FIRST LOOK! Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort

AHOY!!!! Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is now in soft openings at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort!!!

Trader Sam's door sign

Trader Sam’s door sign

And we are SO excited to share pictures from some of our awesome DFB Readers who were there to ring in the occasion!

Many thanks to Lori Hope Fries, DFB Reader and co-founder of TheMainStreetMoms.com, for sending in some awesome pics for us to share with you, along with her review! We’re also suuuuuper grateful to our friend David Shearer for sharing his incredible photos as well! We’ll be using the collection of both of their pictures along with a few of ours to tell the story of the very first days of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.

But before we go in… what is a “soft opening,” exactly? Basically, a soft open means that guests may find Trader Sam’s in operation during a visit to the Polynesian from now until it’s official opening (expected for late April), BUT it can be closed at any given time to continue any necessary work. So, fair warning.

Okay, enough with the logistics! The anticipation is killing me!! Let’s step behind the door…

Trader Sam's door

Trader Sam’s door

Umm, actually, let’s head inside the Grotto after we wait in line. Just getting in on the first day was no easy task!

Take, for instance, this anecdote from our good friend, Mealtrip: “The system is, you get a pager, then they call you in. So there was a 3 hour wait to get a pager and then another 3 hour wait once you had the pager. There is no “pager waiting line”, and you can’t just wait in the hallway for a pager.”

Pager for Trader Sam's

Pager for Trader Sam’s

And so, a head’s up: for at least the first months of operation, we can all expect longs lines to be rule, not the exception. Anyone who’s had experience with Trader Sam’s in Disneyland will be fully aware of this gigantic problem. Okay, with that out of the way, NOW let’s step inside and see what treasures await!

Take it away, Lori!

“We have been on watch for months, waiting for Trader Sam to land at the Polynesian Village Resort. Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Room, at the Disneyland Resort, is a favorite stop when we go, and have been there many times. My middle son, Dennis, is an avid tiki mug collector, so we watched as the lobby walls came down around the fountain and a cast member showed us the door leading to Trader Sam’s new location. We watched and waited.

Trader Sam's door

Trader Sam’s door

When you go on the Jungle Cruise in each Adventureland, Trader Sam, the head salesman of the jungle, will greet you. From coast to coast, these two men share a name and a job (and some jokes), but each coast has their own Sam. We were excited to see how the tiki bars of the same name differed.

Trader Sam from Disney World's Jungle Cruise

Trader Sam from Disney World’s Jungle Cruise

We were in the Magic Kingdom when we learned that Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto was holding a soft opening. We hopped on a monorail and headed for the Polynesian Village Resort. The wait time was up to four hours to get in! Luckily, we got a pager from a friend who couldn’t stay, and combined the wait.

Pager for Trader Sam's

Pager for Trader Sam’s

We headed to the new patio [Editor’s note: Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace], which has the same menu as inside, and ordered [Read more…]

Dining in TOKYO Disneyland: Pre-Packaged Souvenir Snacks

One of my very favorite things about my visit to the Tokyo Disney Resort was browsing the shops there.  The packaged souvenir snacks were aplenty; shelves, shelves and more shelves filled with unique treats.  I was totally obsessed with the adorable packaging.  Another plus?  There were plastic displays showing you exactly what was inside of that adorable packaging.

Plastic displays of candy "purses"

Plastic displays of candy “purses”

Even with the plastic displays though, I still had no idea what some of the things were!  Below is a photo tour of some of the items I found adorable and interesting, and a few that were just plain bizarre.

Let’s start over at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.  There is a great little convenience store there that carries a wide variety of Disney themed food, snacks, drinks, candy, etc.  Below are some of the adorable drinks that they had. The Snow White bottle is an apple & mango drink, the Tsum Tsum bottles are tea, and the Frozen ones are bottled water.

Disney Bottled Drinks

Disney Bottled Drinks

Various ice cream cups; each featuring a scene from a Disney movie.

Individual Ice Cream Cups

Individual Ice Cream Cups

Packaged candy, including chocolate “surprise” eggs filled with a small Disney figurine.

Chocolate Surprise Eggs

Chocolate Surprise Eggs

I actually tried Mickey and Minnie “Potato” crackers below.  They are sort of a cracker/potato chip hybrid.  Each puffy piece is Mickey shaped!

Mickey & Minnie Crackers

Mickey & Minnie Potato Crackers

I love this little box of Mickey Milk.  The only reason I know this is milk is because I asked a friend!

Mickey Milk

Mickey Milk

And how about this [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: March 26th, 2015

I’m not sure what it feels like in your neck of the woods, but the calendar says it’s officially SPRING! And the season is ON at Walt Disney World, with new food items to help feed those spring break crowds (did somebody say “Grilled Cheese”?), as well as an egg-stra special Easter display at the Grand Floridian Resort.

But that’s not all! There’s much more in store… so let’s hop to it, as we take another trip around the World to see What’s New!

MAGIC KINGDOM

Be Our Guest Breakfast

Hey, has anyone heard of some little dive by the name of Be Our Guest Restaurant? ;)

Be Our Guest in the First Light of Morning

Be Our Guest in the First Light of Morning

Well, in case you didn’t know about the Advance Dining Reservations heard ‘round the World, the popular restaurant is now open for BREAKFAST! Huge hits on the all-new prix fixe menu include the Open-Face Bacon and Egg Sandwich and the Croissant Doughnut.

Open-Face Bacon and Egg Sandwich

Open-Face Bacon and Egg Sandwich

Croissant Doughnut and fresh fruit

Croissant Doughnut and fresh fruit

You can read our Opening Day Everything on the Menu review HERE!

Sweet Treat Makeovers

Not sure how long this gem will be around, but the Cinderella Coach Apple celebrating the recently released live-action “Cinderella” film sure is a beauty!

Cinderella Coach Apple

Cinderella Coach Apple

You can find it for a limited time at the Main Street Confectionery and Big Top Treats. (Keep an eye out at spots outside of Magic Kingdom like Goofy’s Candy Company and Sweet Spells, too!) A few of the Krispy Treats have joined in on the fun, as well…

Cinderella Coach Apples and Krispy Treats

Cinderella Coach Apples and Krispy Treats

Snack Location Switcheroos

Looking for your favorite Dole Whip or Citrus Swirl over in Adventureland?

Citrus Swirl at Sunshine Tree Terrace

Citrus Swirl at Sunshine Tree Terrace

Well, the homes for these beloved snacks have changed places. You see, Sunshine Tree Terrace — home of the Citrus Swirl — is now located where Aloha Isle used to be. And Aloha Isle, boasting its signature Dole Whip? It’s now located where Sunshine Tree Terrace used to be.

New Aloha Isle location

New Aloha Isle location

New Sunshine Tree Terrace location

New Sunshine Tree Terrace location

Confused? Fret not — you can read all about it here! Rumor has it that this all has something to do with a new restaurant on the horizon for Adventureland. (And what’s this we’re hearing about a possible Jungle Cruise theme?!) Time will surely tell!

Speaking of location changes… If you’re hoping to enjoy a Jumbo Turkey Leg in Magic Kingdom, they’ll be available at Cool Ship in Tomorrowland starting TODAY.

Cool Ship

Cool Ship area

Walt Disney World Turkey Leg

Walt Disney World Turkey Leg

This temporary move will allow for [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: Frozen Fun Food at Disney California Adventure

Frozen Fun has taken over the Backlot area of Disney California Adventure, and with it come some pretty tasty snacks.  Let’s head inside of Olaf’s Snow Fest and see what Arendelle has to offer.

Olaf's Snow Fest

Olaf’s Snow Fest

The lighting inside of Olaf’s Snow Fest is very pink, so it made for a tough photo spot. Adorable nonetheless though!  A snack area in the corner is set up so that visitors to Arendelle can recharge after playing in the snow.  Although there is only one spot to order, the area is organized to look like separate food booths with different offerings.

Arendelle Eats

Arendelle Eats

The menu is set up in the center of the snack area.

Snow Fest Menu Board

Snow Fest Menu Board

On my recent visit, I tried just about everything they had to offer!

Arendelle Offerings

Arendelle Offerings

The first [Read more…]

Review: Gourmet Grilled Cheese at Epcot’s Taste Track

Today, we’re grabbing lunch from a pop up seasonal spot in Epcot! And this one involves Grilled Cheese!!

You know these kiosks…often you’ll find them closed (and sometimes not even there!) if you’re lucky enough to visit during less busy times of the year.

Spaceship Earth, How We Love You

Epcot!

But since we’re smack dab in the middle of Spring Break, we’re seeing lots of extra food around the Parks to help feed the hungry crowds and minimize wait times at regular Counter Service and Table Service Locations.

Thanks to readers Daniel Wanderman and Megan McQuillan‎ for letting me know recently that we needed to get over to Epcot’s Taste Track to check out an incredible menu of Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. I can’t wait to show you these!

Atmosphere

If you’re looking for Taste Track, hang a right as you’re facing Test Track, and head back toward Future World. If the kiosk is serving, this is where you’ll find it.

Taste Track

Taste Track

You won’t find much in the way of seating — as in tables and chairs — but there are the same highboy tables that you see scattered around World Showcase, especially during the Flower and Garden and Food and Wine Festivals.

Taste Track Tables

Tables Near Taste Track

Taste Track Tables 2

More Tables

There are also some benches shaded by umbrellas situated a short walk away. And there are a few low planters with walls that conveniently double as both benches and tables.

For a landmark to get your bearings, Cool Wash is directly behind you if you’re facing the Taste Track kiosk.

Cool Wash, Across from the Taste Track Kiosk

Cool Wash, Across from the Taste Track Kiosk

Everything on the menu sounded pretty fantastic and we were excited to sample a range of things. Let’s check out what we chose.

Eats

For such a small booth, there’s a surprisingly diverse menu offered here!

With three different Gourmet Grilled Cheese Selections, plus Soup and Salad options, this could be a stop for the whole family. There are also some fantastic Craft Beer Selections. Because Grilled Cheese and Beer.

Taste Track Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Taste Track Menu — Click to Enlarge

I thought the Kids’ Meal option of Grilled Cheese on Goldfish Honey Wheat Bread was fun, too. I tried to snap a pic from the family behind me; alas, they must have been hungry because they snatched it too quick. :-)

When it came down to it, my friend and I decided to sample all three of the “grown up” options. We began with the [Read more…]

Review: Hot Chocolate Cupcake from the Contempo Cafe at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

So, today we’ve got a SUPER cute cupcake from Contempo Cafe at Disney’s Contemporary Resort!

The restaurant, located on the Concourse in the Resort, is one of my favorite stops for delicious counter service eats. It’s just a monorail ride (or quick walk) away from Magic Kingdom, making it a great option if you need a break during a busy Park day.

But they’ve also featured some truly decadent and beautiful Cupcakes throughout the years. I’m always anxious to pop in every time I’m in town to see what Chef Jeff Barnes and his creative team have come up with!

And on a recent visit, I didn’t come up empty handed when I stopped by for an afternoon snack.

The Hot Chocolate Cupcake

Well, the very last thing that you want in Florida 11 1/2 months out of the year is a steaming cup of anything. So this is a fun nod to hot chocolate without getting any of the “hot!”

It’s pretty great that you get so much description here on the sign…and it’s pretty irresistible, eh?

Hot Chocolate Cupcake -- In the Case, with Description

Hot Chocolate Cupcake — In the Case, with Description

I quickly opted to try this new-to-me cupcake, passing by the ever popular Frozen Cupcake and the classic Red Velvet Cupcake.

It’s definitely super cute, with Toasted Marshmallows on top, a Striped Chocolate Straw, Red Sprinkles, and a mound of light Chocolate Buttercream.

Hot Chocolate Cupcake -- Up Close

Hot Chocolate Cupcake — Up Close

When I cut into it, I found [Read more…]

Review: Black Forest and Apple Spice Cupcakes at Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons

It’s dessert time, and we’re heading to Epcot’s Sunshine Seasons!

Located on the ground floor of The Land Pavilion, Sunshine Seasons is one of my favorite spots for discovering delectable sweet treats. Their Strawberry Shortcake is legendary, and I recently discovered an absolute must-eat treat, the Warm Peanut Butter Brownie, while visiting here.

But Sunshine Seasons is also a best-kept secret for some of the most interesting and delicious Disney Cupcakes as well. We’ve enjoyed seasonal options like Pineapple Coconut and Guava Cream Cheese Cupcakes.

On a recent visit, I also spied two brand-new-to-me cupcakes that I just had to share with you guys! Settle in, ’cause this is gonna be good.

Sunshine Seasons at The Land pavilion in Epcot

Sunshine Seasons at The Land pavilion in Epcot

Apple Spice Cupcake

First up, I spied the Apple Spice Cupcake. At least, that’s what we’re gonna call it. And how could you not spy it from like a mile away? With that solid covering of sparkly Red Sugar, this one was stunning, and certainly stood out from the crowd. Piped Green Icing Leaves completed the pop of color, and a Pretzel Stick made a good apple stem.

But I couldn’t wait to dig in and see what was under that sugar!

Apple Spice Cupcake

Apple Spice Cupcake

As soon as I got it, I cut it in half to check out the contents (as per usual). The construction of this one is kind of interesting to me, since the frosting is applied in a dome-like fashion, rather than piped.

Beneath the sugar, that frosting turned out to be one of the very best kind — Cream Cheese! At least I THINK it was cream cheese. It had a little apply flavor to it as well! Either way, it was dense and delicious.

The cake was, predictably, Apple Spice-Flavored. But that makes it sound boring, and this was anything but. It was super moist and perfectly spiced. There were no fancy fillings, but honestly, there didn’t need to be.

Apple Spice Cupcake -- Cross Section

Apple Spice Cupcake — Cross Section

The combination of dense Cream Cheese Frosting, Moist Apple Cake, and the [Read more…]

Review: Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Today, I’m heading back to Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe!

I hadn’t been to this corner of Magic Kingdom for a while to eat, and it was time to visit again.

Atmosphere

The legend of Pecos Bill is an interesting one.

But first and foremost, where the Tall Tale Inn — Pecos Bill’s for short — is concerned, it’s the story of two restaurants in one. That’s because Pecos Bill’s straddles two different Disney “lands”: Frontierland and Adventureland.

Pecos Bill Sign

Pecos Bill Sign from the Adventureland Entrance

And depending on which side you enter from, you’ll either feel like you’ve stumbled in from a Western frontier town, or a just colonized Caribbean island. It reminds me a bit of the dual personalities of another Magic Kingdom counter service favorite, Columbia Harbour House. (Check out pics of the two styles you see there — one Fantasyland, one Liberty Square — in this review.)

pecos bills

Pecos Bill Sign from the Frontierland Entrance

You’ll see nods to both settings inside as well. More on that in a minute.

But back to the story. You can read all about Pecos Bill in the story about how the Tall Tale Inn came to be. (And fans of classic Disney film will recognize Pecos Bill’s likeness at the top from Melody Time, the Disney anthology featuring the Pecos Bill short.)

Story of Pecos Bill - click image for larger version

Story of Pecos Bill – click image for larger version

And you should really brush up on the Code of the West. Just in case you’re tempted to, you know, spit or something. Be sure to check out other fun Codes we found on a tour of Magic Kingdom in this post.

Pecos Bill's Code of the West

Pecos Bill’s Code of the West

But don’t just grab a burger and rush through it here! (I know, I know. FastPasses and all that.)

Remember the story above? Of course you do. It was two pictures ago! Well, there are some really cool “artifacts” at Pecos Bill’s that you’ve gotta see.

Check out this pistol and group of playing cards, courtesy of superstar sharpshooter Annie Oakley. The display commemorates one of her most famous tricks, splitting playing cards and shooting them through in mid air.

Revolver and Bullet-Riddled Playing Cards

Revolver and Bullet-Riddled Playing Cards

And of course, there’s memorabilia from Bill’s best girl, Slue-Foot Sue. She autographed these gloves just for him. :-)

A Lady's Gloves -- Autographed and Framed

Slue-Foot Sue’s Gloves

In fact, you can see the gloves in this pic. They hang right around the corner in the seating area from a portrait of Slue-Foot Sue herself!

Regarding seating, it’s plentiful, and you’ll find a fun mix of decor here, befitting its setting at the corner of two Lands. Here, it looks like a tavern in a Texas frontier town.

Seating

Seating

Additional Seating

Additional Seating

But here, the setting is more like Adventureland. Caribbean Island? Mexico? It’s a little of this and a little of that with hanging lanterns, potted flowers, and a verandah overlooking the seating area.

Gorgeous "Outdoor" Seating -- Indoors

Gorgeous “Outdoor” Seating — Indoors

There are also [Read more…]

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe Debuts New Treats and Dishes

Spring is sprung (well, some places, anyway), and Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe in Disneyland has a few new menu items to check out!

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe

And you don’t even have to wait until March 20, when the new season officially begins. Jolly Holiday is already sporting the updated menu! Let’s take a peek at some sweet and savory treats.

Mini bundt cakes are all the rage, and JH comes in with this adorable Strawberry Bundt Cake. A thick drizzle of Icing and a Glazed Strawberry are ideal Springtime garnishes.

Stawberry Bundt Cake

Stawberry Bundt Cake

The bakery’s seasonal Crème Brûlée will feature ripe Raspberries.

Creme Brulee

Raspberry Crème Brûlée

Next up, they’ve got a Carrot Cake Cupcake with piped Cream Cheese Frosting. Sadly, it looks teensy tiny to me, and has one of those weird wrappers they’ve been doing over at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Disney World. They’re practically impossible to take off, so it’s really tough to eat these kinds of ‘cakes on the go.

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake Cupcake

A [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…]