Disney Food Pics of the Week: Soft Serve Treats!

Summer’s coming! And we know that you’ll be looking to stay cool at Disney. And I can’t think of a much better way than by enjoying some terrific soft serve treats!

And when it comes to soft serve at Disney, you certainly have options! From Dole Whip to Root Beer Floats made with the creamy stuff, there’s no end to the variety you’ll find.

Cherry and Birthday Cake Swirled Fro Yo -- Up Close

Cherry and Birthday Cake Swirled Fro Yo Soft Serve from Magic Kingdom’s Storybook Treats

So we weren’t too surprised when we checked out pics that our members have posted on Disney Food Blog Photo Extravaganza, our Flickr group. We came away with all sorts of soft serve inspiration!

If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, head over there! But before you do, let’s take a look at some of the goodies we found while we were surfin’.

Soft Serve at Paradise Pier

Photographer: Riniel Calaelen

What makes a Soft Serve Ice Cream Cone even more delish? How about enjoying it with an awesome background, like Paradise Pier! I can almost feel that beautiful California sunshine coming through the pic, can’t you??

Chocolate Soft Serve + an Awesome Background

Chocolate Soft Serve + an Awesome Background

Pineapple Soft Serve at Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Photographer: V No Privacy

We love that Pineapple Soft Serve has become a mainstay at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. We expect to see the popular treat back again at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival as well!

This great pic features treats from Pineapple Promenade at this year’s Flower and Garden Festival. It really captures the contrast between the soft serve and the Sammy’s Beach Bar Red Head Macadamia Nut Flavored Rum!

Pineapple Soft Serve from the Pineapple Promenade at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

Pineapple Soft Serve from the Pineapple Promenade at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival

Citrus Swirl at Sunshine Tree Terrace

Photographer: HTH Photography

This pic is entitled “Sunshine in a Cup”, and we couldn’t agree more! The Citrus Swirl at Sunshine Tree Terrace is this photographer’s [Read more…]

Review: AMC Dine-In Theater at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney

Have you ever been at Walt Disney World and thought, “Gee, dinner and a movie sounds like a fun night out.” Well, in true Disney style, they have this entertainment option covered as well, with AMC Dine-In Theater.

One of only a handful of AMC theaters across the country that offer the “Fork and Screen” option, I think it’s an intriguing addition to the Downtown Disney landscape.

Vacay is the perfect time to indulge in stuff like that. But for the Disney warriors out there, it’s also a great option for fun multitasking! I mean, why settle for dinner + a movie, when you can have dinner WITH your movie?

Atmosphere

You enter the Dine-In portion of AMC from what I think of as the “far side” of the building — the side nearest Planet Hollywood. It’s actually kind of confusing. I’ve gotten lost before. And with parking being the nightmare that it is at Downtown Disney right now, thanks to the construction for Disney Springs, plan for a few extra minutes before meeting your friends. ;-)

Entrance

Entrance

Upon entering the bright, airy lobby, you’ll first notice the bar area, McGuffins. It’s named for a plot device term coined by Alfred Hitchcock. (See? You learned something new, didn’t you?) The space is bright and inviting, a perfect spot for chilling before your show starts.

Bar

Bar

And that brings me to the first half of this equation — the movie. Let’s talk a little bit about how the movie + eating thing goes together.

First off, you can order your movie tickets ahead of time, or you can place your order at a kiosk in the lobby.

Ticket Kiosks

Ticket Kiosks

Once you order your tickets, a screen will pop up for you to select your seats.

Seating Diagram on Ordering Kiosk

Seating Diagram on Ordering Kiosk

Tickets in hand, I set about to explore a bit.

The lobby is more than just a place to wait for your movie to start. You can order a drink or appetizer while you wait, or you can even order a full meal here and skip the movie experience altogether.

Seating is mixed. You can settle in at a place by the bar, choose from high tables and chairs like this, or select regular tables. There are also comfy couches to continue on with the feeling that you’re in an upscale lounge.

Additional Bar Seating

Additional Bar Seating

The Dine-In Theaters are separated from the rest of the theaters, so it’s easy to find your way around.

Entrance to Dine-In Theaters

Entrance to Dine-In Theaters

You’re advised to arrive about 30 minutes before your movie starts. That way, you have plenty of time to [Read more…]

Review: Storytellers Cafe at Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa

I was recently back in Disneyland for a visit, and I couldn’t resist booking lunch at one of my favorite locations, Storytellers Cafe.

storytellers cafe

We visited anticipating a delicious and relaxing experience, as we often have at Storytellers. The fact that I had a mad craving for that Charred Nebraska Corn Chowder and had been dreaming about it was just a happy coincidence. ;-)

Won’t you join us?

Atmosphere

You’ll find Storytellers at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, which certainly lives up to its name. It is simply a gorgeous place to spend some time.

With design that typifies the American Craftsman style, you are surrounded by larger than life, simple warm accents that make grand use of natural materials, like wood and stone. You find the same style carried through Storytellers Cafe.

Fireplace and Atmosphere

Fireplace and Atmosphere

Two major design elements tend to dominate the decor of Storytellers Cafe: you’ll find murals and large paintings covering the walls. Paintings depict…storytelling, of course — featuring classic stories with California as their setting.

One of the Many Large Paintings in Storytellers Cafe

One of the Many Large Paintings in Storytellers Cafe

But you also find ample use of silhouettes in many places throughout the dining space. And check out the beautiful post and beam construction on the ceiling while you’re looking up. (Disney World fans will get a definite Wilderness Lodge vibe from this place!)

Lighting and Ceiling Detail

Lighting and Ceiling Detail

Stained glass with warm swirls of color are a hallmark of Arts and Crafts design, and the stained glass softly filters the indirect light, which provides the perfect backdrop to these working man silhouettes.

And be sure to notice the detail on the hanging lights as well! They’re really something special.

Storytelling Lighting

Storytelling Lighting

Lanterns hung from copper stands distribute light throughout the dining room, and give the sense of bringing the outdoors inside.

Lantern

Lantern

And as is often the case — don’t forget to look down! Even the carpeting conveys the theme and story of this spot with letters and more silhouettes.

Carpet

Carpet

Throughout Storytellers Cafe, the art of storytelling shares the stage with [Read more…]

Guest Review: The Plaza Restaurant in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

DFB Guest Author Joey Beyer returns with a review of The Plaza Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. Take it away, Joey!

Greetings everyone! I am very excited to bring you a review of The Plaza Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. So, lets walk right down the middle of Main Street USA and check out The Plaza.

Atmosphere

The Plaza is located right next to the Ice Cream Parlor after you turn right off of Main St. to go towards the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. This little passageway is also a great way to circumvent the perpetual traffic jam that is usually taking place in the hub, assuming you want to go to Tomorrowland.

The restaurant is all around an unassuming place. There is a check in desk right on the walkway where you can get your pager, or check for table availability. Once your table is ready you are shown into the restaurant, or to an outside table if you would prefer one (and there is one available).

One striking thing about The Plaza is how small it is. I never thought it was huge, but I never realized just how quaint and cozy it is, despite all the pictures I had seen. This restaurant truly captures the charm that we all love about Main Street.

Cozy interior of the Plaza Restaurant

The tables and chairs are pretty plain, but fit in perfectly with the theme.

The wall decorations and light fixtures are gorgeous, with a strong art nouveau design.

Plaza Restaurant's Light Fixture

As I mentioned the restaurant is quite small, as you can tell from the pictures. There were a few tables behind me, but what you see is pretty much what is there.

Being on Main St. you do catch glimpses of Cinderella Castle and any fanfare that is taking place in that area of the park. If you look closely in my pictures, you can see the Main St. Electrical Parade through the windows.

I would [Read more…]

Review: 50s Prime Time Cafe (The Cheese is Back!!)

I never say no to a meal at 50s Prime Time Cafe, but I hadn’t been in WAY too long. So when I got a little email tip from a reader last week (thanks, Courtney!!) I knew I had to head over there…and quick! A menu change was about to make my dreams come true!

Located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this place is pure nostalgia. You really feel like you’ve stumbled into the 1950s when you enter this eatery — from the decor to the menu, everything screams mid 20th Century Americana.

Fancy meatloaf and mashed potatoes or fried chicken? Then you’re in the right place! Grab a napkin and set of silverware, remember to keep your elbows off the table, and join me for a fun, interactive helping of comfort food in this well-loved table service spot.

Atmosphere

Stepping into this restaurant truly is like stepping back in time.

50s Prime Time Sign - Outside

I never cease to be amazed at the way this restaurant immerses guests in the 1950s home atmosphere. You begin your meal by waiting in Dad’s Living Room. Be sure to take a moment and look around; I bet you’ll find something you’ll remember from your parents’ (or grandparents’!) house — I always do!

Dad's Living Room - The Waiting Area

Fancy a drink from Dad’s Liquor Cabinet? Then sidle up to the Tune-In Lounge Bar for a house specialty, or order something once you arrive at your table.

Full Bar at Tune In Lounge

Here’s a tip: If you can’t get an Advanced Dining Reservation here, hang out at the bar. You can order food there, too.

Another of Dad's Living Rooms - Seating for the Tune-In Lounge

When it’s time to [Read more…]

Guest Review: Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop at Disney California Adventure

Today we’re welcoming guest author Kent Walker with a cool review of the brand new Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop at Disney California Adventure. Read on for a delicious dose of ice cream and brownies!

Having been big fans of chocolate since before we could spell the word, my wife and I were very excited to find out that a Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop would be opening at Disney California Adventure. Not only would we be able to ride Radiator Springs Racers, we’d be able to do it with a belly full of ice cream, hot fudge, and brownie.

Atmosphere

The Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop occupies the space that used to be the Mission Tortilla Factory, which was an original DCA attraction in 2001.

While we were sad to see the factory go (our sons especially loved the free corn and flour tortillas – including a whole bag on their birthday!), our depression was short-lived when we found out we could drown our sorrows in sea salt caramel hot cocoa!

Inside Ghirardelli at Disney California Adventure

Our family has been to San Francisco and visited the Ghirardelli Square shop, so we knew how good their chocolate, sundaes and chocolate drinks were. Other than the much larger selection of chocolate in San Francisco, the soda fountains are very similar.

Ghirardelli in DCA made the wise choice of having much wider aisles for easier stroller navigation and crowd control, and a Ghirardelli staffer hands out samples and menus out at the door. They even go the extra step and cut off the top of the foil package so it’s easier for you to get at your free chocolate treat. On the day we stopped by, it was a caramel filled milk chocolate piece.

Other than the wider aisles for crowds and strollers, the inside is very similar to other Ghirardelli Soda Fountains across the country. One nice touch, though, is a [Read more…]

Review: Unexpected Sundaes at Hollywood Scoops

Beneath the Tower of Terror’s ominous shadow at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World, you’ll find the fun blue and pink sign for Hollywood Scoops Ice Cream!

Now, after seeing the menu recently, I could NOT believe I’d never tried the APPLE CRISP SUNDAE!! Did you know that was there and not tell me?!? ;-)

I love all things apple crisp, so I couldn’t wait to high-tail it over there and snag this snack on my next trip!

Atmosphere

This little ice cream stand at the corner of Sunset Ranch Market channels art deco retro Hollywood in style and decor.

The lines here are often long, but since it’s one of the only places around where you can get your hand-scooped ice cream fix, it’s usually worth the wait.

Eats

I begged Matt from Studios Central to meet me in DHS (what better way to explore Hollywood Studios food than with the expert?), and we decided to sample both the Brownie Sundae and that Apple Crisp treasure.

At least I was [Read more…]