Guest Review: Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort

DFB welcomes Guest Author Sara McCaslin with a review of Boatwright’s at Port Orleans Resort Riverside in Walt Disney World. Stop here for southern hospitality!


On Oct. 3, 2015, my dining companions (my husband and two dear friends) arrived at Port Orleans Riverside Resort for our 6:15pm advance dining reservation at Boatwright’s. The four of us were enjoying the delights of Disney’s Deluxe Dining Plan for a few days and wanted to experience new sit-down places. Before our trip, I heavily researched many menus and reviews via the Disney Food Blog and decided to give Boatwright’s a try. The menu was intriguing with many comfort food options.

We arrived at Port Orleans Riverside via Disney’s bus transportation. Diners can also use the waterways from Disney Springs to travel to either Port Orleans Riverside or Port Orleans French Quarter. Port Orleans Riverside resort is a lovely, pleasant place to stay while at Walt Disney World. My husband and I have called this resort home twice throughout the years. We enjoyed both stays but did not take advantage of the resort sit-down dining option during those stays. Shame on us because Boatwright’s is a hidden treasure among the expert theming and exciting character experiences of other resort and theme part eateries.

Welcome to Boatwright's Dining Hall

Welcome to Boatwright’s Dining Hall

Diners can access Boatwright’s from either the front or back of Port Orleans Riverside. If entering from the front of the resort, simply turn left at the lobby entrance to see the lounge and the dining room is just a few steps further. If entering from the back of the resort, perhaps after arriving via the boat, simply walk along the marina to your right and look up to view the welcoming Boatwright’s sign. This door will usher you directly into Boatwright’s check-in and waiting area.

[Read more…]

Recommended Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Restaurant Values

We previously shared with you our picks for the Best Disney Dining Plan Value in Disney Signature Dining. Today, we continue our series exploring which Disney Restaurants offer the best value for your Disney Dining Plan credits!

Disney Dining Plan One Credit Recommendations

One of the biggest questions that we get here at DFB is whether or not the Disney Dining Plan is a good deal. To begin answering the question, we armed ourselves with calculators and menus and ran the numbers to see which spots had the most expensive average entrees.

But it’s more than that, isn’t it? I mean, no matter how much the average check runs, if the food or the atmosphere doesn’t appeal to you and yours, it won’t be a good value, no matter how you slice it.

With the calculations in mind, we were curious to determine which One-Credit Disney Table Service Restaurants offered the best deal or value price-wise — but also could be recommended by the experts here at DFB for atmosphere and food quality. All of the restaurants that we considered are One-Credit spots, meaning they’ll require just one credit to dine with the Disney Dining Plan.

Here are our picks for the restaurants that give you the best overall bang for your Disney Dining Plan buck when it comes to single credit table service spots.

Best Friends Character Breakfast at ‘Ohana

When we set out to determine which one-credit restaurants offered you the most in terms of sheer cost, one trend emerged immediately: you can’t go wrong by spending your credit on a Character Meal.

Mickey at 'Ohana

We Can’t Resist Eating with this Guy!

And with only one exception (Cinderella’s Royal Table), all Disney World character meals require only one DDP table service credit.

And while character meals are not one size fits all — you should definitely check out our tips before booking one — they’re for sure an experience everyone can enjoy with a little planning.

As for our favorite, this year we are really enjoying character meals that are served family-style like ‘Ohana’s breakfast. These include Garden Grill at Epcot, which you can now book for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

Chip

Chip n’ Dale Visit with You During Meals at Epcot’s Garden Grill

Or enjoy the Princesses at Akershus. You can still enjoy the koldtbord selections and all you care to eat, but meals come plated.

Princess Cinderella at Akershus in Epcot's Norway

Princess Cinderella at Akershus in Epcot’s Norway

But my favorite remains the Best Friends Character Breakfast at ‘Ohana. For a combination of cute characters (Mickey in a Hawaiian Shirt, and Lilo is awesome!) and delicious food, it just can’t be beat.

Mickey Waffles!

Mickey Waffles!

And while buffets are great for a bounty of offerings, sometimes it’s nice to sit back and let the food come to you — especially if there’s a baby or toddler along for the ride.

Boma

Hot on the heels of character meals though, you should probably also consider other buffets or all you care to enjoy service formats if you’re truly interested in “getting your money’s worth”.

Boma Buffet

Boma Buffet

Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge doesn’t offer characters — but I don’t see that as a bad thing. The food here is  interesting and delicious. Don’t miss the Soups or the Carving Stations at Dinner! (Here’s the recipe for that killer Coconut Curry Chicken Stew!) Breakfast offers some great pastries and more.

Breakfast Pastries from one of our favorite buffets -- Boma in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Breakfast Pastries from one of our favorite buffets — Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!

Then of course, there’s the Zebra Domes. :-)

Zebra Dome

Zebra Dome Yum

The restaurant serves breakfast and dinner, and we’ve enjoyed both. And because Boma doesn’t feature characters, I find the ambiance to be a little more relaxing as a result.

But don’t forget spots that offer all you care to enjoy, but do the heavy lifting for you. If you wish that everyday was Thanksgiving Day (but without the clean up!), then make your advance dining reservation for Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom. Besides getting a hearty helping of history, you’ll also see endless platters of Turkey with all the trimmings.

The Full Spread!

The Full Dinner Spread at Liberty Tree Tavern!

And that is truly something to be thankful for.

Be Our Guest Dinner

But if you’re looking to spend those credits wisely, then don’t leave Magic Kingdom just yet. Because any Disney Food Bucket Lister will tell ya — you’ve gotta book dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant at least once.

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom

For starters, this spot is truly magical. If you’ve ever wanted to tumble through a movie screen and join in the action, this is your chance to do it, as Beast’s Castle has been reproduced in painstaking detail.

Want to see the last petal drop at Be Our Guest Restaurant? Planning ahead is key!

The Enchanted Rose in the West Wing

But then, there are some pretty great reasons to eat here as well. Of course, the menu is French-inspired. We’ve tried pretty much everything, and give high marks to the Potato Leek Soup, the Pork Chop, and of course, the Grilled Strip Steak!

Grilled Strip Steak

Grilled Strip Steak

And if you enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with dinner, take advantage of ordering one here — the only spot in Magic Kingdom where you can enjoy this indulgence.

Chimay Blue at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Chimay Blue at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Choosing Dessert may be tough. We enjoyed most of the options, but the Master’s “Grey Stuff” dessert will be the most high-profile.

Les Chefs de France

What’s that? You’d like to go to the REAL France?

Well, I can’t deliver that to you at Disney, but I can get you pretty close to the real deal. If you travel over the Epcot, that is. When you get there, head to World Showcase for some of the best spots to spend those table service credits.

Front of Les Chefs de France at Night -- Isn't It Amazing??

Beautiful Les Chefs de France in Epcot’s France Pavilion

While many of the restaurants in this international village boast steep pricetags, we love some better than others. And in terms of beautiful atmosphere and consistently delicious food, Les Chefs de France gets a gold star from me.

I know, I know. Epcot international dining can be less than authentic. But all of the restaurants in the France Pavilion are owned by the Bocuse Group, and I’ve enjoyed lots of fare that reminded me of my time traveling as a student through France and Switzerland.

A la flamme Alsacienne

A la flamme Alsacienne

Service can be slow and reserved. But the restaurant offers a beautiful setting.

Teppan Edo

But as I mentioned, you aren’t limited merely to France in Epcot. There’s a whole world out there, of course. When it comes to fun and value, consider Teppan Edo.

Teppan Edo in Epcot's Japan Pavilion

Teppan Edo in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

This Japanese Habachi-style experience is as much food theatre as it is eating. The chefs here are wonderful at all of the tricks that you might expect to see in a Japanese steakhouse. We especially like the fire-based ones. :-)

And the food is bountiful. While I’m partial to ordering the Steak, I also love the combos here. Steak and Chicken or Steak and Shrimp give you the opportunity to enjoy different textures and flavors.

Steak and Chicken at Teppan Edo

Steak and Chicken at Teppan Edo

And with bountiful sides, I guarantee you won’t leave the table hungry.

And there you have it! With so many varied experiences, flavors, and settings, it’s hard to go wrong with Disney Dining. But you won’t go wrong if you decide to try a few of our favorite one-credit options!

2016 book cover dfb guide

Ready for All of Our Best Tips?

We’ve got TONS of Disney World Dining Tips — including LOTS of restaurant suggestions for your every need — 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 20+ years of visits. We’ve done the research for you, so you’ll know just which spots will uniquely suit your family’s needs!

With sample dining itineraries, plus our “Disney Dining at a Glance” section, featuring “Where Can I Find?” options, 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!

Now, I’d love to hear from all of you guys! What are your best picks for value when it comes to DDP one credit table service spots? Leave a comment with your favorites!

Review: Watermelon Mimosa and Beermosa at Animal Kingdom’s Dawa Bar

In December, we paid a visit to Animal Kingdom’s newest watering hole, Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks.

But we’re all for old favorites, too, so when AJ got a text from her friend Andy with the news that Dawa Bar in Animal Kingdom’s Africa had switched up their early morning cocktails, we were there!!

Now, all the talk about Animal Kingdom these days surrounds the upcoming nighttime activities like the Rivers of Light spectacular, which will extend the park into an all day experience later this spring. (And obviously we can’t wait for the arrival of Tiffins — Animal Kingdom’s first Signature Dining location — as well as the Nomad Lounge to open in conjunction with these new activities in 2016.)

But like I said, as excited as we are about all that future nighttime entertainment, we’re here to explore an exclusively early-morning experience: the recently refreshed Sunrise Cocktail menu at the Dawa Bar. While the Dawa Bar operates all day, this special menu of morning beverages is only available from 9:00 – 11:00 am.

Though morning pours aren’t new to the Dawa Bar (you may remember the Bloody Mary menu that was introduced in late 2014), we’re here to go over some changes with you, including an absentee from the Bloody Mary selections along with some fun new additions. (Did somebody say “Mimosas”?!)

Atmosphere

2014 brought a renovation and slight relocation to the Dawa Bar as well as the aforementioned morning menu of Bloody Marys.

Animal Kingdom's Dawa Bar

Animal Kingdom’s Dawa Bar

Other than that, though, things have held pretty steady at this African-themed lounge over the years. It still sits right beside the Tusker House check-in area. [Read more…]

The Best Brownies in Walt Disney World

Remember oh those many years ago when I presented you with my Top Five Disney Brownies?

Best Disney World BrowniesWell, times change… as do snacks and desserts in and around Disney World.  And now here we are celebrating a still-new year, and the brownie landscape has changed. While a few of our favorites from Round One continue to grace our list of Best Brownies, some are no longer available. (We miss you, Paw Print Brownie and Brownie Fudge Sundae!)

But fret not… there’s still no shortage of classic brownie goodness in Disney World (and some not-so-classic, as you’ll notice many of these feature a twist on tradition).

Whaddya say we make a NEW Best Brownies list?

That’s right… a new list for a new year! Grab a fork and get ready to dig into some chocolatey brownie deliciousness with me!

Pin it for later!

Where to find the BEST brownies in Walt Disney World!

Peanut Butter Brownie with Warm Caramel Sauce

OK, this is probably the best thing you will put into your mouth all month. Let me say that I eat a lot — A LOT — of Disney food, and much of it is sweet deliciousness; but this thing took my breath away.

You can find the Peanut Butter Brownie with Warm Caramel Sauce at Sunshine Seasons in Epcot. And here’s the kicker…

Warm Peanut Butter Brownie with Warm Caramel Sauce

Warm Peanut Butter Brownie with Warm Caramel Sauce

[Read more…]

Disney Dining Details: Skipper Canteen Secret Passageway Bookshelves

Do you harbor a secret dream to become a member of the S.E.A. (Society of Explorers and Adventurers)?

If so, then maybe you’d like to do a little exploring with me today as we step back inside the Jungle Navigation Co., Ltd. Skipper Canteen in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland, the still-new restaurant based on the Jungle Cruise attraction.

We’ve already taken a full tour of of the Canteen, including its three dining rooms: the Crew Mess Hall, the Falls Family Parlor, and a once-hidden meeting room for the S.E.A. But now it’s time to check out a few more of those Disney details! And with many thanks to my friend Daniel Wanderman who recently dined there, we’ve got some more to share…

In order to enter the S.E.A. Room coming from the Mess Hall, you must pass through a hallway.

Bookcases lining the hallway from the Mess Hall

Bookcases lining the hallway from the Mess Hall

As you pass, you’ll notice the hallway is lined with bookcases. [Read more…]

Review: Mini Dessert Tarts at Pop Century’s Everything Pop Food Court

Greetings from Pop Culture Past… ‘cuz we’re back at Everything Pop Food Court at Pop Century Resort!

We JUST visited Landscape of Flavors in the Art of Animation Resort to try their new Miniature Whoopie Pies. I mention that because those unfamiliar with this area of Disney World may not know that it’s just a quick stroll over the bridge across Hourglass Lake to Pop Century. This is a huge boon for guests at either resort who have easy access to arguably two of the best food courts in Disney World. Hoping to try more exotic flavors? Hop on over to the Landscape. Craving comfort food served up with a side of quirkiness?  Take a stroll to Everything Pop!

Now typically, if I’m here for dessert, it’s because I’m craving the King Cupcake, which has earned a place of honor on my Disney Food Bucket List!

But on this visit, fresh from Art of Animation, I couldn’t help but notice that Everything Pop is hopping on the Mini Train, too. In this case, it’s an assortment of Mini Dessert Tarts up for grabs, so let’s “pop” in for bite!

Atmosphere

Everything POP Food Court certainly lives up to its name…

Everything Pop Shopping & Dining Sign

Everything Pop Shopping & Dining Sign

It hosts a bright and fun atmosphere with lots of color and creativity. [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Colcannon Soup from Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant

It’s c-c-cold out there, and wouldn’t some buttery, creamy soup hit the spot? Here’s a great option from Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant.

From their creamy Wild Forest Mushroom Chowder to their Potato Soup, every single soup I’ve tried at the Disney Springs hotspot has been incredible (mostly due to the copious amounts of butter and cream involved). And today, we’re sharing with you another must-have recipe.

Colcannon Potatoes — a traditional mixture of silky mashed potatoes and cabbage — are one of the classic Irish sides that you can enjoy at the Pub. But they also serve as inspiration for this warming Colcannon Soup.

Winter is with us for a few more months, so take the opportunity to whip up a batch of this indulgent soup for your next evening in. [Read more…]

Review: Chocolate and Carrot Cake Mini Whoopie Pies at Art of Animation Resort

We are back at Landscape of Flavors in Disney World’s Art of Animation Resort!

Landscape of Flavors remains relatively unique by Disney Counter Service standards. Sure, it offers quick service eats served up food court-style in keeping with the dining set-up at the all Disney World Value Resorts. But with a Tandoori/Mongolian Station serving sides like Naan Bread with dipping sauces (and don’t get me started on the uber-tasty Cheesy Pesto Bread) alongside favorites like burgers and sandwiches, the best-of-both worlds approach to international flavors and American fare have earned this spot high marks since the resort first opened in 2012.

That said, while its reputation for entrees has been deservedly high, Landscape of Flavors hasn’t been a huge destination for desserts (Gelato Bar notwithstanding, of course!). So when I noticed a little something — or somethings — new in the bakery case, it definitely piqued my interest.

They’ve added Mini Whoopie Pies to the options, my friends! And my fellow Carrot Cake Connoisseurs will definitely want to read on…

Atmosphere

Just like Everything Pop at the neighboring Pop Century Resort, Landscape of Flavors is located directly past the resorts’s merchandise spot, the Ink and Paint Shop.

Lobby in Art of Animation

Lobby in Art of Animation

Oh, and be sure to check out the Storyboard Chandelier above you right before you enter! Several of the panels have been signed by Disney artists and actors involved with the films that the Art of Animation celebrates: The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid. Among several others, you can search for Jodi Benson’s signature (she’s the voice of Ariel) as well as Pixar CCO John Lasseter’s. Newly signed panels feature the signatures of Pete Doctor, Jay Ward, and Jerome Ranft who worked on Cars, and also the latest Pixar hit, Inside Out. Pretty cool, right?!

After you’re done with your signature scavenger hunt, just continue through the merchandise shop to find Landscape of Flavors. [Read more…]

Best Disney World Character Meal Recommendations By Age

Character Meals. It’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all kinda world. You might think you’ll enjoy dinner at Chef Mickey’s with just your significant other.

Chef Mickey!

Chef Mickey!

After all, you’re kids at heart! But are you really thinking through the reality of it — complete with twirling napkins, blaring music, and loads and loads (and loads!) of kiddos everywhere?

Today, I thought we could break down some of the groups of guests who might want to take special care in deciding which character meal is best for them. Because when it comes to dining with your favorite Disney characters, no one should be left out! [Read more…]

Our Favorite Disney’s Hollywood Studios Restaurants

Don’t you love Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Where else can you go for a dose of Old Hollywood glamour, a Star Wars fix, and a live action stunt show all in one place?

But in addition to all kinds of movie-inspired fun, the park hosts some great food as well. Today, we’re taking a closer look at our Favorite DHS Restaurants. See if you agree with us!

50s Prime Time Cafe

One of my favorite spots to dine at DHS — or in all of Walt Disney World really — is 50s Prime Time Cafe.

This spot has it all. It’s super-themed, so when you step into the front door one of two things will come to mind:

  • I am caught in a time warp, and my grandmother is going to bop into the room wearing a poodle skirt any minute.
  • I’ve succeeded in stepping right into the Dick Van Dyke Show.
One of the 50s Prime Time Cafe Dining Rooms

One of the 50s Prime Time Cafe Dining Rooms

And truly, the themeing is so utterly awesome here, it’s enough to keep me coming back again and again. But then, the food! It’s just like your mom made! Or grandmother. Or Aunt Gladys. Whatever. My point is, it’s really good and comforting and, well, swell. You know? The bee’s knees. [Read more…]