Disney Food Post Weekly Round-Up: March 28, 2010

Our Goodies at the Wishes Dessert Party

Our Goodies at the Wishes Dessert Party

Well, folks, “when it rains, it pours” regarding Disney food news this week! Here’s a recap from DFB before we launch into the Disney Food Post Weekly Round-Up.

Plus, if you’re a Disney blogger, considering joining the DisMarks Disney Blog Carnival this week!

Now, on to the Round-Up! For those of you who are new to Disney Food Blog, each week we scour the web for some of the best Disney food writing around, then highlight it on our Sunday blog post. Enjoy!

Cupcakes Take The Cake showcased the Disney World Cupcakes from our “You Won’t Believe This!” snack series! (Nope, we’re not afraid to toot our own horn!)

Disney History Institute talks Disney and General Mills, with a focus on a Disney-fied August 1955 issue of The Modern Millwheel of General Mills.

Main Street Gazette has an awesome post about “Widowmaker Fries.” Don’t know what they are? Neither did we… check it out!

DF ’82 takes us on a tour of Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost in Disneyland Paris Resort.

Gorillas Don’t Blog has an enchanting post and some keen photos of the current whereabouts of the Disneyland Carnation Truck from Carnation Corner.

Tasty Chomps goes to Epcot’s Sommerfest! Yum!

Disney Every Day reviews Whispering Canyon Cafe…and has a really big knife to boot!

Babes in Disneyland shares a pic of an adorable Disneyland Easter Treat!

WDW Radio‘s Lou Mongello takes us on a video tour in search of the best snack in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

SamLand’s Disney Adventures pays homage to his Flying Fish Cafe “Chef’s Counter” meal (I wish there were pictures, but the descriptions of the courses are mouth-watering). Scroll down to mid-post for the restaurant visit.

AllEarsNet blogger Mike Bachand brought pics back from the first Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Garden Town Breakfast.

Disney Parks Blog reports new evening hours at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill.

OC Register highlights a “Cheap Disneyland Kids’ Meal That’s Not Nasty.” You HAVE to love that title.

Cakewrecks shares a coolio “UP” cake…keep scrolling down and you’ll find it!

News: Italy Pizzeria, Cantina de San Angel Updates, & More

backlot noticeJust wanted to share some news I heard recently from fellow blogger, Theme Park Mom. This is third-party info from someone “close to the source,” but I think it’s pretty exciting!

Cantina de San Angel Info
Mexico’s Cantina de San Angel, currently under demo and expansion in Epcot’s World Showcase, will re-emerge as a counter-service and table-service restaurant. But a bit of info that I didn’t know about is that the restaurant will be counter-service for lunch and half table-service, half counter-service, for dinner. (This will be helpful for those of you who, like me, are making up your Disney dining spreadsheets for your Food & Wine Festival trips!)

News on the Mysterious Imported Water
Also, word is that that mysterious “imported water” that will be used in the new Italy Pizzeria in Epcot will be trucked in from a location in the midwest where chemical analysis on the water has shown it to be extremely similar to the H2O found in Naples, Italy. I wonder where…

Diamond Horseshoe in WDW Open Temporarily
In Magic Kingdom food news, the Diamond Horseshoe will be open 3/27/10-4/7/10 from 5:00-9:00PM daily for an all-you-can-eat meal, including family-style platters of Saloon Salad (tossed mixed greens with strawberry vinaigrette dressing) and fare from the Ranchhand’s Feast (roasted turkey breast, carved beef and smoked pork loin with sides of seasonal vegetables, herb bread stuffing and macaroni and cheese). Sound familiar? Yep, this is basically an extension of Liberty Tree Tavern while the parks are mobbed for Spring Break. :)

Merchandise Coupons Available
Finally, through April 17th, 2010, when you dine at WDW quick service locations you’ll receive a coupon for 20% off merchandise at participating WDW locations*. (You must use your coupon between 9:00 AM to 12 PM to receive the discount.)

Participating locations:
* The Emporium or Mickey’s Star Traders at Magic Kingdom
* Mouse Gear at Epcot
* Mickey’s of Hollywood and Keystone Clothiers at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
* Island Mercantile at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
* World of Disney Store at Downtown Disney

Hat tip to WDWInfo.

New Cantina de San Angel Construction Pics: Mid-January 2010

Construction is fully underway at Cantina de San Angel for its transformation into a brand new 400-seat, waterside restaurant that includes both table service and quick-service options. The restaurant, located across from the pyramid in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion, will go from 3,500 square feet to 12,000 square feet.

The Cantina is bundled up tightly and there’s very little to see, says Erin Foster, who was recently in Disney World and snapped some photos.

Fingers are crossed that the Cantina will be ready for action by the time the 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival rolls around!

Pictures are below: [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: December 27, 2009

Eat hereWelcome to the last Disney Food Post Round-Up of 2009! Here’s the latest news and some great stories about Disney Food posted on the web this week:

Possibly a new Pizza Place in Italy?

More thoughts about restaurant changes in Italy and Mexico from Progress City USA.

Citmagazine reports that Disneyland Paris is launching 16 private theme park dinner events for groups. Thanks to Chip for the link!

WDW Daily News reports that Veranda Refreshments is now open in Disney World’s Adventureland. The seasonal spot is supposed to be open at least for the next week.

WDW Central visits Epcot’s Club Cool.

Imaginerding makes Geppetto’s Gingerbread Cookies for the holidays!

Global Disney Pinvestigation has some amazing photos of Christmas in Disney parks as well as a great pictoral review of Christmas Pins past and present.

Disney Parks Blog has a mouth-watering photo of a Disney holiday treat!

Main Street Gazette highlights Disney World’s Kona Cafe. Also, starting very soon, you can look forward to the the Main St. Gazette featuring Disney food articles every Wednesday!

Disney Food Post Round-Up: December 20, 2009

Eat hereThe next to the last Disney Food Post Round-Up of the year starts….NOW! Lots of news coming to light this week, including the Cantina de San Angel refurb coming up in January. Here we go…

Don’t forget about the Exclusive New Year’s Eve Parties at the Magic Kingdom — info courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog.

MousePlanet posts the menu for the new Surf’s Up Disneyland breakfast and an extra date for Candy Canes at the Candy Palace!

The Save Pleasure Island Blog has some speculative updates on the new Pleasure Island restaurants. There’s an addendum here.

Studios Central shares a story from Jennifer of Broke Hoedown and Those Darn Cats about experiencing great Disney service at Le Cellier. There are also moose boxer shorts involved, so do head over for a fun read.

Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide has an exclusive recipe for Braised Beef Short Ribs from the 2009 Epcot Food & Wine Festival.

WDW Radio Show has a podcast piece on the Turf Club at Saratoga Springs.

The Disney Parks Blog also has a cool holiday video on how to make a Yule Log. Another post mentions a new pastry chef at the Contemporary Resort.

One of my favorite The Disney Chick posts ever: Twinkie Tiramisu at Pop Century Resort.

Thanks for reading and have a great holiday week! Don’t forget to vote on the Disney World Bakery Throw Down if you haven’t already! We’ll be highlighting each of the five bakeries in the throw down over the next month. The first was Main Street Bakery this week.

Cantina de San Angel Refurbishment Scheduled For 2010

Cantina de San Angel EpcotAccording to WDWMagic, the quick service dining location outside of Epcot’s Mexico pavilion, Cantina de San Angel, will begin refurbishment in January 2010. The refurb will provide higher seating capacity and presumably reduce the bottleneck effect that clogs this major entrance to the World Showcase from Future World.

Taqueria Del Lago, the Food & Wine Festival booth that has become semi-permanent in the Mexico pavilion, will provide outdoor quick service Mexican food during the refurb.

WDW Moms Panel: Good Eats When Going Solo at Disney

Earlier this week, we had a guest post giving some tips and tricks on dining solo in Disney World. Today, in our fifth post in the Walt Disney World Moms Panel mini-series, I asked the moms what they would eat in Disney World if they were blissfully alone for a whole day. Get ready for some delicious answers!

From Mom Anna S.

Without children in tow, I would start my day off at the Grand Floridian Café for some lobster eggs Benedict. This is about the most delicious and indulgent way to start your day at Walt Disney World! Although I will admit, my sweet tooth would be crying out for the stuffed croissant!

Kaki Gori from Epcot's Japan

Kaki Gori from Epcot's Japan

It’s off to EPCOT to explore the shops that my children usually are too bored to enjoy, and lunch at the best location on the planet for “fast” food – the Yakitori House. A Japanese Curry for lunch, followed by a Kaki Gori at the shaved ice stand, is a perfect balance of flavors and textures – sort of a fire and ice combo.

After an exhausting day shopping, I am off for my favorite meal anywhere on Walt Disney World property – the filet mignon and macaroni and cheese at Jiko. Arguably the best meal I’ve had anywhere, my mouth waters just thinking about the level to which the Jiko chefs have elevated this simple meal.

The day does not end until I swing back into the Magic Kingdom, where I’ll enjoy my dessert – the world famous Dole Whip with fresh pineapple spears on the side. Although, with no children tagging along, I’ll have a WHOLE Dole Whip to myself, and I may not have room for the sweet juicy pineapple!

From Mom Erin F.

I’m lucky enough to go on an annual solo vacation to Disney World; I’ve been three times so far, with the fourth trip coming up in January. My dream breakfast is beignets at Port Orleans Resort French Quarter — calories don’t count on vacation! Then it’d be anything hot and fried –- mini donuts at Blizzard Beach, fried dough, etc.

One thing I really enjoyed on my last solo trip was going to the Territory Lounge at Wilderness Lodge — I got a raspberry mojito and the flatbread from Artist Point.

My dream dinner? Jiko!

From Mom Jennifer W.

If left alone for one day at WDW the choices for incredible food would be endless. It’s funny to think that when I first started going to WDW I thought the only meals available were character meals! However, over the years I have learned that there is so much more!

Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace

But with that said, I honestly think I would start my day at one of my favorite breakfast spots … the Crystal Palace at the MK. It just does not get any better than biscuits and gravy, potatoes, eggs, and sausage, and of course if there is room, how can one resist the Mickey Mouse waffles?

I would then need to walk some distance before enjoying lunch! I think this would be eaten at the Cantina de San Angel in Mexico. Just a quick lunch where I would enjoy a wonderful taco salad and perhaps a tasty margarita as well. And no afternoon at WDW is complete without a Mickey Mouse ice cream. Frozen to perfection, I truly can say I love these.

Okay now dinner? Ohhhh that is so incredibly hard to choose! I think for this particular day I’m going for a fantastic meal at Jiko! On my last visit there, I was amazed by everything I tried. The seafood and steak dishes were by far my favorite. As I walked home completely full and satisfied I think I would call this a great day, but wait – on the way out of the park there are those darn Rice Krispy treats with chocolate on them! Oh well, everyone needs a midnight snack!

From Mom Jodi G.

I’d go with a light breakfast, and then have lunch at the Brown Derby. The grapefruit cake and the Cobb salad are my favorites.

For dinner, I’d just roam around the World Showcase eating the best from each country – crepes, funnel cakes, pretzels… etc.

From Mom Kara B.

After much thought, I decided the California Grill would be a great way to celebrate ME! I could spend as much time as I wanted leisurely enjoying an elegant multi-course meal with no little kids bugging me to eat fast so we can go back to the Magic Kingdom.

Goodies at the Wishes Dessert Party

Goodies at the Wishes Dessert Party

The views there are worth a million bucks, so I’d have to have a window seat so I could soak in all beauty of the Seven Seas Lagoon and its surroundings, especially the Magic Kingdom. And then there is the outdoor balcony areas, which before the fireworks are so wonderfully peaceful looking out at the entire WDW resort area; a true moment of zen to gather one’s thoughts and think of all the good in the world.

I also have to admit I was tempted to put down the Wishes Dessert Buffet, which I have yet to try. I think it would be a great way to socialize and meet people, indulge on sweets, and catch a premium seat to watch Wishes.

PS: I’d also love to have room service in Cinderella’s Castle Suite.

From Mom Joanne M.

Oooh, fun question. I would head to (or hopefully I’m already staying there) Stormalong Bay at the Beach and Yacht Club and start with a delicious cocktail at the poolside bar. Then I would head over to the Flying Fish on the Boardwalk. I have to be honest and tell you it’s not because it has my favourite dish, but because we had to cancel our August reservation because my daughter was sick. It’s long been on my list to try, and I would love to enjoy it at a relaxed pace.

From Mom Heather R.

Alone – I can’t even imagine it!

I’m not generally a big breakfast gal, so anywhere I could grab a decent cup of coffee an everything bagel with smoked salmon would make me happy. I used to say Starring Rolls in Hollywood Studios, but unfortunately the last time I was there the lox was no longer an option.

The Famous Flying Fish at Flying Fish Cafe

The Famous Flying Fish at Flying Fish Cafe

For lunch, a bowl of clam chowder at Columbia Harbor House always makes me happy.

Dinner is always my biggest meal of the day, and what a tough decision! I think I’ll go with the Flying Fish, a perrennial favorite. I’d start with the Chardonnay-steamed Maine Coast Blue Hill Bay Mussels. Although I’m not always a huge fennel fan, these are delicious. Strange as it sounds at a seafood restaurant, the Char Crusted New York Strip Steak there is fantastic and in my opinion, among ofthe best steaks to be had in Disney.

I don’t usually indulge in sweets, but if I were to make an exception, the beignets at Port Orleans are really yummy.

And a drink/treat? Definitely a Grey Goose Slush from Epcot.

Gosh, I just realized I’ve spent my whole hypothetical day running back and forth to different eateries! Now that really IS blissful!

From Mom Whitney P.

I’m always on a quest to try something new when I’m at Disney, rather than visiting old haunts, so I’d probably make a bee-line to the new Kouzzina, showplace of fellow Mississippian Cat Cora.

The Birth of a Dole Whip Float

The Birth of a Dole Whip Float

Even though I’m not much for eating table service alone (although some of my fellow Disney Panel Moms–and Dads–do), I’d have to make an exception for this restaurant. I love to make meals out of an array of appetizers, so I’d probably order her Kouzzina spreads of Chickpea Hummus, Kalamata Fig, and Harissa Yogurt along with the Spanakopita! (And that’s what I’m planning on doing when I go with my family in October!)

My favorite drink? Hands down Disney’s Pina Colava, a raspberry sauce-laced pina colada. It’s a given when I’m at Brown Derby, but I’ve also enjoyed it at Sanaa and Teppan Edo. It tends to be seasonal, but if it’s not on the menu, I’ll ask anyway!

And no visit to Magic Kingdom would be complete without a Dole Float, a favorite of mine and fellow Disney Mom Margaret.

From Mom Beth C.

I would go during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and sample all of the treats from around the world. I did this last September and really enjoyed myself. I finally had the opportunity to eat at the Tangierine Café in Morocco. I had been wanting to try this restaurant for years but my schedule when touring with my family never worked out. This was the perfect opportunity to try this cafe. The food was delicious and fresh and eating it out side listening to the Moroccan music was a perfect way to enjoy a lunch alone.

From Mom Jo Y.

Well first I’d have to have a funnel cake, we don’t have them here in the UK so I have to have one every single trip. Just plain though, no strawberries or ice-cream.

Earl of Sandwich

Earl of Sandwich

Counter Service would have to be Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney; I would order The Full Montagu with beef, turkey, cheese and salad followed by a delicious cupcake.

Whilst in DTD I’d nip over to Goofy’s Candy Company to make my own rice crispy treat. I would cover it in milk chocolate, rolled in choc chips and drizzled in caramel.

Dinner would be at Narcoossee’s, where I’d dine on filet mignon with potato gratin followed by key lime crème brulee. If I still had room after that I’d visit the Magic Kingdom for a pineapple Dole Whip float from Aloha Isle, and then waddle back to my resort!

From Mom Kim L.

I would begin with breakfast at Boma. I’d request a cozy table near the window. Afterwards, I would walk around the resort.

For a mid-day treat, I am heading to the Grand Floridan for afternoon tea in the Garden View Lounge. I would choose strawberries and cream along with lemon pound cake. I highly recommend the Princess Breakfast tea.

My evening would end with a delightful meal at The Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge. Dim lighting and delectable food provide a perfect way to wind down.

From Mom Kay B.

If traveling alone I would definitely choose spots that not only have great food but also good entertainment. Top spots that I would head to include 50’s Primetime Cafe in Hollywood Studios, where I would not be able to pass up their pot roast, milk shakes, and s’mores for dessert!

Teppan Edo's Sake-Rita

Teppan Edo's Sake-Rita

There are two EPCOT restaurants I would head to and those are the German Biergarten, where I can get my schnitzel and spaetzle, and of course good beer, while watching the show.

Teppan Edo is my other choice for this park since you can watch dinner being prepared right in front of you. I love all the food, chicken, and steaks and seafood, so anything goes here, but it must be accompanied by one of their specialty “umbrella” drinks to make it complete!

In the Magic Kingdom I would head to Casey’s Corner and enjoy a good dog and fries while watching the people on Main Street and listening to the piano player……all the time hoping the ducks won’t take a nibble out of my leg. :)

Absolute snack musts are a bag of popcorn and a hunk of peanut butter fudge from any of the Disney fudge spots!

From Mom Amber V.

If I had a day at Disney World all alone to enjoy my favorites, I would start with Tonga Toast for breakfast at the Kona Cafe. I would be sure to get all of my favorite snacks — dole whip float, popcorn, and Mickey Bars at some point throughout the day.

My choice for lunch would be something quick like a hot dog at Casey’s or a BLT salad from Columbia Harbor House, because I would want to save room for a fabulous dinner at my absolute favorite restaurant — Jiko. Barbecue chicken flatbread, filet mignon with macaroni and cheese, and the pistachio creme brulee is my idea of the perfect meal to end a fabulous day at Disney!

From Dad Doug I.

I do this often, as work travel and book research trips leave me solo in Orlando.

Nothin' like a little popcorn on a Solo Disney Day

Nothin' like a little popcorn on a Solo Disney Day

Typically I seek out whatever is new, but while I love many of the character meals and some of the ones that involve a show (like 50’s Prime Time or Whispering Canyon Cafe), many are ones where going solo just makes me feel a bit out of place. So some of my favorite solo dining places that I like to frequent include:

Breakfast: Kona Cafe at the Polynesian (Strictly for the Tonga Toast!)
Lunch: Flame Tree BBQ or Tangierine Cafe
Dinner: California Grill
Snack: Popcorn from the carts as you enter the Magic Kingdom. Walt would have wanted it that way!

Dirty Little Confession: While I like all that, I have to confess that I have dined, on more than one occasion, at “Snackapalooza!”. Don’t waste your time searching for it on a park map. I coined this phrase for those times where instead of going to a restaurant, I ‘surf’ the World Showcase promenade, getting a few different nibbles from the national pavilions. I love getting a bite here, a bite there, and sampling cuisines from around the globe!

From Mom Margaret F.

I have been fortunate enough to enjoy a few solo trips to Disney world, and while I was first worried that I would be lonely or look out of place, I quickly discovered how much I have still missed while rushing after my children on our family trips.

The Porch at Tony's Town Square

The Porch at Tony's Town Square

I love eating at Tony’s Town Square and sitting on the outside porch. In an odd way, with all the crowds passing by, it is remarkably peaceful to me.

While the food is delicious, it is such a great place to watch the excitement and joy of the guests as they first enter Magic Kingdom, or to listen to the recaps of their amazing day as they exit the park. Watching the kids (and mom and dad) jump in glee at the sight of Main Street and Cinderella Castle continues to remind me why I love Disney so much.

One of my favorite treats is to grab a Dole Whip Float and sit on a bench near the Castle hub and watch all of the guests stop for a picture by the Partners statute. As I enjoy the best treat on property, it makes me smile to see so many guests stop and admire Walt and Mickey hand in hand, and hopefully Walt knows how much joy he continues to bring to so many everyday.

Thanks again to all the “moms” who are participating in the interviews!

Don’t forget, if you’d like to share your “most magical Disney Dining moment,” send me an email! I’m collecting stories and will post them in the next post of “Chicken Soup for the Disney Foodie soul!”

Cantina de San Angel’s NEW Menu

Many thanks to Amanda Tinney, writer of the rockin’ new blog DisneyEveryDay.com, for guest blogging about this new menu! Can’t wait to try it! (Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full menu)

While wandering the World Showcase promenade yesterday I passed through Mexico, and something strange caught my eye. It was the round menu plaque, whose twin hangs on the pillar flanking each side of the entrance to the Cantina de San Angel Inn (Mexico’s Counter Service Restaurant). Chilaquiles! Chilaquiles, caught my eye! I have passed by these pillars many times before and have never seen that word. I have only had the pleasure of sampling Chilaquiles (pronounced cheela keeleez) at Mexico’s booth during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival and they were delicious…spicy but delicious. Looks like they have taken up a permanent residence here at the Cantina de San Angel.

New Menu at Cantina de San Angel

New Menu at Cantina de San Angel

My guest and I decided that we would have to go check out the new offerings that very day. We had already eaten lunch and it was not quite time for dinner yet so we settled on an order of Guacamole with Corn Tortilla Chips. This turned out to be a fantastic choice! The price was just right at $5.50 and the portion size was large enough to fill both of us up. The guacamole was smooth and buttery with just the right portions of heat and tang. It was topped with fresh, diced tomatoes. The ratio of chips to dip was also portioned out so that “no chip was left behind”. The dish was made to order so that the chips on the bottom stayed crisp and did not get soggy under the dip. You can definitely taste the onion in this dish so if you are on a date, either bring a breath mint or make sure your other half eats their fair share. This item is also NOT part of the Disney Dining Plan, but is certainly enough for two people.

Cantina Chips and Guacamole

Cantina Chips and Guacamole

I asked a cast member when the menu had changed and was told that it had been about two months ago. I also asked if the Chilaquiles on their menu were the same as the Chilaquiles served at the Food and Wine Festival. I remembered that the Food and Wine Festival version had a green tomatilla sauce. She informed me that the sauce for the Cantina de San Angel version was topped with a red sauce.

Everything on the new menu looked delicious! The cold beer, margaritas, and churros are still a mainstay on the menu along with the newer items, which round out the offerings. The next time you visit Epcot make sure to stop by the Cantina de San Angel and turn your meal into a Fiesta!

Cantina de San Angel Menu and Prices:

Chilaquilies con Pollo – $9.99 – Fried corn tortillas with melted Monterey Jack cheese, chicken and red sauce, topped with onions and sour cream, served with black refried beans and rice.

Burrito de Carnitas – $8.99 – Flour chipotle tortilla filled with pulled pork, black beans, rice, shredded lettuce, cheese and salsa.

Cantina Nachos – $8.75 – Tortilla Chips with beef, cheese, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and sour cream.

Guacamole with Corn Tortilla Chips – $5.50 – Avocado dip mixed with onions, cilantro, chile serrano and lime.

Kids Picks – $4.99 – (for our guests 9 years old and younger) Choice of grilled cheese quesadilla or chicken nuggets. Served with corn chips with cheese sauce and carrots. Includes choice of 1% milk, bottle of water, or small soft drink.

Churros – $3.25 – Fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar.

Bunuelos – $2.95 – Round fritter sprinkled with sugar.

Beverages – from $2.19 to $2.49

XX Lager Draft Beer – $7.50

Frozen Margarita – $8.99 – Tequila, Triple Sec and Lime Juice

Frozen Pina Colada – $8.99 – Rum and Pina Colada Mix

Best Disney World Restaurants for Fireworks Viewing: Part II

World Showcase

World Showcase

Here’s the second in our series of Best Disney World Restaurants for Fireworks Viewing! Today, we’ll discuss the restaurants with the best views for Illuminations fireworks viewing. (The previous blog post, Part I, has information about Wishes fireworks viewing.)

Illuminations, Reflections of Earth, is shown at Epcot at 9:00PM every night, Saturday-Thursday. Friday nights vary between 9:00PM and 8:00PM depending on Epcot’s schedule.

Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room, patio table
Rose and Crown in Epcot’s United Kingdom pavilion is the quintessential dining and viewing spot for Illuminations. If you’re lucky enough to get one of the coveted tables out on the covered patio, Rose and Crown’s view of Illuminations will offer you one of best experiences in Walt Disney World. There’s simply nothing like it.

Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room

That said, the fierce competition for these tables has made me forego even making a reservation for dinner at Rose and Crown over the past few visits to Disney World. While Rose and Crown cannot guarantee their ability to grant requests for patio tables, hopefuls begin crowding the podium before 7:00PM each night, willing to wait as long as it takes. The line of patrons waiting to check in can stretch all the way to Tudor Lane. As a result, Rose and Crown has instituted a policy (in my experience) that those checking in at the podium may wait only one hour for a table request; after an hour, they must take the table offered, or choose not to dine at Rose and Crown.

Patio View

Patio View

How can you improve your chances? Visit Disney World during a slow season (e.g. Winter or early Fall), book your reservation for around 7:30-7:45pm (it’s simply not fair to the servers to book earlier; unless, of course, you’re willing to pay three times the tip!), and tell the cast members when you check in that you’re willing to wait the hour for a fireworks-view, patio table.

Back Patio

Back Patio

Note that the Rose and Crown patio stretches around the Rose and Crown, meaning you might be seated at the side of the restaurant. You can still see the fireworks here, but the view will not be as good as from the back patio, directly next to the lagoon. You can specify that you’re requesting a back-patio, fireworks-view table, but patio is patio… .

Side Patio

Side Patio

Rose and Crown is a casual restaurant; park-wear is acceptable. No reason to dress up. By the way, the potato and leek soup is to die for!

La Hacienda de San Angel
One of Epcot’s newest restaurants, La Hacienda de San Angel, offers — for the first time in Epcot history — an Illuminations view rivaling that at Rose & Crown! While many of the tables offer excellent views (the windows are expansive), those that are right up against the windows will be highly prized.

View from Our La Hacienda de San Angel Window Table

One of the Main Dining Rooms at La Hacienda

Bistro de Paris
This high-end restaurant located on the second floor of the building housing Les Chefs de France in Epcot’s France pavilion has excellent Illuminations viewing. Again, you’ll want to arrive early and request a window table, but a steep price and nearly hidden entrance (the entrance to Bistro de Paris is hidden around the back of the Le Chefs de France building) mean that competition for seating is limited compared to Rose and Crown.

Fireworks from Bistro de Paris Window

The dining here is top-notch, but the view from the second story windows can’t be beat. Dress up for this one and make it a celebration.

Cantina de San Angel
The Mexico pavilion’s counter service dining option has been touted by some, panned by others, but everyone agrees that it’s a good option for watching Illuminations…assuming you can commandeer a table and stand your ground!

Cantina de San Angel

Because the tables are lined up along the World Showcase Lagoon, patrons have complained about kiddos squeezing themselves between tables and fence to get a better view. Also, folks who might not have as much need for personal space as you do may invite themselves to infringe upon yours by “sharing” your table.

This spot might be more hassle than it’s worth, but it’s an inexpensive way to get one of the best views in the park. And the food’s tasty, too!

Tokyo Dining
Tokyo Dining, in Epcot’s Japan pavilion, was recently renovated and re-opened in 2007. Specializing in sushi and tempura, the restaurant shares the second floor of the Mitsukoshi Department Store building with Japan’s other table-service restaurant, Teppan Edo.

Tokyo Dining

This might be your best bet for getting an advanced dining reservation less than 90 days out, as many folks don’t yet know about Tokyo Dining, aren’t sure where it is, or simply don’t want to try the food. Luckily, this means that the floor-to-ceiling window views are up for grabs!

Dining Room

Dining Room

As with the other restaurants, make a reservation for an hour or so before Illuminations and arrive early. Request a window table (tell them you’ll wait if necessary). Once seated, enjoy your meal leisurely until the show begins.

View of World Showcase Lagoon

View of World Showcase Lagoon

Note that there is an outdoor, public walkway along the windows at Tokyo Dining. If people notice it’s there, they may crowd it before the show. You’ll still be able to see the fireworks, but this could possibly block the view a bit.

Outdoor Walkway

Outdoor Walkway

Tokyo Dining is a more casual restaurant; park-wear is acceptable.

Other Potential Viewing Spots With Dining
While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend either of these spots for Illuminations viewing, Tangerine Cafe in Morocco and Liberty Inn at the American Adventure might offer a decent place to sit to see the higher-up fireworks. At Tangerine Cafe, even if you’re sitting outside (the windows are too opaque to see from the inside), the crowds will likely mar your view of the action on the water. At Liberty Inn, the American Gardens Theater tends to block out the lagoon view. But both offer spots to sit, take a load off, and nosh a bit while you listen to the music and enjoy at least some of the show.

If you have other ideas and options, be sure to let me know in the comments section below!

Check out the other “Best Disney World Restaurants” in our series!