Menus

Disney’s newest resort, Aulani, opens very soon in Ko Olina, Oahu, Hawaii, and offers restaurants that emphasize local flavors with cuisine from around the world. They’ve posted the menus for several of the table-service restaurants, so let’s check out what we’re going to eat on our (probably fictional) trip to Oahu!

Table Service Restaurants

The ocean breeze will be spirit-soothing at this beach side restaurant specializing in fresh, local seafood. The menu includes vegetarian items and desserts made fresh each day.

At breakfast, choose from island-inspired dishes including a Three Egg Omelet served with Aulani Potatoes; Seared Island Fish, Tamago, Mixed Greens, Miso Soup, Steamed Rice, Dried Seaweed, and Pickled Vegetables; or the Sweet Potato and Portuguese Sausage Hash with Poached Eggs and Marinated Hearts of Palm.

Breakfast Menu

ama ama

The lunch menu features salads, sandwiches, and main courses including Today’s Hawaiian Sustainable Catch Market, Grilled Sirloin Steak with Sautéed Mushrooms and Sweet [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: July 18, 2010

Lamb From Australia Booth is Back This Year

Whew! What a WEEK! It was Food and Wine Festival-icous! You’ll have to forgive my one track mind this week, all, but here are the latest news items:

Hopefully you got a chance to check out my blog post over at Touring Plans all about the NEW additions to the 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Also, give a listen to the recent WDW Today Podcast, where we chatted about some of the upcoming festival attractions! Thanks, Touring Plans and WDW Today!

I came across a Progress City USA post from 2009 that shows us what dining was like at early WDW. Anyone remember the Pueblo Room?

DisZine reports that the Disney World Swan and Dolphin are announcing a Personal Pantry feature.

Touring Plans blogger Kristen H. writes about her favorite counter service restaurants at WDW.

Heatherw25 has created some more amazing Disney food scrapbooking layouts!

Kerrygold Cheeses at Ireland Food and Wine Booth

Main Street Gazette compares a favorite Disney World counter-service dish at Sunshine Seasons to one of his local favorites.

A Taste of Disney shows us how to make California Grill’s delicious Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli.

The Daily Disney reports on a new Meatball Sliders and Beer menu at WDW Downtown Disney’s Portobello Restaurant.

Designing Disney looks at inspiration for the Market House Deli in Disneyland Paris.

Chip and Co wonders what makes Aloha Isle so popular.

Pee Dee Foodie reviews Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Disney Parks Blog announces that the Kona Island Sushi Bar is a permanent fixture at the Polynesian Resort in WDW!

DisUnplugged reviews breakfast at Disneyland’s Steakhouse 55.

Disney’s Aulani Resort Restaurants and Dining Details

Thanks to Werner Weiss at Yesterland for the heads up on this great news. Here are all the details on Disney dining at Aulani Resort, Disney’s newest Vacation Club property at Ko Olina on Oahu, Hawai’i. Details can be found at DVCMember.com for those with log-ins and passwords.

Makahiki Buffet Restaurant

This restaurant will have an open-air dining room featuring murals created by local artists depicting the story of Makahiki, the Hawaiian harvest festival. This location will be on the Main Building’s lower level, and will offer character breakfasts and casual dinner buffets with cuisine reflecting local favorites. These will include fresh, line-caught sustainable seafood and chef-inspired dishes.

The ‘Olelo Room

This will be a fun, interactive lounge serving tropical beverages, Continental breakfast, traditional Afternoon Tea, and cocktail service. You’ll find it adjacent to the Makahiki Buffet.

‘AMA’AMA Beachside Restaurant

Ah, yes! The beautiful Aulani beachside restaurant we speculated about so many months ago! Seating will be inside hale (beachside houses) and will serve traditional and locally-inspired meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You’ll be able to get omelets, bakery items, hot and cold sandwiches, salads, seasonal and sustainable seafood, steak, duck and vegetarian selections, and other menu selections.

'AMA'AMA Beachside Restaurant concept art

Beachside Lounge/Pool Bar

Right next to the ‘AMA’AMA Beachside Restaurant, this lounge will serve favorites like the Mai Tai, Pina Colada, Blue Hawai’i and Long Island Iced Tea. Of course, you’ll be able to get anything from the full bar, such as margaritas, sangria, sparkling cocktails, wine, and local beer. Be sure to ask about the ‘Ike Mua, the discovery drink of [Read more…]

Walt Disney World Wrap-Up: News and Photos From My WDW Weekend

UPDATE: Read about the Opening Date for Be Our Guest Restaurant and Reservations Info!

As you know, I spent this past weekend exploring and enjoying Disney food along with some fellow bloggers and writers at a Disney-sponsored culinary event called “From 5 Stars to Mickey Bars!”

All in all, we nibbled, tasted, sampled, noshed, and all-out devoured our way through some of my favorite Disney restaurants, including Flying Fish Cafe, Hoop Dee Doo Revue, Cape May Cafe, and Kouzzina! I had the chance to meet and chat with some Cast Members charged with not only developing concepts for new Disney restaurants, but also with ensuring that Disney Food and Beverage is running smoothly day-to-day.

For some people, a Disney “Dream Come True” trip includes a stay in the castle or special VIP time with Mickey. All of that is nice, but this past weekend was a Dream Come True trip for a Disney- and Food-lover like me!

I posted a few of the highlights last week, but wanted to share a few more with you as well — including some tidbits of info I picked up along the way!

We began the weekend with a cocktail and appetizers party in The Attic of Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, a small, cozy event space. We were joined by some true Disney elite, including Mickey and Minnie themselves, but the appetizer spread was what truly caught my eye…

Eats in the Attic

While chatting with some in-the-know Disney cast members at this event, I heard a few interesting [Read more…]