The Most Popular Disney World Restaurants (and Alternatives When They’re Full)

Many Disney guests agree that the most important Disney Dining Tips lists include one specific piece of advice:

Making Advance Dining Reservations is an absolute must when it comes to planning.

While many seasoned Disney travelers are aware of this, there are lots of folks who visit the parks and are stunned to find no tables available at their top restaurant choices. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us at one time or another…and we’ve got solutions for you!

Today, we’ve updated our list of the most popular Disney restaurants, and terrific alternatives if you can’t score a table at your coveted spot!

Let’s take a look at the most elusive restaurants to book these days…

Dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Scoring an advance dining reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant for their table service dinner can be a daunting task.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Ballroom Dining Room

From the time that they first announced the restaurant’s soft opening until now, we have heard from many readers who haven’t been able to secure a spot at Magic Kingdom’s newest restaurant. Here are a couple of reasons why:

Newness: The biggest reason for this remains the novelty of the place. Be Our Guest and all of New Fantasyland is still the hottest ticket in Walt Disney World since its grand opening in December 2012.

Incredible, Immersive Themeing: The impeccable themeing means that stepping into Beast’s Castle is truly like climbing through a portal into Beauty and the Beast. You almost expect to look down and find your food animated!

The Grey Stuff -- It's Delicious!

Novelty: The French-inspired cuisine that’s served at Be Our Guest is unlike anything else available in all of Magic Kingdom. In addition, there is huge novelty surrounding the fact that you can now order beer and wine in the formerly dry Magic Kingdom (for dinner only).

So, what to do if you can’t [Read more…]

Review: Drunken’ Donuts at The Wilderness Lodge’s Territory Lounge

Editor’s Note: The Drunken’ Donuts have been removed from the menu.

All right, all; it’s time for some serious DONUTAGE!!

Just last week I once more headed over Bay Lake and through the woods to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The Territory Lounge beckoned with a sweet menu item that I couldn’t resist trying.

The Territory Lounge at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

I know. So tough. But someone has to bring you all the latest, right? ;-)

This laid-back spot is one of my favorite places in all of the World to relax while enjoying some truly spectacular pub grub. Rarely crowded and always staffed with the most excellent cast members (Yay, LouAnn!), I still think that Territory Lounge is one of the best kept secrets at Disney World.

Territory Loung Bar Table Seating

But when Kathie F. tipped me off recently that she and her husband had enjoyed a new-to-me dessert offering here, that guaranteed I would be visiting the bar sooner rather than later.

Territory Lounge Menu -- Click to Enlarge

The menu had changed a little since our last review. Gone were the Tuna Tataki and the Asian Steamed Buns. The Chicken Wings were back, replacing their predecessor, Chicken Lollipops. (The lollipops were basically just wings, though, so I’m not sure what’s up with the weird name.)

Onion Soup has joined the team as well, and the Wild Mushroom Flatbread has returned by popular demand. And because they’re awesome — the Northwest Charcuterie and Sharp Cheddar Beer Fondue are still alive and kicking!

But the most interesting change on the menu is the addition of two desserts. One is a favorite of ours from the Artist Point kitchens: the Artist Point Berry Cobbler. And the other one was what I was after on this evening: DONUTS. And not just any donuts… [Read more…]

Best Cookie Snacks in Walt Disney World

OK, all. Today we’re talking about something that I know you can all appreciate…

COOKIES! Yep. Simple, sweet, and the perfect combo of portable and delicious, cookies are the oft-forgotten workhorse of the snack world.

Now, I know that there are dozens of awesome cookie options in Disney World. So many that we couldn’t possibly list them ALL in our “best of” post about cookies. But we’re going to take a shot at listing a few of our favorites…and hopefully a few that you haven’t yet sampled!

These are cookies that are truly something special — options that either I couldn’t get anyplace else, or treats that say Disney! loud and clear to me.

So I present to you the Disney Food Blog’s Favorite Cookies at Walt Disney World! Don’t forget to check out more awesome Disney Snacks like these in our 2013 DFB Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book!

Carrot Cake Cookie

Ever since I discovered the Carrot Cake Cookie at The Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I’ve made it a point to visit this quiet little spot on just about every trip.

These are the epitome of awesome Disney snacks. Unique, only found in one park anywhere in the world, and truly, over-the-top delicious. They consist of two components: Cakey “cookies” and a huge amount of cream cheese icing — more than you would ever get on the run-of-the-mill slice of carrot cake.

The cookies themselves are moist, sweet, and spicy. And I liken this snack to the best version of a whoopie pie ever. :-)

Carrot Cake Cookie

This treat is huge, which makes it perfect to share or to eat as a snack over a few days!

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

You saw this one coming from a mile away, didn’t you? There is no fancy dessert that holds a candle to one of my favorite grab and go sweet treats, the Homemade Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich!

Two ginormous cookies are smooshed together with a huge scoop of ice cream for a portable (if slightly messy) treat. Decadent, simple, and a great way to cool down on a hot Florida day!

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

But another fun fact that makes these sandwiches a favorite of mine is that often, you can customize them! Pick your cookie, pick your [Read more…]

Food Challenge: The Disney Food Blog Waffle Crawl

It’s been a while since we’ve had a good Disney Food Crawl around here, don’t cha think? Let’s take care of that right now!

My friends, gather ’round — for we are about to carb load like never before!

Introducing…

The Disney Food Blog Waffle Crawl!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Waffles are just for breakfast. But you’d be only half right! There’s plenty of waffle-ness to be had at all hours of the day throughout Walt Disney World, believe it or not.

But since this one is definitely going to challenge your stamina, I heartily recommend you plan to cover two days with this one, and enlist the help of some able-bodied and empty-stomached friends. Sharing will be beneficial! ;-)

So what are you waiting for? Grab your butter and syrup and let’s go!

Sleepy Hollow Waffle Sandwiches

We’re starting at the Magic Kingdom first, since some of our favorite waffles can be found here!

When I’m looking for a treat at Disney World’s very first park, it’s pretty hard to imagine finding anything as rockin’ as a waffle from Sleepy Hollow Refreshments. And of all the amazing choices available, the Nutella and Fresh Fruit Waffle usually wins out with me!

Nutella Waffle Sandwich With Fruit

A fresh-from-the-iron waffle, malty and thick and still warm, is slathered with Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread. Then it’s heaped high with a mix of fresh bananas and berries. It’s big enough to share — if you want to! ;-)

Looking for a more savory waffle experience? My second favorite is the Spicy Chicken Waffle, an sweet-and-spicy Asian riff on fried chicken and waffles that is nothing short of incredible. (We’ll have a full review of this one coming up soon on DFB!)

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich at Sleepy Hollow

You may think you don’t want [Read more…]

Disney Dining Tip from the DFB Guide: Dining at Bars and Lounges in Walt Disney World

When it comes to Disney World, bars and lounges aren’t just adults-only destinations — and they don’t just serve drinks.

In fact, here’s a Best Kept Secret in Disney dining planningDisney bars and lounges can be great places to get a meal with the whole family. These hidden gems are often less crowded than standard restaurants, too!

In The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book, we have an entire section reviewing every single bar and lounge in Walt Disney World. It’s well worth a read to find out great spots to get a full meal or a snack — even with no Advance Dining Reservation!

Now let’s take a peek at a few of our favorites…

English Bulldog with Chips at Rose and Crown Pub in Epcot's UK Pavilion

Bars and Lounges Inside the Theme Parks

A Disney World trip can be hectic (meeting characters, dashing to attractions, and racing off to dining reservations!), so finding a place inside the parks to escape the hoopla is key to a relaxing vacation!

With signature cocktails, cheese plates, fondue, burgers, donuts, pasta, and more, you’ll find some truly inspired menus at Disney World’s bars and lounges. Sometimes you’ll even be able to order from the full menu of a nearby restaurant.

In Epcot, we can highly recommend stopping in to Tutto Gusto in Italy, Rose and Crown Pub in the UK, or La Cava del Tequila in Mexico.

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

At Tutto Gusto, order from an awesome menu of meats and cheeses, paninis, pastas, and more. A relaxing atmosphere and full tables allow for an easy meal for the whole family.

Cheeses, Meats, and Shrimp Cavatappi at Tutto Gusto Lounge in Epcot's Italy

Rose and Crown Pub, attached to Rose and Crown Restaurant, features a fun menu that — gasp! — the kids might even like! We can highly recommend the Scotch Eggs and the British Bulldog sausage (see our review of the British Bulldog here — and the photo at the top of this article)!

Scotch Eggs at Rose and Crown

If you’re there on a weekday, seek out Carl the Bartender and ask him to show you his amazing magic trick!

Carl the Bartender and the tipping pint

At La Cava del Tequila, sample a few Mexican appetizers like chips and salsa, queso, and guacamole along with your margaritas!

Chips and queso at Cava del Tequila

Another favorite place to unwind in the parks and get a great meal is at Tune-In Lounge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Here, you can get great shakes for the kids, fun signature drinks for [Read more…]

Snack Series and Recipe!: The Magic Cookie Bar at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

I have to apologize to you guys.

I have been horribly remiss in not telling you about this incredible snack yet…but I didn’t even know about it! Just goes to show there’s ALWAYS something exciting to find when it comes to Disney food!! :-)

OK, here we go! Recently, an awesome DFB reader tipped me off to an amazing find at Roaring Fork in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge — the Magic Cookie Bar.

As a big fan of Roaring Fork, I wondered how could I have missed such a thing. So on my recent trip to the World, I made it my mission to get to Wilderness Lodge and try it before any more time passed!

I have to be honest — with everything I eat when I’m in Disney World, it’s hard to completely finish everything. But this? THIS was one of the things on my recent trip that I ate in its entirety! It’s THAT good.

First off, it’s big. I mean, it may not look that big in the picture, but this is a super rich bar, chock-full of deliciousness.

Magic Cookie Bar -- Wrapped and Ready

Unwrapped, you start to get a sense of just what went into this. There’s a ton of flavor going on here, with chocolate and butterscotch chips, condensed milk, coconuts, and nuts.

Magic Cookie Bar -- Unwrapped

And to put it over the top for me, the whole thing is [Read more…]

Limited Time Magic Dinners at Disney World and Disneyland Just in Time for Valentine’s Day!

Love is in the air — especially at Disney!

As 2013 continues to be the year for Limited Time Magic Events, Disney is hosting True Love Week at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland complete with specialty menus at several restaurants!

It's Romance Time at Disney!

Walt Disney World

As a Limited Time Magic addition during February 11-17, romantic dinners for two will be offered with prix fixe menus at select restaurants.

Specially-created menus at Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort make an ideal setting for a romantic evening.

Book online at disneyworld.com/dining, or call (407) WDW-DINE.

The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney's Hollywood Studios is the Perfect Setting for Your Romantic Dinner

Disneyland

Also during February 11-17, choose romantic dinners with prix fixe menus at the following restaurants: Blue Bayou and Café Orleans in Disneyland, Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California [Read more…]

Guest Review: Territory Lounge at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

Welcome guest author Paul Kuconis with at a look at the Territory Lounge at the Wilderness Lodge. You know we love “Lounge Food!”

For some time now I have read reviews on the various (and awesome) culinary offerings in and around Walt Disney World. I finally decided to present my thoughts on a great appetizer at Territory Lounge. I hope you all enjoy my ‘review’.

Territory Lounge Overhead Sign Post

Atmosphere

We are frequent travelers to Walt Disney World and stay only at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. On our first evening we always visit the resort’s bar area — the Territory Lounge.

The Lounge is very much in keeping with the theme set by the Wilderness Lodge. Wilderness Lodge, to us, is a laid back setting/venue, complete with (predominantly) Aaron Copland music playing in the lobby. Even with Whispering Canyon in the lobby I still consider it calming and relaxing! This is carried through to Territory Lounge.

Territory Lounge Sign

The Lounge is not as large as most Disney venues, which adds to its coziness and ambiance. The interior is dark with western theme prints hanging on the walls. And the decor includes a lot of wood, just like the hotel lobby.

Territory Lounge Bar Shot

Although not shown here, there are 2 televisions; both usually set to sports stations. The times we have been there it has not been super busy (unless of course it is raining out and the Trout Pass Pool Bar is not a dry option!). In some cases folks are having a [Read more…]

5 Things You’ve Gotta Try at Walt Disney World in 2013!

It is a great time to be a Walt Disney World Fan, and an even greater time to be a Disney Food Fan! There has been a truly dizzying array of really unique, inventive food to come down the pike over the last year, and we can’t wait to hear what YOU think about it.

Since we are all about the eats in these parts, I thought I’d give you my two cents on the 5 Things You’ve Gotta Try at Walt Disney World in 2013 — Food Edition! Let’s do it!

Tutto Gusto

If you haven’t had the chance to stop by Tutto Gusto, the new wine bar that opened in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion last summer, I heartily recommend you get there, asap!

Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar

This alluring, intimate spot has enjoyed lots of business since opening — I often find it full to the max when I visit! (Luckily, I snapped this pic on an early day!)

Gusto Fireplace Area

Following on the heels of the success enjoyed by its Mexican cousin, La Cava del Tequila, Tutto Gusto adds even more eats. Not only can you find an extraordinary assortment of Italian wines and beers, but there is also a wonderful menu of small bites to choose from.

Even non-wine drinkers can find plenty to love about this spot, which feels like it was just transported to Florida from Italy. Italian Cheese and Sausages? Sign me up!

Tutto Gusto Cheese Board

Stop in for a glass, some cheese, or even heavier pasta or panini options. The full menu from Tutto Italia next door is available here, too!

Or grab a fabulous dessert and a glass of Moscato. You won’t be disappointed.

Territory Lounge Eats

When I need a break from the [Read more…]

Best Disney World Restaurants According to Zagat

Zagat released its inaugural 2013 Orlando Survey recognizing Orlando as a true food-lover’s haven!

ZAGAT: Orlando City Guide

Covering 360 restaurants, 75 nightspots, shops, and more, the Zagat results are based on the opinions of 5,614 local consumers.

And, not surprisingly, several Walt Disney World venues made the top lists in many of the categories, from Top 10 Restaurants in Orlando to Best Decor to Winning Nightspot!

Let’s take a look at where Disney’s recommended in the new Zagat guide…

Top 10 Restaurants

Clocking in at an impressive second place in the Top 10 Restaurants in Orlando category, Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian takes the honors.

This elegant restaurant is also voted as best romantic venue.

Victoria and Albert's Seating

And Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge receives accolades placing 8th in the Top 10 Category!

Seating by the Window at Jiko

These restaurants are also highlighted in the “Best Food” and “Best Wine List” categories!

Top Rated Restaurants by Cuisine

For New American cuisine, Chef Scott Hunnel at Victoria & Albert’s gets top marks once again!

Sake-Soy-marinated Long Island Duck with Bok Choy and Soy Beans at Victoria & Albert's

Best Eclectic/New World Restaurants

One of our favorite Downtown Disney restaurants, Paradiso 37, made the list in this category!

Paradiso Chocolate Stack Dessert

Best Japanese Restaurants

Looking for Japanese cuisine? Head to Epcot’s [Read more…]