Guest Review: Star Wars Symphony in the Stars Dessert Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Force is strong at Symphony in the Stars, a Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party! Beth Wesesky, guest author, takes us to this hard ticket event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. No faster-than-light travel necessary. ;)

A short time ago…in a state far, far away…
Nerd, geek, dweeb, scruffy-looking Nerfherder… any way you describe it, my family and I are proud Star Wars fanatics! So, on our most recent trip to Walt Disney World, we just KNEW that we had to get our “fix”! That “fix” included booking reservations for the “Symphony in the Stars, A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party” held in Disney’s Hollywood Studios on select nights through April 30th, 2016.

Symphony in the Stars

Symphony in the Stars

The day the reservation window opened, I made the jump to hyperspace and booked our party! Admission price is $69.00 for adults and $39.00 for children ages 3-9 and Hollywood Studios admission is required. Disney Dining Plan entitlements may not be used and prepayment with a credit card is required.

The party is described on the Walt Disney World website as: The Dessert Party You’re Looking For! Enjoy an out-of-this-world selection of desserts and specialty drinks—including alcoholic beverage options. Nibble on Darth Vader cupcakes as you take in an up-close view of the enthralling Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Show.

A Galactic Evening

A Galactic Evening

Atmosphere

We arrived in Disney’s Hollywood Studios around 6PM on January 24th, and headed for the Dessert Party check-in, which is located beside Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner. We were checked in by a lovely Cast Member who instructed us to return closer to 7PM. We were given a wrist band to present at the entrance when we returned.

Around 6:45PM, we headed back to an already very long line of party-goers waiting to be admitted to the viewing area. The viewing area was set up on the left side of Center Stage, in the hub of the park. The tables were standing tables, draped with black and red (nice Dark Side touch) tablecloths that just touched the ground. Keep in mind, there is no seating available, but the area is spacious and comfortable. Besides, once the fireworks begin, you’ll be on your feet in awe! The evening of our party, the temperature was about 38 degrees (brrrrr…), so Disney had several heat sources set up in the area to keep guests from shivering through the show!

Standing Tables

Standing Tables

Dessert Party Tables

Dessert Party Tables

Before the event got started, park-goers were entertained by an awesome light show and DJ who was playing modern dance tune mixes, which everyone enjoyed! As soon as we got into the viewing area, we headed for a table near the front to get a clear view of the fireworks. There were some trees blocking a bit of the view for other tables, but I’m sure this wasn’t a deal breaker.

Eats

We made the table our own, and went off to scope out the offerings! WOW…I’ve got to say, we were very impressed with not only the taste of the desserts and savory bites, but also with the presentation and layout as well! There were two food buffet stations, one on either side of the viewing area. Each station had the same selections, and it made navigating the area very stress-free. No bumping into other people reaching over you for food!

The sweet dessert options that were beautifully displayed on the stations included: Blue Milk Panna Cotta with Crispy Pearls (our 15-year old son’s favorite), “Darth Maul” The Pastry Menace Eclairs, [Read more…]

Dining in Disneyland: The Banana Corn Dog from DCA’s Award Wieners

First off, if you have yet to see Disney’s Zootopia, get out there and do it!  My whole family loved the movie.  It’s fun for all ages including temperamental, too cool for school tweens and teenagers.  Secondly, if you love bananas, we hope you got over to California Adventure’s Award Wieners to celebrate the movie with a Banana Corn Dog.

Award Wieners

Award Wieners

Located in DCA’s Hollywood Land, Award Wieners is a counter service hot dog spot currently offering (today is the last day!) the specialty Banana Corn Dog in honor of Zootopia’s release.

Zootopia Banana Corn Dog & Sipper Offerings

Zootopia Banana Corn Dog & Souvenir Tumbler Offerings

The Banana Corn Dog is actually two small banana corn dogs.  My guess is that they prepare it this way because a whole banana might get too mushy when fried and wouldn’t hold its shape.  The bananas are dipped in Corn and Honey Batter, fried, and topped with Powdered Sugar.  Two dipping sauces are served with the banana corn dogs: Red “Pawpsicle” Raspberry Sauce and Chocolate Sauce.

[Read more…]

#OnTheList: Beignets (now with dipping sauces!!) at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, French Quarter

DisneyFoodBucketList 8-018
This post is part of the DFB #OnTheList series, where we feature eats you’ve GOT to have while you’re at Disney! Let us know what’s on YOUR Disney Food Bucket List @DisneyFoodBlog #OnTheList!

February may be well over, but you can celebrate Mardi Gras any time of year thanks to this week’s #OnTheList item: Beignets at Port Orleans Resort — French Quarter!

#OnTheList: Beignets!

The lucky ducks on the west coast can find these Disneyland must-haves in the park at spots like Cafe Orleans and the Mint Julep Bar where they’re shaped as Mickey Mouse. [Read more…]

Review: Starbucks Smoked Butterscotch Latte and Frappuccino… vs. Butterbeer™

There has been a LOT of hype over the latest specialty beverages to arrive to Starbucks.

And while these new sips are being served at Starbucks locations all over Disney property in spots like Epcot’s Fountain View, Magic Kingdom’s Main Street BakeryTrolley Car Cafe at Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom’s Creature Comforts, they’re likely gracing the menu at your local Starbucks, too (making this a two-fer review for you!).

We’re talking about the Smoked Butterscotch Latte and Smoked Butterscotch Frappuccino! And though they’re available nationwide, many folks are making the comparison to a specific specialty drink at a certain theme park also located in Central Florida: BUTTERBEER™.

Described as “creamy-sweet with kettle cooked butterscotch,” it sure sounds enticing enough.

Smoked Butterscotch Drink Menu

Smoked Butterscotch Drink Menu

So I grabbed both the hot latte and the frappuccino versions so I could decide for myself how they really compare to a glass of Butterbeer™. If you’ve never had one, Butterbeer comes in a few different versions like cold or frozen, and has a very sweet and distinct butterscotch flavor throughout its cream soda base. The whole thing is topped off with foam.

Butterbeer at Three Broomsticks

Butterbeer at Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter

[Read more…]

Review: Star Wars Cupcake at Contempo Cafe in Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Allright, Star Wars Fans! And Cupcake Fans. And Contempo Cafe Fans…

We’re back yet again this week at one of Disney World’s longtime bonafide Cupcake Capitals — the Contempo Cafe in Disney World’s Contemporary Resort — to check out one of the more recent additions to its nearly legendary bakery case. While it remains home to treats like the awesome Peanut Butter Pie (aka: heaven), it’s still a great spot to grab a good old fashioned cupcake.

As always, the cupcakes here do change with higher frequency than many spots. The featured cupcake for the month of March, for instance, is a Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake (and early April should bring a Carrot Cake Cupcake). But when I went to see it for myself, it was another batch that caught my attention.

The Star Wars Cupcakes.

Now, typically I’d insert a picture of the bakery case display to give you pricing information, descriptions, and all that. And I do have one to share in a moment. But first, I’ll show you the cupcake I grabbed.

Star Wars Cupcake

Star Wars Cupcake

The cupcake that you see above is topped with a Star Wars character ring; specifically, Phasma, Captain of the First Order from Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. [Read more…]

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: March 15, 2016

Happy Spring! At least, it’s Spring in Disney World where temperatures are starting to rise once more with warm days leading into gorgeous nights!

Springtime Treats at Main Street Confectionery

Springtime Treats at Main Street Confectionery

No matter what the thermometer says in your neck of the woods, why not enjoy a bit of spring with us here at the DFB as we travel all over Disney World to find out What’s New!? [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…]

Best of the Fest: What to Eat at the 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

There’s a lot to love about Epcot during just about every season. With the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in the Fall, and Holidays Around the World celebrating Winter holidays, this has truly become a festival Park!

But Spring in the park is especially beautiful as the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival gets going. (I know. It doesn’t feel like Spring everywhere. But trust me. It does in Florida.)

Flower and Garden Festival

The Flower and Garden Festival, which runs through May 30, opened last week, and we were there for the very first day! After an afternoon of Eating and Drinking Around the World, we came away with pictures of all of the dishes — and more than a few new favorites! Today, we’d like to share with you our Best of the Fest — our top picks from the new dishes that you can enjoy when you visit this year’s Festival.

Jerk-spice Grouper (or Chicken) from La Isla Fresca

La Isla Fresca debuted at the 2016 Flower and Garden Festival, and it brings with it the fresh flavors of the Caribbean. Everything that we tasted here was a winner!

La Isla Fresca Dishes

La Isla Fresca Dishes

But we especially liked the option to choose between Jerked Grouper or Chicken (although we went for both! :-D) But seriously — not everyone is a fish lover, and not all folks eat chicken. So having a dish where you can decide, but still enjoy the flavors, is a great idea! [Read more…]

News: Disney Dining Plan Price Increase

Are you in the midst of planning your next Walt Disney World vacation? Then you’ll want to know that Disney has increased the price of the Disney Dining Plans for the Quick Service, Standard, and Deluxe Dining Plans as of March 9, 2016.

Disney Dining Plan

Disney Dining Plan Prices as of March 9, 2016

Quick-Service Dining Plan
$44.13 per night ages 10 and up
$19.04 per night ages 3 to 9
(Increase from earlier 2016 pricing of $42.84 and $17.47)

Standard Dining Plan
$63.70 per night ages 10 and up
$22.85 per night ages 3 to 9
(Increase from earlier 2016 pricing of $61.84 and $20.96)

Deluxe Dining Plan
$115.08 per night ages 10 and up
$35.49 per night ages 3 to 9
(Increase from earlier 2016 pricing of $111.57 and $32.56)

This pricing was obtained through booking online reservations on DisneyWorld.com.

2016 book cover dfb guide

Wondering Whether the Disney Dining Plan Will SAVE You Money?

We’ve got TONS of Disney World Dining Tips — including a full chapter and price break-down and comparison on whether the Disney Dining Plan will save YOU money — in our big, bold 2016 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining!

With more than 530 pagesThe DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining is full of tips and planning tools developed by Disney World experts over 30+ years of visits. We’ve done the research for you, so you’ll know just which spots will uniquely suit your family’s needs, how to save dough on your Disney dining, and more!

With sample dining itineraries, plus multiple bonus features and reusable worksheets, you’ll have everything you need to plan your best vacation yet. Click here to get your copy of The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining E-book — and use code HAPPYPLACE for an extra $4 discount for a limited time!

What are your thoughts on the latest pricing information for the Disney Dining Plan? Please chime in with a comment. 

Review: Bite-Size Churros from Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in Magic Kingdom

Who’s up for some CHURROS?

We sure are! (Then again, when aren’t we?!) So our Magic Kingdom stop today is Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in Frontierland!

Perhaps you were expecting a visit to the Frontierland Churro Cart or the Storybook Pretzel Cart? Fret not, you can still find them there, along with Mickey Pretzels and cold drinks to wash down your snack of choice. But when the menu at Pecos Bill’s underwent a complete change from burgers-and-fries to Mexican fare, Churros suddenly appeared as a dessert option here as well (along with some no-longer-available Sopaipillas).

The take is a bit different, though, at the Tall Tale Inn, so we’re here to have a peek… and a bite or two, of course ;) .

Here we go!

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe

Of course, Churros have been a long-time favorite of ours (and possibly yours, too). They’re a go-to snack for many guests in both Disney World and Disneyland. So it wasn’t a huge surprise to spot Churros on the updated Pecos Bill menu. [Read more…]