What’s New Around Walt Disney World: May 20th, 2015

Sure, we may have said “So long” to the Flower and Garden Festival for this year, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to look forward to at Walt Disney World! Springs moves to summer as Disney World gears up for the busy vacation season, otherwise known as the “Coolest Summer Ever”!

©Disney

©Disney

And since it’s a very special time of year for Star Wars fans in particular, why don’t we start our ‘round the World tour at Hollywood Studios to see What’s New!

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

Star Wars Weekends kicked off on May 15th!

Star Wars Weekends 2015

Star Wars Weekends 2015

The excitement! The pageantry!  The CUPCAKES! The Jabba the Hutt Cupcake has joined the Darth Vader and Yoda Cupcakes this year.

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

Jabba the Hutt Cupcake

It can be found at counter service locations such as Starring Rolls, Backlot Express, The Trolley Car Cafe, and Tusken Fridge Raiders — the premiere Star Wars snack stop, located inside Darth’s Mall.

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

Tusken Fridge Raiders

But cupcakes aren’t all that’s in store…

Star Wars snacks for Star Wars Weekends

Star Wars snacks for Star Wars Weekends

Like last year, several temporary pop-up bars can be found all over the park for the weekend events.

Star Wars Weekends Pop-up Bar

Star Wars Weekends Pop-up Bar

However, they feature all-new drinks this year. Each bar serves two out of of four drinks: The Mustafar and The Tatooine, or The Endor and The Alderaan.

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

Star Wars Weekends Specialty Drinks

We’ll be taking a closer look at those beverages soon, but once again this year, it’s ALL about the souvenir glow cubes: drinks come with either a Millennium Falcon glow cube or your very own mini Death Star.

Millennium Falcon Glow Cube

Millennium Falcon Glow Cube

The Jedi Mickey Character Dinner at Hollywood and Vine and Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast returned to Hollywood Studios earlier this month (on May the Fourth Be With You, naturally). But brand new to Star Wars Weekends this year is the Rebel Hangar — A Star Wars Lounge Experience, which has effectively converted half of Backlot Express into an abandoned spaceport in the Sullest system.

Entrance to Rebel Hangar

Entrance to Rebel Hangar

Chips and Sith at Rebel Hangar

Chips and Sith at Rebel Hangar

Blue Milk!

Blue Milk!

You can read all about this special month-long dining event featuring small plates and specialty cocktails in our full review of the Rebel Hangar!

Believe it or not, though, it’s not all Star Wars at Hollywood Studios… we’ve got some regular ol’ menu changes at some favorite Table Service restaurants to report as well. Sci-Fi Dine-In has added the Sci-Fi Popcorn Treat to the appetizer selection. It’s popcorn soup (for watching those old movies, of course!) with buffalo popcorn chicken and celery sticks, drizzled with blue cheese dressing.

Sci-Fi Dine-In

Sci-Fi Dine-In

New entrees include Grilled Marinated Salmon, while the Veggie Burger got a [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…]

2014 Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving Contests

Didn’t get your fill of Halloween fun this year? Fret not, friends! Because we’ve got one more treat for you from the season of tricks…

On October 30th and 31st, Disney Resort Cast Members at resorts around the World competed in pumpkin decorating contests. I got to check out the displays at the Contemporary Resort and Port Orleans — Riverside, and wanted to share some of the fun with you today!

At the Contemporary Resort, individual Cast Members showed off their pumpkin carving skills. The display was huge, including well over twenty pumpkins!

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving 2014

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving 2014

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Contemporary Resort Cast Member Pumpkin Carving display

Guests at the Contemporary placed their votes for pumpkins across a few categories. A member of the Security Team won “Best Overall” for this awesome [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: September 24, 2014

Food is always the star of the show for Disney Food Fans, but there’s no time of year when food steals the spotlight quite like this… with a little something called the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

But that’s not all the food news in these parts! We’ve spotted more fall treats and new Resort eats as we’ve been looking around Disney World to see What’s New

EPCOT

So, right off the bat, we know this isn’t exactly what you would call a “surprise” ;) , but since it’s Epcot’s time to shine, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the recent opening of this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Food and Wine Festival!

Be sure to check out the Must-Eats among the dishes making their debut this year!

Bacon Hash at the Farm Fresh Booth

Bacon Hash at the Farm Fresh Booth

Coconut Candy at the Brazil Booth

Coconut Candy at the Brazil Booth

Fresh baked carrot cake with Craisins® and cream cheese icing

Fresh baked carrot cake with Craisins® and cream cheese icing at the Hops & Barley booth

In other EPCOT food news (yep, there’s still more!), the ice cream experts at L’Artisan des Glaces are helping everyone get into the Fall spirit with their release of the Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich.

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Macaron Sandwich

You can enjoy this pumpkin deliciousness in a [Read more…]

What’s New Around Disney World: September 4th, 2014

We’re staring down the last of the dog days of summer as Disney World gears up for Fall… Join us on a tour around all four east coast Parks as we check out What’s New!

MAGIC KINGDOM

Fall Fun

With September upon us everyone is anticipating autumn and special seasonal events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (currently underway) and the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (more on that a little later in the post :). So it’s not surprising to see Magic Kingdom all decked out for the occasion!

Magic Kingdom autumn decorations

Magic Kingdom autumn decorations

(Love seeing this sign pop up [Read more…]

Review: Cherry Cobbler at Port Orleans, Riverside Resort

It’s gotta be said… Port Orleans – Riverside has a lot going for it.

It just might be my favorite Disney World Resort – at the very least, it’s in my top three. So it’s entirely possible that my total bias towards all-things-Riverside may be coming into play when I think about the food options.

But, c’mon! This is the home of the great River Roost lounge, made all the greater thanks to our friend Yeeha Bob. (Oh, and those unreal Prime Rib Sliders don’t hurt, either. Trust me.) Aaaaand it’s got Boatwright’s, serving up Louisiana favorites like Jambalaya and Chicken and Andouille Gumbo.

And last, but not least, is the Riverside Mill Food Court.

Riverside Mill Food Court

Riverside Mill Food Court

It’s rustic-meets-comfy, and somehow — for a place with huge amounts of seating – manages to feel at least a little bit cozy, with its abundant natural light and mismatched chairs.

Riverside Mill Seating

Riverside Mill Seating

Riverside Mill Seating

Riverside Mill Seating

But the best part might be the slowly turning water wheel that you can view from inside.

View of water wheel

View of water wheel

In my head, it looks like this… totally sepia-toned!

Water wheel... in sepia!

Water wheel… in sepia!

Today we’re here to try a treat I’ve had my eye on for a while now (and I’ve only ever seen it at Riverside Mill). It’s the Cherry Cobbler, coming at you from the Bakery section!

Riverside Mill Bakery section

Riverside Mill Bakery section

The Cherry Cobbler doesn’t pop up on the menu until the evening, typically around 5:00 pm.

Bakery Menu at Riverside Mill Food Court

Bakery Menu at Riverside Mill Food Court

I’ve wanted to try it since the first time I saw a huge, bubbling pan-full!

Batch of hot Cherry Cobbler

Batch of hot Cherry Cobbler

What I received was definitely heavy on the cherry, but not so much on the cobbler.

Cherry Cobbler

Cherry Cobbler

That’s unfortunate, because every time I bit into some of the crumbled topping, it was [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: June 4, 2014

For this round of “What’s New,” we’ve got food news (and menu changes galore) from every single Disney World park… and beyond! So settle, in, make yourselves comfy, and join us to see What’s New!

Animal Kingdom

We’ll start with the fact that Dole Whip (with or without rum, y’all) can now be found at Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Animal Kingdom’s Africa! (Yep; we’ve had confirmation from Dole that it IS indeed authentic Dole Whip Pineapple Soft Serve.)

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Pineapple Soft-serve (Dole Whip!) menu

Pineapple Soft-serve (Dole Whip!) menu

But we don’t want to miss the chance to mention that Tamu Tamu has also brought back some old favorites with a recent menu refresh: The Slow-cooked Pulled Beef Sandwich is back (hooray!), along with the return of the Quinoa Salad. The Roasted Chicken Salad and gorgeous Fresh Fruit Salad made the cut from the previous menu.

Tamu Tamu Menu

Tamu Tamu Menu

Inside the pulled beef sandwich

Inside the pulled beef sandwich

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

And I’m very happy to say that the Fresh Fruit Bowl is back in time for summer!

Fruit Bowl at Bradley Falls Kiosk

Fruit Bowl Salad

The Fruit Salad has returned to Bradley Falls, too.

Bradley Falls menu

Bradley Falls menu

Remember, Bradley Falls operates seasonally, so if it’s closed during your visit, it’s good to know you can head over to Tamu Tamu for a Fresh Fruit Bowl.

Have you seen (or heard?!) this awesome Musical Tumbler found at various food locations throughout Animal Kingdom? Get the full scoop here!

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

Musical Tumbler

The Royal Anandapur Tea Company is a perfect spot to grab a cup of hot tea (assorted varieties available) or coffee. However, they’re currently offering some flavored Iced Teas in light of the warmer temps.

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Royal Anandapur Tea Company Menu

Though not food-related, I’d like to offer this next picture as a small tribute. Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade wrapped up its nearly 13-year run as Animal Kingdom makes way for all sorts of new adventures. I don’t think I’m speaking solely for myself when I say this unique, beautiful and fun parade will be missed.

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade

Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade

Magic Kingdom

The Lunching Pad has added one more option to its gourmet hot dog selection: the BLT Hot Dog joins the Coney Island Dog and the Philly Cheese Steak Dog.

Lunching Pad Menu

Lunching Pad Menu

Now, here’s something you don’t see everyday… this next bit is not a new item, but rather a new [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: May 6, 2014

Today we’re talking everything from Mac & Cheese to Mine Trains, and from slushes to steins. Please join us for another trip around the World to see What’s New!

Magic Kingdom

Friar’s Nook made waves around New Year’s when the menu changed to feature some very unique styles of Macaroni and Cheese, while hot dogs remained available as a choice. Well, they’ve been brought together in the form of a Truffle Macaroni & Cheese Dog.

Friar's Nook Menu

Friar’s Nook Menu

Why not, right? They had all the ingredients handy since they introduced all that Mac & Cheese goodness to the menu, and it’s always a lovely thing to find more Mac & Cheese Hot Dogs available at Disney World!

The Omnipresent Macaroni and Cheese Hot Dog

The Omnipresent Macaroni and Cheese Hot Dog

But something a bit more unexpected has also arrived: Pot Roast Macaroni & Cheese has replaced the Blue Cheese Macaroni and Cheese with Balsamic (whaaaat…?!?).

Pot Roast Mac & Cheese at Friar's Nook

Pot Roast Mac & Cheese at Friar’s Nook

Soooo, what’s it like? Stay tuned for our review!

Pinocchio Village Haus has reopened since its refurbishment. This Magic Kingdom Counter Service restaurant is known for its many rooms with beautiful artwork honoring the film Pinocchio, and it appears the refurbishment was just a general spruce-up with no major changes.

Pinocchio Village Haus

Pinocchio Village Haus

The entrée menu continues to feature flatbreads, and there are only small changes to report.

Pinocchio Village Haus Menu

Pinocchio Village Haus Menu

Those changes are found on the back of the menu: Lemonade Slush and Blue Raspberry Slush have replaced Pinocchio Punch (though you can find the same beverage at Sunshine Tree Terrace: All-Natural Lemonade with Wildberry Foam).

Lemonade and Blue Raspberry Slush

Lemonade and Blue Raspberry Slush

No sign of that Jiminy Cricket’s Slush, either, but the Slushes here do tend to change with some frequency, so we’ll see if Pinocchio’s conscience makes a return one of these days…

Liberty Square Market often reveals some surprises in the small signs around the registers in addition to the more permanent offerings listed on the hanging menu. While this snack stand has had Slushes available for a long time, on my most recent visit they were also offered in the souvenir Horseman’s Stein.

Additional items available at Liberty Square Market

Additional items available at Liberty Square Market

The stein itself has been available at Sleepy Hollow, but this was the first time I’d noticed it here. I adore anything to do with the old Ichabod Crane and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow film, so seeing this piece in other places makes me smile.

Horseman's Stein

Horseman’s Stein

Sing it with me! “He’s the new school master! What’s his name? Ichabod! Ichabo-od Craaaaaane!”

Horseman's Stein

Horseman’s Stein

There’s one more spot where you can grab a Mickey Kitchen Sink Sundae (affectionately known here on the DFB as the “Mickey Pants Sundae”). This sign was spotted at the check-in counter for the Plaza Restaurant.

Mickey Kitchen Sink Sundae

Mickey Kitchen Sink Sundae

While these aren’t limited to the Magic Kingdom, the Main Street Emporium is the first place we first got to see the new line Princess and Villain mugs. On a more recent visit, we spied the remainder of the collection! Here is the Cinderella mug

Cinderella Mug

Cinderella Mug

Cinderella Mug

Cinderella Mug

… and while the general design differs, we thought you might like to see the new Maleficent and Evil Queen mugs, too!

Front AND Back of Maleficent mug

Front AND Back of Maleficent mug

Evil Queen Mug

Evil Queen Mug

And among all these small changes, we sure can’t ignore the biggest change of all! The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Roller Coaster was dedicated in New Fantasyland on May 2nd, with the official opening date for the public announced for May 28th.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is preparing for Star Wars Weekends 2014 beginning on May 16, and two all-new Star Wars Character Meals have already made their debut in advance of the celebration!

Breakfast is being served at Sci-Fi Dine-In with Darth Vader and some of his fellow Dark Siders at the Star Wars Galactic Dine In.

Star Wars Galactic Dine In sign

Star Wars Galactic Dine In sign

While over at Hollywood and Vine, Jedi Mickey and pals joined guests for dinner at Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine! Check out our full review of this special event!

Jedi Mickey!!!!

Jedi Mickey!!!!

Ewok Chip and Dale welcome you!

Ewok Chip and Dale welcome you!

Even with all this going on, Hollywood Studios has still managed to remember [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…]

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…]