Tips from the DFB Guide: NEW Unique Meals for Kids at Walt Disney World

Many of us have been there — you’re trying to plan the best and most delicious vacation, but when it comes to Disney Kids’ Meals, the options can seem pretty ho-hum at first glance.

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But there’s more to eating with small fry in Disney World than meets the eye! We first told you about Unique Kids’ Meals a while back in a Tip from the DFB Guide.

But times marches on, and menus evolve. And since we first visited the subject, Disney has committed to offering guests healthier eating options — and that includes Kids’ Meal reforms. We’ve fully updated the DFB Guide again this year, and I thought it was the perfect time to revisit Unique Kids’ Meals at Walt Disney World!

These tips come to you courtesy of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015! And if they’re helpful to you, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code “2015” right here!

Mickey Check Meals

We can’t begin to discuss Disney World Kids’ Meals without at least touching on the biggest change to come to children’s menus in the history of the Resort. We’re talking about Mickey Check Meals.

mickey check for kids meals

Part of the Disney Magic of Healthy Living Initiative, the meals are designated on Disney restaurant menus with the “Mickey Check” Symbol. Meals earning the Mickey Check meet the Disney Nutrition Guidelines and limit the amount of sodium, sugar, and saturated and trans fats. In addition, they must also include at least three of the following:

  • fruits and vegetables,
  • low-fat dairy,
  • whole grains, and/or
  • lean protein, beans, eggs, and/or nuts.

So what’s the bottom line? The guidelines have certainly challenged Disney chefs to come up with some interesting meals as a result.

Mickey Turkey Meatloaf

Turkey Meatloaf at Be Our Guest Restaurant…Super Cute! But Not So Delicious

But how do they taste? Wellllll…my jury is still out on that one. While I commend Disney for offering healthier options to guests who are in search of them, the Disney Check Meals that I’ve seen and tasted personally…let’s just say they have a long way to go before taste catches up with the requirements.

A la Carte and Appetizers as Kids’ Meals

If you aren’t using a Disney Dining Plan, then another great idea for a Unique Kids’ Meal option is to order a la carte sides or appetizers instead of something from the Kids’ Menu.

This strategy works great for a couple of different reasons. Even with all of the improvements to kids’ meals across the parks and resorts, some Disney restaurants lag behind a bit, and the options can be a little, well, boring. After all, you can only eat Chicken Nuggets so many times. So it’s a great way to get your young, adventurous eater something tastier and more satisfying.

Smoked Chicken Quesadilla

Smoked Chicken Quesadillas, a Whispering Canyon Cafe Appetizer, is a Great Meal Choice for an Adventurous Kid

It’s also a great idea when [Read more…]

Review: Territory Lounge at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

We are headed back to Territory Lounge! FINALLY!

The lounge, located in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, is pretty much the definition of awesome when it comes to Disney resort bars and lounges.

We’ve talked about the  pub grub here in the past, and it’s no secret that every time I stay at WL I find myself down here at least a few times. So during a recent stay I was excited to dig in and share the latest updates with you.

So kick back for a relaxing visit. Let’s begin by taking a look around.

Atmosphere

You’ll find the Territory Lounge tucked off to the left side, way past Whispering Canyon Cafe, as you enter the lobby of Wilderness Lodge. It’s fully separated from that animated restaurant, so don’t let its close proximity put you off. It’s fairly quiet in here.

territory lounge wilderness lodge

Bar Area and Round Table Seating

There’s sort of a nostalgic hunter’s lodge feel about the Lounge, matching the feel of the whole resort. Wood paneling, paintings of wildlife, and antiqued walls give that sense that you’re in a bit of a man cave.

Rich Colors and Comfortable Seating Make the Space Inviting

Rich Colors and Comfortable Seating Make the Space Inviting

Americana Decor and a Cozy Loveseat Make for an Inviting Space

Americana Decor and a Cozy Loveseat Make for an Inviting Space

Intimate tables for two along the wall offer that “didn’t-get-here-early-enough-to-get-the-easy-chairs” seating. ;-)

Intimate Seating Along the Paneled Wall

Intimate Seating Along the Paneled Wall

I love the shadowboxes that hang just above these tables. They’re full of interesting expedition objects, and the faint glow provides nice light.

Cool Shadowboxes Use Old Expedition Tools as Decor

Cool Shadowboxes Use Old Expedition Tools as Decor

But, of course, I always seek out the comfy seating in a Disney lounge, and Territory doesn’t disappoint. Curling up in these easy chairs with a nightcap seems like the perfect way to end a Disney Day.

Comfy Chairs and the Framed Flatscreen

Comfy Chairs and the Framed Flatscreen

Be sure to check out these guys, too! The carved bears [Read more…]

News! Flip Cards Offer a Fun New Way To Communicate with the Staff at Whispering Canyon

Whispering Canyon Cafe is a favorite destination for Disney World guests who are looking for an interactive dining experience.

The restaurant, located in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, has long been known for its vivacious waitstaff.

Veterans of this fun spot know what happens when you ask for ketchup. (I hope you wanted a lot???) And be forewarned that your straws will probably be thrown at you.

And it’s not just the small fries who get in on the games. Kids of all ages can join in. In fact, you’re pretty much expected to!

Fair Warning -- Your Straws Will Most Likely Be Thrown At You

Straw “Delivery”

But it seems like Whispering Canyon understands that some of us like to participate in Stick Horse Races…and others would rather just watch.

Hobby Horse Race at Whispering Canyon Cafe

Hobby Horse Race at Whispering Canyon Cafe

And so, they’ve come up with an ingenious, lo-tech way to signal your server which tribe you belong to!

On a recent visit to the ‘World (this week, in fact!), one of our intrepid team members spotted these cute cards at Whispering Canyon. This was the first time we had seen them. They were instructed by their server to use the cards to communicate with the staff.

Want the full battery of antics? Then flip the card to [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…]

What’s New Around Disney World: October 28, 2014

Happy Fall! Autumnal treats have been appearing all over Disney World for a while now, but with Halloween just days away, we thought we’d give you one last glimpse of the season’s snacks.

But that’s not the only food news ’round these parts… not by a long shot. Take a trip with us around all four Disney World parks to check out What’s New!

Hollywood Studios

October is probably my favorite time for the candy apples that hit the scene, like these at Sweet Spells.

Halloween Candy Apples

Halloween Candy Apples

"Poisoned" Candy Apple

“Poisoned” Candy Apple

Minnie Witch Candy Apple

Minnie Witch Candy Apple

Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner currently features a Caramel Apple Shake as its tribute to fall. The featured shakes here change frequently, so be sure to pop by to see what’s available on your visit!

Min and Bill's Dockside Diner

Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner

Caramel Apple Shake

Caramel Apple Shake

Joffrey’s Coffee Carts all over Disney World have changed their seasonal offerings to include a Pumpkin Pie Latte and a Pumpkin Pie Frozen Cappuccino.

Joffrey's Coffee Kiosk at Pixar Place

Joffrey’s Coffee Kiosk at Pixar Place

Seasonal Coffee beverages

Seasonal Coffee beverages

Speaking of those Joffrey’s Carts… remember the Big ‘Ol Donut? We spotted a few topped with massive amounts of cookie crumble for a change [Read more…]

Walt Disney World Steak Gallery

It’s time for another fun addition to our Disney Food Galleries!

disney world steak gallery

We just love to share photos of all of our favorite foods — and collect them into galleries for easy viewing! Whether your craving is for popcorn, ice cream, or a cupcake, there’s a gallery for you!

And today, we’re introducing a brand new gallery for all of you red meat lovers out there! Yep, we’ve gathered a whole buncha steaks from around Disney World to help you make your choices on your next visit.

Remember, some of these may drop off menus from time to time or have side dishes or preparation changed, but hopefully this will give you a good overview of what’s available! Here we go!

Yachtsman Steakhouse

Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club is one of my top picks when it comes to steak at Walt Disney World. After all, they decorate with meat — the first thing you pass en route to your seat is the Steak Trimming Room!

Chefs here pride themselves not only on the very best cuts of meat, but appetizers, side dishes, and desserts inspired by market fresh ingredients. Yachtsman combines the very best of seasonal flavors with the traditional steak experience.

My absolute favorite pick at Yachtsman is the 16-ounce Boneless Ribeye. It is always a melt-in-your-mouth choice.

Ribeye with Herb Fries at Yachtsman Steakhouse

Ribeye with Herb Fries at Yachtsman Steakhouse

But we are also big fans of the 12-ounce Prime New York Strip Steak, served here with a rich potato gratin stack.

Strip Steak

12-ounce Prime New York Strip Steak

Shula’s

Shula’s at Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin is the kind of place that you think of when you envision an upscale steakhouse. As your eyes adjust to the dim lighting and you check out the menu — printed on a football! — you’ll settle into the refined elegance of your surroundings.

When I have the chance to dine here, I almost always go for my favorite, the 22-ounce Cowboy Ribeye (are you sensing a theme?). The Bone-in Steak has been excellent on every visit. The flavor is unbelievable!

Cowboy Ribeye

22-ounce Cowboy Ribeye

Looking for a lighter approach to soothe your carnivore cravings? We’ve also enjoyed the Steak Mary Anne. Delicate by steakhouse standards, the 5-ounce medallions are served with a simple demi glace in this case. It’s the perfect plate for the guest who prefers all the flavor of prime, aged beef in a smaller serving.

Steak Mary Anne

Steak Mary Anne

Flying Fish

If you’re a landlubber like me, then finding a great steak at a restaurant known for fabulous seafood is a dream come true. But it’s not impossible if you’re dining at Flying Fish Cafe.

When I visit, I always order the Char-Crusted Black Angus New York Strip. The creamy Sauce Foyot is such a great accent — and they’re never chintzy with it!

Char Crusted Black Angus New York Strip

Char-Crusted Black Angus New York Strip

Can’t decide between surf and turf? You don’t have to! Try the two house specialities side by side with the Entree Duo, which features the Char-Crusted Angus New York Strip Steak and the restaurant’s most famous fish dish, the Potato-wrapped Red Snapper.

Entree Duo of Red Snapper and Strip Steak

Entree Duo of Red Snapper and Strip Steak

Jiko

Jiko offers some of the most interesting food at Walt Disney World.

And while I enjoy the fusion of African, Indian, and Meditteranean flavors when it comes to appetizers and desserts, I rarely deviate from my favorite entree: the Oak-Grilled Filet.

Oak Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

Oak-Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

And even when their delicious Mac and Cheese isn’t featured as the dish’s side, you can usually score it as a special request (and I totally recommend that you do). :-)

Liberty Inn

In the mood for steak with no Advance Dining Reservation? Then head to Epcot’s Liberty Inn. Their New York Strip Steak, served with Red Wine Butter, Roasted Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli, is surprisingly good.

New York Strip Steak Meal

New York Strip Steak Meal

Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant

Even though most of my favorite steaks at Disney World are featured at signature restaurants, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a good option at moderately priced restaurants, too, like Sci-Fi Dine-In.

Recently, I was pleasantly surprised by [Read more…]

Guest Review: Whispering Canyon Café Breakfast at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

The Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World is a fabulous escape! Even if you’re not staying at this inspiring resort, we highly recommend making an Advance Dining Reservation for the Whispering Canyon Café. Today, guest author Rebecca Elliott shares a breakfast review.

We like to eat breakfast at the Whispering Canyon Café when we stay at the Wilderness Lodge. It’s convenient, the portions are hearty, and there’s usually no wait for a table. (Even so, get the Advance Dining Reservation – just in case! You never know!)

Atmosphere

My family and I love staying at the Wilderness Lodge. The hotel is modeled after the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, a historic landmark built in 1904. Its lobby is inspired by the Pacific Northwest and is absolutely stunning.

Like most of Disney’s deluxe hotels, the Wilderness Lodge has three levels of dining options: counter service, family-ish, and fancy schmancy. Whispering Canyon Café is the moderately priced (for Disney) family restaurant located just off the hotel lobby.

The View of the Breath Taking Wilderness Lodge Lobby

The View of the Breath Taking Wilderness Lodge Lobby

The Dining Features Graphics and Elements of a Child's Playroom in the 50's

The Dining Features Graphics and Elements of a Child’s Playroom in the 50’s

The décor of the Whispering Canyon Café reminds me of a little boy’s bedroom in the 50’s. It’s decked out in a cowboy and Indian motif with a Lincoln log-like ceiling and a floor that looks like a homemade quilt.

The Chairs Are Adorned with Cowboys and Indians

The Chairs Are Adorned with Cowboys and Indians

Here Are the Cowboys and Lincoln Log Ceiling

Here Are the Cowboys and Lincoln Log Ceiling

The wait staff take on the persona of wayward cowboys out to have a good time. They encourage diners to take part in their hijinks, which include singing, pony races, and general tomfoolery.

Chandeliers are Adorned with Buffalo Cut Outs

Chandeliers are Adorned with Buffalo Cut Outs

Here’s where I am going to abide by the old honesty-is-the-best-policy rule: I’m not a huge fan of the wait staff’s antics. Many, many people (including my husband and daughter) love it. They play along and find the jokes entertaining. I hate to say it, but they’re just not that funny to me. Not all of the servers are good at improvisation, so watching a non-funny person trying to be funny can be uncomfortable.

When They Say Large, They Mean LARGE

When They Say Large, They Mean LARGE

The entertainment can also be physical, and some people don’t like that. The servers throw straws and napkins on diners; if you order ketchup, they bring you all the bottles in the restaurant; they also slap diners on the back and try their best to throw funny insults. The good news for me is, the shtick doesn’t start until after 8:45am.

Every time I’ve eaten breakfast there, it hasn’t been too crazy. I’ve heard that diners can ask not to participate in the hijinks, but I’ve also heard that can backfire and cause even more unwanted attention. Beware! (Editor’s Note: If you’d rather not take part in the antics, let the cast member know at check-in that your table wants to be left out of the “fun.” It’s not Disney’s goal to make their guests uncomfortable, and the cast member should pass your wishes on to your server.)

Ready for Service!

Ready for Service!

Eats

We’ve eaten breakfast at Whispering Canyon Café many times, and every time it’s been good. Drinks are served in mason jars and meals at lunch and dinner are served in cast iron skillets!

Despite my ambivalence about their style, the servers are all efficient, excellent at answering questions about the menu, and very accommodating of special dietary needs. Here’s what we had on our last visit:

My daughter ordered the Belgian waffle. We’re all huge fans of Mickey waffles, so we were thrilled to see it was a [Read more…]

Review: Chocolate Caramel Cupcake at Roaring Fork in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

If you stop by the bakery case in Roaring Fork at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, there is bound to be something that will catch your eye; maybe the Magic Cookie Bar, or the S’mores cupcake, which is still going strong.

Cupcakes at Roaring Fork

Cupcakes at Roaring Fork

But there is a treat often found there that’s managed to fly under the radar, and that’s the Chocolate Caramel Cupcake.

Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes in Bakery Case

Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes in Bakery Case

I think this snack’s low profile is due to its rather simple appearance. While chocolate on chocolate always looks pretty good, when it’s placed near something like the Strawberry Lemonade Cupcake

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes at Roaring Fork

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes at Roaring Fork

… it can be easy to miss. But my fellow caramel fans should take notice, because you don’t want to pass this by!

Chocolate Caramel Cupcake

Chocolate Caramel Cupcake

While I mentioned this cupcake being rather plain at first glance, the “outside” is still nothing to sneeze at. Rich chocolate cake is topped with dense chocolate frosting that is dark enough to be mistaken for bittersweet chocolate (especially when spied in the bakery case), but reminds me more of chocolate fudge in both flavor and consistency. YUM.

Chocolate Frosting closeup

Chocolate Frosting closeup

The frosting is not laid on too thick, which is fine because it leaves more room for what’s inside… and it’s what’s inside that really [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

It’s been FOREVER since I enjoyed a fun evening at Whispering Canyon Cafe. So I talked a friend into heading over to this supa fun restaurant for dinner the last time I was in Orlando!

Sitting just off the main lobby of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the moderately priced table service restaurant is a can’t miss for some guests…but nothing special for others.

During our last visit, we took a look at how the lunch and dinner menus had changed drastically from what fans were used to. And guess what? In the middle of writing this review, we get word that it’s changed again!

Git yer ponies saddled up and yer vittles bag tied on! It’s time to ride on in! (Did any of that make sense? No? Hmm.)

Atmosphere

Whispering Canyon Cafe is one of the easiest Disney restaurants to find. Head into Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, hang a left, and you can’t miss it.

Whispering Canyon Sign

Whispering Canyon Sign

There’s even a good chance that you’ll hear it before you see it. That’s because there are bona fide antics going on throughout the meal. The name Whispering Canyon? Definitely tongue-in-cheek.

Warning -- Good Times Ahead -- Click to Enlarge

Warning — Good Times Ahead — Click to Enlarge

Themeing here seems ever so slightly more “cowboy and Indian” than in the rest of the lobby. Whereas the rest of that area has a slightly more elegant Mission style, Whispering Canyon is more whimsical. It reminds me of a playroom off from the rest of the grown ups’ space. :-)

Wood is all around you everywhere, echoing that lodge-y feel. Seating is mixed, with table and chair combos, as well as booths. And check out the super cool Indian chief on the backs of these chairs!

Seating

Seating

Others feature cowboys on bucking broncos.

Cowboys and Indians on the Back of Chairs

Cowboys Detail on the Back of a Chair

The servers can make or break your experience at Whispering Canyon. They have all kinds of tricks up their sleeves, though. So whatever you do, don’t drop your fork! (Unless you really want to know what the giant fork is for.)

Servers

Servers Plot Their Next Move

And speaking of the giant fork, Whispering Canyon is as well known for the crazy [Read more…]

What’s New Around Disney World: April 19, 2014!

We’ve got updates this go ’round from several corners of Disney World, ranging from a few small menu changes to big construction projects. But we’re starting with something that is popping up all over no matter where in the World you are: Easter treats! Please join us for another trip to see What’s New!

Easter Treats

From bunny ears to Easter Eggs, we’ve just got to give you a few glances at the Easter snacks popping (or hopping!) up absolutely everywhere around Disney World.

Main Street Confectionery Bakery Case

Main Street Confectionery Bakery Case

These particular goodies were spotted in the Main Street Confectionery, but similarly-themed sweets can be found through the Easter holiday at locations such as Big Top Treats, Sweet Spells, Goofy’s Candy Co. and the Candy Cauldron.

Easter treats

Easter treats

Easter treats

Easter treats

And you’ll find this White Chocolate Raspberry bunny-ear cupcake at Quick Service locations all over Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake

The Lemon Blueberry Cupcake at BoardWalk Bakery has received a spring holiday makeover, too!

Lemon Blueberry Cupcake

Lemon Blueberry Cupcake

We can’t resist giving you one more look at one of the gorgeous chocolate eggs in the Annual Easter Egg Display at the Grand Floridian.

"Frozen" Egg

“Frozen” Egg

Back of "Frozen" Egg

Back of “Frozen” Egg

These works of art will be on display through April 22nd, and they are worth a special trip to the Grand Floridian if you’re enjoying your Spring Break in Disney World. But if you can’t make it in person, you can check out the full display here.

Downtown Disney

Progress towards the future Disney Springs continues to move forward in Downtown Disney.

Downtown Disney Construction

Downtown Disney Construction

Can you remember when the upcoming location for the West Side Starbucks was both a Wetzel’s Pretzels and a Haagen Dazs Ice Cream store?

West Side Starbucks Construction

West Side Starbucks Construction

Well, their new home is “In Progress,” too! The construction site for the new Wetzel’s Pretzels and Haagen Dazs location is [Read more…]