Take A Tax Break…

Yep, today is TAX DAY in the US of A, and we know you’ve been buried under receipts and government forms and other boring things for days, weeks, and months.

This is me while I'm doing my taxes.

This is me while I’m doing my taxes.

But it’s time to take a TAX BREAK…and plan your DISNEY TRIP INSTEAD!

disneydining

Today and tomorrow only, we’re offering our uber popular DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book for 50% off…just to jump start your happy mood! Use code TAXBREAK to get the discount!

dfb2015_guide_3d

The fully updated DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2015 e-Book is an instantly downloadable PDF guide, featuring over 490 full-color pages of photographs, information, and advice about our favorite subjects — food and dining in Walt Disney World.

It’s guaranteed to help you navigate your way to delicious dining on your next trip! And if you’re ready to get yours now, head on over to DFBStore.com to pick it up!!

Today and tomorrow only, use code: TAXBREAK to get 50% off  the regular price for a limited time!

What’s In The Guide?

As thousands of repeat customers already know, the Guide includes:

  • A 5-Step Strategy for Disney Dining Planning, covering everything you need to know from budgeting and booking to kids’ meals, dining discounts, and fireworks.
  • A comprehensive and in-depth look at EVERY Disney World restaurant, kiosk, bar, and lounge, including our personal tips to ensure a positive and stress-free dining experience.
  • Four free, downloadable worksheets for planning your trip. These worksheets are designed to help you execute all the steps of planning the perfect Disney dining experience. And they’re reusable for all of your future trips!
  • Seven sample one-day dining itineraries for a head-start on planning.
  • A comprehensive index of bars and lounges. An often under-appreciated option for both dining and entertainment, the e-Book devotes a whole index to the topic.
  • The ability to be read on your mobile device or computer! It’s fully portable right in your pocket!

While our 2014 Guide was extensive, Disney World is always updating menus, prices, and other dining info. And we’re always finding new things to tell you about! So we’ve updated our 2015 edition with brand new details and more exclusive info! Check out a couple of sample pages below. Click to enlarge!

Be Our Guest FastPass Tips. Newly updated for 2015!

DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining Sample Page

What's New Sample Page from our new 2015 Dining Guide!

DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining Sample Page

Here’s Just Some Of What You Get With Our 2015 Guide:

  • Over 490 Pages of Disney Dining and Planning information, tips, reviews, and recommendations!
  • An in-depth Disney Dining Restaurant Reviews section, covering all Disney restaurants, food kiosks, bars, and lounges
  • An updated Disney Dining Plan section and price analysis for 2015
  • NEW Disney food and restaurant photos
  • An updated Disney Snacks chapter, including our list of dozens of must-try snacks AND our Top Must-Have Snacks for 2015
  • A comprehensive chapter of What’s New in Disney World in 2015, including new restaurants, menu updates, and more
  • Details about how the My Magic+ Planning System and FastPass+ will affect your vacation planning
  • Our picks for Great Snacks you must try this year
  • Tips for scoring a Be Our Guest FastPass for lunch time dining
  • Our suggestions for [Read more…]

2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Recipe: Burnt Ends Brisket Hash from the Smokehouse Outdoor Kitchen

Flowers are not all that’s blooming at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival! This event — which is happening right now through May 17 — combines the best of all things: Spring and some truly Awesome Dishes! (For a complete run down of our Must-Eat Treats from this year’s Festival, click here.)

epcot flower and garden logo

The deliciousness comes courtesy of the Outdoor Kitchens. The kiosks, situated throughout World Showcase, provide guests with the opportunity to taste some fresh flavors of the season as well as some regional fare.

The Smokehouse

Smokin’ at the Smokehouse

You’ll find fan favorite Smokehouse: Barbecues and Brews located in the America Pavilion, serving up delicious regional barbecue favorites. We love their Pulled Pig Slider with Coleslaw, their new-this-year Smoked Debreziner Sausage, and their Piggylicious Cupcake!

But they’ve also introduced a brand new flavor sensation: Burnt Ends Brisket Hash!

Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños from the Smokehouse Outdoor Kitchen

Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños from the Smokehouse Outdoor Kitchen

I was excited to see the dish at the Flower and Garden Festival. Hash is having kind of a moment (it’s that whole retro thing), and we absolutely loved the Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon Hash featured at Farm Fresh during last year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

The dish is both delicious and thrifty: it’s a great way to use up those “burnt ends” that result from low and slow smoked brisket.

So if you find yourself barbecuing Texas-style — and really, who doesn’t?? — then give this one a try to use up leftovers. Personally, they had me at White Cheddar Fondue. :-)

Burnt Ends Brisket Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeño Peppers

Smokehouse Outdoor Kitchen
Serves 4-6

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Review: Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Terrace at Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort

CHEERS! COWABUNGA! TULLEEHO! KUNGALOOSH!

It’s already time to go back inside (and outside!) Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Terrace at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort!

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

While both the Grotto and Terrace continue in soft openings with an official opening anticipated for late April (when all the sought-after souvenir glasses will be available for guests to take home), these new hot spots remain the talk of the town.

On March 28th, when both the Grog Grotto and the Tiki Terrace soft opened for the first day, tales of lines up to 6 hours long were nearly as much of a story as the bars opening themselves. So a common question now is, “What are the wait times like?”

How long until you can get past Trader Sam's door?

How long until you can get past Trader Sam’s door?

Grog Grotto Hours of Operation

Grog Grotto Hours of Operation

Unsure of what to expect, my husband and I arrived at the Polynesian at 2 pm on a weekday for the 4 pm opening, and no line had started yet (though the bar is open until midnight, after 8 pm only guests 21 and older are permitted).

At 3 pm, we decided we’d better stake out our spot, so we went to the inside door of the Grog Grotto, where two Cast Members were waiting. We were told we were the first for the day, and could start the line outside at the metal bench pictured below.

The line starts here

The line starts here

The next guest arrived at 3:15, and a line in earnest began to form at 3:30 pm. Around 3:50, a Cast Member came outside and gave us all a stamp to show at the door as our proof that we’d been counted in the line. At this time, I counted around 40 people waiting, and when we were let in at 4:00 pm, everyone made it inside to fill up the 51 person capacity. Huzzah!

Outdoor entrance into the Trader Sam's hallway

Outdoor entrance into the Trader Sam’s hallway

Now, I’m not claiming this will be the case everyday. We clearly arrived early anticipating a wait and were shocked that there wasn’t one, especially during what’s considered a peak time (still in the Spring Break window). Now, I had a friend in town Saturday of the same week. She arrived at Trader Sam’s at 7:30 pm and was given a pager for a 90 minute wait, and folks arriving a while after were looking at a couple hours at least.

Pager for Trader Sam's

Pager for Trader Sam’s

That’s not altogether surprising, though, since I think we can all anticipate longer lines on weekends for what is sure to be a popular destination for locals as well as vacationers for a long time to come.

Okay, logistics, schmogistics! WE’RE IN! It’s time to see a little more of what Trader Sam has in store for his guests…

TRADER SAM’S GROG GROTTO

Atmosphere

You’ve now entered Trader Sam’s “happy hideaway.” The story of the Grotto is told to us by Skip, Manager of the Jungle Cruise Navigational Company (just click the image below to enlarge). As head salesman of the jungle that we all know and love from the Jungle Cruise, Trader Sam discovered a passion for mixology as an extension of his professional interest in head-shrinking potions. As he traveled the globe for ingredients, he picked up many a souvenir and brought them back to the Grotto.

The story of Trader Sam's Grog Grotto

The story of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Entering the Grotto for the first time was — for me, at least — overwhelming in the best way possible. While you want to grab a table or a seat at the bar (and lemme tell ya, it’s best to move quickly to get one), it’s difficult to not want to try to take in every bit of the INSANE amount of details and decoration right away. This room is simply the stuff of dreams for fans of Disney detail and history.

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Before we take in a few of those gems, the basic setup is small and…well, I don’t know if “cozy” is the word. It’s snug, for sure, but somehow not in a bad way. The way everyone is close together, it seems to encourage a party atmosphere and festive mood.

Oh, my… where to start? Well, I’ll take a cue from a Jungle Cruise Skipper and point out a few of my favorite details! There’s this one.

Postcard

Postcard

And this one.

Family Tree East Coast Branch

Family Tree East Coast Branch

I like this one.

Picture of Walt Disney

Walt Disney

Ooookay, so CLEARLY that joke doesn’t play out in writing the same way it does on the Jungle Cruise when your Skipper deadpans pointing out his or her favorite plants ;) . Still, you get the point. There is just a TON of [Read more…]

Recipe: S’mores Bake from Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue in Disneyland

There’s an iconic dessert in Disneyland that everyone’s got to try at least once. Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue offers giant cookie bakes for dessert, which are amazing; but they also offer a S’mores Bake built for a crowd!

Big Thunder Ranch BBQ

Big Thunder Ranch BBQ

We had a chance to sample this dessert firsthand a while back.

Isn't it gorgeous?

S’more Bake at Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue

What makes this version of s’mores so fantastic? It takes your indulgence to the next level by making it on a base of Brownies. Brownies.

For ease, this recipe calls for a Brownie Mix to get you started. But you should absolutely feel free to substitute your favorite brownie recipe if you’d like to make the brownies from scratch. Either way, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be awesome.

Enjoy!

S‘mores Bake

Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 (10.5-ounce) box fudge brownie mix
1 (1-pound) bag large marshmallows
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot fudge sauce, warmed
8 graham crackers

Instructions: [Read more…]

Spotted!: Cinnamon Sweet Churro Milkshake at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Ah, Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner — this is why I lurve you. So much.

Min & Bill’s has introduced yet another killer seasonal milkshake that you and I MUST have.

If you’re scratching your head and saying, “Min and Bill’s? What? Where?” — you aren’t alone. It’s not that it’s hidden or anything; you just probably don’t expect much from this boat-as-a-food-destination.

But this often-overlooked spot can be a treasure trove of unique eats and drinks. I’ve been a fan of their Frankfurter in a Pretzel Roll (especially the Pretzel Roll part of the equation) forever.

Min and Bill's Dockside Diner at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

You probably remember that the last time I was here, I tried the Artisan Mac and Cheese options. The Barbecued Pulled Pork version was a total hit; the Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese, notsomuch.

But the seasonal shake that I tried that day, the Caramel Apple Milkshake, was fantastic. And now, there’s yet another crave-worthy option here.

Check out that awesomeness that is the Cinnamon Sweet Churro Milkshake. And just in time too — ’cause I hear that [Read more…]

News! Star Wars Weekends “Feel the Force” Package Reservations Now Available!

Star Wars Weekends continue to grow in popularity with the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens later this year. And Disney is answering the call by providing lots of premium experiences for guests to enjoy.

Feel the Force

Wanna hang out with this guy?

But the coolest Star Wars Weekends events in our opinion? The ones that involve food, of course!

We saw the introduction of Star Wars Dining Opportunities last year, as Disney introduced Star Wars Character Dining Experiences. Guests can choose from Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine (see our review here) or Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast at Sci-Fi (see a guest review here).

But today, we have news of another returning event. Set your cruisers to lightspeed and get ready to dial: Feel the Force Premium Packages are returning in 2015, and you can start booking them today!

The packages, which debuted in 2014, get you up close to all the action happening during Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They are available Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during Star Wars Weekends, which take place this year from May 15 until June 14.

There are two different packages to choose from. Let’s check out what you get with each of them.

Feel the Force Premium Package

The Feel the Force Premium Package includes all of the following:

  • 11:00AM — Noon: Reserved viewing for the Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade. Guests will also enjoy a selection of Soft Drinks, Water, and a Snack.
  • Reserved seating for ONE of the Celebrity Talk Shows in Theater of the Stars. Show time will be selected at check-in. Please Note: there are a limited amount of seats per show and times are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • 9:00PM: “Symphony in the Stars” Fireworks Dessert Party, which includes Star Wars-themed desserts (think Yoda and Darth Vader Cupcakes — read our review of them here!) as well as Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages. Guests also enjoy a reserved viewing location for the nightly “Symphony in the Stars” fireworks show.
Darth Vader and Yoda Cupcakes

Enjoy Darth Vader and Yoda Cupcakes to Your Heart’s Content!

The price for the Feel the Force Premium Packages is [Read more…]

Join the DFB Newsletter for Breaking News and Updates!

You know it’s a fact: there’s a LOT to cover when it comes to Disney Food. Right now, there seems to be breaking news practically on a daily basis. Throw in the busiest time of the year, and how do you keep up?

DFB Newsletter

By subscribing to the DFB Newsletter!

Covering everything that’s happening right now on the blog is a tall order. So we reserve even more Disney Food News for our Newsletter. What makes it even better? It’s delivered straight to your inbox!

It’s such a busy time of the year as we head into vacation season, and we don’t want you to miss a single second of all that’s happening at Disney.

If you love Disney Food, then you’ll love our Newsletter. Twice a month (and more when there’s big news!), we’ll send it to you, brimming with full-color photographs and exclusive content.

Get all the info about the newest Disney restaurants!

Get all the info about the newest Disney restaurants!

You’ll enjoy features like our [Read more…]

Easter Treats and Spring Break Eats Around Walt Disney World

The 2015 Chocolate Easter Egg Display at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort isn’t the only sure sign of spring around here these days! Easter treats have been “hopping” up everywhere around Disney World Resort to celebrate this weekend’s holiday — not to mention the remainder of the Spring Break season through the end of next week.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a holiday at Disney World without all sorts of specialty cupcakes, and Easter is no egg-ception. (I. Can’t. Stop. Doing. That!). At Epcot, a Chocolate Cupcake with marshmallow filling and marshmallow buttercream frosting can be found at Fountain View from now through April 11th, and at Sunshine Seasons for a very limited run on April 4th and 5th.

©Disney

©Disney

This beauty of a Carrot Cake Cupcake topped with a mini Bunny Macaron will be at the Contemporary Resort only through April 5th! The inside has a pineapple-coconut filling and it’s all topped with white chocolate buttercream frosting along with toasted coconut and — hooray! — jelly beans!

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©Disney

While there, be sure to check out the Contemporary Resort’s display of Chocolate Bunnies and decorated Easter Eggs presented by the Resort’s pastry chefs on the fourth floor!

BoardWalk Bakery boasts its own Easter Cupcake: vanilla cake filled with raspberry panna cotta, topped off with a coconut nest filled with jelly beans.

makmak868775-613x409

©Disney

And, of course, you can check out spots at [Read more…]

News! Tickets Now on Sale for Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin’s Food and Wine Classic

Back by popular demand, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin will once again be hosting its popular Food and Wine Classic!

fw-Logo

Mark your calendars for Friday and Saturday, October 30 and 31, as the Classic celebrates its sixth year! Once again in 2015, the Food and Wine Classic will take place during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival — offering you two wonderful ways to enjoy the food of Disney!

There’s so much to enjoy at this event. Let’s take a closer look at all it has to offer.

The Causeway

Stroll the beautiful Causeway connecting the Swan and Dolphin as you enjoy tapas-sized plates from the resort’s restaurants.

The Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

The Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to sample wine and beer from all around the world. The menu is diverse, celebrating the wide array of food that the Swan and Dolphin has to offer.

Shula's Prime Rib with Mashed Potatoes

Shula’s Prime Rib with Mashed Potatoes

We can’t wait to see what spots like Todd English’s bluezoo and Shula’s Steak House offer in 2015!

And there are always a few fun surprises, like Chef Cib’s Smokehouse. Live music plays as evening falls, so bring your dancing shoes. :-)

Food and Beverage Seminars

The 6th Annual Food and Wine Classic will also play host to several Seminars. Choose from [Read more…]

Photo Tour: The 2015 Grand Floridian Resort Easter Egg Display in Walt Disney World

It’s one of my favorite times of the year at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort!

Every spring in the weeks preceding Easter, the Grand Floridian Bakery Team is given the opportunity to create some absolutely spectacular Easter Eggs for guests to enjoy. And the best part? The Eggs are made of CHOCOLATE. There are other ingredients involved, too, such as fondant, icing, and cocoa butter. But no matter what they are made of, they are all edible!

2015 Grand Floridian Easter Egg display

2015 Grand Floridian Easter Egg display

The Easter Eggs have been a Grand Floridian tradition for 19 years, but this is just the fourth year that the eggs have been on display for every guest who passes through the Grand Floridian lobby.

2015 Grand Floridian Easter Egg Display

2015 Grand Floridian Easter Egg Display

2015 Grand Floridian Easter Egg Display

2015 Grand Floridian Easter Egg Display

Something new this year… previously the Eggs were all displayed in one row directly at the lobby entrance. This year, the eggs are grouped in smaller displays in different areas around the lobby. Since some of the eggs are preserved from year to year (you may recognize some familiar ones from the 2014 Easter Egg display), the collection just keeps on growing!

Eggs are on display in various areas throughout the lobby

Eggs are on display in various areas throughout the lobby

The Easter Eggs are on display through April 10th. But in case Walt Disney World isn’t part of your 2015 spring break plans, we wanted to bring the Eggs to you once again this year!

One of the centerpiece eggs for 2015 is an edible replica of Cinderella’s Golden Coach.

Cinderella's Coach Egg

Cinderella’s Coach Egg

The classic Disney animated version of Cinderella received a tribute as well.

Cinderella Egg

Cinderella Egg

Cinderella Egg

Cinderella Egg

In an echo of the fountain in the lobby of the Grand Floridian Disney Vacation Club Villas, the penguins from Mary Poppins have come out to play!

Penguin Fountain Egg

Penguin Fountain Egg

Penguin Fountain Egg

Penguin Fountain Egg

Penguin Fountain Egg

Penguin Fountain Egg

There are no shortage of Disney characters on display, including the entire Toy Story gang.

Toy Story Egg

Toy Story Egg

Toy Story Egg

Toy Story Egg

Peter Pan tops off this egg complete with a map of Neverland.

Peter Pan Egg

Peter Pan Egg

Never one to be outdone, Tinkerbell tops her own egg, too!

Tinkerbell Egg

Tinkerbell Egg

And what’s a day at Disney World anymore without spotting this face ;) ?

Queen Elsa egg

Queen Elsa egg

Nothing against Queen Elsa, but it is totally awesome to see some less-heralded characters get a little love this year, too. I think I audibly gasped when I saw [Read more…]