Even More Top Disney Dining Tips from the Experts!

We are back with some great advice some of the best experts around when it comes to planning your Disney Dining — DFB Readers!

Top Disney Dining Tips from the Fans

Seriously, you guys are the best, and I’m always excited to learn new things from your experiences! So when it came time recently to update our Top Tips for Disney Dining, we turned to you for input and advice. And you responded with tons of great suggestions.

Check out just a few of them below, as we offer you even more Top Disney Dining Tips from the Experts!

Have a Plan…and Don’t Blow Those Snack Credits on Things You Can Get at Home!

It was important enough for several different DFB readers to mention — and expound on! Do not waste those precious Disney Dining Plan snack credits on something as ho hum and common as a piece of fruit or a bottle of water.

And…I have to agree here. You can get a banana and a Dasani in your supermarket at home. But when was the last time you waltzed into Kroger and picked up a Carrot Cake Cookie or Schoolbread?

Yep, they can sometimes pile up on you toward the end of the trip. So spend a little time planning beforehand so you don’t waste a single one. Here’s a TIP: DFB Snack Guides can come in handy for this endeavor; we have one for every park at Walt Disney World with our recommendations for the best snacks!

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

Make Those Snack Credits Count with a Carrot Cake Cookie

Get the Dining Plan…And Don’t.

One of the most interesting suggestions for stretching your Disney Food Budget came from @Greg_Crowder: he suggested that you go halfsies on the Disney Dining Plan. He writes: “2 of us had the free plan a couple of years ago and 2 didn’t. The snacks and counter [service] meals were plenty for all 4 people.

Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls Cafe in Disney's Hollywood Studios!

Butterfinger Cupcake at Starring Rolls Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios Are Totally Shareable!

It’s true that Disney portions can be pretty big, and eating lots of large meals and rich snacks and then walking 100 miles a day may be a tall order. So if you’re willing to share, this can be an excellent way to keep costs down. It also means that you pre-pay, so your spending money goes a little further.

Just note that if you’re all staying in the same room, you all need to be on the same plan; so this tip only works if your compadres are in a different room.

Don’t Forget About Resort Restaurants.

Many readers chimed in that visitors should never forget to check out resort dining options, saying that you should definitely venture out of the Park for incredible food. Resort restaurants offer some of the most amazing dining on property.

Slow-cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well-seasoned Butter Chicken and Chicken Vindaloo

Slow-cooked in Gravy, Simple and Well-seasoned Butter Chicken and Chicken Vindaloo at Sanaa — Be Sure to Schedule a Meal Here

Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge was mentioned lots of times. For instance, reader David Mendoza says: “Whether you are staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge or not, make the trip to the Sanaa restaurant. Wonderful food and such a picturesque setting, watching the beautiful animals as you dine on some of the most awesome food in Disney World! A real must see! And when you are done you can take a stroll and get even closer to the animals. Truly a wondrous place.”

I couldn’t agree more! (Read my latest Sanaa review here.)

Allergies and Food Sensitivities? No problem.

We’ve written about it lots of times — Disney is tops when it comes to serving guests with allergies, food sensitivities, and special diets. And our readers are eager to agree that Disney routinely goes above and beyond to ensure their guests have the best experience possible, regardless of their dietary limitations.

Jiko Allergy-Friendly Menu -- Appetizers -- Click to Enlarge

Example of Jiko’s Allergy-Friendly Appetizer Menu

Ann Hooghuis Dealy weighs in by saying, “If you have food allergies or sensitivities [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: February 8, 2015

This was a BIG Disney Food news week! No worries though — we’ll get you caught up now. First up, you’ll want to know that Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest Restaurant will start accepting Advance Dining Reservations for lunch starting February 25th. No more FastPasses for your afternoon meal at the Beast’s Castle.

Trolley Car Cafe sign

Trolley Car Cafe sign

Now, let’s move on to the newest hot spot in Walt Disney World. Trolley Car Cafe, a Starbucks location, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is now serving up your favorite beverages.

For all the details on the above news and more, just click on the links below!

Disney Food News

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, menu updates, and more!

We’ve got all the latest for you, so check it out before you go.

DFB Reader Finds

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

It’s always a great time for chocolate, right?! Check out the Mud Pie shared by Facebook Friend Wendy. You can pick one up at Flo’s V8 Cafe in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.

Mud Pie at Flo's V8 Cafe

Mud Pie at Flo’s V8 Cafe

Frosting lovers — do not walk by Cheshire Cafe in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Stop and get a gourmet cake cup like this Mad Hatter Mocha version sent in by Facebook Friend Jacki.

Mad Hatter Mocha Cake Cup

Mad Hatter Mocha Cake Cup

Do you have a favorite find? Share your Disney food photos!

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2015

We recently launched The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2015 e-Book! This valuable resource is fully updated for 2015-16 Disney vacations, and is now available for purchase and download to help you make the most of your dining plans while in Disney World.

dfb2015_guide_3d

The fully updated DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2015 e-Book is an instantly downloadable PDF guide, featuring over 490 full-color pages of photographs, information, and advice about our favorite subjects — food and dining in Walt Disney World.

It’s guaranteed to help you navigate your way to delicious dining on your next trip! And if you’re ready to get yours now, head on over to DFBStore.com to pick it up!!

For our Grand Launch Sale, use code: 2015 to get a $4 discount for a limited time! And at the end of this post, we have details on even more savings!

Note: If you purchased the 2014 Guide last year, scroll down for details on repeat purchase discounts.

Here’s Just Some Of What You Get With Our 2015 Guide:

  • Over 490 Pages of Disney Dining and Planning information, tips, reviews, and recommendations!
  • An in-depth Disney Dining Restaurant Reviews section, covering all Disney restaurants, food kiosks, bars, and lounges
  • An updated Disney Dining Plan section and price analysis [Read more…]

Be Our Guest Restaurant To Offer Table Service Breakfast? We Think So…

UPDATE 6/17/2015: Be Our Guest Restaurant began testing prix-fixe quick service breakfast beginning March 20 and it’s currently extended through October 3. Advance Dining Reservations for the meal opened on March 17. Breakfast hours are scheduled 8-10AM.

Lunch, Dinner…and now Breakfast?

Be Our Guest Restaurant has proven to be extraordinarily popular. It’s incredibly difficult to get a dinner advance dining reservation (ADR) a full two years after its opening. And lunch continues to be such an attraction that Disney seems to be moving toward a FastPass+ System for the quick service meal — something unprecedented.

But it’s looking more and more like we’ll all have another shot at dining in Beast’s Castle in the very near future.

Be Our Guest Restaurant to Begin Serving Breakfast in February?

We’ve been monitoring rumors forever it seems that Be Our Guest would begin serving breakfast. And it looks like that rumor is about to become a reality.

Our team has been checking daily to see if Be Our Guest is offering a breakfast ADR option…and as of today, they are! Now, before you run over and excitedly jam up the Disney website ;-) , I should mention that, while the breakfast option is showing up, it’s not bookable yet. When we try to book a table, we’re told that we can’t at this time.

Be Our Guest Breakfast Option on Disney World Website

Be Our Guest Breakfast Option on Disney World Website

But here’s what we DO know: [Read more…]

News! Beaches and Cream in Walt Disney World’s Beach Club Resort Now Accepting Reservations

No Way, Jose!!

Okay, so that’s the name of my FAVORITE sundae at Beaches and Cream Soda Shop at Disney’s Beach Club Resort…as well as an exclamation of surprise!

I’m here to give you lot a heads up that Beaches and Cream, our favorite go-to when you DON’T have a reservation for a restaurant in Disney World, is now taking online and phone advance dining reservations.

With an upcoming Disney trip, our DFB editor, Kim, just booked lunch for early January!!

Lunch Reservation for Beaches and Cream

And… my Mom (yep, AJ’s Mom for those who have met her) is at Walt Disney World right now and confirmed with the restaurant! Reservations officially begin booking for December 18th and later, but if you call 407-WDW-DINE now, Walt Disney World Dining will accept and honor your reservation prior to that date. Woohoo!!

If you visit Disney Dining online, you’ll now see Beaches and Cream has the “Find A Table” option!

Find A Table at Beaches and Cream

If you are booking online, available tables will first begin showing for December 18th. Holiday visitors should book their upcoming lunch or dinner at Beaches and Cream now. Once word gets out, these [Read more…]

New! Caramel Apple Stuffed French Toast at Cinderella’s Royal Table

A coveted reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table just got tastier!

Many guests opt for a breakfast inside the Castle, and now there’s a new menu item to enjoy — Caramel Apple Stuffed French Toast.

As if a walk down Main Street U.S.A. in the early morning isn’t exciting enough, actually getting to dine inside the iconic castle at the Magic Kingdom is seriously memorable.

Next time, you’re headed to dine with Disney royalty, check out this new breakfast menu item, which recently replaced the Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast.

Breakfast Menu - click image for larger version.

Reader Kristin fills us in on the details:
It was unbelievable! My daughter and I do this as a trip tradition, but I have always just passed off that we pay more for the location/characters. This meal made the price worth it! I had the french toast version back in 2008 and I couldn’t finish it. But this new version was [Read more…]

Disney World’s Kouzzina Now Offering Prix Fixe Menu

At Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, Kouzzina by Cat Cora is now offering a Prix Fixe Menu.

This five course dinner includes some of Kouzzina’s chefs’ favorites and specialties.

Note that beverages are an additional cost unless you are paying with the Disney Dining Plan (non-alcoholic beverage included).

It’s important to know that substitutions will not be offered, so guests with special dietary concerns should opt for the regular menu.

Mezze Pikilia
Goat Cheese Sto Fourno
Lamb Soutzoukakia
Sautéed Shrimp
Spiced Hummus

Greek Hummus and Spreads at Kouzzina

Soupa kai Salata
White Truffle Avgolemono
Horiatiki Salata
Dolmades

Palate Refresher

Duo of Signature Piata
Fisherman’s Stew
Slow Braised Short Ribs
Smoked Feta Mashed
Seasonal Vegetables

Kouzzina Short Ribs

Glyka Pikilia
Mini Budino, Sour Cherry Spoon Sweet
Walnut-Pistachio Baklava
Duo of Pagota

If you are dining a la carte and wish to try one of the above dishes, these items will also available individually. Guests in your party may choose from the a la carte or prix fixe menu and not all guests have to choose from the same menu.

The Prix Fixe menu is now available for $69.00 per person or one table-service credit per person for Disney Dining Plan guests.

In addition, the standard Disney Dining Plan will accrue a surcharge of $18.53 and guests with the Deluxe Disney Dining Plan will pay a surcharge of $4.54. Discounts will apply, and an automatic gratuity will only be added for parties of six or more guests.

While Advance Dining Reservations are suggested, they are not necessary in order to order from the prix fixe menu.

What’s your favorite dish at Kouzzina? Will you order the Prix Fixe menu on your next visit?

News! California Grill Opens September 9th; Reservations Available Monday, August 26

Circle this upcoming Monday, August 26, Disney Food Fans! That’s the day when we will finally be able to begin booking advance dining reservations for the newly renovated California Grill!

The NEW California Grill!

The signature restaurant, which sits high atop Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort, has been closed since early 2013 as it underwent a complete makeover.

It’s scheduled to open on September 9th, and will feature a new menu — including some awesome desserts!

Sundae Sampler Dessert Trio at California Grill!

Look for the new menu to continue to feature seasonal ingredients, but with a somewhat lighter hand.

While fan favorites like the flatbreads will continue to be around, Chef Brian Piasecki also plans to utilize the wood-burning oven for new dishes. These include Baked Local Prawns with Charred Lemon, and Savory Meatballs with Herbed Orzo.

Read our review of these [Read more…]

Answers to Five Frequently Asked Disney Dining Questions

Where can I find a great steak at Disney World? How about a fabulous vegetarian meal? A beer? Live Music? My Lost Dining Reservations?

After years of answering questions from our readers, we at the DFB know the information that you most need to make your Disney Dining worry-free. We’ve been covering frequently asked questions here on DFB for a while, but today we’re answering a few of our favorites!

Wondering where to find a great steak in Disney World? We've got the answers!

When you need Disney Dining Details at-a-glance, we’ve got the answers to your questions in a quick and easy format in our The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013 e-Book so you can find the deets that you need right away. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for details on discounts!

Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite FAQs…

5 Frequently Asked Disney Dining Questions

Here are five frequently asked questions about Disney food that we’ve included in the DFB Guide to lead you to fantastic finds!

1. Where can I find a great steak in Disney World?

We recommend Yachtsman Steakhouse, Le Cellier Steakhouse, Jiko, Shula’s Steak House, and Flying Fish Café. Lesser known spots we also suggest include Teppan Edo and Kona Cafe! Yes, you can find a great steak in Walt Disney World!

Rib Eye with Sweet Potato Beignets at Yachtsman Steakhouse

2. Where can I find a good beer in Disney World?

Craft beers are becoming more widely available at Disney’s bars, lounges, and restaurants. Just a few of our favorites include featured craft beers in Epcot’s Italy pavilion, The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and Raglan Road Pub in Downtown Disney. Beer is made on-premise at Big River Grill and Brewing Works on Disney’s Boardwalk.

Of course, don’t forget to visit Rose and Crown Pub in Epcot for a great British beer list!

Choose Your Own Beer Flight of Warsteiner, Magners, Kilkenny, and Smithwicks at Raglan Road!

If you just need a six-pack for your hotel room fridge, your Disney World resort store will sell them (though they may be outrageously priced).

To save a few bucks, venture to one of the two Hess Stations on Walt Disney World property. One is across from the Boardwalk Resort; the other is across from Downtown Disney and is within easy walking distance.

3. Where can I find a fabulous vegetarian meal in Disney World?

The Animal Kingdom Lodge offers two restaurants with great vegetarian options. At Boma, the buffet has a wide selection of items for vegetarians. Nearby in Kidani Village, the menu at Sanaa has an entire section devoted to [Read more…]

Top 5 Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Table-Service Values for 2012

Now that you’ve booked your 2012 Disney World vacation, it’s time to make your Advance Dining Reservations. Which restaurants are credit-worthy?

The vacation package add-on called the Disney Dining Plan is a meal plan with a set price in exchange for a certain number of credits. Many table-service meals in Disney World cost one credit, but are you getting the best value?

Stick to the one-credit restaurants, order the most expensive meal on the menu, and maximize your savings! Let’s get to my top picks for best value at “one table-service credit” Walt Disney World restaurants. I think some of them will surprise you!

Criteria Used

When we looked at values, our main criteria was price. These restaurants offer a great bang for your buck when paying with the Disney Dining Plan.

We also looked at enjoyment level and food quality, but these criteria were secondary and tertiary to cost. Note that these aren’t necessarily our favorite restaurants, but they are good values for one Disney Dining Plan credit.

Tutto Italia

Tucked into the Italian pavilion at Epcot, Tutto Italia Ristorante boasts regional cuisines from Italy in an Old World setting. Table service is attentive, although the fine-dining atmosphere can lead to longer waits.

This restaurant serves up a Roasted Rack and Leg of Lamb ($34) as an entree. End your meal with Copetta Sotto Boscue, a dessert specialty comprised of berries, zabaglione cream, gelato, and chocolate sauce, which has an out-of-pocket price of $14. When both of these items are ordered, Tutto Italia becomes quite possibly your best one-credit table-service value in Walt Disney World.

There’s also a Veal Roast which would run you $31 out-of-pocket but… perfectly worth one dining credit!

Veal

Tutto Italia is closed for refurbishment until [Read more…]

New Credit Card Guarantee Requirements and Technology Affect Disney Dining Reservations

Chef Mickey's Cracking Down on Skipping Reservations

UPDATE: See bottom of post for some FAQs and answers via a Disney Dining Phone representative.

In the past several weeks, Disney has instituted a few new technologies and requirements to better regulate the Disney World Dining Reservations Systems. These are largely being put into place to deter the ever-increasing practices of double-booking dining reservations, or simply skipping reservations without canceling them.

Double-booking and skipping reservations in restaurants that fill up six months in advance means that a large percentage of dining reservations are not being used, which, in turn, means that fewer guests are able to dine at these locations, and less money is made in each restaurant.

To improve this process, Disney has (or will be) instituting three new practices:

  • Mandatory Credit Card Guarantees on Signature and Character Dining Location Reservations
  • Reservation Reminder Emails
  • Disallowing Double-Bookings

Credit Card Guarantees Required for Signature and Character Dining Locations Starting October 26th

In order to deter skipped reservations at Disney’s most expensive and popular properties, Disney will begin requiring credit card guarantees on many restaurants beginning October 26th, 2011.

What does this mean for us as guests? Basically, you’ll be required to give a valid credit card number in order to make your reservation for these popular dining spots. No money will be charged to your card at the time of booking (unless the location is a pre-pay meal). However, should you neglect to cancel a credit card guarantee reservation within the allotted timeline (usually 24 hours prior to the meal), a $10 surcharge — per person — will be charged to the card.

California Grill Cancellation Policy Warning

Starting October 26, 2011, the following restaurants will require the credit card guarantee: [Read more…]