Review: Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion

We’re stopping by one of my favorite spots in Walt Disney World — Le Cellier Steakhouse — to see what’s new in The Great White North!

Well, technically, this isn’t North, it’s South. And we’re not in Canada. But we are in the Canada Pavilion in Epcot. Owing to the architecture and gardens here, this is one of the prettiest spots along World Showcase Promenade.

Who doesn’t love journeying back through the pavilion and getting splashed by waterfalls as you walk? You haven’t done it? I highly recommend it. And go see O, Canada! while you’re at it! Martin Short is the best. :-D (Speaking of, when we were in Vancouver for our Alaska cruise last year I couldn’t help but notice that Martin Short is the voice of, like, every single cartoon in Canada.)

But while I love exploring the whole area to see what’s new, it’s Le Cellier Steakhouse, the pavilion’s signature dining table service restaurant, that keeps me coming back trip after trip. Le Cellier is a favorite of mine because it features one of my favorite meals in all of Walt Disney World — the Le Cellier Filet.

But you know my philosophy: just because something has always been great doesn’t mean it continues to be. We always like to check back in with places — even our favorites — to make sure we can still continue to recommend them. And so, in the name of research, here I am at Le Cellier once again. And this time there was a new favorite… .

Atmosphere

Meander back along the beautiful gardens, following the signs, and you’ll come to the entrance of Le Cellier Steakhouse. Tucked into the bottom of the chateau that’s the hallmark of the Canada Pavilion, you get a sense that the spot is aptly named.

Le Cellier Steakhouse

Le Cellier Steakhouse Entrance

It always throws me a little, this imagining that I’m in Canada when Florida is so very hot most of the time. Still, as soon as you walk through the doors, the Disney magic kicks in, and you start to feel as though you have indeed traveled north. Stone walls and flooring, along with heavy wood accents, immediately evoke a feeling of…cool. [Read more…]

Disney Food Challenge: The Disney World French Fry Crawl!

Y’all!!! It’s time for some FRONCH FROES!!!!!!

2017-DFB-Guide-to-WDW-Dining-Cover_3D

(For those of you new to DFB, that’s “french fries” in AJ-speak. ;-D)

We’ve got TONS of food crawls in our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, and in our latest edition, we just had to develop a brand new one– the French Fry Crawl!

It’s just one of the many great features that make the 2017 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, 2nd Edition, our best book yet. With more than 650 pages of color photos, tips, reviews, and extra features, you HAVE TO HAVE IT for your next Disney trip! (I’m not biased or anything. For realz.)

But now, back to the subject at hand. Call ‘em Fries, Chips, Poutine, whatever — there’s pretty much nothing about fronch froes we don’t love. And Disney hasn’t failed us with their yummy spins on this classic side.

So head out with us as we complete this most delicious challenge. We’ll be all over the place for this one, so plan accordingly! The French Fry Crawl will likely take you an entire trip to complete. Unless, you know, you’re like us — and want to eat fries for every meal. Then it might only take you a day and a half. ;-)

Hungry? Good! Let’s go!

Stop #1: Smothered Fries, Beaches and Cream

Our first stop is Beaches and Cream. Find this little Soda Shop in the Disney Beach Club Resort.

Beaches and Cream is one of my favorite stops for about a million reasons. There’s a cool, beachy retro feel to the place, and it’s known for its killer sundaes. While my favorite is the No Way Jose, the most iconic treats here are the Kitchen Sinks.

But we’re stopping here today for a plate — or two — of their Loaded Fries! Currently, there are three versions: Sock Hop Fries, Chili-Cheese Fries, and Cheese and Bacon Fries.

Sock Hop Fries are covered in a savory Brown Gravy and topped with melty Shredded Cheddar. Think of them as Poutine’s American cousin.

Gravy Fries

Sock Hop Fries

But the Bacon and Cheese Fries. Omigosh. Cheese Sauce (!!!!), Bacon, Peppercorn Ranch, and Red Onions elevate this one to amazing. [Read more…]

Guest Review: Cinderella’s Royal Table Breakfast at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Welcome guest author Sarah Gurung as she shares her character dining experience at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Yay!!!

On my most recent trip to Walt Disney World, I wanted to plan lots of first experiences for myself and for my family, comprised of my husband and my five-year-old daughter. We booked our trip just before the 180 day mark, and I serendipitously found myself staring at an available Cinderella’s Royal Table breakfast Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) shortly thereafter. I couldn’t pass it up! In fact, over the next few months, I regularly checked back to see if we could get in even earlier when, low and behold, I was able to grab a pre-park opening ADR. Even better!

Cinderella’s Royal Table is one of those Disney World experiences that is truly exquisite. The setting is stunning, the food is delicious, and the entertainment is so fun — for kids of all ages, really.  

Sign outside restaurant

Sign outside restaurant

Atmosphere

Let’s start with the beauty that is the restaurant itself. The check-in desk is toward the back of the castle on the right. This process was efficient, and we were quickly invited into the foyer of the castle for our Cinderella meet-and-greet. We found the foyer to be low lit but plumb full of details: shields, tapestries, and gorgeous lighting.

[Read more…]

Review: California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

On my recent visit to Walt Disney World, my husband and I made it a goal to carve out time for a date night at California Grill.

If you love signature dining at Disney World, then you probably know the Grill well. Perched atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the spot has Disney history on its side. After all, Top of the World, which originally occupied the fifteenth floor, dated all the way back to Disney World’s opening. California Grill opened as its replacement in 1995, and brought with it a new emphasis on market fresh ingredients and California fusion flavors.

It was more than just another new Disney restaurant. It, along with Victoria and Albert’s, paved the way for a more refined dining experience at Walt Disney World.

My recent experiences have been a little uneven, however. (Even California Grill isn’t immune to the Disney restaurant curse of inconsistency.) So it’s always good to check in on an old favorite. After all, this was our first visit after the departure of Chef Brian Piasecki, so we had to see what was happening in the kitchen. And that view makes it easy to take a chance with the Grill.

Let’s head to the second floor.

Atmosphere

Why the second floor you ask? Because if you want to go California Grill, your journey begins here. You’ll check in at the podium before you’re escorted to the elevator that takes you to the fifteenth floor.

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

Once you arrive, you’ll step into California Grill’s sleek environment. [Read more…]

Disney Dining Tips: What to Expect on Peak Booking Days

Are you ready? The countdown is on, and early booking will open for the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival in just a few hours!

That means that you and (and several thousand other people) will be calling Disney, trying to get into the Low-Cost Events,  Culinary Demos, Beverage Seminars, and Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It! Workshops of your choice!

What else does that mean? Well, this is a great example of a Peak Booking Day for a Disney event.

You may be wondering: What’s a peak booking day? It’s anytime that you can expect a high volume of guests calling at the same time to book events. This goes for early booking days for certain groups, regular booking days, days for booking where a new restaurant or experience is announced, and days that offers of Free Dining for the Disney Dining Plan are announced. And experience has taught us that all the things are probably not going to go smoothly.

Free Dining Offer?!? Be Prepared for a Wait

Free Dining Offer?!? Be Prepared for a Wait

With that in mind — and the fact that forewarned is forearmed — we want to share with you just what you can expect when it comes to peak booking days with Walt Disney World as well as some suggestions that may just help you to be successful (and keep your blood pressure down). [Read more…]

News: Victoria and Albert’s Chef Scott Hunnel Promoted

If you’re a fan of Victoria and Albert’s then you might be super excited about this news — or totally bummed, maybe. ;-)

Scott Hunnel, chef de cuisine at Victoria and Albert’s, has been promoted to Executive Chef at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Chef Scott Hunnel

Chef Scott Hunnel

The move means that Chef Hunnel will oversee all of The Grand’s restaurants, which include Citricos, Narcoossee’s, and the Grand Floridian Cafe[Read more…]

Our Favorite Epcot Restaurants

We are big fans of Epcot around here, just like you are. It may not be the original Disney World Park, but it holds a charm that few other spots in the Disney universe can. After all, walking around there feels like  you’ve stepped into the dreams of Walt Disney himself. It didn’t start life as the Experimental Prototype City Of Tomorrow for nothing!

Epcot!!!

Epcot!!!

The park has evolved a bit through the years, but we’re still enchanted by its dual personalities: Future World, celebrating technology and the promise of what’s to come; and World Showcase, which encourages visitors to embrace cultures from around the globe in order to learn from them. [Read more…]

News: Chef Changes at Disney World Signature Restaurants

There’s big news this week regarding chefs at some popular signature dining restaurants throughout Walt Disney World! Chef shakeups at three spots may mean changes at some of your favorites. Read on for all of the details.

Chef Yuhi Fujinaga Takes on Role of Executive Chef at Morimoto Asia

Earlier this week, Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Patina Restaurant Group announced that Chef Yuhi Fujinaga had taken on the role of executive chef at Disney Springs’ Morimoto Asia.

Yuhi Fujinag, Morimoto Asia's New Executive Chef (Photo ©Morimoto Asia)

Yuhi Fujinag, Morimoto Asia’s New Executive Chef (Photo ©Morimoto Asia)

Chef Yuhi first met the famous Iron Chef and restaurant mogul early in his career. “I met Chef Morimoto as a young chef in Hawaii, where I grew up. We bonded quickly over our love of fresh fish, big flavors and new cooking techniques,” said Chef Yuhi. [Read more…]

Best Disney World Character Meal Recommendations By Age

Character Meals. It’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all kinda world. You might think you’ll enjoy dinner at Chef Mickey’s with just your significant other.

Chef Mickey!

Chef Mickey!

After all, you’re kids at heart! But are you really thinking through the reality of it — complete with twirling napkins, blaring music, and loads and loads (and loads!) of kiddos everywhere?

Today, I thought we could break down some of the groups of guests who might want to take special care in deciding which character meal is best for them. Because when it comes to dining with your favorite Disney characters, no one should be left out! [Read more…]

Our Favorite Magic Kingdom Restaurants

Magic Kingdom, how we love you. You are, for many of us, the source of our earliest Disney Memories. Heck, some of us remember when you were the ONLY Park. (Am I showing my age here?)

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

But even though you’ve been around the longest, we’re no less fond of you. In fact, coming back to ride old favorites or experience new attractions always feels a bit like coming home. [Read more…]