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…]

2011 DFB Choice Award Winners!

It’s time to announce the winners of the second annual DFB Choice Awards!!

The awards are 100% based on Disney Food Blog reader choices. Nominations and final winners are selected by DFB readers who participate in the process. Everyone is welcome to participate! If your favorites didn’t win this year, be sure to nominate and vote for them next year! :-)

Thanks to those of you who took the time to nominate your favorites, and to vote for the winners!

Without further ado, here are this year’s DFB Choice Award winners!

[Read more…]

Guest Review: The Mara

I’m happy to welcome back Bill Iadonisi with another enlightening review. This time he explores the counter-service eatery, The Mara, at the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jambo House. Take it away, Bill!

Hello Disney Food Blog fans! I know it’s been long between reviews, so let’s get started on this month’s eatery! I have always said that Disney’s resorts hold some of the best places to eat on property. Usually much quieter and less hectic then the restaurants in the parks, and many times you can just walk in and sit down.

Today we are going to the dark continent of Africa for this review. Well, maybe a quick safari trip to Disney’s Jambo house is what we’ll do. The main attractions at this beautiful resort are the breathtaking views of the African Savanna from select rooms. But it’s also home to some of Disney’s finest restaurants.

Although not a five-star eatery, Jambo House’s counter-service establishment, The Mara (named after the Mara River in Africa) is a wonderful place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and it does all three equally well.

The Mara Story - click image for larger version

Atmosphere

So before we explore the eats, let’s take a look at the décor.

Themeing and Decor
Located very close to the Jambo House pool, the Mara is themed (like all Disney eateries), but not as strongly as, say, Pizzafari or even the Flame Tree Barbeque.

Entrance

Inside is a spacious dining area with a colorful mural of African flora and fauna on the two back walls.

Spacious Dining Area

The tables and chairs are plain and Spartan, but overhead are metallic cut-outs that resemble tree leaves, and several support posts that have large wooden beams resembling tree limbs make it appear as though you are [Read more…]

Reader Poll: Rather Eat Thanksgiving Dinner at Home or at a Disney Restaurant?

Happy Thanksgiving!

My family is considering having Thanksgiving in Disney World next year, and I wanted to hear some opinions about that! So we asked our Facebook Page Fans:

Would you rather have Thanksgiving Dinner at home, or at a Disney restaurant?.

Our readers chimed in with their holiday preferences! While dining at home was a strong contender due to family traditions, leftovers, cost-savings, aversion to holiday crowds, and a palate for a real home-cooked meal, ordering Thanksgiving dinner at a Disney restaurant was the clear winner!

And these voters didn’t care where they ate at Disney — they just wanted to be in the middle of the magic for the holiday. In fact, we think some of you might be happy with one of these!:

Disney Turkey Leg

Here are some of the other suggestions we received!: [Read more…]

Review: Epcot Food and Wine Festival Party for the Senses

So this is pretty exciting — I finally got to attend a Party for the Senses at this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

For those who aren’t sure what I’m talking about (I know — “Party for the Senses” can sound a bit odd!), the Party for the Senses is held most Saturdays during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival each year. This exclusive event impresses the taste buds, of course, but it also aims to awaken all of your senses. During this 2 1/2 hour extravaganza, food and beverages flow freely as awe-inspiring entertainment is performed by Cirque du Soleil, La Nouba.

Party for the Senses at World Showplace Pavilion in Epcot (Photo copyright Disney)

There are two more parties being offered this year — November 5, and November 12 — for $145 per ticket (plus you’ll need Epcot park admission). Note that the Wine View Lounge upgrade, which includes private tables ($260) is sold out. Reservations can be made at 407-WDW-FEST or at Disneyworld.com/foodandwine.

Interestingly, the artfully prepared menus (including chefs and vinters) change, so your party may not have the same offerings as the one that we attended.

Now that we have the specs out of the way, let’s get into the meat of the night!

Atmosphere

We attended the Party for the Senses during the “Deluge of 2011,” as I like to call it. That’s right; we got all gussied up and sloshed over to Epcot on October 8th. When we arrived at the World Showplace [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: August 14, 2011

We’re jetting off to Disneyland later this week for the D23 Expo, and we’ll be sharing all the updates and details! Follow along here on the Disney Food Blog, on Facebook, and twitter as we bring you news from California!

Latest Disney Food News

DFB Guide and Mini-Guides

We’re eagerly anticipating our brand new Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to the 2011 Epcot Food & Wine Festival e-Book — now topping out at over 125 pages — which will be available within the next day or two!

In the meantime, check out our 250-page DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-Book and our new 85-page Disney Food Blog Mini-Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks e-Book! They can both be downloaded to your computer and loaded onto your iPad or smartphone for easy transport and access in the parks!

On to the Round-Up!

WDW for Grown-ups highlights a brand new event at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival — the “Best of Bocuse” dinner!

Disney by Mark shows us a Disneyland automated food service, the StratoSnak, that never happened. Reminds me of my much-desired automat

Gorillas Don’t Blog spots alcohol at the Golden Horseshoe in the Magic Kingdom. Or does he? Take a look!

Main Street Gazette takes us to my one of my favorite breakfast locations — Boma!

WESH.com featured a story by yours truly showcasing our top five new additions to the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.

Magical Kingdoms shows us how one very creative mom made a Cinderella Coach cake for her daughter’s birthday. Impressive!

Guest Review: Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge

Welcome our Guest Reviewer Andrew Serio, who takes us to dinner at Boma inside the exotic Animal Kingdom Lodge. Let’s sample the flavors of Africa with him!

Boma, which is nestled down the stairs from the lobby of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, is among the most popular “non-character” buffet restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort. After a several year span away from Boma, my wife Joy and I tried it again on a Thursday night in late February.

Atmosphere

Because Boma shares a common exterior area with Jiko, things can get a little hectic when approaching the podium. This was the case on this evening, as there were a good many people milling about. However, when we approached the host stand, we were greeted immediately and cordially by James and Anna. Our ADR was verified, and we were asked to wait briefly while being handed a pager.

Welcome to Boma!

After a very short wait, we were ushered to our table, which was [Read more…]