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…]

Review and Photo Tour: The New Flying Fish at Disney World’s BoardWalk

We have a real treat for you as we head into the newly refurbished Flying Fish for our very first visit to this beloved spot!

More than most, Flying Fish has had a passionate fan base. And it’s funny, because at the same time, it tends to fly a bit under the radar. Even prior to its recent closure for refurbishment, you were much more likely to get a last minute advance dining reservation here than at some other signature spots, like California Grill. (Maybe that’s why the locals love it so much — they’re not fighting the tourists for a table.)

But we heard from you in large numbers during the reno. Passionate Fish fans continually asked us two questions: when will Flying Fish reopen? And will our favorite dishes (so many!) return?

Opening day turned out to be last week. As for the answer to the other question, you’ll have to read on to find out.

Join me as we have a look around the completely transformed Flying Fish, and then stick around to see all the details on the dishes that we enjoyed. Let’s go!

Atmosphere

While I love the charm and allure of the BoardWalk as night falls, we made our ADR early so that we could take full advantage of the good light for photos. And if you love the nostalgia of the super cool neon sign over the Flying Fish — good news. It remains nearly unchanged.

Flying Fish -- Outside View

Flying Fish — Outside View

Super fans will quickly note one major difference. With the refurbishment, the Flying Fish underwent a slight change to its name. Previously, it was known as Flying Fish Cafe. Now it’s just Flying Fish, and the sign has been updated to reflect that — complete with extra fish added. As you can see from the above photo, the front doors have been updated slightly as well. The window muntins are now diagonal and echo some of the same motifs that you’ll see inside. [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: Party for the Senses

Today, we have a big treat for you!

You know that we love to talk about the Epcot Food and Wine Festival here at DFB. It’s like the Super Bowl and Olympics and Christmas all rolled into one!

Party for the Senses Sign

Party for the Senses Sign

And while there’s tons to do and see and eat throughout the event, some of the most highly anticipated premium events are the Parties for the Senses. (See the review of our last time attending the event here.) In 2016, you can choose from parties held on October 1, 8, 15, 22, 28, and 29, featuring different themes. Read all about it on our Special Events Page! [Read more…]

News! 2016 Disney World Candlelight Processional NARRATORS Announced and Booking Available!

Great news for fans who love the Epcot Candlelight Processional at Disney World during the holidays!

We been watching and waiting for news about the popular event. Today we’re happy to share the list of narrators, and that booking for Candlelight Processional Packages is now officially open!

Neil Patrick Harris Narrating the Candlelight Processional

Neil Patrick Harris Narrating the Candlelight Processional

You can only make your Advance Dining Reservation by booking online at disneyworld.com, or by phone by calling (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463).

The Candlelight Processional features the retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator. The reading is accompanied by a robed choir and a full orchestra performing Christmas carols. [Read more…]

2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival News! Details on Booths, Menus, Special Events, Booking Dates, and More

We are so excited to be sharing with you LIVE today from Walt Disney World some great new details for the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Note that all information is subject to change.

Food and Wine Festival Updates 2016 Info Graphic Square

Below, you’ll find:

As always, you can visit our Epcot Food and Wine Festival index page for ALL updates at any time.

2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth and Menu Information

We’ve got a few Festival Booth MENU ITEMS, my friends!! See our list below, and be sure to check out our 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booth Page for updated menus, food photos, and more as the Festival gets closer!

OFFICIAL 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booths!
The following booths have been confirmed as officially returning in 2016: [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: French Family Meal Traditions Luncheon

This is an exciting time, my friends. The Watch and Wait Season has officially arrived for all things 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Logo Official Disney

What do I mean by that? Well, this is the time of the year when details begin to emerge for all of the events, menus, and more for our Favorite Event of the Year!

If you’re a festival fan, you’re gonna want to pay close attention in the upcoming weeks, as we provide you with all of the updates FIRST. Better yet — subscribe to the DFB Newsletter, and we’ll bring all the news directly to you!

In the meantime, as we await all of the latest as well as the start date — the festival will run from September 14 through November 14 — we love looking through some of the fun that we had last year.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at one of the NEW Special Events we attended in 2015 — French Family Meal Traditions. And I’m gonna get a little ahead of myself: this was so fabulous that we totally expect it to be back again this year.

There’s lots to see, so let’s get started!

Ready to Plan for Your Epcot Food and Wine Festival Trip?

The DFB Guide to the 2016 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book is now available for pre-order! This 250+-page guide to the Festival offers insider tips and advice as well as all of the details you need to know to plan your best Festival visit ever.

2015 DFB F&W Guide Cover

Your purchase includes several bonus items as well — including a full daily schedule of events at the Festival and a printable World Showcase Booth Menu Checklist to carry with you as you Eat around the World!

Order your 2016 edition today and we’ll immediately send you the 2015 edition for FREE to get started on planning right away! Don’t miss a moment of the fun!

Use code Chefs at check-out for a 20% off the cover price!

Atmosphere

One of my favorite things about Special Events that take place in Epcot’s World Showcase Pavilions, versus events in World ShowPlace, is that you often get a chance to see inside a restaurant that you may not have experienced before. Both French Family Meal Traditions and The Parisian Afternoon: Sandwiches, Macarons, and Bubbles! take place at Monsieur Paul.

Monsieur Paul Entrance

Monsieur Paul Entrance

If you haven’t had the chance to dine at Monsieur Paul, you may not be familiar with it. It’s the fine dining option in Epcot’s France Pavilion. You’ll find it by heading back through France as though you’re getting a Macaron Ice Cream Sammie at L’Artisan des Glaces. :-) But hang a left before you get to the boutique ice cream shop. Go through the door with the awning, past the hostess stand, and you’ll spy this beautiful art nouveau staircase leading up to the second floor restaurant. [Read more…]

Guest Review: Narcoossee’s Waterfront Brunch at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

We welcome back guest writer AM Appleby! Today, she’ll take us inside of Narcoossee’s for their once a week morning offering — Sunday Brunch!

We’ve enjoyed dinner at Narcoossee’s, located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, many times, and always love booking a reservation coincident with the Wishes fireworks at the Magic Kingdom.

But recently, this dinner-only spot has begun to offer a leisurely and luxurious Sunday Brunch. We couldn’t wait to take a peek!

Narcoossee’s Waterfront Brunch

On a glorious and sunny Sunday morning, my daughter and I went to Narcoossee’s Waterfront Brunch at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

Entrance

Entrance

I’ve enjoyed dinner twice at this location and was excited to try brunch. We arrived at the Grand Floridian twenty minutes before our reservation time and walked through the magnificent lobby and out the back doors to the restaurant. [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: Mediterranean Food and Wine Pairing at Spice Road Table

It’s hard to believe that the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is right around the corner!

2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Logo Official Disney

This year, it stretches to a full two months! The fun begins September 14 and runs 62 days — ending November 14!

While there’s so much to eat, drink, and explore, it’s always fun to take in a few of the Special Events happening throughout the festival.

Events are varied, and include premium parties like Party for the Senses as well as special lunches and dinners that emphasize food and beverage pairings.

In the past we’ve really enjoyed these experiences, ranging from Beverage Pairings in Japan to Beer and Food Pairing in Italy — and even a Tequila Pairing in Mexico!

Last year, we decided that it was time to try a few new experiences. And since we had already tried the Moroccan Wine Pairing (loved it!), the other event in the Morocco Pavilion piqued our interest.

Wondering About ALL of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Events?

The DFB Guide to the 2016 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book is now available for pre-order! This 250+-page guide to the Festival offers insider tips and advice as well as all of the details you need to know to plan your best Festival visit ever.

2015 DFB F&W Guide Cover

Your purchase includes several bonus items as well — including a full daily schedule of events at the Festival and a printable World Showcase Booth Menu Checklist to carry with you as you Eat around the World!

Order your 2016 edition today and we’ll immediately send you the 2015 edition for FREE to get started on planning right away! Don’t miss a moment of the fun!

Use code Chefs at check-out for a 20% off the cover price!

And now, onto the review!

Mediterranean Food and Wine Pairing in the Morocco Pavilion

The Mediterranean Food and Wine Pairing event took place at Spice Road Table in Epcot’s Morocco Pavilion. [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…]

Full Review: STK Orlando in Disney Springs

Last week we gave you a First Look

… and now we’re back with our full review of STK Orlando, the newest dining venue in Disney Springs!

STK Orlando is the latest addition to the list of Signature Dining restaurants in Disney Springs, which also includes Morimoto Asia and The Boathouse (with Paddlefish and The Edison still on the way).

But STK hasn’t only joined the dining line-up in Disney World — the Orlando location also joins fellow STK restaurants in New York, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and D.C., with more to come.

So let’s see how STK’s big city vibe fits into Disney World’s shopping, dining, and entertainment district with our first visit for dinner at STK Orlando!

Atmosphere

If you checked out our First Look, you already know that STK Orlando is located in the The Landing of Disney Springs; however, the location is easily viewed from the area’s new Town Center. Here is the view as you approach from the Orange Parking Garage.

STK Orlando

STK Orlando

The exterior, therefore, fits right in while retaining its own unique look, with its resemblance to a refurbished train station from the early 1900s. [Read more…]