News: Disney World Testing Free Taxi Service to Signature Restaurants

Disney is currently testing a new transportation method — complimentary direct taxi service — for guests dining at select signature restaurants while staying at Walt Disney World monorail resorts!

Monorail Orange at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Monorail Orange at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Until June 30, 2015, some guests at the monorail resorts (Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Contemporary) will be selected to participate in this Disney dining test. Those invited to participate will receive complimentary round-trip vouchers delivered to their room.

Participants will have the option of enjoying direct taxi transportation to [Read more…]

Dining Details: Wall Murals at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

It just goes to show… you can visit Disney World a million and one times (and I’ve got to be coming up close to that number ;) ), and still notice something new every time.

I’m a fan of Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion. Not only does it serve the best pizza in Disney World; it’s become a tradition for us.

So how is it, then, that I only noticed this incredibly cool detail on my most recent visit? OK, at least I THINK it’s a cool detail. I might be totally making it up, but I could super see Disney Imagineers doing this on purpose.

Look at this orange tree as seen through one of the restaurant’s windows.

Orange Tree outside the window

Orange Tree outside the window

And now check out the fresco painting on the wall right next to it.

Wall mural next to the window

Wall mural next to the window

Hmmmm…. Looks similar, right?

I think this may be a continuation, bringing the [Read more…]

Review: Dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

We are back for another visit to Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Tree Tavern — and this time, it’s for dinner.

What’s the difference between lunch and dinner? Well, it’s major, actually. Lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern is an a la carte offering — you order what you want off the menu. I’ll often go for their Angus Chuck Cheeseburger. And the Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake is one of the best desserts on property. (Here’s the recipe.)

But dinner is a completely different deal — and still quite good. You’re treated to a family style feast consisting of roasted meats and all the trimmings.

I haven’t covered dinner at LTT here on the blog for a long time…for two reasons: 1.) It’s always the same. The food rarely changes, and everyone gets the same thing, so our previous reviews are still totally valid when it comes to the food. 2.) For some reason, every time I’ve been there for dinner in the past year, something has happened to keep me from getting the photos I need to blog the post. Either a member of my party gets sick or one of the kids has a meltdown…or we’re with a huge group and the food is decimated before I can take a picture.

So, I made it a focus on my last trip to get over there and make it happen! Here we go!

Atmosphere

Liberty Tree Tavern is a Magic Kingdom icon. It’s been there since the Park opened, and there are many Disney fans who count a meal here among their earliest Disney memories. It’s located on Liberty Square, near the Hall of Presidents and other exhibits celebrating Colonial American History.

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

Liberty Tree Tavern Entrance

Liberty Tree Tavern offers seating in six different rooms, each themed to a notable historical figure. They include Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Paul Jones, Paul Revere, Betsy Ross, and George Washington. You can see a more in-depth atmosphere review here.

John Paul Jones

A door in the John Paul Jones Room

Decor

Model Ship and John Paul Jones Portrait

If your kiddos are studying American history, it’s fun to take a look around each of the rooms to see some of the more well-known stories come to life. Ben Franklin’s kite and George Washington’s wooden teeth appear in their respective rooms.

Kite in Ben Franklin Room

Kite in Ben Franklin Room

And if there are any invasions or revolutions that require your help, you’re all set. Grab your cloak and three corner hat, and you’re off!

Coats and Hat Hanging at the Ready

Coats and Hat Hanging at the Ready

Seating throughout the vast network of rooms is made up of booths and tables. Primarily you’ll find ladder back chairs that are fairly comfortable surrounding rectangular and round tables.

Seating

Seating

Seating

Seating

If you prefer some natural light, be sure to request a seat in one of the outer facing dining rooms. But don’t plan on parade- or people-watching. The glass is bubbled and wavy, so you’ll just see blobs of color.

Seating and View

Seating and View

Eats

As I mentioned before, if you dine at Liberty Tree Tavern for dinner, you’ll be partaking in a prix fixe, family style meal. That means that each person in your party will pay a set price — one price for adults, and a lower price for children. (Children under 3 are free.)

Your meal includes everything listed below, including a standard beverage and dessert. The format is all-you-care-to-enjoy, so there’s no reason to ever leave a Liberty Tree Tavern dinner table hungry.

Liberty Tree Tavern -- Click to Enlarge

Liberty Tree Tavern Menu — Click to Enlarge

We began with a [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…]

Disney Springs News! Details About The Edison and the Opening of Vivoli Gelateria

More and more information continues to “spring” forth (hee hee!) regarding the future dining venues for Disney Springs.

However, “dining” might be too limited a word for it, when you consider the newly-released details specifically regarding The Edison.

Concept Art for The Edison at Disney Springs ©Disney

Concept Art for The Edison at Disney Springs ©Disney

While this “Industrial Gothic” style restaurant and bar isn’t slated to open until 2016, it seems entertainment will play a HUGE role alongside the American food and craft cocktails. Early informational releases informed us the venue would feature cabaret and live music. But a fuller picture is emerging as we are now learning that contortionists, palm readers, and DJs are all anticipated be part of the scene.

According to Disney, the theme of the upcoming Disney Springs location will revolve around an electric company in the 1920s and will reflect the original Los Angeles location’s dedication “to a resurgence of old-world style, sophistication and romance.”

Additionally, underneath The Edison’s 35-foot ceilings the restaurant will be divided into themed areas such as “The Tesla Lounge,” “The Patent Office,” and “The Radio Room.” (Does that final name make anyone else harken back to the Radio Broadcast hosted in the Library of the Adventurer’s Club?) The divisions follow in line with the building footprint of The Edison’s Los Angeles location.

Layout of the original The Edison location in LA. Copyright The Edison

Layout of the original The Edison location in LA. Copyright The Edison

The Edison will operate under [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!

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 2.14.45 PM

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…]

Review: California Grill in Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Time to check in on one of Walt Disney World’s most popular signature dining spots — California Grill.

Located atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, the Grill has become nearly as well known for its stellar views as its market-inspired food. And those two factors can make this a tough table to book.

My last visit here, however, when the restaurant had just reopened after an in-depth refurbishment, was somewhat disappointing. At the time, I chalked it up to the kitchen having an off night; after all, I had enjoyed incredible dining here many times before.

I decided it was time to check in again. So we booked an early Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) on a recent visit, and up we went.

Atmosphere

If you’ve never visited California Grill, then there’s one thing you should know: you don’t just head to the 15th floor. Your journey actually starts on the 2nd floor of the Contemporary where you check in. Even if you’re just heading to the first-come, first-served Lounge, this is your first stop.

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

Second Floor Check In Desk for California Grill

You’ll then be escorted via a private elevator to the 15th floor. In this way, staff act as gatekeepers for the popular spot. If left unattended, it would get pretty busy up there, especially around Wishes-at-Magic-Kingdom time.

Once you make your way upstairs, a bank of Wine Fridges greets you straight ahead.

Entrance and Wine Fridges

Entrance and Wine Fridges

You walk through the Lounge and Bar to get to the restaurant’s main seating area. That sounds as though these are different spaces; they aren’t. Basically, with the exception of a few private dining rooms, the restaurant features an open floor plan, accentuating the sweeping views and retro-meets-modern vibe.

California Grill Bar

California Grill Bar

If you find yourself without an ADR, there’s still hope. You can sit in the Grill’s Lounge and order from the menu, or just enjoy Drinks, Sushi, and Appetizers. Be forewarned, though: it’s not uncommon for this area to reach capacity as the night goes on. Here at 5PM, though, it was pretty bare.

California Grill Lounge

California Grill Lounge

Wrap around to the main seating area, and you see that nearly every table commands an excellent view of the surrounding landscape, including Magic Kingdom and the Resorts situated around Seven Seas Lagoon.

Seating varies here and includes both tables and chairs and booths.

Seating

Seating

There are also a selection of tables that mix banquette and chair seating. Note that white tablecloths and cloth napkins are the norm here, lending to the upscale air of sophistication.

Table for Two

Table for Two

Booths are somewhat unique in that they are located in the middle of the floor. That means that you can enter from either side, and there will be traffic on both sides of your table, similar to what you find at Jiko. While this isn’t necessarily bad, it does mean that your booth won’t be as secluded as you might like.

But the view outside of the windows isn’t the only thing you have to look at.

California Grill Kitchen

California Grill Kitchen

The well-orchestrated, professional hustle and bustle that’s happening behind the counter in the on-stage kitchen can be fascinating as well.

Prepping for Dinner Service

Prepping for Dinner Service

Although we will focus today on the food here, the sweeping, panoramic vistas certainly bear mentioning. You can see for miles!

The View

The View

And that’s one of the biggest draws of California Grill — this view, especially when it comes to [Read more…]

News and Rumors: Potential Updates to the Disney Dining Plan

Disney World guests utilizing the Disney Dining Plan will want to be aware of some rumored changes taking place to the popular plans available for Disney Resort guests starting today, May 31, 2015 (though it is rumored that Disney will not post the changes officially until June 4th).

Disney Dining Plan

Please note that at this time we have not received official confirmation from Disney regarding any of these changes. We just wanted you to be aware of the rumors in the case that you’d be able to put them into practice this week in the parks.

Participants on the Dining Plan will be able use their dining credits in the typical ways (i.e. guests on the standard Disney Dining Plan will still receive 1 Table Service Credit, 1 Quick Service Credit, and 1 Snack Credit per night of stay and can use those credits accordingly at designated locations); however, there may be additional opportunities that will allow for more flexibility.

Snack Entitlements

The most commonly rumored change says that a “snack credit” will now include all single-serve items and beverages such as Caramel Apples — not including Character designs — and large Mickey Cookies among other previously ineligible items. Also included may be Quick Service restaurant side items and breakfast items, like sides of bacon or sausage.

Caramel Apples

Caramel Apples

These may include: [Read more…]

News: Cooking Classes and Demos for Kids and Adults Coming to Downtown Disney

Is your kiddo a future Disney Chef in the making? If so, you may want to sign him or her up for the Annual Kid’s Cooking Class, returning to Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe in Downtown Disney Orlando on Saturday, June 20th at 11 am!

Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe

Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe

What’s on the docket for any junior chefs in attendance? Not only will they learn kitchen essentials from master chefs, but they’ll also take part in creating a few Downtown Disney dishes (in kid-friendly versions, of course)! The menu includes Rice Balls from Portbello, Kid’s Pizza with assorted toppings from Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe, and will end with a Banana Split from Fulton’s Crab House.

© Wolgang Puck Cafe Orlando

© Wolgang Puck Cafe Orlando

The cost to attend is $40 per child. Included in the ticket are [Read more…]

News (From Ireland)! Grass-Fed Irish Beef Coming Soon to Raglan Road

In the next couple of days, I’ll be bringing you more highlights from Disney Food Blog’s visit to Ireland with Chef Kevin Dundon from Raglan Road Irish Pub. Today, we’re taking a closer look at one of the food suppliers we’ve visited, which will very soon be supplying to Raglan Road in Orlando directly from Ireland!

Grass Fed Beef at Raglan Road

I was very interested in our stop at Paddy Murphy’s to learn more about how grass fed cattle are raised for beef in Ireland. And while there, we were treated to some exciting news — grass fed Irish beef is coming to Raglan Road in the very near future!

Paddy Murphy and Chef Kevin Dundon Discuss Grass Fed Beef with the Group

Paddy Murphy and Chef Kevin Dundon Discuss Grass Fed Beef with the Group

Since grass fed beef is highly regarded as a more humane treatment for the animals, and is much healthier for beef consumers, this is pretty exciting news.

But why now, you may ask? Well, up until very recently, there has been a ban on Irish beef coming into the United States. But when the ban was lifted earlier this year, it paved the way for Chef Dundon to do something he’s wanted to do for quite a while — showcase Irish beef at Raglan Road in Disney Springs.

Raglan Road is Bringing Irish Grass Fed Beef to Its Menu (Photo © Raglan Road)

Raglan Road is Bringing Irish Grass Fed Beef to Its Menu (Photo © Raglan Road)

In recent years, there has been a huge movement by many people to leave behind the more popular grain fed beef for grass fed varieties. The reasons for this are fairly simple: grass fed beef is higher in nutrients than grain fed beef. Cows have historically grazed for their diet, which consisted of grass and grass-like plants as well as shrubs. Introducing grain into a cow’s diet does quite a lot to fatten the animal and promote nicely marbled meat, but it wreaks havoc on the nutritional profile, since animals are what they eat.

Currently, Irish raised grass fed beef is running as [Read more…]