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: 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…]

News: Tusker House Announces New Character Lunch Starting December 4

Jambo! I just love when a new character meal is added to our Disney World dining options! Tusker House Restaurant in the Animal Kingdom’s Harambe area will begin offering character lunches on December 4th!

Donald and Daisy Duck are taking on extra hours as Donald’s Safari Breakfast will still be offered daily!

Donald Duck announces new lunch!

Donald’s Dining Safari Lunch will be hosted by Donald and Daisy Duck while guests sample delicious all-you-can-eat spit-roasted meats, unique salads, vegetarian options, hearty stews and [Read more…]

Review: Disneyland Plaza Inn’s Breakfast with Minnie and Friends

The Plaza Inn in Disneyland can be found on the corner of Main Street and Tomorrowland, but there’s nothing futuristic about it! The Victorian setting features a fun buffet breakfast in the morning (with characters!), and some fantastic counter-service cafeteria-style food in the afternoon and evening (they say the fried chicken is to die for).

Front of Restaurant

Atmosphere

The Plaza Inn Breakfast with Minnie and Friends is the only character meal inside Disneyland Park, so it’s a great one to start with if you’re planning to do the day in Disneyland and you’d like to get a hearty breakfast.

On our way inside the restaurant, you’ll pass some cute outdoor seating. It’s primarily used during the lunch and dinner meals, though; most breakfast guests will sit in the opulent indoor dining room with its [Read more…]

Review: 1900 Park Fare

OK. We all know that one of my major qualms with many Disney restaurants is inconsistency of experience. Some days, it’s great. Some days, it’s awful. You just don’t know what you’re going to get.

My visit to 1900 Park Fare was on one of those not-so-great days.

Now let me fully admit — here up front — that I know many folks who love 1900 Park Fare, swear by the food quality, and find the atmosphere charming. They have a great time at this restaurant, so understand that my review is just one of many.

Hopefully some readers (HINT HINT ;-)) will add their two cents to the comments section below so you can base your decision to go on a number of experiences.

Atmosphere

1900 Park Fare is located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort (read: swanky), but it’s not a hoity toity spot. As a character meal and buffet, feel free to wear your shorts and t-shirt.

You can get to the Grand Floridian by car (park valet — the walk from self-parking can be long), monorail (take the resort line), or boat from the Magic Kingdom or the Polynesian Resort. The restaurant is located near the [Read more…]

Review: Cinderella’s Royal Table Breakfast

Lords and Ladies of the Kingdom, we welcome you to…Cinderella Castle!!!

Admittedly, I couldn’t wait to go back to the castle — in the middle of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom — to dine. I’d never had breakfast here (not since I was a small fry, at least), and I was downright giddy! I don’t care how old you are, it’s just plain rad to go inside the castle where nobody else (unless they have a reservation, too, of course) gets to go. Seriously. Rad.

So I made the reservation the minute our 180-day Advanced Dining Reservation Window opened up (yep — this is one of the toughest reservations to get, so book early), gave them my credit card number (need to lock this one in with a card number — call in advance to cancel, or you’ll be charged), and started counting down the days…

Atmosphere

There are several magical things that happen when you book an early breakfast reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table:

  1. You get into the Magic Kingdom early. That’s right. Book your reservation for 8:00am on a day when the park doesn’t open until 9 and you get the wonderful experience of entering the park before anybody else and walking down an empty Main Street USA. You feel like a VIP. THEN, when you’re finished with your meal, you’ve already bypassed the huge crowds that gather at the entrance turnstyles at opening time, and you get first crack at Fantasyland. Very cool trick.
  2. You get to explore the castle and its [Read more…]

Review: Storytellers Cafe at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort

Tucked into Disneyland Resort’s premier Grand Californian Resort is a restaurant eager to pay tribute to the art that made Walt Disney and the animators who followed him so critical to our lives today: storytelling.

Atmosphere

Just as the Grand Californian is themed in the Craftsman architecture style, Storytellers Cafe boasts broad, dark wood-scapes, milky stained glass and metal cut-out decor, earthy colors, and solidly [Read more…]

Cape May Cafe Character Breakfast

Cape May Cafe sign

Cape May Cafe, at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, is one of the best character meals on property, in my opinion. It’s more “below the radar” than more popular character meals (e.g. Chef Mickey’s and Cinderella’s Royal Table), so reservations are a slight bit easier to get; the food is fantastic; and the characters are all dressed in their bathing suits ready for a day at the beach — how much fun is that? At this meal, you can see Goofy, Minnie, and Donald (this used to have Chip and Dale, but they’ve been replaced!).

Goofy Visits With a Little Guest

Goofy Visits With a Little Guest

(More character photos later in the post!) Located on the right hand side of the Beach Club’s lobby (entering from the parking lot), Cape May Cafe is a large restaurant with a Beach theme — decor includes light colored woods and old-fashioned wooden and canvas beach chairs and umbrellas. The restaurant is also the location for the Beach Club’s Clam Bake buffet each night (we’ll cover this in a later blog!).

Cape May Cafe Decor

Cape May Cafe Decor

Cape May Cafe

Cape May Cafe

Once you’re seated with your drink order taken, you’re free to visit the delicious buffet, which begins in the foyer of the restaurant with bagels and lox, and moves into the main area of the restaurant with dozens of other options. These include different flavors of yogurt accompanied by granola, raisins, and fresh fruit for toppings; oatmeal and cream of wheat; pancakes and mickey waffles; egg dishes and meats; and a whole buffet of delectable baked goods! There’re also plenty of cereal choices.

Buffet Items

Buffet Items

Hot Buffet Selections

Hot Buffet Selections

Bagels and Lox

Bagels and Lox

Yogurt with Toppings

Yogurt with Toppings

Cereals

Cereals

Bakery Items

Bakery Items

Baked Goods

Baked Goods

Eggs and Breakfast Meat

Eggs and Breakfast Meat

Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits and Gravy

Fruit

Fruit

Hot Cereal

Hot Cereal

Mickey Waffles

Mickey Waffles

Food plate all ready to go: mickey waffles, eggs, breakfast pizza, homefries, muffins, and sausage

Food plate all ready to go: mickey waffles, eggs, breakfast pizza, homefries, muffins, and sausage

And now for the characters! This breakfast offers a truly unique photo experience with the characters all ready for their day at the beach!

Goofy's about to hang ten!

Goofy's about to hang ten!

Silly Donald! You Don't NEED A Swimsuit!

Silly Donald! You Don't NEED A Swimsuit!

Minnie's Ready for Her Close-Up

Minnie's Ready for Her Close-Up

I can highly recommend this character breakfast (even if you don’t have kids!). It’s thoroughly enjoyable, slightly “quieter” than the others, and has great variation in the available food. We’ve enjoyed every trip here.

Be sure to let me know about your favorite character breakfast and your Cape May Cafe experiences — I love hearing your stories! Happy Labor Day!

Recipe: Crystal Palace “Pooh’s Breakfast Lasagna”

Pooh's Breakfast Lasagna (photo copyright DisneyFoodBlog)

Pooh's Breakfast Lasagna (photo copyright DisneyFoodBlog)

This breakfast lasagna has made a stir ever since it was first included in the Crystal Palace character breakfast. It’s a multi-layered miracle, and quite difficult to accomplish from what I’ve heard! Several folks suggest making the recipe in stages… . I know there are a lot of incredibly talented chefs and bakers out there — I’d love to hear how this recipe turns out for you!

Recipe credit goes to:Dr. House at RecipeZaar.com. Check out the actual recipe link, as he’s made some good notes, and others have made some really helpful comments.

INGREDIENTS

Pastry cream

* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 6 egg yolks
* 1 1/2 cups milk
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup sugar

Pancakes

* 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
* 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 egg, well beaten
* 1 1/4 cups milk
* 3 tablespoons shortening or salad oil

Waffles

* 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
* 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 egg, well beaten
* 1 1/4 cups milk
* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 3 tablespoons shortening or salad oil

Pound Cake

* 3 cups cake flour
* 6 large eggs
* 1 lb butter
* 1 lb sugar
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup milk

Custard

* 6 large eggs
* 1 1/2 pints heavy cream
* 1 pint half-and-half
* 1 ounce brandy
* 1/4 ounce nutmeg
* 1/2 ounce cinnamon
* 1 1/2 cups sugar

Additional Ingredients to Assemble

* 1 cup frozen raspberries
* 1 cup frozen blueberries
* 3 bananas
* 1 tablespoon butter

Baking and Garnishing

* 1 banana
* 1/4 cup brown sugar
* 1/2 pint your favorite fresh berries

DIRECTIONS

1. Make the Pastry Cream first.
a. In a 2 quart saucepan, combine sugar, flour, salt and milk and whisk; over medium heat, cook while stirring until mixture thickens.

b. In a small bowl with a fork, beat egg yolks slightly, beat small amount of milk mixture into yolks.

c. Slowly pour egg mixture back into milk mixture.

d. Stirring constantly, cook over medium low heat until mixture thickens.

e. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Chill cream until ready to use.

2. While cream is chilling, make pancakes, waffles and pound cake:
Pancakes: (note the 3 TB. shortening should be melted and slightly cooled)
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix egg, milk and shortening. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir only enough to moisten. Do not beat or the pancakes will be tough. Bake on a hot griddle, lightly greased if necessary. Turn pancakes only once.

Waffles:
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix egg, milk, vanilla and shortening. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir only enough to moisten. Do not beat or the waffles will be tough. Bake in waffle iron following waffle iron instructions.

Pound Cake:
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, using a large spoon. Add room temperature butter. Add eggs. Using a mixer on low speed, slowly add the milk, and then the vanilla extract. After thoroughly stirred, turn mixer to medium for a few minutes, then to high. Mix thoroughly. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a standard tube pan with butter, then lightly flour it, shaking the excess from the pan. Pour in the mix and bake the cake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Check the doneness of the cake with a toothpick. Allow cake to cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan, then crumble the cake into small crumbs with your hands.

3. Custard:.
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until fully incorporated. Chill until ready to use. Makes 1 1/2 quarts.

Assembly:

Put a layer of waffles in a buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle a quarter of the pound cake over the waffles. Peel and slice the bananas. Layer with half of each of the following: the cut bananas, frozen raspberries, and frozen blueberries. Sprinkle half of the remaining pound cake over the fruit, then top with the rest of the fruit. Top the fruit with a layer of pancakes, the sprinkle the rest of the pound cake on top. Press down on the layers to pack firmly. Slowly add the 1 1/2 quarts custard mixture until the entire dish is saturated.

Baking and Garnishing:
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 60 minutes. (Oven thermometer placed in center of dish should register 165 degrees.) Top the lasagna with a layer of 2 1/2 cups pastry cream. Slice the banana and layer on top of cream. Sprinkle sugar on top and place casserole under the broiler until browned. Garnish with fresh fruit and serve.

‘Ohana Character Breakfast: Mickey and Friends

Pinvestigator Cody, of the Global Disney Pinvestigator Blog, is back with another round of comments and photos about a recent meal. This one, breakfast with Mickey and Friends at ‘Ohana, is one of his favorites; you’ll see why when you see these amazing photos! Thanks, Cody!

sign-11

‘Ohana means “family,” and the restaurant stretches that feeling throughout the meal! Opening at 7:30am, we arrived at 7:20 for a 7:40 Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR). There were about 20 families in front of us waiting to check in, but we were the second family to be seated (they really do pay attention to those ADR times!)

'Ohana Breakfast Open Kitchen

'Ohana Breakfast Open Kitchen

The hostess took us to our table, giving us a short tour of the restaurant along the way. We briefly stopped by the open kitchen where the hostess took our appetizer plate from the rows and rows of Pineapple and Cinnamon Raisin Bread (both are delicious, by the way), explaining that giving bread to family is one of the ‘Ohana customs celebrated at the restaurant.

Pineapple Bread and Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Pineapple Bread and Cinnamon Raisin Bread

We sat at our table, which included a great view of Cinderella Castle.

view from 'Ohana

Right away, a server came out with our “POG Juice” — Orange, Pineapple, Guava! It was delicious.

POG Juice

POG Juice

Not less than 5 minutes later, we got our food. It’s served family-style at ‘Ohana, with all-you-can-eat bacon, eggs, sausage, and potatoes.

breakfast

Another server also came around regularly with a bowl of Mickey Waffles, hot out of the “iron.”

Mickey Waffle

Mickey Waffle

Additionally, we received a small fruit platter, with pineapple, cantaloupe, grapes, and more.

'Ohana Fruit Platter

'Ohana Fruit Platter

Finally, the characters made their appearances! They were great and spent an equal amount of time at each table. Every 30-45 minutes is the ‘Ohana Family Parade, where the characters invite everyone to dance and sing and “shake!”, all to the song “Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride.”

Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse

Stitch

Stitch

Pluto

Pluto

Lilo

Lilo

Overall the meal was really enjoyable, and definitely delicious. This has to be my FAVORITE
Disney resort character breakfast.

Rating: 4.5 of 5
Tables in Wonderland: yes
Characters: 5 of 5
Food: 4.5 of 5