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Best Disneyland Restaurants for First Timers

Okay. So I tried to come up with the Top Three Disneyland Restaurants for First Timers. But there was no way I could limit my picks to just three. So then, I said, hey, let’s try for the Top Five.

Even still.

So in the end, I cut myself off at Eight. :-)

Disneyland's Matterhorn

Matterhorn!

There is so much good food in Disneyland. Really, it was super hard not to just give you a list of pretty much every restaurant there, and call it a day.

But if you must narrow it down, these are the restaurants that I love. These are the spots that I’d go to every single time if I could. (And mostly, I do.)

Heading to Disneyland, or just dreaming about a pilgrimage there? Check out my picks for the places you have to visit during your very first trip. Whether you’re looking for a meal or a snack, you can’t go wrong with putting these spots on your list.

Cafe Orleans

If I could only eat at one spot in Disneyland for the rest of my life, I’m fairly sure that spot would be Cafe Orleans. Located on New Orleans Square, it’s offers some of the beautiful patio seating that Disneyland is known for.

Outdoor Patio at Cafe Orleans

Outdoor Patio at Cafe Orleans

But I’m going to be honest — Cafe Orleans claims the distinction of offering not just one or two, but three of my favorite Disneyland dishes. (And that’s pretty much all I ever eat there.) First, when you visit here, I insist you order the Pommes Frites. Tossed with Garlic and Parmesan, they’re served with a Cajun Remoulade ramekin. I also insist you order TWO remoulades. At least. Per person.

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

While I love their gumbo here as well, it’s the Monte Cristo Sandwich that I can’t live without. Pockets of bread layered with Ham, Turkey, and Swiss Cheese are lightly battered and deep-fried. Served with Berry Puree for dipping, this is pretty much something everyone should eat at least once in life.

Disneyland's Famous Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo at Cafe Orleans

Not a meat-eater? There’s also an All-Cheese Version. No. Seriously. There is.

Behold. The Three-Cheese Monte Cristo. Did I mention the Double Creme Brie?

Three-Cheese Monte Cristo at Disneyland's Cafe New Orleans

Three-Cheese Monte Cristo at Disneyland’s Cafe New Orleans

But save room for dessert — because you can’t pass on the Mickey Beignets served with Dipping Sauces.

Mickey Beignets with Sauces

Mickey Beignets with Sauces

Have this meal just once, and you can say “I’ve been to Disneyland” properly as far as I’m concerned.

Blue Bayou

But Cafe Orleans has an older, slightly more posh sister — Blue Bayou. And while I usually skip it in favor of Cafe Orleans, if you’re visiting the ‘Land for the first time, you really need to experience this place.

Because more than anything, Blue Bayou is an experience; it’s as much an attraction as a restaurant.

Blue Bayou Atmosphere

Blue Bayou Atmosphere

Because the restaurant is fashioned to look like a verandah on a river’s edge. Look below you into the water, and you see travelers, en route to explore the mysteries of the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Honestly, the food is less important here to me than the “view.” I have enjoyed the New Orleans Signature Gumbo. And in this setting, it’s even better.

New Orleans Signature Gumbo

New Orleans Signature Gumbo

And yep, to be honest, I like to order the Monte Cristo here, too!

Le Special de  Monte Cristo Sandwich

Le Special de Monte Cristo Sandwich

It’s a little fancier (and more expensive), but just as delicious.

Napa Rose

Some of my Disneyland dining choices are obviously sentimental; either I love the restaurant, the food, or both. But it’s not like they’re the tip-top of the culinary pyramid or anything. But then, there’s Napa Rose.

I Love the Napa Rose Outdoor Lounge Area

Start Your Napa Rose Adventure With a Glass of Wine on the Outside Patio

Nestled inside Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, Napa Rose stands as a testament to fine California fusion cuisine, inspired by fresh farm-to-market ingredients.

Chef Sutton's Chili Base

Chef Sutton’s Chili Base — Even Base Ingredients are Created in House From Scratch

Chef Andrew Sutton is in charge here, and his menus make use of the freshest items. Prepare to be Continue reading →

News! 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival FULL Food Menus!

We have big news from Epcot today!

The 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Menus are Finally Here!

With just a week to go before the opening of the 2015 Flower and Garden Festival, we have the full list of menus for the super popular Outdoor Kitchens! Mark your calendars — the Festival lasts from March 4 through May 17.

Disney Food Blog Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

These Outdoor Kitchens, which are similar to Marketplace Booths that dominate the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, feature delicious small plates that allow you to taste fresh flavors from the garden.

We Loved This Violet Lemonade at the 2013 Flower and Garden Festival!

We Loved This Violet Lemonade at the 2014 Flower and Garden Festival!

There are lots and lots of new things to try. A brand new Outdoor Kitchen will debut in 2015. Botanas Botánico will be located between the France and Morocco Pavilions and will feature food and drink with a Venezuelan influence.

Sadly, we’ve also confirmed that one of our favorites, Continue reading →

Review: Cheese Danish at Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

If you’ve picked Disney’s Hollywood Studios as your first stop of the day, with plans to swing by your Resort’s Grab-and-Go to pick up a Cheese Danish before making your way to the park… may I offer a word of advice?

Don’t.

It’s not that it’s a bad choice, per se. There’s not a thing wrong with the standard cheese danish available across resort food courts. It’s fine. But it’s nothing compared to the Cheese Danish waiting for you at the Writer’s Stop.

We’re big fans of Writer’s Stop around here for a couple of reasons. Reason One: it offers a nice respite thanks to its out-of-the-way location in the Streets of America and low key coffee shop/bookstore vibe. It blends in so seamlessly in this area filled with TV and movie set false fronts that a lot of people don’t even realize it’s an operating snack stop.

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop

The casual bookstore-and-coffee-shop vibe inside invites you to meander and browse for a while.

Inside Writer's Stop

Inside Writer’s Stop

Inside Writer's Stop

Inside Writer’s Stop

Book shelves

Book shelves

Small seating area

Small seating area

Reason Two (ok, maybe this should be Reason One ;) ): it’s home to the famous Carrot Cake Cookie! We love this legendary snack so much that we’ve yet to sing the praises of the danish pastries available in this stop, because it’s so hard to resist the Call of the Cookie.

Carrot Cake Cookie at Writer's Stop in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Carrot Cake Cookie at Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

But since there really is no better way to start a day than with an enormous pile of cream cheese doused in icing, today is the day that the danish gets its due. I’m obviously focusing on the Cheese Danish, but you can often find Continue reading →

News! Flip Cards Offer a Fun New Way To Communicate with the Staff at Whispering Canyon

Whispering Canyon Cafe is a favorite destination for Disney World guests who are looking for an interactive dining experience.

The restaurant, located in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, has long been known for its vivacious waitstaff.

Veterans of this fun spot know what happens when you ask for ketchup. (I hope you wanted a lot???) And be forewarned that your straws will probably be thrown at you.

And it’s not just the small fries who get in on the games. Kids of all ages can join in. In fact, you’re pretty much expected to!

Fair Warning -- Your Straws Will Most Likely Be Thrown At You

Straw “Delivery”

But it seems like Whispering Canyon understands that some of us like to participate in Stick Horse Races…and others would rather just watch.

Hobby Horse Race at Whispering Canyon Cafe

Hobby Horse Race at Whispering Canyon Cafe

And so, they’ve come up with an ingenious, lo-tech way to signal your server which tribe you belong to!

On a recent visit to the ‘World (this week, in fact!), one of our intrepid team members spotted these cute cards at Whispering Canyon. This was the first time we had seen them. They were instructed by their server to use the cards to communicate with the staff.

Want the full battery of antics? Then flip the card to Continue reading →

Tips from the DFB Guide: How MyMagic+ is Impacting Disney World Dining

When we all had our first glimpse of Magic Bands a couple of years back, did any of us have an idea that MyMagic+, Disney’s all-inclusive planning system, would impact so significantly the way we dine in Disney World?

dfb2015_guide_3d

As soon as we saw those super cute bracelets (how many colors do you have??), we had an inkling that they’d spell major changes in the way we enjoy our Disney mealtimes. Almost immediately we put together this post, which gave our predictions for the MyMagic+-ful future.

Fast forward a couple of years, and we’re definitely seeing the impact of Disney’s commitment to the technological overhaul. So today, we thought we’d share with you some seriously helpful information from the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015!

And if you find these tips to be helpful, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!

So let’s talk about some ways that MyMagic+ is impacting your Disney World Dining!

Schedule Meals and FastPasses — Without Conflict

This is probably one of my favorite things about MyMagic+. Use of the My Disney Experience app to preschedule my Advance Dining Reservations and my ride FastPasses means that the two don’t ever conflict.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Choose Between Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Be Our Guest? Now You Don’t Have To!

In the past, when the FastPass machines simply spit a time out for your return, there were times that I had to choose between Soarin’ and La Hacienda de San Angel’s Crema de Elote. (And seriously. You do know that the food always, always won, right?)

Corn Soup -- Up Close

Sorry — But I Will Always Choose La Hacienda’s Corn Soup Over Soarin’

But in the time since MyMagic+ was introduced, I’ve been able to schedule attractions around meetings, meals, and anything else I’d like! Seriously — I’ve ridden so many more rides since MyMagic+ came on line!

Touch to Pay is Awesome!

If you ask me — and pretty much all of the DFB Staff! — we agree that the Touch to Pay using our Magic Bands is one of our favorite things about MyMagic+ System.

Touch to Pay at a Counter Service Location

Touch to Pay at a Counter Service Location

Across the board, we love that you no longer have to search through your bag or wallet for a Key to the Kingdom card or credit card to pay.

Touch to Pay at Raglan Road

Touch to Pay at Raglan Road

Teenagers especially love the freedom of being on their own in the parks, knowing that Continue reading →

News! New “Kitchen Magic with Mickey” Disney Cookbook Arrives in Disney Parks

Many of us love to reproduce the recipes that we find at our favorite Disney restaurants once we get home. That’s one reason that I love to collect Disney Cookbooks, filled with my favorite old and new recipes. They’ve become some of my family’s favorite meals!

If you love to collect, cook, and recreate, too, then you’ll be excited to hear this news today. Disney has introduced a brand new cookbook, Kitchen Magic with Mickey!

Kitchen Magic with Mickey Cookbook

Kitchen Magic with Mickey Cookbook

Written by Disney cookbook author Pam Brandon and the Disney Chefs, the cookbook brings together a collection of favorite and often-requested recipes from the four corners of Disney. You’ll find dishes from the Parks, Resorts, and even Disney Cruise Line! With 100 recipes ranging from comfort food favorites like Continue reading →

News! And Review: Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC (BabyCakes!) Opens in Disney Springs

Just last week we showed you the signs outside the new Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC in Downtown Disney…

Erin McKenna's NYC Bakery sign

Erin McKenna’s NYC Bakery sign

And NOW we are happy to report that as of yesterday, it’s open for business!

First things first: Why all the excitement over this bakery? Well, aside from being the latest addition on the scene as Downtown Disney transitions to Disney Springs, it’s also the new home to BabyCakes NYC gluten-free and vegan baked goods in Disney World!

Erin McKenna's Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna’s Bakery storefront

Erin McKenna is the founder of BabyCakes NYC. Almost one year ago, the BabyCakes location in Downtown Disney’s Marketplace closed (along with Pollo Campero and Bodie’s All-American) to accommodate construction in the area. The new Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC fills the void felt by many guests on restricted diets, either due to allergies, digestive intolerances or lifestyle choice when BabyCakes closed, so we’re here to offer it a hearty “Welcome Back!”

Atmosphere

Now, I just mentioned the Marketplace, so let’s not go too much further before we discuss the location of Erin McKenna’s. It finds its home in what is now called The Landing (formerly part of the Pleasure Island area). Depending on your most recent visit to Downtown Disney, things may look a LOT different! You’ll find Erin McKenna’s tucked right in among some brand new retails shops including Sanuk, Sound Lion, and Chapel Hats, facing what will be The Boathouse restaurant.

Erin Mckenna's NYC Bakery at The Landing

Erin Mckenna’s NYC Bakery at The Landing

Seeing this area with its exposed brick and aesthetically pleasing outdoor strolling area, you really do start to get a feel for how much Continue reading →

News! Menu Item Photos from the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival — Plus Cooking Demos!

Menu news just keeps coming! Slowly but surely, menu details are trickling out about this the food and drink options for the 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.

Disney Food Blog Epcot Flower and Garden Festival (2)

Just a couple of days ago, we shared with you some of the new food items that are scheduled to appear in the Outdoor Kitchens around World Showcase. Today we’re bringing you an update on a few of the drinks you can look forward to sampling!

And check out a beautiful and delicious dessert option in France — plus some fun news about FREE cooking demos at this year’s Festival!

New Flavors at France’s Fleur de Lys Outdoor Kitchen

We were thrilled to bring you a first look at a fun new option debuting in the Fleur de Lys Outdoor Kitchen. And today, we have another gorgeous pic to share!

I had the chance last week to sample a couple of the new offerings that will be at the Fleur de Lys Booth this year! The Ice Pop features a combination of French Peach Iced Tea, Grand Marnier Peach Raspberry Liqueur, and Vodka. It’s going to be perfect for those warm Florida Spring days!

You can absolutely taste the Grand Marnier and Vodka in this one! It’s amazing — even if you’re not an iced tea fan! And the texture isn’t exactly “frozen” due to the alcohol, so it’s very easy to eat.

A Grown-Up Ice Pop Debuts at the Fleur de Lys Outdoor Kitchen in the France Pavilion

A Grown-Up Ice Pop Debuts at the Fleur de Lys Outdoor Kitchen in the France Pavilion

And while we told you about the brand new Macaron Guimauve à la Fraise (Strawberry Marshmallow Macaron) that will be offered at Fleur de Lys, today I’m sharing a first look!

Macaron Guimauve à la Fraise (Strawberry Marshmallow Macaron)

Macaron Guimauve à la Fraise (Strawberry Marshmallow Macaron)

It’s a great celebration of the fresh Florida Strawberry Season that’s underway right now. The crunchy-and-soft cookie and the marshmallow are super-sweet, but the strawberry inside is still a bit tart. It’s an amazing contradiction in flavors.

New Beverages Coming to the 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

The name of the game is Fresh Flavor in the Outdoor Kitchens for 2015. Look for fruits and veggies to be featured everywhere — even in the libations!

Key Limen Wine from Florida Orange Groves has been a Festival feature in the past (we’ve seen it at the Food and Wine Festival, too). But this year, there might be something a little different on the horizon, as Key Lime Sparkling Wine is set to debut at the Florida Fresh Kitchen. We are also looking forward to another fun fruit-based option — Ace Pineapple Hard Cider.

Ace Pineapple Cider -- the First Pineapple Cider in the World and Perfect for the Flower and Garden Festival!

Ace Pineapple Hard Cider — the First Pineapple Cider in the World and Perfect for the Flower and Garden Festival!

In addition, there will be a Sparkling Pineapple Wine; look for both at the Pineapple Promenade Kiosk.

New cocktails are also set to debut. We’re getting our first look at the La Tizana that we told you about previously. A fruit punch that’s inspired by the flavors of Venezuela, the bright punch includes Orange Juice, Lime Juice, Banana Puree, and Grenadine. It’s garnished with chopped fresh fruit. Find it at the Botanas Botánico Outdoor Kitchen, a new booth to the Festival this year.

Edgy Urban Eats will feature the Urban Mary, which takes cues from the classic Bloody Mary recipe. Spicy Tomato Juice, Lime Juice, and Worcestershire are mixed together and garnished with a Pickled Green Bean and Micro Greens.

New Beverages Set to Debut at the 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Include Pineapple Cider, X, and an Urban Mary

New Beverages Set to Debut at the 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival Include Pineapple Cider, La Tizana, and an Urban Mary

And something that we love this year — La Tizana and the Urban Mary are available with or without alcohol, so you can enjoy the beverages regardless of your preference. Opt for a splash of RHUM Orange Liqueur to La Tizana, or add shot of Vodka to the Urban Mary.

Look for lots of interesting Craft Beer options as well, like the Shipyard’s Maple Bacon Stout at Barbecues and Brews.

Fresh Flower and Garden Beverage Options in the Mexico Pavilion

The Mexico Pavilion will also provide market-inspired fresh flavors in some of their artisan Margaritas. We’re looking forward to sampling the Blueberry Pomegranate Margarita at Jardin de Fiestas Outdoor Kitchen in the Mexico Pavilion. Other fun options that will be available include a Tequila Liqueur Flight and Continue reading →

Celebrate National Margarita Day Tomorrow, Walt Disney World Style!

We are happy to start a little early celebrating National Margarita Day tomorrow, February 22! Now, this is a holiday I can get behind!!!

If you’ve been here for any amount of time at all, then you know I lurve a good Margarita. (If you’re new here at DFB — welcome…and FYI, I love margaritas!) And some of my very favorites can be found right at Walt Disney World.

Grab some limes and tequila and let’s take a look at our must-drink margs!

Avocado Margarita at La Cava del Tequila

The AguacateAvocado Margarita — from La Cava del Tequila has been one of my very favorites from the first time I sampled it!

It’s a wonderful, made-to-order concoction that blends Avocado, Lime Juice, White Tequila, and Melon Liqueur for a flavor that’s like no other!

Avocado Margarita

Avocado Margarita

My favorite thing about this drink is the perfect balance of the creamy consistency with a sweet flavor — not to mention the tequila :-). A little Agave Nectar and the liqueur balance the flavors nicely.

And thanks to an awesome reader, you and I can even make this one at home today with this recipe, and celebrate this holiday in style!

Blood Orange Margarita at Flying Fish Cafe

Blood Orange is one of my favorite flavors. After all, with the complex, less sweet, almost bitter taste it imparts, it’s a little more interesting than plain old orange…orange.

And it’s especially delicious when paired with other flavors in a margarita. We’ve enjoyed versions of this festive cocktail at San Angel Inn Ristorante, but my favorite one can be found at Flying Fish Cafe.

Blood Orange Margarita

Blood Orange Margarita

If you’re anything like me, if you order this, it’ll be gone pretty quickly! SO good!

Italian Margarita at Via Napoli

One thing that you can count on at Disney when it comes to food and drink is a fun, fusion approach to some of your favorites. Case in point: the Italian Margarita in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion!

I first discovered this delicious drink at Via Napoli, the Italy Pavilion’s fantastic spot for pizza.

Italian Margarita

Italian Margarita

But it’s proven to be so popular, it’s also been available at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in recent years! And fortunately, you can still order it at Italy’s Gelato Stand.

Italian Margarita at the Food and Wine Festival's Italy Booth!

Italian Margarita at the Food and Wine Festival’s Italy Booth!

Flavored with a smooth combination of Continue reading →

Spotted: New Macaron Merchandise in Epcot’s France Pavilion

So, remember last fall, when we scoped out the Macaron-themed merchandise in Epcot’s France Pavilion? Well, there are some new macaron souvenirs dedicated to this classic French cookie. So, if you’re not able to pop into Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie or enjoy the latest macaron filled with house made ice cream at L’artisan des Glaces,  these finds will still help you proclaim your love for these colorful and tasty treats!

Macarons from Les Halles

Macarons from Les Halles

Box of Macarons from Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie

Box of Macarons from Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie

Simultaneously celebrating macarons and Epcot’s World Showcase (specifically the France Pavilion), as well as the Main Mouse, this line differs from the previous by featuring more animated graphics in pastels.

Macaron merchandise display

Macaron merchandise display

Another difference is the location. The previous collection had a display in the merchandise area connected to Les Halles. The new collection can be found at L’Esprit de la Provence shop, just to the right as you enter the back of the pavilion.

L'Esprit de la Provence

L’Esprit de la Provence

The girls and women’s shirts feature a simple “I Love Paris” sentiment.

I Love Paris t-shirt

I Love Paris t-shirt

I Love Paris t-shirt

I Love Paris t-shirt

I Love Paris design

I Love Paris design

“Bon appétit!” is the phrase that graces the apron, keychain, coasters, and Continue reading →