My Great Idea That You Have to Try: The Jungle Juice Float in Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Just outside of Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there is a humble little kiosk called Harambe Popcorn. [Editor’s note: Harambe Popcorn has received a name change since the writing of this post; this kiosk is now named Mahindi.] I estimate that I’ve passed right by it about a million times, give or take ten thousand or so.

I’ve noted the menu — popcorn, check. Glazed nuts (yum!), check. Assorted bevs and Jungle Juice, check check. I’ve even mentioned it to you in the Tusker House review.

Menu — Click to Enlarge

The addition of Jungle Juice — that glorious stuff that includes passion fruit, guava, and orange juice into one yummo glass —  to the kiosk is relatively new, and I’d been looking forward to getting some here.

It’s pretty great that you can now get it without booking a table at Boma or Tusker House! Here’s a pic of Jungle Juice at Boma…for comparison purposes.

Regular Jungle Juice Served at Boma

But when I finally headed over to get myself a glass a week or so ago, I was pretty intrigued by what I was given.

When the nice cast member handed over a hefty serving, I realized…it was FROZEN!

Well, not completely frozen, but slushy…the texture was a cross between a slush puppie and Disney’s frozen lemonade.

Frozen Jungle Juice at Animal Kingdom’s Harambe Popcorn

Now, I have no idea if this is what regularly happens here at this kiosk. But I CAN tell you that the Jungle Juice was in one of those frozen drink tumbly things. You know, the ones that look like little washing machines?

So my guess is that they do serve it frozen as a general rule. How about that?! Have you seen frozen jungle juice anywhere else?

Frozen Jungle Juice — Up Close

And this stuff is ah-mazing! I loved it! I would definitely be in line for more if I didn’t have to eat everything else in the Disney Parks. ;-)

My Great Idea That You Have To Try: [Read more…]

Guest Review: Seafood Dine-Around at Walt Disney World

Join us in welcoming guest author KJ Simpson with a Walt Disney World Seafood Adventure!

Crab Cakes at Narcoossee's

A recent trip to Walt Disney World opened up a whole new world of culinary delights for me: seafood!

In my many previous visits, I had never tried any seafood dishes. This year, for a variety of reasons, I began incorporating seafood into my diet. As part of this new culinary adventure, I decided to sample some of the many dishes from the sea that are available throughout the parks and resorts.

If you’re curious about some of the offerings that can be found throughout Walt Disney World, read on as I embark on this seafood adventure…

And don’t forget to share your favorite Disney seafood dishes in the comments below!

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

No seafood tour would be complete without a stop at the very popular Yorkshire County Fish Shop, in the United Kingdom area of Epcot’s World Showcase, for an order of Fish & Chips.

There’s often a line at the Yorkshire County Fish Shoppe- this is a popular spot!

It’s a classic — two pieces of battered fish, served in a quick-service style over chips (also known as fries, here on this side of the pond). It’s even wrapped in faux-newspaper to give it a whimsically authentic appearance.

While not the healthiest of seafood meals, it was certainly one of the tastiest! There’s not a lot to go wrong here, and this was a perfect afternoon snack to share. The malt vinegar — a traditional accompaniment to the English fish fry — added the perfect tang and gave a whole different taste dimension to the fish.

The classic - Fish & Chips.

Sharing this while sitting in the seating area off to the side overlooking World Showcase Lagoon was a splendid afternoon respite! If you eat outside here, be forewarned: enjoy the view, but beware of the aggressive birds, ducks, and squirrels. They apparently love the food here as much as we do, and are not shy about wanting you to share.

Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie

Next was a visit to the newly-refurbished bakery in the France pavilion, Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie.

The expanded menu has a new seafood offering: Bisque de Homard, or Lobster Bisque.

Les Halles

This was a satisfying soup, smooth and creamy without being too heavy. Tomato was the more dominant flavor here, but the seafood added a richness and [Read more…]

Best Disney World Restaurants for First Time Disney Visitors

Everyday we receive lots of mail from you, our awesome DFB readers, asking for restaurant suggestions and recommendations. And while we certainly have our favorites, we know that you do, too!

So when a Disney first-time visitor recently asked what restaurants we would recommend for their upcoming trip, we couldn’t think of a better panel of experts to ask than YOU!

When I put the question out on the Disney Food Blog Facebook page, I was overwhelmed by the huge and immediate response that I got!

Let’s take a look at your recommendations for the restaurants first timers must experience on that inaugural Walt Disney World trip!

If you have other thoughts or ideas — or, better yet, stories of your favorite restaurants during a first-time visit — please share them with all of us in the comments section! More suggestions are always better!

Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

When it comes to first time Disney dining, the winning restaurant recommendation is, hands down, Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Many of you agree that anyone visiting the Happiest Place on Earth for the very first time MUST experience a buffet that includes lots of character interaction.

Chef Mickey's is highly recommended by our DFB Readers!

But the suggestion is practical, too. Readers pointed out that a character dining experience offers terrific value for your Disney dollar, with an all-you-care-to-eat option.

A View of the Castle from Chef Mickey's

And with the addition of characters, you have a less rushed (and air conditioned!) meet and greet opportunity that guarantees you’ll see lots of characters without waiting in long lines in the parks.

Also, don’t forget that Chef Mickey’s is walking distance from the Magic Kingdom. This is a great
place to start or end your Magic Kingdom day!

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland

Judging from the reader response, we’d say that Disney definitely hit the mark with one of its newest restaurants, Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland.

Be Our Guest Restaurant Bridge Entrance

Set in Beast’s Castle (from Disney’s animated classic, Beauty and the Beast), the huge eatery is a counter service location for lunch and table service location for dinner (see our “Everything on the Menu!!” Review Here!).

Be Our Guest Restaurant Ballroom

The menu has a French flair — and chefs worked hard to create tasty, interesting meals for the younger set as well.

Be Our Guest Restaurant also has the distinction of being the only spot within Magic Kingdom where guests can order beer and wine. While it broke with tradition when Disney announced the decision to offer adult drinks in the otherwise dry park, they felt it was necessary in keeping with the French-inspired menu.

The Beast occasionally greets visitors in his study during dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant

Many guests celebrate special occasions at Be Our Guest Restaurant, and if that’s you, be sure to mention it to your server. He may actually bring you a celebratory taste of “The Grey Stuff” — mentioned by Lumiere in the film!

This cookies and cream panna cotta truly is “delicious!”

The Grey Stuff -- It's Delicious!

Guests seem to be loving this spot for many reasons, and Advanced Dining Reservations for dinner remain hard to come by.

While we’ve tasted just about everything here and agree that the food’s quite good, most of you especially love it for the incredible, immersive themeing. So, remember that even if you can’t get a reservation for dinner, you can still enjoy the restaurant itself — including getting a peek at all three dining rooms — if you dine here for a counter-service lunch!

braised pork -- coq au vin at Be Our Guest Restaurant -- for LUNCH!

Here’s a TIP: if at all possible, snag a table in the West Wing and keep an eye on the [Read more…]

Guest Review: Boma Dinner Buffet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Today we’re venturing to the exotic Animal Kingdom Lodge. Welcome back guest reviewer Katie McFarland with a review of the dinner buffet at Boma.

Boma restaurant is located inside the Jambo House of the Animal Kingdom Lodge resort in Walt Disney World. If you have never been there before, it really is a magnificent lobby with its thatched ceiling, tribal décor, and torch glass sculpture lights.

But beware: the couches are really comfortable –- especially after a big meal! You run a high risk of awkwardly falling asleep in front of total strangers clutching your stomach and begging “whyyyyy did I eat so much?!”

Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby

If walking in through the main doors, the restaurant is on the right side of the lobby and is accessible by either the stairs or the elevator. If going by stairs, you will walk right past Victoria Falls Lounge, which is an intimate bar that overlooks the Boma “marketplace.”

Stairs to Lower Level

Atmosphere

Boma represents an open-air marketplace with the “huts” of the buffet lines divided almost by courses: salad, hummus and other dips, meats, sides, and dessert.

Looking down onto Boma!

The eating areas have many thatched panels draped across the ceiling with art glass shades supplying the soft lighting. Every location in the restaurant invites the diner to feel as if they’re in an open-air market in Africa.

Boma Dining Room

Boma Ceiling Decor

However, a seat nearest to the buffet line is always a plus! Like in other buffet restaurants, the [Read more…]

Best Disney World Restaurants for Brunch

One of my favorite Disney Dining tips for saving money in Disney World is to exchange two meals for one — especially when you’re trading breakfast and lunch for an awesome brunch!

In the past, a main planning focus for many guests has been getting to the parks early so that they can grab fastpasses for favorite rides — or ride things before the crowds arrive.

But now that MyMagic+ is going to make reserving later-in-the-day ride times that much easier, you might be able to take a few days to sleep in — and save some dough at the same time!

So I’m adding to our Best Disney Restaurants Series and outlining a few of my personal favorite places to start the day off slow at Walt Disney World. I can’t wait to hear your suggestions, too!

Kouzzina at the Boardwalk Resort

UPDATE: Please note that Kouzzina by Cat Cora closed in September 2014; however, its replacement restaurant, Trattoria al Forno, offers many of the same items for breakfast

While many guests never to look beyond the standard theme-park fare, those who prefer to sleep in — or save money by getting brunch instead of breakfast AND lunch — should look no further than this!

One of the best brunch spots in Orlando is Kouzzina by Cat Cora, where everything from the robust menu to the warm decor was driven by celebrity Iron Chef Cat Cora.

Waffles topped with Mascarpone Cheese and Honey at Kouzzina

The restaurant, overlooking Crescent Lake at the Boardwalk Inn Resort, has a Greek-inspired menu and a welcoming atmosphere. My favorite breakfast in the World is the mascarpone-topped waffles. So good they should be illegal.

Or snap up the yummy skillet breakfast — or the stacked breakfast with poached eggs, kalamata olive toast, and artichoke spread — while you savor the sights and sounds of the open show kitchen.

Kouzzina Breakfast Skillet

Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge

Your African adventure begins the moment you arrive at this exotic resort and take in the splendor of the lobby. As you make your way to Boma, dark woods and thatched roofs mingle with the delicious smells to make you feel like you’ve entered an African marketplace for breakfast.

Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge

The buffet here is stocked with popular brunch options like omelets, pancakes, french toast, bacon, sausage, carved ham, breakfast potatoes, cereal, oatmeal, and scrambled eggs; but they also serve up more multi-cultural dishes, including African pastries, quinoa porridge, and bobotie — a type of quiche.

Seriously, you could totally go for that cinnamon roll right now, couldn’t you??

Boma Breakfast Pastries

Be sure to try some of the specialty [Read more…]

Limited Time: Specialty Pumpkin Treats at Disney World

Thanks to reader Joe Barrett, we’ve got some fun seasonal pumpkin eats in Disney World to share!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Pecan Butter

First up, these awesome Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Pecan Butter from Kona Cafe in Disney’s Polynesian Resort. They look amazing!!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Pecan Butter at Kona Cafe

Kona often has seasonal pancakes, so be on the look-out. Remember the red velvet pancakes with cream cheese topping around Valentine’s Day this year?

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Over at Boma in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, lucky guests will find these Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes! According to Joe, they have more of a pumpkin pie texture than a cheesecake texture, but they’re still delicious, and great for any pumpkin fan.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes at Boma

As always, many Disney restaurants and counter-service locations will [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Getting Kids to Try New Foods at Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that my daughter Louisa is more than a little produce averse. There was a period of about four years when NO fruit or vegetable crossed her lips, and even now at age 12 she still has to be cajoled into having more than a bite or two of something as innocuous as sweet potato or banana.

Frozen bananas, a gateway fruit.

So you can imagine my surprise when, on a recent trip to the Animal Kingdom’s Yak & Yeti restaurant, she consumed nearly the entire plate of wok-fried green beans we had ordered for the table. It was one of those parenting moments where you hold your breath and move slowly so as to avoid breaking the spell.

Yak & Yeti wok-fried green beans. My hero!

Those Yak & Yeti yummies didn’t turn Louisa into an inveterate bean eater, but she is now occasionally willing to nibble on a tempura string bean if we’re out for Japanese. Based on our prior track record with legumes, I’m going to count that solidly in the win column.

The Theme Park Food Effect

What was it about the Yak & Yeti beans that made Louisa such a fan? Yes, they were quite tasty, and yes, the green part was handily obfuscated by a crunchy, yumtastic fried breading coating; but we had tried similar ploys in the past to no avail. My theory is that the Yak & Yeti beans were flavored by the spice of (cue the orchestra) The Theme Park Food Effect.

Much like campers will say that meals eaten on the trail are the BEST, you know that their experience is colored by the fact that their senses are overwhelmed and they’re starving from an [Read more…]

Tip from the DFB Guide: Free Tours at Animal Kingdom Lodge Restaurants

We’ve added lots of fun and new dining info to our updated e-Book — The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2013. One of my favorite tips in the book is the recommendation of the free tours at the Animal Kingdom Lodge restaurants! Yep, free!

After you read all about this great Disney Dining Tip, learn more about our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining grand launch — including a limited-time discount code — here!

Animal Kingdom Lodge Restaurant Tours

The Animal Kingdom Lodge in Walt Disney World is known for quality table-service restaurants that offer some exotic menu items and exquisite, African-themed decor. But there’s a way to explore the restaurants without actually dining there!

Learn The Meaning Behind the Decor At Jiko Restaurant

Jiko, Boma, and Sanaa offer half-hour culinary tours each day! These tours cover some of the decor and meaning behind the architecture of the restaurants, and also explain certain menu items. You may even get to sample some of the restaurant’s dishes.

You can see our review of the Boma and Jiko Tour here.

Seating at Sanaa

When you don’t have time to eat at each restaurant, [Read more…]

Favorite Find: Disney Food-Inspired Accessories!

Thanks to Disney Food Blog reader Liana for giving us a heads-up about these adorable Disney Food-Inspired jewelry and decor items. The items are currently being sold on Etsy, and depict a few favorite Disney eats from the theme parks and movies. Let’s check ‘em out…

Zebra Dome Charm

This Zebra Dome charm is a nod to the popular Zebra Dome dessert found on the dessert buffet at Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It sells for $8.

Zebra Dome Charm

Mickey Mouse Doughnut Post Earrings

These earrings are made with titanium posts. Non Allergic.
$12

Earrings

Pink Minnie Mouse Macaron Necklace

Wear your love for Minnie Mouse and Macarons with this [Read more…]

Best Disney Soups

We threw out an inquiry asking for favorite Disney soups and got back a crockful of great ideas! Soups are satisfying meals and hearty snacks and can really warm you up on a chilly park day. Disney’s been working overtime creating memorable ones!

The Best Disney Soups

Thanks to our DFB readers and Facebook Friends for sharing their soup suggestions via the Disney Food Blog Facebook page!

Gorgonzola Onion Soup with Pear and Bacon Garnish at Grand Floridian Cafe

The hands down favorite soup mentioned was the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup at Epcot’s Le Cellier. Honorable mentions go to the soup selection at Boma and the French Onion Soup at Les Chefs de France.

Let’s take a look at the winners, then drool over the runners-up and a few of my own new favorites!

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

Made with Moosehead beer and bacon, the Canadian Cheddar Cheese soup is one of the reasons you should secure a coveted reservation at Le Cellier!

Sooth your soup craving and try the Cheddar Cheese Soup recipe at home.

Cheddar Cheese Soup at Le Cellier Steakhouse

Kathy B. exclaims “It is the BOMB!!!”

Margaret C. even has a cost-saving tip. She suggests [Read more…]