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DFB Reader Questions Answered: Celebrating Your Child’s Birthday at Walt Disney World

Today, we’re reaching into our mailbag to answer another reader question! Since we often get the same question from several of our readers, what better way to share the answers than in a post for all of you to see?

Today’s question comes from a mom who plans to celebrate her young son’s birthday in style during an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World.

I was interested in having my son’s 7th birthday in Disney World. I want an awesome cake and I would like Mickey as well as some other characters to be there. Do you have any information regarding how to arrange this?

When it comes to celebrating a birthday (or any special occasion) at Walt Disney World, you have lots of options!

BIrthday Party at Disney World for a DFB Reader!

BIrthday Party at Disney World for a DFB Reader!

Character Dining

You could choose to make a reservation at a character meal experience, like Chef Mickey’s, 1900 Park Fare, or Crystal Palace. Character dining spots such as these feature interaction with several Disney characters, who will visit with you at your table as you dine for no extra charge. It’s a great opportunity for photo ops. And no standing in line — they come to you!

In many Disney restaurants, if you mention that you’re celebrating a birthday to your server, they’ll arrange for a special birthday treat!

Spontaneous Birthday Treat at Citricos

Restaurant Cakes

Most table-service restaurants at Walt Disney World can accommodate an on-the-spot birthday cake request. Simply let the host or hostess at the restaurant’s podium know that you’d like a cake for your celebration, and they can provide you with a choice of a basic vanilla or chocolate cake.

Customized Cakes

Customized birthday cakes are available throughout Walt Disney World at most table-service restaurants.

Chip 'n Dale Cake at California Grill

Chip ‘n Dale Cake at California Grill for a DFB Reader

The resort asks that you provide 48 hours notice to create your custom cake. To arrange for a Disney bakery cake, call 407-827-2253. For all the skinny on ordering your Disney special occasion cake, be sure to check out our Disney World Cake FAQ page.

Don’t forget to check out our Disney Birthday Cake Gallery for Continue reading →

News! ‘Ohana Bread Pudding Now Available at Tambu Lounge in Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Resort

Well, we know that a lot of guests will be unhappy in the coming weeks and months as Disney’s Polynesian Resort undergoes some serious refurb and renovation — closing several of the dining locations on property.

Tambu Sign

But THIS is a welcome “benefit” of the whole situation!

We’re excited to let you know that everyone’s favorite Disney dessert (OK — my favorite dessert, but I know you guys like it, too!) from ‘Ohana is now available to any Tom, Dick, or Harry who strolls into Tambu Lounge!

'Ohana Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

‘Ohana Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Yep — this better-than-anything pineapple bread pudding topped with ice cream and covered in caramel sauce is more than the sum of its parts…and you can get your own personal serving at the Poly’s popular resort lounge. No more need to buy the whole dinner at ‘Ohana to get the very best part!

(You can see a review of other great Tambu Lounge goodies here!)

Tambu Lounge

Tambu Lounge

We’ve been asking for years if we can get this must-have dessert at the Lounge, and while it’s happened a few times, the answer is more than often “no.” We’re thrilled that — at least for a little while — the answer will be a resounding “YES!!” Note that the serving will just be for one…you do NOT get that lovely all-you-care-to-eat bowl of the stuff here. ;-)

We’re not sure how long this will be available, but it’s going to become a new Disney World First Day Tradition for me until it’s gone!

Can’t make it to WDW right now? Make this at home with our Bread Pudding Recipe!

Will Tambu Lounge be a stop on your Disney destination list now that the famous bread pudding is on the menu? Let us know in the comments below!

News! Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma Extends Brunch Hours for Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day

Great news for fans of Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!

If your Spring plans include a visit to Walt Disney World for either Easter Sunday or Mother’s Day, you can take advantage of extended hours for brunch at this fan favorite restaurant!

Normally, Boma serves breakfast from 7:30-11:00 a.m. But for these two special holidays, you can book your brunch table from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 20, and Sunday, May 11.

Boma Buffet

Boma Buffet

Dinner can still be booked for the same times on both days — 4:30-9:30 p.m.

We recommend that you mark the special occasion with a glass of their amazing Jungle Juice!

Regular Jungle Juice Served at Boma

Jungle Juice!

Then wend your way through the expansive buffet. There is a bounty

Continue reading →

Top 3 Restaurants for Kids in Disneyland

Visiting Disneyland can certainly make you feel like a kid again! But what about if you’re visiting with…you know…real, live, actual kids?

We talk a lot about good options for grown ups, but today, I thought we could hit up our very favorite spots in Disneyland for when you have some small fry with you (which, for many of us, is most of the time!). So let’s tick off the Top 3 Restaurants for Kids in Disneyland.

Grab your Mickey Ears, and let’s go!

Goofy’s Kitchen

If you have a small child in tow on your Disneyland trip, a character meal is practically a requirement.

After all, most kiddos love meeting larger than life characters. But kids and adults alike can agree that long lines in the hot sun don’t make for magical memories. So our first suggestion is that you book your advance dining reservation asap for Goofy’s Kitchen.

The Entrance to Goofy's Kitchen

The Entrance to Goofy’s Kitchen

Why? Because we think the food is better here than at many other character meals.

Located in Disneyland Hotel, choose from brunch or dinner character dining at this popular spot. And the characters are especially fun at Goofy’s. Because in addition to Goofy, you just never know you might drop by!

Of course, you can totally expect to see the man himself.

Chef Goofy at Goofy's Kitchen

Chef Goofy at Goofy’s Kitchen

But you might just see a prince or a princess as well! And MANY other friends!

Aladdin and Jasmine at Goofy's Kitchen

Aladdin and Jasmine at Goofy’s Kitchen

Parents will appreciate the terrific seating options here. Sure, there’s no monorail whizzing above your head like you’ll find at Chef Mickey’s. But there are tables located both inside the sunny dining room and outside on a shaded patio. Ahhhh…how I love California.

One Room of Goofy's Kitchen Restaurant

Goofy’s Kitchen Seating — Inside

Outdoor Seating at Goofy's! Love It!

Outdoor Seating at Goofy’s! Love It!

And even though the characters are fun and the atmosphere is adequate, the eats are Continue reading →

What’s New Around Walt Disney World: March 19, 2014!

It’s time to take another stroll around Disney World and see what’s new and awesome! We’ve got parade pics, Olaf apples, Gaston-themed headwear, and more! Won’t you please join us :) ?

Fun “Frozen” Finds

Everything’s coming up “Frozen” at Walt Disney World to celebrate the release of the movie on Blu-Ray and DVD.

Blue "Frozen" Treats

Blue “Frozen” Treats

Olaf the Snowman has been bestowed a true Disney character honor… He’s now a Candy Apple!

Olaf Candy Apples

Olaf Candy Apples

Keep an eye out for him in candy locations like Sweet Spells, Main Street Confectionery, Candy Cauldron, and Goofy’s Candy Company… I’m hoping he’s here for the long haul!

You may also spy some favorite treats in a blue hue for a very limited time, including Mickey Krispy Treats and Marshmallow Wands.

Blue "Frozen" Marshmallow Wands

Blue “Frozen” Marshmallow Wands

Downtown Disney

A recent walk around Downtown Disney revealed that  the Disney Food Trucks are making their way around. Previously housed primarily between Cirque du Soleil and House of Blues (and occasionally spotted in the grassy area next to Bongos Cuban Cafe), the Food Trucks we’re spotted in new and different places around the West Side.

For instance, the World Showcase of Flavors truck was parked across from Splitsville.

World Showcase of Flavors Food Truck across from Splitsville

World Showcase of Flavors Food Truck across from Splitsville

And Fantasy Fare has been spotted over in the Marketplace (this is the spot next to World of Disney where Santa’s Chalet can be found during the holidays).

Fantasy Fare Food Truck next to World of Disney

Fantasy Fare Food Truck next to World of Disney

However, the one thing certain about the Food Trucks is that they are ever-changing :) . And we know something new is coming thanks to these Food Truck Park signs found around Downtown Disney.

Food Truck Park coming to Downtown Disney Orlando

Food Truck Park coming to Downtown Disney Orlando

What’s to come? Only time will tell!

The first sure sign of spring at Disney World is the Flower & Garden Festival. But a smaller sign is seeing all the things available to stuff your Easter basket at Ghirardelli.

Ghirardelli Easter Merchandise

Ghirardelli Easter Merchandise

Ghirardelli Easter Merchandise

Ghirardelli Easter Merchandise

Ghirardelli Easter Merchandise

Ghirardelli Easter Merchandise

The Starbucks construction site on the Marketplace side is really starting to take shape. You can now see the triangular top peeking out above the walls, matching the “Coming Soon” artwork.

Starbucks Construction

Starbucks Construction

Artwork on construction walls for Starbucks

Artwork on construction walls for Starbucks

And as new things arrive, we also say Continue reading →

News and Video! Fish Tank Bursts Open at T-Rex Cafe in Disney World’s Downtown Disney

Wow! Have you heard the latest news from Downtown Disney in Disney World?

On Monday, a fish tank at T-Rex Cafe burst open while patrons were eating dinner nearby.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Landry’s, the Houston company that owns T-Rex Cafe, issued this statement Tuesday: “A seal failed on the tank causing water to leak. Employees took action and did a great job rescuing all of the marine life, caring for our guests and managing the situation. The marine life has been moved to holding tanks and the restaurant is open for business as usual.”

All of the fish have been rescued, and no animals or humans were harmed during the event.

T-Rex Cafe is Continue reading →

Review: Iced Coffee Float at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies

It’s a hot afternoon in the Magic Kingdom. Ice cream is calling your name, but you’re also in need of a little caffeine jolt. Well, I’ve got just the treat for you… today we’re checking out the Iced Coffee Float at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies!

Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies

Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies

Not familiar with Auntie? It’s OK — lots of people just walk right by on their way from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland.

You can find this spot in Tomorrowland across from the Tomorrowland Speedway. The menu features – as the outdoor sign indicates – smoothies and ice cream. You can read our review of both a smoothie AND an ice cream sundae here!

Ice Cream and Smoothies sign

Ice Cream and Smoothies sign

It’s also an easy place to grab a piece fruit or a muffin before your race to Space Mountain in the morning.

The Iced Coffee Float has been on my “To Try” list for a while, but I must confess to rarely stopping at Auntie’s, typically in favor of visiting Sonny Eclipse at Cosmic Rays’s or grabbing a Gourmet Cake Cup at Cheshire Café. But one day I was particularly in need of a caffeine boost, so I strolled in to Galactic Goodies to place my order.

Outside Auntie Gravity's

Outside Auntie Gravity’s

You’ve got two choices to make upon ordering your Iced Coffee Float. First, the Iced Coffee: French Vanilla, Mocha, or Latte (the Latte, while still being “lightly sweetened,” is the least sweet of the bunch). Second, the ice cream: Vanilla, Chocolate, or Twist soft serve.

I walked out to the casual seating area…

Outdoor Seating

Outdoor Seating

Cool Umbrella

Cool Umbrella

…with my Chocolate and Vanilla Twist Mocha Ice Cream Float!

Iced Coffee Float

Iced Coffee Float

This treat is just a Continue reading →

Guest Review: Trail’s End Dinner Buffet at Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Howdy! Today we’re rustling up some dinner grub at the Trail’s End Restaurant courtesy of guest author Daniel Staten. Don’t forget this restaurant for breakfast and lunch too. Let’s dig in…

The atmosphere at Walt Disney World changes often. With the seasons come new decorations and with the decades come new attractions.

There are a few places at Walt Disney World, however, that evoke a sense of nostalgia while providing a fun environment and novelty. Trail’s End Buffet at Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort and Campground is one of those places.

Traveling to Fort Wilderness, and Atmosphere

Nestled far away from the hustle of the Magic Kingdom, Trail’s End feels uniquely Disney. It’s very low-maintenance and rustic.

Trails End Sign

Should you decide to dine at Trail’s End, prepare by factoring in additional travel time to the restaurant. If you arrive by bus or car, plan on an extra 30 minutes from the time you pass through the front gates of the resort.

Trail's End Outside

Trail’s End Outside

Due to the expanse of Disney’s Ft. Wilderness Resort, a separate inter-resort bus system shuttles guests to and from the main entrance to where Trail’s End is situated.

If you’re visiting the Magic Kingdom during the day and plan to eat at Trail’s End, you have the option of taking a boat. As a veteran Walt Disney World vacationer, I was taken by surprise and was even late to my reservation at Trail’s End due to the unanticipated transportation.

Seating at Trail's End

Seating at Trail’s End

Once you arrive, the tall trees and relaxed atmosphere reminded me of a family reunion, where the details aren’t fussy and the food is plentiful.

Buffet at Trail's End

Buffet at Trail’s End

Eats

For dinner, Trail’s End offers a buffet with several unique and fun options. The selection of meat, sides, and desserts is sure to please families and large groups. In addition, Southerners take note: this is one of the only places at Walt Disney World were you can order traditional sweet tea. At the end of my vacation, I had been tea-free for a week and was certainly experiencing cravings!

Buffet at Trail's End

Buffet at Trail’s End

The buffet area is smaller than newer restaurants like Boma, however we never found it cramped, and this was on a Friday night where we waited about 20 minutes after our Advance Dining Reservation time.

Several items on the buffet proved to be particularly popular, including the fried chicken and BBQ ribs.

Fried Chicken, Salmon, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Fried Chicken, Salmon, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

BBQ Ribs

BBQ Ribs

One of the best things about Trail’s End was the unique dishes that

Continue reading →

Disney Recipe: Triple Yeti Blast from Upcountry Beverages at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Well…you COULD just put green food coloring in a beer today… .

Or you could make THIS!!!!!!!!!!! The Triple Yeti Blast at Disney’s Animal Kingdom from Upcountry Beverages in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Triple Yeti Blast from Upcountry Beverages at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Triple Yeti Blast from Upcountry Beverages at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Is it St. Patrick’s-Day-y at all. No. Does it matter? Not at all!

Create three different margarita flavors — Mango, Lime, and Strawberry — and layer them into a tall glass for a beautiful, refreshing treat with a terrific WOW factor!

Note that this recipe requires two different fruit purees. You may be able to find these in a liquor store, but if not, you can always just blend or mash up fresh fruit! :-)

TRIPLE YETI BLAST

Upcountry Beverages, Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

Ingredients: Continue reading →

First Look, Guest Review, and Photos! Epcot’s Sparkling IllumiNations Dessert Party

Remember last week when we told you about the brand new “Sparkling” IllumiNations Dessert Party in Epcot? Well, we’ve got pics from the very first event! :-) Many thanks to DFB reader Tricia Noble and her husband, who snapped the photos on Saturday night and wrote up a review!

Tonight my wife and I went to the first night of Epcot’s Illuminations Dessert Party. Being the first night of an event, we expect that things will change and adjust according to the feedback Disney Events receives.

Dessert Party Menu

Dessert Party Menu

The party location was right as you enter the World Showcase, between the two gift shops at the edge of the lagoon. The view for Illuminations from here is fantastic. However, the location is a bit more public than we were expecting for a ticketed “private” party.

Dessert Party View

Dessert Party View

In addition, the slope in the area meant that there were no chairs. The ccktail tables scattered around were not sufficient for the number of attendees, and not usable by young guests and those in scooters or wheelchairs. I expect that to be addressed quickly (more tables were brought out just before the fireworks started.)

Dessert Party table

Dessert Party table

Eats

Now for the desserts. The party was billed as tastes from around the World Showcase, but unless I miss my mark, the countries represented merely inspired, rather than provided, the offerings.

I would have liked to either see more variety or better pairings between the wines and the desserts. The fresh fruit was nice and flavorful, and a good palette cleanser between the other confections.

Dessert Party Eats

Dessert Party Eats

Offerings included Cronuts (called Cronis here, apparently), strawberry sauce, Tiramisu, Pot de Creme, Baklava, fresh fruit, shortbread, and ice cream goodies like Mickey bars, Mickey ice cream sandwiches, orange creme pops, and other Continue reading →