Disneyland Must-Eats: Fried Chicken at the Plaza Inn

I’m not sure how to emphasize how good the Plaza Inn‘s Fried Chicken is. Let me just say this: it is the best fried chicken I have ever eaten. (Yes, that includes Homecomin’, which is incredibly tasty as well.)

Fact: Plaza Inn’s Fried Chicken — literally — is the best.

Plaza Inn Sign

Plaza Inn Sign

Plaza Inn is located on Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A., and its exterior is quintessentially Disney. So many great details on the awning and posts, not to mention the swirls of wrought iron on the sign. [Read more…]

Review: Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe Disney Springs

Ready for an emotional roller coaster? Because we have some good news and some bad news regarding Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe and Dining Room.

I always think it’s best to get the bad news out of the way first, don’t you? So, here goes…

The bad news is that Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe will be closing up shop on August 1st.

And now, for the good news! Wolfgang Puck is not leaving Disney Springs entirely! In case you missed the news, he’ll be opening a brand new, modern restaurant in the Town Center of Disney Springs. Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill will open in 2018, and it will still feature some of the world famous chef’s most popular dishes. PLUS, the West Side location will be revamped into Jaleo, a Spanish tapas-style restaurant by Celebrity Chef Jose Andres, which will open in 2018. So two restaurants for the price of one!

So even after that announcement, I kept my recent Advance Dining Reservation at the Grand Cafe, since there will still be plenty more where this came from. AND I wanted to point out which items I most hope to see on the menu at the new digs!

First, though, let’s check out the old haunt before saying good-bye to the West Side space.

Atmosphere

Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe and The Dining Room are in the same general building, but there’s a cafe and a sushi bar downstairs, and a formal dining room upstairs. Plus, we can’t forget the Counter Service option with The Wolfgang Puck Express. (And don’t you worry, Express fans… the Marketplace Express location isn’t going anywhere!)

The decor is… umm, how do I say this?

Wolfgang Puck Cafe Seating

Wolfgang Puck Cafe Seating

TOTALLY SAVED BY THE BELL. I thought it the first time I walked in so many years ago, and it hasn’t changed an ounce. But, hey, it’s consistent — from colorful light fixtures to Formica tabletops. [Read more…]

First Look and Review: Paddlefish at Disney Springs

Over the weekend, we had the opportunity to get a sneak peek at Paddlefish, the latest restaurant to open in Disney Springs.

I say “latest,” but Paddlefish is simultaneously one of Disney Springs’ oldest and newest stops. That’s because Paddlefish is just the latest tenant in a restaurant that’s been in this area for quite some time. If you’ve been following along, then you know Paddlefish was most recently known as Fulton’s Crab House. And before that, you may have known it as the Empress Lilly, originally opened in 1977 and named for Walt Disney’s beloved wife.

With the revamping and major overhaul that Downtown Disney — now Disney Springs — has recently experienced, the old riverboat theming of Fulton’s wasn’t going to flow with the new vibe. And so, the restaurant’s owner, Levy Restaurants, signed to stay on in Disney Springs, and commenced to a stem to stern reimagining of the Old Girl.

We had a chance to take a look around at the new space, which opened to the public February 4th. Join us on a tour.

Atmosphere

As with the rest of Disney Springs, Paddlefish somehow manages to channel past and future at the same time, all with an industrial vibe.

Paddlefish -- Outside View

Paddlefish — Outside View

If you were familiar with Fulton’s, you’ll see the stark contrast between old and new right away. Gone is the old-timey riverboat look. In its place is a neutral palette of grey and white with touches of rich stained wood. [Read more…]

Review: New Menu Items at The Plaza Restaurant in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Lots of changes have come to The Plaza Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom recently!

This summer, The Plaza — which is a Table Service restaurant — became much more accessible to walk-up guests when it changed its Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) availability window to just 11:00 am – 12:00 noon daily, opening up the remainder of the day to play host to those without ADRs.

Hot on the heels of that change, we noticed another… to the menu! The Entree and Dessert listings have been expanded with a few more options. But the new assortment of Appetizers has gained the most attention, since one of the three new selections bears a striking resemblance to a favorite retired Magic Kingdom snack from back in the day (we’ll be taking a look at that again here today!).

Before we dive into the changes, though, it might be nice to know that some of the things about this beloved spot have remained — thankfully — very much the same… .

Atmosphere

As you turn the corner on Main Street, U.S.A. towards Tomorrowland, you’ll find The Plaza Restaurant tucked right next to its Quick Service counterpart, the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor.

The Plaza Restaurant sign

The Plaza Restaurant sign

Upon entering, you’ll notice that lots of windows allow for plenty of sunlight to flow in, and the smaller size of the restaurant is made to feel somewhat larger with the help of mirrors in the main dining room as well. [Read more…]

Review: Carrot Cake at Disney World’s Boardwalk Bakery

I love many things at Disney World. Many things. But two of my favorites are these:

One: Carrot Cake. And two: the Boardwalk Bakery at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn.

(OK, so there’s MUCH more to love than that. But you get my point). Anyway, when those two things come together, you have to know that I am SO. THERE.

And that was, indeed, the case on my most recent visit to the Boardwalk Bakery! Tucked inside the bakery case among Mickey Oreo CupcakesCheesecake Brownies, and Key Lime Tarts was a little Carrot Cake number. They’ve had varieties of carrot cake here for years, and they’re ALWAYS good. This version is a long, skinny deal, but the taste is just as delicious as its square predecessors.

The first thing to catch my eye was the gorgeous white chocolate carrot topping the cake. It’s practically iridescent! So much better than those typical piped carrots on the top!

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

As for the cake itself, the recipe is pretty much classic: spiced cake layered with cream cheese frosting. No nuts in this version, though. (Oh, and that teeny pink garnish on the side is just a by-product of being near the Strawberry Lemonade Cupcake in the pastry box. No biggie.) [Read more…]

Review: Chocolate and Carrot Cake Mini Whoopie Pies at Art of Animation Resort

We are back at Landscape of Flavors in Disney World’s Art of Animation Resort!

Landscape of Flavors remains relatively unique by Disney Counter Service standards. Sure, it offers quick service eats served up food court-style in keeping with the dining set-up at the all Disney World Value Resorts. But with a Tandoori/Mongolian Station serving sides like Naan Bread with dipping sauces (and don’t get me started on the uber-tasty Cheesy Pesto Bread) alongside favorites like burgers and sandwiches, the best-of-both worlds approach to international flavors and American fare have earned this spot high marks since the resort first opened in 2012.

That said, while its reputation for entrees has been deservedly high, Landscape of Flavors hasn’t been a huge destination for desserts (Gelato Bar notwithstanding, of course!). So when I noticed a little something — or somethings — new in the bakery case, it definitely piqued my interest.

They’ve added Mini Whoopie Pies to the options, my friends! And my fellow Carrot Cake Connoisseurs will definitely want to read on…

Atmosphere

Just like Everything Pop at the neighboring Pop Century Resort, Landscape of Flavors is located directly past the resorts’s merchandise spot, the Ink and Paint Shop.

Lobby in Art of Animation

Lobby in Art of Animation

Oh, and be sure to check out the Storyboard Chandelier above you right before you enter! Several of the panels have been signed by Disney artists and actors involved with the films that the Art of Animation celebrates: The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid. Among several others, you can search for Jodi Benson’s signature (she’s the voice of Ariel) as well as Pixar CCO John Lasseter’s. Newly signed panels feature the signatures of Pete Doctor, Jay Ward, and Jerome Ranft who worked on Cars, and also the latest Pixar hit, Inside Out. Pretty cool, right?!

After you’re done with your signature scavenger hunt, just continue through the merchandise shop to find Landscape of Flavors. [Read more…]

Review: Disneyland’s Tomorrowland Terrace

UPDATE: Please note that the Tomorrowland Terrace has been redesigned; this location is now the Galactic Grill serving Star Wars-themed foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Greetings from THE FUTURE!!

Tomorrowland’s version of the Future, that is! We’re grabbing a quick bite at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland Terrace (not to be confused with Disney World’s  seasonally open Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant). Would you believe I’ve never reviewed this spot for the blog before? Well, my recent trip out west for the kickoff of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration finally gave me an opportunity to change that. So, let’s blast off!

Atmosphere

The setup at Tomorrowland Terrace is fairly simple. It’s an outdoor spot, primarily, though the ordering area and a fair amount of seating are covered by an overhang.

Tomorrowland Terrace

Tomorrowland Terrace

You’ll see multiple lines form at [Read more…]

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Recipe: Warm Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Ah. We knew the day would come…the day that we started craving some of those wonderful dishes that we’ve had a chance to enjoy at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

Welcome to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

And we figure if it’s happening to us, it’s probably happening for you, too. ;-)

While we’ve enjoyed some truly delicious flavors at this year’s festival, we had our favorites from the very beginning!

And one of the sweets we don’t think you should miss is the Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins® and Cream Cheese Icing.

Served at the Hops & Barley Marketplace Booth, this is one of the best entries into the Disney Carrot Cake Arena we’ve ever sampled!

Fresh baked carrot cake with Craisins® and cream cheese icing

Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins® and Cream Cheese Icing from the Hops & Barley Marketplace Booth

Warm and moist, the cake itself is chock-full of goodies. Dried cranberries give the mix an unexpected tang.

And the Icing. You know that amazing Warm Cream Cheese Icing you sometimes find on cinnamon rolls?

Yeah. That.

Cross section of carrot cake with cream cheese icing

Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins® and Cream Cheese Icing — Cross Section

Given our love around here for Carrot Cake, we were on the fence about whether this one would be mention-worthy or a total snoozefest. I’m happy to say, it’s amazing.

So here’s the recipe to make those Carrot Cake fantasies a reality.

Warm Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Hops & Barley Marketplace Booth

Yield: 12 Mini Cakes

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Sneak Peek: Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort Opening Tomorrow!

Welcome to Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, where “luxury meets magic!” We got a chance to take a look around the hotel before it opens, and wanted to give you a quick peek! (Nope; they’re not paying us to do this. We just figured you’d be interested. ;-D)

Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World

Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World

Opening August 3rd, Four Seasons Orlando says they will provide a best-of-both-worlds vacation experience: “easy access to all the area entertainment in a tranquil setting,” at Golden Oak in Walt Disney World, according to Thomas Steinhauer, Regional Vice President and General Manager.

The Disney Help Desk

The Disney Help Desk

Stairwell to the lobby

Stairwell to the lobby

Chandelier

Chandelier

Twenty-six acres will hold [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: September 22, 2013

This week, we got our first look at the 2013 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party! Once again, the party is brimming with unique treats!

From candy corn soft serve to cupcakes galore (YUM!), we recommend snacking your way through the party. Don’t forget about the complimentary trick-or-treat candy!

Here’s some more food news from your favorite Disney parks…

Disney Food News

Enjoy this week’s delicious news!

Of course, there’s more! Check out all the latest Disney Food News — even the stuff we don’t mention in posts on the blog! — on our Disney Food News Pin Board, including a Ghirardelli at El Capitan Theatre, and more.

DFB Reader Finds

If you find a fun new food — or other edible awesomeness — in or from Disney, share a photo with us on facebook or twitter so we can add it to our DFB Reader Finds each Sunday!

We’re featuring delicious eats from Disneyland this week from Reader Wendy Hofmann!

First up: “Bowl of gumbo ($9) from Cafe Orleans! Delicious! The bowl is a much better deal than the cup ($6). The gumbo is rich, with lots of chunky chicken and sausage. The restaurant serves it with a big serving of dirty rice on top of the soup.”

Gumbo Soup

Wendy shares this next delight: “OK, next picture does not do this item justice…carrot cake from [Read more…]