Holiday Preview: The 2017 Walt Disney World Gingerbread Displays

Gingerbread displays at Walt Disney World have become such an exciting part of the holiday celebrations that guests can literally plan an entire day around seeing them all. (We even include some tips on how to do so in our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Holidays!)

2016 Grand Floridian Gingerbread Store

2016 Grand Floridian Gingerbread Store

And it is not hard to see why! Gingerbread is done bigger and better at the Disney Resorts, with literally HUNDREDS of pounds of ingredients being shaped and engineered — you might even say “imagineered” —  in unbelievable ways that you just have to see with your own eyes! [Read more…]

News: Disneyland Bids Adieu to Disney Legend Chef Oscar Martinez

If you’ve enjoyed a meal at Carnation Cafe on Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland, you’ve likely been in the midst of real Disney royalty –perhaps without even knowing it.

Carnation Cafe

Carnation Cafe

Chef Oscar Martinez has been working in the Cafe for half a century — and he has been working at Disneyland for over sixty total years. This makes Chef Oscar the longest tenured Disneyland cast member ever.

Carnation Cafe's Chef Oscar

Carnation Cafe’s Chef Oscar

But after decades of turning out “Oscar’s Potatoes” and his Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Chef Oscar retired on September 27. (And may we say that it is a well-deserved break?!)

Chef Oscar with his New Penguin Buddies

Chef Oscar

Chef Oscar has been a touchstone for visitors to Walt’s park, often seen first thing in the morning, waving to guests as they entered the park. He was always game for a chat, as our Disneyland correspondent Heather Sievers (@diningindisney) found out one morning.

Oscar started as a bus boy and worked his way up the restaurant ladder, finally achieving fame as a connoisseur of comfort food at Carnation Cafe. It was here that Oscar spent the last fifty years of his service to the Walt Disney Company and to the guests he loved so much.

Chef Oscar

Chef Oscar

And while Oscar has more recently spent his time as an ambassador in the dining room rather than as a chef on the line, his influence will continue to be felt in the Carnation Cafe and in the Company for years to come.

We wish Chef Oscar all the best in his retirement — and thank him for spreading so much Disney magic over the past six decades.

Have you met Chef Oscar? Share your story in the comments below! 

SUCCESS!: Vintage Bacon and Cheese Dip Returns to Cookes of Dublin in Disney Springs!

You know when you lose your favorite tee shirt and, for weeks, months, or even years you lament that you’ve had to live so long without it? And then one day you find it, wedged behind the washing machine, still as comfortable and doggone perfect as ever?

That’s what’s about to happen to our taste buds. Because Vintage Bacon and Cheese Dip is returning to Cookes of Dublin in Disney Springs on August 31!

Now, many of you know that I’ve been campaigning for this forEVER…at least ever since they took it away. I circulated a petition on facebook. I launched a kickstarter. I bent the ear of everyone I knew who had anything to do with Cookes of Dublin. (OK, not those first two, but I did do the third one.) AND IT’S BACK. DREAMS DO COME TRUE. (At least they said it’s coming back…so that’s all I have to go on.)

That sound you hear is the chorus of bacon and cheese angels that I hired to celebrate this news.

Irish Cheese and Bacon Dip

Irish Cheese and Bacon Dip

[Read more…]

Review: The NEW Mint Julep at Disneyland’s Mint Julep Bar

The Mint Julep Bar located in New Orleans Square is essentially a must-do for every Disneyland guest. You’ll find it tucked into the patio area of French Market Restaurant and right next to the New Orleans Square train station.

Mint Julep Bar

Mint Julep Bar

It’s almost all in the name here. [Read more…]

News: Disneyland Rivers of America Collectible Card TREASURE HUNT!!!

Disneyland is keeping a secret that you’ve GOT to know about!

S.S. Mark Twain Collectible Card

S.S. Mark Twain Collectible Card

Disneyland is undergoing lots of changes and improvements these days. Y’all know that the Summer of Heroes is underway until September 1o, and we’ve had lots of chances to try the yummy heroes-themed eats. Oh, and Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout opened, so there’s that. :-D

Groot at Disney California Adventure

Groot at Disney California Adventure

[Read more…]

Review: Dinner at the Contempo Cafe in Disney’s Contemporary Resort

The Contempo Cafe has consistently been one of my favorite spots for better-than-average counter service meals.

What you find here is quick service, no advance dining reservation required. But the fare is anything but fast food quality.

It had been a while since I’d enjoyed a meal here, and since that last visit, they’d added a Lobster Roll that was getting rave reviews from readers!

Recently, on a very quick visit to the World, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to check out all that’s new at the Contempo — and to see if I still consider it a must-do stop.

Atmosphere

If you’re unfamiliar with the Contempo Cafe, well, you’ve probably seen it before, and you just didn’t know it! It occupies primo Disney real estate right next to Chef Mickey’s on the Grand Canyon Concourse in Disney’s Contemporary Hotel.

Contempo Cafe Entrance

Contempo Cafe Entrance

That’s the area that you whizz by when you’re traveling on the Monorail en route to Magic Kingdom. See? [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Vintage Disneyland Menus from the D23 Expo Archives

As a Disney fan (OK… borderline maniac Disney freak) and a D23 member, I consider the D23 Expo a must-attend event.  In addition to the informative exhibits, amazing shopping, creative costumes, and fabulous people watching, I always look forward to the D23 Archives exhibit.

Seeing original pieces of Disneyland history up close and personal is such a treat.  This year’s archives exhibit was so wonderfully done.  I spent most of my visit drooling over the display of photos, menus and other original paraphernalia from the restaurants and snack spots of Disneyland’s first years.

Let’s go back in time and take look! (I apologize in advance for some of the photos and shadows. The display area was very dark and the photos overlapped each at other causing some shadowing.)

Let’s start with the Tahitian Terrace which was located behind the Tiki Room in Adventureland.  It opened in 1962 and closed in 1993.  The dinner theater offered guests food and entertainment inspired by the French Polynesian Islands.

Tahitian Terrace Entrance

Tahitian Terrace Entrance

How great is the artwork on the menu??? I love it!
[Read more…]

News! Aunt Polly’s is OPEN (for a limited time) in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Disney History buffs are going to love this news out of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!

Cinderella Castle in the early morning light

More Fun Dining News Out of Magic Kingdom Today!

After a hiatus of, oh, about forever — it seems that Aunt Polly’s on Tom Sawyer Island is serving food and beverages once more!

This is one for the books! After all, it’s been eons since we’ve seen anything substantial for sale here. Even the vending machines that have been in place here in recent years hadn’t been in service.

But thanks to Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster for giving us the heads up that Theme Park Insider is reporting the spot is open for business!

Now, before you get too awfully excited, you should know that the menu is limited. Very limited. Make the trip over to Tom Sawyer Island looking for sustenance, and you’ll find Sandwiches (Turkey and PB&J), Veggies and Hummus, Chips, Fresh Fruit, and an Assortment of Cold Beverages, including Lemonade. Note that, at least for now, they are not offering fountain drinks.

While it doesn’t sound like much, there are two reasons to love this move by Disney: [Read more…]

Disney Lounge Classic Cocktail: The Shadow at Belle Vue Lounge in Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Belle Vue Lounge is one of those Disney spots.

Yep — it’s a hideaway…that only the cool kids know about.

True, I love Disney Bars and Lounges. A lot. They’re some of my favorite spots on property, and they’re awesome for some many reasons. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax after a long day, meeting friends, or even grabbing a bite to eat without an Advance Dining Reservation.

Well, Belle Vue is a bit different than some of my other favorites, like Territory Lounge or Tambu Lounge. Belle Vue doesn’t serve food, except at breakfast, when they offer light continental options, coffee, and a few other beverages.

So you won’t find signature Pub Grub like Fondue or Pulled Pork Nachos here. But you will find loads of relaxing, beautiful atmosphere.

The Belle Vue Lounge in Disney's BoardWalk Inn

The Belle Vue Lounge in Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

And if you happen to encounter a helpful bartender (and the long-time bartender here is always helpful), you may be able to enjoy a Belle Vue classic.

The Shadow at Belle Vue Lounge

You’ll mostly find the Standard Disney Bar Menu here. It’s a little sad…because this place could be even more awesome with an inspired drink menu. But there is one bright spot. And oddly, it’s called The Shadow. :-)

This drink is Belle Vue’s claim to fame, even though it’s not officially on the menu anymore.

A mixture of Chambord, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, Vanilla Vodka, and Heavy Cream, it’s as much dessert as it is a cocktail.

The Shadow at Belle Vue Lounge

The Shadow at Belle Vue Lounge

It’s not really my kind of drink. I don’t usually go in for [Read more…]

News! Aloha Isle and Sunshine Tree Terrace Switch Places in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Call it a little Disney Magic!

STT Aloha Isle Collage DFB

Mind blown? Yeah, mine too. You’re not seeing things…two of Magic Kingdom’s most beloved snack stops have switched places!

We’ve heard rumors, and now it seems to be happening: major changes are underway in Adventureland.

We’re still awaiting confirmation that a brand new restaurant might be coming to the area, but in the meantime, Aloha Isle and Sunshine Tree Terrace have swapped real estate.

And we have lots of brand new pictures of the change as it’s happening right now!

Here’s FIRST LOOK at the brand new Aloha Isle Sign! Clearly, the Dole sponsorship is still firmly in place.

NEW Aloha Isle Sign

NEW Aloha Isle Sign

Check out this photo of the NEW Aloha Isle locale!

Sunshine Tree Terrace Morphs Into Aloha Isle Overnight!

Sunshine Tree Terrace Morphs Into Aloha Isle Overnight!

As you can see from the menu pic below, NEARLY everything that you previously enjoyed at Aloha Isle is now available at this new (old? new?) location.

You can still enjoy Dole Whip, Dole Whip Swirl, Dole Whip Floats, fresh spears of Pineapple, and [Read more…]