Foodie Highlights from Adventures by Disney, Germany

I’m back from another fun-filled, fabulous Adventures by Disney trip.

Neuschwanstein Castle -- Inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle

This time it was the “Once Upon A Fairytale” adventure that covered the Germany destinations of Heidelberg, Waldeck, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and Munich.

There were castles and historic villages, archery and the coolest museum tour imaginable (Steiff bears EVERYWHERE), but I’m sure you’re not surprised when I say that the highlight for me was the food.

All the many permutations of schnitzel, spaetzel and strudel are too numerous to mention (truly, we ate schnitzel and spaetzel every day), but here is a taste of what else we saw and tasted.

The World’s Largest Wine Cask

Our first official stop of the tour was Heidelberg Castle. From a foodie perspective, the big attraction was the world’s largest wine barrel, the Heidelberg Tun.

Our guide informed us that the Tun holds more than 55,000 gallons of wine. While long empty, it was actually functional for a number of years. But apparently wine stored in 55,000 gallon barrels is kind of nasty. Who knew?

So the giant-cask contents were used to hydrate servants and other common-folk. Royalty and nobles were served from normal-sized bottles.

The world's largest wine barrel.

Zum Güldenen Schaf Restaurant

During our second evening of the trip, we dined at Zum Güldenen Schaf (Golden Sheep) restaurant on the Hauptstrasse in Heidelberg.

This sprawling venue was decorated with heraldic symbols, portraiture, and charming hand-carved benches.

Hand carved sheep bench at the "Golden Sheep"

Dinner started with a choice of salad with prosciutto-wrapped goat cheese or a creamy potato soup.

Among the dinner options were pasta with mushroom sauce and [Read more…]

Best of the Quest for the West Part II: Jackson Hole Playhouse on Adventures By Disney

We’re back with another food review from the Quest for the West Adventures By Disney trip, covering the wilds of Wyoming including Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park.

You’ll remember the incredible eats we had over at Brooks Lake Lodge, of course; but today I’ve got something a little more playful for you!

Jackson Hole Playhouse

Lunch on day two of our trip was at the historic Jackson Hole Playhouse. Founded in 1916 as a buggy shop, the Playhouse now performs Broadway-style shows each evening as well as serves up hearty Western fare in its saloon.

While the food was yum, I was most enamored with the decor, which practically screamed “Hoop Dee Doo” at me, reminding me over and over of this favorite Disney World dinner show!

From the cute glasses to the red table cloths and the costumed server/singers, so much at the Playhouse was similar to the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, I kept thinking that I’d see Dolly Drew dis Sixbits any second now. The female performers even flirted with and sang to an embarrassed gentleman in the audience, leaving a bright red lipstick kiss on his cheek.

I’m not sure which was the chicken and which was the egg, but warm Hoop Dee Doo familiarity of the Playhouse made me feel like I was right at home.

First, I noticed the dining rooms and decor were very similar:

Jackson Playhouse dining room

Walt Disney World Hoop Dee Doo dining room

And the mugs and drinking glasses in [Read more…]

Adventures By Disney Dining Review: The Best of the Quest for the West, Part I

I’ve got another Adventures by Disney trip under my cowboy belt. This time I conquered mountains and geysers on the Quest for the West trip, covering the wilds of Wyoming including Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park.

We watched Old Faithful erupt, rafted the rapids, encountered bison blocking our hiking path, marveled at the hot springs, shopped for boots, and learned to fly fish. But if you know me, you’ll have no trouble guessing that what I was really interested in was the food.

Our vittles were outstanding, particularly a wild game chili served at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, but two of the trip’s dining experiences really stood out. Today, in Part I of this review, I’m going to tell you all about Brooks Lake Lodge…

Brooks Lake Lodge Atmosphere

The true dining highlight of this trip was at Brooks Lake Lodge.

The view from my private cabin.

Brooks Lake is what my husband would call a dude ranch, but I’m perfectly comfortable calling it heaven. Nestled at the foot of the Pinnacle Buttes, and one mile from the Continental Divide, Brooks Lake is an all inclusive resort with lodging, Western-style activities, and Western-inspired food.

One of the many cozy sitting areas at Brooks Lake where you can enjoy a snack and conversation.

The meals I had at Brooks Lake were on par with the signature dining experiences at Walt Disney World, with fresh-beyond-fresh ingredients, sublime flavors, and gorgeous presentation.

Executive Chef Antonia Armenta-Miller was present at every meal to answer questions, oversee service, and tweak anything that needed tweaking to meet a guest’s needs. For example, a few of the children on the trip were in the mood for something plain on the day we had a Mexican buffet for lunch. In no time at all, unadorned cheese quesadillas and PB&J sandwiches emerged from the kitchen.

Brooks Lake Lodge Eats

But my palate is a bit more expansive than the kiddos’, and I was just fine with the menu presented. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Afternoon Tea

Our first food experience at Brooks Lake was afternoon tea presented in a sitting room.

The tea room

Tea, coffee, and lemonade are served alongside [Read more…]

Guest Review: Aulani Eats and Off-Site Treats

in front of the Lava Shack

Join us in welcoming guest author Beth Osborn with a tour of Eats at Disney’s Aulani Resort and Spa in Oahu. We’ve also got some great tips about eating at non-Disney spots around the resort! Brace yourselves — there’s Dole Whip, Shave Ice, Plate Lunch, and more — ahead! Don’t forget to check out Aulani restaurant info and menus here.

Arriving to Aulani on October 15, my husband Kev and I selected familiar WDW items — refillable mugs! We purchased purple and blue refillable mugs, which have an Aulani design that matches the beige wallpaper in the halls of the hotel. Red and green options were also available.

Even though the mugs are more expensive at Aulani, we felt we got our money’s worth at $18.99 each over the week we were there.

‘Ama ‘Ama Restaurant at Aulani

We had dinner at Ama Ama — Kev’s salt crusted fish was like nothing we’d ever seen before, with a completely removable crust. He said it was very moist.

Salt Encrusted Fish from Ama Ama

I had the French Maui onion soup and a tomato and cheese salad (two appetizers instead of an entree). Both were excellent.

French Onion Soup and the Tomato Salad from Ama Ama

Makahiki Restaurant and Rip Swirl at Aulani

We had a character breakfast at Makahiki with Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy. I wasn’t as excited about the buffet as some at Disney World, but I did enjoy the [Read more…]

Adventures by Disney Meets Disney Cruise Line: A Private Meal at Palo

Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster takes us with her on her summer vacation, European travel — Disney style. This was a three-part trip which included two Adventures by Disney packages (Barcelona Escape and Mediterranean Magic), plus a Mediterranean cruise on the Disney Magic, all sandwiched together. Her trip of a lifetime included culture, relaxation, breathtaking scenery, and of course, plenty of food.

My recent Mediterranean Magic Adventures by Disney trip was slightly different than most. While the lunches and daytime excursions were completely run by Adventures by Disney (AbD), our lodging for the evening was not a hotel.

Instead we spent the night sailing and sleeping aboard the Disney Magic cruise ship. This meant that our dinners took place in the regular Magic restaurants. Most dinners were spent with our individual families rather than the group. However, one evening our guides, James and Dusty, treated the adults in the group to an amazing private meal at Palo, the ship’s most deluxe dining venue.

Palo place setting.

Atmosphere

This happened to be my first meal at Palo so, while I had read several reviews of the restaurant here on Disney Food Blog, I didn’t fully know what to expect.

Based on the dress-code, I had anticipated an ultra-lush atmosphere like the Grand Floridian’s Victoria and Albert’s. However, while the room and mood were lovely, they were more in step with [Read more…]

Adventures by Disney Mediterranean Magic: The Pizza Farm

Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster takes us with her on her summer vacation, European travel – Disney style. This was a three-part trip which included two Adventures by Disney packages (Barcelona Escape and Mediterranean Magic), plus a Mediterranean cruise on the Disney Magic, all sandwiched together. Her trip of a lifetime included culture, relaxation, breathtaking scenery, and of course, plenty of food.

Welcome sign.

I went to a pizza farm this summer.

Well, we weren’t exactly picking pizza off trees during my Mediterranean Magic Adventures by Disney trip last month, but we did the next best thing — making pizza at a family-run farm that grew all the components of our meal right there on site.

For those of you unfamiliar with Adventures by Disney, this is an arm of the company which offers high-end group tours of locales in Europe, Asia, South American, Central America, North America, and Africa. There’s no Mickey Mouse stuff on your Adventure, just world-class service provided by Disney-trained guides who give you unprecedented access to activities and attractions. The pizza farm experience is included in the 2012 Central Italy Family Vacation tour. If you’re looking for a taste of what to expect on that trip, read on.

Snacks at the Pizza Farm.

Visiting The Pizza Farm

The pizza farm visit occurred on [Read more…]