Coming Soon! Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

UPDATE: News today from Disney states that Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto should be opening officially in late April. 

As Disney fans and DFB readers know well by now, plenty of changes have come to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort over the past several months of major resort-wide refurbishment.

New Tiki Statue in Lobby

New Tiki Statue in Lobby

For Disney food fans, perhaps none of the openings have met with as much anticipation as the eagerly awaited Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto! All sorts of signs (some of them literal!) are pointing to its imminent opening!

Updated Dining Sign with Trader Sam's

Updated Dining Sign with Trader Sam’s

Updated Dining Location Direction Sign with Trader Sam's

Updated Dining Location Direction Sign with Trader Sam’s

Of course, no sign is more telling than the one on the door to the Grotto itself…

Trader Sam's door sign

Trader Sam’s door sign

Other signs are less obvious, but bring to mind the nautical theme that we’ve been told to expect for the east coast version of Trader Sam’s, influenced by 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Guests can now see the painting below and oars lining the hallway that starts at Captain Cook’s on the ground floor of the Great Ceremonial House and leads to Trader Sam’s.

Submarine Grotto Painting

Submarine Grotto Painting

Oars lining the wall

Oars lining the wall

Oar on the wall

Oar on the wall

So, what else do we know? So far, at least five adult beverages will be unique to the Disney World location, including the Castaway Crush, Polynesian Pearl, Tahitian Torch, and the Dark & Tropical Stormy. As is the case at its [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: March 26th, 2015

I’m not sure what it feels like in your neck of the woods, but the calendar says it’s officially SPRING! And the season is ON at Walt Disney World, with new food items to help feed those spring break crowds (did somebody say “Grilled Cheese”?), as well as an egg-stra special Easter display at the Grand Floridian Resort.

But that’s not all! There’s much more in store… so let’s hop to it, as we take another trip around the World to see What’s New!

MAGIC KINGDOM

Be Our Guest Breakfast

Hey, has anyone heard of some little dive by the name of Be Our Guest Restaurant? ;)

Be Our Guest in the First Light of Morning

Be Our Guest in the First Light of Morning

Well, in case you didn’t know about the Advance Dining Reservations heard ‘round the World, the popular restaurant is now open for BREAKFAST! Huge hits on the all-new prix fixe menu include the Open-Face Bacon and Egg Sandwich and the Croissant Doughnut.

Open-Face Bacon and Egg Sandwich

Open-Face Bacon and Egg Sandwich

Croissant Doughnut and fresh fruit

Croissant Doughnut and fresh fruit

You can read our Opening Day Everything on the Menu review HERE!

Sweet Treat Makeovers

Not sure how long this gem will be around, but the Cinderella Coach Apple celebrating the recently released live-action “Cinderella” film sure is a beauty!

Cinderella Coach Apple

Cinderella Coach Apple

You can find it for a limited time at the Main Street Confectionery and Big Top Treats. (Keep an eye out at spots outside of Magic Kingdom like Goofy’s Candy Company and Sweet Spells, too!) A few of the Krispy Treats have joined in on the fun, as well…

Cinderella Coach Apples and Krispy Treats

Cinderella Coach Apples and Krispy Treats

Snack Location Switcheroos

Looking for your favorite Dole Whip or Citrus Swirl over in Adventureland?

Citrus Swirl at Sunshine Tree Terrace

Citrus Swirl at Sunshine Tree Terrace

Well, the homes for these beloved snacks have changed places. You see, Sunshine Tree Terrace — home of the Citrus Swirl — is now located where Aloha Isle used to be. And Aloha Isle, boasting its signature Dole Whip? It’s now located where Sunshine Tree Terrace used to be.

New Aloha Isle location

New Aloha Isle location

New Sunshine Tree Terrace location

New Sunshine Tree Terrace location

Confused? Fret not — you can read all about it here! Rumor has it that this all has something to do with a new restaurant on the horizon for Adventureland. (And what’s this we’re hearing about a possible Jungle Cruise theme?!) Time will surely tell!

Speaking of location changes… If you’re hoping to enjoy a Jumbo Turkey Leg in Magic Kingdom, they’ll be available at Cool Ship in Tomorrowland starting TODAY.

Cool Ship

Cool Ship area

Walt Disney World Turkey Leg

Walt Disney World Turkey Leg

This temporary move will allow for [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: March 3, 2015

We’re taking a quick trip around all four Disney World Parks and then making stops at several Resorts, where a lot of food news seems to be taking place as of late!

But we’re starting our “World”-wide tour at Downtown Disney, and taking a peek at how things are shaping up as the transition towards “Disney Springs” continues on. And we may even take a sneak peek at something coming to our friends in Disneyland on the west coast.

Disney Springs mural

Disney Springs mural

So, are you ready to see What’s New? Good! Because in the words of Peter Pan, “Here we GOOOOOOO…”

DOWNTOWN DISNEY

Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC

Okay, so we’ve mentioned it a couple of times recently, but that’s because we’re happy that BabyCakes has a new home in Downtown Disney! Located at The Landing of what will be Disney Springs, Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC has been up and running since 1 pm on Sunday, February 22nd.

Erin McKenna's Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna’s Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC

Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC

Erin McKenna

Erin McKenna

Samoa Donut

Samoa Donut

Featuring gluten-free and vegan baked goods, this is great news for guests on some dietary restrictions. Read our opening day review here!

Flour and Sugar

Speaking of baked goods, Flour and Sugar is a little kiosk that can be found on the newly opened Marketplace Causeway. It sells pre-packaged cookies inspired by various cities in the Sunshine State.

Flour and Sugar

Flour and Sugar

We tried the Siesta Key Key Lime S’more, and we’ll have a review here for you soon!

Key Lime S'more

Key Lime S’more

Disney Springs Construction

All in all, things really seem to be picking up speed in Downtown Disney with the Causeway completed, allowing an easy stroll from spots around T-Rex to the Rainforest Cafe side at the Marketplace.

The Marketplace Causeway

The Marketplace Causeway

Light post on The Marketplace Causeway

Light post on The Marketplace Causeway

Disney Springs sign

Disney Springs sign

We’ll be sure to take a little tour along the path when we’re back with our Flour and Sugar review! The next thing we have our eyes on? Look for [Read more…]

Spotted: Hawaiian Host Macadamia Treats at Polynesian Village Resort’s Boutiki

Did you know you can take a real taste of the Hawaiian islands home with you from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort?

Boutiki

Boutiki

Boutiki

Boutiki

Now, you may already be familiar with some of the ways you can grab a macadamia treat while at the resort… say, the Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cupcake occasionally spotted at Captain Cook’s, or Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes from Kona Cafe.

Chocolate Macadamia Cupcake from Captain Cook's

Chocolate Macadamia Cupcake from Captain Cook’s

Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes from Kona Cafe

Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes from Kona Cafe

But I was walking by Boutiki recently — the main merchandise location at the Polynesian — and couldn’t help but notice this window display packed to the brim with “Hawaiian Host” items, prepackaged and ready for travel.

Boutiki window display

Boutiki window display

Boutiki window display

Boutiki window display

Boutiki window display

Boutiki window display

Stepping inside I found the Hawaiian Host display, which features an assortment of chocolate treats — all starring Macadamia nuts. The selection at Boutiki includes [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Best Character Dining for YOU!

Character Dining! What’s a trip to Walt Disney World without at least one meal shared with your favorite Disney Characters?

dfb2015_guide_3d

There’s simply no better way to kill two birds with one stone at Disney. You enjoy a hearty meal — oftentimes, it’s all-you-care-to-enjoy — and you get to interact with your favorite characters. Best of all — they come to you! There’s no waiting in line for hours to see them.

But you may think that a character dining experience isn’t for you if you don’t have kids in your party, or if your kiddos are as tall as you now. Or maybe you fear that the excitement and stimulation — not to mention all those trips back and forth to the buffet — will leave you and your toddler exhausted before you even get to the Parks.

Well, I happen to think that there’s a character dining experience just right for you, regardless of who makes up your unique party. So today, let’s look at a few tips that I’ve put together from countless Character Dining Meals — courtesy of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015!

And if you like what you see here, there are a lot more where these came from! To see all of our advice for choosing just the right Character Dining Experience, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

Character Dining With a Toddler: ‘Ohana Best Friends Breakfast

You’ve decided that the time is right for your pre-schooler to enjoy breakfast with Character Appeal for the first time. Now, how in the ‘World do you choose the meal that’s right for you?

Well, one thing to keep in mind is that most of the character dining experiences offer a buffet spread. This is great news when it comes to value. But juggling trips to the buffet, photo ops with characters, and a toddler who is stimulated to the max can be a challenge. So one of my favorite tips is to enjoy character dining that offers a sit-down…and stay down…meal. And one of the best is the Best Friends Breakfast at ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

To begin, well. Mickey in a Hawaiian Shirt. Best.

Say Aloha to Mickey and Friends at 'Ohana

Say Aloha to Mickey and Friends at ‘Ohana

But then, you have platters of Pastry and Bread, Fresh Fruit, and a Bountiful Breakfast Skillet brought to your table! And it’s as much as you want. And you don’t have to get up a SINGLE time to get any of it!

Family Breakfast Platter at 'Ohana

Family Breakfast Platter at ‘Ohana

Friendly servers also roam the dining area with Mickey Waffles! And you can ask for seconds. And thirds.

Mickey Waffles

Mickey Waffles

They even have Stitch waffles for the younger set.

Stitch Waffles for the Littles

Stitch Waffles for the Littles

Mickey, Lilo, and Stitch share relaxed times with you and pose for lots of pictures. And there’s no end to the smiles during the Coconut Races. It’s one of my favorite ways to kick off a Disney Day!

Character Dining For Grownups: Garden Grill

You may have witnessed the — shall we say, exuberant — spirit that pervades Chef Mickey’s at breakfast and dinner time. This character dining experience at Disney’s Contemporary is one of the Resort’s most popular, and can be viewed from above as you whirl by on the Monorail. It can get right down raucous with excited children and loud music and the inevitable napkin twirling.

And that’s totally fine, if you’re up for it. But if you aren’t, you may leave with a splitting headache.

If you’re an adults-only group, there’s probably a good chance you’d prefer to keep it on the quiet side. You know what? You can still enjoy character dining and all the great photo ops. And Garden Grill in Epcot’s Future World is a great spot for it.

Garden Grill is located in The Land building. And while the character dining is super fun, the restaurant has another unique attribute: it revolves!

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill -- The Farmhouse

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse

Not at supersonic speed, of course. You won’t be getting motion sickness while you dine. But you will enjoy an ever-changing view of the Living with the Land attraction as you enjoy your dinner. And in between the changing tableaus, expect a few fun visitors!

Farmer Mickey

Farmer Mickey, Chip & Dale, and Pluto Join You for Dinner

As for eats, there isn’t a lot of traipsing about, as the Garden Grill is family style meal. You’ll enjoy Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast, an all-you-care-to-enjoy meal of [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: The Best Spots for Coffee and Tea in Walt Disney World

Just a couple of years back, if you wanted to get a decent cup of coffee or tea somewhere inside the Big Purple Gates, you were out of luck.

dfb2015_guide_3d

With Nescafe on standby in most spots, the coffee outlook was dismal. And while Twinings teabags are available all over the place, there still wasn’t anything special about them.

But in the last few years, Disney has really stepped up their game in both the java and cuppa departments!

Today, we’re sharing one of our favorite tips from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World DiningWhere to Find Good Coffee and Tea in Walt Disney World. Pick up yours today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

Starbucks

By far, the biggest beverage news to hit Disney in the last few years has been its partnership with coffee giant Starbucks. Love them or hate them, you can’t dispute — they’re super popular.

Hollywood Studios Starbucks Trolley Car Cafe-21

The Most Recent Starbucks to Open at Disney — Trolley Car Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Seriously…there’s a reason for the queue ropes inside! Have you seen a Disney Starbucks on a busy morning? Madness!

The Line at a Disney Starbucks Can Get CRAZY Long

The Line at a Disney Starbucks Can Get CRAZY Long

The first two Starbucks to open in Walt Disney World replaced established eateries — Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom and Fountain View in Epcot. Now you can stroll right up to Cinderella Castle with your Vanilla Latte in hand, or enjoy your Frappuccino in the shade of Spaceship Earth.

Fountain View Starbucks in Epcot

Fountain View Starbucks in Epcot

Two additional stores are located in Downtown Disney — one walk-up window nestled between entrances to World of Disney, and a larger store in West Side, which boasts a Starbucks Reserve Counter.

Coffee on fire!

Enjoying a Cup of Coffee on the Patio of Starbucks West Side

Trolley Car Cafe, the Disney’s Hollywood Studios Starbucks outlet opened just a couple of weeks ago.

Trolley Car Cafe is now open!

Trolley Car Cafe is now open!

And later this year, the final Walt Disney World store will open in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Aren’t a fan of Starbucks? Joffrey’s is considered the “official” coffee of Disney World and still operates a number of kiosks throughout the Parks, where you can grab a cup of coffee or a selection of espresso drinks.

Great Spots for Tea

If you prefer tea to coffee, there are also some great spots for you to enjoy a cup. And we aren’t just talking about your grandmother’s cup of tea. :-)

One of my favorite spots for tea is the [Read more…]

Rumor: Is Chicken is Back on the Menu at ‘Ohana?

It stirred up quite the controversy when the Chicken Skewers were removed from the menu last spring at ‘Ohana.

This popular restaurant at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort features an assortment of meats grilled over an open-flame and served family style.

In recent months since the removal of the Chicken Skewers, featured meats have been Sweet and Sour Pork Loin, Szechuan Sirloin Steak, and Spicy Peel-and-Eat Shrimp. While chicken was still available in the form of Honey-Coriander Wings, it was no longer an entree.

However, as of today, we’re hearing anecdotal confirmation of a return as well as seeing chicken back under the “Skewers” menu at ‘Ohana on the official Walt Disney World website! Here’s a screen shot of the newly revised menu on the Walt Disney World website, listing Sweet and Sour Chicken. You may notice that the chicken dish has replaced the Sweet and Sour Pork Loin on the menu.

'Ohana menu screen shot

‘Ohana menu screen shot

We’ve also seen mention (and a picture!) of the chicken on the Facebook page of our good friend, Tikiman.

Grilled Chicken at 'Ohana

Grilled Chicken at ‘Ohana — photo via a Disney Food Blog guest author

Now, as always, things are subject to change and change quickly in regards to [Read more…]

News and Sneak Peek: Check Out the Drinks Coming to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto!

There’s lots of cool stuff happening at Walt Disney World this year. But one thing that we are crazy excited about is the opening of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort!

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto -- Coming to Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Soon!

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto — Coming to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Soon!

While there’s still no official word on exactly when this Spring we’ll be able to belly up to that bar, we do have a few more details about some of the drinks they’ll be featuring!

We’re hearing that beverages will be “hand crafted”, so we’re expecting delicious fresh flavors with a tropical twist! We can’t wait to get our hands on the Castaway Crush. And it won’t be long before we can indulge in a Polynesian Pearl, a Tahitian Torch, or a Nautilus. But personally, the first drink I’ll be enjoying here is the Dark & Tropical Stormy!

I'll Have Whatever She's Making, Please!

Could That Be a Polynesian Pearl??

In addition to a whole bevy of new drinks, Trader Sam will also bring a couple of tried and true favorites from his Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland to the Grog Grotto. The menu will include the Shrunken Zombie Head, Uh-Oa!, and Krakatoa Punch, in addition to others. We’re still awaiting word on whether we’ll be able to get a Kungaloosh! Surely, we will, right! :-D (Check out our review of Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar here!)

Uh Oa!

Uh Oa!!!

And if you don’t indulge in alcoholic beverages, no worries — there are some great non-alcoholic options as well! We’ll look forward to telling you all about Skipper Sipper and Schweitzer Falls, and [Read more…]

New Food I Want to Stuff My Face With at Disney World this Year

You’re planning your first trip to Walt Disney World. Or your 50th. Or your 100th. And you reeeeeeeally want to know what NEW dishes you MUST try? Weeeeeeelllllllllll, we’ve got a few suggestions for you!

dfb2015_guide_3d

We’ve got about nine of our favorite you-HAVE-to-EAT-this dishes and snacks featured in our brand new DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015 e-Book, which you can pick up today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

But I wanted to take a second to share just a few of those must-eat treats here with you as well.

Must-Eat Walt Disney World Treats in 2015

Yep — here at DFB, we always like to kick off each new year with some of our favorite treats spotted during the last few months. But when I sat down to brainstorm this post…well, at first it seemed like 2014 didn’t offer a whole lot of new stuff.

That said, when I started scrolling back through everything we ate this past year, I realized there was a lot to be said for 2014 and its culinary prowess.

There is one really big difference between this year and previous years, however. Most of our crave-worthy dishes are savory this time around! I know! WUT?!??!?!?!?!? Don’t worry, though — I’ve got a few sweeties thrown in.

Here’s the New Food I Want to Stuff My Face with at Disney Parks in 2015!

Must Eat Disney World Treats 2015-002

Barbecue Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese

We thought that Mac and Cheese, that king of comfort foods, was enough. But little did we know what we had been missing, until Disney started putting additional delicious food on top of its cheesy goodness.

We first saw the dawn of Gourmet Mac and Cheese — we’re just gonna call it that if that’s all right with you — a while back. Friar’s Nook introduced the concept, and we were smitten with their Bacon Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese and Blue Cheese Mac right away.

BUT THEN — this happened.

[Read more…]

Review: Breakfast at Kona Cafe in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

You’re in for a real treat today as we take in breakfast at one of my favorite spots, Kona Cafe!

You’ll find Kona Cafe in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The hotel continues to undergo vast renovations, but we’re so happy to report that Kona Cafe seems to be sticking around!

Meals at this spot are pretty consistently good. Lunch at Kona can offer a welcome respite from Magic Kingdom. And dinner is a hidden gem — many swear by Kona’s Steak. But breakfast offers some serious cult favorites for Disney veterans.

Atmosphere

Kona Cafe is located off of the center atrium at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. It’s conveniently situated for guests of both the Polynesian, and, well, anywhere! Just steps away from the Monorail, it’s a quick ride from both the Magic Kingdom and the Ticket and Transportation Center.

Disney Food Blog Kona-Sign-

Entrance to Kona Cafe

You may be tempted to dismiss Kona without much thought. After all, its open atmosphere makes it seem like any plain jane hotel restaurant. And I agree — it does look like a Hilton straight out of the mid-90s.

The general feel of the space is supposed to be tropical. Bold colors abound on walls and carpet, while lighter-stained wood and wrought iron round out the space.

DFB Kona-dining-room

Kona Cafe Atmosphere and Seating

Because it’s located off of the atrium, Imagineers have made an effort to give it sort of a garden feel. As a result, some of the lights, like these large leaf-shaped glass fixtures, mimic nature patterns.

more lights Kona Cafe

Lighting Fixtures

One of my favorite decorative features are the ceiling fans that run the length of the dining room.

lights Kona Cafe

These Super Cool Ceiling Fans Keep the Air Moving Nicely

The carpet is very…colorful. Big, splashy exotic blooms are scattered across it. Look closely, and you may just find a familiar shape among the flowers. :-)

Hidden-Mickey-in-Carpet Kona Cafe

Hidden Mickey, Hidden Very Well Indeed

Seating is a combination of round and rectangular tables. If you’re with your whole fam, this is a nice place to settle in!

Seating

Seating

The mixed seating with banquettes on one side and chairs on the other are a good compromise.

Seating Area

Booth Seating

A lot of times, we make a big deal about [Read more…]