Tips from the DFB Guide: Don’t Miss These Holiday Events in Disney World!

Summer may have just officially started, but we are already thinking of the Holidays at Walt Disney World!

miniguide_2015holiday

Sounds crazy, I know, but we’re just over 180 days — six months! — until the holidays are in full swing, and NOW is the time to make dining plans for your holiday meals — but it’s also the time to consider what other fun activities you’ll enjoy at Walt Disney World this holiday season.

To jumpstart your planning, today we’re talking about some of our favorite Tips from the DFB Guide to the Holidays at Disney World: Three Holiday Events that you can’t miss!

And speaking of the DFB Guide, don’t get to take advantage of our 180 Days Til Christmas Sale! Through June 28, we’re offering three great ways to save when you pre-order the 2015 DFB Guide to the Holidays at Walt Disney World. Check out all of the details about the sale here!

Now, let’s take a look at some of our favorite holiday events that you should definitely plan on working into your Disney holiday calendar…

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Snow on Main Street USA and life-size Toy Soldiers? That’s part of your reality when you attend the long-running and beloved Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

This hard-ticketed event takes place during select evenings from November 8 until December 18, 2015, this year, and brings all of the joy and warm fuzzy feeling of Christmas and the holiday season to Magic Kingdom.

Toy Soldiers During the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade!

Toy Soldiers During the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade!

During the event, guests enjoy special entertainment and character meet and greets. Complimentary cocoa and cookies fuel you up for all the fun. And there are TONS of special, exclusive treats that you can enjoy only during the Party!

Snickerdoodles and hot cocoa

Snickerdoodles and Hot Cocoa

And be sure to grab a front row seat for Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, which features Santa as well as some of your favorite Disney holiday characters. And, of course Anna and Elsa will be there!

Holidays Around the World

Looking to observe the holidays with international flair? Then an evening at Epcot for Holidays Around the World will fit the bill nicely. Enjoy a stroll around Epcot’s beautiful World Showcase as storytellers from around the globe share seasonal tales within several of the pavilions — free with Epcot admission!

Pere Noel

Père Noël

And if you didn’t score a seat for the [Read more…]

Review: Blue Milk Milkshake at 50s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

It’s time to head back to 50s Prime Time Cafe for a little Star Wars goodness.

This restaurant, located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is a great example of Disney imagineering. The 1950s retro vibe is enhanced with authentic furniture, wallpaper, and knick knacks — and the staff play right along…so be sure to eat all your veggies, or run the risk of having them fork-fed to you.

Don't forget to ask for a TV table on your visit to 50s Prime Time Cafe! And keep your elbows off the table...

Don’t forget to ask for a TV table on your visit to 50s Prime Time Cafe! And keep your elbows off the table…

But 50s Prime Time also features some classic…and not-so-classic…Milkshakes. The Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake is a must-try.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake

Peanut Butter and Jelly Milkshake

You’ll find standard chocolate and vanilla as well, and the Prime Time will usually dream up a few specialty, seasonal milkshakes for the menu. The Red Velvet Cake Milkshake, with chunks of cream cheese frosting, was pretty fantastic.

But if you’re heading to the Studios for the last of the Star Wars Weekends today or tomorrow, it’s your last chance to try one of my favorite seasonal options — the [Read more…]

2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival News: Menu for Mexico Tequila Tasting Lunch

We have some exciting news today for you about the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! We’ve confirmed that Tequila Pairing Lunches in the Mexico Pavilion are back as part of the Special Events line up!

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I had the chance to attend the luncheon a while back. It was a great way to spend the afternoon — sampling tequila, and learning how this versatile spirit can pair beautifully with different menu items.

In anticipation of this year’s lineup, our friends from the Mexico Pavilion recently held a tasting to determine just what would make the menu cut.

We’re excited to share some menu descriptions straight from La Cava del Tequila! Let’s take a closer look.

Menu Planned for the Tequila Pairing Lunch at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

When I attended the Tequila Pairing Lunch, we enjoyed four courses, paired with three different tequilas as well as Agovera Liqueur. (This event is not for the faint of heart. :-) )

Display Table at Entry of Luncheon

Display Table at Entry of Luncheon

As of the writing of this post, the lunch will include four courses paired with tequilas. But please keep in mind, the dishes are subject to change! Anything is possible between now and Festival Go-Time on September 25!

Your journey through the world of tequila will start with a Flautas de Carnitas — a mini crispy Flauta filled with Pork Carnitas and accompanied by Avocado, Cream, Queso Foam, Roasted Serrano Pepper, and Tomato.

Crispy Carnitas

Flautas de Carnitas

The next course, Sopa de Chile Poblano y Calabaza, will be prepared with Roasted Poblano Pepper, Zucchini, Cilantro, Queso Fresco, and Guajillo Pepper Oil.

The Main Entrée will be a combination of Mar y TierraPan-Seared Snapper and New York Strip — served with a creamy [Read more…]

Cheap(er) Disney Stuff! Twice Upon a Year 40% Off Sale Happening Now…

There is just a little time left to get in on some great online deals at the Disney Store!

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Sale items have been marked up to 40% off for the summer version of the Twice Upon a Year Sale. We couldn’t resist peeking around and checking out some of the cuteness.

As per usual, some of our favorite items come from the Home & Decor section, since that’s where all the kitchen goodies reside online…

Mickey Mouse Dimensional Mug

Um…super cute. I simply couldn’t pass up showing this Mickey Mouse Mug to you. They also have Goofy, Minnie, and Pluto versions! Adorable.

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Summer Fun Mickey Mouse Pitcher

Just in time for all those cold beverages you crave on hot summer days! I don’t know which part of the Summer Fun Mickey Mouse Pitcher I like best. The front… [Read more…]

Spotted: Jerrod Maruyama Disney Film and Park Mugs

So. much. cute.

Have you seen the latest Jerrod Maruyama mugs on any of your own Disney trips this year? I most recently noticed these in  Epcot’s Mouse Gears, but you can also find them in Magic Kingdom’s Emporium — or just about anywhere on Disney property that sells mugs, basically.

Jerrod Maruyama Mugs

Jerrod Maruyama Mugs

Jerrod Maruyama is the artist behind the Hipster Mickey line, among others, and he’s super fun to follow on Instagram. But what I really like about these mugs in particular is the way his designs pick up on some truly iconic Disney moments and images.

For instance, the Pinocchio Mug features so many memorable moments from the film. I can’t help but think of the artwork in Pinocchio Village Haus when I look at it.

Pinocchio Mug

Pinocchio Mug

Pinocchio Mug

Pinocchio Mug

Like the others, the amount of detail packed into the Bambi Mug is pretty incredible. Plus, it’s somewhat hard to find Bambi merchandise in the parks, so points for that, too!

Bambi Mug

Bambi Mug

Bambi Mug

Bambi Mug

I know it’s inspired completely by the film, but the colors of the Dumbo Mug remind me of life under the circus tent at Big Top Treats.

Dumbo Mug

Dumbo Mug

Dumbo Mug

Dumbo Mug

I’ve saved my favorite for last: the Disneyland Mug. It shows Disney characters enjoying [Read more…]

Recipe: Celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Lady and the Tramp with Bella Notte Sangria!

Those lovable pooches, Lady and the Tramp, will celebrate their 60th Anniversary next week! And they still look so young!

Lady and the Tramp Fanniversary

And to kick off the event the right way, D23, the official Disney Fan Club, will be launching their very first Fanniversary, Home Edition.

If it sounds like big fun to you, then head over to [Read more…]

Pre-Order the DFB Guide to the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival…and Get the 2014 Guide FREE!

Happy 20th Birthday, Epcot Food and Wine Festival!!

Food and Wine Festival Updates

Can you believe it? 2015 will mark the 20th Consecutive Year that Walt Disney World has hosted this event. What started as a way to draw crowds during a slower part of the year has officially become a huge draw and destination in its own right.

And even though it’s only (ONLY?!?) April, it is NEVER too early to start the countdown to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival! We’re already sharing who will be playing at the Eat to the Beat Concerts, so it’s definitely time to start booking your dates…

This year’s Festival will once again run a record number of days — more than seven full weeks of food, music, and special events! But with so much awesomeness to enjoy, my number one piece of advice remains the same: Plan, Plan, Plan. And then Plan some more.

And we have a fun and easy way for you to get started, even before the first menu or culinary demo is announced!

The DFB Guide to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival is now available for pre-order. (Expected publish date is mid-Summer 2015.) And when you enter discount code “CHEFS” at checkout, you’ll enjoy $3 off the cover price!

But AJ, Why Do I Want to Order the DFB Guide to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Now?

I’m really glad that you asked! The biggest and best reason for you to pre-order your 2015 DFB Guide to the Food and Wine Festival is that you’ll get the 2014 Guide immediately for FREE!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Brazil Marketplace Booth

Find out our best tips for visiting the World Showcase booths in the DFB Guide to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book!

That means that you can start planning today! And I promise, that is something that you totally want to do. Because when Culinary Demonstrations, Seminars, and Other Special Events are announced, it’s usually just days before booking opens — and then they book up super fast. Time is of the essence when you’re ready to book.

And with the Festival celebrating its 20th year, we already are expecting that it’s going to be truly over the top.

Chef Gale Gand

Events with Celebrity Chefs, Like This One with Chef Gale Gand, Book Up Extra Fast

We expect an expanded Marketplace offering, plus all kinds of Special Extras.

What does all of this add up to? If you’re ever going to plan a trip to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, then 2015 is the year to do it!!!

So, What Do You Get in the DFB Guide to the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival e-Book?

As is the case with all of our DFB Guides, we’re making this edition downloadable for your convenience, and it’s a snap to install on all of your mobile devices. The 2014 version is a PDF guide with over 220 pages of detailed information about the Festival as well as photographs and customized bonus items, and we expect the 2015 guide to weigh in at a similar heft.

If you’re on a budget, you’ll love our advice on how to [Read more…]

News! The Orange Bird Returns to Magic Kingdom — With SUPER Limited Time Merchandise

As you may know, there was a little switch-up in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland a few months ago: Aloha Isle (home of the Dole Whip) and Sunshine Tree Terrace (Citrus Swirl haven) changed places to accommodate construction — it is widely believed — for an upcoming Jungle Cruise-themed restaurant.

New Sunshine Tree Terrace location

New Sunshine Tree Terrace location

On the day the “new” locations opened, however, there was one obvious thing missing: the Orange Bird could not be found at Sunshine Tree Terrace (to learn a little more about the Orange Bird’s long Adventureland history, check out the video in this post!).

Disney assured fans, thankfully, of his impending return, and it seems it has now come to pass. The original Orange Bird figurine returned today — Friday, May 29th — to Sunshine Tree Terrace (and he is going to be honored on the location’s sign as well).

Welcome back, Orange Bird!

Welcome back, Orange Bird!

To celebrate his homecoming, the Disney Parks online store is selling a LIMITED RUN t-shirt and poster featuring our little orange pal! Through June 4 only, this Orange Bird T-shirt will be available in an Adult and Youth size:

©Disney

©Disney

A print featuring the same design is up for grabs, and so is [Read more…]

Raglan Road (In Ireland!): How Recipes are Born

We are a couple days back from the Raglan Road Master Chef Class in Ireland! And after recovering a bit from the go-go-go pace and jet lag, I’d like to share with you a few more glimpses into my time there.

The Cooking School at Dunbrody House Hotel

The Cooking School at Dunbrody House Hotel

Today, we step into the kitchen to get behind-the-scenes insight into how Chef Kevin Dundon and his team create the recipes that we enjoy on Raglan Road’s menu and during special functions.

Creating the Recipes

If you followed along during our coverage of the #RaglanRoadTrip, then you know that Master Chef contest entrants were tasked with creating a three-course menu that would be featured at Raglan Road’s upcoming tenth anniversary celebration this October.

Sancerre and Irish Butter -- How Could We Go Wrong?

Sancerre and Irish Butter — How Could We Go Wrong?

As it turns out, this exercise set the stage for the curriculum in cooking school this week!

Chef Dundon took each of the finalists’ menus, chose one dish, and refined it. The resulting collaboration turned in five dishes that were at once original and recognizable — but also over-the-top delicious.

Chef Dundon Creates and Heather Takes Notes

Chef Dundon Creates and Heather Takes Notes

Watching the process was interesting in that it gave each of us the chance to see how recipe development for Raglan Road takes place.

Starting with the seed of the finalists’ recipes, Chef Dundon and the finalists experimented with the dishes and tweaked until they were just right. He cooked as the finalists took notes. And at the end of the day, each person tested how well they paid attention by cooking the dish all over again. (They all did great, by the way.)

One of the Dishes -- Flash Fried Oyster Butter Soup with Honey Foam

One of the Winning Dishes — Flash Fried Oyster Butter Soup with Honey Foam

I think the biggest takeaway for all of us was the concept of [Read more…]

News! 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Confirmed Booths, New Dishes, and More Details!

The Epcot Food and Wine Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2015, and today, we’re starting to get an idea of what this year will include.

2015 Epcot Food and Wine Logo

We have updates on everything from food to new attractions, so let’s get to it!

NEW Booths and Dishes

While we anticipate lots and lots more announcements about new food items, we’re getting our very first glimpse of some eats that will debut in the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booths!

The Scotland Booth is back and will debut a brand new drink, the Scottish Citrus Thistle!

A Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp with Pineapple, Peppers, Onions and Snap Peas will be a highlight at the Australia Booth, and the New Zealand Booth will tempt guests with a Seared Venison Loin with Wild Mushroom Ragout and Kumara Dumpling.

Other new dishes will include Pepper Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese (what WHAT?!??!?) at the Farm Fresh Booth. But I super hope that amazing Hash returns in 2015!

Farm Fresh Marketplace

Farm Fresh Marketplace

Of course, we are crossing our fingers and hoping that plenty of dishes that we love return as well. We do know that the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup is returning to the Canada Booth!

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup Will Once Again Join the Festival Line Up

So we can breathe a collective sigh of relief there. :-)

New Special Events

We cannot wait to check out a brand new festival Premium Event — the French Family Meal Traditions Lunch, which will take place on Fridays and Sundays.

Parisian Breakfast

If the French Family Meal Traditions Lunch is Anything Like the Parisian Breakfast, We Can’t Wait!

A brand new premium party, the Rockin’ Burger Block Party, will also take place on select dates. More details to come about that one!

NEW Artists Debuting and Familiar Favorites Returning to Eat to the Beat Concert Series

Taking in an Eat to the Beat Concert as the sun goes down is a great way to enjoy your evening at the festival. And this year, we have some brand new acts to choose from.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Performing at Eat to the Beat

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Performing at Eat to the Beat

New acts Tiffany, Everclear, Maxi Priest, and Chaka Khan will take the stage at the America Pavilion in 2015. They’ll be joined by several returning acts, including Wilson Phillips, Smash Mouth, The Pointer Sisters, Jo Dee Messina, Boyz II Men, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

To check out the FULL official line up, click over to our Eat to the Beat Concert Series Page!

Celebrity Chefs to Appear at the 2015 Food and Wine Festival

One of the most fun aspects of the festival is catching a low cost culinary demonstration with celebrity chefs. 2015 will see the return of many favorites. Look for Cat Cora, Robert Irvine, Jamie Deen, Rock Harper, Kenny Gilbert, and Buddy Valastro at Culinary Demos and Special Events.

Cake Boss, 2011 Sweet Sundays Event

Cake Boss, 2011 Sweet Sundays Event

Chef Cat Cora Book Signing at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Chef Cat Cora Book Signing at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The festival will also welcome back chef and cookbook author John Ash, who appeared at the very first festival in 1996!

Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak Scavenger Hunt

Also new for 2015 — everyone’s favorite rat chef Remy will be joining the party with [Read more…]