Tips from the DFB Guide: Don’t Miss These Holiday Events in Disney World!

Summer may have just officially started, but we are already thinking of the Holidays at Walt Disney World!

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Sounds crazy, I know, but we’re just over 180 days — six months! — until the holidays are in full swing, and NOW is the time to make dining plans for your holiday meals — but it’s also the time to consider what other fun activities you’ll enjoy at Walt Disney World this holiday season.

To jumpstart your planning, today we’re talking about some of our favorite Tips from the DFB Guide to the Holidays at Disney World: Three Holiday Events that you can’t miss!

And speaking of the DFB Guide, don’t get to take advantage of our 180 Days Til Christmas Sale! Through June 28, we’re offering three great ways to save when you pre-order the 2015 DFB Guide to the Holidays at Walt Disney World. Check out all of the details about the sale here!

Now, let’s take a look at some of our favorite holiday events that you should definitely plan on working into your Disney holiday calendar…

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Snow on Main Street USA and life-size Toy Soldiers? That’s part of your reality when you attend the long-running and beloved Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

This hard-ticketed event takes place during select evenings from November 8 until December 18, 2015, this year, and brings all of the joy and warm fuzzy feeling of Christmas and the holiday season to Magic Kingdom.

Toy Soldiers During the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade!

Toy Soldiers During the Once Upon a Christmastime Parade!

During the event, guests enjoy special entertainment and character meet and greets. Complimentary cocoa and cookies fuel you up for all the fun. And there are TONS of special, exclusive treats that you can enjoy only during the Party!

Snickerdoodles and hot cocoa

Snickerdoodles and Hot Cocoa

And be sure to grab a front row seat for Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, which features Santa as well as some of your favorite Disney holiday characters. And, of course Anna and Elsa will be there!

Holidays Around the World

Looking to observe the holidays with international flair? Then an evening at Epcot for Holidays Around the World will fit the bill nicely. Enjoy a stroll around Epcot’s beautiful World Showcase as storytellers from around the globe share seasonal tales within several of the pavilions — free with Epcot admission!

Pere Noel

Père Noël

And if you didn’t score a seat for the [Read more…]

First Look and Review: The New Vivoli Gelateria in Disney World’s Disney Springs

Welcome to your newest cold snack stop in The Landing at Downtown Disney… Vivoli Gelateria (also known as Vivoli Il Gelato)!

Vivoli Gelateria outside 3

Of course, calling it a “cold snack stop” hardly does it justice. For a brand new place on the Disney dining scene, it’s rich with a history that began in Florence, Italy, in 1932, when Raphael Vivoli became one of the founders of the business.

Vivoli Sign

Vivoli Sign

Plus, that little “cold snack” we’re referring to is gelato crafted using many ingredients such as cocoa powder, pistachio, and hazelnut directly from Italy.

Just a few flavors in store

Just a few flavors in store

I can’t wait anymore! Let’s [Read more…]

Epcot Food and Wine Festival FAQ: How Much Should I Budget For the Festival?

You may be just starting Summer vacation and all that goes with it, but here at Disney Food Blog, we’re also busy gearing up for one of our most favorite times of the year — the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

2015 Epcot Food and Wine Logo

The festival, which runs from September 25 until November 16 this year, will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2015. There is so much to do, see, taste, and experience, all crammed into seven weeks. So you’re bound to have some questions about planning for it — and specifically, how to budget for all you want to do.

So today, let’s talk a little bit about budgeting to get you ready for Fall’s biggest Disney food event.

How Much Does It Cost to Go to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival?

Many things at the festival are included in your Epcot admission. Attractions and events such as Eat to the Beat Concerts, Back to Basics Seminars, and the Cranberry Bog are all complimentary with your Epcot ticket.

The Cranberry Bog Returns to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in 2015

The Cranberry Bog Returns to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in 2015

And new for 2015, guests can also enjoy Remy’s Ratatouille Hide and Squeak Scavenger Hunt, a fun game that will take place around World Showcase.

But food and drink, even at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booths, is not included in the price of admission. And Special Events do cost extra and can range widely, depending on the events you plan to attend.

How Much Money Should I Budget For a Day at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival?

The answer to this question varies widely from person to person. A great way to experience the festival is by Eating and Drinking Your Way Around the World, Marketplace Discovery Passport, in hand! In the past, plates and pours at the World Showcase Booths have averaged [Read more…]

Photo Tour: Animal Kingdom Starbucks Now Open

Starbucks opened today in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, completing the line-up of Starbucks locations in Walt Disney World parks (the others being Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Bakery, Epcot’s Fountain View, and Hollywood Studios’ Trolley Car Cafe along with Downtown Disney’s two locations).

On a recent tour of the building’s exterior (formerly a merchandise store), we noticed what looked like coffee beans added to the design elements. Africa is one of three main regions from which Starbucks sources their coffee!

As you approach the Starbucks from the front of the park (located between Discovery Island and Africa), this is the first Entrance of two that you will encounter.

Starbucks Entrance

Starbucks Entrance and Peter, a Super Helpful and Friendly Cast Member Decked Out in the Team Uniform

You’ll notice that the name “Creature Comforts” has stuck, which kind of make sense, right? I love the two little monkeys with their coffees flanking the sign. ;-)

Creature Comforts

The Store’s Official Name is Creature Comforts. And Yes, They Do Serve Monkeys Apparently.

But just in case you’re not sure where you are, a subtle mermaid logo sign is posted near the door.

With [Read more…]

The 180 Days ’til Christmas Sale Starts TODAY!

Christmas Sale? Whaa?? “But AJ, it’s June, and we’re sweltering and/or being rained on!”

Well…it’s also only 192 days until Christmas. And if you’re planning a December Disney trip, it’s time to don your Santa hat and get into the holiday spirit, my friends! We’ve got three great offers starting today that are all yours until that magical 180 Days Before Christmas on June 28th!

Main Street Holiday Decor!

Main Street Holiday Decor!

Why is the 180 Day mark so magical? Most restaurants at Disney World start booking for Christmas Day on June 28th, 180 days before Christmas Day.

So….if you wanna get a table for your holiday dinner at one of Disney’s most popular restaurants, you’ve gotta get on the horn in the next couple of weeks! Not sure where you want to eat? Let us help you with that!!

Holiday Cupcake from the BoardWalk Bakery

Holiday Cupcake from the BoardWalk Bakery

180 Days ‘Til Christmas Sale — 3 Great Ways to SAVE!

We know you’re just as excited as we are about the upcoming holiday season in Walt Disney World! And like we said: it’s never too early to start making plans. After all, you’ve gotta make those advance dining reservations 6 months ahead, especially around the busy holiday season. So we have three exciting offers for you today — and they’re all yours until June 28th — 180 Days Before Christmas!

1) Get $5 Off the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2015 e-Book Pre-Order (Plus 2014 Guide FREE!)

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Get $5 off when you pre-order your copy of the DFB Guide to the Walt Disney World Holidays 2015 during our 180 Days ‘Til Christmas Sale going on from now until June 28th! Just use code 180Days when you check-out to get the discount.

And if that’s not enough to make you press the purchase button, remember you’ll be able to instantly download the 2014 Guide for FREE and start your planning — today! We’ll share our favorite spots for holiday meals, all of the holiday events, hundreds of photos, and more! It’s the perfect way to nail down your plans and snag the most popular holiday reservations in Walt Disney World.

You’ll then receive the 2015 Guide via email automatically as soon as it’s published in early November. Yep — that means you get two editions for the price of one, so you can start planning right away.

2) Bundle for More Savings!

Want more for your money?

Holiday Collage1

Purchase the Holiday Bundle for $5 off the already deeply discounted price! It’s like getting an entire book for free! Just enter code 180days at the check-out.

In the Holiday Bundle, you’ll get:

On a budget? Find out how to make those dollars stretch all around Disney World. These two unique resources are ALL you need to plan your holiday dining!

And with these handy, e-book format guides at your fingertips, there’s nothing that you won’t know about food at Walt Disney World! Just download them, put them on your mobile device, and GOOOOOOO!

To take advantage of this amazing deal, just enter Promo Code 180days at checkout!

3) Get Over 70% Off ALL of the DFB Dining Guides!

Finally, this is the way to get the biggest bang for your buck in our 180 Days ’til Christmas Sale. ACT NOW and collect ALL of Disney Food Blog’s Dining guidebooks for 70% off their regular prices.

Do you anxiously await new DFB posts? Want even more great information, pictures, and tips? Then the DFB Everything Bundle is for you!

Everything Bundle Collages

And to get you ready for that next big Disney World trip, we are offering the DFB Everything Bundle for 50% off the already low BUNDLE price – that’s over 70% off the cover prices of the books. Just enter promo code 180Days at checkout to take advantage of this offer for a limited time only.

The Everything Bundle includes, well, Everything! When you purchase this special bundle of DFB Guides, you’ll get it all:

[Read more…]

Raglan Road (In Ireland!): Master Chef Contest Winners Share Their Experiences

If you were following along during our #RaglanRoadTrip coverage, then you know that I recently returned from spending four days in Ireland with the winners of the Raglan Road Master Chef Contest as well as Chef Kevin Dundon.

Winners and Writers at Dunbrody House in Ireland (photo by Raglan Road photographer Ivan Cummins)

Winners and Writers at Dunbrody House in Ireland (photo by Raglan Road photographer Ivan Cummins)

The winners will all contribute a dish to the Raglan Road 10th Anniversary Celebration October! I wanted to get to know our winners a little better, so I asked each of them three simple questions:

What gave you a desire to work with Raglan Road?
What was your first experience with Raglan Road like?
As a home cook, what’s your biggest cooking takeaway from this experience?

Here’s what they had to share with me.

Aaron

Aaron Von Swearingen had long been a fan of cooking — and Raglan Road. It’s been a favorite spot of his for nearly as long as it’s been around, and he and his family often choose to go there for special occasions.

Aaron Chats with John, Owner of Danescastle Fruit Farm

Aaron Chats with John Mernagh, Owner of Danescastle Fruit Farm

But recently, his passion had taken a different turn: recipe development. So when Aaron heard about the Master Chef contest, he thought the challenge to come up with a three-course meal would be a terrific way to test his new found interest.

And clearly, he rose to the occasion. Following his successful bid to become a Master Chef finalist, Aaron headed to — where else? — Raglan Road to celebrate!

Aaron Getting Tips from John Cook on Filleting Fish

Aaron Getting Tips from John Cook on Filleting Fish

His time in Ireland was, as with other members of the group, transformative. Aaron says that, more than anything, he’s leaving with a clear vision that a simple approach is the best one; focus on simple, great, pure ingredients, and be creative and thoughtful in your presentation. “To know those things, going home, is very freeing,” he summed up.

Colleen

Like Aaron, Colleen Kerney has a young family and lives in Central Florida. But her motivation for entering the contest was a little different.

Colleen Receives Some Helpful Hints from Chef Julian

Colleen Receives Some Helpful Hints from Chef Julien

Colleen had been in the process of planning a family trip to Ireland, and had even considered leaving at the same time as the contest was planned for. But budgetary constraints led her to reconsider the timing, and she and her family began to earnestly save for a trip some time in the future.

One day recently, she was flipping through a local Central Florida publication when she came across this headline: “Kevin Dundon wants to send YOU to Ireland.” Well. That sounded pretty good to her. And we can say that the rest is history.

Interestingly enough, Colleen hadn’t ever actually dined at Raglan Road, although she was familiar with Chef Kevin because of his cooking show, which airs on PBS. However, she and her extended family celebrated her winning the contest by booking brunch at the Irish Pub.

Oyster Soup, Colleen's Dish

Oyster Soup, Colleen’s Dish

While she enjoyed her time in Ireland immensely and definitely plans to return for that promised family visit in the near future, she also had some fun takeaways from the experience. First and foremost? “Butter makes [Read more…]

Epcot’s L’Artisan des Glaces Celebrates its Second Anniversary with New Flavors and Sundaes!

Happy Second Anniversary, L’Artisan des Glaces!

From the moment the doors opened two years ago in the former spot of Boulangerie Patisserie in the France Pavilion, it was clear L’Artisan des Glaces was not your typical ice cream stop.

The Boulangerie relocated to a larger space, and L’Artisan des Glaces began to carve its own unique niche in the Disney dining scene almost immediately upon its debut.

So, what made the arrival of this little shop so special?

First of all, every single one of the 16 flavors of ice cream and sorbet was — and still is — made in-house.

L'Artisan des Glaces in Epcot's France Pavilion

L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France Pavilion

Opening Day L'Artisan des Glaces Flavors

Opening Day L’Artisan des Glaces Flavors

L'artisan des Glaces ice cream case

L’artisan des Glaces ice cream case

And second? The shop began to introduce some incredible and unique ice cream confections that we’d never seen the likes of before in Walt Disney World!

As we wish L’Artisan a huge Happy Birthday and Bon Anniversaire, we wanted to take a peek at just a few of these creations that are now a part of the eating scene in Epcot!

Ice Cream Martinis

Thanks to the addition of L’Artisan, Epcot guests 21 and over suddenly had the option of pairing their ice cream flavor of choice with…BOOZE! Grand Marnier, Clement Rhum from Martinique, or Whipped Cream flavored Vodka could be added to create their own gorgeous Ice Cream Martini.

Ice Cream Martini from L'Artisan des Glaces in Epcot's France Pavilion

Ice Cream Martini

Between this and the rich, creamy homemade ice cream, L’Artisan started earning its terrific reputation from the get-go. Refusing, however, to rest on their laurels, the ice cream artists have continued to change things up and crank out surprises year-round.

Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches

Additional treats began to appear later in 2013, starting with the Chocolate Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich. This decadent snack is a scoop of chocolate ice cream sandwiched inside a large, crisp-on-the-outside, chewy on the inside chocolate macaron cookie.

Chocolate Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich

Chocolate Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich

While you can still get the Chocolate Macaron Ice Cream sandwich any time of year, new versions of this treat began [Read more…]

Review: Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner

Fun news today from Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner!

You know how Columbia Harbour House used to have Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl? And you know how they don’t anymore and many, many, many of us still lament this on a regular basis?

Well, during a recent trip through the odyssey that is a Star Wars Weekend at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, one of our staffers spied a new menu at Min and Bills Dockside Diner that just might interest you…Clam Chowder Served in a BREAD BOWL.

Shazam.

Min and Bills Menu -- Click to Enlarge

Min and Bills Menu — Click to Enlarge

Bread bowls have been sorely missed in Disney World, although they remain a staple at several Disneyland spots, like Pacific Wharf Cafe and Royal Street Veranda.

So, it took us about 5 seconds to realize that we needed to get this and share it with you right now! And so…here it is.

It’s not a huge bread bowl, and it’s not Boudin Bakery (AFAIK); but it is hearty and the bread is clearly an artisan-type, fresh-baked boule that’s more interesting than your run-of-the-mill loaf. Pieces of onion make the boule visually interesting and infuse the bread with some complex flavor. Pretty, huh?

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl is Back in WDW!

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl is Back in WDW!

Under the little bread lid, you’ll find the boule hollowed out enough for about a cup of soup.

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl -- Under the Lid

Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl — Under the Lid

When I removed the lid, I was happy to see the fresh Bacon and Chive garnish, which gave the soup additional color, texture, and flavor. I personally think Clam Chowder benefits hugely from [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…]