First Look and Review: Ferrytale Wishes Fireworks Dessert Cruise at Walt Disney World

Set sail on the Seven Seas Lagoon with us today as we take a first look and review a brand new premium offering at Walt Disney World — Ferrytale Wishes, A Fireworks Dessert Cruise.

Ferrytale Wishes Dessert Cruise Logo

The special event is still undergoing testing as Disney works to get all of the bugs out before the event’s official debut on Monday, October 5.

I had the opportunity to experience the cruise for myself last week while I was at Walt Disney World for the kickoff of the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Of course, I was anxious to check it out ahead of the opening. I know some of you have already booked the experience, so I’ve been excited to share with you a first look. Let’s head to the boat!

Ferrytale Wishes, A Fireworks Dessert Cruise

The Cruise departs from the Transportation and Ticket Center, so I was instructed to park in the Magic Kingdom parking lot.

I checked in at a location near the entrance to the Ferry Boats Dock. Don’t worry; Cast Members are there to help you find your way. :-) As you approach the TTC, just head left as though you plan to board a ferry to Magic Kingdom, and you’ll be in the right place.

Gangway to the Ferry

Gangway to the Ferry

Boarding began at 7:45 PM, and we were scheduled to sail at 8:00 PM promptly. Sailing time will change, of course, as it depends on when Wishes will be scheduled each night. Be sure to pay attention to the information for your particular booking. [Read more…]

Review: Territory Lounge at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

We are heading back to one of my favorite spots to grab a quick bite and drink — Territory Lounge.

I really, really recommend this place. It’s comfortable, has a fantastic staff, is just a boat ride away from Magic Kingdom, and usually has a pretty incredible menu.

While my “love” for neighboring Artist Point waxes and wanes, I’ve enjoyed the majority of my visits to Territory Lounge. And with the recent installation at Artist Point of a new chef, who also covers Territory Lounge, I figured it was as good a time as any to visit again.


The decor of the cavernous Wilderness Lodge lobby area echoes the same Craftsman style as the outside of the resort. But as you begin to explore different corners, you see that there’s more here than just Arts and Crafts. [Read more…]

Review: Pop-Tarts® Breakfast Sandwich at Pop Century Resort

So, Everything Pop Food Court at Disney’s Pop Century Resort is at it again.

We recently shared our review of lunch here. But when we heard of a new-to-us breakfast sandwich, I knew we needed to get in gear and head back to Everything Pop asap.

In the past, Pop Century has brought us such greats as Twinkie Tiramisu, Tie-Dyed Cheesecake, and Mom’s Night Out TV Dinners, but this one…this one is going to take some getting used to.

The Pop-Tarts® Breakfast Sandwich

OK, so here we go. This unique breakfast sammy includes: eggs, bacon, cheese (pretty standard, right?) and…Pop-Tarts. Yep. Pop-Tarts. As in the original breakfast toaster pastry.

And I may be able to understand the whole thing if they were using the un-frosted brown sugar version…that might give it a fun, breakfast-y sweet/salty thing. But, no. They’re sandwiching the egg, bacon, and cheese between two frosted strawberry Pop-Tarts. Wha?!?

Yeah, so, that’s happening.

Pop Tart Breakfast Sandwich

Pop-Tarts® Breakfast Sandwich

Should you [Read more…]

Review: Tea at Garden View Lounge at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Editor’s Note: The menu for Afternoon Tea at Garden View Lounge has changed since this review was written, and many of the items featured here are no longer available. For more details, see our news post about the changes.

Today, we’re taking in afternoon tea at the Garden View Lounge. This charming spot, which occupies the far end of the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa’s cavernous lobby, is the perfect place to relax, dress up a bit (perhaps), and slow down, while you enjoy traditional offerings and steaming pots of tea.

Menu Cover

Menu Cover

It’s become a rather hot ticket, though, so if you like what you see, be prepared to make your advance dining reservation well in advance.

Tea at the Grand has become a tradition of sorts for my mom and me, and so we were excited to head there for this special treat.


Upon entering the Grand Floridian, take a moment to notice the details of the soaring atrium. With natural light flooding the seating areas during the day, the large birdcage, and the beautiful domed skylights, it really is lovely.

Lobby and Atrium Garden View Lounge

The Lobby and the Atrium Put the “Grand” in Grand Floridian

I’ve often heard people suggest that the Grand suffers from a “lack of themeing”. I’ve never thought so. To me, the setting is beautiful — elegance with a light touch, befitting Florida’s subtropical climate. And even with families around me rushing to catch the monorail, I’m transported when I enter it to a less-rushed time and place.

Whether you visit during the day or evening, you are likely to catch some form of live musical entertainment here. During the day, you’ll enjoy piano music. In the evening, be sure to catch Grand Floridian Society Orchestra playing jazz standards from the bandstand located just outside of Mizner’s Lounge on the second floor.

Piano Music in the Grand's Lobby

Piano Music in the Grand’s Lobby

The Garden View Lounge is located at the far end of the lobby, directly opposite from the main entrance.

View of the Tea Room from the Lobby

View of the Tea Room from the Lobby

Flanking either side of the lounge are these adorable mosaics of inlaid marble.

Mrs. Potts Mosaic

Mrs. Potts Mosaic

Be sure to look down occasionally while walking around the Grand! They redid the floors a few years ago and added mosaics like these throughout. They are absolutely stunning.

Chip Mosaic

Chip Mosaic

Garden View is also the setting for the Perfectly Princess Tea Party, a character and storytelling experience.

Tea Info

Tea Info — Click to Enlarge

The Lounge itself is an open-air spot, separated from the rest of the lobby by a wall featuring “windowless” windows.

Flowers Garden View Lounge

Looking Into the Lounge from the Lobby

We arrived a few minutes early for our advance dining reservation, and were told that our table would be ready shortly. I’m not sure what all of the luggage by the hostess stand was about! There was a full house inside, however. And it seemed as though a few people were dressed up for a special occasion of some sort.

hostess stand Garden View Lounge

Hostess Stand

We relaxed nearby in the lobby. Soon, our pager went off, and we were shown to our table.



Marble statues flank both side entrances of the lounge. Other than that, the space is sparsely decorated.

Entering the Lounge

Entering the Lounge

The center of the room is dominated by [Read more…]

Disney Recipe from the Vault: ‘Ohana’s Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

I have been known to post an ode or two to extinct Disney foods. And one of my most missed dishes are the Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes that used to be a fixture at ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

These potatoes — in all of their creamy, cheesy goodness — are no longer served at ‘Ohana. In their place, you’ll find a perfectly, well…fine…bowl of Lo Mein, noodle-y tangle.

Fine. But they’re no cheesy potatoes.

So imagine how the skies opened and the heavens sang when I recently ran across this recipe for the potatoes that we all knew and loved!

RIP Scalloped Potatoes (photo courtesy Brett Young)

Now, I don’t see any shortening here, but everything else looks pretty fantastic. So I’m going out on a limb and am planning to give them a try.

You should, too.

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Smokie City from Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant PLUS New Signature Dinner Announcement!

Time to dig into another delicious dish at Raglan Road!

The authentic Irish pub, located at Downtown Disney in Orlando, is one of our favorite spots for its warm atmosphere and fantastic live entertainment. But the food is incredible too. Fans obviously agree that it’s the total package — the pub was awarded Best Restaurant honors by Orlando Magazine earlier this year.

And Chef Kevin Dundon has knocked it out of the park on this one. (Well, he does that quite often, but that’s beside the point.) I first had Smokie City — a chunky, hot, cheesy dip that features potatoes and the rich flavors of smoked fish — at the recent Signature Dinner that I attended at Raglan Road. Chef Kevin was on hand to present each course, and while they were all first rate, this one was my favorite. I loved it so much that I made it for a recent family dinner!

Smoked Haddock Potato Tomatoes and Vintage Dubliner Cheddar Bake  -- Up Close

Smoked Haddock, Potato, Tomatoes, and Vintage Dubliner Cheddar Bake — Up Close

And after you read about it, I think you’re going to want to make it, too. So here’s the recipe!

Smokie City

Smoked Haddock, Potato, Tomato, and Vintage Dubliner Cheddar Bake
Serves 4

If you can’t find smoked haddock, go for an all-natural, firm smoked fish such as cod or coley. I also used Irish cheddar cheese.

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Gratin de Macaroni from Les Chefs de France in Epcot

Macaroni and Cheese — that glorious food that is both side dish and main dish.

But one of my favorite grown up versions is the baked Gratin de Macaroni at Les Chefs de France in Epcot’s France Pavilion.

The dish is so well loved that it’s even made its way onto the menu over the years for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in the France Marketplace Booth. Will it make the cut for the 2014 Food and Wine Festival? Only time will tell!

But for the mac and cheese lover, this dish has everything! Sharp, tangy Gruyère cheese, golden crust, and it’s plenty big enough to share — if you want to! (Confession: Usually I don’t want to.)

But what are you to do if your next advance dining reservation for this wonderful spot is months off, and you’re craving some of this awesomeness, like, yesterday???

Gratin de Macaroni at Les Chefs de France

Gratin de Macaroni at Les Chefs de France

Why, make it at home, of course! Because with this recipe, the cheesy power is in your hands.

Gratin de Macaroni

Les Chefs de France

Ingredients: [Read more…]

Disney Recipe: Veggie Tater Bake from Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure (A Vegetarian Recipe!)

It’s always a good idea to have a vegetarian meal or two tucked into your recipe box, don’t you think? And if Shepherd’s Pie or Cottage Pie are your thing, you’ve gotta try this veggie version!

Flo's V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure

Offered at Flo’s V-8 Cafe in Disney California Adventure’s Cars Land, Flo’s Veggie Tater Bake has been delighting herbivores and carnivores alike since the restaurant first opened two years ago!

Veggie Tater Bake

Veggie Tater Bake

Whether you’re looking for fresh ideas for Meatless Mondays or Fridays during Lent, or you have special friends you’d like to impress with your vegetarian cooking skills, we definitely think you should give this hearty casserole a try!

Veggie Tater Bake

Flo’s V-8 Cafe, Disney California Adventure
Serves 6

Ingredients: [Read more…]

News! 2014 WDW Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic Dates and Seminars

Back by popular demand, The Swan and Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World has announced that it will hold its Fifth Annual Food and Wine Classic this Fall!

Coinciding with the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic offers even more great food and drink for Disney fans!

This event is always amazing and very well done. We can’t wait to go again this year!

2014 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Details

Mark your calendars for Friday, October 31, and Saturday, November 1, 2014. Seminars begin at 4:30 p.m. and the Causeway is open from 5:30-9:00 p.m.

Dining al fresco on the Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!

Dining al fresco on the Causeway at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic!

This year’s event continues the tradition of fun and informative food and beverage seminars that focus on wine, cocktails, sake, beer, pasta-making, and more. The seminars are conducted by experts in each field and last for approximately 60-90 minutes.

At 5:30, the Causeway between the Swan and Dolphin comes alive as the staff of the Resort’s award-winning restaurants host tasting booths. In addition, there is live entertainment as you sample and stroll around the beautiful grounds!

Wine Seminar at the 2012 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Seminars

You can see details on all of the 2013 Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic Seminars here!

And new for this year, the Classic is adding a Cheese seminar!

Seminars this year include:

Causeway Tasting Booths with Optional Beer Garden Upgrade!

The Causeway between the Swan and Dolphin Resorts will have tons of great offerings again this year. And we can’t wait to see the menus! We’ll be back soon with full details for you!

Want a little more than just the standard tasting experience? Upgrade to the [Read more…]

2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Review: The Chocolate Dinner!

How many times have you said to yourself, “I wish I could eat CHOCOLATE for dinner!!!!” I know. TONS, right? Well the dream has finally come true! And it happened at the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival!

This year, a brand new signature dining experience kicked off the festival during opening weekend. The Chocolate Dinner, hosted by Ghirardelli Chocolate, promised to be a sumptuous experience for the discriminating chocolate lover.

The dinner consisted of a reception, followed by six plated courses, presented by the Disney chefs who created them.

Let’s head over to Epcot’s World Showplace Event Pavilion for a look at this decadent event!


Ever wonder what’s behind those enormous brown doors between the Canada and UK Pavilions within Epcot’s World Showcase? You might, if you’ve never attended an event at the World Showplace Pavilion. But if you look closely at your Epcot map, you’ll see it there.

That was the setting for the evening’s event, and the sign above the beautiful awning announced it in style.

Chocolate Dinner Sign

Pan back a bit, and you can see the main entrance to the building. A reception preceding the plated dinner took place in the World Showplace courtyard, to the left of the main entrance.

World Showplace Entrance to the Chocolate Dinner

As we entered through the massive brown wooden doors, a team of servers greeted us with beverages. Guests could choose from Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, Chocolate Martinis, or Sparkling Wine. The drinks disappeared quickly every time the staff came out with another tray of them!

Young's Double Chocolate Stout

Chocolate Martini

While guests sipped on their cocktails, beer, and wine, teams of cast members passed trays of [Read more…]