Exciting news! According to DisneyWorld.com, Epcot’s Garden Grill Restaurant will be even more available for guests to spin-and-dine beginning November 8, 2015!
Check out the screen shot below! [Read more…]
Looks like the elves are already starting to gear up for the holidays… . Could it really be that a special holiday meal is coming to Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
A mysterious menu has appeared on the My Disney Experience app! At the time, it seems this menu is viewable on Android devices, but NOT on iDevices. Still, what’s remarkable about this menu is not the items themselves (standard items for the Hollywood & Vine buffet), but [Read more…]
Are you ready for breakfast in a galaxy far, far away?
Great! Then please join us in welcoming one of my good friends, guest author Daniel Staten (@danielstaten on Instagram) with a review of the STAR WARS Dine-In Galactic Breakfast, which has returned for a second run at Sci-Fi Dine-In Restaurant this year through June 14th. While the other returning Star Wars character dining experience, the Jedi Mickey STAR WARS Dine at Hollywood and Vine, features Disney characters in full Star Wars regalia, the Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast offers guests the chance to start the day with Star Wars characters from the films… and this one’s all about the Dark Side.
Take it it away, Daniel! And May the Force be with you!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is clearly undergoing some change. One thing that has been constant though, is a strong Star Wars presence in the park.
Earlier in May, I dined with my family at the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast. There were plenty of photo ops, nostalgic clips, and the Force was strong with the food!
Booking the Advance Dining Reservation for the breakfast turned out to be a fluke. I wasn’t looking for it specifically, but when a single 9:30 AM reservation appeared on the My Disney Experience website, I jumped at the chance!
The Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast is a lot like other signature character dining experiences in that it’s all-inclusive. For the price – we paid $49.99 – you get a breakfast “appetizer,” non-alcoholic drinks, an entree and a few selected extras.
More on those later.
On the morning of our breakfast, we arrived at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the crowds were pretty light. We made our way back towards Star Tours and noticed the huge line for people to sign-up for the Jedi Training Academy! Standing in that line looks like it would take a lot of dedication, but to the young Jedis, it’s well worth it.
The Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast is hosted at the Sci-Fi Dine-In near the back of the park. Once we arrived, we checked in and had a seat to wait for our table to be ready. The restaurant was running about 15 minutes behind and I attribute that to people taking their time with the characters and soaking up the atmosphere! There was so much to see and people generally just enjoying their interactions. I don’t blame them and didn’t mind the additional wait.
Once our table was ready, the Cast Member announced that “The Staten Family is now joining the Empire,” and we were placed in a line to meet Darth Vader and Boba Fett. I tried to look as scared as I could and it didn’t take much! Darth Vader is super intimidating in person!
Character Dining! What’s a trip to Walt Disney World without at least one meal shared with your favorite Disney Characters?
There’s simply no better way to kill two birds with one stone at Disney. You enjoy a hearty meal — oftentimes, it’s all-you-care-to-enjoy — and you get to interact with your favorite characters. Best of all — they come to you! There’s no waiting in line for hours to see them.
But you may think that a character dining experience isn’t for you if you don’t have kids in your party, or if your kiddos are as tall as you now. Or maybe you fear that the excitement and stimulation — not to mention all those trips back and forth to the buffet — will leave you and your toddler exhausted before you even get to the Parks.
Well, I happen to think that there’s a character dining experience just right for you, regardless of who makes up your unique party. So today, let’s look at a few tips that I’ve put together from countless Character Dining Meals — courtesy of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2015!
And if you like what you see here, there are a lot more where these came from! To see all of our advice for choosing just the right Character Dining Experience, pick up your copy of the Guide today for $4 off using code 2015 right here!
You’ve decided that the time is right for your pre-schooler to enjoy breakfast with Character Appeal for the first time. Now, how in the ‘World do you choose the meal that’s right for you?
Well, one thing to keep in mind is that most of the character dining experiences offer a buffet spread. This is great news when it comes to value. But juggling trips to the buffet, photo ops with characters, and a toddler who is stimulated to the max can be a challenge. So one of my favorite tips is to enjoy character dining that offers a sit-down…and stay down…meal. And one of the best is the Best Friends Breakfast at ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
To begin, well. Mickey in a Hawaiian Shirt. Best.
But then, you have platters of Pastry and Bread, Fresh Fruit, and a Bountiful Breakfast Skillet brought to your table! And it’s as much as you want. And you don’t have to get up a SINGLE time to get any of it!
Friendly servers also roam the dining area with Mickey Waffles! And you can ask for seconds. And thirds.
They even have Stitch waffles for the younger set.
Mickey, Lilo, and Stitch share relaxed times with you and pose for lots of pictures. And there’s no end to the smiles during the Coconut Races. It’s one of my favorite ways to kick off a Disney Day!
You may have witnessed the — shall we say, exuberant — spirit that pervades Chef Mickey’s at breakfast and dinner time. This character dining experience at Disney’s Contemporary is one of the Resort’s most popular, and can be viewed from above as you whirl by on the Monorail. It can get right down raucous with excited children and loud music and the inevitable napkin twirling.
And that’s totally fine, if you’re up for it. But if you aren’t, you may leave with a splitting headache.
If you’re an adults-only group, there’s probably a good chance you’d prefer to keep it on the quiet side. You know what? You can still enjoy character dining and all the great photo ops. And Garden Grill in Epcot’s Future World is a great spot for it.
Garden Grill is located in The Land building. And while the character dining is super fun, the restaurant has another unique attribute: it revolves!
Not at supersonic speed, of course. You won’t be getting motion sickness while you dine. But you will enjoy an ever-changing view of the Living with the Land attraction as you enjoy your dinner. And in between the changing tableaus, expect a few fun visitors!
If you’re planning an upcoming Disney World trip, we have a FIRST LOOK at the new Trattoria al Forno restaurant at BoardWalk Inn resort!
And you can now book a character dinner at Tusker House in the Animal Kingdom! Yes, all three meals will be hosted by Disney characters as of March 8, 2015!!
Headed to Disneyland for the holidays? Well, we have some recommended snacks for you!
While there, we suggest sampling a NEW churro ice cream sandwich while strolling through Downtown Disney. Or any of the other spectacular seasonal treats lining the bakery cases!
Craving more news? Dig in below — just click on the links!
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 restaurant closures, and more!
We’ve got all the latest for you, so check it out before you go.
It’s time for some cake!!
And here’s a homemade Olaf from Facebook Friend Samantha. Love!
Do you have a favorite find? Share your Disney food photos!
Our popular Disney Food Blog Guide to Walt Disney World Dining and our full assortment of Specialty and Snack Guide e-Books make great gifts for friends or family members planning a trip to Walt Disney World!
And now it’s easy to give the gift of dining planning through our Disney Food Blog e-Book Gift Certificates!
It’s a piece of cake to do — simply:
1. Purchase a gift certificate
2. Either print & give the details to the recipient, OR email the details to the lucky Disney fan!
Don’t let your friends and family go to Disney World unprepared. Our full line of e-books will ensure that your loved ones will get the biggest bang for their dining buck in Walt Disney World!
And here’s even more reason to act now — all gift certificates include a 2015 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining pre-order, with the 2014 DFB Guide download free when the coupon is redeemed! So you can get started with your planning right away, with the most up-to-date information delivered to you as soon as it’s published!
Gift Certificate – DFB “Everything” Bundle: Our most popular Bundle, this collection includes all of our critically acclaimed e-book titles, including our Food & Wine and Holiday Guides. And by using code LASTMINUTE at check out, you’ll get an extra $10 off the already highly discounted purchase price.
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)
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.
Twenty-six acres will hold [Read more…]
Are you ready for a delicious dinner buffet served up with a side of THE FORCE?!
I sure hope so, because a long time ago (a few hours now) in a galaxy far, far away (Disney’s Hollywood Studios) we attended the debut evening of the Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine! We JUST returned from the long-awaited new character dining meal in Disney’s Hollywood Studios featuring…yup!…STAR WARS CHARACTERS!
Well, not exactly Star Wars characters; this was BETTER than Star Wars characters because it was Disney characters dressed up as Star Wars characters!!
Confused? Maybe a picture will help it to make more sense… ;-D
Now, let’s dive in and check out the Cantina… uh, I mean, the scene!
Staged (see what I did there?) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Hollywood and Vine Restaurant — which normally houses Disney Junior characters — the new Star Wars Weekends character meal was nearly an immediate sell-out when we announced it just over a month ago.
The restaurant is set up as a buffet, which means you’re able to set the pace of your meal and make sure you’re at your table when the characters come your way.
Hollywood & Vine is themed as a vintage “Cafeteria to the Stars” (and the art deco decor on the buffet makes it stand out a teensy tiny bit from its companions around Walt Disney World).
However, for this event, the place received a bit of a galactic makeover!
Otherwise, a relatively neutral backdrop featuring photos of old Hollywood, a big ol’ mural, and aluminum tables and chairs means that the characters really are the feature here.
Speaking of…the characters! That’s what you really want to hear about, right? Enough pictures of seating, DisneyFoodBlog…let’s get to the fun!
As seen earlier, Ewok Chip & Dale greet you immediately upon your arrival with a couple of hugs and a chance for a sweet photo opp! (But hey, ummm, guys… I think you’re facing the wrong way )
There, that’s better! After your picture, your photographer will hand you a special Photopass card just for the occasion: your picture with Chip & Dale is included in the cost of this experience.
Clearly, everyone is excited about this !
Once you’re seated at your table, you’ll entertain a few other special visitors who stop by, including Stormtrooper Donald,
Darth Goofy (Brilliant!),
Princess Leia Minnie (LOVING that bun/ears combo!)…
… and JEDI MICKEY himself, striking his best Jedi pose!
I will say that the meetings with the characters were a bit brief compared with some other character meals I’ve experienced — the house was packed. But even so, we got to meet and have our photos taken with every single character, and were happy with each visit. And as I saw the characters interact with the kids, it seemed that there were plenty of hugs and autographs going around. The general mood was just high-energy FUN.
Okay, with both the Empire and the Alliance represented with these characters, you now have a choice to make. Upon being seated at your table, you’ll notice something in addition to your napkins and silverware. A piece of paper that is red on one side…
… and blue on the other.
What appears to be merely paper transforms into a LIGHT SABER!
Throughout the meal, guests are invited to choose their color: fold your paper to show blue if you’re on Mickey and Minnie’s side (the Alliance), or red for Goofy and Donald (the Empire). I thought it was super clever how they didn’t ask kids to choose between the dark side and the good guys — basically, you just picked your favorite character, waved your light saber like crazy, and let out a holler! (This is also, by the way, a great little energy spender for kids who are really excited while waiting for the characters to arrive at their table).
I noticed impromptu light saber battles happening all around the restaurant, primarily between fathers and their kids (and, yep, a few pairs of full-grown adults, too!).
I would LOVE to see a more permanent souvenir available for the kids with this meal, like a small, plastic red or blue light saber — the paper ones were such a hit, I think something like that would be an extra thrill and terrific touch.
For all this talk of children, you should know that my friend and I — both adults — felt right at home, and there were plenty of other adults-only groups for this event. While this is not the case with the typical Disney Junior meals featured throughout the year here, please don’t shy away from this event if you would like to go but don’t have children to bring. All Star Wars fans are welcome, both young and not-so-much !
I think the Hollywood and Vine buffet offers some truly unique choices compared with some other buffets on property, but on this evening, the fare was a little extra special.
Things started in a fairly typical fashion with the salads, fruit, breads, and the cold bar.
But moving foward, we didn’t just have a chance to try pork, chicken, beef, etc… oh, no!
On this night we ate everything from Tusken Raider Chicken, to Salacious Crumb’s Crusted Pork (an absolute standout!), to Kamino Maple Mustard-Glazed Salmon. Reading the Star Wars names for the dishes was nearly as fun as eating it all!
Even beyond the fun names, the entrees were plentiful and varied. We also had [Read more…]
We’re heading back to Epcot’s Future World for dinner at Garden Grill Restaurant!
This is a DFB favorite, and it comes together as Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast. The dinner features an all-you-care-to-eat meal served Family Style.
If you’ve ever shied away from eating in Future World in favor of the more varied cuisine available in World Showcase, it may be time to give Disney World’s only rotating restaurant a chance.
Please join me, Chip ‘n Dale, Pluto, and the main Mouse himself (MICKEY!) at the Harvest Feast for some food and fun!
The atmosphere? Well, that depends… You see, the Garden Grill rotates over the various scenes of the Living with the Land attraction, so what you see depends on where in the rotation you are in the moment.
It takes about one hour to make the full rotation, so it’s slow enough that you don’t really notice the feel of it while you are dining — at least, I didn’t. I was too busy enjoying the views! Take a look…
We enjoyed all of this from our table on the lower level of this two-level restaurant. It’s definitely a score if you are seated on the lower level, which is fashioned with booths as opposed to the chairs and tables on the upper level.
The booths provide more of a “front row seat” experience for the attraction, so it’s worth asking at check-in to see if you can get one. I wasn’t expecting a booth since it was just my husband and me, but several of the booths are divided with drop-leaf tables, allowing for a larger family on one side, and a pair on the other. The drop-leaf, of course, can be raised to accommodate a larger group, if needed.
Of course, the special touches are in full effect here — check out this table setting! Remind you of a certain character?
Speaking of… The one thing with the ability to distract you from the attraction views is… well, it’s actually FOUR things: the Characters!
Here’s Chip striking a pose in front of the Prairie Desert.
Pluto stopped by to say “Hello!”
Dale plotted how he might sneak some of our food…
… but I informed him it was people food, and not well-suited for chipmunks. (That makes for a sad chipmunk!)
Okay, this next shot is not a shining example of terrific photography . But I hope it conveys that moment of excitement when you first spot THE EARS over a nearby booth (c’mon, you can admit it!), and realize who will be at your table shortly…
Farmer Mickey Mouse — in OVERALLS, no less!!!
At the start of the meal, I was a bit [Read more…]
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!
That’s right! Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins have joined their pals Jake from “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and (AJ’s favorite ) Handy Manny for the Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine character meal.
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…]
Gather, Subjects of the Royal Kingdom! It’s time to head to the castle for the dinner feast at Cinderella’s Royal Table!
Eating INSIDE Cinderella Castle is a quintessential experience for guests who visit Walt Disney World. After all, the castle has served as the icon for Disney itself in the past, and is the symbol for Disney World’s flagship park, Magic Kingdom.
Any guest visiting Magic Kingdom, whether they are 4 or 94, has dreamed of seeing inside the majestic building. Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table gives you the best taste of the royal residence itself. Plus, you get an audience with Cinderella herself as well as her Princess friends.
This is the type of experience that Disney dreams are made of. As such, an advance dining reservation here continues to be a tough one to score. While it may be a little easier to get now that Be Our Guest Restaurant is open and pulling lots of guests in, you should still plan to call 180 days out if you hope to secure a table.
We thoroughly enjoyed breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table a while back. Time to see if dinner still measures up to that experience (I hadn’t been here for dinner in ages)! But first, let’s take a look around.
Inspired by some of Europe’s most beautiful castles (plus the fortress from a certain animated feature film we all love), the interior of Cinderella Castle is every bit as grandiose as the outside.
The Grand Hall and waiting area lends a great deal of happy anticipation to the experience. Only guests with advance dining reservations — apologies, but no prying eyes permitted — are allowed beyond the heavy double wooden doors that lead into the Grand Hall.
And once you’re there, you’ll have an opportunity to visit with Cinderella for a bit as she welcomes you into her home.
We were really fortunate to capture some great shots of the hall while it was empty. Here, you can see the weaponry and shields that adorn the stone walls. Heavy chandeliers and Gothic arches punctuate the scene. Seating in the hall is available while you await your visit with Cinderella and your admittance into the dining room.The low benches are plush and comfortable.
Here’s your chance to [Read more…]