Best Disney World Restaurants for First Time Disney Visitors

Everyday we receive lots of mail from you, our awesome DFB readers, asking for restaurant suggestions and recommendations. And while we certainly have our favorites, we know that you do, too!

So when a Disney first-time visitor recently asked what restaurants we would recommend for their upcoming trip, we couldn’t think of a better panel of experts to ask than YOU!

When I put the question out on the Disney Food Blog Facebook page, I was overwhelmed by the huge and immediate response that I got!

Let’s take a look at your recommendations for the restaurants first timers must experience on that inaugural Walt Disney World trip!

If you have other thoughts or ideas — or, better yet, stories of your favorite restaurants during a first-time visit — please share them with all of us in the comments section! More suggestions are always better!

Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

When it comes to first time Disney dining, the winning restaurant recommendation is, hands down, Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Many of you agree that anyone visiting the Happiest Place on Earth for the very first time MUST experience a buffet that includes lots of character interaction.

Chef Mickey’s is highly recommended by our DFB Readers!

But the suggestion is practical, too. Readers pointed out that a character dining experience offers terrific value for your Disney dollar, with an all-you-care-to-eat option. [Read more…]

News! A Video Look Inside 1901 Lounge AND Club 33 Invites New Members!

Club 33 Sign

Exciting news announced on the DisneyParks Blog!

Club 33 Invites New Members

Club 33 is celebrating its 45th anniversary by inviting a limited number of new members for exclusive membership!

Walt Disney was inspired to create Club 33 by the executive lounges at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Since 1967, the club has intrigued Disney fans!

Disneyland fans that receive new Club 33 membership will get some extra perks too — sneak peeks to new attractions, VIP tour guides, itinerary planning, valet parking, and comp resort upgrades — for an exceptional concierge experience.

A Peek Inside the Exclusive New 1901 Lounge

Access to the new 1901 lounge inside the Carthay Circle Theatre (opening June 15) is also included in these new memberships.

Check our our earlier reports on Club 33 membership and the 1901 Lounge for details on these exclusive locations AND on the ins and outs of membership!

Check out this video for details and a peek inside the new 1901 Lounge in Disney California Adventure, opening [Read more…]

Construction Update: Carthay Circle Theatre in Disney California Adventure

The Carthay Circle Theatre is looking gorgeous in Disney California Adventure. Disney Imagineering has worked hard on the replica of this famed theatre in which “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered in 1937. Check out these great pics that Heather got!

Carthay

Carthay

We first reported on this construction back in 2009, and then learned at the D23 Expo that this venue will showcase an exclusive restaurant.

Acclaimed Napa Rose Chef Andrew Sutton is creating the menu, and we anticipate exquisite cuisine. The last time we dined at Napa Rose, Chef Sutton let us know that [Read more…]

What is Your Most-Missed Extinct Disney Food?

We’ve been talking a lot about new restaurants and new menu items these past few weeks, but for many Disney food fans the long-lost favorites really stick in their memories.

I decided that we need to pay tribute to some of these famous dishes and want to find out: What are your most-missed extinct Disney dishes? I’ll start the ball rolling with a few of my own!

Fried Boursin Cheese at 50’s Prime Time Cafe

UPDATE –> This one is back!! Woo!! This is, no doubt, my most missed dish in a Disney restaurant. While it’s meant to be shared, you know I ordered one all for myself when I visited 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Fried Boursin Cheese at 50\’s Prime Time Cafe

This is basically herb cheese spread that’s fried and served with fruit and bread crisps. Pretty standard, eh? But that warm, creamy cheese coupled with the sweet fresh fruit was the perfect starter!

Maui Scalloped Potatoes at ‘Ohana

There have been several appetizer changes at ‘Ohana in the past several years, but the most devastating has to be the switch from scalloped potatoes to noodles. (You can read the whole, sad story here…in fact, please do, because I’m uncharacteristically funny in that blog post and it will change your whole perception of me, I promise.)

RIP Scalloped Potatoes (photo courtesy Brett Young)

Meyer Lemon Curd Dessert at Jiko

You know I love Lemon Curd, so to have an entire dessert based around the stuff at Jiko in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was quite a find. And when they added [Read more…]

Citrus Swirl is Back in the Magic Kingdom

Next week we’ll have a post here on the Disney Food Blog about our favorite “extinct” foods, but I’m happy to say that one of the best is now officially OFF of that “extinct” list!

Currently back in its original home at the Magic Kingdom’s Sunshine Tree Terrace, the Citrus Swirl is available once again!

Sunshine Tree Terrace in the Magic Kingdom

Don’t fret when you approach the Terrace and look at the menu. The Swirl hasn’t yet made it back onto [Read more…]

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. 

Atmosphere

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

StudiosCentral.com 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 silveradovineyards.com/.

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…]