Disney Food Year in Review: 2011

Happy New Year, everyone! 2011 was a big year for food in Disney parks and resorts, and when there are this many changes it can be helpful to recap — especially if you’re headed to a Disney park or resort soon!

So come with us as we walk through 2011 and a few of those newsworthy highlights! What’s your favorite Disney Food news from 2011?? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

2011 Disney Food Year in Review

Check below to see 2011 updates from Disney World, Disneyland, and other Disney destinations as well as our additions and changes here on the Disney Food Blog!

Walt Disney World Year In Review

Restaurant Openings and Renovations
Although they haven’t enjoyed as many full-blown restaurant openings as they did in 2009 and 2010, Disney World has definitely had its share of restaurant renovations and updates.

Tortuga Tavern in the Magic Kingdom replaced the (also Pirate-themed) El Pirata y El Perico. Serving much the same menu, including Mexican and Tex-Mex options, Tortuga also added some fun and whimsical decor so that you don’t forget that you’re in Disney World.

Also in the Magic Kingdom, we saw Storybook Treats and Cheshire Cafe develop from their former counterparts.

The AMC Fork and Screen Theater opened in Downtown Disney in 2011, so you can save time by doing dinner and a movie together, then heading back out into the parks! Nothing like some serious multi-tasking in the World!

Katsura Grill replaced Yakitori House in Epcot’s Japan late in 2011. Much of the same food is offered, but you will find a slightly more “clean lines” layout and a few additional classic Japanese menu items.

The overhaul in Japan also included the addition of the Kabuki Cafe, which is basically a more formal Kaki Gori stand also serving a seasonal menu of Japanese snacks like Miso Soup, Sushi, and Edamame.

Japanese Pancake from Katsura Grill

Right between the two new spots? An outdoor Sake bar! We can highly recommend the lime sake cocktail!

Also in Epcot, the always-popular Le Cellier Steakhouse turned its dinner meal into a signature dining option in March, making this meal 2 credits on the Disney Dining Plan. Le Cellier is still a tough ticket to get, so I think the hope that this price increase would lessen demand for reservations might be dashed. It’s still a popular spot for both lunch and dinner.

Over in Animal Kingdom, the guest-favorite Tusker House Character breakfast has expanded to include a new character lunch as well! This has brought positive response from Disney character meal fans!

And Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has introduced a brand new dining experience in 2011! Dine with an Animal Specialist at Sanaa offers guests [Read more…]

Announcing: The Disney Dream “Dine Around!”

That’s right! We’re goin’ on the Dream!

UPDATE: Here’s our coverage of the Disney Dream to Date
Disney Dream Cruise Ship Menus
The District on the Disney Dream

  • Review: Cabanas on the Disney Dream Cruise Ship
  • Top Ten Disney Cruise Line Dining Tips
  • Guest Review: Pink on the Disney Dream
  • Disney Dream Guest Review: Non-Alcoholic Specialty Drinks
  • Guest Review: Vegan and Gluten-Free Meal at Remy on the Disney Dream
  • Guest Review: Special Diets Dining Aboard the Disney Dream
  • Disney Dream Recipe: Chocolate Souffle
  • Disney Dream Recipe: Enchanted Garden Strawberry Cheesecake
  • Disney Dream Recipe: Avocado-Citrus Salad
  • Disney Dream Recipe: Shrimp and Caramelized Onion Cheesecake From Animator’s Palate

  • The Disney Dream is the Disney Cruise Line’s newest cruise ship, and Disney Food Blog has been invited to sail on its Christening Cruise next week! I look forward to sharing all the best tidbits with you, from the brand new restaurants and lounges on the ship to the eats on Castaway Cay!

    I even fully expect to take some advice from the DFB facebook fans about their favorite DCL eats! :-)

    What Can You Expect to Hear About?
    There are six main restaurants on the Dream — all of them either brand new to the Disney Cruise Line or newly re-imagined for this particular ship. This includes Remy, the Dream’s second adults-only restaurant, which [Read more…]

    2010 DFB Choice Award Winners

    Around here, we believe there’s no better restaurant recommendation than the one we get from another Disney fan. So, in our quest to provide the very best information about Disney restaurants, we’ve created the DFB Choice Awards!

    Over 500 readers sent in their nominations, and thousands have voted for the top nominees to create this list of [Read more…]

    Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival Canceled in 2011 and 2012

    According to the Disney Parks Blog, Disney’s California Food and Wine Festival will not be held in 2011 and 2012. This decision is due to the significant construction happening in Disney California Adventure over the next two years and the difficulty it presents for an event like the Food & Wine Festival.

    This festival, which just celebrated its 5th year in 2010, was much loved by Disneyland devotees and Disney food fans the world over. And after five years of climbing the ranks of American food festivals, bringing some incredible celebrity names to the table, and delivering what I felt was a very special event that only a place like Disneyland could produce (i.e. it was hip), I’m sad to hear that it will be postponed (just postponed, right, Disneyland? I know you didn’t say for sure it was coming back, but it is, right? It is???).

    2010 Food and Wine Festival Welcome Center

    My feeling when I visited the festival in 2010 was that Disneyland had gained a lot of ground over the past five years and was poised to grow the Food and Wine Festival into an even bigger success. I’m very sorry to hear that the potential is now there to lose ground on the progress and traditions that they’ve made, but I also know that Disneyland clientele will welcome the festival back with open arms if and when it re-appears.

    I know I’ll be there.

    In the meantime, you can check out our coverage from Disney’s California Food and Wine Festival 2010 here.

    Disney World Free Dining in 2011 Announced

    Disney World Free Dining has been announced for the following dates in 2011:

    Jan 1 – 5 • 9 – 13 • Jan 21 – Feb 3 • Feb 11 – 17 • Feb 25 – Mar 3 • May 27 – Jun 2 • Aug 19 – Sept 29

    While there are many blackout dates, there’s certainly more free dining available than ever before. The booking window for these promotions is through December 20, 2010 — so get on the horn! Call (407) 939-7926 and ask for booking code NL7 to book your room reservations. Then it’s time to plan your Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations!

    Like this year, those staying at mods, deluxes, and deluxe villas will get the standard dining plan. Those staying at values will get the quick service dining plan.

    See DisneyWorld.com for details!

    For information and links to updated menus from every Disney World Table Service restaurant, visit our Disney World Restaurants Guide.

    Disney World Free Dining Extension Into 2011

    UPDATE: WDW Free Dining 2011 has been announced! Click here for details!

    ____________________________________

    Len Testa over at the Touring Plans Blog is reporting the possibility of Disney World’s Free Dining promotion being extended into September 2011.

    …[the] discount is an extension of free dining, through September 2011. This comes with a considerable number of blackout dates, including Spring Break, Easter and most of Summer 2011.

    If the discount comes to pass, it will be announced this Monday, August 16th.

    Touring Plans isn’t often wrong about things like this, so I’d set your alarm for “early” on Monday just in case.

    Note: According to Mousesavers.com, 2011 Free Dining is already available for guests from the UK.

    There are two other potential discounts in the rumor mill; read more about them on Touring Plans.