Disney Food Round-Up: May 30th, 2010

Cat Cora's Ouzo-tini at Kouzzina

Welcome to the Round-Up! In Disney Food news this week:

And here are some great Disney Food stories from around the web:

What Now?!?!? (a.k.a. Moms Panelist Kathie F.) makes California Grill’s Pea Risotto (with some gorgeous pics to go along!)

The LA Times Daily Travel and Deal Blog has a great story about Tamales on Main Street…Main Street in Marceline, that is…

AKL Resort pays homage to the Bars and Lounges of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

The Web Gangsta has the Unofficial Official Rules for Beers Around the World at Epcot.

DisZine contemplates concern about potential pricing at Epcot’s Via Napoli.

Main Street Gazette visits Paradiso 37 with some pals.

Chip and Co highlights some of their favorite casual dining meals in WDW.

The Disney Blog pays tribute to his Top Five Places to Enjoy Ice Cream at WDW.

WDW Radio has some scrummy pics of Tonga Toast at the Poly.

The Disney Parks Blog talks vegan and vegetarian dining at Kouzzina by Cat Cora.

Pop Century Site captures via photograph the Pop Century Food Court menus (and the Peace of Pizza menu!)

Also, don’t forget to check out:
My Touring Plans post about Delicious and Convenient Disney Food for Busy Days

And the 4th Edition of the DisMarks Disney Blog Carnival has been published!

Disney Food Post Round-Up: April 11th, 2010

Chocolate Fondant With Praline from Remy - (c) Disney Cruise Line

Bonjour, my foodie friends! This weekwe heard about the Disney Dream’s exclusive adults-only restaurant — Remy! If you’re booked for a Disney Dream cruise, I’d love to hear if Remy will make the cut for your dining arrangements. (Check out the full press release and photos at StitchKingdom)

And don’t forget — Disneyland’s Food and Wine Festival starts THIS COMING WEEKEND! (Check out DisneyGeek’s cool pic of the Festival Showplace banners!) You know I’m gonna be there in just two short weeks to start my reporting, but in the meantime, check out all the exciting events that are scheduled to take place: Disney’s 2010 California Food and Wine Festival.

Finally, I want to take a moment to thank and “toast” a brilliant person, Alain Littaye, who has written one of my favorite Disney-related blogs, Disney and More, for three years. I’m sad to see the blog end, Alain, but I look forward to seeing your stamp on many Disney-related projects in the future. Thank you for sharing your immense knowledge of and interest in Disney with your readers.

And now, on with the Round-Up!

The WDW Today Podcast kindly brought me on as a guest last week to discuss Food Quality vs. Atmosphere in Disney World Restaurants. I clearly need to take some public speaking lessons, but the discussion is still very interesting!

Disney World Basics looks at one of Disney’s strategies to create healthier options for dining in the parks — Kids’ Picks!

Main Street Gazette heads over to the Rose and Crown Dining Room for a delicious dining review!

The DVC Life takes a look at whether Jiko in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is worth the $100+ price tag.

Chef Druck Musings shares some secrets about her favorite character meals in Disney World.

Thanks to Zannaland for posting this very cool interview about a fellow blogger! (Wink, wink) The ensuing comments about tart-n-tiny candy is my favorite part.

The Disney Blog reports the potential shuttering of the final Goodings Supermarket near Disney World.

Disney Parks Blog celebrates the top honors received in Orlando Magazine by several Walt Disney World restaurants.

The Disney Chick makes Gourmet Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies from the Main Street Bakery. Go on. You know you want to click. ;-)

OC Register has a fun story about what Disneyland’s doing with the leftover fry oil from their kitchens! Here’s a hint: it has to do with Park transportation… .

Chip and Co shares some dessert options for people with Diabetes dining in Disney World restaurants.

DisUnplugged heads to Disneyland’s Plaza Inn for dinner!

Sanaa Wine List Suggestions

Thanks again to Amanda Tinney for the fantastic Sanaa Review yesterday! To accompany that piece, we’re thrilled that our friends at Cork’d.com have put together a list of highly-recommended wine list suggestions, and have even explained specifically why these wines will complement the unique menu of Indian and African cuisine at Sanaa.

Sanaa Wine Recommendations
The Sanaa wine list has a rich focus on South African wines, but also highlights some great options from around the world, including offerings from Italy, California, and New Zealand.

Sanaa Wine List -- Subject to Change -- Copyright Disney -- Click for Larger Version

Sanaa Wine List -- Subject to Change -- Copyright Disney -- Click for Larger Version

2008 Martin Codax Albarino: A crisp, refreshing, and highly acidic grape varietal, Albarino is most often found in the Northwest of Spain’s *Rias Baixas* region. Because these wines are so aromatic and flavor filled, they pair really well with the intensely flavored, aromatic cuisines, such as Indian. Martin Codax is one of the most recognized wineries in Rias Baixas, producing consistent and well-received Albarino year after year.

2008 Boutari Moschofilero: Moschofilero isn’t your everyday Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. This grape has made a name [Read more…]

Sanaa Restaurant Guest Review

Sanaa is almost a year old (!!), and it’s settling in nicely with a couple of new menu items and one of Disney World’s most incredible views. Amanda Tinney from DisneyEveryDay.com dined at the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s newest restaurant recently and was kind enough to share this rockin’ report. Take it away, Amanda!


Sanaa means “Work of Art” in Swahili, which is fitting because the food artists at Disney’s Kidani Village are crafting unique dishes for Disney Guests in their flagship restaurant… Sanaa. As the menu professes, Sanaa is “The Art of African Cooking with Indian Flavors.”

I had the privilege of dining here last week during a lunch meeting. I consider myself an adventurous eater, but I had my doubts once seated and presented with the menu. Luckily, I was dining with friends who had experienced Sanaa previously, and I let them take the lead when ordering appetizers.

We started with the Indian Style Bread Service ($8.99), which gave us a choice of three breads and three accompaniments. For the bread, we selected Naan, Onion Kulcha, and Paneer Paratha. [Read more…]

“What IS That Stuff?”: Favorites from Boma

I mention Boma around here a LOT. It’s a breakfast and dinner buffet over at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort, and it’s a great buy for adventurous eaters who want to try something a bit outside the fold from burgers and ribs. And for people who do prefer burgers and ribs, Boma can be a fun and delicious step out of your comfort zone. Thanks to our friends at AKLResort.com for collaborating on this post.

Boma Sign

While dishes on the Boma buffet change daily, there are a few authentic African options that are available more often than not. Picky eaters (including myself) are often scared off by unfamiliar names or ingredients that aren’t found in the typical American diet, so I’m going to use a post to showcase some of these items, tell you what’s in them, and show you pictures. Sometimes a little familiarity is all it takes for these dishes to be worth a try the next time you’re at Boma!

Pap and Chaka Laka
Pap is a dish made from corn flour, butter, and water, and is seasoned with salt and pepper. It’s a staple of African cooking almost everywhere. Chaka Laka is a spicy South African vegetable relish that often features peppers and chiles, beans, and other vegetables, and can be flavored with curry powder. Pap is very often served with some sort of meat or vegetable relish/topping — when you try this, you know [Read more…]

Hidden Mickeys in Disney Restaurants

The research for this blog began when I noticed a hidden Mickey tucked into a chair at Boma during my Animal Kingdom Lodge Culinary Tour; it’s been all downhill from there! Of course, thanks to all of the Facebook fans and twitter followers who responded to my call for “food-related hidden Mickeys” back in October!

Where possible (and if necessary), I’ve tried to include a photo of the Mickey and a photo of the surrounding area so that it’s easier to find. Not possible with all, unfortunately…

Here we go:

Liberty Tree Tavern in the Magic Kingdom
This was one of my earlier findings, and it’s definitely one of my favorites. You can find it on one of the decorative wooden racks in the lobby of Liberty Tree Tavern — it’s to the right and toward the back as you walk into the lobby.

Blueberry Hidden Mickey at Liberty Tree Tavern

Blueberry Hidden Mickey at Liberty Tree Tavern

Decorative Rack Containing Blueberry Hidden Mickey

Decorative Rack Containing Blueberry Hidden Mickey

Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Ah, the original! I’m not sure if this even qualifies as “hidden,” but I liked it! Some chairs have it, and some chairs don’t — cross your fingers that you get a good one!

Boma Hidden Mickey in Chair

Boma Hidden Mickey in Chair

TRex in Downtown Disney
One of Disney’s newer restaurants (stay tuned for my review, coming soon!), TRex includes a moving (yep–moving) Octopus Bar. Look closely at the tentacles, and you’ll see what I saw…

Tentacle Hidden Mickey at TRex

Tentacle Hidden Mickey at TRex

A Wider Shot of the Octopus Bar for Context

A Wider Shot of the Octopus Bar for Context

Beaches and Cream at the Beach Club Resort
My Dad found this one, but was assured that it’s authentic! It was also mentioned on facebook (Thanks, Kristina!) as a fan favorite! Look up and to the right as you enter the restaurant to see this onion ring hidden Mickey in the decorative border.

Onion Ring Hidden Mickey at Beaches and Cream

Onion Ring Hidden Mickey at Beaches and Cream

Context Shot for Beaches and Cream Hidden Mickey

Context Shot for Beaches and Cream Hidden Mickey

Goofy’s Candy Company in Downtown Disney
OK, this isn’t technically a restaurant, but you can get some pretty good noms here anyway! NOTE: You can also spot this hidden Mickey in the decor around the Goofy’s Candy Company section of MouseGears in Epcot! (Psst…look closely and you’ll see even more hidden characters…)

Hidden Mickey at Goofy's Candy Company

Hidden Mickey at Goofy's Candy Company

The Rest of the Hidden Characters at Goofy's Candy Company

The Rest of the Hidden Characters at Goofy's Candy Company

Reader Favorites
Thanks again to those who answered the call! Here are some reader-suggested food-related hidden Mickeys!

@aryssabrooke from Twitter
At Behind the Seeds tour at Epcot, you can see how they make Mickey shaped pumpkins and watermelons.

@ArmandNoUsagi from Twitter
I have to say my favorite is at Teppan Edo, When the chef makes a Mickey volcano out of an onion.

Allison Palmer-Gleicher from Facebook
The bread Mickey head in Tony’s — over by the Lady and the Tramp picture behind the fountain.

Tinker Kell from Facebook
My favorite one is on the dog statue near the check-in desk at Mama Melrose’s.

Calling All Hidden Mickey Spotters!
I know for a fact that I haven’t seen nearly all of the Disney dining hidden Mickeys, so I hope you can help me out! Contact me via twitter, facebook, or email with a photo or remembrance of your favorite food-related hidden Mickey, and I’ll add it to this blog. The blog itself will be placed (with great honor) in the special posts section in the right-hand column so that you can keep tabs on the updates.

Dining in Disney World With Kids, Part 2: Suggestions from the WDW Moms Panel

Hooray! Our fourth post in the Walt Disney World Moms Panel mini-series! Thanks to all the moms for their fantastic stories, tips, and insights.

Today, this post also serves as Part 2 of our Disney Food Blog Dining in Disney World With Kids series, in which the moms share their top picks for age-appropriate dining experiences. Take it away, Moms!

From Mom Erin F. — Kids’ Ages: 10-13

I’ve got the tweens and young teen segments. The 10-yr-olds love Crystal Palace and Chef Mickey’s. There are so many choices at the buffets (breakfast pizza is a favorite!).

Tables for Tea at the Grand Floridian

Tables for Tea at the Grand Floridian

I also enjoy the Grand Floridian tea. So much of the dining at Disney is the experience, not just the food. Part of that experience is allowing kids to learn and experiment in a safe arena. When working in New York City, I was invited to tea at the Waldorf, and I was completely freaked out. I didn’t know what to do. This type of experience can help kids to learn how to handle fine dining situations that they might encounter in the future.

Finally, there are some spots that the kids like, which offer great vegetable options. Garden Grill at Epcot offers fresh veggies from the Land, and Teppan Edo includes veggies mixed into the chicken. So you can get slightly healthier food.

From Mom Amber V. — Kids’ Ages: 0-5

My kids are 4 and 16 months. Obviously we’re in the character dining phase right now, and there are definitely character meals that are better than others! Probably my favorite character breakfast is with Lilo and Stitch at ‘Ohana. I have to say that while I enjoy the wider variety of foods available at a buffet, there is something to be said about the food being delivered to your table. I can’t count the number of times I’ve run up to a buffet to grab something and missed seeing my kids with one of the characters. At ‘Ohana you don’t have to worry about that, and the food that they bring to you is quite good. I’m a big fan of the breakfast potatoes. They are seasoned with just the right amount of salt, and your server will always bring more! We enjoy this breakfast from start to finish – the welcome bread and fresh fruit are a great way to start. Also, Mickey waffles . . . enough said!

Another favorite character meal is the Garden Grill at Epcot. Again, served family style which makes the whole experience so much more relaxing and enjoyable for Mom and Dad! My four year old daughter got a huge kick out of the fact the restaurant slowly rotates and just loved watching the changing view. The food is great and I like how the menu changes based on the season and what types of fresh fish and vegetables are available. They bring out food for the adults and the basic kid favorites like macaroni and cheese and fries for the kids who may not be so adventurous. The Garden Grill is another great meal from start to finish, and currently the only character meal to meet Chip and Dale!

From Mom Anna S. — Kids’ Ages: 4-18

Eeyore Leads a Parade at Crystal Palace

Eeyore Leads a Parade at Crystal Palace

I have kids that range in age from 4 through 18, so we have to work with a huge range of tastes and entertainment preferences. My oldest daughter has the most adventurous palate in the group, and at 18, she thinks she’s worldly and sophisticated. She loves places like Sanaa, can’t wait to try Kouzzina (Christmas week, I hope!), and raves about Restaurant Marrakesh.

The two little ones wouldn’t think a trip to Disney World was complete without a visit to Crystal Palace or Chef Mickey’s, but they are old enough now to really enjoy the entertainment at Whispering Canyon Cafe and ‘Ohana. The one place the whole family loves and returns to often is Boma. The kids are comfortable there, they love visiting the savanna before and after dinner, we enjoy the story tellers and the parade in the lobby, and the food is amazing.

From Mom Kara B. — Kids’ Ages: 7-14

We cherished the chance to bring my father with us to 50s Prime Time Cafe. He pretty much sat there talking about the shows he had watched that were on the TV as well as all the little knick knacks and decor he remembered. An absolute nostalgic moment for him.

TV Table at 50's Prime Time Cafe

TV Table at 50's Prime Time Cafe

Meanwhile, my kids were, of course, totally absorbed by the TV shows (they are such zombies if anything is playing on a screen) as well as all the antics of the cast members. So much giggling, and I didn’t have to ask them to finish their veggies or keep their elbows off the table! The funniest thing was my son disappeared into the bathroom for a suspiciously long time — he had been washing his hands thoroughly in case they checked beforehand.

Similarly, I think Whispering Canyon Cafe is a hoot! We ate there with my family, my brother’s family, and my parents. Immediately, the cast members placed bandanna hats of various shapes on all of our heads, so we were all laughing at one another (forgetting we each had hats). Then all of those mischievous antics of the cast members; we all laughed and laughed and laughed. The kids all enjoyed the pony races, too. And I come a family of huge carnivores (I’m constantly mocked, sadly, since I prefer soybean curd), so the endless platters of meat were perfect for them.

From Mom Joanne M. — Daughter’s Age: 9

There are really too many, so here are my nine year old’s current faves. Last month we visited the 50’s Prime Time Cafe for the first time, and she still hasn’t stopped talking about it. The decor is totally cool, with old fashioned TVs and furnishings. The service totally makes the experience! You really do feel like you’re in your granny’s kitchen, and the best part was when the server fed Nicole her veggies.

Whispering Canyon Cafe has been our must do for the past several years and remains in my daughter’s top two! The food is consistently good, but we go back for the activities, antics and excitement. Be forewarned, it’s LOUD! But guests of all ages get up and dance the hokey pokey, sing happy birthday to fellow diners, and participate in wooden horse races through the restaurant. No matter what you order, be sure to ask for ketchup!

From Mom Whitney P. — Kids’ Ages: 4-13

Because we have four children, from age four to 13, three girls and a boy, I am always on the hunt for restaurants with BROAD appeal both on the menu and in the experience. ‘Ohana’s all-you-can-eat fare fills up my growing 9- and 12-year-old boys, and is varied enough for my picky 4-year-old.

Wonderful CM at 'Ohana Dinner

Wonderful CM at 'Ohana Dinner

The coconut races and limbo are fun for everyone, even hula lessons for my teenager girl. If you’re not able to time your reservation just right to watch the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks from the restaurant while they pipe in the accompanying music, you can always head down to the Polynesian’s beach for the view!

Biergarten has become a perennial favorite because my kids love the buffet that’s heavy on meat and potatoes fare with familiar flavors. It’s the floor show that can get folks out of their seats, though, especially for the Chicken Dance!

If I could add a third, it would be Teppan Edo. The chefs do a fantastic job of slicing and dicing as entertainment, and with grilled chicken, meat, or seafood on the menu, there’s something for everyone.

From Mom Jo Y. — Kids’ Ages: 11-13

My girls are aged 11 and 13 and every trip they request the same 2 restaurants. Their favourite character spot is the Crystal Palace as they both adore the Winnie the Pooh characters. They also love all the food on offer; the choice is huge so everyone will be able to find something they like.

For fine dining they love Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian; they enjoy the fact that it’s a more grown up restaurant and it serves “posh” food. They also like a reason to dress up!

From Mom Kim L. — Son’s Age: 9

I went straight to my 9 year old to answer this question. My son says his two top picks are Chef Mickey’s and San Angel Inn. Chef Mickey’s is a hit because it’s fun with the characters and your family can ride the monorail after dinner. San Angel Inn is a top choice because if you request a water table, then your child is entertained by waving at people as the boats float by.

From Mom Kay B. — Kids’ Ages: Adult; Grandkids’ Ages: Toddler

First I will speak about my grandkids (toddler age): The top restaurant experience for this age is Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue in Fort Wilderness. Toddlers are hard to keep in their seats and here is a great spot where you can get them to eat some good food (same as you would get at the Hoop De Doo Revue) and where they can dance their evening away with the characters and the live country music band. This is the best up close and personal character opportunity as well, since they can choose the character to dance with and be with him/her for as long as they want. There are always a couple of characters who stand quietly off to the side for those who are more shy. Parents can sit back and enjoy a glass of wine or beer while their kids are happy and letting loose all their energy so they can go home and sleep well!

Chef Mickey at Chef Mickey's Restaurant

Chef Mickey at Chef Mickey's Restaurant

Second choice is the Chef Mickey character dining at the Contemporary resort. This is just a great place to see all the major known Disney characters all at once, and the food buffet is outstanding. You will often see more adults taking food from the “kids” section, and I will admit I have snagged some of the great mac and cheese myself. The dessert choices are wonderful, and the kids love making their sundaes topped with all kinds of unhealthy things!

Now for my kids’ age (young adults): My children have always enjoyed the opportunity to get dressed up and head out for some special dining experiences, so Victoria and Alberts is a top choice for this and especially the Chef’s Table opportunity. But for families watching their budgets this spot becomes more exclusive. So the other choices would be Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian, as their menu is sophisticated but still in touch with a young palate. It is off the beaten path for many guests and can tend to be a little more quiet then some of the other restaurants.

For entertainment purposes I have two second choices and those would be 50’s Primetime Cafe in Hollywood Studios and the Hoop De Doo Revue in Fort Wilderness. Primetime is a classic spot to remind your teens or young adults of their often forgotten table manners. They soon realize if they don’t heed your advice they could be singing “I’m a Little Teapot” to all the other guests and making that a stepping stone for their next Idol audition! Hoop De Doo Revue is just a fun and rowdy place for all ages to let down and get into the moment. If you are lucky enough to be chosen for a participating part in the show it is even more fun. Young adults can enjoy humor too!

From Dad Doug I. — 2 Princesses (not sure of the ages, Doug!)

The first is Chef Mickey’s. It has some of the best buffet-line foods, and the setting and character experience are ideal for younger children. The second is 50’s Prime Time Cafe. I think that the kids enjoy a bit of sassy fun, and the food is always great.

From Mom Heather R. — Kids’ Ages: 2-6

My daughters are younger — 6.5, 4, and 2.5 — so character meals and buffets are perfect for them right now. One of our favorites is the Play and Dine at Hollywood & Vine character meal in Hollywood Studios. It’s a buffet, so the kids can dig in immediately, which at this age is often very important so they don’t get restless waiting for food to arrive.

Little Einsteins Sign Autographs at Hollywood and Vine

Little Einsteins Sign Autographs at Hollywood and Vine

Breakfast there is good, but we prefer lunch. There are a wide variety of dishes to choose from (my girls adore the seafood pasta) and Jo-Jo, Goliath, Leo, and June (Little Einsteins) keep the kids entertained. The children are periodically invited up front to sing and dance along with their favorite characters, which is fun for the kids and gives mom and dad a chance to eat un-interrupted, if only for a moment. The only downside to this restaurant is that it shares restrooms with the 50’s Prime Time Cafe, and there is always quite a wait. I’d recommend taking your children for a potty break in the park just before you have your meal.

A fun, non-character meal for kids is dinner at ‘Ohana in the Polynesian resort. While not a buffet, the food is served family style so it arrives quickly, and service is always very attentive. You’ll also find a strolling ukulele player, leis for the kids, and fun games like coconut races and hula hoop contests to keep little ones entertained.

From Mom Jodi G. — Kids’ Ages: 3-5

My kids are age 3 and 5, and I recommend ‘Ohana (for breakfast) and the Garden Grill (for dinner) for families like mine.

From Mom Beth C. — Kids’ Ages: 11-13

Whispering Canyon Cafe in the Wilderness Lodge is one of my family’s favorite restaurants! This little restaurant tucked in the Wilderness Lodge has a simple, down home menu. Ribs, chicken, and pork chops are done with a northwestern flair. They have amazing all you can drink milkshakes. However, the fun at this restaurant is why we make it a regular on our trips! The jokes, the pony races and ketchup – trust me to ask for ketchup – make this a fun place to dine! You can be loud and get a great meal. It is near the Magic Kingdom via a short boat ride, and the Wilderness Lodge is a beautiful hotel. After a day in the park, it is nice to go somewhere else to eat. You can then go back to the park or head home for the evening.

California Grill Sunset

California Grill Sunset

Also, when my family goes on vacation, we like to treat ourselves. We do things that we would not do at home. It is also an opportunity to get dressed up and eat at fancy restaurants. While we live just outside Manhattan and have amazing restaurants near home, it is not something we do except on vacation. My husband, Jim, and I really believe that our girls will never know how to appreciate fine dining if they do not experience it. With this in mind, I would recommend the California Grill. We first visited this restaurant alone and then again when Jess and Nicole were three and five. We rediscovered it last year when we were looking for a special night out. The food is always different and seasonal – pumpkin raviolis are yummy in the fall. You can see the chefs preparing the food, which I think helps children appreciate the hard work that goes into the meal. The pastry chef even explained his dishes to my girls. The atomosphere is great, especially if you have an Advance Dining Reservation which overlaps the fireworks. Watching the fireworks from the top of the Contemporary is so cool. My husband’s only disappointment is that they no longer make the most amazing lemon chiffon souffle!

From Mom Margaret F. — Kids’ Ages: 6-12

Our top two locations to dine with our children are easily:
1. Chef Mickey’s: what could be better than dining with the big cheese himself? The location is fun and lively with the open area to the Contemporary resort and the monorail zipping though, it just has such a fun happy feeling to it. Of course the added bonus of Mickey and his pals can’t be beat, and my kids love the “dance parties” throughout the restaurant. There is a great selection of salads, fruits, vegetables, meats, and desserts, so even the pickiest eater should be able to find something to fill their stomachs. This is a great location to celebrate a birthday with the children and just enjoy the magic of Disney.

Teppan Edo Chef

Teppan Edo Chef

2. Coral Reef (and a close second Teppan Edo): While both of these locations may seem like they are better suited to an adult guest, they are very kid friendly. There are delicious choices on the kids menu, and personally my husband and I never have a problem finding an entree here. These two spots are all about the setting for our family. There is a great entertainment value here and my boys have always been mesmerized by the scenery and the “show”. Coral Reef offers an amazing view of the floor to ceiling aquarium that runs the entire length of the restaurant. My kids love watching all of the fish, sharks, and turtles (with an occasional scuba diver) swim by. It is like a science class while we eat. Teppan Edo offers a table side show performed by the very talented and entertaining chefs. The boys love watching them chop, dice, and grill our meal right before out eyes. At both locations there is never a cry of “How much longer”, or “I’m bored,” and that is priceless to us.

Thanks again to all the “moms” who are participating in the interviews! Be sure to check out the first post in this series if you missed it: Dining in Disney World With Kids, Part 1.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to share your “most magical Disney Dining moment,” send me an email! I’m collecting stories and will post them in the next post of “Chicken Soup for the Disney Foodie soul!”

Dining In Disney World With Kids: Part 1

Introducing the Disney Food Blog Dining in Disney World With Kids two-part series! Thanks to Zannaland for guest blogging Part 1, where she includes a few of her favorite family secrets. And stay tuned for tomorrow’s Part 2 in the series, where Disney World Moms Panelists determine the best dining locations for kids of certain ages. There are some very informative and surprising ideas that I think you’ll enjoy!

Parent or not, the wonderful dining options and experiences for kids at Disney World are no secret. But what if you don’t want to spend your entire vacation doing character meals? (Not that there’s anything wrong with those — they offer some of the best food on property!) What I’d like to share are some of the dining secrets we’ve discovered over the years as the best options for something different. They may just become regular favorites for your family!

Best Location For a Nap


  • Maya Grill - This restaurant became a favorite of ours during a stay at Coronado Springs Resort when we were unable to secure a breakfast reservation anywhere else. We had been to Maya Grill for dinner on its opening night, but hadn’t tried it for breakfast. We were so pleasantly surprised by the food as well as the fact that it was not crowded at all. It was nice to enjoy a peaceful, leisurely breakfast for a change. For that reason, it makes it a great location for a stroller-bound child to enjoy a nap without interruption. The location also makes for some lovely scenery as you walk off your meal.
  • Columbia Harbor House - Magic Kingdom’s hustle and bustle excitement is sometimes too much for the littlest guests, and all the over-stimulation leads to not wanting to nap at all. Columbia Harbor House is a respite from that stimulation. The dark paneling and dimly lit interior ensure no distractions for tired kids. Even on the hottest of days, it’s always cool and calm inside. Sometimes, the second floor is open for even more secluded dining. Once they wake up, there are some great kids’ favorites here like Mac & Cheese and Chicken Nuggets.

Best Entertainment


  • Sanaa - Animals are perhaps the most engaging entertainment for little kids. Young kids are just learning different animals’ names and habitats, but even older kids will be fascinated by the on-going show happening just outside the dining room windows at Sanaa, located in Disney’s Kidani Village in Animal Kingdom
    Lodge. The best part is the show is completely unpredictable and different each time you visit. Your server is also able to tell you more about the animals as well as the unique cooking options offered at Sanaa, making it a great learning experience for all.
  • Germany’s Biergarten - One of my fondest childhood memories at Disney World is seeing the German Ocktoberfest show in Epcot’s World Showcase for the first time. More than just the great music and singing, guests are invited onto the dance floor to show off their best polka moves. Wonderful memories and photo opportunities are to be had here watching kids dance with parents and grandparents. It’s also an easy-to-walk-in location if you don’t have reservations.

Best Kids’ Activities

  • Olivia’s - Disney Food Blog’s recent entry about Olivia’s reminded me of this favorite spot, located at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. Amazing food and scenery aside, Olivia’s offers a special treat for all children – Olivia’s Artist of the Day. Upon arrival, kids are given a coloring sheet and crayons to color however they wish. Then they turn in their masterpieces, and twice a day – morning and evening – cast members choose an Artist of the Day. The chosen artwork is displayed at the front hostess stand, and the winning child gets to ring a bell in celebration. Despite the sibling rivalry when my son was chosen first, both kids were chosen during our stay and it made for quite the memorable experience.
  • Whispering Canyon Cafe Warnings

    Whispering Canyon Cafe Warnings

    Whispering Canyon Cafe - This is perhaps not a real secret to many Disney World fans, but I couldn’t pass up talking about it. Whispering Canyon Cafe offers some of the best entertainment around, and there really isn’t a set show at all! Here, your servers are the entertainment, often yelling back and forth to each other and joking around. For even more fun, ask for ketchup. (If you’re shy, sit back and wait for someone else to ask for it; I’ve never been there when someone hasn’t asked for ketchup, and the fun ensues.) There are also several times when kids can engage in pony races using wooden hobby horses. There is definitely no shortage of entertainment for kids and adults here.

Pool Bar Series: Uzima Springs Pool Bar

Uzima Springs Pool Bar

I’m not sure about you, but a fruity drink in hand, a thatched roof over my head, and a few flamingos frolicking in the background is just about all I need on vacation ;) If that’s your dream come true, you can have it! Even the flamingos! Just stroll out to the Uzima Springs Pool Bar at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House.

View of the Pool Bar Across Uzima Springs Pool

View of the Pool Bar Across Uzima Springs Pool

Relaxing at the Pool Bar

Relaxing at the Pool Bar

Besides the thatched roof and generous umbrella-ed seating, what makes this spot so enticing is the enchanting themeing around the pool. Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of Disney World’s best-themed resort hotels, without a doubt. From the indentations of leaves, brush, and children’s footprints in the red dirt-tinted cement, to the whirlpool spas hidden by foliage, to the numerous savanna ponds scattered around, the Uzima Springs Pool area is a jungle of fascinating imagineering touches.

Even if you’re just there for a drink, it’s impossible not to go peek behind that grove of trees or jagged fence to see what treasures (and you KNOW there are treasures) lie beyond it! The place is a mini-theme park in itself.

Behind Curtain Number One...A Whirlpool Spa!

Behind Curtain Number One...A Whirlpool Spa!

Behind Curtain Number Two...Hakuna Matata Playground!

Behind Curtain Number Two...Hakuna Matata Playground!

Although we’re having fun exploring the pool grounds, let’s head back to the bar! In addition to the ubiquitous Disney Pool Bar standard menu, Uzima Springs Pool Bar also features some wonderful African beers and South African wines. And don’t forget, they’ve still got that rolodex of old recipes back there, too; if there’s something you’re pining for, be sure to ask!

Pool Bar Menu

Pool Bar Menu

And once you have your delicious bevvy, head over and find those elusive flamingos!

Ah Yes...the Flamingos.

Ah Yes...the Flamingos.

I told you so!

Thanks to AKLResort.com for contributing photos for this blog post! Also, quick reminder — there’s no pool hopping to Uzima Springs, so although you can visit the pool and get a drink, don’t swim unless you’re an AKL guest.

Recipe: Potatoes With Afritude

Boma's Potatoes with Afritude

Boma's Potatoes with Afritude

I thought this would be a really fun one to make at home this weekend! Be sure to let me know if you try it out :-)

POTATOES WITH AFRITUDE, Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge
Yield: 10 servings

5 lbs. Red Skinned Potatoes (any variety of potato may be used)
2 ounces Olive Oil
3 T. Curry Powder
2 T. Turmeric
1 T. Garlic Powder
1 T. Paprika
To taste Salt and Pepper

Wash potatoes well, and cut into wedges. In a large bowl mix the spices and olive oil. Add the raw potatoes. Coat the potatoes with the spice mixture. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet, place in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Recipe Credit: DisneyRecipes.homestead.com