News! New Exclusive Magical Dining Experiences Announced for DVC Members

Disney continues its quest to become a destination for fine dining as much as attractions!

DVC Logo

Recently, Disney Vacation Club announced that it will begin offering “Magical Dining Experiences” exclusively for DVC members and their guests. (This sounds a LOT like the Tables in Wonderland events, for those who are members of that discount program.)

Dinners will take place at popular signature restaurants throughout Walt Disney World. The prix-fixe menus are crafted by Disney chefs, and will feature accompanying wine and/or beer pairings. In addition, a culinary specialist will offer a live presentation throughout the dinner.

The events, which can be booked exclusively by DVC Members for themselves and their guests, promise to be intimate, with limited spots available for each dinner.

Flying Fish, is a DFB Favorite!

Flying Fish, is a DFB Favorite!

The first three dinners have been announced, and details are as follows:

February 27, 2014
Location: Flying Fish
Number of Guests: 40
Hosted by: Renowned Wine Expert
Time: 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM
Price: $165

Menu [Read more…]

“The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney!” Breakfast!

We’re back for more fun with a brand new version of our hit series, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney”!

Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney -- Breakfast

With your awesome input, we had tons of fun exploring our favorite Disney food categories a looong time ago. But Disney keeps adding amazing new dishes, treats, and foods! And so, it’s time to revisit these questions and add some of our new, and enduring, favorites to the mix!

Today, we’ll get the day started off right just like we should — with some delicious Breakfast! I’ll let you know a few of my favorites…and then it’s your turn to chime with in YOUR votes for “The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney — Breakfast”!

Let’s get to crackin’! (Like…eggs. Crackin’ eggs. Get it? :-) )

Warm Honey Pecan Cinnamon Roll at Kouzzina

In no time flat, Kouzzina by Cat Cora has become one of my favorite places to dine at Walt Disney World for breakfast. It’s quiet, relaxed, and offers some truly delicious eats.

If we’re going to talk about killer ways to start your day, first up has to be one of my favorite breakfast finds of recent Disney visits: the Warm Honey Pecan Cinnamon Roll at Kouzzina.

Warm Honey Pecan Cinnamon Roll

Wouldn’t you just love to dig into one of these babies right. this. minute?? Me tooooo! Warm, butter-rich dough envelops a beautiful center filled to overflowing with that yummy, buttery, cinnamon-y goodness that just makes your heart SING!

This. This is what a cinnamon roll should look like — so gooey that you need a fork to eat it! Believe me when I say that the Warm Honey Pecan Cinnamon Roll is plenty reason enough to make Kouzzina your very next advance dining reservation.

Warm Honey Pecan Cinnamon Roll — Inside

Tonga Toast at Kona Cafe

Classics become so for a reason. In Disney food circles, classics = awesomeness (and often over-the-topness) that just about everyone loves.

Case in point: Tonga Toast at Kona Cafe.

Tonga Toast with Bacon

Thick, fluffy bread is stuffed with banana yum, before it’s battered and deep-fried. After a roll in a ton of [Read more…]

The Year in Review: Top 10 Disney Food News Items of 2013!

If you’re a Disney Food Fan, then 2013 has been an exciting year!

Disney food news stories of 2013

We’ve had lots of  change, new announcements, and brand new experiences.

So today, we thought we’d take a look back at this year, and review the Top 10 Disney Food News Items of 2013!

From new coffee to new restaurants, new technology to new ice cream, we have a ton to cover!

Let’s get started!

1. COFFEE!

When Starbucks and Disney announced in 2012 that the coffee giant would be coming to Disney Parks, the news was huge! And when the first Walt Disney World locations began opening in 2013, the story once again topped the list of Disney food headlines.

Starbucks at Main Street Bakery is Right in the Middle of the Magic

The first location to open was Main Street Bakery on Magic Kingdom’s Main Street USA. While some loyal fans of the historic spot decried the chain store intrusion, many coffee lovers were thrilled that they could now enjoy their favorite brew in the shadow of Cinderella’s Castle.

And with the Main Street cinnamon rolls available at Gaston’s Tavern (at least they claim they’re the same…you can see our cinnamon roll throw down here!), well — at least not all of our favorite goodies are lost.

A Busy Morning at Main Street Bakery

The reopening of Fountain View Cafe in Epcot as the second WDW Starbucks location seemed to ruffle fewer feathers, since the themeing for the futuristic ice cream parlor wasn’t as beloved as Main Street Bakery. Still, patrons were irked with the lack of seating, even if the many, many bays for ordering mean that your java arrives fresh and fast.

Have Your Starbucks in Epcot with a View of Spaceship Earth

But Starbucks wasn’t the only coffee news we debated in 2013. Disney also announced that Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Company, headquartered in Tampa, would become the official specialty coffee provider for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Vacation Club resorts.

Joffrey’s is Named the Official Coffee Brand of Disney Parks

We’ve been enjoying Joffrey’s products for ages at the kiosks throughout the parks, so this was welcome news to many. So far, we are hearing that you seem pleased with the switch from Nescafe to Joffrey’s.

2. RESTAURANT FASTPASS TESTING — AND MORE TECH UPDATES!

Waaaaayyyyy back in January of this year, we first wrote about how we thought My Magic+ would affect Disney Dining.

mymagic+

And before the year was out, we had the opportunity to see just how some of the new technology would work.

One of the most intriguing uses of MyMagic+ technology was the Touch to Pay System. We had an opportunity to put our Magic Bands to work with the new system, and Erin, our Disney Food For Families columnist, documented the process so our readers could be in the know!

Erin Paying with Her Magic Band at Artist Point!

Erin Paying with Her Magic Band at Artist Point!

And while we love the Magic Band concept, even cooler is all the Disney food bling that you can get to individualize your bracelet! I’m a sucker for the cupcake!

Magic Band Food Bling

Magic Band Food Bling

 

Another rumor that came to fruition was that [Read more…]

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Coffee!

Aaaaaahhhh…Coffee. Some of us simply can’t get the old motor cranking in the morning without it! And there have been some changes to the coffee world in Disney parks these days!

We thought it would be fun to show off some of the pictures that YOU have captured of java in our regular feature, Disney Food Pics of the Week. Thanks to those readers who shared with us a little of their Disney trip by posting on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group!

If you’d like to get in on the fun, head over to Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza on Flickr and join the group. We’d love to see even more of your great food shots! Let’s see what you’ve found!

Iced Pumpkin Spiced Latte at Main Street Bakery

The real victory for many coffee lovers at Disney parks has been the opening of Starbucks in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The first location opened at Walt Disney World transformed fan favorite Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom to a mix of part bakery, part retro coffee shop.

While reviews have been a somewhat mixed, many guests are super happy to stroll down Main Street USA with their favorite Seasonal Iced Latte in hand!

Photographer: ernobrn0918

Pumpkin Spice Latte from Main Street Bakery

Vacuum Pot Coffee at Victoria & Albert’s

But then, if you are looking for the most prestigious pot of coffee anywhere in all of Walt Disney World…well, you just knew it would be Victoria & Albert’s that delivered, right?

This is coffee as theater, my friends, and it’s just as dramatic and delicious as it looks.

Photographer: Spikey1967

Cona Vacuum Pot from Victoria and Albert's

Press Pot Coffee From Kouzzina

Kouzzina is Chef Cat Cora’s Greek-leaning restaurant at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. In relatively short order, this [Read more…]

2013 Holiday Gingerbread Houses and Pins at Walt Disney World Resorts

Once again, visions of gingerbread houses will become reality at select Walt Disney World resort hotels!

The holiday season is underway as Mickey and his elves (and some talented chefs!) get busy filling the resorts and parks with seasonal decor, merchandise, and treats. Plan to stop by the resorts to see the displays, purchase a pin, and/or meet one of the fabulous chefs!

Life-size!

To commemorate the inspiring gingerbread houses, NEW limited edition pins will be released. Starting November 14, 2013, gingerbread house pins will go on sale at the Contemporary, Beach Club, and Grand Floridian resorts. Disney’s BoardWalk pin will debut on November 29th.

Grand Floridian Gingerbread House

So which came first? The gingerbread or the pin? Well, Jeanne Lewis (Disney pins merchandiser) explained how the Disney pastry chefs studied the pins in order to select characters to incorporate into their designs!

2013 Disney World Gingerbread Houses and Pins!

The Grand Floridian’s pin celebrates the 15th anniversary of their unique gingerbread house. Meet executive chef Erich Herbitschek on November 16 from 1-2PM near the Grand Floridian gingerbread house.

Grand Floridian 2013 Gingerbread House Pin

And how cool is it that the Contemporary’s pin showcases the five-legged goat from Disney Legend Mary Blair’s mural. Five-legged goat,  you ask?! You’ll want to look for it on your next visit to the Grand Canyon Concourse at this Disney resort! On November 15, meet pastry chef Jeff Barnes at Disney’s Contemporary Resort from 5-7 PM.

Contemporary Resort Gingerbread Tree

Contemporary and Beach Club 2013 Gingerbread House Pins

Stop by the Beach Club on November 18 to meet pastry chef Deran Lanpher from 1-2:30PM and to see the creative gingerbread displays.

Beach Club Carousel from Above

Disney’s BoardWalk is unveiling a new [Read more…]

Guest Review: Citricos at Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort

The Grand Floridian Resort is home to several fine dining experiences. Today, guest author Rebecca Dolan reviews the resort’s Citricos restaurant.

I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on Citricos all these years.

My family and I tend to shy away from Disney’s fine dining experiences. Truth be told, we’re often just too tired (read: lazy) to put on “real” clothes after a day at the parks. But, this meal is even worth putting on your nice khakis for.

Atmosphere

Citricos is set on the second floor of Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort at the back of the main building, where it shares a check-in foyer with Victoria & Albert’s.

A set of iron gates is an artistic touch to delineate the waiting area from the bar and dining room.

The gates to Citricos

Fun gate detail

Past them is the first dining area and bar. This is bordered by large windows overlooking the rest of the hotel and the Seven Seas Lagoon to the right, with a large wine room, bar, and display kitchen to the left. A bit further back is a glass-and-wood enclosed “chef’s domain” — a private dining rom.

The bar

Front part of the dining room, with tons of natural light

Entrance to the glass-enclosed private dining room

The rear part of the dining room is perhaps what Citricos is known for architecturally. The round room is enclosed by what are essentially floor-to-ceiling windows, offering an amazing view of the property, the lagoon, and even part of the Magic Kingdom.

Round dining room, again with no shortage of a view

Looking out over the Grand Floridian

Though it’s a bit obstructed, you can even catch a glimpse of the [Read more…]

Review: Disney World Resort Quick Service Pasta Options

Thanks to DFB Author Wendy for a look at some great counter-service carb-loading options for your runDisney races this year!

Are YOU running the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler (or any of the other runDisney races this year)? If so, you might be interested in participating in a good old-fashioned carbo-load before your race!

Even if you’re not tackling those ten on October 5th… odds are good you’ll be putting in plenty of miles at the Parks at some point, no matter what.

It’s time to fuel up, people ;)!

Spaghetti time!

For those running one or more of the east coast races this season, there are plenty of places all over Disney World property where you can take part in the time-honored runners tradition of a pasta “carbo-load.”

Today we’re going to focus on some of your pasta options in the resort Quick Service restaurants.

Counter Service Pasta Options at Walt Disney World Resorts

Let’s start with this terrific trend: Create-Your-Own-Pasta stations are cropping up in a few of your favorite Quick Service restaurants!

Create Your Own Pasta

Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavors already has a reputation for innovative and delicious dining, and you can read a full review of the Create-Your-Own-Pasta experience here.

Add-ins for Create Your Own Pasta at Landscape of Flavors

Spaghetti Carbonara with Broccoli

The Riverside Mill at Port Orleans Riverside also offers this fun option!

Riverside Mill

Create Your Own Pasta Options at Riverside Mill

Unique to the Grand Floridian’s recently refreshed Gasparilla Island Grill is a [Read more…]

New! iPad Wine List Debuts at Victoria & Albert’s in Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort

I took a quick trip to Walt Disney World last week and had the opportunity to experience several new technological initiatives related to Dining at Disney World.

I’ve written these up in several posts for DFB, and today we’ll cover the new iPad wine list that recently debuted at Victoria & Albert’s!

iPad Wine Menu at Victoria & Albert’s

During our trip, my husband and I dined at our favorite restaurant on the planet — Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian. Maitre d’Hotel Israel Perez was excited to show us that the venue’s wine list had recently been transferred to an interactive iPad format.

Our server, Al showing us the iPad wine menu.

The interactive features were quite helpful for guests like us who are not quite as wine savvy as we should be. And the system will also work well for wine experts who know what they’re looking for.

You could search by [Read more…]

Review: NEW Disney World MyMagic+ Touch To Pay System — and MagicBand Disney Food Bling!

I took a quick trip to Walt Disney World last week and had the opportunity to experience several new technological initiatives related to Dining at Disney World.

I’ve written these up in several posts for DFB, and today we’ll begin with the new Touch to Pay system that accompanies the unrolling of MyMagic+ in the parks — as well as take a look at some fun foodie bling that you can add to your MyMagic Band!

Stay tuned over the next week to see more new technology innovations that are affecting Disney dining in Disney World!

Tableside Touch To Pay Pads

In addition to the previously installed “Tap to Pay” pads located at the WDW quick service and snack locations, Tap To Pay Pads are now being used in many table service venues at the parks and resorts.

During our stay, some of the restaurants we dined at were Artist Point, Territory Lounge, Citricos, Raglan Road, and Tutto Gusto. At each of these locations, when we asked for our check, our server appeared at our table with a small touchpad, about the surface area of an iPhone, but much thicker.

Our server with a Touch to Pay device at Raglan Road.

When it was time to pay, the server scanned my MagicBand to link our restaurant bill to our WDW charge account. You could also use the Touch to Pay pad with an RFID-capable Key to the World Card.

Our server at Artist Point scanning my Magic Band for payment.

After the MagicBand or KTTWC is scanned, you enter your personal PIN code.

Hubby entering PIN at Raglan Road.

That was all super fun and easy. However, there were two points in the process that needed a little work. First, the system is [Read more…]

Review: 1900 Park Fare Dinner at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Today, we’re back at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa to take in dinner at 1900 Park Fare!

You  may remember that the last time we were here, we were…nonplussed…unimpressed…frustrated…should I go on? Basically, we really didn’t have a great experience. But, as I always say, the only consistent thing about Disney restaurants is that they’re inconsistent. And some guests think this restaurant is fantastic — a great alternative to hard-to-get advance dining reservations like Cinderella’s Royal Table.

So we’re back at this character buffet for another try… . While breakfast at 1900 Park Fare left us flat, this time around we’re checking out the dinner spread and hoping for the best!

Atmosphere

You’ll find 1900 Park Fare off of the ground floor lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort. As you walk in the hotel’s front doors, the restaurant is located to your left, just past the Concierge desk.

1900 Park Fare Sign

The antique carousel decor flows with the Victorian feel that you encounter throughout the resort. While you can’t see the individual items on this menu board that’s displayed out front of the restaurant, you can definitely see the attention to detail when it comes to theme.

Menu Board Outside of 1900 Park Fare

When you first arrive and check in for your reservation (you DID make a reservation, right?), you’ll be given a pager and told to wait in the Grand Floridian lobby to be called when your table is ready. Note: this often takes A. LONG. TIME. In my experience, I’ve never been seated at this restaurant within 10 minutes of my reservation time. I’m always waiting quite a while to be called to the table. So if you’ve got little ones who are starving, bring some snacks to tide them over just in case.

Once you’re called, you’ll be told to get in line to have your picture taken with this mural. No…you’re not getting your photo taken with a character. Just with the mural. This can be a fun memory for families, but you might want to skip the pic and head straight in for your meal. Be persistent and make sure they know you don’t want to take the photo. They’re pretty serious about getting you into that line.

Trompe l'Oeil Mural Outside of 1900 Park Fare

Once you head into the massive dining room, you’re greeted with more Victorian charm in pastel shades. Even without windows, the sheer size of the dining room makes it feel airy.

There is a main area with high ceilings in front of the buffet, and some smaller dining rooms surrounding it with lower ceilings. I prefer these areas for seating, since they tend to be slightly quieter.

Dining Area

Seating itself is fairly standard, with cushioned chairs and nondescript tables.

Seating

The main dining room makes the best use of the carousel theme. There are several large statues of fantasy carousel animals situated atop half walls and surrounded by plants. You should take a moment to look at these, because they’re really beautiful.

Calliope in the Background and Carousel Horse Statue

The wall overtop the entrance to the restaurant plays host to an enormous calliope, reminiscent of the intricate musical instruments that you find on antique carousels. This [Read more…]