News! Update on Disney’s New Rapid Fill Refillable Mug

According to sources, Disney World will soon be bringing the new Disney Rapid Fill Refillable Mug program to Disney resort hotels.

Tested at All-Star Sports Resort a while back, and much like the process currently in use at Disney’s Water Parks, the new system would use an RFID bar code on each mug to give Disney guests access to refills for a pre-purchased period of time. The mug will then deactivate itself at the end of the purchased time frame.

But as of today, it’s looking more and more like the rumors may be true. Although at this time the Rapid Fill Refillable Program has not been confirmed by Disney, we have news today that the fountain machines at some beverage refilling stations at Walt Disney World resorts have been replaced with new machines that resemble those in a demo video by the company ValidFill.

The first set of photos are from the Beach Club Marketplace, where the machines were installed earlier this week.

Newly Installed Beverage Refill Station at Beach Club Marketplace

Newly Installed Beverage Refill Station at Beach Club Marketplace

In this photo, you can see the small screen that provides the customer detailed information about their refill as it dispenses, as well as the trays below the fountain taps that reads the cup’s sensor.

New Beach Club Marketplace Refill Station -- Up Close

New Beach Club Marketplace Refill Station — Up Close

The same set up is in place at All-Star Music Resort’s beverage refill station. The screens here are [Read more…]

News! 2014 Disney World Free Dining Packages for United Kingdom Residents

United Kingdom residents — we have GREAT news! Now’s the time to start planning your 2014 holiday to the Walt Disney World Resort. When you book a selected Walt Disney World holiday, you’ll receive free dining for your family!!

Disney Deal

Disney is offering a less restrictive Free Dining deal to United Kingdom residents, PLUS you’ll receive a $200 Disney Gift Card and 14 park days for the price of 7. However you’ll need to book prior to July 1, 2013, for select arrival between January 1 – April 8 and April 27 – November 30, 2014.

If you stay at a selected Disney Hotel for a minimum of 5 nights, you’ll benefit from these three magical offers:

1. FREE Disney Dining for your whole party throughout your entire stay at Walt Disney World.

2. FREE $200 Disney Spending Money.

3. Disney’s 14-Day Ultimate Ticket which includes unlimited entry to ALL six parks for a price of a Disney’s 7-Day Ultimate ticket.

PLUS save 35% on your accommodation by staying at Disney’s Old Key West Resort or Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa in a studio room.

Who doesn't want unlimited free Mickey waffles??

This offer is available on participating Disney Moderate, Deluxe Villa or Deluxe Resort hotel stays plus tickets.

Bookings must include 5 nights minimum stay at a Walt Disney World Hotel plus Disney’s 14 Day Ultimate Tickets for the whole party traveling to receive “14 day tickets for the [Read more…]

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: Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Today, we’re taking a look at a top notch restaurant on Disney property — Yachtsman Steakhouse.

The Yachtsman has been a consistently great restaurant throughout the years. We had heard some new things about the menu, so it was time to head back and get the scoop.

Atmosphere

Located at Disney’s Yacht Club, the Yachtsman Steakhouse is decorated with the same beautiful wood and neutral palette that you’ll find throughout the rest of the resort. Soft lighting and a nod to Arts and Crafts touches lend a refined yet relaxed air to the spot.

As you enter the restaurant, you’ll actually pass by the steak trimming room, which features a large window allowing guests to check out the steak aging process. At this point, you know you’re in a steakhouse that takes that moniker seriously.

En route to the dining room, you also pass by an open kitchen with its bustling activity and delicious smells.

Entrance

The dining area is broken up into several smaller spaces. My favorite is a round dining room that soars two stories high and is crowned with a lovely Craftsman-style chandelier at its peak.

Two-Story Dining Room

The circular space gives the room a bit of whimsy, and you dine while looking out on Stormalong Bay, the resort’s premium pool and water park.

Circular Dining Room

Honestly, I’m not really bowled over by fantastic themeing here. But the setting is comfortable with big substantial chairs and warm lighting. It’s simple, and doesn’t include fussy accessories or extras — just like a good steak!

And since the food is usually exceptional here, you don’t really miss the distraction of flashy decor elements.

Dining Room

It was time to tuck into our own comfortable two top and take a look at the menu. Come join us!

Eats

Coming from a long, fun, warm day of theme park hopping, we were anxious to kick off our meal with a few interesting beverage options.

The menu here changes up regularly since it’s a signature restaurant; and since the Yachtsman chef moved over to Le Cellier in 2012, the restaurant has been searching for its legs under the new head honcho.

As is the trend with many signature restaurants, there is an emphasis on seasonal offerings; so some of the dishes that you see here probably won’t be on the menu when you head to Yachtsman. But if they aren’t, you’ll find similarly intriguing options during your visit! (For current offerings, be sure to visit our Yachtsman Steakhouse restaurant page, where you’ll find all updated menu links.)

Here is the Drink Menu on the Yachtsman menu from our visit. Note that most of these are straight out of the standard Disney Bar and Lounge menu.

Drink Menu -- Click to Enlarge

I actually chose a drink that was from the bar menu and not listed in Yachtsman’s menu list — the Pimm’s Punch. I’d had it previously on the trip and wanted to see if it was still a winner! It includes Pimm’s No. 1 Liqueur, Hendrick’s, Odwalla Lemonade, and Wil Strawberry. (Thoughts? Still good, but not AS good as the one I’d had previously. Bartenders make a huge difference.)

Strawberry Julep

My husband surveyed the Beer Menu and found a few interesting options. (Nope — that green crayon streak is NOT from us; I promise.)

Beer Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Ultimately, he chose the Full Sail Session Black Lager. A little shorter than a [Read more…]

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

Today, we’re welcoming back Emma Snobbish with a review of the Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. Her review highlights the breakfast buffet!

When you’re contemplating breakfast choices around Walt Disney World Resort, the Captain’s Grille may not be on your radar.

“Oh, yeah – that one at the Yacht Club?” you might say.

That’s what I said, but on my family’s trip this January we wanted to try something new — someplace where we would be able to get a walk-up reservation. We had also heard tell of the Captain’s breakfast buffet, so we decided to give it a try.

Atmosphere

The Captain’s Grille is just off the Yacht Club Resort’s lobby. You’ve passed it if you’ve ever taken the stroll from the Beach Club to the Yacht Club.

Outside the Captain’s Grille

Behind its fresh, white French doors you’ll see soft nautical stripes, and model boats and paintings of seaside scenes hanging on the walls.

The Main Dining Room

Once inside the restaurant, you’ll see a kid-sized waiting area complete with coloring sheets and crayons!

Children’s Coloring Area – the Crayons are Kept in a Little Boat!

The themeing here is subtle but still charming. I loved the compass design on the center of the tables and the beach waves etched on the chairs.

Big arched openings at the edges of the restaurant look out over the hallway leading to the signature restaurant — Yachtsman Steakhouse — and Stormalong Bay, the giant pool and play area shared between the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. Kinda fun for people watching during your meal, although if you’d rather something more quiet there are plenty of [Read more…]

Best Disney World Restaurants for Fish Fry

With Lent on the horizon — and with a few questions from readers recently about where to get a great fish fry in Disney World — I knew that now would be the perfect time to check out the best places to find that golden battered goodness at the Happiest Place on Earth!

Let’s check out some of the best fried fish in Disney World

Best Disney World Restaurants for a Fish Fry

United Kingdom Pavilion in Epcot

You can’t go wrong for fish and chips in the delicacy’s home pavilion in Epcot.

Fish and Chips from Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Whether you take a load off at the Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room or grab some fried food to go from Yorkshire County Fish Shop, you’re in for a mild but authentic taste of one of England’s best exports.

While you’re there, enjoy a beer and a performance by The British Revolution or the Pub’s Hat Lady.

Cookes of Dublin and Raglan Road in Downtown Disney

If you find yourself in need of a fish fix while you’re “Downtown,” head over to the Pleasure Island District for two authentic and delicious options. The One & One at Cookes of Dublin is one of our favorites on property.

Cooked to order and served piping hot, the fish is flaky and tender.

Fish and Chips from Cooke’s of Dublin

But if you have the time for a slower meal, you may want to consider the famous beer battered fish and chips on the lunch menu at Raglan Road Irish Pub right next door.

Columbia Harbour House in Magic Kingdom

Here in Liberty Square, you can enjoy a counter service battered fish basket with broccoli, apples, or French fries at Columbia Harbour House counter service restaurant. The proportion of breading to fish is perfect, and the fish isn’t too oily.

Fried Chicken and Fish at Columbia Harbour House

Fried Chicken and Fish at Columbia Harbour House (photo from Kelly Amey via the DFB Flickr Group) 

Citricos at Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

For a slightly more upscale take on the English classic, take a monorail ride to the Grand Floridian and pull up a chair at Citricos. There, you should order the melt-in-your-mouth pan-fried Florida black grouper, which gets [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: Photo Tour of NEW Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar and Grill at the Yacht and Beach Club Resort

We’re thrilled to introduce guest author Bob Sikon with a review of the re-opened Hurricane Hanna’s quick service restaurant and pool bar at the Yacht and Beach Club Resort.

The poolside dining area at Stormalong Bay has been under refurbishment for the past several months, and now re-opens with a fresh feel and brand new name! There are also several more items on the bar menu and counter service menu for guests to enjoy! Scroll down to see pictures of a few of these!

Let’s take a look at the updated name, atmosphere, and menu…

The quick-service outdoor restaurant at the Beach Club resort has re-opened after a lengthy refurbishment. It’s now known as Hurricane Hanna’s Waterside Bar & Grill!

New Sign

Poolside Dining

View of Hurricane Hanna's

Atmosphere

As you look at Hurricane Hanna’s, the bar is on the left, the food ordering queue and counter is in the center, and the mug wash and condiment station is on the right.

Bar Area at Hurricane Hanna's

The updated yet classic nautical feel offers guests a “sit and stay a while” feel. We like the new sturdy wooden bar chairs and great-looking lanterns lighting the bar area.

Outdoor Bar

Enjoy a beverage at the bar!

View from the Bar

The counter-service ordering area is set up as usual to the right of the [Read more…]

2012 Walt Disney World Gingerbread Holiday Displays

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…in Disney World!

As we look forward to the holiday season in Walt Disney World, let’s take a look at when to expect the artful (and edible) decor to go on display this year! Several Disney deluxe resorts showcase massive holiday gingerbread displays, and we’ve got info and photos about where and when to see them below!

And if you’re really craving all there is to know about the holidays in Walt Disney World, it’s time to treat yourself (or a friend!) to the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World® Holidays 2012 e-Book! We’ve included all of the gingerbread displays, when to visit them, and more!

The gingerbread displays at Disney’s deluxe resorts are created by the Walt Disney World Food and Beverage team. Sometimes you can even watch the chefs put on the finishing touches! In addition to the beautiful displays, storefronts at each display sell yummy treats, and 2012 limited edition Gingerbread Display pins!

Grand Floridian Gingerbread House

As your eyes try to take in the enormous Christmas tree in the lobby, your sense of smell will lead you toward the 16 foot tall Gingerbread House located in the Grand Floridian Resort. Stop by November 19th – December 31st!

Grand Floridian 2010 Gingerbread House

It takes over 400 hours to bake the 10,000+ pieces of gingerbread! Look closely and you may even see puffs of smoke coming from the chimney!

Looking Down on the Gingerbread House

Don’t forget that you can purchase a treat made from a classic Austrian gingerbread recipe right inside the Gingerbread House!! Freshly baked items will include [Read more…]

What’s Your Favorite Disney Burger?

It’s usually my job to smash though the stereotype that theme parks only serve burgers and fries, but today…it’s time to embrace it! We’re going to talk burgers, all! Are ya ready to share your favorites?

It’s time to update our “best burgers in Disney World” list, and we think there are some seriously unexpected meat-and-bun creations that go far beyond what you would expect from a theme park burger. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable in the bunch.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, though! I’d love to hear your favorites in the comments below!

Favorite Disney Burgers

Picnic Burger at Sci-Fi Dine-In

UPDATE: Please note that the Picnic Burger is not currently being served at Sci-Fi-Dine-In Restaurant, but they often feature a specialty burger on the menu in addition to the Build-Your-Own Burger. 

The All American Picnic Burger is a flame-broiled Angus burger patty topped with…wait until you hear this…a grilled hot dog! On top of this, you get sauerkraut, sautéed onions, ketchup, mustard, and a pickle spear! Yep — this one is HUGE…and messy!

Served at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it’s a picnic on a plate. Go ahead and indulge!

Picnic Burger

Beaches and Cream Burger

The simple Beaches and Cream Burger made our very first “Best Burgers” list way back when, and now their upgraded Bacon and Blue version has made our list again!

Beaches and Cream is your spot for comforting food, including malted milkshakes, chicken noodle soup, awesome ice cream sundaes, and Angus cheeseburgers.

Bacon and Blue Burger at Beaches and Cream

Surf and Surf “Burger” at Landscape of Flavors

This is probably the newest on the list, and hails from Art of Animation Resort’s Landscape of Flavors!

Not technically a burger, the Surf and Surf is actually a Crab Cake topped with fried popcorn shrimp, tomato, lettuce, and Cajun remoulade on a brioche bun. There are plenty of other great burgers to choose from at this new counter-service stop, though, so [Read more…]