Dining in Tokyo Disneyland: The Many Faces of Popcorn at Tokyo Disney Resort

I’ve always known that the Tokyo Disney Resort had multiple popcorn flavors, but I really had no idea how serious the popcorn game there was until I saw it for myself.  It’s really like its own micro-culture.

People bring their collectable & rare resort buckets from the past and have them refilled, some people wear more than one popcorn bucket at a time, and we even had people offering us samples right out of their buckets. It’s seriously SO MUCH FUN!

Popcorn is so popular, there’s even popcorn themed merchandise that lists some of the many flavors available.  Look at this fun zipper pouch I bought: Delicious Explosion Popcorn!

Popcorn Themed Zipper Pouch

Popcorn Themed Zipper Pouch

Another fun popcorn fact? Tokyo Disney has Roastie Toasties just like Disneyland here in Anaheim. Not all of the stands have them, but several do.  To see more about Roastie Toasties & Disney Popcorn in the states, check out this great Popcorn Gallery post AJ did a while back.  There’s also a fun little video on the Disney Parks Blog here.

We made it a goal on our recent trip to Tokyo to try as many types of popcorn that we could.  Although we missed a few, we did a pretty good job in our 4 days at the parks.  Now, on to the flavors!

Let’s start with one that I was a little unsure about but it ended up being my absolute favorite. So much so that we had it twice on our trip! Soy Sauce and Butter.  It’s salty, savory and delicious.  We found this cart at Tokyo Disneyland park.

Soy Sauce & Butter Popcorn Cart

Soy Sauce & Butter Popcorn Cart

You can see that this cart has its own little roastie toastie Christmas Clown; I love that he is dressed for the season.  Also, please note that there are [Read more…]

News! Food-Themed Disney Dooney & Bourke Pattern to Make Its Debut During Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Happy Friday from the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! We are LIVE in Walt Disney World, bringing you all the food, photos, and details from what promises to be the best Festival yet!

Just in time to celebrate opening day of the Festival, Disney and Dooney & Bourke have some pretty awesome news for foodie fashionistas. Today, we’re sharing with you pics of their brand new collection — and like everything else right now — it’s all about the food!

Dooney & Bourke Food and Wine Festival Pattern -- Up Close

Dooney & Bourke Food and Wine Festival Pattern

The understated collection, featuring colorful depictions of Chef Mickey on a black background, celebrates the much loved Festival, which kicks off it’s 19th year today! Your favorite chef is busy whipping up something extra special in the kitchen!

The collection will be available for purchase beginning September 29 at the Festival Center within Epcot. Choose from four different styles, including the on-the-go Wristlet and the practical Crossbody. Or go bigger with the [Read more…]

News! A Spoonful of Sugar and Other Limited Time Treats Come to Disneyland’s Jolly Holiday Bakery

One of our favorite spots in all of Disneyland is Jolly Holiday Bakery. We never get tired of looking through their pastry cases for something new to delight us!

And right now, they’re stepping up their game with some new, limited-time offerings.

Limited Time Offerings at Jolly Holiday Bakery

Jolly Holiday obviously has a Mary Poppins theme, and this adorable Spoonful of Sugar offers a lot of flavor AND visual interest in one bite!

The treat includes pâte à choux, chocolate caramel ganache, sprinkles, chocolate pastry cream, dark chocolate, white chocolate, a tiny penguin made from sugar, and marshmallows! Whew! That’s a LOT of detail!

Spoonful of Sugar

Spoonful of Sugar

If you love the looks of this little guy, you better get to Disneyland quick — he’s only available August 22-31!

But there are several other pastries and desserts making a limited time appearance at Jolly Holiday Bakery. Look for these to stick around into September.

Get a load of this gorgeous Red Velvet Whoopie Pie!

Whoopie Pie

Red Velvet Whoopie Pie

Recently, our Dining in Disneyland columnist Heather Sievers showed us some of the other delicious new treats that are available now through September at Jolly Holiday. We fell in love with the Mickey-Shaped French Macarons.

The Passionfruit Macaron is sweet with more sweet, but we love the sparkly embellishment on top.

Passionfruit French Macaroon

Passionfruit French Macaroon

We much preferred the [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Dinner and Updated Menu Review at Ariel’s Grotto in Disney California Adventure

It has been just over a year since I’ve visited Ariel’s Grotto at Disney California Adventure. On past visits I’ve found the food just so-so. Not bad, not fabulous, but obviously it took me a year to head back… .

Because I chose to to stay away for quite some time, I was not aware that their menu had a major overhaul just about a year ago! So, on that last visit I must have just barely missed the changes.  Anyhow, I’m back and happy to report that the new menu items are actually quite fabulous! And I apologize up front for the photos. My camera died, it was dark, and all I had was my phone.  Next time I promise to be more prepared!

Ariel's Grotto

Ariel’s Grotto

Now, I know many people go to Ariel’s Grotto for the princesses, but please note that the princesses ARE NOT there during dinner service.  They are only there for breakfast and lunch, so if it’s princesses you’re looking for, make sure to dine early.

We made a reservation through Disney dining (714.781.DINE) to hold our spot for dinner, which I highly recommend. It gets very busy in the evening due to the fact that dinner includes preferred viewing to World of Color.  After dinner, you will be handed one ticket per diner, which will allow you to have a fabulous view of the show.

World of Color Tickets

World of Color Tickets

Atmosphere

When you enter Ariel’s, you descend a spiral staircase into the entryway and dining room area. Be sure to check out the bubbly chandeliers on your way!

View from entryway

Chandelier in entryway

The dining room has a great view of Paradise Pier, and “under the sea” touches can be found everywhere — including the walls!

Ground floor restaurant entrance

Wall mosaic mural

One of the restaurant chandeliers

Ceiling Decor

Once you’re seated, you’ll quickly launch into your meal… .

Eats

Now, on to the food! The menu was previously designed as family style appetizers, you choose an entree, then family style dessert.  You can read more about the old way  here.

Now, everyone orders everything individually. You choose an appetizer, entree, and the dessert is a fixed trio of treats, but it is served individually.  The current menu features soup or salad, 6 different entrees, and the dessert trio.  The dinner menu is a fixed price of $41.99 for adults (over 9 years old) and $19.99 for children under 10.

Ariel's Grotto Menu

Ariel’s Grotto Menu

The Kids’ Menu includes fresh fruit and veggies as an appetizer, 4 different entree options, and dessert.  Unfortunately, my growing every minute boys don’t order off of the kids menu any more…  And bummer, because I was really pushing them towards Ursula’s Octo-Dog!

Two of the four items on the Kids’ Menu are Mickey Check items, which means they are “healthier” choices.

Kids Menu

Ariel’s Grotto Kids’ Menu

Bread Service

Dinner starts with a basket of warm sourdough bread. It’s very tasty, but I do miss the trio of salted butter & dipping sauces from the old menu.

Hot Sourdough Bread

Hot Sourdough Bread

Dinner Salad & Soup

Upon ordering you choose whether you’d like soup or a dinner salad.  Soup options were Crab Chowder or Butternut Squash Bisque.  I’m a huge butternut squash lover so I didn’t think twice about my order. But since my kids didn’t want their soup or salad, we were able to sample both soups and the salad! Thanks, guys!

The bisque was lick your bowl (or at least mop it up with a piece of bread) good.  Fall flavors in Spring are A-OK with me! The bisque is thick, creamy, and topped with a swirl of sour cream & a sprinkle of pepitas.

Butternut Squash Bisque

Butternut Squash Bisque

The Crab Chowder was also a hit at the table. My husband — who normally isn’t a seafood chowder person — really enjoyed it. The Crab Chowder came topped with bacon and chives.

Crab Chowder

Crab Chowder

The Dinner Salad consisted of mixed greens, candied walnuts, pears, and blue cheese topped with a vinaigrette dressing.  Also, very good, but I’m a huge blue cheese & pear fan.  If this isn’t your thing, you can order the salad to your liking without the goodies!

Dinner Salad

Dinner Salad

Entrees

The menu at Ariel’s Grotto has six entrees to choose from.  Unfortunately everyone but me chose the same thing, so I don’t have a lot of entree photos to share.  Let’s start with my entree, the Citrus Glazed Chicken Breast.

Served in a bowl with Udon Noodles, Bok Choy, Edamame, Carrots, and Miso Broth this dish is such a great addition to the new (to me) menu.  I thought it was unique and very flavorful.

The noodles were cooked perfectly as was the chicken, very juicy.  The Miso Broth complemented the chicken very well.  After my last visit I went in with some low-ish expectations and was quite surprised by how good this dish was.

Glazed Citrus Chicken

Glazed Citrus Chicken

Everyone else at the table opted for the Red Oak Smoked Honey-Whiskey Barbecue Tri-Tip.  My boys were very happy to learn that they could substitute the mashed potatoes for french fries.

 Tri Tip & French Fries

Tri Tip & French Fries

The two grown-up boys (aka my husband and a friend of ours) at the table went for the Grilled Lobster Tail and Red Oak Smoked Honey-Whiskey Barbecue Tri-Tip which is served with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.  The portions were very generous and everyone cleared their plates.

Lobster Tail & Tri Tip

Lobster Tail & Tri Tip

 Dessert

The dessert trio features 3 mini desserts. Everyone receives the same dessert which includes a Chocolate Covered StrawberryS’mores Bar & Creme Brulee.

The Chocolate Covered Strawberry was sweet & juicy. They are smaller versions of the ones that are sold at Candy Palace and Marceline’s.  The S’mores Bar was the table favorite; a chocolate ganache filled crust topped with 3 dollops of chocolate mousse, a graham cracker, and toasted marshmallow.  The Creme Brulee was actually a little runny.  It tasted OK, but the other two items trumped the brulee by far!

Dessert Trio

Dessert Trio

Drinks

Because the Cove Bar is right there at Ariel’s Grotto, the restaurant serves up a full bar plus specialty drinks.

Drink Menu

Drink Menu

We sampled a few adult beverages including the Skinny Coconut Mojito and the Habanero Lime Margarita.  The mojito was SO delicious.  One of those, “Are you sure there’s alcohol in this?” types of drinks. Way too easy to drink.  Ingredients include Skinny Girl Island Coconut Vodka, coconut water, fresh lime juice, mint and agave nectar.

Skinny Coconut Lime Mojito

Skinny Coconut Lime Mojito

The Habanero Lime Margarita had some serious kick to it.  Ingredients include Patron Silver Tequila, habanero lime syrup, agave nectar, and fresh lime juice.  Interesting to taste but be prepared for a little burn!

Habanero Lime Margarita

Habanero Lime Margarita

Overall

Overall, I am 100% impressed with the change of menu at Ariel’s Grotto. I felt like the food was more flavorful and there was a more interesting variety of entrees. The soups and salad were great and the dessert was also a big improvement.

In addition to the food upgrades, I noticed a difference in service. My last visit was rather sluggish and unimpressive.  This visit started off a bit slow, but once we ordered, our server was fabulous and very attentive.

I really think that Ariel’s Grotto has brought itself up to par with the other table service restaurants in Disney California Adventure. I might even go as far to say that it’s one of the better dining options in the park (ranking just below Corn Dog Castle, 1901, and Carthay Circle, ha!).  I would definitely recommend a visit, especially if you are interested in seeing World of Color. It’s a great meal, plus you get the added bonus of preferred viewing – win win!

Have you been to Ariel’s Grotto for dinner since the menu change?  What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Heather Sievers is the Disney Food Blog’s Dining in Disneyland columnist. See more of her columns here!

New! Double Chocolate Funnel Cake at Epcot’s America Pavilion

Oh my gosh, I LOVE this news!!!! Epcot has introduced yet another new funnel cake!!!

And it’s CHOCOLATE!!!

Double Chocolate Funnel Cake in Epcot's America Pavilion

Yup — the Funnel Cake Stand in Epcot’s America Pavilion is wowing us yet again with another new flavor for our favorite “elephant ear” treat in the Showcase… .

Funnel Cake Stand in Epcot's America Pavilion

I’m thinking this is another [Read more…]

Disney World Tests Be Our Guest Restaurant FastPass+ and Pre-Order System

UPDATE: Please note that as of February 25, 2015, FastPass+ is no longer available, as Be Our Guest Restaurant began to accept Advanced Dining Reservations for lunch. For further information, please click here

Finally! A FastPass for Food!!!

For those who aren’t huge fans of waiting in 30-90 minute lines for a quick service lunch, there may be relief on the horizon — at least for Be Our Guest Restaurant patrons in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!

Line to get in to Be Our Guest Restaurant for Lunch

For the past several months, the restaurant has been testing out a new FastPass+ Pre-Order system so that guests are able to bypass the monstrous lines that form as early as 10AM for a quick-service lunch at New Fantasyland’s  popular Be Our Guest Restaurant.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Ballroom Dining Room

This is part of the new MyMagic+ program that is being rolled out in Disney World this year.

To date, Disney has chosen testers randomly — usually from the Magical Express line at Orlando International Airport or while checking in to a Disney World resort hotel.

The system is currently not open to all guests — only to those randomly selected for the testing process. It does seem that you need to be staying at a Disney resort hotel to be chosen.

Be Our Guest Restaurant FastPass+ Process

So here’s how the whole thing works:

Be Our Guest Restaurant Pre-Order System
when a guest is selected to take part in the testing process, he or she is given a card with a registration website and reservation number. The guest logs into [Read more…]

April 8th DFB Snack Attack Illuminations Dessert Party Tickets ON SALE NOW!

Calling all Disney food fans! I’m pleased to announce that tickets for this year’s DFB SNACK ATTACK Illuminations Dessert Party are now available for purchase. Scroll down and click the ticket button to snag your tix today! :-)

About Snack Attack

This our Second Annual Snack Attack, an event featuring a menu full of our favorite Walt Disney World snacks — all in one place AND an incredible, private view of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth in Epcot! Click here to read more about this event!

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

Last year’s event featured a dessert buffet with some classic Disney Food Blog favorites including…

Eats from the October 2012 Snack Attack!

Starring Rolls’ Butterfinger Cupcakes
Classic Disney Popcorn
Animal Kingdom Lodge Zebra Domes
Mickey Ice Cream Bars
Norway’s School Bread
Writer’s Stop’s Carrot Cake Cookies
Boardwalk Bakery’s Cheesecake Brownies
Starring Rolls’ Red Velvet Cheesecake Cupcakes
And MORE!

Carrot Cake Cookies from Disney's Hollywood Studios at 2011 Snack Attack

While Snack Attack ticket-holders will certainly appreciate the one-of-a-kind menu, you’ll also be able to relax and enjoy a VIP view of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, Epcot’s outstanding fireworks spectacular!

How to Buy Tickets

Here are the details! Click the ticket button below to purchase.

The event will take place at the UK Pavilion in Epcot from

8:30pm-9:30pm on April 8th, 2013. Families are welcome! Each member of your party will need their name on the list for entry (children under 3 are free). Tickets are $60 per person, and include:

*Entrance to the event

*Access to an all-you-care-to-eat, specialized menu dessert buffet (plus popcorn!)

*Access to the private IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth viewing area

Add to Cart

Only guests with their full names on our roster will be admitted to the event, so please pay attention to the instructions you receive after purchasing to send us the names of the people in your party. Tickets are limited and will be sold first-come, first-served.

Should the event be sold out, you can join our waiting list by emailing us with your name, email address, and the number of people in your party at Support @ DFBGuide.com.

Tickets are non-refundable. Weather may impact location of the event. Extreme severe weather may cause for cancellation of Illuminations.

Hope to See You There!

We’ve had such a great time at our last two Snack Attacks; I can’t wait to do it again! I’m looking forward to meeting all of you and sharing this incredible experience!

Have questions? Please leave them in the comments below!

Great Places to Carb Load for a Disney Race!

Alright, fellow runners! For those of you in Orlando this weekend for the Disney World marathon and half-marathon, it’s time to decide where those all-important pre-race carbs are going to be consumed!

Carb Loading Tips: Experts say the best carbs for increasing those super-important glycogen stores come from starchy carbohydrates like pasta, bread, rice, and potatoes. You should also have some protein alongside your carbs. Try to avoid sugary options, such as fruit and baked goods.

So let’s take a look at a few of our favorite carb-tastic treats!

Dinner Carb Loading

When planning for an early morning race, it’s at dinner the night before where you’ll truly pack your energy stores. And when it comes to starchy carbs, everyone knows the king of eats is pasta!

Epcot
Epcot‘s Italy is THE place to find incredible dishes that will help you distribute your energy throughout the race.

My first pick? Definitely Via Napoli. This place has incredible pizza, but the pasta selection is fresh and delicious as well.

Be warned that the options here are baked and tend toward the heavier side, so you may want to make a few special orders to lighten them up a bit.

Candele from Via Napoli

Next door to Via Napoli you’ll find the more upscale Tutto Italia. You can’t go wrong with either location when carb-loading.

Magic Kingdom
If you find yourself in the Magic Kingdom the night before your big race, head over to Tony’s Town Square for a traditional dishes like their Chicken Parmigiana or [Read more…]

New! Chocolate Beer Cupcake at Captain Cook’s in Disney World

Welp, it was bound to happen sometime…and I wish I was there to try it!!

We got the word from a couple of awesome readers this week that Captain Cook’s in Disney’s Polynesian Resort has introduced several new cupcakes, including a PB&J version and…a Chocolate Beer cupcake!!

Chocolate Beer Cupcake

Thanks to @Michaellburk for the awesome pics and his review:

The frosting is very good. Very malty, not too sweet. The cake itself, you could definitely taste the beer.

And thanks to DFB Guest Author @JoeyB586 for this review:

It was a very interesting flavor. The beer and chocolate flavors shared prominence, and it definitely had the taste and aftertaste of beer. The barley and hops taste was noticeable. It seemed like a bizarre combination of flavors. I’m glad I tried it, but it’s probably not something I would get again.

Captain Cook's Chocolate Beer Cupcake

So there you have it!! Chocolate Beer Cupcake! This will likely be a temporary addition to Captain Cook’s, as they cycle through several [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Seasonal Pumpkin Spice Brittle

Although it’s only available for a few more days, I wanted to share a fun snack that I came across at the Candy Palace in Disneyland: Pumpkin Spice Brittle.

For $4.99, you get a 6 oz bag of what I thought was a very tasty treat!

Pumpkin Spice Brittle

I love brittle and I love pumpkin, but I was a little unsure of how I’d like this snack. I was quite surprised to find the brittle really [Read more…]