the disney food blog Rotating Header Image

More Menu Updates for the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Hooray! We’ve got a few more menu updates to share about the booths at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

For a record 53 days, this year’s Food and Wine Festival begins September 19th. And we have another returning booth confirmed — Greece!

In addition to the menu items already on our list for the 2014 festival, let’s take a look at a few more NEW menu items!

Puerto Rico Booth — 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The Puerto Rico booth returns after a year-long hiatus, and we can look forward to Sweet Corn Sorullitos with Mayo Ketchup and a Sangriiia Cocktail! (Nope, I totally didn’t spell that wrong.)

Puerto Rico Booth

Greece Booth — 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

The Greece Booth returns yet again in Continue reading →

News! Souvenir Tiki Dole Whip Cups Available to Celebrate Disneyland’s 59th Birthday

Ya gotta love souvenir schtuffs, especially if it has a Dole Whip in it!

Dole Whip in Souvenir Tiki Bowl

Dole Whip in Souvenir Tiki Bowl

Found at the original Disney Dole Whip location, The Tiki Juice Bar in Disneyland, the souvenir bowl (and a companion souvenir sipper if you prefer your pineapple juice sans Whip) are now available while supplies last.

Souvenir Sipper and Bowl Pricing

Souvenir Sipper and Bowl Pricing

What better way to celebrate Disneyland’s 59th Birthday than with a classic Dole Whip in a fun commemorative cup? Don’t forget to take yours in when Continue reading →

Disney Recipe: Macaroni and Cheese from Jiko at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

I have a super special treat for you today!

I know I’m not the only person in love with the Macaroni and Cheese at Jiko, right? This signature restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge — and this dish in particular! — regularly tops my list when I’m visiting Disney World.

And when you run into me having dinner here, chances are better than great that I’ll be enjoying their Oak-Grilled Filet with a side of their amazing Mac and Cheese.

While the filet is a mainstay on their menu, the side dishes that it’s paired with tend to change up regularly. But Jiko created a legend with the filet and cheesy goodness combo; it had legions of fans! So normally, even if the mac and cheese isn’t on the menu, you can request it.

Oak Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

Oak Grilled Filet with Mac and Cheese

And now you can make it at home too!

Jiko’s Macaroni and Cheese

Jiko — The Cooking Place, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients: Continue reading →

News! 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special Events, Dates, and Prices; Booking Begins July 31st!

Awesome news today! We have a few more pieces of information to share with you about the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! We now know that booking for Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special Events will begin on July 31st at 7AM EST! Call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378).

Food and Wine Festival Updates

What are we excited most about? Parisian Breakfasts BACK this year on Saturday Mornings! We absolutely loved these events in 2013, and we can’t wait to book it again in 2014! And we look forward to taking in some new experiences as well.

Be sure to check out our 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special Events page for ALL of the details on these options; and check out our 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival page for all of the latest news and updates on this year’s festival.

New Epcot Food and Wine Festival Special Events for 2014

Sunday Mornings With… — This event will be a plated brunch with noted pastry chef or baker who will craft 3 different desserts for guests. Time and Price TBD

Dining Through the Decades, A Tribute to Walt Disney (October 24) $99 pp or $119 pp

Experience Puerto Rico – The All Star Island (September 20) $99 pp

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival — Boot Camp Series – An interactive epicurean adventure (September 21, October 5, 12, 19, Nov. 2) $119 pp

Food for Thought Continue reading →

First Look! Trattoria al Forno to Replace Kouzzina by Cat Cora on Disney World’s BoardWalk

We are getting our first details today about the restaurant that will replace Kouzzina at Disney’s BoardWalk when it closes later this year.

Trattoria al Forno will join other eateries at the deluxe hotel and entertainment district. The restaurant is slated to open this December.

Trattoria al Forno Logo

The menu will feature Italian fare with an emphasis on regional specialities and classic preparations. Many ingredients will actually be made from scratch, in-house. We can’t wait to try the freshly handcrafted Mozzarella and the house-made Cavatelli!

The restaurant will also have wood-burning ovens, and they’ll put them to good use making — you guessed it! — Neapolitan-style Pizza! Will it be like Via Napoli meets the BoardWalk? Sounds good to me!

Quattro Fromaggi Pizza from Via Napoli

I’m Hoping for Pizzas Like the Quattro Fromaggi from Via Napoli!

But they aren’t stopping there. Eating through Trattoria al Forno’s menu will be like Continue reading →

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 →