Review: New Salads and Beverages at Animal Kingdom’s Gardens Kiosk

Just a couple weeks ago, we went on a trek that took us all over Disney’s Animal Kingdom to check out the recently refurbished Flame Tree Barbecue as well as the various locations that were serving Flame Tree dishes while the popular restaurant was closed.

That included the Gardens Kiosk, which was previously known as the spot to find allergy-friendly snacks and information regarding dining with special diets in the park. (By the way, you can still find those resources in their updated location. The Allergy-Friendly Kiosk is now located at the spot that was previously known as Discovery Island Ice Cream, just across the way from Creature Comforts outside of the entrance to the Africa section of the park.) [Editor’s Note: Since the writing of this post, the Gardens Kiosk has had a name change; it is now The Smiling Crocodile.]

Not only did the Gardens Kiosk return with an all-new menu… it also returned with a different look. The new paint colors are shades of brown and green as opposed to the previous orange and yellow hues. And with an updated focus on salads, I’d say the earthy colors fit the bill quite well!

New look for the Gardens Kiosk

New look for the Gardens Kiosk

That’s right… Gardens Kiosk now features vegetarian and better-for-you fare in the form of two new salads: the Trek Power Salad and Farmers Salad. Rounding out the small menu is a [Read more…]

Review: The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge

Cheers from The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge!

The Brown Derby Lounge sits just outside The Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Its reputation stems from that of the original Brown Derby Restaurant in the City of Lights — a hot spot of the 1930s and 40s where stars of the Golden Age of film came to “see and be seen.” The outdoor lounge (which was added to the Disney World location in 2013) offers a spot for walk-ups without Advance Dining Reservations to enjoy a taste along with a bit of the ambience of the signature restaurant.

The Lounge serves food along with cocktails and bar service. And with some new items added to the menu this summer, we thought it was a good time to travel back to Hollywood’s heyday with a visit to the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge.

Atmosphere

For a newer location, The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge blends so seamlessly within its surroundings that its hard to remember that it hasn’t been here all along. And, to be fair, the patio and tables HAVE been here all along, but they weren’t functioning as a lounge at the time.

Below is a shot from its opening day in October 2013.

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge

Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge

Not much has changed in the past almost-two years, except for [Read more…]

Most Recent 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Questions Answered

We’re gearing up for the Disney food fan’s favorite time of the year… and since the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival information started trickling out, we’ve been getting a lot of questions from our readers.

Food and Wine 2015 Info Graphic Square URL

I know that a lot of you may have the same questions, so I wanted to take a moment to answer a few of the most frequently asked ones here on the blog.

Why aren’t all of the special events showing on the Disney World website? Are they still happening?

No worries! Yep — they’re happening.

Many of the events that were announced at the recent Tables in Wonderland Food and Wine Festival Preview event are still not showing up on Disney’s site. For example, the super popular Parisian Breakfast is nowhere to be found on DisneyWorld.com.

But we’re hearing that they’ve experienced a few technical difficulties, and we can assure you that these events ARE happening. So stay tuned to Disney Food Blog, and we’ll have any lingering details about the events as soon as they’re available.

In the meantime, check out our Food and Wine Festival Special Events page for details on all of the events that are scheduled for the festival.

Yep -- the Parisian Breakfast is still on!

Yep — the Parisian Breakfast is still on!

What can we book on the website, and what do we [Read more…]

Review: Bongos Cuban Café Express

When you’re strolling through Downtown Disney, you really can’t miss Bongos Cuban Café.

The white building is huge, and takes up a hefty bit of space on the West Side, directly opposite Splitsville Luxury Lanes and right next to Exposition Park (home base for the Disney Food Trucks).

And, of course, part of the building is actually structured as an ENORMOUS PINEAPPLE. So that helps raise the profile a bit, too.

What’s harder to find – and indeed, most guests walk right by – is Bongos Cuban Café Express (sometimes referred to as the Bongos Walk-up Window). And it just so happens to be a great place to sit for a spell and grab a quick meal or snack.

The window is tucked into the left side (if you’re facing Bongos). So now that you know it’s there, let’s take a quick glance around!

Atmosphere

“Express” is part of the name for a reason — the setting [Read more…]

Review: Tandoori Shrimp at the Namaste Cafe Disney Food Truck

Funny how quickly things can change ‘round these parts…

Not all that long ago (a little more than a year-and-a-half, to be specific), the four Disney Food Trucks were THE newest thing on the dining scene in Downtown Disney. But with all the dining additions to the ever-transforming, will-one-of-these-days-be Disney Springs over the past year, it’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to check out what’s changed at the Trucks!

So our stop today is Namaste Cafe (most often found in Exposition Park on the West Side), the truck inspired by dishes typically served at Animal Kingdom as well as Animal Kingdom Lodge.

The menu continues to feature the Naan and Samosa Dipping Safari, Butter Chicken, and Lamb Kefta (a version of which was originally part of the Superstar Catering Food Truck menu inspired by Hollywood Studios, but I think it’s a more natural fit at Namaste).

Namaste Café Food Truck

Namaste Café Food Truck

In more recent months, Tandoori Shrimp has [Read more…]

Review: Breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

Today, we are heading over to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for a trail-inspired breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe.

The restaurant, located in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, is well known for down-home food, bottomless milkshakes (even at breakfast), all-you-can-eat skillets, it’s infamous ketchup antics, and a rowdy atmosphere cultivated by the servers.

Intrigued? Let’s take a look inside!

Atmosphere

Whispering Canyon Cafe is located within the soaring lobby of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort. As you enter from the resort’s porte cochere, you’ll find the restaurant off to the left.

Wilderness Lodge is themed to represent an historic resort in the Pacific Northwest, complete with “log cabin” construction (albeit a BIG log cabin…). You’ll find [Read more…]

News: Victoria and Albert’s Debuts New Ten-Course Menu

If you think you’ve done it all at Victoria and Albert’s, it’s time to think again.

The Chef’s Degustation Menu is comprised of 10 small courses, and will pay tribute to Chef Hunnel’s travels through Europe and Asia. As always, the menu will also be influenced by seasonal flavors.

Guests who opt for this meal will enjoy a few extra touches: they’ll choose options from a cheese trolley, will be treated to table side butter carving, and receive a custom chocolate box at the end of their meal.

If guests are looking for a premium experience that explores wine pairing, the restaurant will also be offering food and wine pairings in the [Read more…]

Updated Animal Kingdom Counter Service Options — Including the Reopened Flame Tree Barbecue!

It’s been a long time coming, but Flame Tree Barbecue is back open for business at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

As you may remember (or perhaps experienced if you’ve paid a visit to Animal Kingdom since New Year’s), Flame Tree Barbecue closed for refurbishment on January 5th. Since it is arguably the most popular Counter Service spot at Animal Kingdom, measures were taken to ensure guests could still enjoy a few Flame Tree dishes at alternate locations even while it was closed. This ended up being a very good thing, since the refurbishment — originally slated for an early April reopening — was extended into May… aaaaand then into June… when it finally reopened on the 30th of the June.

So, today we’re going to visit all of the counter service spots affected by the refurb (Flame Tree Barbecue itself and the alternate food locations) to see how things have shaped up. Because, you see, Flame Tree Barbecue isn’t the only place that received a bit of makeover (heads up: the Allergy-Friendly Kiosk has a new location!). But since Flame Tree Barbecue IS the main topic, why don’t we just start there?

Flame Tree Barbecue

Welcome back, Flame Tree Barbecue!

Flame Tree Barbecue atmosphere

Flame Tree Barbecue atmosphere

It has returned with its signature bright colors, lovely seating areas and [Read more…]

Rumor: Chef Art’s Florida Fish Camp Coming to Disney Springs

For those keeping a running tally ;) , here’s one more dining possibility for the soon-to-be Disney Springs!

You may know Chef Art Smith as a previous judge on BBQ Pitmasters, or as a founder of such restaurants as Art and Soul in Washington, D.C. or Table Fifty-Two in Chicago. You may even know him as Oprah Winfrey’s former chef, or as the author of Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort or Kitchen Life, with an emphasis on healthier takes on comfort food classics.

Chef Art Smith

Chef Art Smith

Well, he may have one more accomplishment to add to that list soon if the rumors are true… . Recently, the Chef posted a message on his Facebook page. And while it’s important to note that [Read more…]

Tips from the DFB Guide: Epcot Food and Wine Festival With Kids

We are back with today with more great tips for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Tips

We’ve been taking a look at some of the Touring Strategies featured in the DFB Guide to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. A while back, we shared our recommended strategy if you only have one day to enjoy the Festival. Today, we’ll take a look at enjoying the Food and Wine Festival as a family — with kiddos in tow.

Kick the Day Off Right with Rides

Think that the Food and Wine Festival is just for grown ups? Think again! Although many of the special events are geared toward an adult crowd, this is a theme park, after all! So you can plan to attend the festival with your kids and still have a great time.

If you arrive to the park early, be sure to have your FastPasses for attractions lined up ahead of time. While most of the festival doesn’t really gear up until afternoon (with the exception of Festival Center, which opens at 9:00AM), Futureworld opens when the park does.

So if you arrive bright and early — or if you can take advantage of early Extra Magic Hours — you can get a few rides in before you journey Around the World begins. That way, the kids in your group have already experienced some fun, and will be more likely to spend a few hours checking out the Festival with you. [Read more…]