What’s New Around Walt Disney World: August 18, 2016

We know, we know… Back-to-School time is fast approaching (and in some spots, it’s already arrived!). But the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer aren’t quite over just yet, so we’ve still got some summer celebrating to do!

And, hey, the coming of Fall isn’t so bad, anyway. Not when we’ve got our very favorite autumnal event coming to the first stop on our tour in a matter of weeks. That’s why we’re kicking things off at Epcot to see What’s New!

Epcot

Food & Wine Festival Coming Soon!

The 2016 Epcot Food & Wine Festival will be here before we know it! Sure signs of its return are starting to appear around the park…

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Coming SOON!!

Epcot Food & Wine Festival Coming SOON!!

… as in, like, literal signs ;) . Even the Miniature Train display in the Germany Pavilion has received its annual decorations!

Train Display in Germany

Train Display in Germany

Train Display in Germany

Train Display in Germany

Have you checked out the full list of Booth Menus to start strategizing your noshing plans yet?! It’s never too soon… the Festival starts on September 14th! [Read more…]

Recommended Disney Dining Plan Two-Credit Restaurants

We get a lot of questions from readers here at DFB asking if the Disney Dining Plan is a good deal. One part of answering this question is doing the cut and dry calculations based upon a restaurant’s offerings. But the other part is determining if the restaurant is a good fit for your family. (For example, if Yachtsman Steakhouse offers a great bang for your buck when using the Dining Plan, but you’re a family of vegetarians, it probably isn’t the best choice! ;-D)

We were curious to determine which Disney Signature Restaurants offered the best deal or value pricewise — but also could be recommended by the experts here at DFB for atmosphere and food quality.

Disney Dining Plan 2 Credit Restaurants

Here are our picks for the restaurants that offer the best value for your 2-credit Disney Dining Plan slots.

[Read more…]

Close-Up! The 2015 Disney World Resort Gingerbread Displays

All over the World, it’s GINGERBREAD TIME!!! It’s a wonderful holiday tradition to feast your eyes on the larger-than-life Gingerbread Displays at several Deluxe Disney World Resorts before you feast your tummy on all the festive treats available during your visit!

Disney World Gingerbread House Tour

Disney World Gingerbread House Tour

We’re going to take you on a visit to the major Gingerbread hot spots in Disney World, and we’ll start our Gingerbread tour at the Epcot area resorts…

Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts

My  personal favorite is the Gingerbread Carousel found at the Beach Club. I always love to spot the new horses each year making their way on the Merry-Go-Round!

Beach Club Gingerbread Carousel

Beach Club Gingerbread Carousel

We’d love to introduce you to this year’s team of horses… here’s Julia! [Read more…]

New Year’s Eve Celebration at Yacht & Beach Club Resort to Feature Adventurers Club Entertainment

New Year’s Eve celebrations aren’t hard to come by when you’re ringing in the New Year in Disney World!

New Year's Eve Toast

New Year’s Eve Toast

Maybe you’ll be welcoming 2016 with a special showing of Wishes at the Magic Kingdom or Illuminations at Epcot. And, of course, every year there are extra admission-required events also available for guests to choose from.

We shared some of the special holiday happenings taking place on December 31st at locations like Monsieur Paul, Le Cellier, and California Grill in a previous post. But for those looking for an extra-big splurge… the Countdown to Midnight might be just the thing to add to your celebration.

The Yacht & Beach Club Convention Center will be the setting for this special event, which Disney is billing as a Progressive “3-in-1” Party featuring food and cocktails, as well as live entertainment and music.

The celebration begins at 8:00 PM (with check-in starting at 7:30 PM). First, take a walk down nostalgia lane while enjoying an “interactive comedy reunion at the Adventurer’s Club(after stopping for a cocktail, beer, or wine at an open bar). Second, Club Live will set the stage for dancing to a live 9-piece band. Third, Club Vinyl will feature a 7-piece band playing jazzed-up versions of music from today in a “Preservation Hall” setting.

Additionally, special guest star Vanessa Williams has joined the lineup as the event’s headliner. 

Sunrise at Disney World!

A View at Disney’s Yacht Club

Buffet and dessert stations and drinks are included with admission. And just before midnight, it will be time to put on a New Year’s Eve hat or tiara for the big countdown into 2016. Once the clock strikes twelve, a balloon drop and confetti blast will welcome the New Year, along with a champagne toast using your keepsake glass. [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…]

News! Enjoy “Eat Local Week” in Disney World

Fun news for those of you visiting Disney World this week!

EatLocalWeek Orlando Logo

Slow Food Orlando is sponsoring Eat Local Week in The City Beautiful — and it’s happening right now!

While the event showcases eating, drinking, and shopping local throughout the Central Florida Region, there are opportunities to celebrate local growers and producers by dining in some of our favorite Disney Restaurants.

Enjoy menus featuring locally-sourced ingredients all this week, showcasing ingredients from Florida farms, ranches, and fisheries.

And the list of participating Disney restaurants includes some of our tried and true favorites. Choose from The Wave…of American Flavors or California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. We’ve enjoyed delicious seasonal dishes in both.

California Grill view

A Beautiful View and the Season’s Best Flavors at California Grill

At Disney’s Grand Floridian, dine slow-food style at the beautiful Citricos. Or hop over to Disney’s BoardWalk for dinner at Flying Fish Cafe — hands down, one of my absolute favorite spots! (Read our latest review of Flying Fish here.)

Crab Cake

The Flying Fish Cafe is Always an Excellent Choice, Especially for Seafood, Like Their Killer Crabcakes

But we aren’t finished! Yachtsman Steakhouse, known for perfectly prepared steaks and seasonally-inspired sides, will also be participating. Finally, end your Eat Local tour at [Read more…]

Review: Porterhouse for Two at Yachtsman Steakhouse in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Today, we have a real treat for you. It’s time to highlight a special dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse.

This signature dining spot, located at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, offers up a full array of classic steakhouse fare. But you’ll also find innovative dishes with an emphasis on using seasonal ingredients.

While we often find our favorites still on the menu during a visit, we can always count on some surprises. We had the pleasure of dining there with some friends on a recent trip, and I just had to share with you a glimpse of our special meal.

32 Ounce Porterhouse for Two at Yachtsman Steakhouse

I always enjoy a visit to Yachtsman Steakhouse. (Check out this dinner review of a full meal we enjoyed here recently.) While the atmosphere isn’t particularly inspired, we’ve had some truly amazing meals here!

A quick look at the menu will show you what I mean about the combination of steakhouse-classics-meets-seasonally-inspired fare. And notice the emphasis on Charcuterie — something we’re seeing in other signature restaurants like California Grill as well.

Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Click to Enlarge

But even though it’s tough to make a choice from all of those steaks, we were after just one thing: the 32 Ounce Porterhouse for Two.

After we placed our order, we were surprised with an Amuse Bouche — this Savory Mickey Waffle! This had to be just about the most adorable started to a meal, ever. The Sweet Potato Waffle was delicious, and I loved all of the little touches on the plate.

An Amuse Bouche Featuring a Savory Mickey Waffle

An Amuse Bouche Featuring a Savory Mickey Waffle

Soon, however, we were ready to dig into the main course — that beautiful Porterhouse! It’s presented tableside already cut into pieces. I thought this was a great touch, and made sharing a much neater situation.

You can see that the meat was cooked to the medium rare temperature that we requested. In fact, it was a little on the rare side. The dry-aging process lends complexity and depth to the flavor and makes the meat very tender.

The steak comes with plenty more to share as well, including the Trio of Classic Steakhouse Sides: creamed spinach, mushrooms, and onions.

32 Ounce Porterhouse for Two with Trio of Steakhouse Sides

32 Ounce Porterhouse for Two with Trio of Classic Steakhouse Sides

And I couldn’t help but order the killer [Read more…]

Review: Breakfast at Captain’s Grille in Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Today, we’re getting a hearty start to our day with breakfast at Captain’s Grille!

I’ve long considered Captain’s Grille to be a hidden gem at Walt Disney World. Located at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, this place isn’t much to look at (pretty boring, in fact), but they really do have some great food and there always seems to be a table available.

I love heading here for a quiet, delicious lunch, or for a full breakfast spread. Similar to The Wave…of American Flavors at the Contemporary, at breakfast you can choose from the buffet or order from the a la carte menu.

Atmosphere

The decor of Captain’s Grille is consistent with the rest of the Yacht Club Resort. You won’t find anything outlandish in this corner of Disney, just lots of blond wood and boaty details — stripes, stars, compass-type stuff, anchors…you know the deal.

Captain's Grille Seating

Captain’s Grille Seating

The space is open with lots of light from overhead chandeliers and recessed light above as well as windows onto the lobby and grounds. The whole effect gives the room an airy feel. Seating is comprised of large padded chairs and booths. It’s fairly typical to find a sparsely populated dining room, so I’ve always considered the space to be roomy and comfortable.

Seating

The Main Seating Area

In the main seating area around the ceiling you’ll spy these porthole-type windows, which give you the feeling that you’re enjoying your meal below deck.

Porthole Window Detail

Porthole Window Detail

Shadow boxes feature interesting items, like this grouping of vintage keys.

Decor

Decor

While there aren’t tons of decorative details here, what you will find is pretty interesting. The three-dimensional sailing scenes are some of my favorite touches, and are a whimsical way to bring the theme into focus.

My Favorite One!

A Ship Sailing the Ocean Blue

Dioramas

Ocean Scenes

Now that we’ve had a look around, let’s explore the breakfast options.

Eats

Starting your day off with a [Read more…]

2014 Gingerbread House Displays at Walt Disney World

Once again, visions of gingerbread houses will become reality at select Walt Disney World resort hotels!

Gingerbread Mickey Cookie

Gingerbread Mickey Cookie

The holiday season is underway as Mickey and his elves (and some talented chefs!) get busy filling the resorts and parks with seasonal decor, merchandise, and treats. Plan to stop by the resorts to see the displays, purchase a pin, and/or meet one of the fabulous chefs!

Contemporary Resort

And how cool is it that the Contemporary’s NEW gingerbread display showcases characters from Disney’s popular film, “Frozen” in the artistic style of Disney Legend Mary Blair! We reported on all the details last week. Check out all the details (including festive treats!!) on the Frozen Gingerbread Display here.

Frozen Gingerbread Display

Frozen Gingerbread Display

Grand Floridian Resort

The impressive gingerbread house churns out baked goods made from a classic Austrian recipe. Holiday treats for sale include cookies, shingles,ornaments, and houses — all made from gingerbread. Other freshly made items include Stollen Bread, chocolate peppermint bark, and truffles. Gingerbread decorating tips are given in free demonstrations! Opening date: November 23, 2014.

Life-size!

After 400 hours of baking, the chefs spent 160 hours decorating the house. This unique 80 square feet of retail space is 16 feet high by 17 feet wide and constructed with 1,000 board feet of trim, 60 sheets of plywood, 40 window panes, 100 square feet of display, and 10,000 pieces of gingerbread used.

Looking Down on the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House

Looking Down on the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House

The immense amount of gingerbread was made with 700 lbs. of chocolate, 1,050 lbs. honey, 600 lbs. powdered sugar, 35 lbs. spices, 800 lbs. flour, 140 pints egg whites. and 180 lbs. apricot glaze. Wow!

BoardWalk Inn

Inside the gorgeous lobby of the BoardWalk Inn, the Sweet Treats gingerbread display conjures visions of a Jersey Shore concession stand. We love the whimsical decor!

Gingerbread Shingle from Disney's BoardWalk

Gingerbread Shingle from Disney’s BoardWalk

Beach Club

Once again, a life-size carousel will be the centerpiece of the Beach Club’s lobby. Look for the seven Hidden Mickeys! Take home treats including small gingerbread kits will be available for purchase at the Beach Club Marketplace. Watch for inspiring demonstrations by pastry chefs. Opening date: November 25, 2014.

Carousel Horse at Disney's Beach Club

Carousel Horse at Disney’s Beach Club

Think your holiday baking list is long? It took [Read more…]

DFB Reader Questions Answered: Best Restaurants to Celebrate a Grown-Up Birthday at Walt Disney World

Today, we’re pulling another great question out the Disney Food Blog mailbag. You guys ask some great ones, and lots of times, we’ll get several emails and inquiries about the same subject.

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Today, we’re going to delve into the wonderful world of birthday celebrations for grown-ups!

Celebrating Grown Up Birthdays in Walt Disney World

Our DFB reader asks:

We will be vacationing at WDW in May. My 25-year old son will have a birthday while we are there. We would like to have a special meal to celebrate, something fun but also really good!

I love this question! Disney brands itself a great place for all kinds of celebrations. And when it comes to birthdays, why should kiddos have all the fun?

When planning a special meal to celebrate a birthday at Walt Disney World, the most basic advice is probably a great starting point: what does the birthday boy or girl enjoy?

Birthday Dessert

Birthday Dessert

Does he like fine dining, or would he prefer a great night out at a sports bar? Does she like a quiet, elegant setting, or a spot with intricate themeing? Or are they a kid at heart who can Celebrate Mickey with the best of them?

Fantastic ideas abound for fun birthday celebrations at Disney World, but let’s go with my three favorite ideas. At the very least, it might lead to some good brainstorming when it comes time to plan your own special dinner party!

Signature Dining

For the Disney fan who enjoys a fine dining experience, there would be no other place to celebrate a birthday than where these two things meet — Disney’s signature dining restaurants.

If you’re looking for the pinnacle of fine dining, consider booking a table at Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Victoria and Albert's Main Dining Room

Victoria and Albert’s Main Dining Room

The ultimate in Disney fine dining, this relaxed, refined restaurant has won countless awards for its upscale take on modern American fare and its stellar wine menu. To make it an even more special experience, book the Chef’s Table!

Another great option is California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The restaurant sits atop the hotel, and boasts panoramic views. It’s a great spot for viewing Wishes, Magic Kingdom’s fireworks spectacular!

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli is as Good as Ever

Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli at California Grill

Food here is always fresh and inventive, celebrating the farm to table movement and the Asian fusion style that placed California on the culinary map.

For something a little off the beaten path but no less delicious, check out Jiko at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Jiko at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

In a relaxing atmosphere that mimics the [Read more…]