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…]

Review: River Belle Terrace Breakfast at Disneyland Park

On a recent trip to Disneyland, we had many things to cross off of our list. But when it came time for breakfast in the Park one morning, only one stop would do — River Belle Terrace!

River Belle Terrace Entrance

River Belle Terrace in Disneyland’s Frontierland

You’ll find this counter service spot in Frontierland along the Rivers of America. And that last bit of information is important. After all, you may come to River Belle Terrace because you’re hungry, but it has more to recommend it than the menu. Here we go!

Atmosphere

Located in New Orleans Square, the aesthetic of River Belle Terrace is Antebellum all the way. The entrance is fashioned to look like a grand Southern mansion on a small scale.

River Belle Terrace in Disneyland

Entrance

Step inside, and you see gracious touches that echo that feeling. Arched windows allow plenty of light into the seating area, so even if you choose to dine inside, you’ll still have the sense of being in an outdoor garden setting.

Indoor Seating and Condiment Area

Indoor Seating and Condiment Area

Ornate ceiling medallions and flowering vines on the chandeliers fancy up the spot a bit.

And keep this in mind: it may not look all that interesting or distinguished, but River Belle Terrace deserves a pause in your Disney Day. This restaurant has been serving since Disneyland opened in 1955! As the story goes, you could find Mr. Disney enjoying breakfast here often on serene Sunday mornings.

Light Fixture and Ceiling Detail

Light Fixture and Ceiling Detail

While the indoor seating is pleasant, it’s the terrace that is truly beloved by so many. Don’t you love the old-fashioned, tasseled umbrellas? They could have updated them and used something modern, but they haven’t. And I’m so glad.

Outdoor Seating

Outdoor Seating

And this — this view. It’s why you come to River Belle Terrace. Eat your breakfast and watch for the Mark Twain Riverboat to paddle by. There’s nothing like this view of the Rivers of America, and if you can enjoy a classic Disneyland breakfast at the same time, it’s a win/win!

View from River Belle Terrace

View from River Belle Terrace

Speaking of classic Disneyland breakfasts, it seems like the right time to move on to the food. :-) Let’s check it out.

Eats

Although River Belle Terrace offers all-day dining, it’s breakfast that we usually enjoy here. In addition to some standard offerings, you’ll find comfort food favorites like Biscuits and Gravy. But there are some really unique options, too. We’ll get to a couple of my favorites in just a moment.

Breakfast Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Breakfast Menu — Click to Enlarge

Menus, for breakfast as well as lunch and dinner, offer only a few selections. But the food is hearty and interesting. (Note to self: come back for that River Belle’s Roast Beef and the Messy Mississippi BBQ Sandwich at lunch time.)

Lunch and Dinner Menus -- Click to Enlarge

Lunch and Dinner Menus — Click to Enlarge

When it’s time to order, your first stop will be at the [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at The Diamond Horseshoe in Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland

It’s time to head to the Wild West and take a look behind some rarely open doors…

The Diamond Horseshoe is a seasonal option in the Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland, which means it’s open only on peak-level crowd days (much like Tortuga Tavern in Adventureland).

During Thanksgiving week and around Christmas, it’s been known to host an evening buffet.  When it’s open for lunch, though, it’s a counter service stop featuring turkey and barbeque sandwiches served up to the tunes of a self-playing Wurlitzer.

Perhaps you yourself have strolled past The Diamond Horseshoe.

The Diamond Horseshoe

The Diamond Horseshoe

If so, odds are good (well, pretty great, really) that you’ve seen these doors closed.

"The Diamond Horseshoe is not currently serving..."

“The Diamond Horseshoe is not currently serving…”

But on the busiest of busy days, you just might catch them open… it’s time to step inside The Diamond Horseshoe!

The Diamond AND the Horseshoe!

The Diamond AND the Horseshoe!

And since it’s so rare to find this place open, we’ve got a little exploring to do…

Atmosphere

Okay, I’ll admit… like any good Disney geek, when the doors opened I walked straight past the ordering counter to check out the atmosphere. But I felt fine lingering, since someone left their umbrella at the front ;) , which indicates to me that folks at the Horseshoe are expected to sit and stay awhile!

Umbrella just inside the entrance

Umbrella just inside the entrance

Though located in the more rustic surroundings of Frontierland, when you step into this ol’ West music hall, the atmosphere seems decidedly more lush — from the deep red curtains on the centerpiece stage…

The Diamond Horseshoe stage

The Diamond Horseshoe stage

… to the red glass [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: A Look Back at 1957 Park Eats

Fire up the flux capacitor and hop in the Delorean because we’re going back in time.  I know, that’s Universal Studios talk, but Doc Brown is the only guy I know that can make this happen…

1957 Guide to Disneyland

1957 Guide to Disneyland

It’s 1957 at Disneyland. The park has only been open for two years, but Walt’s got lots of places for us to eat! Let’s take a little tour of our options starting with good ‘ol Main Street USA.

The Carnation Ice Cream Parlor (currently known as Gibson Girl) was the perfect spot for a cool treat.  Further down the road you could stop at the Carnation Plaza Gardens for some quick service food. Does anyone remember the frozen malts they sold with the wooden spoons? I DO!

There was also the Refreshment Corner sponsored by Coca Cola, The Maxwell Coffee House Shop, The Puffin Bake Shop, and the Red Wagon Inn, which is said to have been Walt’s favorite park eatery and later became the Plaza Inn.

Another option was a cafeteria style restaurant called the Pavilion.  Check out the photos below, I’m absolutely loving the popcorn cart and its cute little cowpoke customers!

Vintage Main Street USA

Main Street USA

Take a right off of Main Street USA and you’ll stumble into Tomorrowland.  Here, you can hit the Space Bar, an automat type restaurant as well as the Yacht Club (self service) and the Dairy Bar, which was an exhibit sponsored by the American Dairy Association.

Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland

After Tomorrowland, we’ll head over to Fantasyland.  Here you can eat at the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship (YES PLEASE!) or get some fresh grape juice from the Welch’s Stand.

Vintage FantasylandIn 1957, Frontierland was the place to really get your grub on; it had the most dining options of all the lands in the park.  The Chicken Plantation Restaurant served up a fried chicken dinner for just $1.70.  Meals could be enjoyed on the patio of a plantation style home along the Rivers of America.  The Plantation House closed in 1962 to make room for New Orleans Square.

Not in the mood for fried chicken? Head over to the Golden Horseshoe for dinner and a show.  Or visit the birth place of the [Read more…]

The Story of Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port in Disneyland

For those who are new to Disney parks, everything here has a backstory. Rides, shows, and, yes, even restaurants!

Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port

Recently, one of my good friends, Eric Chu, shared the backstory of Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port with us.

For those who haven’t been there, this counter-service restaurant is located in Tomorrowland at the Disneyland resort. Basically, you climb off of Space Mountain and there you are!

But do you know WHY there’s a pizza joint in the middle of the Milky Way? Let’s find out!

The History Behind Redd Rocket’s Pizza Port in Disneyland

“The only real problem with long-term space travel is that you can’t get a decent pizza.” — Dr. Tyrone Mantanio, INSA Sector 5

A-GREED! Can you imagine traveling through space without the ability to order pizza?! I know, right? ;-D And according to the always-creative Disney imagineers, solving the problem of finding must-have food in the cosmos became a goal for scientists!

Pepperoni Pizza Slice

Redd Rockett to the rescue! He set up a [Read more…]

Review: The Golden Horseshoe in Disneyland

You want history, my fellow Disney-loving friends? Well, then, you’re going to love what we have in store for you today.

Sign

That’s right, we’re taking another trip to Disneyland for a rip-roarin’ good time at one of our favorite Old West saloons — The Golden Horseshoe!

This place has it all — Disney pedigree, a hilarious show, and signature menu items.

If you haven’t been there before, I have a feeling it will be on your Disney Bucket List once we’re finished talking about this time-honored spot in Disney’s original theme park.

Let’s check it out!

Atmosphere

Head up Main Street USA towards Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and hang a left at the hub. You’ll find The Golden Horseshoe centrally located in Frontierland, appropriately.

One of the most interesting bits of trivia about this spot is that it was one of the original fixtures when the park opened waaaaaayyy back in 1955.

In fact, Walt and his wife, Lillian, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary with a private party here just days before the park opened to the public.

Awesome Golden Horseshoe Signs

(Check out Heather’s post about a cool Limited Time Magic event earlier this year, which included a dessert with a picture from that famous night!)

The boardwalk outside touts Ice Cream Sundaes and more as you anticipate heading inside… .

Entrance

Enter into the saloon-themed counter service spot and take in all the details. The restaurant was designed by Harper Goff, and if it seems familiar, then you must be an old film buff — it’s based upon a set design that Goff used in the the 1953 western comedy musical Calamity Jane, starring Doris Day. (See? Reading DFB is not only a treat for the eyes, it’s a learning experience, too! ;-D You’re SMARTER than you were when you started reading!)

Seating and Stage Under the Rotunda

Two levels of seating provide you lots of options for taking in the show. You’ll also notice some “box seats” situated closer to the stage. Walt himself kept the one on the right for viewing the show anytime time he wanted to, as this was a favorite spot of his. The boxes are open to the public now.

Upper Level Seating on the Rotunda and Longhorns

Rich details surround you, and actually, the feeling is pretty [Read more…]

Rumor: Will Disneyland’s Club 33 Expansion Include Walt Disney World?

The exclusive members-only restaurant, Club 33, in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square will undergo a major expansion in 2014. Disneyland recently announced that Club 33 members will be able to book reservations until January 5, 2014. Now that members have been given access to a Preview Center, we have more details to share!

Led by Imagineer Kim Irvine, Walt’s original vision for the space will be incorporated with new design elements. Changes will include the relocation of the Club’s iconic entrance (the famous door will stay but not be used), foyer, and Parisian elevator.

Club 33 Door

What does this mean for non-members? The beautiful Court of Angels will no longer be accessible to park guests!

The historical Trophy Room will become the restaurant’s kitchen as it currently uses the backstage facilities at the Blue Bayou.

Trophy Room

During the renovation, the main dining room’s [Read more…]

Full Review: The NEW California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Update: Scroll to the end of the Eats section (yep, waaayyy down there!) for a mini-review of opening night, courtesy of one of our favorite DFB guest writers, Julie B!

We are headed back to the fifteenth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort today, as we take a closer look at the brand new California Grill!

The outpouring of Disney food fan love has just been astounding throughout the last eight months as we’ve continued to watch the newly re-imagined California Grill take shape. Folks who love the restaurant and its amazing menu have been anxious for news. Would it retain its panache? Would beloved dishes from the old menu make the cut? How would we survive with no Yoshie??

We are happy to report that, if possible, California Grill is even more spectacular than before. We were happy to show you a first look at all that was new after last Thursday’s media event. Today, we’re unveiling more details. If you haven’t already, get ready to make those advance dining reservations. I think you’re going to like what you see.

Menus

Settle in. This is going to be a long one!

Atmosphere

Immediately, as you step out of the elevator onto the fifteenth floor, you are enveloped by the cool vibe of California Grill. You know at once that you’re in for a special experience.

If you weren’t aware of it already, now you know: wine matters in this restaurant. A lot. Wine coolers aren’t dressed up to be anything else; they’re unapologetically part of the decor here. This makes sense, as the restaurant now boasts 1,600 bottles of wine in the state-of-the-art wine display.

You’ll find around 250 wines on the list, with 80 available by the glass. And with more than 20 sommeliers on staff, you are literally enveloped in a wealth of wine knowledge.

Wine, Anyone?

Straight ahead, you’ll find the trademark view of Seven Seas Lagoon. With any luck there will be a spectacular sunset over the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa during your visit like there was for ours.

This area continues to serve as the lounge for the restaurant. You can still score a table here with no advance dining reservation, and the full restaurant menu is available for ordering.

Entrance and Bank of Wine Fridges

The bar area continues to be highlighted by the ceiling’s circular cutout. While the shape is the same, the whole bar has been overhauled with new finishes. Comfortable seating beckons you to relax and have a cocktail or two.

Bar

To quote one of my Disney friends, nothing here is the same as it was! The lights are wonderfully whimsical. While modern, there’s still a retro feel here. In fact, the lights remind me a lot of old pictures I’ve seen of the Contemporary from the 1970s.

Seating Area is Ready for Guests

Tables are set for service. I was glad to see that the [Read more…]