Review and Preview: The Causeway at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

In just a few short days, we will be headed to the The Fourth Annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!

This event, which coincides with the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, is a food and wine lover’s dream.

This year’s Food and Wine Classic will take place on Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19. The two-day event consists of food and wine tasting booths set up on the resort’s beautiful causeway each evening.

Guests can also take part in a number of special food and beverage seminars for an additional fee. Seminars take place at 4:30PM both days, and the Causeway booths are open from 5:30 until 9:00PM on Friday and Saturday.

In addition, guests can enjoy a complimentary Cocktail 101 seminar three times during each evening on the Causeway as well as live musical entertainment.

Tasting Plate from Shula's Steakhouse

We’ve had the opportunity to attend the event for the last three years, and we’re looking forward to what 2013 holds! To give you an idea of what lies in store for guests of the Food and Wine Classic, let’s take a look at the 2012 event!


When you first arrive, you’ll most likely need to pick up your tickets at the Check-In Table.

Check In for the Causeway

Here, staff will check for your reservation, and you’ll receive either your tickets or a wristband, as well as a palate plate and a wine glass.

We had wristbands for the event, which meant that we were free to enjoy unlimited trips to each of the tasting stations. If you prefer a ticketed approach, however, you can purchase books of 25 tickets (most of the booth items require between 2 and 6 tickets).

Food and Wine Classic Wristbands and My Seminar Ticket

For this event, tents are lined up the length of the walkway between the Swan and Dolphin Resorts as well as along the walkway behind the Swan. The resorts are located within walking distance of Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The Causeway Setup

Tables of all sizes are covered with brightly colored tablecloths, and offer guests a place to sit and relax while enjoying their food and drink.

Tables and Booths Ready for Guests

In addition to tables with chairs, guests can also take advantage of high tops if they prefer to stand.

Individual Tables

It wasn’t too long before the crowd began to swell as guests looked forward to tasting a myriad of dishes.

Causeway is Getting Busy

On Crescent Terrace, guests could also take advantage of [Read more…]

Review: Rosie’s All American Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Today, we are headed into Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a bite to eat at one of the park’s Sunset Ranch Market counter service locations, Rosie’s All American Cafe.

Sunset Ranch Market is a little food court that specializes in some awesome themeing and some pretty “meh” food. ;-)

But it’s super convenient — especially if you’re headed toward or back from two of the park’s most popular attractions: Tower of Terror and Rock n Roller Coaster! (Not to mention Fantasmic!) Let’s take a look.


Rosie’s All American Cafe is located in a primo spot at the crossroads that separate Tower of Terror and Rock n’ Roller Coaster. If you’re looking for a bite to eat while you wait for your FastPass time, you couldn’t ask for a more convenient location.

Rosie's All American Cafe in Sunset Ranch Market

Sunset Ranch Market is an outdoor food court-type set up, themed after LA’s Farmer’s Market. As a result, you have the added benefit of lots of variety here, which is perfect if your group can’t come to consensus about food choices.

Rosie's busy at lunch time

The feel of this area continues the vintage vibe of the park. The setting is World War II-era America, which fits right in with the Studios’ depiction of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

“Rosie” in the restaurant’s name is a reference to Rosie the Riveter, the wartime cultural icon that represented the women who kept the workforce fortified (often in factories) while men were off fighting the war.

Signs on the walls echo the wartime spirit of perseverance.

Signs on the Walls Depict the Restaurant's Theme

One of the most interesting spots in Sunset Ranch Market is the Victory Garden, which is located adjacent to Rosie’s (and happens to be one of the very first restaurant theme elements I wrote about when I started this blog way back in 2009!).

The plot of land pays tribute to the real victory gardens that civilians planted during World War II. The government called upon citizens to plant these gardens in order to supplement food rations, which were necessary to feed servicemen and women stationed all over the globe.

Victory Garden Sign

And this is the real deal! You see real, produce-bearing plants here, like pineapples and peppers. It’s a fantastic visual illustration of history, and a great way that the Studios educates as it entertains.

In the Victory Garden -- Up Close

There’s even a scarecrow, complete with [Read more…]

Food Photo Tour: Art of Animation Resort Landscape of Flavors Food Court

Life is a highway, and my pit stop this past weekend was Walt Disney World’s brand new Art of Animation Resort in Walt Disney World.

AoA is a value level resort, and like other WDW value hotels the main source of on-site nourishment is a food court, here called Landscape of Flavors.

I gathered dozens (hundreds?) of food photos to share, so you’ll be able to take a look at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert as well as pre-packaged goodies in the photo tour below!

Some of the elements of Landscape of Flavors will be familiar to those who have been to other Disney hotel food courts. There are multiple lines to order different types of food. There are self-serve soda and condiment stations past the registers, toasters for guest use, and a mug wash sink for rinsing your refillable mugs.

And the sides of the service area are lined with refrigerator cases of beverages and a limited selection of prepared items.

As for the actual food, Disney has tried to step it up a notch, offering fresher and more customizable options than in the other resorts. But before I get to that, here’s a tour so you can get the lay of the Landscape.

Overview Photos

You get to the restaurant through the Ink & Paint Shop gift store.

Ink and Paint Shop Gift Store

The seating areas are bright with blond wood tables and chairs.

Seating Areas

Overhead lights represent each of the four films highlighted at AoA: [Read more…]

Review: Lunch at Raglan Road Irish Pub

One of the most consistently delicious stops on the Walt Disney World trail, we recently had the pleasure of a lunch date with my parents at Downtown Disney’s Raglan Road.

Located right at the front of what is (kind of) Pleasure Island, the vibe from the Emerald Isle spills right onto the sidewalk and around the corner as you take in Raglan Road Pub and Restaurant, the adjacent Gift Shop, the Hole in the Wall watering hold, and Cookes of Dublin next door.

Even though we were there during Spring Break, we didn’t find early lunchtime to be too busy. We stopped in JUST before the restaurant switched to an updated menu, but luckily most of our choices can still be found amongst the new offerings.


You want authentic atmosphere? You got it. Much of the decor here is authentically Irish, and the bars themselves were shipped directly from Ireland.

Raglan Road Sign and Front of Building

The entrance to the restaurant is central, while there is outdoor seating to the left and a nifty gift shop to the right. If Raglan Road does have one shortcoming it would be that there aren’t many places to sit while waiting for your table. Fortunately, that wasn’t an issue for us that day.

Entrance Foyer

The gift shop really is so cool! You feel like you’ve wandered right into a shop that was destined for Epcot’s World Showcase (had they ever built a separate Ireland Pavilion.)

Tons of Irish souvenirs and sauces from the restaurant are available here. This is also a nifty place to pick up some of Master Chef Kevin Dundon’s fantastic cookbooks, like Recipes that Work or Full On Irish, if you wanna recreate a little Raglan Road in your kitchen once you head home!

Gift Shop

What you see in the restaurant itself really is a little slice of Ireland in the Florida sunshine. You’re surrounded by rich, dark woods and brass fixtures. The tile floors below your feet add to the feeling of antiquity, and the soaring heights of the domed main dining room, complete with cupola, are crowned with [Read more…]

Review: Waldorf Orlando Bull and Bear Lounge New Menu

It’s no secret that I LURVE the Bull and Bear Steakhouse at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. This place is phenomenal, and with a location in the middle of Walt Disney World property, it’s well worth trying if you haven’t been there yet.


Now, perhaps you don’t have time for a full, multi-course meal, but you’d still like to pamper yourself and your taste buds? I now have the perfect solution thanks to the Bull and Bear’s new lounge menu!!

Bull and Bear Bar and Lounge area

Have you ever wanted to pretend you’re Marilyn Monroe or Clark Gable, out for an evening in a luxurious Hollywood lounge? That’s exactly how you’ll feel surrounded by plush seats (pillows!!), sparkling white tablecloths, dark wood, and a fabulous staff of servers. The best part? You’re in a lounge, which means you get all of the Bull and Bear flavor with a lower check total!


The new menu debuted at the Bull and Bear a couple of months ago, and we got the chance to go in and sample some of the new dishes!

Menu - click image for larger version

Don’t be fooled; the prices reflect the quality of the food, but trust me — it’s well worth it! We started out by sampling the new-and-improved bar snacks in the lounge.

Wanting to appeal to different tastes and all of your taste buds, Chef David Sears decided on a trio of accompaniments you wouldn’t expect!

Bar Snacks

Next up on our tasting menu: the Shrimp and Grits with Tasso Ham and Tomatillo Chutney. Now, how cool is this presentation? Chef Sears wanted to include a smoked flavor, but didn’t want it to be too strong. His solution? Add a touch of smokiness by serving the plate under a dome of flavor!

Shrimp and Grits Presentation

How do they do it? Trade secret… ;-)

Shrimp and Grits Presentation

The shrimp and grits did have a mildly smokey flavor, and the touch of tasso ham gave it the [Read more…]

You Know You’re Eating In Disney World When…

Let’s face it. There are a few foodie experiences at Walt Disney World and Disneyland that we don’t normally find at our hometown restaurants!

We thought it would be fun to put a few “You know you’re eating in Disney World when…” thoughts together, and we’d love to hear your additions!

Leave us a comment with your own “You know you’re eating in Disney World or Disneyland when…” experience! ;-)

You Know You’re Eating In Disney World When…

There are strangers eating in the back seat of your car.

Who's in the Back Seat?!?

You memorize the color of the soap in the bathroom while your kids willingly set the table.

Setting the table

You can’t wait to take a bite out of a mouse ear.

That's better!

You get bragging rights for eating dinner while watching fireworks.

Fireworks and castle from Narcoossees

You ask a yellow bear if [Read more…]

Review: Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater’s New Menu

At the end of Commissary Lane, nestled in an unassuming soundstage-like building, is one of the most unique restaurants at Walt Disney World — Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater.

This restaurant will get you out of the hot Florida sunshine (or downpours if you’re here this week!), take you back in time, and provide a restful setting. Stepping inside, 1950s cars and kitsch will invite you to dine in an Imagineered drive-in at night time.

After being seated in your convertible car, the welcoming car hop will take your order while you watch classic clips from silly 1950’s horror flicks, cartoons, and news reels. Check out the snack bar commercials beckoning you to visit long-ago concessions stands for a truly vintage experience!

After glimpsing the new menu that was just unveiled last week (which features a burger + hot dog in one), we had to change up our trip reservations to stop by this restaurant in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Wouldn’t you?


After checking in with your reservation, you’ll start to get the idea of what this place is about. 1950’s movie references are all around you — even tucked into the nooks and crannies of the soundstage set around you!

Movie Posters in Entrance Area

Movie Posters in Entrance Area

B-Movie Props

B-Movie Props

After a (usually long, in my experience) wait, you’ll be taken “down the highway” into the main dining area and your table.

When you first walk into this incredible room, you’ll be bowled over. At least I always am! I just want to stare for a while at the realistic looking Drive-In theater environment…the sparkly shining convertible cars, the picnic tables in the back, the stars twinkling in the night sky… [Read more…]

Review: Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge

Despite its name, the Whispering Canyon Cafe is a rowdy restaurant that encourages diners to sing, ride hobby horses (if you’re a grown-up, you only have to do this if you’re naughty), and laugh-out-loud throughout the meal.

Fitting the Wilderness Lodge location in Disney World, Whispering Canyon Cafe servers are in “old West” character, and this place is definitely casual to say the least!


To say it bluntly, Whispering Canyon Cafe will make you feel like a kid again!

warning sign - click image for larger version

Cowboys and Indians decorate the backs of the wooden chairs, whimsical tee-pee light fixtures hang from the ceiling, kids can play with Lincoln Logs while waiting for a seat, and the noise factor will definitely remind you of your junior high lunchroom (maybe not a good thing, but pretty much the truth!).


cowboys and indians on back of chairs

The servers here are special as well. There are a few Disney World restaurants where servers are part of the entertainment, and Whispering Canyon Cafe is one of them!

With funny “stage” names and devil-may-care attitudes, they’re usually a fun addition to an already fun dining experience. (As always, if you’d rather keep your meal low-key, just let the cast member at the podium as well as your server know that you’d rather not participate in the antics — this usually works.)

Our server on this visit was “Foxy Roxy,” pictured here with a giant fork! What’s the giant fork for, you say? Well, [Read more…]

Review: New Caribbean Burger at Caribbean Beach Resort

Reported recently was the addition of “designer burgers” to several counter service restaurants all around Walt Disney World! We had the chance today to try the Caribbean Burger, featuring sweet plantains, fried onion straws, and pineapple barbecue chutney.

This 1/3 pound Angus burger can be found at Old Port Royale’s Market Street Food Court at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Just head over to the “Broiler” area and order one up :-)

Caribbean Burger with plantains, fried onions, and pineapple barbecue chutney

So let me let you in on a little secret — I was pretty sure I was going to hate this burger. No kidding. I’m not a big fan of meat and fruit together, and adding in [Read more…]

Guest Review: New Menus and Menu Items at Le Cellier Steakhouse

Guest author Sarah Holodick has once again brought us some incredible info and a great review! Here’re her thoughts and photos from a recent lunch at Le Cellier — along with pics of the new menus and new menu items! Take it away, Sarah!

Back in May, yes MAY, I booked a lunch at Le Cellier for Matt and myself on October 23rd. Comparing it to the dinner I had there about a week prior, there was no contest; lunch was MUCH better. We had a 12:20 reservation and checked in just after noon. There were fairly heavy crowds that day – here is the line for [Read more…]