Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins Join Play ‘n Dine at Hollywood and Vine!

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Announcing the arrival of young royal Sofia the First to Hollywood and Vine at Hollywood Studios… and joining Her Highness is fellow Disney Junior star, Doc McStuffins!

Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First

Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First

Hollywood and Vine

Hollywood and Vine

That’s right! Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins have joined their pals Jake from “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and (AJ’s favorite :-D ) Handy Manny for the Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine character meal.

AJ's Favorite! Handy Manny at Hollywood and Vine Restaurant

AJ’s Favorite! Handy Manny at Hollywood and Vine Restaurant

Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Not only do the characters mix and mingle, but Play n’ Dine also features “musical moments” where all the kids are invited to sing and dance along (while Mom and Dad can keep on eating)!

Sofia and Doc McStuffins bring a few new [Read more…]

Guest Review: Captain’s Grille Breakfast Buffet at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Today, we’re welcoming back Emma Snobbish with a review of the Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. Her review highlights the breakfast buffet!

When you’re contemplating breakfast choices around Walt Disney World Resort, the Captain’s Grille may not be on your radar.

“Oh, yeah – that one at the Yacht Club?” you might say.

That’s what I said, but on my family’s trip this January we wanted to try something new — someplace where we would be able to get a walk-up reservation. We had also heard tell of the Captain’s breakfast buffet, so we decided to give it a try.

Atmosphere

The Captain’s Grille is just off the Yacht Club Resort’s lobby. You’ve passed it if you’ve ever taken the stroll from the Beach Club to the Yacht Club.

Outside the Captain’s Grille

Behind its fresh, white French doors you’ll see soft nautical stripes, and model boats and paintings of seaside scenes hanging on the walls.

The Main Dining Room

Once inside the restaurant, you’ll see a kid-sized waiting area complete with coloring sheets and crayons!

Children’s Coloring Area – the Crayons are Kept in a Little Boat!

The themeing here is subtle but still charming. I loved the compass design on the center of the tables and the beach waves etched on the chairs.

Big arched openings at the edges of the restaurant look out over the hallway leading to the signature restaurant — Yachtsman Steakhouse — and Stormalong Bay, the giant pool and play area shared between the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. Kinda fun for people watching during your meal, although if you’d rather something more quiet there are plenty of [Read more…]

Guest Review: Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Join me in welcoming back guest author Julie B.!

She returns with a review of Trail’s End Restaurant in the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. The journey to this restaurant is part of the experience, right?!

Howdy folks! Even though we’re on vacation, sometimes you just want the comforts of a home-cooked meal. Trail’s End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness Campground brings all the happiness of home to its dinner buffet.

Remember, this spot is a little distant from some parks and resorts. You can reach Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness by taking a boat from Magic Kingdom, Contemporary Resort, or Wilderness Lodge; or by taking a bus from any park or Downtown Disney to Fort Wilderness. Note that if you take a bus, you’ll have to transfer to the Fort Wilderness internal bus system to get to Trail’s End. (DFB recommends taking a boat if possible — so much easier.)

Trail's End Sign

Atmosphere

Trail’s End is a cute little restaurant, featuring the theme of a cabin in the woods. It blends perfectly with the campground!

Welcome Mat

The walls are adorned with the best of the outdoors and the back country. Large wooden beams finish setting the scene for your meal in the wilderness.

Holiday Decor

Dining Room

On the lower level (just down a small half-flight of stairs), Trail’s End is also home to Crockett’s Tavern.

The bar is themed the same way as the restaurant and even features a [Read more…]

Guest Review: Crystal Palace Restaurant in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Join us in welcoming guest author Katie McFarland with a guest review of the Crystal Palace in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom!

The Crystal Palace is a restaurant that holds a special place in many Disney fans’ hearts.

For me, it was where I discovered Breakfast Lasagna, had dinner with my husband right before he proposed, and where we ate the very first night of our honeymoon.

For many people this is where they first met Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, and Piglet.

Atmosphere

The décor is Victorian elegance with a 1904 World’s Fair-feel. It’s “old fashioned” without feeling stuffy, which is probably in direct relation to the enormous amount of windows in this restaurant.

Crystal Palace Signage

They offer wonderful views of Cinderella Castle, Main Street USA, and the entrance to Adventureland (and also lots of ducks if that’s your thing).

Outstanding view from our seat of Cinderella Castle

In addition to the soaring windows, there are stained glass windows all around the restaurant, most notably in the buffet area. And be sure to check out the bathroom – it’s very [Read more…]

Guest Review: Thanksgiving at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, Fort Wilderness

Welcome to Guest Author Ann Bennett with a fun photo tour of the Thanksgiving at the Fort event held at Fort Wilderness this past November. See if this is something you’d like to try this year!

Our family had thanksgiving at Disney World’s Fort Wilderness in the Pavilion dedicated to Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. The event title for reservations is Mickey’s Thanksgiving Feast at the Fort. It cost us 2 Disney Dining Plan dining credits per person.

I was worried after we booked this event and I was unable to find reviews and/or pictures, but it turned out to be wonderful!

Atmosphere

You can get to Fort Wilderness by bus from any Disney World theme park or Downtown Disney, or by boat from the Magic Kingdom, the Contemporary Resort, or Wilderness Lodge.

Fort Wilderness Mickey's Backyard BBQ Pavilion Entrance

A rustic and outdoors setting, the pavilion usually serves meals when the weather cooperates! At this particular meal, you’ll find plenty of Disney characters and entertainers to celebrate Thanksgiving with!

Pavilion Dining Area

Eats

The food was wonderful! The Turkey breast, which was sliced, was moist and juicy.

Turkey

And for those who didn’t want the traditional turkey, there was also [Read more…]

Top 5 Disney Dining Plan One-Credit Table-Service Values for 2012

Now that you’ve booked your 2012 Disney World vacation, it’s time to make your Advance Dining Reservations. Which restaurants are credit-worthy?

The vacation package add-on called the Disney Dining Plan is a meal plan with a set price in exchange for a certain number of credits. Many table-service meals in Disney World cost one credit, but are you getting the best value?

Stick to the one-credit restaurants, order the most expensive meal on the menu, and maximize your savings! Let’s get to my top picks for best value at “one table-service credit” Walt Disney World restaurants. I think some of them will surprise you!

Criteria Used

When we looked at values, our main criteria was price. These restaurants offer a great bang for your buck when paying with the Disney Dining Plan.

We also looked at enjoyment level and food quality, but these criteria were secondary and tertiary to cost. Note that these aren’t necessarily our favorite restaurants, but they are good values for one Disney Dining Plan credit.

Tutto Italia

Tucked into the Italian pavilion at Epcot, Tutto Italia Ristorante boasts regional cuisines from Italy in an Old World setting. Table service is attentive, although the fine-dining atmosphere can lead to longer waits.

This restaurant serves up a Roasted Rack and Leg of Lamb ($34) as an entree. End your meal with Copetta Sotto Boscue, a dessert specialty comprised of berries, zabaglione cream, gelato, and chocolate sauce, which has an out-of-pocket price of $14. When both of these items are ordered, Tutto Italia becomes quite possibly your best one-credit table-service value in Walt Disney World.

There’s also a Veal Roast which would run you $31 out-of-pocket but… perfectly worth one dining credit!

Veal

Tutto Italia is closed for refurbishment until [Read more…]

Review: Disney Cruise Enchanted Garden Breakfast Buffet

With only a week until the Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship sets sail for its Maiden Voyage, I wanted to prep those of you who are sailing with some reviews!

One of the Disney Cruise Line Rotational Dining restaurants on board the Fantasy is Enchanted Garden, a lovely restaurant that “brings the outdoors in” with fun special effects!

I think that a favorite morning escape for many guests on the Fantasy will be this serene restaurant. Enchanted Garden is found on Deck 2, midship, and serves dinner daily. Check your personal navigator for the days on which a bountiful buffet is set out for breakfast and lunch!

Atmosphere

Enchanted Garden evokes visions of the gardens at Versailles. Garden landscapes, white lattice, blooming flowers, and a centerpiece fountain beckon guests to dine in this outdoor-like setting capped off with a brilliant, ever-changing sky.

Booth

These whimsical booths make me think of the Mad Tea Cups in the Magic Kingdom. ;-) Thankfully, diners don’t have to [Read more…]

Review: Cape May Cafe Clambake

Ready for a beach vacation and a seaside buffet meal? We’re headed to Cape May Cafe in Disney World’s Beach Club Resort to enjoy a guest favorite dinner buffet — The Cape May Cafe Clambake!

Atmosphere

The Cape May Cafe Clambake was a dinner I’d never been to, and one my mom had been dying to try. So when my parents were in Disney World at the same time we were recently, we gave it a go!

Cape May Cafe is an open and airy buffet restaurant adorned with pastel impressionist paintings depicting beach scenes, colorful beach umbrellas and folding chairs, carpet that brings beach balls to mind, and the stick style architecture seen throughout Disney’s Beach Club Resort.

Cape May Cafe Decor

Tables are set up as booths, banquettes, and full tables, and there are [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…]

Tables in Wonderland February 2012 Event

Click image to see full-sized version

Woo!! Tables in Wonderland has a v. cool event planned for February! Once again, I won’t be in Orlando at the right time, but hopefully some of you can go!! :-)

Design & Display Warehouse Tables in Wonderland Event

Saturday February 25, 2012, 6:30pm – 9:00pm
Price: $95 per person, plus tax. Gratuity is included.
Scroll to bottom for booking information

The Park Event Operations Design and Display team dreams, designs, and creates themed atmosphere settings for Conventions, Special Events, and many other activities throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. From concepts to renderings, through finished construction, the Design and Display team can bring any “theme” to life.

This is your opportunity to peek “backstage” and see historical Disney pieces like the Nautilus and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride! Come meet the Design and Display team, learn about what they do, see all the props up close, and enjoy a Buffet Reception with fellow Tables in Wonderland members! (Click the image to the right to see details full-sized. Scroll down to see how to book as well as the menu all typed out.)

Buffet Menu

Alice in Wonderland
–White Rabbit Rainbow Carrot Vichy with Fresh Dill served in “Drink Me” Vessel
–Queen of Hearts [Read more…]