Update: How MyMagic+ and the My Disney Disney Experience App Have Impacted Disney World Dining

A few years ago Walt Disney World rolled out its “planning-your-vacay-for-serious” program, MyMagic+ and its corresponding My Disney Experience App. The Dynamic Duo promised to transform your Disney vacation in every imaginable way.

MyMagic+ MagicBand

MyMagic+ MagicBand in Action

Did it succeed? You betcha.

At the time, Disney confidently predicted that MyMagic+ would allow you to be as structured and planned, or as free and spontaneous as you preferred. How’s that workin’ for ya?

If you’re a planner, great! Right? And if you’re not, um…not so well, eh?

To be fair, we’ve found a whole lot to embrace and really really love about MyMagic+ and My Disney Experience (I’m calling it MDE from here on out. OK?) But it’s definitely changed the landscape of how you manage a Disney visit.

Access My Disney Experience on Your Computer or Your Mobile App

Access My Disney Experience on Your Computer or Your Mobile App

Back then, we made a few predictions about how MyMagic+ might affect your Disney Dining. Today, we’d like to revisit those predictions to see what happened, and to determine what other impact MDE and MyMagic+ has had. [Read more…]

Review: Butterscotch Mickey Beignets in Disneyland for Halloween Time

It’s Halloween Time at Disneyland… and a new flavor of Mickey Beignets has come along for the season!

Mint Julep Bar

Mint Julep Bar

Stop by the Mint Julep Bar to find the Beignets, currently sprinkled with Butterscotch-flavored sugar. (You’ll also see them on the menu at Cafe Orleans.) [Read more…]

Review: Jiko — A Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, I made it a mission to revisit one of my favorite restaurants, Jiko.

The restaurant is your top-of-the-line, signature dining option at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Resort, and I’ve been a big fan of the spot since my very first visit.

With a combination of wonderful ambiance, exotic flavors, and a killer wine list, it’s sure to please any adventurous food lover, and it always surprises me that it tends to fly a little under the radar. This may be because the food is a bit less mainstream, or because the restaurant is a hike to get to.

As regular readers know, though — no matter how much I like a restaurant, I insist on visiting and reviewing them time and again to make sure that I can still recommend them. Fortunately, that’s nearly always a pleasure to do.

Come with me as we take a look around and see what’s new at Jiko.

Atmosphere

If you’re looking for Jiko, head down from the main lobby of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, past Victoria Falls Lounge, until you get to the bottom floor. Boma is below Victoria Falls, and then you can access The Mara and the resort’s pool here as well. Jiko is to the right.

Jiko Sign

Jiko Sign

Enter the refined space, and you see immediately that wine is given a place of prominence here. Jiko boasts the largest collection of African wines outside of the African continent. If you’re a wine lover, you’ll want to check out their suggested pairings. [Read more…]

Photo Tour and Specialty Eats: Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort

BOO!! Halloween is one of the most FUN-derful times of the year at Disneyland, and our Disneyland Correspondent Heather Sievers has gathered pictures of some of the spooky happenings! We’ve also got the scoop on where you can find all of the season’s special treats around the Resort. So if you’re ready to scare up some fun with a few of our best Disney pals…

Skeleton Goofy!

Skeleton Goofy!

… or perhaps your favorite Villain, then please join us! [Read more…]

News: Festival of Fantasy Parade Dining Package Coming to Tony’s Town Square in Magic Kingdom

So, here’s a question…

What happens to the Main Street Electrical Parade Lunch Package when the Main Street Electrical Parade ends its Disney World run on October 9th?

Well, here’s an answer! Guests WILL still be able to book a prix fixe lunch at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom with reserved spots for a parade. But instead of the Main Street Electrical Parade, the package will change to the Festival of Fantasy Parade Dining Package.

That’s right — beginning October 10, 2016, Package guests will enjoy their choice of appetizer, entree, and dessert (along with a beverage) at Tony’s and receive a voucher for a reserved spot around the Town Square flag pole for the daytime (3:00 pm) Festival of Fantasy Parade.

Festival of Fantasy Parade's Big Gun!

Festival of Fantasy Parade’s Big Gun!

The cost is $45 for adults and $17 for children (or one Table Service credit on the Disney Dining Plan).

Festival of Fantasy Tangled Float

Festival of Fantasy Tangled Float

As of the time of this writing, Advance Dining Reservations for the Festival of Fantasy Dining Package are available by calling 407-WDW-DINE, and will presumably be available online as well in the near future.

Are you interested in the Festival of Fantasy Dining Package? Please let us know with a comment!

Guest Review: Brunch at the Top at California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Guest Author AM Appleby returns to share her California Grill Brunch at the Top experience at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Brunch is offered every Sunday from 10AM – 1PM. Cost is $80 for adults and $48 for kids ages 3-11.

California Grill, located atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, is well known for fine dining and spectacular views. A divine spot for sushi, steak, and fabulous cocktails, the restaurant began serving brunch in February for the first time in its 20-year history.

Considering the reputation of California Grill, I didn’t even glance at the menu before booking an Advance Dining Reservation. I thought brunch would be top notch, and had high hopes that I wouldn’t be disappointed.

Atmosphere

Upon arriving at the Contemporary Resort, we were directed to Valet Parking where a Cast Member was waiting to greet us. After a quick trip to the second floor check-in desk we were whisked away in a private elevator to the 15th floor. We walked towards the abundant light streaming in through the enormous windows, admiring the view beyond, and were given complimentary mimosas (and a children’s mimosa — or “faux-mosa” for my seven-year-old daughter) at the bar.

Complimentary Mimosas

Complimentary Mimosas

The spacious room was fairly quiet, with charming music being played on piano and double bass. [Read more…]

Review: 10-Gallon Challenge Sundae at Whispering Canyon Cafe in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

We are back at Wilderness Lodge’s Whispering Canyon Cafe, and this time it’s just for dessert! It seems like we were just visiting this favorite fun spot of ours for dinner but after hearing rumors about a new GIGANTIC dessert we had to make our way back… .

Making its sort-of debut is the…drumroll please…10-Gallon Challenge!

10-Gallon Challenge!

Ten Gallon Challenge!

Why sort-of? This item hasn’t made the official menu yet and will most likely be in a testing phase for the next few months. But don’t let that stop your party from ordering it for now. Just consider it to be a secret menu item!

[Read more…]

Best Places for a Cup of Tea in Walt Disney World

Sometimes, nothing but a nice cuppa will do.

Pour Tea Garden View

And even when you’re on vacation (which is, of course, supposed to be all about relaxing), an escape into a soothing cup of tea can be a welcome change of pace.

And that’s true regardless of weather, don’t you think? After all, serious tea drinkers don’t mind raising a cup, even in Florida heat and humidity. :-)

Are you looking to try something new or to celebrate the ritual of something familiar and comforting? Either way, we have suggestions for finding a really good cup of tea throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.

Come with us as we share some of our favorites.

Joffrey’s Tea Traders Cafe

Just like coffee, tea is finding a larger and more sophisticated fan base everyday. But whether you’re a lifelong lover of tea, or you’re just learning your way around it, Joffrey’s Tea Traders Cafe at Disney Springs is a welcome stop on your list of places to explore this storied beverage. [Read more…]

Review: La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion

Recently, I met some friends for a cozy dinner at La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion.

My last visit to La Hacienda proved to be just about the best yet. While my earliest visits to the dinner-only restaurant were largely hit and miss, my experiences during the last couple of years have been very positive.

But you never know when things can shift and change. After all, this is Disney World — not exactly known for being consistent when it comes to dining quality. And La Hacienda is pricey. Does it continue to be worth it?

Let’s head in for dinner and you can see for yourself.

Atmosphere

We arrived on time for our 6:30 advance dining reservation and checked in. We requested a window side table, and they were happy to accommodate us. It only took a little longer to be seated.

Hacienda-sign

La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion

If you haven’t been inside La Hacienda before, be sure to take a look around during your visit, and review the back story. In a nutshell, the restaurant is supposed to be the rambling home of an artistic family, and they’ve opened it up to guests. Seating is a mixture of booths and table/chair combos, all of which are comfortable and inviting. [Read more…]

News: Great Irish Hooley, Plus New Menu Options at Raglan Road in Disney Springs

The construction walls are finally (mostly) down at Disney Springs — WOO! So what better way to celebrate all of that wonderful parking and those beautiful vistas than by partying Labor Day Weekend away!

To that end, we’re sharing with you today that Orlando’s only Boutique Irish Festival is back this year, and it’s bigger than ever!

Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant at Disney Springs will host their Fifth Annual Great Irish Hooley this Labor Day Weekend. The four-day party, named for a traditional Irish social celebration, kicks off at noon on Friday, September 2, and runs late into the evening Monday, September 5. The event features the very best of Irish Music, Dancing, Food, and Drink. And best of all — there will be NO COVER CHARGE for the entire family-friendly event!

Check out all of the details below — you aren’t going to want to miss it!

Raglan Road in Downtown Disney

Raglan Road in Downtown Disney

Tri Wishes Grand Irish Red and a Rack of Heaven

Food-lovers and craft beer fans are sure to love this part of the Hooley! [Read more…]