News and Review: Captain Cook’s Temporary Location at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

ALOHA from Disney’s Polynesian Resort!

Capt. Cook’s is the Polynesian’s Quick Service option — famous for Tonga Toast in the morning, and Pork Sandwiches and Nachos in the afternoon into the evening (more on their also-famous Dole Whips later in the post). You can typically find a few unique and stellar cupcakes here, too.

Well, its original location is currently closed for refurbishment from now until later this summer. We’re definitely looking forward to the new-and-improved digs, but in the meantime we thought we’d swing by to give you a quick look at the temporary location.

Captain Cook's Refurbishment Sign

Captain Cook’s Refurbishment Sign

If you head to the original location for Captain Cook’s, you’ll see signs directing you to the temporary location. From the original space, it’s just to the right of the set of stairs that bring you to Tambu Lounge.

Temporary Location

Temporary Location

The first thing to greet you is the main seating area.

Main seating in temporary location

Main seating in temporary location

Main seating in temporary location

Main seating in temporary location

Captain Cook’s signature tables made the move…



And additional seating can be found to the left of the main area.

Additional seating

Additional seating

Past the seating, you see the food area.

Main seating with food area behind

Main seating with food area behind

The kitchen space appears roomy.

Facing the kitchen

Facing the kitchen

Flow in the costumer area is a bit [Read more…]

What’s New Around Disney World and Disneyland: April 1, 2014!

We have a few updates from both coasts for this round of “What’s New!” And we promise that none of these are April Fool’s jokes. :-D

Starting on the east coast, a recent trip around Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Monorail Loop has revealed a few changes in eats and treats. We’re talking property refurbishments, menu updates, tea, and cupcakes,  so hop on board the Monorail (“Your Highway in the Sky!”) and see What’s New!

We’re saving a seat for you…

Monorail Teal

Monorail Teal

Magic Kingdom

We’ll start our Monorail trip at Magic Kingdom. You may be aware that the Hub (the circular area directly in front of Cinderella Castle) has begun a major refurbishment. This project is slated to run in stages finishing sometime in 2015, with the purpose of accommodating more guests for fireworks and parade viewing, with the added benefit of relieving some of the post-show gridlock thanks to additional walkways.

Though much is covered by refurbishment walls, you can see in these photos where the water that flows towards and around Cinderella Castle has been drained for now to accommodate the construction.

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Hub Refurbishment

Soooo… what does this have to do with food? The restaurants in the immediate area are still in operation. The beloved Main Street Popcorn Cart is, too; however, it’s now located on the bridge which connects the Hub to Adventureland.

Current location of Main Street Popcorn Cart

Current location of Main Street Popcorn Cart

Current location of Main Street Popcorn Cart

Current location of Main Street Popcorn Cart

Still an easy spot to grab some popcorn before the new Festival of Fantasy Parade!

Festival of Fantasy Parade

Festival of Fantasy Parade

Though the majority of the refurbishment to add expanded seating to Casey’s Corner is complete, we’re still noticing some small changes here and there.

The wall in the back room, which formerly housed a large-screen TV featuring vintage Disney sports-focused cartoons, was empty in the immediate weeks after the reopening. Now returning are the large pieces of artwork depicting turn-of-the-century images of America’s Favorite Pastime.

Casey's Corner Artwork

Casey’s Corner Artwork

Caseys Corner artwork (3)

Looking at the picture below, I’m sure you can’t help but notice [Read more…]

Six Secret Disney Dining Deals

Everyone’s looking to save money and to wring just a little bit more enjoyment out of their Disney dollars. We’re right there with you!

Six Secret Disney Dining Deals

So today, we’re bringing you the details on some of our favorite Disney Dining Deals!

These little-known tricks and tips could save you big on your next Disney World vacation, so let’s get planning!

Prix-Fixe Menus

One of my favorite ways to save a little dough around Disney World is by taking advantage of Prix-Fixe Meals — specialty multi-course menus that let you choose from a variety of the restaurant’s popular dishes for a discounted price.  While you’ll find them here and there in a number of places, lots of Epcot World Showcase restaurants offer them.

For real savings, check out the prix-fixe offering at Les Chefs de France in the France Pavilion.

This beautiful spot is one of my favorite places to dine in all of Disney World anyway, so saving money is a great perk.

Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Prix-Fixe Menu at Les Chefs de France -- Click to Enlarge

Prix-Fixe Menu at Les Chefs de France — Click to Enlarge

When you compare the price with the a la carte prices for each item, you can really see the savings!

Appetizers -- Click to Enlarge

Appetizers — Click to Enlarge

Entrees -- Click to Enlarge

Entrees — Click to Enlarge

With desserts set at $8.99, that’s a $7 savings!

Enjoy fan favorites, like Bisque de Homard and the Croque Monsieur. And you have your pick of dessert! We love the Profiteroles here!

Save Room for the Profiteroles!

We Pick Profiteroles!

The savings are a little slimmer at [Read more…]

DFB Reader Questions Answered: Celebrating Your Child’s Birthday at Walt Disney World

Today, we’re reaching into our mailbag to answer another reader question! Since we often get the same question from several of our readers, what better way to share the answers than in a post for all of you to see?

Today’s question comes from a mom who plans to celebrate her young son’s birthday in style during an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World.

I was interested in having my son’s 7th birthday in Disney World. I want an awesome cake and I would like Mickey as well as some other characters to be there. Do you have any information regarding how to arrange this?

When it comes to celebrating a birthday (or any special occasion) at Walt Disney World, you have lots of options!

BIrthday Party at Disney World for a DFB Reader!

BIrthday Party at Disney World for a DFB Reader!

Character Dining

You could choose to make a reservation at a character meal experience, like Chef Mickey’s, 1900 Park Fare, or Crystal Palace. Character dining spots such as these feature interaction with several Disney characters, who will visit with you at your table as you dine for no extra charge. It’s a great opportunity for photo ops. And no standing in line — they come to you!

In many Disney restaurants, if you mention that you’re celebrating a birthday to your server, they’ll arrange for a special birthday treat!

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Restaurant Cakes

Most table-service restaurants at Walt Disney World can accommodate an on-the-spot birthday cake request. Simply let the host or hostess at the restaurant’s podium know that you’d like a cake for your celebration, and they can provide you with a choice of a basic vanilla or chocolate cake.

Customized Cakes

Customized birthday cakes are available throughout Walt Disney World at most table-service restaurants.

Chip 'n Dale Cake at California Grill

Chip ‘n Dale Cake at California Grill for a DFB Reader

The resort asks that you provide 48 hours notice to create your custom cake. To arrange for a Disney bakery cake, call 407-827-2253. For all the skinny on ordering your Disney special occasion cake, be sure to check out our Disney World Cake FAQ page.

Don’t forget to check out our Disney Birthday Cake Gallery for [Read more…]

News! ‘Ohana Bread Pudding Now Available at Tambu Lounge in Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Resort

Well, we know that a lot of guests will be unhappy in the coming weeks and months as Disney’s Polynesian Resort undergoes some serious refurb and renovation — closing several of the dining locations on property.

Tambu Sign

But THIS is a welcome “benefit” of the whole situation!

We’re excited to let you know that everyone’s favorite Disney dessert (OK — my favorite dessert, but I know you guys like it, too!) from ‘Ohana is now available to any Tom, Dick, or Harry who strolls into Tambu Lounge!

'Ohana Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

‘Ohana Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Yep — this better-than-anything pineapple bread pudding topped with ice cream and covered in caramel sauce is more than the sum of its parts…and you can get your own personal serving at the Poly’s popular resort lounge. No more need to buy the whole dinner at ‘Ohana to get the very best part!

(You can see a review of other great Tambu Lounge goodies here!)

Tambu Lounge

Tambu Lounge

We’ve been asking for years if we can get this must-have dessert at the Lounge, and while it’s happened a few times, the answer is more than often “no.” We’re thrilled that — at least for a little while — the answer will be a resounding “YES!!” Note that the serving will just be for one…you do NOT get that lovely all-you-care-to-eat bowl of the stuff here. ;-)

We’re not sure how long this will be available, but it’s going to become a new Disney World First Day Tradition for me until it’s gone!

Can’t make it to WDW right now? Make this at home with our Bread Pudding Recipe!

Will Tambu Lounge be a stop on your Disney destination list now that the famous bread pudding is on the menu? Let us know in the comments below!

Disney Food Pics of the Week: Pub Grub!

We just shared our favorite Disney Pub Grub with you on Tuesday, and I thought it would be fun to check in with our DFB reader/photographers to see what they’re snapping these days!

It’s always so fun to flip through the fantastic photos that our members post on the Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, head over there! We think a virtual trip to Disney is a great way to take a break from your busy day. :-)

Let’s take a trip to some of our favorite Disney watering holes today for our latest installment in our Disney Food Pics of the Week Series!

Tri-Tip Sliders from Cove Bar in California Adventure Park

Cove Bar in Disney California Adventure is a great place to take a load off while you enjoy water views and a spot of shade. And while you quench your thirst with specialty cocktails or craft beers, you can also answer your hunger with some fancy apps, like Tri-Tip Sliders. Yum!

Photographer: Hilary_JW

Tri-Tip Sliders from Cove Bar

Tri-Tip Sliders from Cove Bar

Breads and Dips from Tambu Lounge in Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Who can resist ducking into Tambu Lounge at Disney’s Polynesian Resort? This open airy lounge is a terrific spot to wait for your table at nearby ‘Ohana while you nurse a world-famous Lapu Lapu! It’s one of my favorite First Day Traditions.

And don’t forget — it’s just a monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom, so it’s a great place to relax with a basket of Breads and Dips with your island-inspired drinks.

Photographer: DVC Mom

Breads and Dips from Tambu Lounge

Breads and Dips from Tambu Lounge

Chips and Queso Blanco at La Cava Del Tequila in Epcot

But no Disney pub crawl is complete without [Read more…]

“The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney!” Pub Grub!

One of my favorite food pastimes when I’m in Walt Disney World is grabbing a table at one of the resort’s fantastic pubs, bars, or lounges, and sitting down with friends for a nice long talk. There’s always so much to catch up on!

Best Thing I Ever Ate At Disney: Pub Grub!

But in addition to the atmosphere and some nice cocktails, I also love Disney watering holes for some truly amazing eats! We are a snacking people here at DFB, so it’s no wonder the delicious pub grub you can find on property is one of our favorite ways to enjoy time with friends.

On this edition of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Disney!”, let’s check out some of our favorite Pub Grub! 

Once you finish reading — share YOUR favorites in the comments! I love hearing about new things I’ve gotta try!

Cheese Fondue from Territory Lounge

When it comes to snacking, there are few foods in the world that I’d rather have than cheese! And one of my favorite ways to enjoy it is in the form of things being dipped in its melty self!

That’s right — we’re talking Fondue! And some of the best I have ever tasted is on the menu at Territory Lounge in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

This rustic, cozy lounge is themed with the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest in mind. And the menu features hearty fare with flavors of the region as well.

But this cheese fondue is my absolute favorite option here! I can never resist getting it. It arrives in its own little cast-iron pot, complete with a flame to keep the cheese nice and warm.

Our favorite Sharp Cheddar Beer Fondue at Territory Lounge

Our Favorite Cheese Fondue at Territory Lounge

The fondue is served with a variety of Fruits and Breads to dip, and every single thing we dipped in it was amazing!

Bread in Sharp Cheddar Beer Fondue

Pretzel Bread and Sharp Cheddar Beer Fondue at Territory Lounge in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Healthy apple…protein-y cheese…SO good for you! ;-D

Apple in Sharp Cheddar Beer Fondue

Apple in Sharp Cheddar Beer Fondue

It’s definitely the perfect snack for sharing with friends as you unwind with [Read more…]

What’s New Around the World!

What’s new in your favorite Disney World “chomping grounds”? What’s changed? Read on to find out what we’ve checked out recently!

Downtown Disney

The biggest change over the past week has been the addition of The Smokehouse to Downtown Disney’s West Side. This stop for all-things-barbeque features a lovely outdoor seating area and the chance to enjoy live music.

The Smokehouse

The Smokehouse

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich with House-made Cole Slaw

Live music!

Live music!

Signs of bigger changes to come can be spotted all over Downtown Disney as the area delves into its transformation to Disney Springs … and when I say “signs,” I mean actual signs.

We’ll be sharing more in a future post, but the artwork all over Downtown Disney give us an idea of what guests can look forward to in the future.

Artwork depicting the future Disney Springs

Artwork depicting the future Disney Springs

Artwork depicting the future Disney Springs

Artwork depicting the future Disney Springs

Artwork reflecting the West Side Starbucks, opening Spring 2014

Artwork reflecting the West Side Starbucks, opening Spring 2014

A smaller change – yet nearly as significant for fans of “Earl’s” ;) – is that Earl of Sandwich has added [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…]

Guest Review: ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Join us in welcoming guest author Kevin Carpenter with a dinner review of ‘Ohana. This Polynesian Resort restaurant at Walt Disney World is popular for its all-you-care-to-eat fare served family-style. Aloha!

Dining at ‘Ohana is not an experience entered into without expectation. The restaurant regularly claims a spot among the best table-service venues on Disney property and it enjoys word of mouth that is nothing short of exemplary. As such, reservations go quickly.

After years of close calls and near misses, I finally secured a dinner reservation – for a party of nineteen, no less – and my hopes were sky high for my first visit to ‘Ohana.

The Entrance to ‘Ohana

As we arrived at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a large crowd already milled about outside ‘Ohana’s entrance. Seeing this, I feared our large group would be in for quite a wait. After all, our party – extended family members enjoying a Disney vacation together for the first time in many years – was well used to lengthy waits for tables. And this night looked to be no different.

We checked in and, much to my surprise, were immediately whisked to our table. I should have known that there is very little the Cast Members of Walt Disney World are not prepared to handle.


From my very first steps past the Tiki idols guarding the entranceway, I was impressed by ‘Ohana’s ambiance. In true Disney style, the interior theming strikes a fine balance between subtlety and traditional Hawaiian decor.

Tiki idols stand watch as you enter ‘Ohana

As we reached our long table, one thing became abundantly clear – we had made the perfect choice for our trip’s centerpiece meal. The word ‘Ohana, meaning family, would prove to be more than simply the name of the restaurant. Everything – from the unending salads and appetizers to the main course and dessert – would be served family style. Even the servers are considered honorary “cousins”. What place could be better for a large family meal?!

While we had many cousins gathered around our table, it was our server, “Cousin” Candy, who stood out the most. She may have been a member of the family for just this one evening, but she fit right in with remarkable warmth and attentiveness.

Where all the magic happens – ‘Ohana’s grilling area


We had scarcely taken our seats before the table was filled with the incredibly tasty Welcome Bread and bowls of salad with passion fruit dressing. I could have been quite content to savor the bread’s rich tones of pineapple and coconut all night, but the few ‘Ohana veterans among us had warned not to fill up on the bread.

Welcome Bread

Salad with Passion Fruit Dressing

Next came plates of honey-coriander chicken wings and pork dumplings. These were labeled appetizers, but they could have sufficed as meals unto themselves. Especially as everything was all-you-can-eat!

Tangy and delicious, the trays of wings and dumplings demanded refilling several times. Thankfully, my seat at the end of the table afforded an excellent view of the grilling area, where skewers upon skewers of meat and shrimp delivered a firm reminder that the best was yet to come.

Chicken Wings & Pork Dumplings

Several of us requested drinks from the bar, including one who chose to fully immerse himself in the evening’s Hawaiian spirit by ordering the Lapu Lapu. This blend of rum and fruit juices comes in extravagant style – served inside a hollowed-out pineapple.

Much to the chagrin of the one who ordered it, the Lapu Lapu made its way around the table as everyone wanted a taste. It received high marks from all who sampled it. And, honestly, our meal just felt that much more traditionally Hawaiian for having the Lapu Lapu on the table!

Lapu Lapu

One important consideration to note is that it was not only the size of our party that posed a challenge, but that we were a motley crew of adventurous and picky eaters, with a dietary restriction thrown into the mix as well. One family member suffers from gluten intolerance and required special dietary accommodation. The chef came out to speak with her before any food arrived on the table, and he promised to keep her well-stocked with an assortment of gluten-free alternatives (including gluten-free bread, noodles, and dessert).

The ‘Ohana chefs worked hard to ensure that she did not miss out on any aspect of the meal and she could not have been happier with the results.

Gluten-Free Bread

Gluten-Free Dessert

“Cousin” Candy soon delivered [Read more…]