Review: The Grand Cocktail at Mizner’s Lounge in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Recently while in Walt Disney World, a friend and I had some time to kill between events. So we decided to stop into Mizner’s Lounge for a little refreshment.

Mizner’s Lounge is located in the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. This beautiful bar and lounge is a relaxing place to unwind any time of the day. But I especially love it in the evenings, when you can catch the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra playing.

You’ll find Mizner’s tucked back into one end of the second floor at the Grand. Its location off the beaten path means that it’s usually on the quiet side here. You don’t just “happen upon” Mizner’s. You have to actually go to it.

Since I’m usually here after dark, I decided to take a look around and get a few photos of it for you during the day.

Mizner's Lounge -- The Bar Area

Mizner’s Lounge — The Bar Area

Mizner’s, along with the rest of the Grand, underwent a little refresh a few years back. The overall effect is still elegant, but it’s a lot less formal. And check out the views of the beautiful Grand Floridian grounds from the lounge’s windows! [Read more…]

A Week’s Worth of Gourmet Hot Dogs Debut at Grand Floridian’s Gasparilla Island Grill

You know how we love our over-the-top gourmet HOT DOGS here at the DFB!

From the Barbecue Slaw Hot Dog and Chili-Cheese Dog at Casey’s Corner, to the Coney Island Dog at The Lunching Pad, to the fun assortment at The Mara in Animal Kingdom Lodge (the Mara BLT Hot Dog, the Reuben Hot Dog, and the African Chili-Cheese Hot Dog)… well, the bigger the variety of toppings to choose from, the better!

And now we’re excited to have SEVEN new gourmet hot dogs to add to the list at the Grand Floridian’s Gasparilla Island Grill! But there’s a little twist: the menu rotates. There are seven different hot dogs, with a different one featured each day of the week. Each hot dog is inspired by a different city or state in the U.S. So, let’s take a Hot Dog Tour of the country — courtesy of Gasparilla Island Grill — starting in…

Cleveland — Available on Sundays

The Cleveland Dog is topped with coleslaw and hot sauce. And the fries? Don’t look on the side for for this natural pairing, because they’re on top of this dog, too!

©Disney

©Disney

Seattle — Available on Mondays

The Seattle Dog is topped with cream cheese (now, why didn’t I think of that?), but you’ll have to look under a huge — and SPICY! — pile of jalapeños, cabbage, and Sriracha to find it! [Read more…]

New Year’s Eve Events at Walt Disney World to Ring in 2016

Have you made your New Year’s Eve plans yet???

New Year's Eve Toast

New Year’s Eve Toast

Yeah, me neither. But believe it or not, it’s not too soon to start making plans… if you’re planning on ringing in 2016 at Walt Disney World, that is!

In addition to regular dining opportunities in the parks and resorts, special dining events will once again be offered for guests looking for some unique ways to celebrate, and the options appear to have expanded from last year’s offerings.

As you might anticipate, Epcot tops the list for most guests hoping to ring in the new year in one of the parks, thanks to extra special entertainment throughout the day as well as an extended version of the Illuminations Nighttime Spectacular, so the bulk of special New Year’s options take place throughout World Showcase.

However, a few of the Resort restaurants are planning celebrations of their own as well. Here’s the festive rundown (so far! It’s always possible that other events may yet be in store…)

New Year’s Eve at Epcot World ShowPlace

Returning to Epcot this year is the New Year’s Eve at Epcot World ShowPlace dining event. Once again, the event will feature buffet dining set to classic Disney music, and will also feature vignettes for fun photo opps to remember the celebration. [Read more…]

News: Waterfront Brunch Coming to Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

A new dining opportunity is coming to Narcoossee’s, one of the signature restaurants at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

A hallmark of Narcoossee’s is the wonderful views it offers of Seven Seas Lagoon, which makes it known as an especially terrific option if you book your Advance Dining Reservation for dinner in coordination with a showtime of Wishes — the Magic Kingdom Fireworks spectacular.

Later this fall, Narcoossee’s will be making the most of its unique setting in the daytime with the new Waterfront Brunch, which will be offered on Sunday mornings beginning November 22, 2015 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. 

The meal will begin with a specialty beverage of either champagne, a Mimosa, or a signature Bloody Mary, while a smoothie option will be available for guests under 21.

Next, a shared basket of pastries will include house-made chocolate and traditional croissants alongside muffins, Danish pastries, and pecan sticky buns, all served with Vermont cultured butter and seasonal jam.

©Disney

©Disney

Guests will then choose from an appetizer selection including Onion Soup Gratinee, Shrimp and Grits, Seafood Charcuterie, an Artisanal Cheese Selection or a Romaine Salad. Entree choices will include Lobster Eggs Benedict, Brioche French Toast, Chicken and Waffles, Freshly Caught Seasonal Fish, and Steak and Eggs (among others). Brunch will end with a dessert trio. [Read more…]

News: Victoria and Albert’s Debuts New Ten-Course Menu

If you think you’ve done it all at Victoria and Albert’s, it’s time to think again.

The Chef’s Degustation Menu is comprised of 10 small courses, and will pay tribute to Chef Hunnel’s travels through Europe and Asia. As always, the menu will also be influenced by seasonal flavors.

Guests who opt for this meal will enjoy a few extra touches: they’ll choose options from a cheese trolley, will be treated to table side butter carving, and receive a custom chocolate box at the end of their meal.

If guests are looking for a premium experience that explores wine pairing, the restaurant will also be offering food and wine pairings in the [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Fun, Free Holiday Activities in Walt Disney World

It’s here — we are officially 181 days out from Christmas!! Woohoo! Have you started your shopping yet?

180 Days Sale

Ha — me neither. But I do know that if I have any hope of scoring advance dining reservations for the uber busy holiday season at Walt Disney World, I need to be ready to book as soon as those lines open up tomorrow.

But how do I fit everything in that I want to do? By planning ahead, of course. And we want to help you do the same.

And that’s why we write the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays. Because I want your holiday visit to the ‘World to be nothing less than spectacular.

And when you pre-order the 2015 DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays right now, you’ll receive the 2014 edition immediately, for free.

Don’t forget — you have three ways to save on the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays Guide. Check our our 180 Days ‘Til Christmas Sale to learn more!

But hurry — our sale on this popular guide ends tomorrow at midnight!

Today, let’s explore

[Read more…]

News: Disney World Testing Free Taxi Service to Signature Restaurants

Disney is currently testing a new transportation method — complimentary direct taxi service — for guests dining at select signature restaurants while staying at Walt Disney World monorail resorts!

Monorail Orange at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Monorail Orange at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Until June 30, 2015, some guests at the monorail resorts (Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Contemporary) will be selected to participate in this Disney dining test. Those invited to participate will receive complimentary round-trip vouchers delivered to their room.

Participants will have the option of enjoying direct taxi transportation to [Read more…]

Review: Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

It’s time for lunch at Gasparilla Island Grill in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort!

The Grand Floridian dining scene is primarily defined by unique dining experiences such as Victoria and Albert’s (Disney World’s AAA Five-Diamond Restaurant) and Afternoon Tea as well as two signature restaurants (Citricos and Narcoossee’s) and character meals at 1900 Park Fare. It’s also home to one of my very favorite Disney meals in all of history: the Grand Floridian Burger at the resort’s more casual Table Service restaurant, the Grand Floridian Cafe (the name doesn’t convey the highlight of the dish: it’s the lobster-topped burger you may have heard about).

Even among all that, the Grand Floridian still remains a place where you can grab a quick Counter Service bite 24 hours a day thanks to to Gasparilla Island Grill.

Gasparilla Island Grill sign

Gasparilla Island Grill sign

The last time we paid a visit it had recently been through a refurbishment, changing from Gasparilla Grill and Games to its current name. While not much has changed in the way of atmosphere since that visit, the menu differs somewhat from its immediate post-refurb offerings, so we’re back to grab a quick bite (or three!) at Gasparilla Island Grill!

Gasaprilla Island Grill entrance

Gasaprilla Island Grill entrance

Atmosphere

The general vibe at Gasparilla Island Grill is decidedly — and expectedly — Floridian! Creamy colors, pale greens, and lots of natural sunlight keep it airy, while the lush, darker greens and palms associated with the state of Florida are represented in the seating decor.

Gasparilla Island Grill indoor seating

Gasparilla Island Grill indoor seating

Gasparilla Island Grill indoor seating

Gasparilla Island Grill indoor seating

Second seating area

Second seating area

At the same time, the resort’s Victorian style is reflected in the light fixtures (check out those hidden Mickeys!), and by a small display of dish and glassware.

Lighting

Lighting

Lighting

Lighting

Dish display

Dish display

Dish display

Dish display

Though not known for tons of Disney detailing, the basic scene here is very pleasant in that it’s fresh, clean, and simple.

Perhaps the most unique feature to Gasparilla is the amount of high-backed booths lining the perimeter. They do allow for a certain feeling of privacy in what can be a bustling place, depending on the time of day.

Booth seating

Booth seating

Outdoor seating is also available; however, it wasn’t much in use on the day my friend and I visited, due to to some classic spring showers.

Outdoor seating in the rain

Outdoor seating on a rainy day

Once the rain lightened up, I stepped outside once more to [Read more…]

Easter Treats and Spring Break Eats Around Walt Disney World

The 2015 Chocolate Easter Egg Display at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort isn’t the only sure sign of spring around here these days! Easter treats have been “hopping” up everywhere around Disney World Resort to celebrate this weekend’s holiday — not to mention the remainder of the Spring Break season through the end of next week.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a holiday at Disney World without all sorts of specialty cupcakes, and Easter is no egg-ception. (I. Can’t. Stop. Doing. That!). At Epcot, a Chocolate Cupcake with marshmallow filling and marshmallow buttercream frosting can be found at Fountain View from now through April 11th, and at Sunshine Seasons for a very limited run on April 4th and 5th.

©Disney

©Disney

This beauty of a Carrot Cake Cupcake topped with a mini Bunny Macaron will be at the Contemporary Resort only through April 5th! The inside has a pineapple-coconut filling and it’s all topped with white chocolate buttercream frosting along with toasted coconut and — hooray! — jelly beans!

CEC8898471LARGE-613x409

©Disney

While there, be sure to check out the Contemporary Resort’s display of Chocolate Bunnies and decorated Easter Eggs presented by the Resort’s pastry chefs on the fourth floor!

BoardWalk Bakery boasts its own Easter Cupcake: vanilla cake filled with raspberry panna cotta, topped off with a coconut nest filled with jelly beans.

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©Disney

And, of course, you can check out spots at [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Off-The-Radar Disney World Bars and Lounges

Walt Disney World is supa fun, but it’s also go-go-go-go. Sometimes ya just gotta relax.

dfb2015_guide_3d

Of course, there’re all kinds of ways to accomplish that. But after a long, hard day of Disney touring, I love to head to one of my favorite Disney Bars and Lounges.

“Bar” might not be the first word you think of when you picture Mickey Ears and Pixie Dust. But actually, these are some of my favorite spots on property for a number of reasons.

And I know you agree, because when I first published the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, a comprehensive Index of Disney World’s Bars and Lounges was one of our readers’ top requests.

Well — we heard you! And I’m happy to let you know that the DFB Guide includes reviews of every Bar and Lounge in Walt Disney World!

Let’s dive into the Index and take a closer look at a few. You know my favorites, like Territory Lounge and the Dawa Bar. But today, I want to take you on a tour of a few places you may not have discovered yet.

And if you find this information helpful, then be sure to pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Ready to grab a drink?

A Niche Menu and Free Beer: The Wave Lounge at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary resort is a great place to take in a relaxing breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Seldom crowded, the restaurant, located in the quiet back corner of the hotel’s lobby offers a market-inspired menu at a much lower price point than you’ll find at Disney’s suite of signature restaurants. You’ll also find some delicious breakfast options.

But in addition to interesting eats, you’ll also find a pretty cool bar and lounge area.

The Bar at Disney's The Wave Restaurant

The Bar at Disney’s The Wave Restaurant

While the food menu is market-driven, the drink menu features some specialties, too. The Wave’s wine list features New World Wines, primarily from the Southern Hemisphere. And nearly all of the wines featured have one thing in common — screwcaps! Sealing wines with screwcaps is a way to battle cork taint, an unfortunate chemical reaction that can ruin a good bottle of wine. So don’t be put off by screwcaps the next time you see one; many quality New World wines, especially those from New Zealand and Australia, are sealed this way.

Wines at the Wave

Wines at the Wave

Do your tastes run to beer rather than wine? The Wave also features a nice selection of Organic Beers. In fact, if you’re a guest staying at the Contemporary or Bay Lake Towers, you can enjoy a Complimentary Organic Beer Tasting on Saturdays from 3-4PM. (Remember, this is JUST if you’re staying at the resort.)

Beer Flight at The Wave

Beer Flight at The Wave

Just stopping in for a drink? Try the Beer Flight. The presentation is pretty impressive.

A Bar That Switches Things Up: Kona Island Coffee/Sushi Bar

Another favorite stop of mine certainly lives up to the name “bar” — but for completely different reasons. In this case, we’re (mostly) trading cocktails for java and some interesting eats.

New Tiki Statue in Lobby at the Polynesian!

New Tiki Statue in Lobby at the Polynesian!

The Polynesian Village Resort has just undergone a major facelift. We’ve welcomed new spots, like the Pineapple Lanai (the resort’s purveyor of Dole Whips these days) as well as the crazy popular Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (waiting times have been up to 6 hours during its soft opening!)

Trader Sam's door sign

Trader Sam’s Door Sign

But with all of the changes, the resort has maintained most of its beloved eateries, including [Read more…]