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What’s New Around Disney World: July 16th, 2014

We’re wandering the World in search of eats, sweets, and all sorts of treats! Join us for another trip around the World to find out What’s New!

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

Frozen Summer Fun

In case you haven’t heard, Frozen Summer Fun is happening all over Hollywood Studios!

Elsa and Anna Letting It Go!

Elsa and Anna Letting It Go!

And of course this event includes a few extra snacks inspired by the film and its characters, such as specialty cupcakes (we loved the Olaf Carrot Cake), Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches, and specialty drinks.

Take-Along Olaf with Olaf Carrot Cake Cupcake

Take-Along Olaf with Olaf Carrot Cake Cupcake

Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

Arendelle Punch

Arendelle Punch

Check out our review of the Frozen eats here!

Disney Restaurant Refurbishments

Amidst the wintery fun, changes for the future are happening at Hollywood Studios, too. Rumor has it that the L.A. Prop Cinema Storage shop might just be the next Starbucks stop in the Parks. The refurbishment is scheduled to last until March 2015.

L.A. Cinema Prop Storage under refurbishment

L.A. Cinema Prop Storage under refurbishment

"Pardon Our Dust"

“Pardon Our Dust”

Stormtrooper Steins

Even if you missed Star Wars Weekends, you may not have entirely missed your opportunity to pick up some of the goodies! On a very recent visit, we spotted the Stormtrooper Souvenir Steins still available at Hey Howdy Hey Takeaway!

Stormtrooper Stein sign

Stormtrooper Stein sign

Stormtrooper Stein

Stormtrooper Stein

No telling how long they’ll last, so grab one while you still can!

EPCOT

Future World

Sunshine Seasons is currently serving Grilled Fish Tacos.

Sunshine Seasons Menu

Sunshine Seasons Menu

Grilled Fish Tacos

Grilled Fish Tacos

Looks like a future lunch to me!

World Showcase

Moving to World Showcase, the Refreshment Port is best known for being the current home of the Cronut, both regular and a la mode.

Epcot Refreshment Port

Epcot Refreshment Port

Cronut a la mode and regular cronut

Cronut a la mode and regular cronut

However, it’s also recently added a new cocktail to its list of alcoholic beverages: the Dragon Berry Refresher featuring Bacardi Dragon Berry Rum.

Refreshment Port Drink Menu

Refreshment Port Drink Menu

Mexico

In Mexico’s La Cava del Tequila, the Summer Special is the Ambhar Tamarindo Margarita, featuring Ambhar Blanco Tequila, tamarind pulp, orange liqueur and agave nectar. Oh, and a chili powder rim – YOW!

Ambhar Tamarindo Margarita

Ambhar Tamarindo Margarita

We’re always happy to have a reason to spend some extra time at La Cava, and it looks like there is more opportunity to do just that Continue reading →

Guest Review: Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom tends to get mixed reviews. Today, guest author Rebecca Elliott shares her family’s first-time experience at this Disney World restaurant.

Like most families, my husband, daughter, and I have favorite restaurants in Disney World that we like to visit again and again. On our most recent trip, we decided to break out of the box and dine only in restaurants we haven’t tried before.

Tony’s Town Square Restaurant hasn’t been on our list mostly because I grew up in New Jersey and regularly prepare Italian-American dishes at home. Also, reviews for this spot have been mixed at best, so we weren’t sure we wanted to risk our meal plan credits. But, we were committed to our plan and chose to give Tony’s a shot. Besides, who can say no to a Lady & the Tramp theme?

Tony’s Tony Square Restaurant

Tony’s Tony Square Restaurant

Atmosphere

The restaurant space on Main Street that houses Tony’s has been around since the park opened in 1971. Unlike the incredible theming of Disney restaurants today, previous dining venues in this space were sponsored by Oscar Meyer and Hormel. In 1989, Disney completely remodeled the restaurant and incorporated a Lady & the Tramp motif. Since the movie takes place in a Victorian-era American city, Main Street is the perfect backdrop.

The restaurant in the movie is famously Italian, and the atmosphere of Tony’s reflects this. From the black and white tiled floors to the dark wood banquettes, Disney does its best to deliver on this point.

Tony’s Main Dining Room

Tony’s Main Dining Room

The Restaurant is Regularly Busy

The Restaurant is Regularly Busy

The walls are decked with the artwork of Ducky Williams, a senior character artist at Walt Disney World. They are all original paintings.

Images of Lady & the Tramp Are on Display Throughout the Restaurant

Images of Lady & the Tramp Are on Display Throughout the Restaurant

There was a nice effect by our table – a painting of Lady & the Tramp appears behind a faux window, giving you the impression they are outside, about to kiss.

Lady and the Tramp About to Kiss Outside the Window

Lady and the Tramp About to Kiss Outside the Window

The centerpiece of the main dining room is a sweet fountain featuring Lady & the Tramp. It’s lovely to see older Disney movies and characters celebrated in this way.

This Darling Fountain Sits in the Center of the Dining Room

This Darling Fountain Sits in the Center of the Dining Room

There is a beautiful sunroom off the main dining room with lots of natural light that offers fantastic views of Main Street. I can see how this would be a terrific viewing spot for parades. Be sure to request this area if you plan on eating a meal during parade times.

The Sunroom Has a Nice View of Town Square

The Sunroom Has a Nice View of Town Square

As with all Disney restaurants, when you enter, you must first check in at the host stand. It is easy to see and well staffed. There is a small waiting area that loops the movie Lady & the Tramp on a TV to keep anxious children occupied if you have to wait. There was also a cast member with a Tony puppet entertaining would-be diners. We arrived a little early for our Advanced Dining Reservation, and they happily sat us.

The Check In Desk

The Check In Desk

A Cast Member Entertains Eager Diners

A Cast Member Entertains Eager Diners

We were led to a table that had two seats on a banquette and two chairs. When my husband sat on the banquette, we were disappointed to find that it was too low to comfortably enjoy his meal. The server quickly brought him a chair, and the problem was resolved.

Eats

The menu features loads of Italian-American favorites. We each chose to try something different. Since my life’s mission is to find the perfect meatball, I went with the meatball sliders. I was expecting smallish bland sandwiches with a little sauce. Boy was I wrong!

Meatball Sliders Topped with Provolone & Arugula

Meatball Sliders Topped with Provolone & Arugula

Instead, I got three medium-to-large sandwiches and a heaping portion of potato chips. The meatballs were a balanced combination of meat (beef and sausage), breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs with no single component overwhelming the others. They were topped with house-made marina, provolone cheese (melted just enough to make it soft but not gooey), and a little arugula (for a spicy kick). All this on focaccia rolls that didn’t get mushy or fall apart, even with loads of sauce on them.

My daughter ordered the spaghetti and meatballs – an Italian-American classic. A very large portion of pasta arrived, with the same marina and meatballs as my dish, only with smaller meatballs. I’ve read in many sources that people wished the dish came with Continue reading →

The Worst Ketchup in All of Walt Disney World

Ketchup. I personally love the stuff. I dip fries into it. It goes onto my burgers and hot dogs. I’ve been known to put it on steak. All incarnations of chicken — when not slathered in Buffalo wing sauce — get ketchupped.

But recently, I requested ketchup at Crew’s Cup Lounge in Disney World’s Yacht Club Resort when having a little lunch there. And I met with the Worst. Ketchup. In. Disney World.

If I’ve piqued your interest, here’s a pic of the offending condiment: Dickinson’s Ketchup. In one of those teeny tiny room service jars, no less. (Apparently the Crew’s Cup kitchen is the same one that manages room service. Sigh. Double sigh.)

Dickinson's Ketchup in a Jar

Dickinson’s Ketchup in a Jar

As I see it, there are three major problems here. Shall we?

Problem #1: getting the ketchup out. Um…it’s impossible. There’s ketchup in there, all right, but it’s uber thick and pretty much just stays in there no matter how long you tip the thing upside down. So you have to get your knife involved in scraping the stuff out, which not only provides a nails-on-a-chalkboard (or, knife-on-glass, as it may be) irritation, but also dirties your knife.

Problem #2: the taste. I know that most ketchup starts with concentrated tomatoes — like tomato paste, I’m thinking — but this seems, well, entirely too tomato-y to me. It’s, like, mega-tomato. There is such a thing as too much tomato.

Dickinson's Ketchup Ingredients -- Click to Enlarge

Dickinson’s Ketchup Ingredients — Click to Enlarge

But THEN there’s Problem #3: the texture.

Once you wrestle it out of the jar — and really, you should have a tiny rubber spatula for this feat — you see that it really is the consistency of tomato paste. You could probably make a little ketchup sculpture out of it. And that’s just wrong.

Out of the Jar

Out of the Jar

So I have made a mental note to myself: when staying at Walt Disney World, I’ll squirrel away a packet or two (or 6) of good, old fashioned Heinz if and when I see them. It may be tough, what with all those ketchup dispensers at condiment bars. But I’m gonna try.

Gloppy ketchup. Gross. Sorry Dickinson Family.

Are you opinionated when it comes to condiments? Tell us about your most — and least — favorite dips and toppings in Walt Disney World!

Review: Green Tea Cheesecake at Katsura Grill in Epcot’s Japan Pavilion

We’ve been enjoying snack time at Walt Disney World as we launched our Disney Food Blog Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book, 2014 Edition earlier this week!

To continue the celebration, let’s check out one of my favorite spots in World Showcase. And while we’re there, we’ll sample a never-featured-here-before snack today!

I think Epcot’s Japan Pavilion boasts some of the loveliest landscaping in Epcot, and a lot of it can be enjoyed from an outdoor seat at Katsura Grill.

Katsura Grill

Katsura Grill

Outdoor seating

Outdoor seating

The greenery, the paper lanterns, and waterfall all contribute to a sense of beauty and peace — even on the busiest of park days — so I’m always looking for reasons to spend more time in this spot.

A view from Katsura Grill

A view from Katsura Grill

Lanterns

Lanterns

Waterfall

Waterfall

One of those reasons, recently, was to try the Green Tea Cheesecake. I adore cheesecake, but have had both good and bad experiences with green tea infused food, so I was curious about what I might discover.

Upon receiving my slice, the first thing my eyes took in was the color. As expected, it’s rather green :), but a very light hue.

Green Tea Cheesecake

Green Tea Cheesecake

Green Tea Cheesecake

Green Tea Cheesecake

The portion size, I must say, seemed Continue reading →

Review: T-Rex at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney

Alrighty Guys, it is time. We are heading over to Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney to travel back 200 million years for dinner.

We’ve gotta do T-Rex again.

This super-themed-to-the-max restaurant is the sister of Rainforest Cafe. If you’ve been to one, you have an idea for the feel of the other (even if the themeing is different).

I’ll confess I wasn’t looking forward to this Advance Dining Reservation with great anticipation. But every restaurant at Disney deserves a little love from me, right? ;-) After all, it’s my job. So on a recent visit, over I went to check out if my experience would be better, worse, or the same as my previous visit.

Besides, there’s a Cotton-tini involved this time! More on that just around the corner. Let’s go!

Atmosphere

As you probably expect, there’s a whole lot going on when you walk inside T-Rex. The outside view of rock outcroppings and dinosaurs give you an idea of what you’re in for.

trex

Outside View of T-Rex

Once your eyes adjust, you’ll notice that there are four major themed areas inside the space. The bar is themed to look like an Undersea Scene, complete with a giant, moving octopus. (What?! It’s true!) You’ll see some jellyfish floating above you too.

Under the Pre-Historic Sea

Under the Pre-Historic Sea

You may recall this area experienced a little drama last year, when one of the cylindrical aquariums started gushing water right in the middle of meal service! Fortunately, fish and diners alike were all fine. (See the video here.)

The floors throughout the restaurant are themed as well. Check out the watery undercarriage of the Undersea Scene. These are actually tiles printed like water.

Watery tiled floor

Watery tiled floor

The themeing throughout the restaurant does vary a bit. A lot actually. Beyond the sea, you have a verdant Forest Area, where you can sit in the belly of a Triceratops if you’d like. (I have asked how I can get this table. I want to sit in that Triceratops. If any of you are willing to join me on a Triceratops challenge, let me know and we’ll go and wait for this table some night!

Dinosaur

The Triceratops Booth!

And then, there’s the Meteor Shower Room. Somehow you are simultaneously on Earth and viewing Earth. (Don’t think about it too hard.) You’ll find the star of the show here — T-Rex himself.

T-Rex Himself!

T-Rex! Ruuuuunnnnn!!!

Be forewarned — this room is very, very loud at regular intervals. Like every 10 minutes, when meteor showers rain down from the heavens.

Did I mention that it’s loud??

The Universe

The Universe on the Ceiling

Seating near the animatronic dinosaurs brings your experience to life. And for educational value, they have plaques scattered throughout the scenes that tell a little about the creatures.

Seating by the Dinosaurs

Seating by the Dinosaurs

In the Meteor Shower Room, you’ll also find the Continue reading →

Disney Food Post Round-Up: July 13, 2014

Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World has debuted Frozen Summer Fun.

Elsa Cupcake

Elsa Cupcake

See Anna and Elsa, ice skate (in the summer! in Florida!), catch some snowflakes, attend a sing-along, and of course, snack on some Frozen treats! From snowflake cookies to Olaf cupcakes, there’s plenty of snacks to keep you going.

Plus, the 2014 Epcot Candlelight Processional Packages are now on sale. Whether you’re visiting Disney World for the summer or holidays, we know you’ll find some amazing meals, snacks, and beverages.

You’ll find all the new Disney Food tidbits by clicking on the links below!

Disney Food News

Of course, there’s more!

Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including restaurant closures, and more!

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

Aloha! This week we’re highlighting tasty menu items from Disney’s Polynesian Resort. First up, Facebook Friend Kristen shares “One of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. The Samoan from Kona Cafe!”. Wow! We agree, Kristen!

The Samoan

The Samoan

And here’s a fan favorite — Bread Pudding from ‘Ohana sent in by DFB Reader Diandra. Yes, please!!

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding

While the Polynesian Resort is undergoing renovations, it’s still a great choice for Disney Meals. Thanks for sharing!

Disney Food Blog Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book, 2014 Edition

Recently, we announced the Grand Launch of the Disney Food Blog Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book, 2014 Edition! And to continue the celebration, we’re offering a $3 discount for a limited time! Use code Epcot2014 at check-out!

We’ve updated our detailed snack guide to help you find the best eats (and treats!) in Walt Disney World’s Epcot. You’ll see some of your old favorites as well as some snacks that you might have missed. We’ve kept most of the snacks in the $1-5 range, but there are a few big spenders in there. (Yep, that turkey leg or frozen mojito is gonna cost you!)

How Do I Get One?

There is absolutely no waiting to satisfy your snack cravings! This guide is an instantly downloadable PDF guide with over 290 pages of information and advice on over 150 delicious snacks that you can savor in Disney World’s Epcot. Download your copy right now, and start planning!

This guide is guaranteed to help you better plan your snacks and treats in Epcot, or your money back — we all know that treats in Epcot are just as important as a FastPass+ for Soarin!

The DFB Guide to Epcot Snacks e-Book includes: Continue reading →

Review: New Cinnamon, Caramelized Apple & Crumble Crunch Ice Cream at L’Artisan des Glaces

So, here we are on our second trip to L’Artisan des Glaces in Epcot’s France Pavilion in one week!

You may have seen our review of the new Vanilla Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich, but we just had to make it back right away to taste their brand new flavor. Take a deep breath, ‘cuz this one is a mouthful:  Cinnamon, Caramelized Apple & Crumble Crunch Ice Cream.

And it’s good to be back so soon for another visit, because let’s face it – if there’s a list of places at Disney World that merit more than one trip during your vacation, L’Artisan des Glaces deserves to be on it.

That case full of 16 homemade flavors of ice cream and sorbet just doesn’t disappoint.

L'artisan des Glaces ice cream case

L’Artisan des Glaces ice cream case

Cinnamon, Caramelized Apple & Crumble Crunch in the case

Cinnamon, Caramelized Apple & Crumble Crunch in the case

There are so many words in the name “Cinnamon, Caramelized Apple & Crumble Crunch,” it barely fits on the menu!

Flavor Menu

Flavor Menu

Menu close-up

Menu close-up

Fortunately, the Cast Member knew exactly what I was going for when I said, “May I have one scoop in a cup of the… um, Caramel, Cinnamon… uhh, Crumble … stuff? Please?”

Smooth. As. Silk. ;)

So, with that little tongue-twister out of the way, it was time to give it a try.

A cup of Cinnamon, Caramelized Apple & Crumble Crunch

A cup of Cinnamon, Caramelized Apple & Crumble Crunch

The name, of course, is a full description of a very full-flavored ice cream. You can immediately see the Continue reading →

News! La Place de Rémy is Now Open at Disneyland Paris!

Cool news out of Disneyland Paris this week — La Place de Rémy is now open at Walt Disney Studios Park!

And the new area is home to the brand new attraction and table service restaurant inspired by the Disney-Pixar animated film Ratatouille, news we first told you about earlier this year. A ride? Based on a restaurant? Especially a French restaurant??? I love it!

 L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy -- The New Ratatouille-Themed Attraction at Disneyland Paris

L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy — The New Ratatouille-Themed Attraction at Disneyland Paris

The attraction, L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, seems like all kinds of fun, too! As guests shrink down to rodent size, they board Continue reading →

Review: Frozen Summer Fun and Food at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Perhaps you’ve heard of a moderately successful Disney film called Frozen? ;)

Frozen at DHSWell, it’s time to celebrate with some Frozen Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Frozen Summer Fun!

Frozen Summer Fun!

And there is so much to do! Your first stop might be belting out “Let It Go” with Anna and Elsa at For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration!

Elsa and Anna Letting It Go!

Elsa and Anna Letting It Go!

Or maybe you’ll head straight over to Frozen Funland, where you can try your hand (or, umm, feet?) at skating on the indoor ice rink. Or you can do what I did and enjoy watching other people skate in your place ;) .

Performers at Frozen Funland Ice Rink

Performers at Frozen Funland Ice Rink

Frozen Funland Ice Rink

Frozen Funland Ice Rink

You’ll want to make sure your Take-Along Olaf is snapping plenty of selfies!

Take-Along Olaf

Take-Along Olaf

Or maybe just take some time to gaze at the gently falling snow covering the pine– I mean, palm trees.

Let it SNOW!!

Let it SNOW!!

No matter which way you turn, there’s all sorts of Frozen Fun to be had, so you might need to refuel with a snack or two!

Several classic Disney Park snacks – such as Krispy Treats and Frosted Cookies, as well as a newcomer, Brownie Pops — have been spruced up for the occasion in hues of “Frozen” white and blue at the Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post (special for the event, you’ll find it in the Streets of America section), and Sweet Spells.

Wandering Oaken's Trading Post sign

Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post sign

Frozen Krispy Treats

“Frozen” Krispy Treats

Snowflake Cookies

Snowflake Cookies

Chocolate-covered Moose Cookies

Chocolate-covered Cookies

Blue and White Brownie Pops

Blue and White Brownie Pops

And these days no bakery case in Disney World is complete without the Olaf Candy Apple!

Olaf Candy Apple

Olaf Candy Apple

The Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post is the neighbor to Frozen Funland, the already-famous spot that includes the ice skating rink as well as the Sweet Treat Bar.

Sweet Treat Bar

Sweet Treat Bar

Sweet Treat Bar Menu

Sweet Treat Bar Menu

I know the choice of Hot Cocoa in July might not top your list, but they do keep it fairly chilly in there for the rink. Plus, the addition of Toasted Marshmallow flavor makes it a bit more enticing, no?

The Sweet Treat Bar is one of several spots around Hollywood Studios where you can grab the specialty cupcakes for Frozen Summer Fun: the Elsa Vanilla Cupcake with Buttercream Icing, the Anna Chocolate Cupcake with Buttercream Icing, and the Olaf Carrot Cake Cupcake with Cream Cheese Icing.

Elsa Cupcakes

Elsa Cupcakes

Anna Cupcakes

Anna Cupcakes

Olaf Cupcakes

Olaf Cupcakes

Of course, you can find the Olaf Cupcake at several Hollywood Studios Quick Service locations, including Fairfax Fare, Studio Catering Co., Pizza Planet, and — the spot where I grabbed mine — Starring Rolls Café!

Take-Along Olaf with Olaf Carrot Cake Cupcake

Take-Along Olaf with Olaf Carrot Cake Cupcake

There is PUH-LENTY of Continue reading →

Tip from the DFB Guide: Where To Dine With Both Picky AND Adventurous Eaters!

We’re sharing another great tip from our critically-acclaimed e-Book, The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2014!

disney dining tips

Today, we’re talking about a common conundrum: How do you satisfy all of the people, all of the time?

We’ve all been there. You have a picky eater in your group. No problem, right? Hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets are all available throughout the parks and resorts.

But where do you go when you have both picky and adventurous eaters among your number?

How about a buffet or food court?

Disney excels at offering some truly interesting, all you care to eat options and food court choices, where the picky and the persnickety can both find satisfying options. Let’s check out a couple.

Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of our favorite stops for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The restaurant features a wonderful spread of African-inspired food. And at breakfast and lunch, you also have the added benefit of a character dining experience!

Goofy Strikes at Pose at Tusker House in Disney's Animal Kingdom

Goofy Strikes at Pose at Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom

If you’re feeling adventurous, start your meal off with the interesting array of Chutneys and Spreads, before moving on to interesting house specialties like Bobotie or Potato and Pea Samosas.

Beef Bobotie at Tusker House

Beef Bobotie at Tusker House

And lovers of food and pickier eaters alike are Continue reading →