Review: Territory Lounge at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

We are heading back to one of my favorite spots to grab a quick bite and drink — Territory Lounge.

I really, really recommend this place. It’s comfortable, has a fantastic staff, is just a boat ride away from Magic Kingdom, and usually has a pretty incredible menu.

While my “love” for neighboring Artist Point waxes and wanes, I’ve enjoyed the majority of my visits to Territory Lounge. And with the recent installation at Artist Point of a new chef, who also covers Territory Lounge, I figured it was as good a time as any to visit again.

Atmosphere

The decor of the cavernous Wilderness Lodge lobby area echoes the same Craftsman style as the outside of the resort. But as you begin to explore different corners, you see that there’s more here than just Arts and Crafts. [Read more…]

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

Today, we are heading over to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for a trail-inspired breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe.

The restaurant, located in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, is well known for down-home food, bottomless milkshakes (even at breakfast), all-you-can-eat skillets, it’s infamous ketchup antics, and a rowdy atmosphere cultivated by the servers.

Intrigued? Let’s take a look inside!

Atmosphere

Whispering Canyon Cafe is located within the soaring lobby of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort. As you enter from the resort’s porte cochere, you’ll find the restaurant off to the left.

Wilderness Lodge is themed to represent an historic resort in the Pacific Northwest, complete with “log cabin” construction (albeit a BIG log cabin…). You’ll find [Read more…]

News! Territory Lounge Coffee Shop at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

I never miss an opportunity to relax at the Territory Lounge at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in Walt Disney World.

territory lounge wilderness lodge

Inside, you’ll find a welcoming atmosphere of dark woods and low lantern lighting. Comfortable seating in armchairs and on couches is always in demand, and round tables make a great conversation area for families.

And now, we can stop by for breakfast at the new Coffee Shop at Territory Lounge from 7-11AM daily.

Stop by the Coffee Shop

Stop by the Coffee Shop

The Coffee Shop is serving [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Fun, Free Holiday Activities in Walt Disney World

It’s here — we are officially 181 days out from Christmas!! Woohoo! Have you started your shopping yet?

180 Days Sale

Ha — me neither. But I do know that if I have any hope of scoring advance dining reservations for the uber busy holiday season at Walt Disney World, I need to be ready to book as soon as those lines open up tomorrow.

But how do I fit everything in that I want to do? By planning ahead, of course. And we want to help you do the same.

And that’s why we write the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays. Because I want your holiday visit to the ‘World to be nothing less than spectacular.

And when you pre-order the 2015 DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays right now, you’ll receive the 2014 edition immediately, for free.

Don’t forget — you have three ways to save on the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays Guide. Check our our 180 Days ‘Til Christmas Sale to learn more!

But hurry — our sale on this popular guide ends tomorrow at midnight!

Today, let’s explore

[Read more…]

Review: Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Time to head on over to Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!

OK, so I’ve had a couple of really good meals here in the past couple of years, and they almost made up for the less-than-stellar meals I’d had at this Signature Restaurant in the years prior.

But, based on my last visit, Artist Point may be on the way back down the ladder when it comes to my recommended fancy dining spots in Disney World. Let’s take a look… .

Atmosphere

If you’ve ever visited Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, then you are familiar with the decor here. Enter into the lobby of the hotel, and you are transported to Pacific Northwest hideaway. Lots of Arts and Crafts touches echo that sentiment, and Artist Point refines the aesthetic.

artist point wilderness lodge

Glass Sign at the Entrance

Where natural wood and stone and warm hues dominate most of the resort, here, you see a lighter touch. Walls are painted a warm white, and woodwork has been whitewashed. The overall feel is much less “lodge-y” and rustic than the rest of the resort — more of a “wide open spaces” kind of vibe.

artist point

Seating

Seating is comfortable, with high-backed, generously padded chairs. The views here are normally quite lovely, as the windows look out over the grounds and the lake.

Beautiful View

Beautiful View

I say “normally” because the evening I visited, all of the windows were blocked by a frosted film, presumably to block the view of the construction taking place below. While I understand that it was necessary, it was kind of a bummer to be seated by a window with no view. (But I still wanted you to see the view, so I’m sharing pics from a previous visit.)

View

View

Murals reside high above the dining room, and depict sweeping panoramas of national parklands. They are the work of celebrated artist Thomas Moran, well known for his “larger-than-life interpretations of the West during the late 1800s.”

Mural

Mural

The colors are gorgeous!

Mural

Mural

Smaller paintings also cover the walls, and are inspired by the work of Albert Bierstadt, who sketched landscapes of the Shoshone Indian country in 1859.

Overall, the restaurant is subdued and understated under its soaring ceilings, and I absolutely love the expansive view of Bay Lake (when you can see them).

Eats

Because Artist Point is a signature restaurant at Disney, you can expect that the menu will change here frequently — sometimes daily or weekly. I checked, and several of the items that we ordered aren’t on the menu right now. Still, you may see them again in the future, and they certainly still give you an idea of the type of food served here.

Appetizers Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Appetizers Menu — Click to Enlarge

The menu theme is Pacific Northwest, so you usually see a mix of seafood and some interesting game meats. There’s normally a buffalo and/or venison option, and you’re likely to encounter some Pan-Asian influences.

Entrees Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Entrees Menu — Click to Enlarge

We began the evening with a customary Bread Basket, served with Butter sprinkled with Black Salt. These were standard, but quite good.

Bread and Butter

Bread and Butter

I decided to begin my dinner my customary bowl of [Read more…]

News: Disney World Testing Free Taxi Service to Signature Restaurants

Disney is currently testing a new transportation method — complimentary direct taxi service — for guests dining at select signature restaurants while staying at Walt Disney World monorail resorts!

Monorail Orange at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Monorail Orange at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Until June 30, 2015, some guests at the monorail resorts (Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Contemporary) will be selected to participate in this Disney dining test. Those invited to participate will receive complimentary round-trip vouchers delivered to their room.

Participants will have the option of enjoying direct taxi transportation to [Read more…]

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!

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…]