Review: D23’s “Off the Map” Event with Dinner at Club 33

When I heard about D23’s Off the Map event, I made sure to be home when tickets went on sale. A visit to the Disneyland Dream Suite, touring Walt’s Apartment, a ride on the Lilly Belle, and a super surprise dinner at one of the resort’s most unique restaurants (hmmmm, wonder where that could be)? Sign. Me. Up. 

I sat down at my computer at about 9:50am, tickets would be available starting at 10:00am. I literally sat and refreshed for 10 minutes straight. Yes, I’m that nerdy.  It paid off, because at exactly 10:01 (according to my computer’s clock) I had two tickets in my shopping cart and was checking out, credit card in hand.  By the time I finished checking out, the event had sold out. I was surprised that they went so fast, but I then realized that it must be a very small and obviously sought after event.

NOTE: This review is long and has lots of pictures of awesome things. There’s a whole meal and a snack in the write-up (of course, this is the Disney Food Blog), but we couldn’t help including pics of the rest of the tour as well! I hope you enjoy!

Checking In

We checked in at 9:00am on a Tuesday morning and were put into groups. We soon met with our uber fabulous D23 guide, Jeffrey (you may know him as the Disney Geek)!

Guess Who???

This is where we learned that there were only 72 tickets sold for the event and that it sold out in 30 seconds. Wow, so lucky to have scored two!  The crowd was very mixed, the age range spanned from teen to senior and some people traveled from across the country to be here.  We had 11 people in our group; most were southern California Disneyland locals, others were from Las Vegas, and there was one all the way from Georgia (Hi Andy!).

Off the Map Check In

Our group was scheduled to go to Walt’s Apartment at 10:30, so we had a bit of time to kill. Disneyland had just opened at 10:00, so it was fun to watch the park “wake up” as the horse drawn carriages emerged, characters came running from backstage, and the Disneyland Band marched right in front of us.  We met our apartment tour guide outside of the Disneyland Fire Department promptly at 10:30.

Disneyland Fire Department

Touring Walt’s Apartment in Disneyland

After given some history of Walt’s Apartment, we walked backstage and headed up the stairs (holding the handrail like we were asked) and entered the Victorian style apartment. Immediately I noticed the musty smell and got goosebumps knowing that I was in a room that Walt Disney spent many a night in, entertaining friends, playing with his grandchildren, and looking out the window [Read more…]

Guest Review: Bistro de Paris in Epcot’s France

Join me in welcoming R. A. Pedersen with an in-depth review of dinner at Bistro de Paris in Epcot’s France Pavilion!

I’ll give you fair warning – as an Epcot historian I can’t help but link this review to the history of the park as a whole. I’ll try to keep it light though, perhaps an anecdote you can tell over candlelight between courses during your next visit.

Bistro de Paris Story and History

There’s a bit of humor and history in the name of the Bistro de Paris at the France Pavilion in Epcot. In French culture a “Bistro” is more typically a small, less formal establishment than a standard restaurant. A good comparison would be along the lines of an English pub; in fact, the hearty bar food would be quite comparable to the sort of cuisine they serve: typically casseroles and simple comfort foods.

So why is the high-end restaurant in the France pavilion, the darling of the famed Chefs de France (Paul Bocuse, Gaston Lenotre, and Roger Verge), called a bistro?

Bistros in France were carved out of the basements in apartment buildings in order to feed the masses. Essentially the space was created from nothing to fulfill a need — and so goes the story in Epcot as well.

The France pavilion opened in 1982 with a small pair of restaurants amid its mansard roofs: the lower-level Chefs de France, and a connected exterior sidewalk café, Au Petit Café. Additionally guests could [Read more…]

Walt Disney Ate Here: The Tam O’ Shanter

Located just a few miles away from the Disney Studios in Burbank, The Tam O’ Shanter is Los Angeles’ oldest restaurant that has remained in the same location under the same ownership and management since 1922.

AND Walt Disney ate here. A lot. 

The Tam O’ Shanter was very close to Walt’s Hyperion Studio when it opened. He frequented the restaurant so often that is was commonly referred to as the “studio commissary.”

The Tam O' Shanter

After seeing Beauty and the Beast in 3D at the Disney Studios, my family and I decided head over to The Tam O’ Shanter to check it out — and possibly sit where Walt once sat, Table 31. 


I made us a reservation, which I highly recommend as the restaurant does get fairly busy. I even requested Table 31. Since it was dark, my pictures really don’t do the building justice. The restaurant looks like a quaint cottage located smack in the middle of a busy Los Feliz Boulevard.

The Tam O' Shanter

The entrance is guarded by a robust lion statue, and an old phone booth stands just to the left of him. As you enter the lobby area, you feel as though you’ve stepped through a time portal… [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: February 19, 2012

New Temporary Italy Kiosk in Epcot

Viva Italia! The temporary Italy kiosk in Epcot is now serving up some tasty eats including ravioli — along with glasses of wine!

Disney Food News

We’re serving up the latest foodie news this week!

For more delicious food news, stop by our Disney Food News Pin Board, where Disney Food News is updated on a regular basis!

On to the Round-Up

Carmi’s Art Life World Check out the Mickey Retro Kitchen Series — it’s miniature Japanese collectibles!

Walt Disney World for Grown-Ups visits the lounge at the California Grill. Cheers!

MousePlanet stops by Germany’s Biergarten in Epcot!

Burger Invasion (c)Yesterland analyzes how to get the best values with your Disney Dining Plan credits at counter-service restaurants in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Yesterland takes a look back at the Burger Invasion in Disney California Adventure.

Kevin Kidney reminisces about a long-lost mural from the Plaza Pavilion and welcomes the new Jolly Holiday Bakery to Disneyland.

Main Street Gazette pays tribute to the Cobb Salad at The Hollywood Brown Derby.

Care For Some Disney With That Winery?

Many folks hear “Disney” and immediately think of Dumbo, oppressive heat, or waiting in lines all day. But one of our many goals here at the Disney Food Blog is to show another side of Disney — the side that includes yummy eats, relaxing restaurants, indulgent drinks, and even a few sophisticated wines!

For example, I knew that a few vineyards had ties to Disney, but I had no idea how many winemakers were somehow associated with the man and his mirthful creations! Here are four that we found had ties to the Disney name…would love to hear of others, or to hear your reviews of these companies!

Silverado Vineyards

2009 Miller Ranch Sauvignon Blanc

The eldest daughter of Walt and Lillian Disney, Diane Disney Miller, purchased a Napa Valley vineyard in the early 1970s with her husband, Ronald Miller.

After successfully selling the fruits of their labor to wineries, they decided to go into the wine business themselves, creating Silverado Vineyard Winery, which opened in 1981.

“It was beautiful land, and it was land that was working,” said Diane Miller of their first vineyards.

If you can’t get to Napa Valley, visit this incredible vineyard at

Lasseter Family

Update: DCL now offering Lasseter Family Wine excursions at its San Francisco port-of-call!

Paysage Wine

You know John Lasseter as the director of Pixar blockbusters like Toy Story and Cars. He is now the chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation as well as the Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering.

In 1992, John Lasseter’s family discovered the art (and fun) of wine-making, and ten years later they purchased a 27-acre vineyard in California. Today, [Read more…]

Disney Food History: Kitchen Kabaret Plush Toys on Display

Anyone else out there remember their first plush toy from Disney World? Maybe you got a brand new Mickey Mouse plush, or Minnie, or maybe even a Goofy doll!

Not me. Nope. I got the mariachi tomato from Kitchen Kabaret as my first Disney World toy! Clearly I was destined to be a Disney Food Blogger! ;-)

Anyway, a few months ago I was touring One Man’s Dream in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and I came across none other than my first Disney World toy!!

Kitchen Kabaret Tomato plush

Granted, mine was a miniature version of this, but it brought back so many memories (I really loved that tomato)! So I had to tell you about it just in case you’d like to head over to see it.

They also have the broccoli plush on display (and I think IKEA has stolen the blueprints for their new popular, but clearly less hip, broccoli toy…).

Kitchen Kabaret broccoli plush

Anyway, just wanted to share these fun finds with you — especially since Kitchen Kabaret has been immortalized (?) through a Vinylmation collection! :-)

UPDATE: Check out what reader Candace Henderson sent over!! This fun “basket of fruits and veggies” sites on her dining table to bring back great memories!

Kitchen Kabaret Basket

Did you have a favorite Kitchen Kabaret character? Let us know in the comments below!

Disney Food Post Round-Up: January 22, 2012

Did the Frito Kid have a hand in inventing Doritos?

Lots of Disney food news popped up this week, including lovely, flavorful things like wine, chocolate, caramel, coffee, cake, and more!!

Plus, we’ve found some seriously interesting posts to share with you — did you know that Doritos may have been invented in Disneyland?? Check it out…

Treat Yourself to Updated Disney Food News

For more decadent food news, stop by our Disney Food News Pin Board, where Disney Food News is updated on a regular basis — even little stuff that you might not see in a full post on the blog! Worth a look… :-)

DFB Disney Dining Adventures e-Book

Have you read our newest Disney Food Blog e-Book?

DFB Disney Dining Adventures includes over 80 pages of pre-planned food fun to add to your family’s plans on your next trip! Let us do the planning for you — all you need to do is have a blast!

Want a day full of Dole Whips or a day planned for a Princess? Perhaps you have a dino fan in the family — we’ve got two days of pre-planned Jurassic-sized fun! And if you’re traveling with the grown-ups, check out our full two-day Beer Adventure!

The e-Book includes:

  • Fully themed strategies that cover one day, two days, or a full week
  • Themed breakfast, lunch, and dinner suggestions
  • Disney attraction and ride suggestions that complement each Adventure theme
  • Our favorite snacks that are within easy access during each Adventure
  • Historical and behind-the-scenes tips and details that make the Adventure come alive!
  • Plus more bonus sections!

You can check out sample pages and even more details here! Or get your instantly downloadable copy right here! Use code: ADVENTURE for a $2 discount!!

On to the Round-Up!

AKL Resort takes us to the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sanaa at Kidani Village. Try the yummy Naan bread!

OC Weekly investigates the origins of Doritos? There may be a Disneyland connection!

Main St. Gazette clearly agrees with me that the Picnic Burger is a slam dunk at Disney World’s Sci Fi Dine-In! Woo!

WDW Parkhoppers heads to dinner at the Polynesian’s Kona Cafe.

MousePlanet reviews the story behind Mama Melrose’s at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

DisneyParks Blog shares favorite healthy eats at Walt Disney World.

Dining in Disneyland: Saying Goodbye to Blue Ribbon Bakery…and Hello to Jolly Holiday!

This holiday season marks the last holiday season for Disneyland’s Blue Ribbon Bakery.  Located on Main St. USA for the past almost 22 years, Blue Ribbon Bakery made its Disneyland debut on April 6, 1990 when it replaced the Sunkist Citrus House (fresh squeezed orange juice or lemonade anyone?).

Blue Ribbon Bakery

Known for its staple Disneyland treats like Cinnamon Rolls, Matterhorn Macaroons, seasonal goodies, and a good ol’ cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate or cider, Blue Ribbon Bakery was the perfect go to stop for a quick snack or pick me up upon entering the park.

Blue Ribbon Bakery Cinnamon Roll

Giant Display Matterhorn Macaroon

Holiday Beverage Menu

In honor of Blue Ribbon’s awesomeness, I feel like we should pay homage to its last holiday season.  Here are some treats that were offered this year, along with a fun video depicting [Read more…]

Disney Food History: Wonder Bread College Pennant Stickers

Every once in a while I come across some serious historical rad-ness when it comes to Disney Food. Remember when we found these awesome 1955 Disneyland restaurant ads? Or the 1962 Carnation Ice Cream Parlor menu? That was totally cool, right?

And it’s happened again! Thanks to my exploration over on Pinterest, I found Jason Liebig‘s collection of Disney “college pennant” stickers.

Wonder Bread Pennants

These classic pun-tastic illustrative stickers were part of a Wonder Bread campaign in the 1970s (you could find the stickers in your package of Wonder Bread)! There were 25 of them altogether.

My faves are “Mickey Can Skate” (Michigan State), “Minnie Soda” (Minnesota), and [Read more…]

Club 33 Policy Changes…and Introducing Club 1901

Club 33 Sign

The Mouseplanet column in USA Today recently brought to my attention some proposed Club 33 policy changes, along with the mention of Club 1901, the new VIP lounge that will be built into the Carthay Circle Theater in the new Disney California Adventure revamp.

Club 33 Policy Changes

Proposed changes for Disneyland’s famously exclusive, members-only Club 33 are causing a stir. The Club offers different levels of personal and corporate membership, and most of the policy updates center around changing the levels.

According to the article, the Gold membership (estimated $3,600 annual dues) for the club will be phased out in 2012, leaving only the new Platinum membership (estimated $10,000 annual dues). The differences in the membership levels are significant not only in price, but also in what you get for your money:

Reported Platinum Membership Benefits
Premier Annual Pass (admission to all parks at both Disney World and Disneyland)
Four Additional Premier Annual Passes for family and friends
Access to Club 1901, the new VIP lounge in Carthay Circle Theater in Disney California Adventure (see more details below)
Book up to 5 VIP guided tours per year

Reported Gold Membership Benefits
Annual Pass to Disneyland Resort
(These members LOSE the past benefit of admission for a guest into the park for the day when not dining at Club 33)
(These members do NOT receive additional annual passes)
(These members do NOT have access to Club 1901)

Existing Gold level members will have the chance to upgrade to Platinum. All new Club 33 members will be required to join at the Platinum level.

In addition to the membership level changes the following policies may also change in 2012:

  • Free valet parking at the Grand Californian Hotel is now offered only when the member is dining at Club 33
  • When dining at Club 33, members may still request guest passes for those dining with them. However, regular members are now limited to 50 guest passes per year; corporate members are limited to 100 passes. Once the allocated guest passes have been used, members can purchase additional tickets at a 20 percent discount.

The official club member booklet will be released in a few days. Until then, these changes are just “proposed” and may or may not come to fulfillment.

Club 1901

Over the past two years, we’ve reported about a VIP Club/Restaurant in the Carthay Circle Theater in Disney California Adventure; and Disney execs mentioned [Read more…]