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.

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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!

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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…]

Guest Review: ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Join us in welcoming back Guest Reviewer Katie Roth with a review of ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Note that this review was written before the most recent round of ‘Ohana Menu Changes. Currently the Chicken Skewer is not being served at the restaurant. Aloha!

I have been staying at the Polynesian for years, but I had never eaten at ‘Ohana until last year! I know, I know…utter blasphemy! I was psyched that my husband and I decided to take an impromptu trip to Disney World AND were able to score a dinner reservation at ‘Ohana.

I admit that it was I that brought my husband into the light of Disney, and I just love getting to share my favorite experiences and eats with him whenever we visit Walt Disney World. Knowing how much he loves grilled meat, I absolutely could not wait to eat here with him!

To help control our excitement, we went to Tambu Lounge to temper those jitters. My husband went all out and ordered the Lapu Lapu while I went with a pineapple mojito (regular mojito with fresh pineapple chunks added). We loved our drinks and were primed for dinner ;)

Lapu Lapu!

In my opinion, ‘Ohana’s location lends itself to be one of those ‘would have missed it if I didn’t know it was there’ restaurants. The location of the restaurant is on the upper terrace of the Great Ceremonial House lobby tucked away behind the Tambu Lounge. If you are in front of Kona Café then you have gone too far!

As I’ve seen in the past couple of years, the easiest way to spot ‘Ohana is by the long line of people checking in for their Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) or those hopeful souls asking about a walk-in reservation. When it comes to Disney food (particularly at ‘Ohana), never leave fate to chance.

Lately, I have been eating a lot less meat and more fish for health reasons. I informed the host at the check-in station that I would like a vegetarian/pescetarian meal to which he replied would be no problem. I have heard great things about the vegetarian offerings at ‘Ohana and couldn’t wait to try them out! Just remember, if you are going to make a special request like this, check in early and let them know.

Once you are checked in, you will be given a buzzer and told to wait by the Tambu Lounge for your “cousin” (server) to take you to your table. If this is your first time to the restaurant, they will take you on a [Read more…]

Photo Tour and Review: NEW Polynesian Village Resort Lobby, and Tiramisu Cupcake at Captain Cook’s

Happy New Year!!

We don’t know a better way to celebrate than with this gorgeousness! OK, OK, we know you’ve probably got all kinds of resolutions for 2015. But, as far as I’m concerned, those start on MONDAY!!! Let’s take a look at one last indulgence, shall we…?

On a recent visit to the Polynesian Village Resort, I stopped by Captain Cook’s and peeked in the refrigerator, expecting to find the Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cupcake, as per usual.

However, something unexpected caught my eye that I decided to pick up: the Tiramisu Cupcake.

Tiramisu Cupcake

Tiramisu Cupcake

Now, typically I might take you on a little tour around Captain Cook’s before we dig in, but the big news at the Polynesian is the recent reopening of the lobby at the Great Ceremonial House, which has been closed off for refurbishment for much of the year.

Polynesian Village Resort lobby

Polynesian Village Resort lobby

So, instead, I thought I might show some of the pictures of the refurbished lobby since the Polynesian is such a major dining destination at Disney World no matter which resort you choose to stay in. Obviously, our focus on this site is food, and since the Polynesian is home to such popular restaurants as ‘Ohana and Kona Cafe, we know that many DFB readers loved seeing the lobby upon arrival for their Advance Dining Reservation, whether they were preparing to enjoy breakfast with Stitch and Lilo at ‘Ohana, or the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show.

Entering from the main downstairs entrance, the signature large waterfalls have been removed. Now this area features open space, lots of seating, and a small water feature (which differs from the original artist renderings for now, but I understand that the Tiki statue previously featured in the artwork may still become a part of the structure next year).

Polynesian Village Resort lobby

Polynesian Village Resort lobby

Seating in the lobby

Seating in the lobby

Water Feature

Water Feature

Without the presence of the large waterfalls, the new light fixtures become a major focal point.

Lighting fixtures

Lighting fixtures

Lighting fixtures

Lighting fixtures

Lighting fixtures

Lighting fixtures

Moving upstairs, the natural light seems to stream more to dining areas such as Kona Cafe and Kona Island (although I really don’t know if that’s more due to the fact that construction walls have been cutting off much of the light in recent months, so my eyes may just be readjusting).

Kona Cafe

Kona Cafe

The seating area near Tambu Lounge and ‘Ohana has new furniture and carpeting as well.

Seating area near the Tambu Lounge

Seating area near the Tambu Lounge

Seating area near the Tambu Lounge

Seating area near the Tambu Lounge

Captain Cook’s, however, remains unchanged (well, since the reopening from its own refurbishment in August, that is), so now that we’re there, why don’t we get straight to the cupcake?

Captain Cook's sign

Captain Cook’s sign

Captain Cook's dining room

Captain Cook’s dining room

When I spotted the Tiramisu Cupcake, the first thing I noticed were the peaks of frosting all over the top. I assumed it might be a marshmallow or whipped cream topping to mimic the light texture of tiramisu.

But it was actually — to my happy surprise — rich, dense peaks of cream cheese (I assume as a play on mascarpone), all dusted with cocoa like a proper tiramisu.

Tiramisu Cupcake

Tiramisu Cupcake

The white cake base resembles [Read more…]

The Year in Review: Top 10 Disney Food News Items of 2014!

We are standing on the cusp of a brand New Year, and we can’t wait to see what 2015 holds in store for us — and Disney!

Top10DisneyFoodNewsStories

But we can’t wave goodbye to the old year without looking back on some of the biggest food news that happened throughout Disney Parks.

Most of this year’s big news happened at Walt Disney World, but we have a few memorable moments to share with you from Disneyland as well as other Disney Parks around the globe.

Today, we bring you a look back at 2014’s Biggest Disney Food News Stories! We have a LOT to cover — let’s get started!

First up, a little something I like to call…

The Beginning of Finally Doing Something with Pleasure Island

It’s the story we feel like we’ve been watching for years — what’s happening at Downtown Disney Orlando’s now defunct Pleasure Island??

Well, 2014 finally saw some solid progress, and the Disney Springs story seems to be coming to life.

An Artist's Rendering of Disney Springs

An Artist’s Rendering of Disney Springs

Lots of changes have made a trip to Downtown Disney a challenge in the last couple of years. But as the year draws to a close, the parking garages are open, and we are seeing some of the plans take shape!

2014 kicked off with a surprise restaurant opening of sorts — the House of Blues added a new counter service offering, The Smokehouse. We say surprise because we told you about the restaurant for the first time just days before the walls came down and the doors opened for business!

The Smokehouse at The House of Blues

The Smokehouse at The House of Blues

The Smokehouse is strictly a walk-up window venue. But the covered outdoor seating is pleasant, and you can often take in live music as you enjoy barbecue favorites, like their Beef Brisket Sandwich, St. Louis Ribs, or Smoked Turkey Legs.

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw from The Smokehouse

But it wasn’t all good news for Downtown Disney this year. Guests at T-Rex Cafe last Spring were in for some decidedly unpleasant dinner excitement, as one of the restaurant’s humongous fish tanks sprang a leak during dinner service!

However, no one was injured and all of the fish were reportedly rescued. We’re glad that all turned out happily in the situation, but we’ll never look at those huge fish tanks quite the same way again!

Also in the Spring, we said hello to a spot that’s quickly become one of our most favorite spots to shop in all of Walt Disney World — the Marketplace Co-op!

Disney Centerpiece

Disney Centerpiece

We have found some totally awesome stuff in the store’s Disney Centerpiece Section, including dishes, glasses, and other tableware that celebrate all of our Disney cult favorites. Whether you’re a Dole Whip fan or love memorabilia celebrating Tomorrowland, chances are you’ll find something that you’ve just gotta have!

Orange Bird Section

Orange Bird Section

Starbucks also continued to [Read more…]

More Details of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto Revealed at…Disneyland!?

We have some fun new updates for you today of what’s soon to be at Walt Disney World — but they’re coming to us from Disneyland!

Intrepid Dining in Disneyland columnist Heather Sievers attended the fun Mahaloween Luau event earlier this year at Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in the Disneyland Hotel. While there, she grabbed a sneak peek of what we can expect at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. We also gleaned a few more details from The Atomic Grog!

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto Concept Art

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto Concept Art — Coming Soon to Walt Disney World!

While details have been kept mostly under wraps since we were given our first glimpse of concept art last Spring, the presentation by Imagineers Brandon Kleyla and Kyle Barnes at the Mahaloween Luau served to add a few more pieces to the puzzle.

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

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Although we know that Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto will be similar to the wildly popular Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in Disneyland Hotel, we’re also starting to get an idea of how they’ll differ. And the key is right here in some of the photos we are sharing with you today.

Trader Sam's Tiki in Orlando

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

The most interesting thing to come out of the presentation is the subtle difference in themeing between the two different Trader Sam’s locations. While the Disneyland Trader Sam’s has a style more reflective of Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise ride — think African Queen — Imagineers have something entirely different in mind for the Grog Grotto.

At the Polynesian, Trader Sam’s will celebrate more of the nautical aspect of the intrepid head salesman’s adventures. Look for the primary themeing cues to come courtesy of the [Read more…]

Review: Hawaiian Shaved Ice at Kona Island in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Even if you’ve paid a visit to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, you may not be familiar with Kona Island.

This pleasant little stop upstairs in the Great Ceremonial House sits directly next to a much larger restaurant: Kona Cafe. So it can be pretty easy to pass by — unless you are in the know of its reputation for being one of the places on property where you can enjoy some sushi, or even a press pot of Kona Coffee, brewed to order.

Kona Island was closed for a while in the late summer to accommodate some of the construction going on at the Polynesian (among those changes, the eagerly-anticipated addition of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto to the resort).

Kona Island sign

Kona Island sign

But it reopened by the end of September, and more recently I finally had a chance to stop by and sample something I’d been curious about.

Kona Island

Kona Island

Kona Island

Kona Island

Hawaiian Shaved Ice is now part of the offerings. You can get all one flavor (“Kumau”) for $3.99, or a combo of two flavors (“Haukalima”) for $4.99.

Koan Island Hawaiian Shaved ice sign

Koan Island Hawaiian Shaved ice sign

While flavors may vary due to available syrups, I was able to choose from eight on the day of my visit: orange, passion mango, cherry, coconut, blue raspberry, strawberry, pineapple, and pina colada. I could’ve happily tried all eight flavors (and many thanks to the extremely patient Cast Member who waited while I took a crazy long time to decide!). But I ultimately chose a combo of pina colada and cherry.

Hawaiian Shaved Ice, cherry and pina colada

Hawaiian Shaved Ice, cherry and pina colada

The swirl of white (you can see it much better on the red cherry side) is [Read more…]